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The Alta Files: Meet Alta

14 May

Since Stuff Hank Eats began, Hank has been getting lots of extra praise and attention from family and friends.  Like any good sibling rivalry, this has made Alta a little jealous.

I mean, what else could this “look” be trying to say?

So I decided to start posting a little story about Alta once in awhile; because, although Alta doesn’t rip open and consume everything in sight…she is a very special dog.

Readers, meet Alta.

She is going to be 6-years-old this June; I adopted her from the humane society when she was just a year old.  Although I have yet to get her a doggie-DNA test…the general consensus is that she is a mix of German Shepherd, Doberman and a little bit of something else.

Alta is like most dogs in a lot of ways: she likes to lick faces…

She likes to take naps (even more so in places where she shouldn’t be)…

and snuggle endlessly…

she likes to catch bugs while riding in the car…

swim in the waves…

and roll in the snow…

Alta loves me more than anything in the whole world, we go everywhere together, have lots of great adventures and she’s always there with an extra fuzzy snuggle after a tough day.  We were best friends, and then Hank came along.

Alta still loves me more than anything in the whole world, but I think the title of best friend now rightfully belongs to Hank.

She taught him what to do with a tennis ball…

and now they have their own games.

The most unique part of the Hank & Alta dynamic is not something that can be captured in a photo, but something you’d have to hear for yourself.  So unless you’ve happened to hear another German Shepherd do their “talking” or I can get a sound bite up here sometime…you’ll have to take my word for it.  Alta, since I adopted her, does this low, rumbly, guttural groaning that varies in pitch and tone depending on the situation.  It’s sort of like when a baby is learning to talk, the string of nonsensical sounds that are so close to being actual words, but don’t quite make any sense.  Not only does Alta think that we are all idiots for not being able to understand her language…she taught this language to Hank.

I didn’t realize this until I took them both to get their nails trimmed.  First up, Alta hopped up on the table and the woman began picking up her paws one at at time and clipping her nails.  All the while Alta is making her grumbly noises, despite remaining perfectly still (like any dignified 3-year-old lady would) and staring at me through the window like I had somehow betrayed her.

Next up was Hank, who thought it would be much more fun to test the training of the nice groomer and it was like watching someone try and rope a muddy pig (complete with the squealing).  Once hooked up on the table, Hank reluctantly surrendered each paw but not without mimicking Alta’s low grumbles and disappointed glares in my direction.  After retrieving my wild beasts from the groomer and leaving a large tip in the jar, the groomer says to me, “I’ve never heard one dog, let alone two, make those noises before!  It’s like they were trying to talk to me!”

Needless to say, after all the accusing stares directed at me, next stop was the pet store for new treats and toys.

While Alta may be a little bossy at times…

and very protective if you come too close to her loved ones (or the car, house; if you look suspicious or are operating any noisy machinery).  I’m pretty sure she’s legendary amongst lawn crews in northern Michigan…

but at the end of the day she is a very sweet girl…

Keep an eye out for Alta’s tails =) amongst Hank’s conquests.  You see, Alta is way too smart for her own good and most likely the one behind most of Hank’s bad behavior.

Cheers!