We Bought a Dog!

Rocky - Radical's Mascot

Hi, I’m Tom, Radical’s CEO.

With offices in the US and Europe people often wonder why I’m based on a tiny beach in the jungles of Palawan in the Philippines. It’s because we are opening an orphanage here, anticipating six or more kids already during 2017. It’s a philanthropic endeavour, and will be managed by myself, Radical’s local office manager Elsie, and a couple local staff. I’m a worldwide adventurer and like to think I can handle myself in any situation, but I travel for months every year. Elsie is five feet tall and about as aggressive as a lamb, and she’ll be alone with the kids quite a bit; hence the dog idea as companion and burglar alarm.

I never considered a Rottweiler before, I guess I subconsciously bought into the myth of big aggressive beasts favoured by Neo-Nazi types. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the ‘beast’ part may be accurate (at 15 weeks Rocky already weighs 35 lbs, in a year he’ll tip the scales at over 100) they are considered excellent family breeds. Hard working, extremely intelligent, natural lovers of children, calm and meditative in situations that make lesser dogs anxious, and utterly fearless if defence of family is ever required. 

I also never considered a purebred. I always figured if I ever did get a dog, I’d just adopt a bright looking one from a local shelter. But this is the Philippines, and there are no shelters. And even the mangiest mutts on Port Barton Beach ‘belong’ to someone. Like ‘Shithead’, who we almost adopted when my daughter was visiting some months ago – turns out she belongs to a neighbour (and probably has a name that isn’t Shithead, but that’s what we still call her). Long story short, a while back a guy comes strolling down the beach with three huge Rottweilers – the first healthy dogs I’d seen here – and we got to chatting and it turned out he’s a breeder and lives minutes away. So I started researching the breed and… WOW, really impressive animals.

Filipinos for the most part are friendly and honest people. But even small towns have a few bad apples, and Port Barton has its share of meth-heads and the occasional Alpha-wannabe. While I’m a natural defender of family myself, and never felt a need for a dog to back me up, Elsie couldn’t instil fear in puppy (now a proven fact ;-). So I’ll be happier overseas knowing Rocky is here to sort out any shady characters who decide they’ll just ‘borrow’ my tools or whatever when they figure out that I’m out of the country. And while I have no doubt that a full-grown Rocky will happily eat an aggressive intruder if necessary, I strongly suspect that his mere presence will deter even the most hardened riffraff of Port Barton. In addition to his utilitarian functions, Rocky, as most healthy dogs, is a fantastic friend (and who can have too many of those). 

In addition to being the best looking guy on the beach, it turns out that he is brilliant as well, no joke. Three days ago we picked him up from the breeder, a not-evil-but-ignorant local who should not be breeding anything, let alone one of the toughest dog breeds on the planet. They cut Rock’s tail off completely at birth, poor little guy, I’d have likely punched them if I’d caught them doing that. Then they stuck him in a bamboo pen about 10ft x 10ft square with several siblings, and beyond feeding them, apparently they did nothing. The whole litter just shit in one corner of their pen. When we walked him home, his first walk on a street, we were shocked that he was afraid of other dogs, skittish with people, couldn’t climb the three steps to our studio, and immediately peed on the floor. That night he pissed AND shit inside, despite myriad walks on the beach, and I began to wonder if he was so feeble-minded that we would need to change his name from Rocky to Forrest. I spent that whole night combing Google for best housetraining techniques, and was horrified to learn that it can take months. So to recap, exactly 70 hrs ago Rocky had absolutely zero discipline or societal sense of any kind. Today, after only three days at Radical, he is a favorite of the locals who all know him by name, he openly adores small children, he happily-if-clumsily climbs up and down stairs, he doesn’t bark or whine even at the local mutts without good reason, he comprehends several English words, and he is pretty much housetrained. We are amazed, and I’ve considered renaming him Einstein.

Oh he’s not perfect. He chews on microphone cables, demands attention, and has a trying stubborn streak. Yesterday’s picture (attached) is of him refusing to walk obediently on a leash. His tactics are consistent and nearly military; he resists fiercely for about a minute straight (don’t be fooled by those puppy dog eyes, its all a calculated act) then he just flops down on the sand like a 35 lb. sack of potatoes and flat refuses to move. This of course – like clockwork five times a day – triggers a test of wills, and its me vs Rocky for the lightweight championship of the world!

So far I’ve lost every match.

But I can be stubborn myself, and I’m Googling the hell out of “leash-training for puppies” right now (there’s a rematch scheduled in about an hour). And I can be a sneaky tactician too (even without the puppy dog eyes) and… I HAVE A PLAN! Brilliantly simple really, as are most great plans. You see, with all the information available to me on internet I can figure out an effective counter-manoeuvre for nearly every move Rocky’s got up his sleeve today and in the future. AND (and this is the beautifully-sinister part of my plan) I’m his primary teacher! SO, all I need to do is to NOT teach him to read or surf the internet, and the poor guy just won’t stand a chance in the long run… muahahaha! [evil laugh ;-)]

Oddly, after just three days and what with Rocky only a 15 week old pup, I already occasionally find myself contemplating the possibility that I may survive him…

If so, I expect this tough guy will cry like a baby the day he flies off to doggy heaven.

Happy Holidays to All!

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