Izzy’s Heroic Tendencies

Here I am again, a year later, and the story hasn’t changed much. Life has, but Izzy’s story continues.

The guy I was seeing (Louis) has left the picture, largely due to his comments about Izzy and my family. He called Izzy “violent,” and I know (as does everyone else who has met my foolish dog) that this is one thing he’s not. A pain-in-the-ass sometimes, maybe. But violent? Um, no.

During the past year, I’ve had three roommates: two women and now a man. All three have experienced Izzy’s excitement when they come into the house, and every time I’m in the room, my little buddy gets a bit . . . can I say protective? He barks and jumps, letting my roomie know he’s the boss, then he’ll look directly at me as if saying, “Did I do good, Mama? Huh? Huh???”

I’ve tried putting his leash on him, and that works as long as I’m around. I’ve put him into a “sit” with the promise of a treat, and that works as long as he can stop wiggling. But no matter what I do, the next time someone comes in the door, he’s at it again. And he’s too fast for me to grab him to stop him.

The funny thing is that he doesn’t do this at all if I’m not around.

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s my fault. My roommates have, too. So I guess it’s back to the drawing board for more training.  Even though my little guy is now sprouting gray hairs all over his body, he’s not finished learned how to behave.

Maybe someday . . .

In the meantime, does this look like a face that would be violent?

22852924_10155856508970908_3073104775960140131_n

Advertisements

Has it been that long? It’s the holidays again!

Wow!  Izzy and I have been so busy that we didn’t realize a year has gone by since our last post.  Well, time to catch you all up, I guess.

We are still working on the relationship between Izzy and Louis (Izzy thinks it’s Louis; Louis swears it’s Izzy), but they really do love each other — even though Izzy lets Louis know he was here first and the bed is, after all, his.

20150711_072620

A couple of times this year, we left Izzy with our favorite dog sitter and were greeted enthusiastically when we returned.  I often wonder what it would be like if we moved to another place, like Ecuador or Paris or someplace truly romantic, like Kenya!  Would Izzy feel a bit out of place or would it be okay because we would still be together?

I’ve been working nonstop on my writing since we last posted, and I’ve been fortunate to have some successes.  In September, I spent some time at the Weymouth Center for the Humanities to write (and to heal after a horrible family tragedy). Throughout the year, there have been several essays published, I’ve republished my back list, and I have a new novel coming out next September entitled The Mourning Parade (about the plight of elephants in Thailand and the heartbroken women that dedicates herself to one of them).  Take a look at what I’ve been doing, if  you’d like: http://dawnrenolangley.com   Throughout it all, Izzy sits and keeps me company, reminding me every couple of hours to take a walk!

Right now, this little four-legged guy needs a haircut, but I hesitate to put him back with the same people who did him last time — because for almost three weeks, he walked with his tail held sideways.  They’d clipped his skin in so many places, the poor guy still has scars.  I’m seriously thinking of learning how to groom him myself.

How about you folks?  Do any of you do the grooming yourself?

Hope you all are having a great holiday season.  We promise to be better about keeping in touch.

Peace.

Izzy’s Christmas Portrait

During this time of year, things happen that are often surprising and heart-warming.  Sometimes when you plan on a great gift for someone else, it becomes a gift for you, as well.

It all started when my daughter, Jen, fell through the ceiling.

Yes, I’m serious.  She was in the attic getting some stuff down and took a wrong step, literally through the ceiling of her son’s room.  Long story short, that fall damaged a few things, one of which was a photograph of the dog she grew up with:  Jessie, a gorgeous German Shepherd who was the best dog I’ve ever had.

My all-time favorite photo of Jen is a pic of her on the floor in my kitchen dressed in pj’s with her arm around Jessie on the first day we had her in our home.  Jessie was about 8 weeks old, one ear up, one ear down, huge paws, tongue hanging out.  They bonded in that moment and after that, they were best friends.

