MAGIC with tri-pawed, BEAR.  Good friends from their first meeting.  MAGIC is extremely patient with BEAR who is “Mr. ME-FIRST!!!”

I believe that the majority of dog owners would agree that their canine companions have canine friends – dogs they look forward to interacting with, playing with, sparring with.  With Magic, I am familiar with the sounds of whimpering, high-pitched growls, high-pitched yips, when he recognizes one of his dog friends from our patio slider.  Their initial meet and greet includes facial licks, touching of noses, faces rubbed against each other, perhaps some pre-sparring moves like a paw on the back or neck.  Some chase-me, chase-you pursuit games followed by some bitey-face sparring or wrestling, all with good intentions.  No pain inflicted, rapid apologies if there is a yelp or an action that is upsetting.  I often describe Magic as a “subtle” Alpha-male, in spite of being neutered.  During the first meeting with any dog that is comparable in size, Magic stands perfectly still and allows the new dog to check him out, sort of like saying, “I am cool and polite and I expect the same from you.”  For us humans who understand canine behavior and their need for play, sparring, and wrestling, also agree that this activity is important for a dogs physical, mental, and emotional health.  One of Magic’s new neighbors, a 10 month old German Shepherd dog, Astro, is taken to school by Magic each time they play these games.  Astro makes numerous attempts at dominating Magic with moves from the back or from the back of the neck, and Magic is just not tolerating it.  A show of teeth, a quick growl, says,

“Be polite, remember that I am the Alpha, mind your manners!”

And within a few seconds, order has been restored and the pursuit games continue.  Astro licks Magic’s mouth, they drink from the same water bowl, and all is right in the canine world.

One of Magic’s long-time friends had been a talkative Golden Retriever, Hershey.  Recently, Hershey had developed cancer in his front left leg which greatly limited his mobility, although not his talkative personality.  Several weeks ago, Magic and I were out for a walk and saw Hershey laying outside on a blanket.  With Hershey on the blanket were his owner and another woman I did not recognize.  The context of this setting told me that Hershey was probably going to “The Bridge” within a short time.  This was confirmed several seconds later by another neighbor who game out with her dog, and Magic’s very good dog-friend, Kaya.  I unhooked Magic’s leash, and he slowly strolled directly to the reclined Hershey.  On his own, Magic gave Hershey a lick on his face, examined him with his nose, and then, very deliberately, slowly, and respectfully, approached Hershey’s owner and the other woman and gave them each a careful lick on their cheek.  I’m watching this “wow” moment asking myself, “How does this Border collie know what to do?”  He read the situation perfectly and his behavior was better than most humans.


MAGIC with his very good friend and playmate, CASH, an ACD mix.  Bitey-face games are respectful and caring.  Sometimes you hear teeth clicking against each other, but no pain inflicted.  True respect and caring for each other.






Arcadia Beach, several miles south of Cannon Beach, OR, is a testament to the passage of time – the bluffs and cliffs are sedimentary and volcanic rock created over hundreds of millions of years.  What was once seabed is now buckled sedimentary rock that has been uplifted and is on display as cliff faces, some at very unusual angles.  The earthly remains of my beloved Border collie, Cody, arrived at Arcadia Beach, a place of beauty, a place of great memories with my children and family.  Dogs run free, chase sea gulls, play with their humans.  Magic gave the brass can a delicate lick before Cody’s ashes were poured in the Pacific at the base of the outcropping in the background.  Within seconds, the gentle waves had pulled Cody into sea, and mingled him with the sands of time.




“Do you want to take Cody home today?”

For a moment, the question caught me off guard.  I had stopped by the vet with Magic to drop off some paperwork on his October heartworm test in Quincy, Illinois, drop off a “sample,” and check on Magic’s weight.

“Yes, Cody will be going home today…”

“OK, we just want to make sure you’re OK, it hasn’t been too long, we know it can still be painful.”

And we waited about 15 minutes for the examination room with the scale to become available.

There is another examination room behind the cashier counter and that room is used only for one activity.  I know that room.  Cody, on January 8th, Tyler in 2003, and other pets of my past have been in that room with me.  There is a large framed print on the west wall entitled, His Master’s Bed…a white Labrador sound asleep on a large bed, a window looking out on a pastoral scene, curtains blowing gently, very peaceful.

A woman, about my age, with curly reddish blond hair stepped out of that room.  She was in full grief, holding an orange cloth over her eyes…sobbing.  I know that room.  I wanted to comfort her but she moved quickly to one of the open examination rooms and was gone.

