MURRY STUFF

About five years ago, we shipped a Juno/Striker male pup to the Bob Lazar family in Richmond, VA. Murry was five years old on January 11, 2009. Bob has been so generous in giving us regular updates on "Murry's" progress, and he sends us Murry essay's and the letter below, written to us by Murry.

Note: Murry suffered a slight birth injury, in that his Mom was having trouble delivering him, and I had to give a real "tug" on his protruding leg in order to "save" him. The Lazar's took him knowing his rear foot was slightly "off" due to this life saving experience, and Murry could not have a better home.

ALL PRAISE TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER FOR GOOD FRIENDS & GOOD DOGS!
(Received 2-6-09 from Bob Lazar - Richmond, VA)
 

Murry at Five    

     Itís been a couple of years since I wrote my last ďMurry essayĒ. Heís now five years old and itís interesting to compare the adult Murry to the puppy. The most striking thing is how little Murryís behavior has changed over the years. He still has the same energy, enthusiasm and zest for life he had when we first brought him into our home. Murry still puts 100% into everything he does. If heís fetching a toy, he dives off the bed, using his hind legs to catapult off the mattress. If he can intercept the throw by twirling into the air to snatch it, he will do so. If he suspects a squirrel in the backyard, he races down the steps, growling and hunting down anything invading his territory. Murryís intense, goal directed behavior is always full throttle.

    Murryís everyday behaviors havenít changed much either. He still does the endearing things that charmed us so as a puppy. For example, right now he is sleeping under the blankets on my bed. He loves to tunnel under covers, mostly to keep warm but heíll do it year round. I suppose he feels more secure that way, not to mention a heck of a lot warmer. Murryís bed has its own blanket. He has become so proficient at covering himself with his blanket sometimes weíre not sure heís under there.

     Thatís not to say that Murry sleeps there all the time. He still likes to snuggle up next to me, resting his little head on my chest or hip. Or when Iím on the couch, Murry likes to perch on my abdomen or chest, just as he did when he was small enough to hold in my hand.

     Murry still loves to follow me where ever I go. If I go downstairs, he follows. If Iím getting into the car, he wants to as well. You can sense his disappointment when I have to leave him at home. He loves going for walks. His favorite is walking the trail behind our house where he can run without a leash. Another favorite activity is chasing the frisbee. Weíve had a large one which we are just about to replace that is too big for him to catch but he loves running it down, flipping it over with his nose and returning it for more. Almost always, Murry wants to play more while Iím exhausted, and heís the one doing all the running!

     Although Murry has remained the same in many ways he has also matured into an obedient and skillful dog. Most importantly Murry follows the command ďCome!Ē extremely well. He knows his boundaries and usually abides by them. For instance, in front of our house Murry must stay out of the street, and only in the three yards to our left. Every once in a while he breaks a rule, nearly giving me a heart attack in the process, but as Iíve written before, I would rather he made a few mistakes and learned how to be safe than hope that heíll never escape into the front. I limit his trips out there and fortunately we donít live on a busy street. One behavior he doesnít do as much is chasing cars. Fortunately, he has always done this by running in the yard, not in the street. In the last yard is a fenced-in small dog that Murry used to visit (Murry loves to socialize with other dogs.) I think that dog passed away but occasionally Murry still looks for him or her. Murry doesnít forget old friends.

     Although Murry is obedient, he also has a mind of his own. He doesnít do everything we say or want. For example at night he likes to sleep in his own bed, not with me. He can be very insistent about getting me to play with him, grabbing my hand with his paws and putting it on the toy. Occasionally he sneaks for an excursion into the neighborís yard to see whatís up. Those are just a few examples.

     Murry has been and always will be a Type A personality. He continues to be an extremely effective guard dog. Constantly aware of anything new or different, Murry growls at anyone walking by our house. Heaven help visitors! Fortunately he never bites. We tell visitors that you can become Murryís friend instantaneously as soon as you play with him. Murryís newest nemesis is fire. Due to the cold weather weíre using our fireplace and every time a log shifts or the fire flares up, Murry is off the couch growling and barking. Nothing escapes his attention.

