The other half of this mix struck me immediately upon seeing her face…
Do you see it, too? Her owner says that most people only get the more fluffy half.
The lovely foxtails that glint and wave in the late afternoon light of April…
… dry up into evil spikes and fields a-prickle with danger in May.
Around this time, we see lots of local dogs wearing these field masks to prevent against accidental — and very expensive — foxtails snorted up the nostril or lodged in the eye. It’s not the most photogenic accessory, but it works, especially for pet owners who have already had to shell out something in the vicinity of $600 to extract errant foxtails from their sedated dog’s nasal cavity, as I have heard from a few who’ve lived to tell.
Thus far, the Bows have been sensible enough to keep these things out of their orifices (knock on wood). But sometimes even smart dogs have dumb luck. It’s another seasonal hazard, like winter driving or summer typhoons.
Curly tails are infinitely preferable to foxtails.
Bowdu must understand how I feel at the end of the semester, when students start flooding me with apologies for their lackluster performance…
* timid knock on office door *
Oh look at that. A new face to my office hours right at the end of the semester. What can I possibly do for you?
Well hi yeah, I was calculating my grades and I’m really scared that I won’t get an A in this class because you see I’m gonna be a doctor and if I don’t keep a perfect 4.0 my pre-med sorority is going to kick me out so PLEASE is there ANYTHING I can do so I don’t RUIN THE REST OF MY LIFE??
Well you know if you had come to talk to me when you got your FIRST B+ on your paper — which is a great grade, by the way — maybe you wouldn’t be feeling so desperate now when there’s nothing you can do.
Yeah but it’s JUST a paper about literature it’s not supposed to be this hard! And by the way, we wrote our second-year Chinese final skit about this class and it’s hellafunny so maybe we could present it in the last fifteen minutes of discussion for extra credit –
CHILDREN! Get out of my face! If you had actually done the assigned readings and contributed thoughtfully to sections, you wouldn’t have to be groveling for points now!
Gawl, what an unhelpful JERK! This class sucks why is it even required for the major?
New student lurking outside the office: I’m just minoring in this because I thought it would look good, but it’s bringing down my GPA. My REAL major is way more important. This class is going to rob me of future opportunities to solve the global energy crisis. FML.
* The roles of the obsequious undergrads played here by Pejë and Wall-E, two very sweet pups who greet every dog by licking their muzzle. Bowdu generally has issues with overenthusiastic dogs that get in his face, but these two are so ingratiating, he can only respond with a more “restrained” roar and snarl, which is all it takes to get them to back off.
This is an amusing passage from Alan Beck, The Ecology of Stray Dogs: A Study of Free-Ranging Urban Animals (West Lafayette: NotaBell/Purdue University Press, 2002), a monograph about his field research in Baltimore in the early 1970s:
Obnoxious poop machines indeed, infringing on human sartorial freedoms! Sadly, the fight for dog-friendly spaces has long been a steady campaign to mitigate the offenses of the few.
Two of the above dogs were born outside of the US.
Want to take a guess as to who’s native and who’s not?
Hint: two and possibly a half of these dogs can claim non-US origins. Oh wait, that doesn’t make it easier, does it?
EDIT: A few more pictures, and answers below the cut.
Bowpi’s three-year Gotcha Day came and went. I’ve been reflecting lately on what a different dog she has become compared to what little we were told when her previous owner handed her over.
We first met at an enclosed dog park, which in retrospect wasn’t the best environment for introductions — though at least it was during relatively calm hours. Bowpi responded to the overwhelming newness by squirting diarrhea into one corner of the park. “Once she gets nervous, it instantly turns to liquid,” was the previous owner’s explanation. I did not realize that she had never been to a dog park before.
Suffice to say, that is no longer an issue. She even handles off-leash hikes like she was born ready.
We were told she’s a little clumsy and uncoordinated, and trips all over herself when going down stairs.
Uncoordinated is perhaps the last word I’d use to describe her mobility.
Bowpi didn’t have much of an appetite when she first arrived, and we were warned that this was due in part to her preference for eating only when safely locked inside her crate. Well, this seemed to be true at first… but it didn’t take long to switch out the Kibbles ‘n Bits she came with in favor of more appetizing fare.
Crating was not necessary, so we broke that thing down and put it away. When I saw the rows of little teeth marks scored into the inner ridge of that plastic box, I was almost driven to tears, knowing her previous owner confessed to keeping her confined for 10 to 16 hours a day. A few shredded tissues are occasionally sacrificed for her current freedom.
After all, she knows how to stay out of trouble by sleeping. A lot. Preferably on top of, against, tucked under, or between warm bodies.
With such a natural inclination for just being with people, her previous owner’s boyfriend must have really been obtuse to argue for her being an outside dog. Make no mistake — she loves sunbathing and nature walks… but Bowpi, an outside dog??
Not unless you’re sleeping out there, too. No wonder she saw fit to bite that ridiculous guy hard enough to draw blood — or so we were told. Either he was lying, or he deserved it. The very idea that Bowpi could lash out against anyone, human or dog, is frankly inconceivable to me, having felt and seen her little fishbites when she takes food from my fingers or goads other dogs into play.
