Dogs Archives

November 30, 2004

Sleeping Dogs Lie

Dozing Dingo

This article on Slate advocates sleeping with your dogs (contrary to years worth of folk wisdom about the negative side-effects: an inflated sense of self-worth in the home social hierarchy being the chief one.) My favorite quote:

An account from a 19th-century explorer in Australia, as quoted in The Domestic Dog, describes how Aborigines were so devoted to their dingoes that the dogs were treated as members of the family and allowed to sleep in the hut. (The rock group Three Dog Night takes its name from the supposed Aboriginal practice of judging the coldness of an evening by the number of dogs required to keep warm.)
Sinister Above is a picture of our dingo-dog, Dozer. He's an absolute gentleman in bad at night - never snores, lie with the grain instead of against it. Demon Polly, however, is another matter altogether. (I found the Slate article on Modern Pooch, which looks promising.)

February 14, 2005

Fur Slippers

Dozer and Polly are at the vet's this morning, and the quiet hush in the house is deafening. We dropped them off at 8AM for their regular dental workup.

Polly was mouthy-but-compliant, walking into the back-room as if she were on a great adventure. Not even a look back over her shoulder. Dozer? Ass down, tail tucked, haunches taut. Pulling back on his leash like Satan himself were on the other end of it.

I never realize how much good energy those dogs put into this house, until those (rare) moments when they're not here with us. I call them my 'Fur Slippers', cause they're always on my feet. I can't wait until this afternoon to go fetch my pair.

March 11, 2005

Thoughts on confusing perspective in dog photography

Originally uploaded by soldierant.
Our dog Polly is small. Not Do Pesos small, but she's certainly no bruiser. 20 lbs, most of it heart. (And the remainder attitude.) Yet she never looks all that small in photographs. I carry a picture of her and my wife on my Treo as wallpaper, and occasionally someone will see it and (due to her coloration, I suppose) ask if she's a Rottweiler! Gawd no, she's just a mouthy Manchester Terrier/Chihuahua mix. In the picture (which I won't post here, cause my wife hates that picture) the perspective is a little screwy - Polly is on her lap, and leaning into the camera, therefore the dog's head looks about twice its actual size.

We've kinda got the same problem with our other dog, Dozer. He's not a big dog either (50lbs - big to some, but friends who've never seen him in person sometimes think he's a horse.) And when we photograph the dogs together it gets real confusing, real quick. Due to perspective, she sometimes ends up looking bigger than him.

What's my point? None, I suppose. But I've had this idea in mind to do a series of photographs of the dogs, with various reference points (alongside a human, compared to a hydrant, that kind of thing.) If I get around to it, keep an eye on Flickr, or here.

Oh, and other people must have the same problem with their doggey-pictures.

April 4, 2005

Frito Feet

This has been true of every dog I've ever known. (Well, at least the ones that I've known well enough to sniff their feet.) When dogs get dirt and dust on the pads of their feet, which then 'bakes in' through perspiration, the resulting smell is not unlike that of a bag of Fritos. In fact, I would venture to say that it smells exactly like a bag of Fritos. (My wife, who's sense of smell is much more discerning than mine, says that sometimes Polly's feet smell more like cheesecorn. I'll take her word for it.) I don't know if this fact makes me like dogs more, or dislike Fritos more.

Update 20 seconds after posting: Obviously, I'm not the only one who's noticed this phenomenon.

April 10, 2005

Sheer Happiness

Sheer happiness is this: catching, from the corner of your eye, your small dog, who is slumbering under the coffee table as you surf blogs on the couch. In her sleep, her tail is at a full wag.

April 15, 2005

Kick the Habit

Ted's riffing on smoking chimps and it reminded me about something I've been wanting to share about our dog Polly. We brought her home in August of 2003 from Columbus' Franklin County Animal Shelter. The orginal plan was to foster Polly until we could find her a loving family. We did the latter, but failed miserably at the former and now she's a permanent fixture.

She was turned in to the pound as a stray, so we don't have much history on her, other than what we've been able to observe. She was obviously loved by someone and treated well (her sunny disposition and self-assuredness are evidence of this.) She's got a couple teeth missing (not unusual for a dog her age, estimated to be 4-ish.) I personally think her owner was single, a male, and quite possibly an older gentleman. And here's why...

