Two years ago this weekend, Mr. Wild Dingo and I drove up to the city to adopt Loki. I still remember the mixed feelings I had when I met him. He was much bigger than I had anticipated and he wasn't even full grown. But his silly personality and his sad beginnings are what sold Mr. Wild Dingo and I on him.
It's been a wild and crazy two years with Loki. While many of our readers think Loki is a well-adjusted, well-behaved, easy-to-train dog, I can honestly admit that it's been a roller coaster ride and I'm still not certain we're dialed in tightly as a team yet. With all the training and work we've done together in the last two years, he's still challenging me and calling me on my inconsistencies as his handler. And "handled" he must be.
Loki is a wonderfully smart, driven and silly dog. He's also easily frustrated which can be good and bad for learning new things. Frustration builds drive and drive builds learning. So while it's pretty easy to teach him new things, on the flip side, his frustration can lead to undesired behaviors. Loki's also anxious and unconfident. He's a not a dog that would fit in with just any family.
Loki's also sensitive to sound. I mean really sensitive. So much so, I can't even use the blinkers in the car with the windows open. I forgot to tell Mr. Wild Dingo this while we were driving with Loki last week. Mr. Wild Dingo put on the blinkers and Loki promptly pulled out ear-splitting yaps, giving Mr. Wild Dingo just the jolt he needed. (Ooopsie.)
He also has the most insane pack drive I've ever seen which has earned him the nickname "Retardo Montelban." His jumping, barking and thrashing about whenever Mr. Wild Dingo and Juno came to class was difficult to ignore by classmates. Heaven forbid I ever hand Loki's leash to another person. Though he's people friendly, he'll raise bloody hell before anyone else but me, Mr. Wild Dingo or a few of the trainers can hold his or even Juno's leash. Yes, you read that right. He won't stand for anyone else handling Juno either.
A few weeks ago, I contacted Loki's foster and asked her to send me digital copies of photos I found in his paperwork. I had begun to wonder a little more about his background and age. These are some of the photos I found in his file that were taken January 2008. His adoption files had these photos from his first foster in Taiwan, and said he was 1.5 years old and 36 lbs. Based on the January 2008 images below, and his adult weight (67 lbs), I seriously doubt he was more than a year old in January 2008.
Even before he was a year old, Loki nailed down his innocent puppy look.
Back then his ears were so big, they couldn't stand up on his small head.
Look at the size of those paws!
Not much of his widow's mark shows in his puppy face, which is all black. But his eyes, tail and ears are so telling. Does anyone want to just salt those ears and munch them up like I want to?
When he came to us end of May 2008, he was 58 lbs, which was about 90% of his adult body weight. According to dog growth charts, that would make him at about a year old when we adopted him. Given all of that, I decided that his anniversary would be the same day as his birthday, which makes him three years old this weekend.
Loki's US foster mom sent me the above photos with the following provoking thoughts that I think can apply to any rescued dog:
"I learned a long time ago that I do not want to know too much about their previous lives. Sometimes history is best left alone and unsaid. There are things you will learn from him over time when he is ready to tell you. If he remembers. Some things are only bad as we perceive them, not how others see them. It really doesn't matter how old he is or what his life was like. What matters is how he/you deal with his life now. Remember, dogs are never victims, they accept life for what or how it is and have the best time they can. Give him kisses for me and remind him that is a long way from where he started and very lucky!"
I think Loki knows he's lucky. But I get the feeling he's always wondering when he will be forced to leave again (never). He had so much change as a young pup that it seems perfectly natural in his learned behavior to fear being separated from his pack.
Regardless of his anxieties, Loki has for the most part, learned to trust me. And obviously, that is where he's gone terribly wrong. Just look at the various ways I torture him.
“Hallo. My name is Inigo Montoyo. You killed my stuffie. Prepare to die.”
"Does this crown make my butt look big?
"Does this boa make my ears look big?"
"Is it ok to steal a cookie if I'm wearing a mask?"
"I can't help how handsome I am. "
Regardless of all the challenges he has and continues to present, Loki can charm the most unsuspecting person with silly behaviors. The range of expression in his face seems infinite. Every time I photograph him, I'm conflicted in my choice of photos to use for this blog because each expression tells a complex story. I love the fact that he has grown to love modeling. I can litterally put any costume on him and he not only endures it but rises to the occasion and pulls out his own "Blue Steel" for the camera.
