Sharon Badertscher, owner of Alvin (of the Alvin, Theodore and Simone litter) and rescue Malamute Misty, has suggested the following questionnaire to be filled out by all potential homes before being allowed to take home a Malamute puppy. A few of her other wonderful observations are below as well. Put your coffee down or it will come out your nose. Her observations about Malamute personality and raising a puppy are hilariously accurate and I just had to share them with you with Sharon's permission. It wouldn't be fair to keep them to myself! Enjoy....
To establish who the real Malamute compatible people are, I suggest the following potential adopter questionnaire:
1. Describe your home:
(c) nice house
(e) bomb bunker with reinforced concrete walls
Describe the condition of your home:
(c) clean enough
(d) needs work
(e) I have an unlimited line of credit at Home Depot
2. My backyard has:
(a) no fence
(b) an electric fence
(c) a 3 ft. wood or chain link fence
(d) a 6 foot wood or chain link fence
(e) a 50 ft. high 3 mile wide concrete monolith comparable to the Great Wall of China, surrounded by a large moat
(this is actually a trick question because answers (a) through (d) are redundant - all are the equivalent of no fence. The moat referred to in (e) was undoubtedly dug by the Malamute after it escaped from one of the enclosures listed in (a) though (d) and is technically located either in your neighbor's yard, your septic field, or where your prized herb garden used to be.)
My landscaping can be described as:
(a) a professionally manicured lawn
(b) an obsessively maintained well groomed lawn
(c) a frequently mowed and fertilized lawn
(d) an occasionally mowed and weeded lawn
3. The flooring in my house is:
(b) hard wood floor
(c) shag carpet
(d) shaggy carpet
(e) the gouged, concrete foundation upon which the actual flooring was at one time secured.
4. My favorite possessions are:
(a) fragile, priceless antiques
(b) the furniture I inherited from my grandmother
(c) expensive electronics
(d) rare books
(e) my collection of headless gutted stuffed ducks, shredded pieces of tennis balls, mangled frisbees, and crushed plastic bottles with teeth marks.
5. In the morning, I enjoy waking up to:
(a) music from my ipod
(b) the smell of coffee
(c) a nice hot shower
(d) the buzzing of my alarm clock
(e) the strangled screams and high pitched wails of a dog who feels that 4 hours of sleep is all anyone would ever need on a week day.
6. I understand that I am adopting:
(a) an adorable fluffy puppy
(b) a beautiful affectionate dog
(c) a quiet well mannered Malamute
(d) a tread mill and home protection unit
(e) a rocket powered missile armed with a nuclear warhead complete with independent guidance system and the most sophisticated intelligence available in weapons grade technology.
More excerpts about raising Alvin from Sharon:
- We have a lab puppy that lives down the street from us. Neither Misty or Alvin consider him to be canine. Misty is rather racist. flop eared dogs aren't dogs in her opinion. Alvin would like to play with him, but Misty says "No. Don't associate with rodents." So, Alvin is not allowed to play. I don't know if his type of play would be appreciated. My sister-in-law's lab is still in counselling from the time Alvin showed him how to wrestle malamute style. He pees every time Alvin comes within 500 yards of him.
- I had a very cute moment yesterday. Andy is away at a swim meet this week. Its just me and Elizabeth. Andy usually feeds and walks the critters in the morning. He walked them before we left, but didn't feed them because it was early. Elizabeth didn't feed them, because she thought Andy did. I got home last night and sat down for 5 seconds. Before I could even get the foot rest up, There were two malamutes sitting at my feet, each with an empty food bowl in his/her mouth, glaring at me. Alvin, of course, flung it at me. Misty just gave me the icy stare. Somehow, I was able to deduce that they had not been fed. I must be some kind of dog whisperer. I should probably write a book.
- Another cute Alvin Story. I was making pancakes with a new recipe. This one made thick batter that wound itself up the beater pretty quickly. I pulled it out of the bowl in the hope that I could keep the mixer going and fling the batter off of the beater and back into the bowl. That is never as successful an endeavor as it sounds like it will be. Batter was flying everywhere. All kitchen activity has Alvin's undivided attention, since it could very well mean dinner, or at least a treat. When the batter started flying, he ran to get his bowl. Then he came up behind me and tried to catch the flying bits of batter with the bowl. It was hysterical! He is too smart. Its a good thing for him that he is so gosh darn cute.
