Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mac- The Pit Bull vs the Intruder

I posted previously that Mac was not a dog. I lied. Not only is Mac a dog, he is now convincing me (after 6+ years) that he is probably mostly pit bull. Mac's background is unknown- he came from the Berkeley animal Shelter in 2002, I've always known he was a pit bull mix, but appearance-wise, he is mostly a BYB-special, and temperament-wise, he fits this part of PBRC's description to the T:

Pit bulls are very adaptable and will even do well in urban living provided they have enough exercise or other positive outlets for their energy. Many pit bulls are easygoing couch-potatoes but can also be somewhat rambunctious until they mature. Maturity can come pretty late with this breed (2 to 3 years old in some cases). Pit bulls remain playful all their life and have a great sense of humor. Real clowns at heart, these dogs will make you laugh like no other. (see PBRC Breed Info)

That fits Mac- couch potato is a nice way of saying lazy or sleeps all day, he matured early, after about 10 months of themacinator (me) figuring out what to do with him, and totally a clown. The part that I never really saw in him was the part that bulldog aficionados call "gameness" or tenacity. I've seen his prey drive come out in force- there was that time he chased the seal out in the bay half way to San Francisco- and he'll chase a ball with gusto for, oh, ten minutes, and when he really really wants to kill a toy, there's no stopping him.

oakland booty
(This picture is Mac attempting to drag me back to the car to kill that turquoise ball. He can hold that pose for 10+ minutes till I give in.)

Basically, I had never really seen this part of the pit bull personality in action before:

They are also very resourceful and driven. Determination is one of their most notable traits. Whatever they set out to do, they put their heart and soul into it...

Determination, gameness, perseverance: I believe pit bulls have it, I just wasn't sure Mac had it. Until last night. At about 11pm, I woke up to Mac running around the room like someone was throwing the ball for him. No one was throwing the ball for him, as I was asleep, and as Bill Withers says, it was just the two of us. Mac was running around the room then freezing, like he saw something to chase. Run run run, stop. Run, stop Run, stop run stop run run run stop continue. I figured there was a bug he was chasing, though it was strange that he could see this in the dark. I fell back asleep, even though he didn't. I woke up at about 1am. Mac was still at it. I'm not sure if he paused in his run stop wag run stop chase action, but he was at it again. Now he was focused on the closet. He would stand and stare at it, his tail wagging like he was so happy, then pointing up straight, like he was about to pounce, then he would freeze. I turned on the light. There was nothing there. Mac continued, I tried to go back to sleep. He started running again. This continued for so long that I couldn't go back to sleep. I turned the light back on and poked around in the closet. Nothing there. He was so focused on the closet that I decided that one of use was crazy: Mac for thinking there was something in the closet or themacinator for not believing that there was something in the closet. I took every single article of clothing off of the shelves in the closet. I was a little frightened, I admit, so I also held a broom in one hand. There was nothing there. Mac eagerly watched. Nothing. Then I picked up the blanket that was on the floor and a tiny. little. mouse. ran across the floor.

Mac started running and chasing again. I encouraged him for a minute, hoping his success with the mouse would end this nightmare. It did not. My roommate called from upstairs to ask me if someone was breaking in. I informed her someone small and four legged already had and that my terrier was failing in catching it. She offered to help shoo him out, I declined because I had NO IDEA what I was in for. The pit bull perserverence had yet to rear its ugly head. Mac chased that mouse all night long. I slept intermittently until the alarm went off at 7am. I am not convinced that Mac slept at all. The mouse, I am SURE, slept even less. I woke up approximately every 15 minutes to my dog chasing and playing with a mouse. He did not catch the mouse. I did not sleep. The mouse did not die. My dog proved himself to be very tenacious.

I went to work today, and came home, thankfully, to my dog acting normal. Oh good, I said to myself, I can sleep tonight! After our little normal routine, we returned to my bedroom. And Mac started hunting again. Apparently, tenacity can last more than 8 hours- we are now up to something like 20! Mac started to climb under my bed. I fished out a mouse. Mercifully, for everyone involved, deceased. I threw the deceased mouse out the back door. Mac did not understand, and continued to check under the bed, in the direction of the door, and everywhere else. He is sleeping now, for the minute.

Mac is a dog. A pit bull dog. A pit bull terrier. 6 years later... we're at peace with tenacity.


Mick O said...

What a classic tale. This is going in your collection of dog anecdotes. Start looking for a publisher, you've got the voice.

Sarah said...

Good boy, Mac! One mouse down, a billion to go.