Friday, August 2, 2013

Prologue: Newbie and The Murr

I never had a dog growing up.  My mom, as she now tells me, was taught by her mother to "be afraid of anything with four legs."  I remember several times in my childhood when my dad, a doctor with many a terminal patient, came home to let us know that Patient X had offered him a dog or puppy.  My brothers and I would get excited, but my mom shot down the idea instantaneously.  So we never had a dog.  We had birds for a few years.  Two lovebirds, also from one of my dad's patients, who spent their lives with us confined to a cage, where they would fornicate while we watched the weekly MTV Top Ten Countdown.   They weren't really pets to us; the closest we got to petting them was touching Yoshi's crooked beak while Hiroko hid in a corner.  Incidentally, when my parents got divorced a few years ago, my dad said that he would get a dog once the divorce was over, and last December he adopted a 60 pound Goldendoodle named Homer.

Which is to say that Murray (or The Murr, as we endearingly call him) is my first dog.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick." - Teddy Roosevelt
"Bark loudly and carry a big stick." - The Murr

We adopted him in March 2011 and have spent fewer than 10 days away from him since.  He is one hell of a first dog, too, and I am learning more from this little guy than I ever thought I could.

Like many other rescues, he came with some baggage and a story or two or twelve and that can easily define him.  But now we're working on not letting it define him; not letting his rescue status be used as an excuse for lunging on leash at a person who approaches.  So instead of some long sob story, because he rarely makes me sob, here are ten facts about the Murr.

  • His call name, Murray, is that of the dog from Mad About You.  We wanted an "old Jewish man name" and J suggested Murray.  Two weeks later I realized he put a fast one on me.  That's what happens when, as he says, I "spent the 1990s living under a rock."
  • His registered name is Paved With Good Intentions, which is a Mad About You episode title.  When we registered The Murr with AKC, the name "Murray" was taken and so we decided to give him a fancypants showdog name.  We looked at every Mad About You episode title and narrowed it down to "The Man Who Said Hello," "Puma in the Kitchen," and "Paved With Good Intentions."  If you know or meet Murray, you will agree that we chose correctly.
  • He is registered with the AKC as an "All American/Mixed Breed Dog."  I have since been told by nearly a dozen people that he could have "ILP'd as a Havanese" and by one person that he could have "ILP'd as a Wirehaired Dachshund."  But he's a mutt in our eyes and the eyes of the AKC.  When people ask, though, we do say that we think he's a "Havaweenie" because portmanteau names make me laugh.
  • We adopted The Murr when he was 1.5 years old.  We are his sixth house and he was an owner surrender.  Everything else that we know about his history is speculation. 
  • He is 8.75" at the shoulders and at about 10.5 pounds.  His waistline is svelte but he has thunder thighs like no other.  Muscular, muscular thunder thighs.
  • We have been feeding The Murr raw since summer 2012.  I am no longer grossed out by organs or tripe.
  • His favorite agility "jackpot treat" is In-N-Out Burger's "Flying Dutchman."  I keep kosher.
  • My brother thinks that The Murr looks like Steve Carrell.  I think that The Murr looks like my maternal grandfather.
  • The Murr has one archnemesis, Homer.  Not my dad's dog, but a yorkie who lives around the corner from us.  He is frequently on the balcony of his townhouse when we are walking The Murr, and the two of them both spaz out at each other.
  • The Murr makes makes us laugh no less than twice a day.  

I decided to blog to share our trials and tribulations as we participate in the world of agility.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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