July 27, 2010 | My Jottings
Our oldest Miniature German Schnauzer Edith is a really nice dog. She loves the company of her humans – during the day as I work in different areas of the house, she follows me and often curls up wherever I am, just to be close. When I’m at the computer, she makes herself a circle dog on the office carpet. When I’m folding laundry, she lays on a chair by me and quietly watches. When I’m cooking, she curls up on a kitchen rug to be near. I love that about Edith.
What I don’t love about Edith is her instinctual hyper-vigilance and her need to bark at almost every moving thing. It is said that Schnauzers were specifically bred to be ratters. We have a lot of moving things in northern Minnesota in the summertime. In the space of one hour we might have right outside our house three deer, two chipmunks, four squirrels, one rabbit, one cardinal, ten chickadees, twenty sparrows, one indigo bunting, two blue jays, five children on bicycles, four neighbors walking various dogs, and one postal carrier. We often have to pull our shades just to keep Edith from seeing outside so she can keep quiet for a little while.
When we scold and shush her she acts very contrite and ashamed of herself but can’t seem to control her spontaneous outbursts – her need to bark seems almost involuntary. I am sure The Dog Whisperer could come along and help us in less than one hour but for now we are inept dog owners who can’t keep our pooches from being shrieking sentries.
Mildred (Millie) is our younger Schnauzer and she has a host of other issues I’ll tell about someday. You won’t want to miss that post. Very electrifying stuff here on the blog, folks. Millie behaves like a spoiled princess, even though we don’t spoil her. In spite of her barking, Edith is the more sedate and controlled dog – she is Queen Edith.
This photo of Edith sort of epitomizes what she thinks she was put on earth to do. She’s looking alertly out the front living room windows to make sure nothing moves without her immediately notifying us about it.
Notice the one upright ear? It won’t bend. Schnauzers have floppy ears that bend forward, but Edith’s one ear is always standing up. We say she has more cartilage than the average dog, somehow an admirable distinction we want Edith to feel good about. When she comes back from the groomer and isn’t as furry as she is in this photo, her stand-up ear looks pointed and sharp, like the dorsal fin of a killer whale. Then we call her Orca.
Once in a great while, Edith also smiles. When she is very relaxed (which is rare) and is being gently petted and crooned to, she raises her bearded chin and gazes into the eyes of the crooner and slowly draws her little black lips back to show her Schnauzer teeth. We especially like when she does this, and will even call others into the room to see it. “Look! Edith is smiling again!” we say.
I’m not sure why or how it started, but for as long as I can remember we’ve given our dogs quirky little nicknames. Sara has been especially talented at this. She used to call our long departed little Schnauzer Winnie “Beauteous Montoya” and “Niffery Yoder.” Years ago Carolyn started calling Edith “Schmeedith,” and from then on we commented that a very unique business to own would be a needle making company called Schmeedith Needle. We laughed about how the customer service calls would be smoothly answered: “Good afternoon, Schmeedith Needle, how may I direct your call?” Now that Sharon owns a yarn dyeing business, maybe Schmeedith Needle could manufacture knitting needles.
Have any of you imagined manufacturing companies built around a nickname you’ve given your pet?
None of you?
Well, have any of you given silly little nicknames to your pets? What are they? Tell us the kind of pet you have (or have had), the actual name of your pet, and some of the goofy things you and your family have called him/her!
Clem is oftentimes Clemtini Rosselini, and also, and more weirdly, Clematu Jackson.
Francie has been spared so far.
May I suggest Fancy Francie? Or Francer Prancer?