When Jessie passed at the age of 19, Jen fell apart even though she hadn’t lived at home for years, but that dog was like the sister Jen never had.  Jen’s fall scratched up the portrait of Jessie at her best, sitting under the apple tree in our Vermont backyard.

I took the portrait from Jen, who asked me to get it fixed somehow.  She had a tear in her eye as she relinquished the photo.

My friend, Deborah Bradsher, is an artist who normally sketches houses for homeowners, but she’s done a few animals, so I asked her if she could create a pencil drawing of Jessie.  She took on the project with a promise to “try.”  I told her I wanted to give the sketch to my daughter for Christmas.

When Deb finished, we met for lunch in downtown Durham, where she shared the sketch with me.  It was wonderful!  Jessie came alive on that page.

12376265_10205878506864018_3741676514957767699_n

But even better than this gorgeous portrait of Jessie . . . Deb pulled another portrait out of her bag, one I didn’t expect at all . . . a portrait of Izzy!

12391452_10205878509784091_1078715674507977065_n

This was a huge surprise that I absolutely loved!  Just like she had with Jessie, Deb brought Izzy to life.  His eyes are perfect, and the look on his face is one that I see all the time.

I told Deb that she could sell these portraits, and she’s so modest that she doubted whether anyone would buy one.  I’m determined to prove her wrong, so I’m posting her information here.  If any of you dog lovers want a portrait of your baby, this is the artist for  you!

Deborah Bradsher, https://www.facebook.com/deborah.bradsher, or email her at deborahbradsher@centurylink.net

 

 

 

Izzy Goes Back to School

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged for a while — actually, the ONLY reason–is that my life has totally changed.  I’ve been writing novels, trying to obtain agent representation, finishing up and selling houses (we’re now knee-deep into renovating a huge formal Victorian), and enjoying a new relationship.  Yup, there’s someone else in Izzy’s world now.  His name is Louis, and I’m enjoying his company a lot, but Izzy’s not really sure how to handle this new person.

At first, I thought Izzy’s nervousness and barking (and lots of jumping) was due to the fact that Louis was new in his world.  A month went by, then two.  Louis was becoming a regular at the house, but Izzy’s behavior didn’t change.  In fact, we noticed that if we touched each other or hugged, Izzy would come out from wherever he was in the house and stand in front of us, barking.

Louis, in his low Southern drawl, said, “He’s just a jealous ol’ tick, is all.”

Another month went by.  Izzy still jumped at Louis’s back, even though we’d all gone on vacation together and had worked hard to build a bond between Louis and Izzy.

20151002_170016

 

We bribed Izzy with treats.  Tried to surround Louis’s entrance to the house with “positive stuff.”  Still, he jumped and acted like that “jealous little tick.”

Finally, Louis and I had a serious talk.  He shared that he wasn’t totally comfortable, especially since Izzy had nipped at him.  I understood that completely.  Years ago, I was attacked by a dog I knew well.  I almost lost the use of my hands and had to endure four years of physical therapy and a ground-breaking operation on my thumbs.  Anyway, if anyone would know about a fear of dogs, it’d be me.

But I also knew that a dog’s behavior was largely the result of how the human handled the relationship.  I was the one responsible for training this dog, and I’d gotten to a certain point with Izzy, then backed off.  I’ve made more excuses for this dog than I can count.  He’s had antisocial problems since he arrived with me.  We worked hard and solved a LOT of his issues, and I guess I was happy with that so I backed off and treated him like a “poor little guy.”  I stopped insisting that I was the alpha in this household — and Izzy took over.

Time for Izzy to respect me again.

When I had my German Shepherd, Jessie, we went to a dog obedience school taught by a guy who trained police dogs.  As a result of a very intense six-weeks, Jessie would stay at a seated position for hours.  I didn’t have to say a word, just point.  That was a great training technique that I would be grateful for when Jessie became deaf in her later years.  But that’s another story.  My point is that going to school with Jessie, the dog attack, and learning how to handle dogs again (via hundreds of hours of video and another bout of dog obedience techniques), I have much more experience and information about training dogs than at any other time in my life.  I had the tools.  I just needed to use them.

