04. May 2006 · Comments Off on What Fresh Weevil Is This? · Categories: Domestic, Fun and Games, General, Pajama Game

A very much older one than originally reported, it appears. The Weevil I Know Nothing Of is not “five weeks old”, but five months old. Blondie and I worked this out last week, after a close look at her “papers”, and a bit of searching conversation with the co-worker who acquired her at great expense over Easter, and then despairingly decided that an infant dog was just too demanding of his and his wife’s admittedly newly-wed time. After two weeks… God help these people when they actually have children. They handed her over to Blondie with an assortment of toys, a comb and brush, two prescription meds (she had a case of kennel cough) 3/4ths of a 10-lb sack of puppy chow, a packet of baby wipes, and a large parcel of puppy-piddle-training pads… and a long length of grosgrain ribbon striped in Easter-egg pastels. I suppose it was to tie a bow around her neck, on festive occasions. I set aside the ribbon, and Blondie bought her a tiny, black-pleather collar with miniscule silver-metal studs and spikes, and attached a bell to it, so we could hear her coming.

The puppy has been formally christened “Spike”, which is our sort of humor, and my sister Pippy, who also inherited a shih-tzu puppy from a co-worker, under similar circumstances, is probably still laughing. (Pippy’s shih-tzu is named “Scarlett O’Hairy”, by the way.) She tells us that the breed are endearing, appealing little dogs, bold and fearless, in their own hearts they are lions… but kind of high-maintenance. A look at some of the websites dedicated to the breed makes that very clear. Holy Hair-Goo, a look at some of the pictures of breed champions is enough to convince me that this is the breed for people who would otherwise have a My Little Pony fixation, but that they can’t stand plastic.

And after a little research, I am also in line to agree that yes, they are high-maintenance, with a potentially expensive assortment of possible chronic health issues, that as my sister says, they really are just a sort of barking cat, and that like poodles and Chihuahuas, their cuteness can be exaggerated to the point of inducing a diabetic coma. And there is the size factor, a la Crocodile Dundee: “You call that a dog? (brandishing a hellhound like my parent’s Great Dane, or Toby the half-lab, half mastiff) Now, this is a dog!” No, even considering This Fresh Weevil as any sort of personal protection— which is why Blondie saddled me with a dog in the first place— this is to risk falling into a catatonic state from laughing, as Spike would seem to be not just a shih-tzu…. But a teacup shih-tzu, at that.

Which means, she will never get any larger than she is at the moment, a whole five pounds and small change. She will never be able to hop up onto the sofa or the bed without help— she can, with a great deal of effort, make the step up onto the back porch, an altitude of about 12 inches. But on the other hand, once she has achieved the mighty heights, she is sensibly prone to stay there. Like the Lesser Weevil, she is not a stupid dog, but a pretty clever piece of work.

Dogs, I have read and know from observation are mission-oriented. That is to say, all the various breeds there are, all of them were developed for a certain, usually practical purpose, and the very best of them have internalized that to such a great extent that they are not happy unless they are actually fulfilling that purpose. Border-collies, and other herding dogs have to herd, it’s innate to them, and the urge to do so is so commanding that they are unhappy and neurotic unless they are able to. Close to my parents’ house in Valley Center was an establishment that kept a small herd of sheep, and functioned as sort of a gymnasium for the herding breeds; people would book an hour or so, for their border collie to run around and herd the sheep. It was their workout, and outlet, and so their owners said, the dogs were happy and well-adjusted for days afterwards. Dogs bred to be hunters have to hunt, greyhounds have to run, those bred to be guard-dogs or war-dogs, or to pull a sled through miles of icy wilderness have to do what they were bred to do. They just have to, it’s a need from the bottom of their doggy souls. The happiest and most fulfilled dogs I ever met were either the dogs who belonged to the shepherds who had grazing rights at Zaragoza AB (yes, there were a couple of shepherds who had grazing rights on the base, rights to everything except the lawns in the housing areas) and Spotty the SP detachments’ drug-sniffing dog, a lively little terrier whose greatest joy in all the world was to chase around the Girl Scout Hut (and any other venue) looking for the drug lure. (Yeah, I got to know Spotty fairly well, it was a small base and all the various educational venues were pretty well trodden. Ask Blondie how many times she went to see the local Coca-Cola factory. In one academic year she showed up in a tour group at the AFRTS station three times: school tour, summer camp tour, Girl Scout tour.)
The purpose of shih-tzus was, apparently, to be companion dogs to us humans; nothing more taxing than that. They love us, want to be with us (sitting in our laps, or next to us, sleeping on our beds and craving our attention), adoring, and worshipping, wanting nothing more than to bask in the sunshine of our regard, and to be pampered and adored in return.

But I’m not a total fool: Spike will have a short summer clip, none of this business of a tuft on the top of her head, tied up with a ribbon. Really.

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