Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Mr. Griffey!

So a few weeks ago I mentioned that Mrs. Dynamite had filled out the application to be a foster home for the National Brussels Griffon Rescue.  We were excited last week to get a phone call that they already had a dog in need of a foster home.  Here's what we were told: Mr. Griffey is 4 years old, not neutered, and is being given up by an elderly woman.  The previous owner reportedly tried to sell Mr. Griffey because he was lifting his leg in the house (which contained a few "intact" females), and the NBGR coordinator saw the ad and, after significant back and forth, convinced the owner to give the dog to the rescue organization, who would ensure that it ended up in a good home.  Mr. Griffey, we were told, weighed 10 pounds, had been trained as a therapy dog, and was a cutie.  And no - he's not named after Ken Griffey Jr. - he was clearly given the generic Brussels Griffon name - it's like naming a golden retriever "Goldy." It's horrible, but we'd later find out that he responds to it a little, so we didn't want to change it.

Mrs. Dynamite and I were pretty excited, and I was pretty nervous at the thought of a dog running rampant all over my new house peeing on everything.  Mrs. Dynamite was nervous that Oscar, her true love, wouldn't like Mr. Griffey.  We've been wanting to get a second dog for a while, but obviously we wouldn't have to keep Mr. Griffey if he didn't fit in with our pack.  Our goal was to get him neutered, train him up a little, and then adopt him out if he's not a good fit for us.

So anyway, we journeyed to the rescue coordinator's house in suburban Boston on Sunday evening.  She has a pack of 8 of the most ragtag pooches you've ever seen:  3 are blind, 1 is missing an eye, they're almost all old, they are yippy and yappy, but they were very sweet too.  That's why she wanted to place Griffey elsewhere, since he was so young and might have a more active life than her slower paced pack.  We entered her house, and I immediately sat down on the floor, trying to attract Mr. Griffey, who was showing some fear.  He'd been moved to the coordinator's house only a few days before, and he was already smitten with her.  Griffey ignored me, but two of her other Griffs jumped right into my lap and snuggled in, as she explained that the breed was notorious for being aloof towards men, but that these two had had a male owner previously.  I'd never heard that about the male aloofness, but anyway...

The coordinator explained why Mr. Griffey was wearing a "belly band" - because he was lifting his leg everywhere attempting to mark his territory.  The belly band is a piece of fleece with velcro on each end, and a maxi pad in the middle of it.  Yeah - it's a pee diaper for male dogs.   This is my life.

She thought that the prior owner, who, it turns out, was not an old lady at all, had been breeding him.  Strangely, for a stud, Griffey was super submissive.  He immediately conceded that Oscar was the top dog.

"Oh - there's another thing,"  she told us, "he's trained in German."

I looked around for the hidden cameras and chuckled.  She was serious.  She continued,

"I think the command for sit is "SPETZEN"  (turns out, it's not - this is my new bible: The list of German dog commands) "But I don't know the release command. Supposedly when you put him in a down-stay he'll stay there for a half hour if you don't release him!"

Hmmm.. So we have a German speaking dog, and I'm not sure which commands he knows, and he wears a diaper!  But he's WICKED cute.  Anyway, we took him home, with Mrs. Dynamite riding in the back with both dogs for the 1:45 trip back to NH.

Arriving home, we took Griffey and Oscar for a walk, and then they played really well together on the floor.  We went for another walk, but Griffey still refused to poop, so we went to bed.  He was very restless in bed, likely the result of having been moved to a new home again, and we knew he had a peeing problem, so at 3:30 in the morning, I decided I'd take him out again, just to avoid a potential issue with a bed pooping incident. Yeah - we let him sleep in the bed, just like Oscar.

Now, the whole family comes, and we're walking down the street at 3:45 am, with flashlights, cooing in a German Grandmother's accent, "Mister Griffey, SCHEISSE!"  This made me laugh my ass off - the thought that a) this dog would poop on command, and that b) I knew the codeword!  Needless to say, it didn't work.

Mr. Griffey took an immediate liking to my wife, who he instantly adopted as a surrogate mother.  He's not crazy about me, but is ok with me when she's around.  When she leaves, I can't even get him to take treats from my hand. It's like he's terrified of me when we're alone.  We have no reason to believe he'd been abused previously, so hopefully he just needs some adjusting.  

Oscar: left, Griffey: right, politely begging for food at dinner.  Griffey is "tethered" so he can't wander off and lift his leg - although he didn't attempt to mark at all for 2 days, so we took the tether off.

Today, I went to the dump, and when I came back, the dogs were barking their heads off, as they usually do when someone comes to the house.  As I walked in, I heard Mrs. Dynamite yelling, "Mister Griffey:  NEIN!"  and I couldn't help but smile at the absurdity of it all.

We love our little diaper wearing German dog, although Mrs. Dynamite said he didn't react at all when she played that video for him, which is consistent with his non-reactions to our German commands, so he probably doesn't speak so much German after all.

Griffey showed a little bit of toy-possessiveness, snapping at Oscar when he tried to play tug of war, and growling at me.  He didn't mind if my wife grabbed the toy, though.  Oscar ignored him all day yesterday, but they played well this morning outside, and hopefully Griffey just needs some time to get settled.
You can be sure that further updates will follow.

If you'd like to donate to the National Brussels Griffon Rescue, you can do so here.



Steve said...

sorry no one has commented. I was going to comment, but then ran short on time.

What I was gonna say was, I understand about the dog affinity for women over men. It's kind of weird, but I think it's breed specific.

I come from a family of dog owners. Anway, my elderly parents recently replaced our departed dog with a Shipperke mix from the pound.

He's a cute little fellow. But he hates men. He wont' go near my old man, and doesnt' like me much either. He's completely attached to my mother though. I mean, it's comical to see him when we go visit there. He won't leave my mother's side. He follows her around like a little kid. When my mother sits down, he jumps up on her lap and is happy as Larry.

So yeah, there does seem to be some breed correlation for female attention bias.

His name is Hugo btw, and he's a cute little fellow about the size of Oscar. He's also the first dog we've had that has shown any preference for one sex over the other.

Transor Z said...

Man, guilting people into posting. That's pretty sad, KD.

Ever watch Uncle Matty on PBS? Not sure if his show still airs. He talked a lot about using high-pitched tone voice to praise/generate enthusiasm and deep voice to discipline.

Steve, try talking to your parents' dog in a falsetto and see how he reacts. Seriously.

Kid Dynamite said...

i was just surprised, TransorZ - i mean, it's a post about a diaper wearing german speaking dog... how can no one have anything witty to say?!?!

Steve - i think the gender biases are more a function of what kind of household the dogs are raised in...

Ariel said...


This past weekend I went with my girlfriend to a Schutzhund competition (German shepherds competing in tracking, obedience and protection).

It was quite an interesting experience and we saw some very good dogs (she's looking to get another dog), but the most amusing part of it to me was that the competition consisted mainly of middle aged, overweight men barking orders in German to their dogs (trying to keep it all authentic).

Kaetlyn Wilcox said...

Ah Ha! I was just going to email you this morning for a Mr. Griffey update! "Nein, Mr. Griffey!" is my new favorite phrase. I'm going to try working it into otherwise ordinary conversations.

Daniel said...

Well, it was just, so, uh, gay. I think thats what gave people pause. Not that theres anything wrong with that. Being gay I mean. Little dogs = gay. Big dogs, like Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, now thats a manly man dog. Cue the Lumberjack song....

Jordan said...

If you don't love the Mr. Griffey name but don't want to change it too much, let me suggest Herr Griffey. Either that or Mein Fuerer Griffey.