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.

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“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.”

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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.