Mulder

by Marcel on June 10, 2008

Some of you may have been surprised to see the puppy pictures in the gallery 2 and wondered where that wild animal came from. You’re probably wondering “Have those cosmic vagabonds finally settled down, and why would they want a doggie”? Well to answer your question in the best way I know how I thought I’d just blog it. So here it is- Mulder’s story.

I’ve always had cats growing up and thought someday when I have a house I’d like to have a dog too. There are two major reasons for this, companionship and security. A dog is man’s best friend, and nothing else tells a burglar to buzz off like a badass barking dog. Of course I still want a cat too and we are working on that, but for now we have our hands full with a very energetic puppy.

Shortly after we bought our house last winter we started our search for a doggie. As usual when it comes to big decisions we flip-flopped around quite a bit. I saw some Mastiff puppies on Craigslist that were adorable but they can get up to 200 pounds. We considered fostering dogs that were looking for a home to “get practice” but never got around to it. We found a cute Jack Russell mix puppy that we really liked but someone adopted him while we were flip-flopping about what to do. Charlotte and I both liked the size and attitude of pit bulls but were afraid that if we have kids that breed of dog could potentially become aggressive when we were not around. What to do, what to do?

Finally after seeing many dogs at the pound and online we saw two really cute puppies up for adoption at Petco in mid January 2008. The brothers were originally from a pound in Bend OR and somehow ended up with a local adoption agency in Portland. The one we liked had adorable coloring but was very rowdy in his kennel and just had a poopy accident when we got there. I knew he would be trouble but he really had a striking look about him and lots of energy. His brother was handsome too but much lighter in complexion and smaller. We decided to take the little guy they called Yogi for a walk; our first official walk with any dog. Like most dogs he pulled on the leash dragging us all over the place until he finally squatted down in the middle of the road to do his business. We were both a bit shocked at the time and didn’t know what to do so we just irresponsibly left the doody in the road for someone to run over or step on, :))! I guess we just expected him to be trained and well behaved; actually we didn’t know what to expect. When we went back inside everyone was saying how cute he was and few other people were interested in walking him so we had to make a decision quick. After a short huddle we decided to make a leap of faith and took soon to be renamed Yogi  home with us.

The paperwork said Yogi was a husky mix weighing in at 18 pounds, but this was obviously for the wrong dog, and that name had to go. The adoption folks said they thought he was a 4 month old hound-shepherd mix that had all his shots and deworming. They also said we could expect him to get about 40-50 pounds, which was ok with us. This of course was all guesswork and we were skeptical since they didn’t even have the correct paperwork, so basically we were starting fresh.

I found a medium sized dog crate on <a href=”http://www.craigslist.org”>Craigslist</a> that night for cheap and went to pick it up that night. Isn’t craigslist awesome! We played the name game all night and finally decided to name him Mulder, after Fox Mulder on the X-Files. Charlotte wasn’t keen on the name at first but after I started calling our little mysterious puppy Mulder the name just stuck. He also has quite a few nicknames such as Destructo, The Wild Animal, and Mr. Licky or Mr. Sniffy. Charlotte has a few of her own like Moldy Boy, The Most Handsomest Dog Ever, Little Big Doggy, The Distinguished Gentledog, and Malder. Fox Mulder weighed in at 25 pounds the first week we took him home, 35 pounds after a month, and then continued to gain about 2 pounds a week for the first 3 months. Most people that saw him and his big paws would say “oh he is gonna be big”. We weren’t sure what “big” was going to be but he is now about 65 pounds at almost 9 months old. His growth has slowed significantly but he will surely fill out a little more and likely gain another 10-20 pounds. So much for the predictions from the adoption agency :lalala:

The first night we took Mulder home he whined and howled all night :zz: We were very frustrated and questioning if we made the right decision to get a dog. The second night he was better but he continued to have accidents all week, both number 1 and 2. By the end of the week we were really frustrated and almost took him back to the adoption agency. After a long discussion and looking into his sad hound dog eyes we decided that we would make 100% effort to do whatever it took to train agent Mulder. The first month was the hardest but he has vastly improved since then. The potty incidents are all in the past, but he still gets rowdy and occasionally play bites. He is really smart, but also energetic and stubborn which makes training a challenge. We have watched lots of “The Dog Whisperer” shows and also taken an 8 week dog training course at Pet Smart where he has learned all sorts of tricks.

