Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Kirby!

Last Thursday was Kirby's 5th birthday. I can't quite believe it. Five years old. I still think of him as "the puppy" most of the time.

In all honesty, we can't be quite certain exactly when Kirby was born, as he was pretty much feral at the time, or so we've been told. July 7th-ish was the veterinarian's best guess based on his puppy-to-adult teeth progression.

All we know is that somewhere, on a farm near Red Bluff, California, Kirby and his litter-mates were born to a sweet, collie-shepherd-looking mother who obviously wasn't getting much attention from her "owners." At some point the litter of pups was discovered, rounded up and brought into the shelter along with Mom (Meg) and Grandma.

While it would have been better if Meg had been spayed and paid attention to by her original human family, she did manage to have some adorable puppies  (but aren't they all, really?) and Mom, Grandma and all the pups eventually were adopted. Whew for happy endings there.

As you know from reading this blog, it took a while to get the wildness out of Kirby, especially when it came to being comfortable around strangers. But through a lot of love and reassurance, he has grown into a cheerful, friendly, playful, at times impish, and always sweet little dog. Yes, he still runs under the sofa when he hears a loud noise and he barks like crazy when someone comes to the door, but that's all pretty normal for a fast-twitch-response little dog like Kirby.

As I sit here at my desk, Kirby is curled up comfortably at my feet -- his usual spot. And it's weird to think how very different his life might have been if he and his siblings hadn't been rounded up and brought into the shelter when they were still young enough to adapt well to life with humans.  I also sometimes wonder about the rest of his litter-mates.  I bet they are adorable. I hope they are happy and well cared-for. I kept in touch with the shelter for a while, and, surprisingly, there was talk of a "Meg-puppy" reunion at some point, but apparently the person working at the shelter who took a liking to that particular litter and cared enough to entertain the idea, either left or decided not to respond to email anymore. He had a pretty stressful and thankless job at times, I'm sure, with far too many dogs to just get adopted let alone schedule reunions for.

In any case, we are delighted to have Kirby in our family. And even though Baxter still seems a bit annoyed by Kirby's unrelenting enthusiasm at times, he seems to enjoy Kirby's companionship as well. Baxter has been a good teacher and Kirby has benefited greatly from Baxter's calm, well-mannered demeanor.

So they both got extra biscuits to celebrate Kirby's special day, and Kirby had the annual photo session with Jamie, which resulted in this adorable shot. I can't tell you how often I see that little crescent of white in Kirby's eye, usually when he's about to challenge me to a game of tug-o-war or suggesting to me that I really, really, really ought to give him a piece of whatever I'm eating. I'm charmed.

Happy 5th Birthday, Kirby, and many more!

Baxter, Kirby and Jennifer in The Bark

This morning I received an email notifying me that our picture is featured on The Bark in their "Me and My Dog" section... Woohoo! Our 15 minutes of scruffy dog fame!

Special thanks to Jamie Newton for the great photography and to mother nature for a perfect day at the beach.