Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wild Streak

Our first dog-- first in time, first in line, first in our hearts-- is Barley. Pete and I "rescued" her from a local shelter when she was twelve weeks old, but that's a generous spin on the facts, a rosy way to describe irresistible puppy lust. We came, we saw, we were conquered.

From that very early age, Barley displayed an almost preternatural composure and self-assurance. While a litter of Rottie pups rolled and sprawled and squealed all around her, she sat straight and silent and gave each of us a look that said: Well? Do you want to go through the motions of considering other dogs, or can we cut right to the chase? So to speak.

We went through the motions-- we even put off meeting with her until we had seen a couple of other dogs that actually needed rescuing. But when we could deny our fate no longer, the gal who was helping us led this foxy little miss (absurdly misnamed Angel) into the "getting acquainted" room where we waited on a secondhand couch. She (the foxy pup, not the shelter worker) hopped up between me and Pete and settled into a perfect sphinx pose, with her pristine white paws draped over the cushion's edge.

Done deal. She knew it. We knew it.

They told us "Angel" was a husky-lab-boxer mix, and we had no reason to doubt it until four or five years later, when my grandmother sent me a photo of a New Guinea Singing Dog. Which led me to look at their better known cousins, Australian dingoes. I'd seen images of desert dingoes before and noted only a passing resemblance with our Barley. But when I finally encountered pictures and video of alpine dingoes, my jaw dropped. Could it be?

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