Westward travels with a Border collie, Part II

A low leaden sky, clouds scudding off the ocean towards the northeast, the greenish mountains to the east providing a background to a light, persistent rain.  This Monday morning was our last full day in Oregon, and it was “wine country” day, as in Willamette Valley vineyards.  Would weather conditions be improved east of the Coastal Range mountains?

Magic is a cool, composed, and self-confident canine.  He always carries himself with an equilibrium, an inner harmony, an acceptance of whatever comes his way.  A simple whisper of “let’s go,” is an immediate response, no leash required.  Down several flights of stairs to the parking lot, to the the Scion xB, up into the back.  A quick kiss from Magic for me and my sister, Mary, and we’re off.  Eastbound on US 26, the Sunset Highway, through the clouds, drizzle, and rain of the Coastal Range.  As US 26 straightened and flattened east of the Coastal Range, the clouds were breaking up, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  Southbound on Oregon-47, through the towns of Banks, Forest Grove, Yamhill.  Why so many Sheriff’s Patrol cars lurking on side streets?

Stoller Estate was was our primary destination.  A large parking lot, a beautiful modern structure with polished concrete, glass, metal, and wood.  Their website mentioned that pets were not allowed, but stainless steel water bowls were observed on expansive outdoor seating area.  Yes, dogs are allowed – outside.  Comfortable outdoor seating included small tables with four chairs, community seating with large tables, and areas of white Adirondack chairs paired with small tables.  The seating area overlooked vineyards and an open grassy area.  Sounds of birds in “distress” were soon realized to be recordings of hawks and their “captured” prey – keeps the riff-raff out of the vineyards, I guess.

20180910_141024

Stoller Family Estates is dog-friendly.  Very large concrete patio, a lot of comfortable outdoor seating, great wines, and a very pleasant staff.

While we had another winery in mind, after departing Stoller, we ended up on Breyman Orchards Road which turned 90 degrees in front of Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge.  My sister, Mary, said, “Let’s go here!”

The atmosphere of Durant Vineyards was very different from Stoller – smaller, a bit more green, a bit more rustic, a bit more gratifying to the soul.  Durant was more about connecting with the views of the Willamette Valley and the mountains to the north.  From the comfort of Adirondack chairs on a lush lawn, there was quiet contentment, a tranquility that was enhanced by delicious wine and sampler plates.

20180910_154044

One of the owners at Durant came out to our table to interact with Magic.  Just when you thought life couldn’t get any better.

Advertisements

WESTWARD TRAVELS WITH A BORDER COLLIE

Miles pass quickly when the speed limit is 80 mph.  In spite of beginning our travels on Friday of the Labor Day weekend, traffic has been light.  No accidents have been observed.  State Troopers were not seen at all until Idaho.  As always, Magic is Mr. Steady:  Never sleeps in the car, minds his own business, no surprises, a very steady and level Border collie.

IMG_20180901_144055_762 (1)

My last visit to (famous or infamous?) Wall Drug was some 30 years past.  Sort of like a mini-amusement park now.  The patrons could be “movie extras” for zombies in “Dawn of the Dead.”  If you’re in a hurry, DO NOT enter Wall Drug…

20180901_175350

Devils Tower in Wyoming.  Looks much bigger from a distance.  A lot of hornets attracted to all of the bug scum on the front of vehicles.  $20 entry fee.

IMG_20180901_181132_379

At the WELCOME TO WYOMING Center.  Magic found the Mountain Lion sculpture very interesting.

IMG_20180901_203621_814

Gillette, Wyoming has a lot of art and sculpture.  This piece entitled “ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS,” is positioned outside the local newspaper.

20180902_191554

Built in 1901, the Northern Pacific Terminal in Missoula, Montana has been converted to private offices.  No more passenger trains come calling.  Heavy coal train and freight train traffic.

 

FROM ANTAGONIST TO TRUSTED FRIEND

Astro, a 10 month old German Shepherd Dog, moved into our complex with his family a couple a weekends ago.  As mentioned in the previous blog, Magic has been schooling Astro in the fine art of canine-to-canine respectful behavior.  Astro had been persistent in his desire to approach Magic from the rear and grab Magic on the back of his neck.  Magic would not tolerate these approaches and Magic has been just as persistent in enlightening Astro that certain behaviors are simply UNACCEPTABLE.  Magic’s mentoring has progressed from very strong messages of correction – showing teeth, growling, open mouth charges, cheek grabbing, fur pulling – to the point of detente that both canines reached this past Thursday evening;  Magic rolling on his back next to Astro and exposing his speckled tummy after a spirited session of “chase-me  chase-you” pursuit games.  The message at that point was genuine and elegant:  “You have learned your lessons and we are friends, I trust you.”

