Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday House Guest

Trinity likes to ride shotgun.
This is Trinity, our house guest for the holidays. She seemed very disappointed to learn that she is not a Border Collie. She thought it was some sort of club you could join to make play dates. Kind of a dog version of those dating services for two-foots, perhaps. Faith says she can be an honorary Border Collie this week if she behaves. Faith has also graciously loaned her the title of "Miss Underfoot" for the week.

Trinity's current people are going through a family emergency, so Trinity and her sister Roxy (below, not staying with us) are looking for a new home. Trinity will be staying with us through the holidays. Yes, I do have a nine year old child and I'm not a complete idiot, but it's still possible that her people will manage to find a pair placement for her and he sister. Roxy is a little more assertive than Trinity. Nothing out of line for the breed, but after what happened to Tater earlier in the year I wasn't willing to take a chance hosting her for the holidays.

Faith and Tater have decided they like Trinity, though there have been some language barrier issues. Trinity only speaks German, and Faith and Tater only speak English and Faith's special sign language. Faith has been watching out-takes of Sergeant Schultz to try to pick up the language, but she doesn't have much of an ear for accents, and Trinity isn't buying it. Trinity likes to play, and has decided she wants to play with Faith, who couldn't care less and (as we all know) can be totally deaf to things that don't interest her. And for that matter, things that do. Thankfully she has Tater to act as her hearing ear dog.

Trinity's attempts to play with Faith have escalated from an initial, happy, "Let's play", to bowing and barking, to "What's wrong with you, you idiot Border Collie? Play, dammit!". Faith, true to her breed, is very much of the "get a job, slacker" school, and is responding by nipping Trinity mildly to tell her to behave when Trinity is too insistent. Trinity gets this "I really don't get it" look that would be hilarious if Faith's response weren't so obviously turning her poor puppy brain into confused mush. Eventually it will occur to Trinity to try playing with Tater. She may have more success there. And, you know, I may break down and find a tennis ball at some point. She's really a very good girl, and I'd like her to have a good time while she's here.

Food, glorious food!
Trinity likes all of the usual things that Rottweilers like to do. Like lay on the bed (above). Note that the allegedly lazy Rottweiler is paying close attention, while the jaded Border Collies know that there's no upside for them in mere photos. Especially when it's just me taking the pics and not Food Lady.

Trinity also likes to eat. Though since she arrived with a pretty unhappy tummy I kept her off food and served her metronidazole for the first 24 hours to let her guts straighten themselves out. This is her starting to make up for lost meals. Obviously she will need a bigger bowl if she is here for any length of time. Eating is something Rottweilers are really good at. In vast quantities. It's part of what makes them so solid.

What's that Faith?  No, Faith, "solid", not "stolid". No, Faith, Rottweilers are not useless, no matter what Food Lady may have told you. Food Lady just suffers from agility obsession. Well, that and owning Dexter "real men don't do weave poles" Morgan. I bet Trinity could do that first weave pole (Pbbbt! ☺), though we'd have to see about the rest of them. Think of it this way, Faith: when you're done herding all of the sheep, dogs, small children, and household trinkets together, who's going to hold their leashes for you? Do you want to pull the cart to the market in Rottweil? That's a pretty heavy cart.

What? Oh. You want to drive the cart? So Trinity can pull it and that's OK with you? Oh, good. Can we get back to the story now? Yes, I promise the next story will be all about you, Faith, because, you know, it's really all about you. See? There. Problem solved.

What's that, Tater? You want to know why Snickers the cat used to call Trevor and Morgan the "big stoopid" and the "really big stoopid"? Well he is a cat, you know, and Morgan did keep trying to make friends with him, and you know how cats don't like to associate with "that sort". Can we get back to things Trinity likes now?

So finally, we get to the thing that Rottweilers like more than anything else, which is eating - err, I mean snuggling - children. As you can see, Faith is keeping an eye on things to make sure that Trinity doesn't go too far and exceed her daily protein requirement.

