Thursday, February 7, 2013

What to name the new dog?

So after the death of Muffin it occurred to me that for over 40 years 1 or 2 Dachshund dogs have been a component of my life. Sugar & Fancy, then Apollo & Thor, then Muffin & Crickett. One would always outlive the other and we'd have only one till someone got a puppy to bring home. I have posted about them in the past.

I got Lit'll in March to keep Muffin company; now Lit'll needed a playmate. Something in her size range, 8 pounds. One Chihuahua is enough. After Apollo & Thor I am sold on female dogs being lower maintenance. Ones that have been spayed at least. Since I have always had the red (Thor, Crickett & Fancy with black and brown trim) Dachshunds I was thinking black this time. White maybe but just like white carpet it would always look dirty. Mom insisted on Dachshunds because of the short coat that sheds little. Dachshunds also have more of a full size bark.

The search was on. The County Animal Control office had a deal that included Shots, spay/neuter, tags, even a chip for $20. I went several times but the place is so disorganized and survival rate so low that I had to look elsewhere. (They do a have a big job to do dealing with every unwanted animal in the county).

The local SPCA has an adoption center that runs only on donations. It is a nice place and, if anything, is too compassionate. They also have many fewer dogs to choose from. I spotted a little black Lhasa Apso/Mix. She was as cute as a bug but I was told she was an escape artist. She could climb out of the kennels over a 6 foot fence. They had to keep her in a cage and I was talked out of her as my new dog.. I also had made a little bit of a connection to a scruffy little girl dog. Before an adoption can be processed any dog that lives with you currently has to come and meet the new dog first. If they get along you go to the next step.

Lit’ll has lived with just me for a couple of months and except at the vet’s and the spay clinic has had almost no contact with other humans. Considering how out of it Muffin was, no contact with other dogs since she left her mom and littermates. We went into a small room and put the 2 on the floor. Her version of a low growl of warning would change pitch to one of hopefulness as she also desperately wanted to play with the strange creature. Everything she does is so cute. The new pup was friendly enough but Lit’ll just couldn’t get over her fear that quickly. Me and the volunteer helping me were convinced that they would become fast friends since no real aggression was present. I filled out some paperwork and was told I’d get a call in 3 to 10 days after the new girl got spayed and checked out by the SPCA doc.

$100 later I was on my way home with my scruffy new friend. This business where they assume your dog is like a child to you is creepy. “Your new daddy is taking you home today”. Once or twice in my life I have been called a son-of-a-bitch to my face. That is as close as I have come to a mixed species bloodline. My dogs have always been like a pet dog to me. I talk to them in that sing songy baby talk and occasionally dote on them too much. Unless they are sick or something I don’t buy special food or visit the vet more than once a year. I think too highly of them to burden them with that kind of human neurosis and dysfunction. Just like we should be, they are perfect right out of the box. I proceed on that basis.

Now what to name her? She looks to be a mix of Chihuahua and some kind of Terrier. She has a long mostly red coat.
I have been hopelessly in love with women with hair that color.

So much, for most of the things I was looking for. Mostly she is sweet and friendly. She is bigger than Lit’ll but weighs the same. The best estimate is that she is about 10 months old. When she is all stretched out she kind of looks like a monkey.

I found out something I used to know but forgot about. When attempting to photograph puppies except when they are sleeping there is no such thing as a still photo. 

Looking at her flank I was reminded of something but couldn’t remember just what.

After about a day or so the two were on the bed with me still working out how to play together. Lit’ll is too timid and the new girl has spent god knows how long in a kennel fending for herself. New Girl is an okay name but I can do better. Giving dogs or Cats human names would be fun if I was the only one doing it. It’s like having your cell phone’s ring set to sound like an old time metal ringer. It was fun when I first got a cell phone in the 90s. Even better when those stupid music clips were the thing. Now everywhere I go I hear old timey phone ringers. Now what? Star Trek sound effects I guess. Cliche but I like them.
Sorry, I digress.

Laying on my back playing with them I got a full forward look in the muzzle of the new dog. Ooo Ooo that Star Wars thing. Chewbacca. I tried several variations on her but she really responded to Wookie. 

I just couldn’t manage to get a shot of her from the full front angle and to be honest it’s when I see her flank that really makes me flash on Wookies from the movies.  I wonder if I can get her a sash like the one Chewie wears?

I already have a couple of riffs I need to do for an audience about the dogs. I loved my 40 years of Dachshunds but who knew that there were dogs that are smarter and less stubborn and cranky?
Like I said I try not to anthropomorphize my animals but I find it so tempting to think of Wookie as a streetwise young girl. Noone has ever loved her. Cautious and quick to defend herself with a flash of teeth. Lit’ll the proper big sister (of 3 or 4 months older) wanting so much for the little sister to accept her.

Like I said earlier Wookie is bigger but weighs the same as Lit’ll. Under the halo of fur I can feel bones sticking out of her. I took her to the vet I usually go to. The SPCA included a voucher good for 1 visit to my vet. Dr. Utt suggested that kennel life is stressful and that dogs that live under those conditions often lose weight. I got some special food to fatten her up. (I know, I don’t like it either) They didn’t have cheap puppy food and none in cans. It took some repetition and doctoring of the food to add calories and make it smell like human food. After almost a week of lots of hugs and a day of high octane food the 2 are quietly wrestling beside me. No growls or fearful yelps. The big chasing game is noisier and outside or on the big floor.

On to the next step of my life with 2 new dogs. 

The other reason I had to get a second dog was for myself. I certainly don’t get enough human interaction. 2 or 3 hours a week are not enough, 10 or 12 would be healthier. Even more would be super awesome. However if 99% alone time is rough even 50% with other people would freak me out. People that live in big families are a mystery to me. The age difference between me and my sisters was such that we were like 3 only children. I have just never been in a living situation with other people always there. Even Crickett & Muffin lived outside most of the day. Since Muffin died Lit’ll has had to be in physical contact with me every minute that I am home. Having to fish her tiny self from where she wedges herself in the middle of my back every time I wanted to turn over in bed was making sleeping into work.

They are learning to live outside on the warmer days. Otherwise I have one or both in physical contact with me most of the time I am at home. Oy!

BTW - Any charming lady reading this who also might wish to cohabitate with me at some point can rest assured that I am a quick learner. I also have 10 years experience using human touch professionally as an art form. Quality time will not be lacking. Just say’in.

One more thing.
I was able to get Lit’ll to be still for one photo. You can see her here next to Yoda. Mostly her ears are up like this but she also has them pointing out to the sides lots of times too. Just not when the camera is ready. Take my word for it she has a real Yoda look to her at those times. Therefore for that thin excuse and in the interest of keeping with the Star Wars theme. (not that it’s my favorite space opera or space saga, I do like it however) I make her full name out to be “Lit’ll Yoda”.

Lit’ll Yoda and Wookie do not have the last name Parks. We talked about this already. Only humans have last names. Only humans need last names. Since Wookie's are supposed to be a species my Wookie might need a second part to her name. Then again what she answers to is what counts. 

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