24 January 2015

Dog Day

The banana shipment hasn't come so I get the day off. The pup, whose name has of course evolved into various permutations (Kiddo, Squido, Hellion, Sophaloaphagus) looks at me with beseeching eyes as I linger over coffee and clementines. We go for a run because one of the main reasons I wanted a dog was for altruistic exercise: a good impetus to get out even when I don't care.

The unceasing freeze-thaw cycle means the snow has an eggshell crust and Sophie, who usually loves porpoising through deep snow, stays in the packed-down track today; crust-wallowing is hard for a little dog. When I break through it scrapes my numb shins.

Deep postholes marr the path for a couple meters; I realize they are hoof-shaped and look around for the moose, hoping he has already crossed the road and gone down to the creek banks. There is coyote scat in the trail and, fascinated, Sophie agitates the snow in the pawprints with her little claws and thrusts her nose deep into the well of scent. The droppings have ice facets growing on them so they're from yesterday but on the way back she stands still, her shepherd ears tense and pointing skyward. I get goosebumps and scan the hills adjacent. She senses so many things I am oblivious to.

At the end she is still energetic; four cold miles wasn't nearly enough, so I pledge to her an afternoon play date with one of the many dog friends we have.
Sophie's "Run me" face

09 January 2015

So I (Er, We) Got A Dog

I grew up in a household of dogs, with grandparents who had dogs, with friends who had dogs. Now I live in a valley where every established monogamous couple, without fail, has a dog. Marriage and children aren't really "a thing" here. Dual dog ownership? A basic tenet of all solid relationships.

Tyler was lobbying hard. He also grew up with dogs. He wanted an animal to sit on his feet and nod when he made a point. He is very maternal. I was hesitant. I have been a dogsitter for years and really love dogs but I prefer them in rationed doses; I love them for their companionship and cuteness, but was never enamored with their high maintenance and dependency. I shelved the discussion until after the holiday trips.
Sophie, née Fizz
Then I saw this cute face on Petfinder, which I was trawling just like my mother did when she was hunting for her new love. Fizz was conveniently located in Hailey, a town south of Sun Valley where we were spending New Year's with Tyler's family. We went to meet her and within five minutes I went from wavering to "I WANT." The combination of my abrupt desire and our landlord's debilitating allergy to prompt communication resulted in a week of tenterhooks, as we slowly negotiated with the homeowners while trying to remotely reserve this cute animal. As soon as we got a solid "yes", I called in dog-crazy to work and drove to Hailey to pick Fizz (now Sophie) up before some other young settled outdoorsy couple could claim her. The quick phone conversation I had with my dad on the way home was gratifying; he seemed to think it was a long time coming and that folk of our clan are destined to be dog owners.

She might very well be the best possible critter the two of us could've found. She's sweet and friendly and easy-going for a puppy, and way smarter than either of us. She was born in May, is some ideal mix of fox terrier and other random bits and pieces, and weighs a muscular, trail-friendly thirty pounds. She has already settled in happily to our tiny household and lifestyle, which consists of walking around town and hanging out with lots of people and dogs. *Warning: this is probably the most gag-worthy and uncomfortable thing I've ever said on this blog.* Tyler is a great dog-owning partner. It turns out that we agree on consistency, tactics, and obedience without even having had the conversation beforehand, and his nurturing nature and short commute mean that he plans to give Sophie the utmost of attention. Theoretically this is indicative of other "lifestyle compatibilities", of which I refuse to give credence or blogspace to. Because I'm not ready to be that grown-up.