This morning, some fifteen minutes ago, Magic was sleeping at the patio slider, just the screen separating him from our large back yard area.  And who suddenly appears, with leash on, softly whimpering?  Yes, the GSD, Astro, looking for his friend and mentor, Magic.  I opened the slider and Magic shot off towards the “squirrel tree” with Astro bounding behind him, leash dragging through the wet grass.  No approaches from the rear, no attempts at grabbing Magic’s neck.  However, Astro quickly found a well-used Frisbee and kept pushing it at Magic’s face – ‘C’mon, let’s play…”

And Astro’s owner, Craig?  Craig appeared about a minute later amazed that Astro had spirited himself out of the car – and proceeded on his own – right to Magic’s place!

20180825_085245

ASTRO pleading with MAGIC:  “C’mon, let’s play.”  From mentor and pupil to good friends…

20180825_085254

When ASTRO is with MAGIC, his focus is on engaging MAGIC in play and pursuit games.

THE EMPATHIC CANINE

20171127_112426

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.

20180620_190856

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.

 

 

 

AFRAID OF STAIRS, ME? and THE INSIDE DOG

starved rock stairs2

These stairs were FUN!

Last Sunday, My Dad and I went on a SECRET MISSION to Dwight, IL, a quaint rural community in Livingston County, some 90 minutes southwest of Chicago.

“Hey Magic, remember when you were afraid of stairs and bridges?”

“I can’t hear you, I’m writing the blog, my blog…what did you say about stairs?”

“Never mind, I’m going to clean the windows on the Scion…you OK?  I’ll be outside.”

Mmmmm…why would he bring that fear of stairs up, now?  Yes, last Sunday, as I was saying, My Dad and I drove to Dwight on a SECRET MISSION to give court papers to some guy who drove a big white pick-up truck…no big deal, unless I am used as a diversion, or a lure.  Think about it…who would suspect some guy walking with an off-leash, well-behaved, Border collie.  Come to think of it, the use of an off-leash Border collie is sort of the ultimate in “social engineering.”  What person would suspect me of being a nefarious tool of deception, of entrapment, of misdirection, of trickery.  Exactly!  Well-behaved Border collies are so believable, so trustworthy, so credible.  I’m rambling.  Back to the more important part of the day’s adventure.

My Dad was a bit frustrated after our arrival in Dwight.  The white pick-up truck was at the target’s house, but no one was home.  My Dad asked me, “How about an adventure?”  Yes, of course!  As a VERY well-behaved Border collie who is an excellent traveler, I am always up for an adventure.  We had to drive about an hour and I kept a very close watch for livestock in need of discipline – cows, horses, sheep.  And when I spot these blubbering bovines, these blockhead ruminants, I alert My Dad, and he always says, “Good boy!”  And when we slow down to drive through the small towns, My Dad rolls down the rear windows.  Smelling the air, looking for dangers and staring at people in the car next to me is GREAT entertainment.  People will often roll down their windows, talk to me, ask me questions and take my picture with their phone.  “What kind of dog is that?”  Are you KIDDING?  Don’t you see the BORDER COLLIE signs on the car???

Scion Border collie mags

“Yes!  I am a Border collie!  Can’t you r-e-a-d?

ENTERING STARVED ROCK STATE PARK  –  After My Dad parked the Scion, he warned me that people have died in falls at this park, mainly because they did not stay on the marked trails.  “OK, I’ll be careful.”  And I surprised My Dad.  I was running up and down the long stairways and staircases, and across the bridges – WITHOUT HESITATION.  My Dad was amazed!  He kept asking me, “Where is your fear of stairs?  Where is your fear of bridges?”  And I was off leash.  When other hikers approached, My Dad would repeat, “He’s cool, he’s cool, he’s a good boy.”  And so it was.  I usually ignore other people, but if they talk to me, or greet me, I’ll stop, say HI!, smell them, let them pet me.  No big deal.  I really like people.

20171119_145937

No FEAR!  Stairs and bridges are no problem.  I’m a big boy.

After our hike, we stopped in Streator, IL for a (yum-yum) HAMBURGER at McDonald’s!  And upon out return to Dwight, the white truck guy was home and it was MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  Of course, while My Dad is doing his investigator-thing, I am closely watching for signs of danger, with my head out the rear window of the Scion xB.

