Breed of the Week: Tervuren

Without looking at last week’s Breed of the Week post, can you guess which one is the Tervuren?

Is it this one?

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Or perhaps this one?

tervuren

How about this one?

Dog Groenendael Running Dog Belgian Shepherd Dog

Maybe this last one?

laekenois

 

If you picked number 2 …

tervuren
Tervuren

… you’re correct 🙂

 

The Tervuren (pronouced Ter-v-yur-en), also known as the Belgian Shepherd Tervuren and Terv, is one of the four Belgian Shepherd Dogs to which the Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael), our last Breed of the Week, belongs.

Much like the Belgian Sheepdog, the Tervuren is a high energy dog with a quick and intelligent mind.  As such, they are often used in competition and as police and guard dogs.  Their highly protective nature makes them wary of strangers and they will need to be socialized early to prevent unwanted aggressive behavior toward those outside their immediate family, including animals.

This breed of dog is a working dog.  That means they need a job.  If they don’t have a job, or at least enough exercise and mental stimulation, they will become bored and may take that boredom out on their owner’s decor, furniture, closet contents, garbage, or eardrums.  Nor is this a dog that likes being left on its own all day long.  The Tervuren is demanding of their owner’s time and attention and is not shy about letting them know if they’re not getting enough of either one.  Be prepared to include the Terv in the majority of family activities!

Due to their temperament and high energy level, the Tervuren is not recommended for first-time dog owners as they can become overwhelmed by the breed’s physical and mental exercise requirements if they’ve not had experience with working breeds before.  The Tervuren also tend to be sensitive to harsh corrections and heavy-handedness; either can cause irreparable damage to their confidence.  They learn best with gentle but firm corrections, consistent rules, and plenty of rewards and positive reinforcement.

As a herding dog, the Tervuren is hard-wired to chase things that move, whether that be a child, a cat, a bike, a car, or a leaf on the wind!  For this reason, a large backyard and secure fence are strongly recommended.

The coat of the Tervuren should be a rich fawn to russet mahogany color with a black overlay.  The chest should be black or black and gray, while the face should have a black mask with black ears, and the tail should have a dark or black tip.  The coat may darken with age, especially in males.  Like the Belgian Sheepdog, the Tervuren boasts a double coat and sheds year-round.  Weekly brushings of 15-20 minutes to remove dead and loose fur and remove tangles can help prevent excess fur ending up on the furniture, carpet, clothes, curtains, etc.  Supplemental daily brushings of 1-2 minutes may also be beneficial.  Males generally have 1 heavy shed per year, while females shed heavier between each heat cycle.

If you are interested in purchasing or adopting a Tervuren, please research the breed thoroughly to be sure they fit your lifestyle, activity level, and personality!  This dog is high energy; you must have the time to exercise and play with them on a regular basis!  This is also a dog that gets bored quickly and easily.  You must be prepared to provide stimulating activities to keep their mind active and engaged.

Fun Fact:  The breed standard states that a Tervuren when not under command is usually in motion!

Do you or have you owned a Tervuren?  Tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I would love to hear about your experiences!

Have suggestions?  Leave a comment below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following Fluffybutts Family!  We look forward to sharing our journey with you 🙂

Forget-Me-Not Friday

On this Forget-Me-Not Friday we honor a fluffybutt that is not a dog or a cat but impacted mine and my sister’s lives nonetheless.  Tear was an adorable dwarf calf our dad brought home during a period when I was raising calves.  He intended her to be a milk cow for us and said we were going to be keeping her.  My sister, who immediately and unexpectedly fell in love and formed a bond with her, named her Tear for the tear drop shaped spot she had on her forehead.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any photos as they were lost in one of our many moves from one place to another 😦

Below is simply a picture of a dwarf calf to give you an idea of how small she was.

sefania-cozie-2

We had several calves before she came into our hearts.  Dumb Bum and Smarty Pants were the first of the calves I raised.  They were followed by Blackpaw (due to a black spot shaped like a paw print), Bully (a very pushy calf), and Cutie Pie (the prettiest of the bunch).

We sheltered Tear in one of the chain link kennels we had out back with plenty of straw for insulation against the cold and tarps over the top for protection from the sun and wind as well as a heat lamp since she was such a tiny thing and couldn’t produce much body heat.  She was about half the size of a normal calf, but she had such sass and such a curious nature and zest for life.  Patricia became her primary caretaker and would feed her and brush her and take her out of the kennel to play.  Much like a puppy, Tear would follow her around and around the yard and my sister adored her as she’d never had an animal that did that before Tear.  Tear was her, unofficial, first pet.

