Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Making Himself At Home

Feet up, kickin' back...

This guy sure knows how to make himself at home, I tell ya!

Feet in the air, flat out on his back on the sofa - you'd really think he owned the place.

Had an incident yesterday though. You live and learn.

I decided to put him on a 10-metre lead to see if he couldn't get a bit more exercise. I'm not letting him off completely yet as it's only been a couple of weeks.

So anyway, I started to run along with him... and so did he. Only he had 10 metres to pick up speed, and a tearaway wolfdog is a sight to behold. He must have been at about 30mph by the time he ran out of slack.

Now I've dislocated my shoulder five times and can't say it's much fun. So when I saw what was happening my heart dropped into my stomach. He succeeded in pulling me off my feet and onto the ground where I did a bit of a turn to save my shoulder, thank goodness.

It also appears he can fly. The second time we left him alone he opened the upstairs window and jumped out.

And the third time I left him in a locked cage in the living room. And for the third time found him in the garden when I got back. Seems there was a weak joint in the cage and he finally forced his way out and opened the non-shuttered doors from the inside as usual. Boy-oh-boy.

The next tactic is simply to leave him in the garden when we go out. Do you think he'll now want to force his way into the house instead?

He's discovered that the neighbours have a cat, and I can't say they have the calmest relationship. Hissing and barking mainly. Through a fence. All very petty.

So that's the arm incident, the cat incident and the flying incident. What else is there. Oh yes, he seems to have a penchant for rolling in other dogs' faeces. Is this normal doctor? I had to hose him down the first, and I hope the last, time, but he tried it again yesterday before I caught on. He has got German shepherd in him though, so maybe that's it.

Now I'm settling in to our two or three times a day walks and he spends quite a few hours quite happily next to me as I work on the computer so in that respect he's the perfect dog really.

There is the fence though. He's destroying it little by little. And I discovered a couple of, let's say... huge holes in the flower border which I hastily filled in before certain parties returned from work. And the hairs. Everywhere hair. Amazing.

He is a-ma-zing. The coolest, most beautiful, softest dog I've ever known. Incredible to think we're his fifth family and that he's been through goodness knows what before us. I hope we make it all the way.

Now, I've bought this on-line course which called itself a wolfdog course but although I haven't started it yet, I reckon they've just automatically slotted 'wolfdog' into the document wherever required and that it's pretty much generic. I'm going to start it tomorrow, and I'll let you know. Any other wolf dog owners out there? It would be nice to hook up, even just virtually, to see whose dog's the craziest (and cuddliest). Mine, probably. Prove me wrong..!

Friday, 30 March 2012

The Photo Album Starts...

...And Bloody Awful It Is Too

I'm sure you agree. This is me trying to take a pic with a wobbly iPhone 3GS at arms length, unable to see what the picture will look like, if we are even in the picture, or where the virtual button to press is. Ain't yesterday's technology quaint? The first pic's the only one that's even vaguely look-at-able, and even then it's stretching it.

I took him to my kiddy's crèche this morning to accompany us and the kids were suitably impressed. I was nervous about leaving him outside, thinking someone would steal him, but I'm probably forgetting that a lot of people are pretty nervous of dogs and he's not small, but not huge either. He's great.

There's this immense feeling of pride and calm I get from walking around with him which I've never felt before. This isn't to denigrate or belittle human kids or anything; the joy you get from them goes without saying. But this is something different. It's in the relationship you have with them I think. This unspoken, totally physical and ritualistic interplay of events and happenings. It's strange, and I like it. I knew I would. Hopefully it'll bring the stability to my life I've been looking for in order to be as productive as I know I can be.

Sorry, I didn't mean this to get all heavy and personal or anything, but while I wouldn't go discussing my kids on an open forum, I feel reasonably comfortable discussing my feelings in the context of this new situation in my life. It's so inédit, as the French would say (I'm afraid, after 20 years here, I'm losing my English - I had to check Google Translate to find 'novel'...). This isn't good for a so-called English language professional. Never mind.