     Murry has learned many tricks over the years. Once he learns a trick he never forgets it. My wife, Laurie, has worked wonders with him. Her favorite is getting Murry to run around in circles five times, while jumping over an obstacle each lap. Murry is highly motivated by food, but Iíve never met a dog who wanted to please as much as Murry does. I have a problem with my feet that makes them very sensitive to the touch. Therefore, by saying ďStay off my feet!Ē Murry has learned to jump over them to avoid contact. He does this even when he is playing, and for no other reward other than the fact that itís the way I want it to be.

     Murry understands more words than any dog I have ever known. We spoke to Murry not much differently than we spoke to our son Aaron when he was a toddler. Now Murry understands complete sentences like, ďGo downstairs and get your toy out of the toy boxĒ. (Yes, Murry has his own box of toys. He opens the lid with his snout and can often be seen perusing which object to bring out to play.) Some of the phrases he understands are ďGet Back!Ē, ďDo you want dinner?Ē, ďLetís go out!Ē, ďWanna go for a walk?Ē,ĒGame over!Ē and ďWhat do good dogs get?Ē

     Ever since he was a puppy, Murry has enjoyed playing games, some of which he makes up himself. The ďhand gameĒ where we wrestle was first initiated by him shortly after he arrived. One of his more recent games is ďBeat the FrisbeeĒ. In this game Murry tries to get to where Iím throwing the frisbee before it even gets there. One of his strategies is dropping the frisbee far enough from me for him to get a head start but close enough to me so that Iíll pick it up. People have commented how hilarious he looks carrying the frisbee in his mouth that is almost as big as he is. With the new, smaller frisbee, I hope to teach him to catch it.

     Murryís attitude toward expressions of affection is ďIíd rather play.Ē He can be extremely affectionate or aloof. Lately we think his newfound passion for licking indicates some kind of affection, perhaps a way to bond with us. This licking sometimes gets out of hand. He will lick the same spot on my face for fifteen minutes if I let him. Although Murry takes the affection we are constantly showering on him for granted, if we hold back that affection he suddenly becomes Mr. Cuddly.

     Murry is somewhat of a clothes-horse. My wife has indulged him with all kinds of shirts, sweaters, and coats since he was a puppy. Mostly because his short hair makes him cold, Murry appreciates the extra warmth these garments provide. Of course he enjoys the extra attention he gets for looking so cute!

     One thing that hasnít changed is how each day Murry finds a way to make us laugh and smile. I am so proud of what a fine dog he has become. I have never had a closer relationship with an animal. Murry trusts me completely and thatís something I feel really good about.

(Received 7-28-06 from Bob Lazar - Richmond, VA) 

Murry Goes on a Sleepover

Murry has spent only one night in someone elseís home, and in that case my wife and I were still the only persons there. For the first time, Murry would be staying as a guest in the home of friends of mine in their company and without Laurie and Aaron. It was sure to be a challenge for a dog who doesnít at first appear to like change in his routine.

Upon arrival, we could not have been there more than five minutes when Murry decided to lift his leg and urinate territorial style on a pillow in my friendís living room. Good dog, Murry! I was embarrassed, to say the least. Murry got a good talkiní to for that! The fact that my friend, Jim and his wife, Liz, owned a puppy had gotten Murry into a competitive mood, I suppose.

Murry seemed to immediately take to Jim in that strange way of his. I had a room to myself downstairs and every time Jim would come down the steps Murry would bark like the guard dog he is, even though he knew it was Jim and he was excited to see him. I think he recognized Jim as leader of the pack of this house. All night long, however, Murry growled at every little noise he heard, waking me constantly, so I didnít get a good nightís sleep.

Jim also runs a small kennel and keeps 3 large dogs on his property in the country which he allows to run free sometimes. They were a little too wild for Murryís tastes and Murry spent most of the next day avoiding them. I had to leave Murry with Jim and his adorable nine year old daughter Caitlin while I took a quick ride up to Maryland to visit my Dad. When I returned Murry received rave reviews for his game playing ways. Evidently, heís good with a soccer ball, too.