Izzy and I went back to the basics.  I used the Umbilical Cord technique to get him used to doing what I wanted rather than what he did.  I wound his leash around my waist, then attached it to him.  Without speaking to him, I went through my daily work.  Where I went, he had to follow.  He had no choice.  I followed that routine every day for at least an hour, sometimes more.  It got to the point where he loved it — and it also re-established me as the boss.

Then we worked on his basic commands.  I made him sit before we went out for our walks (he’s never been bad at the door, so I didn’t enforce obedience before going out.  Big mistake.  Let the dog go out the door first on a retractable leash, and the dog — big or small– is the one in control.).

I made him sit and wait while I put his food down in the morning.  In the past, he’s been a grazer.  Half the time, he wouldn’t eat until sometime in the afternoon; thus, the food sat on the floor all day.  Now he knows that food is a “treat” and that I’m in control of that treat.  He eats right away, as soon as I put the food down.

The walk is the most important mode of communication between a dog and a person, so I rethought what I’d been doing when we went out on our three-times-daily walks.  I put Izzy on a regular length lead instead of a retractable one.  That helped a lot with control, though I must admit that one of the reasons I used a retractable lead was that Izzy could run in short spurts, getting a bit more exercise than he would with me on our regular daily walks.  With the regular lead, I walked closer to Izzy and became his lead; with the retractable leash, he led me. Now not only does he have to pay attention to me, but I feel more comfortable on our walks, too.

He started looking at me like this, paying attention to my every word, excited about doing something for praise or that occasional treat (I’m withdrawing treats bit by bit so that I won’t need something in my hand to get him to behave for me).

20151024_161549

The changes I’ve made have worked so far.  It’s getting easier to control Izzy, to have him sit and wait/stay when Louis first comes in the door.  I can usually stop Izzy from jumping now (he still barks when we hug, but we’re working on that, too).

We’re still working on finessing some things, but one thing I can’t seem to control is the excitement Izzy feels every time Louis’s truck pulls up.  His tail is going a mile a minute.  He knows this guy is going to be in our lives, but it’s taking time for him to get used to knowing how he should act.

Izzy’s not perfect, but he’s trying hard, and I love him for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Izzy and the Black Cats

It’s no secret that Izzy doesn’t like cats.  Every time he sees one — across the street or across the universe — he charges.  Growls.  Appears ready to rip the cat to shreds.  The several times he’s gotten away from me, it’s because he’s been chasing a cat.

20150703_062206[1]Since we moved to my townhouse in Durham, we’ve come face-to-face with a black cat who appears to have no fear of dogs.  One morning, Izzy and I headed for the walkway into the wooded area in the middle of the neighborhood.  It’s a favorite place to walk because there’s a pathway that circles and cuts through the woods.  It’s quiet in there and the smells rival the forests leading to the lake I used to visit as a child.  Izzy snuffles around, exploring with a lighter pep in his step.  And, of course, he’s a boy, so he leaves his mark on almost every tree.

On that particular morning, a black cat sat on the walkway leading into the woods.  I truly expected that the cat would flee as soon as seeing us, but just the opposite happened.

The cat began walking toward us.  Izzy charged forward, ready to chew that cat.  Then, he stopped.  And the cat kept coming.  Running!

Is this cat rabid, I thought.  What the hell?

20150917_071130[1]Izzy glanced up at me, then at the cat, and almost simultaneously, we both turned and hauled ass in the other direction.

Several days later, we rounded the corner to head home and spotted the black cat coming toward us.  I prepared to sprint in the opposite direction, but the cat didn’t chase us this time.  Instead, the cat dropped itself into the nearest storm drain and disappeared.  Once again, Izzy glanced at me, puzzled.  And when we went by the storm drain, we both peered down, wondering where the cat went.

20150917_071248[1]The very next morning, we walked down Ellis Road outside the development.  We were early, the sky had just started to lighten and only a few cars drown down the road toward Route 147, a major highway leading to I-40.