When we first got Polly, she absolutely did not get along with my wife LeeAnn. Snarling, nipping, mistrust. She bit LeeAnn twice. It was actually very upsetting for a while. A good long while.

We laughed it off at first (my recurring joke was that we had two headstrong bitches in the house) but eventually it just became evident to me: Polly had never lived with a woman. I just don't think she knew what a human woman was. (If you're wondering, me she bonded with almost instantly. In fact, we were fast friends almost from the moment I first held her at the shelter.) And she also developed instant crushes on any male friends who came to visit the house. So, okay, Polly lived with a man.

She also exhibited the weirdest bit of behavior back in those days: she would sit on my lap, and hold her snout an inch from my nostrils. Just hold it there, as if she were waiting for something. If I craned my neck to the left, snout went left. To the right? Snout went right. LeeAnn claimed that Polly was 'stealing my breath.' I formed a theory right around the time we gave Polly her first bath.

Our dogs are indoor dogs, and generally smell pretty good -- Dozer, in fact, has a pleasant naturally-occuring nutty scent -- so we only rarely give them baths. The first time we dropped Polly in the tub, we'd probably had her for 3 weeks. (She was getting over kennel-cough contracted at the shelter.) Her coat was a mess -- her undercoat was worse. And worst of all, once wet, she absolutely reeked of smoke. Like she'd been dipped in nicotine and wrapped in tobbaco every night for a year. Okay, her owner was a smoker. And... waitamminit!

Stealing my breath? Dammit, I think she had been waiting on a toke! I think that Polly was a smoker. Her owner must have supported her habit by puffing into her waiting face! And her disposition was bearing this theory out. Her crankiness with LeeAnn probably reached its peak a couple of weeks after she entered our home, then abated over time. (Today they're fast friends -- cuddling all the time. It'd make you sick, I tellya.) I think she was going through withdrawal.

She also had bad asthmatic episodes when she first came to live with us (that have all but disappeared since she 'kicked.') Sucking and wheezing, trying to get air into her little doggy lungs.

But why do I think that Polly's owner was an older smoking, single gentleman? Well, this part is highly speculative, and kinda sad. But we've thought a lot about what circumstances must have brought her to the pound.

Her official records state 'turned in as stray' (with no location of capture listed --we asked, with every intent of trying to find her owners.) But we've found Polly to be a pretty responsible, and completely non-escapive dog. (If your dog is an escape-artist, you know what I'm talking about here.) Polly just doesn't have a wandering jones. In fact, nothing makes her happier than to lay on her bed all day long. So it's unlikely she wandered off on purpose.

But of course, dogs get lost for all kinds of reasons. It is curious to us, however, noone came looking for such a happy, sunny little dog. (Remember, it was obvious to us from the first that Polly had been treated well and loved by someone.) LeeAnn made it her life's mission for weeks to find this dog's family. Periodic checks with the shelter (no one had enquired), filing reports with Pet FBI (and monitoring the site for months afterward.) Who could love this dog, raise her to 4 years old, and then forget about her so completely?

I guess the sad truth is that there are any number of heartless bastards out there in the world who could probably turn in a dog that they've cared for and walk away without a backwards glance. But for some reason, in my mind, Polly's owner never came looking for her because he can't. I kind of believe that he passed away. (From cancer? I wonder) And I think his family took Polly to the pound because noone wanted to take her on as their own. Like I said.. highly speculative on my part. And definitely sad.

In the end, I guess it doesn't really matter. She's ours now. For always and forever.

September 16, 2005


Oh gawd this cracks me up. It's a dog defending a piece of meat against a Sony AIBO robot dog (with comical little tufts of hair stuck all over it.) Listen for the warning growls.. and the woman's scream at the end. It's timeless. (In fact, if you substitute a Frosty Paws treat for the cut of meat, and an actual small dog for the AIBO, we played out a very similar scenario with our two brats a couple weeks back.

November 6, 2005

Polly Pumpkin Eater

This is but a short preview of a much longer piece, involving Polly and Dozer attacking some pumpkins in our backyard. (This actually happened in the Fall of last year, but I'll present it here as if it were timely.)

Click on the picture to play the video

My favorite part is either: (a) where she ckhacks up a wad of phlegm, mid-growl; or (b) where she slips out of character and noses her way right past the Fourth Wall (Parker Lewis-style.) Of course, if you see her wiggling tale near the end of the piece, you realize it's all an act. She's gruff-but-lovable, like Abe Vigoda as Fish.

