8 Years With Houdini, the Boxer Dog not the man

8 Years With Houdini, the Boxer Dog not the man

Have you ever just looked at a Boxer puppy and thought, ‘Oh my God that’s the cutest thing in the world. They look so sweet. I have to have one!!”? I’ll agree with you that they are just about the cutest things in the world but I’ll also say that you need to be sure that you are able to give them what they need before you bring one home. When my sweet faced, Clydesdale size paws puppy came to my home, I was not prepared for what the next 8 years would entail. Being that I lost my monster a month ago, as a tribute to him and the life we shared I thought I would share some of what he taught me about what Boxers need.

I’ll say that this was hard to write… it has taken me a month before I could without breaking down. I still cried through out this, but it’s ok. He was pretty special.

Someone else named my puppy…wait for it… Budweiser.

 

 

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He’s on the left with his buddy Copper, who he used to literally jump over. My little jumping bean.

Anyway… I called this bundle of bouncing energy Bud… throughout the years he would be called Bud, Buddy, Boudreaux, Monster, Monkey and finally Houdini. He answered to all of them. He was an awesome dog.

First thing to know about Boxers. THEY NEED LOTS OF EXERCISE!!!!! This is what they should look like when things are done properly…

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Boxers are crazy. At least mine was. Because he needed so much exercise he would take it upon himself to escape from the backyard and run freely through the neighborhood. I don’t blame him, I should have been atleast walking him 30 minutes a day… at the VERY least. Being that I had no clue about that at this point because every other dog I had ever had did not require that much exercise I looked into different options of training. I took him to puppy training classes, but by this time he was a GIANT and he had no discipline. I got him snipped, hoping this would take away some of his desire to run through the streets. I will shamefully admit that he was hit by a truck he was trying to chase and required 4 staples in his paw. The guilt is still there… I don’t need you to add anymore.

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t want to discipline him. It was so much work. I didn’t have the energy. This is the kind of thing you need to know about yourself before you get a dog that you will be dedicated to for years to come.

How much do you want to put into this dog?

It’s a question you need to honestly answer. If you’re a runner and you want a dog to run with, pick a dog who needs a lot of exercise. If you’re a lazy bum who wants to cuddle on the couch, pick a dog who doesn’t require a lot of exercise.

Boxers are cuddly dogs, though. They want affection and they love to nuzzle.

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I had always known that they were prone to slobbering and drooling too. Which is why it’s smart to always have a dishtowel close by. Mine loved to drink a TON of water too and he always seemed to want some lovin right after so he would bring his giant boxhead over and place his wet, slobbery jowls on my leg… which is why I would sometimes to just keep the dish towel around his neck.

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He was always a good communicator. If he was hungry, thirsty, wanted to go outside, wanted a walk or wanted some snuggling he would tell me. After he and I spend enough time together I could figure out what he needed by his looks, whines and dances. Oh yeah, he danced…. or I guess you could call it Boxed. He would prance around and wiggly. One of my friends came over one day and started to cheer, “Give me a C for cute!” because he would bend so that his bottom was close to his face making him into the shape of a C, then he would wiggle and reverse the direction. He was the cutest dog ever.

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At first, I wasn’t sure how he was going to act being inside all day (after we both left my ex he became an inside dog). I had never kenneled him but I was assured that it would be the best thing for him, especially since as stated before, he had no discipline. I fought this for some reason. I felt like he had the whole yard for so long and putting him in a kennel would break his spirit or something. We’ve already established I don’t always make the right choices… So he had the run of the duplex for a while, until I got a call one day while at work. This is how it went…

” Hi, uhh, my name is Roger and I think I have your dog. A boxer… he was running down the street but he’s in my back yard now.”

This couldn’t be Bud, I thought. It has to be Copper, I guess he got out of my Ex’s yard and my number is still on his collar.

“I’m sorry where did you say you lived? I don’t think that’s my dog, he’s inside my apartment, I don’t keep him outside.” I replied.

“Oh… well, your number was on his collar. It says Buddy. I live on SuchandSuch Street.” said the man on the phone.

