“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)


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)


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.


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…


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






Did Dr. Preiser make any comments about my handsomeness?

“How did you find out that my birthday is today?”

“Why can’t you just go with the flow…like you usually do..why are you over-thinking this?”

“I’m a rescue, picked up as a stray…right?  What…did you drive down to Quincy, Illinois and find my parents…snoop around the truck stop where I was found?  That would make you a pretty good investigator…”

“We guessed…your birthday was assigned by what Dr. Preiser saw when she examined you…remember, the week after you were adopted, remember being fostered at Kathy’s house? Remember Cody and I picked you up at Kathy’s house”?

“Duh…of course I remember, Border collies remember everything…and my date of birth was determined how?”

“Dr. Preiser said you were 8-10 months old…max…based on your brilliant white teeth, your weight, your demeanor.  Dr. Preiser said you were just a baby.  So, we did a little math and came up with a birthday of February 8th, 2014.  And that makes you TWO years old, today.”

“What did my weight have to do with my age?”

“That is the simple part of the guesswork.  When you were picked up in Quincy you were only 33 pounds.  And Dr. Preiser said you didn’t have much muscle…even Kathy said you needed to build some muscle.  During you weigh-ins at the vet in August, September, and October, your weight was right around 55 pounds.  A couple of weeks ago, you were 61 pounds, I don’t know where you are putting the weight.  I know you been getting a lot of exercise with all of your girlfriends – Kaya, Sophie, Erin, and Olive.”

“Can we go the woods again today, I had a great time yesterday…I like being off-leash in the woods.  What was the name of that park?  I really had fun chasing the Canada geese into the river.”

“White Pines State Park…and you were VERY good with every command I gave you – EVERY TIME – you really pay attention…GOOD BOY!”

“Thanks, but Border collies know how to pay attention.”









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.

    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?”


    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…





This is my main girl-friend, Brandy.

This is my main girl-friend, Brandy.

My Dad heard Brandy barking several days ago, it was a weekday, and Brandy’s Mom was at work.  Now Brandy knows when My Dad is taking me for a walk, or going by-by in the Scion xB, or if he is just walking with me.  Brandy loves My Dad, and she know that if she calls to him, he will drop everything to rescue her, to take her for an emergency walk, or to allow her to come over to MY place to play with me.  And when Brandy comes over to MY place, she acts like its HER place…sort of.  She eats MY food, she eats MY chew toys…but she lets me jump on her, play fight, nibble her legs, sniff her ears, play-bite her neck, and play tug of war with my sheep plush toy.

But when I visit Brandy’s house – LOOK OUT – I never know how she is going to greet me…happily or VERY MEAN, like she wants to open my thoracic cavity.  Brandy is very passive when she is off-turf, but when she is ON-TURF, that is, in her house or near her front door, she is a demonic schizoid.  “OBEY MY RULES, DON’T TOUCH MY TOYS, DO NOT LOOK AT MY FOOD, DO NOT KISS MY MOM!!! YOU ARE IN MY DOMAIN…ARRRRRRRGH…

“ok, ms. vader.  i don’t mean to upset you, i won’t look at you, i’ll pretend i am your prisoner, jeeez…take it easy…have you ever thought of a prescription for doggy-xanax, like a 20 year prescription?”

But come over to my place and we’re like…soooooo mellow.  Pick a personality, Brandy.  Love, Magic

Brandy and me at MY arguing, no troubles, because I am a mellow guy!

Brandy and me at MY place…no arguing, no troubles, because I am a mellow guy!

Brandy likes all the attention I give her.

Brandy likes all the attention I give her.

"Yes, hold still, the bully-stick is in there SIDEWAYS!

“Yes, hold still, the bully-stick is in there SIDEWAYS!

Believe it or plush sheep is still in one piece...well, except for the surgically removed squeaker.

Believe it or not…my plush sheep is still in one piece…well, except for the surgically removed squeaker.


Writer's cramp...does the Scion need washing?

Writer’s cramp…does the Scion need washing?

OK, OK…Last night, My Dad was watching PBS and I was feeling neglected.  My most effective method to get some attention, some petting, some scratching behind the ears, is to calmly walk over to the human in question and slowly push my head into their thigh…persistently pushing into their thigh.  Sooooo, I’m am pushing into My Dad’s thigh and I am getting some attention, some loving, some scratching and petting, but My Dad was way more interested in this program about glass than paying attention to me.

“I’m going into the office, post on the blog, any ideas?”

“You’re Mister Creative, Mister Author, Mister Popularity. You’re out of ideas?  We changed your meds, want to talk about that?”

“Do I need HIPAA clearance for that…sign a release…isn’t that sort of personal?”

