Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Enlightened Dog

For those of you laughing, I understand. I got my dog Furby in 2000. At that time he was 17 months old. I went to Blockbuster to return some videos and he was there with the SPCA in a cage. I just had to look in his eyes and I knew he was my dog. He had the look of my father's German Shepard, King had just before my Dad died. My father once said to me,"When a man gets old he doesn't need a wife or a woman, he needs a good dog." It wasn't that Mom wasn't a good wife for Dad, it was that Dad was always hiking or building something on his land, and King was his loyal companion who was with him through everything, while Mom watched her Soap Operas or went to the shopping Mall 30 miles away in Palm Springs. I was in my 30s at the time and didn't really think to much about what Dad said at the time. At the time I was raising 4 kids on the northern California coast and running a business, so I pretty much had my hands full.

When Dad died since King was a one man German Shepard, he began to scare my mother and didn't do well at all with Dad gone.

Flash forward 15 years to 2000 in front of Blockbuster I saw Furby, a 17 month old Australian Shepard and German Shepard mix. Furby has much shorter ears and much softer long hair like a long hair German Shepard but his tail goes up in the air like Pampas grass. I'm not sure where this characteristic comes from. Being Shepard variation, Furby, is probably the single most intelligent and loving large dog I've ever met.

When I first got him he was a little much even for me. He was very intelligent and very headstrong and at 75 pounds would have been a little intimidating for most women even though he had been fixed. If he hadn't been fixed he likely would have been an ideal attack dog or Shepard dog or Guard dog because he is very wolf like in his fearlessness and intelligence. He even like wolves. He has made friends with wolves I have met with their owners on nearby trails. I am always amazed that wolves don't bark and can run backwards as well as forewords. This is a survival tool. Wolves howl at the moon but don't bark because they are not regular dogs. When they attack in the wild they likely don't make much noise. This is likely why they are so successful.

Our Tree trimmer had a huge wolf that rode with him in his truck. I can remember the look on his wolfs face. It was like, "If I wanted to I could eat you right now!" When I looked in that wolfs eyes I knew completely that was a one man wolf. This wasn't a creature to be silly around or to take chances around. I've only had this experience a few times in my life and usually looking at a lion or a bear in a cage and not with an unrestrained animal.

Furby at first tried to outsmart me. He knew even at 17 months that he had already outsmarted his female owner since birth. Even his name she gave him denoted a puppy kind of relationship. At some point I think Furby scared her pretty bad. However, I am not one to easily be intimidated by anyone. Being six feet 4 1/2 inches tall and well over 200 pounds I don't get intimidated very often by anyone or anything.

I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to demonstrate to Furby my Alpha Dog state without breaking his spirit in a way I didn't want. I wanted his spirit to remain because he was and is an amazing amazing dog. Finally, I got my wish. He stole 1/2 a large pizza off the stove. I saw my chance and I pounced as alpha dog(man). I didn't have to scare him too bad and I was able to make him cow without hurting him. I just scared the hell out of him and took away the pizza. This was exactly what our relationship needed. I was the leader of his pack and he has recognized me ever since.

The same day we got Maggie Mae, a slightly troubled 5 to 7 year old Jack russel terrier and Corgi mix. She had been stepped on by her previous owner's horse and so
every 4th or 5th step she would limp with her left hind leg. She was very sweet but also extremely eccentric. My wife loved her. I had a lot of trouble with her because she absolutely had to always always roll in poop. Her favorite excrement was horse. So if we were out on the trail and she found horse poop and I wasn't watching she would roll in it. she did this to mask her scent because Jack Russells do this instinctively to mask their scent for hunting with any kind of poop available. No matter what I did(including outside hose baths at 40 degrees farenheit) I couldn't stop her rolling in poop. I liked her except this one trait. So at least once a week she would find poop while in the forest with me and Furby and roll in it or try to. The poop roll was always impossible to deal with for me because I don't like to keep dogs tied up if 1 mile from the nearest person in the forest on a good trail. As long as they will do whatever I say when I say it it is usually okay except for the poop rolling.

Furby knows about 300 words. He knows people's names. A friend of ours was a horse whisperer and his brother still is. He says Furby is the single most intelligent dog he has ever met in his life and he is 50 years old. He grew up on a cattle ranch with in about 50 miles of where I live and was a cowboy for his father's ranch as he grew up there.

AS time has gone on many people have fallen in love with my dog. My dog has soul. Some people say he is just like a human being in a dog body. He is definitely the single most amazing dog I've ever met in my life and though people have offered again and again to take him off my hands or to buy him from me I have always said, "No. Furby is family." My wife and daughters and son feel this way too.

In Tibetan Buddhism they have a concept of a Maha Kala dog, which is a magic like spiritual protector dog. Furby is like this for me. Sometimes he will sit in front of my spiritual altar or sit in the grass outside in the back yard and look up into the sky and sigh. He is like no other dog I've ever met. For my whole family and all my friends, he is the Furbinator, our enlightened dog.

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