Simba as a cute puppy

After Duke, the best dog I ever had, I never had another pet for as long as I lived alone. When I had my own apartment, I liked living alone so I never had a pet. Now that I’m living alone again, I have no pets. I guess I enjoy the solitude between visits from my sons.

However, when I was married, my wife and four-year-old son insisted that we get a dog. I kept making excuses at our first house in Bridgeport that the house wasn’t big enough, the yard wasn’t big enough, or someone would probably steal our dog. After a few years, I moved next door to my brother Jerry whose neighbor sold the house to me for a discounted price since he didn’t use a realtor. I enjoyed living next door to my brother for the most part–except that he always had some home-improvement project in progress and sooner or later he would call upon me to help him.

Anyway, once we settled into our new house, my wife and son started talking about getting a dog again. All of my previous excuses were no longer valid and I was too tired to invent new ones. So, we immediately went into negotiations. I knew we were getting a dog one way or another. And despite promises of my wife and son that they would be walking, feeding, and generally taking care of the dog, I knew that eventually the dog would become my sole responsibility. I insisted that I get to choose what kind of dog we got. I got my wish and chose a chow chow. Was I ever sorry! But not immediately.

I had a friend who had not one, but two chow chows. Whenever I would visit him, the dogs would look me over and then I would pet them and then they’d go away. So I pitched the idea of getting a chow chow to my family. They weren’t too enthusiastic about a chow chow. We saw one at the park and we went over to talk to the owner. He let us pet his chow chow and he was very friendly. My wife and son were then sold on the idea of getting a chow chow.

Well, we bought a six-week-old chow chow puppy and he was the cutest little fur ball that you ever saw. The woman who sold him to us said that if we ever changed our mind about having him, we could take him back to her farm in Indiana. My wife, son, and I had more negotiations over naming the new puppy. I insisted on naming him Beowulf, but my wife and son out-voted me and named him Simba, after The Lion King. My niece Bridget came next door to our house everyday to feed and play with Simba. He grew so fast and he wasn’t cooperating with the house training. He was almost full-grown and he was still relieving himself in the house. I would put his nose in it and hit him with a newspaper so he wouldn’t do it again. This had worked with other dogs that we had previously had. One day, I was about to punish him for pooping in the house when suddenly he turned on me and tried to bite me. Well, I had to show him that I was the master, so I picked him up and he kicked the wall and we both fell to the ground. I wanted to show him that I wasn’t afraid of him so I wrestled him to the ground. He bit my hand and forearm, but I took him back to his mess and hit him with the newspaper. When I let go of him, he growled at me and walked away giving me the evil eye. My wife and son were watching and they were both pretty scared by what they had just seen. I knew something was wrong with this dog because I never heard of dog biting its master before.

I also learned that chow chows are very territorial. My niece Bridget would come and go to house at will before we had Simba, but afterwards she came to visit him a lot. She really loved that puppy. Until, one day, Simba was sleeping by the side door of the house. She came into the yard to pet Simba, but he woke up and started biting her. As she ran out of the yard screaming, he bit her behind repeatedly until she was out of the yard. I really didn’t understand his behavior at all because Bridget took care of Simba since he was a puppy and she was like part of our household. I didn’t realize how vicious Simba was until then. There were a few more incidents where children walking by would see Simba in the yard behind the chain-link fence wagging his tail. When they tried to enter the yard to pet him, he wouldn’t growl or bark, he would continue wagging his tail. After they entered the yard, he would bite them. I put up a six-foot wooden fence around the whole yard to protect the neighborhood children from Simba.

A boy and his dog!

Simba never bit my wife or son, but when the twins were born, he bit Adam when he was about one and a half. Adam walked by Simba while he was eating and Simba bit him. I risked getting bit, but I punished Simba for biting my son. Most dogs don’t bite small children for something like that. I wanted to take him back to the farm where we bought him, but my wife said no. She insisted that we keep Simba. This dog was a real monster. If he didn’t like someone on the other side of the fence, he would start chewing on the wooden fence. I had to replace some of the boards on the front gate because he had chewed through them. Another time, my sons and I were going to a little league game. Simba was in the yard and I opened the garage door and the minivan side door for my sons. Simba ran and jumped into the minivan before my sons. He wanted to go for a ride, but we couldn’t take him with us. I told him to get out, but he wouldn’t. I told him a few times. So I reached to grab his collar, but he bit my hand so hard that I thought he had broken some bones. I started yelling at Simba like a maniac and tried to grab his collar again. He was so afraid of me that he ran out of the minivan. For two or three days afterwards, he would run away from me. A master and his dog should not have to live in fear of each other.

