One thing that invariably lifts my spirits is to take Beverly and Tucker to the puppy socials hosted twice a month by long-time puppy-raiser Cyndy Carlton. It took me forever to get into the groove of attending. It means spending more than an hour of a Saturday morning on the freeway (driving out to Santee and back). But the payoff is being able to chat for an hour or so with some of the other members of the CCI puppy raiser community. At least equally pleasurable is doing something that makes Tucker and Beverly happier than anything else in the world.
For Beverly that’s less important. She had a great time racing around like mad and socializing, but she’s a carefree almost-10-month-old pup, and as a CCI trainee, she gets to do a lot of fun, cool things. For Tuck, however, it means more. He was our very first CCI puppy, dismissed for his “excess” energy and distractibility. As a so-called “COC” (Change of Career) dog, he doesn’t get to participate in many CCI activities. In fact, his age (he’ll be 13 next October) and increasing infirmity mean he doesn’t get to do too much of anything. I think it’s kind of Cyndy to welcome the old guys (and gals) to the gatherings. It’s clear how much it means to them.
We went yesterday, and Beverly had a merry time. Weasley, the feisty black lab who’s just a month or so younger, seemed to be finding our little girl particularly delectable.
She also had a lot of fun with little Glynnis, who’s only three months old but very spunky and affectionate.
Glynnis tried to attack Tucker for a while, but he woofed at her like a codger putting on a gruff front. He didn’t hold any grudges, though.
Tuck spent the whole hour walking around, greeting everyone — human and canine — on arrival, nuzzling up to one of the puppy-raisers who’s in a wheelchair, smiling pretty much non-stop. I tried to capture this on videotape. He’s the big guy in the blue collar, the one whose tail is quivering back and forth in the quick, wimpy-looking manner of his. To me it signals that he’s almost breathless from happiness.
The rain let up briefly on Saturday, but we couldn’t enjoy it because Steve and I had agreed to attend an all-day convention being held in El Cajon. We’re normally severely allergic to meetings, but this was a commitment we could not shirk. Rather than leave Beverly at home in her kennel for 8 hours, we took her with us.
She got no say in this, of course, but if she had, I’m pretty sure she would have opted out. Not a single other dog was anywhere in sight, few interesting smells were present, and while a few of the humans petted her, she got way less attention than she normally gets, say, at the grocery store.
She spent part of the day with Steve, who was manning the registration table…
…and she spent part of it with me, practicing “Under”s at one of the banquet tables. (I’d brought along a toy for her to chew, but hey, a girl can only find that satisfying for so long.) Given that, her behavior was impeccable. She never whined. She toileted on command outside on the lawn. She napped for some of the day and spent the rest of it looking serene and stoic.
She seemed thrilled, even electrified, to return home at the end of the afternoon. And then it started raining again — so hard that last night she went on a poop strike. When she and Steve were unexpectedly caught in another violent downpour this morning, he reported that the cascade of water from the sky seemed to actually frighten her. But he reassured her, and she called down.
And some folks think service pups in training have an easy life…
My dictionary defines “dog days”as “the hottest period of the year.” Although the term supposedly derives from the time of year when Sirius (the so-called dog star) is rising, I’ve always thought of it as meaning “so hot the dogs lay around like slugs.” But actually, most dogs are pretty sluggish all the time, and when it comes to periods of enforced, morose inactivity, nothing beats a protracted California winter storm.
We’re in the midst of one now, and after all our years of drought, I’m enjoying the drenching fury outside. But I think Beverly and Tucker hate it. We can’t go out and walk together; it’s been pouring off and on. They shrink even from going out to relieve themselves.
So they sleep and look sad (and maybe dream about August, when they may pant more than normal, but the ground is littered with ripe figs.) The weather forecasters are predicting this current system will last for four more days. Hooooooooowl.
The beautiful and virtuous Miss Beverly reached the 9-month mark yesterday and celebrated with a bit of steak fat in her breakfast (saved from our dinner the previous night). We also returned to puppy class last night after the month-long sojourn for the holidays. As usual, she did very well.
After class, we managed to arrange a play date for this afternoon with her boyfriend, Keegan, who’s just a month and a day older than her. He also lives just a few blocks away. They looooooove each other (and look enough alike to be littermates.)