My Coco baby spent time in the kennel next to Tear while she was in heat, and it wasn’t very long before they formed a bond.  Tear followed Coco everywhere when they were both let out to play, and they’d spend time rolling in the grass and running around and chasing each other until it was time to go back inside.

Tear grew.  Not a lot with her dwarfism, but enough that she outgrew the chain link kennel and needed to be moved down to the old stables where we kept the other calves. Whenever we came to the stables to visit and feed and play with them, Tear would immediately run over to Patricia and Coco and kick up her hooves in joy at seeing her bonded friends.  I loved watching them all play together!

Below is an approximation of Tear’s size when she was full grown.

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Unfortunately, circumstances changed.  Money became tight (again) and, what seemed out of nowhere, our dad decided to sell Tear along with the other calves.

We were devastated.  Especially Patricia, who had always had trouble forming bonds with animals when she knew they likely wouldn’t be able to stay with us forever.  Tear was an unexpected exception to that and it hurt her deeply to see Tear loaded up and taken far away to be sold to who-knows-what-kind-of-person or for what purpose.

We loved Tear for everything she was, for the bond she shared with Patricia and Coco, for everything she taught us, and for the unexpected but inevitable imprint she left on our hearts.  She’s the reason we are determined even in the present day that when we’re in the right circumstances, have our own place with enough land, and have the finances, we’re going to adopt as many dwarf cows as we can properly care for.

This post was written in memory of Tear.  May she never be forgotten.

 

Forget-Me-Not Friday is about pets we have lost, whether they’ve passed over the Rainbow Bridge, got lost and were never found, or had to be given up for one reason or another.  Please feel free to participate in this event to honor our pets by sending a picture (or a few pictures) and your pet’s story to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com.  Tell me about your beloved dog, your adorable cat, your favorite horse, your silly goat, your pet pig, your mischievous ferret, etc.  I’ll post one picture and one story each week in memory of those pets.

Also, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family and following us on our journey 🙂

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Love this post?  Share it with your friends!

If you loved this Forget-Me-Not Friday, please consider checking out previous Forget-Me-Not Friday posts!

Č’ert Dog:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/forget-me-not-friday-3/

Noah:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/forget-me-not-friday-2/

Coconut Baby:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/forget-me-not-friday/

Breed of the Week: Belgian Sheepdog

What do you think of when you hear about a shepherd dog?  For most of us, that would be the German Shepherd Dog.  However, there are actually many more shepherd dogs than just the German Shepherd.  This week we’re going to be taking a look at one of those breeds, the Belgian Sheepdog.

We took a look at the Schipperke last week; the Belgian Sheepdog is thought to descend from the same ancestor – the Leuvenaar.  The Belgian Sheepdog is also known as the Belgian Shepherd, the Black Belgian Shepherd Dog, the Chien de Berger Belge, or the Groenendael (pronounced Groo-nun-dahl).  In Belgium, the Belgian Sheepdog is thought to be one of four varieties of the same breed of shepherd under the blanket term Belgian Shepherd Dog.  These breeds are, the Groenendael, the Laekenois, the Tervuren, and the Malinois.  Their overall confirmation and structure are the same; they are separated only by coat length, texture, and color.  In many other regions, however, each of these varieties are considered separate and distinct breeds.

The Belgian Sheepdog is highly trainable and learns new commands easily, however, they are not a dog recommended for first-time dog owners.  The Belgian Sheepdog is a high energy breed and requires plenty of exercise as well as mental stimulation to prevent them becoming destructive or developing separation anxiety.  For this reason, many Belgian Sheepdog owners compete with them in obedience, agility, flyball, Frisbee, sledding, tracking and, of course, herding.  They are also often used as search and rescue dogs, guide dogs, and therapy dogs.  Those that intend to keep the Belgian Shepherd as just a family pet should understand that this means spending time and effort socializing, training, and exercising their dog because of their high energy and intelligence that can otherwise get them into trouble.

Although the Belgian Sheepdog was bred to be a working dog first and foremost, they are extremely loyal to their families and develop deep bonds with their family members.  These deep bonds often result in a dog that thoroughly enjoys being involved in every family activity and one that wants to be with their people as much as possible.  They do not like being left on their own and will demand attention if they feel they’re not getting enough.  They can and often are wary and distrustful of strangers and unfamiliar animals.  This can be mitigated with enough socialization early on and continued socialization as they get older.  Without such socialization and proper training, they may become aggressive toward anyone outside their immediate family pack.

