It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Doggy tales

We have a puppy. Indie. The breed is anyone’s guess. Lab-husky mix, we’re told. But I’m thinking the experts have missed a breed. Lab, maybe (which would explain the gentle nature); husky, maybe (that would explain the curly tail); but squirrel-hound? ABSOLUTELY.

She’s decent on a leash (not great; obedience lessons are being scoped out even as we speak), but decent … until she sees a squirrel. (The human body is well-designed, you know. Those arms of ours? They’re really firmly attached.) Pull back on the lead (with both hands) and she does the Squirrel Dance, hopping along on her hind legs. Get to the tree, and she does the Squirrel Launch: she’ll leap straight up that tree a good six feet. Because one day, she is going to CATCH one of those things.

(She’s maybe part whippet, too? Or cat? Or kangaroo?) Squirrels make Indie’s little heart go pitter-pat. Squirrels are her drug: the Adrenaline Rush of the century.

And today? Today she discovered a new kind of squirrel. A heavy-set squirrel. A squirrel with a squarish body, stumpy legs, sleepy eyes. It was black, not the usual grey, and while it had the usual puffy tail, this one had a broad white stripe down the middle. Cool! Better yet, it was the slowest damned squirrel Indie had ever seen!

Thankfully, the man at the other end of the leash also saw the new squirrel, just about the time the squirrel saw them. UP went the tail like a flag. BACK went the man with the leash. Indie was MOST disappointed to be hauled bodily back down the sidewalk. In the COMPLETE OPPOSITE DIRECTION TO THE SQUIRREL! A squirrel that DIDN’T RUN AWAY! Man and dog struggled with their competing agendas. “But it’s JUST STANDING THERE! I could CATCH that one!”

Man prevailed. Man and dog returned home, odour-free. Thank God. That little jaunt into dog-ownership I can live without…

Despite his arbitrary refusal to let her catch the Slowest Squirrel on the Planet, Indie has bonded with the man at the end of the leash, aka THE MOST IMPORTANT HUMAN IN THE UNIVERSE. While I tend to agree with her choice, she has achieved levels of devotion to my husband that he’ll never see in me. For which he is probably grateful, all in all, but from a dog, it’s kind of appealing.

I work from home. Indie is not left alone. Given that I work with a passel of tots and there are also a couple of teens in residence, she’s far from alone. But when that man goes out the door in the morning, she stands at the door, whimpering softly. Then she hops onto the couch to peer out the front window, and whines a little more.

A little lovin’ brings her back to her happy self, but when, at the end of the day the man appears again, there is nowhere else she’d rather be.

Now THAT’S devotion.

August 19, 2008 - Posted by | my kids | , , , ,


  1. You named the dog Indiana?!

    Tee hee! Love it!

    And yes, thank goodness she wasn’t allowed to chase THAT “squirrel!”

    Not ‘Indiana”, no. “Indie”. Short for ‘indefatigable”, as it happens, though our children (mostly teens) all love the alternative flavour to the name. (“Oh! Like indie music and movies?? Cool!”) And if you spell it with a ‘y’ at the end, that’s like racing, which is reasonably apropos for this dog.

    I’ve never before seen a skunk in this neighbourhood, though they must be around. I guess it’s because they were out so early in the morning.

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  2. you do know obedience classes are not for the dog, right?

    Oh, yeah. All about teaching us how to convey to her that we’re the top dog. I wrangle toddlers for a living — it’s pretty much the same thing. I just need to learn the language.

    Comment by kim | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  3. Our dog, who is a 12 year old rott mix, only knows that Mike exists. He is The Man. I am just Server of Food and Opener of Doors. When he goes, he’s gone forever, when he’s here, no one else matters.

    This one made me laugh out loud because it sounds so familiar. I think we have a similar level of fixation devotion here.

    Comment by Bridgett | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  4. What an awesome dog she is! I am so happy you have found her!

    I thought my dogs were bad on walks, but YIKES! It’s a good thing your arms are firmly attached, but you do know they can become dislocated, right? LOL

    She’s landed on her feet: a family where there is almost always someone home (her pack is always around her!), and where we routinely go on long, long walks. And in her defense, she only does the arm-wrenching leaps when she spots a squirrel. Otherwise, she can be pretty civilized. For a puppy.

    Comment by jen | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  5. Well, shoot. And here I was thinking about Dr. Henry Jones, Jr… I guess I’m just that big of a geek then. *grin*

    (“Indefatigable?” Funny!)

    I’m rather fond of both Dr. Joneses, myself…

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  6. OH, she’s ADORABLE! And I’m not even a dog person.

    I’m not sure what’s worse, though, skunks or porcupines, both of which will stand their ground and inflict damage on unsuspecting pups.

    Having seen both, I’d say porcupines are worse for the dog, while skunks are worse for everyone within about a five-k radius…

    Comment by kittenpie | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. Down here in goose hunting territory, my husband’s seen an injured goose kill a labrador. At least the skunks just burn and stink….

    I knew I was right to make the toddlers stay well back of the swans in the river! those things are territorial and way bigger than a goose.

    Comment by Bridgett | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  8. Re Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.

    I thought of Indiana ("Indy" ) Jones, too. But “indefatigable” was the starting point.

    I like pet names that have multiple referrents. The more referrents there are, the more likely she is to say, “Hey, he’s talking to me.” Maybe she’ll even come when she’s called.

    So far she’s hit and miss on the whole “coming when called” notion, but we can live in hope, right?

    Comment by Stephen | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  9. I think “squirrel-hound” is part of my dog’s mix too – Gypsy reacts about the same way that Indie does when she spots a squirrel. Fortunately, she’s never run into one of those black-with-white-stripe ones, although she did try to chase a raccoon over the fence once.

    It sounds like you’re all adapting to each other well, but all dogs look to an alpha, and it sounds like she’s found hers.

    It must’ve been a smallish raccoon. The big ones don’t seem to be much afraid of dogs! Not that Indie’s run across one yet, but I’ve owned dogs before and seen at least one stand-off with a raging raccoon.

    And yes, Indie’s found her alpha. No question.

    Comment by Florinda | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  10. Awwww!! I want a puppy so bad, but the man in this house is NOT a fan. Have fun with her!

    For years, it was me saying no to a puppy. Not because I don’t like dogs, but because this house is already too damned full! However, the kids are getting older, a few have left the nest already and a couple more are half out the door… (I will say nothing, in light of certain recent events at home, about the relative merits of dogs vs teenagers in the loyalty/companionship stakes… ahem.)

    Comment by Tammy | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  11. nice t-shirt tan there….

    Comment by jenny uk | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  12. Try whistling to call her. It worked with my dogs to such an extent that they knew exactly when and how to come, depending on the sound of my whistle.

    It helped that I was the alpha dog with my dad just behind me . guess they saw both of us as the alpha dogs and would look conflicted when we both give different orders to them at the same time.

    Mom was looked upon as a young pup by them 🙂

    I miss having a dog here 😦

    PS: Mary, Ive been to your country. Amazing place, I must say!

    Comment by Suzi | August 25, 2008 | Reply

  13. […] Then all bets are off. She’s much, much better than a month ago. We no longer perform the Two-footed Squirrel Dance, but there is still rather an exuberance of […]

    Pingback by Mary walks the wildlife « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | September 4, 2008 | Reply

  14. […] Training = Results Indie is walking on a nice, loose leash about 70 – 80% of the time now, and has completely ceased with the Squirrel Dance. […]

    Pingback by Training = Results « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | October 23, 2008 | Reply

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