Saturday, October 04, 2008

What is She...Really?

It's hard to believe it's already Saturday, October, 4, 2008. Carmella has been doing her usual routine; chasing sticks in the back yard and bringing them back, then wanting to chew them up. Her jerking is about the same, definitely no worse, and she barreled over to greet the bulldog next door as it approached the fence, now curious to see Carmella a little closer.

There was a kind of surreal feeling today. I can't really tell if Carmella is gradually calming down or if it's my imagination, but she still seems to want to chew on me most every time I go near her, especially when I come into the kitchen. In the picture below you can see the bruises on my arm from her chewing on it.

I'm still wondering whether that has something to do with the virus's affect on her brain or if it is just her personality. Most puppies can be trained not to do that eventually and I used to train dogs for a dog breeder years ago, some of them pretty stubborn, and I'm not exactly an ameteur, so I wonder what gives.

This brings me back again to the question of what breeds Carmella is mixed with. She is quite unusual-looking and I keep wondering whether she really might have some wild dog-like animal in her because the chewing on people is something characteristic of wolf hybrids and other non-domestic canids. At six months of age she has all her adult teeth, so she is no longer teething. The way she does it is almost absent mindedly or reflexively, not really the type of thing younger puppies do while roughousing. Generally that kind of play is not constant and has a beginning and an end and then they'll lie down next to you and be calm and done with it. For the most part Carmella wants to do it just about anytime an appendage gets in the vicinity of her nose.

I have heard alot about Coyotes going into Cobb County and showing up in people's back yards, and I know for a fact that Coyotes are able to breed with domestic dogs. My cousin, Mike used to work in an animal behavior lab and they bred Beagles with Coyotes as one of their projects and the look was amazingly similar to Carmella with the big ears that had points veering inward and they were shorter and stockier in stature than a purebred Coyote, but leaner than a beagle and more German Shepherd-looking. They displayed the same behavior as she does when someone would go into their pen. They'd jump up with their front paws and sort of cling to the person and gnaw on them.

I also wonder whether Coyotes are more resistant to Distemper? Their DNA would be different, so they very well might be hardier in dealing with certain diseases.

Some friends of the family used to have a dog named Leader when I was a child and went to visit them at their summer house in New Hampshire that was thought to be half wolf and half Alaskan Malamute. He was a huge animal with blue eyes and an icy, vacant stare and he had many of the same behaviors as Carmella, trying to grab your leg and chew on it or jump on your head, clinging with his paws as if to challenge you in a strange type of play (although he was alot bigger than Carmella is now). I remember that training had no affect on that dog. It seemed to be so ingrained in instinct for him to do that that he was oblivious to the word "No!" and pushing him down only worked for about 2 seconds. Back then he was taller than I was when standing on his hind legs, so pushing him down was quite a chore.

Carmella's jaw is quite different. It's hard to tell in most of the pictures, but if you saw her in-person and looked at her proportions you would see what I mean. Her lower-front teeth are razor-sharp but unusually small for the size of the rest of her body, and her mouth is quite short. Also, the amount of force is what you would expect from a dog with a much longer or wider, stockier jaw.

I remember when I saw the Coyotes at the research center and the hybrid puppies the jaw was alot more like a fox than a dog. They had small, very sharp teeth and the bottom jaw was very narrow. I am dying to get Carmella DNA-tested. I wouldn't be surprised if she has some Coyote in her. She looks alot like a Dingo, but the jaw really looks more like a Coyote, and Coyotes have been sighted in Georgia, so it's a very real possibility. Carmella also has a very strange bark. It is somewhat hound-like but also somewhat husky-like but not quite either. She can only bark in a regular way a few times before it breaks up and becomes a type of howl.


The Great Ethan Allen said...

Hey, If you ask me it sounds like she is just being a dog. dogs love to chew. on sneakers, papers, bike seats, and bones and even an owner from time to time. Once knew a dog named chewy. At first I thought he was named after starwars, then I realized because he chewed through everything like a beaver through wood! If she were a wolf hybrid, She will son start to "test" the relationship to become alpha female so to say. So you would either have to constantly put her in her place, or give her up, because she woudl forever disobey the "beta" owner. Just my 2 cents. I'm not really an expert, but I worked with the DNR for several years and I watch hours and hours of animal planet/discovery channel. lol

heysel said...

I do envy carmella, but i am so happy for you both. My baby chowking wasn't able to make it...we had the CSF TAP but it was too late, i live here in the philippines and Dr. Louwell Ogbinar lives far from my place, i would have gone there had i had enough money that time but i was waiting for my income to travel, so i was trying to find a vet who can do the NDV/NCD CSF TAP and when i found one, it was too late for him. I am so frustrated that i have a lot of what ifs and if only...anyway, im happy for you and carmella, if i can do anything to help you tell the world that NCD/NDV is a cure/treatment for distemper, i will. Some vets here are just not open minded for the things they didn't know,and its very frustrating, :( Some would laugh when i explain what and how NCD/NDV works, it's kind of disappointing, really..anything i can do to help out.Will try my best. - hazel

LoveMeKnot Creations said...

carmella is a beauty!!

She looks like she has some pitbull (american) in her, she looks like a twin (minus the bigger ears) to my sister's pit mix female, lovely honey color :)

blackfeatherfarm said...

Hi everyone here is the link to the donated necklace for Carmella's vet bills.

Where does she get those ears?

Dina Cuomo said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and Carmella. Your photos and posts are amazing. She is one lucky dog to have you as her owner. Keep me posted!

Giftbearer said...

Thanks you all for your nice comments!

I doubts she's a wolf hybrid but she may actually have some Coyote in her with the ears and mouth shape she has and the agouti fur, and I have thought about the possibility of Pit Bull. She could have both in her actually. I'm pretty sure she has some German Shepherd and Basenji in her too.

Hazel, I'm hoping that the few vets in the Phillipines and the ones here who are willing to do this treatment will go public and start promoting it to other vets. Encourage yours to be as vocal as possible about the importance of early detection and early treatment. I have spoken to more and more owners who were unable to get the treatment until it was too late and I hope that we can make a doctor's list of ones who are open to it so that maybe we can catch some of the next dogs who are diagnosed in time.

Can you log onto Etsy and convo me through that private message system so I can get your vet's contact information and add him to the vet list?

I'm considering making a brochure that can be handed out at vet's offices.