My favorite photo is of Jolie trying to hide from me behind a log.
Jolie began her life with us when she was barely 5 weeks old. We were informed of her existence when one of the bus drivers for Evelyn’s Special Needs Preschool classroom came into the room one Friday, to tell her about this batch of puppies that were being given away at one of her stops. She had already selected one, just to rescue it from the filth.
It seems that there were more than a dozen puppies living in an outside pen about six feet in diameter with a too-small igloo-type doghouse. It had been raining for for several days, as is typical in Southwest Washington. She wanted to know if we were interested in getting one. In order to keep the babies up out of the mud and feces, the owners had been sprinkling straw in the pen. They had been doing this for 5 weeks without cleaning the pen.
So, we went over to take a look that afternoon. By the time of our visit to select a pup it was a 3-4 inch wet, matted, soggy, stinky carpet. The puppies were a hyper, happy mass, begging for our attention.
We took turns holding her and decided that she was “the one.”
“We and Thee make
a family of three”
After watching the group with our daughter and granddaughter for several minutes they made their selection quickly. They decided they needed to rescue two of them.
We however, had to be more careful, because of our advanced age, we thought that we would have to get one that wasn’t quite so active as the mass. There was one little quiet girl pup that was hanging back from the others that captured our attention.
We set her down and she responded with an unusual vocalization that we had never heard from a dog before.
Sort of “Awwh-lo-w-oh.” Sort of like our “Hello-o-o.” Little did we know that this would become her lifetime, trademark greeting with human friends, both old and new.
I had my phone handy at this first meeting and captured her vocalizing, for she was very insistent with it, repeating it whenever we got close to her. I think that this greeting was what really captured our hearts.
We told the owners that we would take her when she would be ready to leave her mamma at 9 weeks. After we got back home, we started having second thoughts. Not about keeping her, but about leaving her there in that squalor for another 4 weeks.
On Sunday, all we went back to plead for our puppies release sooner, fearing that they might die an early death. They relented and we took the three puppies home to a long bath, for they all smelled like poop! It took a bath every day for three days to get her smelling good.
Bath time was a fun time from the very beginning. She loved water.
Jolie’s birth mother was purebred Black Lab, from a long line of Seeing Eye dogs.
They told us that the father was a Great Pyrenees-Old English Sheepdog mix.
But, to me he looked like a fine, Old English Sheepdog, but the spawn of their cavorting covered a wide range of looks. Two were rather shorthaired, white Pynrees, One had the wirehair of a Russian Elkhound, and one looked like a black and white St. Bernard weighing more than 160 lbs. Jolie’s long white hair was in long ringlets when we let it grow out.
Jolie did not have the fine undercoat of her known brothers, so she did not go through the typical seasonal shedding. Occasionally we would find some white hairs around the house or in the cars. But, upon closer examination they usually turned out to be those of Evelyn.
Although we never found ANY black hair on Jolie, she did have large patches of black skin on her back and belly that could be easily seen through her thin hair when she was dripping wet. And in her last couple of years she developed freckles on her pink patches of skin.
Throughout her lifetime she was so often mistaken for a Goldendoodle, that Evelyn wanted to hang a sign around her neck reading, “I am NOT one of those Designer Dogs.”
On Monday we picked up some worming medication, which she ate with no problem. The next 3 stools were solid packs of dead worms. The following week we witnessed a transformation of character. She went from being docile and languid, to exuberance.
For the next 4-5 years it was like she was living on crack… and always on the run.
Good, dirty dogs….. SIT!
In going to school with me for the first few months of her life, she readily made friends with just about everyone she met.
Her favorite brother, Chucky, grew up to be the largest.
At two years of age we started taking her to obedience school to get some of her impulsiveness irradiated. She was a good listener and obedient… until she would see a cat, rabbit or strange dog. The first two she would immediately chase without warning. Other dogs she evidently checked at a distance to determined whether they would would submit to her being “Top Bitch,” If not, she would attempt to subdue them.
It wasn’t until the last 3 years or so of her life that I learned, pretty well, how to anticipate her reactions to other dogs by her demeanor on the leash and could avert a dogfight. But sometimes she would surprise me and take on a dog that seemed to me to be friendly.
Living next door to two of her brothers, she never lacked for playmates anytime we were in Yacolt. In their ruff and tumble play, she ALWAYS came out the dirtiest
Typical Dirty Puppy Look with a bathing hose on standby.
The Stick Bit Team charging down the hill in Yacolt.
She was about one year old, and close to 80 lbs, when Evelyn retired and we hit the road, working around the country doing camp hosting and other small jobs.
One of the places we stopped at was Butterfield Ranch and RV Park. We loved the place and spent two winters hosting there, and spent a lot of time exploring the area. It was there that she developed the life-long routine of a morning, noon and evening potty walk. She would NEVER urinate or poop in her own space, whether it be on a rope or in her fenced yard.
She was very clean in her personal habits… except for her penchant for finding rotting roadkill or fresh manure to roll in, but more on that later.
Also, her memory for places she had visited was a constant source of amazement to us. More on that later, also.