Bonzai - It's a New Puppy!

Category: Personal

I know I'm supposed to write about computers, the Internet and nifty gadgets, but life is more than all that electronic stuff. I'm so happy with my new puppy that I've just got to show him off...

Bonzai at the NSALA shelter

He's Gonna Be a Big Dog...

My wife and I went to the North Shore Animal League shelter on Long Island two weeks ago, just to look. We had lost Sassy, our 13-year-old Sheltie, to kidney failure in March, so we thought maybe it was time to think about another dog. Not a puppy, we thought, they're too much trouble. Maybe a nice housebroken dog a few years old that needed a good home, and definitely not a large dog.

Well, nobody told us that you can't visit a shelter with hundreds of adorable dogs and "just look" at them. And we didn't realize the power of the Cute and Fuzzy Factor until it was too late. We looked at all the dogs and saw a few that might make a nice family pet. And then we saw the puppies. And one 3 month old puppy in particular got our attention.

Each dog is given a temporary name at the shelter, and Fuzzy Wuzzy was his name. The vet tech said he was a shepherd mix, and would probably grow to about 70 pounds. That's little bigger dog than we wanted, but he was unbearably cute, and had such a sweet disposition that we just had to take him home. I named him Bonzai, because he was born on Chinese New Year's day. My daughter reminded me that "Bonzai!" was a Japanese word, but I'm sticking with it.

Bonzai at 3 months So after a few days, we took him to our local vet for a checkup. After looking at his paws and his overall dimensions at 11 weeks, he said "He's gonna be a big dog, probably 100 pounds at least." So much for our hopes for a largish medium-sized pet. Bonzai will be a big dog.

But we're going to love him to pieces anyway. This dog really loves to please, and is quickly learning the rules of the house. He is amazingly calm for a puppy, but still loves to play. Our older dog Yeller, however, is not amused. She growled and snapped at him like an angry mother bear for almost two weeks, but a detente of sorts is developing between them.

Bonzai loves to chew, like all puppies. So to keep our sneakers and furniture safe from harm, we gave him a Squeaky Squirrel, a huge bone and some other toys that keep him busy when he's relaxing in his crate. I hope he still fits under my desk when he's full grown. There's nothing like a snoozing dog at your feet while you work.

We're still not sure just what he's made of. He's part German Shepherd, and we think he's got some Retriever and maybe Chow in the mix. Post a comment and tell me what you think.

Bonzai Bulletin - January 22, 2009

I promised last May that I would post an update on Bonzai, so here we go... Bonzai is almost a year old, and has grown to about 85 pounds. He'll probably end up closer to 100 pounds when he's full grown. But he's plenty big already!

Bonzai - December 2008Bonzai - January 2009

Bonzai loves to play in the snow, and still has a very sweet disposition, except when he's teasing 13-year-old Yeller, who seems to have grudgingly accepted that the "puppy" isn't going to go away. Staying in the yard is the biggest problem for now. We have an electric fence, and Bonzai wears two "zappers" on his collar. But if he wants to escape into the road or the neighbor's yard, he'll take the hit. Hopefully he'll grow out of that habit.

Some dog training may be the next step for Bonzai. I'd really like him to come when I call...

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Most recent comments on "Bonzai - It's a New Puppy!"

(See all 62 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

18 May 2008

He's so adorable. With my economic stimulus check I am going to pay the deposit for my apartment building and I have already started looking for a dog. I don't think I want a puppy but maybe an adult dog but small. I just don't know but I am so excited, as you are with your new puppy. Just adorable.

Posted by:

Chuck Johnson
18 May 2008

A very cool puppy - surely Shephard & Golden or Yellow Lab mix. Thanks for adopting...the only way to go! Big Dogs rule! And, I'd rather read about puppies than computers any day!

Chuck Johnson
Great Pyrenees Rescue of Greater Chicago

Posted by:

19 May 2008

Glad that you were able to adopt a friend at the North Shore home...I have been a contributer there for many years. I can tell you folks that this group needs all of the help that they can get contributionwise.
Bob, the pup is a real beauty and as you say, it will be a very large pet!



Posted by:

rohan wickramasinghe
19 May 2008

That looks like a nice dog. Mine (called Tycho) was picked up me as a puppy after she was knocked by a car which did not stop. Her mother did not know what to do about her screaming so I took her to the vet for a painkiller and adopted her after. She is doing well now.

My previous dog (Pancha) was a cross-bred labrador who was with us for around ten year before succombing to a lung infection. We still miss him.

