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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Beloved Pets: Bandicoot's Story



By Norah Wilson

(My boss and my sister conspired to comission this portrait of Bandy when we replaced some of the very dated artwork here at the office.)


When my ten year old yellow lab developed cancer and had to be euthanized, I was heartbroken. There would never be another dog as good, as sweet tempered, as angelic as Zack. But the kids were devastated, and they needed a new dog to love. So off to the SPCA we went.

No surprise, I was in the market for a dog like Zack. He didn’t have to be a lab, but I wanted a big dog with lots of miles in him, who could run with me and still have energy left. Instead, my daughter spotted and fell in love with a short-legged, long-haired, rotund little guy. Weighing in at about 60 lbs. but standing only knee high, he was what you’d call a “big” little dog. To me he looked like a cross between a Sheltie and a pot-bellied pig. “Oh, he just needs some exercise,” they told me. Nuh-uh. As it turned out, all the exercise and rigorous dieting in the world wouldn’t budge that pot belly. Over the years, the vets figured he had Cushings disease, right-sided heart failure, and any number of things that might account for his big, fluid-filled belly and other anatomic weirdness, but he always disproved the diagnosis and kept right on ticking.

So, home we went with this little short-legged dust mop of a dog, who we named Bandicoot. I told him straight up that he was no Zack, and could never hope to be. The first thing he did was lift his leg and pee on a doorframe inside my house! Fortunately, that behavior was easily curbed, but not so some of his other idiosyncrasies.

We were told that he was taken from his owner, who stood accused of either neglecting or abusing his animals. Based on Bandy’s behavior—and the fact that he’d had several front teeth knocked out—I’m guessing active abuse. We quickly learned that Bandy perceived any kind of human-to-human contact as hostile. If my husband hugged me, Bandy bit his ankle. Remember how I wanted a dog who could run with me? Well, when I tried running with him…he bit my ankles. He saw it as his job to quell any kind of boisterous behavior. When the kids went sliding, he would barrel down the hill after them, slamming into the toboggan and knocking them off. And he growled at absolutely every man we met on the walking trail, though he was fine with women and other dogs. And if that man had a cane or a walking stick, which Bandy clearly perceived as a weapon, he went bananas. I’m thinking the poor guy also saw the business end of a fly swatter a few times, too, as we learned when my then 70-year-old mother swatted a fly and Bandy turned into Cujo.

Did I mention he was no Zack? I couldn’t believe how bad he was. I think that’s why I fell in love with him, because he was so different. Not that I had any choice about it. He bonded to me, and that was that. He has dogged my every step since. Of course, he’s now 15 years old and has blown the anterior cruciate ligaments in both back knees. Because his heart won’t tolerate surgery to repair the ACL injuries, he’s got some pretty serious arthritis. Which means that these days, he makes sure I’m going to settle in a particular room before following me in to settle at my feet.

When casting around for a photo to post, my daughter insisted I use
these ones. When she was little, I bought her this giant stuffed dog. Bandy hated it on sight, deeming it a competitor for our affection. Whenever he got a chance, he chewed the heck out of it. Eventually, it got moved to the basement with a bunch of Lindsay’s childhood toys, but recently, we brought it back upstairs and showed it to Bandy. I haven’t seen him so excited in years! I think he was convinced he’d driven his nemesis off. It’s hard to say if he was dismayed or overjoyed to see it again. And when I say "see", that's a relative term. He has mature cataracts on both eyes, one of which is completely blind. But he still looks at me with love in those eyes.

7 Comments:

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Norah,
I loved hearing about Bandi. Bandi's hatred of canes and walking sticks reminded me of a Scottie our family had. Only hats triggered her. We concluded she'd been hurt by someone wearing a hat at the puppy farm. I wonder why their brains fixate on the object. Anyone know?

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Oh, Norah. What a GREAT story. Brought tears to my eyes. I love hearing about dogs like Bandicoot getting a chance for a happy life. Good for you!

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Bonnie Vanak said...

What a wonderful, sweet dog and what a terrific story. Thanks for sharing, Norah. Bandi is so special and so are you and your family for adopting him and giving him a great home.

 
At 12:13 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Loved the story of Bandi.

 
At 11:46 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Awwwwww
Diane

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Just look at the personality in those pictures, LOL! What a terrific dog you have there, Norah. And he's lucky to have you, too!

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

That's a cute pup. It's rewarding to change an animal's life so much for the better, isn't it?

 

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