Bad dogs, good owners

World’s best dog? Definitely not the title I’d give my dog Kita. There’s a lot I love about her though. But she can also be the most challenging and frustrating dog I’ve ever known.

I shared in a recent blog post that I hate walking my dogs. You can read about that HERE. Except now that I walk them daily, I really enjoy it. It’s not without our share of struggles though. If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, then let me introduce you to Kita. She’s a rescue that we adopted when she was just shy of 5 months old. We don’t know anything about her parents, but the family that took her in felt overwhelmed with a puppy and surrendered her to a local shelter. We fostered her for a couple of days while another family considered adopting her. In that short time, she and our golden retriever, Izzy, became the best of friends. When the other family fell through, we made it official and grew our family from three to four.

Kita is the cutest little scruffy terrier mix you’ll ever meet! When she wants something, like our attention, a treat or to go outside, she does this adorable little begging act. Which leads to her getting just about whatever she wants!

Kita is also the world’s worst dog to walk. For a 25 pound girl, she sure can pull pretty hard. She lunges at kids riding skateboards, tries to attack cars with loud mufflers, drags us to homes where other dogs live (she’s got an amazing memory!), stalks the chipmunks and anything else you can think of except walk nicely by our side. As a pet sitter, I tell myself all the time, she would be my worst client.  And I’ve walked hundreds of dogs through the years. Big ones, small ones, ones that hated to walk, ones that wanted to run, ones that had no manners and ones that were the perfect walkers. Kita tops them all!

I’ve also done a lot of training in obedience and agility. And so has Kita. We’ve tried harnesses (she’s too long so they don’t stay on), halti (her nose is too short so it falls off), rewarding her with treats (which works for all of 5 minutes), playing before walking (she gets a second burst of energy) and our latest, a freedom harness. I’ve done redirecting so when I see, say, a skateboarder coming our way, I stop and redirect her focus on me. She’s strong. She’s stubborn. She’s determined.

But I love her anyways. I’ll run into people I know who say they saw me walking my dogs, did I hear the car honk. No, I was probably too busy trying to keep one step ahead of my scruffy little monster. Some days I think to myself I can’t wait until she gets older and is too arthritic to behave this way. Knowing her though, she’ll probably have a lot of fight in her until her last breath.

Often I question how did I get to be such a bad dog mom. Then I look at Izzy and my first golden Mika, and I know I’m not. So maybe this is a case of when good owners have bad dogs. And there are a lot of us. I’m sure I could probably start a club! Who wants to join me???

Having a bad dog doesn’t make me a bad owner. Yes, Kita exasperates me. Often. But she also brings so much adventure into my life. Experiences I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for her.  Teaching me new ways to explore the world. And for that I am grateful. Even if she is the world’s worst dog to walk.

Kita.Tavern.downtown.State.College