Caramel Taja Story

When I made up my mind to enlarge our family with one more pet I started picking out a breed. I was looking for: 

 Short haired dog of course – to reduce the tendance and, to be more precise, avoid it at all, except general cleaning and absence of hair in the apartment. It goes without saying that there should not be any saliva and smell.

 The dog should have been medium-sized, athletic and muscular, level-headed – to save the room in the apartment and in the car, economical, healthy, able to walking in the park without a lead, accompanied by a Stafford shire terrier with a lead, which would never knock me off my feet, pull me heavily, would not be pugnacious – to sum it up the dog I longed for should be a friend and a pleasant companion..

And the main thing, 

 With original appearance. As a matter of fact I belong to the sort of people who are keen on esthetic constituent. There are pure-bred dogs looking like ordinary mongrels. and there are not so famous pure-bred dogs whom you would never take for a mongrel. Thai ridgeback due to its refined features, marvelous eyes belong to that kind of dogs.

 A significant fact was that these dogs have heat once a year and I had already got at home 2 male dogs: an amstaf and an old pug. Thus, all the discomfort, connected with the keeping of 2 male dogs and a heating bitch in one apartment would be cut in two. 

 I can not recollect now how I searched Thai ridgeback through the internet. I decided to keep silence about the coming event for fear that my husband might disrupt my plans, though threatening occasionally my family to bringing either a Russian ….. or a greyhound (my cherished and absolutely unrealizable dream, I am afraid…). The dogs I saw in the internet charmed me with their astounding grace and muscularity.

The puppies were in Czech Republic and in Finland. I was determined to take a girl, to avoid the conflicts with my male-amstaf, necessarily red (mahogany or gold) – it seems to me that with this color of the skin the eyes are especially expressive. Besides, this colors matches perfectly to my dark brindle amstaf and the color range of my apartment.
To cut the long story short the choice fell on Caramel Thai – a golden-red dog with a dark mask. I was just as well charmed by her mother Basilica (see photo). When the Czech breeder sent me Taja`s photos as a puppet and I saw the pensive look of a caramel beauty – my heart finally yielded to this little coquette with a tender look. By the way, even the look of little Taja lurks her life credo. 


The heart was frequently set on fire and it was connected with the damaged things and the suppressed desire to thrash the impudent girl, who performed the mentioned below tricks at walk.

