More puppy dog tales …

Three years old (?) but he looks younger to me

Yep, happiness truly is a warm puppy … or in my case, a three-year-old (vet’s guess) rescue pup.

Y’all remember Charlie, don’t you? The yellow Lab mix I adopted almost three months ago, just after Thanksgiving.

He settled in immediately and has continued to be delightfully well behaved. Imagine bringing a new dog into your home and not having to deal with house training. Or unwanted barking. Or counter surfing. Or a terrorized cat. Or chewed up sneakers. Or crating every time you go out.

Just having him around makes me more content and relaxed. He snoozes nearby, or supervises what I’m doing (especially if I’m near his dish), or, if he wants something, he just sits and stares at me until a mind meld occurs.

To date he hasn’t learned to ring the sleigh bells hanging on the back door when he wants out. Annie, my previous canine roomie, learned that in just a day or two. But on the other hand, he doesn’t seem to have her separation anxiety or fear of loud noises.

I sometimes wonder about his heritage and think about those DNA tests that are available. To my eye he’s a little rangier than a purebred Lab. Some hound chromosomes, perhaps? His bark sometimes becomes almost a bay. But I know if a test revealed breeds I don’t like or trust, I’d probably never quite forget it. So I’m not going there.

Toes v. Kong

You may remember he was attacked by another dog in Texas about a month before he came to Colorado. The resulting scar on his lower left eyelid makes him look sad at times. And the surgically straight-line 1.5″ scar along the base of his right ear indicates it might have been partially torn off. It’s all healed now, although the flap doesn’t hang normally and is a little shorter than his left flap. War wounds he’ll carry the rest of his life. But he’s happily oblivious and it all just reminds me how pleased I am that I could give him a safe, loving home. And he’s so sweet, despite all he’s been through.

I watch him sunning himself on the back deck, his deck now, overseeing his yard. There are neighbor dogs next door if he wants to chat or run back and forth with them, birds in the trees, and an occasional squirrel traversing the fence. In the living room, in front of the fireplace, he has a cushy new bed and in the bedroom, a snug and cozy kennel that’s always open.

He’s the first smooth-coated dog I’ve had since a couple of toy fox terriers in my childhood. And it’s been interesting to see he has actual toes — not just furry mitts but actual bony white toes that he uses to hold his Kong while he tries to get all the peanut butter inside.

That’s a Lab thing, of course — the food obsession. With Labs it’s almost always about food. I’m determined not to let him become a stereotypical fat Lab; that’s always a negative reflection on the guardian and more importantly, it’s not good for the dog. However, to date I’ve been unable to explain to him why I insist on “starving” him.

There are treats in there! (His coat has filled in since this pic was taken.)

I think I mentioned in the past that he doesn’t seem to know what toys are for. Maybe he never had any. Or maybe I just haven’t found the right one yet. He does, however, love the puzzles with treats inside. No surprise. Maybe when the weather moderates we can get outside more and discover the joys of tennis balls.

My granddaughter gave him his own stocking for Christmas. And then came back a few days later with a smaller one for Rowdy, the cat. Fair’s fair, after all. And my son gave him a handsome blue Fi collar. (A Fi collar has a GPS locator on it, as opposed to the bluetooth locator tags that many people use.) I’m sure he thought of it after Charlie bolted out the front door the first time I retrieved a delivery from the porch. But he stopped on the front step as soon as I called him and hasn’t bolted since. Still, it’s very reassuring to know I have that global locator if he ever takes off.

The waking-me-up-early thing is improving. He’ll still put his front paws up over the edge of the bed and stare at me, after leaving his crate and shaking himself and me awake with jingling tags and flapping ears. But after I tell him no and push him off once or twice, he settles on the floor right where I usually step into my slippers. He doesn’t want to risk missing my getting up. Off and on, this routine has come later and later and now sometimes occurs as late as 8 a.m. So, definite progress from the original 6ish. And it’s not because he’s desperate to go outside. It’s because he knows he gets breakfast as soon as he comes back in. That’s the deal; he goes out to relieve himself and then he gets breakfast.

This morning, for the fourth (!) day in a row, I heard no flaps or jingles until 8 a.m. No paws on the side of the bed or face peering over. Dare I hope? I was reminded, however, to keep putting my slippers on the table because if they are on the floor, he bides his time by licking the fur on the inside. Ick. Wet slippers. Yep, he’s a slipper licker. I guess no dog is perfect.

Charles Schulz was right


More about Charlie:

The one about the dog
The big orange collar
Charles A. Gooddog

6 thoughts on “More puppy dog tales …

  1. Animals can cure all ills – sometimes even real ones. Where people like you and I would be without our beloved pets, Susan, whose nose ? (my adorable late husband like to ask that). Charlie is giving as much as he’s getting; and there can be no better exchange than that between carer and cared-for, imnsho .. 😀

    1. I sometimes feel I don’t deserve him, and I feel a bit guilty knowing he’ll probably outlive me. But my son loves him too, so he’ll always be well cared for.

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