3.09.2007

who is tala?

So who is this fluffy white dog with the skinny little face and the radar-tower ears who came to live in Canada? (That's a song, you know. I sing it to her...)

She is very sweet and super affectionate, exactly what I was craving, living with Cody, the dog-who-is-really-a-cat. Tala loves to be hugged and snuggled, she's always happy to be petted and stroked, she's only too happy to shower you with kisses.

She's very smart, and loves to do training. Those same smarts also make her a little devil. Dumb animals, like dumb children, are easier to control, but not nearly as much fun. Tala very quickly learns what we want, and if it's not something she also wants, she learns how to get around it. When she resists, it isn't because she doesn't understand; it's because she has a mind of her own.

For example, she's crated at night and when we're not home. (It's a kennel crate, so she can see out of all sides, and it's right in the middle of the bedroom floor.) If it's bedtime and we ask her to "go on in" (our oldest command, back from Gypsy and Clyde), she trots right in and lies down. When the dogwalkers ask her to go in, she also obeys, because she knows they have to leave. But if Allan and I are going out without the dogs, Tala plants herself in a downstairs corner, the farthest distance possible from the stairs and the crate, and stares stubbornly out, immobile. She knows we won't leave if she's not crated, so this is her simple solution to prevent us from leaving. Once we either chase her upstairs or entice her up with a treat, she walks into the crate, resigned.

Tala is very friendly, but she has many enemies. The vacuum, the broom, the snow shovel and the iron are all on Tala's Enemy List. Her nemesis, the Maximum Evil Genius, is the handheld cordless vacuum. The dishwasher is under investigation, but is showing signs of joining the dark side. Allies are closets (every closet is a walk-in when you're Tala), garbage cans, and our desks, which she likes to sit under.

Tala's a great watchdog, another asset I was looking for, since Cody loves all visitors, and would be just as happy to be visited by burglars as anybody else. Tala's actually too good a watchdog, barking fiercely every time a doorbell rings on TV, or when a squirrel dares to hop across her lawn.

Like most dogs and cats, she loves to look out the window. We have a big picture window, facing the street, in both the living room and the bedroom. Upstairs there are vertical blinds and she pokes her head through the slats. Cody does this only rarely, but Tala is on sentinel duty several hours every day.

She had a few health problems, nothing major, and very common when you adopt a rescue. But it seems that our terrible experiences with Buster have left me a little gun-shy. I was worried - fearful that a minor illness would snowball into something life-threatening. I still recall the day we came up to see the house in Port Credit, and Buster got sick that morning. That was the beginning. I have to work harder to remember all the little minor illnesses that all our other dogs had over so many years, that were normal occurrences and easily solved.

Of course everyone wants to know how Cody is doing. Cody is... coping. I think she was happier without Tala around, but I don't think she's suffering. She seems to have aged a few years in the last month, but maybe she just seems older and slower compared to the white ball of energy.

I may have mentioned that when we first brought Tala home, Cody spent three days snarling and growling at her. Anyone who knows the sweet, mild, laid-back Cody would have been shocked to see her teeth fully bared and hear the vicious sounds rumbling out of her throat. That gradually stopped. Tala quickly learned to leave Cody alone - not to eat her food or bother her when she's eating (one stern "NO" from me seems to have done it, permanently), not to try to steal her treats, and not to try to play with her inside. They play together outside, all kinds of complicated keep-away games and tug-of-war, but when Cody is inside, she doesn't want to be bothered.

The only time Tala slips up is in the morning. She's full of energy, and it just spills over. Cody's like me before I've had my coffee. I won't bite your head off, but I will move away and expect you get the point.

We're really happy to be a pack of four again. It must be our natural state of equilibrium. At least once a day, either Allan or I announce "I love Tala" or "Tala is such a great dog" or "isn't Tala great?"

14 comments:

James said...

Tala's a great watchdog, another asset I was looking for, since Cody loves all visitors, and would be just as happy to be visited by burglars as anybody else.

