Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Miniature schnauzer??

I've been doing some internet research to find out not only how old Zuzu may be, but also what kind of dog she is. At first, we assumed that she was just a little Heinz 57 kind of dog -- a little of this and a dab of that -- but as I've been reading, I've begun to wonder if she could be either a purebread miniature schnauzer or at least dominantly a miniature schnauzer. With all I've been reading, I'm wondering if the dog we saw with her was actually her mother, or just a traveling companion. Perhaps two pets from the same home?

According to what I've been reading, miniature schnauzers have curly coats: check. They can be designated as "liver tan," which means brown with touches of lighter fur: check. Liver tan mini schnauzers have brown noses and paw pads: check. They also can have green eyes: check. Generally, their noses and tails are docked at around six weeks old for aesthetic reasons, and obviously, that didn't happen in Zuzu's case: her ears do stand up, but are actually kind of floppy and her long, whippy little tail curves over her back in a feathery kind of style.

She seems to weigh about five or six pounds, but she is a bit thin. Her ribs and spinal vertebrae stand out easily for the feeling; you can even feel the bones in the poor thing's little skull. I made her let me look at her teeth yesterday, and from my limited knowledge of doggie dentistry, I'm thinking that everything in her mouth is a permanent tooth, although I didn't think to look for molars. All I know is that she doesn't have the tiny, needle sharp incisors of a young puppy.

The American Kennel Club's website says that puppies will have their permanent teeth by seven months old, which would seem to agree with Zuzu's general size and weight, although I guess I have to keep in mind that she has been undernourished: her size may be accurate for seven months of age, but her weight could be a bit low.

In accordance with what I've learned, I read the amount of food recommended for a seven month puppy on the back of the IAMS bag and gave her half that amount at 7:30 for breakfast, warmed with a tiny bit of milk. She ate it happily, leaving only about ten bit of kibble in the dish and has been bouncing around, playing and exploring, until just a few minutes ago when she retreated to Meelyn's lap for a bit of rest.

Hershey and Wimzie find her as interesting as a stage show, watching her with bemused expressions on their faces and then turning to look at the rest of us, blinking in amazement.

"Well, I never!" they say, raising their eyebrows. "Did you see that just then? When she turned a somersault over that stuffed duck?"

Occasionally, their curiosity gets the better of them and they hop down from the couch to play with her. Wimzie, the bossy terrier, is greatly interested in preserving her own dignity and doesn't have any truck with ear-nippings and head-buttings. "Rrrrrr," she says, rumbling in her chest, the sound that expresses mild irritation, which is Wimzie's habitual state of being. So far, Zuzu hasn't breached etiquette in a manner that would cause a teeth-baring and full on snarl, so I'm thinking the girls are getting along very well.

Hershey is still young enough to be playful (actually, Wimzie is very playful, but ONLY ON HER OWN TERMS), and this morning he and Zuzu had an exhilarating game of chase, running together, running apart and then running in opposite directions, only to bump into one another in the kitchen hallway. It was very cute.

The thing that still mystifies me is why anyone would let a possibly valuable puppy (miniature schanuzers seem to be priced anywhere from $400 to $800 on the internet, dependent on the desirability of their markings, but I have no idea if those places are reliable breeders or disreputable puppy millers) out to wander on a lonely country road: thin, no collar, untrained, snow-encrusted. I mean, couldn't her owner have sold her? It's hard to imagine that such a young dog would be able to get out of a house and set off on her own, and very strange to contemplate that someone could have just abandoned her, but the people at the humane society here in town tell me that it happens all the time.

I think back to two days ago when we began our day as a two-dog family and feel very grateful that circumstances led us to find Zuzu before the coyotes, hawks and other wildlife did.

1 comment:

Kayte said...

Oh, how cute is this puppy??? She is just adorable. I have no idea why anyone would let her go. She seems very happy right where she is.