Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tra la la la la, you'll love her too!

Freckles on her nose
Diddle diddle dee
A girl came riding
Into town one day
Diddle diddle
She was quite a sight!
It's Pippi Longstocking, hey ho ho, hee ha ha ha!
It's Pippi Longstocking - there's no one like her!

Yes, we named the doggy Pippi, despite the fact that that wasn't your collective first choice. (Last I checked, Poppy was on top. Close, but no cigar.)

And it fits. In person her fur is as orange as Pippi's red hair in the books and movies. And like the Swedish Pippi, our Pippi also has freckles on her nose, fluffy red ears that don't quite stick out like the storybook Pippi's braids but which approximate the look, and an impish personality.

But what's most Pippi-like about our Pippi is her uncanny strength for such a little girl. Oh. My. God. Pippi is a 34-pound dog who thinks she's a Bull Mastiff or Bernese Mountain Dog. This dog could pull a cart loaded with hay all by herself, I swear. The first time Foster Mom gave me the leash yesterday afternoon, Pippi nearly pulled me off my feet. From that moment, we knew Pippi had to be the name. (There was a brief period last night when I thought we should change it to a Hobbit name -- either Rosie or Poppy -- because she has furrier than furry toes, with these adorable "feathers" sticking up out of them, but then I decided Pippi had already stuck, and we could perhaps see it as a feminine version of Pippin.)

Plus, she responded to it immediately. The first time might have been coincidental, but she's already learned it in less than 24 hours and comes when she's called. We could probably change it to any of the other names if we wanted and she'd learn that, too -- this girl is smart, just like Swedish Pippi. Foster Mom told us she didn't know "sit." It took me one lesson to teach it to her and now she sits on command instantly.

I have to admit I wouldn't say the Swedish Pippi is beautiful (though I might say she's cute!) and our Pippi definitely is. The pictures didn't do her justice. The one that's most accurate is the top one in this post, but there she's clearly just had her hair clipped there, and now it has grown out with characteristic Brittany feathering on the legs. She's so gorgeous in fact that people stop us to tell us so and ask what kind of dog she is.

And what a personality! I'm totally in love. Yes, she's very, very active, but right now it's amusing the hell out of us. She's not nearly as serious as in the pictures -- she's rather clownish, actually. Neither of us have ever known a dog like this. First of all, if something is in her way, she is just as likely to climb over as she is to walk around it -- person sitting on the floor, bed, sofa, whatever. And there will be no keeping her off the sofas and chairs, especially since a couple of them are her means of getting to the window to look out. In some ways she seems more cat than dog. We've gated her out of the really nice rooms for the time being -- the living room and the newly finished dining room -- until we figure out if we can teach her what furniture is "hers" and what's off limits. Thank god the family room sofas are microfiber -- dried dog slobber and hair brush right off. And we've already moved some things around so that she has some benches under windows to sit and lay on so that the sofas aren't her only options.

And she is so incredibly affectionate. It's pretty easy to turn her "off" just by inviting her into your lap, where she'll happily loll for some time. In fact, she prefers laps to just about anything (except maybe sofas), but we're already teaching her some boundaries -- no lap sitting at the dinner table or our computer desks -- and she's learning quickly. And she just loves Bullock. She likes me, too, but she's completely fallen for him, it's clear. Her Foster Dad spent a little more time with her than her Foster Mom, so I think that's the main reason, but Bullock is also one of those people that all animals gravitate towards. And who can blame them? He *is* a lovable man after all!

And you should see her run -- she prances or trots! It's so cute the way she picks up her feet! Whenever she's in the back yard, she races around the perimeter making sure birds and squirrels know this is her yard, and then she runs back to us for petting and cuddles, because, after all, she's just showing us what a good bird dog she is, pointing out all the birds to us. And then she runs some more.

Yup, I'm totally in love. As the Pippi theme song goes (in English, anyway): Tra la la la la, you'll love her too!


Tenured Radical said...

Congratulations! There's nothing like the addition of a dog to make a household really hum.

And of course, she can help check your foot notes.


Thoroughly Educated said...

Oh yay! Congratulations on the new family member!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear how quickly everyone is falling in love, both you guys and Pippi! It sounds like it has worked out so that you got the right dog for you. Congrats!

the rebel lettriste said...

Yay! This is such great news! Happy forever home for Pippi! Happy Dr. V and Bullock!

My boy pulls like ... a pitbull. He's responded well to the gentle leader over-the-nose halter, but scratches at it when we stop walking. Gentle leader also makes a harness, which has made walking him easier.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Hooray! Welcome home to Pippi! She sounds amazing! :-)