I’ve never even seen her so much as try to bite the vet. She’s capable of some incredible restraint (certainly in comparison to the other Bow!).
When we first got Bowpi, we thought that she came from a local breeder whose identity had been lost in the shuffle of papers and homes that preceded ours. However, as I learned just this year, she actually came from somewhere around Houston, Texas. Original breeder name still unknown… but this bit of knowledge is already enough to disorient my imagination of her puppyhood.
So as it turns out, this entire household is comprised of non-native transplants.
For all the advantages of adopting Bowpi in her maturity, I think what’s most remarkable is the extent to which she has changed, and continues to grow, expanding the very limits of potential itself. There’s this argument that you basically know what you’re getting when you adopt an older, adult dog; most of their preferences and intolerances are already well etched into their personality. But where do we get the idea that adulthood is a static thing? I’m certainly not finding this to be the case with my own developmental trajectory, either…
These are some lessons I can draw from our companionship. Nothing can account for everything, and everything is always changing. Three years from now, there’s no guarantee where we’ll be. All I can imagine is togetherness, abstracted.
Sometimes I am tempted to put little modesty boxes over the Bows’ behinds when cleaning up photos, as the Japanese dog bloggers do. Bowdu’s doesn’t bother me so much, as he has enough fur back there to obscure his orifice. Bowpi, on the other hand, is a little more naked, so I find other ways to cover things up as best as I can…
However, some dogs have no choice but to leave nothing to the imagination.
If my nakedness embarrasses you, then just quitcher gawking!
I do like the overall shape of these dogs — and they leave plenty to admire.
While I will admire by sight, I am not inclined to touch. Not that I typically reach out to pet strange dogs unless they approach me with inviting body language. However, the Xolo’s nakedness disrupts my very understanding of what makes a pet a pet — soft, touchable, familiar.
Skin-to-skin requires a different kind of intimacy than hand-on-fur.
Under normal circumstances, this is a risky position for a first meeting of two Basenjis… We’ve met a few who seem rather touchy about strange Basenjis. All it takes is one misfired spark for someone’s fang to end up in the other’s eye!
In this case, both are of milder temperament, and tensions quickly subsided when gazes were diverted. This breeder’s dogs are remarkably consistent in their non-reactivity — making me believe that there’s something to be said for breeding for stable temperaments.
It makes me wonder if Bowpi’s breeder (whom we don’t know) knew what s/he was doing when she produced our gentle, easy-going lady. Her prickly B-ridge still can’t be helped though…
Ridgebacks and Vizsla are slightly similar in appearance, especially when blowing by in a rust-colored blur, but very different in terms of build, movement, and temperament. Watching this pair at play crystallized what I’ve come to think about the two breeds. The Vizsla was constantly airborne as if propelled by nervous electricity, whereas the Ridgeback seemed more elemental, sweeping the field like brush fire.
This Ridgeback is one of the dog park regulars that has me crushing on this breed. Perhaps someday when I, too, am more anchored and earth-bound…
Alternate picture of the day: A moron (completely unrelated to either of the pictured dogs) who sullied the otherwise beautiful late afternoon aura with his child, his feisty dog of much-maligned type, and his own bullying behavior. For some reason, this man thought his kid riding what he called a “
tricycle,” or rather, a bicycle with training wheels was exempt from the “No Bikes” signs prominently displayed at every entrance to the dog park. Not only could he not count nor understand the rule was actually in place for the safety of his own child, he tried to shift responsibility onto another dog owner when his Baby Knievel activated her dogs’ prey drives, and his own dog leapt into the fray — fortunately, leaving the child untouched. It took a lot of bellowing and eventually, physical intervention for him to get his unneutered dog under check; the dog’s audible yelp when forced repeatedly into a down position (he would not stay) carried halfway across the park, from where I watched with both Bows safely at my side. Mr. Caveman then lit into the woman with a barrage of obscene and gender-specific insults that far exceeded the sonic boundaries of a civil conversation or any other limits of propriety. That’s when my inner paparazzi compelled me to snap a few distant pictures, for fear of the situation escalating to blows. Instead, she took the high road and led her leashed dogs away, even as he continued to hurl abuse in a last ditch attempt to appear mighty and right.
So I thought about using one of the pictures of this incident for today’s Roll of 28. Such an exhibit in public shaming wouldn’t have violated my personal rule of saying only good things when sharing pictures of other people’s dogs because my contempt is directed at the dog’s owner. But ultimately, I decided that I prefer to preserve more pleasant photomemories with my Roll of 28 project. Anecdote and image remain separate here. I am recording this incident to vent my frustration that such jerks dare to invade my idyllic canine community and must also inhabit my world. However, when I page back through this specific picture gallery in the future, what will be more immediate to eye and memory will be the image of these two happy, beautiful, sociable dogs, and not the asshole who threatened to ruin it all.