This is the story about Scupper, our Westie/Shih-Tzu "designer" dog. I put the word designer in quotes because it used to be that a mix like this was called a mutt...and people gave them away free...now they are called designer dogs and get big $$ for them. We got Scupper on sale though and he's a womderful member of our pack. He THINKS he's the leader, until I come home from work. Then he goes...uh oh, alpha is here! LOL.
This picture best illustrates how tiny he was when he came onboard, 2 pounds! He's in my apron pocket in this photo.
Since the first weekend he joined us he has been with us in our travels and adventures. Yes, that is Scupper sitting on Ken's kayak.
We've had him out sailing, as well. From the beginning he's been very sure-footed on boats. There was only one time that had me worried. He wouldn't stay in the cockpit once he was big enough to get up on the cushions and jump onto the deck. One time he was watching a big stinkpot (power boat) go by that left a huge wake...all of a sudden Scupper was sliding all over the deck! He scrambled back up on his feet and hightailed it back to the cockpit with this look on his face like "oh @#$%! Did you see what that idiot did?" He stayed close to me the rest of the day on that sail!
When Scupper first joined us we had to get him used to being in a crate on occassion. It was difficult. He would bark, whine and cry so much that his chin would be all wet when we got back 30 minutes later. My friend Kelly offered to help us teach him to be in crate. For about a week I would take him over on my way to work to drop him and his crate off, then pick him up each night on my way home.
She had 2 dogs at the time, Odie and Joe. Odie, the giant black schnauzer, in the picture to the left, became his best friend. Scupper would hang on his beard, crawl all over his back, chew his ears...and Odie would just let him. He loves Joe also, the minature grey Schnauzer. They would have such a good time together. All three would be crated for a couple of hours a day and within a week Scupper was pretty good about being crated. He still has his crate but we don't even lock it anymore. We just say cushion and in he goes. Sometimes he retreat to it just to be alone and take a nap.
Since then Odie and Joe have been joined by another minature Schnauzer named Shelby. She's grown to be a bit smaller than Scupper's 14 pounds. She takes nothing from Scupper and gives back all that he gives her! They romp and play all over the house.
There was one thing we were concerned about with Scupper and that was how he would take to the water when he actually fell in...we wanted to be sure he could swim. Even with a doggie lifevest on, dogs need to know how to swim to get to shore or get back to the boat.
Well as you can see from the video below...swimming is no problem. Here he is wading into a stream last summer. Once the water is up to his belly he just starts paddling along. We worked to get him to this point...as soon as he was big enough we got him into the smallest doggie lifevest we could find and started taking him to the beach, the lake, and into streams. I have him on a leash in the video because he gets very distracted by rabbits and tends to take off after them if he gets one in his sight!
Well, there's a problem with teaching him to enjoy the water though...at the marina one day, he was playing with a black labradoodle...of course that dog loved the water...so he headed on down to the muddy bank under the dock and in he goes. Naturally Scupper follows him. Keep in mind the labradoodle is black and Scupper is white! So the other human and I try to catch the dogs and they lead us on a merry chase, in and out of the low tide mud. Scupper thought what a wonderful game that was and at one point just plops down in the black oozing slimy gunk! He looks up at me with a big grin, tongue lolling out of the side of his mouth as if to say "this is the most fun I've had all summer!" Then just as I get close enough to catch him, up he bounds and he's off again! He's pulled this routine a number of times and it always has bystanders laughing like crazy...which only encourages him more. He doesn't however, like the cleaning up that results in such antics!
He's such a wonderful dog, and does an excellent job of making sure that Ken gets out for a walk each day at 2:30 p.m. Scupper has learned through the 2 years he's been with us when Ken is on the phone he has to be quiet, no barking, no whining. (Ken works from home) But once Ken is off the phone he will very gently put a paw on Ken's leg as if to say "OK, it's time for me now!"
Scupper's opinion about my cooking is always positive, he loves challah, and insists on his portion during Kiddush on Shabbas. He waits patiently for a little nibble when we are done eating, and when he gives two paws up I know the dinner has been as much a hit with him as it is with us!