The next night Murry had completely adjusted to being at this new house. He was tuckered out by playing so much during the day that he was ready to go to sleep during the early evening and he didnít growl once during the night!

The following day, the entire family and I went out on Jimís beautiful boat on the Potomac Creek, but for safety purposes we had to leave Murry behind. This would be the first time he would be left alone in someone elseís home. When we returned several hours later, he was happy to see us return and I was just as glad to see no damage, etc. Everything had gone perfectly. I was so proud of my boy!

Caitlin seemed to get a real kick out of Murry because her puppy isnít old enough or domesticated enough to play games with her. Iím glad Murry does so well with children. He engages them in play and when heís not included, he insists on being part of the action.

Well, it was time to say goodby to my friends and Murry was eager to jump back in the car. Although we both had a wonderful time, we were ready for the familiarity of our old home and the company of Laurie and Aaron. But I told Murry next time the Green family will come to visit us!

 

Murry the Imperfect Dog

A friend of mine asked me the other day if I thought Murryís breeder had taken advantage of me by selling me a puppy with a deformity to his foot. I countered that I had been informed, and that we both shared responsibility in the matter, and in any case, it was water well under the bridge. I did not know at the time the extent of the deformity to Murryís foot, and I made no attempt to find out.

Upon further reflection I was not surprised to find that what happened with Murry was not unique. In my career as a teacher of emotionally disturbed children and adolescents I had the opportunity to forge meaningful relationships with some very special kids. Yes, most of these students had their problems and imperfections, but like diamonds in the rough, there were many that shined brightly and uniquely. How often I was able to find so much good in so-called "imperfect" people.

So true it is with Murry. Had I chose to say no, I never would have had the chance to own the dog of a lifetime, all for the sake of a deformed foot. What a waste! I remember telling Charlie at the time my reasoning for taking Murry: "Each of us comes to this world with at least one cross to bear", I wrote him, "and I suppose that foot will be Murryís, so send him up!" I had seen pictures of Murry and I was already in love with him so nothing was going to stop me.

Murry doesnít let the foot stop him either. Since he has had it all his life, he pays absolutely no attention to it, other than keeping it clean (Murry, like most toy manchester terriers likes to keep himself as clean as a cat). If he feels like running on three legs, no problem, he can move quite quickly on three, thank you. If he is chasing a frisbee, for example, he goes into four wheel drive. Our only concern is that the pad he has developed on the bottom of his foot is not a real one and we must avoid getting it infected. If it does, he might lose his leg. To keep this from happening we keep him off asphalt and cement surfaces where abrasion might take place. Luckily we have some space behind our backyard where Murry can run free, with a surface of grass and sand, and no worry of cars. There is nothing Murry loves more than the freedom of running around this space. We are working all the time on obeying commands when he is "off the leash" and he has made great progress. Murry has very strong instincts which sometimes get him into trouble but he also has a strong desire to please so there is always a constant battle going on inside his head.

Often adult stop me to ask what kind of dog Murry is, etc. thinking incorrectly that Murry is a pincher or toy Doberman. Children often mistake him for a puppy and inquire about his foot. I casually explain the cause of Murryís "limp" and sometimes I say to them, "Murry is my special ed dog!" They get a good laugh out of that, and no truer words could be said.

 

(Received 7-18-06 from Bob Lazar - Richmond, VA) 

Murry the Guard Dog with a Heart of Gold

Part One: Murry the Ferocious

Nobody likes to play more than Murry but thereís one thing he takes very seriously. It is his full-time job, his professional occupation and a self-imposed obligation to the family he has on his mind 24 hours a day. Murry provides guardian service of our house and property free of charge.

Always alert, always on the prowl, looking for danger at any moment, Murryís big ears are capturing every sound in the environment for a potential threat. Unfortunately, many of these sounds are coming from the television set. It took a long time for Murry to figure out that the door bell on the TV was not the same as the real door bell. And if he hears a dog bark on TV and the sound is realistic enough, he will still bark back in return.

