I get a lot of questions regarding why I have a Spinone Italiano. A lot. Because anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows I yearn for an English Bull Terrier. I love these unusual looking, egg-headed dogs with their beautiful triangular-shaped eyes, short stocky bodies, and comical nature. I fell head-over-heels with the Madcap Gang when I had the pleasure of meeting several of them while attending a When Pigs Fly dog training seminar. Then, after several years of researching, planning, and waiting, I was on the list for a Madcap puppy. * insert happy dance here* According to the plan, ‘my’ Madcap Bull Terrier puppy would arrive in the spring of 2017. So, how… exactly, did I wind up with a Spinone Italiano in the fall of 2017? I blame it on Finn…
Most of you know Finn. I call him ‘my boy’. In this picture, he is ‘coloring’ with crayons and paper my granddaughter has supplied for him. He was very interested in what she was doing and, being a kind child, she gave him some crayons so he could color too. He has always been people oriented- wanting to be where we are and included, or at the very least on the fringe. He’s my quilting buddy. When I head upstairs to quilt, so does he, content to lay on the floor while I sew. He has always done this- from the time he was a puppy.
He is also my hiking buddy. We’ve traveled miles upon miles together; through the woods up beyond our house, along the logging trails together, in all kinds of weather, in all the four seasons. When I rediscovered snow shoeing, he was my wing man, waiting patiently whenever I fell, (disentangled myself, got back up, and maneuvered into position) before setting off again, always circling back to check on me.
Finn is the quintessential labrador- loves to fetch, loves to swim, loves the water, loves the outdoors, loves people. Steadfast, solid, and unassuming, he’s been through a lot with me: Rose Marie, fosters, and life in general. He’s my rock.
I think I bounced back rather quickly when the Madcap puppy I was so looking forward to did not come to be. There were complications during the whelping and… it’s a long story, for another day, another blog. I was terribly disappointed; I even cried. But I packed away the puppy toys and paraphernalia I had been collecting, knowing this wouldn’t be the last litter Jane would breed. I accepted and moved on- knowing it would be another couple of years, but that was okay.
A few weeks later, in early May, I noticed Finn begin to drag his back feet on occasion… to the point where his knees bent. I took a mental note, but wasn’t too worried. On top of being 10 years old, he was also my “Shucka-shucka boy”. A moniker a dear friend bestowed upon him as a youngster due to his propensity to scuff along beside us during our walks. However, when his back legs began buckling beneath him when he ran or as he leapt to catch the ball, I telephoned the vet.
There were tests, there was astute observation, and much discussion. When I finally left with my boy, I had several prescriptions and a presumptive diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy. I was stunned and heart sick. He was my boy. My buddy. My friend. And I had about one year left with him.
So what did I do? I pretended he was fine. And I began my research… because that’s what I do. I could at least control and manipulate this: What kind of dog could possibly measure up to Finn? Have the joie d’vivre temperament? Be built for any terrain, as well as enjoy the out of doors in any weather- who could that possibly be?
Meet my Spin. And blame it on Finn. (Who was, thankfully, misdiagnosed.) My heart is full of joy and gratitude. I am blessed.