Well, dog #2 is home with the Fishers. As I write, Boomer is happy and contented, hasn’t ripped anyone’s throat out, dashed in front of an oncoming truck, or swallowed the dining room whole. He is just placidly trundling around the house, mildly observing the kids as they hurl their bodies at him. He is a one-year-old brindle English Mastiff, and was raised with three little kids and another English Mastiff. His dog pal was older and died, and that’s why he needed a new home: he was just lonely while his people were away all day.
1. He came with an electric fence system, which is wonderful and amazing. These always sounded barbaric to me. I was imagining a paranoid, cringing animal getting zapped constantly; but actually, it’s no big deal. We plugged in the central unit in the hallway near the back door and set the perimeter size. When he wants to go out, we put the special collar on, and off he goes. It buzzes and beeps to warn him that he’s getting too close to the perimeter, so he just goes, “Nope” and turns around. So far, so good! I still get nervous when I see him bounding toward the road, but he stops when he gets to the boundary.
2. His head is e-nor-mous.
It’s just begging for a derby, or possibly — what do you call it, one of those squashy hats that urchins selling newspapers would wear.
3. Probably we wouldn’t have chosen the name “Boomer,” although it does suit his ponderous ways. I just can’t shake the memory of a Florence King essay which featured a lesbian and her large and hearty partner named, you guessed it, Boomer. Oh well, it’ll pass.
4. The kids keep saying in a wondering voice, “He’s not biting me at all!” Although they loved Shane, we just could not break him of mouthing on the kids. He just couldn’t get it through his head that we didn’t want to be chewed on. He thought it was hilarious, even when he drew blood, and it was a constant, serious aggravation for all of us; and honestly, some days, I felt like there was an enemy living in our house. It’s very hard to be good to an animal who is hurting your kids, even if it’s minor and unintentional. So Boomer’s non-bitey ways are a big, big, BIG big big relief. Boomer is older, he’s fixed, and he’s just not a spaz. He doesn’t even try to steal the baby’s food. We got to eat dinner without (a) having our food stolen or (b) hearing whining and screaming and frantic pawing at the door the entire time we were eating. It’s kind of like paradise.
5. I couldn’t figure out what he reminds me of, but it suddenly hit me: a heraldic lion. Or, a Samurai mask. Or something on a totem pole from the Pacific Northwest. Or, I don’t know what! I guess he just looks like a dog. Benny (age 2) saw him and said, “A bear!” There is something almost stylized about him — maybe because he is so ridiculously muscular, but he doesn’t actually do anything. He will charge around for a while outside and make some noise, but then he wants to come in and sit on his blankie. Yeah, kind of like this:
He also has these completely gratuitous stripes, where are clearly only there to make him fancy. (Actually, they make him almost invisible in the woods. Very tricky!)
6. The only thing is, he’s spent most of his life on a rural country road, where it was kind of a big deal if a car goes by, and it was totally appropriate to bark your fool head off to warn everybody. We, on the other hand, live on a highway. A rather busy highway. So, you see where this leaves us all. But it’s okay, because we’re not constantly getting bitten. It’s amazing how much grace that buys you.
7. Sorry there aren’t more pictures. Here is another picture of Ferdinand:
So there you have it! Dog dog dog. Don’t forget to check out everyone else’s 7 Quick Takes – and say a quick prayer for Jennifer, who is sick and not up to writing her own quick takes.