Airedale Chronicles: Little Big Dog

2017-11-14 18.12.02

Bruno at 15 weeks, with size 14 boots for scale

I took Bruno to the vet today for the last of his vaccinations. He will be 15 weeks old on Thursday, and in the past month, has gained exactly 11 pounds and (I’m guessing on this) about three or four inches in height. When he first came to us, he could scoot under the lowest cross-brace on our kitchen chairs or plunge beneath the futon almost without breaking stride. Now he belly-crawls beneath the futon and pushes between the chairs. At more than 27 wriggling pounds, he’s a lot to scoop up these days—like when he doesn’t want to get in the van or walk into the veterinary office. And he’s still got that puppy awkwardness, only magnified by his adolescent frame. He trips, stumbles, rolls, and keeps going.

The doc remembered him—she doesn’t see many Airedales—and voiced her approval of his growth. She checked him over and commented on how muscular he is for a puppy. On my way out, the lady with the mini (toy?) schnauzer said, “Look at those paws! He’s gonna be HUGE!”

I don’t know whether to be proud or scared.

Shortly before we traveled to Alabama to fetch him, our breeder and friend Randy told me over the phone, “These two males have great big heads on ’em, like a grizzly bear or something!” Bruno’s look is all Airedale, but feel his skull and you notice the jaws. It’s not coincidence that even accidental nipping hurts.

The good news is, he’s getting better about not biting. At least for me, and maybe Gabe. Bruno and Trevor fight like brothers, but ultimately get along pretty well. Emma pushes the pup away when he gets snappy, which he loves and always comes back for more. Lily is still cautious around him, but enjoys rubbing him down when he’s calm and still.

And Jodi? The other day a dispute arose between her and the kids: she claimed that Bruno had ferociously hunted her down in the kitchen and attempted to gnaw off her feet. The kids claimed that he approached, and she screamed and ran circles around the “island” in our kitchen, which Bruno took to be a new kind of game. Since her feet are attached and unmarked, I lean toward the kids’ account.

Otherwise she’s doing fine.

And really, he’s a teddy bear. Sure, he gets mouthy. Toothy even. And he’s hard-headed and stubborn. But let him know you’re serious, and he melts. I was sitting on the floor yesterday, and he got excited and grabbed my pant leg. I corrected him quickly and firmly, and he climbed onto my lap—27 pounds, all four feet—balanced himself carefully and sat down with his fuzzy head beneath my chin.

The last time we went to the vet, he peed in his crate, drooled terribly, and looked as if he would be sick during the whole ride. When we visited the Engels to let him play with their lab, he sat on the seat, but drooled and was very unhappy. Today he sat or lay on the seat and seemed almost his normal self. For the most part, he doesn’t cower anymore when buses or trucks pass, or when strange dogs rush up to him, or when the neighbor’s Great Danes sound off on him from their deck. And the bay mare that lives up the street is his girlfriend, I think—he gets so excited to see her, wagging and sniffing and trying to climb through the fence.

Bruno, Bru, Bru-ster. He-Bru. Little Big Dog. He’s a keeper.

2017-11-14 18.11.23

Little Big Dog

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