Monday, July 18, 2011

Puppy's Unusual Features

There were a couple of things that stood out about Zoe when I took her home from the Humane Society. Things I didn't know before I adopted her at seven to eight months old. The most obvious was that she was missing part of her tongue. The vet assured me it must have been an old injury. Seriously?! I thought I had a defective dog missing a chunk of her tongue on the right side. It didn't stop her from licking my hand or playing ball. If anything she was more outgoing and independent.

Speaking of playing ball, I had to teach her about toys. Whoever raised puppy did so without balls or squeaky toys or sticks. Zoe had no concept of play. I would toss her a ball and she would look at me like it was a cactus. "Ball - what's that?" was the look she gave me. I was beside myself. I called my Dad and asked him what to do. I never had a dog that didn't know how to play. My Dad said, "If you enjoy doing something, your dog will learn from you and take a cue from your actions and love it too." He was right. Each night I would work with her rolling the ball toward her and praising her when she paid attention to it. Soon she was catching the ball, doing flips in the air and bouncing the ball off her nose like a soccer player. Ball was love.

What I found so appealing about Zoe initially was that she didn't bark at me when I approached her pen at the Humane Society. All the other dogs joined in a barking match to see who would be the loudest of them all. Zoe refrained. She came up to the chain-link door and looked at me. Even when she was at home with me, she didn't bark. She made an unusual noise. Puppy yodeled. That was one of the clues that she was a Basenji.

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