Monday, November 23, 2009
Marley and Me
She is so awesome it's ridiculous. I've had some amazing dogs as pets in my lifetime, but I think Marley is going to show far greater potential. My childhood dog named Blueberry lived until I was in my early 20's. I was around five when she was brought home to us and she was smarter than any dog I had ever encountered. She understood most of what I said to her verbally and unspoken. She was a Border Collie mixed with Australian Sheppard.
I think Marley is going to be like Blueberry in many ways, but of course she is entirely unique in other ways that are surprising me day to day. I can easily kill an afternoon playing with her...actually we all can. Caitlin, myself, Ben, and our friends all spend a considerable amount of time playing with her.
Marley is half Rhodesian Ridgeback and half American Pit Bull Terrier. She is gorgeous and very smart, almost too smart. She certainly is all puppy still turning six months old today, but she weighs in at 60lbs already and looks full grown. It's not surprising given her father's size. He is the Rhodesian half weighing about 120lbs, so freakishly big and incredibly goofy. Marley has that goofiness about her too.
Her mother, the pit half, is a calm, sweet, and generally mellow dog. Put the two together and you get Marley, a sweet rambunctious goofball who definitely has the mellow side. She also has a bit of a stubborn streak mixed with part lazy. She requires discipline for sure but once something is off limits she respects the rule. We've left our shoes and personal affects out which would be ever so tempting for most dogs, but she hasn't touched them ever. She seems to know already that they are not to be played with.
She has been housebroken since she was three months old and knows all the standard dog stuff like sit, stay, lie down, roll over, etc... She knows the difference between her bone and her ball. She will bring which ever one you ask her to find which is something new since this weekend. I taught her that in about 10 minutes this Sunday.
But here is something that has really blown my mind about how intelligent this dog is. She has taken the initiative to answer the phone when we can't. Today she took the phone off the receiver and brought it to Caitlin while she was in the shower. It was incredible! I've been coming home some evenings to find the phone off the hook and figured Marley was knocking it off, but I didn't know she was actually trying to answer it!
When I called the house this morning Marley answered the phone. I got a lot of heavy breathing and muffled shuffling around and I kept saying hello thinking it was Caitlin sleeping after knocking the phone off the hook. But not too long after, she called my office and the first thing I asked her was where was she. She said she was in the shower and that's when I asked "Did Marley by chance bring you the phone?" Caitlin said "Yeah!" and we both died laughing.
So needless to say I am in love with my dog and can't wait to turn her into a trusty trail companion. Sweet!
And finally I would love to tell you what I learned about Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They were first introduced into Africa in an effort to create a superior hunting dog that would be courageous, steadfast, level headed, intelligent, and loyal to family(their pack). Their ability to track lions and keep them at bay until the hunters had the chance to catch up and finish them off was fine tuned into the breed.
Because they are not nervous dogs they are confident and unlikely to be the dog that picks the fight. Ridgebacks are more likely to observe and avoid rather than get in a quarrel with a dog not interested in a good romp. Marley has learned this lesson and will give another dog plenty of space if that is what it wants.
They have speed, agility, stamina, and can go the distance. This is one of the reasons I think Marley will be an awesome trail dog because she has it all. Good looks, smarts, bravery, loyalty, and a ton of fun. :) Yeah I love my dawg.