Saturday, February 05, 2005

My dog - "Shadow of the Jedi"

Okay, a happy post for a change :) My dog rocks. He is the world's best black lab (of course, I know that I am biased ;). Seriously though - here are his attributes:
1) He is unconditionally loyal to whoever feeds him - which is usually me. BUT, my friend Rye comes over, and he's got her trained. No, I didn't type that wrong - he has her trained. He meets her at the door, and since he's a lab, he MUST have a gift (a toy or whatever is closest to him that he knows he's allowed to pick up), he presents this to her while making appropriate happy sounds and wagging his tail until it is just about ready to fly off his butt. Then, he bee-lines it to the kitchen and sits, rather impatiently, until she gets there. Then, the magic door to the doggie treats opens, she gets a treat, he presents a high-five paw - he gets food. Now, she follows this ritual everytime she comes over - so - who was trained? Yeah, Rye was. Jedi knows how to work it for food!
2) He's great at keeping my feet warm at night. Again - single, and I don't share my bed with just anyone (a girl MUST have some kind of limits!) He sleeps on the side opposite to me, at the foot of the bed and curls up (VERY small for an 85 pound dog!). Yes, he snores, yes he dreams (my fav is the dream where he thinks he's still nursing - again, he's a lab....), he kicks and occasionally wimpers - in which case I calm him down and wake him up slowly - bad dreams suck even if you're a dog. Then, in the morning, he "G.I. Joe's it" (belly crawls) to the top of the bed, places his head on my chest and waits to have his ears scratched. I oblige, he rolls over and presents his tummy for the morning tummy rub. Again, my dog is good at training humans....if these rituals are not performed, he licks my face and neck until they are. Yes, I know it sounds gross to a non-dog lover, but if you love big dogs, you don't mind the wet kisses - you welcome them :) And no, I don't kiss back - there are some things you don't do even if you love your dog.
3) He keeps me active. I would shudder to think how many miles we've walked together over the past 5 and 1/2 years. I remember one week over the holiday break from school I actually added it up and we walked about 30 miles in 7 days - and we walk a brisk pace - he doesn't like to go slow! I'm looking forward to at least 10 more years of walks. He loves to walk, but his two favs are a frisbee and water - combine the two and you will have a VERY tired, wet, happy dog in about 1 hour. Of course, frisbee throwing doesn't keep me as active as walking, but I love to watch him do a mid-air catch.
4) He shows all of his emotions right on his face. Wow, I wish more people would do that. And if you say I am anthropormorphising my dog - yes, I am, but it's still true. I can tell when he's tired, sad, sick, happy (which is most of the time) and DEFINITELY when he knows he's in trouble. This is my fav - Jedi: "I know she's yelling at me, I can see she's mad, so I just won't LOOK at her while she's talking to me, then I'm not really in trouble b/c if I don't see her, I can't hear her" Does this remind you of any children you know?? I swear he does this - if he's in deep (which isn't often, but it does happen) he will look ANYWHERE else but at me - it's hilarious. Truly - I think dogs are more intelligent than most of the kids I teach, and Jedi definitely follows directions better than most, if not all, of my students.
5) He knows certain English "buzz" words. What are *buzz* words to a dog? Here's Jedi's vocabulary so far: sit, stay, heel, come, go potty, get in here, where's Jasmine (the cat), kitchen, dinner, snack, treat, cookie, left, right, straight (yes, he knows directions verbally or I can just point when we play frisbee), down, off, kisses, tummy up, up or jump up, rollover, high five, enough, around (when we are walking - he'll come around to the correct side), stop, wait, gift, toy, water, okay (release command), who's that (used as the "speak" command), bedtime, scoochies (when I need him to move out of the way), praise words and body language for when he does something right, uncle Tim (my brother), aunt Mary Beth (my sister-in-law), Fargo (their dog's name), auntie Ryan (my friend) and finally, the universal sound of food hitting his food bowl
So, if you're not a dog owner and are reading this - they are a lot of work, but the rewards are so worth it. He is the absolute *best* thing I got out of my divorce. There wasn't even a discussion about who would take him - it was assumed. Yes, I have a cat too, but cats are no where near as exciting or fun. They don't take as much time, but they also don't put out the same kind of love - at least my huge beast doesn't!
And yes, I love Star Wars. His full registered name is Shadow of the Jedi. If he had been a girl, her name would have been Amidala (would have called her Ami for short). I wanted to name him Shadow - but everyone names their black lab shadow - so I came up with the next best thing. :) I will admit, I still haven't come across anyone else (for the moment) who named their dog Jedi :) So, at the moment he's unique - and even if someone else out there did name their dog that, he'll still be unique to me no matter what :-D


At 4:33 PM, February 07, 2005, Blogger DragonStormInAZ said...

Actually, cats are affectionate, just only when I want to be left alone. Hmmmmm.... Maybe I am the cat and they are the people?

At 9:20 AM, February 23, 2005, Blogger Kory O said...

My lab mix used to do the butt-wag thing too...but she's 13. She still tries, though.
Big dogs rock!


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