“EVERYBODY RELAX…WE’RE HERE FOR THE COOKIES”

As my loyal and faithful followers know, I go everywhere with My Dad.  Yesterday I was summoned into the Bank, the girls there wanted to meet me.  And I know what the drive-up window at the Bank means…COOKIES!

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“Hey!  It’s me, MAGIC.  What, no envelope of cookies?”

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“One at a time is OK, but I get more than one, RIGHT?

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“Relax…I’m gentle, I got it…”

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“Thanks!  and yummmm…”

 

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PLEASANT AND UNPLEASANT SIDES OF WINTER

As my loyal followers and fans are aware, My Dad is a soccer referee and he had been very busy during the Fall season. (He LOVES to officiate soccer and sometimes humans who know My Dad will allow me to sit with them along the touchline) The beautiful November weather here in the Chicago boasted of some days in the upper 60’s (F) and close to 85% sunny skies.

However, all good things must come to an end, or is it, no good deed goes unpunished? (My Dad says that a lot!)    The past two Sunday’s, the change to (real) winter has started and so has My Dad’s complaining.  My Dad tolerates some aspects of winter, especially if the temperatures are close to freezing with no wind.  Our Sunday snowfalls were both very pleasant and I spent a lot of time outside with Kaya – I really like to play in the snow, eat snow, catch snowballs, roll in the snow, relax in the snow.  But, let me clarify – no complaining by My Dad on those past two Sundays.

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Kaya and I playing in the snow.  We did not like when the snowman was being built.

The real complaining started two days ago.  My Dad does not like the wind, especially when the temperatures are single digits Fahrenheit.  I demand five to six walks per day and when I give My Dad the let’s go out stare, I watch him put his cold weather gear on.  Over long-underwear and Nike Combat Gear, he will don:  a U.S. Soccer jacket with a high neck collar, a black North Face fleece with a high neck collar, an Eddie Bauer storm coat with a high neck collar AND a hood, two knit hats, and ski goggles.  EARTH TO LUNAR BASE, DO YOU COPY?  Wait, I forget two pairs of gloves – I am not making this up.

MAGIC, WHAT ARE YOU GIGGLING ABOUT IN THERE?

JUST BLOGGING ABOUT OUR PLEASANT WEATHER.  DID YOU MAKE YOUR DINNER SALAD, YET?  DON’T FORGET ABOUT MY DINNER.

Mmmm….ok, he’s in the kitchen.  But My Dad does look out for me.  He puts on my Therapy Dog jacket to keep me a bit warmer and our walks are limited to about 20 minutes, on snow only…My Dad is worried that the salt slush will freeze my little toes.  And when I go poop, My Dad is VERY complimentary, very happy, because we can head home – to WARMTH.

My Dad takes me INTO O’Hare International Airport when we pick up his sister, Mary.  I know I am supposed to be in a down/stay, but people always come up to pet me.  They always smile at me, talk to me, and pet me.  My Dad is very proud of me.

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United Airlines baggage concourse, near baggage claim #6.  Being a good boy.

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One of those 60F days in November, I needed a drink!

 

THE DE-MUZZLING OF DANTE, SECRET MISSIONS TO DOWNTOWN, and CREEP-O-ZOID IN THE PARKING LOT

Last Sunday, My Dad and I were up at 4:30 am; we had to drive into downtown Chicago on a “secret” mission.  My Dad is quite candid when he describes me as a “lure,” as in fishing lure.  Who would suspect that a handsome 57 pound, very well behaved, Border collie, would be involved in subterfuge, a guise, a ruse?  However, before our departure in the Scion xB, I needed my morning walk which was completed with typical Border collie efficiency.  But after our return, My Dad alerted me to suspicious behavior in our parking lot.  I saw My Dad peering out the bedroom window blinds, so I stepped up to the lower level of the window blinds to see what he was interested in.  A stranger (stranger-danger) had just parked his older Nissan in the lot, exited his car and was looking in cars using a flashlight and pulling on the door handles!  My Dad was soon on his cell phone.  I followed him to our front door and we both watched the stranger skulking among the cars, we could hear door handles pulled.  I gave a deep growl, My Dad quietly said, “good boy…shhh…good boy.”  I love being called a good boy.  The skulking stranger soon left in his car, and several minutes later, the police knocked on our door and talked with My Dad.  The stranger’s car had been pulled over by the police a short distance away.

As the sky to the east lightened, My Dad and I left in the xB and headed downtown.  My Dad said we would be on surveillance – waiting for someone to leave their condominium high-rise near Millenium Park.

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Here I am outside of 400 E. Randolph acting as the “lure.”

As part of the ruse, my disguise, my being a “lure,” I am required to say HI! to a constant stream of people, many with dogs.  As all of my loyal readers know, I am the canine-psychologist, the mentor, the facilitator, the play-with-me specialist.  One of the dogs I encountered Sunday morning was Dante, a retriever-collie mix, and as he approached with his humans they placed a soft, fabric muzzle on his muzzle.  His humans said that Dante sometimes became aggressive with other dogs.  Mmm, obviously Dante hadn’t made my acquaintance, yet.  So, you may not be aware of this, but, dogs can easily communicate by thought-transmission.  Oh, don’t believe it?  Google it…canine thought-transmission…  So the muzzled Dante and I activated our thought-transmission capabilities…easy stuff, really!

why did your humans put that black tube on your mouth?  is that a toy?

mmph…mmm…zzz…le….mmmph…

you seem like a cool dude, you want to play, i won’t hurt you, you’re not going to bite will you…

mmmpph…play with me…can you take this off….mmmum?

ok…looks easy, hold still, i am going to place my mouth over your mouth, won’t hurt you….easy….easy….ha, it’s off…you’re sure this isn’t a toy, i can turn it into a toy?

And then we were playing, instant best friends.  No aggression, no biting, no growling…just dog fun.  Dante’s parent were SHOCKED when I removed the black tube!

The following Thursday, My Dad went back to the same building for additional covert activities, don’t tell anyone.  And can you guess who we ran into?  Yes, Mr. Dante, who is now my BFF.

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Dante with his Mom, Brittany.  She owns the Absolutely Chicago Segway tours which meant she had a constant source of water in a large bowl for us during our play activities!

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Marketing!  Are we cute, or what?!

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This is a dog-hug.  Dante and I trusted each other from the moment we first met.

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Sometimes, Dante wanted to get REAL friendly with me.  But, that does not bother me…a quick word and Dante responded well to subtle corrections.

 

Hangin’ with my Lady friends and Mr. Honey Bear (Deluxe) and The Grim Reaper re-visits Squirrel Town

As my loyal readers (and fans) are very aware, I have a number of Lady friends who enjoy spending time with me.  Last week My Dad and I picked up Kaya and her Mom for a drive to White Pines State Park, about two hours west of where we live in the Chicago area.  Since it was a week day, we did not see any other dogs or people during our three hour hike on the trails.

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This is me with Kaya after we ran down to the river for exploring and a drink.  Kaya likes to be the boss and I am OK with her being the boss.

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Here is an example of Kaya being the boss.  We are in My Dad’s Scion xB and Kaya is sitting up front – without permission.  I told her, “Kaya, stay in the back with me.”  But she didn’t.

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This Cattle Dog is named Scarlet.  The first time we met, she growled at me – FOR NO REASON!  She has been trying to correct her behavior with me.  She comes right up next to me and just looks at me “what, no second chances?”…and I walk away.  Sorry Scarlet, no second chances, at least for now.

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This is Brandy – remember, THE DEMONIC SCHIZOID???  She visited last week for about an hour.  She really enjoys my attentions…cheek pulling, gripping, rear leg nibbling.  And every so often she goes all Demonic on me and puts me on the ground, just to remind me that she can…whenever she wants to.

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Brandy and me in the Scion xB.  We share the rear windows, but remember that Brandy is THE BOSS, and a lot more bossy than Kaya.

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This is Bear…remember the “open carry” three-legged Shar-Pei from Texas.  My Dad visits him every day so he can take a whizzz.  Bear wants to get “friendly” with me but it can be a a challenge to hold onto a 58 pound Border collie when you have only three legs…but he keeps trying.  Sometimes I have to give Bear some “eye” just to keep him in line.  Surprisingly, he knows what “eye” means and he says, “Sorry.”

