Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Blue Elephant

When Jax was just a little pup a coworker of mine gave him a small blue elephant squeaky toy. He loved that little toy and it was one of my personal favorites to give to him as a “yes” to the many “no” items that he tried to chew during his first few months.

As he has grown to a big boy of 2 years the little blue elephant has been abandoned in favor of bigger toys that can be tugged harder, and antlers that can withstand his big boy teeth…that is until the elephant made a reappearance tonight.

Jax has a new baby sister. Tink, short for Tinkerbell, is almost ten weeks old and is a mixture of sweetness and spunk. Jax is ecstatic to have a playmate.

Tonight tink was chewing on one of the smaller antlers and Jax was gnawing away at his newest bone. My attention was focused on Tink but I heard Jax abandon his bone and start looking through the toy chest, his doggie tags clinking against the metal bin. I peeked around the corner and watched him take toy after toy out of the bin. He tossed each one on the floor next to him and kept rooting through the vast selection.

Finally he trotted into the family room with the small blue elephant in his mouth. Tink was still chewing on her antler and Jax bent his big beautiful head down and nudged her. He dropped the elephant in front of her. She abandoned her antler and pounced on the elephant in typical puppy fashion, holding the little blue toy in her paws and chewing on it with her sharp little puppy teeth. Jax lowered himself to the floor and watched her as she chewed on the toy for a few minutes before turning his attention back to his bone.

I have lived my entire life with dogs, most of whom were Labradors, and I have seen this sort of compassion once before when my parents brought a new German Shorthaired Pointer puppy home and their yellow Labrador Beau did similar things. Dutch was the puppy at the time and every time he started to get into trouble, Beau would intervene and start a game of bitey face or tug and distract Dutch from the actions that were about to get him into trouble.

Some people claim that dogs are not capable of that sort of complex logic; so how do we explain the rooting through the toy bin for the particular toy that Jax had not played with for so long? The blue elephant has been in the bottom of the toy bin for at least a year. What made Jax get up from his bone, search for the elephant, bring it to Tink? Did he reason that he loved the toy as a puppy, and that Tink was a puppy and would therefore also love the elephant?

After a few minutes Jax left his bone and played a game of tug with Tink, the big dog and the little puppy each taking a tiny bit of fleece between their teeth and pulling back and forth. Jax is gentle when playing tug with her; he pulls Tink a short distance and then walks forward as she “pulls” him back. She is 17 pounds and he is 79. My heart swells at the thought that he lets her win sometimes. Not only is he intelligent, he is compassionate and knows she is just a pup.

If Jax can think through that sort of process, what else can he process? What problems can he solve? What emotions does he have? Most humans already give their dogs way too little credit for their intelligence; I feel blessed that I am not one of them.

jax and tink with toys

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Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust

When you build a life around the love of dogs, when one dog passes there is a gaping hole in your home and your heart. Some people never fill that hole, feeling that they cannot go through the loss again. Others bring a new dog into their home quickly, not as a replacement, but as a source of joy to help fill and smooth the hole. We are of the second variety.

Last week Jackson’s new sister came home. Officially named Shadowmyst Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust, she is our little Tinkerbell, aka Tink.

Tink was born on May 7, 2013, our second puppy from our amazing friend/breeder who is the epitome of responsible and amazing dog breeder. Tink’s mother is Jackson’s aunt and their fathers are from a different breeder but share a relative far back in their line. Here at our house, Jackson and Tinkerbelle have already become a pack of two.

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Tink has been home for ten days. I wish I could see the world from her viewpoint, especially as she has experienced so many new things and revealed so much about her personality.

We had a choice between two females who our breeder thought would be right for us. The other pup was a little more aloof and independent, versus Tink who immediately ran up to us and snuggled up to my husband as if he had known her forever. Then she came to me and snuggled. We were hooked.

Now that she is home Tink is showing a brave and adventuresome side. She is like my husband; she goes all out and puts all of her energy into her chosen activity and then she crashes and naps hard. It took her just a day to figure out that her favorite spot to nap was on my husband’s fleece blanket on the sofa that I made him for Christmas. She is still too small to jump onto the sofa on her own, so when she is sleepy she sits next to the sofa and either gives a little whimper or puts her paws on the side of the sofa. Of course she always gets a lift up; she is too adorable to deny her this napping spot.

jax and tink snuggling

Tink also quickly figured out her mealtime schedule and the routine involved. She eats three times a day and knows that when we grab the dog bowls and open the pantry door that she is moments away from a bowl of holistic Canine Caviar dog food. Both she and Jackson are Canine Caviar dogs from their first mouth of solid food, as well as in-utero through their mother. They also came home from the breeder knowing how to sit and wait for their food. She sits so nicely next to her brother as they both wait for their bowls of organic dry dog food to be placed before them.

jax and tink waiting for breakfast

We have also had puppy swimming lessons in the big human pool, for a few minutes at a time. The moment her feet hit the water she started her dog paddle swimming technique, and now she is swimming the full length of the pool under close supervision of course. She swims from Daddy’s arms to Mommy’s arms and then back again before getting toweled off and making a lap of zoomies around the yard.

Our little Tink is doing a great job learning which items are for her and which are off limits. Since the keys to dog training are patience and repetition we believe in keeping non-hazardous temptations in full reach. I have taken the same shoe away from her a dozen times, replacing it with a deer antler or squeaky toy. Eventually she will learn; moving the shoes doesn’t teach the lesson ,and it is our responsibility to her to teach her the lessons she needs. After all, she had no say in coming home with us, so we owe it to her to show her the ropes around her new home.

tink at vet 2

We are head over heels in love with our little girl. Jackson gives four paws up as well. Once again our friend/breeder has blessed us with such a special family member and I cannot wait to share her adventures with you.