Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Year in the Life

Yeah, me too.

Although I haven’t read or heard of an obituary for me, it’s been so long since I posted anything folks undoubtedly think I succumbed to the affliction described in the previous post. Truth be told, there was a relapse with the crud. Following that, I completely revamped my office which took more than two weeks to get back into a functional condition. (That’s my excuse, and I’m stickin’ to it.)

We also had a celebration of sorts in the past two weeks. A year ago I posted about getting a new dog, a Bouvier ders Flanders (Bouvier for short, galoot to be more honest) we named Holmes. At a year old, the 12-pound puppy we brought home has become a 90-pound dog with a pup’s demeanor. Much has changed, but as often noted, the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Up until the galoot arrived my experience with large dogs was limited to German shepherds and Labradors, both of which are intelligent breeds. Bouviers are intelligent too, but they are more like the genius kid in school that would rather use his smarts to make trouble than advance his education. If Holmes were human I’m sure he’d be developing horrible computer viruses.

I've been waiting... your breath is heavenly!

From day one, Holmes was fascinated with our cat. In addition to being a freakishly large tabby cat, Winchester gets along well with dogs. His hero growing up was our chocolate Lab, Slime Beast. He shared the Slime Beast’s food, drank from the water dish at the same time, and often curled up on him. However, at the age of ten, Winchester had turned into a staid old man when Holmes arrived.

Holmes quickly discovered the effect of grabbing the cat’s tail was like yanking the string on a giant, furry squeaky toy. Just as rapidly he learned the other end of the cat was to be avoided immediately after grabbing the tail. The tail still gets plenty of action, but for prolonged noisy entertainment Holmes has figured out he can hold the cat down with one paw and lick the cat’s face. Since we feed the cat in the garage, Holmes waits patiently for the cat at the pet door to clean his face every morning and evening. Winchester protests loudly, but doesn’t retaliate, leading us to believe he appreciates the facial. 

The doughnut dog, Watson, is still trying to put Holmes in his place. When Holmes has  gone too far, Watson throws himself at Holmes with ferocious snarling and bared fangs. The effect is not dissimilar to a rampaging field mouse attacking a Clydesdale. Having finally figured out size does matter, Watson has changed tactics. Now, when he has had quite enough the younger dog’s impertinence, he jumps up, latches onto Holmes’ considerable facial hair, and hangs on for dear life until the big dog lays down to be properly chastised. Even that tactic has its failures. Holmes has figured out if he just slaps Watson on the top of the head with his paw, he can blunt the attack.

We currently have Watson in an anger management program for treatment of “little dog” syndrome. 

A casual gourmand from day one.
Holmes has always been a casual kind of guy, particularly when he eats. That’s not to say he doesn’t take eating kibbles seriously, it’s just that he’s lazy about it, preferring to lay down to get the job done. He has always been a casual gourmand.

Eating is serious business, but shouldn't be strenuous.

Honest - I only sniffed the snow a little.

Bouviers are touted as being a “non-shedding breed.” That statement was followed in the owner’s manual with, “…but must be brushed frequently to remove loose hair.” It would be more accurate to simply say, “Bouviers shed, but their coat is too thick to let anything (other than mud, leaves, twigs, small boulders and the occasional woodland creature) fall out of it. The heavy coat also acts as a snow magnet, which can cause no end of irritation in the winter.

A birthday party for a dog is a silly concept, so we didn’t do anything special for Holmes. Surviving a year with Bouvier puppy is quite another matter. Mrs. Poynor and I consumed a fancy dinner in the dog’s behalf. We earned it.

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