From the second I saw him on May 1 of this year, I loved him, this little dog our neighbor found on the 5 freeway. Which is why we ended up calling him Cinco. I successfully found a new home for this flea-bitten, stranger-humping, indoor peeing little tornado of a beast. But we decided to keep him. Even though he was a little dog, and neither of us had any experience with little dogs. Big dogs, no prob. But little dogs? Different planet.
We dealt with the fleas and the humping. Still working on the indoor peeing. Which, if you have enough rags handy, isn’t all that bad as he figures out that going inside is not just one of many options one has for relieving oneself. But the worst was the bolting. If he got lucky enough to slip outside, there he’d go. Taunting us. Teasing us. We’d go after him or ignore him. It’s always an effort to lure him back in, sometimes with the help of a willing passerby. The last straw for me was an early-morning walk, and he slipped out of an unsecured harness, and gleefully ran right into an intersection. Where a lady driving large old sedan didn’t see him. She rolled slowly and stared at me as I screamed, “Wait! Wait! Wait! Stop!” Which she finally did, with some look on her face like she wasn’t sure if I was going to carjack her or what.
And Cinco ran some more. “Ha ha,” he said. “You always give me cheese when I run loose. I feel like some cheese for breakfast. I will run some more. Sucka!”
That very day, haggard and deranged, I got myself on the Internet and found after a quick search, found the fabulous Ronen Tivoni, who happens to live a short six blocks down the street. He’s Israeli. He’s got wads and wads of training certificates. And he trains really important dogs. Dogs we cannot speak about.
Last Friday, Ronen arrived for a two-hour session and we worked with a nervous but excited Cinco to sit and stay. And we learned to ignore cries and pestering. And each week, we did a little bit of homework. When Ronen came this week and Cinco kept acing everything, much earlier than it takes most dogs. He peed under my desk and sat and sat still and came when called and ate some more cheese.
Ronen told us, “Intelligence is not his issue. He has emotional problems.”
Well, you would too if someone dumped you on the 5.