King and Gaby
That’s King on the left, and Gaby on the right. Click on the images to embiggen.
King is a GSD-Lab mix. He was born at the end of March, 2001, which makes him an Aries. If you believe in astrology, truer words. Stubborn, impulsive, energetic, “I AM The King!” Too smart by half. I found him during a check of my company want ads, where I noticed a posting for a 12-week old male puppy. Prince, our previous dog, had been gone for two years by that point, and it was time. I went with my dad to check out this puppy, and found a 28-pound bundle of energy bouncing around with his equally energetic mom and sis. Exuberance as a genetic trait. What I’m trying to say is that I had plenty of warning.
I still brought him home.
Gaby’s mixology and birthday are anyone’s guess, although there’s definitely some breed of terrier in there somewhere. Someone left her tied to the front door of my vet’s office on August 18th, 2008, and the best estimate at that time was that she was about a year and a half old. The King and I had lost the Mickster (see Remembrance of Puppies Past) the month before, and King had taken the loss of his buddy so hard that the vet was concerned. I knew I wanted a second dog, but Gaby was extremely underweight at 26 pounds and I feared that she was too small and that King might hurt her without meaning to. Still, the vet persuaded me to give her a try, and that Friday I brought her home.
I shouldn’t have worried. She and King started playing as soon as entered the backyard, and they’ve been playing ever since. She’s the best thing that ever happened to him. She nips his back legs and noms on his face and goads him into chasing her. They play tug o’ war or tag or simply race around. King has slowed down in his old age, but his little sister keeps him young.
Life with these two hasn’t been entirely smooth. Gaby went through some pretty nasty GI issues over the course of our first year together, which led to multiple trips to the vet and a visit to a specialist. The diagnosis? Inflammatory bowel disease. So far, I’ve been able to manage it with diet (duck & sweet potato, thank you) and twice daily doses of famotidine. The good news is that she is thriving. Her coat, which had been thin and coarse, is now silky soft and so thick that I need to have her clipped for the summer. She’s also put on a bit of weight, and now weighs about 45 pounds. She’s bold and bouncy and sweet and smart. Did I mention sassy? I would say she looks sassy, wouldn’t you?
King is officially an old guy now. He’s still as nosy and vigilant as ever, but it’s also obvious that he’s slowed down. He sleeps more, and those spurts of flat-out dashing about are fewer and further between. His hips are a little stiff, and he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease a couple of years ago. It’s under control, but he will need to be monitored regularly since he can still be reinfected.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the page, King has developed a fondness for napping on the couch, and can’t seem to understand that at one hundred fifteen pounds he doesn’t really qualify as a lapdog.