a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Three Cheers for Chokydar




Standing Choky1

I love our dog. In the beginning, it took a little convincing to get Justin in favor of a puli. I first stumbled across the breed in my search for a dog when we got to Germany, and quickly became fixated. The breed was described as loyal, intelligent, agile, and yet well suited to life in a variety of settings. The final seller for me, of course, was the breed's wacky appearance--the mop of cords, almost impossible to tell head from tail, except for the flash of pink that is the tongue. Because he loves me, Justin agreed that if I could find one, I cou ld get this "dog."

After an interview process (I'm not kidding), in which we visited with a puli and puli owner, we were approved as suitable puli parents and met a Hungarian woman in Salzburg to pick up our puppy, Chokydar. (The name was my idea as well...) Chokydar was very timid at first, and only cautiously explored her new home. She was afraid of heights, and if you placed her on any surface off the ground she was trapped, unwilling to jump down even a few inches. This passed quickly. Once she was settled in, Chokydar as we know her began to emerge. Playful, joyous, tenacious, and loving, she is nearly impossible to tire. She is far from afraid of heights now. I swear she must be part cat; she sits in windowsills and on the back of the sofa with ease. There's no dallying when she goes out for a bathroom break. (I love this, especially during the rain.) Choky sleeps in our bed. Every morning is Christmas for Chokydar. She is my silent (and sometimes not so silent) shadow, following me EVERYWHERE around the house. She'll get up from a nap to walk with me to the other room and then lie back down. At night when it's time to feed Evelyn, Choky wakes with me, and accompanys me to the nursery, where she guards the doorway while Evie eats. She likes to drink water from your hand better than a bowl. She is good with Evelyn--something I worried greatly about before Evie was born. This was such a point of worry because Chokydar is not good with strangers. She knows only two kinds of people: part of the herd, and NOT part of the herd. For members of the former category, she is sweet, kind, and loving. For the those included in the unfortunate latter group, she is a holy terror. She will bark and growl and show aggression (she's really a chicken, it's all an act...shhhhh!) and basically be quite antisocial. She never quite learned how to walk properly on a leash, preferring to walk like a circus bear, on her hind two legs much of the time.

She is the perfect dog for me. While Justin is away, she does such a good job of keeping me company and I can't imagine not having her around.

I was thinking all of this last night and this morning as I appreciated her company. Around lunch today, something very scary happened, and she had great difficulty standing and moving around after she woke from a nap. Her legs were like jelly and she could barely stand. This only lasted a few minutes, but shook me greatly. I took her in to be seen at the local German vet clinic, and thankfully she has been acting normally the rest of the day. They took some blood for testing and we should know more tomorrow. I pray it was just some kind of fluke because I need my crazy little dog.

As an aside, while we were at the vet Evelyn got a little fussy. I think she was a little jealous that everyone was paying more attention to Chokydar than to her. When we came out of the examination room there was a German family sitting in the waiting area. They looked me over with baby and dog and said, "Oh, was that your baby crying?" I said yes. The little boy said, "I thought you had a cat in there!" While I was at the counter paying I further heard the mother ask her son whether he thought the baby or the dog was cuter. Choky stood a little taller as he replied, "Das Hundchen."


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