Gorgeous George

August 20 , 2001 – Before I tell you about this week's portrait, here's a quick update on Jabber. We've had a setback. To make a long story short, Jabber started passing blood clots in his urine on Friday. Since the clots appeared at the end of the urine stream (as opposed to the beginning) it's likely the blood is coming from Jabber's bladder or kidneys, as opposed to his urethra or prostate. We are awaiting the results of yet another lab analysis to tell us whether we are dealing with infection or something else. Right now we're betting there's another reason for the bleeding. It could be something as simple as a leaky blood vessel inside the bladder – or it could be more serious. We've all but ruled out bladder stones based on the recent ultrasound. We've seen no more blood clots in Jabber's urine since Friday but his urine is cloudy and darker than it should be. Jabber was clearly uncomfortable on Friday, but once he passed the clots he was fine. It's a good thing dogs don't sit around worrying about their health. They leave that to the people who love them most.

Original photo of GeorgeNow let's talk about this week's portrait.
This is George, a one-year-old fawnequin who lives in Ft. Worth, Texas. George came to my attention when his owner, Sherri Chasteen, sent me his photo. Seldom do I see a fawnequin – and there was something extra special about this one.

Sherri wrote, "I got George when my girl Gracie, a merle Dane from questionable breeding, was four months old and having problems. She was extremely anxious when left alone, even if I was in the next room. It was becoming apparent that she couldn't see very well – she can't see very far and doesn't have much peripheral vision. I decided to get a companion for her. I was looking for a harlequin and I found a litter in South Texas. The breeder told me about a male fawnequin in the litter that was the sweetest puppy of the bunch. She said his unusual color was due to one of those genetic glitches from a fawn and a brindle back a few generations in his pedigree. I sent my deposit check, and shortly thereafter drove five hours to San Antonio to pick up the puppy. I fell in love with him immediately. So did Gracie. George was six and a half weeks old and weighed just five pounds. He was such a charmer that I named him Prince George de Tejas.

George and Gracie"George and Gracie became inseparable. If she was upset, he would come over to be with her and she would calm down immediately. George loves to play and wrestle. He doesn't mind if Gracie gets carried away and plays too rough. The two dogs slept in a pile from their very first night together. It wasn't long before I noticed something else. As George matured he seemed to understand that Gracie doesn't see well. If she was hunting for a toy that disappeared from her field of vision, George would get up, grab it, and place it within her visual range. When going in and out the back door, George would go first. He would block Gracie from the edge of the back porch – which she doesn't see well – so that she wouldn't fall off. When we all go for a walk, George gently leads the way so Gracie won't be surprised by approaching people or changes in terrain that she can't see.

George in backyard"George is 13 months old now, 39 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds. The vet is estimating that he'll weigh close to 180 pounds when full-grown. He is extremely gentle and an expert couch potato. He adores people and loves to be the center of attention. He's also a hero of sorts. George donates blood on a regular basis at our veterinary clinic. The first time he donated, George's blood was given to a Cocker Spaniel swarmed by ticks, a Sheltie-mix undergoing surgery, an anemic Chihuahua, and a mixed-breed puppy with Parvo. Unfortunately the puppy didn't make it, but the other three dogs survived to go home to their families. George is on call for blood donation in six-week intervals. It makes me really happy to know that George is helping to save other dogs. He thinks it's a grand adventure. After they draw his blood George gets a nutrient-rich food to help his body recover. Then he holds court while the clinic workers come in to pet him, ply him with treats, and tell him what a good boy he is. He has a great time.

George"George is very outgoing and self-confident. If there's a crowd he'll put himself in the middle of it. When he visited the middle school where I taught last year, he wanted to be out in the halls during passing period with all the kids. When I take him to Petsmart, he wants to go down aisles that have the most people in them. He's a very social dog. When I take George and Gracie on walks, we visit certain neighbors who always have biscuits waiting for them. George has learned to ring their doorbell. He then sits and waits until they come to the door. He pops off the lid to the biscuit bucket and helps himself. One day George got loose and made his way down the street, ringing doorbells and waiting patiently for people to answer the door with dog biscuits in their hands.

"George is very quick to learn new tricks. It took just 30 minutes to bell-train him to alert me when he needs to go out. He then taught Gracie. He rarely misbehaves, and usually when told "no" one time, he won't try it again. It's really too bad George is not the proper color for conformation. He's put together fairly well and has the perfect temperament for the show ring. I am hoping to start training George for obedience competition so he can put his skills as a quick study and crowd pleaser to work. I also plan to have him certified as a therapy dog. His extreme gentleness, intelligence and outgoing nature should make George a natural for visiting people who could benefit from contact with a therapy dog."

I hope you enjoyed meeting George as much as I did. You can write to Sherri and George at schaz@swbell.net.

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