As a herding dog, the Belgian Sheepdog loves to chase.  It is advisable to supervise any play with children as they may take the children’s running about as an invitation to herd and, therefore, might start nipping at their heels and pant legs.  This behavior should not be encouraged and should be corrected or guided in another direction (such as toward herding balls around or toward a goal) early on to prevent worse problems later.  Their instinct to chase and herd also means they require a securely fenced backyard as otherwise they might just decide to go herd local joggers, the neighborhood kids on their bikes, or people in cars on their way to work.

The coat of the Belgian Sheepdog should be all or mostly black with only some white between the pads of their paws, on the fore-chest, and/or some “frost” on the chin or muzzle.  Though the Belgian Sheepdog’s medium length coat only requires the occasional brushing to keep it free of knots and mats, the fact that they have a double coat and are heavy shedders year-round may have owners brushing them daily to remove loose fur and prevent it flying all over the house.  Should owners decide only to brush their Belgian Sheepdog occasionally, they should not be surprised to find fur on their couch, their clothes, their floor, their curtains, and even in their food!

If you’re interested in purchasing or adopting a Belgian Sheepdog, please do your research!  This dog is high energy; you must have the time to exercise and play with them on a regular basis!  This is also a dog that gets bored quickly and easily.  You must be prepared to provide stimulating activities to keep their mind active and engaged.

Fun Fact:  The Belgian Sheepdog was used to carry messages and pull ambulance and machine gun carts in World War I.

Do you or have you owned a Belgian Sheepdog?  Tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I would love to hear about your experiences!

Have suggestions?  Leave a comment below!

If you liked this post, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family by liking, sharing, and/or following Fluffybutts Family!  We look forward to sharing our journey with you 🙂

Forget-Me-Not Friday

I am so excited today to present Fluffybutts Family’s first submission for Forget-Me-Not Friday.  Lori D. Marchell Carlsen from Loriginal Designs: Quantum Creativity, here: https://free13644.wordpress.com/ submitted the story of Č’ert Dog, a beautiful black English Labrador Retriever.

My Father's Greatest Gift

My Father’s Greatest Gift
by: L.D. Marchell (pseudonym) (Lori D. Marchell Carlsen)

Synopsis:
Each chapter begins with noted scripture chapter numbers and verses to read from both the Old and New Testament in relation to the content of each chapter. The scripture is not written out. The reference is there as additional selected reading to enhance the message of each chapter in the book. The following is a true story, as written through the eyes of a Labrador Retriever named Č’ert whose purpose is revealed in his story.

Foreword:
My Father’s Greatest Gift is a heartwarming sensitive story of soulful connection between a man, his family and a canine from ” Č’ert Dog’s” perspective. It’s a fun read and anyone who has been owned by a dog or dogs will laugh and tear over the incidentals from puppyhood to doghood. My Father’s Greatest Gift portrays the development of enduring unrequited love between a man (John), his family and Č’ert, a lovable, comical, and decidedly cool black Labrador and the effects, emotions and abundance their relationship renders.

Having been owned by numerous dogs, who like children, exhibited totally different personality traits with one commonality in that dogs wear their giant hearts on their sleeves, always greeting any owner or family member with an exuberant face, licking, dancing love whenever and wherever… Having had my heart owned by dogs as John’s was by Č’ert and Č’ert ‘s by John the pointed passage Of Men and Dogs by Ben Ames Williams which applies all human canine relationships comes to mind.

Of Dogs’ and Men
“A dog does not live as long as a man and this natural law is the fount of many tears. If a boy and a puppy might go to manhood and doghood together, and together grow old, and so in due course die, many a heartache might be avoided. But the world is not so ordered, and dogs will die and men will weep for them so long as there are dogs and men.”
Ben Ames Williams, Fraternity Village

Introduction:
My quick synopsis of Č’ert Dog entering into my father’s heart and the many people and animals he touched in his 14 years of life.
Chapter 1: Puppy Number 8
Narrated from his perspective, Č’ert introduces himself as “Doghead” and describes his international champion bloodline, meeting his Master and son and his mission as “Puppy Number 8” in relation to the broken heart his Master had with the loss of his wife. He discusses his various commands that he has learned and the lovely friend of his Master who helps to raise him.

Chapter 2: Smelting
Č’ert’s visit to his Master’s parent’s home in the Finger Lakes, his short background story of his Master’s growing-up years, athletic triumphs and tribulations wrapped-up with smelting on Salmon Creek. We then learn about the love of his Master’s life and how there meeting was not by chance. He then discusses his many escapades with his Master’s son as well as his nemesis, Saigon, the Rottweiler in the neighborhood.

