Sunday, September 30, 2012

Must Have Dogs III - A Guest Post!

Let’s be clear: my wife is the writer in the family.  But she tells me there is such a thing as a “guest blogger.”  She has written about two of our dogs previously.  I want to tell you about my friend.

Meet Moe.  Moe is a large young gentleman who came into my life a couple years ago.  I knew Moe’s parents, having met them at a local haircutting establishment.  While they were pleasant enough, though somewhat quiet,  what I remember most about them is that they were of normal size.

You see, Moe is not normal sized.  When he first made his way to our home, he was quite young, but his feet were very large.  My comment at the time was, “He’s gonna grow into those paws.”  He did.  Moe has grown into the largest person with four legs I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Moe enjoys eating a fine meal at any time of the day or night.  He even volunteers to do the dishes and other after-dinner activities in exchange for an extra treat or two (or seven).  He will rest his head on the dinner table just to ensure the rest of the family is enjoying their meal.  Since Moe doesn’t say much, he let’s us know he approves of the evening menu by drooling on the floor (or my lap).

Moe is presently employed as a part time forest ranger and cemetery security guard.  He maintains frequent patrols of the mountainside, spotting the odd deer, and pulling off the occasional shot at a coyote. 

In his spare time, Moe enjoys his pet dog Boo Boo.  He frequently runs around with Boo, and they compete for the same toys.  Unlike the yapping terriers, Moe only speaks when necessary.  On occasion he will raise an alarm and fuss at his brothers and sister.  I have never heard him raise his voice in anger, but I sure wouldn’t want to make him angry.

What I like the most about my friend Moe is his friendly and loyal nature.  He is always happy and is glad to see me.  His entire rear end wiggles when he greets someone he knows.  He tends to be fearful around people he is unfamiliar with, but he quickly makes friends.     I know my friend Moe has my back.  He is supportive of me whether I have had a good or bad day.  He is a good listener, often allowing me to talk about my day as long as I scratch his left ear. 

My friend Moe has been a joy to me through some difficult days.  I look forward to a long relationship – as long as I don’t run out of kibble.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Must Have Dogs Part II

As I stated in the previous post, I have four dogs. Today I want to tell you about Murphy, our oldest. Murphy is a Cairn Terrier. The Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest of the terrier breeds, originating in the Scottish Highlands and recognized as one of Scotland's earliest working dogs. Working dog? How can a terrier that weighs thirteen pounds soaking wet be a working dog?

Murphy is one of the hardest working dogs I have ever known. He is truly a terrier - a word that literally means "dog of the earth." Murphy begins his days by walking the entire perimeter of our property, nose to the ground, making sure nothing has changed while he slept. There is nothing behind our house but the mountain forest, so Murphy has plenty to police. We have all manner of wildlife that visit our property, especially our pear and apple trees. Murphy knows it is his job to make sure no intruders put his pack or his humans in danger.

Murphy is the alpha male of our pack - which contains our other three dogs. It doesn't matter that he is the smallest, he is in charge. The other dogs obey Murphy. Murphy is fierce in his defense of his property and his humans. He bears the scars of a coyote attack that the vet still doesn't understand how he survived. One Sunday afternoon he was out in the yard. Three coyotes came into the yard and attacked him. I ran out in time to see them run off, leaving Murphy bleeding and covered in mud. They had torn his throat, the vet said a quarter of an inch from his jugular vein, and a hind leg trying to drag him off with them. He healed and the hair eventually grew to cover the Z shaped scare they tore into his throat. His leg was not broken, but from time to time, he limps from the injury.

The name "Cairn" refers to the rock dens that foxes and badgers lived in throughout the Scottish countryside. The dog was bred to squirm down into these "cairns" and bark to hold the predator until the farmer killed it. Murphy will chase anything that moves and happily dig all day to find prey (real or imagined)! Murphy recently killed a snake that he knew was in the drainpipe in the picture. He literally sat all day staring into the drainpipe waiting. When we heard the high pitched bark that signals he's got something, we rushed out and saw him with the snake in his mouth. He had it clenched in his teeth and was slinging it from side to side. He would not let us take the snake away, even when he was satisfied it was dead. He dropped it and put his front paw in it and looked at us and the rest of the dogs like he was saying, "Victory!"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Must Have Dogs!

I have 4 dogs. No, that’s not a typo – I really do have four: a Cairn terrier, West Highland white terrier (Westie), Boxer, and my latest acquisition, a Beagle. 

Boo Radley
I did have five dogs, and if you read my previous post “A Farewell to Jack,” then you know he was run over by the garbage truck. I still miss him every day and I will never ever forget him.


Molly and Murphy
The Jack Russell and Beagle I rescued from a shelter. The Westie I bought from a breeder, and the Cairn terrier I bought at a pet store – something I don’t intend to ever do again. But today, I want to talk about Moe, the boxer.

I purchased Moe from a breeder. When I found him, he was the only dog in the litter that hadn’t been purchased. What I didn’t know then was that because Moe was solid white, he was seen by many people as an impurity in the breed and for that reason, he wasn’t wanted. I learned that breeders often put them down, a fate I couldn’t imagine! 

I still see him, all alone in that big cardboard box that had held five brothers and sisters, looking at me with such curiosity! When I picked him up, his body melted into mine. I took him home and he became a member of our family.

Life with a boxer has been an amazing adventure! Remember, I had never had a large dog before. And Moe quickly became a LARGE dog! Everything about Moe was large – his muddy paw prints, his appetite, the food and water that dripped from his mouth when he ate, and most of all, his heart. Moe is the kindest, the most loving dog I have ever known. Moe loves everyone, including other dogs. 

He loves to sit in your lap, yes, sit in your lap! Or if he can't get in your lap, he enjoys sitting down on your feet and laying against your legs while you pet him. He also likes to "box" you, especially when he wants you to pet him. He loves to play and his favorite "toy" is Boo, our beagle. He and Boo are best friends and romp and play with absolute abandon! They chase each other and love to get a toy and play tug-a-war with it. 

Loyal to a fault, Moe is indeed a rare breed, not because white boxers are unusual, but because he is truly a wonderful dog.