Unicorns!

I’ve never been a believer in unicorns, but…..I’ve got two in my puppy room right now!

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When I posted a few pictures/videos of my newest foster puppies on Facebook, another OPH volunteer commented, “You’ve got unicorns!”

So true. It is rare to see hypoallergenic dogs in rescue, rarer still to see hypoallergenic puppies. These two are miniature poodiley pups who remind me of the shitzu we had when I was a kid, but minus the bulging eyes. They are tiny and precious and without all that fluff, they’d be no bigger than large rats (but much cuter).

In the pictures, they look much larger than they are – the camera and the fluff add serious bulk. The Suess Boys are Continue reading Unicorns!

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Testing My Assumptions About My Canine Good Citizens

Assuming anything about your dog is probably a mistake.

(Same goes for most people.)

When Gomer arrived, he was a manic, frenzied force, racing around my kitchen on his noisy toenails, tongue hanging out, pausing only to leap on any persons who happened by.

We took him for a walk with Frankie and he lunged at him over and over, snarling and yipping and frothing at the mouth. And when he was on his own, he attacked the leash itself.

I tried to contain him in the kitchen, and he leaped over the gate to follow me.

I thought, Continue reading Testing My Assumptions About My Canine Good Citizens

Adopter’s Remorse?

You’ve heard of buyer’s remorse?

Every now and again I’m pretty sure some of us have adopter’s remorse.

Not that I don’t LOVE my Frankie. Not that I wouldn’t adopt him AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. He is my wubba-bubba. I can get teary just thinking about the fact that someday he will die.

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And yet…. Continue reading Adopter’s Remorse?

Frankie Goes to School

Frankie’s going to school!

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After searching high and low, I finally settled on a dog-training school that seemed to offer the most options, a solid reputation, and a reasonable price.

Before we could sign up for classes, we first had to attend a free orientation. This seemed like a great idea because of 1) Free! And 2) a chance to see how Frankie would react to the other students and 3) an opportunity to meet the trainers before shelling out any bucks.

Everything was looking stellar until Continue reading Frankie Goes to School

Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

Monday morning Gala and I set off on a run, well, with my sore hamstring more a runnish.

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We’d gone about a mile and ¼ when we came to a lone farm house that sits nearly on the road. Most of the old farmhouses in Pennsylvania do, since the roads are really paved cow paths and mail routes.

A young brown dog with a friendly face lives at this house chained in the side yard on a wire that allows him to nearly meet the road. On the days when he is outside early, he charges down the hill at us until the chain hangs him and his feet are yanked into a skidding stop. He barks ferociously, but his tail is usually wagging.

One time he was loose, about a year ago, he was still mostly a puppy. It was a rare day when I was running dogless. He leapt at me, nipping at my elbows, desperately wanting attention. I tried to pet him, but he dove at my face, most likely in the hopes of licking it. I continued on and he followed for a dozen yards or so before a voice from the porch called him back.

The dog is fullgrown now. A pitbull/bulldog mix of some sort – broad and squat and muscled with an enormous head. His regular charge always makes Gala nervous and she’ll bark back at him a time or two before pulling hard to get away from the house and his noise as we run past.

Monday, I heard the dog but didn’t see him as we approached the house. Odd, I thought, since by now he would usually be halfway down the short slope after us. We were nearly to the house when he came charging across the grass; a few inches of broken chain hung from his collar. I pulled Gala to the opposite side of the road, but he ran across the road after us, lunging at her. I yelled, she returned fire and he backed off, only to come at us again and again and again. Continue reading Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

My One and Only Amstaff

Amstaff?

I read the labels below the puppies in the puppy bowl bios and asked, “What’s an Amstaff?”

I thought maybe this was some new designer breed I’d never heard of, when in fact, my very own Amstaff was lying beside me. Or rather, at that particular moment, careening around Nancy’s living room.

Frankie, Nick, and I watched the Puppy Bowl on Sunday with Nancy and Matt, who adopted Edith Wharton. While we sampled some excellent beers, Edith and Frankie wrestled and played with abandon. Frankie was thrilled to discover the huge cache of toys Edith had – many with squeakers intact! (There are very few of those at our house, as Gala considers it her job to keep the squeakers silent.)

We arrived just in the nick of time to see Frankie and Buford on the television. Unbeknownst to me, the pregame show started earlier than three, and Frankie and Buford turned up larger than lifesize around 2:40. (I apologize to any of you who had hoped to catch it. You can see it here. Forward to minute 30 and then wait through a batch of forced-commercials and you’ll see their segment.)

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The game was fun to watch, but what was more fun was watching Frankie watch the game: Continue reading My One and Only Amstaff

The Ridiculous Nature of a Label

Can’t a dog just be a dog?

A happy dog? An energetic dog? A lazy dog? A funny dog? A best-friend dog? A dog who runs-thru-the-invisible-fence-and-rolls-in-horse-poop dog?

Why do we insist on labeling a dog as a particular breed? I’ve been thinking about this way too much of late. Partly, this is because of my new puppy, Frankie, but mostly this is because of my foster dog, Gala.

Frankie is, allegedly, a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Which only means that the vet who inspected him in South Carolina Continue reading The Ridiculous Nature of a Label