A New Member

I have been taking my time writing this post for some reason. And now that Japan is shaking, drowning and nuclear-exploding I guess that all I can do is write a post on a puppy. So insignificant in the greater scheme of things, but some puffball happiness and excitement may not be such a bad thing. Many, many good and healing thoughts sent West to those who are suffering. So horrid, and it just keeps coming.

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I wanted a puppy. A purebred, female. Wanted to balance things out with a girl that would come in, kicking ass and taking names. I figured after 2 rescues I was due—and felt somewhat obligated of the experience—to go through the thoroughly researched and purchased purebred-puppy-from-a-responsible-breeder bit. I am a planner. I was thinking a few years out, after lots of deliberating and proper arranging of circumstances. Planning. Lots of it.

I suddenly got the first part. The puppy part.

He showed up at work around early- to mid-February. His owners got him out of a box out front of Costco. (No, I am not making that up.) He is of very indeterminate origin, Heinz 57 all the way. After having him for ten days (without ever once setting foot in a vet’s office), they brought him to us. They said, “Please fix him. He screams. A lot.” Most people leave their older puppies for 2 weeks. He was 8 or 9 weeks old, they wanted him to stay for a month. His name was “Lotar”. There was a new fiance and complaining neighbors involved. I know this sounds like the best set-up ever, but I swear, I am not making this up.

I met him right away, probably heard him yelling before I actually laid eyes on him. I worked with him day one or two. He wasnt anything special to look at, but I liked him immediately. He was bright. Shiny, shiny, so quick and bright. A 9 week old puppy, dying to work and whip smart. Laurie was taking him home at night as he was far too young to board. He made her life miserable and she and her husband dubbed him “Shit Puppy”. We took him to the vet for his shots; he had worms and giardia, he got kennel cough pretty quickly too. Good lord, a hot mess this puppy was. And yet, there was something about him she liked too. He is tough, and stubborn, and reads other dogs well, loves people. And he screamed, a lot.

About halfway through his stay at work, we called the owners to set the “Go Home” lesson a few weeks out. The parents hemmed and hawed, said they’d call back with a date. They didn’t. After a few rounds of this we followed up, and said, “Would you like to surrender this dog?” They were at work within a few hours to sign the papers.

At this point, I knew I was a goner. Laurie and I talked about him, we had already both separately come to the conclusion he’d be a good agility dog at best, at worst a great working/training dog. He scales things he should not be scaling at such a young age. Just today, at 12-13 weeks, he leapt over a 3′ baby gate like nobody’s business. He loves to work for food, loves to tug, loves to learn. Picks things up so quickly its ridiculous. He is a pain in the ass—pushy and overly brave, and he still screams—but he is going to be a good dog, no doubt. I think in a real people home, he would end up in trouble, or very likely back in a shelter. But with an outlet for all of his intelligence and energy, I think he may end up being quite brilliant. Maybe I am overstating, fawning over this new-first-real-puppy of mine, but I am not afraid I will have to eat my words. He is a good one. I am glad he found us.

His name is Phineas, aka “Phin”.


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