Doggy Dog Blog
to this day, i still find myself lamenting the loss of Ringo. he was a great dog, taken too soon and too young. early on, i would visit Ringo graveside every day or few to reminisce about the loss. to help fill the void, i decided back in August that it was time for a new dog. a very new dog. a puppy, perhaps.
now, i had no intentions of GETTING a dog, mind you. but of course, it's hard to resist a dog when faced with the opportunity of adopting one. i had been perusing the dog pound & SPCA like a reformed alcoholic wistfully lingering around the liquor store, hoping to find a new Ringo, which was in itself an exercise in futility. no Ringo-worthy replacement could ever be found but i was sure going to try. while at the local pound, i was told by an employee about a breeder down in the southern end of the county who had a large litter of Border Collie puppies for sale. as you know, Ringo was a Border Collie, or mostly anyway, so this seemed like a good idea. but for $150 a pop for a pup, i balked. but then again, after figuring a "free" dog from the pound would still cost about 80 bucks, i realized that a dog from a breeder might not be such a bad choice after all.
so i headed down to this breeder's place, which turned out to be a gentleman farm of sorts--a few random animals here and there, and a dairy barn-turned-storage shed. the farmer and his son were more than happy to show the pups, and although they were mostly all solid black in color, there was one male puppy with traditional white and black border collie markings. he seemed like a nice little dog, but still, i wasn't set on the idea.
meeting the litter's parents was also something i wanted to do before even considering buying a puppy. unfortunately, mommy dog was at the vet getting spayed since the breeder was all done breeding dogs. but daddy dog was still there. he was a little distant, mainly interested in keeping an eye on the farm's horses at the other end of the barn, but the farmer called him over to to introduce us. as i petted him, i asked what his name was.
the farmer replied, "Ringo."
wow, if that wasn't some sort of cosmic canine karma, i didn't know what was. after that, i was going to leave with one of these puppies no matter what. and i did.
a young Zippo
so after a bit of haggling, i was the proud owner of a 12 week old, one hundred and twenty five dollar, Son-Of-Ringo Border Collie puppy. it felt a little crazy, like i had just purchased an infant child and forgot to get the Dr. Spock book with it. i'd never raised a dog from a puppy before--all of our past dogs, including Ringo, had been the used-car type dog and required little or no raising. but with a little bit of fathering instinct and a few calls to the ex-girlfriend vet tech (kimmyshea!) i figured i'd be alright. after all, the farmer had said one of the other puppies from the litter had been housebroken in two days! wow! even if it took me twice that long, it would be over before i knew it!
the new-pooch feeling wore off slightly on the way home when Doggie Dearest hurled about a pound of hot, steamy dog barf onto my leg, the car door, and leather seat. apparently Junior had eaten too much before leaving and now he was a tad excited.
luckily, the barfing stopped there, and it was relatively easy clean-up since it was mainly undigested dry dog food. it scraped off of my blue jeans quite nicely, as far as barf scrape-up goes.
i dreaded telling mom and dad since i never mentioned i was going to even LOOK at puppies, let alone GET one, so i took the "i want you to meet my new friend" approach with a heaping dose of irony regarding the puppy's father's name. after a few moments, it worked, and he was welcome in the home.
extreme sniff job
he went nameless for quite a while. after all, it took me a couple weeks to come up with the name Ringo, so this was extra hard. i wanted it to be something like Ringo, like Zingo, or Dingo, or Pongo, but it was too hard to try to top Ringo, so at mom's suggestion, i decided to go in a different direction. only problem was, i didn't know what direction to go in. for a week in august, mom had been calling him Zippy for lack of a name. after coming back from the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, where Zippo Lighters are a big sponsor, it was settled. his name would be Zippo, and obviously, Zippy would be his nickname.
the potty training came along even slower than his name. it didn't come in two days. or four. or even a week. it was more like, oh, 2 freaking months with still a few mistakes here and there. i blame myself because i wasn't home enough between my job and my side business. i was beginning to feel guilty that he spent so much time alone and i was missing him grow from a cute little portable furball to a gangly, romping teenage dog day by day. not being able to fix the problem, i decided to band-aid the issue by doubling my dog ownership from one to two.
