You’ve seen mention of her in previous blogs.
Her official name is Allee et Venues du [kennel name withheld], which in French means “Comings and Goings.”
The name seemed to fit her at the time I gave it to her. She was always in a state of either coming or going — I don’t think, at any given time, even she knew which .
Allie is a Briard.
“What’s a Briard?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you what’s a Briard. A french sheepdog is what. You may have noticed the smoothness with which I gave that answer. That’s because I’m quite practiced at it. It rolls off my tongue like a lemon filled eclair. That’s because I utter the phrase ten times if I utter it once whenever we take a walk. Or go to PetsMart or the dog park.
The conversation goes something like this:
“Cute dog. What kind is it?”
“It’s a Briard.”
Head cocks in a question. Sometimes they’ll repeat it aloud. “A Briard?”
But I know it’s coming so I usually beat ‘em to the punch line: “A French sheepdog.”
Sometimes I get “Hey, it’s the Winn-Dixie dog!” (It’s not.)
Cute dog, but it’s not a Briard.
Sometimes I get: “Hey, Married with Children, right?” (Right.) Or Dennis the Menace.
Right again. Top Dog? You betcha.
Once I even got, “Is that a purebred?” Not that it matters to me, but the answer is yes and I said as much. “No,” they said. “That’s not a purebred.” She IS, but their doubt is understandable. I mean, just look at her:
Believe me. I’m no dog snob. The purebred thing doesn’t matter one iota. I love a good mutt as much as the next guy and I’m all about adopting strays and homeless dogs. My husband and I have had our share of pound puppies. (Remind me to tell you about Maggie sometime.)
But 30 some years ago I had my first encounter with a Briard, and it was love at first sight. It was another 20 years before I was able to get one of my own, but the longing never left me.
So when we finally moved to a place with a few spare acres, and all the other conditions screamed for our first Briard acquisition, we welcomed Fletcher into our lives . . . and he was worth the wait. And every penny. And every chewed up shoe, and that expensive trip to the vet for a series of enemas after he swallowed (more like inhaled) corn cobs. But that’s another Shaggy Dog story entirely! Good old Fletch gave me a lot of material to blog about before his untimely exit from our lives. We had him for eight short years.
It wasn’t long enough.
Where was I? Sniff. Sniff. Oh, yeah. There’s a reason I brought up Allie. She’s great. I even see the occasional sign of brilliance in her . . . when she’s not being a total goofball.
But it’s that goofball part of her nature I want to discuss here because, if I’m not mistaken, there are others reading this who have faced their share of canine behavior problems too. Since there’s no 12-Step program out there (please correct me if I’m wrong) for those of us who share this common bond of dog ownership — be it a blessing or a curse — I thought this could serve as a “meeting place” for our own little support group — a place where we can come and share.
So, I’ll begin. Hi. I’m Beth … and I’m a dog owner.
One ongoing issue Jaime and I have had with Allie is . . . jumping. The dog weighs 85 pounds and towers over me when she stands on her hind legs! You can imagine the problems this creates when she indulges in her habit of greeting us at the door with an enthusiastic jump!
And picture this: Me being helplessly dragged by said 85 pounds worth of dog flesh across the park whenever Allie zeroes in on another canine in the vicinity! There have actually been times I’ve had to sit down — literally plop my keister firmly on the ground and hang on for dear life! Sorry, no photos. I’m just fortunate that my husband isn’t into photo ops!
But we have learned a few things throughout the years that have made our lives with Allie a lot easier . . . things we’d like to share lest all my suffering and humiliation be for naught.
So, I’ll start with jumping issue. Read on.