Saturday, 16 May 2009
two more reasons to stay home
I got a call from my mother, asking if I'd be home tonight so that they might come and have a cup of coffee on their way back home. I'm practically in the middle between their home and the breeder's day that they attended today. The oldest of their dogs, Taeke, has been a dad several times over, so he gets to pose with his offspring, and a judge looks at him etc.
It's good to see Mum & Dad of course, but it's also a delight to get to play and cuddle with the dogs.
He'll be ten in December and has been an grandfather since around his last birthday. In three months, his owners wil be grandparents too. I presume my sister-in-law and the foetus are doing well, as they're off on holiday in England at the moment. Of course Taeke has been behaving like an old man since he was a pup. I was teasing my parents by saying that at least he didn't look like a grandpa, to which my mother answered "You should see him when he has to go out for a walk in the morning." To be fair, I would probably feel the same. Ten minutes to the station is enough for me - and I get weekends off.
He loves to push up against me and cuddle. And when he lies down at my feet, I like to rub behind his ears with my toes. When I'd stop because I got distracted, he'd lift his head and look at me with such hurt in his eyes. Speaking of eyes... They were surprised at the show that he has no sign of cataracts whatsoever. Apparently it's not a surprise around age five and almost to be expected when they reach eight.
When I still lived at their house in Delft and they'd visit every few weeks, he'd always be the first out of the starting blocks, generally moaning and whining whilst he had to sit down at the doormat and have his feet wiped (no matter the weather, this was something they always had to do, so that they'd never get the idea to just run in with muddy feet). Then as Mum would give the command "vrij" (free) he would storm off and launch himself at my legs (I'd make sure I was braced for impact), as if he were trying to push through them - and I don't mean through the middle.
He guards the attention he gets jealously. When you're bending over to cuddle Kayo, take care that Taeke doesn't stick his head in. Especially since he's wont to throw it up suddenly. His head won't hurt nearly as much as your jaw! Not that he's angry, if you tell him to go away he'll sit back and look sad, he craves attention and this is one of the few impulsive things he does.
Kayo is his half-brother, they share the same father, and younger by two years. Where Taeke is broad and sturdy and always calculated, Kayo is narrower, inquisitive and much more impulsive. He has several nicknames that attest to this, such as "Haantje-de-voorste" (someone who's always first in line), "Aagje" (from "nieuwsgierig Aagje", a term for a very curious person) or "Helikoptertje" (for the way his tail wil spin round furiously, threatening to either come lose or lift his backend up in the air, when he's enthusiastic about something - which is often).
He's always been a lot more stand-offish than Taeke; even when he was a pup it was 'known' in our family that Kayo wouldn't come cuddle or simply lie against your feet. But I believe he was less so with me than with the others and we did have our cuddly moments as well as lots of fun with rough and tumble (His baby teeth were sharper than any puppy I remember, though). Instead of leaning against you, he loves a good, vigourous rub from head to tail, shaking his fur all around as you go. Then he'll turn a quick circle and present his head again.
The saying about him is that there is never a day that he doesn't make you laugh. He can just look so dopey, especially when he's just woken up. As if he's surprised to be there. Perhaps he dreams a lot. Actually, I am convinced that he can lift his head, look around, get up and move to another spot without waking up altogether.
It's always fun to see them changing spots, it something of an orchestrated affair. When they were in Delft, there were five or six favoured places. They would each find one that was to their liking and sleep there for a while. After some time (the first time after dinner was always quite long, at least an hour) Taeke would get up and move. Then Kayo would look up - giving us one of his dopey faces - and move too. Often to the spot just vacated. This would repeat several times.
The only exception was when the living room door was closed in winters and Taeke decided it was too warm. Kayo never liked being out in the hallway on his own, he has always had a harder time being on his own (either without humans or without his brother, either way would make him nervous). He would go there in summer, but then the living room door was open. And he'd still spend most of his time in the evening near the humans.
I had a quick look - granted, I'm not an optometrist - but there doesn't seem to be any cloudiness in his eyes either. Just because he doesn't always look before he leaps...
Did you know those furry things turn into little stoves when they sit next to you? Lovely in winter, not so much fun when it's already sweltering. I could never explain to them the difference, though. Tonight it was very nice to have a little rug under my bare feet, though.
PS. They're very good about giving me a couple hours' warning to clean the place, but I'm relieved my parents didn't notice the half-smoked joint on top of the stereo...
PPS. This website has many more pictures of them and of Taeke's babies. On the homepage you'll also see our previous dog of the same breed, Arno. Here I am at age ten, helping to pick him: