I can’t look at this photo without feeling I need to say something to the effect of “ohhhhh” or “awwww”. This is Shelby a couple days after she became a member of our household at the age of seven weeks, a little 9 pound ball of the softest fur you can imagine. She had the “I’m depending on you for everything!” look down pat from day one.
I haven’t had a puppy in my life for years. Kittens, yes, but not a puppy. Kittens instantly display adult cat-like behavior as they go about engaging humans to do their bidding right from the start, whereas puppies are far more subtle, continually reminding you: “I Trust You Completely.”
The other thing that I’m rather amazed by is the almost primal aspect of puppy-hood. When I watch documentaries with wolf puppies in them: I can’t help but notice they look (and act) nearly identical to the newest member of our household menagerie. (Two cats, three guinea pigs.) Play tug-of-war with her and you realize the urge to do so is related to some deep seated primal instinct, undoubtedly related to tearing flesh.
She also seems to be growing at a rather phenomenal rate. I’m sure this is exacerbated by the fact that I’m in my mid 60’s, but she now weighs in at 33.6 pounds at the age of 15 weeks. Her mom (a Siberian Husky) was about a 45 pound dog, and doggie daddy (A German Shepherd) looked to weigh in around 80 or so. Puppy growth charts tell up that she’s going to be around 65 pounds or so when she is fully grown, and her ears and feet would seem to bear that out.
Watching her figure out where she fits in with our two adult cats has been a somewhat interesting process as she continually tries to get them to play with her. She made the mistake of giving the male cat, Silver, a bite on the tail, which was overhanging the couch and swishing around. This not only resulted in a $135 trip to the vet to look at her swollen “third eyelid” but a new level of respect for the cat’s armaments. Our female cat, Kikki, being more aggressive in terms of puppy management, has so far avoided doing any real damage to the dog as Shelby knows to keep her distance. Things seem to have reached a stasis of sorts with occasional bouts of growling and hissing but little physical contact.
It’s also become obvious to us that we have a real “rock star” in our midst. People just love Shelby. People stop us on the street and ask if they can pet her. People roll down their car windows to exclaim “I like your dog!”. Women, in particular, seem to go all week in the knees and instantly dissolve into squealing baby talk, (Oh, you’re just such a pwetty liddle buppie) which Shelby just eats up and rewards with a good face licking, which people don’t seem to mind receiving.
Finally, the thing that surprises me the most is my own reaction to the little dog. She continually reminds me of my boyhood dog, a mutt of indeterminate origin who followed me like a shadow and went everywhere I did until I started driving. She makes some of the same sounds when she is frustrated and similar barks when she wants my attention. Memories I haven’t revisited in years. But more than that, I notice that I find my reaction to her is becoming increasingly more intense and I find myself looking forward to her enthusiastic greeting whenever we’ve been apart for any length of time.