Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

June 4, 2014

They Say it's Your Birthday . . .


Our little Szuka is no longer a puppy!!  Yesterday she turned a year old. 

photo source
I have wanted a Komondor since I was a child.  I found their incredible size and long cords captivating.  When Hubby and I started dreaming of buying a place on the lake, hopefully with a larger backyard than the postage stamp-sized one the townhouse had, I told him I wanted a Komondor.  He was dubious, so we started researching different dog breeds, looking for the right fit.  Our criteria: a large dog who could deter bears and wolves but not have too high of an energy level.  We wanted a chill dog, not one who would be bouncing off the walls.  I was hoping for a hypo-allergenic breed because of my allergies, and also a dog that could withstand the cold, cold Northwestern Ontario winters.  We avoided breeds with known and common health problems.  Last on the list, I wanted a cutie-pie.  No matter how many times we evaluated the "right" dog for us, we came up with a Komondor.  

We decided to adopt a Komondor from a shelter, but every source I read cautioned about the independent, stubborn nature of the breed, and the importance of socializing them early in puppy-hood.  Having no experience with Koms, we eventually decided that getting a puppy would be a better choice for us - even though we did fall in love with a three year old Komondor at a shelter near Kingston, ON (she found a happy home on a farm before we could adopt her).  A couple in Southern Ontario had a litter of Komondors last fall, and they seemed genuinely excited about the breed (it wasn't a puppy-mill type situation), so we traveled there to meet them and adopt Szuka, their last remaining puppy.   

At around 4-5 months
We'd been told she was 19 lbs. so when we first met her, and she hurtled her 36 lbs. toward us, we were surprised and a little overwhelmed.  Within a few minutes of meeting us, she put her head on both of our laps and we couldn't say no to her warm brown eyes.  I think it was a stressful ride for her, because we didn't get but a few miles before she tossed her cookies.  We pulled over to let her out, but she'd never been on a road before and the passing cars terrified her.  And then a few miles later she barfed again.  We made it to my grandparents' place near Orangeville, where we stayed a couple of days, all looking a little worse for wear.  She was very gentle with them, as well as with my little cousins who came over to meet her.  She was very curious and inspected every room carefully, but never had an accident and didn't cause any mischief.

She's adjusted well to many changes - and many homes.  She even got used to long car rides!  We took her to obedience classes and started to socialize her early on.  We still do our best to socialize her often with friends, family, and as many strangers as we can rustle up.  She travels with us almost every time we go into town, so she and I are rarely apart (Hubby works outside the home - she sees him less, so of course she loves him more, lol).


She's remained a gentle, affectionate dog who happily spends time inside with minimal mayhem.   She loves the big windows so she can watch the yard for predators (and alert me to their presence with an impressively deep bark), but she also loves a good nap. 


She can be stubborn, but she can usually be coaxed with a liver treat.  She sighs deeply when she's irritated with us, but she's never pushy.  She'll just lie down and look at us glumly.  It's hard not to giggle.  I hate to anthropomorphize her, but she really does seem so expressive and "talks" quite clearly with her body language.

"don't leave"
I can't believe how much she's grown!  I mean, we expected it, but when we first got her she seemed so huge.  Now we look back and think she looked so wee . . .  These photos depict her difference in size at five months vs. now.

Same dog bed!
At around 4-5 months old
At almost a year
At around 4-5 months old
At almost a year
As much as she appreciates a good nap, she loves the outdoors.  She plays this game where the objective is for us to chase her, but it never lasts long because she gets tuckered out just as fast as we do.  We've tried fetch, but she looks so disappointed when she brings a ball back and we toss it away.  She sighs.  Lounging in the grass is another favorite pastime, and fun for the whole family.

At around 4-5 months old
At almost a year
She LOVED the winter.  When it first snowed she looked at us as if to say, "what the heck is this stuff?" and she walked on it gingerly.  After the first real snowfall she buried her head in the white stuff and relished any outdoor time - the more blustery the weather, the better!  Turns out she definitely was the perfect choice for our climate.  Her woolly coat kept her perfectly warm.


Did I mention she really loved the snow?


Now that the snow is (finally!) gone, she loves the cool dirt.  Hey, I will accept having an excuse not to garden.  I hate gardening.  She hates bath time (another deep sigh), but she hops into the tub willingly which is a relief, because there's no way I could heave all 85+ lbs. of her into the tub - Hubby can lift her, though.  It's incredible.   

