Friday, December 3, 2010

Chapter 3 (The Newbie)

As you all know (or most of you anyway...I love that I'm assuming there are enough people reading this that I can refer to you as "all") Sprite is getting old. He was my first pet that I got after leaving home and he was all my own. I got him my sophomore year of college and we've been through a lot together. Well...he'll be 13 in April. I decided that since he's getting up in age, and since I would DEFINITELY rather him be the mentor for a new addition as opposed to Caspian (LOVE him...but he can be a brat!), it was time to start looking for another dog.

I have really liked the American Eskimo breed. Yes, Sprite has some behavioral issues that I could live without, but I'm convinced those developed due to his being abused before I got him and that they are not a characteristic of the breed. So I started looking for an American Eskimo to adopt. I found a few here and there, but none of them were going to be a good fit for my household. Then I found an advertisement for an American Eskimo/Cocker Spaniel mix on Craigslist. More due to curiosity than interest, I asked for a picture and a back ground story. Well, the story goes that this young couple inherited this dog from the woman's aunt and that he was great but full of energy. She was ready to have a baby (and I mean REALLY ready...I was afraid I was going to have a whole new kind of adventure during our meeting!) and she said the dog was eating their chickens. She and her husband had decided, begrudgingly, that once she had the baby she wouldn't be able to keep up with the dog as well. It sounded legit enough for me, so I decided to go check out the dog.

Myself, Erika (a co-workers daughter who I affectionately refer to as mini-me), Sprite and Caspian loaded into my car and drove out to Moriarty to meet the couple and the dog. They opened the door of their truck and the poor thing was cowering near the stick shift and would not move. The husband lifted him out onto the ground and he seemed to loosen up a bit. I would soon determine that that's because he was no longer in an enclosed area with the man. Initially, I was pretty convinced that he wasn't going to work for me. But something kept me coming back. Sprite and Caspian seemed amiable enough, so eventually I decided to take "Reeses" home with me.

The car-o-phobia continued all the way back to Albuquerque. And he was so dirty that Erika was completely covered in red dirt by the time we got home. We decided that the first move should be a bath. Yet another phobia. Thank goodness she was there, because there is no WAY I would have been able to man handle him enough to stay in the tub for a bath. It definitely took all four hands, and we probably could have used a few more. Because he was so dirty, it took us a good 30 minutes to wash him well. Once we did we let him roam the house. Poor thing was so afraid for the first few days, I was starting to wonder if he was going to loosen up at all. Turns out, he had good reason to not trust humans.

I have a feeling he was abused, but even more so, neglected. We think he's about 3 years old, he had no records, had NEVER been brushed, had dew claws grown in circles, hadn't been fixed and was about 8 pounds under weight. When you consider that he should be about 30 pounds full grown, that's a sizeable ratio. He was definitely hit, and more than likely by the man. He STILL takes a while to warm up to my dad when he comes by (and he's a big teddy bear who is one of the dog's biggest fans!).

Ultimately, my luck in finding animals who need a good home continues. One of our first tasks was to rename him. Try saying "reeses" in an authoritative manner! Lucy and Caspian are named after characters in The Chronicles of Narnia. And Sprite, although many people tease him about his relationship to Dr. Pepper, was actually named for his sprite-like movements when I first got him. (A sprite is basically a mythical creature similar to a fairy.) So, to keep things balanced, we aimed for another mythical creature. The result...Griffin. And it fits him perfectly! He is a total mama's boy (I'm sure I had something to do with that) and has become a fast member of the family. He and Caspian are becoming great pals, and his interactions with Lucy are something you would have to see to believe. A glimpse...they give each other eskimo kisses! Sprite is still grumpy and I do my best to make sure he's not feeling nudged out. But he is just turning into a grumpy old man.

So...back to the issue of the breed. The dog is DEFINITELY not an American/Eskimo mix. I had settled into him being a mutt, but then he helped me solve the mystery. The first leash walk I took him on was quite enlightening. As we walked he kept bumping into my leg. Then I realized it was his TEETH bumping into my leg, which is a nice way of saying he was nipping my leg. I actually thought it was pretty cute, and didn't think too much of it at the time. When I was telling the story, a few different people piped in saying that he was "herding" me. (As a side note...the funniest thing about telling this story in person is that everyone thinks I'm saying "hurting," so instead of getting looks of understanding, I get looks of the "what a woos" variety. I've started saying "He was herding me, H-E-R-D-ing me.") Moving on...I decided to look up herding dogs. Oh my...I did NOT expect to see pictures of my dog pop up, but that's pretty much what happened. See below for comparison pictures. Turns out, I had found myself an English Shepherd...a breed that is rare to the United States, and for which you almost definitely have to be on a waiting list to get one. unintentional breed snobbery continues! This means I now have a 1)Champion blood, AKC registered American Eskimo, 2)Pure bred Toy Poodle and 3)Rare, pure bred, highly desirable English Shepherd!

So with no further adieu, here is Griffin!

This is the best full body picture of him that I have.

This is a picture of an English Shepherd from the internet.

This picture, although VERY dark (sorry), is the best to capture how beautiful his face is.

Here's a glimpse, albeit a dark one, into his and Lucy's relationship. Incase it's too dark to pick out with out a description...they are both sleeping, and his arm is on top of her. I woke up to this one morning!

One big happy family!

So with the new addition, I may have officially turned into a zoo keeper! The picture above was taken when watching some late night television...Lucy is stretched out on my legs, Sprite is on the Left, Griffin on the right (don't tell them they were laying that close to each other), and Caspian's at the foot of the bed. They all have such character, and I really have been blessed with wonderful animals!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Awww, LOVE! He is SO cute! (And I'm sorta partial to herding dogs.) :) Griffin DOES seem the perfect name for him!

Also, your cruise looks like it was amazing. (But sorry about the know I can sympathize!) For some reason, I kept getting error messages when I tried to comment on that post.