Friday, January 21, 2011

Perfecting the Art of Being a Couch Potato

This is Spud....the one facing the wrong way and all tangled up. Despite his working Malamute and Alaskan Husky ancestry, being a sled dog is not his forte.

He earned his name by being as close to a canine couch potato as I've ever seen. Spud was born in the spring of 2006 so he is by no means an old dog. But he might as well be. His favorite past time is laying on something soft.

Even though he is not a pull-the-sled kind of dog, Spud is very good at certain things.

He is patient and kind.

He is a great sleeper.

He is able to tolerate extreme heat. I think he is in love with the heater shown below. It's set to automatically come on about an hour before I get up in the morning and when I pad into the living room Spud is parked right in front of, moments away from combustion.

He is excellent at warning us to a stranger's presence. The minute he hears a vehicle that isn't ours coming into the driveway he runs down the hall to the bedroom and hides under the bed. I once took him for a walk in the woods and we met a man walking his dogs. Spud ran and hid in the trees and I lost him for two hours. Now when we go for a walk he wears a blinking light so I can find his hairy butt.

And lastly Spud can create space where there is none. He likes to curl up between Darrel and I on the couch. Problem is that he's not exactly small and at 70 or so lbs he takes up a significant area. He used to have a lot more room to sprawl but now a few of our old-timers have moved into the house and so his life isn't so cushy.

Who couldn't love a dog with all these quirks?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pester: Then and Now

Pester, aka Pester Pain in the Ass, is the son of Jewel and Zen. Jewel died two winters ago but let me tell you, she really isn't gone. Sometimes it amazes me how much of her is in Pester.

Jewel was a little sprinty kind of dog I got from a friend when she could no longer keep up with the top speeds of those fast dogs. She easily made the transition into distance running and was just about one of the sweetest dogs I've ever owned. She was a real dogyard dog - wouldn't leave the boundaries of the kennel and always worried when other teams did. She could be trusted to be loose and towards the end of her life the only time we tied her up was when we left home to go to town.

Three of her most endearing habits were this snorting sound she made when she was really happy, her constant woo-woos when you talked to her and her visits to the cooker when I was getting dog food ready. Jewel always came up for a tidbit and wandered happily back down to the yard, prize in her mouth.

And now there's Pester. He snorts when he's really happy and is a real talker just like his mom. Pester has taken the woo-woos to a new level for he always has something to say when I'm just in the yard. I don't even have to be near him. It can be a bit much sometimes and that's what earned him the pain in the ass part to his name.

Here's Pester then.

And here's Pester now.

Enough said.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Wrecking Crew

Solo is a one-dog wrecking crew. Remember the cartoon character Baby Huey? Big, sweet and not the brightest bulb on the tree? Well that's Solo.
She was born on Easter Sunday 2009 and is the daughter of Kiah (Malamute) and Mongo (Malamute/Polar Husky). We were sure the breeding hadn't worked so her arrival was a bit of a surprise. As the only pup it seemed natural to name her Solo. Here's a pic of her first day:

She was not like any pup we'd ever had. She was exploring her surroundings almost as soon as her eyes opened and more than once we found her amongst some of the adult dogs in the yard.

She also developed a fondness for small spaces, a habit which persists today. As a pup a tiny area to curl up in worked. Now as a more than 100 lb dog it's a bit more challenging. She'll belly crawl under the coffee table which is not a problem - until she stands up. More than once she has taken that particular piece of furniture with her.

In the truck she'd squeeze herself between the door and the seat and at night she'd curl up under the bed. Then she started to grow.

And grow......

(She's the same age as the other pup in this photo)

And grow......

(Solo at 7 months with then 9-year-old Amy)

And grow.....

(Solo at 8 1/2 months)

We think she's finally finished growing up but is not quite done filling out. She's an incredibly powerful dog, so much so that it's near impossible to hang on to a leash if she starts pulling. Solo is a monster in harness and has a beautiful, fluid gait I could watch all day long.

Her sweet nature matches her monstrous size. She's a snuggler and more than once she's pinned me on the couch or bed simply by draping herself over me. Solo loves to put her head against yours and she melts when you sing "Lolo Cabana" - with apologies to Barry Manilow.

She'll also occasionally lose her mind and get destructive which turns into a bit of a mess really. Last night I arrived home from work to find this:

How she managed to get almost all of the clean silverware into the fry pan I'll never know but at least she's cleaning up after herself now.

As dogs go she hasn't been terribly destructive but there have been adventures. A pot of noodles left on the stove one day resulted in the house being filled with propane. She had put her paws on the burner dial when she dragged the pot onto the floor and flipped it on. It took an hour before the place was aired out.

At one point we were duct taping the fridge door shut to keep her out. This was after she opened it and ate a loaf of bread, sandwich meat and leftovers. We've also had to use a eye bolt and hook to lock the door to the trash closet. Solo is nothing if not creative.

Despite the moments of exasperation, our lives our enriched by this Malamute giant. We wouldn't trade her for the world.