Chapter 3: Ice Skating
With the new arrival of his Master’s daughter back to the family mix, Č’ert takes her on a slippery run over the ice-covered streets of the neighborhood. He then mentions some various doghead stories together with his love of TOMATO SAUCE and PIZZA as well as his enjoyment in playing in the snow for hours. His Master’s son has been dating a musical woman who has brought a fresh singing voice into the home complete with lots of treats for Č’ert.

Chapter 4: Quail Eggs
A challenging year emotionally and financially, Č’ert’s Master has to learn to adjust to the marriage of his son and the untimely death of a business property tenant. Č’ert’s continued button removal of his Master’s shirts helps to alleviate some of the tension. He goes on to describe the earlier days of the business property and his Master’s 1935 Packard with a rumble seat that HE would just love to ride in! We then learn of Japanese Quail eggs and Č’ert’s opinion about these creatures as well as his “retrieving” experience with Canadian Geese. The autumn wedding brought renewed healing to his Master as change is a difficult thing for many of us. He then touches on the dead-end street neighborhood and stories of his earlier doghead relatives and friends.

Chapter 5: Co-Pilot
On a ride with his Master, the car breaks down and Č’ert’s paws start to bleed. His Master carries him to the family dealership nearby. Č’ert comments about all the various styles of cars, new, classic and antique. He then tells us about the colorful man who began the dealership and his wild printed pants and his love of cars. Even though Č’ert would have loved to drive home in a convertible, they were helped out with a running vehicle nonetheless. Their next visit was to the family bakery where “no dogs are allowed” because he is covered with hair! His Master made some tomato sauce to put on the yummy bread when they got home.

Chapter 6: Happy Family
Now the family is growing bigger with his Master’s daughter meeting a guy whose family has a doghead too! This Brittany Spaniel has oodles of energy and some dental issues which Č’ert elaborates on in the story. The wedding took place at the same church where his Master had been married and there seemed to be a circle of healing occurring in the family. Even though Č’ert was not part of the bridal party, he did enjoy having “helpy-selfy” dog biscuits and taking down a few shirts to remove their buttons.

Chapter 7: Twice the Treats
Now there are many visits from my Master’s family with treats for Č’ert and a renewed sense of peace about their father. Č’ert’s Master created growing greenhouses for his many tomato plant seedlings with his anticipation of the growing season. He discusses about the background of his Master’s ethnic descent together with his ability to be a Master Gardner. Then there are the intoxicating old lilac trees blooming which bring Č’ert into allergy season. Č’ert comments on getting “the look” from his Master as he snags the first tomato-topped hamburger of the summer from his Master’s plate.

Chapter 8: Snow Plowing
Since he is covered with hair and an oily water-repellent skin, Č’ert just LOVES the snow! It is also football season, which his Master loves to watch. He describes the earlier years when his Master played football and how the professional players had another job BESIDES playing professional football. Things were a lot different back then. Super Bowl Sunday at his daughter’s in-laws with lots of finger food for the game and Č’ert’s favorite – PIZZA! Č’ert then describes his favorite commercial with the Clydesdale horses playing football (more on him being a “wide-receiver” later in the story). As much as Č’ert loves snow, driving in it is not his favorite thing.

Chapter 9: Thanksgiving
Č’ert’s love of the extended families, food, gifts and Slovak cookies become the basis of this chapter. There is a time of true joy within the family and even Č’ert can feel that his work is beginning to bear fruit. Č’ert also meets some more dogheads to expand his social network. He also enjoys his new nieces and nephews who pose with him for holiday photos as he tries to give them kisses during the process. He notes that, “Out of all of the holiday seasons that I have experienced with my Master, this one seemed to be the most cherished.”

Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses
From being home alone in a spooky house wondering when his Master would be coming home to watching the British Open on the television set left on for him, Č’ert just knew that something was not well for his Master. His children came to take him for walks and feed him and even left “helpy-selfy” biscuits for him, but he knew that he would not see his Master again in this life. This chapter touches on the process of grief as well as touches of “The Saga of the Last Halupki” which was written by Č’ert’s Master about his mother-in-law’s halupki. The symbolism of his life is written out in this piece which is included in the book. When his Master went home to be with his beloved wife, Č’ert moved to his Master’s daughter’s home. He elaborates on his familiarity with some of the neighborhood dogs including some girlfriend dogheads that live right next door.

