57.3 pounds and still growing!

We figured she’d be about a 40 pound dog when we first got her.   Her mom (A Husky) was about that size although “dad” (German Shepherd) appeared to be about 70 pounds or so.   She is now four days shy of being 6 months old so most growth charts predict she will end up being around 75 pounds or so when fully grown.

She is already quite powerful, as I will attest to.   The other day, in an ice covered parking lot, she pulled me off of my feet and put me on crutches for a couple of days.    Connecting oneself via a rope to nearly 60 pounds of energetic puppy who can somehow find traction on glare ice is probably not going to end up being one of my better ideas, as is my choice of tug-a-rope as our “go-to” play toy as I now fully expect at some point to find myself on the floor in front of the couch.

I love the above photo as it shows her basic good nature as well as a slightly mischievous side.  You also can’t help but notice that her gaze, probably due to the blue eyes, is quite intense, and you always notice when she is looking right at you.

It’s also easy to forget that her size makes her intimidating to some people (although it doesn’t seem to affect our two cats, who have dominated the puppy since she was their size):   the other day I was taking her for a walk and we passed two teenage boys going the other way.    She loves (most) people and started to pull the leash in their direction when they both stopped dead in their tracks, looked at each other and then all three of them “froze” for a couple of seconds.    The finally decided that she wasn’t going to break free from me and attack them, and they continued on their way, trailing a strong odor of reefer behind them.    Shelby, evidently doing a good impersonation of a Police Dog.

Shelby7In a “food coma” the day after Christmas, resting her head on a pillow.shelby8 shelbysnow4Shelby’s first snow adventure in the Laguna Mountains.   She is as sure footed as a mountain goat in the snow.     She loves to romp through it even more than water or tall grass, her previous favorite “romping mediums”.   She will chase snowballs and look  with wonder when they disintegrate as she  bites them.

Whatever size she becomes, she’s already part of the family and it’s hard to imagine not having her around the house.  Even the cats seem to be used to her.
animal christmasCats making sure that Shelby doesn’t decide my pedalboard is a dog toy.

A dog’s life.

ShelbylittleI 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.
shelby1008blogsizeWatching 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.