Posted by:

Caren Luckie
19 May 2008

He's adorable. We got a Great Pyrenees puppy in Feb., and my older dogs aren't amused either! We call him the "pony puppy", and he keeps thinking he's a lap dog. Have fun!

Posted by:

C. Brown
20 May 2008

Your new puppy is adorable. I have always been a dog lover or any animal lover for that matter. I have had 2 dogs that lived to be sixteen (16) years old. My first one was a terrier and then before she died I got a precious yorkie. Now I have a ShihTzu with wavy hair and a curly tail who is now 7 yrs. old. He was something else when he was under 1 yr. old. He chewed on my woodwork, bottom of my dining room chairs and tore wallpaper on my wall. I never had such a dog, but he's much quieter now and everyone loves him and is so much company. He loves to play and brings me his toys every time I sit down. Enjoy and take lots of pictures. I'm sure this will be my last dog.

Posted by:

Don Jeffrey
20 May 2008

Beautiful!! He'll keep your feet warm under your desk this winter. His paws are big but did you also notice just how sturdy his legs are? You made a very good choice. Looks like a nice animal!

Posted by:

25 May 2008

What does it take to get me commenting at your blog? Pictures of your new puppy! Thanks for the technical stuff but that doesn't really need comment, does it?

Anyway, to answer your question, I think Bonzai is 100% cute.

Posted by:

07 Jun 2008

Beautiful fellow! Please post his picture every year on his birthday..we would like to see him grow

Posted by:

12 Jun 2008

Hi Bob, I agree with Hazel above, Bonzai is 100% Cute, Adorable...No one could resist that sweet face. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by:

17 Jul 2008

What a cute fellow! Congrats on adopting from a rescue organization. We have a sweet little stray puppy (now 4 years) that followed my daughter home that was fuzzy like that and he now obviously has a lot of golden retreiver in him - goldens have very sweet dispositions! So I would definitely think golden and shephard....maybe a little bit of traveling salesman! Gotta love those feet warmers!!

Posted by:

Jeanne Levrier
15 Jan 2010

Thank you for the pictures and the update on Bonzai. He is a handsome fellow that will warm your feet in the winter, and your heart year round. Hope you got him trained to come when you call him. These fellows do have ideas of their own, as my little Yorkshire "Terror" is very independent minded as well!

Posted by:

15 Jan 2010

What a great dog! He might have some Leonberger in him. Here are a couple of links to photos and description of the breed:

We rescued a senior Leonberger from our local animal shelter about 5 years ago. He spent the last three years of his life with us, and all of us still miss him. They are wonderful dogs with terrific personalities and temperaments.

Posted by:

29 May 2010

Hey Bob, I hope Bonzai doesn't mind but I used his photo on my site to explain the difference between a Bonzai and a Bonsai! Once I saw his photo I couldn't resist!

See the article here:

Posted by:

26 Oct 2011

Funny, just caught the name on the article and read about it. Several years ago, we (wife & I) owned a karate studio called Bonsai Martial Arts. We chose the bonsai since our philosophy of martial arts is defensive, not predatory such as the tiger or cobra. The bonsai overcomes and grows in adverse conditions. To the story, we rescued a puppy in 2002 abandoned by its mother. The pup was mix of Alaskan Malamute and Lab. We named him after the dojo, but decided that a plant wasn't a good name for a dog. So, instead of Bonsai, it was Banzai, which is a Japanese expression meaning "CHARGE!" Yeah, he's about 110 lbs, but he does discourage those door to door solicitors.

EDITOR'S NOTE: So I guess our spelling of "Bonzai" means something like "Charge Plant!" :-)

Posted by:

29 Oct 2011

If you have time… could you please update with more on Bonzai. Thanks in advance!

Posted by:

20 Mar 2014

Hi Bob,
You know computers, I know mixed breeds of dogs, and I can definitely tell you that your puppy is a Lab and Shepard mix puppy. When fully grown I would guess him to fill out to be around 80 to 100 lbs. This dog will be exceptionally smart and will be very loyal and protective towards his family. This mixture of breeds makes a wonderful dog. I mean family member. Congratulations on your new member of the family.

Posted by:

ray marsh
24 Mar 2014

Love me, love my dog...... now listen dad this is how it is LOL :-)

Posted by:

John Anderson
19 Oct 2017

I'm so glad you included the reference to this article in your latest update on managing PUPS. You're right; life is a lot more than keeping a PC running smoothly! THANKS!

Posted by:

Barbara Edmunds
04 Dec 2020

Hey Bob, wanted to get in touch.
Barb (Joanne sister)

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