I am a lover of horticulture, gardening and the environment. At age 8, I sent away for a package of Zinnia seeds for 10 cents and I've been hooked ever since. After 25 years of being self-employed, I retired. That only lasted 4 years and I now work in a water conservation program: I buy grass from homeowners who are willing to convert to desert landscaping and lose that thirsty green stuff. I pursue what interests me and you can blame my sister for getting me into this blogging thing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dogs of the desert

I have two "real" dogs of the desert. I stumbled across this breed by accident. My elderly Brittany was in poor health, he mourned his mother who we put down a few months earlier. He needed company. The dog shelter had a lot of pit bulls which was out of the question. So I answered a quiz on AOL and it came up: Canaan dog. What in the heck is a Canaan dog? I put the question to Google, as I often do. I found about 10,000 websites and proceeded write to breeders all over the world. For about 9 months I lurked on a Yahoo discussion group called Canaani-L. I was fascinated. Finally I decided to get one. They are the only dogs mentioned in the bible, kelev of canaan. As fate would have it, a friend who takes church groups to the holyland was going to Israel. I asked her to go see this puppy who was available. I sure didn't want to spend a lot of money on some weird dog. Long story short, we got our first CD. We named her B'sorah Tovah, which means good news in Hebrew. A couple of years later we got a male who is named Simcha, or happiness. They are the perfect desert dogs. Tova's sire was a free born or wild dog that the breeder got from a Bedouin tribe. The Bedouins use these dogs for herding their goats and sheep. The dogs are said to be so ferocious that they will chase mountain lions away from their herds. I didn't mention that the dogs from the desert are cream colored and the ones from the mountains are black and white.

I was amazed when Tova first got here, she flew from Tel Aviv to Zurich, Switzerland, then on to Los Angeles, where we picked her up. She was 3 months old and in a crate for 22 hours and never even peed. Two days after she arrived, we were watching television and a character in the show said a blessing on his grandson in Hebrew. This puppy ran up to the front of the set and froze, she didn't move until he stopped speaking. Some months later, I was watching a training tape from our obedience trainer and she watched it with me. NO LIE, she was intent on the section about breaking your dog of stealing food from the counter. A few minutes later, she jumped off the couch where she was sitting next to me. She went into the kitchen and took a piece of fish off the counter and ate it. She has never done it before or since. She will growl at the TV when dogs are shown, I think she is protecting us from those evil TV dogs. National Geographic had a special last year called Search for the First Dog. They visited areas of the planet where indigenous dogs still existed in the wild. First they visited Tova's breeder in Israel, then to Australia to see the Dingos, Carolina to see the Carolina Yaller Dogs, India to see Santal dogs, these are breeds called pariah dogs. Common characteristics are a short double coat, prick ears and a curled tail. Thought to be descended from wolves, they all look amazingly similar. Tova watched the tape that motherkitty made for me from her satellite dish. She only paid attention when the Canaan dogs were on. The other dogs didn't get a second glance. Maybe it was because Tova recognized Myrna, her breeder. Maybe it was a fluke. Since then, I've shown the tape several more times to guests, same thing, Tova only watches the Canaan dogs.

We like the way she protects us. I hired a guy to plant a tree for me and when he came running toward me to help carry a bag of mulch, Tova got between us and there was no way he was getting near me. She was very concerned when my husband had surgery last fall. One sniff of his bandage and she was right there keeping people and dogs a safe distance when we went to the dog park. She may sound ferocious but you should see her with kids, especially my grandkids. She thinks they're part of her pack, I guess. And that's the way we like it.

Simi is just a lover, he loves everyone. Two dogs couldn't be more different. He is happy to see anyone and everyone. His name fits him perfectly. He is totally dominated by Tova, except for his bone. The female is the alpha dog in this pack. These are not dogs for everyone, they don't sit in your lap. We like them because they are our early alarm system. And they do have their moments.


Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

That was a very interesting post and I learned something I didn't know. Your pets sound like very intelligent dogs and they are very beautiful. Their color is perfect for the desert.

February 28, 2006 3:28 PM  
Blogger Motherkitty said...

Love the picture of Tova sticking her nose to A's little ear. Very cute. I love your dogs, except when they bark at me when I first come to your house. Then, after they've accepted me with my cat smell, everything's okay. Very unusual dogs -- loved the picture with Simi on the rock.

February 28, 2006 5:01 PM  
Blogger bornfool said...

What an interesting post. I'm a dog lover and had read a little about Canaan Dogs but it's nice to get some inside information on them. They are so beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by my (lew's) site and leaving such a nice comment. I have my next post mostly written and should get it posted tomorrow, hopefully. I also have the next couple in the back of my mind so maybe I can be a little more prolific than I've been lately. All the new readers seem to have invigorated me. :)

February 28, 2006 8:46 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

What beautiful animals. I had never heard of them before. They certainly do seem well suited for your area.

February 28, 2006 10:16 PM  
Blogger Dusty Dog said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving your comment. Obviously, I also love dogs. My Zuki, who is actually part wolf, so I've been told, is an amazing animal. As are yours. Like bornfool, I also learned about Canaan Dogs from your post. In fact, I think you've inspired me to write more about my dog. Stay tuned to my blog. Maybe this weekend, I'll post up something.

Thanks again.

March 02, 2006 4:32 AM  
Blogger Alipurr said...

I love this! Pets are almost like children, and I love it that choosing names for them was so special. Congrats on new grandbaby, btw! She is beautiful.

March 02, 2006 5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gardener, what a great discription you gave of Tova and Simi.

I think i understand this blog a bit.

have a great day, cousin elaine

March 02, 2006 5:09 AM  

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