Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Laura L. & Buzz

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Laura L, a wife, mother, and Montessori preschool teacher. My dog's name is Buzz. He is a male dog. We estimate that he is about 3 years old. He is a mixed breed and so far no one has been able to determine exactly what mix!!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Buzz and I are just hanging out in the living room here. He is a really mellow guy who loves his family.

What's brewing?

At the risk of shocking everyone who may be reading this, I'm not much of a coffee drinker. Sitting next to me on the desk right now is a mug of green tea ... my absolute favorite tea in the world ... Ginger Peach from The Republic of Tea. I've stirred a little honey into it and it doesn't get better than that for hot beverages as far as I'm concerned.

Any goodies to go with the brewed beverage?

Usually I have my tea without any additional goodies. If I were to order tea in a shop I would probably get a biscotti to go with it.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

Buzz's treats are pretty much restricted to the Milk-bone variety. He loves rawhide chews too.

How did Buzz come to be united with you?

Our first dog, Magic, died in April of 2009. He adopted us a few years prior to that by showing up in our yard. After some investigation we realized that we could adopt him so we did. In January of 2009 he developed a bad cough and it turned out that he had lung cancer. Making the decision to have him put to sleep was the hardest thing my husband and I have done. It was a horrible decision to have to make. A few weeks after Magic died, my two sons and I stopped at a new PetSmart on a Sunday afternoon just to browse. Unbeknownst to me, a local animal shelter was having a pet adoption day there that afternoon. We walked in and I casually asked if they had any dogs. I instantly fell in love with Buzz. He was so sweet. We drove home and told my husband about Buzz. My husband is a HUGE dog lover so he quickly agreed to accompany us back to the store. Buzz was still there and he became ours that same day.

How did he get his name?

When we adopted Buzz he had been at the animal shelter only a short time. In fact, up until the day they brought him to PetSmart he hadn't been given a name. The shelter volunteers decided to name him so as not to have to refer to him as "Dog #5" to potential adoptive families. According to the volunteers, they called him Buzz because he has a tuft of longer fur along the top of his head that can be spiked into a faux-hawk. Once we brought him home we felt like the name Buzz fit him so well that we just kept it.

Where is Buzz's favorite place for a walk?

We live on an acreage in the country and Buzz loves to be walked on the gravel roads around our home. My husband always walks Buzz, even now when it is barely zero degrees here in the midwest. We have a huge yard for him to roam in as well. And he loves to go to the local park and on some local nature trails when the weather is nicer.

Stick, Frisbee, tennis ball...?

Buzz does not play with toys at all, although he sometimes "stalks" his rawhide chews before he eats them which is really cute. About 3 weeks after we adopted Buzz he had a very bad seizure, then continued with seizures about every 3 hours throughout the next 24 hours. Of course we immediately consulted a vet and took him in. Since then he has been on medication to control this problem. He has now gone about 6 weeks with no seizures which is the longest stretch since we adopted him so we are hoping the combination of medicines he is taking are finally working. Because of the meds, however, he is not a very playful dog. To be honest, they make him a little daffy. However, the alternative is not an option ... anyone who has watched their beloved pet have a seizure knows what I'm talking about. So, we love him just as he is ... sweet ol' Buzz.

Cat, rodent, postman...?

We have three cats which were already members of the family before Buzz came onto the scene. He gets along with them pretty well and really doesn't pay a whole lot of attention to them. Also, Buzz very very rarely barks. He was like that when we got him and we fear that he may have been "reprimanded" for it in his former home or homes. At any rate, we rarely hear his voice.

What's an ordinary day like for Buzz?

My husband is the primary caretaker of our dog. He takes Buzz out around 7:00 a.m. every morning for a walk, then gives him breakfast and his morning medicine. Buzz gets a rawhide chew to gnaw on before we all leave for work and school every day. From what we can tell, he sleeps for most of the morning after that. He goes out again around noon then has his lunch and spends the afternoon dozing again. He gets another walk around suppertime and one more before bedtime.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

My husband is Buzz's best pal. He loves Buzz very, very much and takes great care of him. The feeling is mutual.

What's your dog's best quality?

Buzz is very sweet-natured. He is easy-going. It's impossible not to love Buzz.

What's Buzz's proudest moment? His most embarrassing?

That is hard to say. Hopefully becoming a member of our family is a happy moment in his life. Most embarrassing? I guess you'd have to ask Buzz!

You teach children. Is there anything kids can learn from dogs (or caring for dogs)?

Before teaching in the school I am at now I taught special education in a public school. The guidance counselor at that school had a therapy dog, Cisco, that came to school with him each day. Cisco accompanied the guidance counselor into classrooms and made rounds of the hallways before school. The children LOVE Cisco. I know that he had been a great comfort to many children and has helped many open up about rough situations they are going through. So ... I think dogs are good for children. In our family, our pets have helped us teach our sons about compassion and responsibility. I am so thankful that we have been blessed to find the perfect pets for our family. I know our sons will always have fond memories of the time they have spent with the canine and feline members of our family.

Visit Laura's blogs, Our Random Acts of Reading and My Montessori Journey.

--Marshal Zeringue