- We have to switch Alvie's food. He has become very finicky about it, even with a little tuna mixed in. I mixed in some clementines this morning to get him to eat. He won't eat his food, but he then raids the trash and eats a paper towel, a plastic bottle and the wood from a pencil (grinding the lead into the carpet of course). He counter surfs, and tries to mow Andy over at dinner. He leaves Elizabeth well enough alone at meal times. She may be small, but she reacts like a cobra when her dinner is at stake. I don't want to forget yarn. Its his new favorite food. Its a bit like Spaghetti, but indigestible. Right now, Alv is on the Bil Jac large dog formula, which our vet recommended. Misty likes the Call of the Wild salmon food. Its the only kind she can tolerate. Chipmunk is fine, but too hard to catch in the winter and we need to supplement. Frogs are also okay in moderation, but they too are out of season. At least Molly and Alvie are getting along well. They mutually tear my house apart. They moved a recliner yesterday. It was in the way of the high hurdles track they were laying down in the formal living room.
- It gets darker earlier now, and we have had a little snow to boot. One evening, Alvie is in the dining room appearing to look out of the sliding glass door. He's pacing back and forth, and barking, but not in an aggressive way. I'm trying to see what it out there causing problems, and Alvie gets really upset that I'm blocking his view. I step back and he goes back to his routine. Finally, it dawns on me...he's admiring his reflection in the glass. He kept slowly pacing back and forth with that expression that said, "Wow, I'm hot! Who doesn't want a piece of this...! Look at that tail! Now THAT's a tail!" Teenaged boys are the same everywhere, I guess.
- We got our first snow and cold. Misty was okay with the snow. Alvie loved it! He couldn't get enough of it. His coat is so thick that he adored the whole cold air experience. He also is experiencing his first artificial outdoor Christmas decorations. He hates the light up deer and Santa that our neighbor has displayed. He thinks it is some new and weird kind of prey that should not be permitted to live one minute longer. Santa is, in his opinion, some unfriendly character that is somehow helping the prey. Misty is so proud of her boy for his total commitment to end the life of all woodland creatures, even the ones that glow in the dark. Theirs is a strange relationship. She's like the proud mom whose teen is getting straight "A's" and made the varsity team.
- Alv still tries to sit on my lap for cuddle time. There is just so much to cuddle now. He's big, but not in a tall way. He is just a little taller than Misty, but he is a solid mass of muscle. His chest is just a piece of iron. When he gets it into his head that he wants to go after a deer, he is capable of pulling Duncan down the road with him. They are really at an interesting age. I have come to remember why I didn't want two mals before this...my house is in a state a devastation. I have a vent that is permanently damaged, a banister ripped from the wall, a recliner that has been eaten so many times I doubt it can be truly repaired, a splotch on the floor from the time Alv found an ink pen filled with permanent ink, a hole in my bathroom floor, and plants that look like they were wiped out by a plague of locusts. Alv is starting to become bossy and assertive. I knew that was coming but hope springs eternal. He has been reintroduced to his job of waking the kids. He's getting better at it, provided that he is policed in the process. Alvie tends to like to wake the kids and then climb in bed with them as they both fall back asleep. I do give him a treat when he finishes the task so he is a little more motivated. He is still adorably cute.
- As Charlie Brown would say, "Happiness is a warm puppy." Then we play "kill the flying Goose." (where he brings me Goose and I throw it so he can leap up, and kill it. When it is thoroughly dead, he brings it back to throw again. Its like fetch, except there's killing, mutilation, and often decapitation involved. Goose IV is now headless. Although Goose V is still largely intact, Goose IV is still a favorite. He is particularly fond of that one for some reason.
