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September 30, 2014

The Perfect Pet

Freckles—The Perfect Pet?

I was being a little disingenuous with the title of this post; Freckles is not the perfect pet. At least not for us, but she could be the perfect pet for someone.

Freckles is a rat terrier mix. If I didn’t know better I’d swear the “mix” part was wolverine. Thirteen years ago we rescued her from going to the pound and almost certainly, death row, the whole time wondering how anyone could have gotten rid of such a sweet little dog.

Two days later, we realized why. We had two days of quiet, followed by 13 years of incessant barking—at anything and everything. Freckles is the only animal that has made me question our policy of being a no-kill animal sanctuary. She is nasty. Noisy. Mean. Jealous. Envious. Grumpy. Ill tempered. And vicious. Yes vicious.

She has bitten my wife, who is adored by all animals. She has bitten my son, my grandson, my brother, a neighbor, and she has bitten me several times for daring to sit on her couch.

I’m not kidding about the couch. If you notice in the picture, she perches on the back of the couch and dares any person or dog to come near her. In fact, the one with her and Briella—our 180 pound Great Dane—Freckles was “telling” Briella to get off the couch. After a brief showdown, Brie got up and left.

By the way, many years ago that was a couch for humans; now the dogs own it.

But it would be wrong for me to only list her bad side because even Freckles has a good side.

A Redeeming Quality

Yes, even Freckles has redeeming qualities, and perhaps her most endearing and impressive is her confidence. She has confidence galore. At times, I believe it borders on arrogance but she wears it well.

She weighs 15 pounds, but she bosses all the dogs in the house. Dogs up to 12x her size! She chases anything that comes on our property. She even chased after a coyote once, but fortunately for her, one of our other dogs was around to back her up. There is only one place on the property where she won’t go—into the area where we keep Dennis, our wild boar—even Freckles’ confidence has limits.

It’s amazing to watch her audacity. When I feed the dogs, Freckles will walk up as if nothing is wrong and start eating from the other dogs’ bowls. Sometimes they growl and pretend to be fierce, but she ignores them. And it works!

Freckles also has many talents. She has learned how to open the gate between the kitchen and the dog room. She can still jump from the floor to the top of the sofa, and off again. And she can be as stealthy as a ninja when she is attempting to sneak food from the pigs or the cats. Even more amazing, is at 14 years old, she has enough energy for four or five dogs. It makes me afraid to look up the life span of rat terriers.

But she also knows when to be sweet. Our granddaughter visits every other week for two or three days, and she adores Freckles. Oddly enough, the feeling seems to be reciprocal. Freckles lets her do anything and never growls or even bares her teeth. It’s nothing short of a miracle.

Being Serious

I’ve made a lot of jokes about our good friend Freckles, but I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. She has made me laugh more times than I can count, and she might be the best watchdog I’ve ever seen. Nothing, and I mean nothing can get within 100 yards of our property without Freckles sounding the alarm.

Bottom Line

Freckles would be the perfect dog for someone who only wanted one dog, especially a person who enjoyed lap dogs or a dog to snuggle with them at night.

We are fortunate enough to see the personalities of many different animals. Over the years I’ve come to realize that there is a place in this world for each and every one of them. So, the next time you go to purchase a dog or a cat, consider looking at the animal shelters. I guarantee you that there is one who would be a perfect match just waiting for you.

PS. Pretty Girl still needs a home. She is at the Austin Animal Shelter and would be a tremendous dog for someone without other animals. She is loyal, friendly, and loving.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in Pretty Girl, please write to me and I can get you all of the information.

If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

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