Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Bouviers are a big breed

In January I mentioned adopting a sweet, affectionate “rescue” dog named Missy. Unfortunately, ours is an active, loud household, and any noise above the hum of my computer sent her into fits of terror. After two months it was clear she would never be comfortable with us, so we took her back to the rescue shelter. (We felt bad about it, but I swear I saw the little dog and the cat high-four on her departure.)

While relative calm returned, there was an issue. For more than twenty years we have been a two dog home. We have always had a donut-dog for Mrs. Poynor, and a big dog for myself. (A donut-dog is like one of those little spare tires that are designed to suffice in a pinch, but just enough until a real tire can be had.) Consequently, it was no surprise when my wife announced she had an appointment to check out some puppies. 

Little resemblance to the grown version

“What kind of puppies?” I asked, thinking a Lab was in my future.

“They are Bouviers.” 

“What the hell are those? Sounds like a hunk of motile fluff.”

As it turns out the Bouvier des Flanders (Just kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) are a large working breed originating from Belgium. There we go: big dog for me, with very little shedding for Mrs. Poynor - a win-win situation in my wife’s estimation. 

Even though she protested all the way to the kennel that she just wanted to look, I knew “look” meant buy. In short order we had a new puppy and had to name him. I thought Jackie would be good, but the idea was nixed immediately. Since the donut-dog is named Watson, we settled on Holmes.

A fruitless lesson in respect

The past ten days have been educational for all parties concerned. Watson has learned his best efforts at teaching the pup exactly who is in charge are all in vain. Holmes isn’t a slow student, nor is Watson a poor teacher. It’s just hard to teach a lesson to a yapping blur, and constant remedial lessons are in order.

The cat has also learned Holmes is no respecter of station. In spite of the cat’s determination to maintain an aloof and regal manner whenever he encounters the pup, Holmes is not put off, and licks his face with abandon. No amount of hissing, spitting or passive resistance will dissuade the affection. 

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

Conversely, Holmes has learned a thing or two about cats. For instance, there are two ends to a cat, one twitches enticingly and is fun to nip, the other end bites. He has also learned cats, even though declawed, can dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee if his effusive demonstrations of affection are prolonged.

Since the water dish is shared by all the pets it is roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool. Holmes quickly learned by pulling on it with his paws, he could create a respectable reenactment of the Great Flood in the kitchen. Just as quickly, the human contingent learned the dish must be anchored to a book case. 

Water dish must be anchored!

As for me, I have learned Bouvier puppies look like they are having a perpetual bad hair day. Honestly, if I had a child with hair so unruly, I’d shave its head. It was no surprise, but I have been reminded that puppies are perpetual motion machines when awake, and an unattended puppy can wreak havoc in the time it takes to go to the toilet. Puppies protest confinement by howling endlessly at a pitch and volume capable of shattering crystal. I’ve also learned maintaining focus is the key to writing when your ankle is being gnawed to the bone. In the middle of the night, when a puppy wakes up and whines, it will spring a leak if not carried outside. Sleeping in jeans is preferable to dashing out into the back yard in your underwear when it’s only five degrees above zero (-15 degrees C).

Rats! Another bad hair day!

As for Mrs. Poynor, she has learned how much she appreciates working out of the home.

Shameless plug: If you enjoyed this post, check out Of Moose and Men: Home is Where the Harm Is, a collection of home related humor pieces,available at Amazon.


  1. Puppies require being CARRIED outside?!?!?

    1. As soon as his feet hit the carpet, it's go time. *Deep sigh*

  2. The description of your puppy could be applied directly to my 2 year old girl, who also springs leaks at the most inopportune times.

    1. Need to carry her outside and set her on the snow more frequently.

  3. While its appearance can be an acquired taste for some, let its extremely endearing personality win your heart. I learned a lot from this article and kept me looking for more information. Luckily, I found another article that pretty much sums up everything you need to know about the breed. You can read about it here:

    1. First off, thank you for reading the blog. I have to agree with you about the personality. Holmes has the biggest, most entertaining personality of any dog that has ever shared my life.