Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Alanis meets Miro

Alanis came home from the kennel looking like a fuzzy bear after they washed and put conditioner on her coat. Then they brushed her out so that all her fur stood on end. Very fluffy and cute.

In the back yard, the big monster sniffed at Miro. He turned and ran to the back door, then came dashing out again.

This is the way he handles anything scary--run to a safe distance, then come roaring back to meet the Big Scary Thing. Alanis was very happy to find a playmate. She wagged her tail and sniffed him all over. She wants to pounce and wrestle the way she would with a grown dog but it's clear that she holds back.

When Miro Monkey-butt is too obnoxious, she makes a rumbly lion noise and he backs off. When Alanis is too rough, the puppy rolls onto his back in submission, and sometimes she rolls him over a few more times.

It's impossible to get good photos of the two in action because my camera is too slow. Between the time that I hit the button and the shutter clicks, the dogs are halfway across the yard and all I get is a blur like this:

Oh, well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Miro Meets Chickens

What are those those things?

Hmmm, interesting.


What th--?

Birds! Look, I can point!

Well, sort of.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Arriving home with the puppy

What should have been 7 hours travel time turned into more than 10, thanks to a delay at Chicago's O'Hare where it was snowing. (Did you know the airport roof leaks?) Puppy was so quiet that people asked if he were drugged. I always answered with a polite "No" and the sickly smile that says, "I think that's asinine but am too polite to say so." And they kept asking me his name and I said "Miro" and I don't even know if it's the right name.

We get home and go outside for pleasant puppy playtime. We dash around. He stops. He’s eating grass! Is he going to throw up? The ivy, he tore at the ivy, is it poisonous? What about all the other plants? Dandelion greens, they’re OK. OMG, the gravel walkway! I forgot about dogs eating rocks. He picked up a piece! He dropped it. Maybe I should get somebody out here to cover the entire walkway with cement. Like tomorrow. Maybe I should cover the whole yard in cement—that’ll keep him safe. And inside the house, cement. He can’t chew through it.

The trees! He’s picking up pine needles; I'll cement the trees, too. He’s sniffing at the place where I put compost on the flower beds. He’ll smell the chicken poop. He’ll want to eat it; it’ll make him sick. Yikes! There’s a place where he could crawl under the house. Why didn’t I notice that? Am I out of my mind? Quick, find a barricade.

He circles, he poops. Good boy! Some more play and we go back inside. He slips through a gap in the baby gate and pees in the living room. Oh no, we’ve been here half an hour and already I’ve done everything wrong. I should be fired. The breeder will demand him back because I'm an unfit mother. I've made puppy think the carpet is the pee place. I’ll have to keep him out of the living room for the next three years.

Okay, time to put him in the crate for a while. Wait, I’ve forgotten how to crate train. Put some treats inside. Are these treats all right for puppies? He’s never had them before; they might make him sick. He’s in the crate; he’s crying. Wait, wait, I can’t let him out until he quiets. This is worse than bringing home a human baby for the first time. No human baby can make such an eardrum-piercing noise, thank goodness he didn’t do that in the airplane, they would have thrown me off.

He’s quiet, I let him out, he zooms around the kitchen. I have to put the recycling box up on the counter now. And the towels, get the kitchen towels out of the way. Home less than an hour and already the counters are covered with junk. The parrots are screaming bloody murder. After twenty-five years, don't they know an Airedale when they see one?

Oh, he's sitting looking at me in that perfect Airedale puppy way. Get the camera! Oops, the battery ran down. Last week I used up the battery taking photos of stupid buildings and now I can't photograph puppy's first Cute Look. But he's quiet now, he's sitting still, we're quiet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Preparing for puppy pick-up

I dropped Alanis off today at the boarding kennel and watched her being led away, tail tucked, head down as if she were on her way to an unpleasant procedure at the vet's (or maybe a bath). Talk about guilt.

Next week at this time I should be introducing the puppy. Talk to you then!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Alanis' discovery

When I was engaged in the fruitless effort of removing ivy in the back yard, Alanis found buried treasure left there by the family who lived in this house before me.

It must have acquired a certain je ne sais quoi from the ivy and dirt because it immediately became a favorite. And, to her disappointment, I had to take it away before she cut her gums or broke off a piece. I don't know if she'd swallow it but won't take chances.

Better than the toy was a visit yesterday from 6-yr-old Wrigley. When they were greeting and sparring, Wrigley jumped straight off the ground, all four feet at once, like a piece of popcorn. His person, Cindy, and I were too busy talking and watching the dogs to think of photos but there should be more later when we do a puppy playdate.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Did I buy enough toys?

Since I'm starting a new generation of Airedales, it seemed time to buy new toys. Not all the old ones will be thrown out--there are Kongs, treat puzzles, a pink elephant, fleece toys that are still in good shape. But a puppy arriving at the end of the month will need his own toys. A fresh start with chewies for teething, baby Kong for treats, and squeakies.

Confession: I might keep the bad scary cat for myself. Don't you think it makes a nice bed decoration?

Since I was out buying toys, I had to get a new one for Alanis. It's a flat fuzzy toy with two squeakers. I picked out the ringneck pheasant.

First she retrieved it.

Then she killed it.

Then she settled down to tear its little feathers off and "eat" it.

The breeder from whom I'm getting a little boy said he'd pick out the one that's the least "birdy" because it's not a good idea to bring home a dog with a high prey drive who is intent on fetching chickens, dead or alive. Flat Pheasant will have to suffice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A most wonderful website

I came across the website for the Animal Personality Institute which is doing a long-term study on dog personality. Anybody can do the survey and learn how their dog scores on several traits, such as fearfulness, trainability, aggression. Also, it's great to see the scientific community taking seriously the study of animal personality.

See the Dog Personality Questionnaire