Murry is what you might call hypervigilant. If heís asleep on my bed and someone walks up the stairwell towards my bedroom, he might scream-bark so suddenly and loudly that you will jump right out of your skin and your heart will skip a beat. He just doesnít like being surprised even though 99 out of a 100 times itís either my son or my wife coming up the steps.

Our living room and dining room are on the ground level and face the street. We usually keep these shades closed because Murry doesnít like people walking down the street, especially the ones with dogs. The nerve of them coming near his house!

When the doorbell does ring, Murry flies into action. He canít wait to bark at whatever stranger he thinks he can intimidate. "Does he bite?" some people ask. "Of course not", I reply, "Heís all bark and no bite", which is the truth. Murryís favorite visitors are the UPS man and people who come to repair things in our house. The UPS guy always has packages and with packages are always the potential for treats! Repairmen who actually come into the house are treading in deep water. Sometimes we have to put him in his "cage" to keep Murry away from them. What he really wants is their attention. Are these good guys or bad guys? Murry actually canít wait to meet and get to know new people but he has to put on a show of what a ferocious guard dog he is first. The truth is that heís really just a pussy cat, and in fact the truth comes out when he is confronted by cats.

When Murry was a puppy we owned a cat named Sadie who Murry loved to chase and tease. Sadie was less than mildly amused by having another animal in the house so her tolerance of this new silly creature was limited. When Murry overstepped his bounds and they were out of sight of adults evidently Sadie did something to Murry to make him go into a blood-curdling screaming howl that would make you think his leg had been bit off! I never heard Murry make a noise like that before. And the only time Iíve ever heard him make it since is when he has been in a confrontation with a cat. It will scare the living daylights out of you! Murry high tails it looking for comfort looking horribly injured but in fact Iíve never found a mark on him. Mr. Ferocious has turned out to be a pansy.

Part Two: Mr. Sweetheart

For every "yin" about Murry, there is a "yang". Although he is a "ferocious" guard dog, he is the most gentle and affectionate dog I have ever owned. Murry and I bonded on the very first day I saw him when he was only about 8 weeks old. He snuggled into my lap on the way home from the airport as my son drove home and weíve been best of friends ever since. In those days Murry spent a lot of time sleeping on my chest because he was so small. He still does that occasionally but heís a little too big to do that and be comfortable for long today.

One thing you should know about Murry is that although he recognizes me as leader of the pack, so to speak, he spreads his love around to all members of his "pack", in other words, my wife Laurie and my son, Aaron. He gets just as excited to hear them approaching the back door as he does to hear me. He prefers to sleep with my son or my wife during the evening hours, with me during the daylight hours. He obeys commands from all of us, although he is a bit less obedient with my wife

(no surprise there).

Murry expresses his affection primarily through physical contact. He loves to cuddle up next to me on the bed while Iím watching TV, preferring to tuck himself under my right arm and sometimes resting his little head on my chest or my hip (thatís my favorite). Even when he tunnels under the comforter he will sometimes get right next to me before he plops himself down to settle for a little snooze. Murry takes all the kissing and hugging he gets for granted (heíd rather play) but I notice if he hasnít received any cuddling for a significant period of time he will seek it out, and Murry knows how to get what he wants.

When Iím home Murry is my constant companion. He wants to be wherever I am throughout the day. If Iím taking a shower he waits quietly on the bathmat. If Iím headed outdoors to do some gardening, Murry is ahead of me waiting anxiously at the door to get outside. If he hears me getting my keys, heís ready for a ride in the car. He doesnít get look out the car windows much. He just likes being where I am.

Another way Murry demonstrates affection you might find a little gross. Murry loves to lick people. Thatís the way, I suppose, dogs in a pack form bonds with another. When we say, "Give us a kiss, Murry", he gives us a lick. Sometimes he does this at odd times. Ever since he was a puppy, Murry licks the water off my legs when I get out of the shower. If I have a rash on my arm, heíll go at it like thereís no tomorrow. And sometimes heís just looking for a taste of something good!