Actually, this part has been really good. Alex is a hugger, and 35 lb Faith tends to feel embraced and enveloped when 84 lb Alex attempts to give her a bear hug. Hang on...

No, Faith, I don't know why it's called a bear hug. No, I wouldn't hug a bear either. Well, because I'm more of a mountain lion hugger kind of guy. But only really little mountain lions. Yes, Faith, I'll always be glad to hug you, but could you please go find a toothbrush? Yes, Tater, I'll hug you too.

Trinity is pretty stolid. Err, I mean solid (dammit, Fatih, now you have me doing it), so she actually appreciates the hugs that make Faith kind of uncomfortable. She seems to have decided that the Border Collies will settle down eventually (ha!) and she should just wait them out while she plays with Alex and me.

Welcome, Trinity.

For those who may be interested in Trinity's half-sister Roxy (left), drop me your email address and I'll put you in touch with the owners. They are trying to place Roxy and Trinity as a pair if possible.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bagel Ambassadors

Hmm. Well, it's been an embarassingly long time since my last post. As you can see here, the dynamic duo were recently seen scouting the street for other dogs or small children to play with. They both love being ambassadors to little kids. Faith, who is nothing if not full of energy and "go" (because, you know, it's really all about her), will happily stand perfectly still for a hesitant child. Tater nearly so, but he doesn't move abruptly to begin with.

The kids love it. There's invariably a conversation about what Border Collies do, how strange (or weird, or gross - it's kids) it is that they both have different colored eyes, and are they related? How Faith is soft like a bunny and Tater's coat is rougher. Both of them will very happily sit still and lap up the attention. For the kids, I think they present a bunch of puzzles and questions that catch their attention.

I often spend time talking about breeds for kids, and how BCs and puppies probably aren't good first-time choices. For little kids, I tend to like a larger, adult (or at least post-adolescent) dog, and preferably not a purebred. Older because they are calmer. Larger because it seems to me that the larger breeds tend to be less excitable once they mature (perhaps because it takes too much energy). Mixed-breed because that seems to moderate the extremes. As opposed to, say, a Husky, who will basically be an adolescent until the day it keels over from old age, knows only two speeds (full bore and stop-and-quiver-energetically), and actually enjoys running around the house at top speed doing four paw drifts around corners. To paraphrase Enzo Ferrari: they build Huskies to go, not to stop. And if you're toddler's in the path of the Husky, well...

So we did the ambassador thing again this morning at Blazing Bagels. Faith expressed disappointment that this morning's toddler didn't have cream cheese on his face. Tater just enjoyed the moment.

Tater has become well settled in. He wants a lot of attention, but is characteristically reluctant to ask for it. Whenever he does, Faith intervenes because, well, it's all about her. She's committed to her beauty rest, as you can see here. The purple thing in the background is a stuffed Parakeet. Neither dog could care less about stuffies. Typical BCs. I was trying to explain to someone yesterday about how typical BCs are so work-driven that they don't deign to notice toys. It seems to be a hard concept for most dog people to grasp. I suppose you have to see it in action before you really believe it.

Several new people have moved in around here in the last year, and Tater has made a new friend (left) - sorry about the camera phone's excuse for focus. That's Solomon, who is eight months old and already 75 lbs. But then, he's a Great Pyr, so I suppose that's to be expected. When we first met him, he was six weeks old and around 10 lbs. That's an awful lot of dog food! Solomon is great fun.

Meanwhile, we have another new neighbor with a very friendly and extremely submissive golden lab bitch who really doesn't like Tater. Whenever she sees him her hackles go up and she starts growling at him. And no casual growl either. Tater, given his history with Trevor, doesn't take well to this. It's kind of puzzling, because I don't remember seeing any sort of cause for it, and her owner says this is a first for her. The lab gets along with me fine, but doesn't seem to care much for Faith either. Hard to know what's going on there.

One of the casualties of the whole incident with Tater and Trevor was that I didn't much want to write for a while. I'm hopeful that I'm over that, and I look forward to telling more stories about the dynamic duo. In any case, welcome back to those of you who have stuck with this, and hopefully we'll have more tails to come.