Happily, Miss B shows no sign yet of going into her first heat. When that time comes, it will force us to restrict the play dates. Steve and I have a $5 bet going. He predicts Beverly won’t have her first heat until a month or two after her first birthday. That would be late — and just fine with me. But I’m afraid it will come sooner. I’ll report who wins the wager here.
I’ve written before about Steve’s and my tendency to develop weird alternative names for our CCI puppies. We don’t get to name the dogs. CCI does that, following a number of rules (e.g. all litters are given a letter, based on when they are whelped during the year, and all puppies in the litter are given names that begin with that letter; names can be re-used — our Tucker was CCI’s second and Beverly is its fifth — but only after the original name-holder is no longer in service; etc.) We’ve liked most of our puppies’ names. Still, we’ve wound up inadvertently transforming all of them. Tucker, for example, gets called not only the normal and respectable “Tuck,” but also Tuckerbell (which in turn is a variation on Tuckleberry Hound Dog) and Tuckerman and Mr. T. Brando became Brandonioni or Brandini when he lived with us. We dubbed Darby “Darbinski” and “Darbinscus.” Yuli acquired the alias of “Snork.” Dionne was “Dionnicus,” and Kyndall morphed into “Kinderella.”
We’re surprised, therefore, to note that Beverly hasn’t developed much of a nickname, at least not yet. Once in a while, “Beverlilly” pops out of my mouth, and we both often refer to her as “The Princess.” (But hope has led us to call most of our girls princesses.) More often than not, however, we’ve used her official moniker. Steve speculates that maybe this is because all the other dog names had just two syllables; maybe three is more resistant to embellishment.
Thanks to a recent post in the Daily Treat (the blog created by the dog walking service rover.com), I’ve learned that Beverly ranked only 4,167th on the list of most popular American dog names! In contrast, Tucker is #10 nationally among male dog names. Among other fascinating tidbits served up in that post:
Harry-Potter themed names (e.g. Luna, Debby, Harry) increased in popularity by 10% last year.
Games of Thrones-derived (Arya, Snow, Khaleesi) names were even more popular, soaring by more than 16%.
Dogs named “Kale” are most popular in Portland. (Duh.)
Coffee-themed names (Kona, Espresso, Mocha) are declining nationally but continue to be popular in (where else?) Seattle.
Perhaps most fascinating is the tool rover.com has developed to tell humans what their dog name would have been (had they been a dog.) Based the fact that Jeannette was the 274th most popular female human name in 1953, rover.com says you can just call me Khaleesi (the 274th most popular female dog name today.)
Last month I wrote about Beverly’s modeling session for an upcoming issue of San Diego Magazine. She was photographed along with two other CCI trainees, and I knew there was no guarantee the editors would select one of the photos of her.
I finally tracked down a copy of the January 2017 issue yesterday and indeed, one of the other models, a frisky young male named Rylan, made the cover, in the arms of the hunky male model.
But I think Beverly gets the award for Playmate of the Month. A lovely full-page picture of her appears on page 87, along with information about volunteer work involving dogs (including CCI).
I feel a little bad that the third model who participated, Florentine, a sweet black female, didn’t make it into the article. It’s not fair, but blondes do seem to get more media play. Beverly has promised me she won’t let it go to her head.
It was a first for us: two highly reliable puppy-sitters who have taken care of puppies for us on several occasions over the years (Susan and Frank) asked if Beverly might spend the New Year’s weekend with them. They’ve hosted Beverly before, and they appreciate what a special girl she is. For us, this was a godsend. If there’s one day all year long when we dream of snoozing a bit later than usual, it’s January 1. (As much as we adore Beverly, she’s an early riser.) We wouldn’t have sought out a puppy-sitter just to enable us to sleep in, but we eagerly agreed to the outing. So off Beverly went Friday afternoon, wagging her tail.
Susan sent me a video and several photos over the weekend, giving me some insight into what a fun-packed excursion Beverly was having as Susan and Frank dined at Anthony’s on Harbor Drive downtown (photo above) and caught an indie film in Hillcrest…
She got lots of play time at their home in Rancho Bernardo.
They dropped her off around 3 on Sunday afternoon. Sounds like a good time was had by all five of us.