Happy Birthday Meeko!

This past weekend Meeko turned 1 year old!

Looking back at the time when I first brought her home, I was anxiously awaiting the rest of my grad school decisions, knowing that I would be moving homes that summer either way. I asked Meeko if she would be my “grad school puppy” envisioning her terrorizing the halls of some university, probably shredding someone’s paper.

After a rough Spring of not getting into any school, hiding two dogs from our landlord, and living with a new roommate after Ashwin moved, Meeko joined me on the adventure of a lifetime! I’ve actually just finished writing a short story loosely based on my cross country road trip. I’m sure that whole experience will inspire many more stories for me in the future.

While all the traveling and moving apartments interrupted Meeko’s training, leaving her ‘behind’ Snickers in terms of how many tricks she knows, we certainly made up for it in socialization! At 1 year old, Meeko has met more people, babies, and dogs than Snickers has in her first 10 years. The result is an outgoing Sheltie who shines at the dog park, befriending humans and dogs of all shapes and sizes. The only thing Meeko has shown fear of is Ashwin playing guitar. “You can’t stare at her when you’re soloing! You’re scaring her!” But with lots of treats and reassurance, Meeko is improving.

As I use up the last of the puppy food, I wonder what lies ahead for Meeko’s second year. Maybe I should hope for a less hectic year for her, but if I get into a graduate program, we’ll be moving and adapting to a new city(town? village?) and a new climate all over again. Whatever the case, I’m sure Meeko will be up for another adventure!

She is full grown at 16″ tall and weighing about 17 pounds. Her full adult coat will come in throughout her second year.

Happy Birthday crazy dog!

22 Days: Meeko is driving me crazy

Things she has ripped up or eaten in the past few days: pajama shorts, pair of socks, 6 undies, one shoe and a bra.

I decided to sell her metal puppy crate and have been transitioning her to a canvas travel crate. It has zipper-doors and a top that zips open so she can pop her head out and look around in the car. Her most recent feast of Jackie clothing happened because she managed to hop out of her crate through a small opening in the top. I had left a bit of it un–zippered so that she wouldn’t get too hot. She spent her next four hours of freedom going through my laundry basket and “redecorating” my room with shredded clothes. Thanks Meeko!

As for the bra, yes, she actually ate it. I know this because Monday morning as I was trying to get ready for work she puked it up, one piece at a time. She didn’t even chew the straps, she just ate them whole, like angel hair pasta. Yes, you really needed that visual.

She’s getting spayed this Thursday, maybe that will calm her down a bit?? No offense Ms. Meeko, but the world doesn’t need any crazy puppies from you!


Puppy Timeline part 2

When puppies are very young, they don’t really bark. They squeak.

Once a week all throughout December, my boyfriend, Snickers, and I made trips out to see the Sheltie litter at Merlyn Kennels. Very soon, the two female puppies knew that we were there to see them. They would jump at their pen and lick our hands while the boys in the litter would continue falling on top of each other and knocking over their water dish. I felt like a proud parent– They are just so smart! We knew from the beginning that the breeder would be keeping one of the female puppies to become the next matriarch in her line of show dogs. Essentially, whichever puppy best represented what the Sheltie breed aims for, in looks, personality, etc., would be the one she would keep.

I’ll be honest, I had fallen in love with the other female puppy. I’d tentatively named her Bianca, from Disney’s The Rescuer’s. Eva Gabor does the voice for the character, a Hungarian mouse who works in a mouse-version of the UN. (If you have never seen this movie, please do) This puppy walked around like she was the prettiest thing ever, and she was always posing. The other female puppy seemed to have little interest in me–she’d rather play with a toy by herself than let me pet her. The breeder explained that just like human kids, puppies can go through awkward phases where they are emotionally ‘behind’ or have little interest in humans. This was hard to accept when Bianca seemed genuinely interested in interacting with me (and Snickers, despite the many growls and snaps that came her way). I crossed my fingers, hoping for Bianca.