One day I was packing my bags and suitcase for a trip I did not want to make. While all this was going on, of course, Murry was following me around, and when there was nothing left to do but wait for the time to leave for the airport, Murry jumped up on the couch, laid down on my chest and had the saddest look in his eyes. He knew I was leaving, probably for a while, and he didnít want me to go I suppose. When I came home a few days later Murry was jumping up and down, licking me all over, running around the house, wagging his tail non-stop and was just the happiest dog you can imagine. If thatís not affection, I donít know what is.

 

  Games Murry Plays
(Received 7-6-06 from Bob Lazar - Richmond, VA)
 

 

     The other day a friend was visiting and, after hearing me brag about what a great dog Murry was, asked me what kind of games Murry likes to play. Well, of course my brain chose that moment to draw a blank and all I could respond with was ďHe likes to chase frisbees.Ē How impressed my friend must have been.

     The truth is Murry lives to play and has never lost his puppy enthusiasm to engage both people and dogs in games. Want to become a friend with Murry quick? Play a game with him! Actually Murry canít catch a large frisbee but he can catch a small one. He also loves to catch tennis balls and even ďthrowsĒ them. Holding the ball with one paw he pushes the ball with his other paw in the direction he wants it to go. Murry likes catching things for one reason only: it gets him to the object that much faster.

      The first game I ever played with Murry was a game that he taught to me when he was just  three months old. In those days he was so small that he often slept on my chest. Using his nose, he engaged my hand in a wrestling match of sorts, where he would grab onto my arm with his paws and attempt to munch on my hand. In opposition I would try to keep him away by pushing his head down or grabbing his snout. As he got older and his teeth got larger I had to teach him the limits of how hard he could gnaw on my hand and arm. This is no game for the timid. Murry has a set of gleaming white sharp ferocious looking chompers, I kid you not! Murry still tries to instigate this game with me once a day. Itís one of his favorites because it lets out his most aggressive energy in a safe way. One thing he learned right away is that when I say ďGame Over!Ē we immediately stop, and he becomes as gentle as a kitten.

     Another of Murryís favorites is chasing things like his babies. Nothing unusual about that except Murryís intensity. Murry doesnít just jump off the bed to get a toy, he dives! He leaps back onto the bed! He doesnít run to get a toy, he races in four wheel drive. Once he gets that toy he shakes it viciously so that its neck is broken in at least three places before heís willing to give it up. And you can play with Murry until heís panting like crazy and youíre totally exhausted and guess what? Heís ready for more!

      Murry doesnít like to be bored. He involves himself in everything people do. If Iím filling up a bucket of water from a spigot, he drinks out of the spigot. It doesnít matter whether heís thirsty or not. If Mom is putting a new garbage bag in the kitchen can and making a rattling sound doing so heís going to play grab the bag. If Dad is putting new sheets on the bed, jump on the bed and grab the sheets. From this behavior we started a silly game called ďOff the bed!Ē I yell ďOff the bed!Ē and he immediately runs off the bed as fast as he can. But as soon as heís off the bed he jumps back on. Then I yell it again, ďOff the Bed!Ē Iím sure you get the picture by now.

      Murry has a special way of running that in and of itself is a game. He knows that we get a kick out of it so he does it to entertain us. When playing off the bed or after a bath or anytime he wants to show off how fast he is, he goes into what we call his ďJack-Rabbit RunĒ. If youíve ever seen a jack rabbit run for his life thatís what Murry looks like. Itís hilarious to watch.

     Murry loves to hunt. He constantly is on guard for any invaders in his backyard. Nothing is allowed in his jurisdiction: no birds, squirrels, and God forbid, cats. He heads out the back door growling and running like a madman if he even suspects thereís something out there that he doesnít approve of.  If he canít find something real he will use objects for his ďhuntĒ. Rolling up the hose becomes a snake slithering in the grass. In the house there are less opportunities to hunt but lately heís become very involved in fly catching. When he sees me bringing out the flyswatter he starts to bark incessantly and tries to catch it with his mouth. Yech! A couple of times he has brought my attention to wasps in the house that I wasnít aware of so that makes up for it.