Mmmm…I just got a look, the “you’re kidding” look.  OK, OK, just trying to be funny.  Watch your program about glass.  17th century telescopes are VERY exciting.

I will be thirteen years old, sometime soon.  Nobody seems to know what my real birth date is…happens with rescue dogs.  My Dad keeps telling everyone my birthday is in January but I’ve seen my adoption papers from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue – there are THREE dates of birth for me.  No big deal though, I know I’m getting to be an old guy.  My Dad keeps telling me that I still have a very sassy personality, I love to go bye-bye in the Scion xB.  This morning, we’ll be going to the Vet to get my Adequan shot.  My Dad has been transitioning me from Rimadyl to another drug for pain management.  My hips are arthritic.  My Dad is very good about lifting me onto the bed, into the Scion, up stairs….and down again.  He is very gentle with me.  I’ve been on Rimadyl for several years and when you are taking Rimadyl, you need to get your blood tested, something about liver enzymes, the liver working correctly.  I had a blood draw last week and the important enzyme level is elevated, so no more Rimadyl.

Weather here today is sunny and cool.  Being in the Scion will be very comfy.  Post Office, the vet, barking at delivery trucks, LET’S GO!

Here is a photo of me taken by Mindy, my foster-mom in fall of 2003.  Am I NOT cute?

Here is a photo of me taken by Mindy, my foster-mom in fall of 2003. Am I NOT cute?


“Do you want to GO to the Border Collie picnic?”

Whenever I hear the word “GO,” my ears prick up and my head tilts to the right.  Of course I want to GO!  Bye-bye in the car, right?  I am going with My Dad to the Border Collie picnic IN THE CAR…right?  Early yesterday morning, I was assisted into the back of the Scion xB – RIGHT INTO A CRATE!  What is this?  No barking out the window?  Who will be looking out for the nefarious delivery trucks…no, not Chris.  Wait, wait, wait…re-think this approach.  FEDEX, UPS, U.S. Mail, those long trucks that carry new cars, going OVER bridges, going UNDER bridges, railroad crossings…sigh.  How can I alert My Dad to all of these dangers?  How BORING for a Border collie…sitting in a crate.  Hours and hours of BORED, BORDER, BOREDEST…  And, My Dad stopped at McDonald’s TWICE – NO HAMBURGERS.  Complaints will be filed!


Well, I didn’t have to stay in a crate during our time at the Picnic.  A lot of Border collies were there, maybe 50.  Each Border collie wore a bandana color based on their temperament.  Mr. Calm, Cool, and Collected (that’s me) was given the “good with everybody” color.  I am an expert at minding my own business.  A quick hello with most of the Border collies will suffice, although a red Border Collie, MUNCH, was very amiable and had a lot to say – about everything.  I liked him a lot.

This is my buddy, Munch.  He had a lot to say about everything.  He was very respectful of my stature as a subtle alpha male.

This is my buddy, Munch. He had a lot to say about everything. He was very respectful of my stature as a subtle alpha male.


No hamburgers meant that I was getting pretty hungry at lunch time.  My Dad and Chris were eating Subway sandwiches and I was being ignored.  I stood up, shook, gave My Dad “eye” and started barking.  Where is MY food?  How about some of your sandwiches?  I can really push My Dad around, easy stuff for a determined Border collie.  Subway sandwiches are pretty good.  Even Chris had me eating out her hand.  Dad, we really have to re-think car rides in the crate…


My loyal followers are well aware that I have been a Certified Therapy Dog most of my life.  The years are catching up with me, though.  I am moving a little slower, my hearing has become a bit more selective, but I can still spot a squirrel in a tree from 50 yards…HA!  I can be very sassy with My Dad, especially in the morning when he is trying to make coffee.  ARE WE GOING OUT?  I’VE BROUGHT SOME TOYS IN, PAY ATTENTION!  WHEN ARE WE GOING IN THE SCION?  DON’T FORGET A BUSYBONE!  HEY, I HAVE TO GO OUT, DON’T FORGET!  However, I have a VERY sweet personality and I have always been very gentle and very respectful.

