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

 

 

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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

 

 

 

WHITE TIPPED TAILS AT PRAIRIE WOLF DOG PARK

GIBBSY was here today.  She was too busy playing with a stick to play with me.

GIBBSY was here today. She was too busy playing with a stick to play with me.

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My Dad forgot his gloves for our trip to Prairie Wolf, but he had his hat, three coats and the camera.  And I know what the Dog Park is…I didn’t know how wonderful the Dog Park could be the first couple of time we were there…but I know now!  And Gibbsy was at the Dog Park with her Mom!  I said HI! to Gibbsy but she was carrying a big stick around and wasn’t too interested in me.  And then I met my play-fighting buddy for this visit – KIP.  Kip and I are both one year old.  Kip’s Mom said he was half Border collie and half English Shepherd – like I cared.  Kip sometimes got into tussles with other dogs, but he and I got along just fine, he was a very good play-fighter.  Kip was picking on Gibbsy and Smoky had to come over and get between them.  Smoky was very talkative, especially when My Dad scratched his back.   Smoky’s Mom said that he was half German Shepherd dog and half Golden Retriever – but he was all black, a very handsome guy.

Kip was picking on Gibbsy....until....

Kip was picking on Gibbsy….until….

...the rather large (and vocal) Smoky stepped into the dust-up.  Kip decided it was time to play with me.

…the rather large (and vocal) Smoky stepped into the dust-up. Kip decided it was time to play with me.

Kip told me that he was adopted as a puppy.  He used to live in Green Bay, WI.  I told him I was found as a stray in Quincy, IL and how very good the garbage was there.

Hey, KIP!  Look out behind you!

Hey, KIP! Look out behind you!

Moving into the correct positions before play-fighting is a very important part of the porcess!

Moving into the correct positions before play-fighting is a very important part of the process!

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Get that tongue back in your mouth!

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This is Smoky...he  was a big guy but sort of a baby...he was fun to play with, too!

This is Smoky…he was a big guy but sort of a baby…he was fun to play with, too!

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THE RETURN HOME

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“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

DOGS OF THE OREGON COAST (LIKE I CARE)

My Dad wanted to take over my writing duties so he could write about his vacation out in Oregon.  Think again.  You tell me what happened and I’ll write the story.  I’m sure you have better things to do.  Blah-blah-blah.  That took all of five minutes, sounds like you had a great trip.  But what is with all the dogs?  You’re out of town for five days and I am left at home with Uncle Ed and you forget all about me?  OK, OK…I’ll write the story.  I think the Scion xB is dirty, this is probably a good time to go out and wash it.

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This is JACK.  A traditional black & white Border collie.  This photo was taken in the parking area at the Mount Neahkahnie overlook, also known by My Dad and his sister, Mary, as “Tingle Town” because of the sheer cliff wall adjacent to the parking area.  JACK does not bark in the car.  His Mom and Dad had “Just Married” painted on the windows of their Subaru.  Jack was amenable to petting from My Dad.

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This is ZIG-ZAG, a blue merle/blue-eyed Aussie who was with his Mom and Dad outside the food market in downtown Cannon Beach.  He let My Dad pet him but he was VERY attached to his Dad, a USMC veteran who had served in Vietnam.007

This is ALLIE (I think).  She is a black & white Border collie who was VERY fixated on her Frisbee – GO FIGURE!  My Dad said that he threw the Frisbee to ALLIE four or five times…she is a very good catch (GO FIGURE).  That is Haystack Rock in the background.  Gorgeous weather for Cannon Beach…very sunny and warm.

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This gorgeous girl was waiting for her Dad to finish his business at the Post Office in Seaside, OR.  My Dad thinks her name is ALLIE, too.  She was VERY focused on what her Dad was doing in the Post Office.

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This gorgeous girl is another blue-merle Aussie who was walking Short Sand Beach with her Mom.  My Dad, the wizard that he is, forgot her name.  She was not too keen on My Dad petting her.

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Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

These are three images from Falcon Cove, just south of the Arch Cape Area.  The top view is looking to the south, the bottom view is looking to the north.  My Dad and his sister were there for two hours and saw four people.  The bottom image is of the beach at Falcon Cove during high tide. millions of smooth disc-shaped black basalt rocks.  My Dad mentioned something about the location of the beach at Falcon Cove being a SECRET.

YOUNGER DAYS…

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