Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fetching Alanis, day six

This morning Guinevere, the neighbor’s Great Dane, barked from the other side of the wood fence. Alanis barked back with the thin, husky rasp of a dog that has been debarked instead of the usual Airedale’s loud baritone, known as the BigBadBark. I will have to get used to it. I have been told debarking is not uncommon among show dogs. It's done to serve people, however, not the dogs.

I took Emma, our first Airedale, to a new vet. While chatting, I mentioned that I called her inside the house when she started barking in the back yard. He said, "You'll be training her to bark when she wants to come inside."

I laughed, "No way. She loves being outdoors and doesn't want to come in."

He said, "You could have her debarked. It's a simple procedure and doesn't harm the dog."

We didn't go back to that vet.

After barking, Alanis stood up high on her toes, head up in the sparring stance and pawed the ground like a bull. Despite the display of spirit, she was still afraid of the food bowl, doing her approach and retreat dance when I held it out. She clearly wanted the food and would accept anything (canned food, pumpkin) I offered by hand. Mashed in water, sardines are still the best way to get her to drink. I’m starting to call her Fish-face.

I feel like Wiley Coyote with his failed inventions exploding in his face. I tried feeding her in her crate where she’d feel safe and private in her own den. It works for some dogs but she just stood there, neither sniffing at the bowl nor lying down.


  1. I didn't know that showdogs are often debarked. That is very sad. We had a coonhound and often they are debarked if they are taken in to be housepets, but our coonie had a wonderful big bark ... I am so sorry that I never recorded his voice. It rocked. "Fishface" makes us laugh. Maybe that would be a big seller in the flavoured pet waters?

  2. The Huskees that live across the street from us are debarked. We were under the impression that it was a horrible thing for a dog to go through! Poor Alanis! I, Miss Maggie, am a real chatterbox, about anything and everything! Mom says that I just don't know when to shut up!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch