Saturday, June 12, 2010

Good News, Bad News

So I get this phone call from Michelle yesterday..."Hi Beth, I've got good news and bad news for you -- which do you want first?"  Well, I don't know about you, but I'm a "good news" kind of person so I asked for that!  "The good news can get your dog back today!  The bad news is...he's been playing with Jethro at my house and the back of the property has he's covered in burs...and I don't have time to clean him up for you.  I'm REALLY SORRY."   

She wasn't kidding, was she?

I have literally never seen so many burs on one animal in my life.  I could hardly recognize Mr. Alf at first!  But oh, was he happy to be home...and he most definitely recognized me!

All four of us took turns combing and de-burring, off and on, through the evening.  Although Alfie doesn't shed, sometimes bits of fur come off in the comb, especially when they're stuck with these little clumps of 20-30 burs!  So by the end of the evening this is what we had...

...and I estimate we're only about half done!  I'm pretty sure Michelle owes me something after this...not quite sure what but I'll think of something, haha!  But really I'm just happy to have Alfie back, burs or no.  Apparently his swap family turned him in to Michelle all beautifully groomed, and really I don't think he's very hard to keep nice under normal circumstances.  But one definite downside to doodles is that their super soft, nonshedding fur is the world's greatest bur magnet.  Am I ever glad I clipped him extra short beforehand!

In other news, meanwhile, I'm very curious to take Alfie on a walk again.  Why?  Well, as usual after a swap, I was eager to hear how he did for his new handler and family.  Not surprisingly, they had their ups and downs as we all do.  In general, though, it sounded like by the end things were going fairly smoothly around the house and on walks.  Apparently Alfie did well on keeping a nice straight line, and it sounded like his "curb work" (sitting at down curbs and indicating up curbs) went fine also.  What didn't go fine was his "finds."  Apparently Alfie refused to find a single thing for his new handler!  Not one seat, trash can, door...not a button...not a single solitary elevator or bathroom...nothing!!  Now, since in the past this has been just about his favorite thing to do, I'm puzzled.  When he went to stay with Natalie he was pretty little, but even then I remember she did finds with him.  When he boarded at the Travis County Jail I never heard about it being a problem.  I know his swap handler, who is a very experienced puppy raiser, so I'm pretty sure it's not HIS fault either!  But for whatever reason, Alfie decided not to do it.  From what I understand, it didn't sound like Alfie was even trying...I don't think he was "finding" the wrong thing, more like he just ignored the command.

So it remains to be seen...will he agree to work for me now he's back home?  Or has he decided that finding things just isn't in his job description?!  Wish me luck and stay tuned!

But for now...I'm just going to enjoy having my dood back.


Natalie said...

Ah! Thats crazy! I hope you're able to get him back on track - glad to see he's back!

Erin and GuidePupPompei said...

OMG! I feel your pain with the burs!!! Ack not a fun job in doodle or golden fur!!!
Sounds like Alphie is just being a teenager, "i don't have to do it and you can't make me..." ask Pompei he'll give you the run down. :)))

Lauren and Don said...

Oh no! Those burs are a real pain, and especially in doodles. Hopefully his refusal to find anything won't last. He sounds like he did great with everything else. Good luck!

Becky said...

Wow - that sounds like quite the task to get those burs out of his fur. (I'm a hear the bad news person, first and then the good!) Welcome home, Alphi.

1000 Goldens said...

Holy smokes, poor Alfie. That doesn't look fun! Hopefully he was just on a temporary strike, and will start doing his finds again :)

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

Ack!! I don't think I could EVER give someone back their dog with that many burrs all over him!! That would be like borrowing someone's silverware and giving it back to them all unwashed and dirty. Of course, I don't know why anyone would borrow someone's silverware--but I couldn't think of another example.

I hope you figure out the mystery about Alfie's "find it's". That's so weird! It must have some simple explanation!!