Chapter 11: Mr. Svelte
After Č’ert “marked his territory” at his new home, he comments on being now at “boot camp” where he has no more “helpy-selfy” biscuits and walks up and down the steep hills until his joints are sore. He does comment that he feels a lot better, too. There are more neighborhood dogheads which bring social interaction into his life. Then Č’ert talks about his travels and honorable mention with The English Morris Men in Gilbertsville at The Majors Inn. He reminisces about his Master and wishes that he could be sharing these new experiences with him. Č’ert then requires surgery on his lower lip, so off to Cornell he goes. Since his Master went to college at Cornell, he thought it was cool to go to Cornell (even though it was for a different reason)! He comments about the ridiculous cone around his head as well as his attempt to get out of the recovery room, but to no avail. Then it is off to a family vacation at Taughannock Falls State Park with a rustic cabin and campfires. He closes the chapter with Halloween and how he loves that all the children come to see HIM!

Chapter 12: My, My, My, My, My Syria!
Yep, you guessed it – Č’ert fell in love with the sassy white Bichon across the street named Syria. Now that Č’ert’s social network is growing with several girlfriends in close proximity, he often gets sensory overload in making decisions since there are so many choices available to him. What a lucky dog! A trip to hike the creek bed up to the falls at Taughannock Falls State Park and his joy of being in such good shape that he could make it there and back. Then there is the house fire at Syria’s home. Her owners asked if she could stay at Č’ert’s, so she had a supervised sleep-over with Č’ert comforting her throughout the night. Once their home was rebuilt, Syria came back to live across the street together with more female doghead arrivals into the neighborhood. His “haram” keeps growing, but Syria is the love of his life.

Chapter 13: Swimming, Boating and Walking with the Pack
Č’ert elaborates on his blessings to have the family cottage for swimming and his various canoeing, kayaking and paddle boat experiences. He also enjoys the ice cream shop on the way, and has experienced “brain freeze” first hand. On their leaving the family cottage one morning, Č’ert decides to “go for it” and leaves for a walk with the neighboring doghead friends he has made at the cottage. It was the first time that he went away on his own with other doghead friends. There are new dogheads added to the story and an overnight sleep-over with Papa and Bobci, his “new” Master’s parents. Then, we must not forget his musical assistance with piano lessons and his meet and greet procedure.

Chapter 14: The Christmas Tree Forest
Č’ert’s comments on artificial verses real Christmas trees and his trip with the family to the Christmas tree forest. He talks about the beauty of the forest and the fun he had playing in the snow, but how he can’t wait to get back into the warmth of the car. Christmas gifts are all for Č’ert to open, at least he thinks so! He enjoys the warmth of the lights and the delicious food to eat. He also enjoys sleeping. There is louder music coming from the basement as his “new” Master plays the bass guitar and they have named their band “Beer for Dogs!” Č’ert comments on other names he would have preferred had they consulted with him. Č’ert also shared the victory of another doghead who has found true love as Č’ert has been so blessed to have with Syria. Since it is football season once again, he discusses his “wide-receiver” techniques and the rivalry between his old Master’s Giants team and his “new” Master’s Redskins team.

Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan
Č’ert talks about being sore and having lumps as well as being helped up the stairs every night for bedtime. On a trip to the family cottage, he meets his new cousin Dugan, a Wheaton Terrier who hits it off with Č’ert from the start. He brings a renewed sense of energy into Č’ert’s life as they swim and relax on the sloping grass that leads to the lake. Later that summer, cousin Dugan came to sleep over at Č’ert’s home. From introducing Dugan to all of his girlfriends in the neighborhood, to having a photo shoot outside in the yard, to sleeping together on the bed at night, Č’ert became recharged that summer. As autumn approaches, Č’ert has many more movies and photos taken as well as a footprint of his “South Paw” reading “Puppy Number 8” and “The Best Dog” with a trip to his old Master’s cemetery and home. All the children that came for Halloween had to pet Č’ert before they got their treat. It made him exceptionally pleased. Č’ert’s last day included a final walk at watershed and ended going home to share all of his many experiences with his beloved Master.

Afterthoughts
My comments about Č’ert and one of many days that I have felt him close to me.

Addendum
Four months after Č’ert’s passing, I felt compelled to walk to watershed. On my way home, a tiny golden and white kitten held onto the top of an old oak tree crying-out deliriously. After about an hour and a half, I talked him down the tree by him taking a “leap of faith” as he had to jump to a lower branch for me to help him. Jaco Kitty has been in our life since that day. God gave him five toes on all four of his white socks, which I believe he needed in order to hang onto that tree for as long as he did. His stories are being documented as the sequel continues.

Endorsements
“My Father’s Greatest Gift takes us on a mesmerizing journey to find the meaning of unconditional love. Marchell has given us a cohesive thesis on human emotions, which are both timeless and universal. My Father’s Greatest Gift is truly a book for everyone. While reading the various chapters – don’t be surprised if your intuition confirms the heart-felt truths that are contained herein. For those who are searching for an ultimate purpose in life – the author’s story will provide a most compelling answer. Marchell reminds us that the loving essence of our relationships becomes a part of us forever.”
Bob Waxman, Ph.D. / The Open Center

Read this beautiful little book and allow yourself to think, feel, laugh and tear for it is a gift in itself.

