Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Introducing: My "Pack"

For my first post, I will start simple. Just a teeny tiny (ok I lied, it's kind of long) introduction for those of you who are new to my most recent adventures. It would seem to most people that I now travel with a "pack". I guess I can't really call them "my" pack, because they are actually Jared's pack (Jared = boyfriend). Really, I'm a part of their pack, but now we are splitting hairs.

Jared is the obvious leader of our pack, so I'll briefly introduce him. Jared is my boyfriend. We met through a mutual group of friends and nothing about our relationship is traditional. But I like it that way. Our first date was a lovely 4 mile round trip hike. It starts out with a friendly elevation loss of about 1000 feet. You understand what that means right? That there is a 1000 foot elevation gain on the 2 mile hike back out. Nothing says first date like dirt and sweat. Add in 2 dogs and you have our first date in a nutshell. Oh wait, I forgot...there are no bathrooms at Three Sisters Waterfalls...so on our first date I had to pee behind a rock, straddling what seemed to be normal plants with just a sprinkling of poison ivy. Once Jared realized I was cool enough to pee behind a rock on our first date, he realized I was cool enough to meet the rest of his dogs.

 Since this is really about "my pack" I'm going to skip the introduction of 3 of the dogs that were living in his house when we first started dating. Long story short, Jared was fostering 3 of his landlord's pitbulls; Roxie, Sarge, and Apache. Long story long, none of them were fixed (until we got to them) and Roxie was pregnant when I first met her. Really pregnant. Less than a week after our first date...13 puppies were born. Ok--to finish this long story quickly, I helped Jared raise and find homes for the litter of puppies. Obviously it took some time but we have managed to find homes for 12 out of the 13 puppies so far!  Needless to say...we did end up keeping 2 of the puppies...dang those cute faces!

NOW here is my introduction to the pack...

Burmie (on the left)
This is Burmie, the original founder of the pack.  She's 7 years old, fawn colored, and so well-behaved that I almost can't believe it.  I can't say enough great things about this dog, she truly is a breed ambassador for pitbulls.  Rather than giving you a complete history of all these dogs, I will instead list a few of their funny personality quirks.  Burmie wants nothing more in life than to be covered with a blanket.  Whether she's trying to burrow between the covers with us or just begging to be covered with a blanket while she's on the floor--that is when she is happiest.  I will be sure to add a picture of this burrowing in a future blog post--maybe I'll devote an entire blog post to it, who knows.  Burmie is also a toy tweaker.  If you throw a ball, you better plan on throwing it 100 more times.  Trust me, you'll want to quit playing fetch before she ever will.  She's so crazy about it that I've seen her put her head underwater, to rip out a stick, by the root, to play with.  Literally, she will bring home tree branches if you don't keep an eye on her.  So you think you want to throw a football around?  Think again, she'll take it.  But...she does it with a smile :)  And it's a great way to keep kids busy if you have to.  Most of the times you see Burms she's got one of those huge pittie smiles (that all pittie enthusiasts know and love); however, there are times when she pouts.  Literally, she sticks her bottom lip out and turns up her sad little "eyebrows".  She's good at it too. 

Maples aka Mamas
This here is Maples.  You can also see her in the picture with Burms (see above).  Maples is also about 7ish years old, maybe older and is half Bull Mastiff.  She lived in the wild for a year after her owner banished her for one reason or another.  Maples also had a litter of puppies while she was living in the wild, at which point Jared decided to take care of her and her pups.  That is how he came to own Maples and Kingston (who I will introduce next).  Maples is an amazing dog.  She is VERY timid around people and therefore is happiest in nature (when there aren't any people around).  She warmed up to me, although my excitement can sometimes still spook her.  The most amazing thing about Maples is her ability to rock climb.  I'm not kidding, she can climb things that some people can't.  We will be on hikes and I'll be taking a headcount wondering "Where the heck is Maples".  Look around, look down, look up--there she is!  On top of a rock somewhere.  She must have been a goat in her past life.  In addition to being an amazing climber, Maples is also an amazing mom.  The pups annoy the crap out of her sometimes, but I've caught little moments of her licking them clean and snuggling up with them.  Maples definitely beat the odds living out in the wild for a year; she is a true survivor.

