The Day Rubin became a REAL Bichon Frise

For as long as we’ve owned him, Rubin has never actually looked like a Bichon Frise. Well, OK, maybe when he was a puppy. He looked like a Bichon Frise when he was a puppy. What’s that you say? You want to see the "Rubin as a puppy" photo AGAIN? Oh, OK, any excuse…


Everybody say, "Awww!"

Once he grew up, though, he stopped resembling any kind of pedigree creature at all, and started to look a lot like a raggedy ball of fur that likes to spend its time digging in the mud, standing belly-deep in stagnant water (yesterday) and maybe rolling around in things that are too unspeakable to mention. And that’s exactly what he is.

Because of Rubin’s love of Unspeakable Things, Terry and I do our best to keep him groomed, but sadly, that doesn’t often extend to the full-on, fluffy Bichon treatment. Because it would be a waste of time, basically. No sooner than Rubin was done being be-fluffed, Rubin would go out and find a dead bird to roll in, or a wood full of twigs to get stuck to his fluffy self, and that’s why we tend to keep his hair in what’s known as a "puppy cut".  It’s also why when we take him out for walks, people always stop and ask us if he’s a poodle. (This is ironic, actually, because when I DID have a poodle, people used to stop and ask me if he was a Bichon Frise. Fluffy white dog ownership: ur doin it rong!)

Anyway, over the last few weeks, Rubin has been a little @*!#, to put it mildly. Sorry, mum. There has been barking. There has been more barking. There has been – yes! – even more barking.  Sometimes the barking has come at 6am, sometimes it has come at 5am. Sometimes the barking has come at 2am, and again at 4am. Then there’s the barking that goes on ALL DAY, every time the wind blows, or someone drops a feather in the next street.

We have tried everything to work out what the night-time barking is about. He has water. He has toys. He does not appear to need to relieve himself. His routine has not changed. Our routine has not changed. We don’t think anything is disturbing him, because our night-time alarm call is not his trademark "hysterical bark", but rather his, "I’m going to bark steadily and consistently until I get to sleep in the Big Basket" bark.

Terry thinks he’s doing it because he’s jealous of Pepe and the Tortoises. (Their new album is out on Monday, by the way). I think it’s probably just the way we raised him. Maybe the wine wasn’t such a good idea:


Anyway, today it suddenly occurred to me what all of the barking meant. It meant Rubin was trying to tell us something. Either someone was stuck down a well, or… he was trying to tell us that he wanted to look like a REAL Bichon. I couldn’t be bothered going to look down all the nearby wells (or to find out if there even ARE any nearby wells – we’ll leave that one to Lassie, I think), so I decided to assume Rubin was sending us the second message.

And so I made Terry brush him, and trim his hair into a proper "Bichon" shape. (Look, I had twenty gazillon blog posts to write today, OK? Also, if Rubin is going to start hating one of us, I’d rather it was Terry). I should add here that we DO brush him regularly anyway, but this was different: rather than the usual, "brush out all of the tangles and make him look vaguely presentable" brush, this was a mammoth, "make Rubin look like a proper Bichon, even although tomorrow he will be back to usual bedraggled self" brush. It took hours. But lookit the result!



These pictures actually don’t really capture the amazing fluffball that is the R-Man right now. Seriously, that is one BIG head he has right there. But I thought I’d post them here anyway, so that tonight, when he wakes me up at 4am with his barking, I will perhaps be able to remember this moment, when he was fluffy and cute and totally silent.

Oh, and as well as spending a long, long time be-fluffing Rubin, Terry also found time to make me this as a snack:


I think I’ll keep him. And oh, what the hell, Rubin too.

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  • Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
    And for the record…

    August 1, 2008
  • Hahaha, aw, so cute.