My mind buzzed with work that I had to accomplish, so I wasn’t paying attention.  Izzy was, though, and when he started pulling at the leash and growling, I came out of my reverie to see…yup, the black cat.

He sat on a little rise overlooking the parking lot, forcing us to walk right by him.  The cat sat on the rise like a little king and licked his paws.  Lazily.  How brash, I thought.

Izzy  pranced and watched the cat with superstition, but we kept moving.

This morning, Izzy and I both realized something surprising.  That black cat that had chased us wasn’t the only one in the neighborhood.

This morning, we ran into the storm drain cat again, a fluffy,  Persian mix.  She appears rather wild because as soon as she saw us, she dropped herself into the storm drain again.  And, again, Izzy stared down the drain, wondering where the cat went. 20150917_071201[1] When I looked down the hole, I couldn’t see the cat.  The drain drops down at least twelve feet.  WTF.  Where does the damn cat go?

Then we saw the black cat who lives near Ellis Road.  She’s small, dainty, unperturbed, and sits on the hill overlooking the homes, happy to simply sit.

The attack cat is brash and when I saw it more closely, his ear is a bit crooked.  Whether he lives with another dog and is comfortable with them or whether he is more mountain lion than house cat.

One or three, Izzy still wants a bit out of them and it’ll be interesting to see whether we can dodge them when we walk the neighborhood in the upcoming days.  In the meantime, at least we know it’s not one cat with a split personality!

Izzy’s Fourth Birthday: No cake. Just bones.

IzzyWe celebrated Izzy’s fourth birthday quietly last week.  Just the two of us.  I don’t think he even knew it was a celebration until I brought out the new bone.  It took him about five minutes to eat it.  So much for that.

I’m not the kind of person who usually celebrates dogs’ birthdays.  I mean, I know generally when my animals were born, but I’m not going to make a cake and have a party and announce the day to the world.  Dogs don’t care.  Cats care even less.  But Banfield (where Izzy goes to the vet’s) sent me an email to tell Izzy “Happy Birthday,” and that kind of got me started thinking about the day, the time that has passed, and the many changes Izzy has gone through during the past three years (he came to me when he was 9 months old, so I don’t count that first year in “our” memories).

 

He spent his first year with very little human contact, which is probably why he loves other dogs so much.  They were his companions until he came to live with me.  In fact, he was so poorly socialized that I didn’t have to pay for him.  The person who ‘sold’ him to me knew that he would be a challenge, and she was right.  “You can have him for free,” she told me, “as long as you promise to work with him.”

I did.  But I didn’t know how difficult it would be or how long it would take for him to trust humans.

For the first three months, Izzy would not come near me.  I couldn’t pat him, and when I forced him to sit in my lap or to let me touch him, his body stiffened and he pulled as far away as he possibly could manage.

IMG_20130914_150909_638 (1)

I’m not quite sure when that changed, but finally, he found his way to my lap to ask for love and would look at me directly instead of in a sidelong fashion.

It took a lot longer to habituate him to other people.   He loved dogs much more (and still does).

1002550_10202244110292947_1959754604_n (1)

My next door neighbors are the ones I credit with socializing Izzy.  Deb and Danny never gave up, constantly talking to Izzy, sitting on the ground in order to touch him, and going for walks with us so that he would “feel” their presence.  It worked.  Three years later, he still gets excited when I mention their names, and when Deb came to visit us in this new house a couple of weeks ago, Izzy tried to turn himself inside out to get to her.

Still, when someone new comes by, he will jump and bark.  My new guy, Louis, is a bit frustrated by the fact that Izzy doesn’t want Louis near me, but we’re working on my four-legged friend.  Giving him treats when he sits quietly works most of the time and reminding him that he’s a dog who lives with humans rather than vice versa works, as well.  But it’s a work in progress.

