Saturday, March 28, 2009
To their credit, the dogs played for a good hour like this and neither got carried away. At no point was there so much as a yelp or any other reason to do anything but let them enjoy themselves together.
The reason they’re this good at restraining their biting so as not to cause pain or damage is that they spent so long with their littermates and with adult dogs at the breeder’s. Being around other dogs at that young age really helps them learn how much is too much and how much is just plain fun.
We took Ajax with full awareness that his chest patch and white toes constitute significant faults in terms of his conformation to breed standard. He is, however, a full-blooded, registered Golden Retriever, so he’s eligible for any AKC competition. Since we have no plans for showing dogs in the conformation ring, his attitude and physical soundness were what truly mattered. And, frankly, I wouldn’t take away the blaze or the white on the toes even if I could.
And, of course, not all playing has to involve slavering gladiatorial tooth-clashing. Fortunately, there were two balls. Both dogs fetch beautifully, and both love parading around proudly with their prizes.
By the end of this weekend, when Kate and Ty and Ojo finally went back to Boston, Ajax just crashed on the floor for a couple of hours, completely exhausted and happy to have seen his brother again. It’s nice to think that our family get-togethers will give these puppies a chance to get together too.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
We also noticed how much the arrival of Ajax has affected Comet. He has loved tearing through the woods these last few months, but having a friend to share it with again has put just a little more lift into his steps, a little more roll in his gait, and just a little more speed into his sprints. Funny though, he never goes quite fast enough to totally lose Ajax. Where would the fun be in that?
Pretty soon he starts to figure out that “come” is a really fun game with a party at the end. Fun enough to get all four feet in the air at the same time.
A fragment of a pine branch must tell a whole story to a dog’s nose. Their sense of smell isn’t just more sensitive than ours; it can precisely distinguish individual smells from a complex mix. Ajax must be reading about the travels of deer and porcupines, millipedes and hikers, about growth, decay, and everything in between.
Let the capturing of fun puppy expressions begin. This one is particularly nice because you can see that his grown up fur is coming in on his face, but the top of his head is still fluffy puppy fur.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
That also happened to a pup with a large white blaze on his chest. It’s a pretty substantial fault in the show ring, but it has no influence whatsoever on his health, personality, or athletic ability, and it’s cute as heck to boot. We have no plans to breed him or show him, so we grabbed him and named him Ajax.
There was another puppy who looked just like Gus did at that age and had good conformation to boot, but he didn’t have that outgoing, adventurous personality that we saw in the white blaze boy.
Even though he is a little bit of a scamp, we only have to tell him a couple of times that something is off limits and he seems to grasp it fairly well. He takes direction wonderfully and came pre-loaded with basic commands from the breeder. While it’s fun to train those first steps yourself, it’s pretty nice to have the foundation already laid.
In the backyard this morning, Comet picked up his tennis ball, teased Ajax with it, and ran off. A several minute session of lapping the yard ensued as Comet taught Ajax to follow, then to anticipate the single fake, and finally the double fake, and Comet streaked back and forth with the puppy in hot pursuit.
It’s comforting to watch that sweet Golden spirit passing down from dog to dog, transmitted through the medium of a wet plush rabbit toy that once belonged to Gus and now is being soaked anew by the spit of the next joyful spirit.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Apparently, it also means time for a new puppy. Gus’s breeder has a few sixteen-week-old puppies, sons of Gus’s brother, that she can’t properly train herself because of an injury, and it seemed that the cosmos was suddenly aligning to put a puppy in our lives and bring us back to our two dog days and nights.
(Photo Credit: Donna Tippy)
A dog’s look is strongly influenced by his DNA, as his is temperament and a multiplicity of other qualities. Nonetheless, his personality, his uniqueness, his attitude, his, well, him-ness are part of that ineffable mix of experience and biology that transcends protein replication. What I loved about Gus was Gus himself, and it will never be found again on this earth. This new dog will equally be himself and only himself, and he will be loved on those terms.
(Photo Credit: Donna Tippy)