L.D. Marchell (pseudonym) (Lori D. Marchell Carlsen)
213 Myrtle Avenue
Johnson City, NY 13790
(607) 759-3583(cell)
lorid.loriginals@yahoo.com

Dale C. Spartas
Photographer & Writer
Just Labs, 101 Uses for Labs, Wise Dogs, Just Goldens
Bozeman, Montana 59715
http://www.spartasphoto.com

Wow, what a beautiful story about the bond between dog and man!  Please give this book the chance it deserves to touch your lives as Č’ert Dog touched the lives of those around him!  You can find it, here:  http://www.loridmarchell.com/

This post was written and submitted by Lori D. Marchell Carlsen in memory of Č’ert Dog.  May he never be forgotten.

 

Forget-Me-Not Friday is about pets we have lost, whether they’ve passed over the Rainbow Bridge, got lost and were never found, or had to be given up for one reason or another.  Please feel free to participate in this event to honor our pets by sending a picture (or a few pictures) and your pet’s story to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com.  Tell me about your beloved dog, your adorable cat, your favorite horse, your silly goat, your pet pig, your mischievous ferret, etc.  I’ll post one picture and one story each week in memory of those pets.

Also, please consider becoming a part of our Fluffybutt Family and following us on our journey 🙂

Have suggestions?  Comment below!

Love this post?  Share it with your friends!

If you loved this Forget-Me-Not Friday, please consider checking out previous Forget-Me-Not Friday posts!

Noah:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/forget-me-not-friday-2/

Coconut Baby:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/forget-me-not-friday/

Be My Valentine?

It’s Valentine’s Day, and since I was feeling artsy yesterday, my sister and I did a little Valentine’s photo shoot with our critters 🙂  Take a look!

Pixie went first because she’s adorable and she knows it (plus, she’s the best at sitting still).

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“Is this a good pose?  Of course it’s a good pose.  I know I’m adorable.  My human tells me that all the time!”

She even made sure we got both sides of her face 🙂

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“How about from this side?  Yes, this side.  This is definitely my good side.”

Who wouldn’t want this little cutie for their valentine?  (But I’m biased 😛 )

Then, of course, Luna had to get in on the action.

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“Why are you pointing that thing at my face?”

And she’s just so photogenic, so …

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“Well, whatever.”

And …

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“I wonder if these taste any good …”

And once again, the devastating head tilt!

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“Valentine’s?  What’s that?”

Adorable, right?  Don’t you want to be her valentine?

Next we move on to the cats >^_^<

First to strike a pose is Mr. Merlin.

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“I’m the handsomest kitty around!”

What a beaut.  Look at those beautiful green eyes and those lovely white whiskers!  He just loves the camera (or maybe the camera just loves him 😛 )   He was very interested in what we were doing, but stayed gentleman-like and remained where he was while I arranged the hearts.

He got so comfy he started grooming himself and I just happened to catch this face 😀

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“Nyah … nyah … just give me a moment while I … nyah … smooth down my fur …”

Will you be Mr. Merlin’s valentine?

Miss Morgana was a little more difficult.  She didn’t want to stay, so we had to bring out the big guns (kitty treats, lol).

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“Okay, this could work …”

Finally, between treats, I managed to get a few good photos of her (yay me!).

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“Give me another treat or I’ll leave.”

Isn’t she just gorgeous?  Who wouldn’t want her as a valentine?

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“Come on, human, give me that treat!”

Then, because there were treats involved, Mr. Merlin decided he had to invade.

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Merlin: “Treats?  Why didn’t I get treats for my photo shoot?”  Morgana: “Obviously because I negotiate better than you.”

Followed by Luna.

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Luna: “Wait a minute, I deserve a treat, too!”  Merlin: “Wait your turn, puppy, the next treat is mine.”  Morgana: “Don’t bet on it.”

Followed by Pixie.

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“GIVE!”

Then we got this lovely gem with Mr. Merlin and Pixie both licking their chops.

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“Schlerp, more please!”

After putting away the treats, we got serious again and brought in our indoor/outdoor kitties for their Valentine’s photos.

Mr. Bagheera was easier to get settled down, so we did his photo-shoot first.

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“What is the purpose of this?”

The second photo is after he decided to move and then settled again elsewhere, but still within the backdrop where I could then cover him with hearts and click away.  Which is how I got this lovely photo.

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“Valentine’s photo shoot?  I guess I can sit still for that.”

