by Mary-Ellen Hobarth
As soon as my doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure, everyone began recommending I get a doggy. They said it would lower my stress and it would allow me to feel what it’s like to be loved. And I do feel the love from the little guy. However, there are some things about my new pit bull that just aren’t mellowing me out.
I have changed my diet. I dropped salt, and I added exercise and low blood pressure herbs. And when I was feeling relaxed enough to safely drive, I went to the local dog-shelter, and I got a Pit Bull.
I wanted my untrained attack dog to begin a new life, where he could drop his old identity and proceed with no association to his old life. So I named him, “Cat Stevens.” He had been raised in captivity and rescued from an illegal dog fighting operation.
Usually, rescued Pit Bulls are euthanized because they are deemed, “Forever deadly.” But in a way, I can relate to this social stigma. People have always said that about me, but jokingly, about my breath. Knowing that I have much in common with this former killing machine, I took him into my home.
Let Him Hump
I saved this former mauler from certain doom, and because of this I swear my blood pressure went down from happiness. That is, until he bit off three of my fingers. But that was my fault. I got a bit demanding. He wanted to hump my leg and I really should have just let him wear himself out. He’d get bored soon enough. I learned that one from my husband.
They say the benefit of owning a dog isn’t just in the ownership. The act of nurturing and caressing the animal relieves our stress. But Cat Stevens was abused as a puppy, so he isn’t very comfortable with human contact. So in order to spend healing time together, I have to drug his food and then fit him into a harness and muzzle, with his feet tethered together. And then I pet him blissfully for hours.
My favorite, most beneficial petting time is when he first wakes up out of his drug-induced stupor. He is so sweet at those times. His eyes are all glassy like mine, like he’s been crying. His body twitches a bit, and he has a hard time lifting his head because of the barbiturates. If I had kids, we would bond like this.
But then when all the drugs wear off, he realizes where he is. His body thrashes around, almost breaking the nylon harness. I’ve never seen a living being with as much blood-thirst in its eyes, especially among my healing tools. The high pitched wincing sound he makes, mingled with deep growls, really leaves an impression on my psyche when I’m trying to sleep.
Originally I was going to get a golden retriever. They are so peaceful and loyal. But then I got to thinking that a huge portion of my stress is from worrying that someone will break into our trailer and steal my commodore. So I thought, “A pit bull would take care of my burglary worries and enable me to have a new best friend to stroke for health.
Another thing. While I am on the road to health, I do really wish Cat Stevens hadn’t mauled my neighbor’s kid. The girl is going to live and I did give her a Rumi poem about every scar telling a story. I just hope she likes stories about having so much facial scar tissue it looks like her cheek is hosting a slug race.
Lowers Maul Victim’s Blood Pressure
Ironically, when Cat Stevens mauled my neighbor’s girl, she was bleeding so much she actually came close to dying from low blood pressure. This got me to thinking that maybe bloodletting is another cure for high blood pressure. And come to think of it, when Cat Stevens bit off my fingers, I also had low blood pressure until I was sutured up.
I do feel like my life has more purpose with Cat Stevens around: I’m constantly on the look-out for him and I creatively avoid crossing his path. You’d think by now my blood pressure would be going down instead of up. But maybe I got the wrong type of dog. Maybe I need a Red Pit Bull instead of this American Pit Bull Terrier. Or maybe I should try an English Pit Bull. I’ve heard those are very proper. Regardless, the next one I illegally obtain from a fighting operation must have had Pit Bull puppy training.
For now though, I’ll sedate and nurture Cat Stevens. Even though he doesn’t seem to like me, he depends on me. And this type of co-dependent relationship is so much healthier than my human co-dependent relationships. I will keep you updated, unless I lose more fingers.