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Pancho Villa! The Rescue Dog That We Love! Even Though He Is A Big Baby!
Yes! He Takes Up Half The Couch!
120 Pounds Of Baby!
Pancho came to us by way of the local humane society. He was a 10 month old big boy who looked much older than the puppy he was. It had been a year and a half since we had lost our Hershey, a beautiful sharpei, pit bull mix that had been my children's dog. Her greatest talent was being able to open the refrigerator by herself and feast on whatever she fancied at the time. It was not a particularly endearing habit that she had, but we lived with it. Sure, losing the sirloin tip roast that I had planned for dinner or finding the makings of a sandwich strewn all over the living room floor was annoying, but it took us a long time to seek another companion. We loved her!
Hershey died suddenly. My son had gone to play hockey and Hershey stayed in his bed, like she did many nights, just waiting for him to come home. Normally, I would walk down the hall to check on her, but that night I was tired. I went to bed and my son woke me up, panicked and crying! "Mom, come quick! I think Hershey died!" I ran to his room, and there she was, still warm, with her eyes open, but gone. We wrapped her in her blanket and rushed to the emergency animal clinic. The doctors told us what I already knew. My big, strong hockey playing son weeped uncontrollably. It was something I never wanted to see or experience again.
And so, it took a long time to heal. I remember the day that I spoke to my son about getting another dog. He said yes and we were so excited, just sure that we were going to come home with another Hershey!
I went to the local shelter and looked at the dogs. There was a beautiful german shepherd pup, but she was taken. There were no Hersheys. My son then went by himself, came home and told me about a dog that he liked, but thought he was too big and too old. He said, "Mom, he came over to me and gave me little tiny licks on my hand." So I went with him, looked at this 85 pounder with the white muzzle and thought to myself that there was no way. What? Take an older dog and go through the misery again, so soon? I pulled his paper work, opened it up and noticed that the shelter thought he was about 2 years old. The white muzzle was misleading. It was a match! He was 30 pounds bigger than our Hershey, and I prayed that he was not another refrigerator thief, even though to me he looked like a bandit, hence the name Pancho Villa.
The Perfect Bandit: Pancho Villa!
My older daughter came with me to pick him up. She drove him home in her car and apparently, he laid across her body the whole way home. The minute he got into my house, he lifted his leg on one of my potted plants. Great! That night, he stole a chicken thigh from my dinner plate and swallowed it whole, bone and all. Was this going to work out? I wasn't so sure, but he and my son had already formed a bond. We took him to our vet and found out that he was not two, he was about 10 months old and according to the vet, would continue to grow. So we had a puppy. That puppy grew into a 120 pound equal member of the family. He is well-behaved, full of muscles, not a barker, unable to open the refrigerator and has no bad habits. He is terrified of cameras and baths, and when he is afraid, he smiles. His smiles are so big that you can see his 2 inch long teeth. He can knock a toddler over with his tail and he can knock me over whenever he is not careful.
Pancho is clearly my son's shadow, but tolerates me because I give him chicken, roast beef, all of the meats he so dearly loves. He is the most popular dog in the neighborhood. Everywhere along the way on his walks, he stops at the houses of the people who come out and give him treats. He gets everything from steak to rib bones, to leftover chicken. Pancho has a girlfriend that he pee'd on 6 years ago and I think they are married. Haley and Pancho are in love, and she is the only one he has ever marked as his property. They see each other almost daily and never grow tired of each other's company. She weighs about 70 pounds less than he does, but he lets her beat him up, anytime she feels like it, which is almost daily. He is not fond of other male dogs, but never starts fights. He will approach other male dogs and place his head on top of their heads and push down. They always seem to lower their heads and finally, when Pancho is satisfied that he has humiliated them into submission, he steps back.
Pancho is a great watch dog! He is not fond of anyone that comes to the door, but until recently, I never knew that he would kill to protect me. I know that now. Anyone who dares to enter our home without permission will definitely suffer some pretty horrendous consequences. Pancho recently tried to eat a delivery man that I had asked to wait outside until I put the dog into the spare room. I guess the man ignored my warning because he came in without my permission. The man will never do that again! Luckily, I was able to save him within seconds of him becoming Pancho's lunch!
The Big Baby And Baths!
The big macho dog, Pancho, has a weakness. He is a cry baby when it comes to baths. Yesterday, Pancho watched my son gather some towels. He instinctively knew...He hid in the corner of my son's room, cowering like a little baby, whimpering. My son pulled him out of the corner and slid him across the wooden floors. He was like dead weight. Halfway to the bathroom, he got up, looked into my son's eyes and then walked into the shower under his own power. He was not happy, but gave up the fight. Baths and cameras, the two things in life that turn this big monster of a dog into a puddle of panic. It is hysterically funny! How I would love to get the bathing process on video, but I cannot bring myself to torture him. A bath and a camera at the same time would be too much!
I don't think I will ever go a year and a half without a canine companion again. They bring too much joy and humor and love with them. You can never replace a pet that has been such an important part of your family. They are all so different, yet they all seek the same thing that people seek: love.
We will never have another Hershey; we will never be able to replace Pancho when he leaves us. But the next time tragedy strikes, we will go sooner to the shelter, because we all crave the kind of love that you can only get from those 4 legged bandits. Life is too empty without them.