Such soft, silky fur and gorgeous golden eyes!  Won’t you be his valentine?

And last, but certainly not least, Miss Raina, the Queen of the household and the least likely of the bunch to settle down for her photo debut.  However, with some patience, we managed to get her comfortable, though once the hearts came out she was more interested in grabbing and chewing on them than posing for the camera!

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“My heart.  Can’t have it, it’s mine!”

We still managed to get a few good photos of Her Majesty 🙂

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“These remind me of those fluttering insects with the pretty wings.  I wonder if these taste anything like them …”
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“This isn’t so bad.  In fact, I feel rather fabulous!”

Who wants to be the Queen’s valentine?

Before Miss Morgana invaded because, well, curiosity and all that …

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Morgana: “What ya doin?”  Raina: “Pretending you’re not here.”

And Mr. Bagheera who didn’t move after his photo shoot and still has some hearts left on him.  He’s such a love bug!

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Raina: “Are we done yet?”  Morgana: “Doesn’t quite look like it.”  Bagheera: “Zzzzzzzzzzz.”

Mr. Merlin in the background, who’s curious but not quite sure if he wants to go over there.

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Merlin: “That looks like fun.  I wonder if they’ll let me join …”

So, who do you want to be your valentine?  Comment below!

Have you taken any Valentine’s photos of your pets?  I’d love to see them!  Add them to the comments section or send them by e-mail to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com!

Breed of the Week: Schipperke

Little Black Devil.  This is the nickname given to these little balls of mischief.  The Schipperke (pronounced skip-er-kee) is our featured breed this week, in part because the Schipperke is the favorite breed of my grandmother, although the one she has now (Nanu) is a mix of Schipperke and Pomeranian (and man is he a whirlwind of trouble!).

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Nanu – part Schipperke, part Pomeranian

Before the Schipperke became officially known as the Schipperke, it was called Spits or Spitzke, names often used to describe a little dog with pointed ears.  Interestingly enough, there is an informal debate among Schipperke officionados as to whether the Schipperke is a spitz or a miniature shepherd.  In the country of their origin, Belgium, they are known as a miniature shepherd.  In the USA they are also known as Belgian barge dogs or Belgian ship dogs.  However, these names are misleading.  Although Schipperkes have been used as ship dogs to hunt vermin, they are actually descendants of the black shepherd dog, also known as the Leuvenaar.  This breed of dog was used to guard flocks of goats or sheep.  The Leuvenaar is, many believe, the original ancestor of both the Schipperke and the Black Belgian Shepherd Dog, which is also known as the Groenendael (pronounced groo-nun-dahl).

Schäfer Dog Dog Black Belgian Shepherd Dog
Black Belgian Shepherd Dog

Though the Schipperke’s fur is short, it is double coated.  This means there is a softer undercoat and a tougher, often rougher outer coat.  They require brushing at least once a week if one wants to prevent regular, moderate shedding around the house.  They also tend to “blow” their undercoat 2 to several times a year, females typically more often than males.  This is a time in which they completely lose their undercoat and it can take up to 3 months to grow back.  A purebred Schipperke’s coat should be either black or blonde, though blonde tends to be more rare.

The Schipperke is a high-energy dog and needs a fair amount of exercise, which is why many are given jobs today as search and rescue dogs, drug and bomb dogs, and hearing service dogs.  Many Schipperke owners will, therefore, teach their dogs to compete in agility, obedience, and other dog sports where they can excel.

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Family Schipperkes will often occupy their time with hunting for squirrels, mice, voles, and other vermin while outdoors, but will still need fun and engaging playtime and walks to burn off their excess energy.  Without these activities, these little devils can become obnoxious with excessive barking, and/or destructive in their self-decided playtime activities.

Given their naturally intelligent and curious nature, not to mention their penchant for mischief and chasing squirrels, the Schipperke will need to have a secure fence and be kept on a leash for their walks.  Without these precautions, the Schipperke can very easily get himself into trouble as he/she searches for something new to explore as they are notoriously oblivious to cars and other dangers.  Early socialization is highly recommended for this breed of dog as they can be territorial even with socialization and may or may not get along with dogs they don’t know.  Even so, they are adorable, humorous, loyal, protective, and feisty dogs with enough personality for 2 (or more!) dogs.

If you are interested in adopting or purchasing this breed of dog, please do your research and know what you’re getting into.  These dogs can be a handful and are not recommended for first-time dog owners!

Fun Fact:  The Schipperke was used during WWII by the Belgian Resistance to run messages between various hideouts with the Nazis none the wiser!

Do you or have you owned a Schipperke?  Tell us about him/her in the comments below!  I would love to hear about your experiences with this breed of dog!

