Laszlo: On trial!

Smile for the camera

Laszlo: With his new family!

We are sure going to miss this little dude, but we are THRILLED to report that he went on trial* with his new family last night!

(*Our rescue has a period called “on trial,” which is a 2-week stint before the adoption is finalized, just in case the family decides that the dog isn’t a good fit for them.)

I went last night to do the home visit with the family, and I am convinced he is going to have a wonderful life with them. He has a big, beautiful farmhouse in the countryside, plus an older canine sister (a gentle, sweet 11-year-old shepherd mix) and the most dog-friendly cat I’ve ever met. (I don’t think Laszlo had ever met a cat before, but this cat — who, I should note, was bigger than Laszlo — walked right up to him, delicately sniffed his nose, and then rolled over on his back to play! Amazing.)

He will also be spoiled rotten, which of course he won’t mind. He already had a treasure trove of new toys waiting for him when we showed up.

The adoption will be finalized in two weeks, but here’s to hoping that our little guy has found his forever home!

(Side note: Thanks for all of your great advice about Pyrrha’s new problem on walks. I will report back after some of our walks this weekend.)

Having a dog makes you rich

Photo: The Selby.

“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”

— Louis Sabin

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Happy Friday, everyone!

This morning, on our walk, I met the only cat I’d ever like to own. Our neighbors have a small tabby cat (I think her name is Jolly?) who is the friendliest feline I have ever seen. Whenever someone walks by with a dog, she runs down the driveway to immediately greet them. And then she’ll walk alongside the dog and the dog’s people for a few yards. It’s the most interesting and endearing thing. The dogs, I think, are always just startled by her. (Like, “What is this? A cat who’s not afraid of me?”) Jolly tried to come up to Pyrrha this morning, but Pyr was a little too excited about it. I had her lie down, which she did, but I think Jolly could tell that Pyrrha’s body language was a little to stalk-y. Maybe in time Pyrrha will be calm enough to actually greet Jolly. I hope so. What a wonderfully odd and extroverted cat!

Other pets I’d warmly welcome

Obviously, I’d be perfectly happy if the only pets I ever had were dogs. Dogs, dogs, and some more dogs. But I just love animals in general, and so a large part of my daydreaming involves thinking about all the animals I’d like to have in my life one day–including my small pack of dogs.

Here’s a list of the non-dog animals I would also love to adopt, ranked in order of desire:

1: RABBITS

Our Spencer actually looked just like this guy, same markings and everything. Click for source.

I adore rabbits. I think this is because our first family pet was a rabbit: Spencer, the mini Holland lop, who was the Greatest Bunny Who Ever Lived. Spencer was the gentlest and sweetest bunny. Miraculously, despite being somewhat roughly handled by the four of us as children, he never bit us, not even once. We liked to think he played “hide and seek” with us in the backyard; he enjoyed chasing us around the yard and hiding with us underneath bushes and small trees. I would get rabbits in a heartbeat–although I think they’re probably the most tempting (and defenseless) small animal to bring home if you have a dog like a German shepherd. Rabbits, unlike cats, have no defense mechanisms and I don’t know if I could ever trust a dog with a rabbit, but that somehow hasn’t dampened my desire for a bunny of my own. Maybe one day.

2: CHICKENS

Source: Heather Bullard.

Backyard chickens are the new thing for suburban dwellers, it seems–at least in our area of Virginia. Everyone (ourselves included!) wants to think of themselves as quasi-farmers. We have lots of friends who have a small coop of egg-laying hens in their yards and I confess that the idea has become very attractive to me lately. I don’t know if we’ll have enough room at our new house–and I think chickens would also be a constant, maddening distraction to a high prey-drive dog–but it’s a nice daydream. They’re certainly not as loveable or companionable as a bunny, but I like them just the same. They’re also not as stupid as people tend to think.

3: HORSES

I've always been partial to Arabian horses, even though they are the most high-strung. Click for source.

Like many little girls, my horse obsession began at a very young age. I think I actually became fixated with horses before my dog obsession began. I read all the horse books I could get my hands on. I memorized horse breeds. I begged my mother for riding lessons. The equestrian life is, however, a very expensive one, and my parents couldn’t afford to send me (and my copycat little sisters) to riding lessons. They did, however, send us to a horse camp where we mucked stalls and groomed horses in exchange for a few lessons in the summers. I loved every minute of it, even mucking stalls. The sweet smell of hay and the presence of these glorious, sensitive animals filled my little heart with joy. While I haven’t had much interaction with horses in a long time (*excepting one of the best parts of our honeymoon: Guion knew about my lifelong adoration of horses and surprised me with a two-hour trail ride in the Blue Ridge mountains), I do dream about them still. They’re a serious, serious commitment, but they’re also a nice thought.

4: GOATS

Baby goats, you are breakin' my heart with your cuteness. Click for source.

Baby goats, you are breakin' my heart with your cuteness. Click for source.

Goats are such ornery, funny creatures. I like them a lot, even though they may be somewhat hard to love (excepting those babies). I also love chevre and goat milk soaps and such, so I daydream about having a small dairy flock of my own one day.

5: FINCHES or BUDGIES

Zebra finches. Click for source.

Snuggling budgerigars. Click for source.

I like birds a lot, even though they are a pain to take care of/sometimes saddening to think about living your whole life in a cage where you can’t fly. So, maybe I won’t get a bird. But I grew up with a Zebra finch named Sprite and a pair of budgies that I received for my thirteenth birthday, whom I christened Monet and Renoir (they were in love). They are messy and noisy, but oh-so-beautiful to look at. Maybe not reason enough to adopt some, but I love them just the same.

