I pulled our old Silverado up to the closed chain ink gate in Camp Verde, Arizona and read the sign:
Don’t trespass unless you can outrun a dobie who will cover the distance from the house to here in 2.5 seconds.
OK, that’s not exactly what the sign said, but the message was clear. We had found the home of Thor, the Doberman Pinscher puppy we had purchased via the Internet. I gave him his name, and so far, it looks as though it fits.
I had previously owned an Akita, but she passed away after 13 years. We were moving to Mexico, so I decided I wanted a replacement, another large dog, primarily for protection but also as a companion on my walks along the malecon beside lovely Lake Chapala.
Searching the web for a suitable puppy, when I came upon http://www.bigdobies.com, I was intrigued, especially by the “big” part of their URL. I soon learned that Suzan and Paul Baker indeed bred large dobies, pups that would grow to 30 inches at the shoulder and weigh as much as 130 pounds. I was hooked.
All went well with the Bakers. We drove from our home on the Oregon coast to Arizona to pick Thor up, then headed south. To make certain he imprinted with me, I insisted that Barbara do the driving until we got to Rio Rico, a small town about 14 miles north of the Mexican border. This gave me some crucial hours in the car to make sure our new puppy knew who was boss.
The next day I took over the wheel, convinced Thor now knew who was in charge. For three days he was subjected to the sights, sounds, and sensations (including the ubiquitous topas, Mexican speed bumps) of a typical road trip south of the border. He had company in the car, as we also have two small papillons, a male, seven-pound Beau, and a female, 14-pound Teri, as well as a two-year-old, 16-pound male schnoodle, Chico. What can I say?
The long and short of it is we arrived safely at our new hacienda. We’re still adjusting to life below the Rio Grande.
Teri has always been tormented by Chico, who constantly bites and holds onto her long, feathery tail. There is justice in this world, however, as now Chico is having to contend with Thor, who delights in glomming onto his little pal’s tail and giving it a good tug.
It’s hilarious watching the already 20-pound, ungainly Thor, sliding along on the stone-tile floors, holding on for dear life as a seriously miffed Chico drags him all over the house in an exasperated attempt to break free.
I say this because of his trimmed ears. Originally, I had opted not to have them cut, but wanting to have him look the part of a protector, I changed my mind. To ensure the ears will stay erect takes at least two months, and involves keeping each ear taped to a round post made of foam, and then looping the tape around both to hold them steady. If puppies are capable of embarrassment, Thor’s in trouble.
Somehow, on our trip south, we lost the Elastikon bandage tape the Baker’s had provided, forcing us to find another brand of elastic-adhesive tape to replace it. Turns out there’s a reason Elastikon is what savvy dobie owners use. Our replacement tape has led to an ongoing ear-taping nightmare.
Instead of leaving the ears wrapped for five days, with a two-hour air-circulating reprieve sandwiched in, we have to re-tape the ears daily, because Thor scratches the bandages to the point they look like earring balls. I’m I worried we’ll get to the point where we feel so sorry for him (not to mention our own frustration), we’ll give up on the whole ear thing.
So if in future you happen to run into Thor, and notice his narrow, pointed (because of the cutting), limp ears you’ll know why he looks so pathetic.
But please don’t laugh or tease him about it. Remember, floppy ears or no, he’ll be the size of a small pony, and can cover 50 yards of ground in 2.5 seconds!