I wish Izzy understood that dating is difficult as it is, and he’s making it even harder.  Thankfully, Louis is going to stick around for a while and knows that Izzy is “family,” so he (Louis) has to figure out how to get this stubborn little Shichon to chill out a bit.

After I got Izzy, I had the opportunity to rent a little bungalow five minutes from work, so we moved–which was probably the best thing I did because Izzy didn’t do well alone in my apartment all day.

IMG_20131130_105503_711 (1)

I kept a journal of our first year in Roxboro, and I’m now working on rewriting it, making the story more of a narrative that might someday find its way into a publisher’s catalog.  Rereading that work reminds me of how much Izzy has learned since arriving in a crate to the Raleigh-Durham airport one hot early summer’s day.  He has gone from being terrified to get out of the crate and say hello to “owning” his new house and making friends with all of our new neighbors.

He especially adored Ellie (and her human, Peggy), always perking up his ears whenever I asked him if he wanted to take a walk to see her.

382507_10201345931879048_42757668_n

It’s been an uphill battle for this first four years, but I’m proud of my little guy, of the commands he’s learned, and the way he has adapted.  We have a mutual love-fest going on that I know will continue for as long as we’re both around.

They say dogs are humans best friends, and I truly agree.  They are also our rescuers, even though we might be the ones doing the initial rescuing.

So, Happy Birthday, little buddy.  And thank you for coming into my life.

66027_10151613700940908_1033835068_n

 

Izzy’s New Friends: How to Introduce Dogs to New Dogs (and People!)

Since moving to the new place, Izzy and I have settled down and are now meeting new people (and dogs), both in the neighborhood and in life.  The good part is that we have a much more positive life now (Izz y’s life has always been good, but mine . . . well, suffice it to say I was ready to commit hari kari in my last job.  It’s much easier being my own boss!).

At first, we explored every inch of the neighborhood, meeting those dogs/owners who walked at the same time we did.  There’s a twenty-something woman who walks a cockapoo named Callie (who Izzy likes a lot), a middle-aged guy who lives with his girlfriend and walks her Shih-Tzu named Little Man, a woman my age with a Bichon mix that looks like Izzy’s cousin, and several people who have young and energetic Pitbull mixes and a pair of twin dachshunds.  I’m sure the people introduced themselves to me, but to tell the truth, I remember the dogs’ names but not the humans’.

20150727_154723[1]

Izzy has discovered that he likes ‘overlooking’ the neighborhood.  He perches on the bed in the guest room overlooking the parking lot and lets me know whenever someone walks by or a strange car pulls in.  He takes his job very seriously, like any good ‘guard’ dog.  I wonder sometimes whether he thinks I need his protection or whether he would do it even if I wasn’t home.  Of course, it helps that he has a new squeaky ball he can take upstairs with him.

Meeting the new neighbors and their dogs (whether from his perch on the second floor or on our walks) has become our part-time gig.  There’s a protocol in meeting dogs.  Izzy’s often on a retractable leash (I let him run out to the end of it on our morning walks because I figure it’s his best chance of getting exercise), so I need to reel him in when I see another dog coming.  He loves going over and “saying hello,” and usually, that’s all he needs.  He’ll go on his way happily after just a few moments of sniffing and doing his puppy bows.  But I won’t go near another dog with him unless I call out to the owner first.  If there’s any hesitation in answering the question, “Is your dog friendly?”, we’ll keep our distance.  And reading the other dog’s body language is important — no matter what the owner says.

Body language that tells me the other dog’s attitude:

  • Tail down/relaxed (not tucked) or wagging:  means the dog is relaxed and open to meeting someone new
  • Ears back and tail tucked:  the dog is nervous or frightened.  Any dog with those body language attributes might be fearful enough to snap at someone in order to protect itself.  Fear often sets a dog into a zone that might result in an attack.
  • Head up and listens to owner:  that’s a great thing, but if the dog is more intent on pulling at the end of the leash than listening to its owner, that’s not a good thing.
  • Lays down and shows stomach:  submissive dogs are easy for us to meet (Izzy usually doesn’t lie down for any reason other than a belly rub when he’s with me, but other dogs might do that — and that’s a great thing).
  • Sniffing and puppy bows:  getting to know each other means dog sniff butts.  Though it sometimes grosses people out, it’s dog language, so that’s a good thing.

