Peanut was our fourth dog. He was an apricot toy poodle obtained from a local rescuer in October 1999.

Peanut's story with us starts when we saw an ad for a poodle in the Palmyra Courier Journal. It was one of those rather manipulative ads that said he would be put to sleep if he didn't find a home. So, we called and were told we could come get him, but only after she'd had the chance to give him a haircut.

This time we brought Grep along to make sure there wouldn't be an aggression problem, but Peanut didn't seem to mind her. We signed the paperwork and paid a neutering deposit. Having seen his haircut we weren't sure why we'd had to wait...he looked rather silly with short all over, but sky-high head hair and puffy ears. But at least she'd tried. We were told he wouldn't be good with kids, but this wouldn't really be a problem since we don't intend to have any.

As it turned out, we never got the neuter deposit back; I had tried a few times to get ahold of the rescuer again but she was never home and never responded. We wrote it off as an adoption fee.

Peanut was generally a friendly little guy. Icky was a bit concerned at first (they spent the first day or so mounting each other), but they settled in and never really bothered each other, unless Peanut got too close to Icky and irritated him, in which case Icky just snarled and left. Peanut was pretty much friendly but oblivious to other dogs. He did like to snuggle up to them from time to time, which was greeted with various reactions...Lupi didn't mind much, Grep didn't mind as long as he didn't poke at her with his nose, and Icky would generally avoid it. Really, he preferred to snuggle with people, very much a little lap dog. He loved to sleep in the bed with us in the crook of my arm, chin resting on my shoulder. By this time the bed was very crowded with Icky down between or behind my legs, Grep on a pillow above my head, and Peanut next to me.

He did come with a few problems. He coughed a lot, especially when on a leash. Turns out he had a collapsing trachea (a problem sometimes with small dogs) and possibly heart valve problems. We went as far as taking him to Vet Specialists of Rochester to see their heart specialist, and he was put on Theophylline for the rest of his life. Eventually the prescription transferred to the vet hospital at Cornell (when the heard specialist, based in California, stopped practicing in Rochester); to get refills we once had to drive him there to be examined. The initial heart vet seemed to think he was closer to 10 than to the 6-8 the rescuer told us, based on his heart valves and a slight murmur.

Behaviorally, he had some aggression problems. You could not touch his food dish after it was set down. I had to feed him in a separate area of the kitchen to let him calm down enough to eat. One time I got too close and he bit me deeply through one finger (wasn't as bad as it sounded). He was also funny about being picked up, sometimes becoming very snappy and upset; this lessened over time when he realized we were just trying to give him some attention. After awhile it became less angry and more just him asserting himself, I think. As long as you were cautious with him, he was very affectionate and loved attention. I can see why the rescuer wouldn't have wanted him with children, though; no fast movements or surprising him.

When we got him originally, he was a skinny little poodle. Eventually he became more barrel shaped; he took well to the homemade diet we liked to mix for the dogs with the usual dry food. After having some digestion problems with some dogs, we eventually decided to make and keep around a large pot of boiled ground beef mixed with rice and/or vegetables (we eventually gave up on the rice, finding out it wasn't really needed) for mealtimes. Peanut in particular developed a wide, bulldog like chest. He also used to turn out his elbows, further enhancing his resemblance to a bulldog (when he did this we used to call it 'bulldogging'). He could sometimes be picky about treats, though; if you stuck something he didn't like into his face, he'd make a little sneer and start smacking his lips and backing off--we called it the 'meh' face.

Paul's favorite game with Peanut (and occasionally with the others) was an extremely slow-motion boxing game. We found that sometimes dogs would go nuts if you pretended to 'attack' them in slow motion, such as walking up to them waving arms, or throwing 'punches' in slow motion and slowly grazing near their muzzle. Peanut was adorable with the punching game. He'd wait for the "punch" to go by and slowly go 'roowrrrrrr' and snap towards the punch as it went by (not trying to bite, just going after it). Then he'd hold his head there steady as the other fist came by, repeating the action the other way. If you'd stop he'd come up looking for another one, wagging his little nub of a tail.

(Why is it that apricot poodles always have extremely short docked tails, while black poodles seem to have a stick for the 'stick and ball' type of grooming?)

We were told initially that his owner was male, and that he had died, and that Peanut was suspicious of women. We found, however, that although he liked Paul very much, he was more likely to seek me out and sit with me. Probably because I tolerated his growling and feisty personality better than others, thinking of him as a grumpy old man.

Peanut, like Icky, liked to be warm, especially after a haircut (unlike Grep, he had a rather thin and wavy, as opposed to thick and curly poodle coat). He'd always hang out in front of the heater, and would actually love having a sweater put on him (it was the taking off that caused snapping). Although we worried about his sometimes unpredictable touchiness about contact, our groomers never had a problem with him.

Peanut taught Icky to pee with a lifted leg. As our only male dog and neutered at 9 weeks, Icky had always peed sort of arching his back (half squat). After watching Peanut water everything in the yard, Icky started lifting his leg--but the opposite leg from Peanut. One time they both peed on the same spot, facing each other, opposite legs lifted. Wish I'd had a camera.

Like Lupi (see LupiStory, Peanut developed the usual infirmities of age. His kidneys started failing in his last year, and his heart enlarged to a huge extent near the end. In his last few days one of his very heavily cataracted eyes developed an ulcer which had to be treated by Vet Specialists of Rochester. Unfortunately, I think the stress of hospitalization caused his heart to fail. On his last day he was in a lot of pain. Since it was a Saturday, and we needed help right away, we ended up going to Dr. Schneider at the Macedon Vet Care office (they have 24 hour paging available). She found that he had no pulse in one of his legs, and that he was near the end (not much improvement was likely given his multitude of problems). We had to have him put to sleep right then (July 2005).

  • Tricks: sit (sometimes). Not really. Would 'dance' for treats, before he got too old.
  • Liked: food. Maybe too much. Snuggling near people and other dogs. Wearing his sweaters.
  • Disliked: being picked up, anything near his food bowl


-EricaErkkila