Time Flies

This is a very brief entry!

As of today I now have less than a week until I pick up Marlon, at long last! He’ll be 8 weeks old on Thursday, and then first thing next week we’re heading to go get him! I can’t really begin to say how excited I am! I’ve been getting weekly photo-updates from the breeder and it’s just incredible to see, second hand, this little potato-like thing without eyesight or hearing develop into an actual standard poodle! I cannot wait to finally meet him!

That’s all for now…once I actually have him you can expect quite an increase in the output of entries, especially as I take on potty-training, haha.

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A Day Spent With Wolf Dogs

If I had to pick my favorite species of canine I would go with an African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) or a coyote (Canis latrans). Despite this there’s no denying that wolves are pretty damn cool. While I would die of joy to spend a day around AWDs, spending a day around wolves and wolf hybrids is an incredible thing. I had the opportunity to do just that when a rescue group I’ve worked with a time or two was invited on a special tour of a wolf-dog rescue. We got a behind the scenes look and, best of all, some hands-on with the animals.

All of the animals at the rescue are just that- rescues. They mostly come from people who got them as puppies and realized they were too much to handle once the animal started to reach maturity, so they were quick to dump them off or chain them up outside and forget about them. Considering their pasts, it’s understandable that most of the hybrids are very skittish of people. A group of strangers wasn’t particularly welcome for most, though they readily came up to greet their caretaker and even allow her to pet them without protest. Several of them were quite friendly though, and accepted us gently petting them through the pens of their enclosures. We played a sort of game where the wonderful woman running the place would ask us to guess how much wolf vs. dog was in each hybrid, and for the most part it was impossible for a novice, such as myself, to tell. Many of the animals I thought for sure were high-content (mostly wolf), but some of them were actually 100% domestic dog (husky or malamute, mostly) but had been treated so poorly in their previous homes that they actually acted just like the wolf-dogs.

The rescue is also home to a very small collection of pure wolves, all of them with similar pasts to the wolf-dogs (rescues). What’s very perplexing is that the wolves were significantly more friendly than the wolf-dogs, in fact one of them was friendly enough that we were actually allowed to interact with her beyond the barrier of the pen. I am very proud to say that my glasses were 100% smeared across by a wolf tongue! The largest wolf I saw (the 2nd largest they have) is a beautiful male weighing about 120 pounds, and while he wanted to eat some of our group for lunch, he was very content to let me rub his ears and pet him through the pen.

The final thing we did before leaving was, to everyone’s total delight, meet some 6 week old wolf pups. Since the pups cannot ever be released into the wild, the rescue works with raising them to be people-friendly so that they can be used in educational settings. So, guess what that means? We got to hold wolf puppies! They were warm and fuzzy and one napped in my arms for a short time, and it was an incredible experience that, for some odd reason, just made me want Marlon to be weaned even more! Seeing the natural ancestors of our modern dogs up close and personal was an incredible experience and almost alien because they have such a familiar form, and yet such an unknown and somewhat terrifying difference about them. It was an experience I hope I never forget.

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A 6 week old Arctic x Gray Wolf Hybrid

Two Birds Are Better Than One

When I got Gibbous I had been planning already on getting a cockatoo, hoping to get a baby so that I could properly socialize it and, with time, have it accustomed to travel so that it could accompany me everywhere. Well, instead I fell in love with a frightened little conure, so I ended up with Gibby. I love Gibby to pieces, but he’s had a very rough start in life and I recognize that he will likely never be comfortable traveling on a day-to-day basis with me around town. I cannot be with him 24/7, and this isn’t fair to him. In the wild conures form close knit bonds with their flock, and with their mate, and they never really leave each other’s side.

It is hardwired into Gibby to be with his companion 24/7, to never leave their side. Since he’s only two years old, he’s not yet sexually mature, but he is old enough to start looking for a lifelong companion. As much as it saddens me, I know I cannot be that companion because I cannot constantly be with him. I’m a college student, I have classes to go to and, eventually, a part-time job to take up time. Not to mention that Gibby can live to be 40 years old, so by the time I have my own home and a full time job, maybe even a little human family to take care of, Gibby will still be rather young. The simple fact of the matter is that Gibby needs another bird.

I can’t choose the bird. They don’t usually form overnight bonds. The way birds form relationships isn’t too different from how we do. They need to meet each other and actually spend some time with one another. They need to get to know one another. I cannot just get a bird, bring it home, and expect Gibby to immediately love it, and for it to love Gibby. We all know blind dates don’t tend to go too well! So instead I must hope Gibby quickly accepts harness training, and then bring him to the local shop where they allow birds to interact with each other, and see if he can pick out a particular parrot. If they get along well, then I hope for the best and bring it home.

Chances are Gibby will lose a lot of interest in me once he has a feathered mate, and the other parrot will likely, as well, but I don’t mind. I never got Gibby to make me happy, I got him to give him a better life, and that is absolutely what I plan to do.

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Photograph of Gibbous taken by my sibling (lacking-rhythm @ tumblr)

Play Date

I’m a very enthusiastic “pet parent,” and while I hate shopping for myself, shopping for my animals is always very enjoyable for me. So, when I stumbled upon a very interesting toy currently under development both the pet-parent and tech-lover side of me got excited!

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Image (c) StartPlayDate.com

It’s called the PlayDate, and it’s a brilliant idea. It’s design to be remotely controlled from a smart phone or similar device, and it includes a camera so you can see your pet, and a two-way mic so you can hear and talk to your pet.

For me this doesn’t just sound great because I can check in on my little ones while I’m away, but it can actually help alleviate my anxiety symptoms while I’m away from them. Even though the psychological benefits for the owner aren’t part of the marketing, it really is something to be considered!

Just wanted to share this with everyone as I’m betting I’m not the only one who’d love this!

Check out their IndieGoGo page!

Puppies are Contagious

A while ago my friend was talking about how much he wants a dog. I’ve always been around dogs, I enjoy their company, but I never considered myself a “dog person.” I wanted a dog or two when I was older and had my own place, but primarily for protection and not so much companionship. However, it eventually became evident that dogs are service animals for a reason…turns out those tens of thousands of years by our side has made them really good companions for people! Having a properly trained canine companion at my side, I and my doctors speculate, could really help me. So I hopped onto the puppy train and will be getting my little Marlon in two weeks.

Shortly after I put the deposit down on Marlon, my friend found a dog at a shelter he works at and fell in love with this huge pit cross who probably weighs 50 pounds and isn’t even remotely done growing yet. So now my friend has fully climbed aboard the puppy train, as well.

Well, my mom’s been wanting a playmate for her rambunctious dog for a little while now. Me getting Marlon and bringing him home will be really good for Roo, my mom’s red heeler, because Roo has so much energy but not someone with an equal or greater amount of energy to play with. However, I’m only home for 3 months, and then Marlon and I will head back to school. Apparently my father, a man notorious for not being an animal fan (which makes the fact that he married my mother an incredible paradox), has started talking about how sad it will be not having a puppy around and how lonesome Roo will probably feel, so apparently he, the man’s whose catch phrase is “we have to many god damned animals!” wants to get a puppy after I return to school with Marlon.

This has lead me to one very important and undeniable conclusion: Puppies are contagious.

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Bonus photograph of Roo, my mom’s dog, by my sibling (lacking-rhythm @ tumblr)