BANISHED! (to the car)

My Dad didn’t do much vacuuming this past winter – always too cold…to put me in the car.  That all changed today.  Sunny, with the temperatures steadily moving UP….maybe 60 F today.  My Dad picked up the car keys and I was right behind him.  When I get to the xB, My Dad always says, “Piggies Up!”  I struggle a bit, but I can still get my two front paws up into the car.  My Dad then (gently) places his right forearm under my tummy and lifts me up.  I like sitting in the car, it’s comfy, very COMFY.  My Dad then returned to the apartment and vacuumed in peace…if I was inside while My Dad was vacuuming, vacuuming would take D-A-Y-S.  Hah!   Don’t look so surprised.  Most people know that Border collies usually go WACKO with weird noises, and I am no different.  Electric drills, hair dryers, coffee grinders, did I say vacuums(?),  electric saws.  I will attack the vacuum, I will try to grab the drill right from My Dad’s hand – REALLY!  I think My Dad is a bit of an air-head, does he really understand the dangers in operating electric appliances that make irritating, high-pitched noises?

After vacuuming and cleaning the bath and kitchen, My Dad came back to the xB and we drove to Target.  Windows open, unlimited barking allowed (with ear-plugs IN).  My Dad was in a very good mood.  Most people who see my speckled split-face sticking out the left rear window will laugh, point, smile,  My Dad enjoys people smiling when they see me.Image

In the xB with my main squeeze Bailey.


Let’s take a random sampling of things that I (a Border collie who is a Certified Therapy Dog) like and look forward to:  Cookies, a BusyBone (registered trademark), some attention, a car ride, a pet, a scratch, a hamburger on a bun, barking at delivery trucks, barking at those trucks that carry new automobiles, barking when I drive UNDER a bridge, barking when I drive OVER a bridge, barking when I see a railroad crossing, barking when I see a Mail Truck (please do not start believing that I bark too much, although My Dad does wear orange ear plugs when he is driving – REALLY), playing with a Frisbee, playing with a squeaky toy, just playing….blah, blah, blah…I warned you that Border collies are VERY chatty.  Anyway…the point is that I can communicate my needs, wants, and desires with a variety of politicking moves that most (not all) U.S. politicians would be fearful of trying.  Let’s take a look at some of my proven politicking skills and I will even provide examples!

Ears up, head tilted, giving you “the eye” – I use this tactic VERY successfully with Dale, one of the  maintenance guys employed by the complex.  He too drives a Scion xB, although it is a bit older than my Dad’s xB and it is silver.  I know Dale’s xB, and when I am out on a (off-leash) walk with my Dad, Dale will always stop to say Hi…and I know that Dale carries treats in his car.  Here is where the politicking comes in – moving from one treat to MULTIPLE treats.  After the first treat, I activate my politicking….ears up, head tilted, moving my front paws up and down, a bit of snorting under my breath, a lot of eye contact is important (you WILL bend to my willpower).  I can score an extra two to four treats – easy stuff!

Head-butting – This move works best when I want to go for a walk (My Dad uses the term “hitting the washroom”).  My Dad is usually in a sitting position for move….I don’t want to knock him over.  I walk towards my Dad, or whoever is baby sitting me, put my head down and just keep going.  A s-l-o-w, insistent walk is required – works every time.

Nuzzling with the muzzle – My first question with these terms is, “Why don’t they call it MUZZLING?”  Think about it.  Anyway, when I want attention or to just be petted, or have a conversation, I use this tactic called PERSISTENT MUZZLING (I’ll call it whatever I want).  This works really well when I am laying to next to My Dad in bed – just before lights out.  There is no reason he can’t hold his book with the left hand and pet my head with the right hand.

Paw on hand or arm – If you have been following my blog and reading all of the stories, you will remember CHILDREN READING TO ME.  Even after I lay across Skaterdude’s lap, on my back, he would not acknowledge my presence.  Desperate times call for desperate measures is what I say.  I placed my paw (very gently and delicately) on Skaterdude’s forearm.  But one must be delicate with that tactic – you don’t want to come across like some inconsiderate clodhopper.

Ears up, head tilted, giving eye and barking – Boy talk about pulling out all of the stops….wake-UP…hello, anyone home?  If this doesn’t get you to bend to my will….

