After our beloved Blue passed away we waited almost a year before getting another dog. In that time the kids were introduced to the world of rabbits. But they weren’t the same.
Eventually Cozzie came into our life. A handsome Blue Heeler with a raccoon-like tail but with ‘trouble’ his middle name. We should have seen the signs.
He was from a farm but but looking back now I’m not sure how reputable it was. He was also older than Blue, almost twelve weeks old and the last of his litter. Left alone and probably barely handled.
Cozzie was a cute and playful pup and we loved him but as the months passed we noticed he didn’t like to be patted on the head. He began growling. Then the barking began. And as he grew it became obvious he was going to be a handful. He wanted to be Alpha Dog. He would try to push his way through the door, he would growl at people who were near us and he had a glint in his eye I never trusted.
Dog obedience classes followed, every week, and eventually Cozzie graduated top of the class. He was super intelligent, he could jump any height, any obstacle and agility course, follow all commands, fetch, retrieve, whatever we asked. At home the kids made hurdles for him outside but I was always on my guard. Always. Life was not relaxing. At all.
We tried to take him on holidays with us but they weren’t relaxing. We had to keep him on a lead the entire time. He thought his job was to look after us but he was over protective.
I walked him every day and he lived for those walks. I felt safe, but it was no fun when he growled at everybody that walked past. Most people crossed the road when they saw us coming. He tried to chase bicycles and if anyone knocked on the front door he would lunge at the glass pane. Soon even our friends stopped visiting!
We brought in the Dog Whisperer to try and help. All sorts of tactics followed to control his incessant barking and aggressive behavior. Squirting water at him in the car when he barked, shaking a bottle full of stones in the backyard. I felt horrible doing it. And my stress levels skyrocketed.
At home the troubles continued. He bit a local boy as he was riding by on his bike. I knew his days were numbered. Then one night our kids put on their karate uniforms and Cozzie must have thought they were strange ninjas. He growled and ran up the stairs, as though to attack. I screamed and he stopped. That was the final straw. He had to go.
We put an ad in the paper “Free to Good home. No families. Excellent Guard Dog”. It didn’t take home before he was re-homed to the country. He became a guard dog on a farm, probably where he should have gone from the very beginning.
It was a second chance for him and freedom for us. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
I think I aged twenty years in the eighteen months we owned Cozzie.
And we were once more without a dog.