The name occurred at the moment it came to mind to take a Thai ridgeback - as the origin and the breed are obvious and mysterious – the breed is so far unknown and something very sweet and tender. And her breed name Caramel only added to the general fascination. Caramel hair with a black mask – astounding look – and accompanied by my son I go the Czech Republic. We had to take Taja at 3,5 months – our passports were not ready yet. The breeder lived in a country house with a large garden. On arrival we were greeted by Taja`s brother from the previous offspring who was protecting his house and looked very hostile. Taja`s mother on the contrary was an exquisite grace. In the train Taja settled comfortably in the seat, reposed, which was a surprise for us. She took fancy in my son more than in me. That is why she settled herself to sleep in his bed and behaved like a little princess. The night before the departure the princess nibbled the corner of the blanket and a part of a sheet which costed us 20 Euro.
Then there was a plane and she was flying separately in a cage and we underwent agonizing suspense: “ if she had caught a cold. And my husband’s indignant face, how could you!?, why without having it agreed with me!? 
The dogs greeted Taja with admiration and, unambiguous hopes – there appeared a lady in their masculine company …But Taja rejected their intrusive courting with such a face and growling that even we were frightened. We understood that we had brought not at all an ethereal creature. Despite of the outward fragility she tended towards leadership and was apparently behaving like a lady-boss. The question with the pug was solved quickly – the pug was old, decrepit and wise; it was enough to pat its back, but with amstaf it did not go and there was a severe local fighting – amstaf had been suffering this abusive attitude for a long time (Taja tried not to let him into the kitchen, pushed aside when it came to greet the masters, drove him out of the master’s bed), but after he spanked her once or twice to the full extent. But the lesson was not enough. Having decorated each other with battle scars, the dogs, it seemed, have learned to treat each other accordingly. An old proven method of settling down disputes has contributed to this: in any conflict never try to investigate who of the dogs is guilty and who is right – who provoked the conflict, etc. – but simply beat everybody who is present at the place at the time. And now if the conflict , provoked by Taja, as a rule, breaks out it is enough for me to come into the room and say fiercely “We-ell!” and everybody runs to their corners. When we come back from the exhibitions where Taja is surrounded by the attention of both people and dogs, she enters the flat with an air of importance: “Wow, you are still in here? – to the greeting amstaf. 
From the first moment she did not like Moscow: instead of a charming cottage with a large garden she found herself in a block of flats. Unknown people were running out, rushing out and coming out, slamming the door. The streets were occupied with large dreadful cars. During one of such walks the carabine lead undid and at first she rushed along the four-lane traffic street, and then in the middle of it, taking sides from the cars. I was running along the traffic area. It was the middle of March and there was a heavy snowfall the day before. The cars were moving not so fast, but they had formed a dense line. I saw Taja flashing among them, easily evading obstacles and finding the correct way without any hesitation. She was escaping from me! And I was chasing her. Then she darted away to the side, where along the highway there was a line of garages, some workshops, services and beginning of Izmailovsky park and I lost her sight. The only thing I could see were her footsteps on the new snow.. These footsteps lead me to the metal fence, made of bars. There was a lot of snow and, luckily I went for a walk in a short coat. The fence was about 2 meters high and there were snowdrifts behind it and a thin chain of Taja`s footsteps. And climbed over this fence! I can not say that it was that easy. On the very top of it I thought, sick at heart : “What if there is scrap metal beneath?!” The half of my body was in snow then somehow I crawled till I reached a more solid area. Then the escarp followed. After I had followed the footsteps for about one more dozen of meters I noticed the runaway stuck in snow, exhausted and worn out. She was running towards something that bore a vague resemblance with her first home: trees, shrubs, fence. When she saw me fasten her to the lead she snarled angrily. I was extremely tired, there was snow in my shoes. We were on the escarp, the was no any passage to the road, all we had to do is to sit in the snow and ride down. I could hardly plod home as I was sick and tired from physical and moral overpressure (while chasing her the only thought stuck in my mind “What would I tell at home and at work? How I went to Czech Republic and brought the dog and then I lost it?!”. I was sweated, and covered with snow. When my son opened the door and asked me “Mum, have you been playing snowballs?” – I bursted into tears. Then Taja ran away once more in our neighborhood. We found her near a kinder garden – a small building, surrounded by a small fence. She likes fenced gardens, which , apparently, remind her her first house. A city, crowds of people, and accumulation of automobiles is her cordial dislike and she can not comprehend the purpose of going along the noisy streets instead of Izmailovsky park or return to Moscow from a marvelous little country house, all made of wood and with a large garden, large meadow and shady groves which we have in possession. She always remonstrates when we take a different direction. She is the first to rush to the country house, pulling the dog’s lead. And drags behind when we come back. Sometimes when she sees our preparations for the departure she goes into the farthest room and sits there sighing and refuses to come into the car. 
From the very first days of her settling down in our house she showed an extreme interest for the technical equipment of our flat: she gnawed 3 cell phones, belonged to my son, which he, according to his attitude, threw in the most unusual and accessible places. Then she nibbled a radiophone and TV remote control which had to be changed. She tried to teach my men order in a long and elaborate way: she used my husband’s and my son’s shoes their home sleepers, which they left demonstratively anywhere. Her triumph was when she nibbled 10 kilo bags with humus ordered for the country house. One hundred kilos were spread along the flat. She messed around much and high-grade, but repented afterwards with the utmost sincerity: she pressed her ears in an amusing manner, showing with all her body how much she regreted about the things she had done. From the very beginning she was sly and straightforward in achieving the purposes she wanted. Our staf never attempted the bag with dog food in the kitchen, but she was persistent in making a little hole in it through which all the dogs foraged the nurture in an unlimited quantity. The consequence of this were regular heaps at home (we walk with dogs 2 times a day). The holes at first were not noticed, and the origin of the heap was expected to identify. My dreadful cry “Who has done this?” was met by innocent eyes of the amstaf, though it was him, but Taja was pressing her ears and blinked (Taja never overeats), but she was so distressed with Justin’s disgrace. By mistake she was beaten with a paper. 

Vases and chairs fell when Taja was playing with amstaf. 