Finally, right before the puppies’ 10 week birthday, we stopped in for our visit. “Here’s your puppy!” the breeder greeted us. I studied the puppy–which one was it? Looking quickly, it could be tough to figure out who was who, their colours and markings were quite similar. I remembered that Bianca’s feet were white only on her paws. This puppy’s feet, legs and chest were all pure fuzzy white.

I asked how she made the decision of which puppy to keep. She explained that “my puppy” was beautiful, and had perfect markings for a show dog. In fact, there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. Unfortunately, the markings that would make her a great show dog carried potential problems for her future puppies. If my puppy were bred, there was a risk that her puppies could be born with all white faces, or large amounts of white in their fur. Not only would this disqualify them for showing purposes, but the genetics that cause white faces in Shelties often cause blindness or deafness. So, while puppy Bianca was not as “technically” beautiful in the world of show dogs, she was the more ideal candidate for producing show quality puppies.

Hiding my disappointment with a smile, I reached out for my new puppy, unsure of what to expect from her, let alone what to name her!

Puppy Timeline Part 1

There has always been a Sheltie in my life. When I was really little, we had Gallie, an oversized Sheltie with an overbite. When I fell down a ditch into a riverbed, she ran back to our house barking at my Mom until she followed Gallie to my rescue, Lassie-style. Turns out ‘Gallie’ was short for ‘Galleria,’ as in the mall. When I discovered this I felt genuinely bad for her.

Then there was Misty, aka Moose. I was in 6th grade and my biggest wish was finally coming true– my parents told my sister and I that we could each get our own dog. I had my heart set on another Sheltie, while my sister was debating between a Beagle or a Jack Russell based solely on the cuteness of their faces. My Mom, sister and I drove out to the first breeder we’d gotten in contact with. She bred show dogs, and had one puppy left from her latest litter of champions. I remember sitting on her couch, listening to the sounds of about ten Shelties barking at us from outside, when she placed a tiny Sable Sheltie into my lap. The breeder began to explain that she was the runt of the litter, and that she would probably stay pretty small. I looked down and the puppy had fallen asleep stretched out across my lap. I sensed this dog and I had something special, so I whispered to my Mom that we didn’t need to look anymore. Moose was my “soul Sheltie,” like a soul mate only fuzzier.

While I was still in college, Moose had sudden kidney failure and passed away at the young age of 10. My sister’s puppy pick, Snickers, was depressed for weeks. At meal times, she kept waiting for Moose to sneak up and steal her food. She looked for her in every room. When I graduated from college, I became the only family member that was in a position to take Snickers. I moved her down to Pittsburgh, happy to have a dog back in my life. But the idea of having another Sheltie was always in the back of my mind.

After several phone calls, emails, and begging, I finally found Meeko’s breeder at Merlyn Kennels. She had a litter of Sable puppies due at the end of October 2011. There were five total, three boys and two girls. We started visiting the puppies once a week in December, not knowing which of the two girls we would get.


Meet the dogs!

This reflects their personalities perfectly

HI. I’M MEEKO. I am full of mischief. I like to find paper and then tear it into teeny tiny pieces. I also like to chase things. If it moves, it’s a sheep. Soccer ball? Sheep. Human feet trying to go down the stairs? Sheep. Snickers? Sheep.

OH! That’s right, this is Snickers. She is my big sister. Except we’re not related. But we do everything together, and she’s showing me how to not go to the bathroom inside. She makes this face at me a lot, like I’m bothering her or something. WHY WON’T YOU CHASE ME??

I just chased my first herd of ducks. That’s why I look so pleased with myself. At first they just waddled away from me, but then I ran and barked and then they all shot up in the air and that was a little scary. Jackie laughed at me. My feelings were hurt but then I forgot.

Now it’s naptime.

Deep Z's
I don't always sleep on suitcases, but when I do, I tuck my feet and nose into the handles.