November 8, 2005

Meet Kirby

Poor Stray Boy, originally uploaded by soldierant.

This is a dog in need of some help. "Kirby" is a new addition to our home (well, to our backyard.) I found him on an interstate exit yesterday morning. I could tell from the car that he was lost and exhausted; it took me 40 minutes of tracking and chasing, by car and on foot, to catch up with him. (And this was not rapid pursuit.. he was moving at what could only be described as a 'creaky lope' most of the time.) In and out of the back alleys along Main Street, in Columbus. At one point he crossed Main Street, in traffic, which is a terrifying thought.

More terrifying is the realization that this dog has probably been living like this for weeks. It's not evident from the picture, but Kirby's ribs are almost cutting through his skin. I could probably wrap both hands around his stomach and they'd meet at the fingertips. The average German Shepherd weighs 75-95 lbs. Kirby weighs 58.

But what a trooper. When I finally caught up to him, he was laying against a pharmacy storefront, tuckered out with no more fight or flight left in him. He must've slept for 14 straight hours in our backyard yesterday. At times I thought he'd passed, but his thin sides continue to rise and fall, rise and fall..

Our own dogs have been surprisingly respectful, and given Kirby some space and some peace. (Polly is the surprise, in this respect -- that dog can't let anything go without a huff and a good bitchin. Perhaps she remembers her own inaugural crash on a convalescent bed in our home.)

Today's been a better day for him. It started with a full exam at the vet's, where the prognosis was mostly good. Early-stage cataract growth in his eyes tells us that he's not a young dog. He's got bad skin problems (probably a flea allergy), broken teeth, and an ear infection. And, of course, severe malnutrition. Fortunately, all these problems are tractable ones. (Okay, those teeth aren't growing back, but...) So Kirby will be living with us for awhile, fattening up and getting his sorry little life back in order.

If it's ever been in order.He's a gentle, kind soul but a couple of things make us suspect that he came from neglect. You've got to look hard, and peer past the layers of recent trauma -- the skinny body and matted fur. That probably came from the last couple of weeks, and life on the street. But the worn down nubby incisors? And the bald, dry scabby behind? The vet thinks that probably predates his stray period. He looks, for all the world, like a dog that's been tied outside and forgotten. For a long time.

We don't know what to make of his past, but we're probably going to put very little energy into finding his previous owners. (Of course, we checked Pet FBI and a couple of other forums.) We're going to focus on getting Kirby strong, then finding someone who wants to make a kind old dog very happy for the remaining years of his life.

We really don't want to adopt Kirby, for a couple of reasons, but we absolutely won't let him come to harm again. He's our responsibility, now, until we can find someone willing to make him theirs. And he is a sweet, sweet boy.

November 10, 2005

Kirby, Day 4

Kirby is doing well, and has is starting to grow just a little bit of fat on his sides. He seems to be scratching less (a slick of Advantix took care of the fleas, and daily cortisone pills keep the itching down.) And LeeAnn bought him a Kong and a huge jar of peanut butter to stuff it with. He's been carrying it around the yard -- his first possession!

Kirby was a little overzealous when I tried to hand feed him last night (a hamburger bun stuffed with drugs.) he broke the skin on my index finger. Ouch. Okay, food goes in the bowl...

November 20, 2005

In from the cold

Kirby has been spending some time inside the house this weekend, since his second grooming. His skin problems are starting to settle (so he smells better) and the antibiotics he's been taking don't seem to upset his.. um.. digestive functions like they had been. (So no more mustard-gas farts.) Here's Kirby watching the Ohio State/Michigan game. (Rather, watching me watching the game.)

Update 11/21: LeeAnn just pointed out to me that if you listen, near the end of the clip -- where Kirby turns to walk away -- you can hear Miss Polly growl at him.

December 2, 2005

Second Trip to the Vet

This coming Monday will mark Kirby's 1-month anniversary in our home. We just took him in for his followup appointment with the vet earlier this week.

There was some good news (he's gained 3 lbs and his skin condition is clearing up), some bad news (the vet's worried that he might have a tumor in one of his testicles) and some.. well, just interesting news: Dr. Judy says that she thinks Kirby's probably 10 or 11 years old. (Which is about 2-3 years older than we'd previously thought.)

