A.K.A. "Autumn Sunset of Dragon Meadows"

Ahfu sitting pretty We didn't really choose to have a dog... we sorted of ended up with one. Not that we mind, but Ahfu was the very first dog we have ever owned. He came to us from some previous owners who had him for a short while before deciding to give him away because they couldn't keep him. I am stunned we said yes. We went to the pet shop where he was bought and got pedigree papers and everything.

I have learned a lot from Ahfu. I named him after a dog of the same name I knew as a teenager. My best friend Kate had a Peke named Ahfu, Chinese for "Sun Lion." I thought it was a cool name, but it was a bad idea. I have a cat named Artoo, and the names sound too alike. I have also learned dogs are expensive little things. The major one, of course, is the vet and grooming bills. A Pekingese has hair similar to a small child with long hair, and it needs to be brushed daily or it mats into a felt that is so dense, I swear you could made durable fedoras out of it. The other one is all the things you need to buy a dog. Cats usually go through one toy every few months. I must have spent over a hundred bucks on dog toys in one year. Add to that a dog cage, dog pillows, and leashes and harnesses... and that's a lot of moola! But oddly, you never seem to mind...

He's sort of well-behaved. He gets better with age. Before, he would just run around and jump on things like a crazed weasel. He thought the cats were great fun. Bark bark bark! Now he leaves the cats alone... okay, only because they flee from him. Artoo doesn't anymore. He stands his ground, for better or for worse. Oreo and Storm are never around when the dog is out.

Ahfu the puppy So why did I get a dog? Well, opportunity present itself to help out someone, and I was the only one I knew with ANY Pekingese experience. Kate's mom bred them for shows and stuff, and I picked up a few pointers. I wish I'd picked up more. I knew they had buggy eyes and weak backs, and I also knew about their history; how they became a breed. I also knew that I didn't know nearly enough, so I went to the web to find more info. We also have our friend, Jeni, a professional dog groomer, to give us advice. But I really had my doubts. I thought no one would walk him or train him, because Lord knows I didn't have the time, and Christine has never had a dog for longer than a few weeks. And I quickly found out how quickly your pooch gets whiffy! Ugh, cats can clean themselves, they are very low-maintenance.

Ahfu likes many things. He likes to chew, for one thing. We give him a lot of stuff to chew on so he won't chew what he's not supposed to, but he gets to those as well from time to time. His favorite non-approved chew toy is paper, especially cardboard. The next is anything plastic. He'll go through a whole Frisbee in a day if you let him. We give him Booda-bones, and he goes through those in a day or so. He likes other dogs. A bit too much. He has worn out dogs many times his size by running all over the place and nipping at their heels. Our neighbor won't let her much large dog play with Ahfu because he drives her nuts after only a few minutes. And boy, is this dog fast! I mean, Pekes are not known for speed but Ahfu can easily outrun a cat and certainly every member of my family. He loves escaping out the door and running around the neighborhood, his ears and tongue flapping about like an lunatic. He pulls so hard on his leash, we have to put him in a harness to keep him from breaking the collar, slipping out, or choking himself, which he has been known to do.

But I am sooo cute! He's also jealous, a trait well known to peke owners. He really goes nuts when you give anything or anyone else attention, especially cats. I believe the cats and dog should solve their political problems on their own, but I have to break up the occasional fight. Ahfu has managed to keep his buggy eyes out of harm's way (we do not de-claw), but I still keep an eye on all scuffles. Artoo is the only cat so far that will stand ground and not run away all the time. Storm and Oreo are chicken, if you want my opinion.

Ahfu is not really a yappy dog. In fast, until he stayed at a kennel one time, he didn't have a shrill bark at all. He still has this soft and adorable "woo woo woo" bark when he gets excited. He only barks in earnest when someone or something is in our yard. He's also friendly in that "down boy" kind of way. Some of our friends don't like him because of this, so when we have parties, we put him in his crate. His crate is his home where he sleeps at night, and we store all his toys, so it's not really punishment. It's like a "time out." and it works very well.

