Our Pets Matter

Gyp and one of her favorite toys, Bunny

Gyp and one of her favorite toys, Bunny

For this post I thought I'd talk about my dog, Gypsi.

My wife and I rescued her through a Craigslist ad. As a rule, the web administrators at Craigslist don't allow "free to good home" animal postings, especially dogs. The reason is a simple one -- more often than not, these dogs are picked up by dog fighting rings and used as bait dogs.

My wife  had a dog, Merlot, that died after battling lymphoma. Merlot was a big, leggy, collie-german shepherd mix and was as docile and lovable as could be. She used to try and make friends with the rabbits that used to live under our shed. Her cat, Rodburn, also had recently died at the grandfatherly age of 18.  We were going to get more critters. We were planning on it, maybe after the holidays and we'd have the winter to get to know them and house train them.

About a week before Thanksgiving I was out of town, visiting friends, when I got a message from her. It was a picture of a 5 month old half catahoula, half lab mix. The ad said she was very hyper and because of the family's work schedule, she -- they had named her Myka -- spent 16 hours or more in a crate. The ad also indicated that the puppy was skittish around men. Amanda had only ever had Merlot -- she grew up with cats -- but I grew up with dogs. Besides, the only time critters don't like me is when they've either been trained not to like anyone, or if they've been abused.  And I didn't like the idea of any dog, even a crate trained one, having to stay cramped up in a crate nearly all day, everyday.

When we met the woman and her young daughter to meet the puppy that would be our Gyp, the woman told us she bought the puppy at a flea market for $25. They already had one dog, a little Jack Russell mix, and her daughter just fell in love with the chocolate and spotted coats and big brown eyes. The "breeder" claimed the puppies were part Australian cattle dog and part lab (we've since done some research based on her characteristics and personality and found out about the catahoula part.).

"She was so cute," the woman said. She said her daughter wanted the dog sooo much.

Her husband, NOT so much.

They had gone through some things -- losing the farm, having to move to a smaller place -- and both of them worked a lot. I can understand how someone in that situation can see a hyper-active puppy that eats furniture -- literally -- as one more mouth to feed that no one needs.

We also thought, though, that the woman, however well-intended she had been, didn't think about the dog "Myka" would grow up into.

The puppy was skittish around me, but that didn't' last. We brought her home. The first command we had to teach her was "Come" because when we called to her, Gypsy's first reaction was to piss on the spot and shake.

She's grown into a good dog. A bit of a busybody, but she's really very sweet and good company, most of the time. She likes to hang out with me in the basement when I'm writing, and will generally make sure I take enough breaks to let her play outside. She's considerate that way.

Gypsi is an important part of our family here that also includes Wasabi, the cat. I may talk about him next time around.

Puppy Gyp and Wasabi, other other critter. They've basically grown up together.

Gyp at 6 months old. Wasabi at 4 months old.