One of the things we were told about Aussies is that they make great watchdogs and lousy guard dogs, because they'll bark at anyone coming to the house -- and befriend them immediately.

L-girl said...

A dog really shouldn't be used as a guard dog. A watchdog - an alert system - is more appropriate. They tell you someone's coming, they scare away intruders (intruders don't bother going into a house with a barking dog - it's not worth it), but once they know the person's friendly, they're friendly in return.

What turns a dog into a guard dog isn't something we want for any dog...

redsock said...

Isn't Tala great?

L-girl said...

I love Tala.

redsock said...

When I was ready to leave for work today, they were playing with a toy in the back yard.

I called them and Tala whipped her head around and sprinted at top speed towards the house. At some point, she flung the rubber toy out of her mouth and it flew away behind her.

She came charging through the back door at top speed, and once she was half way through the dining room, she tried to brake. She ended up sliding/crashing into my work bag which was leaning against the little storage unit where we keep gloves/poop bags, etc. ... Fearless.

Cody never moved from her spot in the snow.

(I'm also very happy we did not change her name.)

impudent strumpet said...

So why's the iron evil? The vacuum is obviously evil, the shovel and the broom I can see the argument (after all, they do strange and unnatural things), but why the iron?

L-girl said...

I guess (?) because it goes back and forth, and occasionally makes a hissing noise. The back-and-forth motion cannot be tolerated! It is evil!!

I think that's the problem with the broom and shovel. Back and forth they go...

M@ said...

Pfft, the iron. Bean is afraid of screwdrivers. SuMei took one out one time, and Bean ran and hid. She's a real sweetie and tries very hard but... no, not smart.

Can't wait to meet Tala!

L-girl said...

Pfft, the iron. Bean is afraid of screwdrivers. SuMei took one out one time, and Bean ran and hid.

What a great image. :)

She wasn't a rescue, right? So there's no chance she was abused by someone who used a screwdriver?

The thing is, if Tala run and hid, it wouldn't be a problem. But she doesn't run from The Enemy - she attacks it. Biting a cordless vacuum is bad enough, but trying to bite a steaming hot iron...! Not good.

impudent strumpet said...

Well no wonder it's evil! It hisses, it makes steam, and it burns her when she tries to subdue it. It must be a dragon!

L-girl said...

That's it! You're right. I think from now on I'll "dragon" the clothes instead of ironing them. :)

M@ said...

She wasn't a rescue, right? So there's no chance she was abused by someone who used a screwdriver?

No, no, not at all. We got her right from the pen where she was born. She was lucky to come from a very good home.

I think the problem is she's afraid of loud noises and so on. She sees a screwdriver, she knows there's going to be some metal-on-metal clanging, maybe some big pieces of wood moving around. Apparently, a little too dangerous for a little dog.

This is as opposed to Scout, who has been known to try to muscle in under my arm while I'm using, say, a drill. I guess she likes to keep tabs on me. Meanwhile, Bean goes outside and sits under her safety tree...

David Cho said...

Very nice.

Why do you keep her crated at night and when you are not home? Isn't she house trained yet? Is that why?

Seems like a very smart dog. I agree with you about having a guard dog. Having a protective one, yes, but not to the degree of being aggressive.

Seems like you got yourselves a great dog.

L-girl said...

Why do you keep her crated at night and when you are not home? Isn't she house trained yet? Is that why?

She is housetrained. But she is young and wild, and it's not a good idea to give a young, wild dog free run of the house when you're not home. It's asking for trouble.

We learned that - the very hard way - a long time ago. Our first dog, Gypsy, had separation anxiety and became destructive when she was alone. After a lot of problems, we learned that confining is the way to go - that (most) dogs like it, it taps into their denning instincts and calms them.

When Tala is older, she'll be loose in the house, but not yet. It's never for long periods of time, because we have a dogwalker come in when we're at work.

Crating her at night is just so I can sleep well without worrying about what she's getting into. :)

Seems like you got yourselves a great dog.

Thank you! We are really happy about her.