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Mid 70’s in Chicago, yesterday, and My Dad took me for an “off-leash” in the Forest Preserve.  I could hear squirrels to my right.  And while we are on the topic of squirrels, I had a catch ‘n kill last week at the dumpster enclosure.  The squirrel thought I was on the north side of the fence and he took a leap to freedom (he thought) from the south side….into the air and right into my mouth.  A mid-air snag as I returned from the north side of the  enclosure.  Gotta pay attention is what I always say…

Further Commentary from the Cleric of Canines

Going bye-bye in the car is one of my favorite…

“Hey, Magic, get to the point!  You told me you were going to write about your experiences with puppies and young dogs…or, are you too tired from running around with Sadie?”

What’s the rush?  You haven’t shaved yet today, why don’t you take care of that, now?

My blog, my blog, my blog.  You have your blog (www.betterinstructors-betterrefs.com) and I have my blog…relax.

Yes.  I am the mentor, the trainer, the wise man, the adviser, the guru, the cleric of canines.  Let us get to know each other at your pace; some chase me-chase you games, some wrestling and play fighting.  I may correct your behavior with a low growl, I may grip your haunches.  When I roll onto my back and show you my speckled tummy, I am anointing you as my friend forever.  So sniff me, approach from the rear, take your time.  I want you to feel comfortable with me.  I will ignore you, pretend you are not there.  I am confident in my Border collie-ness,  I am confident in my abilities inherited over the centuries from the Border collies who came before me.  And when you are ready for me to work my “magic,” we will be best friends.

CASE STUDY:  SASHA – AUSTRALIAN CATTLE DOG (PUPPY)

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Photo Courtesy of http://www.nibblin cattle dogs.au

Sasha was fearful of me at the initial consult.  I was aware of our size difference and our ages.  Just a puppy, given up by her owners because they had to move out of the continental United States. The excuses humans come up with…sigh.  My “I AM IGNORING YOU” approach worked the best with Sasha.  But Sasha was VERY wary – took a whole 45 minutes to take her from great wariness to pursuit games.  She is still a little dorky puppy, but very cute…wouldn’t you agree?

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“I know you are there, Sasha”

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“Take your time, Sasha.  There is no rush, no schedule.”

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“We are both herding  dogs, although I am a bit more intelligent.  Closer, closer, relax…”

CASE STUDY:  SADIE – BORDER COLLIE (PUPPY)

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No fearfulness here, that is for sure.  Pursuit games, play-fighting, a quick learner.  However, Sadie will give a whimper during pursuit games if she anticipates a “gripping” maneuver coming close to her hindquarter (official Border collie terminology).  And if a gripping is going to be applied by the “chaser/herder,” Sadie will “crash + burn,”  a deliberate rolling onto the turf to avoid the gripping.  But then she is right back up and ready for more games, either as the sheep or the chaser/herder.  She already knows how to cut the angles, and I have been required to “butt-tuck,” too.  She has very good instincts.

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Sadie has been fearless from the start.  I believe my good-looks are partly responsible for her bravery and stoutness.

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“Nice ears, you BABY!”

Now, about to go bye-bye in the car…  Don’t forget to check out THE BORDER COLLIE MUSEUM.  www.bordercolliemuseum.org

 

MISSION TO DOWNTOWN and PUDDLES OF VOMIT

“I’m taking the train downtown this morning, will you be alright for about three hours?”

“Mmmm…not really…why don’t you bring me with?”

“Traffic will be a pain, taking the train downtown will be more relaxing, I will be back by 12:30.”

“Hah!  That is not three hours, that is more like four hours and 34 minutes.  OK, I will entertain myself, can you leave your gloves on the table, or a hat?”

“Blackmailed by a Border collie…is that how it’s going to be?  My gloves and my hats are already displaying Border collie damage…divots, gouges, nicks, pieces of fabric missing, fingers missing…”

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My Dad taught me how to remove his hat from his head…some unfortunate damages have occurred as a direct result of my quick learning abilities.

“Oh, c’mon…we’ll drive together…we can go for a walk downtown…I know you love to show me off…right?”