The tumor will come off in a couple of weeks (when the testicles do -- sorry, Kirbs. You know we love you, but them things've got to go.) Then they'll do a biopsy to see if it's malignant. If it is then there'll likely be some followup tests to see if it spread any beyond the.. um, removed artifacts. So I'm a little worried for the guy, but he'll be just fine, I'm sure of it.

January 7, 2006

Meet Kirby Glass

Like there was ever any doubt: LeeAnn and I have decided to keep Kirby. It's really not been any decision at all -- he's such a polite and gentle dog. We actually made the decision a couple weeks ago, during the holidays. I was waiting to write something up here until I got a decent picture of him. These aren't great, but they certainly show how relaxed he's become around us.

Healthwise, he's doing great. His last trip to the vet was for a dental cleaning and neutering. No problems with either, and he's almost ready to start long walks again in the evening. (He's been on limited excercise until the stitches heal.) There was indeed a tumor on one of his testicles, but the biopsy showed it to be benign. Whew.

In fact, his last lingering health problem is a persistent infection in his left ear, and I think that yesterday brought a breakthrough in that area, so to speak. When I woke Kirby in the morning to let him out with Dozer and Polly, I found his ear coated with the foulest brown wax (hard, plasticey and pea-sized stuck in the fur around his ear) and a slick of oily gunk around it.

It looks like, all these weeks, he's been plagued by a thick cap of wax that was holding captive a stagnant pool of green mucous and bacteria. Yuck. The daily earwash we'd been giving him finally loosened the whole mess out of there. (Thank GOD! We were just preparing to take him for another round at the Vets. I haven't mentioned it here yet, but Kirby's health woes are quickly becoming our financial woes.)

So we think he's going to be alright. His hearing has certainly improved today.

January 12, 2006

Pondering dogs and water

Each of our three dogs has, to one degree or another, exhibited food aggression. If you're not a dog person, let me explain: it's an aggressive (snarling, growling or - at worst - biting) stance that a dog will take over his or her food bowl to warn others, be they human, canine or feline, to back off and stay away.

So here's what I'm wondering: I've never seen a dog exhibit water-bowl aggression. Even our Miss Polly, who is by far the worst of the lot with the food thing, has no concerns whatsoever about sharing her water-trough with the others. Doesn't even bat an eyelash. I've seen her and Dozer face-down in the water bowl at the same exact time. (He always lifts out and drips all over the top of her head. It's a mess.) Do you suppose dogs have some rudimentary instinctual scarcity model for food that doesn't apply to (generally abundant) water?

March 16, 2006

Wet, wary and reluctant

Ah, this is an old favorite of mine. Dozer reluctantly submits to public humiliation (a bath) and gets his reward at the end.

March 28, 2006

An uplifting pug story

Just a little something that made me smile. The Internet chipped in to save Buck the pug after he had a run of misfortune. Buck made an ill-advised bid for freedom, straight out into the street. 3 broken legs and a $3,000 quote for the necessary surgery left his prospects looking grim:

Colleen Bighley shared her grief on a pug-lovers' website, where she's posted messages and pictures for two years. She wrote about her plans to bring Buck home for one last night before putting him to sleep.

A worldwide community of pug people wouldn't let that happen.

Good on ya, Internet! Pugs need a helping hand every so often.

May 13, 2006

Ear Infections and Toxic Fart Clouds

Yep, this is another Kirby entry, but a short one. He's doing really well. This past Thursday marked his 5-month anniversary with us! and I can't believe he healthy he's become.

He gets really saucy a couple of times a night, and will lay on his back on the carpet, making funny grunting sounds and snapping his jaws in the air. I should really videotape it sometime soon.

Dozer and Polly are comfortable enough with Kirby. There's a lot of social posturing, and some outright agression (usually related to food.) But Kirby's so patient that he (almost) never reciprocates. So little slights blow over quickly.

And, it pains me to say it, but he still has that damn ear infection. It went away for a time. Almost a month. We had an ear culture done, and he's 2 weeks into yet-another round of antibiotics (oral and ointment) and daily ear-washes. And LeeAnn and I taking turns swabbing out his ear canal with wadded-up tissues.

The antibiotics, of course, have a wonderful effect on his digestive tract. He may look like an angel lying asleep on the carpet at my feet, but the periodic blasts of foul-ish green stink tell another tale altogether.

