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?"