Tuesday, August 28, 2007
When I was a grad student at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan taking my Physical Therapy training I found a little stray 3 month old sick but cute dog. My friend Kim and I tried to find out if he had an owner and were unsuccessful at finding who he belonged to. We finally figured he had been abandoned as he was in such bad shape. He was so sick he could hardly swallow food and created such gurgling sounds trying to drink or swallow food that we called him "Gurgles" for the first few days. I was taking a Cardio Pulmonary class at the time and one of my classmates joked that he had "Rales" in his lungs and the name stuck. So now he is my little 11 y/o Rales. He has seen many specialist in his early years trying to find out what the source of his breathing and noise problems are and they are still there and no one seems to know. For a free stray he has not ended up being very cheap! He is my expensive and naughty boy. He used to have severe separation anxiety and would seek and destroy things. He once shredded sheets pillows and tore a huge hole in our mattress. How does something that is 24 lbs shred a mattress? He also would eat buttons off clothes giving him the nickname "Button Boy" for the duration of that phase (several years). Then there's the incident where he randomly ate keys off a computer keyboard and the funny thing is we couldn't even get the keys off when we wanted to to clean them, but he manages to pick them off individually and eat one here and one there. The desirable keys weren't even all in a row!
We got Hastings, the Airedale when Rales was about 2 y/o. We though it might help his separation anxiety. What we did not realize at the time was that Rales thought he was human and not canine and that another dog companion was not what he wanted. We realize now that all he wanted was to be an "only dog" with more human companions. It has taken us 8 more years to finally provide him with more human companionship and now he's almost too old to appreciate it. In the meantime he has had to put up with the dog of all dogs Mr. Hastings.
Hastings is a crazy high anxiety, high energy, silly purebred. He is ALL DOG. He is undignified, barks at everything, farts, burps, belches and is always patrolling human interference that walks by either the front or back of the house. He is by no means considered "smart" but is the silliest and sweetest dog and just wants to goof off. He has a nervous tremble in his back legs when he is excited or on patrol. He loves to chase but not relinquish balls, as he wants you to try to pry the ball from his cavernous mouth (what's wrong with a little slobber right?). He has the incredible extending neck that can strike or head butt you when you swear you are out of reach. He never moves slow as he has two speeds; full throttle (awake) or off (sleep). Curiously his name more correctly signifies one who hurries, presses, drives; vehemency or quickness of motion. Hastings plays hard all day but always puts himself to bed around 7-8 pm at the latest. He is miserable if he is kept up. He is a boy that needs his sleep.
These two are very loved and cherished dogs for their unique but vastly different characters. For those of you that enjoy dog stories I am sure I will post more as they occur to me latter.