November 9, 2006

Heart Attack

I did a very stupid thing tonight. On the dogs' last trip out for the night I emptied out our kitchen garbage can, and brought the bag with me. My plan was to take it through the garage and back to our collection can in the alley. Usually when I do this, I let Dozer come with me while Polly and Kirby stay in the fenced yard.

Dozer gets to enjoy this privilege because he's the only one of our three dogs that we truly trust not to run away. (If you know Dozer, you know that he's a big old cautious baby. Never more than 2 steps behind someone's heels.) We don't really believe that Polly or Kirby would, but.. they both did stints as strays, so who's to tell? Let's just say that we usually keep a pretty close eye on all three of them.

Tonight, however, as I was wrestling with the garage door, and the garbage bag, and trying to let Dozer follow me through while keeping Kirby at bay (and he can be brutishly stubborn when he wants his way)...

Miss Polly snuck past my heels and into the garage without me noticing.

And worse yet, when I hit the switch to trip the garage door, she went under (still unnoticed) and out into the inky night. My danger detectors knew that something was wrong, because once I'd finished throwing out the garbage, I called for Dozer. I couldn't see him, but I could hear him thrashing around in the mulch of the condos across the alley. He finally slinked back into the light, with his head hanging low.

Dozer has very expressive ears. When anything is off with his posture, he's usually trying to tell you something. The way he was hemming and hawing around, the way he was dragging his feet to come back into the garage (I was getting impatient with him: “C'MAWN!” I finally barked to get him inside.) He was, of course, trying to tell me that his Miss Polly was still outside in the night. In downtown Columbus. All alone. All 20 lbs of her.

When I couldn't find her in the yard, I thought she was messing with me. Somewhere in the bushes, or between the fence and the garage, where she likes to explore. It was so damn dark she could've been standing at my feet and I would've had to look hard twice to tell. So I called for her. And called. Our yard is not that big. Usually I can hear her walking around if nothing else. My stomach started to sink. Polly was NOT IN THE YARD.

Holy shit. Polly was not in the yard.

After a couple more minutes, I was frantic. I started doubting myself. Maybe she was back inside with LeeAnn. Maybe she didn't come out with us after all! That's it, I'm sure she's still inside.. probably looking out the door of the back patio with her shiny little eyes. But, of course, I was wrong. Nothing inside but a startled, pregnant and now suddenly terrified LeeAnn.

I grabbed a flashlight and headed back out into the night. With Kirby and Dozer now locked in the patio, LeeAnn was calling her in the yard and I hit the alley behind. A huge gaping hole opened up in my heart, and I could feel it bleeding down into my shoes.

I really don't want to belabor this story. After grilling 2 neighbors a block down (who had just seen a dog, but -- after some clarification -- had obviously not seen my dog) I headed back down the alley toward our garage, just in time to see a little black silhouette come skittering into the light.. that one white sock lit up like a beacon. My baby was back. She was panting and heaving with excitement (or fear - I've seen the same reaction from her in both circumstances.) But otherwise she was fine. Oh, and I think she found something funky to roll in, cause she still smells a little suspect.

She'd only been on her own for.. 8 minutes, 10 tops. But, unless you've loved a teeny, fearless (but ultimately vulnerable) dog like Polly, it might be hard to understand how hard those 10 minutes hit me and LeeAnn. I felt like I'd let her down. At that point, I still had no idea how she'd got out. (I still don't know for sure, but the 'distracted by dogs and trash' scenario makes a lot of sense. Polly's pulled similar shenanigans before.) I know that someday, we'll lose all of our dogs, but not like this, was all I could think to myself. Dear god, not like this.

I think I would have died tonight had she not returned safely. I know I'd still be out there, walking/driving and roaming the neighborhood. I am so glad she came back to us. So glad.

I just walked upstairs to check on her, and give her a peck on the head. She's safely nestled onto her bed, looking out into the alley behind the house. Site of her great adventure. Only she knows what illicit spoils she found out there. What wonderful delights for a tiny dog and her night on the town.

November 13, 2006

One Ruggy Year

In our family, animals have names, and animals have names. All our dogs acquire nicknames at an astonishing pace. Many names, and some of them come and some of them go, but some stick 'cause they're just so right and true to the nature of the beast.

Kirby has been with us for 1 year, now. When Kirby first came to live with us, we weren't even sure he was going to stay. (For the first couple days, I wasn't sure he was going to live.) But we named him fairly quickly, because 'he' 'it' and 'here, boy' got boring quick.