One thing Ahfu has taught our family is kind of a responsibility we'd forgotten since Christopher has grown. Ahfu is totally dependant on us for his food, water, exercise, and play. Since we give him those things all the time, he hasn't really strayed from good behavior, although he still has the occasional "accident." Most of the time those are our fault, we weren't paying attention to some rather obvious signals. Ahfu has also given us an added layer of security, like many dogs he's sensitive to smoke and people on our property. He's also given us a different kind of love. Love from cats is a different thing than dogs. Cats are an equal partnership, a solo-hunter to solo-hunter kind of territory respect. On the other hand, dogs LOOK to you for guidance and support. It's a pack mentality. If you don't tell them what to do, they try to become the leader. They have to know where they stand, and you do this with love and discipline.

So far, this has been a rewarding learning experience. Ahfu is always glad to see us come home, and he loved to jump up and lick your face. He's very friendly and loveable, more so when he is whiffy! But he has really balanced some things in our house, and everyone has helped pitch in to take care of him, especially Christopher, long after the thrill of a new dog wore off.

Ahfu Puppy Pics!

Ahfu, after the vet visit, where he was cleaned and checked. He had some infections from the previous owner's neglect, but we got those fixed with some medications. Isn't he adorable? Then he grew up. But we liked him anyway! :) Photos taken Nov 1999.

For Halloween that year, Christine had a babydoll costume. Part of it was a pacifier, which Ahfu took to immediately. How cute is this?

He even slept with it...

... and carried it everywhere.

More Ahfu!

People ask me how Ahfu does with the cats. Well, he does okay, but they are on two different planes of thought. Artoo hisses at him, but stands his ground. Thisby and Storm hiss at him and run away, which makes Ahfu chase them. Cosmo... well, he came to us with no fear. He's annoyed by Ahfu, but doesn't really do much in the way of doing anything about it. BTW: When we brought Cosmo home, Ahfu thought he was a new toy. Since the kitten had no fear, they played a lot together, but Ahfu was a bit rough, and so Cosmo eventually stopped playing with him. Ahfu is a playful dog, and the cats are... well, cats. I think they are totally separate on the issue of dignity.
The Lion with the Lamb. Actually, it's hard to know which is which, since either side can deliver a punishing blow. It has gotten better, but Ahfu is still a bit jealous at times. Here he is with Artoo and the late Oreo.

Got Food? This dog is *so* focused on food, it's not even funny. It's the center of his universe, the purpose of his existence, the very reason he thinks he was born to do: eat. He doesn't eat to taste, no, he eats to consume and conquer! He'll swallow red-hot food without getting burnt, he's been known to deep-throat larger foods just so you can't get it out of his mouth. He'll even eat while gagging. He's got some mental issues. The vet says he's healthy and that all dogs are like that, but man...
Pleeease let me have the food?
Ahfu is crate trained, which is a good thing. He loves his little house, and sleeps there at night. Sometimes, when we have a lot of guests over and we're afraid that someone will step on him, we put him back in his crate, which is in the main area so he can still SEE people, and they can pet him. But he doesn't like being crated when there are people around. People with food. Food we don't want him to eat. Ever clean runny poop from tail hair? I hope you won't ever have to know the hell of a Pekingese going off his balanced diet. Oh he THINKS he wants those spicy buffalo wings and potato chips, but trust me, he'll be miserable later...

Ahfu, being pensive. He's not as an excitable puppy as he used to be. He's got kind of mopey, so we baught him a dog. Thus we got Widget.
Obey me!?
Ahfu cheers up with a treat. Of course, I got this shot as he knocked me over to get at it, and I was falling into the loveseat. Result: I am not hurt but got doggie slobber on my fingers, and Ahfu got a mouthful of treat and my fingers.
Fu and Jet
Fu and Jet: Ahfu and Widget, playing. I distracted them with a treat, but soon they got too close to the camera, and knocked me over.
Happy Holidays! From Ahfu and Widget...
Fu and Jet
Yes, those are antlers. No, he's not happy. But he'll do anything for food, so...

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