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A very spoiled dog. January 30, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in pets, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I dropped by what used to be called a dog show, but is now apparently a “canine learning experience,” in nearby Allentown this past weekend. Our goals were to find a special toy for our black German shepherd, Pioneer Hawk’s Haven Shiloh von Shiloh Special (that’s just Shiloh to you), check out the German shepherd booth, and admire all the other great dogs that typically turn out for this show.

Unfortunately, by the time we got there, all the breed booths had packed up and left. (And mind you, this was three hours before the show closed. Harrumph!!!) There wasn’t a German shepherd or golden retriever in sight. I was crushed.

But all was not lost. We were able to find a (comparatively) indestructible lizard toy for Shiloh, which of course she loves. (In the past, we’ve presented her with two bone-shaped toys by this company, and unlike the usual toy, it takes her months of hard work to dismantle them.) As amateur herpetologists, OFB and I were especially pleased to find the lizard.

I finally also got to see my first real, live shiba inu and a pair of akitas (all three super-friendly and all much smaller than I’d expected), as well as plenty of other wonderful dogs, all of whom were calm, happy and friendly. Anything but the stereotype of the nervous, high-strung show dog, and the owners encouraged us to interact with their dogs, also against stereotype, and spent lots of time talking with us about them, even as they were grooming or walking them pre-competition. We were very pleasantly surprised!

But the biggest (and best) surprise of the night was provided by OFB. Prior to the arrival of Shiloh on the scene, we’d had two golden retrievers, the sweet, gentle Annie and the huge, rambunctious Molly (better known as “the little Mollycule”). Ben had adored them both, but especially Molly, and we’d both been devastated to lose them to slow, excruciating deaths from cancer, Annie at just 2 1/2 and Molly at 7. Ben, of course, assumed we’d get a third golden.

I had other ideas. I’d always wanted a shepherd, and after our dual losses, I felt we needed a change. After a vigorous pro-Shiloh campaign, OFB reluctantly caved, and we brought our little lacquer black puppy home. For me, it was love at first sight, from the comical conehead effect of huge, not-quite-risen ears to the bright eyes and joyous, nonstop smile. (Even at almost-three, Shiloh remains the happiest dog I’ve ever seen.) Not so OFB.

Shiloh adored Ben from the first, but our beloved Molly still loomed large in his heart and he found it hard to make room for the new pup. He was a dutiful “dogfather,” but I could see that the spark just wasn’t there, and it broke my heart. Shiloh never gave up on him, though. Lying close beside his chair when he was home, bringing him toys, romping around him, ecstatically happy when he would return home or whenever they’d walk and play together, she must have worked on him like water on stone.

The transformation became clear to me as we were leaving the dog show. “Which did you like better, the shiba inu or the akitas?” I asked him.

“They were all nice dogs,” he answered, gesturing to the entire show floor and all the breeds we’d visited with. “But I like German shepherds.”

Thanks be to dog.

                 ‘Til next time,

                                Silence

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