This past Monday morning, my friend and I got to Rosharon to meet Max. Rosharon, Texas is the home of Aeolus Dobermans and an almost 6 month old puppy Candace has named Max after our frequent talks after my Dobie boy Ally’s sudden death. Max is bigger than pictured here; he is, after all, close to 6 months old now. He is a lot bigger than pictured here; legs long and gangly but that quintessential expression of Doberman intelligence and curiosity is, if anything, magnified.
I had not seen Candace since I left Houston in November of 1995- it seems almost impossible to imagine that much time has gone by. Back then, Candace lived in Pearland. Neither she nor I had the time then to do other than make the arrangements for the purchase of my first Ally ( short for Aeolus) ; she was extremely busy and I was frantically planning how to handle the sale of my house and a move from my beloved Houston to Massachusetts.
Monday was different for both of us. Candace and Tom still breed dogs, she says she would die if she did not have her Dobie boys and girls but now has only one set of breeders. Max and a boy brother are the last of a litter born in late December. I wanted to meet with Candace face to face so that I could explain what has been going on in my life of late.
I am grateful that my friend Margaret had the time and willingness to once again drive me long distances to places not of her choosing or interest. Margaret is a cat person. Over the close to 90 minutes we stayed with Candace and Max, I was reminded of all of the reasons I had chosen two and was now in hopes that a third Aeolus Dobie boy may once again, grace our lives.
We approached the ranch and saw the woman and the colt- like puppy standing in the huge expanse of dark green grass watching us as we drove up the long driveway approaching her ranch. Candace welcomed Margaret and me and invited us inside to escape the already hot and humid Texas morning. Following Max, the three of us walked into a great room where new puppies are housed and where Max and Candace were accustomed to training and playing.
I sat and watched quietly while the young, nervous dog would alternately approach and then race to hide under a desk, I listened as Candace spoke with the puppy. Clearly, she was exasperated by his skittishness and nervousness but never raised her voice to him, never put a hand on him to restrain or compel. She simply sat with a steel dish with snacks on her lap and waited while he approached to get the treat.
After maybe 10 minutes, she reached behind and on top of the coach where I sat immediately on her right and handed me a piece of the tantalizing treat. Over the course of another 10 maybe 15 minutes while I sat to see if he would come to me, slowly, he dared to take the treat from me; mouth soft; no hint of teeth. Eventually, the boy made a decision and suddenly was on my lap; rigid at first, then very quickly relaxing until he curled up and clung..for all the world like a cat.
I thought back to the Vet telling me that he wanted to neuter Ally at 4 months. That would keep the dog from the multiple urine squirts favored by male dogs. When I told Candace, she was clearly dismayed. “Oh no,” she declared, “these boys and girls need their testosterone and their estrogen for the cartilage, their bones, their skin, development of their brains..
Around 9 months, the very 1st time he lifts his leg to pee, telling you that he’s a big boy now..then make the appointment immediately for the neutering-never before then.”
I asked many more questions of Candace and listened as she explained about why the chicken wings and backs are essential for their skeletal health. I had known about many of the mistakes I’d made that resulted in Ally’s skin allergies, ruptured cartilage but that young age of neutering had not been among them. As I listened to Candace, I vowed that if this were to work out with this boy, the errors will not be repeated. This is a woman with over 40 years of breeding these remarkable, unique dogs. No vet can come close to that depth of knowledge-wisdom
Each time I moved to get up in answer to Margaret’s signal that we needed to get going if we were to get to all the places and people we had scheduled for the day, rather than immediately and awkwardly jumping down as Ally always had, this guy clung to me. Several times, turning around to give me that quintessential Dobie stare.
As we drove away, Margaret said quietly, “He’s a 50 pound cat.” I took that as the highest praise for the boy named Max.