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Friday, November 21, 2008

The Life & Times of Louis & Amber - Vlad

See our previous post about the copper thief. We recently made an addition to our family. Amber's birthday was November 10th, and on that very same day we were in Johannesburg at the US Consulate, making an attempt to register Drake with the The Man. I'm happy to report we didn't have to insert any computer chips into him. They just requested copies of our passports and a copy of his South African Birth Certificate.

So anyway, I had been online looking to see what a German Shepherd puppy would cost. Looking at various kennels, it seemed relatively cost prohibitive to invest in a pure-bred puppy. When we adopted our beloved dog Hank from the ARL in Iowa, we learned that puppies are typically not worth the effort. While cute and cuddly, the house-training process would not normally be described as enjoyable. So with this thought in mind, we came across a listing for a 1 year old German that was looking for a new home. (Shepherd Dog, not human. We're really not in the market for a small German lad or lass.)

The home Vlad came from is highly involved in national show competitions for German Shepherds. In fact, his mother was rated the #1 female dog in South Africa. I believe his father was rated #3 (in a different category, of course). The family had chosen him from the litter to become a show dog as well, so he really was the "pick of the litter". The problem with Vlad is his ears. Apparently the cartiledge is too soft and the ears don't stand up the way a pure-bred German's should. Therefore, he was disqualified from show competition. They had spent almost a year trying to get his ears trained to stand up, but of course they wouldn't cooperate. It sounds like he'll get along great with Meredith, since they both tend to be un-cooperative.

His name was Zado when we got him, but before we arrived I told Amber that we should name him Vlad. Vlad just sounds like an intimidating name. When we arrived at the house, we heard his owner calling him lad, which confirmed that the transition to a new name should be easy. He has taken to his new name famously. At first he was a bit tentative at The Pines, but he quickly learned his place among the other dogs and you wouldn't know they've only been together about 2 weeks. We introduced him to the children one-by-one, so he wouldn't be overwhelmed. They do a great job with him. He loves to play, and it gives them something to keep them out of trouble. Here are a few photos. If you yourself have been considering stealing copper from The Pines, I'm warning you, he'll rip you up. And I know how to use pepper spray properly now. Plus, I'll remember to put a belt on next time.


  1. Hey, O'Tools.

    I'm glad to hear that you picked a good Russian name for your dog. (Since I'm learning Russian.) I don't know if the font will work on your computer, but here's how his name looks in Russian: Влад. Pretty cool, huh? (Of course, if the font doesn't work, "Bnag" is just as convincing to a Russian.)

    BTW, when native speakers say this name, they pronounce the "A" as in "father," and at the end of the word, the "D" is pronounced as a "T". Vlad is probably not a native speaker however, so he will probably tolerate whatever pronunciation is used.

    It's an archaic name, which means "mastership," in the sense of owning and ruling. A similar word, vlast', still exists in the Russian language today.

    Sorry! I dabble a little in onomastics, and the temptation was too great to resist. :)

    Peace! --Jacob

    P.S. Your dog looks awesome. Who really cares about ears anyway??

  2. Hmmm. Well I guess that is appropriate then for him. We own him, and if you try to steal our copper, he will own you.