We'd never named one of our dogs before. Dozer's given name is 'Captain Dozer' and he was named by Doug & Marcie, in San Jose years before we ever dreamt of such a wonderful dog. Polly was... god knows what, for ~3 years of her life. She became “Polly” by virtue of some kind soul at Franklin County Animal Shelter after she arrived there as a stray.

Imagine what a heartbreaking job it must be to name dogs and cats at animal intake at a busy public shelter. Many them bound for euthanasia. Whoever named our Polly, we thank you, because the name fits her like a glove. She's a lady, in the classic sense, but she's a good-time gal.

So naming Kirby was not a task I took lightly. I've always had a theory about quality dog naming, and my theory is this: the best, most classic dog names share a common formula. 2 syllables, with the emphasis on the first syllable. That's it.

Lassie, Benjy, Boomer, Dozer, Polly, Hoagie, Brodie.

A friend once told me that they believed the same thing and they believe that it has some foundation in dog psychology as well: something about shorter names being easier for the dog to remember/differentiate from other words. Whatever. I just know what I like. (And my apologies if your dog is named 'Sir Wentworth Duckbutter' or something. I'm not saying you have a lame dog... just a lame name.)

So, following my simple formula, I started playing around with names for our big new arrival. Aside from the construction of the name, it also had to fit his personality. Or at least what we'd been able to observe of his personality after ~48 hours (most of which he spent sleeping.)

So I briefly flirted with the idea of 'Cody.' It fit my formula, and it reminded me of a Kodiak bear. Kirby has always looked to us like a cross between a friendly bear and a wookie. I think he even spent a couple of hours as Cody, but.. strangely enough, two things happened. The first is that I started to feel like Cody sounded like some precocious child actor from a failed early-90s sitcome. (Like, the kid who wasn't good enough to be the next Joey Lawrence.)

The second, more remarkable, thing is that I couldn't remember the damn name. Every time I went to call it out to him, something else entirely came out. And.. 8 times out of 10, that name that came out was Kirby. Ah... Kirby. Perfect. I retroactively invented the rationale: “We named him Curb-ey because we found him on the side of the road!” (groan.) But that's not true at all.

We named him Kirby because that's his name.

I liked the name for other pleasant associations as well. Of course, there's Jack Kirby, who's arguably the most influential comics artist of the late-20th century. And then there's that other big friendly guy that kids love at first sight.

But, with a full, given, formal (and soon after, legal) name in place, we could commence with the truly important task. Giving him a good nickname. Or several.

An early one that stuck around for quite a while (it still makes the odd appearance now and again) is 'Galumphagus' (pronounced gal-UMF-a-gus.) I dubbed him this after seeing the odd dipsy-doodle way that he gets up from a lying stance and mopes around a room. Kinda like a big galumph. (It was also inspired by Aloysius Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street.) For a good long while, it fit him to a 'T'. Plus I liked saying it, even though it's a mouthful. It makes me feel like I've got my very own imaginary muppet.

But, of course, Kirby's a real dog, not an imaginary one. And, for the longest time, he had real problems. With his ears, and his balance. And the healthier he got, and the more the infection cleared from his ears, the better his balance got, too. At some point, he stopped galumphing across the room, and started gliding. (Okay, he's still semi-blind, but he's surprisingly graceful if you'd known the oaf that he was a year ago.)

So Galumphagus just started feeling less and less 'right' for him. (And.. to be honest.. once I'd realized what was causing his clumsy ways, it started to feel a little mean to me.)

So Kirby didn't get his real real name until about 4 months ago. And it was LeeAnn that finally struck gold. In fact, I was away on a business trip when it happened. Somehow.. while I was away, LeeAnn and Kirby really hit it off. She's always loved Kirby, but she takes a little longer than I do to firmly bond with a dog. I'm an instant sap... she usually likes to just let the dog's charm win her over.

I came home to find her calling him 'Ruggy' and - once again - it was like a lightbulb going off. Of course he's Ruggy! Early in his stay with us, she used to joke that he looks 'like a Flokati Rug', especially when he does his 'special move' about once a night.

