Early Morning Open Thread: Meet Tinker

From commentor Bystander:

Actually, any number of consistent readers of Balloon Juice have already met Tinker, given that I’ve previously linked these photos…
Tinker is a sighthound — a Borzoi — adopted through the National Borzoi Rescue Foundation. She is approximately 3 years old. Reportedly, she’d had three different homes — not counting her bred-by home — prior to coming to live with me, my spouse, 5 rescued Border Collies and 2 Australian Shepherds.
She appeared on Craig’s List in Nebraska — free to a “good home” — when a Borzoi breeder spotted her and swung into action. She came to us through a network of breeders who work with the national rescue foundation. Spouse had a number of reservations about integrating a critter this “exotic” into the household. Although, historically, spouse and I have done all the training for our cattle dogs, a Russian Wolfhound “cattle dog” is a bit non-standard, so as a concession I enlisted the support of a professional trainer. Tinker’s obedience class was comprised, principally, of other rescued dogs. When the trainer — who knows I’ve always worked with Borders and Aussies in the past — was confronted with Tinker, she laughed out loud and said, “This is going to be different for you.” It has been. And, it’s all been good.
Not to belabor the point, but … Yes, she learns obedience commands more slowly, but she is just as eager to please. Yes, we needed to convince her that the Aussies were not “Tinker Toys,” but she learned they could hunt mice better than she could. Yes, she runs very, very fast but she knows exactly where the front door of the house is. She is quite different than we’re all used to, but she is also quite wonderful. Whoever said these dogs were aloof and stand-offish either has not had much experience with Borzoi, or Tinker isn’t a Borzoi. She’s incredibly affectionate and quite willing to pack-up with dogs very much different than herself. Once the herders figured out she presented no more threat than a 1,200 lb. cow, they decided they could play with her, and she is quite playful. Curiously, she seems willing to go belly to the floor for these play sessions which equalizes size and leverage. Go figure.
We’ve submitted an application for the AKC’s Purebred Alternative Listing/Indefinite Listing Privilege which will allow Tinker and I to compete in AKC sponsored events other than purebred conformation shows such as, agility, lure coursing, obedience, and rally.
As a long time believer in the value of adopting dogs, I cannot say enough good things about adoption. During the course of my life, I’ve raised 7 dogs from puppy hood. They were all amazing critters. As we lost/lose each to old age, it shatters my heart anew. But, my days of raising puppies are over. As gratifying as it is to have a dog that you’ve trained yourself from infancy, I’ve found nothing is more prepared to meet you half-way than an adopted dog. It’s as if they know… They never fill the shoes of any dog you’ve lost, because each one comes with his or her own shoes. Still, it’s as if they know… We all are enjoying the heck out of Tinker. And Tinker seems to be enjoying the heck out of us as well. As with each of our other adoption experiences, this one seems just chock full of “win.”

21 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    PUPPEH!! No other words necessary.

    And my computer is fortunately fully functional. And tomorrow is Monday.

  2. 2
    MikeJ says:

    Three different homes. The first home should have called her Tinker, then Evers in the second, then Chance.

  3. 3
    Mnemosyne says:

    I knew some people who had a Borzoi that insisted on sitting in your lap while you were watching TV. I’m sure it was fine when it was a puppy, but a full-grown Borzoi perched in your lap makes it difficult to see what’s happening on your show.

  4. 4
    Comrade Luke says:

    After reading the liveblog of the Murray-Rossi debate, it would appear that the only thing that matters is whether you can somehow trick a candidate into even obliquely referring to raising taxes. Apparently no view on anything matters; if you want to raise taxes for any reason whatsoever you’re screwed.

    This is what we’ve come to.

  5. 5
    Efroh says:

    Love Borzoi so much. I think my favorite bit (from a physical standpoint) is that wonderful long nose and how they look like they’re only six inches across at their widest (viewed from head-on).

  6. 6
    Riggsveda says:

    Tinker is loving those wide open spaces!

    They are amazing dogs. Guinness was a Borzoi we had from the time we adopted him from a local shelter in 1976 until he died of poisoning (we think it was a neighbor) at our farm in 1983. He’d been terribly abused when we got him, and it took several years of work with him till he was “normal”, but our daughter was born while we had him and he was never anything but completely trustworthy around her. No one has ever been able to replace him for us.