So far, so good with all the dogs.  However, it’s a different situation with the kids in the neighborhood.

Last week, we went on a walk and a group of kids who were playing outside came running to meet Izzy.  “Look at the puppy!  Let’s pat the puppy!!!”  The kids, aged 6-12, came toward Izzy with their hands out.

Not the way Izzy likes humans to come at him.

Since he’s scared of hands reaching for his head, I corrected Izzy and pulled him behind me while I talked to the kids.

Little Mikie (the 6 year old) wanted to know Izzy’s name, so I told him, and then I explained that dogs like to sniff people so he should stand still and let dogs look at him before he reaches out.

“Give him your fist,” I told Mikie.  “Not your fingers.”

“Like this?”  Mikie caught on fast, and instead of ducking away, the way Izzy usually does when meeting new people, my dog wagged his tail and sniffed at Mikie.  Thankfully, the older kids learned quickly too, so when they encircled Izzy, he sat his butt down and looked at each of them, one at a time.  But I knew that being surrounded wasn’t exactly comfortable, so we moved on quickly.  Hopefully, the next time we see the kids will be easier for my Izzy and he’ll be able to accept his new kid-friends.

And then there is Louis.  🙂   Louis is a new person in my life and someone who will probably be spending a lot of time with Izzy and me, so it was important that the first visit with Izzy would be a calm one.

Izzy has a habit of barking at a new person who comes into the house, and I have to correct his behavior, getting him to sit and stop, before I’ll pay attention to the new person.  Sometimes even after I get him relatively calm, I can walk away and Izzy will revert to barking and jumping.  That’s not a good thing.  20150705_091850

Louis came into the house in a calm fashion, speaking briefly to Izzy, but not reaching for him until Izzy calmed down.  After about fifteen minutes, Izzy decided the new person was boring, so he went to lie down on the living room floor with his bone.  Success.

I’m sure we’ll still be learning the new people and dogs in our life, but so far, Izzy’s doing great.  And so am I.

Izzy’s Big Move

On the third of July, Izzy reluctantly climbed into the car with me, and we waved goodbye to Roxboro and to our friends, to the streets we walked in the early hours of the morning, to the job I had for eight and a half years, to my little bungalow and the gardens that bloomed better last week than they have all summer long.  Goodbye for now to Deb and Danny (though I expect them down for dinner soon!) and to Mr. Mendoza across the street (I couldn’t even say goodbye to him before he left for his annual trip to Mexico) and to Ellie and Peggy around the corner.  Izzy will particularly miss Ellie, his best dog friend.

It was a day of mixed emotions for both of us.  Izzy spent most  of the day in the backyard as the guys moved the furniture out of the house.  He barked and ran from one side of the house to the other, straining to see what those strange men were doing in his house, very worried that I was in that house with those strange men without his stalwart protection.

The first night at the new place, Izzy jumped at every noise and when we did our evening walk, he couldn’t figure out which blade of grass to pee on first.  He bristled with senses so heightened that they were almost too much for his brain to handle.  I have to admit my own senses were on tilt, too, and when we crawled into the bed in the new bedroom that night, we both sank into a sleep both deep and confused.

We rose at 5:30 for our longest walk of the day to explore the neighborhood.  New bushes.  The smell of other dogs.  Streets we hadn’t walked before.

20150703_061957

Though I had driven the neighborhood many times before moving in, we hadn’t walked the streets, so it was time to learn the neighborhood.  This new place is nice, well-kept, and the neighbors seem to watch out for each other, but I’m amazed that I’ve moved to a place where each house resembles the one next door.  I’ve always said that I want a house with character.  Well, this one only has character because of the “things” I brought with me.  Without the “things,” this townhome would look the same as everyone else’s.  Unless you look closely, this neighborhood is fairly bland.

