It’s (now) a dog’s life

I’ve been remiss in updating my website the last several weeks. It’s largely because this happened on April 20th…

After years of discussing getting a pet — we had a betta fish, but let’s face it, fish only barely qualify as pets — and after weeks of looking intently for either a cat or a dog (we just wanted something warm and furry that would cuddle with us… sorry to marginalize you even more, fish), and after a handful of failed applications to shelters for one cute furry critter after another, we finally met this handsome fellow. And within about an hour, it was decided: He had to come home with us.

He went by the name Sausage McMuffin at the time. Which was oddly fitting. He’s a bizarre but endearing mixed breed. Exactly what mix is up for discussion.
He was on paper as a dachshund/beagle mix. Which we could see. He’s a low rider and has got the length of a doxy and the colouring of a beagle. But even among the staff at the shelter, later the vet clinic, as well as all the dog owners we’re now meeting on all of our walks, no one can quite agree on what else may be in the deep end of the little boy’s genetic pool.
Maybe not doxy but corgi, some say. Which could explain the doggo’s length and girth. And his feet, according to one apparent corgi fan.
Is there some basenji lending some curl to that tail? Maybe?
Definitely some kind of power breed, others say, pointing out his broad, muscular chest, powerful bite, and his big ol’ square head. A solid chance of that, too.
We’ll likely get a DNA test done on him sometime soon, just for kicks, knowing as we do that they aren’t necessarily bang-on accurate. I recently heard tell of a New York Times reporter a while back who sent in a swab of her own cheek to a dog DNA testing company and the results came back with what the company boldly claimed was the breakdown of all her various canine genes.

Within a couple of days of having him at home, he was feeling comfortable enough to roll onto his back for belly rubs from the kiddo. My wife was the second to get that offered up in the following days. And about a week later, so was I. Since then, that’s become a pretty much daily routine for any and all of us.

He was abused in his original home in North Carolina, which was where he was brought from a shelter to one up here between us and Ottawa. That was where we found him online. We’ve pieced together a bit more detail about that abuse in trying to help him work through his triggers. But in the mean time we quickly changed his name to Radar — a dog character in Stephen King’s novel Fairy Tale, but also accurate because he sometimes picks up triggering things before we’re aware of them — due to a trainer telling us it’s a good idea to change an abused animal’s name because then you’re using the new name for them with only good connotations in their new home, rather than using a name for them which may remind them of that past abuse. (I have no idea if this is the case and can see a counter to that arguing it’s sheer projection, but it made sense and I didn’t see the harm, so Radar it is, on everything from his city licence to his dog tag to records at the vet clinic.)

Our life has been turned upside down by him, what with a blitz to dog-proof what we could when we brought him home the day we met him, and changing our waking and sleeping timing to accommodate needing to get the little boy out for at least two walks a day, and discovering that there’s nothing as simultaneously endearing and gross as dog kisses when you know he cleans his whole undercarriage with that tongue, and the dog hair on everything, to say nothing of how dog ownership will affect any future road trips or vacations… but he’s every bit a part of the family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

1 Comment

  1. Hi! What a hilarious, wonderful, troublesome, happy experience! Radar’s triggers will fade as he continues to discover the comforts you’re providing.
    Happy new family member!
    Aunt Lois

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