The Awful Goodbye.

Doll, © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Doll, © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Today marks the last day of life for our Beloved Doll, (half white Shepherd, half Coyote), who was 16 years old. It’s been a grand 14 years for us all. Doll was almost two years old when she came home with us, we were her 14th home, and her last chance. She had been treated abominably at every previous placement; no one understood her, and she was never treated the way she should have been. When she was able, she ran from any home she was placed in, the other times, she was returned to the shelter. She happily joined in our pack at the time, and when Čantemahto and Cachet died, we brought Jayne home, and Doll happily assumed her place as alpha queen. Jayne is very large, but Doll never had a problem going for the throat and rolling him over in play:

Jayne, left, Doll, right. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.


Doll, left, Jayne right. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Someone once asked me about having a hybrid, and I wrote out some info. If you find yourself wanting to rescue adopt a hybrid, think at least seven times about it first, then do all this:

No, other animals don’t provide a pack, other dogs provide a pack. You need a minimum of two, already long in place before even thinking of introducing a hybrid. Also, the breed of your dogs makes a difference. Some breeds will not handle a new one, let alone a hybrid. If you’re introducing a male hybrid, best to have female dogs. If you’re introducing a female hybrid, that’s not so important.

We had Čantemahto and Cachet (half Black Shepherd/half Collie, huge, male and half Landseer Newfoundland/half Collie, female) when we rescued Doll.

Trick 1: live a long fucking way away from the other houses the hybrid was in as well as the rescue/adoption center. All hybrids are runners, coyotes in particular. If they run, you don’t have a hope in hell of catching them. A large property is best.

Trick 2: get them in the house and don’t fuss. Let them do whatever they’re going to do, no matter how weird. Let them get acquainted with their new pack on their own terms. Coyotes will dig, generally in the middle of your bed. You just have to deal with that. It will stop eventually. Protip: make sure there’s an under to your bed. They like cave like environs, especially the females.

Trick 3: act like they’ve always been there, treat your other dogs like you normally do, talk to them more than normal though – your hybrid is listening.

Trick 4: when it comes to going outside to do business, if you don’t have a fenced yard, a collar attached to a very long rope is necessary, at least for the first week. You’ll know when it’s okay to lose those. If you do have a fence, suck it up, you have to go out with them every single time for a minimum of a week, and go every where they do. Digging, remember? Also, jumping. You would not believe the fucking jumping. Also, speed. Superman couldn’t catch a hybrid.

Trick 5: have a shitload of toys, all varieties. Also, bones. Real bones, big ass cow joints, with muscle and crunchy bits. No rawhide. Note: if it’s in reach of your hybrid’s mouth, it’s theirs. Don’t even think of taking it away. Your fault for not putting stuff up.

Trick 6: hybrids are hoarders and treasure collectors. Every fucking toy and bone in the house is theirs. Let your other dogs work out how to get their shit back, at least for the first month. Resign yourself to buying new toys and bones for the other dogs a lot the first month. The hybrid will steal those, too.

Trick 7: when your hybrid constantly has a toy crammed in their mouth, ignore it. Do not assume they wish to play and do not take it away! Act like it isn’t there.

Trick 8: hybrids bury their treasure. Just live with the pile of toys and bloody, sharp bones buried under the blankets in the middle of the bed. Have a special box or container near by, where you remove the treasure to, in front of your hybrid. Reassure them they can re-bury their stuff after you’re done sleeping.

Trick 9: don’t be trying to teach them stuff. Let the other dogs (the pack) show your hybrid the routine.

Trick 10: don’t freak out if they snarl when eating.

Trick 11: your hybrid will probably hate and ignore whatever stupid name was stuck on them. They tend to pick their own name. This is out of your control. Trust me, Dolly would not have been an option in our case.

Trick 12: trust. After a bit of work, you have to trust them. If you do, they’ll reward you with trust and loyalty.

Trick 13: learn the vocabulary. Hybrids have a wide range of vocal and gestural expressions. The different howls alone are amazing. Don’t be afraid to howl yourself.

Trick 14: hybrids are acutely visual. Train with them, using small, subtle sign language.

Trick 15: make sure the whole pack gets plenty of play time and get them out and about to sniff ‘n’ pee on new territory on a fairly regular basis.