6: CATS

A handsome family of kittens. Source: Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.

I am very ambivalent about cats, but I like them most of the time. I don’t think I would like to take care of one or actually be responsible for one, but I have my moments of soaring adoration and affection for cats. It’s perhaps not surprising that my favorite cats are the ones who act like dogs. The only cat I’ve ever truly loved was my roommate in Denver, a tabby lady I called Kitteh. She was inquisitive and affectionate without being obnoxious. Kitteh was charming and intelligent and I loved sharing a bed with her. I would get a cat if I could get one with a temperament just like hers, but I’m doubtful about how likely that is. I think cats are supremely beautiful. I think they make every room look more elegant. But I wonder how quickly I’d resent a cat if I actually dared to bring one home. Who knows? Maybe one day there will be room for a cat.

Do you have other animals, besides your dog? How do they interact, if at all?

Inter-species friends

Source: Cute Overload.

Inter-species friends are my favorite, favorite thing in the whole wide world. Animals playing with different animals! This thrills me to my core and I become like a six-year-old girl whenever I see an example of this, the most glorious feature of life on planet Earth.

I recently watched the 1988 film adaptation of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (featuring a rakish Daniel Day-Lewis and a perfect Juliette Binoche). The couple, Tomas and Tereza, adopt a puppy (played by a totally charming Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen) and name her Karenin, after the novel they were reading when they first met. After the Soviets invade Prague, Tomas, Tereza, and Karenin flee to a farm in the Czech countryside, where Karenin befriends the farmer’s beloved pig, Mefisto. The scenes of Karenin and Mefisto just lounging together in the grass, the dog lovingly sniffling the pig… ah! My favorite. I wish I could find a screenshot to share with you. (M.C., I kept thinking about you and your canines in film project! This could be one for your review.)

Does your dog have a friend from another species? (Excepting yourself, of course.) In the examples I’ve seen of dogs and cats living together peaceably, it seems that the cat is most definitely the overlord and the dog understands his or her place as the humble serf. And maybe “friendship” is too generous a term there, but coexistence is still heartwarming between a pair so often painted as eternal enemies. I really, really hope our future dog makes some inter-species friends, although this seems less likely with a German shepherd, who seem to want to chase and strangle most things that move…

Musings aside, here are some more examples of inter-species snorgling, because I can’t help myself! Dogs, being friends with other animals, as featured on the matchless Cute Overload:

Puppy and cheetah friends! Cute Overload.

Puppy and budgie friends! Cute Overload.

Corgi and imprinting ducklings! Cute Overload.

Hound and orangutan friends! Cute Overload.

Dog and bear cub friends! Cute Overload.

Dog and iguana friends! Cute Overload.

Dog and baby bun friends! OMG. Cute Overload.

You may not touch the dog. Puppy and monkey friends! Cute Overload.

OK. I have to stop. I need to go do something with my life, because I could do this for hours and hours on end…

Loving dogs through the years

I was trawling through old photos the other day and realized there were a handful of people documenting my inherent magnetism toward dogs throughout my young life… These photos begin around 2007 and span up until the present. Somehow, it was heartwarming to remember that my deep love for dogs has not wavered over time.

2007. Not even sure whose dog this was, but I found him at a party and decided to make him my friend.

Christmas 2007. In a field with Marley, my cousin's lab, who is also featured on my "About" page.

Summer 2008. With my aunt and uncle's dog, Sadie. Cute but stupid! She looks so happy here.

Possibly 2008? That's baby Dublin there!

September 2010. Found a sweet, old dog on the road near the cabin where we were staying.

October 2011. With Bo on a hike.

And just for good measure: The only cat I've ever loved, Kitteh, my roommate in Denver, summer 2009.

Pup links!

A very happy terrier mix, as captured by the great Elliott Erwitt.

Canine-centric links from around the Web this week…

A Sheep Herder in Chihuahua’s Clothing. This adoptable chihuahua in Battersea started watching her border collie friends work the sheep and decided she’d have a go at it. (Pawesome)

Reasons to Buy a Dog vs. Rescue a Dog. A thoughtful and helpful post from a dog trainer on why she tends to rescue rather than buy dogs. I think she does a great job of showing both options without casting judgment on either side. (That Mutt)

10 Awesome Screenshots from One Dog Food Commercial. Totally hilarious. (Best Week Ever)

Friday Fetch: Blink Leash. I also have an obsession with rope leashes, so I’m just going to keep posting these wherever I find them. (Ammo the Dachshund)

My, My, What Have We Here? A salacious romance between a corgi and his cat. (Cute Overload)

The Difference Between Cats and Bassets. A meditation on the distinction between cats and basset hounds. (The Pioneer Woman)

Holy Smoke. Lovely linen dog figurines from the company Holy Smoke. (Under the Blanket)

Man Regrets Inventing the Labradoodle. Hear, hear. Anyone who creates a “designer” mixed breed should probably carry some guilt about that decision. (NY Daily News)

Best Jobs for Dogs: Wet Nose Tutors. I love these reading programs and I’m seriously considering training my future dog to participate in one. This article mentions Dog Tales, a program in Newport News, Virginia. I wonder if there’s a similar project in my area… (Grouchy Puppy)

Irish Wolfhounds at Play. I love the photos of these loping giants in the grass. (Finnegan’s Paw Print)

Haddie. Our wonderful wedding photographer is also a celebrated pet photographer. Here are some beautiful shots of her new neighbor, a totally adorable and fluffy puppy named Haddie. To die for! (Meredith Perdue)