About a month ago, Mike and I adopted an 18-month-old rescue dog we named Maddy who had been picked up by animal control in Yakima. Although the rescue organization thought she might be a Cairn terrier mix, we suspect she’s actually a Dutch Smoushound, a rare terrier breed that was brought back from extinction by a woman named Mrs. Barkman. (I’m not making that up.) Maddy had been adopted twice and returned to the rescue organization. The first adoptive family, an elderly couple, returned her in part because she didn’t “speak English.” The second, a doctor and his wife, decided after two weeks they didn’t have time for a dog after all.
She’s a sweet, loving little girl who was pretty terrified of people and traffic at first, but she’s getting more brave everyday. Mike and I have been trying to study and learn all we can about being good dog parents. Of course, since I’m a reporter at heart, I have checked out most of the books on dogs from the Seattle Library. Here are the best ones that I’ve read in the past couple of weeks.
We got a lot of general books on dogs, but The Dog Bible by Kristin Mehus-Roe was probably the most useful for understanding fundamentals of how to take care of a dog, variations on training styles and so on. Marion Nestle’s Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine pretty much freaked me out about commercial dog food. That led me to the book Feed Your Best Friend Better by Rick Woodford aka The Dog Food Dude, provides a very helpful look at what foods you can safely feed your dog and how to supplement commercial dog food. He has some interesting tips, too, such as making sure your dog gets enough calcium by pulverizing eggshells into a fine dust and adding a tiny amount to their food. Good Dog, Bad Habits by Jeanne Carlson has been helpful in assisting us to understand why Maddy does certain behaviors. We’re much more aware of her body language and what it means. Finally, we picked up a copy of Best Hikes with Dogs in Western Washington by The Mountaineers.
I’ll never totally understand what Maddy thinks or what she’ll do. We have a lot more to learn. But one thing I can say, when Maddy comes to bed with us at night, we both tell her that’s she a beautiful little blonde.