21 September, 2010

Thinky thoughts on the adoration of dogs

As I’ve mentioned before, having a 60 minute commute on each end of my day gives me time to think a lot. Today I was pondering dogs and what it is about some of them that makes me fall so helplessly in love; the one bedrock, non-negotiable quality I have to have in a dog if I’m going to not just like the dog but be smitten. What I came up with, of course, is an answer maddeningly vague and imprecise: it’s a certain light in the dog’s eyes. The light is part brains, part capacity for joy, part ability to find fun, and part just sheer love.

Zille, for instance, hit me with the look the first time I threw the ball and she realized that the Dobermans did not want the ball, that she could have all the balls, forever, every time I threw it, it was our special game and no other dogs would jump her for the ball ever again, and that’s why I love Zille so much, and I even get dresses and costumes for her from sites like Novelty Street. And there it was, this glow behind her eyes. She still gets it every time I come home from work and whenever a ball comes out. Tink gets it, every time I come in the room or touch her or speak to her. Beowulf gets it for Daniel, not for me, but Beo and I like each other but have never deeply adored each other in the way the girldogs and I do.

Zille’s mother Danca gets it when you have something she wants and she gets an opportunity to do a little work for you; I was smitten by Danca one day when I was holding a piece of chicken jerky in my hand and she offered me a picture-perfect “finish”, snapping into place at my side and sitting and looking up with me, eyes aglow and ears up and I fell for her right there.

It’s indefinable, but I think most dog people would recognize it when they saw it, and probably even know exactly what I’m talking about now. It’s that indefinable light, spirit, soul, whatever you want to call it, that just shines from a dog sometimes. Without that, I can like a dog fine but I won’t fall hard. But I’ve never met a dog who had it that I didn’t love at least a little bit, even if the dog would be totally unsuitable for my family and situation.

24 August, 2010

Dog Pimping!

OK, so it’s not an emergency where a dog is going to die horribly if she doesn’t get a home, but it is a dog close to my heart.
A dark sable German Shedder lies on a rug, smiling at the camera and her head slightly cocked.  A ginormous baseball-lookin toy is between her front paws.
Zille’s mama Danca is 8 years old and looking for a retirement home. She is safe and cared for at Blackthorn Kennel but Christine really feels she deserves a cushy retirement gig where she doesn’t have to argue with other dogs about who owns the ball. Because Danca does. Also that ball. And that one. And that bone, and that bone, and that bone… Danca gave her daughter Zille not only incredible sweetness and heart, but a deep desire to own ALL THE TOYS.

She is housebroken and does not try to eat the furniture. She has more obedience on her than you will ever get without spending zillions of dollars, but she speaks German so you may need to take some language lessons if you want things more advanced than “sit” and “down”.

Here’s her page at the kennel. Please don’t be intimidated by the working pics, I will personally vouch for her kindness to humans. Schutzhund dogs are not randomly aggressive, they are tightly focused working dogs who don’t bite unless you ask them to. Don’t ask her to bite, and she won’t. In fact, Christine thinks she would probably look at you funny if you did ask her to bite someone, unless it was a scary someone trying to break into the house.

I could go on for days, and if I thought Danca would fit here at the Manor I wouldn’t even be making this post, I’d be playing with Danca out in the yard. But one bone-hoarding dog (Hi Zille!) and one bitch with a huge ego (Hi Tink!) are enough for any one family, so here I am humbly asking that if you have a spot in your heart for an older Shedder girl who would really like a comfy dog bed, a climate-controlled house, and ALL THE BONES AND BALLS EVER, well, you should get in touch with Christine at info@blackthornkennel.com. Tell her I sent you, and she will probably throw in, AT NO EXTRA CHARGE, some ridiculous story about me trying to steal her puppies.

The ideal home for Danca will feature a person of her very own who will baby-talk to her and give her ridiculous nicknames and smooch her nose and ruffle her ears, at least one cushy dog bed (or maybe she could share yours?), a big pile of bones and balls and toys that she can hoard to her heart’s content, and as many games of fetch as you can reasonably fit into the day. Also periodically you should re-scatter the bones and balls and toys so that she can have fun collecting them all again.

Oh and here’s Christine’s own pitch, which is much less entertaining but probably more helpful than mine:

She’s good with small dogs and cats, neutral and fairly gentle with kids (she likes them just fine but is not “in love” with them), friendly or neutral with people of all sorts. She is not aggressive with humans over food or ball and has a rather gentle mouth when taking treats from you. She’s got basic housetraining and housemanners and doesn’t chew on furniture. She loves her food and her ball and if you have either one she’ll snap into WORKING! mode for you. She’s very good in a crate in the house–quiet and content. In the kennel she gets bored and starts playing hockey with her food bowl or the water bucket and may throw them around and bark at them for entertainment. :)

She’s in great shape and has no known health issues. She’s a small, dark sable female (55 or so pounds). In general she is neutral to other dogs, male or female, but she won’t tolerate another dog trying to push her around. Mostly she just wants to be allowed to carry her ball everywhere. She’s available to a good home after being spayed.