 
Szuka has been wonderful - sweet, intelligent, and calm - and we can't believe eight months with her have flown by already.  She makes our days brighter, happier, and fuller.  Sometimes the three of us will just watch the sun set on the lake, and I can't imagine enjoying our slice of wilderness without her.  The timing was so inconvenient when we brought her home - we were between houses, we had to keep the townhouse immaculate for showings, money was tight, I was about to defend my dissertation, and we were planning to move 1500km at any moment - but I just had this feeling that it was the right choice.  We've never, not for a second, regretted welcoming her into our home and rounding out our little family.

(Even though it turns out I am allergic to her.  Hey - that's why they sell allergy pills in Costco-sized jars!)
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18 comments

  1. aww now I want a dog!! She seems like a sweetie!!!

    also, Im allergic to cats and Ive had cats my whole life. Youll probably find you adapt to her dander over the next couple years and your allergies will bother you less :)

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    1. She is a sweetie, and so well behaved. Today at breakfast she wanted some, so she sat and patiently waited for a freebie. I hope the allergies get better. I'm good with drugs, but not sure how healthy they are long term. It's a lower dose now, so I'm hopeful!

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    1. She's very lovable. She gets so excited to see our family, her furry bum wiggles uncontrollably. She still moves like a puppy, despite her size.

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  3. what a cutie, keep the pictures coming! glad you guys found a good, reputable breeder and a dog that is the perfect fit! :)

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    1. I can do that! I try very hard not to make my IG feed the Szuka-show but it's hard not to.

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  4. She looks like an absolute sweetheart! It's amazing how dogs are capable of wiggling their way into the hearts of their owners, isn't it? Will you let her hair grow out and form the komondor cords?

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    1. I originally wanted cords, just short ones, but she's already hard to keep clean. If she lived outdoors I would, but for an indoor dog she will stayed clipped and fuzzy. Then she's easier to bathe.

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  5. Happy birthday Szuka! I love seeing IG pictures of her.

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    1. Thanks! I wish I'd opened an IG account sooner. As a puppy-puppy she was insanely cute. Maybe I'll share photos for #tbt.

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  6. I always enjoy the details of your stories. I will never forget the picture of Szuka napping on your prone husband as he toiled away in the kitchen. The two of you and Szuka were indeed fortunate to to have found each other. I look forward to seeing the long cords.

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    1. Haha, I was so jealous of that cuddle! We decided not to cord her. She's just so hot as it is, she won't want that extra weight. We're shaving her soon. I think she'll like it, and hopefully not spend the summer as a hot dog.

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  7. what a pup! So when do "the dreads" appear?

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    1. The dreads need to be coaxed and shaped. They would be forming now, if we hadn't clipped her. The hair starts to mat and needs to be formed into the cords by hand. It's SO much work and if they aren't shaped nicely by someone who knows what they're doing, they can look really terrible. They take a very long time to dry after a bath and some corded dogs have a coat weighing 15lbs. We opted to keep her clipped, but we can feel the mats forming so we're not doing a good job of brushing her. She's due for an even shorter summer haircut and then we have to start committing to brushing her to keep her fuzzy.

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  8. lol @ the 2 pics of her on the kitchen floor. She used to be 3x4 and now she is 5x6 squares lol. She probably likes to lay in the dirt because it's cool, just like the other pics of her laying on the tile. It must be hot under all that hair. I guess it will be a buzz cut for the summer months lol. We used to have a dog that looked like her, named Snuffles, when I was a kid. Not sure what kind of dog she was though.....I always thought some kind of poodle just because of the hair and how my parents got her hair cut.....but she looked a lot like your dog.

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    1. Haha, yup she is many more tiles wide now, lol. She is hot. You're right, I think she like the cool underneath layers of soil. She's getting buzzed Monday! She's mistaken for a poodle a lot. Did Snuffles have a black nose? Koms only have black. Some of them have grey skin, too, and only brown eyes. Szuka wouldn't win dog shows with her pink skin and light brown eyes, lol.

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    2. Yup she had a black nose and I remember pink skin too, not sure about the eyes though.

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  9. I love your photos of your dog! She seems like SUCH a sweetie!!! Dogs sure hold a place in our hearts! I'm sure you can tell by my million pictures of my Simon (yorki-poo) that he is a baby! He just loves me! He cries if I'm not home LOL. These dogs sure have an amazing ability to love us and to make us capable of loving an animal! I love lover her fur, it reminds me of my pups! (well he's five in august!!!) He's just such a GOOD dog.. only squeaks doesn't really bark, doesn't go down stairs so he just chills upstairs... and he's friendly and doesn't jump. Love my animal!

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