Ok, so I”ve been away for a long while,  and I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart. I’ve been in a gaming, writing, artistic slump lately with little to no motivation.  Recently, my husband, Fred, and myself had been working on painting a sign for a local haunted house (I would show a picture, but it’s against the rules, and if we break the rules, we get chased down in an old timey car while someone shoots a Tommy Gun out from the passenger side window whilst screaming “AAAAAHHHHHH”). We volunteer for the haunted house because the proceeds benefit our local humane society.  Working on that painting motivated me to get back into the hobbies I once thoroughly enjoyed, writing being one of them.

I haven’t really gone into detail about what my daily life is like other than playing video games and nerding out over, well, everything.  I figured I would highlight an individual that has taught me a fair amount the past three years. So, it’s my pleasure to introduce….

Dublin

Dublin is my four year old Miniature Schnauzer that just so happened to find us by chance.   Sometimes, I think timing and location is a beautiful and magical thing. You’ll see why as I begin to tell you Dublin’s story.

At the time, Fred and I were engaged. I was attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana at the time, so our relationship consisted of a lot of  visits, phone calls and IM chats.  I honestly can’t remember if this was a phone call or an IM message, but I remember him telling me to check out his blog so I could see how his lunch went that afternoon.  Naturally, I would check his blog. How else was I to know about his wild, sexy parties? Anyway, he also sent me a text message that contained a picture of this brown, dirty ball. Fred’s words were, “Do you want to keep him?” Well, I haven’t read his blog yet, and I had no idea what the hell this is – a wookie? A dog? A pile of mold that turned into penicillin (which I’m allergic to)? I go to his blog and read his entry:

…as I’m opening the gate and realize there’s a Bloodhound and a … (gotta look up the breed, please hold)….
possibly a Havanese or something similar.  Anyway, the hound is pretty well healthy, very friendly… likes to jump up (note: need to take coat to dry cleaner), but the little dog is very skittish and won’t really come near me.  I hook him [Bloodhound] up, and start trying to catch the other one. He takes off, out of the yard, so I just decide to let him go. At that, I back the truck up and start to leave, and sure enough, he runs back in the yard.

I take that opportunity to shut the gate. I do that, and see that the hound is standing in the front seat of the truck, I go to shorten the leash and notice that there’s a tag riveted to his collar (the little dog has no collar; he’d also been out long enough that he was dirty and smelly and his hair had grown over his eyes). There’s a name and number, but no answer at the number. Ok, 1 dog down. I’m still going to get the little dog and take him to the shelter after I take the hound home. It takes me ….. forever….. to get him. Around the garage, around the house, around the truck, around the garage again… never letting me close enough to even touch him. Finally, he goes in the pen. At least now, I can keep him somewhat contained, and maybe catch him more easily. Oh, I hadn’t mentioned that somewhere in the midst of chasing him, I went inside and got some lunch meat from the fridge. So I’m trying to tempt him with ham, and he wants none of it. He’s shaking (probably from fear) and running from me every chance he gets. I try blocking off one side of the dog house so he can’t get away from me, but he runs right through the little barricade that I made.”

To make a longer story short,  Fred saw that in the pen where they both got loose was a holeHe puts a trash can over the hole so they won’t escape again.  After he got off work, he stopped by the owner’s house to make sure the Bloodhound was still in the yard. Amidst conversation, Fred mentioned that I would like to have another dog. The owner of the Bloodhound couldn’t give up the little fearful, brown mop any quicker. Fred found out that mop dog was named Ollie, and Ollie is a Miniature Schnauzer.  First, let’s see what ‘Ollie’ looked like when Fred brought him home.


This is the picture Fred sent me asking if I wanted to keep him. When Fred told me the whole story, I couldn’t say no. That evening, Fred tried his hardest to trim him and clean him up. I remember Fred stating that he smelled awful – similar to a landfill if I recall the analogy correctly. Based on what Fred learned and observed over time, the owners of  ‘Ollie’ didn’t attempt to train him or socialize him properly. Their solution? Throw him in a pen full of bloodhounds and he’ll adjust just fine. Upon trimming him, Fred discovered multiple scars over his body, an approximate 1.5″ long by .5″ scar on his forehead and a huge chunk missing out of his ear. It was evident by his behavior and physical issues that he was severely neglected, and I would say abused just based on the laziness of not training him properly. Fred was trimming him and realized some blood on his hand. Poor ‘Ollie’ was knicked by Fred with the scissors (not on purpose), and he didn’t make a sound or even move. He was just that terrified of people.

That weekend, I came up to visit from college. This was my first time meeting ‘Ollie’ which I thought that name didn’t fit him, so I was on a mission to change his name. Anyway,  he was more of a mess than I thought.  I couldn’t get near him without him bearing his pearly whites at me.  I educated myself on fearful dogs and practiced positive reinforcement with him. It was a bit difficult. I don’t think he even remembers being in a home environment, so furniture, appliances, and household noises were all foreign to him, scaring him even more. His new name became Dublin, something so fitting for him and a place where I dream to visit one of these years. I sometimes call him Sir Esquire Dublin Strohm because it sounds so badass.

He was still a bit unsure of us at this time.

As hours turned into days and days into months, months into years, Dublin finally came around. Clicker training helped a lot with him along with him becoming buddies with our other two dogs, Grimm and Buddy.  The first time he grasped the command ‘Sit’, I jumped for joy on the inside. If I physically jumped, I had the chance of scaring him and regressing his behavior, something we didn’t want. Once he grasped sit, he learned lay down.  After lay down, he learned up, and after up, he halfway learned how to dance.  He’s still having issues with dance because I think he realizes he is halfway walking on two legs, gets surprised, startles himself, then falls down.

Sir Esquire Dublin Strohm

Two years after he found us, he came up to me yearning for attention for the first time.  This was a major milestone for him since he’s not the cuddly, holding type. He doesn’t even really play with toys since he’s a bit unsure of them. The moment he walked up to me, I cried.  After two years of constant work, he can finally trust people.  Fast forward another year, and I’m woken up by him nearly every morning – his little mustache brushing against my face or his paw gently embracing my arm, leg, or butt, pretty much whatever is handy. When I come home from work, his stubby tail is moving so fast that it shakes the whole lower half of his body.  It’s odd to think that three years ago, he hated my guts. I couldn’t even get within ten feet of him, let alone pet him.  Now, he has to follow me wherever I go. When we visit my family, he has to sleep either in my bed or to the right of it.

I often wonder the ‘what if’s’ with Dublin. What if Fred hadn’t come home from lunch that day? What if Fred didn’t have the patience or perseverance to try to catch Dublin? What caused the dogs to dig a hole out of their penned area? Regardless, the luck of Dublin finding our house with a huge fenced in yard and the chances of Fred coming home to see them just make me think that timing and location is truly a form of magic that we just don’t pay much attention to, if at all.

I chose to write about Dublin because he taught me the virtue of patience. Because of him, Fred and I now foster feral, fearful/fear aggressive dogs, and dogs that are just a bit introverted. The patience carries from the fosters all the way over to daily life.  Through all the frustrations, Dublin has taught me that even though you may die repeatedly after a battle in a game, you can’t just give up. Keep trying until you finish that dude that’s wielding that giant sword and breathing fire out his mouth while drinking an ice cold craft beer. He can’t be that bad, can he?

Sir Esquire Dublin Strohm and your's truly