Paranormal Activity: The Canine Edition

I’ve had my dog for about three months. In this time I have discovered that she’s more or less fearless. Except for the normal wariness of vacuums and baths, nothing seems to phase her. I’m sure that part of it is her breed — she’s a Cattle Dog mix, and any 40 lb dog who is bred to take on a bull without backing down has to have nerves of steel — but I think part of it is that whoever had her before me, did a good job of socializing her. She seems to trust people implicitly. The day I picked her up at the Humane Society she allowed me to literally pick her up and put her in the car. (My dogs growing up would freak out if you tried to pick them up…even when they were old and having trouble getting around on their own.) Maybelle will even do things like follow me across an unstable bridge on a playscape and loves the vet. When I walked her across a set of big metal bleachers she looked alarmed by the new surface and practically crawled across them, but she did it… she made it across and the next time it wasn’t such a big deal.

Every once in awhile I might ask her to do something and she looks at me like I’m crazy, and she might find a better way to accomplish the task, but she rarely backs away from anything. So when she woke me up whining at 2 a.m. last night I assumed she was having a bathroom emergency. Perhaps she had not gone before bed when I let her outside. I got up, put her collar on her, and started to head downstairs but she just stood there looking at me like she’d never seen stairs before. She would tentatively take a step down and then retreat. It was baffling.  Continue reading

Guess My Breed!!

Let’s play a new game I’m calling, “Guess My Breed!”

This is my dog Maybelle. She’s a very pretty lady, that’s for sure. But her heritage is more than just a little confusing.

From the neck down she’s all Australian Cattle Dog. And she’s definitely got the herding instinct and brains of a working dog. But that head… well, it’s a mystery. I’ve got some ideas about where I think that head came from, but I’m interested to see what other people think.

Those ears. That color. Those eyes. What’s your best guess?

Get Them Doggies Rollin’

Maybelle and I met up with Tracy and Tulla at the dog park today and after about 2 hours of watching my new pup try to herd the other dogs and generally boss them around I decided I should get more familiar with the Cattle Dog in her. This is, apparently, what I have to look forward to.

Cats & Dogs: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Moving into my house made me finally feel comfortable, and settled enough to really think about getting a dog. But…I’ve got two cats, and one has historically been very afraid of dogs. Even little dogs. I used to dog-sit a daschund and Jerry, my scaredy cat, would just hide under the bed unless the dog was asleep in his crate. Jerry outweighed the dog by at least 6 pounds.

So I’ve been on a mission to desensitize him to dogs. Oddly my first attempt, with another small dog, didn’t seem to go over that well. He continued to hide under the bed, and make terrible growling and wailing noises (that my friend describes as a muffled fire engine). I was, however, surprised to wake up in the morning (with the dog under the blankets in my bed) to find Jerry wandering freely around my room. Once the dog got up that was all over, but at least I knew he’d come out from under the bed.

Then another friend stopped by with her border collie. Jerry went and hid upstairs again, but when the dog settled down I saw him come creeping down the stairs. As soon as he saw the dog he high-tailed it upstairs again but that was a big step forward. (Meanwhile, my other cat was feeling a bit threatened by the dog’s boldness and attacked him to let him know who is boss.) Continue reading

Dogs, Bikes, & the Fine Art of Procrastination

It would figure that my busiest time of the year at work happened to coincide with my move. It was…um…hellish.

So I’m sure you can understand that I’ve managed to watch three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix in the matter of a couple weeks. Yes, I’ve used Walter White as a distraction to veg out and keep from finishing unpacking those last few pesky boxes that are filled with God-only-knows what. Where did I get all these Mardi Gras beads, and loose change?

When I’m not busy wondering about the fate of Walter and Jesse, I’ve been trying to ride my bike. My little brother’s freshmen football games are about .7 miles from my house. So I especially like to hop on the trusty old bike and head on over there to watch. Then, a few hours later, I head home.  But these visits to his games make me want a dog.

Specifically, I want this dog:

Wilbur is at a local pound where a friend of mine works. I’ve been to visit him a couple of times and dogs don’t get much sweeter than this guy. They also don’t get much lazier. Apparently no one told Wilbur that Pit Bulls are tough, athletic dogs. (Don’t be fooled by his soccer ball, this guy is not into running.) This guy is a big baby. He loves other dogs, and he looooves the ladies. Wilbur–whose pound is right next to the high school–has made a few trips to the school softball games and he’s a hit!

For the time being, though, I’m working on  getting my scaredy-cat, Jerry, to learn to co-exist with dogs. I’ve volunteered to take my friend’s dog for a few days while she’s on her honeymoon, which will be the longest Jerry’s been around a dog. He can hide under a bed for a day or so, but over the course of a long weekend we’ll learn whether or not he can come to understand, “This dog doesn’t want to eat me.”