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Forget-Me-Not Friday

As I have not received any pictures or stories for Forget-Me-Not Friday just yet, this week will feature Noah, one of the first two cats with which I felt I had a bond.

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Noah was a kitten that was dropped off in the country between our house and our neighbor’s house.  She was small, probably about 2-3 months old.  We took her in to protect her when we noticed one of the neighbor’s children swinging her around by the tail.  We determined by her traits that she was perhaps a Chinese Li Hua, though possibly mixed with a common Domestic Shorthair tabby cat.

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Chinese Li Hua
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Domestic Shorthair Tabby

All in all, she was a beautiful affectionate cat that loved her job as a mouser, vole hunter, bird catcher, and squirrel chaser.  My grandma’s cat, Zeela, took her in and nursed her as she had only recently had a small litter of two kittens, herself – Fluff and Fuzz – who were of about the same age.  After Zeela’s kittens were weaned and my grandma had finally decided to spay her, she took off and didn’t come back (but that’s another story, entirely).

Noah grew, and it became apparent very quickly that she was the kitty in charge.  Fluff and Fuzz both deferred to her.  She was the Queen of the roost and loved it.

As all our cats were at that time, Noah was an indoor/outdoor cat, which turned out to work against her when, somehow, someway, a part of her tail was either cut or ripped off.  We suspect it was caught under the tire of a car.  In any case, we dressed it and cleaned it and eventually it got better, but from then on she had only half a tail.

Again, being outdoors worked against her, and she disappeared for a full 2 months.  When she finally returned, she was so scared she darted in the house and immediately went to hide.  She didn’t want anyone to touch her and slunk around with her tail down and her whiskers and ears both slicked back.  We don’t know what happened to her in those 2 months, but I suspect she was taken by someone and not treated very well at all.

With a lot of patience and a lot of kindness, she eventually allowed herself to be touched once again.  It’s not at all bragging to say she responded best to me.  I was, for some time, the only one she allowed to pick her up and put her outside when needed.  For, although she had some bad experiences, she still preferred to be outside most nights.  I would have preferred she remain indoors, but alas, she didn’t.

Again, Noah was not spayed in time and ended up pregnant by her foster brother, Fluff.  We found homes for Fuzz and all the kittens except 2.  One of which died by our own car as he had decided to get up in the wheel well and didn’t get out when the car was turned on and then started moving.  That incident has made us a lot more careful about making sure no cats are up in the car before we go anywhere, especially during the winter when they like to get in near the warm engine after the car’s just been turned off.  The 2nd kitten, Raina, stayed with us.

Then, the time came for us to move.  A house had become available at a price my mom could afford, by a dear family friend who was moving to Florida.  Sadly, Fluff did not go with us.  He was injured sometime while he was out hunting or patrolling his territory and the wound became infected.  By the time he came back to the house, it was too far advanced to do anything more than make him comfortable and wait for him to pass on (Again, another story).

The move wasn’t too difficult, but it was strange and disorienting for the cats.  A new house.  New outdoor areas to explore.  New cats and dogs coming and going.  We kept them indoors for 3 days to try to get them accustomed to the new house and to imprint it in their memories so they would come back when we let them outdoors.  On the fourth day, we put food out the back door and let the cats out with it.  They ate and then went exploring.  And, as hoped, they all came back safe and sound.

Noah again fell pregnant and this time, at a year old, so did Raina.  They helped each other through their pregnancies, grooming and soothing one another.  When they gave birth only days apart, they took turns helping each other, cleaning and nursing the kittens in turn.  After the kittens were grown and all but 3 were gone (these being Akira, Sassafras, and Bagheera – again another story), Noah disappeared.  Whether it was because she felt the territory was becoming too crowded and simply moved on or because she found a new home and new family, I don’t know.  I hope she found a new home and family and is, to this day, living happily with them.

This post is in memory of Noah.  May she never be forgotten.

 

Forget-Me-Not Friday is about pets we have lost, whether they’ve passed over the Rainbow Bridge, got lost and were never found, or had to be given up for one reason or another.  Please feel free to participate in this event to honor our pets by sending a picture (or a few pictures) and your pet’s story to FluffybuttsFamily@mycompanymail.com.  Tell me about your beloved dog, your adorable cat, your favorite horse, your silly goat, your pet pig, your mischievous ferret, etc.  I’ll post one picture and one story each week in memory of those pets.

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If you loved this Forget-Me-Not Friday, please consider checking out previous Forget-Me-Not Friday posts!

Coconut Baby:  https://fluffybuttsfamily.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/forget-me-not-friday/