     A game my wife likes to play with Murry shows off his intelligence. Murry has his own toy box, filled to the brim with what my wife would call his babies, mostly soft toys, each of which has a name. ďGo get Astro, Murry!Ē she said to him the other night. And sure enough he went to the toybox and picked out the toy we call ďAstroĒ. ďNow go get Little Bird!Ē Heís does this because we have always talked to Murry in brief sentences since he was a puppy and he has always had a strong desire to understand and to please.

     Well the second half of the Brazil-France World Cup Soccer match is about to start and Iíve run out of games for now. Iím sure as soon as I stop writing Iíll come up with at least five more. But at least youíve gotten a taste of the games my amaziní Murry plays.


Latest Murry photo received 7-6-06 - Beautiful "show quality" markings and color.

 

   Top Ten Things I Donít Love About Murry
(Received 5-13-06 from Bob Lazar - Richmond, VA)
 

10. Murry pretends that he has to ďgo outĒ (use the backyard to urinate,etc.) when he really is going out there to chase birds, squirrels and cats.

9. Murry expects me to play with him every waking hour of every day, regardless of the fact that there might be something else I have to do besides play with him.

8. Murry likes to do everything I do. When Iím in the garden digging up weeds, he likes to do the same, except he picks out a prized plant.When Iím pruning dead wood off of a tree heís snapping branches with his sharp little teeth. Unfortunately his branches have leaves on them!

7. Murry loves to go with me in the car. But every once in a while, even though I give him a chance to ďgo outĒ before we leave, while waiting for me to run an errand, he takes a dump in the driverís seat just to let me know he didnít like being left in the car.

6. Murry usually obeys the rules but sometimes he can be a little sneaky. Every once in a while he sneaks  under my feet to get out of the backyard gate, doing it so surreptitiously that I never actually know heís out until I hear him barking at our neighbor for being in her own backyard.

5. Murry can be stubborn and rigid at times. When Iím teaching him a new trick he will do everything but the behavior I want him to do even though I know he knows what I want him to do. At the next session he usually does what I was trying to teach him right away. Itís almost as if he was thinking, OK you want me to do that, well Iím not going to!

4. Murry doesnít like to take baths and at bath time he runs and hides from me. In the bathtub he is a reluctant participant but once out heís as happy as a clam, running and jumping and showing off, when Iíve done all the work,.

3. Murry can bark, bark, bark, sometimes it seems he canít stop himself so Iíve had to take measures to calm him down. Sometimes even in a deep sleep he will suddenly wake up with a screaming bark that will scare me right out of my pants. Weíre working on that one.

2. Murry has very high standards for temperature control. The other day I switched blankets from a comforter to a summer blanket but Murry would have nothing to do with it.      ďLet me out of here!Ē he seemed to say as he pointed his nose at the door. As soon as I switched back to the old blanket, his thermal requirements were met and he snuggled himself under the covers and went to sleep. Sorry, Murry!

1.Murry likes to keep himself clean but did you ever wonder how a dog keeps his butt clean? Iíve tried not to wonder about it but Murry likes to sit his butt on a nice soft place like a bed sheet or a blanket, lift his hind legs and use his front legs to scoot along the sheet, leaving a nice little brown streak for you! Then he looks up at you with an expression that says ďDid I do something wrong? Well at least I didnít poop in the house!Ē We have to wipe his little butt to avoid them!

 

 

Murry and Bobís Mini-Adventure
(Received 3-1-06)

Having heard on television of a new trail adjacent to the James River, I chose a chilly Sunday afternoon to ride down to one of the City of Richmondís James River Parks to do some walking. Finding a trail leading south, I immediately began to negotiate steep hills and narrow, winding dirt bike trails. Coming across a fellow traveler, I inquired where the trail led to. It turned out the trail led all the way to downtown Richmond to a place called Belle Isle, more than two miles down river. Even though we werenít prepared for such a hike, I decided to go for it, and off we went.