My sweet, sweet Kingston.  This is one of Maple's pups.  I believe he is about 5-6 years old, born in the wild like I mentioned.  He is also a bit timid around people, but if you can get him to high five you, then you're on his good side.  After a few weeks of showing up at Jared's each weekend, we finally bonded over a quiet high five.  Kingston is one of the most beautiful dogs I've ever seen.  Tall, dark brindle, deep orange eyes, and the most beautiful canines I've seen on a dog (that seems like a strange thing to notice but whatever).  Kingston loves to give kisses if you say "little kiss"--but it has to be with the Nacho Libre accent.  Like I mentioned he does high five, as well as low five.  While Kingston is more of a "flight" in the whole "fight or flight" theory, he is still an integral part of the pack and a protector in his own right.  I contribute part of this to his being born and living in the wild for a short time.  We went on a camping trip once and as we were settling down for bed (under the stars, no tent), I looked around in the darkness trying to get comfortable with where we were (I watch a lot of scary movies).  I noticed Kingston was sitting with his back to us watching the darkness also.  When he was content with one area, he would get up, walk to the next corner, and watch.  He continued this until he had apparently secure the perimeter.  Nothing makes me more comfortable than knowing Kingston has my back.  After that, I fell head over heels in love with him.

This little girl has been melting my heart since she was born 7 months ago.  She was the runt of the litter (along with her sister Kali).  Always getting pushed back during feeding time, always getting trampled on, but she grew up into a strong, fearless pup.  I named her Peanut long before we decided to keep her because she looks like a little peanut.  All brown, with the coolest markings I’ve seen on a pitbull to date.  She has the squishiest little face and the beautiful green artichoke eyes that so many pups in this litter had.  Jared renamed her Ambrosia, which is good on paper, but we still call her Peanut.  This dog LOVES to cuddle.  So many times she has wormed her way into bed with us and we just can’t say no!  We try, believe me try, but 9 out of 10 times we give in and let her up.  Sometimes we wake up with her in between us, she’s very sneaky.  When she gets excited her entire body wiggles with happiness and she can’t decide if she should point her butt or her face at me so she just wiggles around pointing both.  Jared was already set on keeping her long before I brought it up.  He likes the runt of a litter (Burmie was also a runt), but really...who could say no to that squishy little face?

Chief (also 7 months old) is essentially my dog and I only mean that if Jared and I broke up tomorrow, I'd take Chief and he'd keep the rest (even though I've become so attached to all the dogs that my heart would be broken...I guess I have no choice but to never break up with Jared).  I never understood what it was like to be "chosen" by an animal, but Chief chose me.  I don't have any pictures of him as a puppy because we never bonded until he was about 3 months old.  I don't know how I missed this gorgeous face in all my pictures of the litters but somehow I did.  I took him to a company picnic to socialize him and hopefully get him adopted out, but we bonded so deeply that I couldn't bear the thought of parting with him.  He was very close to finding a home when Jared offered to keep him for me until I could find a dog-friendly place to live (which, as it turns out, will probably just be with Jared).  Chief is...a funny puppy.  He has the most beautiful face, and a little Sherrif's star on his neck.  He melts my heart every time he sits at my feet and looks straight up at me with those light green eyes.  But this dog is special.  He's weird about crossing thresholds (which makes doors really fun).  He's weird about changing textures (going from grass to concrete).  He's weird about car rides.  He's just a weird little boy.  But man he loves his mom.  He's the definition of a "velcro dog" especially if it's just me and him.  He will NOT leave my side.  I could write a whole entry on Chief and his funny personality quirks, probably because I've spent the most one-on-one time with him out of all the dogs, but I will get into that another day since this is only an INTRODUCTION.

So there you have it--5 dogs and I couldn't be happier.  Are they a lot of work?  Yes.  Do they sometimes eat my shoes and upset me? Definitely.  Would I trade it for anything?  Absolutely...NOT.  Sure cats are easy, one dog is nice, two dogs is fun, but I would never ever trade my new pack in.  Not only has caring for this many dogs made me a better, more patient person, but it has also taught me to be compassionate and responsible.  Do I want to buy those new Betsy Johnson shoes?  Sure, but I'd rather buy two bags of Canidae dog food and keep my pack healthy and happy.  That's what sacrifices are all about.  That's what being a responsible owner is all about. 

So--stay tuned because I plan on blogging about the following subjects in the near future:
Training (and a personal recommendation of who to go to)
More puppy stories
Responsible Dog Owners
Pitbulls in general
Updates on the litter
And of course...the other crazy adventures of my life :)

1 comment:

  1. Do the training one next... I need help! Clyde and I have decided we need some obedience clases STAT!