    My parents have a toy pom-poo, and have the same problem with her: her fur is tenaciously wiry, frizzy and generally unmanageable due to the combination of the two breeds, and so they give her the "puppy cut" to keep things under control somewhat. People are always stopping and asking what she is, and then look at my parents like they must've done something wrong when they say "Pom-Poo."

    August 2, 2008
  • all together now… AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

    August 2, 2008
  • Amanda – I totally know that look! Every time someone aks us what breed Rubin is and we tell them, they look us like, "No he's not. You're an idiot. Who likes to pretend she has a Bichon Frise, when she clearly doesn't."

    Actually, I think I'm just going to start answering "Wolf" when I'm asked that question now. It's what Rubin would say.

    August 2, 2008
  • Hahaha, when people ask what her dog is, my mom says "For sale."

    August 2, 2008
  • Nawwwwwwwww…. lookit him! 🙂

    August 2, 2008
  • Nahahahaaa "for sale"! That's a good one! But seriously guys, it seems like you need some help with getting him under control and training him to be a pleasant dog. There are lots of simple things you could do to help yourselves… If you need any help, feel free to ask! Buck (our 2year old husky-mix) isn't always easy either, but once you start to understand how differently their mind works, you'll get around to change the bad behaviour really quickly! I don't want to be a smart-ass, I just thought you might consider some more sleep 😉

    August 2, 2008
  • Just in response to Nina’s comment: I know it doesn’t always seem like it from this blog (and that’s my fault for only really giving you one side of the story), but I just wanted to say that Rubin is ALREADY “a pleasant dog”.

    He is honestly the sweetest-natured little animal I have ever met. He is full of fun and playfulness and affection, and there is not one ounce of malice in him. We love him.

    And yes, there are nights when he barks incessantly. And there are days when he can be so naughty we find ourselves wondering if it’s a full moon or something. These tend to be the times I write about here because, in retrospect, they often seem amusing to me, and because it doesn’t often occur to me to write entry after entry saying “Rubin was good today… And again today…”

    Clearly this is my fault, and I obviously need to re-think the way I write about certain things here. But I just wanted to say that while I know it’s tempting to read someone’s blog and assume that it tells you the whole story, that’s not always the case.

    Also: no barking for two nights now! Win!

    August 3, 2008
  • Terry


    He barks at night sometimes when the other pets arrive, he shares a room with the tortoises which bang about their glass all the time. This bugs Rubin (and me!).

    Got him to stop barking the last few nights by taking him for a run last thing at night, that has puffed him out thankfully. He will go back to normal when the other animals go back to my mothers when she comes back from her holidays.

    August 3, 2008
  • Love the sandwich Terry, can you get my other half to make me one?

    August 4, 2008
  • Cute dog but THAT SANDWICH. Wow.

    August 4, 2008
  • In case Rubin hasn't lost his You Know Whats and ever becomes a Daddy Rubin, you can put me top of the list for one of his puppies.

    August 4, 2008
  • Terry


    You'll need to start by getting him lots of heart shaped cutting tools Louise. And as Mars and Venus (together forever), proclaims. You should constantly tell him good boy (like he is a dog) and you will be more likely to get heart shaped sandwiches made for you 😛

    August 4, 2008
  • Steph


    Awwww… the pictures are making me seriously considering getting a dog again 🙂
    I share your 'being woken up at stupid-o-clock' pain. We're cat-sitting at the moment, and one of the cats thinks it is super super fun to scratch at my door, yowling, for anything up to fifteen minutes, at 4 AM.
    And when you open the door she stares at you as though you're disturbing *her*.

    August 4, 2008
  • Riddled


    Very nice gesture, that.

    August 6, 2008
  • he or she is so cute i hade a bichon frise like that but it was a lot fluffyer and i sold himmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and that was 4 years ago and i am stillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll crying

    January 20, 2009
  • he or she is so cute i hade a bichon frise like that but it was a lot fluffyer and i sold himmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm and that was 4 years ago and i am stillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll crying sent at january the 19 th

    January 20, 2009