Archive for the ‘pets’ Tag

Two for Tuesday: Pet Diversity   4 comments

Charl hiking in the Grand Staircase, Utah.

Charl hiking in the Grand Staircase, Utah.

Diversity is a term that is used a lot these days.  I like to think of it not as something we “should” strive for but something that is here and that we should enjoy and make the most of.  And that goes for every aspect of our lives, including our pets.

It’s been a while since the last Two for Tuesday post.  The theme is two photos that are connected in some way and together tell a simple story.  I like to pair images that have contrasts as well as similarities.  Variety is the spice in pets as well as life in general.  All my dogs (+ one cat) have been rescues from the street or shelter, or otherwise unwanted.

I used to have a mixed breed dog named Sugar who was dominantly samoyed (those big white fluffy white huskies with a smile).  She was a great hiker and loved the snow too.  While I had her, I ended up with my first small dog – a boy shih tsu named Charl.  While he was certainly comfortable being a lap dog, Sugar & I taught him how to hike and camp, in general to be a ‘real dog’.  I learned that most shih tsus are remarkably adaptable.

Charl taught me that a small dog was very much worth having as a pet.  He died a year and a half ago after a long, adventurous life.  After years of only having the “little boy”, I suppose I was ready for something different.  And the dog in the 2nd shot is most definitely that.  We found him wandering the streets and after advertising heavily and staying in contact with the shelter, realized he wasn’t simply lost.  He was apparently abandoned by his owner.  He’s a purebred pitbull we named Blue.

Unlike Charl, who knew only kindness, Blue is a little head-shy and has a few scars from being beaten.  But he doesn’t show it otherwise.  He’s still very young and still puppified, despite his size.  And he just loves people and other dogs.  Fortunately he wasn’t abused enough to affect his personality at all and promises to be a fine example of the reality that the breed’s reputation is wholly undeserved.  Unfortunately, in my current circumstances all I can do is foster him and find a good home.

Other than the fact that Blue is the same species as Charl was, there are other similarities plus a few differences.  Blue is a big baby, more so than Charl was actually.  He thinks he’s a lap dog, but it’s like having a large anvil in your lap, one who enthusiastically licks your face.  He’s a much bigger handful than Charl ever was.  Another big difference: Blue takes the job of guarding home and vehicle quite seriously, while Charl thought all visitors were welcome.  But the two are the same where it counts:  gentle and good-hearted.

Blue doesn’t leave my side and thinks I’m his owner now.  Who knows?  He may turn out to be right.

Blue strikes a pose.

Blue strikes a pose.

Posted September 14, 2016 by MJF Images in Animals

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Single-Image Sunday: The Golden Years   8 comments

Thinking about the old days: my dog Charl

Thinking about the good old days: my dog Charl

My little buddy Charl the shih tsu, who I’ve known since he was a pup, is now in his golden years.  He is 15 and has been slowing way down lately.  He is pretty much blind now but shows no worrisome signs of ill health.  He’s been a remarkably healthy dog.

Although this photo is from last year, I chose it because he seems to be thinking back on the good times we’ve shared together.  He used to be one heck of a hiker, believe it or not.  With the most unique personality of any dog I’ve encountered, he’s been a constant source of amusement through the years.  I’m going to miss him when he goes.

My Little Companero   4 comments

Charl the Shih tsu at his favorite place in the world: the Oregon Coast!

Charl the Shih tsu at his favorite place in the world: the Oregon Coast!

I don’t think I have made my little buddy the subject of a post yet.  I don’t even include him in many pictures, though he is never far from where I am.  Unless I am going international, flying somewhere, he goes with me.  He’s my road-trip partner.

A shih tsu takes on a concerned expression, worried no doubt that more treats aren't in the cards.

A shih tsu takes on a concerned expression, worried no doubt that more treats aren’t in the cards.

And what a partner!  He never complains or whines, even about my driving.  He always seems happy to go wherever I want to go, and never makes me feel guilty about buying snacks and spilling crumbs when I munch while driving.  In fact, he LOVES when we get snacks.

A little known fact about the old west that has been lost to history: shih tsu scouts!

A little known fact about the old west that has been lost to history: shih tsu scouts!

He’s my little dog, named Charl, who I’ve had since he was a puppy.  It wasn’t my idea to get a shih tsu.  He belonged to my girlfriend at the time, and he latched on to me when I took him along on a trip to the Canadian Rockies with my other dog (a samoyed mix).   He learned how to lift his leg when he pees on that trip.

Charl usually takes over my sleeping bag when I go out for those cold dawn photo shoots.

Charl usually takes over my sleeping bag when I go out for those cold dawn photo shoots.

I didn’t even know what a shih tsu was.  To me, it was just one more poor excuse for a dog: a yapper, an ankle biter.  I’ve always had big dogs, dogs that could go skiing & hiking with me.  You know, real dogs.  But when the girlfriend and I split he came with me.

Charl checks out a slot canyon in Utah.

Charl checks out a slot canyon in Utah.

Now I’m a big shih tsu fan.  They are without doubt the best small dog in my opinion.  Perhaps it is his personality, which is uniquely mellow and quiet.  When he was young he barked some and ran around the house like an idiot with his sister.

Charl is struggling in the snow because his fur picks up snowballs.  La Sal Mtns, Utah.

Charl is struggling in the snow because his fur picks up snowballs. La Sal Mtns, Utah.

 

This is the ticket

Okay this is much better. Snow is too hard!

But in general shih tsus do not bark as much as other small dogs.  All they really want is to cuddle, so never be scared of a getting bitten by this dog.  I really feel it is ideal to have two dogs; an inside lap dog and an outside bigger dog.

Motorcycles are Scary.  What a trooper!

Motorcycles are Scary. What a trooper!

When Charl was young, he went on many hikes with me and my uncle.  He even climbed a few mountains.  He could do 15 mile, 3000-foot vertical hikes.  And that’s impressive considering how short his legs are.  He’s always loved snow but it clings to his fur and forms giant snowballs so he has trouble walking.  Also, he’s always loved the beach.

Charl the shih tsu, in the meadows along the Merced River in Yosemite N.P., stalks the completely unworried deer.

Charl the shih tsu, in the meadows along the Merced River in Yosemite N.P., stalks the completely unworried deer.

On on this last trip I even got him to run down the beach.  He rarely runs now.  He’s old (14) and sleeps most of the time.  He gets irritated when puppies try to play with him.  In other words, he’s retired.  I’ll be a sad man when my little buddy dies.  He’s enriched the lives of everyone he’s met.

Charl looking handsome after a haircut.

Charl looking handsome after a haircut.

 

 

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