Zack the Terrible

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Living with a schizophrenic dog

Submitted: February 03, 2013

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Submitted: February 03, 2013



Sometimes I think my Cocker Spaniel, Zack, is schizophrenic. One minute he's a lovable, well-behaved dog and then poof. Without any warning, he turns into Zack the Terrible.

I first discovered Zack's Jekyll and Hyde tendencies when I took him to the vet's office for his puppy shots. I proudly carried my little black bundle into the office and set him on the counter for all to admire. "This is Zack and he's here for his first shots."

The receptionist handed me a roll of paper towels. "Your Zack just piddled on my counter."

Red-faced I pulled off a couple of towels. "Sorry." I retrieved a brochure Zack was shredding and began mopping up.

A ferocious growl erupted from Zack when a huge mountain of a man entered the office with an equally large Great Dane.  When the Great Dane ambled over for a closer look, Zack's growls turned into ear-shattering shrieks.

Cradling him against my chest, I soothed, "It's okay. Mama won't let him hurt you."

A door flew open and Dr. Jones ran out. "What's wrong with your dog? Was he hit by a car?"

I shook my head. "He's here for his shots."


"He's here for his shots," I shouted over the shrieks.

Dr. Jones shouted back, "He was shot?"

"No. He needs his shots," I screamed.

Clearly surprised, Dr. Jones motioned me into the examining room. "Put him on the table," he yelled.

The minute the door closed, Zack stopped his caterwauling. I sighed in relief.

"He certainly has a healthy pair of lungs," Dr. Jones commented, patting his little head.

Zack growled at him. Horrified, I blurted, "He's a little nervous."

Dr. Jones turned a stern gaze on me. "If you don't start properly socializing your dog now, you're going to have serious problems with him when he's older."

I winced when Zack growled again. "Yes, sir but I've only had him a week."

As soon as Dr. Jones placed his stethoscope against Zack's chest, there was a blood-curdling screech and a puddle appeared on the table.

"I'll have my receptionist give you a list of good obedience schools."

From the look on his face, I decided it might be good idea to find another vet, too.

Once I got Zack home, he gave me a big toothy grin and reverted to the sweet, even-tempered dog I knew. Baffled, I shook my head and chalked it up to a doggie version of an anxiety attack.

A few weeks later, I invited some friends over for dinner. Zack took one look at them and bared his teeth in a menacing snarl. I hurriedly exclaimed, "Isn't he a great watchdog?"

"Yeah, you've got your own little Cujo here," Cindy said, trying to shake Zack loose from  the leg of her pants.

 The minute I put him in the backyard, mournful howls filled the night. As the evening progressed, the howls got louder and louder.

To this day my friends always have an excuse for refusing my dinner invitations. Her grandmother is ill. Aw c'mon, she's been dead for three years. Or the boss wants them to work late. Like I'm gonna fall for that one. They're self-employed. 

As soon as Zack was old enough I enrolled him in an obedience school. To my dismay, I soon discovered that when Zack got around any strange dogs, he'd scream bloody blue murder until we or the other dogs left. Back home Zack would slather me with kisses, then run off to play with his squeak toys.

I racked my brains and came up with the perfect solution. I would take Zack for walks in the park. That way he could get used to being around people and other dogs. Yeah, right. Zack created such a disturbance that the park ranger asked us to leave.

Zack loves baths. How can that be a problem you ask? It's my bubble baths he's in love with. The more bubbles there are, the happier Zack is. I don't know about you, but I'm not into sharing my bath with a hairy dog who insists on hogging the tub and splashing most of the water on the floor.

Why didn't I just shut the door and keep the little guy out? I tried that. Once. As soon as I closed the door, Zack broke into a chorus of howls that rivaled the Hounds of Baskervilles. About the time I was ready to ring his neck, I heard someone pounding on my front door. It was the police. They were investigating a report that someone was being murdered in my house. So there I stood, with nothing on but a towel, trying to explain that it was only my dog. Of course, Zack wasn't howling anymore, he'd gotten what he wanted. My bath. I know take showers.

Zack is now four years old and I'm still learning to cope with his quirky personality. There have been a few times when all I wanted to do was drop his leash and say, "I've never seen this dog before and I don't know why he keeps following me." Then I remember what a loving companion he is and realize if he can put up with my imperfections, it's only fair I do the same for him.


© Copyright 2018 Gail Koger. All rights reserved.

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