  7. 7
    JPL says:

    @Comrade Luke: Did Murray handle the situation? I don’t know why democrats don’t point out that the republicans want to raid social security to pay for tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires.

    Bystander, What is a beautiful dog and I love the name.

  8. 8

    It seems you have a ranch of some kind? To keep all of them busy?

    The Borzoi I’ve met are all sensitive. That might be the source if “standoffish.” Affectionate is as affectionate does.

    Congrats on Tinker!

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Comrade Luke: Hmm by the magic of google, I found a Murray quote
    “If Mr. Rossi gets his way and extends the Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to the tune of almost $1 trillion, there is no way to sustain the programs so important to us,”

  10. 10
    abscam says:

    What a beauty! I love sight hounds, they are so beautiful and elegant, particularly when running. Wonderful to see that you have space for Tinker to run.

  11. 11
    Mudge says:

    I had a Borzoi, named George, once upon a time. Great loving, peaceful dog. I had a kitten who liked to latch on to his leg. He never growled or bit, just shook his leg try to get her off. Little kids loved him and could hug him safely every time. He eventually lived with my parents who had an old cat (who’d grown up with dogs). I can’t say they were friends, but they respected each other. One day, the cat was out doing her cat roaming and encountered a dog, who gave her some trouble. George was chained in the backyard and saw the encounter. He broke the chain, ran across the road and chased the dog away. The cat of course sauntered across the road with her tail all bushy and saying, in her cat body language, “I’m bad… I’m bad”.

    Sadly George died young, as many large dogs do. May Tinker bring many years of interesting times.

  12. 12
    Alwhite says:

    I had an Afghan Hound for a short bit & it was a truly enjoyable experience. Sight hounds are more like cats, if they like you they are quite warm but if they don’t care for you they don’t care how you feel about them. Running them in the open is such a thrill, they exhibit a noticeable enjoyment when running and chasing.

  13. 13
    Julie says:

    I too am past the point where I want puppies, and my last few dogs have been rescue dogs. What you say about rescue dogs is true. Rescue dogs know how bad life can be,and they seem to know just how lucky they are when they have found their home. All my rescues have been a joy.

  14. 14
    Tara the antisocial social worker says:

    You have 5 border collies and 2 Australian shepherds?

    And you’re not dead of exhaustion yet?

  15. 15
    R-Jud says:

    Running them in the open is such a thrill, they exhibit a noticeable enjoyment when running and chasing.

    Yes. There’s a Borzoi we see out and about in our park (I didn’t know that was the breed’s name before reading this; we just called it “Narrow Dog”), and when his human lets him off the lead, I’ll sometimes stop what I’m doing just to watch him go tearing over the open green. Like Tinker up there.

  16. 16
    Kristine says:

    I needed a story like this this morning. Thanks for posting it.

    Tinker’s a beauty.

  17. 17
    tesslibrarian says:

    Tinker’s beautiful–watching her run must be elating.

    I needed this to face my day; thanks for the wonderful story.

  18. 18
    Original Lee says:

    Wonderful story and wonderful dog. I love watching creatures who love to run doing their thing, whether they are horses, cheetahs, dogs, whatever.

  19. 19
    someofparts says:

    What a beautiful girl! Wish you had video of her playing with the other dogs.

  20. 20

    Tinker is gorgeous. What a great story. And, I second the request for a video of her playing with the other dogs.

  21. 21
    bystander says:

    Thanks, All. Tinker is a Sweetie.

    The double suspension gallop, that is the typical running gait for many/most sighthounds (and cheetahs), really is something to watch.

    Video of Tinker playing with our other dogs isn’t in the offing I’m afraid. That bit of technology is outside of my comfort zone. Maybe someday I’ll gather up the patience to master the skill.

    Tinker and I have been attending a lot of events like this one in the past couple of weeks. She seems really interested and we did do one practice run. To get her started I had to run out on the course with her. Those who are old hands said later it looked like I was directing her around the course with hand signals. Ah, well. With Borders and Aussies, herding and agility are a bit more familiar. You go with what you know. And, for the feline lovers among us, apparently, lure coursing isn’t just for dogs.

    @Tara the antisocial social worker:

    Not dead yet. But, they’ve kept me in the best physical shape you can imagine. I wasn’t this conditioned doing two sports in high school!

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