Monday, May 24, 2010

Stress Club: Now accepting New Members

Anyone who knows me knows that I can take stressing out to a whole new level. As one of my talents, I’m pretty darn good at it. In fact, I’m such a good stress monger, I’ll even take on your stress. Bring it on!

My latest obsession, I mean stressor, is over bringing home Pru, our new boxer puppy, who just so happens to be all white. If you take a quick look into the history of the white boxer, you will see there is thought to be a link between white boxers and deafness. It has to do with the absence of pigment cells in the inner ear. The shortage or absence of these cells also is the cause of the white coat. Basically all white dogs (that are white due to the shortage of pigment cells) are at risk of being deaf, not just boxers.

But, here’s how the mind of a stress monger works. I have now fully convinced myself that this could be a huge issue and have worked myself up into a tizzy. What if Pru is deaf? In reality, what’s the big deal anyway? The percentages aren’t that bad really, but I never liked playing the odds and I ALWAYS assume the worst. Why am I even worried? She’s adorable and could be taught hand signals. Amos, our previous boxer, lost his hearing with old age and the hand signals were an awesome way to still communicate and connect with him. So, why am I worked up over this? It’s what I do and I’m damn good at it.

However, I think my stress over the white boxer runs a little deeper, in part, due to the fact that there are still breeders who put them down. How horrible is that? It wasn’t too long ago that white boxers were not even recognized by the AKC. They are now, but they cannot compete as “show” dogs. They can compete in agility competitions, etc. That bothers me too. Why shouldn’t they be able to compete as show dogs? It’s not like they are breed to be all white. Basically 1 in 4 boxers born are white. It’s straight up genetics. A roll of the dice, if you will. If the boxer carries the “white spotting gene”, a litter could have a white pup. I believe that flashy boxers all carry the white spotting gene, since to be considered “flashy” there has to be white covering at least 1/3 of the body. I could be wrong, but I believe flashy boxers are recognized and can be registered with the AKC.

The breeders that are still involved in the practice of euthanizing white boxer puppies, believe they wouldn’t be able to find a happy home for the puppies. It tears me to the core to think about the number of puppies that didn’t make it due to ignorance. Thankfully, there are breeders who display a “white boxer friendly” graphic, to let people know they are not involved in a stupid practice. (Yes ZoĆ«, Mommy used the word “stupid”, sorry!)

So, for many many reasons, I am stressed over little Pru’s arrival at our home. We hope she isn’t unilaterally or bilaterally deaf, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. We are extremely excited and can’t wait to bring her home.

     Meet Pru!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Famous Amos

Just for kicks, we gave Amos the registered AKC name of "Famous Amos Mocha Coffee Nut".  We lost him last week, he would have been 13 in October, which is pretty old for a large dog.  He was an awesome dog, and he touched many people's lives.  He was actually Dan's dog and we had a tough time in the beginning.  Amos wasn't all that fond of my coming around.  We went to obedience classes together and became fast friends.  He was so funny and friendly.  There's a reason boxers are called the "clowns of the dog world".  Never a dull moment.  He loved his toys and loved to do the "run of terror" around the house.  He really really loved kids.  He would spot a child and his whole body would start to wiggle with excitement.  He loved to play and he was always full of life and energy. 

The obedience training led to us training him to be a therapy dog.  He was a perfect fit for it.  With lots of practice, we passed the Canine Good Citizen test and also the Therapy Dog International test.  We visited lots of people & places in the past eight years, once or twice a week.  He was well loved.  Before he retired from his therapy work, we visited two facilities on a regular basis.  An Alzheimer's facility and an assisted living facility.  We met one of our favorite people at the assisted living facility, Mrs. Mosley.  She and Amos became great friends and when she moved in with her son, we went to visit her at her house.  Amos became such a huge part of her life that he and I both went to her memorial service when she passed away.  (He was kind of a shock to many of the guests!)  I picture Amos and Mrs. Mosley, together again, in Heaven.  I know they are taking good care of each other. 

When I was pregnant with Zoe, Amos and I developed a very strong bond.  Not sure why, but that bond stayed in place until the end.  He seemed to know when I was happy or sad, and when I just needed him to hang with me.  Since I go to bed before Dan almost always, every night (up until about a week before he died), Amos curled up beside me on the bed until Dan came to bed.  Then he would sleep on his dog bed in our bedroom.  Night times have been hard for me, I miss my furry baby so much.  RIP

Here are some of my favorite pictures of my buddy!

Super Dog for Halloween!

Relaxing with Ethan.

 Hanging out at the lake!

Loving (or hating) his Christmas sweater!

Yet another Christmas sweater!  Poor dog!