Usually in the early evening, after his dinner, Kirby likes to lie on his back in the living room, all four paws in the air and swing from side to side while snapping his jaws and making the funniest grunting noise. I call this move 'The Snappy Joe.' But he does look like a small area-rug when he does this, with his long and luxurious chest-hair waving to and fro with the motion of his snappy gesticulations.

And he sure does like to lie around a lot, too. In fact, he's lying at my feet as I write this. (Unfortunately, breaking the foulest of winds from the rawhide chew that we gave him earlier tonight.)

So he's been Ruggy ever since. And always will be. J. Kirbicus Galumphagus Rugg-Montague Glass. Or 'Kirby.' Whatta Ruggy.


January 12, 2007

It's the size of the fight in the dog

Tonight, we had our first real knock-down, drag-out dog fight in the house. And it's not at all what we expected.

Ever since Kirby's been living with us (or at least since he's gained weight and become healthy) we always kinda worried that he and Dozer were going to go at it someday. Those two jealous boys circle each other all day, with suspicious sidelong glances and low guttural growls. It's classic pack male behavior: jockeying for status, testing each other's limits. I've pulled them off of each other several times, but it's mostly all sound and no fury. A lot of snarling and shaking of heads with no actual violence being perpetrated.

So... of course... leave it to Miss Polly to show them both how shit goes down.

Kirby wasn't even involved. He was resting his old bones out on the cool floor of our back sun-room. He lays there sometimes when his coat gets too hot for him. Fortunately, I'd closed the door on him and trapped him out there, cause I think he might've come running when the commotion started.

LeeAnn asked me to get a toy and play with Dozer a bit. She'd been meaning to take him for a walk all day but it's been kinda crappy and drizzly out and she gets tired more easily lately (just entered the 6th month of the pregnancy, after all.) So I took a squeaky-plush lamb (once Dozer's favorite toy) down from the kitchen pantry and we started playing on the living room floor. A little keep-away, a little tug of war, a little dining-room fetch—your standard doggie roughhousing.

Miss P was upstairs somewhere, probably snugly nestled in our bed, down under the covers where she spends most of the winter. (Those of you with chihuahuas will understand.) But she heard the irresistible bleating of the squeaky plush lamb and came jingle-jangling down the stairs to investigate.

I'd like to say that I didn't cause what followed. And I'd like to say that my dear sweet (normally) level-headed wife didn't put me up to it. But that would be a lie. See, we've always thought it would be cute if our dogs would play tug-o-war with each other.

Yes, we know there's a size-and-strength imbalance. And we know that—while they share a grudging camaraderie together—Polly and Dozer haven't always been the most civil dogs to each other. But dammit, it's just so darn cute to see two dogs pulling on opposite ends of a squeaky-plush lamb toy. So I tried (persistently, for about 5 minutes) to feed them each an opposite end of the toy.

Polly was interested (ears up, tail wagging, eyes big) but more than a little scared to take hold. Dozer was relaxed and playful, but he didn't really want anyone else on his toy. When she finally grabbed, he let go and she turned with it to dash. ('Ha ha! It's mine' she undoubtedly thought.)

Then Dozer lunged at her.

It went down quick and nasty. Dozer made his feeble growl and a lunge. Polly turned on him and absolutely punked his beta-dog ass. All twenty pounds of her latched onto his silky brown cattledog ear and bit down hard. Real hard. Dozer was crying out like a girl. Polly was latched on, shaking (and scratching the hell out of my arm which I'd somehow gotten in there, in a futile attempt to break them up.) She was only on him for about 10 seconds, but the way he was crying? Must've felt like a lifetime.

LeeAnn was upset. Dozer was bleeding. Polly was shaking. And I was laughing. Damn man. That little dog can really mix it up.

Polly's got these little black dots on the knuckles of her forepaws. We call them her 'prison tats.' And tonight they spelled L-O-V-E.


February 19, 2007

A Seasonal Sampling of Pollytude

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Polly's like a broken record. Always guarding some (completely arbitrary) object. She puffs herself up to look all vicious, tail wagging the whole time. I'm feeling somewhat better this morning, and her little attitude never fails to brighten my outlook.

November 15, 2007

Two Ruggy Years

Boy, I really muffed that—I had thought that yesterday was our 2-year anniversary with Kirby. Turns out that it was last week, on November 7. Well, he's still a wonderful dog, either way. Here's to you Kirby—may we have many more happy years with you and your toxic fart clouds.

About Dogs

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Soldier Ant in the Dogs category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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