A Grand Update

Hey all, it’s been a while. After getting Marlon things were very busy, and free time became rare. Then I sort of forgot that I even had this blog! However, I’ve finally remembered, and now I am back to hopefully regular updating.

Long story short; I picked up Marlon. We drove over two hours up Florida to meet Marlon’s breeder. She’s a wonderful woman, and I couldn’t be happier. Marlon rode on my lap the entire trip home, so I guess it’s no surprise that by day two he had fully latched onto me. The first night was terrible. I tried having this poor nine week old puppy sleep alone in his crate on his first night away from his family. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out. It was midnight when our resident adviser knocked on the door to ask why there was a puppy screaming in our room. So I ended up sleeping on the floor with Marlon nestled against me…and slept like that for the next three weeks, during finals week. He picked up on sit almost immediately, as well as potty training. We had issues with separation anxiety- he didn’t like me leaving. Anyone else could leave he couldn’t care less, but if I left then he would cry and cry and cry! He was also very difficult on a leash, but it turns out this was more my fault, and once I learned how to communicate with him better, things got easier. He amazed me with his gentle nature and excellent behavior when out and about. He never has been aggressive towards another dog. When an angry little silken terrier snapped at him, Marlon simply sat down beside me without batting an eye. There are many other stories about specific times that I’ll share over the next few weeks, but I’m trying to keep this as a semi-brief summary.

Well, three weeks went by incredibly fast. Marlon went from 10 pounds of fluff to 15 pounds of fluff during this time, and drew compliments like honey draws flies. I celebrated the day he reached 14″ tall, for he was finally of Standard size! Once I finished finals, my mom finally got to meet him and absolutely fell in love. She babysat for a day, and Marlon got to play with a wolf-dog hybrid (unfortunately she didn’t get any photos of this), and befriend a small child who was previously afraid of dogs. Then we started a three-day journey up the east coast, back home to NY. Along the way Marlon mostly slept peacefully. I did have to spend about two hours one night in Virginia, under the pouring rain, shivering, running back and fourth across a small grassy spot outside of the hotel trying to wear Marlon out, shouting; “JUST GO POTTY!” the entire time. I did get some strange looks.

Marlon discovered evergreens and dandelions, and found that he loves both. He tried to play tug-of-war with a tree outside of a fast food joint. To say the least, he lost that match. He did, however, manage to befriend a very carsick Jack Russell Terrier along the way.

When we finally got home we were all beyond exhausted. I walked Marlon in our front yard while my mom’s dog, who is not fond of strange dogs, watched warily from behind my parents’ legs. It took her about two weeks to fully accept Marlon into the pack, but now that she has the two are good friends.

Shortly after getting home, my mom ended up adopting a 7 week old red heeler puppy (the same breed as her 2 year old dog, Roo). This little guy was named Joey, and he’s also now part of Marlon’s pack.

I have many specific little stories to share, as Marlon is nearly 5 months old now! But I will save them for another time.

Marlon Stats:

Age: 21 weeks

Height: 22 inches

Weight: 41 pounds

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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.

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

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)