At the outset of this blog, you need to know that I like dogs, as a general rule, even though I have never owned one. Just needed to get that caveat out before I got going on this blog. For the past few months, I have been unofficially involved in helping a dog owner in the strata get their pooch acclimatized to certain behaviors, given the fact that Oscar comes from a very troubled background, namely the back streets of a BC Mill town. Picked up by the pound/SPCA this dog became available for adoption for around $100 plus some vet fees and four fifteen-minute long obedience lessons. Every time I met the mutt in the building, it would lunge and snap at me for no other reason than it heard my deep voice which, apparently, psychologically spooked it. When I complained to the council, the owner who is a member asked me to work with them, including the therapist, to modify this menacing behavior. Foolishly, I agreed in the interests of being a decent person to be there for Oscar in his churlish moments. If progress was to be measure in this project of befriending a crazy dog, I guess it manifested itself in the fact that I got to stroke him and give him treats when we met in the lobby. This way the owners avoided muzzling the critter and were able to convince themselves that everything was being done to make it feel at home. Well, yesterday that whole fantasy came crashing down. While in the lobby, on my way out shopping, the dog and I met where I took the time to give it a gentle pat with the owner coaxing me on. Suddenly, it reverted to form and bit me as I withdrew to leave. You see, the owners had failed, since getting Oscar, to acknowledge that they had an aggressive animal on their hands and needed to follow through on more serious obedience training. Instead, they chose to naively focus on me as the mysterious cause to Oscar’s unease. Every time I saw Oscar on a leash he was lunging and straining to break free. That indicates that the dog is the one in charge to the point that it was being rewarded with treats for allowing me to interact and then turning on me when I disengaged. Canine behaviour is complex at best because it mirrors a combination of strong dependency on humans on the domestic side of life and an equally strong natural instinct to survive by being defensive and aggressive. Until this dog learns to obey the coherent wishes of its owner(s), when it comes to dealing with other lifeforms, it will always be in a state of confusion and angst.