Can too high a price be paid to solve a confounding puzzle? After this morning, having finally resolved the mystery concerning Mr. Tootles, I can answer that question with a resounding “yes.”
Ever since Prometheus became friends with our neighbor’s Yorkie, the wife and I have scratched our heads at the disparity in the two dogs’ appearance and personalities. Prometheus, who’s supposed to be part Shih-Tzu and part Yorkie, looks like a purebred Yorkie and sheds less than I do. He also exhibits the documented traits of the breed, including the big-dog-in-a-small-body mentality, and a love of chasing animals large and small.
In contrast, the alleged purebred, Mr. Tootles, sports a thicker, more easily tangled coat than the other Yorkies I’ve seen. Tootles also exhibits behaviors I haven’t heard generally defined for his breed, including a love of digging holes in the yard and over-possessiveness regarding toys.
For the second time, Sophia and I are hosting Tootles at our house while his owners enjoy another of their periodic camping trips. Last night thankfully proceeded without undue incident. Our guest, as usual, wanted whichever bone or plush toy Prometheus happened to hold. And in typical fashion, Tootles spent much of the evening wrestling with and trying to hump his host. On the plus side, at least, he didn’t maul Sophia’s face or puke on her — like he did on his last sleepover.
This morning didn’t progress nearly as smoothly. Despite a good night’s sleep, Prometheus seemed much less tolerant of his buddy’s rude behavior. A single hump and bone snatch so enraged him that he chased Tootles all over the house, barking the entire way. Upon finally tackling his prey, our boy commenced a thorough mauling. I caught up to the pair and separated them, but not before Prometheus apparently yanked out several clumps of his pal’s fur.
Although Tootles hadn’t yelped, and I didn’t see any blood, I knew Yorkie hair is supposed to stay on the animal. It’s not meant to lay strewn atop one’s carpet. Fearful of returning a damaged canine to our neighbors tonight, I rushed the dog to the nearest emergency clinic. I gave the Vet a complete rundown of the events leading to our houseguest’s injury, adding: “This dog sure is the strangest Yorkie I’ve ever seen.”
Much to my relief, upon completing his examination, the Vet informed me he’d found no evidence of bite marks on Mr. Tootles. Surprisingly, he went on to explain that the clumps of fur I’d seen were the result of spring shedding, not an injury.
Confused, I responded: “I thought Yorkies don’t shed.”
“That’s true,” he replied. “But this is a Silky Terrier, not a Yorkie; and Silkies shed twice a year. Incidentally, the behavior you described sounds perfectly normal for a Silky.”
Admittedly, it felt good to finally solve the mystery of Mr. Tootles … at least until the Vet handed me a $140 bill for the answer.