Thursday, August 6, 2009

Our three-dog night

I've been saying long and loud, to anyone who'll listen, that after Tate eventually crosses the rainbow bridge, I do not want another dog. No way. No. Way. Guess who the joke's on now...

Alaskans have a different viewpoint of their dogs than Texans do, and for the simple reason that the dogs are a very effective alert system for not just unwanted people, but wildlife as well. People will take their dogs pretty much anywhere with them up here, and for good reason. Some people won't go hiking without their dogs unless they're going in a group. Poor Tate is only an early-warning system in the event that dinner will be late getting to the table, so no one is counting on her being very protective. After some thought, I began to come around to the prevalent way of thinking here that having a large dog around would be a pretty good idea. But what kind? Duke down the street is a retriever, Murdoch two doors down is a lab, as is Rambo across the street. But, in the event that we weren't able to find another samoyed (and we can't) we decided that a husky mix would be a good choice. We tend to like having dogs of questionable heritage and didn't necessarily want a purebred dog.

The Kenai Animal Shelter got in three husky mix puppies, and James and I went to take a look. They also had a four-year-old husky, and an eight-year-old husky. Jim told me absolutely no old dogs, because he didn't want to inherit someone else's behavior problems, plus he'd just get attached to the oldster in time for it to die of old age, so only look at the pups.

The husky mix puppies were brought in to the shelter by a musher who, after a divorce, had to give up his team. There were two boys and one girl, but one of the boys had been adopted before we got there. We were interested in the girl, anyway. My, what a sweetie she is. She crawled up in my lap, but once she discovered James, she was pretty smitten. Before long she'd discovered the toybox and had a pile of toys mounded up at James' feet. Jim wanted to meet the puppy before we brought her home, so we went to run errands and were going to meet back at the shelter later in the afternoon.

I'd seen the other dogs when we first visited the shelter, including the eight-year-old. She seemed so sweet, and I didn't pay much attention to her because I'd been told I absolutely could not have another old dog. And I was okay with that, but still, I couldn't quite get her out of my mind and asked Jim to at least consider her. So, when we went back to the shelter, they brought out the puppy AND the oldster for us to see (after first making sure the oldster was okay with other dogs).

Well, she went right up to Jim and rubbed against his legs and begged for his attention. While blatantly ignoring everyone else in the room, I might add. I kept reminding Jim I was okay with taking just the puppy, but he kept saying we'd give them both a try and see how Tate reacted to them both. And the shelter lady dropped the bombshell, cementing Jim's resolve to take home the oldster who'd chosen him:

She'd been in the shelter more than two weeks, the shelter was full, and some hard decisions were going to have to be made in the next couple days. The oldster's time was fast approaching. She just wasn't being looked at much because of her age and some room needed to be made for dogs who were more adoptable.

So, long story short (or at least, shorter than it could have been):

This is James' four-month-old huskiwhip (husky / whippet mix) puppy, Moya.

And this is Jim, with Belle, HIS eight-year-old husky, going to Home Depot to pick out a new kennel to build outside. HIS dog (and the other two) should have a kennel to play in, and the sooner the better. Yes, Belle is definitely Jim's special dog.

Belle, after a much, MUCH needed bath and shed combing, out on the balcony with Jim:

Chain O' Sniffs:

Tate is completely okay with the new dogs. She cold-shoulders Belle to the point of being rude, but she thinks Moya is the most interesting person she's met in her whole life. Belle is the only one with any issues, really... She's marking territory everywhere, and she doesn't like Tate to approach her crate if she's in it, but that's it. (As if the Miracle Marking Bladder she has can be described as "that's it"). Moya has some separation anxiety, but she's just been separated from her siblings and is in a new place and is very young, so no one blames her. Plus she usually stops crying in just a few minutes.

The current living arrangements:

Moya has Tate's polar bear from Aunt Amy, and Tate wasn't too sure if she should have it, until she discovered that Moya has a small blue and white cow, and Tate chewed that to make them even.

Jim trying to watch tv with a lap full of pre-bath husky:

We'd hoped having a puppy for Tate would give her a reason to want to play more and be a bit more active than just sleeping 23 hours a day. When all three dogs went on a walk with all three humans to the mailbox today, Tate kept right up, no complaining about being tired and wanting to go home. And when the huskies wanted to run back home, guess who ran, too? Tate! She may not be able to keep up the pace when the new wears off, but for now, she's pretty happy. She even seems to prefer Belle's crate to her own, so a trade might be in the future for those two. Who knows?

So if you come to visit us now, there will be a couple more smiling faces to greet you and beg you to go out and play.


  1. oh you guys, I love the new dogs! and I'm so glad Tate is getting along with them too! I bet she's gonna love the company!! Congrats on the new arrivals!! love you guys tons, Carla

  2. But Mom decided to wear flip-flops to teh mailbox, so Mom was running down the dirt road barefoot. Mom will learn next time :D

    I thought we were going out for just groceries, but we came home with dogs instead - not that I'm complaining. Moya is starting to calm down enough to be a real honey.

  3. I think Belle was really loved in her previous home. Her assumed TV watching position is half-on/half-off of her person. As much of a lap dog as a dog this size can be.

  4. I agree about Belle. The shelter personnel told us both that the owner tried dropping her off after hours, and was evidently so distraught at giving up his dog that they didn't have the heart to charge him the drop-off fee. I hope there's some way he can find out that Belle was adopted.

  5. Jim (of the wild ride variety)August 7, 2009 at 7:51:00 PM CDT

    Belle is territorial and is trying to overmark every other doggy type scent she finds. I caught her today about to mark in James's room, and barked her name at her. Oh, she was crushed. Right to my side, ears back, sat down, licking my hand and waiting for me to tell her it was okay. I think this is going to work.

  6. Jim (of the wild ride variety)August 7, 2009 at 8:06:00 PM CDT

    And the one who has something against purebred dogs isn't me. :)

  7. Jim (of the wild ride variety)August 9, 2009 at 3:40:00 PM CDT

    Belle and Moya were in the kennel this morning after breakfast. The kennel is 6' tall, and James put the latch almost 5' off the ground. Apparently that isn't enough, though. James looks out the window and sees Moya on the porch trying to get into the house. Belle, however, had more ambitious goals for her "unrestricted play" time. I walked out to the paved road, checking on the neighbor dogs since Belle really likes to make friends, but she was nowhere to be seen. At Holt-Lamplight I turned around and started back. If she'd gone that far then there wasn't really any where specific to look -- maybe get the car and drive up and down calling. She's new to this area, but she's doubtless pretty cagey about finding her way home if she wants to. About 50 yards back towards home I hear some noise behind me and there is Belle running after me. She just wanted to explore, not leave. Not a safe habit, but one I understand is common with the northern breeds -- they live to go. The faster the better.

    As I came back I met Deanna and James who were both beating the bushes closer to home looking for our wandering Belle.

    Exciting morning. Going to have to put a lock on the gate which requires thumbs to operate. And maybe barb wire at the top of it.

  8. Wow! What an adventure! They are truly beautiful dogs!

  9. I LOVE LOVE LOVEd reading this story!
    I am so happy for you all and for your adorable dogies!! The poast was truely hillarious and heartwarming! Love you guys & may God Bless you in Alaska!


  10. The new dogs are beautiful. Especially Belle. Good choice!