So as you can see, my one-handed, extended arm photo-taking skills leave something to be desired. Half a dog's head and a man's chin - great picture! Thought I'd put them here for  posterity anyway. Some day I'll look back and smile, I hope.

The one where he's looking up at me is cute, and I'm slow starting to see some signs of recognition and even, dare I say it, affection. He seems to be running away from me less too. With his fleeing wolvey instincts it was pretty tricky to grab him at the beginning but his trust seems to be improving, which is great.

Today I'm getting one of those fancy-fangled extending lead things so he can get a bit further away from me, and maybe do some stick chasing or something. So many people at the refuge said that a chien-loup tcheque (Czechoslovakian wolf dog) isn't like other dogs, I'm somehow expecting him not to want to fetch or sit or cuddle or do anything like other dogs, but I'm finding out that that was an exaggeration. Heck, in the end, what do I know? Response: nothing. Everything is new to me, and I'm enjoying it a lot.

What's even better, for someone who spends hours every day tap-tap-tapping away like I am now, he seems pretty content just to lie around when he's not out for a walk, as a kind of silent companion. So cool!

I've just bought this on-line training course for dogs, so I'll be reporting back on that shortly. Don't worry (or, alternatively, worry), I'm not going to run out of excuses for posting any time soon! Woof woof for now.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

What Dasco Did Next...

...And It Wasn't Pretty

OK, so I guess the poor guy was hungry, but still! I'd just taken the sprog to the crèche which must have taken about 15 minutes and when I got home two big surprises were awaiting me.

The first one was the rustling in the garden. Pretty normal for a house with a dog, you might think.

Only that I'd left him LOCKED in the house. Hmm.

Second surprise. The kitchen. Or what was left of it. Check out the pics below for details. All the fun of the fair. I have now learnt something. Another thing, apart from the scary security issue mentioned above, which has rapidly been fixed!!! Don't leave a dog alone in a place with food smelling of.. food when you go out and he's hungry.

This is basic stuff, and I'm probably teaching some of you grannies out there to suck eggs, but that isn't my intention. This an educational dog raising blog by any stretch of the imagination. You can probably judge from the above paragraphs just how disqualified I would be for pretending to offer anything along those lines ;~S


No, this is simply and humbly as the title to this post suggests: a series of illustrated articles on what life as and with this big beautiful dog with a penchant for a big beautiful city such as Paris is like. I hope you enjoy it.

The kitchen was a glorious mess, and I have to admit I was trying hard not to say what the hell have we done to myself, letting this vandal into our home...

Then again, I hadn't given him breakfast and just left, maybe for the whole day as far as he knew. The biggest problem is that we don't know what his previous habits were.

Here's another thing. We're his fifth family in three years. He's only three and a third and just hasn't been able to find a family or owner who can stick with him. And the saddest thing is, it's never been his fault.

Either his master got to much work on his plate, or another master's GF didn't like animals, or was alergic to them or something, and I don't know about the rest. It breaks your heart.

Wow, that refuge, I can tell you, if our place isn't better than there then I don't know what we can do. It's no doubt a great refuge, the SPA there at Chamarande, but a couple of hundred baying brutes of all sorts and sizes... well, you can imagine; not nice.

I'll take a final pic for you of what he's doing right now, instead of being stressed out at that awfully sad place, and hopefully you'll agree with me that things have taken a turn for the better for Dasco.

Until the next time, over and flat out  ;~S

I Wanted A Dog (All My Life)

And now I have one.

Dasco discovers his new home (and bed)
And a beauty at that. He's called Dasco, and he was still there at the SPA when we got there, and he left with us.

What can I tell you? So much information and happenings in such a short space of time, it's difficult to know where to start. We went looking for an animal shop for some stuff for him. We got a mat thing, and a raised food bowl thing, and a chewy fake bone thing, and some 'treat' things a bit like those bacon sticks some people eat I think, what are they called..?

