Out with the old, In with the New

The last three weeks have been trying, but in a good way. As you may recall, we became the temporary respite for two of my sister’s dogs, Sugar and Ted, as she lives close enough to the Carr fire that she (and – truthfully – we) was worried about losing her house. To help, we took two of her three hounds in (Grizz, the old man, could hang with her at work).

Of course, having these two young-ish, high energy hounds has been amazing for Lizzie. Where she wouldn’t “play” outside (at least more than a slight burst of energy) she was out mixing it up with the monsters pretty much from morning until the end of the evening.

Where Lizzie would hide in the house while the landscapers were working on our neighbor’s back yard (with Cat’s, jack hammers, saws, and all the sundry noises that accompany serious landscape reformation) with Sugar and Ted around, who cares about the workers. Sure, bark at them a bit, but then get back to the serious business of playing.

Super sweet, but corrupting influence on Lizzie

Lizzie was in the middle, and her rough and tumble playing style suited both Ted and Sugar to a ‘T’. It would seem like Lizzie would go too far, but then the balance of power would shift, and then she would be at the receiving end of the mayhem. Only once during the visit did it come close to getting completely out of control (of course, we did cool the temperature down occasionally, for our own sanity if nothing else.)

But, like vacations, all good things must end. My sister was getting lonely without her “pack”, and the fire is mostly contained, so she naturally wanted her pack back. Yesterday, she hit the road back to Lake Shasta about 6:00AM, and Lizzie was crushed.

She spent the next couple of hours -frantically – looking all around for her buddies. Very sad. Finally, about 10:00, she calmed down, resting (and snoring) much of the rest of the day. She is a bit bummed to be on her own, and while exhaustion played a part in the malaise, clearly she is missing her pseudo-pack.

Enter stage right

We knew that Lizzie would need a sibling to help her daily existence. Back in early June – at about the two month mark – I began quietly seeking a permanent buddy. Knowing that Lizzie is high energy (bred to hunt wild pigs and boar on Kauai) and that we needed a hound that could match that energy, and who wasn’t terrified of strangers.

Knowing that, made the search somewhat challenging. Sure, there are high energy breeds out there, a Border Collie for instance, or any of a number of herding breeds. Sugar, the visitor, wouldn’t be a terrible match:

  • High Energy: Check
  • Give as well as take: Check
  • not too big or too small: check

But Sugar has some bad attributes. She has taught Lizzie to vocalize. Very very bad. Sugar also helped exaggerate an affinity for coprophagia (sugar, like Tate, would poop, then turn right around and eat it – yech)

Browsing the available hounds on Copper’s Dream (CDR) there were some that were interesting, but Barb was insistant on no pitties, and many of the others had some warning signs. Fear of new people, or poor socialization, and other potential red flags. We had a challenge with Lizzie already, and knew that we wanted a hound that could help with her fear of new people (we had been slowly working on this with a trainer at Unleashed by Petco).

I reached out to the person who was instrumental in Lizzie’s being brought over from Kauai originally, and let her know what we were looking for. We definitely like Lizzie’s type. A mix of several different breeds, but with traits of Am Staff, German Shorthaired Pointer, Whippet (we think she got shortchanged on those genes), and many more, she is medium sized, very compact (and amazingly strong) 50# hound.

Peggy said she would keep an eye out. She knew Lizzie, having brought her over originally, and the challenges we face.

Cerberus in his last home

Fast forward to early August. We are with Lizzie and her cousins, and we knew that we needed permanent ‘sibling’ for Lizzie. She was enjoying her cousins too much to contemplate going back to one dog. We found a couple of reasonable looking lab mixes on CDR, so I sent an email to my old high school alum who is a principle at the rescue, and a few days later she replied.

The two we were interested in, one was in a foster-to-adopt, and one had some other issues (she was taken in as a mother with her pups). But, she replied, they had a hound coming from Kauai the next week, and she sent some details.

Cerberus, like Lizzie, is a hound bred to hunt the wild pigs on the island. He is a little taller than Lizzie, and about 8 pounds heavier, but otherwise, very similar.

He arrived on Wednesday, and went into temporary foster, and he will be coming to us today. He is supposedly a sweet boy (but hold on tight if he sees a pig or boar). We have some of his back story. Apparently, he was found by his last family after running loose, exhausted, torn nails and pads, and nearly starved. He was nursed back to health, but he, being a high energy hound, was a bit much for them. The KHS team worked to move him to the mainland, and he is about to start his new life, as Lizzie’s big brother.

While my wife is cautious that they might not get along, I am far less worried. Lizzie does well with other dogs, even in strange environments. I am confident that Cerbie will fit right in, and Lizzie will stop moping after her cousins have left when he is here.

I bought an additional food/water dish stand, some biscuits, a new dog bed (it IS possible to go to a Costco, and spend less than $400, who knew?) a name tag, and good food.

It is about 7 hours until Cerbie lands, and we can hardly wait.

Cerberus, the hound of Hades, from the Greek Kerberos, is literally “Spot” or “Spotted”. I was reminded of this fact by the helpful young lady at Unleashed by Petco when I bought the name tag. Cerberus guarded the river Styx, who as a three-headed hound struck fear into the travelers.

My English Mastiff, an enormous dog (33″ at the withers, and 185#’s) was nicknamed “Cerberus”. So it is fitting to have a reprise of Cerbie.

Pic at the top: Lizzie just might claim the bed we bought for Cerbie.