Monday, May 5, 2008

Its Us & the Dog

When Starman and I lived (kinda) in Twyford, England we would watch a lovely, if profane, programme (yup, that's how it's spelled over there) called "Dog Borstal." [Borstal is the generic term for a correctional facility for youth; roughly equivalent to "juvie" over here.] Dog Borstal showed your typical clueless dog owner with a "misbehaving" dog getting sent to a special facility -- a "dog borstal" -- in the middle of nowhere. The owners had to camp in the grounds, get up at an ungodly (undogly?) hour to tend to their pooches, and get taught new dog-owning techniques by three trainers, one of whom (Mick) was a former Marine drill sergeant, or the Royal equivalent. Mick was the really profane guy on the show, which was not suitable for kids, but you could tell all his contempt was centered on the owner, never on the dog. Good, cheesy stuff, and mostly good for the dogs.

Next up: "It's Me or the Dog," which is also an English show, but we see it here on Animal Planet (in HD!). When I found it on the TV schedule, I rushed to tell Starman, which misunderstood the title I was telling him, and thought the show was, "It's Mia the Dog." We always said we'd named a dog Mia (or "Zitch" if it was a male). But we didn't.

We named her Mimi.

This is Mimi. She's supposedly a terrier (of some sort)/pit bull mix, but I see a little hound in her as well. Something about the wrinkled brow...

We had a choice, mind you. In addition to Mimi, we walked another dog, slave name Leigh. (Mimi is our dog's "free name" -- her slave name was Goldy, and was discarded, along with her "slave collar" as soon as we got her home.)

Here's Leigh:

Leigh has only one eye, which is sad, but didn't worry us unduly. The real reason we pick Mimi over Leigh was the energy level. Mimi is very high energy, and I instinctively knew that was a better dog for us. We've got 24 acres, and the main reason for getting a dog in the first place was to have a reason to get outside and get more active. That's for me, of course -- Starman, as you can see from the wedding picture, doesn't need as much additional activity (read: weight loss).

Here's Mimi at home, on approximately 0.00001% of our property. (I made that fraction up, by the way, so anyone with a calculator can do it properly and figure it out. Thanks, Hub 1.0...!)

She has a brightly colored tennis ball in her mouth. I highly recommend the brightly colored balls in this context -- easier to find when she drops it. She's not quite got the "fetch" command down yet. Not the sharpest canine in the mouth, so to speak...

She is, however, a remarkably good dog. We lucked out with her. She's eager to please, and despite being young (8 months next week!) she's not resisting correction or discipline at all.

Mind you, we're doing our part. She got four straight hours of outdoor walking, exercise, etc. before she even set paw inside the house. We monitor her pretty closely; right now, she's crated (not inhumane, let me tell you, not at all) right now until after our lunch, then I'll take her for a long walk. She's already got her favorite toys, including a trilobal throwing thingy that probably glowed in the dark before she started to demolish its nylon outer skin. And the tennis balls.

Here's a closer picture of Mimi. Named after the Puccini heroine, btw. Not Mariah Carey, and not Drew Carey's former fictional co-worker. In fact, I'm hearing her song right now -- an operatic signal from Starman that it's time for lunch.

Oh, and the cats? Well, we caught a break. Mimi doesn't like stairs, and the stairs in our house are funky, as they turn corner near the bottom. She has to go up and down from the basement (where her crate is, and where we watch TV), but she's still reluctant. We've made no effort to encourage her to go up to the bedroom floor, so that's where the cats are. They know there's a "monster" living in the basement, but they're not totally freaked out. Contact will come soon enough. Mimi, for her part, is okay with them, which is more than half the battle.

Ah, Mimi's dulcet tones (from the opera, not the dog) are wafting down to me, telling me that Starman has some tuna salad ready for me.


  1. Wow, you got a dog!!! That's very cool. Time for another visit! :^)

  2. Yes, life changes much when you get a dog!::grin::

    But I couldn't live without dog energy anymore.