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Columns : The Pet Pages - Kim Aranha Last Updated: Jun 20, 2014 - 5:05:44 PM


Twenty Paws: A New Arrival
By Kim Aranha
Mar 9, 2011 - 12:46:43 PM

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What is this hill?

I think we should probably rename our house 20 Paws.

 

“Little” Boss moved in on Boxing Day, an adorable, small golden, Potcake who at the time could have easily “passed” as a Labrador puppy…Granted he was a tad skinny, and his tail was kind of crazy long, and well his paws were, huh…a little on the wide side!   Maybe a bell should have rung, but it didn’t !

 

Those cute little baby teeth, sharp as miniature razors, busily chomped into every dog biscuit, bone, toy, a few pair of shoes (foolishly left lying around by yours truly), and anything else he could lay his ever-growing paws on !   Dog food disappeared into his small tummy  (and still does! ) as if inhaled, and his tail wagged gratefully as one paw artfully held on to his bowl in case it were to walk away! Dear little Boss started to “morph”…. His log tail grew longer, his ears a bit more up before the flop, his legs increasingly and impossibly long and his paws huge….. His pointed little face becoming a little more square…..subsequently, his new nick-name is….MARMADUKE!

 

Could this little, skinny, angel be turning into a Great Dane look alike ?

 

As I write this Mr. Boss has just started to loose his baby teeth, which according to the experts makes him around four months old and…..Are you ready for this?

He already weighs 40 pounds !!!!

 

His endearing personality and enthusiasm for life is quite contagious…In the mornings when he comes upstairs for his morning cuddle I hear thump, thump, thump, I know that baby “Marmaduke” Boss in on the stairs ready to make a goony bird type landing on our bed… after all, he only learnt how to jump up on the bed three days ago.   Before this  weekend, his arrival would be accompanied by pathetic squeaks as he would rest his enormous paws on the bed and looked squarely into my face demanding to be helped up on to the bed immediately.

 

When the other four dogs come up the stairs, usually a bit ahead of the baby, it is accompanied by a whooshing sound as they lightly tread on the steps, but Boss makes his arrival known well ahead of time with his very distinctive, heavy, step.

 

As many of you know, we have lots of animals in our household, and manners and consideration for each other is required from one and all. Poor Boss, he is having quite a time getting a handle on this concept… The budgerigars in my study sit peacefully on their perch in their Victorian cage, quietly chirping to one another in blissful conversation…that is until Boss comes flying into my den, ears flapping…he eyes the cage with an unhealthy gleam and rushes over putting his front paws up on the cage, the birds flap furiously in protest as I scream from my desk for him to stop. He instantly stops, puts his front paws back on the floor looking very contrite as if the devil made him do it and he simply can’t fathom out where that kind of uncultured behaviour came from, all of a sudden out of the blue…

 

Boss is crate trained, at night, after a nightly walk, and several hugs and cuddles we walk over to his crate, nice and roomy and cozy with a bed and toys in it. He takes his midnight snack to bed with him, cuddles down and goes fast to sleep. He truly loves his crate and if we can’t find him playing with the others we know where to look. Little Boss would have taken himself off to bed and will be snuggled down in his bed dreaming the dreams that only four-month-old puppies know how to dream.

 

Add to this adorable ever growing little man, four more dogs and you begin to get a picture of life in my house.

 

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Good morning Mom

The alpha dog, fiercely trying to ensure that his position in that regard NOT be usurped by Street dog “Bella” (the only girl, and one tough cookie), is Chief. Chief weighs 85 pounds and was picked up off Blake Road, we think that his birthday is in March, so he will turn 5 years old very soon… Chief was brought up by our most beloved Swiss Mountain Dog, Star, who died of cancer, tragically, when she was five years old. Star was a very vocal dog, and barked, squeaked and rumbled to us to make her desires known, she taught Chief this art…next in line is Black Labrador Buddy, the sweetest, most mellow, sociable fellow anybody could hope to meet.

