>[Edited to fix a link.]
This handsome fellow staring at a squirrel outside my study window is Wiley. He usually belongs to the Pastry Pirate pack, but his “alpha bitch” (as she sometimes refers to herself) is on her way to Las Vegas for a 16-week stint in the bakery of one of the Strip hotels and couldn’t find a place to live that would accept dogs bigger than pocket-sized, so he’ll be running with our pack here in Rust Belt until late April.
Wiley is a type of laika — a generic name for a set of closely-related Russian hunting dog breeds. Laika was also the name (not just the breed) of the dog sent into space in Sputnik 2. And, last but not least, Laika Dog is also a rock band from Yorkshire.
This is what Wiley has to say for himself (in first person!) in the introduction to “The Book of Wiley” (the hilarious and informative guide the Pastry Pirate left with us):
I am a very good boy, overall…I am very smart, but I also worry more than most dogs, sometimes about things that may make no sense to you, such as the bad Feng Shui of how you place my water bowl.
Indeed, he has already moved his food bowl to the center of the room, away from the wall where we originally placed it. Fine — we can walk around it. And so far he has been very good and very easy. He howled for a little bit after the Pirate left, and was kind of sad that first day, but now he’s got his routine down and he’s playing with us, eating healthily, and barking joyfully when either of us comes home from being at school or out. If you followed the laika links, you learned that the word “laika” means “barker.” As “The Book of Wiley” states, “I bark a lot. It’s my idiom. It’s how I roll.” He barks pretty predictably so far: at squirrels and other dogs, and when we come home. Oh, and when the old man who lives behind us makes doggy noises in an attempt to *get* Wiley to bark! (Well, at least the neighbors are understanding — it’s a doggy neighborhood.)
So everyone say hello to Wiley and give him a virtual butt scratch — he really likes those!