A gorgeous Border collie mix came in off-leash with his owner, a woman about 30 wearing Adidas athletic warm-ups and a Chicago Blackhawks hat.  The dog, Homer, was quite a gentleman.  His lower body was white and reddish tan ticking, his upper body was gray, black and white ticking…topped off with a large parallelogram of pure black on his back and left side.  He jumped up on the wooden bench next to his Mom and was very well behaved.

And what about Magic?  Magic always receives high compliments for his handsomeness – “my o my what a gorgeous boy, oh’ that dog is gorgeous, oh he is beautiful.  I am so lucky.  And Magic was very good, very respectful.  Just a look and he sits…amazing how that communication works between man and dog.

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Magic weighed in at 46.2 pounds.  I know that Kathy P. and the good-hearted volunteers from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue (GLBCR) will be thrilled with Magic’s weight – he weighed only 33 when he came into rescue.

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Magic’s progress with obedience, behavior, learning and sweetness has been a joy to watch.  I have increased his off-leash time outside and he really gets it…responds immediately to “Come here, Magic.”  He pays attention, a very sharp boy!  An EXTREMELY sweet boy!

If I have one regret with Cody, I did not drive him out to Oregon to spend time with me on the beautiful beaches, the paths, the pine forests, the cool air, the great people of the area around Cannon Beach.  I believe that a beach in Oregon, the Pacific ocean to to west and fog-shrouded pines to the east, the surf, people with their happy dogs, running free will be a perfect final resting place.  Magic and I will be making the drive in summer…sometime…

“Don’t forget Cody!”

A simple square box, black, Cody (January 8th 2015).  Within, is a brass metal can and Cody’s paw print in plaster.

-Cody and Magic’s Dad


Dad, stop pressuring me…I’m thinking.  Yes, Cody and I communicated quite often…Cody knew my role, the purpose of my adoption in December…Cody was OK with this…and that night he came up next to you, put his head on your chest, he told me he was going to do that.  Cody knew that I would help you and he knew it was his time to cross the bridge.  I’m thinking, give me a moment…

Cody had a lot to tell me...I want to get it right...

Cody had a lot to tell me…I want to get it right…

Cody felt bad that he wasn’t consulted when I was adopted, but he figured it out…he was very intuitive, and he said that he could tell that I am very intuitive and understanding.  Cody said that our intelligence and sense of intuition is an important part of being a Border collie…that we should embrace that aspect of the breed and never forget it…

Cody – “Do you know why you are here, do you know why Kathy gave you up, gave you to Our Dad?”

Magic – “You’re making this sound scary.  Is this my forever home?  I like it here, I like you, I like Our Dad.  I heard Kathy and Our Dad repeating the words ‘JUST PERFECT.’  What does that mean?  Just Perfect for what?

Cody – “Step in closer here, see my collar?  My collar and my dog tags say something very special, not many dogs are allowed to wear this collar, not many dogs wear these dog tags…this collar and the tags say THERAPY DOG…that you are even considered to become a THERAPY DOG is very special…just being here with me and with Our Dad means that you are going have a very special life…meet a lot of people, work with children, meet people who are sick, meet people who are very afraid of dogs, go everywhere in the Scion with Our Dad, and you will get HAMBURGERS sometimes – two hamburgers every time you stop to get hamburgers.  You will be welcomed into hotels, libraries, hospitals, stay overnight in hotels, people will always love you and pet you and talk to you, you will always be treated as a dear, long-lost, friend.”

Magic – “So, after Dad let’s you cross the bridge, can I wear your collar?”

Cody – “No.  This is my collar, and Our Dad would never let another dog wear my collar.  You will earn your collar through learning, hard work, and being tested.  You MUST pay attention to Our Dad, it is most important to always stay close to Our Dad, you can NEVER run away, always stay close to him, watch him always, watch his hands, watch his eyes, so, you always know what he wants you to do.  Sometimes, watching Our Dad and listening to Our Dad may keep you out of danger, OK?”

Magic – “Yes…that is what ‘JUST PERFECT’ means…that my destiny after being rescued in Quincy, IL was to be a THERAPY DOG?”

Cody – “Yes, yes, yes…you are JUST PERFECT to be a THERAPY DOG…it is important you understand what you are going to be, that you will be a working dog, you will have many jobs, you will be very busy…and that is good for you, because you are a Border collie.”

Magic – “A job, training, tests, spending time with people and other THERAPY DOGS, going bye-bye in the car…anything else?”

Cody – “Can you take over my blog? You will have a lot of things to talk about.”

Magic – “Yes, of course, it will be an honor…”




The comments made by followers of Cody’s blog, my friends from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue (GLBCR), and Facebook friends have been emotional, supportive and loving.  One of my very good soccer referee friends sent me flowers and with Cody’s collar and picture, I have a makeshift memorial.  It does provide comfort and Magic is very interested in the smell of the flowers.