We still aren’t sure what mix he is. The original Hound-Shepherd assessment that the adoption agency told us is the most common consensus. We’ve heard all of the following and more- Beagle, Coon Hound, German Shepherd, Rottweiller, Hound, Doberman, and Lab. He does walk like a Rott and have similar markings on his face. His body colors are that of a Shepherd, but his build is like a Doberman. He uses his paws more than any dog I’ve ever seen which is more like a Boxer. He is very sniffy which shows his hound side. His face and ears look like a Beagle. He has always had a big deep bark, but can sometimes howl like a hound dog. Although he can be very playful and friendly he quickly switches to guard dog mode whenever there is a new sound or knock on the door. The vet said he could very well be a mix of 3 or 4 types of dog, fondly referred to as “Heinz 57”. It’s amazing he looks like he could be a pedigree dog even though he is definitely not a purebred mix. Sometimes when he is in a chewing frenzy or having a zoomie (running back and forth erratically) we suspect he might be part hyena or coyote, hence the nickname Wild AnimalU-( Other times we have seen him grazing in the back yard and wonder if he is part goat:>> Everyone loves Mulder and always asks what breed his is. We usually just say it’s an X-File! Personally I think he has some Rott in him, along with coon hound, and maybe lab or shepard, but who knows :??:

Once we committed ourselves to making Mulder part of the family our attitudes about dogs completely changed. During this transformation we made an interesting observation that there are two types of people in the world, dog people and non-dog people. We are dog people now! We also discovered that Portland is a dog-town. Apparently there is 1 dog for every 4 people in Portland! We now notice pet stores that we never paid attention to before, found out where all the dog parks are, read about dog restaurants, resorts, and events. All of a sudden our quiet orderly lifestyle has transformed into a doggie dog world.

We can’t always include Mulder in our activities but we try to take him to cool dog events, hiking, fishing, and local shops that allow dogs. We also go to the Dog Park a couple times a week where it’s always fun to see all the doggies, and we have met some cool people there too.  The Dog Park is really an interesting place which has become a part of our weekly activities, and a big part of Mulder’s socialization and development. I have so much to say about it that I will probably just write a separate Dog Park blog in the future. There are many stores and markets around Portland that allow dogs such as Home Depot, Hollywood video, and all pet stores. There is even a bar/brewery here called the <a href=”http://www.luckylab.com/”>Lucky Lab</a> where you can hang out with your pooch while enjoying a cold microbrew and some pub grub.

The coolest dog event we have gone to is the <a href=”http://www.oregonhumane.org/doggiedash”>Doggie Dash</a>. It’s an annual race at the downtown Willamette River waterfront in Portland where dogs and their owners can run a two mile race for the benefit of the Oregon Humane Society. Mulder and I ran the two mile loop while dodging landmines of dog-doo. We ran hard but didn’t win since many people in Portland (US home base of Nike and Addias) are hardcore runners. The race wasn’t timed or official anyway and the real fun for Mulder was mingling with all the other dogs and getting lots of free goodies from all the vendor booths. Mulder even entered the weirdest Mutt Mix contest but lost to some very good competition.  After the event we went to the always fun <a href=”http://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/”>Portland Saturday Market</a> where Mulder enjoyed all the new sights, sounds, and most importantly smells. Coming up later this year is the Dog Daze at PGE Baseball park where the Portland Beavers play and Dogtoberfest. We missed the Pug Crawl and Dog Brew fest in Newport but will be sure to visit those next year. We’re always on the lookout for more dog activities and usually check this site for the latest in our area. <a href=”http://portlandpooch.com/ “> Portlandpooch.com</a>

