Lost in Dogland: Zoë the Puggle+
We’ve gone from January to July in a week – with several days in 70’s (F) up here on the shores of Lake Superior. Several feet of snow have melted rapidly (yea!) and my yard is nearly free of snow about a month earlier than usual.
Dog-related post alert… So, I’ve been AWOL from Blogland for awhile. Lots going on. One of the things that has happily taken a lot of my time has been integrating a new dog into our gang.
Zoë is mostly a puggle (pug-beagle mix) but seems to also have a little bit more of something that made her a bit big for this cross-breed and given her a bit of a terrier nature. She is one year old.
I adopted her from the UPAWS, the excellent shelter where I got Gilbert and Ruby. I like a couple things about this shelter – first, thanks to the tireless volunteer efforts of Ann Brownell and others, they have an excellent website that is frequently updated and includes copious information about all their animals, often including multiple pictures and, sometimes, video. They have a Lonely Hearts Club designation for animals who have been at the shelter 60 plus days and designate animal personalities using the Meet your Match system. I particularly like that they successfully adopt out their animals quickly so that they endure minimal stress and are much less likely to adopt the institutionalized behaviors of shelter dogs: frantic barking, clawing, and general wildness from boredom, lack of exercise, and stress.
Gus, Ruby, Zoë , and Fred
Zoë was described as a “high energy” dog. I felt I could deal with that since one of the main reasons I wanted her was as a playmate for Gus. I liked the fact that she was relatively small (about 35 lbs) because I eventually want to add another golden retriever from Gus’s breeder – 2.5 dogs works for me, but 3 large dogs would not.
It was essential to me that she is good with all types of people, including kids, and got along with other dogs. Cats were a “maybe” (more on that later) and we tested her with a shelter cat – she did fine. When I met her she was extremely excited, barking, jumping, and generally acting pretty nutty and wiggly (she had only been at the shelter two days). The shelter staff were unable to get a micro tag in her. And the first couple days at my house she was extremely active and excited.
I quickly learned she can be an escape artist – if she sees open air between her and the outside and knows she is not on a leash, she’ll take off. She loves to play tag and has a finely honed sense of how to let you get just close enough to touch, but not catch, her. We played tag around my neighborhood the second day I had her and she played it with my friend who was checking in during a day trip. Since, then (knock wood) I’ve avoided a repeat.
Gus and Zoë are best friends. They wrestle and chase each other around the house. Zoë is much faster than Gus, but he’s figured out how to short circuit her by turning around and catching her on her circles. They play keep away with toys and Zoë is a passionate retriever (much better than my two retrievers).
Zoë was rude (too playful) with Fred, my elderly cat, initially. Happily, Fred is very self-confident and didn’t just turn and run away. He stood up to her and whacked her. Through mine and Fred’s training of her, she has quickly learned good cat manners and Fred has added her to his list of daily dogs that must be groomed (Fred likes to carefully lick their entire heads if they will stand still long enough).
Between playing with Gus and our dog friends (including Saved by Dogs Christy’s gorgeous young Lab, Lil), hiking and walking for a couple hours a day, and lots of play with me, Zoë has had enough exercise that she has become a calm dog who isn’t much more energetic than Gus (a very calm dog) in most circumstances. When guests come or we encounter dogs outside, she gets very excited. But she’s very young and I will work with her on rules.
She’s the smartest dog with which I’ve ever worked quickly picking up on words, sounds, and hand signals. Extremely agile, when there’s a 70 lb dog between her and where she wants to be she simply jumps over them. She’s very attentive and picks up commands quickly and I really enjoy working with her. It’s also fun to work with a more confident dog, Gus is the sweetest dog on earth, but he’s easily overwhelmed by noises and strange buildings. Zoë and I bonded quickly – it is amazing how fast she adjusted. She’s a very affectionate dog. I’ve fallen in love with her already and feel lucky to have been able to add another fantastic dog to my gang.
So, that’s what’s been taking up a lot of my time lately,
Happy Reading, Ruby