Saturday, January 26, 2013

Da Duke (and How I Came to Love Boxers)

Jiddy  or Giddy (Jid'-ee)  (The first letter is a soft G sound, like George)
It is the Arabic word for Grandfather translated into English.
Other derivatives are Jid and Jiddo.  (rhymes with tow)

Sittee or Sity (Sit'-ee)  The Arabic word for Grandmother translated into English.
Other derivatives are Sit and Sitto.  (rhymes with tow)

Over time, some people have asked me why I choose Boxers over any other breed.  Well.  Every dog lover has a reason why they are attracted to certain dogs over others and it's largely just animal attraction.  :0)  Although, some others would say that a person is attracted to a certain type dog because they look and behave in similar ways.  In my case, you don't know how true that is!  HA!

WishBone, Duke of the House of Hagg with
Taylor Bailey Alexander the Tailless Cat
This is the cat who whacked him on his topknot and walked away in a humph.

But I'll have to take you back to my childhood to tell you why I love Boxer Dogs!  When I was a kid, my Sity and Jiddy were both very old.  They had come to America from the Middle East in 1907 to escape persecution and to build a better life than they could in their old country.  They could not speak English when they came, but quickly learned enough to get by.  Jid worked as a construction worker building houses.  Sity took care of the house and 6 children.  She was one of the greatest cooks I've ever known and passed that talent and knowledge down to my Scottish Mother, who in turn, passed it to me.

One of my fondest memories growing up was when we got to go to Sity and Jiddy's house.  The food was always laid out in abundance and they had Duke.  I don't know how old he was, but he was a gorgeous flashy fawn Boxer who loved and took care of his people.  Jiddy would sit out on their big front porch in one of those old metal rocking sofas you used to see back in the 50's and 60's.  Duke always laid at his feet while the old man slipped his shoes off and rubbed the dog's side, pushing the rocker at the same time.  

Sometimes, we'd pick up Sity and Jiddy and take them across town to our house.  Duke didn't like that.  He wasn't a trained dog.  (He used to chase cars down the street trying to stop them).  Our house had to be at least 6 miles away.  Old Duke.  He's just show up, looking for his pack.  Busy traffic and all.  I don't know how he did it.  After a couple of times, we learned to put him in the car and take him with us, too!

Because Jiddo was so old, he didn't realize that the traffic on the corner of his street had increased by 10 fold in the time he had lived there.  But Duke did.  Jiddo used to walk around the corner to the old TG&Y to buy wee toys for us kids, not realizing that the street had gone from a 2 lane to a 6 lane with traffic lights.   Duke would walk (untrained, mind you) right by his side with no leash and in a perfect heel position.  ----  Until they got to the corner.  Then, very bravely and knowing that Jiddo would just step off the curb without knowledge of traffic, Duke would bolt out into traffic, running from one side of the street to the other.  He would bark ferociously at on coming cars and make them stop.  If anyone dared to move an inch, he'd be right there to say "Nope, Buddy.  You will not make one move."  Then he'd hit at the opposite traffic until all four corners were completely stopped.  Running wildly at each corner until the old man got to the other side.  Then, Duke would go to the other side himself, and wait patiently by the door until the old man came out;  and the process would begin again.


That dog loved that old man.  He would risk his life for him and did it regularly.  He also loved children.  He played and played with us when we were together.  We loved him. And when he was tired, he would just lay down where we were and let us all pile on top of him while he slept.  He was truly one of the greatest dogs I've ever known.  And when I got older and wanted to choose a dog that was right for me, I always remembered him.  I did a lot of research into the breed and found that Boxers are ranked high on the list when it comes to being with kids and old people.  (I've since heard of another Boxer who saved a wee baby from rolling off the sofa.  It wasn't the dog's baby.  It was a visitor to the house.  The baby had never rolled over before, so was left on the sofa for a minute.  The Boxer stood there, holding the baby up and keeping it from falling on the floor -- all the while making strange noises to be sure-- until the owner of said baby came back from the bathroom.)  Of course, I've never encountered a Boxer (I've owned and loved 4) that was anything at all like Duke.  He was special.  But when we decided to take in our first Boxer, we named him for Duke.  WishBone, Duke of the House of Hagg.  And from his legacy, all other Boxer names are derived at the House of Hagg.  The original Duke and the Duke of Hagg are still thought of fondly and missed greatly.  Someday, I will live up to their Regal standards.

Of course, I realize now, that having an untrained Boxer running up and down the street chasing cars is not a good thing.  The neighbors didn't enjoy that aspect of Duke at all.
My point in telling this story is not to say that anything your Boxer does is OK.
I strongly believe in training both mind and body especially for this high energy breed.
I am always amazed at how Duke ever found our house that first time, having never been there, but he did.  He would not be deterred from being with my Grandfather.  It was his job to take care of the old man and he would not relinquish that responsibility.
I would bet that Duke would have been a very strong candidate for using the Bike Tow Leash.  It would have run off some Toxic energy and he would have been much happier.  Not to mention the neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Therapist, a Sofa and Lord Malcolm

Therapist  (ther-uh-pist)
a person trained in the use of psychological methods for helping patients overcome psychological problems.
Cower (kou-er)
to crouch, as in fear or shame

I have this hilarious picture in my head of a person similar to the character of Lilith on "Cheers", Frazier's wife.  Hair pulled back in a bun.  Stiff demeanor.  Always in a suit and reasonable shoes.  Glasses sitting on the end of her long pointy nose.  No personality.  Cold as ice.  Perhaps rather matched to Spock on "Star Trek" than Frazier in the logic department.  But there she sits, legs crossed.  Glasses adjusted.  Pencil in hand and notepad resting on her knee................