In the last few months we have learned a lot of information that has been very valuable such as what types of foods to buy and not buy. Just like any industry advertising can be very deceptive. It’s amazing how much crappy food is out there for pets. As you might expect most foods in conventional grocery stores is garbage just like the majority of human food they sell. We try to eat fresh foods and organic stuff as much as possible and likewise we get the best foods for our doggie. No by-product pieces and parts for Mulder, we’ll leave that stuff for big name brand pet foods, McDonalds, and Taco Bell.  Right now we are feeding him Blue Buffalo, Natural Ultramix, and By Nature (not to be confused with other products that have the name Nature in it). We’ve found out that Costco also has nutritious dog food which happens to be priced good as well. Costco is the rare exception to a retailer that has quality dog food, along with other foods; they are based in the environmentally conscious PNW so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Along with good dog food we’ve found there are plenty of foods to avoid giving your dog. Some common household foods can be downright poisonous to your dog. The worst culprits are chocolate, raisons, grapes, avocados, caffeine, alcohol, onions, walnuts, macadamias, nutmeg, tomatoes, some fruit seeds like apple seeds, cherry pits, plum pits, corn cobs, and artificial sweeteners found in gum and other products. Additionally there are lots of foods to avoid giving to dogs like garlic, too much liver, anything fried or salty, ham and bacon which are fatty, egg whites, chicken bones, too much dairy, and pennies which contain zinc that is harmful to dogs. Not that you would feed your dog a penny but they will eat anything left laying around, even their own poopyXX( There are many lists out there with different opinions but for the most part these items are on most lists. There are also good foods to give your dog. Many fruits and veggies are good for your dog as long as they are chopped up and the seeds removed. Apples, strawberries, bananas, watermelon, carrots, lettuce, raw pumpkin, but remember NO Grapes or raisons. Lean unflavored meats like turkey and chicken and limited amounts of yogurt or cottage cheese can be good too. If in doubt about a certain food just don’t give it to the dog or research it first. Here are a few links of interest.

<a href=”http://www.lacetoleather.com/fataltodogs.html “>Bad foods for your Dog link</a>
<a href=”http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24544541/”>More Bad people Foods for your Dog</a>
<a href=”http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Foods-Dangerous-for-Your-Dog”>One more Dangerous foods article</a>
<a href=”http://www.api4animals.org/facts.php?p=359&amp;more=1″>Everything you have never wanted to know about commercial dogfood</a>
On the homefront things are always interesting. I was working odd hours in my previous job so Mulder almost always had company until recently. Now when we leave for the day we usually turn the radio on so he doesn’t feel alone all day. For the most part he’s adapted well to us both working bankers’ hours as long as he gets his daily “W” (walk). We have to say “W” or spell out w-a-l-k when talking beforehand otherwise his head will perk up and he will excitedly run to the door in anticipation. Sometimes I take him rollerblading or biking with me. As he got bigger we eventually had a biking accident, and just recently a big rollerblading crash too. He’s really too big for me to control now so I might just have to stick to jogging with him from now on. We’ve found that daily exercise is the key to good behavior. A tired doggie is a good doggie.

All in all it’s not easy or cheap having a dog. We had to get him shots again since we were never sure he had them before. There was the license, microchip, training classes, and a trip to the vet for an ear infection. We bought a dog crate and then the bigger dog crate, now he doesn’t need a crate at all, except for the occasional time-out from bad behavior. He quickly outgrew his first leash and collar. There are dozens of chew toys in the living room and he gets different treats along with a few luxury items like a doggie backpack. The doggie door is an ongoing conversation but in the meantime he has a bell taped up to the door that he dings with his nose when he needs out, which sometimes isn’t a need but a want. It’s a complicated doggie world but we are learning and he is learning how to adapt to our lifestyle as well. Looking back I can’t imagine how boring our lives would be in this house without Mulder. In some ways it’s a more restrictive lifestyle because we can’t’ just take off for a weekend trip or leave the house for more than 8 hours a day. On the other hand after buying a house we don’t have much extra money for traveling anyway. Besides he is always excited to see us and we are uplifted by his zest for life and happiness to be around us, which more than makes up for any inconveniences. I suppose in many ways having a dog is like having a kid except you can leave them alone for 8 hours or so while you work, but you can’t take them with you everywhere you go like you can with kids. Maybe what we need now is a kid that we can train to take care of the dog. Somehow just like getting a dog I bet that having a kid is not going to be as easy as it sounds, but like having a dog the rewards should far outweigh the hardships :D

<img src=”http://www.cosmicadventure.com/images/ArcadiaBeach.jpg” alt=”The Family at Arcadia Beach on the Oregon Coast” title=”Arcadia Beach” />

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