Chimera chuckles


‘Sprinter’ is what some local wit called this season after last night’s latest dump of snow. Heavy, wet gigantic clumps were coming down thickly when Chance needed to go out at 4:30 am; I could feel them splat as they landed on me. In the (late) morning when I woke again, it was all quite pretty, and we had a sunny pack walk. But still: I did think, during the past week’s melt, that spring was really here, yet it’s getting appreciably colder this evening.


In the work realm, I got a rather large shipment off to the next exhibition yesterday, and details for another publication squared away, but then there’s been more changes for other upcoming shows, and some of the other work I did may not have been necessary, now. I’m waiting for decisions to be made in order not to waste any more effort. Eventually, they’ll all be resolved, whether or not they are the exhibitions I had originally expected.


Like the weather and the art world, with shelter dogs, it’s also a crapshoot.  When we adopted Lupe, she had been rejected and returned to the Chicago pound twice. She was nine months old, so we could see what she was going to look like as an adult. Her Belgian Tervuren blood was very evident, giving us clues about who she eventually became: a smart, gentle, calm, velcro-dog.


When we adopted Chance, I agreed with the shelter’s best guess at his ancestry: Australian Shepherd / Retriever mix. His baby appearance strongly suggested that, but it’s not what he’s growing into.  During the past two weeks, he’s dropped his fuzzy Aussie-ish puppy coat; he will be a shorthair, with some longer feathering around the ears.  He has huge, very webbed feet, which originally supported the retriever notion. But at this point, judging from his evolving build and personality, I suspect what we have is a Catahoula Leopard Dog mix, and that’s where his blue eyes come from, not Aussie genes.


 Catahoula Dog

Does that matter?  Not in terms of his future: he’s our pup. But I confess, I probably would not have deliberately chosen a Catahoula. They are highly intelligent, and beautiful, but they’re a whole lot of dog, particularly for a small city yard.  Chance is telling us that a strong pack leader is exactly what he needs and responds to. I can be that, but I’ve always preferred beasties I can relax that role with a bit.


Smooth Collie

However, there’s something else in the mix; the shape of his head and the set of his ears might even be a hint of (smooth) Collie, though I’m not seeing their legendary gentleness. He’s got some aggression issues with other dogs in puppy class and on the street. We’re working towards cooling that as quickly as possible with training, and thinking of neutering him a bit early.


Fortunately, as Paul keeps pointing out, Chance has definitely decided he’s my dog. He follows me everywhere, waits outside the door when I’m in a closed room, and his idea of bliss is to be invited onto my lap. ‘What’ he turns out to be isn’t as important as ‘who’. He’s listening; I can only keep patiently, firmly, gently teaching him about the dog I want him to become, and to temper my expectations to his capabilities and instincts as he reveals them.


And some things about Chance are his alone…he holds his ears this way, often.

6 thoughts on “Chimera chuckles

  1. i love how you are patiently willing to let chance be who he is while shaping his behavior. he is a very beautiful boy, and looks so different from that fuzzball you first met!

  2. I’m with Velma — if we hadn’t been watching him grow up through your camera, I’d hardly believe he was the same little bundle of fluff you came home with. That doesn’t mean he still isn’t gorgeous though. 😉

    And yes, I agree with you on getting him snipped as soon as the vet will do it, although it’s a shame: he’d be dad to beautiful pups, but aggression isn’t something you want passed along.

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