Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Terriers: The poor person's Thoroughbred

Terriers are the poor person's Thoroughbred.

Have you ever seen a Thoroughbred run free in an open pasture? It's one of life's most magnificent sights.

However, keeping a Thoroughbred requires acres of land and globs of financial resources, both of which are beyond the average person's means. You could, of course, visit a ranch that raises Thoroughbreds. If you're lucky the owners might grant you the privilege of watching their horses run about.

Five-day-old Thoroughbred running. See original photo here.

Mature Terrier running with a ball. See original photo here.

On the other hand, have you ever seen a terrier run free in an open field? It's another of life's magnificent sights. And it's a spectacle even a person of average means can experience.

Not that keeping a Terrier is cheap, but keeping a Terrier is a lot less expensive than keeping a Thoroughbred--and yet Terriers are just as thrilling to watch run.

Terriers are the poor person's Thoroughbred.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Squeeky clean

Now that Scout is house trained, I'm more comfortable with him. House training is a human expectation not necessarily shared by canines. A clean house matters to me, but, without training, my dogs wouldn't care where they peed and pooped.

That's not true of pot-belly pigs.

As a volunteer at the Oakland Zoo, I fed the pot-belly pigs, fluffed their blankets and pillows, and swept the dust out of their indoor living quarters. Those pigs never messed indoors, not once in the three years that I observed them. And furthermore, pigs don't need house training--sanitation comes natural to them. In fact, pigs purposely establish designated areas outdoors to do their business, well away from their shelter, bed, and food.

Given an appropriate living space, contrary to the popular saying, "Dirty as a pig sty," pigs are the cleanest mammals on the face of the earth.

Friday, August 8, 2008

One hundred percent

Scout is finally 100% house trained. He's five-months seven-days old. Don't know why it took so long.

What a relief though! Up until this, raising Scout was a full-time job. I had to constantly keep my eye on him. "Aught, aught, aught!" "Bad, bad, boy!" was about the only thing I had to say to the little squirt all these months. Now, finally, we are getting to know each other, having meaningful conversations, such as "How are you today?" to which Scout smiles. Speaking the words "Want to go car bye-bye?" sends Scout running to the garage in anticipation of a road trip.

Oh, but he doesn't run exactly. He bounds, soars, hurdles, leaps. His tiny, pink-padded paws rarely touch the ground.

And it's curious the way he holds his left ear upright instead of flopped over in the standard Jack Russell Terrier style. I've been told that when JRTs are teething, their ears sometimes stick straight up. But my theory is Scout's trying to imitate Casey the Westie's ears.

At night, when the inside lights are on and it's dark outside, Scout is fascinated with his reflection in the sliding-glass doors. He sniffs it, pounces at it, and raises his rear end in an attempt to get the reflection to react and come in and play.

I wonder if he's aware that he's looking at himself?