Drumroll………. And here is SNURA!!
I thought it was high time you met the incomparable oxymoron that is my Mum’s dog. The sweet and cute exterior, when you get on the inside, leaves room to multiple personalities, which show up all at the same time.
The name Snura stands for Snu (the Italian version of the first part of the name Snoopy, a former beloved Pinscher) and Ra (the first part of Rascal, also a very beloved former dog). Rascal followed Snoopy, and Snura follower Rascal, so it all kind of follows. Do you follow? Ok, good.
My Mum came up with the name all by herself. And no, neither of the previous dogs were schizo like this one. They were both unique characters, but very sweet, especially Rascal, whom we all miss so very much.
A few months after Rascal joined my White and the rest of their gang (all family and friends’ dogs who were buddies, and passed within a few months of each other) over the rainbow, my brother Roberto showed up at my parents’ place with little Snura The Kid.
Snura was born on a farm outside of Parma, from the kind of local, unclear parentage that usually yields really good truffle dogs. And indeed his sniffer is quite something.
It all started out well. Snura was a sweet and mellow puppy, and my Mum could take him anywhere, as he would just quietly sit on her lap. As he grew into adulthood, we are not sure what changed, but he added fierce to his curriculum of sweet puppy. This addition was soon followed by schizo. Snura is the kind of dog who will come and beg for food while you are having lunch by growling at you. And I am not talking about a fake growl. Next thing, he will be going belly up in his bed waiting for you to rub him. He will growl at you for that, too.
I am a dog person, and I am usually not afraid of dogs. I am wary of this one. When I get there for a visit, he runs over, jumps up to be petted while at the same time his hair stands up on his back and he growls. But I HAVE TO pet him. And let’s not even begin to go into the drama when he finds out I am packing to come home.
A few of Snura’s dos and don’ts.
Do: give him food when he wants it, but nobody else other than my Mum can approach the kitchen counter while the bowl is still up there.
Don’t: even think of approaching him, let alone pet him, while he is eating.
Do: give him belly rubs forever when he is asking, but only use your hands, no feet allowed.
Don’t: try to pick him up, and absolutely do not grab him even to save his life, especially from behind.
Do: wind up the singing gopher toy.
Don’t: close any doors, ever.
Do: open the door immediately when he wants to go outside.
Don’t: let him go out alone at night. It’s spooky out there, even when you are fierce!
Do: turn on the tv when the eight o’ clock news is on, because he loves the music of the jingle.
Don’t: try to put a leash on him, go outside without him or generally leave the house.
Do: I ran out of those.
Don’t: go down the stairs to the garage and tell him to stay, or he will turn into a vicious screaming, snarling banshee while on the other side of the rail (there are no words to describe this scene), even if he does let you go down. Most of the time.
Snura is now about ten-years-old, and he has only had about 2-3 sponge baths in his life. And sometimes he comes up from the garden unbearably stinky. But if you are up for giving him a bath, you are welcome to try.
Taking him to the vet is another major stressful challenge, which is a good thing he is a healthy dog, as most mixed-breeds are. Usually the vet comes to see him, but lately my Mum had not choice but take him as he needed a scan. The vet hoped to put a muzzle on him and be done. One hour later, three exhausted vets + my Mum still had not managed that. In the end they had to sedate him to run the necessary tests. It turned out he had some small kidney stones, which he then passed with the new food and treatment they prescribed.
Most dogs are afraid of loud noises, especially fireworks and thunderstorms. But you have never seen anything like Snura. Hysterical, frenzied, berserk… all of these are appropriate descriptives, as this poor dog runs around the house in desperate search of shelter, and nothing, not even my Mum’s presence can calm him down until it is all over. He has scratched a hole in the door at the bottom of the stairs to the garage so badly that my brother installed a plastic cover so that he would not hurt himself.
Varese, being so close to the Alps, gets A LOT of thunderstorms, and I am talking major thunderstorms. They are usually a summertime phenomenon, but a few years ago they started as early as February and went on until the following November. I don’t know who was more stressed: Snura, or my Mum trying to take care of him. The vet prescribed a natural supplement to “tone him down” a notch. It helps a little, as do flower essences (like Bach Flower Remedies).
Hence the subtitle: Rider Of The Storm.
I don’t know what kind of scary past lives this pooch has had, but he is now in the right family. He is not an easy dog to love, but we all love him, especially my Mum. Her patience is infinite, Hopefully, this time with a loving family, who puts up with all his foibles, will help heal his soul.
I am so grateful my two piglets are the sweet, mellow, snuggly babies that they are.
Do you have, or have you had, dogs or other pets with challenging personalities? How do/did you handle them? Have you been able to help? Any suggestions and thoughts would be welcome.
Other Tales of Tails you might enjoy:
And these are my Boyz (yes, the piglets):