Trick 16: don’t have heart failure when your hybrid’s idea of play with the pack resembles a psycho hose-beast. That’s normal. Do stop them from chewing all the way down to skin. Tell them that’s a no-no.

ETA: If your idea of having dogs is chaining them up outside, do not get a hybrid. They won’t tolerate it, they’ll become isolated and fucking mean as hell. Do not consider a hybrid at all if you want them as a single dog. They need a pack to be healthy. If you’re someone who thinks smacking dogs around is a fine way to train them, don’t even think about trying that shit on a hybrid. It won’t turn out well.

Goodbye, my sweetest Doll, my Coyote Queen.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    For you and Rick.
    and especially for Jayne.
    Goodbye Doll, I wish I could have met you.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Beautifully said, Caine. My heart breaks. Although I never knew you, Doll, here are some tears for you and the friends you leave behind.

  3. says

    I have Jayne in with me, and put music on. He loves to sing with me, and he’s howling his head off with me right now. :)

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m sorry about Doll! She had a fine 14 years with you.

    My warm thoughts for you, Rick and Jayne!

  5. jazzlet says

    Oh Caine, I am so sorry, deciding when is the last thing we do for them, the hardest thing, but so important to get right. Thank you for giving Doll such a good home for all those years, it’s not something many people can do and stepping up to do it isn’t easy, although the love a difficult dog or dog/coyote hybrid gives to the people it comes to trust is enormous and far out pays the initial difficulties. You and Rick are the best.

  6. says


    although the love a difficult dog or dog/coyote hybrid gives to the people it comes to trust is enormous and far out pays the initial difficulties.

    Oh hell yes. Doll gave us so much love and trust, and she was so joyful. I still remember the day she stopped always carrying one toy or the other. It was months after she’d been here, but that day declared us her permanent pack, and it was a complete joy for us all. To the very end, she was blissed out at finally finding a pack she could call her own.

  7. Nightjar says

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this! If there is one thing I remember from the old days at Moblog were the beautiful photos you used to post of your dogs playing, in the snow, in the water, in the field… Doll always looked exceptionally joyful to me. Truly you and Rick did a wonderful job understanding her and giving her everything she needed and deserved, you should be proud.

    I’m sure the next days are going to be tough for you all. My sympathies to you, Rick and Jayne.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    All my sympathy.

    I’ve been owned by a hybrid (that’s how it works…). She was great, and I loved her to death. She only lived to about 12 though.

  9. says


    I’ve been owned by a hybrid (that’s how it works…). She was great, and I loved her to death. She only lived to about 12 though.

    I’m sure those years were a joy to her, and I’m so glad to hear another hybrid had a happy home. That doesn’t happen often enough. Too many people seek out hybrids because they think they can have a big, mean-ass dog. It’s surprisingly easy to beat a hybrid down into a puddle of abused mess (that happened to Doll), because people do not understand them, or pack mentality.

  10. says

    I wish I knew something wise to say, it just sucks worse than anything can suck and it’s forever. At least you had time with her, and she had time with you. That’s worth a lot.

  11. says


    That’s worth a lot.

    It is. And it will always matter that we saved Doll from certain death and that she was able to live out most of her life in happiness.

  12. kestrel says

    Oh crap. I’m so sorry.

    People so rarely understand that an animal is a huge responsibility, not some kind of slave. She was beautiful and I’m glad you got to share most of her life.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved pack member. Remember her well.

  14. johnson catman says

    Hugs and love to you and Rick.
    My wife recently had to have her big black German Shepherd euthanized because he had gotten to where he could not stand or walk. She had had him since birth as she also owned his parents. She was his pack. He always felt it was his job to protect her. The first time I had contact with him, he left me with a big purple bruise on my back where he bit me (did not break the skin though). Near the end of his life, he made amends with me. I know the grief will be with her for a while, as I know it will be for you. I am a cat person, and I have grieved every time I have to make that hard choice and end their suffering, but I am always glad that I have that choice.

    If your idea of having dogs is chaining them up outside, do not get a hybrid.

    I would humbly suggest that they not get a dog or any other kind of animal.

