Bear Settles In—and We Hang on for the Ride.
Several people commented and asked about Bear after the first blog on December 13, so it seems an update is called for. I’m happy to report that our sweet new boy is definitely part of the family now (though you might hear a protest from Princess-kitty Turtle, who has yet to grant the royal seal of approval).
We’re having a great time taking Bear out hiking, and he clearly loves it. Though not a fan of water—he tiptoes around puddles—he went delirious with joy when we recently took him snowshoeing on Mt. Baker. He went plunging into the deep snow, spun circles around us, rolled, and took a few tasty bites, then settled into rhythm with us. He’s so densely and nonreflectively black that against the white stuff, he looks like an opaque photo negative of a polar bear.
Thor has dubbed him Bipolar Bear: As I earlier reported, Bear is a mellow fellow—most of the time. When we took him to meet our vet, who has five of her own rescue dogs, we learned that strays and rescue dogs are often rather subdued the first couple of weeks in a new or trial home. Then, when they feel secure, they let down their hair, so to speak. Oh, yeah. Bear, who is probably about two, is still very puppyish when excited, which means when we first get home, when he thinks a walk is imminent, when he spots a squirrel, when he just feels happy…. The first time he went into a whirling dervish routine in the back yard, leaping straight into the air and then running circles around me like the Tasmanian Devil as the radius of the circle tightened and tightened, I was a bit alarmed. But he’s smart and eager to please, and he’s learning the “Down” command.
The main thing is to make sure he gets his daily exercise, and local rambles do us all good. Check out that purple tongue! Everyone on the trails asks, “What breed is he?” Our vet is guessing a black Chow-Golden Retriever mix. Which is a bittersweet link to our beloved departed Worf, a Golden.
On the feline front, our tuxedo guy Tucker has gotten pretty casual about the new dog in the house—they warily circle around each other, Tucker running from any sudden movements, but Bear is smart and has figured out that he needs to be respectful. He was very anxious to get closer to Tucker, and finally was allowed to sniff Tucker’s butt. “Okay, that’s who this little creature is,” Bear seemed to say, satisfied, and now Tucker has reciprocated in the sniffing department. Princess Turtle is another story—still Very wary of this big rambunctious creature, though she adored Worf. The cats have their own gated areas of the house, where she mostly hangs out, but she’s making more forays into dog territory, so hopefully they will reach détente.
I understand her caution. Bear has massive jaws and loves to attack squeaky toys, which he usually rips open and de-squeaks within five minutes. We’ve ordered replacement squeakers in bulk to stuff back into the mangled toys and keep him occupied.
We are all adjusting to the new routines, alternately exhausted or rejuvenated keeping up this active youngster. One thing for sure, sharing the great outdoors with our curious, eager new boy brings out the sunshine on our winter outings, even in the rainy Northwest.