…yeah, you knew it was coming.
Those of you who are my Facebook friends saw the picture of our new pup yesterday, but for those who aren’t, let’s give it up for Pax, who just upped the ante for the canine team at our house.
We’ve had a longstanding love for Australian Shepherds, the rock stars of the herding breeds. We adore their intelligence, energy, beauty and loyalty. While Rousseau was an Australian Shepherd/Springer Spaniel hybrid (here is a completely cool black & white variation of his breed), he favored the Aussie look.
Some interesting facts, if you’re in the mood:
1. Australian Shepherds do not come from Australia. They were likely brought to Australian sheep farms from either Spain or Germany. How exactly they were bred into their current form is unknown.
2. Aussies come in 16 color variants. Here’s a basic chart.
3. They are particularly prone to hip dysplasia and deafness.
4. The Aussie’s closest relative is the Scottish Collie.
Six-year-old Pax’s owner passed away, and since no family could/would take him, he was remanded to the local shelter. We don’t know how long he languished there (long enough for them to shear off all his matted fur), but he had recently been taken into foster care by a woman who owned two other Aussies. She told us that he appeared depressed, and showed no interest in eating, no matter what she did to coax him. He was not thriving.
Enter the Thriller, who sent me an Aussie rescue link on 11 August, saying “Looky here…” Three days later, we brought Pax home.
The good news is that he’s taken to his new diet (Blue Buffalo with a spoonful of pumpkin puree, twice a day) like a duck to water. He’s eating like a pig. I’m noticing he takes extra care with his hip joints when lying down or getting up; this could be arthritic behavior, or it could be that he’s just skin and bone back there, and lying down hurts after a while. I hope it’s the latter. We have yet to get him in to see the vet for the full Monty check-up.
Last night, we had some moderate-to-slightly-serious “play” fights between Pax and Remy. This morning, we’ve had three play sessions between them, and so far, no flip-outs or ceremonial Dominance Dancing.
I’ve done one training session with Pax, and he’s another little smarty. He already knew how to sit and lie down, but “stay” was a new concept altogether. When we would go to take Remy out, Pax would have his nose right at the screen door, ready to bolt. He learned the “stay” command in no time. I think we’re on the way to being a family here.
Again, thanks for your concern over the past few days, and all your messages of encouragement. It means the world!