- We haven't made his vet appointment to have him neutered yet, but we have to do it soon. Alvin swears Misty is in heat. Misty swears we won't have to make the vet appointment because she is going to remove his testicles herself if he doesn't stop sniffing at her. In fact, she has volunteered on a number of occasions to help us save a little money in that respect. We are now on Goose V. Goose IV was decapitated and Goose III was gutted. He still likes to carry Goose IV around the house, but without a head it does look creepy. Misty saw an opportunity to really get to him yesterday and grabbed Goose V while he wasn't looking. The screaming that followed was nothing short of a full fledged tantrum. "She took new Goose! and she's chewing it! Make her stop! Its my Goose!" That led to a great game of chase all around the house, with dogs leaping over furniture. Try eating dinner with that going on around you. As Andy put it, "Oh look, dinner theater again."
- We got home late Saturday night. Misty was positively gleeful at being back home. She was leaping around the house, checking out her familiar haunts. She loves her crate and spent most of yesterday snoozing in the comfort of her little den. Alv reconnected with all of his toys. Goose #2 was slain early Sunday morning. Stuffing was everywhere and he was decapitated. Thankfully, as Goose is his favorite toy (it honks frantically when bitten) we have a large supply of replacements in reserve. Goose #3 made his appearance. He is already missing feet.
- Funny dynamic between Alv and Misty. Just when we think she's letting him grow up a little, she reverts back to motherhood. Andy had a friend spend a few days with us this week while his family was out of town. This boy is so sweet and quiet. He's also very small for his age. He does have cats at home, which Misty felt made him highly suspect. (the rescue folks told us she loved cats. This is true to a point. She loves them raw, with a side of chipmunk and grass clippings) She gave him the once over about 12 times. Elijah then went to talk to Alv who loves everyone he meets, provided that they have only 2 legs. Misty went into mother bear mode again. She barked at Elijah and tried to stand over Alv with him between her legs. That didn't work so well, since he no longer fits underneath her. She ended up squishing him to the floor. Elijah is a pretty smart kid. He backed off until Misty was comfortable enough with him to allow him to talk to her puppy. Even then she kept a close eye on him. Alv rewarded Elijah by eating his contact lenses. It was a joyful time.
- P.S. - On the menu this week...the dining room rug. Apparently, he's become a connoisseur of flooring.
- Although he is back to getting into more mischief than you can imagine (then again, you have Superman), he really has such a great personality. We have a chair which we have dubbed the "love seat." As soon as anyone sits in that chair, the flying fluffball comes barrelling across the room and plunges into your lap. After that, a barrage of kisses and hugs follows. He has the same happy contented look that his Uncle Riggs has. You know the one with the eyes half open and the tongue lolling to the side with the little grin. He is just so darn cute (I mean, manly and worldly) that you can't stay mad at him. We are having company over to our house this weekend. It should be fun trying to keep people from sitting in the love seat. We can't crate him while they are at our house. Alv is a first class screamer. There are horror film producers who would hire him in a heart beat to do voice overs. He gets Misty going, and the two of them sound like its Friday the 13th, part 60. Its hard to carry on a conversation while all that's going on.
- This has been a quiet week on the strange food substances front. No electronic gadgets were lost to puppy teeth. Two big bull frogs and a garter snake met their maker this week, and a ground hog is going to be traumatized for the rest of its life. A family of wrens moved their nest to higher ground, but otherwise, hunting has been slow. Even the neighbor's cat, Smokey, avoids us by miles. Alv has become an expert chipmunker. Sadly, when you kill them off, they don't replenish themselves with more victims. The squirrels also avoid our yard. They have been reduced to hunting grasshoppers. Still amusing, but they aren't nearly as challenging as the rodents.
- Weirdly, he is channelling Molly. She loved to wake the kids in the morning. Alv lives for it too. He particularly enjoys waking Andy, who occupies the teen suite in what was once my rec room. There are about 6 steps down and then Andy's bed is about 10 steps from the stairs. Alv likes to start at the top of the stairs, get a good run going and take a flying leap onto the bed. I can assure you, it has the desired effect. (50+ lbs of flying puppy is hard to sleep through!) I just stand at the top of the steps and yell "incoming" and Andy is wide awake
- Did I mention he ate a table cloth this week...? naturally the stuff on the table had to be pulled down as well. Its been a little crazy.
