Polar “Snowflake” O’Bear Puppy came back from the vets this morning. Mindy was delighted to see her, wagged her tail and did her little Mindy dance. Bear was glad to be home, too, and this time not surprised that we came back here. She ran immediately to her pee space and peed and that made me happy.
I continue to be amazed by this dog and grateful that I’ve owned — shared my life with — so many dogs of so many different breeds. Truffle was a lab/springer and her mom was a good friend of mine. I know it sounds a little odd to say a dog was a friend, but Shadow, black lab, broke loose from her tether every morning and came to my house to get me. She sat on the sidewalk and barked one “Woof!” Never two. I almost always came out with a leash and took her on a walk, sometimes an adventure into the canyon near our house, sometimes just a walk around the block. Then I took her home. A neighbor kid, when I told him about Shadow and that Truffle was her baby, said, “The One Bark Family.” Truffle also only barked one “Woof.” Then Molly O’Wolf, the Malamute/Aussie. Then there was Paddy – a poodle/springer mix (could’ve been Truffle’s brother, I don’t know) whom I fostered and found a home for. There was Kelly, the purebred Golden Retriever — affectionate, responsive and trainable to a fault, rescued from a family who thought she was “too much to deal with.” Then there was Maggie a Girl of the Streets, a stray — husky/golden retriever mix (wonderful dog) who chose to move in with me. There was Aschi (found a home for him) and Zorkie (Absaroka because she was a black dog and so Crow) and Xiao (a little corgi mix). I babysat a friend’s dog for a year, a yellow lab mixed with akita, Cody the first who was (dumb) golden and German shepherd died of multiple rattlesnake bites. He was attracted to the sound of snakes an went into a nest and came out with 18 bites. There was a beautiful German shepherd who tried to adopt me, but it was impossible because he was a male and I, by then, had Lupo, a male German shepherd/husky/golden retriever mix. There was the beginning of the Siberian husky influx with Ariel Punky, husky/wolf mix, a chow/golden puppy named Mila, Persephone the Pitbull, then Lily and Jasmine, Cheyenne (all huskies), Dusty (godnose — lab dobie dane?), Daisy (lab), Cody (Siberian husky) and Reina, a special needs Aussie. Then (meaning now) Mindy (an Aussie) and Polar Bear.
From all those dogs — many of whom I went to training with and a four of whom were professionally trained in a residential program — I’ve learned how much a dog’s breeding affects their behavior. No Siberian will NOT run. They all must run and hunt. Labs WILL retrieve and eat everything. Aussies may or may not want to herd, but they will be smart, playful and loving. Pitbulls are naturally affectionate and loyal, but can ‘turn’ under the wrong circumstances; it’s best for them to be an only dog belonging to a loving person who can work with them as puppies. A mixed breed dog will have traits of his parents (I am sure Dusty is part Doberman because of his protective nature, appearance and the sound of his bark) but they are somewhat more of a blank slate when it comes to nature vs. nurture. The shelter from which I adopted Dusty said he was untrainable, but they were completely wrong. Mila, my chow mix puppy, was sweet and loving and passionate and optimistic; Ariel, the husky/wolf hybrid tried to kill her twice, but Mila just continued in her warm and positive way — I found her a new home.
Polar O’Bear is the most interesting puppy of them all. The way she pays attention to her world is very impressive to me. When I brought her home from the vet, she began to lick her stitches. I moved her face away from them and said “No.” She tried again. Again, “No.” I went back to the vet to get an E-Collar for her. When I got back, Bear had found one of my shoes (“I’ll shoe you!”) I gently took it from her, put it away and walked into the kitchen. She followed. I told her to sit and gave her a cookie. She has also not messed with her stitches again. She watched me mow the lawn then checked with Dusty and Mindy as if to find out if this was a normal occurrence or something she should pay attention to. I guess they told her not to worry, that I did that from time to time. She went to sleep with Dusty on the floor instead of what she was doing, lying on the grass watching me.
I found this great description of the breed. Another I found last night sounded as if it were describing me, not a dog.
“Pyrenees needs to have free roam. They are not a breed that you can chain outside or lock up constantly. A large, fenced yard is a necessity for them and preferably a country setting with multiple acres for them to wander. They will not go out the backyard and run around but would rather have half the day to walk around slowly and see what has changed.” (I love that)
“They must also be allowed “alone” time more so than other breeds. They need to have a place to retreat to if they are feeling overwhelmed, they want nap, or just need to get away. If they are not allowed this “alone” time they may become aggressive with those who are interfering in their space.”