Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Dog Days of August

Now we're in for it.

I guess life was too quiet around the Cynic household. So we went and got a puppy.

Around 9 months ago, we finally had to have Tasha put down. On the dog front, that left us with Boris, who I've described before:
Unfortunately, as Boris got older, we discovered a minor problem - he's an idiot. Dumb as a bag of hammers. This might partly be due to a badly-healed skull-fracture that the vet discovered, which also led to his nose curving ever-so-slightly to the right. It might be due to the fact that Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are known to be a little vague. Or it might just be that he doesn't even have two brain cells to rub together....

Boris is both moose and squirrel rolled into one dust-covered package. He's lazy - he doesn't just sit, he'll lie down, or he'll lean against a wall. Some stray atom of thought will roll through the dark recesses of his skull, and he'll go bounding down the hall, running into walls, and either skid to a stop in the living room or ram, full-speed, into some piece of furniture. And then he'll stand there, looking around confused, because whatever phantom had momentarily interested him has apparently vanished into thin air.

Boris is also extremely friendly. He loves other dogs, people, cats, birds - anything that moves is his friend. We have hopes that a burglar breaks into our house while Tasha is still around, because left to his own devices, Boris will lick their faces and show them where we store the good china and the big TV.
Now, you can see where this might be an issue when one of our primary reasons for owning a dog is in place of paying for a burglar alarm, right? The Trophy Wife was pretty happy with answering the door when she had a giant ball of throbbing death growling at her side: it was a little off-putting to salesmen and Jehovah's Witnesses, and gave her a good reason to end the visit quickly.

We can't even get Boris to bark at the door on a regular basis when somebody knocks. We've gotten one bark out of him, once or twice, but so far, only when it's been somebody we expected and knew already. So that hasn't been completely successful.

So yesterday, we took a firm grip on our sanity, and calmly threw it out of the car. Ran over it a few times, and proceeded to the Animal Welfare folks to get another dog.

Now, I've always said that if we got a dog, I wanted a puppy. And for the perfectly logical reason: I like puppies. But, in talking to the wife, we realized that neither of us particularly wanted to housetrain another dog. Plus, Boris wouldn't be much of a mentor for a houseplant, much less a puppy. So we agreed that an older dog might be a good idea.

Unfortunately, our options were limited: with our menagerie, it needed to be a dog who could stand to be around cats, and, in fact, other dogs. Preferably not a biter, and definitely not one trained to fight (yes, we still have issues with that here in New Mexico: we were one of the last two states to outlaw that particularly reprehensible "sport"). So when we narrowed down our choices, none of them were particularly housebroken, and we realized that training a younger dog to poop outside would be easier than breaking a bad habit in an older beast.

So we ended up with a 5-month-old male, Rocky (in keeping with our Bullwinkle-themed canine history): in human terms, not really a baby, but just pre-adolescent. Twenty-three pounds of excitable labrador-and-something. He loves Boris, isn't sure about the cats yet, doesn't run around barking madly, and sincerely wants to be close to people.

There are, of course, the usual puppy challenges: he wants to chew on things, we've only had one accident so far, and we have to separate the dogs to keep Boris from eating the puppy food. (Oh, and Rocky did not appreciate his first bath. But he also didn't melt or explode, so he recovered quickly.)

Of course, at seven, with most of his life spent around a relatively placid older dog, Boris is not at all sure about this bouncing bundle of energy. But overall, they're getting along quite well.

Things ought to be interesting for a while. I believe there's an ancient Chinese curse to that effect.

1 comment:

Reggie said...

It's amazing just how stupid animals can be.....I guess that's what they've got in common with people. My wife owns two cats, though she describes herself as their "human". One of her cats Maggie is quiet and composed; but the other one, Larry, is dumb as a bag of hammers. While I was moving a couple of months back, I took our bed apart and placed the box springs and mattress on the floor. When I walked back in the bedroom to finish, Larry attempted to run under the bed like he always does. He just couldn't figure out why he kept banging his head on the box he kept doing it.

He's fairly stupid.