Easy stuff for a determined Border collie…pushing My Dad around, manipulating him, he is so ruminant-like, at times.  Yes, we are going bye-bye in the Scion xB to downtown Chicago on a “mission.”  And the traffic on the Kennedy Expressway was just fine – I love sticking my head out the window at a leisurely 17 miles per hour…sometimes 2 miles per hour.

After My Dad had successfully completed his mission, serving a court summons on a very cooperative Registered Agent, he returned to the Scion xB on the 7th floor of the parking structure.  I am still getting comfortable with elevators.  While I will no longer hesitate to board an elevator, once I am inside, I have a tendency to spread my legs and drop into a crouch – I feel a bit more steady on my feet this way.

My Dad told me that the prior weekend, the City of Chicago had dyed the Chicago River GREEN (as if it was not green enough) for St. Patrick’s day (My Dad’s birthday) and this event coupled with the Saint Patrick’s Day parade encourages a lot of humans to drink a lot of alcohol…and this results in numerous puddles of VOMIT – EVERYWHERE.  While these puddles were interesting for a Border collie, especially the pink puddles and orange puddles, My Dad kept telling “NO” in his very calm voice, and I listen VERY well!

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Wacker Drive with a view to the east…and no puddles of yucchy stuff to be seen!

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The Marina Towers “corncob,” and the curved glass of the Trump Tower in the background.  No, those people behind me were not throwing-up.

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Jumping into a raised flower bed is very easy for a Border collie.

By the way, I have a large number of canine friends who visit frequently.  I am not food-aggressive, so when my canine friends visit, I will watch them have a meal at my place.

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Brandy (a/k/a Demonic Schizoid) after enjoying MY breakfast…I just watch, why cause an argument?

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Coco and Loli visited last night.  Their Mom was out of town.  Coco is a Border collie wannabe, she runs next to me outside and barks whenever I bark.  They are official members of the Magic Fan Club.

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And, meet LOLA (Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-Lo-La, from the song by the Kinks), she is an eight month old Shiba-Inu, who has just joined the Magic Fan Club.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

THE ELEGANCE OF HERDING DOGS and THE GRIM REAPER VISITS SQUIRREL-TOWN

“We are leaving in the car in an hour, will you be ready?”

“Remember Maisie, that Border collie you saw in National Geographic Your Shot?  She sent me some pictures.  I’m writing about the handsomeness and beauty of herding dogs…yes, I will be done here within the hour…maybe we can visit Maisie…”

“You better include your buddy Patrick on this post, and don’t refer to him as the Cattle Collie, anymore…he did not like that.  And as long as I’m thinking about it, don’t forget to mention your sudden success with squirrels…the corpses are starting to add up.”

“Mmmmm…good point about Patrick…I’ll start with him…”

My good friend Patrick lives in Shannondale, and I refer to him as Patrick of Shannondale.  IT’S A JOKE, PATRICK!  My Dad thinks you are very handsome and I’ve got to tell you, I owe you an apology.  Your Mom sent me a picture of your sister (I’d like to know her a little better) and your Mom sitting together in the Sheriff’s Prison Transport (just kidding) and without a doubt, your mom is an Australian Cattle Dog, and quite beautiful, too.

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Patrick’s gorgeous mother is on the right and his sister is on the left.  (Photo courtesy of State Prisoner Transport System)

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And, as all of my loyal readers are aware, this is my good friend and play-fighter, Patrick of Shannondale.  He certainly looks like his sister…compliment Patrick!  (Photo courtesy of Home for Deranged Cattle Dogs)

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This is my mentor and renowned Therapy Dog, Cody of Lenox (RIP 01-08-2015).  Cody was well known for his fabulous ticking, split-face, and endearing disposition.

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And, speaking of ticking, GORGEOUS ticking, this is the beautiful Maisie, recently observed in National Geographic Your Shot.  Photo used with permission of Maisie’s Mom, Tiehrra Alexander.  I’m hoping to get a play-date with Maisie!

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Maisie smiling…look at those golden eyes!

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And…Maisie after running through the mud…

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This is Maisie’s house-mate, Porter.  Porter is 7 months old.  Nice ears, YOU BABY!

