I have a dog, and my dog likes to bark. She barks all of the time. The only time she doesn’t bark is when I’m not there. If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? It might be more like that in regards to my dog barking when I’m not home. Who knows? She’s nervous. High strung. Protective. Crazy. It’s hard when you’re a seven pound Mini-Dachshund. Life must be a scary place. Life in NYC: Even scarier.
When I moved to California, she became a different dog. Of course, at first she did her usual “Barky McBarkerstein” routine, but after a few months she started to enjoy the California lifestyle. She entered into LA LA mode. She became lazy, if you will. I thought she had become a pothead, this dog had such a turnaround. Nothing seemed to bother her. The sun shined every day. She’d lay in my beautiful, spacious, cheap (compared to NYC) apartment, and bask in the glory of West Coast living. In LA, nobody reads books, and dogs don’t bark. It's a real utopia.
But it didn’t last because then I moved back to NYC. High stress. Cars honking. People everywhere. She was back in the big city, and not only did my dog start barking, but she became even more pissed off than she was the first time we lived here. I had to do something. Fast.
When I came back to NYC, I moved into my GBF’s (Gay Best Friend's) apartment for a short time. He had just bought a new apartment, while trying to sell his old apartment. Now he owned two apartments. Gay guys have so much money, it’s unbelievable. The building was upscale. Very upscale. And I was living there illegally. There were doormen. Neighbors. People who didn’t want to hear a barking dog. And there were other dogs that didn't bark. My barking dog was disrupting the peace and harmony that all of these other dogs had created in the building. I was trying to move into the building unnoticed. Impossible. Something had to give.
I wished I had taken my dog to Cesar Millan, while I had lived in LA. Cesar Millan, the world-renowned dog behavior specialist who takes dogs from nuts to normal on his hit show on Animal Planet, was just what I needed. That’s the dream of every unruly dog owner. That Cesar Millan will swoop in and calm the most savage or barky of dogs. But my dog in LA was on best behavior. I didn’t need Cesar. Now on the East Coast, I was in desperate need of help. And then one day, my prayers were answered.
Enter East Coast Millan. The dog whisperer of NYC. But instead of a “ssshhhh, ssshhhh.” He said, “Fooey!” I’m sure he wanted to say “Fuck!” but he was on the Upper East Side. I liked how he rolled. Instead of being fit and Mexican, he was fat and white. Instead of being charming and wise, he was rough around the edges and looked like an ex-con. East coast, baby! All the way! But the one thing he did have in common with West Coast Millan was that he was magical with dogs.
East Coast Millan met my dog, and in one fell swoop while she was barking and acting like a nut, they fell in love. He lightly tapped my dog and said, “Fooey,” and my dog paused. She walked over to him and started wagging her tail. She seemed docile. I’m not sure if that’s how West Coast Millan does it. You know, the whole “falling in love” thing, but this was how East Coast Millan did it, and it worked.
I took his card and called his references. Everyone gave him rave reviews. But...he wanted to keep my dog for two weeks. He needed her to be with other dogs night and day. He wanted her to be in stressful situations and learn not to bark. He told me we’d be reprogramming my dog. The references were people like me. They thought East Coast Milan was a little weird, but that he had done wonders with their dogs. They loved him, and he loved their dogs. He was a third generation dog trainer. It was in his blood. He was almost a dog himself. What did I have to lose?
While I was deciding if I should hand over my dog or not, one of my friends was looking for a job. She’s a writer and needed some extra dough for the summer. She’s also the world’s greatest worker. East Coast Millan was looking for some dog walkers. It seemed like a perfect fit. World’s Greatest Worker met with East Coast Millan, and he hired her on the spot. It made me feel better giving my dog over to East Coast Millan knowing World's Greatest Worker would be hanging around.
I dropped my barky dog off at his place, hoping she’d be okay. The place smelled like dogs. I met the other guys that worked there, and they were also a little rough. It reminded me of some halfway AA house. East Coast Millan assured me that everything would be fine, and that if my dog was trained quickly, she’d be home even sooner. What a relief!
TO BE CONTINUED...