I'm grateful Loki came into our lives because he's taught me a few things about myself. For one thing, I've learned more in the past 2 years about training dogs than I had ever planned. When I adopted him, I foolishly thought we'd go to one or two obedience classes and be done with it. But his own drive to work and my own need to handle his anxious behavior kept us in school. I've also learned that working with dogs is far more fascinating than I anticipated. It doesn't matter if temperament is born or learned, it's obedience training that builds confidence. And while his temperament may never change, obedience and consistent handling will be his saving grace. I've made my share of mistakes with Loki but luckily for me, he's been forgiving. I'm still learning. Unfortunately for Loki, he's my unwitting experiment. Booowhahahaha!
"Oh crud Big boy. Why do we ALWAYS have to pose for the camera before we eat our pupper-versary cake?"
"Princess, just do what she says. Really."
At home, Loki is the picture of perfect.
The husky in Juno comes out and she jumps the gun before we release her. Loki is the ever attentive soldier and will only eat when told. I told you he has "issues."
"Happy Anniversary Big Boy. I'm glad you're my pack mate."
"Thanks Princess. I'm glad you're my bite-toy, err... my pack mate too."
Happy Anniversary Loki. We love you more than you know.
miss you guys
XOX Mr. WD.
~wags~n~wiggles from L&J
Happy Anniversary Loki! I am still astounded by the size of your ears. I bet you can hear my love song all the way across the country with those.
Pretty cute puppy pictures. Your face is so tight and expressive. I am totally jelly. My face weighs a ton and it is an effort even to lift my brow. You are lucky to have a floofy sissy too. Yowsa. No wonder you don't want just anybody holding her leash.
Love the back story and the early pictures. And I do agree a lot with what the foster mom says. I can only guess some of what my pups went through before they came to Chez Herd.
Something tells me he's happy to be subjected to your kind of torture. It kind of sounds a lot like love from here! 🙂
Dear Juno and Loki's Momma
I absolutely love this post. I too have learned a great deal thru Loki. I agree sometimes knowing the past elicits emotions and memories that you can't move beyond but you sure have identified his strengths and keep building yet with fun incorporated.
Happy Loki-versary! May the harry funballs always be with you! And hot dogs too.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO LOKI!!!! How wonderful that you found a grrreat family to adopt.
Happy Lokiversary, dude! Sounds like woo picked exactly the right owner & home fur yourself! (Isn't it funny how the humans always think it's them who does the picking?)
Jack a-roo & sweet Miss Moo
happy anniversary and 3rd birthday Loki!
Your puppy pictures are so cute! From folded over to standing tall!
What a wonderful post! I really enjoy hearing about how puppies came into our lives!
Oh, and a very very happy Puppyversary too 🙂
Happy Loki-versary! 🙂 I love all the Loki pictures! He and Juno look so happy together! I'm so glad you all found each other! 🙂
We are all so lucky you brought Loki and Juno into your home, otherwise reading FaceBook would be so boring!
Woo know woo got it BIG TIME when woo khan do the khrossed paws so furry well!
Here's to many more Loki-versary celebrations!
Khyra & Khousin Merdie
Happy Gotcha day Loki!
Congatualations Loki, it looks like you really got a great home and your life is a real adventure, plus you get to share it with a Siberian.
Great post and Happy Lokiversary.
Remy and Flash
Happy All In One Day, Loki! I could have written a post so similar for Hawk when we had him. In his perfect world, we'd all (including Treat) stay together, in the same room in our house all the time. He was incredibly smart, but also hopelessly lacking in confidence. I learned a lot about myself while we were together!
Bricey and Princess Eva
Happy Loki-versary to you and we wish you many, many more with Wild Dingo and Mr. Wild Dingo. This was such a wonderful post to read - we loved reading everything about you. You have such a wonderful home, Loki - happy day again.
Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara
Happy Birthday big boy Loki....many happy returns, hugs & kisses too...
Happy Loki-versary! We are super happy to have met you and that you have such a wonderful family.
Steve and Kat
Happy anniversary Loki!!!
Happy gotchaversary, Loki!
Happy Adoptaversary, Loki! I thought this was one of your BEST posts! Loved the story and finding out more about your background - and also all the different pictures of the different sides of you. I know your human always called you a Formasan dog but I never realised you actually came from Taiwan, just like my human! Although she had been in touch with dog charities there and knew that many kind expat humans would send doggies there to homes overseas, especially in America. Dogs don't have the same place in society there like they do in the West, especially if they are not purebred Golden Retrievers or some other cute fluffy thing! 🙄
Anyway, hope you enjoyed your cake!
Honey the Great Dane
Beautiful tribute to your boy-pup!
Oh, and happy birthday Loki!
How did I miss this post? Google Reader is really irritating me. Happy anniversary Loki!! Great pictures and I loved the story. I really like what his foster person said in that message too. Definitely though provoking. Give him a kiss for me even though it's late.
OMG! Those puppy ears on Loki kill me!