Fear ran through me… Oh God, that’s my street! Had someone broke in and let him out to run the neighborhood while they stole my stuff? This was the only logical explanation I could come up with as to how my dog managed to get out of my locked apartment.

It NEVER occurred to me that he would figure out how to pull the A/C window unit OUT OF THE WINDOW and escape that way. From this occurrence on he was also known as Houdini. Working magic.

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After meeting my nice neighbor and escorting my 75 lb dog back across the street I decided that I would keep him in the front living room of my duplex. There were glass French Quarter doors that separated it from the dining room and no window unit to pull out. He would have to figure out how to open the window or door and I knew that was impossible. Or was it?

I thought this was a pretty good arrangement until one day I came home and saw the destruction. Walking through the back door I saw the cabinet doors open and trash everywhere. Then I looked and saw the French Quarter doors open. This dog was good. The most irritating part would be the powdered cheese from the mac n’ cheese box I found on my rug in the living room. A kennel would be purchased very shortly after this.

Lessons learned:

  • Like with children discipline is paramount.
  • It’s ok to kennel your dogs. It gives them a safe place to rest and keeps them out of harms way.
  • Boxers are INSANELY curious and clever dogs. Don’t let their doppy faces fool you… the wheels are always spinning.

I’m apparently pretty stubborn too because there were times when I thought, “Oh man… he’s been in his kennel all day long and I hate to put him back in there tonight so I can go bowling… I’ll just leave him out… I’ll only be a few hours…

While at bowling my phone rings…

“Hey. It’s Preston, your neighbor (different neighbor). I was just walking down the street and noticed your front window was broken. I peaked in and it didn’t look like anyone had broken in, but I thought I’d just let you know. ”

“Is Bud OK?” I asked

“Yeah, I think so… It looked like he was in his kennel”, my friendly neighbor reported.

So I left bowling to rush home and check on my home and my pup. Come to find out he was barking at something outside and was ramming the window and broke through it. Visit to the vet… stitches… back in his kennel. For good this time.

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He got used to the kennel pretty quickly and would even go lay in it when I was home.

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Another time I left him with my mom for the weekend so I could go visit a friend in Dallas and received a phone call when I got there from my mom that Bud had climbed her 6′-0″ high chainlink fence and had cut open his groin area… more stitches and the cone of shame…

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That’s not it folks… I left him with my mom (who lives out in the country) the night before I was going to fly out to see the same friend in Dallas. My flight was at something like 10 am and I get a call at 3am from my mom saying she had let the dogs in the back acre late and Bud and her dog Vashti had escaped.

“They just got back…pawing on the front door and….. it looks like they got into it with a porcupine.” my mom reported.

A PORCUPINE?!?!?!?!?!??!?! Are you kidding me? I met her at the emergency pet clinic where it took them over an hour to pull the quills from Bud’s face, chest and paws. Vashti got the worst of it and had to spend hours in there, apparently she had the little guy in her mouth. A week later Bud would have to go back to the vet to have a quill removed from inside his throat as it had been migrating in. I noticed he hadn’t been eating as much and was just not his energetic self. I kept it and referred to it as the $1000 quill.

Just be prepared with some extra money because they are so curious and clever if you aren’t prepared with training and exercise you will spend a lot of money at the vet.

But I don’t want it to seem like they’re always on. Most of the pictures I took of Bud over the years are of him sleeping because the positions he chose were always so funny…

He would cross his feet in the funniest ways and sometimes he would just sleep with his head on his bed instead of on it… it baffled me. Why aren’t you on your bed?!?!?!

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And then there was his monkey… we had 2 versions of this guy because I kept sewing him up. He loved his monkey.

I feel like I know a little more about how the universe works because of my time with Houdini (AKA Buddy). I think Boxers are the coolest dogs in the world. I just want to make sure other folks know what they’re getting into. And really I just wanted to share my Buddy’s story.

I’m so very sad I didn’t get to say a proper Goodbye to my Buddy, but maybe it’s OK because he’s still so present in my memory and my mind.

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I can pretend he’s still back in Texas… and I’ll remember him like this for always.

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