Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Biggie gets his Kuvasz on!

Biggie actually isn't a polar bear cub, or a "floppy Samoyed." He's a Kuvasz. According to Wikipedia, they "are often described as having a clownish sense of humor which can last throughout their adolescence and occasionally into adulthood." (For this reason some of my friends have suggested that Biggie should have been named "Danny," but that is the subject of another post.)

Kuvaszok (the plural of "Kuvasz") originated in Hungary as livestock guardian dogs. Wikipedia also says, "Kuvaszok are known to be fierce protectors of their families. Given their intelligence, constant awareness of their surroundings, as well as their size and strength, they can be quite impressive in this role." See Exhibit 1, Biggie defending his baby toy with the threat of severe licking:

The Kuvasz Club of America describes the Kuvasz temperament: "A Kuvasz is unwavering in its loyalty and devotion to its family, be they people or animals. There is no threat he will not face in protecting those he loves."

On the 2-week anniversary of Biggie's arrival into our family, Biggie did, so to speak, "get his Kuvasz on." We've been working with Biggie to be socialized with all types of people and dogs in the city, and he is generally fearless and curious without being either aggressive or overbearing. He has no problem with strangers approaching him and if anyone knows how to pet a dog, he wriggles into them in an ecstasy of petting and snuggling. (Generally we have no problem with this, as we never intended to have Biggie as a guard dog. But when he's snuggling on a dirty street, the fluffy white puppy quickly becomes a fluffy gray/beige puppy.)

On Sunday, exactly 2 weeks after Biggie joined us, we were driving home from Vermont and had stopped at a convenience store/gas station/ice cream stand off a state road. Biggie was with dad (aka P-Daddy) taking a potty break when a 100+ lb male German Shepherd came charging and barking furiously at them, hair erect, no owner or leash in sight. Biggie and P-Daddy wheeled around and 10-week-old Biggie - all 22 pounds of him - stood his ground between the German Shepherd and P-Daddy, barking back even as P-Daddy was picking him up and out of harm's way. With Biggie out of the way and P-Daddy shouting "no" at the shepherd, the threatening shepherd trotted off into the trees, hair still erect.

We never did figure out who the shepherd belonged to, if he belonged to anyone. He had a metal training (choke) collar on but no leash and no tags, and none of the people at the rest area acted as if they were his owner. Biggie shrugged off the whole incident when P-Daddy put him down again, as if to say, "I could have taken care of myself and P-Daddy too."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Water Bowl-o

Biggie cannot drink from a bowl of water without putting one or both front paws in it. This doesn't work very well with the metal bowls we've been using, because he has figured out that flipping the bowl is really fun. It makes a puddle of water that is more fun to drink from (and to lie in) and the rolling metal bowl makes a very entertaining noise.

We learned that it's not just bowls of water, but he loves to splash in puddles of water too. We'll have him playing water polo in no time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

VET = Very Entertaining Trip

Biggie loves the vet! He weighed in at 21.7 lbs at 10 weeks exactly. At the vet, Biggie wanted to visit with everybody, from the mini-Pin wearing a muzzle who was trembling in his owner's lap,* to the office cat, to all the people visiting the office. For the 8-avenue walk to the vet, we walked on the leash about 2 blocks and then mom got impatient and put Biggie in the shopping cart. Biggie loved that too - getting pushed around the city and watching the world go by. On the way home, Biggie did even better, walking across almost all of Manhattan at rush hour. He showed no fear among the big crowds of people or the gridlocked, honking taxis.

As usual, he was the center of attention:
What kind of dog is that?
Boy or girl?
What's his name?
How old?
How big will he get?
He looks like a little polar bear!
(repeat every 20 feet)

*Me (as Biggie walks around smelling the dog food bags): Oh, poor puppy, why is he trembling?
Mini-Pin Owner: He really hates the vet.
Me: Is he ok?
MPO: He's here for his kennel cough shot.
Me: (wtf??)
MPO (cooing): don't worry... it's ok... it won't be that bad... it's ok... don't worry... (Mini-Pin starts whimpering)
(roll eyes)

Meanwhile, Biggie sat through getting every orifice prodded and all his shots like a champ. No whimpering, whining or thrashing. When we finally left the vet's, all he wanted to do was run up the stairs and go back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Biggie in Vermont

What kind of dog is that?

Today is the 10-day anniversary of Biggie's arrival to our home, as well as Biggie's 10-week birthday. He's slowly been meeting people (and vaccinated dogs) around our home in NYC and Vermont, and the very first question most people ask is - "What kind of dog is s/he?"

Sometimes people get a little more creative and conversational, and they will say that he looks like a:

6. "spitz"
5. "really light" golden retriever
4. samoyed
3. great pyrenees

2. fur seal

1. polar bear

He gets the polar bear comment at least once a day, though now that he's growing (and fast) he is getting lankier and less polar bear-y.

We're going to the vet later today, which is crosstown. Not sure if we will do a combination of walk/ride in the Boomobile* or try to take a crosstown cab in midafternoon traffic. The problem is Biggie gets tired and hot easily (ok, maybe he's just a little lazy, but we prefer to call it mellow), and will just lie down on the sidewalk when he has had enough. It's also a little difficult walking and keeping him from eating the cigarette butts on the sidewalk and watching for potty action while he approaches any receptive-looking person to socialize and make friends. So. We'll see what happens and what the temp is this afternoon.

One thing we're really interested in finding out is how much he weighs. It seems like every day we look at him he gets bigger. He was around 20 (?) when we got him; our guess is he's about 25 lbs. now. All I know is at 6am he feels really heavy when we're juggling keys, newspapers, bags and piddle pads while waiting for the elevator to take us downstairs.

Any guesses on his weight, given the pictures below?

Here's Biggie in his crate in the car on the day we got him, at 8-1/2 weeks:

and Biggie in the car exactly 1 week later: