Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Memories of Anubis - Part I: The Puppy Years

It's hard to believe that it's been a week since I lost Anubis. I got his ashes back from the vet yesterday. I had planned on scattering them on the mesa in back of the house, but they came in such a lovely wooden box, I may just preserve them somewhere. Perhaps I'll scatter some and save the rest. Gah. I don't know what to do!

I had planned on adding pics to the post, but I'm still going through 15 years worth of negatives to scan. I have over 40 at this point, but I'll save those for later posts. I'm trying to find the negative of a photo I took right after I got him. He was so tiny! If I can't find the negative, I may just scan the photo itself.

So anyway, here is the 1st installment of probably a 3-post story of Anubis, a great dog.

When I bought my first house in late '93, I decided that I wanted to get a dog. Neither I nor my family ever had a dog. This would be an interesting experience! I had 3 criteria; 1)it would be a shelter dog, 2) it would be a puppy or young dog, 3) it would be a larger breed dog.

I started making regular trips to the Yuma County animal shelter in March of '94. Every week there were the same dogs all wanting homes. Finally on April 23, the day after my 29th birthday, several litters of puppies showed up. I found a nice litter of 4 which appeared to be some sort of lab/shepherd/collie mix. I bent down to give them a scritch and 2 of them tussled to get to my fingers on my right hand to give them a lick. As I decided which one would make the better choice, I felt a soft lick on my left hand. The all-black sibling didn't want to fight his siblings for my attention. He found another way. I smiled and told him, "Oh ho! So you're the smart one of the litter." 30 minutes later he was in the cab of my pickup, heading home.

The 1st night was a rough one. I had read that a dog should not sleep with you. I fixed him a nice bed in the laundry room complete with wind-up alarm clock which was supposed to mimic the sound of a mother's heartbeat. I also put in some food and water. All night he whined, cried, and scratched at the door. In the morning I was greeted by a happy puppy and a laundry room covered in food, water, urine, and feces. I decided that I didn't care what the books said, he would be sleeping with me that night. That night I brought him into bed with me, and he quickly curled up next to me and fell asleep. I slept with one eye open so that I would wake up if he woke up. At about 1 or 2 he woke up. I carried him outside and put him in the grass. I told him to "do his business." He sniffed around the grass, squatted, and took a pee. I praised him vigorously and told him it was now time to go back to bed. He refused. "Come on, you stupid dog! It's cold out here!" Nope. "I'm not going to stand out here all night!" He walked back into the grass, squatted, and dropped a dooker. NOW it was time to go back inside! I praised him like there was no tomorrow. That was it. He was housebroken in one night. I never had to worry about leaving him alone in the house.

I immediately began leash training him. Slowly I began letting him off leash when we went for walkies. He was so smart he quickly picked up that he was not to run out into the street nor cross the street until I was there with him. He LOVED to go for walkies. Just saying the word "walkies" would send him into a frenzy. One of our routes took us along the West Main Canal. On a typical Yuma Summer day (i.e. hot as Hell) I decided to toss him into the canal. I panicked as he disappeared below the surface. A second later, however, he had surfaced and was dog-paddling like a pro. He loved the water! I set up a small kiddie pool in the back yard, and he was always flopping around in it.

His other great love was stick. I swear this dog was part beaver! He almost totally destroyed a newly-planted orange tree by stripping branches off of it one by one. He didn't need any fancy toys. A piece of wood was all he needed. When I took him camping I had to collect two piles of wood, one for fires and one for him. He would stare at me in disdain as I tossed wood into the fire. What a waste of sticks! Soon I was combining 2 of his favorite things, sticks and swimming. I would throw a stick into the center of the canal. He would go leaping after it, snag it, and bring it back to me. This would be repeated dozens of times. The neighborhood kids loved to watch him in action.

Our first car trip didn't turn out all that great. When I tried to get him into the truck, he got nervous and peed all over the place. Once we were on the road, he was fine. I took him up to the Cleveland National Forest to the east of San Diego. He seemed to like traveling. Going down the twisty mountain road I smelled something bad. I looked over and saw that he had barfed. I didn't get mad at him, but he did get a smack when I caught him eating his own puke while I was cleaning it up. As time went on he grew to love trips. All I had to say was, "Ride!" and he would be bouncing excitedly by the truck.

I should mention that I had Anubis neutered a little later in his life. I debated a long time on whether I should keep him "intact." I didn't want him fathering puppies nor did I want him getting aggressive. Since I waited a bit, he developed a little more "male-ness" than if I had done it when he was really young. This actually worked out very well. He had just enough aggression that he wasn't a pushover. I was surprised when he dominance-mounted a male rottie that was trying to mount him. The rottie's owner was an older Hispanic gentleman that I frequently chatted with on walkies. He shouted, "Butch! Don't let that dog fuck you, you homo!" That became one of my favorite quotes. One of my neighbors bred Springer Spaniels. When the bitch was in the middle of one of her heats, she came into my yard. Anubis mounted her and actually tied with her. It only lasted a few minutes and Anubis got bored very quickly. The bitch wanted more from the big black one. She kept shoving her rear into his muzzle, but he wanted no more of it. When he did mount one more time the neighbor saw it and freaked out. I told her that it was safe sex. I believe the line I used was, "Oh, don't worry. He's fixed but he still likes to get some!"

The stage was now set for a happy life. In the next installment I'll talk about all of the great trips we took over his lifetime. I decided to split out our camping/hiking trips because there are lots of great stories in that respect including lots of great pics. Stay tuned!
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