“We’ll be leaving soon, wrap it up, Magic!  Don’t forget about the squirrels…”

HA!  It has taken me over a year to catch a squirrel…I was always overplaying my moves…too quick, too straight, too reactive.  But, that changed last week…patience, pursuing a bit slower, and not reacting to their little deke-out moves, their trickery, their sense of superiority.  They are actually idiots, they wait too long to make their break for freedom, they get a bit too choosy in which tree to climb, or they choose one tree and just as they get there, they change their mind.  Three squirrels, two last week, and one yesterday (who did not die very pretty).  Pretty simple stuff…grab ’em, puncture ’em, crunch ’em, shake ’em.  Time to go.  Thanks, Maisie, for the great pictures.  I think I’m in love.  -Magic

 

 

BCBI AND CDBI CONCLUDE HISTORIC TALKS WITH PACT

-COLDSTREAM, SCOTLAND, U.K.

A historic convention between the BORDER COLLIE BEHAVIORAL INSTITUTE (BCBI) and the lesser known CATTLE DOG BEHAVIORAL INSTITUTE (CDBI) has resulted in the settlement of claims that arose from a tongue-in-cheek comment callously made in the blog of a BCBI member in the United States.  The commentary of BCBI member, Magic of Lenox, who authors the codemanbc publication, included unconfirmed and reckless wording that a CDBI member, Patrick of Shannondale, possessed a “character flaw,” a slanderous term that Patrick of Shannondale vehemently denies.  The week long convention set in the rolling, rocky, sheep-filled, hills north of Coldstream resulted in new and revised accords set forth by the dominant members of both Institutes:

  1. There will no changes in the Canine Intelligence Rating as set forth in various International publications.  The Border Collie will continue to be ranked #1 while the Cattle Dog (not to be referred to as the Cattle Collie) will continue to ranked #10.  The CDBI requested a formal vote be taken to move the Cattle Dog from the #10 positionto the #8 position, now occupied by the Papillon breed, but a misspelling on the ballot means that a formal vote will not occur until the next convention in 2017.
  2. The terms “character flaw” and “personality defect” will no longer be permitted by members of the BCBI when referring to members of the CDBI (even if the member of the CDBI does possess such traits, EMPHASIS ADDED).
  3. The CDBI Board of Regents adopted a modification to the frequently altered Official Cattle Dog (ODG) breed standard.  A DNA thread of at least 1.5% AND (emphasis added) possessing any amount of brown, black, gray fur WITH any amount of ticking, is now the MINIMUM standard to be included in the CDBI official membership.
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    Patrick of Shannondale after hearing of the convention’s decisions.  “I have ticking and I wear a tiny dinosaur on my collar ID, what’s the big deal?”

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    Magic of Lenox (left) conferring with an unnamed minion at the convention site in Coldstream.  “He (the petitioner) is such a pretender, I will always call him the Cattle Collie, I mean, Cattle Dog.  Is there a reason I am not called a Border Dog?    Think about it…

     

     

 

30 MINUTE APPOINTMENT WITH THE CANINE THERAPIST

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Meet Bella…her Mom was worried that she would hurt ME…really?  Bella was thinking…”now what?”

“Kelly is going to stop by with her new puppy, an eight week old yellow Lab.  Kelly is worried that the puppy will be a bit unruly with you…you OK with that?”

“Why would I be worried…are YOU worried?”

“No, not in the least…you always know what to do…you’re never aggressive, you are Mr. Steady…”

My Dad pays attention, I’ll give him that.  Mmmm…so, Kelly comes over on Saturday with the puppy and My Dad suggests that we start the therapy session outside.  For December in Chicago, sunny skies and the low 50’s is wonderful dog weather.  My Dad actually had to convince Kelly to place the puppy, Bella, on the ground.  Kelly was very concerned that Bella would be too aggressive with me.  My Dad trusts me…he knows I always adjust the level of play to the participant…easy-going, chase-me/chase-you, some wrestling, you kill me/I’ll kill you…no rough stuff.

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Ignoring the other dog and feigning disinterest encourages my subject to relax.  With Bella, she felt confident enough to engage me in about three minutes.

