It’s been a while since Alpha Mom let me at her weekly blog. She guards it like it’s her special pet or something.
Finally though, we’ve got a topic that I might just know more about than she does. So she’s stepped aside. Thanks, Alpha Mom.
[No problem Sash; happy to. Just stay on topic please. By the way, you’re my special pet, you know.]
His name is Jackson, they tell me, and he’s 8 months old. He had a very troubling start down in Texas, but he’s a black shepherd and they’ve been looking for a black shepherd for a few years now. They found him through EchoDogs White Shepherd Rescue.
[You might offer them the website in case they are interested.]
You just did. Can I get on with it?
[Of course; my apologies]
Here he is:
We don’t know how he got from Texas to the folks at Echo Dogs, because they don’t work west of the Mississippi River, but Jackson is lucky he did. The EchoDog folks took him in, got him a great foster mom in Illinois, who took him to the Vet and got his inoculations going (plus took care of a few other things too, ouch). They even microchipped him. All for an adoption fee of just $300. Well, maybe it’s because he doesn’t exactly fit the “white shepherd” profile that the rest of us do.[All their adoptions are $300, Sasha; of course, they accept donations too.]
Jackson is a bundle of energy. You’d think he’d settle down, now and then. But noooo; he’s a mid-sized dynamo, constantly in motion, pouncing on me, toying with me, egging me on, and drooling on me. He has no dignity whatsoever. That, the alphas tell me, is going to be my job. To bring him some dignity.
[You’ll be good at it, too, you know.]
I know. Besides, it’s the least I can do, all things considered. I’ve had a good life here and I’m getting up in years. I’ll be eleven this Sunday. December 6, 2009 I came into this world, I’m told. My memories of those early weeks are a bit hazy. I only know I came into a family that wanted me really badly (who wouldn’t; I’m really quite great) and I had lots of siblings; a beautiful mother and many, many aunts; a quite dashing father (and no uncles).
Alpha Mom likes to point out that my father always looked quite pleased with himself, but I’ve never understood what she was talking about. What I do remember is that they all looked just like I do now: billowy white and powerful, stunning really. I think the humans built a small business around me and my ilk. Yeah, the Alphas first had to buy me, then they had to microchip me and inoculate me and all those other things that I guess are pro forma now. I was a pretty expensive pup, as the story goes.[I don’t think that’s pertinent; can you get back to Jackson, please?]
Jackson has a different story. We know little about his human family, only that they didn’t do a very good job. Jackson’s a scrawny little thing. I could sit on him easy; I could take him any time I wanted, but I find I don’t really want to. I just wish he wouldn’t drool on me.
He’s kinda nice to have around actually. Well, he makes a mess — he seems to get about as much water onto the floor as he gets down into his belly. I don’t know how he does that. Alpha mom just brought up some old rugs from the basement and we mop the splatter up
every now and then all the time. Well, she mops it up.
[Actually, the floor hasn’t been so shiny in a very long time. We can thank Jackson for that.]
They aren’t letting him sleep with me yet. He has to stay in
my old his crate over night and often during the day too. That’s so mom and I can get a little rest. Like now for instance. Jackson is lying in his crate, flat out; he could even be sleeping; it’s hard to tell.
I’ll admit, I enjoy the quiet too. We were outside for a while today and wow, that was exhausting.
The Alphas are teaching him to “Come.” It’s going well; he pretty much has it down. The special treats that came with him help. I think they used hot dogs when they were training me. I don’t remember; it’s been nearly eleven years. Did I tell you that already? Hard to remember any more. Plus did I tell you about the cancer they found when I had my last TPLO surgery?[Sasha, we weren’t going to bring that up, remember? We want to celebrate Jackson now.]
Oh yeah. My mistake; just seems pertinent to me, you know. I mean, I’m the one with the cancer.[Maybe not; they did that surgery and think they got it all; so, we really don’t know.]
Fine. I won’t talk about it. Jackson it is.