Herding – I RARELY pull this out of my skill set bag of tricks.  I use it ONLY with My Dad because everyone else may find it irritating.  My Dad knows he is required to bring SOMETHING with him for every walk.  This is a must.  After all is said and done with going out for a walk, before we make that 180 degree turn to head for home, I NEED A JOB!  What do I like to carry home…Gator, my two-tone squeaky toy.  A Frisbee.  A tennis ball.  My Dad’s glove (if he forgot to bring a REAL toy).  And what kind of herding, My Dad calls it HINDERING, is activated?  I get in front of you and stop…I get in front of you and walk backwards S-L-O-W-L-Y…I get in front of you and position myself diagonally across your path.  Herding, hindering…whatever you want to call it, is also very effective when groceries are being unloaded.  


Politicking Image


Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue rescued me from the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society.  My earliest days were spent on the property of a church – somewhere – to keep geese off of their property.  I slept in a garage at night.  Well, (DUH) this first job didn’t work out.  I didn’t give a hoot about geese (or ducks, or rabbits) then, and I don’t now.  NEWS FLASH – herding dogs are supposed to PROTECT their flock.  I guess the pastor at this church didn’t understand that, go figure.  Squirrels are a MUCH different matter, but we’ll save that for another time.  I was fostered in Michigan by Mindy.  My Dad often says that Mindy did a great job with me.  I was ready, out-of-the-box, for my forever home in the Chicago area.

Border collies are always connected with canine athletics.  My Dad was told that I didn’t care much about Frisbee, but he gave it a shot anyway.  I caught on to this right away, so I have no idea where someone thought that I would not be interested in Frisbee.  Our estate, well, actually the public golf course, became my proving ground for catching the Frisbee.  My Dad was always amazed that I could run flat-out, watch the Frisbee’s flight, and be in the right spot – EVERY TIME – to make the catch.  Some mornings my Dad and I would go to a park with large open manicured grass fields.  This is where my ability to f-o-c-u-s is really put on display…when my Dad had the Frisbees, I ignored everything else – other (less smart) dogs, squirrels, people, did I mention dogs, airplanes…I was FOCUSED! Walkers in the park would routinely take a seat on nearby benches or on the ground and watch me work (perform).  People would applaud, ask to take pictures with me.  My Dad was VERY proud of me.  And something else about being a Border collie…people – everywhere- ask my Dad, “Is that a Border collie?”  My Dad loves to show me off, and being a Therapy dog, this is easy!  I like to meet and greet.  I have a very steady, polite, easy-going demeanor – no surprises with me…NEVER.  My Dad wants people to ask about me, ask to pet me.  Toddlers, kids, teens, adults, seniors – doesn’t matter to me…I am always a good boy.  One Saturday morning, I was laying next to my Dad outside a Starbucks.  A woman approached and just stopped dead in her tracks, looking at me.  My Dad said, “Cody’s a Therapy Dog…if you want to pet him go right ahead.”  And she said, “I want that dog on my show!”  Turns out she was a producer for Green Screen Adventures on WCIU, Channel 26, here in Chicago.  So, the next Saturday, my Dad drove me downtown and I spent three hours in the studio for a half-hour show.  Frisbee is way more fun, but I got through it.Image


If you have been paying attention, like a Border collie (wink), you are aware that I am a Certified Therapy Dog.  I know, it does sound special, doesn’t it?  I have a special collar with bling – I AM A THERAPY DOG.  My special collar reads in BIG letters THERAPY DOG.  It’s pretty cool when I am out in public or in the Petsmart…once people realize I am a Therapy Dog, they do not hesitate, they just get in close, pet me, look in my eyes and I….just stand there looking up into their eyes….tail wagging.  What do I say…I mean, what would I like to say?  “Yeah, I’m cool”  “What’s with the hesitation of the hand over my head – PET ME!”  “What’s your name?”  “Yes, I am gorgeous, I hear that a lot.”  “I’m a boy, duh…”  “Ah, no, I am not going home, or anywhere else with you – my Dad would object!”  “Step to the right, I see a UPS truck over there.”  blah-blah-blah…  Border collies always have a lot to say, we’re very chatty.  In the morning, my Dad calls me, “a very sassy Border collie.”  Mmmm…he’s so right.  So, the way my Dad talks about this FEAR OF DOGS class, I can tell he is VERY proud of me.  My Dad and I get there about 3:30, I get to say HI to my good friend Sophie, a labradoodle (I think).  She and I are kindred spirits, sweet souls, old souls…we’re just GOOD dogs.  We have always gotten along – very well.  Then the kids start arriving…   I am in a down stay (which is SUCH an easy trick).  Sometimes I get scared when the kids come in…they see us (the dogs) and I always start thinking that some other creature, a monster, Godzilla, maybe, is in the room behind me.  The kids are SCARED.  I thinking…WTF, what’s behind me, what did I do, what am I not aware of?  Then, the best part of the class…I get to WORK.  Border collies LOVE to work.  Go check out my video of BORDER COLLIE SEAL, DO IT NOW.  Anyway, I catch Frisbees, catch balls, play soccer, and bounce this big ball off my nose.  Some of the kids start laughing so hard…it is pretty funny.  Sometimes they’ll pet me or brush me.  Tough work.Image

I like to hide, too!

