Doppler Update: Haircut Day

A few days ago we realized Doppler’s fur had grown so long, she probably couldn’t see!

My opinion is Doppler’s prettiest when her fur is long and shaggy. I don’t get a vote.

Madi came by this afternoon with her salon-on-wheels. It was time for an afternoon of beauty. Here’s the result.


Doppler: This Shot Captures Her Essence


If Doppler ever learns to talk, her first words will be, “Turn off the damn camera!” I’m taking advantage of the situation. She can’t say no. She’s been my photographic subject thousands of times.

Every once in a while a single photo will stand out. This one does to me.

Helaine was drying Doppler after her shower. The blow dryer was farther down her back. Doppler was prone with her snout flat on a towel.

I was flat on my belly and on the other side of the bedroom when I snapped away. It wass a 300mm F/4 lens, a telephoto. I shot at 1/200th, slow for this focal length but OK because of image stabilization.

The ISO was 4000. Very high. You get tiny noise specs on the photo. It’s the price you pay for sharpness in low light.

This lens, configured this way, produces a shallow depth of field. On shots like this you try and get the eyes in focus and forget everything else. That wasn’t happening. Her bangs worked fine. Doppler’s nose is slightly out-of-focus while most of her body is softly blurred.

I like this shot in part because of the incredible contrast in her fur. Bright white to shadowy dark grey are represented. Each cluster of strands lies a different length from the lens, so not only is there contrast in luminance, there’s contrast in sharpness.

When Doppler speaks, after she tells me to stop, she’ll let me know this photo captures her essence.

How Doppler Gets Fluffy

“Oh,” Helaine said as she returned from shopping. “I didn’t expect you to take a shower yet.”

She had shower plans for me… and Doppler.

Recently, dog wash time has meant Doppler joining me in the master bathroom’s shower. When I’m done Helaine wields the blow dryer.

Doppler is nonchalant about the whole thing. She doesn’t enjoy showers, but she does nothing to fight them. No squirming or yelping. She doesn’t cower. She just lets it happen!

I use the shower’s wand to soak her, then apply the dog shampoo and rub. Helaine is in charge of the brush/blow dryer combo. We keep the blow dryer at its lowest setting.

The result is one fluffy dog–a lamb cloud!





Doppler Learns Her First Trick


Doppler has few responsibilities. This week I changed that. Doppler learned her first trick. She can shake hands.

It wasn’t difficult to do. Just a few tiny treats when she’d normally get rewarded anyway, like when returning from a trip to the lawn. She caught on quickly.

At this point I’m worried because she’s offering up her paw before I ask!

If I had my way (and had the persistence) I’d teach her to jump through my hands or into them. Are there enough treats?

Doppler’s Only Job: Be Cute


Helaine’s at the dentist. I’m doing some things around the house. I left Doppler to her own devices.

Doppler has her favorite spots. She likes her bed in a corner in the kitchen. She likes the blanket we leave on the floor behind my desk in my office. She LOVES the sofa in the loft. That’s where she went today.

I didn’t see her for at least a half hour, but when I did she was quietly enjoying a freshly constructed blanket and pillow fort.

Doppler’s only job is to be cute. She gets an excellent employee review every time!

Doppler Didn’t Want To Be Recycled

I’m not sure what was going through Doppler’s mind when we drove to the transfer station, but she did look a little worried!


Doppler In Stealth Mode

We had a bunch of people stop by the house over the last few days. That really messed up Doppler’s schedule.

She says she needs at least 20 hours a day prone. Why argue with success?

Today, with just the three of us around, Doppler became invisible. Consider this catch-up day.

At one point I asked Helaine where Doppler was, though she was in the room with us! She’s that good.



Doppler’s Idiosyncrasies

Doppler at Ikea

We took Doppler shopping today. She accompanied us to Ikea in a camo bag slung over Helaine’s shoulder. A sign on the door said only Service Dogs were allowed. Doppler is Secret Service, Undercover Division.

