Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A dog joins the Blog Family

"Can I poop on this rug, too?"
If you've been wondering where I was over the past week, I was arranging for a Siberian Husky to join our life on what I call a "temp-to-perm" basis.  Toklat, or "Tock" as Hank calls him is a six-year old retired stud from the Celtic Acres breeder in Maryland.  Tock was once a domestic dog before he moved to Celtic Acres and, now that he's retired, he is apparently seeking domestic bliss again.  We agreed to try a week or so with him to see how he fits in our home.

So far, you can see, he is gorgeous!  Terrifying-looking, but gorgeous.  Yesterday we took him to the local hardware store (for some stuff for us, not for him - let's be clear, Tock is not very handy with a screw driver).  In the lumber yard, a little girl and her mum walked by and the mum said: "oh look at that lovely dog!"  The little girl looked at her mum as if to say you're nuts, and replied "that's not a dog, that's a wolf!"

Yes, Tock is a wolf.  Our neighbours eyed him suspiciously when he bounded out of the Zipcar yesterday afternoon, tongue hanging out of his mouth and teeth bared with excitement.  Once in his new home, he circled the house and then:

1. Eyed all the escape routes in the house and looked for gaps under the 6-ft tall patio fence. (There are none.)
2. Sniffed every floor surface for traces of food.  (There are none.)

We wanted to feed Tock at his habitual dinner time of 5pm.  He eats a raw meat diet (bones included -apparently safe because uncooked).  Preparing such a dinner was not pleasant for an ex-veggie! We tried to get Tock to sit before eating (he knows the "sit" command) but being a typical husky, he refused.  He turned down treats and raw meat morsels around ten times before we gave up and decided he just wasn't hungry enough.  At that point, I went upstairs to talk to Hank for a second and Tock dropped a very runny turd on our lovely new rug.

We weren't angry - Tock has been a farm dog for four years so domestic accidents will happen - and Hank managed to cut Tock off halfway by clapping hands loudly and calling his name.  But that was 5.30pm yesterday and no BM (as my mum, an ex-nurse would say) ever since.  I can't believe I'm blogging about my dog's bowel movements but really, it is quite concerning having a non-potty trained former stud in your house who has eaten a pound of raw flesh and not taken a dump in 24 hours.

So, rewind to the rug incident.  I cleaned up the rug and replaced it with an older one Hank's parents had donated to us (pictured), already damaged by Audrey & the other Princeton cats.  Tock sniffed this rug a lot, rolled around on it to show the absent Audrey who's boss (that's my boy!) and then, finally, when I'd given up asking him to sit, he sidled up beside my armchair, looked me in the eye, and sat.

Tock got his pound of flesh and we took him out for a walk to the National Mall.   He is very different from Kosmo: he pulls forward, never back, and growls at things he doesn't like, preferring to run towards other dogs, terrorising them, rather than make a Kosmo-style dash for safety.  Tock doesn't guard his food and has no interest in eating street trash.  Yesterday evening he walked straight past a chocolate eclair and a frozen strawberry without even registering them. The strawberry looked so perfect, even I thought about eating it (macrobiotic, no?).  I attribute this focus to his strict diet of raw meat - he has never acquired a taste for human food.  He doesn't beg in the kitchen and is not a pest at the table.  His breath smells better than most dogs.  He often turns down treats just because he doesn't want to sit or make eye contact.   He went willingly into his crate last night.  He fears nothing.

If, like my mum, you are now wondering if he is aggressive, the answer is not so far.  Unlike Kosmo, kids do not cross the street to try to pet Tock.  Adult strangers don't get too close either, so socialising him will be hard, although he himself seems to have no problems with humans of any size.  He will chase cats and yesterday he nipped at another male dog who was off his leash in the park, but that dog got out of the way and then just stood there looking at Tock.  So perhaps Tock just needs to learn how to play nicely.  I am not sure where I will get volunteer dogs to help him learn that lesson, though.

If you have a small or medium-sized dog you no longer need, please send him to my house for dinner.

Thank you.



  1. My family has a shepard/ akita mix who is 152 pounds and basically the size of a horse. People are terrified of him, but he is nothing but a big squish. Shares all the same traits you describe here. "Boo" is also a retired farm/cattle dog and so learning to allow for him into the suburban family was tough at first BUT was the best move we ever made. Tock will love and protect you all forever, so bear with him, have a great time, and best of luck!

  2. What a beautiful dog. Congrats on your new family member!


Search This Blog