- Alv and Misty are already of the opinion that fru fru breeds should not live. The poodles at the end of our street are at the top of the extermination list. Molly hated them too. Its funny that you say Simone watches the alien creatures with interest. Is it interest or superiority? Misty has a bit of Simone in her. She looks upon the other breeds with a sense of "my my ...look at the primitive life forms. I am amazed that a human would let them into their pack. I wonder why they didn't want a real dog? What curious creatures humans are! They are so desperate for affection that they will adopt any old ugly thing that happens to wander by the door. Very interesting..." Misty considers anything that is not a northern breed to be less canine than her. Anything small and frufy is wasting oxygen as far as she's concerned.
- Alv also loves to eat wood. Its one of his favorites. He loves dandelions too. The vet was not fond of that choice. She wasn't too keen on his diet in general. Alv was pleased to hear that more food and more meat are in his future. I had to give him rice with his dinner last night. He's on a modified BRAT diet (no comment necessary, its too easy....) No bananas or applesauce, but I mix in rice and give him his pills with toast. I made a big show of taking a pan of rice form the stove and spooning it into his bowl. He was so excited that he was eating something from the stove that he I doubt he even tasted it. Its all in the way you market the product!
- To Alv's credit, the cell phone was buzzing on vibrate as my morning alarm was going off. It was in my purse so I didn't hear it. Alv "saved" us by bravely tearing open my purse and attacking that horrible buzzing phone until it was thoroughly dead. I know I feel safe!
- I think Duncan is ready to hug Alvin for you...around the neck. He has been a hell hound this week! He's tried to eat my orthodontic retainer twice ( I rescued it and scrubbed it repeatedly. It still has puppy teeth marks), he did eat Andy's toothbrush (Andy declined to try to get it back), a set of ear plugs, my cell phone, the plant basket (as it contained soil and plants, he spread it all over the floor to make his own little yard place, and preceded to dig my carpet), a box of tampons (thankfully we had no company at the time, but that would make for nice dinner entertainment in place of the toilet brush), the airplane Elizabeth was making for a school project, Andy's gym socks (right from the gym bag...ugh!), part of a loaf of garlic bread (perhaps that's why he needed the tooth brush), ... If you turn your back on him for a second, he's destroying something.
- is so fun to watch. They really have evolved into a cohesive hunting unit. One of them goes around to the front of their victim and distracts with this show of force, while the other one sneaks up from behind, puts her nose on the table and sneaks a piece of chicken off the plate of the unsuspecting adolescent male who is preoccupied with the cute puppy pawing him from the other side. The one that makes the kill is kind enough to leave a third of the catch for the wing man. Grandma Holly would be so proud of her little hunter!
I knew they would be a dangerous combo when she figured out how to stay crated and still move around the house.
- I am told that Alvin is quite angry with us. I had to leave him in his crate this morning, after getting a call from my mom saying she fell and hit her head. He was indignant at having to go back in his crate. Not to mention that he was not fed breakfast. Duncan got home around 1:00 and Alvin apparently let him know that this service is absolutely unacceptable! No breakfast! Extra crate time! No play date! (Mom is fine, by the way) I'm surprised the neighbors haven't called 911 yet. The screaming this morning when I put him in his crate was no less dramatic than the stuff featured in horror films.
- We are in the midst of remodeling too. We used to have a nice plant stand by the sliding glass door, that's gone, or at least parts of it are. We used to have a screen door behind the sliding glass door, that's gone. We used to have a towel rack in the lower bathroom. That's gone, but there is a new decorative hole in the wall. We have added a mine field of "toys" to our floors and some mysterious fluff that signifies that something lost its battle with the pack. (Goose finally died after Alv ripped out its squeaker box and most of its other internal organs. He has another goose, but it doesn't honk quite as loud when attacked. Very disappointing. I suspect Piggy may have a lethal wound) There are the host of crunched water bottles, and the water jug that Alv will not let me throw away. It keeps resurfacing from the trash. We've been doing some landscaping as well. Alv doesn't like the Hosta that used to grow by the front steps. He pees on it every opportunity he gets. He has also created an in-ground pool in my front garden. He also pees in that too so no one has wanted to swim in it. We had a nice herb garden, but Alv regularly samples the plants. If he likes something, like the chives, he helps himself. If he doesn't like an herb, he digs it up. Afterall, who would want mint in their garden! He's just doing us a favor. Its taking up space the chives could use! The little "fence" it put up to protect the garden was a mere joke to the tank. I foolishly thought a few poles and chicken wire could keep him out. He just plowed it over. There's also a crater in the back, where a chipmunk used to live. I don't want to know what happened to the chipmunk.
