Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Godzilla-Traffic Stopping Dog

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Paul with Zilla.  What can you say!
A photo is worth a 1,000 words -- or creates 1,000 questions!

TALES

When Paul and Karen adopted their Havanese puppy they had no idea of the amount of grooming she would en-'tail', or what a fabulous people magnet she would become.

"When we brought the puppy home, our family was shocked at how ridiculously cute she was. She resembled an adorable-irresistible hairy toy.  Our boys (then 13 and 10) declared that the tiny-fluffy puppy needed a 'bad ass' name to compensate for her overly sweet looks.  They decided that Godzilla fit the bill, which we mercifully shortened to Zilla."

Havanese have very silky hair and to stay neat they must be combed daily.  Karen started off with the best intentions, but soon got tired of the time involved.  Also, Zilla hated having knots taken out of her hair and began biting the hairbrush to teach it who 'the boss of her hair was!'

With great relief, Karen discovered that Havanese, like the Pulis breed of dog, can have it's hair corded -- in fact Havanese are sometimes shown at dog shows corded, through the process of creating dread locks.  Karen began  separating and twisting Zilla's hair into mats.  The entire process took six months.  For a more puppy look, Karen left the hair on Zilla's head uncorded.  She tied the loose hair into a pony tail on the top, this keeps the hair out of her eyes.

Zilla's locks reach almost to the ground; they are 5-7 inches long.  Once a month Zilla receives professional grooming and drying and has her tummy is shaved for easier maintenance.

As you can imagine, for the last seven years, it has been impossible to walk Zilla anywhere without being stopped.  "Strangers are constantly stopping me," says Paul.  "They have to know what type of dog she is.  How did her hair get like that? Is it natural? etc..

Paul replies to their questions, "Yes, her locks can be trimmed, we have no flea problems. Yes, her chords get dirty in the rainy season.  Her hair is soft, the dreads are more like wool."

"People inevitably call her a 'mop' or 'Rasta dog.'  We've had people pull over their cars, jump out and ask about her. One woman had to pull over because she was laughing so hard at Zilla's wild looks that she could barely drive.  One lady mistakenly called Zilla's long dread locks, 'dead locks' assuming the hair in the cords was dead hair.

"Zilla apparently has no idea how funny she looks," laughs Paul. "This applies to both people and the dogs who see her.  Zilla thinks she is very tough and, when she is on leash, she will charge at Rottweilers and even the taller Great Danes who come too close.  When we take Zilla off leash, however, she immediately becomes timid and clingy.

Zilla's favorite past time is chewing blue polymer bones with food nutrients in them.  Just say "boney" and she immediately and with great purpose hunts for her latest chew toy.  Her big treat of the day is to take boney and jump onto our youngest son's bed (while he is still sleeping) for a morning chew."

As exotic as Zilla looks, she lives a very sedate life much like any loved family pet with 'her people.'

Karen has taught Zilla to "dance" (spin around) and "salsa" (put her paws on her knees and shuffle back and forth). 

Paul taught Zilla to "jump through the hoop" of his arms. 

"Zilla will do anything for a treat," admits Paul.  "Her favorite human foods?  Muffins from the local bakery and Parmesan cheese.  Oh, and pizza crusts. None of which is too good for her tiny figure, but with a face like hers, it is hard to say 'No' to her big brown eyes!"


TIPS

As a professional ranch hand Desi suggests, "Before adopting any breed of animal, research the care and temperament of the animal. 

Educate yourself so you know how to care for the pet:
- Don't buy a Havanese if you like easy maintenance  dogs. 
- Don't feed Shetland ponies and donkeys alfalfa hay it causes colic and founders them.
- Donkeys are not yard ornaments.
- Before buying a bird, research to see if you can meet its needs and discover how long they live.  If you want a quiet bird, don't buy a screecher.
- For dogs, find out what dogs are hyper, if you want a sedate dog don't adopt a Dalmatian, who like a Husky, is bred to run, run, run. 

Also, research health issues of different breeds.  In the long run, you will save yourself heartache, time, and money," advices Desi.
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