  15. says

    Johnson catman, oh, my heart to your wife, it’s really rough. I had a big black German Shepherd like that too, many years back. You never really get over losing them. Same goes for cats, all animals. It’s never easy.

    I would humbly suggest that they not get a dog or any other kind of animal.

    Yes, you’re right, and I agree with you. Unfortunately, there are a lot of asses in the world who think that’s a dandy way to keep dogs. I’m surrounded by too many of them.

  16. ledasmom says

    I am so sorry, but so glad that she found you. Where I work we had a surrendered cat for a while -- previous owners brought her in to be euthanized because she attacked the husband. She was with us a while. Didn’t want to be picked up, would bite if she didn’t like what you did. But if you combed her she would lie down and just melt. We finally got her adopted out and the next week her new owner comes in and says: “You didn’t say she bit!” (We did. Believe me, we did.) The next few months she was in every few weeks to show us her newest wounds. That was several years ago. When she comes in she tells us how sweet and loving her cat is, and how she hardly ever gets bitten anymore. And I will always be grateful to her for taking a chance on a cat that not everybody would see the good side of.
    Thank goodness your Doll had those good fourteen years with you. Every dog should have a home as good as that.
    Jayne’s coloring looks so similar to hers in those photos -- only on a larger frame.

  17. says

    Ledasmom, that’s a wonderful story, thank you. We’ve taken in all manner of last resorts, the biters, the bad dispositions (I’m particularly fond of those, having heard that my whole childhood), the antisocial, the ‘dumb’ and so on. One of our cats, Shandy Kane, oh, she did not like people. She loved us, but she didn’t like anyone else. Every time someone was in the house the first time, they’d be warned “don’t pet her”. Every fucking time, “OW! She attacked me!” Standard response: “No shit.”

  18. nowamfound says

    deeply sorry for your loss and what a clear list for hopeful hybrid’s hmans. sorry for the grammar too

  19. Onamission5 says

    Doll was such a lucky girl to have found her permanent home with you and Rick. I’m sorry you have to say good bye, she sounds like a wonderful beastie.

  20. StevoR says

    My condolences for whatever little they may be worth. “Pets” are family. Doll looks like she was a great family member and sure she knew she was loved and you gave her the best life possible for her. I know it still breaks your heart but also that tyou did the kind and right thing thing here.

    Had to euthanaise my lil çhamp, Harry (Jack Russell cross Fox terrier) last year -- still really miss him -- and still owned by a 9 year old kelpie and an old -- don’t know exactly how old but at least ten years old -- black tortoiseshell cat. I’m dreading losing them already though both seem okay albeit have slowed down now.

    That list of what you need to consider owning a hybrid is very impressive and I know I couldn’t do it though they do sound like awesome and exceptionally impressive family members. My sympathies and condolences again.

  21. says

    Raucous Indignation, thanks for asking. Rick is coping, he had a terribly rough day on Friday, had trouble dealing then, and of course, we’re hundreds of miles apart on Fridays. Doing better now. Jayne. Oh, Jayne. He’s not wanting to deal with Doll’s absence at all. Just let him out this morning, and he turned and stared at me, like I was going to pull Doll out of my pocket. His routine is upset, and he’s at a loss for what to do. I don’t know what we’re going to do. Neither one of us wanted to get more animals, but we might have to get another dog for Jayne. We’ll have a look, I suppose.

    StevoR, thanks.

  22. voyager says

    I’m so sorry Caine. Losing a beloved animal is such a great grief. And yet we continue to open ourselves up to it again and again. Such is the power of their love. I will honour Doll today by taking my boy Jack to the woods for a walk. I’ll even let him get all muddy.
    We both send you and yours our hugs.

  23. says

    Raucous Indignation:

    I’ll howl with Pepper when we get home from vacation.

    Sing a good song for us. I’ve been playing Doll & Jayne’s fave songs every day for him, and we sing and sing.

  24. rq says

    I’m so glad y’all found each other and Doll had you and you had Doll. Poor Jayne. Doll was beautiful, thank you for sharing her with us.
    Sympathies to all.

  25. says

    Thank you, rq. Jayne’s doing okay, but he’s still waiting for Doll to show up. We’ll do a walk through of the shelter on Wednesday, after chemo.

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