Monday, March 19, 2012

Opposites distract

When we got Bella, we knew we wanted a dog that wouldn't be a constant reminder of Beau. It wouldn't be fair to any dog we brought into the house for us to have expectations of behavior based on appearance and breed stereotypes. So to help in that endeavor, instead of an extra-large, yellow male Lab, we chose a (supposed to be) medium-sized, black mixed-breed female.

We were perhaps a bit naive to think our assumptions for her character wouldn't still be colored by our life with Beau or that we wouldn't make comparisons between the two dogs regardless of how different we wanted them to be. And oh, they are different. Allow me to offer some highlights:


Beau


Bella

Mellow couch potato, not your typical Lab. Enough energy to keep up with you but not so much as to wear you down. Boundless energy. If Bella's energy had a breed, I'd suggest Border Collie and Basenji with a side of Jack Russell.
Protects wildlife. (See baby bunny story.) Gentle and trustworthy with cats and children. Would eat wildlife if she could catch it and someday will manage to climb a tree in her efforts to catch marauding squirrels. (Let's not talk about cats or children...)
Obedient but not much of a 'thinker'. Upon finding himself tangled with his leash among the trees, Beau would sit down and wait patiently for us to come get him out.Obedience is not her forte but Bella could rival Decartes in the 'I think' arena. She can untangle herself from the most complicated web of long-leads and shrubbery while solving the mysteries of the cosmos and be home in time for dinner.
The strong, silent type. When Beau growled, you knew something was very, very wrong.Bella never. shuts. up. She whines, she whimpers, she mumbles, she moans. And oh yes, she barks. She has an opinion about everything and isn't afraid to express it.
The UPS guys used to leave dog biscuits for Beau on our package deliveries during the Christmas season. The UPS guys throw our packages up on the porch from about 15 feet away if at all possible. (While she acts and sounds like Cujo, little do they know a well-placed "boo" would send her running for cover.)
Stoic: I once watched Beau run full speed and headlong into a boulder, bounce off, shake his head and continue chasing his tennis ball with nary a pause. Drama queen: Bella bumped her shoulder on the bedpost once when she wasn't paying attention. From the blood-curdling scream and the limping, I thought she had broken a leg. (She hadn't.)
Physical health issues. Mental health issues.
Regularly checked-in when walking off-leash. Check-in? What's a check-in? Wait, what's this "off-leash" business, sparky?
Constant companion. Eternally independent.
Loved to lie in the sun while I worked in the garden. Loves to get into endless mischief while I try to work in the garden.
Loved going to the vet's office. Loves leaving the vet's office.
Would sit for hours getting brushed. Hasn't sat still for hours - ever.
Loved everybody, got along with everyone. Afraid of everybody, gets along with few.
Sweet, goofy and the love of my life. Sweet, goofy and the love of our lives.





42 comments:

  1. Oh boy, you got different!

    Our UPS/FedEx/USPS guys do that as well. To the point of my making angry phone calls. Because Elka will bark ONCE, and is ALWAYS in the house. Not really justification for pegging a package that doesn't belong to you and you don't know the contents of against a door, is it? 

    One of the times, the lady at the post office said "Well, nothing was broken, was it?" Through gritted teeth, I replied "That's not really the point, is it?"

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  2. Wow. Bella sounds so similar to Pearl. Although someday I have my fingers crossed for a dog with a personality like Beau. Glad you are able to love them both for who they are :)

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  3. Oh my! I laughed all the way through this. It is funny how different dogs can be....

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  4. What a wonderful post. Your comparisons of Beau and Bella really makes me think about how different Sherman and Leroy are. While they are the same exact breed their personalities could not be more far apart.  I may have to borrow this idea one day and do the same thing.

    Jen
    MyBrownNewfies

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  5. I laughed so hard at this!  This would be my comparison chart between Barney and Fred!!     We call Fred Mr. Dramatica!! He is the most vocal dog I have ever owned!

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  6. I laughed! Nola and Bella are very similar! 
    Dachshund Nola'S Mommy

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  7. Now why does that ring bells?!! I'm not as scared as Bella I think and I do quite like most people, but boy do I come from a different planet from Flynn! Deccy x

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  8. Very funny and very sweet. It's amazing how we have room in our hearts for so many different creatures to love. :)

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  9. I thought for a minute you were talking about Sampson and Delilah!  LOL my dogs are very similar to yours, with a few little discrepancies.

    It is a very sweet post, and amazing how much you can love a dog that's so totally opposite the dog you originally fell in love with. :-)

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  10. It would be nice to have a dog that checked in while walking....

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  11. I love the comparison! "Check-in? What's a check-in? Wait, what's this "off-leash" business, sparky?" LOL!

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  12. Hey Bella, Jet here.  If Mom were to have made a side-by-side comparison of either Koko and I (may she be frolicking over the Rainbow Bridge), or Koko and JJ, Koko would be in the Beau column and JJ and I would be in the Bella column!  Mom says the right K9 enters your life at the right time.  