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Hah!  A surprise attack!  OK, Bella, you can kill me first!

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“Hey, Magic, you are a cool guy!”

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“C’mon!  Let’s wrestle!”

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“Hey, Bella, if you can catch me, you can kill me again.”

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“Awwwww, Magic, you’re not so fast…”

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“Oh, Bella…..you got me…”

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“OK, Bella, your turn…you be the sheep and I’ll be the wolf…”

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“Good work Bella!  The sheep fights off the wolf!”

And Bella took a nap right after we finished our session.   -Magic

THE CANINE THERAPIST FOR CANINES and THE TOY COLLECTOR

My Dad poured some old cereal outside today and the squirrels were there within…

“What?  Well, the squirrels eating the cereal happened a few minutes ago.  No, I don’t believe I need a new title…  Yes, yes, yes, I’ll get to my skills as a canine-therapist…yes, I will not forget to mention what happened at Patrick’s house.  Isn’t there a National Geographic that needs to be read?”

My Dad is always sticking his nose in when I start posting to MY blog…mmmph.  Well, anyway, I sat by the slider today watching the devil-may-care antics of six, maybe seven, squirrels, who were all jostling and positioning and arguing over which of them was going to sit on a pile of cereal My Dad had poured on the grass.  A mere seven feet separates me from my furry tormentors; their tails twitching, all hunched up as they chow-down on the cereal.  Last week by the dumpster, I out-smarted one of the garbage raiders…he chose the wrong exit point just as I was coming around the southwest corner of the trash enclosure.  I had him in my front paws, like trying to juggle…..a moving squirrel!  My Dad said that my squirrel catching efforts reminded him of Devil Sticks (see image).

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Devil Sticks.  Think of my paws as the handheld sticks and the third stick as the squirrel.  Well, that’s what My Dad saw

My Dad keeps asking me,

“And what would you do if you caught a squirrel, is that really your goal, or, you just like to scare them?”

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“Open the slider  s-l-o-w-l-y   so I can get a better view…”

 

My Dad continues to be amazed and flabbergasted at my ability to size up dogs, male and female, engage in some subtle communication, and have them playing with me within five minutes.  Although, I’ll have to admit, that getting the girls to play with me is pretty easy.  Crabby dogs, aggressive dogs, shy dogs, and dogs with self-esteem issues are no match for me.  A few pushes with my nose, backwards hopping, butt-up, head tilts and just ignoring them works the magic.  If I haven’t convinced them within 5 minutes, or so, I sit down with my back to them – they can’t stand it.  One Shi-Tsu, I met last month, whose name shall remain CONFIDENTIAL, was very yappy and snarly with me.  So, I ignored him.  Within minutes, while I was enjoying a chewy, he climbed on my back and started some suggestive movements – over and over and over – for the next hour.  Next time I looked at him he was taking a nap, go figure!  My Dad told me that Shi-Tsu was Chinese for moron…I’ll have to Google that.

Oh yes, I was a Patrick’s for a post-Thanksgiving dinner.  Patrick and I are good friends but throw another canine into the mix and he becomes MR. BOSSMAN…a character flaw I must stay alert to.  But Patrick does have a lot of toys and chew toys and I enjoyed rounding up those toys on the couch where I was relaxing.

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The Toy Collector at work

And some sad news…my dog-friend Bob, the Shar-Pei, was walking with his mom, Mary (I like her a lot!), one morning, and he was attacked by an Akita who had pulled away from his owner.  Bob was mortally wounded and was euthanized at the vet.

But, some good news also.  Mary adopted a young Shar-Pei, last week. He is from Texas and barks with a  d-r-a-w-l.  He is an “open-carry” guy.  He has had a tough beginning to his life and he can prove it – HE HAS ONLY THREE LEGS.  I stopped by his new forever home two days after his arrival.  He is a nice guy and we became friends immediately, go figure!

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My new friend, BEAR.  He is a Tripawd.  He is EXTREMELY sweet.

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Showing BEAR that I trust him.  He barks with a d-r-a-w-l…he is from Houston, TX.  BEAR said something about starting his own blog, http://www.adognamedbear.com