I've been holding off posting this on my blog because I wasn't sure how I felt about this until recently: this is the latest addition to our family:
She's a chihuahua-poodle mix, and her name Alyx derives from the Greek name Alexis, meaning defender of man. Yes, I have a fondness for irony. :D She was a gift, from an ex, which I was highly reluctant to accept in the first place, because I was quite sure I wasn't over the loss of Cookie.
It took over a week of tears and bitter recriminations before I finally went to pick up the pup he'd already paid for and wasn't in town to collect, even if I didn't want it. Rather apprehensively, I stared at the new puppy the breeder handed over to me and the cousin that had come along with me for the pick up, in a box.
The puppy stared curiously up at us, and I felt nothing but numbness inside, and maybe a desperate fear that its presence in my life would mean me forgetting my best friend of so many years, the dog I had just lost. So I just decided to bring her home and decide what my next action would be.
Turns out the puppy was and still is quite the vocal little thing. She was howling at 9 weeks, on top of chittering, chirping, barking, outright shrieking and yipping. Sleep quickly became an alien concept after the first fortnight I got her.
She quickly got attached to me, much to my despair, and our original assumption that she was too small to climb the stairs was quickly dispelled. Just two attempts later, with much determination, she scaled them. Also note that in this picture of her on the stairs, you can see how one of her once-floppy ears started straightening out.
On her first trip to the vet, I was informed that the strange flaky, balding patches on her were the result of what the vet referred to as a "fungal infection". Since she was so tiny, we were sent home with this anti-fungal, anti-bacterial shampoo to bathe her bi-weekly with. That obviously did not make her appreciate baths more, and since the shampoo needed to be left on for 10 minutes after lathering up, did make me feel rather bad at making her stand around cold, wet and shivering.
We found out that she's quite the food-loving puppy, pretty much eating anything and EVERYTHING she can get her mouth onto. That, coupled with the fact that she seems pretty intelligent, has proven to be immensely useful in getting her to pick up tricks, something I had very limited success with the extremely stubborn Cookie.
We're working our way through this list, although I'm taking it rather slowly, as I didn't see a need to pressure her into learning things that were more entertaining than useful. She does, however, pick up most of them under 5 minutes, and remembers verbal cues quite well. It's just that I lack the dedication or the heart to put her through a strict curriculum for these things...
Her ears both straightened out two weeks ago, and there were plenty of comments about how terrier-like she was starting to look. My father in particular, being from the school of thought that pure-breeds were better, found her appearance unattractive and unimpressive. He said she resembled a stray on the streets... I knew I was getting fond on this little ball of energy when I told him a dog's worth was in the companionship it provided, not its blood-line.
Just two days ago, the ear that initially straightened up first... Started flopping back down. We're not too sure how she will eventually look as mixed-breeds tend to be rather unpredictable in this sort of thing, but I find the current single ear-flop extremely endearing.
Her fur is also highly-unusual, and has gotten quite a few comments from people, including her bemused vet who spent a good five minutes running her hands through it, marvelling at its strangeness. She seems to have two separate coats, a soft downy tan one under-coat, and an unusual frizzy white longer coat ticked with black over that... it gives her a rather shaggy appearance that I find very lovable.
One thing I really like about Alyx is that unlike many dogs, she truly adores playing with all her toys, from simple toilet paper rolls to this deformed bouncy, squeaky creature we call Duckie.
Unfortunately her skin hasn't improved in all the weeks we've been feeding her high-quality kibble, so I had to switch her to a raw diet. We're going to see if it helps her, since the suspected cause for her bad skin is sensitivity to naturally-occurring yeasts found on all dogs, which is aggravated by a diet that happens to have sugars or carbs. I'm actually quite frustrated by this issue as Cookie never had any of this in all the years we had her with us.
Either way, Miss Alyx isn't complaining. She eats anything, after all, although she does seem to quite like this new diet change in comparison to the horrible dry kibble she was given previously (which she enthusiastically crunches through anyway).
Then again, I'm seriously dubious of her taste in edibles. She's eaten my Beats earphones, a HDD-drive mini-USB cable, and my Boombotix Rex's micro-USB cable, on top of various other random items we have to prise out from between her jaws on almost a daily basis (used toilet paper, newspaper, bittergourd, soiled socks, plastic bags, rattan baskets, floor rags, toilet floor tiles, grass, my oregano plant, among other things).
Anyway, all this aside, Alyx has been quite a joy to have around the house. She's no replacement for Cookie, being a very different dog with her own personality, and I look forward to more days getting to know this spirited little creature.
Stay tuned for puppy updates... I foresee much hilarity in the near future.