20150703_062011

As we did in Roxboro, we sniff out the possibilities and explore the hidden corners, and on that first walk, we found a little gift:  a walking trail in a cool copse of trees.

20150703_062206

There are dogs to meet here, and people, too, and roads to discover, trees to sniff, and adventures to enjoy.  But, for now, we’re tired from unpacking and would love some serious downtime before getting back into the work of being our own boss!

20150705_091850

For now, Izzy says he’ll hold the bed down 🙂

Izzy and the Summer Haircut

Another name for Shichons is Zuchon . . . and yet another is Teddy Bear.  One of the reasons Shichons are called Teddy Bear dogs is because most of them are brown, and they do, indeed, look like cuddly little teddy bears.  See?

Though Izzy is black and white, he still has that teddy bear look when he needs a haircut.

I love when Izzy’s hair is this long and his eyes are rimmed with inch-long eyelashes, but let’s face it:  North Carolina is hot in the summer and when Izzy’s hair gets longer, he needs some relief from the summer heat.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t look like the same dog when he comes out of the salon.  Here’s the before:

ATT_1433777341798_IMG_20150605_131514_714

Yes, my boy needs a bath in this shot, but he’s also particularly cute with his little Elvis curl in the middle of his forehead.  I took the picture because I knew that once his “locks were shorn,” he’d look like an underfed Terrier rather than the cute Shichon he is.

And I was right.  Sarah at Spaw, a dog groomer in Roxboro, always does a great job.  Everything is even.  She cleans up his face and makes sure his ears are trimmed.  But no matter what she does, Izzy looks skinny and scared after his haircut — and he can’t wait to get home!

ATT_1433777341573_IMG_20150605_160015_895

You can tell he’s nervous because he’s panting.  The only other time I’ve seen him pant is when he’s been playing too hard with another dog (and that doesn’t happen often enough).

This will be his last haircut for the summer, and I’m certain that he’ll be in the bathtub at least once a week because this little boy has discovered the places in the yard where he can dig — and he’s so happy when he does!

Izzy’s New Friend: Meeting Alan

Let’s get something straight.  Even though Izzy thinks he’s rough and tough, he’s not.  He’s a 17 pound cutie of a dog whose bark is truly worse than his bite.  Occasionally, he “gets” that, but there have been many times he IS the one bigger than the others and can flex his doggie muscles (like when he pees on chichauhas). In years past, I’ve had big dogs who thought they were lap dogs (like my British Mastiff, Joshua, who weighed 175 pounds and always wanted to sit in my lap), but I’ve never had a little dog before and I’m constantly surprised at the amount of attitude this Shichon has brought into my life. Last weekend, he was made very aware of how little he truly is.

One of the things I’ve always tried to do with Izzy is to “introduce him” to my friends’ dogs.  He sees my daughter’s two dogs regularly, he loves playing with my friend Theresa’s Jack Russell, and if I even mention his little maltese friend Ellie’s name, Izzy does the cocked head-wiggly feet dance until I leash him up and we head around the block for a visit.  But all of these dogs are either Izzy’s size or just a little larger.  Meet Alan.

10516607_10204451614552886_3280975925138065423_n

Alan’s a Great Pyrenees, a hunk of an ol’ man who doesn’t have to throw his weight around.  All he has to do is shift every once in a while, and the world rocks.

When we walked into Alan’s house, he moseyed over to meet us, and Izzy looked up, tail wagging, curious about this behemoth in front of him.  He poked his nose against Alan’s leg, sniffed, then touched noses with him.  They wandered around the yard together, Alan peeing everywhere Izzy did (sometimes I wonder where boy dogs get all their pee since they “water” everything they pass, but that’s another blog for another day).

20021_10153361224985908_5401762152421367777_n

By the end of the night, they had come to the point of ignoring each other.  A dog’s way of saying, “you’re okay.  I’ll let you hang around in my place.”

Next week:  Izzy and Alan go to the beach!