Thursday, July 9, 2009

My dog remembrances - Aikman Part 1

So continuing what I had started for Twix. Here is Aikman's part 1 story. And trust me, this is much more interesting than Twixes story. Well, at least more expensive. You can find this and Twixes story compiled at my website HERE.

So by this point it is the beginning of February, 2007. We had Twix about a year and a half and we were getting ready to celebrate our first year anniversary with a trip around the Seneca Lake wineries. My wife was looking on her newlywed website ( or something like that) and came across a posting to help this poor dog. The picture was of this brown pathetic looking dog (oh I wish we still had that picture somewhere) with a rope tied around his neck. He was extremely dirty and standing in the middle of a fenced in area with a dog house in the background and a dirt ground. The picture included some things like he doesn’t get fed water because his owner was getting older and senile and decided since the water freezes then he won’t give him any and it also mentioned that the rope collar was embedded into his neck.

Well Veronica showed this to me and my heart just went for him. I told her, whatever, we can get him if she wants. Well after some back and forth with her and the writer of the article we decided that we would pick him up on the way home from our winery tour on our anniversary, February 11th. We dropped Twix off at Veronica’s parent’s house and headed off on our vacation. On the way home we stopped by this house in Rochester (about an hour from our house in Buffalo) and went to pick up the dog. Well, he was in the backyard at the time, in a house littered (and I mean littered) with dogs. We get all his paperwork and it turns out his name was Aikman (like the football player) and he was born into a litter of dogs all named after football quarterbacks (Montana, etc.). He even had a family tree. He was half German shepherd, half husky. That was why we were chosen, because we had such experience with a husky before. It turns out (we found out there were a bit of lies in the original article) that there was no rope embedded in his neck, he was fine, just a little dirty and he could use a good amount of food. He was obviously neglected but probably not really abused. He just looked pathetic. His owner had bred sled dogs and that was how Aikman was raised. But he was 11 then and a bit passed his prime.

So we then coaxed him inside from the backyard, because as it turns out, he was never an indoors dog. He spent his entire life outside. Great. Now we had to housetrain an eleven year old dog. We gathered up all his paperwork, took him into the car and drove home. He eventually ended curled up with Veronica in the backseat floor of my car, because since I drive a convertible, there is not much room for a dog to sit comfortably back there, and we drove the hour back home. When we got home Veronica leaves to go pick up Twix while I get Aikman settled into his new house. Veronica would likely not be back for at least a half an hour so I had some time.

Well, I go to unlock the door and as I am carrying in a bunch of stuff I drop Aikman’s leash. And he’s off. Like a rocket down the street. I go running after him only to realize that an 11 year old former sled dog can run very much faster than I can. Damn. That doesn’t stop me. I keep running after him until I come across my neighbor from across the street. We’re not really social with each other but we say hi and he sees my plight and decides to lend a hand. He drives me back to my house (I had gone a good deal of a ways at this point) and I get in my car and we realize we can heard Aikman where we want to go with the cars. So we drive him in one direction, and lock him in a backyard, and jump out of the car. This is when I find out the truth that apparently this neighborhood of Buffalo does not feel the need to put fences up in their backyard. And it turns out it the houses in this area were adjacent to the power line alleys. And it is February in Buffalo so there is a good 3+ feet of snow on the ground. So even though Aikman gets slowed down by the deep snow, I am far more inconvenienced. So I chase him back and forth across this thing until he is back on the road. I then run back to my car, which coincidently is still running because I just got out and ran. And we played this game, oh 2 or 3 more times, until we finally managed to steer him into a yard with an actual fence. Keep in mind my neighbor and I are chasing him with our cars, his pick-up and my convertible, and yes I do think I bumped him with my car once, but did that slow him at all, noooo. Well my neighbor Jimmy got out and we had him blocked behind a garage. One opening blocked with his car and we were at the other end, but somehow he gets free and the chase is back on. Luckily it did not last much longer and only a few minutes later we trapped him again in a garden, where he managed to somehow hop the garden fence but he was unable to get back out. So I carried him into the car, thanked my neighbor profusely, and proceeded to drive home and catch up with my wife.

It turns out she was just driving home to check on me and the frantic call I made to her as I was initially running down the block. She had already been home and back out into the neighborhood trying to help me but since Aikman managed to get more than 10 minutes away from home she was nowhere near where we ended up. So after an hour of hunting him down, we finally got our second dog, Aikman, home.

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