Friday, December 06, 2019

Are These Really Dogs?

SUMMARY: DNA testing, I just finally gave in.

My title, "are these really dogs?": Why? It's cuz of the guy near Santa Cruz who asked me 4 years back what kind of animal Chip was, and when I said "dog," he said something like, "maybe, but I doubt it."  Guess I'll find out now if I was so very wrong! Maybe an alien?

I thought about DNA tests for Jake and Remington. And for Tika. Decided not to, because (a) it's expensive, (b) it doesn't affect anything at all, (c) accuracy is iffy--people I know in the genetics world have said that they are a *fun* thing to do for mixed breeds, but don't count on them being correct. (To test accuracy, I'd need a mix whose parentage I knew for certain...  Amber qualified there, but the world in general didn't know anything about DNA back then.)

So, why now? Why these dogs? Dunno. Wanted to. So I have sent away for the packets. At some time in the future, I'll have their results.  Now is the time to place your bets on their breeds! (No actual money bet, no actual money given.)

Here's what I know about them:

  • Chip: Original owner, who had him from 6 weeks, had no idea, but guessed part Whippet. (Also see my recent post about what he might be.)
  • Zorro: Listed by rescue as Border Collie mix. Not sure where that info came from, as he went from original absent owner to shelter to rescue. (Also see my post about cattle dogs...)
And now for some photos, plus lots of adjectives to try to describe their personalities.

Zorro the high energy, no-fear, smart, eager to participate, desperate for activity, sleep-sprawling, dinnertime jumping into the air and food inhaling, over-the-top-wild learning, big-toy loving, no-fear, car/trip loving, huge-eared, happy, big-tongued, binkie-nursing, obsessive and very successful 18" hunter who always wants to be in the middle of whatever is going on, has earned several tricks titles, and loves doing contacts and tunnels

Big ears. Rapt attention. Always hoping for more.

Fully alert, tail and ears up. Note the one leg that's a different color.

From the back so you can see the white making a triangle on the back of his head. Looking for squirrels.

Fully alert, hoping for squirrels; tail curls almost all the way over.

Loves his big toys. Eager to play and chase toys.

Sprawls in his sleep, usually upside down, sometimes with both front legs raised.

Chased a squirrel in there. Won't give up until I haul him away by his collar.

Loves loves LOVES to be in the car. Open door is an invitation.

Huge tongue for a not-that-big dog.

Those ears!  (Note Chip's in comparison)

Side view of his left side.

When I come home, this is what I see: Him waiting with his Jolly Ball. Sometimes he'll stand there for 5 or 10 minutes while I do whatever I need to do.

Face. And ears.

Often plops himself down with back legs behind him.

Loves nursing on his binkies. Quiet, calm--I think he uses it to help calm himself because he  he can be so wired.

No fear! Soft crate is not safe for standing on, but he doesn't care  if it wiggles around and nearly dumps him.

Chip the worrying, thunder/noise fearing, gentle, snuggle-loving, smart but thoughtful and methodical learning, cautious, hole-digging, crate-loving, dinnertime patiently sitting and calmly eating, small-toy loving, hose-spray enthusiastic, very fast but only under his own initiative, car/trip fearing, talkative, small-tongued, sweet 20" boy who waits to see what's going on before making an effort to join in, loves doing tunnels by himself, and stresses out too easily for me to want to take him to more classes of any kind but he has learned several tricks

Chip is sometimes terrified of getting into the car. Other times he hops right in. No idea what the deal is.

He can run very very fast when he feels like it. 

Face. Black on his forehead and muzzle. Has always had some white there, too.

Alert and happy, with tail up; something must be happening right now.
When not immediately stimulated, he usually stands more like this, tail relaxed.

Loves the tunnel game! Hide and seek full speed, then blasts out like a missile to find another tunnel.

Loves to snuggle next to me in bed; this sitting on my lap, however,  is because there are fireworks outside and he's quite unhappy about that.

When happy, often rolls around on the bed or floor, grabbing anything that's near just for the joy of grabbing.

