Tag Archives: Dogs

Twice the dog breath

Yikes. A month of abject blog neglect. As I first realized when I worked for a writer in college (who, incidentally, passed away suddenly last week), writing for your main job is nice if that’s your passion. But it’s also tough* in that your passion becomes your job and acquires flavors of tedium.

*”tough” being quite relative, in the Grand Scheme.

Sometimes the act of writing for work makes me too mentally fatigued to do it for fun. I get home with big aspirations that are quickly extinguished by dog-walking, self-feeding, a glass of Irish whiskey, and the day’s Champions League soccer match. Then I get a backlog of thoughts and links (a backblog?) that I never feel are adequately digested.

“Hey worthless, shouldn’t you be writing? Or else, like, walking us?”

Anyway, one other distraction lately was the act of acquiring and pretending to be able to train a new dog. We found one, a 4- to 5-month old rescue, to be a current companion and future successor to our resident canine, Willa.

If nothing else, the two of them made our recent snowfalls that much more fun. Really, watching a dog frolic in its first snow is probably even more enjoyable than watching a kid do it. With a toddler, there’s often some hesitation or lack of understanding unless they’re old enough to know to covet it. With a dog, it’s like watching Nature’s fun gene switch on right in front of your eyes: “Something is different. I must run in this. It’s written in my blood.”

Dogs on Canvas, black and white

The rescue is part Newfoundland (those big, black literally human-rescue dogs with webbed paws for swimming), part we-don’t-know-what. Presumably the we-don’t-know part is why she was left behind: The first night, when we finally plopped ourselves down to bed after careful introductions and exhaustive bladder monitoring, she predictably started to whine from separation anxiety. After warming up with a range of barks, she went into a distinctive, mournful howl. In the dark of the bedroom, I could feel our eyes open in unison: dammit, she’s part hound dog.

The way she reacts to the sight of squirrels, rabbits and any other independently mobile body as if she’s just done a line of canine coke, supports our suspicions about her other breed. She’s hyper, inquisitive, bolder than Willa, and she’s wearing us out at the moment.

After four months in a vet’s rescue shelter — and perhaps because she’s part hound, which are supposedly resistant to housebreaking — she is not adequately turned off by crapping where she sleeps. Nor by dancing in it. We call her Shitpaws.

But please, it’s “Wanda” in formal settings … we toyed with more author names like Harper and Flannery (and Willa Who Is Called Simon), but none fit her rambunctiousness. Ww-w-w-wanda, as in A Fish Called, and “To Wanda!” as in Fried Green Tomatoes, sounded just right.

At least Willa and Shitpaws, er, Wanda are getting along fine now after a rocky introduction. And we humans, we’re wondering what the hell we’ve done. Which, I believe, is a common human response once the “I’ve got an idea” gene has been expressed.