Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Cons and Rads of Conrad

Yes, we did.  We added a new canine to the clan.  We've found that as far as doggies go, two is a good number--a mini-pack--and our pack was sadly down to one.  We looked at puppies, even visited a breeder and her pure-bred puppies.  But when one of the breeder's adult dogs bit XiXi, I decided these were not the dogs for us.  I kept researching dog breeds and then Cholita told me she needed a service project for her church group and asked if there was anything she could do at the humane society.  So that afternoon, we took a little trip, just Cholita and Mom.  We learned that you had to be 13 to volunteer, so no luck there, but we did see some puppies and Cholita fell hard. But getting a dog is a big decision, a family decision and since I'd sprung dogs on Lyle twice without consultation, I'd promised I would never do it again, and so we had to wait until Saturday for us all to go.  Just to look.   And in a very odd move, we came home with an adult dog, not a puppy.  I'm still quite shocked by it.   So, without further ado, hailing from the big city of L.A., let's put our hands together for this wire-haired dachshund mix extraodinare:


For those of you wondering, in keeping with our past naming tradition, Conrad is a Peanuts character, one of Woodstock's scouts.  But this little guy wasn't named Conrad when we met him.  He was called Addison and he was a newcomer to the Northwest.  After a month in a crowded shelter in L.A., Addison and several of his buddies were slated for euthanasia when our local humane society heard of their plight and made the long drive south.  When we first saw him, shaggy little Addison was in the cage below the puppy we'd come to see.  We held the puppy--a squirmy, yappy, demanding, adorable puppy, and all the while, Addison just quietly watched us.  Lyle bent down and said hi and Addison rolled over onto his back for Lyle to stick his finger through the cage and give him a belly scratch.  Lyle's a bit of a softie, so he put the puppy back (the puppy that literally had a line of people wanting to adopt it) and asked if we could see the scruffy fellow down below. Out of the cage he strutted and happily plopped himself into Lyle's lap.  Lyle was sold.  Lucy, Rose, XiXi, and I soon joined the Addison bandwagon but Cholita wasn't so sure.  She really wanted the puppy.   We asked her if she'd give Addison a try. She said no.  We said she might like him if she got to know him.  She pouted and reluctantly sat on the floor, keeping her eyes on her puppy--her puppy that other people were now holding!  Addison happily jumped into her lap and put his head under her hand.  Cholita gave him a pat.  He licked her hand.  She gave him a scratch.  He sighed contentedly.  Cholita loved that puppy.  She really loved that puppy.  But Addison worked his charms and in the family vote, he got  a unanimous decision.  And with that, we signed the papers and took home a dog unlike anything we'd planned to bring home.  In a nutshell, he's awesome.  We'll start with the positives, the "rads" of Conrad:


1. He's quiet. Seriously the quietest dog I've never heard. For the first 24 hours, he uttered not a single peep. Nothing. Maya began composing a story along the lines of James Herriott's "Only One Woof", but hers was called, "No Woof". On day two, in a moment of excitement, Conrad let go 6 quick barks and then got a hold of himself and has been silent ever since. Now on day four, that's still all he's mustered. Thankfully Maya wrote her story in pencil and has now erased the title and changed it to "Only Six Woofs".
2. He's portable. We're generally big/giant dog people. There's something so reassuring about tromping through the forest with a 100+ pound dog. Walking 14 pound Conrad doesn't exactly elicit that same feeling (as a matter of fact, I feel like I'm dangling coyote bait), but he does bring out the parental warm fuzzies in all of us. Since he's at least a year old, he's done growing and will stay compact--the perfect size for laps--even 7 and 9 year-old laps.

3. He's smart. I've got him sitting, staying for long periods of time, walking perfectly on a leash, coming when called.....Seriously. Where's the project in that?
4. He's an animal lover. At PetSmart, he didn't meet a dog, parakeet, hamster, fish, or cat that he didn't wag his tail at. He adores Franklin and follows him everywhere. Franklin and the neighbor dog (who spends more time here than at the neighbor's) think this mean-streets-of-L.A. import is the best thing that's ever happened to this sleepy neck of the woods.
5. He's patient. The little kids want to love him, put him in clothes (he already has a Halloween costume), include him in all of their various games, and he just happily goes with it.  When they were arguing yesterday over who got to hold him in their lap, Conrad just turned his head from one angry kid to the other like he was watching a tennis match. Then he walked away and jumped into his crate. "You guys work this out. I'm outta' here."  (In the picture, even if you weren’t looking at the dog or the leash or the hands that are holding the leash, just by facial expression, I think you’d correctly guess who won the “It’s MY turn to walk the dog!” rock paper scissors battle.)

6. He's fast.  When he goes into turbo mode it's like he's been shot out of a cannon.  He's low to the ground and corners like an Indy car.  Franklin's fat dog sprint looks like slo-mo by comparison.

7. He's got the best eyebrows.

1. Not sure if he's housebroken. He had 2 accidents the first day here, but since then no problemo. I don't think he's trained though so much as I'M trained. I watch him like a hawk and take him out every hour. If I can't keep my eye on him, he's in his crate.
2. He's easy to accidentally step on. I've done it more than once, which brings me to my next con...
3. He holds a grudge. Man, can he give the evil eye.
4. He's a former gang banger. Now, we can't verify this, but Los Angeles IS considered the gang capital of America and when Conrad hangs out with the neighborhood dogs, he's got this tough, street-savvy swagger about him. Don’t know if he's Bloods or Crips, but I'll make sure the groomer never puts a bandana on him, lest he return to the streets.

Clearly the rads outweigh the cons.  We'll keep him.