Knowing this tidbit of information about Justin and his interests, it shouldn't surprise you to hear that he gave his dog the name Vincent Price. Side note: Vincent was adopted from the pound before Justin and I met and his original name was Becks. Weirdly coincidental, huh?
My introduction of Vincent Price is long overdue. I talk about my baby Chula non-stop, but talking about the other dog in our household requires a bit of a back-story, hence the procrastination. Even though this isn't something I've talked about on the blog before, if we've chatted in real life recently then you most likely know all about the hot mess that is Vincent. Don't get me wrong, he is adorable. And sweet. And quirky. He likes to sit like this for the fun of it. On the stairs, on the couch.... anywhere he can sprawl his back legs higher than his front. Not even joking.
But somewhere deep inside that huge head of his, he has issues. When Justin and I first started dating, he let me in on a few of Vincent's bad habits that appeared to be signs of separation anxiety. Despite the fact that he chewed on clothing and broke free from a handful of crates he was being trained to stay in while Justin was at work, I thought he was a sweet little guy. I mean look at that face and those stumpy little legs! It wasn't really until we moved in together that I realized what I had signed up for.
That, my friends, is what this dog is capable of. On that fateful day Vincent was inside of the crate before we left for lunch, and by the time we got back he had bent a few metal bars with his teeth and then ultimately chewed or dug his way out of the hole he created in the corner of the crate. We were gone maybe an hour to an hour and a half. His face was scratched and bleeding from squeezing his way out so aggressively but he didn't care, and was pretty darn proud of himself. Even with a chain locking the door closed because he'd figured out how to open the door from inside the crate, he showed us just what he thought of our attempts to contain him. Now you know why I call him Houdini. And why I say he has issues.
You might be asking yourself, "Why do they insist on putting him in a crate when he so clearly does not want to be crated?" The answer is simply that we do not make enough money to replace all the furniture he destroys when left to wander the apartment alone. In the year that we've lived in our current place together the causalities have included an armchair, a set of curtains, a basket that held the dog toys as well as all of the dog toys, remote controls, a Timbuk2 bag, a blanket and numerous shirts. After a few weeks of coming home each day to a new set of destruction (and a sad day for me when I came home to discover he had swiped my pumpkin bread from the kitchen counter and ate the whole loaf, plastic wrap and all) we knew we'd have to crate him when we weren't home. We also knew we'd need some sort of extreme prison to cage this beast.
Enter the most expensive crate you've ever seen. I'm pretty sure it was built to cage wild animals. No really, we had to buy it from a hunting website... It appears small in the photo but it's actually quite large and spacious. But the key to this crate's success is that it is made entirely of aluminum and it has a lock, with a key. Despite Vincent's extreme craftiness, he has not been able to escape this crate. We thought we had finally found our solution to Vincent's separation anxiety fueled destruction, but then he introduced a new way to voice his unhappiness at being left alone for any period of time - barking.
Vincent's journey with separation anxiety has been a long one, one that has included trying every possible item recommended, including dog walkers to get him out of the house for few hours while we're at work, bark collars, anxiety medication, another dog for company (Chula), etc. You name it, we've tried it. I can't tell you how much money we've spent or how much stress we've endured trying to help Vincent overcome his anxiety. I thought about applying to be on the show It's Me or the Dog many, many times.
Until recently though, we were just treating the symptoms of separation anxiety, and not the root of the issue. Because we can't be with Vincent every hour of the day and we want him to be as relaxed alone as he is when we're with him, we sought the help of a professional dog rehabilitator. Believe it or not, this is where the story gets really weird. Look for a follow-up post detailing our experience with the "dog whisperer" as Justin calls him. Keep in mind that we're still talking about this guy who weighs all of 40 pounds.
Will we be able to exercise the demon out of this handsome little devil? Stay tuned!