I’m guessing they wouldn’t have bought that excuse had anyone asked. No one did.

Doppler was exceptionally good. After a brief attempt to let her paws hang out she settled back and took in the Swedish.

There’s a video attached to this entry showing Doppler’s pre-excursion excitement. Hyperactivity is the exception, not the rule for our puppy.

It got me to thinking about a few of Doppler’s idiosyncrasies.

Doppler must walk on the right… or from her perspective, you must be left of her. I have no idea why.

Doppler’s faster than me walking stairs. She’ll patiently wait for me upstairs then let me pass her so she can circle around and be on the right! She does it every time.

When we go outside for a walk Doppler’s also always on the right. She is adamant, even if I forget.

Today, when I gave her a large dog bone shaped treat she picked it up in her mouth then circled from the family room to the kitchen to the hallway past the front door and back into the family room. She made this circuit at least five times as Helaine and I watched and wondered.

This is not the first time she’s taken a bone on the grand tour of our ground floor.

Are these behavioral traits she was born with? Did she learn them?

Doppler came to us already grown up. We’ll never know.

A Year With Doppler

Recently, I was asked to write an article for CT Pet Lovers. I thought I’d share it with you here.

Tomorrow marks one year since I sent an email to the Wallingford Animal Shelter. They had advertised a dog up for adoption via

My wife and I are interested in adopting a dog. Could you tell us more about Mr Buttons – – age, size, temperament?

All the best,
Geoff Fox

Yeah, I know. Mr. Buttons? Not the perfect name.

As it turned out Mr. Buttons had already been adopted. We found that a lot on, nearly every dog we wrote about was no longer available.

No worries. There’s never a shortage of dogs waiting to be adopted at local shelters!

Here’s the email I got in response from Marci at the Wallingford shelter.

We do also have two Maltipoos, a male and a female, that are not online yet. We have not put them up yet because they needed a little TLC. They were abandoned, blocked in a baseball field dugout. They were very thin, their coats were matted to their skin and their nails were to the point of curling. The poor things were sad and scared. After a good bath and haircut, and a much needed pedicure, two new, happy dogs appeared!. They are the sweetest. They are socialable and love everyone. Their names are Wilbur (who is the smaller of the two) and Charlotte.

Helaine and I had already decided on our ideal dog. There weren’t many qualifications.

She… yes, our dog would be a girl… would need to be small enough to travel under an airline seat. We wanted a young dog, but not an outright puppy. Everyone wants a dog that’s house trained. Us too.

I headed to the shelter on Monday. That’s when I met the two dogs which would become Doppler and Bentley. Their temporary quarters was a bathroom where they were isolated from the other dogs waiting for homes.

I picked up Charlotte. It was love at first sight.

Helaine was a little apprehensive when I told her I’d found our dog. She knew it’s tough to hold a dog then say, “no.”

I committed to adopt Charlotte right then, but I was on my way to work. She would have to remain in the joint until Helaine and I could pick her up on Friday.

We did come back and it was love at first sight for Helaine too!

As I was to learn, bringing home a new puppy wasn’t terribly different than bringing home a baby. We headed to Petco and said “Fill ‘er up!”

Charlotte had become Doppler.

We set up sleeping areas and napping areas and relaxing areas and eating areas. Doppler quickly caught on. That first night she slept in the bed with Helaine and me.

There were a few accidents, but just a few. As it turned out we’d hit the dog lottery, Doppler was a house trained, non-food begging, non-shedding rescue!

We assume from her continued laid back demeanor, Doppler is just as happy to be here as we are to have her!

If you’re wondering what happened to Charlotte’s tiny brother, Wilbur, he became Bentley and was adopted the same day by our friends Cheryl and Steve.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Blogger’s note: When Helaine read this she noticed some errors relating to times and dates. The blog entry has been updated to correct the errors.

Doppler Is Part Shag Rug

Doppler is scheduled to have her fur cut Tuesday. If we don’t keep up with regular cuts her coat gets matted–no good.