The patient is here, comfortably resting on the sofa and recounting a long story about how his handler laughed at him when those 3 mini Schnauzers came charging and he cowered in fear and trembling.  Laugh she did.  
"And how did that make you feel"?  the ice sculpture asks.  The reply is filled with the same fear from that day, and with eyes full of tears and a trembling voice, Lord Malcolm replies without hesitation;  "I felt scared of the dogs and humiliated and vulnerable.  Like my  PR Handler wasn't there to protect me and keep me safe."  "And what was your response to those feelings"?  "I decided to attack every little dog first, before they could ever attack me".

This is not my picture and is not my dog.
Coreen Tossona originally shared this picture.

"And how did your PR Handler react?"  "Irrationally.  She completely misread my actions and rather continued to do so for another year to follow.  I overheard her talking with others about what she should do, but regretfully, she never asked me.  The others she talked to were apparently clueless, but she listened to them anyway, correcting me harder and harder.  During this time, she read books on aggressive lunging and bought a very funky harness that was intended to keep me from pulling and lunging."

A pathetic Lord Malcolm in the Freedom No Pull Harness.
This picture was originally shared in the blog post dated Aug. 20, 2011
and titled "Mighty Malcolm and the Freedom No Pull Harness"

And 'Icy Fingers' who is, by now, furiously taking notes and breaking down the pencil lead;  probably hoping to throw said PR Handler in the slammer with only bread and water, has a brilliant idea as she quickly gets up to sharpen the lead on her ice pencil.  "Do you think or feel that she intended to humiliate you when she laughed?  Or that she wants you to feel vulnerable and without protection?"
"Well.  In point of fact, I do not feel that she is purposefully misusing me.  In fact, I know her to adore me just as most people do.  I think she would not want to see me harmed in any way".
"Right then.  It is settled.  Would you feel comfortable if she were to demonstrate her understanding more clearly and to overtly offer protection at just those moments when you feel vulnerable?"
And very eagerly, Lord Malcolm agreed and he and his Therapist devised a full plan to present to the PR Handler so that she could do her best in handling his up start career. 

And so the story goes.  Malcolm and his PR Handler worked very hard at communicating with each other and both grew in understanding and trust.  As the months rolled by, they practiced going to home repair stores, pet stores, liquor stores, stores that sold to the building industry, the dog club and anywhere where there was room to practice around lots of strange activity as well as other small and large dogs.  Lord Malcolm began to trust that the PR Handler was able to read the situation and believed that she was much more enlightened in her ability to analyze the language of 'dog', while he let go his fear and trusted that she would, indeed, keep him safe from harm.   They recently went on a trip to 2 huge box hardware stores and the box pet store all in one afternoon and had no incidents of any sort out of the ordinary to report.  While it is still a 'work in progress', it is more and more clear that the PR Handler is finally on the right path.  Lord Malcolm trembles less in new situations and rarely lunges at other dogs.  And the best part is that the PR Handler never corrects him anymore.  He is given time and space enough to correct himself and he is doing a wonderful job.  The PR Handler has been paroled and is now required to wear a bag of treats at all times, vowing to never again laugh at, or correct her highly sensitive boy.

The End

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jimmy Duranty; Eat Your Heart Out

A Nose Is A Nose
But A Nose With Character
Is A

I've never been much on the new fad of 'social networking'.  I guess I'm a bit old fashioned.  I think that a conversation is meeting someone face to face and actually looking at them while we talk and maybe have a cup of coffee, lunch or a nice dinner.  But since I've been selling the Bike Tow Leash, I've been looking for a way to get the word out to the general populace about what a great product I think it is.  So that's why I got on the G+ band wagon.  And in doing so, I've found a lot of wonderful dog owners who have many discussions about behavior, various breeds, slobber, training, unconditional love and literally every aspect of dog ownership.  It's been a wonderful opportunity for me to get to know people from various backgrounds and different cultures.  The one great thing we all have in common is our love of Canines.  ( I have to admit now, that I am hooked on social networking.  There should be a government mandated warning  on the sign-up sheet--Warning:  G+ is Addictive).

Well, I say all that to bring you to my point.  I've been involved in 4 different communications in the last month about a very specific health issue that I happen to know something about even though I am not a medical professional or associated with any Vet.  I have two Boxers with the same condition.  It's called Hyper Keratosis of the Nasal Planum.  Here is a brief description of the symptoms according to Cedar Hill Vet Clinic (found on the web).

The skin of the nose becomes dry, thickened, and hornlike. The callused nose may crack and develop fissures, then become irritated and infected. It can stay confined to one part of the nose or encompass then entire planum nasale (the moist, black part of most dogs' noses). It may or may not also involve the pads of the feet.

Of the 4 communications I had about this, 3 were with Boxers and 1 with an English Bulldog.  I have no idea if that is relative.  I do know that Boxers tend to get every skin related issue that can possibly occur.  That's part of accepting the breed;  knowing the health risks you face when you decide to take them home.  I've talked with my Vet about it before and again just recently.  His take on the matter is that it's certainly non threatening to the dog (in my case).  There is no cure or prevention for it although it can be corrected by Laser Surgery.  They simply use the laser to 'smooth down' the callous on the nose and make it perfect again. My Vet told me he wouldn't do it yet in my case because there is no ill effect to the dog and he could always do it later, if I wanted to.  (Perhaps if Malcolm's agent lands him a big role in the movies!)  I will say that I sometimes apply Neosporin and then "protect" that from the usual tongue lashing by putting a bit of Musher's Secret over that.  I don't do it often.  Both Nessie and Malcolm have the condition and neither one has ever complained about it.  Until recently, I just thought it was normal for Boxers and have never really worried about it.

Just threw this picture in...McKenzie does not have this condition.
She is beautiful-- like a Super Model for Boxers,