Friday, December 30, 2005

September 8, 2006: Looking Back: Asta's Antics

After we moved into our church house in Melbourne in July 2004, I began immediately looking for a new Wire Haired Fox Terrier. There aren't many WFT breeders in Australia - maybe because they are a pommie dog? Bred to ride in the Saddle Bags during the hunt and root the fox out of their holes. I'm not sure. Jack Russells and Smooth Hair FT's (which I rarely saw in California) are quite common. I was on a waiting list with 2 different breeders for about 9 months. I was originally going to get another male, but ended up with a female. We've had little Asta since Jan of 2005. She was delivered from the breeder in Brisbane by a company called Dog Tainers, that picked her up in an air-conditioned van and put her on a plane and I met her as a tiny ball of fluff at the airport.

My husband jokes that when you wait 9 months for a baby it's usually less furry. Asta is very different from the males I had. When I got CZ, I had the pick of the litter and I picked the most docile puppy. He would run long distances with me, but was otherwise content to sit on my lap. Asta is in no way a lap dog. For the first 6 months or so, she was in constant motion except when she went to sleep with her hot water bottle at night. She is the doggy version of Steve Irwin - Crikey!

Asta is quite clever and now that she's older, she is eager to please: she responds well (finally) to come, sit, rollover, and shake. She has run as far as 18 km with me (I dropped her off at home in the middle of a 30 km run preparing for a marathon) and wants to play more. She is content to spend large amounts of time on her own - sitting on top of the couch, looking out the window and gurading the house. She likes to bury her toys or shake them like she's killing them. Sometimes she hits things with her paws or tossess her toy in the air like a cat does, then hits it. She also loves water, and jumped in the pool at a friends house and rode around on a boogie board. Not a day goes by that she doesn't make us laugh with her antics. We go for a run or if I'm tired a long walk everyday, that inlcudes a visit to a dog park where she can run free with local dogs.

I've only seen 2 other WFT's in Melbourne - both from the same breeder. Asta attracts attention and compliments wherever she goes here as she is quite distinctive, but some people have difficulty with her name and my accent, calling her Esther, Astra, Astro, and Astor. I recently got the complete Thin Man series so I could introduce my husband to the real Asta.

When I was back in LA for a run in 2004, I ran in the spot where my husband scattered Caesar's ashes.

When I was overseas working in Cyprus in Nov 05-Jan06, our best Australian friends, Grant and Mandy and their kids, Billy and Ellen looked after her and told us the following:

Asta the waterdog is having a great time, she has her own swimming pool and has hours of fun in it. The swimming pool is a large plastic container that we used to use as a dog bath - we fill it up for her and throw things in it and she retrieves them by diving in - very, very funny! She has also discovered the "hose" and chases it madly when the garden is being watered. She is having a ball and is just hilarious with the water. There are a hundred new ways to entertain her and she is so much fun!

Asta is very clever because we have had sone hot days here, but she just goes and throws herself in the water and stands there until she has cooled off, clever girl! She's being spoiled rotten, the kids spend heaps of time with her when they are on holidays, and she follows everyone around like a shadow. We have heaps of fun with her at night time, throwing her toys into the water, she actually puts her head right under the get them out, very funny.

Asta's latest antics involve the new built-in pool put in at Grant’s sister’s house. Grant’s wife Mandy said to him: "You had better keep Asta inside the gate because when she sees the pool she will be straight in there.” Anyway, the kids let her in, and of course she dives straight in, so there goes the ph levels in the pool. But a little later on we all got in and were having a game of pool volleyball and of course Asta had to come in and play with us as well. It was hilarious, we could not keep her out and she even got on one of the surfboards that the kids were using. Anyway, we took some very funny photos of Asta floating around on one of those floating lounges with Ellen. The only thing missing was a cocktail in one paw and her sunglasses (she must have dropped them in the pool).

Asta was very subdued after all the swimming. Kim and Sean have a 12 month old Scotty Terrier named Fergus and Mandy thinks that he and Asta are in love. Sean says that he will adopt her if you like! Of course he is only joking, (not really) but they get along so well, when they aren't swimming in the pool they are playing "chasy" - very cute.

Anyway, just a little catch up on the adventures of "Asta the Waterdog", have a great new year and we'll see you soon!

What will be next for Asta? Surfing at Waiameia bay in Oahu? Or, perhaps a little snorkeling along the Great Barrier Reef.