But it is peace and quiet now. Taja has settled down and presents quite a decent behavior at home. She has occasional bursts of her tempestuous temperament while she is walking in the park, playing with another dogs and teasing a gang homeless dogs: At first she chases the dog on the fringe of the gang and after all gang chases her and she takes to her heels. When I watched it for the first time I thought I would bring home only red torn out skin. But Taja is a fast runner and is capable of fighting bravely: when she, as usual, vexed the gang and was making off it became clear that two dogs she had not noticed before and who had been lying in the bushes were running to head her off – about five dogs attacked Taja at the same time. When I had reached her with the amstaf , thinking with a pain in my heart that I would have to enter this mass of fighting dogs with all the consequences. But then we saw that Taja had successfully repulsed (not mentioning torn skin in some places) and stood, with bare teeth, showing with all her figure that she would not easily refuse her life and her skin. With all this Taja turned out to be a very careful and reasonable creature. When she comes in touch with other dogs she always counting her the other dog’s forces and easily avoids contacts with aggressive dogs. 
Her favourite occupation is jogging. If the dog she meets in the street does not feel any inclination to have a run she starts vexing it, biting it …An outraged dog rushes to her and she is running away in a cheerful disposition. Then the story repeats again. Some dogs and their masters were very discontented.

The second favourite Taja’s business is to contemplate wild life: bugs, caterpillars, frogs, mice, etc. In the countryside she can roam for hours along our overgrown fence, digging the ground and catch mice and grasshoppers. Or investigate complicated footsteps of squirrels and mice. The third thing she likes to do is digging and catching mice.
Hunters instinct is very strong in Taj ridgebacks. They go far away from their masters in the parks or in the forest. That is quite clear: otherwise there would not be any hunting at all. But the inclination for the independent walks can be very nervous for the master. Often, when we walk into the park I am reading in Taja’s tender gaze: “Well, I am leaving…” Rough cries would not be any success, tajs do not bear rough handling and physical pressure. I resorted to assistance in the shape of liver sausage of good quality (tajs eat a little, but they are very fastidious), and the best of it is Welcom sausages (without soy!) and sweet persuasion not to walk alone. Taja likes to emphasize her independence: I am calling her in agitation, while she is in the bushes two meters distance from me without any troubling.
In Tailand Taj ridgebacks were used for hunting. Apparently, like other dogs of tropical climate, the dogs caught their small prey, but they did not kill it and brought it to the master who was to decide when it should be eaten to avoid going bad in this hot climate. Taja realized her hunting inclinations at home: caught in flight our parrot Jaqout and brought it to me. The parrot was not shocked by this because he due to some reasons he prefers the society of dogs to the society of people. But I felt sick when I saw our parrot in Taja’s teeth. Taja caught him very carefully, causing no harm. After some “teaching” there were no such incidents any more. In the same way the squirrel was caught and brought to me from the Izmailovsky park. Before she caught it she had elaborately investigated its footsteps. In the neighborhood Taja hunts rat and cats. It was a hard time for me when there appeared birds in the Izmailovky park (near which we live and walk everyday). Like mad she was rushing the forest in search of game-bird. We had to walk with a dog lead for several days. 

She has much in common with cats: she adores playing with a ball or a stone as a cat with a mouse. She folds her forefoot as a grasshopper. With this spider legs she smartly opens closed doors, having pressed the handle. She even manages to open door-knobs. 

Taja is fond of warmth and comfort, that is our bed and armchairs. And she does not like washing at all. She carefully avoids puddles and returns from walk very clean.

She likes to study but she is not very keen on it. She can be stubborn. She can refuse from food: you give me nothing and Iwill do nothing. Though she learns the commands quickly. You can make her do something only by way of persuasion and only with positive emotions. She heartily replies to tender words. And she is very affectionate to the members of our family. She is distrustful and suspicious to the strangers, she never rushes to greet people, she barks furiously at first , there were several efforts to bite, but we put an end to it. She greets our guests but in a reserved manner, showing all at once who is a stranger and who is not. 

. Taja is flirty and capricious. She is never avid for food, as the other home dogs. She always thinks hard if it is worth eating the stuff in her plate, she smells it, leaks it and sighs. She eats for a long time – about 15 minutes. She is not against , but she is always ready to change the things she has found to something from the master’s pocket.

Her home name is Princess though we say it always with different shades.
I have been writing Taja’s story for a long time: she is 2 years now. Taja does not chase the dogs any more though she plays with them with pleasure. Her favourite game is tig. Taja is extremely tender and unobtrusive. She is fond of nestling up to us or a guest she likes, to slip her cold nose under the palm and freeze. 

This fall we are inclined to try agility: Taja’s father is doing agility and dancing and is very successful in it. I hope I will write down into Taja’s history some more glorious pages.