Tag Archive: Dobermans


Happy Birthday, Dog

Technically it was April 14th, but we were too busy eating burgers to post something up on the blog.  Griffin’s seven years old, and has been with me for almost four of those years.

Doberman rescue pulled him out of a city SPCA, where he probably would have been put down.  The statistics for some breeds just aren’t in his favor, and he was one of the hundreds of nice, well-behaved dogs who wind up in shelters all the time.  People going to adopt animals have choices.  Lots of them.  Look up the statistics on the animals turned into shelters, it’s bloody depressing.  Older dogs, dogs of certain breeds, and black dogs have it stacked against them.  Griffin was three years old when he was dumped, a Doberman, and a big dog.  Lucky for Griff, a rescue pulled him out of the shelter, put him in a foster home, and got him all the vet care he needed.

I have no idea why he got turned in.  I suspect he might have been a victim of foreclosure, he was dumped in 2008, and most rentals won’t accept Dobermans.  His former owner walked in, handed over the leash, and walked out.  April 14th might’ve been his shelter turn in day, not his real birthday, but who cares.  Vet says he’s around 7, so he can be 7.  Since the founder of the Doberman breed was a tax collector, I like the irony of that date too.

I'm not going swimming.  No.

Gone Hiking

When I brought him home, he checked out where his bed, food, and water were before deciding to settle right in as if he owned the place.  Other than a brief episode of trying to hike his leg on the futon, which was easily cured, he’s been a great dog.  Good with people, good with kids, loves other dogs.  We joke that he’s the canine equivalent of living with a really chill human sometimes.  As long as he’s in the same room and a part of whatever happens to be going on, he’s a very zen dog.  He’s got a spinal disorder, probably Wobblers, so I count every year that I’m fortunate enough to share with him as a blessing.

Happy birthday, Griff.

Griffin at the park

Woof.

The Golden Collar Awards

It’s time to put on the rant hat today, folks.  This time about the canine version of the Grammys.   I’ve got no problem with the award itself.  I love dogs in films.  But, my rant today comes from the director of Hugo, who was angry that his Doberman, Blackie, wasn’t originally nominated.  That’s changed, after a letter writing and Facebook campaign.

If these awards are designed to highlight the level of training and skills these dogs have, then yes, Blackie should have been nominated.  Movie sets are crazy places.  There’s lights, people, and the dogs have to do unusual tasks under quite a bit of pressure.  It’s a test for any dog.  Some of the things they ask dogs to do for films are incredibly challenging to train.

However, this whole situation irks me because of the director’s rant about why his dog wasn’t nominated.  I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t because someone overlooked the high level of skill and training that Blackie possesses.  Mr. Scorcese was quite blunt about what Blackie’s role was:

“an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorises children”  The original article can be found here.

So, given that the director admits what the dog’s role was- a guard dog used to scare the daylights out of children- what did he expect?  Accolades?

Dobermans are a breed that was developed specifically to be a personal protection dog.  They’ve served as war dogs, police dogs, guide and service dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and loyal family pets for decades.  If you ask people on the street though, you’ll hear “vicious”, “dangerous”, “man-eaters”, “they’ll turn on their owners”, and other such things.  I’ve personally heard all of those things and more with my Dobermans.  Part of that is because of how they’re portrayed in movies and television.  If someone is looking for a loyal family pet, they’ll go to the collies and Golden Retrievers.  If someone wants a child threatening vicious guard dog, they’ll pick a Doberman.

In other words, if Blackie had been portrayed as a loyal guard dog who was ready to lay down her life for her handler, I think maybe she could have gotten the nomination without the letter writing campaign.  I agree with Mr. Scorcese’s sentiment that Blackie’s breed should not have excluded her from the nomination.  However, it’s a bit unrealistic of him to even think that a Doberman put in the role that he described would win an award.

Blackie is a fine example of a Doberman.  They are highly intelligent dogs who can be trained to do almost any task, including acting the part of a guard dog for a movie.  However, if a director is going to put a Doberman into the breed’s stereotypical role of a vicious dog, don’t expect the Doberman actor to win awards.  People like human anti-heroes.  They don’t like vicious dogs.

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