As all of you know, four weeks ago, I adopted a young male Border Collie from GLBCR whose new name is MAGIC.  While the higher-ups at at GLBCR were fully aware that I was interested in adopting another Border Collie, they were also fully aware that my next Border Collie would be a working Therapy Dog.  An appropriate Border Collie (ASH) that was available in the summer became unavailable because that Border Collie had worked his ‘magic’ on the man who was baby-sitting him for five days.  The baby-sitter became the adopter – a happy ending for the dog, ASH, and for GLBCR.

In September, sometime, a young male Border Collie was picked up as a stray by the Adams County (Quincy, IL) Humane Society.  GLBCR was contacted by Adams County and this young boy was rescued by GLBCR and transported to Crown Point, IN to be fostered by Kathy P., a foster-mom in Crown Point, IN.  Kathy P. recognized this dog’s personality and potential and contacted me.  I met this dog on Saturday, 22 November and immediately fell in love with him, as does everyone who meets him.  So, a stray in Quincy, IL ends up with Tom and Cody…what are the odds?  The passing of Cody, my full time companion for 11 years, has been an emotional trauma.  Without this young Border Collie, MAGIC, fostered by Kathy P., I’d be in serious trouble.  Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue is one of hundreds of organizations dedicated to rescuing and re-homing dogs.  I applaud the organization, their amazing volunteers, and their mission…AMAZING PEOPLE ALL!  Thank you for finding another Border Collie for me!

Magic and Cody the day before Cody crossed the bridge.  They were becoming very good friend and sleeping partners.

Magic and Cody the day before Cody crossed the bridge. They were becoming very good friends and sleeping partners.



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Cody came into my life in January and he has passed from my life in January.  He was somewhere around 13 years of age.  When I adopted him from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue, he was around two years of age.  For those of you who follow Cody’s blog, his stories are true and accurate.  CHILDREN READING TO ME and FEAR OF DOGS CLASS merely scratch the surface of his amazing and wonderful life.  With friends and family, I often referred to working with this Border Collie as, “Walking in with a Rock Star.”  His gorgeous markings coupled with an amazingly affectionate, and curious demeanor always made him a fan favorite.  In his three years of working The Fear of Dogs program, he worked with children who had been traumatized by dogs, and there were many who chose him to work with, to brush, to play with, to hug.  Cody was a VERY steady performer and an absolute joy to work with.  Unless, of course, a UPS, FEDEX, or U.S. Mail truck made an appearance.

Cody’s final two assignments were on October 11th at an Assisted Living Facility in Lake Zurich and on December 1st at a Facility for Developmentally Disabled Adults.  He was loved on, petted, and tears fell on his mostly white rough coat.  He looked people in the eye and let them know that he loved them.

For those of you who have euthanised a beloved pet or know that this event will be approaching in the near future, it isn’t the moment the drugs enter your pet’s body that carries the most anguish; it is hours and days of anguish and tears that lead up to your decision.  For me, that moment of decision was this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. when Cody and I were outside in the blowing snow.  He couldn’t walk, he was losing the use of his rear legs.  I just could not bear to watch this gorgeous animal struggle in the falling snow, looking at me,  “I’m sorry, Dad.”

I made the telephone call to the vet and set a 5:00 p.m. appointment.  They promised a team would be ready for Cody’s crossing.  Cody has always been eager to go for a ride in the car and this moment was no different.  Did the repeated failure of his rear legs from our entry door to the Scion make this decision easier for me?  I’d have to say, yes, without a doubt.  Cody, Magic, and I stopped at McDonald’s for some hamburgers.  Cody did have an appetite, and there was comfort in his enjoying of the burgers.  And yes, he did bark in the car at every delivery truck he saw.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Cody may have given me permission to cross the bridge.  Last night, just before midnight, Cody was up next to me, placing his gorgeous head on my chest.  He has NEVER done that in the past, once he was ready for sleep, he pretty much stayed in his spot at the bottom of the bed on “his side.”  I asked him if he was trying to tell me that he was “ready.”  I knew that whatever arthritis, dysplasia, discomfort, pain, he had in his body would not be experiencing a miracle improvement.

Without a doubt, the adoption from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue of Magic on December 6th has provided me with a buffer  in the form of another smart, sensitive, and intuitive Border Collie..  The thought of being able to reach over with my hand – anywhere – and not have a dog to love on was a burden I did not want to experience.  Magic now provides this comfort and companionship.

During the drive home from Preiser Animal Hospital, I had a long talk with Magic.  He will be continuing Cody’s work on

And, heartfelt thanks to Dr. Kristine Preiser and vet-tech Jamie for their compassion and gentleness with Cody, Magic and me.