Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The other animals

H with Maggie when we adopted her at 4 months old.

So I've introduced all the farm animals, but I don't think I've formally introduced the animals that came with us to Oregon from North Carolina. Besides the two goats and the 12 chickens, we have two dogs and a cat. All of them were rescue animals from a shelter in NC. Kitty came to us first. He was adopted as H's pet when I had my former dog Tango. Tango was not friendly to other dogs, so when H wanted a pet of his own, we settled on a cat. They got along well once Kitty learned that Tango was in charge. Then Tango got sick and rapidly declined. Less than two months later, she left us for a 'better place'. I was heartbroken....still am. She was a wonderful dog and I still miss her often.

But, I grew up with dogs so it was weird to not have one. I lasted about 3 weeks before I had to hear the pitter-pat of doggie feet around the house again. We went to the same shelter where we got Kitty and met Maggie. Maggie was a 4 month old puppy that was born in the shelter. She knew no other life. We are guessing that she was the last of her litter as she was alone in her cage and all of the others had multiple dogs in them. She was so incredibly adorable and when we got to take her out of her cage, we both just fell in love. She was such a sweet puppy! Affectionate and playful... She sat in my lap while we filled out the paperwork and she got more "awww's" from the people passing through. She was 25 lbs at that point. We are pretty sure that she is part boxer, part chow and part shepard. We call her the 'super mutt'. Her boxer comes out in her playfulness and her slobber...the chow genes have given her the softest, fuzzy fur...and she is most shepard when she is around water. Loves to play it in, hates to swim. She's got tiny little feet like Tango did who also loved water but hated to swim (Tango was shepard/doberman).

Maggie was a little difficult to house train. She was afraid of a lot of things (having never been exposed to anything) and she was sneaky. She is a smart girl though, so once we caught her mid-mistake and showed her the right way of doing it (outside), she was good to go. She is definitely a pleaser and likes to do the 'right' thing. She and Kitty got along fairly well from the start. Maggie can often be too rough with him, but he knows that she's always good for a game of 'chase'!

Charlie and Kitty enjoying the NC winter sun together.

Two months later, we decided that Maggie needed a canine pal...so we went dog shopping again. We met Charlie. He was very, very quiet and when we took him out of the cage, he was very attentive of us, very sweet, and not timid at all. I was hesitant to get a male dog, but H was totally sold. We took him home and introduced the dogs right away. The first thing that struck us was that Maggie's energy was MUCH higher than Charlie's. We were afraid it was going to be an issue when the second day, he was even more subdued. I took him to the vet, and lo-and-behold, he was sick. Kennel cough. We got some medication and withn a couple of days, he was feeling like himself again. And that quiet, calm dog we thought we'd adopted? GONE. Yep, Charlie had plenty of energy to match Maggie. What a pair they make! Charlie isn't as fast as Maggie, but what he lacks in speed, he makes up for in enthusiasm. And he is 100% dedicated to H. By his side - faithfully at all times. The vet was immediately convinced that Charlie is part bassett hound and part golden retriever. He has a howl that is 100% hound (and a very deep, reverberating bark)...but he's a lover like a golden. He'll take attention over food any day (except when the food is raw goat's milk - he's crazy about it!). He's also a big fan of swimming - particularly if there's a stick to fetch.

Charlie and Maggie watching the goats through the fence.

Now, 2 years later, the dogs are like brother and sister. They have their disagreements, but they are dedicated to each other. Maggie dotes on her older brother (Charlie is about 9 months to a year older than her) and Charlie tolerates her annoying traits. Charlie also gets along well with Kitty. As Charlie is less 'rough' with him, Kitty tends to cuddle up to him when he's in a calm mood (whereas Maggie is for playing). When all three are in a playful mood, the house is NOT quiet. I wouldn't have it any other way!

They really all are characters, and we are happy to have them in our lives.

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