now, no parent in his or her right mind would willingly allow their 28-year-old boomerang son to have TWO dogs, let alone one, so this had to be planned perfectly. as it turned out, the timing was half in the bag already. the day mom and dad left for florida for a week, the pound called to say they had just the dog for me to adopt. but unbeknownst to the pound, i had already gotten Zippy and hadn't really planned for another dog, but hey, a dog needs a buddy, right? and what could be more perfect than another cattle-rounding dog like an Australian Shepherd?? that's just what the pound had, and it gave me a few days to get the new dog settled in before mom & dad got home.
he came with a clean slate but that was about it. this 8-month old Shepherd was in sore need of a bath, and as i found out, he was also in need of some housebreaking. plus, he and the new puppy didn't even get along at first! what would mom and dad say when they got home? two dogs, and one of them is an asshole???!!?!? this would never do, and i spent a couple sleepness nights agonizing about it. but after they both got used to the idea of sharing me and the house, they became best buds and are now inseperable.
when mom and dad did get home, they did freak out a bit. much more than with Zippy. in fact, it went over like a lead fart in church. but they did relent after insisting NO MORE GODDAMN DOGS after these two. i agreed.
at least this dog found a name quick--Shep was a natural name that just hit me as soon as i got him. nothing else came that quick, though, except for the anguish of potty training two pooping, peeing puppies at once. yikes. we were beginning to wonder if shep's inability to shit outdoors was the whole reason he turned up as a stray in the first place. but he did have some shining moments, like when some cows got out and Shep instinctively rounded them up and got them back in the pasture with ease, much to my dad's delight. until then, i believe my father was under a permanent belief that dogs were abso-positively freaking useless when it came to cattle, and Shep proved him wrong. Shep's herding instinct also shined through when he went after the neighbor's concrete calf yard ornament, only for him to be absolutely amazed that the calf didn't even blink, let alone move, when he nipped at it's heels. he fell for that twice, and to this day, he still does a double-take when he sees that calf.
it's now october, and as you might have guessed, i've been too busy cleaning up dogshit in the house to do any blarfing, but the poop situation has improved slightly. i simply don't have the time to devote to doing it right, and it's hard to discipline when there's two suspects, one turd, and no eyewitnesses to the crime. but we are getting there.
yeah, i still miss Ringo dearly. i always will. but these two new dogs are pretty cool nonetheless. it's an uphill battle for them, though--after all, Ringo was a hard act to follow, and i have learned it's not easy to have as strong a bond with two dogs as it is with just one. i still miss you, Ringo buddy! but i'm sure Zippy, Shep, and i will have just as many good memories as i had with Ringo. it will just take some more time. new memories will only come with time.
BEHIND THE BLARF: FACT #1:
the lead-in photo has Zippy featuring a coat of blue paint. he got a bit too close while i was painting my Enduro race car (which may never get raced at all, thanks to crappy weather and crappy race track management.)
BEHIND THE BLARF: FACT #2:
since Shep was bigger than Zippy when he was adopted (8 months vs. 4), he inherited Ringo's red collar. it was tough to put a sacred memento on a new dog, but i did it for financial reasons, and plus, i don't need a used collar lying around with no dog in it.
BEHIND THE BLARF: FACT #3:
Bug the Goat has not yet met either dog. (Bug has been out of the country climbing Mt. Everest with a bunch of Sherpas--more of that "meet your goals" crap they beat into you in goat rehab.) come to think of it, Bug never met Ringo, either. no doubt Zippy & Shep will chase the hell out of him when he returns from the Himalayas.
ANOTHER USELESS FACT:
Mount Everest, named after Colonel Sir George Everest, uses the modern-day pronounciation "Ever-est", however, Sir George Everest's name was pronounced "Eve-rest".
please post the usual foolish absurdities in the comments section.