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This Day in My History

2000:  Hey, Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?
2001:  Oh, for a Piano
2002:  When Worlds Collide
2003:  Pitter Patter of Big Feet
2004:  We Will Always Be Connected to Each Other
Week ONE?
2006:  The Solid Gold Dog


Books Read in 2007

Updated 2/28:
"The Cat Who Turned Off and On"


"Dakota After One Week"

Dakota, 1 week later
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31 March 2007

I was thinking about Konrad Lorenz this afternoon.  (Awww... c'mon.  Doesn't everybody think about Konrad Lorenz?)  Years and years ago, when I was working for UC Berkeley, I read one of his books, probably "King Solomon's Ring" (but it might have been a different one).  It was about animal behavior and I remember essentially nothing about it except that I learned about "imprinting."

Imprinting is the reason why baby geese follow the first moving being they see after birth.  As described by Wikipedia,

Working with greylag geese, Lorenz demonstrated how incubator-hatched geese would imprint on the first suitable moving stimulus they saw within what he called a "critical period" of about 36 hours shortly after hatching. Most famously, the goslings would imprint on Lorenz himself (more specifically, on his wading boots), and he is often depicted being followed by a gaggle of geese who had imprinted on him. Filial imprinting is not restricted to animals that are able to follow their parents, however; in child development the term is used to refer to the process by which a baby learns who its mother and father are.

As Dakota follows me everywhere, and insists on being in my lap whenever I sit down, I've become more convinced that she thinks of me as her mother.  I give in to her because she has no siblings, unlike all the other puppies we've raised.  I like looking down in the crook of my arm and seeing that tiny little thing conked out, happy as a lamb, or watching her running across the back yard toward me when I call "puppypuppypuppy..." in a high voice.

I will be sad to see this one go.

"Sad to see this one go" does not translate to "tempted to keep this one."

I have reached a point where there are puppies I just love to death and puppies I take care of because they are here, but never really bond with.  But I consider myself a caretaker, not someone who is in the market for expanding the family.  These are sweet little babies that I get to see at their youngest, their cutest, their most vulnerable, and then give away when they become all teeth and claws.  I may get a few tears when I give them away.  I may rush up to Petco when they go up to adoption to see how they've grown since I last saw them, but since Peanut's death, I am never tempted to adopt a puppy. 

I am like the surrogate mother who goes through a pregnancy for someone else, knowing all along that at the end of the pregnancy she will turn the baby over to someone who will love it and give it a great home, and raise it to adulthood.  They each deserve their chance to be a one-person dog, not part of the pack here.

I still wonder what Dakota's parentage is.  She is developing these wrinkle folds on her nose, the side of her head, and across the top of her head.  As I told Ashley, she looks like a Sharpei-wannabe, but I know Sharpei puppies are born with their wrinkles and grow into them.  (they are also larger than Dakota).

Look at the size of those paws.  Even at the age of this pup, she could give Dakota a big wallop, since Dakota has such relatively small paws.

Dakota seemed genuinely glad to see me when I returned from Cousins' Day.  She licked me all over, grabbed me with her teeth, but didn't bite, crawled all over me, tail wagging a mile a minute, and then gave a huge sigh and fell asleep with her nose buried in my armpit.  It was all very flattering and very sweet.

The one thing I've discovered is that puppies at this age mature at an incredible rate.  Dakota made a huge step forward today.  I've been leaving the back door opened and she spent most of the day sleeping on a pillow by the door, waking, going outside to pee, and then wandering all over the yard sniffing everything.  This is the first day that she has spent so much time outside.  It was just a laid-back day and all the dogs seemed to enjoy the sun.




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