June 8th 2005 5:25 am
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If I had to list any faults for Lilah, it would be her somewhat overenthusiastic greeting of any new friends. The great thing about Lilah is that she is incredibly responsive to any commands, and that includes "down." With her size and weight, a jumpy greeting could easily knock down a small child or unsteady adult. However, in situations where she was so happy to see a new friend, it only takes one or two suggestions to settle down and Lilah will then calm a bit (although her tail still rotates a million miles an hour).
We asked some friends to visit with their two big dogs (a white shepard and a foxhound mix) to see how Lilah would do with additional dogs. As suspected, she managed quite well, playing with everyone and romping around the yard. It was interesting to watch the dynamics as the new pack postured and positioned for dominance. I always enjoy watching the social politics of these encounters, and learn quite a bit about each dog as they weave through their dance. It was during this play time that Lilah cut loose with that famous hound bark-howl! If you have not had the chance to experience the sound that Foxhounds (and Beagles and Bassets) can generate, then my friend you are missing out on one of nature's most interesting sounds.
The play and romping was going great guns, and got so frenetic that Lilah was forced to introduce the additional element of sound as her full body wiggles and tongue flopping could not fully express her excitement. Once the baying started, each of the dogs in the yard decided to add their own voices. This cacophonous symphony then extended beyond my yard and out into the neighborhood, with Lilah in lead! We finally had to tone everyone down when Bear, my small Shelty/Ausse mix added his voice (a high reedy tenor, with piercing overtones). Once we convinced Lilah and Bear to terminate their song, a slowly spreading wave of silence blanketed the neighborhood.
June 6th 2005 6:37 pm
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So yesterday, Lilah, Yoshi, Bear and Bob visited with Bob's mom and her dog, Shadow. It was a great opportunity to see how Lilah would respond to traveling in the back of camper, deal with other dogs and interact with Bob's mom. As with all of her other tests, Lilah passed these with flying colors!
Even though Lilah had a bit of trouble getting used to riding in the back of a truck (with a camper shell and special padding for dog safety), she quickly adapted and was soon "surfing" with Bob's dog as we made our way to mom's house. She quickly learned two new commands ("up" to get in the truck, and "out" to get out of the truck). It is amazing how quickly she learns new commands, obviously someone in her past has worked quite a bit with Lilah.
At mom's house, Lilah quickly won over a new fan by quickly responding to any command given by my mom. Speaking as one of her somewhat recalcitrant sons, there is no quickly way to win a mom's heart than by (a) actually listening to what she says and (b) following orders. We finally decided that Lilah must have spent some time with an older woman at some point in her life because she had an immediate connection with my mom and followed her around as if she had been a loyal member of the family for years.
The only delicate moment during our entire visit occured when Lilah accidently trod upon some young plant, causing irrepairable damage. Of course, in testimate to Lilah's ability to win my mom's affection, Lilah was very gently scolded and her treat allocation was cut in half for the next hour. Had one of her sons caused this level of damage to new flowers, I have no doubts that immediate extradition would have taken place and we would quickly find ourselves learning to say "would you like fries with that order" in German.
June 4th 2005 7:28 pm
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It is always amazing when I come across a wonderful dog like Lilah. I am astounded that anyone would give up such a wonderful pooch. To be fair to the previous owners, I have no idea if the relinquishment was voluntary, or if some unfortunate life event with Lilah's previous family forced the issue. I can say whomever worked with Lilah obviously had a loving and gentle hand.
Lilah is scheduled to fly to Massachusetts this coming Thursday. While we are waiting for her travel day, I get the pleasure of fostering her for a short week. From her first step into my crazy house (two full time dogs, one part time dog and one full time, somewhat annoyed cat) Lilah demonstrated a keen patience and willing nature to please. She introduced herself to Yoshi and BigBear (my two full time dogs) with grace and humor. She subsequently greeted the cat (Scout) with an enthusiastic playbow, which of course completely ruffled Scout (who is used to either interested sniffing or casual chasing but never an introduction to romp). She responded to my part time dog's obvious attempts at dating (LittleBear, a neighbor's Border Collie, Peke mix, who has yet to be nuetered) by simply placing one of her large paws on his forehead and shoving him away (several times). Lilah passed her socialization test with flying colors.
Our next observed interaction was during her first shared meal with my dogs. She very politely sat while I prepared bowls for all, and observed with interest as I fed BigBear first (he is the alpha at the moment, not counting the cat of course), followed by Yoshi. I praised her for her poise, asked her to sit and offered her a heaping bowl of food (figuring that she would approach it in a fashion similar to other hounds I have known). Imagine my chagrine as she daintily sampled my offering, and then thoughtfully finished her dinner (breaking twice to come over and offer her compliments for my obviously excellent preparation). Would that my dogs should pause to offer such thanks! While she was eating, I took the opportunity to reach into the bowl and take out some food as well as moving the bowl away. Neither action caused her the slightest problem. She merely sat down an waited for me to either return the food or announce that dinner was completed.
If I had to pick a favorite activity for Lilah (taking the short time of our interactions into account), I would have to say that it is the joyful removal of squeekers from plush dog toys. Lilah's discovery of the dog toy box elicited such a flurish of tail-wagging, play-bowing jumping up and down, I initially thought she had want the local PowerBall lottery. Her enthusiasm even caused my dogs (who certainly get pretty excited about new squeeky toys) to give her looks that seemed to say "sheesh, they're just dog toys!" She quickly selected a squeeky mallard duck (no doubt favoring this toy because of its unusual two-toned honking squeeker). The next several minutes were spent in a room-to-room victory celebration; rapidly squeeking the toy throughout. This of course caused my dogs to follow along in pursuit, which generated even more squeeking and dancing. This series of laps was subsequently followed by a brief, but intense, squeeker-ectomy. I have never seen such rapid and professional squeeker removal. It was like watching laproscopic surgery. The now silent duck was carefully pushed aside, and Lilah repeated the entire process with a Doctor Suess plushy.