Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sister; or Little Mac

What are you lookin' at?

I have written more about Cooper than Little Mac. Not because he is sweeter or cuddlier (although he obviously is), but just because Little Mac is so, er, difficult to describe. She turned 9 in April and we are convinced that she will live forever -- she's got another six years in her for sure and she could probably live an additional six on pure meanness.

How do you explain a "lap dog" who not only does not want to sit on your lap, but does not actually want you to touch her at all? Or even look at her, if she is very tired. Except when you first walk in the door after being gone for more than an hour, in which case she will greet you very pleasantly but after the initial greeting wants to be left alone again or else you will FACE HER WRATH.

Little Mac typically gets more attention from strangers than Cooper does -- people think she's really cute. Little old ladies in particular often stop me when I'm walking to comment on how beautiful she is and what we do to keep her fur so white (uh... we don't pet her? because she won't let us.) Kids want to pet her because she's small and cute and that must be avoided at all costs. I tell people that they can't pet her because she's a rescue who is afraid of people. Yes this is a big fat lie but whatever it takes to keep her from biting a small child.

Once I asked a friend to dog-sit and she was walking Little Mac in Forest Park on a beautiful day. Many people were out walking their dogs and a young girl who was obviously mentally challenged was walking around petting everyone's dog. My friend knew that this girl would want to pet Mac (and knew that Mac hates anyone with a disability) but couldn't find a way to avoid her. So when the girl asked if she could pet her dog, my friend said no, and people turned and stared. She insists that everyone in the park was judging her like she didn't want a special-needs kid touching her dog even though she was really trying to protect the little girl from Little Mac. (I have not asked her to dog-sit since then, as she was slightly traumatized by the experience.)

We have described Little Mac as "special," "chemically imbalanced," and my favorite, a quote from David's grandma about Mac & David's mom: "She just has a messed up little personality just like her Grandma Connie." We're not sure what her deal is... she's just Little Mac.

One of Mac's most unique characteristics is her uncanny doggy wail. It is a horrific noise, a terrible high-pitched wail that hurts Cooper's ears and makes him howl along with her. She will sometimes wail if I leave her at home when Cooper and I go for a walk which is frustrating because I only leave her if she growls at me when I try to put the leash on -- which is about half the time. I think this means she doesn't want to go on a walk, but then I get two houses down the block and I can hear her wailing. She'll also wail if we forget and leave her outside too long. It's such a terrible sound that when we first moved here our neighbors panicked when they heard it -- they thought someone was being attacked in the alley.

Mac's love for popcorn is legendary. She can be in any room of the house but when she hears the rattle of the plastic microwave popcorn package, she bolts to the kitchen, plants herself in front of the microwave, and wails in anticipation. We feed her popcorn by tossing one kernal at a time. If one should accidentally roll under the sofa, she will relentlessly dig at the carpet with her paws until one of us retrieves it for her. And although Cooper likes popcorn too, he knows better than to fight Sister for a piece -- she will get mean mouth on him. Nobody comes between the girl and her pakern.

Obviously, Little Mac's issues are many. Her fight-or-flight mechanism seems to be screwy, as she will go head to head with anyone and anything when she should be running with her tail tucked between her legs. She's not one to back down from a challenge, although she is afraid of the vacuum.She has bitten at least five people: David, myself, his grandma, his cousin Dwight (who was drunk and intentionally tormenting her), and my friend Elon (who tried to "play" with her peanut-butter filled kong at a party we had, discovered Little Mac did not want to play, and then bled through three bandaids before he gave up and just went home). As we often tell each other, if she were a German Shepherd, she would be dead. But as she is an 11-pound Pek-a-Poo (that's a Pekinese/Poodle mix), she lives to wreak havoc on our lives and be generally misanthropic and stand-offish and all those other things that dogs are not supposed to be.

There are some good things to be said about Little Mac. She's loyal to those she loves (she'll turn on you, sure, but she won't go around lovin' on anybody else). She's low-maintenance. She has never chewed up anything of mine. She doesn't roll in stinky dead things. She can be let outside without a leash and she won't run away or race into a neighbor's house and eat their dog's food (Cooper). Yes, I have to sprinkle her food with parmesan cheese to entice her to eat it before Cooper eats it, but these are the adjustments we make having a puggle garbage disposal in the house. She is a good traveler; she doesn't get carsick. She isn't too yappy and she usually doesn't smell too bad. Those rare occasions when she is playful are seriously cute, although you do have to be careful because she could lose it at any second and there's usually not any warning.

She just has a special little attitude that can be difficult. Once while David and I were both gone on a Saturday afternoon, some friends of ours were coming in town. We told them to let themselves in the house and just hang out until we returned. Once we got home, they told us that Little Mac had barked her head off at first but once they sat down to watch TV, she just walked over to her cushion on the floor, glared at everyone, and then settled down with her back to them, staring at the wall and pouting. She stayed like that until I got home.

Another time we left Little Mac and Cooper with some friends who have a large dog. Mac refused to come out of her carrier for 24 hours, until they picked it up and literally dumped her out of it outside so that she would go to the bathroom. The carrier makes her crazy, which is why she does not have a "house" or crate like Cooper does. She becomes so psycho and possessive about it that she will lunge and bite at any hand that comes near it. This even happens in the car sometimes, but only on the return trip home. Once we get her, she does not want to get out of the car or out of the carrier and she goes ballistic until we dump her out of it and put it away. It sometimes makes us feel like she was hoping to go home with another family.

In spite of her neuroses and anti-social behavior, she really can be incredibly endearing. While Cooper will snuggle up next to anyone with a warm body, Little Mac's pickiness makes you feel very special when she does jump up on your lap or nuzzle her head into your hand. (True, it also makes you feel very nervous and afraid to move, lest she spaz out and attack you. But still.)

In summary, she hates tall people, small children, wheel chairs, bicycles, loud noises, doors being shut, half-empty water dishes, cats, other dogs (Cooper is sometimes an exception), and anyone or anything invading her personal space (which is quite large and grows exponentially when she is in her bed). She loves popcorn, peanutbutter, going places in the car, rolling in piles of laundry, soft and high-pitched squeaky toys, David's grandma, her Aunt Jamie, and me.

She drives us crazy, but she's our girl.

Interested in dog sitting? Just let me know!


  1. Little Mac did "race into a neighbor's house" at your Grandpa's apt. building when she was off her leash! Any other dog I would have grabbed her up and taken her out but with Mac, I had to let her roam thru the whole apt. and then decide to follow me out for fear of her biting me if I picked her up! She is super sweet when I first get to your house for a few minutes - I savor those few minutes with my granddog!She soon turns hateful on me - chemically imbalanced she is!

  2. And she bit someone at my parents' garage sale during your courting period. She's the prodigal daughter.