As all of my faithful and loyal readers know, I am a neighborhood celebrity.  I have many canine and human friends. But one of my canine friends rarely comes outside.  She is never taken for a walk, not even an on-leash walk.  Her owner’s idea of “going out” is letting Jazzy (that’s her name) out of the patio sliding door ON THE END OF A LEASH.  That’s it for Jazzy’s walk – FIVE minutes or less, on the end of a leash.  Yesterday morning, My Dad and I were walking past Jazzy’s condo just as the slider opened and Jazzy came out – at the end of the leash.  I could see Jazzy’s Mom standing inside the condo, bare feet and pajamas.  Jazzy’s Mom shocked us.  She stepped outside and unhooked Jazzy so she could play with me.  I know Jazzy likes me and she went all submissive on me.  We ran around for a couple of minutes, then her Mom had to walk outside, in BARE feet, to put Jazzy on the leash.  And that was it, just TWO minutes of play with THE KING of play.  Poor Jazzy…every time I walk by her condo, I see her head in between the vertical blinds looking at me and crying.  Should I bust her out?  Mmm…I’ll discuss this as a SECRET MISSION with My Dad.  Later, Love, MAGIC.

 

 

“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!

4617

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

4616

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

4615

“Relax…I’m gentle, I got it…”

4614

“Thanks!  and yummmm…”

 

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.

3277

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.

20161130_181611

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

3061-1

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.

20161116_155718

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.

20161117_111634

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!

20161117_111649

Marketing!  Are we cute, or what?!

20161117_112028

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

20161117_112032

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.

20161027_115708

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.

2610

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.

20161101_150758

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.

20161028_150438

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.

20161029_161036

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.

20161028_130155

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.”

20161101_143331

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…

GIVING IN TO TEMPTATION and BARKING AT BOVINES

“Your characterization of me as a dog, as a BORDER COLLIE, with poor manners is a bit upsetting…that photo is inappropriate.”

“Which photo are you referring to, the chewed container or the warm turkey breast in the back of the Scion xB with you?”

“Mmmmmmph…they were both taken by you today…the event is over…the event was, like, five or six days ago…you discussed this problem with me already…this is inappropriate material for the blog -MY BLOG-  I might add…I realized I made a mistake dragging the warm turkey breast into the back of the xB…”

“You did a bit more than just drag it into the back of the Scion, and I know, you were apologetic about your actions.”

20160407_134549

Warm, savory, juicy…aromatherapy for dogs…mouth-watering, too, and very tasty!

My Dad and I were out and about last Saturday, and one of our stops was Sunset Foods for some groceries.  And while I will use the photos My Dad took today, I am using these only so that all of my loyal and faithful readers will understand that this event took place on SATURDAY – some six days ago!  For some reason, My Dad feels that my poorly thought out decision to crawl up into the front seat of the xB and  g-e-n-t-l-y  pick up the cooked, juicy ROTISSERIE turkey breast and bring to the back of the Scion requires a full disclosure – must be the investigator in him.  I am referring to this as a re-creation of the actual event – gently pick up the Sunset Foods plastic bag holding the savory, aroma-therapy of the juicy, warm turkey breast, remove the warm plastic container from the plastic bag, chew and pry the clear plastic top from the container and….VOILA!…a delicious, mouth-watering turkey breast.  And I was able to chew off and consume four corners before My Dad returned from his shopping foray at Target, or as he likes to say, “TARJHAY.”  I say, WOOF!  That turkey breast was DELICIOUS!

20160407_134607

This is only a re-creation…makes My Dad feel better…

20160407_141029

While this is the ACTUAL container I broke into, this event took place some six days ago.  The benefit for me was turkey breast mixed into my regular IAMS Natural meal.

“Don’t forget the barking-at-the-cows story.”

“Well, finally, another story that is a bit more appropriate for MY blog.”

We drive through Glenview, Illinois several times a week…My Dad used to live here…and we pass by Wagner Farms located at the northwest corner of Lake Street and Wagner Road.  Part of the allure of Wagner Farms is that it is a  working (allegedly) dairy farm – WITH COWS.  The cows stand around, watch the cars go by, the cows are moronic.  They do not have any herding dogs, of any kind, running around Wagner Farms to keep these cows, these cud-chewing bovines, in line and alert.  So as part of my never-ending job as a Border collie, a very serious herding dog, I bark-bark-bark-bark at these simpletonians, these slobbering, burbling, bovines.  I can see their ears twitch and they look around – “….uhhh…where is the Border collie….?”  Very satisfying to get that reaction.  Time for a nap.  I played with Kaya and Erin today.  Later…….MAGIC.