 

These two splendid, best friends, were joined this summer by firstly Garmin and then Bella…Garmin was chosen because he was clearly the ugliest puppy we had at the shelter and I did not think that he would find a home. I went into the puppy playground with Grand Bahamas Humane Society Executive Director, Tip Burrows, to show her around, not to adopt mind you…and this scruffy, skinny, huge eared, rat-tailed little pup, sat down in front of me and stared me down. I looked away hoping he would go off and play, when I looked back he had not moved a muscle and was still staring: I picked him up and as I moved him closer to me I heard this huge sigh….The rest is history.


Garmin is Tip Burrows’s “God dog” and he has turned into a beautiful 50 pound potcake with a slightly turned up nose, a perpetual smile and a swagger about him. He was named Garmin in honour of the radar because his ears were so very big, he has, alas, grown into his ears. He has come a long way from an old broken up baby carriage in Balls Alley, where he drank from puddles and ate bugs to a beautiful intelligent lover boy, full of licks and wags.

 

Next up was “Bella”, everybody tried to catch Bella on West Bay Street, she ran amok amongst the cars, narrowly missing being squashed daily… finally a humane trap stuffed with stinky sardines did the trick and she was brought into the shelter. When my son heard that the little black and white dog had been caught, he was most insistent that we give her a home as he had stopped his car on many an occasion and tried to coax her into safety, he told me that he felt responsible for her! Bella did not take to home life right away and made it rather clear that she would far prefer to live on the wild side, trotting independent down West Bay Street, the breeze in her ears, dodging cars and breathing in exhaust fumes.

 

Her first weeks here were spent trying to convince her that she was far better off with us, gradually over the weeks she has begun to mellow and finally I think that I can safely say that she is settled in with us, and has bonded with the canine and human family…She however remains a very strong willed and hard headed young lady…Though she sports a fancy lilac leather collar with silver embossed hearts on it she remains a tom boy at heart. She is the smallest weighing in at 45 pounds.

 

So here is the ready-made family that little Boss walked into on Boxing Day, a little shy, a bit unsure of himself, perhaps even frightened…all those concerns are put way behind him now. He stomped into the house a while ago, a little muddy, with his new collar missing…. Extensive searches in the garden have not turned up the missing collar, so he now sports a “Big Boy” Swiss leather collar with cows on it… I think he walks a little taller, proud of his new “badge of office”. Right now, He lies curled up on the carpet, pretending to sleep, when I know that actually he is eyeing the budgies in their cage…they know too as they rather tweet at him and not between themselves.….He knows better than to disturb the blissful peace that reigns in the house right now…

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All together: Twenty Paws


All 20 paws lie scattered about my den, the odd snore, or sleep walking woof can be heard…how I wish I could have more of their fellow canines…but at least I can look around and I feel good that five hearts are beating happily, five tummies are full and five tails have a good reason to wag, and 20 paws will start moving around the minute I get up from my desk.  They have tomorrow to look forward to, digging in the garden, barking at the people walking by, scaring the garbage truck (he ALWAYS drives away, doesn’t he?)…and lots of love and attention from a bunch of adoring humans…

 

And Boss. Aka, Marmaduke ?….I will let you know just how much that little Potcake who arrived on Boxing Day finally weights !

 

About the author: Kim Aranha grew up in the Berry Islands with her first dog, a beloved potcake named “Friendly” (who was anything but!). First educated at home, and then in boarding school in Switzerland, Kim moved to Rome, Italy in 1974 to pursue a career in the dramatic arts and ended up working as an interpreter. She moved back to The Bahamas in 1980, and now lives in Nassau with her husband Paul, and their two grown sons. Kim has 5 dogs, 2 goldfish, 12 fresh water  turtles, 1 Asian box turtle and 3 Budgerigars. Her idea of relaxing is being home to take care of all her pets. Kim is President of the Bahamas Humane Society, and serves on the board of BREEF, and is co-chairman of the Bahamas Sea Turtle Conservation Group. Kim can be contacted at berryislandgirl@gmail.com

 


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