The weather was cool and breezy and except for the lack of water I felt great. Murry, who was wearing a jacket, kept tugging gently at the leash, encouraging me to keep up the pace. We occasionally came upon other travelers with dogs. Murry was his usual sociable self: He even allowed a big husky German Shepard dog sniff him and as long as the other dogs did not pose a threat, Murry would wag his tail and generally show friendly dog behaviors. We finally reached Belle Isle, hoping to find someone selling something to drink, but to no avail. Belle Isle was the sight of a Union prison camp during the Civil War. Across the way is the Tregadar Iron WorksĖwhere they manufactured cannons and such for battles. The area is dotted with historic sights like that.

Well, it was time to turn around but I began to get concerned about Murry becoming tired and not having water. He was walking most of the time on three legs and I assumed this would wear on him. I decided I would carry him if I felt it became necessary to do so. But to my surprise, Murry resumed the walk and seemed determined not to let me slow down our pace as I tried to do! At one point I stopped and asked someone for water but she didnít have any. So we just kept on walking. I did notice he used his fourth leg a bit more on the way back. But he continued to gently tug at the leash, always ready to move ahead. Because I have not exercised much recently, getting to the top of some of the hills, took much effort, but Murry was patient with me. Finally we reached the top of the end of the trail. My pride in Murry was never greater and I verbally praised him over and over again. He just looked at me with an expression that said, "Whatís the big deal, Dad?" We got back in the car and when we got home, I rushed him to the water bowl and he barely took a sip. I laid on the bed exhausted and Murry went to find a toy, brought it to me and wanted to play fetch. He was by no means ready to finish having fun that day!

 

A NOTE TO WARM YOUR HEART

Dear Grandpa and Grandma, January 2006

Itís getting close to my second birthday (Jan. 11) so I thought I would write you just in case you forgot about me. Iím really enjoying life with the Lazarís. With a name like Lazar, how could I have not hit the jackpot? Daddy likes to take me with him in the car where I mostly just want to sit in his lap. I donít look out of the window much at all. I like being with him everywhere he goes, including the bathroom. When he takes a shower I wait on the bath mat. I like to give him a good licking as soon as he gets out! Iím not crazy about baths myself, though. Mom, Aaron and Dad take turns bathing me so I get one about once a week. When I hear "Do you wanna take a bath?" I run for cover. But after a bath I go crazy, running in circles, hopping and leap frogging around and just showing off what a clean dog I am.

Iím real good at engaging people and other dogs into playful activities and getting Mom, Aaron and Dad involved in play is my full time occupation. Most of the time this involves getting soft toys bringing them and waiting patiently for them to be thrown. Once I get them (always as fast as I possibly can) I shake them back and forth in a violent manner that shortens the life of most of the soft toys I have had. Then I bring them back for more fun. Sometimes we play tug of war. My teeth have gotten really big, sharp and strong. Sometimes Daddy lifts me up in the air because I refuse to give up on a toy.

Despite the problem with my foot, (I often walk around on 3 legs instead of 4) I can jump over the kitchen counter. This got me into big trouble with Mom a few days ago when I was able to grab a hunk of cheese that was on the kitchen counter (not near the edge, either). When Iím playing Frisbee with Aaron and I want to run really fast, I switch to four wheel drive. Donít mean to brag but when I go on all cylinders Iím the fastest dog in the neighborhood. In fact Iím the only dog that gets to run free. I can do this because behind our house is a tract of land that was supposed to be a road but fortunately the road was cancelled leaving a protected green space.

As much as I love my fenced in backyard, there is nothing like the freedom of running in that space, visiting the other dogs in their yards, investigating this and that, learning what I can get away with and what I canít. I like to meet new dogs and even if they are big dogs I have a way of letting them know Iím not a threat and I like to play. Most dogs I meet respond very nicely to me. Cats on the other hand...well letís just say if a cat even looks at me cross eyed I will howl like Iíve been beaten with a stick. Maybe itís some kind of cat phobia because I was brought up with a cat called Rosie who was kind of cranky. Rosie developed diabetes and had to be put to sleep when I was here only about 2 months. She used to chase me around till I got big enough to tease her and then she would scare the heck out of me when Momma wouldnít protect me anymore. I miss her. But itís nice having everyone to myself too.

