Thursday, July 08, 2010

We Interrupt This Blog

I have a couple more blogs on our trip to Utah planned, but I must interrupt this blog to make an announcement.


Following the death of our beloved Tipper, my husband and I immediately agreed we wanted another dog. Actually, we have had dogs for almost 40 years. Our first dog, a sweet white dog with black eyes and ears (who our son appropriately named Peek-a-boo) was a mixed breed. No idea what his lineage was. Our second dog was a short-lived failed attempt--we adopted a Welsh terrier from the local humane society, only to have the dog run away every time we opened the front door. Back to the humane society he went.

Then we had two English setters (bench type, not field) in succession. Shannon was 7 years old when we got her, and she lived 6 more years. We loved the placidness of the setters, so we rescued a year old setter named Wanda. She was the dog preceding Tipper. English setters are a wonderful breed, especially if you want a laid-back calm gentle dog.

You know the story of Tipper, and how she came to us. Her death left us bereft, stunned, and deeply saddened. And, it leads to the next chapter in our lives with dogs.

Enter Ziva.
We don't know her whole story, but we do know some of it. I began looking at local dog rescue websites. I usually selected "border collie" or "Australian shepherd" as the breed. I also looked at local humane society listings. Most of the latter had only pit bulls. I know these dogs can be sweet, but I am cautious when the dogs have already been surrendered at least once. I don't know what may have happened to them in their formative puppy months. Anyway, I came upon this dog.
She wasn't named Ziva when we got her. Her name was a frou-frou wimpy name. When we got her home, we could tell she was going to be a character. A sassy, black-haired lively character. So, Ziva popped into my mind (NCIS fans, anyone?) and Ziva she is. (Besides, Ziva means "Illustrious Splendor" in Hebrew--sounds like an apt named for a dog to begin her new life.)

The dog rescue group we got her from had transported her and her litter mates from somewhere in Kentucky. Her mother was a golden retriever, who was allowed to run loose, unspayed. Not surprisingly, she got pregnant, apparently by at least two different fathers. The puppies in litter are too dissimilar. Ziva's father may have been an Australian shepherd or a border collie.

The woman who owned the golden retriever allowed the puppies to run in a pack for almost a year, then called local dog authorities in Kentucky complaining of a wild pack of dogs. Ahem. Of course, she knew the truth was different, and finally owned up that in fact these puppies were from her dog. They landed in a kill shelter, where our local dog rescue group found them and transported them to Pennsylvania.

The rescue people were thrilled that we wanted her. They told us that frequently black dogs are the first to be killed in a kill shelter. I was shocked. Here was something of which I had not ever heard--but there is apparently a known issue among dog rescue people: the
black dog syndrome.

Well, Ziva is now safe with us. She has much to learn. She has not lived in a house, so stairs were a puzzlement to her. She had apparently not seen television, as she took one look at our set, and began barking. She appears to be mostly house-trained. However, she seems to want company for sleeping. Her first night with us, she entered her crate just fine, but after about 15 minutes began whining louder and louder, until she finally burst into yipping barks. After two tries to calm her down, I gave in and slept in the same room with her.

I think we would to well to enroll her in obedience school, and maybe find some other outlet for her high energy.

OK--resume your blog reading. . .
Photos of Ziva come from the dog rescue site.


LauraHinNJ said...


(I'm doing a happy dance for you!)

Re: Black Dog Syndrome... a similiar thing exists for white bunnies...

: (

Good luck with Ziva!

(an NCIS fan... I love her character!)

Obedience school does amazing things... my Luka is a perfect example.

Anvilcloud said...

Good luck with Ziva. I think it's good that you're experienced doggers. Based on talking with a local guy with a border collie, she may require regular workouts. I guess it depends on what her lineage actually is, but this guy did a daily routine at the park with frisbees and balls and lots of commands. The dog was/is very intelligent.

Anonymous said...

She's lovely! Looks like you now have your own exercise trainer.

I'm familiar with--and baffled by--the black dog syndrome.

Good luck with obedience school. The late Howard Lee had several obedience school diplomas, but I always suspected them to be social promotions because he was the largest one in the class.

Ziva looks very intelligent and yes--sassy. I'm sure you will be well protected and I think you were so smart to jump right in and get another dog.

(Please tell me that idiot has been banned from ever owning another dog!)

littleorangeguy said...

This made my day! She's a beauty and looks whip-smart. But then, I have a thing for black dogs.

Susan Gets Native said...

You chose a great name for her, Donna. A black-haired beauty with a troubled past. (Ziva is my favorite character on NCIS after Abby.)
Speaking of my own experience with black dogs: Nellie, our Rott/Lab mix, is the sweetest, goofiest, most loving dog. And we picked her over a gorgeous Golden retriever. Take that, Black Dog Syndrome.
So happy for you and your new family member!

Molly said...

Oh, Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

I think Ziva has found the right family of humans to lovingly care for her :)

possumlady said...

I forgot to our your kitties coping?

Climenheise said...

I wondered how long you would last! We look forward to meeting Ziva.

Dog_geek said...

Wonderful news! Congrats on the new addition - I look forward to reading more about Ziva's adventures with you! (And might I suggest agility as a potential outlet for that energy?)

NCmountainwoman said...

I am so happy for all of you, not the least for Ziva. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Peruby said...

Congrats on your new pet! This explains why three out of four of my (all rescue) dogs are black, then.

Catbird said...

That's wonderful, Donna! She's a beauty, and bound to thrive in your loving care. My baby cat Popsey, his mom, and littermates came from a kill shelter in Georgia; he's an absolute joy. Mazel tov!

Miriam said...

Oh yeah! My dad was big on choosing new pets quickly and said it was something he had done all his life. Perhaps it's a Climenhaga trait. I thought about suggesting such a thing, but it's really such a personal choice it's hard to know when it's a good thing to say to someone and when to not. I am so excited for you! I had not heard of black dog syndrome either...maybe that explains why are cute Gus was supposedly in the shelter from the time he was a pup until when we adopted him when he was a year and half? That shelter did well to post a photo of only his face where you could see the half black/half "dalmatian" side. ;) I love my black dog, but he IS a handful! Here's to hoping you can reign in some of Ziva's wild ways.

Mauigirl said...

I'm so happy you have found a new best friend! Ziva looks like a wonderful dog and I'm sure she will learn her house manners very quickly. I too have heard that black dogs are the hardest to adopt out.

We're the worst dog parents when it comes to training - Diva sleeps not in a crate, not on her own bed in our room, but ON the bed with us. Between us. All night. Sometimes under the covers!

Congratulations on the new member of your family!

Ruth said...

Our present dog and last dog were both black pound rescues. She looks smart and will settle into your routine soon I am sure.

Nimfa, the expert in Australian Shepherd Training said...

Glad you found Ziva in your life now. Ziva looks gorgeous and smart.