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.