Meet My Dogs: Tabiri Asouf

In the beginning of 2021 I had been searching for a stud dog for Ami's second litter for quite some time. Nothing was quite lining up how I wanted so I reached out to an Azawakh breeder firend, Alison Tyler of Xanadu Farms and Tabiri joined our home a short time later. Tabiri has been everything I hoped for in a stud prospect - steady, intelligent, discerning, he has some beautifully producing dogs behind him, and correct angulation and general proportions that are becoming so lacking in the breed as a whole.

Tabiri was bred by Alison in Georgia. His litter was born only four months after Anubi's (so I was very much not looking for another Azawakh at the time). Alison loved Tabiri, raised him, and placed with a young man who loved him very much. However, his first owner traveled often and Tabiri spent a lot of time boarding at Alison’s while his owner traveled. That is not to say that his owner didn’t devote time to socialization, I know Tabiri went through at least one puppy class. He’s a gentleman on the leash too.

Sometime before the pandemic, Tabiri’s owner let him out into their fenced yard and he came back to the door with most of his skin hanging off him. The first vet Tabiri’s owner took him too recommended that they euthanize him. However, Tabiri’s owner sought a second opinion and found a surgeon that would operate on him a process that involved skin grafts, drains, and a long healing period. I want to be very clear – Tabiri would not be alive today if his first owner hadn’t taken the time and spent the money to save him.

This is the clearest picture I have of his scarring. You can see the giant flaps that were torn away and had to be reattached. Credit Carly Page

However, his owner still had to travel and the recovery process from Tabiri’s degloving was extensive and long, so Tabiri recovered at Alison’s house. He had a multiple skin grafts and drains and through it all Alison attests that he never protested. He didn’t growl, he just bore up under all the pain quietly and patiently. The long wound across his spine was the slowest to close, not much skin to hold together, and while it is healed, it is the only place that healed with adhesions and less cleanly. The surgeon really did an incredible job because for all his injuries, today he is sound and from what I can tell, completely pain free though, as I expected, he is stiff and requires more stretching than my other dogs.

Timing hasn’t seemed to be on Tabiri’s side because once he returned to Alison for good, the pandemic hit. While she had some people interested in being Tabiri’s new home, an adult Azawakh typically tends to not be an easy dog, particularly compared to Azawakh puppies and so the fit had to be just right. As with any responsible breeder, Tabiri was welcome to live out the rest of his life at Alison’s, but she also wanted to find a good, new home for him.

Cut to me spending the better part of eighteen months sorting through stud dogs and looking for a potential stud for Ami’s second litter. There were a number of studs who didn’t pan out for a number of reasons. And when I reached out to Alison inquiring whether she had any stud dogs that she was interested in placing she somewhat jokingly offered me Tabiri and for the first time I actually started to consider adding him to my pack. I’d known Tabiri had been available essentially since he’d recovered from his wounds. However, what I hadn’t realized until that moment was that he was still intact and thus a potential stud dog.

I talked to Alison on the phone about a week later after talking to my husband and sounding him out about the potential addition. He knew I’d been looking for a stud dog, so he wasn’t terribly surprised. We chatted and Alison was brutally honest about his flaws – he seemed to have separation anxiety (or at the least crate anxiety) and that he was an escape artist. She mentioned that while his first owner had been out of town, his father had been taking care of him and that he had gotten out and run miles in search of his people. Ultimately it was Alison who had helped catch him. She painted a picture of a skeptical adult male Azawakh. Which was fair. But she also spoke of him always trying to do his best, just not always knowing what that was. She described him as earnest and engaging and very bonded and loving once he warmed up. And maybe most intriguing to me was the potential she described in him – the curious intelligence that would be a fantastic fit for my purposes. In truth, the description reminded both me and Whitman of Ash, who is a wonderful dog but one who is a bit insecure at times.

At Alison's house getting to know Tabiri.

I made arrangements to go visit Alison and pick Tabiri up. I spent a fantastic weekend with good food, wine, and dogs. After my first night there I started to get a feel for Tabiri. The first time Alison got him out her yelled at me emphatically (he is loud when he wants to be) and then continued on his way to the yard. I felt this was perfectly fair since that this point all of her dogs hadn’t seen a stranger in a full eighteen months because of COVID. She later went and leashed him, walked him outside with me, and then went back inside while I walked him around.

I had expected him to be skittish and nervy and he just wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he was skeptical. But a bike came flying down the empty street and he surveyed it, but nothing more. Clearly he would act if he needed to but he (correctly) assessed that the bike was simply odd, not a threat. He took treats (regular dog biscuits, so not anything super high value) from me rather readily. And he followed me when I got peppy and excited, as long as I didn’t face him or try to pull him along.

We did this routine several times and he came with me more and more readily. He waited at the doors with me right away. He started following me over odd and varied terrain. I got to know him and I really was intrigued. I know plenty of dogs that won’t take treats from strangers who have taken them away from their owner. I know plenty of dogs who would balk on the leash or pull frantically to get away. You have to remember, I have fostered an adult Azawakh and met her adult (very skittish) son. I have done private lessons with Azawakh who are struggling both in person and online. Most Azawakh I’ve worked with have been not much short of hysterical under similar circumstances. Tabiri was guarded, wary but calm and assessing. That is exactly what the breed should be.

Now keep in mind, if I’d tried to pet him, if I’d stared at him, used leash pressure with him, essentially put any pressure on him at all I feel confident he would have decided that I was up to something. Instead I invited him to come with me and made it rewarding to do so. Alison is the one who got him into the crate in the car and at the airport. I let the person he knew and trusted be the one to put pressure on him when necessary. This whole approach is what allowed him to opt into interacting with me and by the time I got him home, I could take a collar on and off him, pet him without objection, and put clothing on him as needed (it was the very beginning of March and often in the twenties in the early morning).