So they’re working on Come (he’s quite good at it already after just a few lessons; already good enough to let him off the lead outside; maybe Alpha mom can add a video) and Sit (smelling the goody in the Alpha’s hand helps, sneaky little thing; but in this house, Sit means “please, may I have it?”), so it’s an important one.
Wait (that’s still a hard one for me, but they seem to think it’s important; something about who gets to go first; I don’t understand why it’s not me) and Walk (that one took me a few years; can’t yet tell how long it’ll take Jackson. I’m really quite good walking on a lead now. I never pull, except when there’s something I just have to sniff. We used to go to the Farmer’s Market every week and I could visit with the other dogs and all the people who wanted to pet me. But we haven’t gone there in nearly a year. I miss it. I wonder if I’ll still remember how to walk without pulling? I wonder if we’ll ever get back into the city where all the people are?).[Sasha, you’re digressing again. Please stay on topic. And the topic is Jackson. You were talking about his training.]
Come, Sit, Wait, and Walk. Those are the biggies. Down will come later, as will Off; down means to lie down on the floor and off is what it sounds like — “get off.” I’m really good at doing a succession of Sit & Down, Sit & Down. Alpha Mom likes to show me off doing that. Sometimes it’s not so comfortable for me. Wish she’d stop.[I didn’t realize that, Sash. You’re so good at it though. I don’t even need the words anymore, just the hand signals. It’s really quite impressive. But if you want me to stop, I will.]
No. It’s OK. I know it makes you happy and that’s still important to me. But it’s easier for me to do it when I’m warmed up, or the house is hot. When it’s cold, it’s harder.[I’ll remember that. Thank you for telling me. Can we get back to Jackson now?]
Jackson’s going to learn that the Alphas are pretty fussy about certain things: not jumping, not barking, not peeing in the house. Lot’s of NOTS, though they don’t actually use that word; they don’t even say “No” very much. They use Leave it and Off with me; or used to before I learned where I was allowed to be.
I like it most when they say OK. Then I can forget about any rules and just go romp![You’re forgetting Jackson, again.]
How about we show the video of us romping? From yesterday?
Yeah, lots of rules Jackson’s gonna have to get used to. I’m trying to teach him but he has a hard time sitting still long enough to listen. There’s not a “Listen” command, I guess. Listening comes naturally to us shepherds, you know; we are quite well-known for our excellent hearing. And there’s so much to hear. And smell. I can even talk, too. Did you know? Alpha Pop has identified four “voices” I have; but I really have many, many more. Yup, my senses are all intact.[Why don’t you mention “Jeffrey?”]
It’s been interesting to watch “Jeffrey” interact with Jackson. (Well, Alpha Mom says it’s interesting; I haven’t really noticed). All I recognize is that where Jeffrey is from, somewhere in Africa, dogs don’t go inside and we certainly don’t get talked to. Alpha Mom’s been having fun poking at the “cultural differences” (she calls them).[Nicely done, Sash.]
So, after two days with the little dynamo, we are getting a sense of how life will be for awhile. Alpha Mom will get her 10,000 steps in (plus, plus) Alpha Dad will get more too; he takes the morning walks. The kitchen floor will never again feel sticky. And I’ll have someone else to play with in the evening when the Alphas are trying to relax. The next test will be when the new baby chicks arrive. But that’s a ways from now. Spring. First we must get through winter, and before that, we must finish out Autumn.
Come on life, move it.[Don’t you want to tell them about the joy that a puppy brings to a house, the giggles, the fun? Maybe something about being in the HERE and NOW, when you’re dealing with a puppy? Or about how a puppy brings a promise of the future? How, because of Jackson, we’ve made a commensurate commitment to staying here on the property.]
What’s commensurate mean?[OK, Sasha. I think you’ve about covered it.] [How about you? What’s new in your life these days?] I was going to ask them that.
NEXT WEEK: Deconstructing 2020’s Thanksgiving (unless something more pressing arises).