Choco is a very unreliable dog. She has lived with us for over 4 years yet she hasn't really calmed down all that much. True, she no longer tries to eat cats. Chip (our smallest kitty) is a lot more strong willed than Choco and will come up to Choco and bat her in the nose. This leads to scrambling away from Choco and a lot of barking. The other cats keep their distance.
With strays you always wonder what kind of life they led before they joined your family. Were they loved (I guess not if they got dumped in the forest). Did they go through a period of hardship before finding their way to your home?
Some of Choco's background we know about.
She was adopted from the local zoo and lived the first 6 months of her life in a young woman's bedroom. Choco was never trained and the rest of the family didn't like her. As Choco got bigger the young woman's father banned the dog from the house and since Choco barked so much she was tied to a post in an empty lot.
When I found Choco she had been missing from her home a week. The young woman had contacted the animal shelter looking for her and so we assumed Choco was wanted. But when the owner came to pick her up, the young woman burst into tears and said that her father had told her to leave the dog in the mountains somewhere. Would I take her instead? The young woman said there was no leash, no dog bowl, no dog house that Choco could claim as her own. We changed Choco's name just so that she would forget her old life completely.
Choco hates children. Just the sound of their voices will send her cowering and barking. She hates white pick-up trucks so I think her former owner had a pick-up truck or maybe the disapproving father had one. Choco hates water and the sound of Tetsu watering the yard with the hose will make her start trembling and she will try to hide. I have a feeling she's been sprayed with a hose every time she barked in her empty lot.
Yesterday morning I walked by the window dressed in my crosswalk guard uniform. Choco became completely undone and she lunged and pulled and could not be consoled. I talked to her from the window... She should recognize my voice at least if not my figure, but though she was happy when Tetsu came to the window, she was beyond reasoning with me. Dumb dog. I wonder what connections she makes with uniforms...
And then in the afternoon I found her sitting out in front of our house after breaking her leather collar. Granted the collar was old but it was probably all that morning craziness that caused the leather to snap later in the day (and Choco's constant pulling and barking at passersby.) I am SO glad she didn't go after anyone though maybe she is all bark and little bite. We've yet to have a serious incident but there have been some close calls. She really is unreliable but I love her anyway. I don't know why. She doesn't seem to like me when I'm wearing my uniform...
(Post script: Thank you, Kristine. I smudged my telephone number after you mentioned it... It never occurred to me.)