A Humble Ramble

As Shiva and I are sneaking in some holiday-time this week, I am relying on the kindness of my fellow bloggers to fill in. Donna of the eponymous blog, Donna and the Dogs, agreed to write today’s post. Ever since I discovered her website a few months ago, I have been a huge fan of Donna’s writing. She came to positive-based training much the same way I did and she shares her experiences with great honesty. I was thrilled when she said she would write something for my site. Just having her name linked here adds a touch of class.

Kristine was nice enough to ask me to contribute a guest post to her blog, which I try to stop by regularly so I can read about her adventures with Shiva, her gorgeous (and oftentimes challenging) dog. Flattered that she thought I might have something of interest to share with all of you, I easily accepted, but then came the big question. What should I write about?

Hopeful, I asked Kristine if she had any topics in mind. Nope…it was up to me – as long as it included a dog.

You would think, with such a broad topic, it would be easy to come up with something to write about. After all, that’s pretty much what I do with my own
blog – I go on and on about the first thing that lodges itself into my skull. But…I wanted my guest post to be special, different from my daily blog, slanted so it fell in line with the “Rescued Insanity” theme.

But of course, I don’t own a dog named Shiva, none of my dogs are learning agility, my name’s not Kristine, and last I checked, we even live in different countries. So, for about a week, I thought and I thought, and I thought some more.

What in the world should I write about?

Growing desperate, I looked around my house to see what my dogs were up to, searching for inspiration, and right off the bat, two of them were missing.

Vanished without a trace – most likely hidden away in the bedroom.

I can’t really blame them. Meadow, the short coated Vizsla, prefers the warmth of our tiny bedroom over our drafty kitchen-living room combo, and Toby, the aging Labrador, prefers his soft cushiony dog bed over lying on a mat upon the hard tile floor.

But one dog, was there, right at my feet. One incredible, loyal, protective, lovable dog – my sweet senior, Leah. So I decided to write about her. But when I looked at her, I realized I had nothing to say. What can you say about a dog who is almost perfect? A dog who wants nothing more in life than to be able to lie at the feet of her favorite human. A dog who comes whenever she’s called, who’s never stolen so much as a morsel of food from the counter – and who’s even dropped a live squirrel from her mouth upon request.

None of which can be credited to me.

It’s just who she is – probably due to one or more of the breeds that make up her genetics. And to think that I almost didn’t choose her – for that very same reason. Yup – I admit it. I suffer from breed prejudice. Even as her exquisite eyes beckoned me to stop and consider her at the shelter, I nearly left Leah behind once I noted her markings and read the label hanging on her kennel door.

German Shepherd mix.

It wasn’t the mix part that worried me. You see, I grew up with Shepherds. They are amazingly obedient, patient, intelligent, affable dogs. Protective, but not to extreme. The ones I was raised with put up with more shenanigans from me as a kid than my mother would care to know. And, rather than biting me, (as they probably should have), they even allowed me to rest my tired head on their big furry bodies and use them as pillows while I watched television after I was done playing with (tormenting?) them.

Furthermore, after knowing each of the Shepherds my Mom has owned both past and present, along with several other great dogs I have met along the way during my forays into obedience school and dog sports, I can confidently say that German Shepherds are almost perfect dogs. (Disclaimer: When properly bred, socialized, trained, and exercised – as with any dog.)

So, you’re probably wondering why I nearly passed Leah by?

Did you notice where I said they were ‘almost’ perfect? That’s because I left out one horrific detail about German Shepherds.

They shed.

And they shed.

And they shed.

And they shed some more.

In fact, if it were up to me, they’d be called German ‘Shedder’ Dogs.

But, despite my fear of living with a vacuum cleaner attached to my hip, Leah snared me with her soulful brown eyes on that day nearly eight years ago, and she’s been at my side ever since. Since then, twice a year, (and every day in between), my faithful friend has proven that Rin Tin Tin’s blood flows freely through her veins, with every strand of fur that floats across my kitchen floor, and with every shake of her body that sends clouds of her coat into the air, making her resemble the peanuts character, Pig-Pen.

Do I regret adopting her?

Not ever.

24 thoughts on “A Humble Ramble

  1. Another wonderful post. And I think your name German Shedder dog is very appropriate.

    I presume you’ve heard the old joke–German Shepherd dogs only shed once a year, but it lasts 365 days!

