Monday, January 3, 2011

Tales of a Dogsitter – The Seventeen Dogs of Christmas

Well, 2011 has arrived and most of the Christmas dogs have returned home to their families. The rush is over and there is a semblance of normalcy on the home front – whatever that means. In mid-January we will once again gear up when local residents get the winter blues and make a mass exit out of Homer in search of sun and sandy beaches. In the meantime we will settle in to some quiet, relaxing time with only a few dogs in camp. The resident dogs love the visitors but also enjoy having me all to themselves. Of course we will continue to have Duke and Forty West four days a week – which equals non-stop play days for the RockDog.

The day after New Years is always a time for reflection. Today as I think of all the furry friends that spent their Christmas with us, I am reminded of just how different their personalities really are, and how well they communicate and get along as a species. My experience has taught me that problem dogs for the most part have issues that can be traced directly back to us, the human – whether it be genetics through bad breeding, poor socialization or a basic lack of showing them the way.

Humans are in awe that I never have dogfights at TBTB. That always surprises me because dogs are not innately fighters. Unlike humans, dogs only fight about important things – like resources. If they have what they need in the way of food, treats, water, play time, and exercise there is little left for them to fight about. It’s a simple matter of establishing myself as the pack leader and being aware of a potential problem before it becomes an issue.

Conversely, humans can take heed from the canine on how to live totally for the moment and how to recognize what is truly important. Dogs remind us to enjoy life, not to take ourselves too seriously, to play, to be kind to our neighbor and to not sweat the small stuff. But most important they show us how to enjoy the moment. Dogs are the ultimate life teacher – if only we observe and listen. . . I am always in awe watching them interact with one another.

Here are the Seventeen Dogs of Christmas and a brief incite into who they really are inside their furry suits.

Annie – Clever
A California blonde wiggle butt that came to TBTB as a foster, Annie is a smart, manipulative, loveable girl who loves good wine. ☺ She is content to lie on a couch pillow and observe the doggie activity around her. Annie is now officially a permanent resident at TBTB.

Bette – Content
Bette was pulled out of the animal shelter in Homer after being there for over a month. She is older, a bit overweight, and is definitely very happy to just “be” – she has a perpetual smile on her face. Her Christmas wish came true when Cindy and Suzi decided to offer her a forever home.

BunBun Roush – Bossy
Another California blonde wiggle butt that came to TBTB as a foster. Right after she arrived I slipped and called her “BunBun Roush.” My roommate commented that it looked like Bunny was here to stay since I had already given her my name. Bossy Bunny likes to tell the other canines what to do, and they are all okay with it. And yes Sarah, you were right. . . BunBun has also found a permanent home at TBTB.

Zip Doodle, aka DoDog – Humorous
I rescued DoDog in 2004. She is the funniest dog I have ever had and marches to her own drum. Zip keeps us all laughing and everyone that meets her falls in love. She is the neighborhood mascot and loves all living things – and sometimes the dead ones too! Ugh!

Dosha – Lovable
The sweetest, most lovable, obedient lab you could ever meet.

Fern – Forgiving
Lovely Fern has had many changes lately. Her human’s house burned down, and a large dog attacked her in her new neighborhood causing over twenty stitches in her back. But she was still smiling when she arrived in camp and was immediately accepted into the pack.

Kodiak – Majestic
This big guy has a large presence at 120 lbs. but an amazing gentle spirit.

LucGoose – Epitome of Sweetness
The alpha dog of the Roush pack, Luce rules with a soft paw – most of the time. ☺

Lucy – Playful
Lucy loves to run like the wind and wrestle with all dogs that are able to keep up.

Ned – Loyal
NedHead is vocal about what he wants and stays close by on hikes – his mom described him as a “chicken.” I think he is extremely loyal to the pack leader and if he is a chicken, he sure is a cute one.

Piper - Gentle
This girl is always happy and loves all dogs. She has a kind, gentle spirit.

RockDog – Curious
All things dog, RockDog is constantly exploring the world around him. He is a merry boy who loves all his friends at TBTB no matter how big they are.

Sable – Mischievous
At less than a year old, Sable girl is always pushing the limits to see how much she can get away with. All dogs enjoy her playful spirit.

Sheba – Wise
Sheba has a quietness about her as she observes the other dogs around her. Her facial expressions reflect the wisdom of an old soul.

Tia – Timid
Tia waits for hand-signals to show her the way. She wants to fit in to the pack but is unsure about the play thing.

WoodBoy – OgDog’s Boy
Woody is happy to be in the moment. He enjoys walks and sleeping on the leather couch most of the day.

ZipTally – Herder Overload
Tally bosses the others around by nipping at their heels in an attempt to get them going in the direction he wants. Keeping up with the big guys is a workout for this short little guy but he takes his job seriously.

So there you have it, the Seventeen Dogs of Christmas 2010. I am blessed to spend time with these wonderful creatures that continue to teach me tolerance, patience and the willingness to just “be.” Some people think this is a merely my job. To me it’s about sharing life. Namasté

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