The decision to rescue a dog, who goes by the pseudonyms Noodles and Snakes, depending on the context, was without a doubt one of the best decisions I have made in the last few years.
His second birthday, according to his adoption paperwork, was this past Valentine’s day. I have reason to suspect that he was actually born about a week or two later than that due to some developmental benchmarks that he didn’t quite meet, but that doesn’t really matter.
He was listed as a husky/shepherd mix, and the rescue organization told us verbally that his mother was a pure-bred husky. They were uncertain of his paternal ancestry, but speculated that he was a german shepherd based on his coloration.
The general morphology of Noodles’ siblings appeared to suggest german shepherd, but they were all completely black. Noodles was different, having coloration suggestive of a german shepherd, but the general body shape of a corgi.
Dogs are interesting in that different puppies from the same litter can have different fathers, or so I have read. That may account for his different appearance. The agency may have also been incorrect in identifying his mother- she may have also been a mutt. Since Noodles has some morphological characteristics that are almost exclusive to huskies (dorsal cape, extreme webbing of the toes, ear shape, etc.), he does not superficially resemble a husky. Given the presence of these characteristics, I think it is safe to say that he has some husky lineage.
When we adopted him he had short legs, but we assumed that they would grow to become more proportionate, but they never did. Short-leggedness is a result of a particular gene, and from what I understand, almost exclusively occurs in spitz-type dogs. It is possible that he has dwarfism, but more likely he is part corgi. He has some other traits, such as ear size and hair distribution, that are usually found in certain lines of corgis. As such, we think it is fairly safe to assume that he is part corgi.
So the best guess that we have is that a corgi/german shepherd cross ended up doing the naughty business with a husky-dominant mutt.
He has heterochromia, which is a big fancy word for “different colored eyes.” Every time I take him into public, people ask me about it, the most common question being, “can he see out of both eyes?” He can. Heterochromia is very common in dogs, and also occurs in people of European ancestry.
His general demeanor is very positive, and he is extremely energetic without being too destructive. He is very aware of people, and responds extremely well to verbal commands and hand gestures. When we are out in public or in an unfamiliar place, he tends to observe my behavior and defer to my judgement. When we are in a familiar place, he can become stubborn and will pull on his leash, as if he knows where we are going and thinks I am walking too slowly.
His instincts seem to trend toward herding rather than hunting, and he tries to micromanage our two cats at all times. He is very aware of what we are doing at all times, and will run to the door if he gets any indication that my wife or I are about to leave the house. He seems to understand that different objects that we take with us correlate to different amounts of time that we will be gone: for instance, if I leave the house with just my keys, he doesn’t freak out too much. If I leave my house with my school bag, he freaks the fuck right out. And recently when I got my military boots out of storage, he must have assumed I was going to start 12 hour shifts again, because he threw himself in front of the door and cried.
Noodles has a job, which is to help prevent me from experiencing a certain psychiatric symptom. Although he was originally going to be approved by my psychiatrist as a service dog, that particular symptom seems to be managed with medication. So now I pretty much just let him be a dog. In theory, I could take him to classes with me, but I don’t because I worry it would stress him out needlessly, and I have gotten my shit together well enough to not have a psychiatric episode in class. Nonetheless, he is trained well enough to do such work if the need ever arises. He is also a good watch-dog, and will alert if anyone approaches the house. Although he only weighs 39lbs, he sounds very much like a full-sized german shepherd when he barks.
I adopted a positive-reinforcement training philosophy that would probably make Caesar Milan hate me. I don’t buy into the whole “dogs are pack animals that need a dominant leader” thing. This is not to say that I did not teach my dog “no.” He very much knows what that word means. We tried crate training for like a day, but it was obviously stressful for him. Some people swear that it works, and I am sure it does for some dogs. Noodles usually sleeps in whatever room I am in, sometimes on the floor and sometimes on the furniture, based on his own preference.
He is addicted to television, and likes to watch videos of dogs and cats. When he seems bored, I sometimes put “cat fails” or “corgi compilation” into YouTube and let him watch that.
His favorite toy is a stuffed fox made out of a bit of firehose. He also likes every ball ever.
One of my cats loves him. The other, not so much.
He does like to dig holes in the yard, which is pretty much the only non-desireable aspect of his personality. But he seems to enjoy it, so I just fill them back in as needed. Another minor problem is his tendency to jump on people he really likes. I am working with him on this.
I keep him up to date on vaccinations and registration, and have all of his paperwork well-filed and easily accessible.
So yeah. That pretty much covers the basics. I have an awesome dog.