- (After a nail ciipping session): Duncan and I were joking in the middle of last night's chaos that it would be the perfect time for a policeman selling tickets to the pig roast, or a girl scout, or the local marching band, baseball team members etc... to come to our door selling something. We have these blood curdling screams coming from Misty and Alvin (who was not particularly angry or hurt, but he just likes to scream), and a man with blood all over his hands, arms, shirt and pants coming to the door saying, "can I help you?" Or perhaps a telemarketer for some carpet cleaning company..."Can your machine get out blood? Lots of blood?...on the carpet and the drapes and the furniture...like it never happened?" Our pictures would be on CNN the next morning and they'd be interviewing our closest friends who would all be saying, "I always thought there was something odd about them."
- I hope you had a restful weekend. We were actually dumb enough to try to have friends over. Simply put, we are idiots. Just trying to clean the house with a puppy and a teen puppy was a nightmare. My vacuum cleaner finally said "look, I wasn't made for this type of abuse. You need a shop vac or some sort of industrial machine. I'm designed for smaller messes." Vacuuming alone seemed to take all morning and by the time I was finished, the room I started in had dog hair all over it. To add to this joy and make it more challenging, Alvin decided to pull out all of his toys, and some things that weren't technically toys (many people might call it garbage, but what's one man's trash is another dog's treasure) and continue to strew them about the house. Then when the house was "clean" (or at least as good as it gets these days), my puppy was on his best behavior. HA HA HA (Oh I crack myself up). He was so obnoxious. They have two teen aged girls who swooned over him and Misty. Misty started to get a little jealous because Alvin was constantly butting in between her and her new friends. She nipped him, He nipped back. Soon they were tearing around the house and I started to wonder why I hadn't purchased that second bottle of wine. They were both crated. Misty pouted. Alvin screamed like we'd put tacks all over the bottom of his crate. Needless to say, it made our Seder a little more difficult to follow. Did I mention that his majesty chose to parade around for company with his royal scepter (the toilet brush) in his mouth? We hide it, lock it away, and practically place it under protections of which Homeland Security would be proud, and still he finds it. Nothing like a little having your puppy come bounding down the stairs, after tearing up your bathroom, of course, with your toilet brush in his mouth for all to see.
- He's been a little nicer to Misty this week. He cut her cheek while they were playing. It was quite a mess, but no real lasting damage, I think. I'm certain he didn't mean to hurt her because he seemed to feel bad about it the instant it happened. She didn't get very upset, but he was a wreck. He has been very gentle with her since then. Maybe he's waiting for her to retaliate. He cleans her wound every morning and then lays next to her until she gives him the "let's play" paw. He doesn't realize how sharp those daggers are. For a while, Misty was thinking we had a breach of implied warranty. His mother is the most gentle creature on the planet, his father apparently has this nice disposition and yet, in her opinion, we adopted the Antichrist. I'm not sure that Alvin is Simone's evil twin. I think you have that reversed. He is the instigator of trouble, a real self-starter, with an "I'm the man" attitude. (He reminds me of Tim Allen with the swagger and the grin). You should be thankful everyday that you separated Alvin and Simone. He is scary smart, the best escape artist I have ever seen, and undeterred by physics, gravity and other irrelevant planetary forces. He practices his hunting skills on Misty, unsuspecting feet, cell phones left unattended, and yesterday, he conquered and captured the downstairs toilet brush. The more you try to prevent him from getting something, the more of a challenge it becomes. If they combined forces, you'd have to move.
