Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brown Eyed.... Thief?

Since I dedicated an entire blog post to Hollow, my "coydog"... er, husky -- I thought this time I might dedicate a blog post to Rilke -- my "first born".

Of course, first born is a matter of interpretation since no one seems to have any idea how old Hollow is -- or, frankly, what she is. But, I consider Rilke my "first born" as he is the one I first adopted. I have had him for more than a year now, and he is indeed my darling brown-eyed boy....

Cue the soundtrack

As really, he has the most adorable brown eyes....

My Brown Eyed Boy on the Porch

I mean, seriously -- can you resist these eyes?

The Rilke "beg" -- which also looks a bit drunk
He has a certain sweetness and adorableness that is hard to resist -- even when he's jumping on you. (As I still have not cured him of that.) He truly, simply, has "Soul" -- and yes, I say that understanding I implied in my last post about Hollow that I was not sure she does...

But honestly, you look in his eyes, and I feel like I can see a thousand lifetimes that have been, and a thousand life times that will be.

Yet, despite all this deep talk? It turns out that deep down, my boy is ... well.... all boy.

As it appears he may also be a thief...

Yes, you read that right. A thief. I have a frickin' master criminal on my hands! 

A few weeks ago, I started waking up every morning to new discoveries on my drive. Now, under the circumstances of where I live, this could clearly be worrisome in a very negative and bad way.

Well, it is worrisome, and I suppose in a negative and bad way -- but not as bad as one would think.

It appears my boy is a toy thief.

The first toy was a clearly hand made doll -- that he picked up on a hike we were on, so I just assumed some child in one of those back pack carriers had dropped it, the parents had never noticed, and now my dog had a new toy.

Then suddenly a decapitated stuffed bear showed up. I will not dare to surmise whether my dog did the decapitating or not.

Yet still, I did not worry -- it was a few toys, here and there. Most likely dropped and / or abandoned on the trail. This sort of stuff happens.

Shit happens.

But then it seemed to happen more often, and suddenly my attention was caught. Especially when we left for our morning hike, and Rilke is happily playing with a stuffed Goofy...

Rilke and new toy: Goofy
And then the next morning, when I woke up -- looked out on my drive and saw this:

Is that what I think it is?
And upon closer inspection, discovered this:

Yep. Exactly what I thought it was...
And then the next day? I left at night to drive down to the nearest city to visit friends, and as I'm attempting to make my way up my snowy, icy drive, I hit the portion of my drive where it levels out for a bit. For fear of losing momentum, and not making it up the rest of the drive, I start to gun it just a bit -- and just as I do, I notice at a bunch of toys scattered across the drive....

Unfortunately, I couldn't stop for a photo (for fear of not getting out of my drive!), but holy crap. There was at least 6 toys lying there!

(All of which are now buried in a snow drift, as while I was gone, it snowed, and my plow guy simply plowed up the snow and the toys -- though Rilke did manage to dig one out upon our return.)

Either my brown-eyed boy has found a toy chest to raid, and has been methodically doing so -- or a pack of coyotes has taken a shine for him, and is presenting him with toys....


And really? Does any one think coyotes are so generous or thoughtful? I.Think.Not.

So yes. I have no choice but to accept that my darling, soulful, sweet puppy has become a thief. A master thief. What does one do with that???

But he is awfully cute with his stolen toys, especially his stolen Goofy -- which he daily brings with him on our morning hikes....

~ Sigh... ~

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wild Thing....

I have been doing a lot of contemplation about my new dog Hollow in the past few weeks. As let's face it: This is one confounding dog!

The truth is, she is an incredibly sweet dog, who has shown incredible patience with a friend's toddler and her pretty annoying 4 month old puppy. She could have killed me when I was yanking out the porcupine quills, and instead she simply tried to stop me. She's affectionate and sweet. She loves the base of her ears being scratched, and her belly rubbed. She has the "Dog's Lament" perfected.

Puppies Offering their best "Lament"
She's also sometimes unpredictable, in a relatively predictable way: if she's overwhelmed, she freaks out. This usually means when meeting new people, if there is an "odd person out" (ie, someone who comes in solo), she will act out against that person by growling, snapping, etc. It's clear she will not hurt them, but she continues to make every one jump with the repeated sudden vocalizations.

And really -- as beautiful as her light blue eyes are, they are pretty frickin' unnerving too!

Hollow's Eyes
Yeah, imagine waking up every morning with her weight on your chest as she stands on you and stares at you.... Um, yeah. Now that's a wake up call.

She's also quite, well.... "independent". (Yeah, I worked in politics for more than a decade -- I know how to spin....) She does what she wants to, on her terms -- particularly when we are outside.

As that seems to be the issue: inside the house, she listens to me, mostly obeys me, and is affectionate and even charming. Outside? I'm pretty much chopped liver for 95 percent of the time. Originally it was 100 percent of the time, so I do appreciate the gains in the last few months!

But still, the truth is, that once we go outside, Hollow seems to turn a bit, well, "wild" -- certainly at least a bit feral. It's as if I don't exist any more to her, and she barely looks at me, let alone heeds me -- not exactly typical behavior for a dog, who look to their pack. 

What does this mean? Well....

Let's start here: I was told when I rescued her from the shelter in the next county over that she was a "purebred husky" of perhaps two years old, that she was rescued by ranchers who almost shot her because they thought she was a coyote.


You decide.

Here are some photos of Hollow:
Hollow on a hike

The very rare moment Hollow is not moving on a hike
 Here is a link to some images of "brown huskies" -- click here.

 With a few images chosen:

And here is a link to some images of coyotes -- click here.

With a few images:

If you'd like to read more about coyotes in general, you can do so here.

As you'll note, they describe coyotes as follows:

The color of the coyote's pelt varies from grayish-brown to yellowish-gray on the upper parts, while the throat and belly tend to have a buff or white color. The forelegs, sides of the head, muzzle and paws are reddish-brown. The back has tawny-colored underfur and long, black-tipped guard hairs that form a black dorsal stripe and a dark cross on the shoulder area. The black-tipped tail has a scent gland located on its dorsal base. Coyotes shed once a year, beginning in May with light hair loss, ending in July after heavy shedding. The ears are proportionately large in relation to the head, while the feet are relatively small in relation to the rest of the body.[3] Certain experts have noted the shape of a domestic dog's brain case is closer to the coyote's in shape than that of a wolf's. Mountain-dwelling coyotes tend to be dark-furred, while desert coyotes tend to be more light brown in color.[4]

They also note the following about the concept of hybrids:

Coyotes will sometimes mate with domestic dogs, usually in areas such as Texas and Oklahoma, where the coyotes are plentiful and the breeding season is extended because of the warm weather. The resulting hybrids, called coydogs, maintain the coyote's predatory nature, along with the dog's lack of timidity toward humans, making them a more serious threat to livestock than pure-blooded animals. This crossbreeding has the added effect of confusing the breeding cycle. Coyotes usually breed only once a year, while coydogs will breed year-round, producing many more pups than a wild coyote. Differences in the ears and tail generally can be used to distinguish coydogs from domestic or feral dogs or pure coyotes.[27] Breeding experiments in Germany with poodles, coyotes, and later on with the resulting dog-coyote hybrids showed that, unlike wolfdogs, coydogs exhibit a decrease in fertility, significant communication problems, and an increase of genetic diseases after three generations of interbreeding.[28]

With this wonderful picture of a "coydog":



So what does this all mean?

I think I've got a "wild thing" at home -- but I gotta admit, I still love her....

Cue the soundtrack!