Ahhhh, I hear the UPS truck!  The rumbling sound of the diesel.  The brown cube that needs some serious herding!  My Dad has seen me challenge the brown cube – head to head – I will run right at them, make them stop.  Those brown cubes need some discipline and I can provide it.  Well, not on Tuesday.  I heard the cube stop.  Dad, wake up, ALERT-ALERT-ALERT, the cube is right outside the door.  The cube operator is ringing our doorbell!  Let me out, let me chase the brown cube, let the brown cube know that I am aware of it’s presence.  A delivery right to our door.  A book about a…Border collie?  MOMO.  FIND MOMO. How cool is that!  My Dad is looking through FIND MOMO, and showing me the photos – a lot of photos about a Border collie who likes to hide and his owner, Andrew Knapp, takes a picture.  Sometimes, MOMO is very hard to spot.  Mmmm…the subject matter of FIND MOMO is very familiar.  My Dad knows that I, too, like to hide.  Remember our estate?  Well, I mean the public golf course….where the female red fox approached me and showed me her tummy…that golf course.  I would hide on my Dad, hide in some bushes, or just lay flat, like Border collies are known to do.  My Dad would call and call and call, whistle and call, call me, call me, over and over.  It was very entertaining to watch him looking for me.  But there is one phrase I just cannot ignore, “LET’S GO BYE-BYE IN THE CAR!”  All of a sudden I am right next to my Dad, and he asks me, “Where have YOU been?”  My Dad eventually figured it out.  He saw me laying flat in some bushes, motionless and unresponsive to his call…until he mentioned something about bye-bye in the car.  I was caught at my own game!  My Dad can be very amusing!Image

The Cone of Shame

See…in this picture I am a SMOOTH coat….sort of…I’m really a ROUGH coat who just got a haircut.  And you’re wondering…what’s with the CONE?  I walked into some thorn bushes last spring, scratched my eyebrow.  My Dad didn’t even know I scratched myself.  But it started to bother me.  I would rub my eyebrow on the sheets, in bed next to my Dad.  He said it started to look like a murder scene.  Off to the vet – they really like me there, everybody knows my name – for some salve and THE CONE OF SHAME.  All better now, but I still have a scar…manly and masculine!002

Standing your ground

Standing your ground.  No, no, no….don’t get the wrong idea.  Nothing like that George guy in Florida.  A LOT MORE SERIOUS!  Pit Bulls v. me, the Border collie.  My Dad told me about comments on the American Kennel Club (AKC) website concerning the Border collie temperament… “When approached, the Border Collie should stand its ground. It should be alert and interested, never showing fear, dullness or resentment.”

When I meet a new dog, my semi-erect ears go alert, my fluffy white tail stands up and wags briskly…AND…I stand my ground.  I am OK with a dog approaching me, checking me out.  “But you had better be polite about it, or I will turn it into a teaching moment!”  I am VERY confident in my dog-ness, my Border collie-ness.  I am smart, intelligent and intuitive.  So, lets get back to the Pit bulls…

Two summers ago, an August evening.  My Dad and I are out for the final walk of the day.  As always, I am off-leash.  I am suddenly faced with two pit bulls, one tan, the other gray.  Running right at me, nothing about being friends, they are trying to bite my neck.  Now, now…before you throw yourself into a tizzy, you must realize that I am a ROUGH coat Border collie.  We come in SMOOTH, SEMI-ROUGH, AND ROUGH coats.  About once or twice a year, my Dad takes me in for a grooming, a puppy cut, and so, for awhile, I look like a SMOOTH coat Border collie – actually I look VERY handsome and my exposed under coat is very smooth and very soft.  But enough about me…back to those gang-banger Pit bulls.  On this particular evening, I am a ROUGH coat Border collie.  And, I STAND MY GROUND.  Bring it on creeps!  Actually I was much more composed than my Dad.  But, there was still BARKING – SNARLING – GROWLING.   And then, just as quick as they started this unnecessary affront, they left.  Perhaps a 15 – 20 second dust up.  My Dad checked me out…no bites, no cuts, no blood.  My rough coat fur around my neck was wet with their creepo saliva…….but no damage.  Phew.Image