    I too hate dog hair. And I’m a terrible cleaning person. So I have dust rhinos under my beds (they’ve long since left the bunny stage) and tumbleweeds of fur on every step.

    And yes, it’s worth it every single day.

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    • Can you believe I had NOT heard that one yet? And “Dust Rhinos!” I love it. 🙂 You clean like I do, apparently. There’s just no way to make it hair free, it comes back IMMEDIATELY after vacuuming anyway, so why bother?

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  2. Loved this post. And I love the German Shedder name, I think I’ll have to use that one. I agree they probably shed the most of any dog boarded/bathed here. Especially in comparison to the Vizsla (whom I half chose myself due to lack of hair 😉 ). Funny you have 2 of the breeds we have in our own home. I shall have to look up your site.
    Have a great weekend
    Anna
    http://www.akginspiration.com

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  3. You have a V too huh? Shedding, what shedding? I guess after owning a Shepherd AND working as a boarder/groomer, the last thing you want to do is brush your ANOTHER dog. (Can’t blame you there!) Good choice!

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    • LOL! Anna – I just assumed you had a shepherd, but I just wandered over to your blog and saw that you have a Lab, that looks a lot like my Toby! How ironic. 🙂 Both of your dogs are gorgeous dogs by the way!

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      • Thanks, yes we have a lab. No Sheps for me please, the lab is enough hair to live with. The lab was for the husband and honestly we couldn’t have gotten a better dog for him. I knew both the parents and the grandparents so temp wise I was happy… and it turns out that they also don’t seem to shed as much. But it still is WAY more than my little V… But yes, having worked in the dog field for quite a few years now, the last thing I want is to pick up after my own dogs lol. Thanks for stopping by the blog.
        Anna
        http://www.akginspiration.com

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  4. Hahaha! I never realized it, but I suppose I too suffer from breed-shedding-discrimination. I mean sure, it looks like Newfs have lots of fur to deal with, but the shedding is mostly seasonal, and I’m always thrown off by the amount of fur left behind after interacting with a lab or shepherd. When considering our second dog, shedding concerns eliminated more potential candidates than temperament. Ok, maybe about the same – butbik definitely guilty. I’m happy to read Leah counters that tendency, but I’m certain it caused me to pass up awesome dogs. In the end, though, I still think we found the right one.

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    • I never knew that about Newfies…just looking at them, I assumed the worst! But then, there’s the drool. God bless you! LOL! My Lab’s a moderate shedder, not nearly as bad as Leah. And with him, it just falls to the floor where I can (eventually) vacuum it up. Leah’s falls to the floor, comes out in clumps, flies in the air, and also sticks to her coat so badly that I can spend hours brushing her and she will STILL look like I haven’t brushed her in months…

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  5. What a great post! Leah does sound like the perfect dog.

    I do have a question, though. You are averse to shedding and after you got your Shepherd mix, you went and got a Lab? Hahaha. Hahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    😉

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  6. It’s easy to see how Leah makes up for her one imperfection in so many other ways:) You can’t put a price on a dog like her and what’s a few blobs of fur? By now you’ve probably colour co-ordinated your home around Leah! Here’s to many more happy, furry years together:)

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    • Yup! I was always a fan of black and browns in my clothing, so she fit in perfectly. And, that’s a good point, all dogs have some sort of imperfection here of there -it just comes down to which imperfections do you choose to live with. For that matter, I’m certainly not perfect, yet my dogs still love me. 🙂

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  7. Our Best Friend is a shepherd mix, and his shedding is NOTHING compared to my friend’s lab/schnauzer cross (or her Belgian shepherd/lab cross too, come to think). What’s a little vacuuming between friends?

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  8. That was a beautiful tribute to Leah, Donna. We had a shephard mix growing up, unfortunately my parents weren’t the kind to train, socialize or anything else with their dogs. I wish I’d had the chance to have that kind of relationship with my dog growing up.

    Sampson is a close to perfect as any dog can be, so what I lacked as a child is being made up now.

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    • Thanks Jodi. Well people certainly know a lot more about dogs now then they did then, and do a lot more too. Although my mom was careful to socialize the dogs as pups and take them to obedience school classes for basics, she didn’t continue with it with any of them like a lot of us do today. And as far as exercise, the dogs got most of theirs playing with us kids. 🙂

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