Weezie's Birthday

Weezie turned five today. She and Gus have been the best of friends ever since he was small and she was smaller, and they’ve played up at school periodically their whole lives.

So, partially in honor of her birthday, and partially because the weather was nice and Comet and Gus have been woefully under-exercised these past couple of weeks, we went up to school to play.

Last week, Josh and Liz adopted two dogs of their own: Rexie and Rudie, two Catahoula Leopard Dog/Lab mix pups. I hadn’t heard of the Catahoula Leopard Dog before these two, but it’s apparently the Louisiana State Dog and possibly one of the oldest American breeds. Catahoula enthusiast groups and websites claim that it descends from ancient Native hunting dogs and the early war dogs of European explorers and conquerors. As is true for most older breeds, the real origins are clouded by history, and the most interesting story is often the accepted version.

These days they’re most often used as herding dogs for cattle or pigs (hence one of their appellations: Catahoula Hog Dog).

Either way, Josh and Liz now have a very cute brother-sister duo romping around their house.

Of course, the dogs became acquainted quickly and got along famously. Rudy seemed more interested in chasing Comet than in taking the ball, so there was a rather amusing disconnect in the rules she was playing by (catch Comet) and the rules he was (keep the ball from Rudie).
Rudie has the more typical Catahoula look—light eyes, merle (leopard-patterned) coat, and a trim frame. She’s also bigger and more confident than her littler brother.
Rexie was a little hard to photograph, as he was more interested in romping than in posing.
Gus, of course, was dedicated to his joyous yet ascetic pursuit of fetching to the exclusion of all else.
Josh takes childlike delight in running around with the pack, and his two herding pups couldn’t be happier.

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Mastering the Fetch

It’s immensely difficult to take indoor pictures of the dogs. The most obvious drawback of a flash is the dog-devil eyes you invariably get, but I also find that a flash lends an unfaithful color and glare to the coat.

Catching the boys like this involved painstakingly getting out the camera without making enough noise or motion to wake the dogs, sitting it on the coffee table to avoid blur, and snapping pictures blindly at arms length.

Maybe the flash would create a crisper picture, but the warm glow of the scene is much more faithful to the peace of the moment. Yes, that’s a duck toy nestled in between them.

Comet is, shall we say, still working on mastering the fetch. He heads full tilt for the ball, puts his head down to snag it...
...and fails to stop. Comet went enthusiastically head over paws on five straight fetches before he figured out how to slow down a bit. To his credit, he never failed, no matter how dramatic his flip, to come up with the ball.
We also had the opportunity to play with Weezie again. Comet was much more able to keep up with the bigger dogs, and he took great delight in trying to catch Weezie. Failing that, he resorted to sneak attacks.

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New Teeth, New Muscles

Now, there was a whole lot of personality in this dog when I went and saw his litter. He stood out to me that first day, and he did it again when I went back. But every day, there's a little more focus in those dark eyes, a little more coordination in his movements, and so that personality comes out more and more.

Not that coordinated, though. We've definitely hit the stage where the ears don't quite behave.

Ahhh, age appropriate chew toys. At around three months, pups start to lose those sharp baby teeth (milk teeth). This is the stage at which shoes, sunglasses, or anything else expensive and saturated with owner smell is in serious peril. The trick is to give him something even more fun than a shoe, and when he goes for the wrong thing, switch it to the appropriate, fun toy.

Gus had this slightly minty rope toy for a couple of years and never took much interest, but after a few days of chewing, Comet's done some serious damage to it. He was also able to demolish the end of a belt during about thirty seconds of inattention from us. But that's the only puppy teething sacrifice we've had to deal with so far.

We also had a chance to head up to school to play with Weezie. Comet can't quite keep up with two full-speed, adult retrievers, but the camera was able to catch Weezie and Gus as they blazed by.

Where would we be without the requisite scratching photo? I love the intense concentration a good scratch requires. I've also noticed that, for some reason, he likes to make eye contact while he does it. Maybe he's asking for help or permission. Either way, it's cute.

This last week has also seen some great development of musculature. It's becoming clearer by the day that Comet's going to be a powerful, agile dog.

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