Oscar the Grouch

Oscar the evening after being adopted, looking shell shocked.

“You really don’t want me to take this one out of his cage,” was how the animal control worker introduced me to the dog, now called Oscar. All teeth, the small brown dog jumped and barked frantically, biting the air like he was trying to catch flies. “Owner surrender,” the agent informed me, “not good with kids, and doesn’t like to be alone. You’d be better off looking at another dog.” Maybe I’m just obstinate, and don’t like to be told no, or maybe there was something in that furry ball, but I insisted they take the dog out. Out of the cage Oscar danced around, sniffing for treats and licking my hand. Quickly making friends with Meya, my poodle mix, Oscar wormed his way into our hearts.

While Oscar quickly made himself at home, he existed in a state of panic when left. For weeks, I would arrive home to find bloody paw prints across the floor and streaks of blood on the door as he injured himself trying to dig out of crates, the kitchen, or the basement. A one dog hurricane, Oscar’s fear and anxiety elicited sympathy and dread, and resulted in a frantic trip to the vet. Fortunately, an understanding vet prescribed anxiety medications that calmed the storm, and allowed Oscar to accept behavior modification training.

Now, a year later, Oscar walks past me out the door on my return home with only a brief grin. No longer taking medicine for his anxiety, Oscar’s personality shines. Slightly naughty, Oscar’s grin delights, earning him the distinction of favorite dog from my friends and family. Even though he still struggles with his fear of very small children and any dog larger than him, he is no longer the dog no one wants.

Noticed the scratched door frame, Oscar's handiwork!

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