Friday evening, My Dad started asking me, “Do you want to work, tomorrow?”  That question will always trigger the to-the-right-head-tilt.  “And then we can go bye-bye in the car to Marengo.”  Wow, working and a long bye-bye in the Scion xB…life just can’t get any better!  So, Saturday morning we were on the road at 9:00 a.m. to visit with the mother of Chris.  Chris is really working me hard…politicking me.  I must admit, she is very talented at rubbing the areas around my ears.  OK, OK, just stick to the story.  I think the Scion windows need some cleaning…hint, hint.  Promptly at 9:30 on Saturday morning, My Dad and I arrived at the Cedar Lake Senior Facility, My Dad attached the leash to my Therapy Dog collar and we head off for some work.  You know how I operate – just walk in like you own the place.  The staff and several residents were talking in the great room entry area and as usual, when I appear, time stops and all attention is on me.  And then come the questions…  Is that a boy or girl?  (duh, I’m a boy) What kind of dog? (I’m a Border collie, here, take one of my business cards)  May I pet him?  (Of course, and please pet me like you mean it)  What is his name?  (Cody, I’m Cody, here is a card).  My Dad, Chris, and I took the elevator to the second floor.  Chris’s Mom, Dorothy, was working a puzzle with two of her friends but she was very happy to see me and took time to visit.  My Dad, the wizard that he is, brought some treats, so everyone had the opportunity to see how gentle I am.



And after visiting Dorothy, My Dad and I took off for Marengo, Illinois for some “investigative” assignment  – strictly confidential.


We drive all the way to Marengo, spend three hours there, and then drive back to Lake Zurich.  NO HAMBURGERS!  I am filing a complaint with…somebody.  And to make matters worse, My Dad leaves me at Chris’s house with Melissa (Chris’s daughter) and two cats, although I was given the opportunity to meet only one of the cats, a flighty Siamese named Willow.  All of my loyal followers are well aware that I am OK with cats – no chasing, barking at, threatening – herding dogs like cats.  Soooo, check out the YouTube video of Melissa coaxing Willow to walk past me – while I am trying to sleep.  Yes, I raised my head to look at Willow, but that was more to to show her I was aware of her presence – not to startle her – I think.





What?  Just stick to the story?  Jeez, I haven’t even warmed up the keyboard and My Dad is already giving me directions, oh, sorry, GUIDANCE is what we’re calling it this afternoon.  Border collies usually do not require a lot of “guidance,” Dad.  Aren’t you supposed to be working on the license plate sticker?  OK, OK…just trying to be funny.  But don’t forget to replace the sticker.  (hmmmph)

In my younger days, I loved to herd skunks.  I don’t like to scare or hurt any animal, except maybe for squirrels, but skunks have this attitude about them…you know, they give you that look, and show you the pink part.  “You want some of this?”  Since I have a bit of sassiness in me, especially with My Dad, my feeling is that if I can run circles around skunks really fast, while barking at them, I can probably avoid getting sprayed.  Although I will admit to getting sprayed six times.  What?  I don’t think so.  My Dad (who was about to walk outside with his license plate) mumbled something about getting sprayed nine or ten times.  My point (if I ever get to make it) is that what happens AFTER the skunking is much more unpleasant than getting skunked, in the first place, at least I think so.  My Dad’s remedy for a skunking is a bath in tomato juice.  And every time I have required a tomato juice bath, My Dad has made comments, like:

“I hope the police don’t walk in on us, this looks like a murder scene.”

“Why do you have to chase skunks?”

“You are not sleeping in bed tonight!”

“You are not going to like being pink.”

tomato juice

More recently, I have NOT chased skunks, although when I see them,I still get the urge.  My back legs and hips just don’t work like they used to…sigh.

As all of my loyal followers know, I have been a VERY skilled Frisbee dog…V-E-R-Y skilled.  My Dad and I would play Frisbee a lot.  And when I go for walks now, I always grab a Frisbee on the way out, just to show everyone a bit of my past life.  And, who is ever going to be afraid of a dog carrying a Frisbee?029

So, we still have my Frisbee collection, but now, My Dad uses the Frisbees for another form of entertainment – with SKUNKS!  With the pleasant summer weather, My Dad has been using our patio…sit outside and have a beer, have his sister (she has a Shar-Pei with control issues) over for dinner, having some neighbors over for a few beers, blah, blah, blah.  I am allowed to come out on the back lawn, adjacent to the patio, to enjoy the outdoors and keep an eye on things.  And every evening, right around dusk, here come the skunks, from the southeast of our location.  They’re sort of like members of a gang…they have an attitude, they give you the look, they don’t care that you don’t like them.  In fact, they’ll challenge you,  My Dad is VERY accurate with a Frisbee – short range or at distance – and as soon as he sees the skunk gang approaching, he is up with five Frisbees, moves into the proper throwing stance and launches a Frisbee at the skunks.  Do they get the hint, “get out of here, you gang-bangers?”  Nope.  My Dad mentioned to his sister that one of the skunks had shown him the middle claw on a front paw, boy…talk about an attitude!  After five Frisbees had sailed in on them (one skunk’s tail was hit), the gang decided to move off…AFTER spraying one of the Frisbees!  I asked My Dad if he was going to take a tomato juice bath…sometimes his sense of humor is a bit lacking.