- Very cute story...he was having house time while I was cooking dinner. Duncan was out of town and it was just me and the kids. Alv and Misty were actually being nice to each other so I forgot he was there. I made pasta and cooked some sausages on the side. We sat down to dinner and started passing plates. I turned to pass to the person on my left and there was Alv sitting at Duncan's place at the table, tail wagging furiously with a look that said, "oh thank you, I think I will have some of those sausages." Of course he knows he isn't allowed to mooch from the table, but I technically never said anything about a dining room chair. I was torn between wanting to be stern so he knows that's not acceptable behavior (but I think I blew that by laughing) and wanting to go grab the camera. Sadly, the camera was in Duncan's office downstairs, and the sausages guarded only by children were on the table.
- Be thankful that you don't have both Alvin and Superman. Alvin is a cross between Eddie Haskell and Monty Python. He is very good at putting on the big eyes and cute little puppy look. Two second later, he's getting into mischief with that evil grin on his face. Alvin can get out of the new and improved gate. It locks into place from the opposite side. To unlock it, you have to push it in and turn it at the same time. If the knobs are not lined up exactly right on both sides of the gate, it will not open. And yet, Alv can open it. It takes some work, but he manages. When cunning is too much work, he relies on his tank like build to mow it over. I didn't get a puppy. I got a wrecking ball.
- Andy decided to try to teach him to roll over. Alvin didn't get it, so Andy took his duck a duck, said "roll over" and then rolled duck a duck over. Then he said to Alvin "roll over." Alvin nudged duck a duck, made it roll over, then asked for his treat. Smart puppy.
- Misty would like to know if its too late for us to exchange him for Theodore. She's heard he's a little better. If not, she's willing to just give him back. He's been positively awful to her this weekend. We have not had a moment's peace. Every moment they are together, he starts in on her. I can't tell whether they are playing, bickering or actually fighting. He starts it nearly all the time. Not only does he refuse to be submissive, but he actively tries to assert dominance. She will have none of it. its terribly fun. We are having a quiet moment and then he bites her neck. They wrestle. He finds a good bone, stick, water bottle, etc... Misty takes it from him as she sees as her privilege as the alpha. He gets mad and tries to take it back. She ignores him. He puts his head on hers and demands she give it back. That goes over like a lead balloon. She lets go of the thing to grab him by the neck and he grabs the thing they both want. She takes it back. She runs with it. He chases her. She rounds and chases him. She flips him over. He goes for the soft underbelly and nips. She gets honked off.... and so it goes. He doesn't quit. There was one moment, when I thought they were both tired. He was lying next to her licking her muzzle. She was cuddling him...then bam...he bites her and takes off running with that laughing look on his face. She is mad because he took a cheap shot. Most of the time, I think they are just playing/bickering. If Misty really wanted to hurt him, she could. We watch them both very carefully. So far, nobody has really complained or seemed afraid. I'm afraid one of these times, he'll push her too far and she'll really try. Its just constant. The second he gets up, he goes for her. They are always wrestling. Always. On an occasion when he was being particularly nasty to Misty, Duncan intervened as the alpha. Misty got protective of Alvin and tried to put herself between them. Poor Misty is like the teenaged mother with Rosemary's Baby. She really wants her cute cuddly little man back and instead she has Cujo. She would like to offer her condolences to Jazzy. She concurs with her assessment of Mula's children.
- He had his vet appointment this morning. She said he was healthy and beautiful, with gorgeous markings. He was also very vocal, disliked the shot, and overall was displeased at the interruption of what he thought would be a beautiful day. He is about 30lbs. Difficult to get precise reading as Duncan said he practically had to be gorilla glued to the scale.
- We are single-handedly keeping Colorox-free in business. He is asserting his independence to such a great degree now. He believes he is king of the world. He thinks he is dominant and disabusing him of that notion is a fulltime job. The poor puppy is stone deaf when called, but can hear the rustle of the dogfood bag from 3 football fields away. The new gate is working out great! He HATES it. Its taller than the last one, and it has bars instead of cross grooves and cannot be climbed. Its also bolted into the wall. Try as he does, he hasn't been able to rip it (yet) from the wall. He has therefore taken to sticking his nose through the bars and crying softly for sympathy. Duncan has suggested that we get him a tin cup to rattle against the bars.