I grew up in a household where “animals” belonged outside or in the barn. Cats were tolerated because they caught mice and were independent (but in the barn). No dogs…as they served no commercial purpose…consumed cash…chased farm animals…and defecated on the lawn.
My wife, on the other hand, grew up with dogs (in the house), loved dogs and missed dogs terribly.
I stoutly held my ground for 20 years. Kanigans don’t have dogs in the house or have dogs at all. Yet, I continued to be worked over at home and by a friend of mine at work (CP you know who you are).
I caved. But with rules. Everyone agreed that Dad would have “nothing” to do with the day-to-day responsibilities with the dog including 2am potty breaks. In addition, the dog had to have short hair (didn’t want hair in my salad). And the dog would need to run (for those days when I could pull myself off the couch.)
Zeke, a Hungarian Vizsla arrived at the Kanigan household on February 16th, 2008. Vizslas were originally bred as bird hunting dogs for Royalty. We don’t hunt. We don’t bird watch. And we certainly don’t live in a Kingdom.
I thought I’d share a few Zeke highlights as we approach our 4 year anniversary:
- Vizslas are “velcro” dogs. He will follow you everywhere. He’s restless unless you are resting.
- Vizslas need exercise. He is walked 1.5 to 2 hours a day. The kids walk him an average of 0 to 3 minutes per day and that average is moving to zero minutes each day. (So much for the kid’s part of the agreement). If you don’t plan to exercise your Vizsla be sure that you have enough “leash-free” area where your dog can run and play – - or you will have a real problem on your hands. I tell everyone who is thinking about a Vizsla, think VERY hard about the responsibility with this breed. Big time commitment.
- Vizslas are loyal, gentle and VERY sensitive. They cower when you yell or raise your voice at them. When I yell or play-fight with the kids, Zeke attacks only me…I guess he feels that I am the threatening Dominant King in the Household.
- Zeke has inherited traits from his Dad. When he’s tired and cranky, you’ll know it.
- Vizslas are like self-cleaning ovens. He is CLEAN and without much maintenance from us.
- A Vizsla’s coat is short, smooth, dense and close lying without a woolly undercoat. That means Zeke gets cold in the Winter. So Zeke needs to wear a sweater. (This was definitely a miss on my part. A dog wearing a sweater – what possibly could be next…)
- Vizslas can tell time. He knows precisely when it is meal time. Meal time is a chewy at 6am. Dog food at 6:10. Peanut butter in a Plastic Kong toy at high noon. Dog food at 5pm. Almonds with Dad just before bed time. (And somehow he is not overweight. Can’t say the same for me).
- Most Vizslas sleep on the bed. No, let me clarify with some precision. They sleep under the covers. This would include Zeke. Summer time, no problem. Winter time when the house is colder – it becomes a restless night for all. When he stands up 4x to 5x a night to rotate to get comfortable – cold air rushes in – and then he collapses to fall asleep again. You get the picture. Zeke is rested and ready to go in the morning. Dad rolls out of bed a Zombie.
- Zeke generally doesn’t like to be pet…and certainly not on the head. Yet, he loves (LOVES) his ear rubs and his neck rubs.
- Vizslas welcome you by wiggling their entire body and going in and out of your legs. Unconditional love wiggles. I look forward to the welcome home from work each day.
So, what’s the epilogue for the man with the long-standing “No Dogs Here” position?
As the Vizsla dog website states, Vizslas are in it 100% and they deserve nothing less from you.
I AM 100% ALL-IN.
I LOVE THIS GUY.