Friday, January 30, 2009


So far we have told you about five of the dogs that are currently in our six-dog pack. Back before we lived in the holler, we have had two dogs at any given time before, and even had three dogs for a little while once when we were dog sitting one of them for a friend, who later never reclaimed him. As we added Corrie to the pack, and then Violet, each time my wife and I had a similar conversation. It would go something like this: We have to stop. We have a large area on our property fenced in for the dogs to get exercise and play time, and dogs are not too excesively expensive to provide for (except for the once a year push to get every one of them to the vet for shots and check ups). Nonetheless, we are now AT MAXIMUM CAPACITY. We have seen those people on the news that get carried away and next thing you know, they're getting arrested and Animal Services is having to take their dogs and cats because they are in such bad shape and things have gotten out of hand, and WE ARE NOT going to be like that. We HAVE to stop, we can NOT keep every unwanted dog on the planet. NO MORE.

Sometimes, sticking to what you decided is not the best thing to do...

Sidebar: A couple of years ago, my wife aquired a pocketbook calendar that had a picture of a long-haired German Shepherd on the front of it. She really liked the dog, she though that dog was the cat's meow, so to speak, and she had asked that if we ever bought another pure bred dog, she wanted a long-haired German Sheperd.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled dog intro: So, no more dogs, right? Well, one day at work, I receive an email from my boss. Her daughter's boyfriend has to move to a different apartment, and the new landlord doesn't allow him to have a dog. He has a pup that he can't keep, so my boss has been keeping it for several weeks, but she already has two dogs of her own and has her hands full starting a business. She's already fallen in love with this dog, and it's going to break her heart to give him up, but she can't keep him. She wants what is best for the dog and she knows how well trained and treated our dogs are. She wants to know if there is any way that I can fit one more dog into our pack.

Then I see the picture of the dog that she has attached to the email. He's a long-haired German Shepherd!!!

At this time, my wife was in a city about 70 miles southwest of us, staying in the hospital with my mother, who had come to visit and wound up having to have emergency surgery. My wife had her hands full, and had been sleeping in one of those chairs in my mother's hospital room for several nights, so I had to make this decision by myself. Then I remembered her pocketbook calendar, and I knew that she would agree with what I was about to do. I quickly replied to the email and agreed to take Charlie off of her hands. I felt so bad the day she handed him over to me; she was soooo sad to have to give him up, and I know it broke her heart. I hope it helps her to know that he is so happy with our pack.

So let me tell you about Charlie. He is a very smart and very large dog. His feet are huge. He is chock full of energy. Fortunately, so is Violet, and they love to play together and pick on each other. We have to keep a bit of an eye on Charlie, because he doensn't realize his own strength sometimes and gets a little carried away with the horseplay, but he doesn't mean any harm. He also likes to play the stick game with Scrappy. Anytime one of them picks up a stick, the other one quickly grabs the other end of it, and the tug begins. And Daisy bounces around them barking at them like a referee. By the way, most sticks in the dog yard are supplied by Speedbump, who has been known to pull them off of a tree if a limb starts hanging low enough to reach. Once she's dragged it into the yard, she's done with it and Scrappy and Charlie take over. Sometimes when we are playing with Charlie and he gets real happy, he starts "talking" and he sounds just like Chewbacca the Wookiee from Star Wars.

In addition to the usual obedience commands which Charlie is learning very well, my wife has taught him "bring me the bowl". You see, at feeding time, there is a certain routine and order that has developed, and each dog knows the order in which they will receive their food bowl, and the location. Because Charlie finishes eating so quickly and in order to avoid any food conflicts, we separate him a little, usually to the back patio. But he started picking up his bowl and carrying it up the hill after he was done eating, and my wife, who is no fan of cold weather, would have to trudge up the hill to fetch it. So she began to teach him to pick up his bowl and bring it into the utility/laundry room, where we store the dog bowls until the next feeding. When he's told to "bring me the bowl", he picks it up in his mouth and comes parading in with his head held high and proud, and then he drops the metal bowl in the laundry room with a loud CLAAAAANG. It's really quite cute.

As we proceed with the obedience training, and if we can find someone capable of playing the role of "Creepy Guy" for us once a week, we hope to involve him in some security training when he's a little more mature. That way, he can help Daisy keep an eye on things in the holler.

Charlie loves it in the holler.

Big city hard times
Never bothered me
I'm a country boy
I'm as happy as I can be.

I don't know if you're familiar with that old Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but we imagine that is Charlie's theme song. He is very much loved, and we're so happy he is with us.

So now, how does that conversation go again? We have GOT to stop. We are at MAXIMUM CAPACITY. We don't want to be like those people on the news... ;-)


Lena said...

Hi Charlie! You are one gorgeous- and healthy-looking German Shepherd. I bet your mom and dad just love to put their hands in all that fuzzy neck hair and give you a massage. I sure wish you lived a bit closer to the Carolinas, and you could come train with the club that Kane and I train with. We could see what you protection drive is like and help you out with some training. I think you'd love it!
Take good care of your family - hope you had a wonderful and blessed weekend!

YD said...

Charlie is so gorgeous! My husband would love to have a GSD some day.
Maybe it's a good thing that our house is small. If we have a big house, we would do the same thing and keep adopting dogs. You are right, you don't want to be like those people who got carried away with way too many dogs and/or cats. That would not be good for anyone.
Have a great day!