He's a beauty, not just because I think he is, but because everyone seems to find him quite splendid. We were asked by three different people or groups of people what race he was, and we only went to one shop.

Most of my pics of this 'mover' are blurred right now!
Then again it was an animal shop with a huge dog section, so maybe I'm flattering him a little!

Anyway, although he's spent one night here now, and committed a scary crime and a real bêtise (naughty act, literally 'beastly' act) as the French say, I'll leave that for the next post, with pictures of the damage for you all to enjoy... Bête means both 'beast' and 'stupid', so go figure on what that means if you wish.

I've had all the usual advice about him needing to know who the boss is and all that, but one thing I do know is that I've gotta get up and running on this 'master' thing, and fast. More on that later too.

Dasco eats (finally)
We were pretty worried around midnight (with a small child sleeping) when Dasco decided to start jumping up to the door presumably trying to get out. In the end I got out of bed and we went for a relatively long walk and finally when we got back he settled down. Phew! This is all so new to me, I'm playing it all by ear. Any advice any of you good people and wolf dog lovers out there who want to interact here on this blog and share your ideas and comments would be MORE than welcome!

Take care, and more of Dasco's adventures (and bêtises) tomorrow.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dreams of Mice, Men & Wolf Dogs

10 Hours To WD-Day

I had trouble sleeping last night. I should say 'this night', as it's 5.45 am and I'm sitting on the sofa tapping away when I should be in bed.

The main reason for this is, if everything goes according to plan, tomorrow (i.e. today) I will be the proud owner of a wolf dog called Dasco. The pictures you can see on this page are not mine, they are from the Société pour la Protection des Animaux (SPA) site where he is currently living in a cage with some other dog, but not a wolf dog. Dasco is special. Not like other dogs. That's what they tell me anyway. I hope it's true. I don't want a dog like other dogs. How uninteresting would that be?

So, needless to say, I've been doing some wolf dog reseach and finding out as much as I can about them. What a breed, and what a story! Half dog and half wolf, well, not any more, but originally. A cross between a Czech wolf and an alsatian (German shepherd) I think it was, and it looks it too - absolutely magnificent!

I should just note that if you have a wolf dog, you won't learn anything here you don't know about them already. My aim on this little blog is simply to share my stories, pictures and pleasure in having my very own canis lupus more or less familiaris, and hope it proves interesting and entertaining to some of you out there. No more or less.

I'd love to hear from other owners with comments, advice and simple sharing of ideas and experiences. I'm very much alone in this adventure, although Dasco will be joining a family of a couple with a two and a half year old toddler, so I'm crossing my fingers that all goes ok.

I must admit there's just a little apprehension, not least because Dasco is coming from an animal refuge and has apparently been through four families already, through no fault of his own. Things like lack of time and a partner's allergy meant he's been in and out of the refuge for five years, although he doesn't seem to have suffered too much for it.

I've already walked with him on a lead around the compound and a little way outside and it was a pure pleasure for this little kid (me, at 46 y.o.!) whose mother says the saddest thing she ever did was refuse me a dog for practical (=boring) reasons as a real kid. Luckily I don't consciously remember that now, but the desire for a furry friend has never left me and now is the time!

My biggest fear right now is that someone else will get him before I do, as the SPA are refusing to 'reserve' him, as they will basically accept the first 'excellent match' who is able to take him, and timewise things are a little tricky right now. My son has to meet him, which will happen this afternoon, and if all goes according to plan, we'll drive away with him right after that.

Will he stay calmly in the car? Should he go on the back seat or the boot with the back shelf off (Peugeot 207). What does he eat? Will he run away? Will he be calm at home? Ahh, so many questions. I'll keep you posted, and thanks for reading. I'm welcoming myself to the club before anyone else does and can't wait.