Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dog goes berserk, destroys Elvis' teddy bear

First - here is the story and below will be my comments on this story:

LONDON, England (AP) -- A guard dog has ripped apart a collection of rare teddy bears, including one once owned by Elvis Presley, during a rampage at a children's museum.
"He just went berserk," said Daniel Medley, general manager of the Wookey Hole Caves near Wells, England, where hundreds of bears were chewed up Tuesday night by the 6-year-old Doberman pinscher named Barney.

Barney ripped the head off a brown stuffed bear once owned by the young Presley during the attack, leaving fluffy stuffing and bits of bears' limbs and heads on the museum floor. The bear, named Mabel, was made in 1909 by the German manufacturer Steiff.

The collection, valued at more than $900,000, included a red bear made by Farnell in 1910 and a Bobby Bruin made by Merrythought in 1936.

The bear with Elvis connections was owned by English aristocrat Benjamin Slade, who bought it at an Elvis memorabilia auction in Memphis, Tenn., and had loaned it to the museum.
"I've spoken to the bear's owner and he is not very pleased at all," Medley said.

A security guard at the museum, Greg West, said he spent several minutes chasing Barney before wrestling the dog to the ground.


I don't believe this story. Oh, I believe the teddy bears were assaulted, but a Dobie does not just go "berserk" and start shredding things helter-skelter.

My first 2 Dobies, Casey's Thunderstorm (a U.S. and Canadian champion who is also featured and photographed in the definitive book on Dobermans, The New Doberman Pinscher) and Sir Canyon Dog von Doberman both viewed toys as odd things. A pull rope they could deal with. A fresh can of new tennis balls being opened sent them into sensory overload - and then they would promptly chew the new ball in half in less than 2 minutes. Both dogs came into my life when they were full grown and matured.

And then there's Harley Amadeus who is my inspiration for all things "Banned Breed". Harley was raised with squeaky toys and play things from his earliest puppyhood. He loves his toys - and it's hard to take a Doberman seriously when he has his natural floppy ears and is standing there looking at you with a squeaky toy in his mouth.

Dobermans, even those that are not attack trained, can be lethal when "their family" is provoked. A Dobie will literally die in an effort to protect their family -- stab them, shoot them, if they have an ounce of energy they will keep going after the attacker.

Further, Dobies have a unique way of attacking if left to their own devices. Whereas a German Shepard will chomp and hold, a Dobie will chomp and shred. In other words, you get a helluva lot more damage on an assailant with a Dobie at your side.

Now aside from this "vicious" image of a Dobie - what are they like the rest of the 99.9% of the time? They are couch potatos, they are very insecure, must have play time and they have no homing instinct. I will address these one by one:

Couch Potato: A person will drive themself batty if they try to break a Dobie of this couch potato gene. They truly see themselves as one of the people and don't understand they are dogs - as such, they see no reason why they shouldn't bask in the same comforts that their 2-legged roommates do.

The Illustrious One (who is forever of the mindset that dogs should stay off a sofa) was telling me how one day he watched secretly as Harley Amadeus stood to look at the sofa and then carefully removed each one of the seat cushions and then promptly got on the sofa and lay down. The Illustrious One was miffed that he got on the sofa, but for myself and others who see dogs as creatures that can do little wrong, we saw it as "Ohhhhh my God, how smart! How cute!"

Insecurity: Dobies are horrifically insecure. They hate being without their people, they can get very depressed and it is imperative that they feel loved and adored so they feel secure.

Play Time: Dobies love to play. They can be happy running at the dog park, helping you around the house or in the case of my Canyon, he loved to watch clouds or lie on his back and use his front paws to take the tennis ball out of his mouth, hold it above his snout, stare at it, and then loosen his paws so the ball would fall back into his mouth. Rinse. Repeat.

No Homing Instinct: Dobies are a man-made breed. While Herr Doberman created a beautiful, majestic canine, some elements were lost in the breeding process. One of these items is their homing instinct. If a Dobie gets out, they quickly loose their way. It's imperative that they have their tags on at all times.

One time, Stormy got out and I found him sitting on a street corner. When he saw my car, he stood up, stub wagging and happily got into the car. I took him to McDonald's for a McRib sandwich (he loved those and Egg McMuffins) and he was happy and felt secure.

So now that I've given a long and winding road insight into the workings of 3 distinctly different Dobermans, I can safely say, that the English Dobie did not just go nuts and destroy teddy bears. Something or someone provoked the situation. Maybe the museum had a new alarm system that had an annoying beeping sound. Personally, I think the night watchman should be looked at closely -- he probably just got bored and started a vicious chain reaction with the dog in tow.

For something a bit different but on the same topic -- now that you know that Dobies have no homing instinct and are insecure, if you ever see one out, please go with your vibes and if they are saying to stop and help the dog, please do so.

Last summer, I was driving down Ross Avenue towards downtown Dallas (not a stellar part of town). At a stop light, a female Dobie started to cross at the crosswalk, the light turned green and the cabbie next to me honked at the horn and drove forward to push the dog out of the way. I circled the block and pulled into a used car lot and luckily had some lunch leftovers with me. I managed to lure the dog to me and get her into the car - she had no tags on - and I took her to SPCA.

As compassionate as I am towards dogs, I do not stop and collect them. But knowing the general mindset people have about Dobies, I knew that I had to do something for her because the chances of anyone else doing so were slim.

Remember -- there are NO bad breeds. That's like saying that all members of one ethnic group are bad.

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