When my wife and I were getting divorced, we agreed on everything except what to do with Simba. I told her she could have him since she was the one who wanted a dog in the first place. Besides, Simba had never bitten her. She didn’t want him. I was stuck with Simba. When I was selling the house, I knew I had to give Simba away, but no one would be able to take him because he was too vicious. He even scared me and I was his master. Eventually, I had to take him to the Chicago Animal Control Center. But I didn’t know what else to do with him. Well, they probably had him put to sleep because he would probably bite anyone who tried to befriend him.

Now, my sons keep asking me to get a dog, but I keep making excuses. I’m afraid to get another dog! If I ever do, I’ll probably get a mutt.

4 thoughts on “Simba

  1. Our dog Duke was a stray who adopted us and he turned out to be the very best dog we ever had. In a big city like Chicago, you don’t find very many stray dogs. Usually, the Animal Control unit snatches them up right away because people are afraid of them. Last year I found a stray daschund while I was running. She followed me for a while, so I stopped to look at its tags. She was about a mile from her house. I carried her to her house. The owner said that she always ran away and someone would always return her.

  2. I have had real nice strays show up where I live in the country who adopted us as family, were loyal and very loving. They eventually disappeared. Two I remember fondly and miss were a male black lab I named Pepper and a fixed female german shepherd who would only answer to the name Princess. I could tell so many fun stories of both of them! A mutt who showed up as a young pup and adopted us, the kids called Nani or Nonani (Japanese for no name). She had a litter of pups and we kept two, a black/white footed male we named Padfoot and a half collie, half german shepherd male we named Dogbert. They were very goofy and we had them until they matured and wandered off in search of mates or were captured by the dog pound. I still miss having a dog to take a walk with me in the country and hope another nice stray adopts us one day. Once I really wanted a stray that was half Blue Heeler and half Welsh Corgi, but he disappeared! He was very friendly and I bet he would have kept the skunks and coons away from our house! We need a dog around sometimes for that.

  3. Same here. If–and that’s a very big IF–if I ever get another dog, I will go to an animal shelter to look for a full-grown mutt. An adult dog will not hide his true feelings toward you and mutts are generally healthier than pure-bred dogs.

  4. We made the mistake of paying for an Australian Shepherd because we heard what wonderful pets they were but it was a big mistake. We picked a very cute cuddly red merle pup and my husband dibbed him Mighty Manfred the Wonderdog! (We called him Mighty, maybe Manfred might have caused him to be nicer?) He got used to being in the house and wrestling with the kids when he was little, they would pile on him and he would squeeze out from under them and loved the attention. When he got too big to be indoors, we tied him up to a dog house because we lived in town in a non-fenced yard where we rented. He hated being tied up away from everyone and constantly barked, yipped, whined, howled for attention. There was no ‘taking’ Mighty for a walk because he was a strong breed with high energy levels…he took YOU for a walk even after I got a slip-chain collar and tried to teach him how to heal! When I had a broken wrist, my sister offered to take care of him in the country where she lived, which went fine until my neice let him off the chain and he ran to bite a neighbor, who shot him in the rear with buckshot! His spine had a shot lodged in it so he was partially paralyzed but dummy that I am, I nursed him back to health. After that he bit a girl walking by our place and he had to be impounded. (We should have let them put him to sleep!) We later moved to the country and tried letting him run but he would go after our next door neighbor so we had to keep the noisy thing tied up and he hated it, so he drove us nuts with his constant pleas for attention!
    The only thing I really liked about him was that he would gladly let me put a harness on him so he could pull a wagon loaded with water jugs up our hill from our vehicle to the house. This was before our well was dug and I had to haul water. He was still very strong in spite of his spinal injury and would have made a terrific sled dog!!
    I eventually advertized free to a good home even though we had paid for him and put alot of time and money and paitience into him. It was good to give him to someone else who wanted an Aussie Shep and had a clothesline for him to be tied to and run along! I’m sure he was happier and I didn’t miss him when he left.
    Other dogs I’ve had never gave me the problems the one we paid for did, so if I ever have a dog again it will be free or a mutt.

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