I marvelled at how Shyhound almost immediately relaxed around our various parents and siblings. He didn’t seem particularly interested in my step-father, so I deduced that family members must smell similar to a dog.
He immediately accepted Wonderman’s parents and my mother as his superiors, but Teenage Sister appeared to be another puppy to him. No wonder, she was teasing him with her toys as well as his…

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As rawhide is to dogs what chewing gum is to humans, the canine equivalent of us watching television has to be a dog gazing out the window to his house/ apartment. Banjo has the attention span of a two-year old child, but he enjoys people-watching from our living room window. At first he was too small to reach, so we put a wicker basket underneath for him to climb upon. Now he is big enough to not need a step, but he’ll still climb up onto a chair to look out. He’s quite good about not barking at people– too bad he’ll bark his head off at anyone who dares come too close to us on the street…

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Our dog trainer said that Banjo is like the nerd at the back of the classroom, handing out answers to the algebra test to the rest of the class.

Mine is a curious puppy.  I wouldn’t describe him as a old professor, but he likes to explore the world, and usually with his mouth. A couple of weeks ago, much to our concerned amusement, we discovered that he has helped himself to a large portion of our sofa, underneath the cushions… the tricky bugger!

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Banjo’s tail is broken.

When he’s relaxed it looks like a broken arrow; when he’s boisterous, it’s curved, like a cane.

Our first vet said it was probably slammed in a door, but our new vet says it’s a congenital defect, because he has sensation in it and it is perfectly hairy.

Someone (and someone who really ought to know better, as she is a trainee dog trainer) asked me if I curled it.(WHAT?!?!)

I don’t like the word ‘defect’ and have always been fond of his crooked tail.  It gives him character (not that he needs it), but now that I know it wasn’t because some arsehole hurt him, I love it even more!

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I am desperately trying to take the perfect photo which captures Banjo’s ears in all their glory.

They are pointed like a German Shepherd’s, and are firmly-fixed at the base, but the tips flop like a Labrador’s, and the inside skin is a dusty pink.  Like a deer’s.

The result is that my little guy’s ears are like the blooms of a flower, or a cabbage.

Like his eyes, they are beautiful and expressive, except the effect is comical rather than soulful

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Banjo had a growth on his foot, and there was a tiny, tiny chance it was cancer.

I was a bit freaked out, even though I knew cancer was unlikely. He had an operation yesterday to remove it, and, as it turns out, no biopsy was necessary.

*phew*

Anyway, to cut a long story short, he’s wearing a clear lampshade collar, so looks like a space-age Elizabethan.

We’ve been to the emergency vet twice in the middle of the night, and he’s in a bit of pain but is on the mend.

He’ll be back to his usual bouncing, noisy self in no time!

The pink sock and masking tape was a makeshift bandage when he managed to shake off the one the vet gave him…

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I don’t have a power animal like some of my friends, but I will tell you this: I love dogs and the mere sight of one makes me beam. And the larger the dog, the larger my grin.

I’ve always loved large dogs, especially Labradors, so I guess that Labs are the closest thing I’ve ever had to a Power Animal. Who couldn’t love their sweet nature and eagerness to please? Only a Lab would put up with my naughty little sister pulling his tail and climbing on his back.

But I have a new love and respect for Greyhounds, now that I have my little doogle.

To my surprise, I even see the charm of having a tiny dog now that I have joined the yuppie masses at Puppy Playgroup: here, you socialise your pup with others, ranging from a 2lb Yorkie to a 40lb Bernese Mountain dog mix. (At 25lbs as of Saturday, Banjo is somewhere in the middle, and we are on track for around 65lbs when fully grown).

Meeting other dogs and their owners has made me see the charm of any breed (although large mongrels remain my favourites) because, let’s face it, there is nothing quite like a roomful of puppies running around, crashing into your legs – or ankles, in some cases – and jumping on each other.

Suffice to say, the mere thought of Banjo brings a crooked smile to my face, and sometimes I get a little verklempt at how much I love this mischievous, curious puppy.  I guess that makes him my power animal!

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I picked out the name Banjo long before my dear little furry friend was even conceived. I don’t play the banjo, but I do like its merry twang. It’s both earnest and playful, and I imagined  our future dog wearing a red bandanna and trotting along happily, tongue hanging out, to a doo-wacka-doo-wacka soundtrack.

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I have a dog! He’s called Banjo, and he’s a 9-week-old, a labrador*/ shepherd mix, and currently weighs 7.8lbs… he’s supposed to get up to about 60-70lbs.
Wonderman and I thought we were going just to pick out a puppy, but they wanted us to take him within a few days to make room for new animals who needed to be rescued.
Although we’d been reading up on puppies and dogs for the previous six months, we were completely unprepared as a result, but a few hours later we had food, a crate, food and water bowls and a couple of squeaky toys.

He howled all night long the first night (separation from his littermates); we had to clean up diarrhoea at 3am; but every other night since has been uneventful.
He’s already learned that his crate is his special safe place, and therefore won’t soil it– instead, when he’s sleeping in it at night, he gently whines to let us know he needs to pee or poop.  Now that he’s crate-trained we’re tackling the house-training issue…

He already knows his name, and will come when called. He’s really smart! He is eager to please, but the sight of an empty plastic bottle which Wonderman made into a “toy” made him freeze in terror.  When he runs, he falls over his feet, or else lollops like a rabbit.

We’re sleep-deprived, covered in $hit and that wonderful puppy smell *swoon*

*EDIT: Since this first posting many moons ago, Banjo has grown noticeably into a Greyhound mix. It’s possible that he has some Lab in him, as the shelter who rescued him swore his (feral) mother was a Lab. He undoubtedly has Shepherd in him, but is predominantly (howl-bark, coat, legs, temperament) Greyhound. SH(epherd-gre)YHOUND: I dub thee, Shyhound!

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