Little tiny tongue. Compare to Zorro's earlier.

Fully alert and eager! I don't often see him like this--

He lounges better than anyone, in anything available.

Another alert shot--this is about as high and curled as his tail goes.

Man, does he love to dig. I should show you my moonscape back yard sometime.

Chip LOVES to grab at spraying water. (Zorro heads off for safety when the hose comes out; not a fan, and I've never sprayed him that I can recall, so I don't know where either of these got these traits.

Snuggle boi.

He's very vocal. Talks or woofs about many things all day long. When happy and rolling around on bed or floor, he makes many happy talking noises.

I see him like this a lot-- a bit worried about what's going on but still hoping that something good might be happening.

I took him to a class on massaging/etc. your dog. He loved checking out all the other dogs and he really enjoyed the parts where I was doing hands-on with him. But near the end, when the mini teeter hit the floor and the whole building resounded, he was terrified and done.  So I think indoor training isn't appropriate for him...

Loves little toys! This is one of his 2 favorites.

Feels safe in his crate. Often goes in to get away from Zorro or simply to relax while Human Mom is doing whatev's Human Moms do.

SOOOOO what's your guess?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Rebuilding Holidays

SUMMARY: Thinking out loud around the hollow spots--

Holidays are a challenge because of the seismic shift after my parents died and we sold the house-- apparently not all of the family is enthused about everyone gathering together for fun and food and friendship among relatives. I, however, loved it. This will be the third Christmas since both Mom and Dad died, and no clear replacement for the family gatherings has appeared.

So, figuring out new traditions and activities instead: That's what one is supposed to do, right?

I used to get up early on Thanksgiving (sometimes Xmas!) and take the dogs into the hills for a good long hike, then go home & change & head to family's house. I'm pondering how I can do something like that with crappy knees and back! Even more adjustments...

And trying to decide whether I have the energy at the moment to do xmas decorating here at home and maybe even host whoever wants to get together--  (have been sick with a lingering cold the last 2 weeks, mostly better, but energy level still down).

I sound like I'm moaning and groaning about life. Well, that's the way I feel about the coming weeks, so there it is.  Trying to find ways to be upbeat and ready to make changes, though.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Florida Day 2

SUMMARY: Universal Resort: Harry Potter!
Backfill: Nov 17

See the post of the days preceding the trip, with a trip summary.

And here's yesterday.


None of us have been here before. We take Uber with my rented disassembleable scooter and meet up with Sis #1 and spouse.

Universal Florida Resort/Parks! 

Main goal is the new Harry Potter universe, split between two parks. So we have a park-hopper pass (you can take the Hogwarts Express or walk) to go back and forth.

Walking through the brick wall at the station to get to Hogwarts Express.

It's very well done, realistic, feel like we're actually in Diagon Alley or other environs. Ride a couple of rides. Eat and snack. Shop.

Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron. I have oatmeal flan for the first time ever, and fruit... so healthy!
And, ahem, of course, bacon.

Universal did a wondrous and magical job of putting us into Harry Potter's world! Some of the many photos I took--

Two sisters and Mallory hangin' with their wands in Diagon Alley

Dragon breathes fire at random intervals. I waited and waited but never got the camera onto it when the flames came out.

Gringots. The place is just about made of money.


Mr. Fox chats it up with the driver and head of the Knight Bus.


Used magic wands to try to get all the magic-wand locations to do their things--it's tricky!
Healthy lunch: Shepherd's pie and salad! I'm trying hard to allow space in my calories for occasional junk food (i.e., sugar) during our stay.

I walk a bunch but very glad for the scooter. We tire out and the one park is closing early, so we take the boat across the lake to Sis #1's hotel, where we meet up with Bro-in-Law #2 and rental car.

Boat across the lake.

[dinner where?], then to our hotel for the rest of our stay (Shades of Green at WDW--this is my 3rd time at this military-owned/run resort, although it's very Disney-like), where Bro-in-law #2 has already checked us in and moved our luggage in. Great guy!