Daddy wants me to use the leg with the bad foot as much as I can so the muscles in the leg donít atrophy. We play fetch the soft toy in his bedroom often. He throws a soft toy of my choosing into the bathroom and I leap off the bed and slide into the floor of the bathroom just as fast as I can. Then I leap back onto the bed and give the toy a killer shake or two. Donít get in the way of that because itíll sting if you do! Daddy has taught me to drop the toy and wait patiently without going after it I expect him to throw it again, unless he wants to play tug oí war or some other game. When this or any other game is over is over Daddy announces, "Game Over!" and that means we have to stop playing. I usually take a nap then because itís not unusual for Daddy to throw a toy 25 times before he gives up and I wear him out.

Just because I follow daddy around everywhere doesnít mean I donít have a mind of my own. For a while I was living the night life with momma, whoís somewhat of a night owl. I even stopped sleeping in daddyís bed and slept with Aaron for a long time but lately itís been back with Daddy (itís warmer in his room in the winter, heís got an electric heater in there!). I love to nuzzle with him under the covers but eventually I find my own place on the bed. During the afternoon I almost always nap in the crook of his arm on the bed when he comes home from work. I like to rest my head on his chest and look contentedly up into his face, close my eyes and fall asleep. It makes Daddyís blood pressure fall 10 points, which is good for him and he usually responds by giving me a good stroking and telling me what a good dog I am, etc. etc. I wish he would remember that the next time I crap on the carpet or get into the bathroom waste basket to see what I can chew up_ One thing Iíve gotten really good at is going out all by myself. Daddy sends me to "Go Out!" and I go do my business all by myself in the backyard. When I come back I get a treat sometimes. Sometimes I try to fake him out and I just run out there after a squirrel or a bird and then come back expecting a yum-yum but Daddy is pretty good at spying on me. I donít allow anything in my backyard...and I head out there with a vengeance and a growl or a loud bard if I even think a cat, bird, dog, squirrel, or any other vermin has invaded my territory.

Mommy and Daddy sometimes say how different their lives would be without me. They say I make them laugh a lot and that Iím the first and last thing they think about when they get home. In fact Iím more like a member of the family than a family pet. Daddy says Iím the perfect dog because I combine the size he wanted with the attributes of athleticism, spirit, ferocity, intelligence, loyalty, cleanliness, and love. Am I really perfect? Well...not unless you forget about that pooping on the carpet I mentioned earlier. Sometimes I forget to tell people I need to go out, even though they rigged me a bell to ring near the back door that I can ring to let them know. I use it sometimes. And there is that bad habit of getting into small trash cans but lately Iíve been curtailing that. Iím on the hyper side and I do tend to bark a lot. Sometimes I bark at nothing, sometimes Iíll even growl when a member of my own family comes in the house. My hormones are on overdrive I guess. But he says heís not going to "fix me" like they do to some other dogs. He says it would change my spirit, and that would be bad. Daddy is helping to train me to control this behavior so it doesnít get out of hand. But when a stranger comes in the house and heís not home, I can get pretty obnoxious with the barking. Daddy has taught me never to bite people, and thatís good, because Iíve got one heck of a set of chompers. They are big and white and some are sharp and my jaws are strong. Iíve accidentally bit Mom and Dad on the fingers and boy did they scream_ Mom gets exasperated because I tear up the" soft" toys she buys me in such a short amount of time but I try to tell her that thatís what youíre supposed to do! Sometimes I sneak out of the front gate and I get to run around the front side of the house. Daddy has taught me that I can run up and down the front lawns on our side of the street as long as I donít run into the street. He doesnít trust me but he knows I will occasionally get out so I must learn what is acceptable when I am outdoors and not fenced in. I have an innate tendency to chase and investigate so I think for a 14 year old Iím doing pretty well. When we go for a ride in the car Daddy expects me to stay in the vicinity of the car without a leash and "go out" in the bushes prior to jumping in the car if I expect to go with him. Otherwise I know from prior experience Iíll get put back in my "cage". My cage was reduced in half a long time ago to about 2X4 feet. Daddy never used the training methods the books suggest, probably why Iím still having accidents, but Iíve never once been in that carrier I arrived in that plane in! Daddy loves me!

Love,

Murry