Thursday, January 6, 2011

Piper and Lucy: BFFs 4ever

We adopted Piper from the shelter when he was close to a year old.  He was a stray and little was known about him - a dog of mystery.*  He is a striking, big, black, furry dog that attracts attention on walks.  Admirers always ask what breed he is.  Though we do not know for sure, people familiar with the breed have told us that he seems to be a Belgian Sheepdog (Groenendael).  He does look and behave the part.

Piper is a friendly, but standoffish dog.  He enthusiastically greets family and close friends, but finds strangers of only cursory interest.  Though he enjoys observing them, he has no desire to actually interact with them.  Piper is not only selective of the human company he keeps, but the canine company as well – preferring a small circle of close friends.  Piper’s best friend is an Australian cattle-dog mix named Lucy.
When we travel, Piper has “sleepovers” at Lucy’s house and when Lucy’s parents are out of town, Lucy often stays with us.  Normally when a dog spends an extended amount of time in our home, Piper’s initial excitement by the additional pack member quickly wanes as he yearns to return to being a single-puppy.  This is not the case with Lucy.  He never tires of his BFF.

Lucy and Piper playing

Lucy has spent much of our winter break with us, which has been great timing for Piper.  His need for a friend is greater now than ever before as the last few weeks have been trying.  Though dog may be man’s best friend, I don’t think the same can be said about dogs and toddlers.  Ezra really, really likes Piper.  He is fun to chase.  He has long hair that is great for pulling.   He is a large target for thrown blocks and balls.  Unfortunately, these are not mutually fun activities. 

Amanda and I are clear with Ezra that these behaviors are not acceptable, but Ezra can be an unstoppable force.  (Not to mention that trying to reason with a 15 month old is a little irrational on our part).  So we have been spending an exhausting amount of time shepherding our baby, ironically, away from our sheepdog.   We have also been encouraging Ezra to interact with Piper in the many positive ways that he also enjoys: giving Piper treats (often his own dinner), going on Piper’s walks with him, and gently petting Piper.   Hopefully, one day Piper will learn to enjoy Ezra’s company almost as much as Lucy’s.

You can see a little more of Piper's pre-Ezra days (with few more photos of him and Lucy) by following his tag: piper

*We have filled in this gap of Piper’s history by treating the children's book Piper by Emma Chichester Clark, discovered by Amanda’s mother, as if it were his biography.

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