Friday, 23 November 2007

Another new addition to the household

Last Minute Larry
Originally uploaded by Crit Chicken
Under pressure from the Beloved we had been looking for a dog for few months. We had tried the RSPCA a few times, including the time we came home with two cats, but hadn't found our dog yet. We turned to a local group who scour the country pounds, buy dogs at a reduced rate, then rehabilitate them, and put them up for adoption. the nice thing about that is that when you go to meet the dog, you meet them in the carer's home and the carer has spent time with the dog, so can give you an accurate assessment as to whether the dog might suit you or not. So we'd met a few dogs, but none of them were quite right for us - we have a number of constraints - small child, cats, no-one home during the day some days - and so we kept looking.

Two days before D'Arcy's birthday, one of the carers rang us and said "We were just at a local pound, and there is this lovely dog there who I think might suit you - he's quiet and well mannered - but he is due to be destroyed at 10 am tomorrow, and none of our carers have room to take him. I couls email you some photos and if you like the look of him, perhaps you could ring the pound in the morning to ask more questions.

By some miracle I didn't have to work that morning, and of course when she sent the photos, we thought "oh, he looks lovely" so we rang the pound, and the staff there couldn't say anything bad about him. In fact they loved him. He'd been there for his allowed 21 days, but for some reason they hadn't been able to rehome him. The woman said "you know, there's a lot of dogs that I would prefer not to see re-homed, but this isn't one of them". I don't know how they would have gone giving him the injection...that doesn't really bear thinking about.

So we got to the pound at 9.30 and at 9.48 said 'yes' so his name is Larry. He's very sweet, doesn't jump up, has respect for D'Arcy most of the time, and after some settling in, is currently more scared of the cats than they are of him. Pretty bloody lucky.

We don't know anything of his back story. He was left in one of their night-cages, had no microchip and wasn't de-sexed. However he knows to sit, walks well on a leash (as long as he gets a walk every day) can even shake hands, and knows 'outside'. So he's a total mystery. He doesn't fret if he's left alone all day, just snoozes on the deck, or in his kennel, so he's not an escaper. Our vet suggested (when he saw the condition he was in - very fit, muscular, and no fat on him) that perhaps he was a farm dog who just chased the sheep too much, and so they got sick of him.

We know nothing of his breeding either. At the pound they reckoned he was a Staffy cross, but he doesn't really look like any Staffys I've ever met - his legs are longer and his chest narrower, and he sits squarely on his bum, rather than on one hip. He does have a fairly blocky head, but spends most of his time with his nose on the ground. His colouring suggests mastiff/ridgeback, but he's nowhere near that big.

He's a good guard dog too. If we're out walking and men approach me he'll give them a good bark and a growl. Same when we're at home and someone comes to the door. We had a houseguest about a week after we'd got Larry, and every time the guest came home Larry would bark and growl at him. Kind of a good thing, but not terribly sociable. I have plans to take him to obedience training in the new year, when the classes start again, so that might help. He loves meeting other dogs,but then doesn't seem to know how to play. He just wants to say 'hello' and then go on his way.

D and I are having a sick day today, which means that Laz won't get much of a walk, but he's been inside a lot, which is a nice treat for him.