On the other hand, it’s this time in her fur growth cycle that Doppler looks cutest! Her fur separates into sections, like a Puli without the rope curl.

OK, maybe Puli is pushing it. For sure she looks like a shag rug!

She’s adorable. There’s no getting around it.

Doppler’s Involved (photo)

Doppler must have caught on. She decided as a member of the family it’s only right she be involved.

Good doggie.

This year’s big vacation is rapidly approaching. Helaine is our logistics specialist. Staging areas have been set up.

So far my big contribution has been two immense camera lenses which will travel in a carry-on bag and a power strip. Yeah, a power strip.

Doppler must have caught on. She decided as a member of the family it’s only right she be involved.

Good doggie.

Doppler Gets Her Fur Cut

As of last week Doppler was getting awfully big! She hadn’t been to the groomer in nine weeks and it was really showing. She had graduated from “World’s Softest Dog” to “World’s Fluffiest Dog.”

What we didn’t understand was her long time between cuts made it more difficult for us to brush her properly. That led to a tangle of matted fur near her body. Problem solved with a clip very close to her skin.

It’s warm so that’s not a problem. She also looks more puppyesque with her shorter coif.

Doppler And Bentley Have A Playdate

My first sighting of the two of them was at the Wallingford Animal Shelter. They were on the floor yelping and wrestling. Mouths were open. Teeth were revealed. Neither applied enough force to hurt the other.

It’s playdate time at the Fox house! Cheryl and Steve brought Bentley to visit while they run some errands.

Bentley was found and adopted by Cheryl and Steve the same time we adopted Doppler. They were abandoned together and purposely trapped in a baseball dugout. Bentley is Doppler’s brother or father–we can’t be sure.

My first sighting of the two of them was at the Wallingford Animal Shelter. They were on the floor yelping and wrestling. Mouths were open. Teeth were revealed. Neither applied enough force to hurt the other. This was aggressive play, not unbridled aggression.

Back at the shelter Bentley was tiny–around five pounds. Doppler was the obvious alpha. Now Bentley’s a bigger boy. Deciding which dog dominates is much more difficult.

They still go at each other, but after fifteen minutes both were exhausted and laid down.

It’s obvious Doppler and Bentley still recognize each other instantly. Their action around each other is very different than their reaction to other dogs.

It’s always good to have a family reunion.

How Doppler Gets Treats

We are all creatures of habit, certainly Doppler! When she senses she’s getting a treat she’ll hop up on the sofa until she gets a good look.

We are all creatures of habit, certainly Doppler! When she senses she’s getting a treat she’ll hop up on the sofa until she gets a good look. Then she runs into her crate where she impatiently awaits something tasty.

Here’s video proof.

What’s Up With Doppler?

Doppler has developed a strange behavior. It has to do with a “Busy Bone.”


Doppler has developed a strange behavior. It has to do with a “Busy Bone.”

Busy bone chewbone treat with the meaty middle. Its delicious taste and fun twisted bone shape make Busy Bone the perfect alternative to rawhide chews. Some pet behaviourists have shown that toys and treats like Busy Bone also provide dogs with healthy outlets for acting upon their natural instinct to chew. – Busy Bone sales schpiel from Amazon

Doppler is small, but even the small dog size Busy Bone looks oversized when in her mouth. She used to take these bones and chew them up. That’s what dogs are supposed to do.

No more!

Doppler now treats the Busy Bone like some sort of companion or toy.

Last night’s 4:00 AM trip to the front lawn is typical of what’s going on. She showed up at the front door with the bone in her mouth as if it were a stogie!

She’s been taking it upstairs, leaving it on our bed or sometimes her bed in my office. She’s been taking it downstairs, parking it on the sofa or in her crate. The only thing she’s not doing with it is eating.

Her current Busy Bone is getting ready to enter day four. It’s uneaten, but well loved.

Four days must be some sort of Busy Bone record!