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  13. It sounds like you exceeded your goal in finding Beau's opposite! Bella couldn't be more different but every bit as lovable. What is it about them that stirs such love? No matter how much my dog drives me crazy, I still want to give her a big hug.

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  14. Haha Bella, I had to laugh when I read the bit about the UPS guy - I think he's terrified of me as I go completely insane when I as much as hear his van in the neighborhood!! Fedex and the mail man are fine, but oh boy, do I get excited about that brown van!!

    I hope you're having a fun day buddy,

    Your pal Snoopy :) 

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  15. What a fun comparison :D Luved the one at the end :D

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  16. You know, Jen, I agree. Bella is ALWAYS in the house and on the other side of a door.  While I understand why they're not very fond of her, shall we say, I don't exactly understand what they think is going to happen.  She's not THAT big. ;)

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  17. I have thought the same thing many times reading your stories about Pearl, Karen.  She and Bella have a lot in common. 

    Everyone should have a Beau in their life someday though. :)

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  18. I'm glad you enjoyed 'la difference'. We do, too.  Just like with people, we need different animal personalities in our lives to make the experience complete. :)

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  19. Thanks, Jen.  I hope you will 'borrow' the idea to write about Leroy and Sherman - I'd love to read that!
    And I do realize that personalities differ even within a breed - which is largely why I didn't get another Lab after Beau.  While I love the breed in general, most are not as mellow as Beau and I know I wouldn't have been able to temper my expectations.

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  20. LOL - "Mr. Dramatica" - I can see that, actually.  ;)

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  21. I've noticed some similarities between Nola and Bella, too.  Maybe there's hope for Bella yet. ;)

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  22. Yeah, sometimes we're not even sure Bella's the same species as Beau but perhaps it's more likely an alien invasion. ;)

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  23. I like to say Bella filled the "dog-shaped" hole in my heart but I still have a "Beau-shaped" one just as someday I'll have a "Bella-shaped" one...  I used to think I preferred certain breeds - now I realize I'm in love with dogs, just dogs. They're all wonderful.

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  24. LOL - it would be interesting to have both personalities in the same house at the same time.  I have often thought Beau would have been the best thing to happen to Bella.  It's too bad they never had the chance to meet.

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  25. LOL - it was. If I had only known to appreciate it as much then as I do now. ;)

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  26. Thanks! I had fun writing it - they really were the odd couple.

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  27. I agree with your mom, Jet.  What's the expression? "You don't get the dog you want, you get the dog you need?"  Beau taught me about patience so Bella could test it. ;)

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  28. LOL - ever the overachievers, that's us. ;)

    Sometimes I think Bella's issues make me love her even more. 

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  29. Oh, Snoopy, I didn't know there was ANYbody you didn't care for - I guess we all have our limits, don't we? :)

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  30. Oh hi Roo!  So good to have you back!!!  Gonna go hop on over and see what you've been up to right now. 

    (That one on the end is what it's all about anyway, isn't it? ;)

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  31. Alfie | Alfie's BlogMarch 21, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Rooo that is such a good comparison chart. When I first moved in with my humans as a pup, I heard them talk a lot about an old doggie of theirs, a German Shepherd called Diablo. From what I gather, I'm pretty much the opposite of him too but the humans love us both *waggy tail*

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  32. That's one good thing humans can do, Alfie, we can love well and often and in a variety of ways. :)

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  33. Georgia Little PeaMarch 22, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Oh Leslie! I loved this one too :) its a great tribute really to both dogs.

    I guess Jordan would be my Beau (though he had a ridiculous vocabulary - maybe too much) and Georgia is my Bella (now rehabilitated and becoming A Lady). I didn't think after Jordan that I'd find another dog that I would be afraid to miss, but I was wrong! Sounds like you're in the same lovely place.

    Hugs and have a great weekend! x

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  34. leslie, this was so sweet and funny (and your table skills are showing!) and just thoroughly enjoyable. bella reminds me so very much of my friend's dog, kona, minus the fear issues. and i completely am in your boat with the vocal doggie. desmond never shuts up ever, not even in his sleep. :-)

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  35. See I thought Sampson would be a good influence on Delilah and that's where I made my mistake. :-)

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  36. Oh my, I never thought of it that way. ;)  lol

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  37. Thank you so much.  I've really loved hearing from everyone who has had their head turned so such dissimilar dogs, too. :)  

    Like you, I wasn't even sure I *wanted* to find another dog I'd miss as much, but along she came anyway.  It is, indeed, a lovely place to be in. 

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  38. LOL - yeah, sometimes I feel bad about the tech skills thing but I'll take/I need every advantage I can get. ;)

    Ugh on the vocal skills - I'm new to this - never had a dog this opinionated in my life! And of course, I'm the worst mom ever because as soon as she makes a peep, I'm fawning all over her cuteness (and incorrigibility) making things even worse!  Vicious cycle, here I come.  

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  39. Wow - your list of Beau nearly perfectly describes Moses!  Except for the laying in the sun part - change that to shade, and the entire list fits - including health roller coaster, unfortunately. He must've truly been the best dog ever.

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  40. As must Moses be.  No wonder I'm such a fan. 
    ;) 

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