An Insane Breed - November 17, 2007

I’ve mentioned the Insane Canine Posse a few times now, but have not yet had the time to talk about them in detail.

Mommyfolks et al, the time has come.

Let me start with a couple of pictures:

I know, he’s a nice looking dog, isn’t he? This is our dear Brownie at about four months of age last month, October 2007.

For those of you not sure what kind of dog he is, you’re looking at German Shorthaired Pointer, liver-colored.

For those of you familiar enough to name the breed on sight, you already know what I’m about to tell you:

These dogs are pure nutso. Basket cases. A nose attached to four very fast legs with a stubborn, prone-to-odd-phobias, brain powering the whole canine machine.

And I speak as a devoted GSP lover. This is our third GSP as a married couple, fourth for our larger family.
Here’s our other GSP, Barnum.




This was about two years ago when he was ten years old. He’s now twelve and still crazy. GSP’s slow down a bit, but the crazy never leaves these dogs.

And last, I have to mention my dear Bailey, Barnum’s littermate and sister who made the big Puppy Trip to Heaven this summer. She was our Queen B, as everyone who has ever loved a GSP knows there is always one queenie. She was the best dog. Ever.
She loved the pacifiers. This is at Christmas 2001, when Princess Pinky was just a baby. Bailey obssessed over the passies in the house. She would never try to take one from the baby (she loved those babies of mine, she did), but she would watch and wait, watch and wait, until at last! A passie fell free out of the baby’s mouth or dropped from my pocket. Then she’d run in, grab it, and run away. And I would find her later, sucking on it just like the baby.

The original GSP in our family, Packer, belonged to my awesome mom-in-law. She made the trip to the Big Field in the Sky in 1999. She too was all liver, and she too was crazy.
These dogs all come with their own unique and very real phobias.

Examples:

*Packer was afraid of a mechanical toy cow. She would revert to slow-motion walking upon hearing it moo. She was also terrified of thunderstorms, a not-uncommon occurrence in dogs. She despised the power window noise in Knute’s dad’s car and bit the windows and the leather interior whenever you hit the button.

*Bailey was afraid of college football. Wait, I correct myself. She was originally afraid of the effect of high-stakes games (Army v. Navy, The Big Game) on my husband Knute’s moods. This soon, after two or three seasons, extrapolated into a larger fear of college football in general. The lead-in music on ESPN would send her into a worried, ear-drooping, tailspin.

*Barnum is afraid of houseflies. Yes. Flies. I have pictures of him with each of my children at around five months, the saucer age. The pictures look innocent to an untrained GSP eye– here’s a dog, sitting near the baby, watching over baby. How sweet! What you cannot see is the fly that was buzzing around when I took the picture. Yes, he would and still does, hide behind the children when a fly is in the house.

*Brownie is afraid of the Swiffer Vac. The sight of the Swiffer Cloth box sends him scrambling for the smallest place to hide, usually under the desk or behind the recliner.

If you can get past the weird phobias, the chewing on everything, the two and only two speeds they come equipped with- sleep and hyper, and their belief that they are still tiny, lap-sized puppies even though they are, in fact, full grown adult dogs weighing 70 lbs and bearing talon-like claws on their front toes, they make great pets. Devoted, smart, funny, and friendly to the right people. They bark at everyone who comes to the door - their, “Hey, don’t mess with my pack!” bark, but get their tails a-wagging once you’re in the house and have passed the sniff check as either a) a certified dog-lover or b) a little kid.

But, this is an insane breed. They can cause several hundred dollars worth of damage in less than five minutes. I know; I’ve experienced it more times than I can count. They will happily irrigate your entire back yard as they bury all their favorite treasures. You’ll fight for the covers on your bed - they all have an inborn ability to worm their way under the blankets and sheets. And they hate rain.

I want to mention one last thing: Brownie is a rescued GSP. Yes, that beautiful dog was part of an entire litter of GSP’s rescued by some very good people with GSP Care of Ohio. If you’re thinking about adding a dog to your life, if you’re sure that you can care for a dog and are willing to not only enjoy the good times when they’re young, but care for them when they’re old and weak, please please please consider rescuing a dog. It’s as easy as visiting your local shelter; or, if you’re set on a certain breed, Google ”Rescue Labs New York” or whatever breed/state combo that fits your situation. Save a dog, ok?

I have to go; Brownie has exhausted himself in trying to bury his chewie in the corner of the kid’s Pooh Bear chair - which, apparently unseen to my human eyes, is filled with invisible dirt, given the way his paws have been flying.

Crazy, crazy dogs…

WM