WRIGLEY FIELD -and- BORDER COLLIE EXPLOITS WITH THE POINTY-PRICK (EARS) SQUAD

As my loyal and faithful followers know, I go EVERYWHERE with My Dad.  I have a reputation as an “autonomous” Border collie…I know what is about to happen, and I act accordingly.  Going bye-bye in the car means I walk out of the apartment, right to the Scion xB, My Dad opens the rear driver’s side door and I hop up.  Automatic.  I know what is going on.  I don’t have to instructed or commanded to accomplish the normal, simple, routine parts of life.  I get it.  When My Dad is out on his assignments as a private investigator, I watch everything.  I alert him to cars too close to the Scion xB, to strangers approaching the car, to Canada geese, to most canines.  And My Dad always says, “Good boy.”  I like to be told I am a “good boy.”  Allow me to bring you up to date on my adventures with my life, friends, and special interests.

In March, My Dad and I took six hours of additional training with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy (RAAT) and I passed their registry test…easy stuff.

In April, My Dad spent a couple of hours with Kenosha County, WI Sheriff’s Department investigators on a confidential matter.  We then stopped at the Kenosha County Airport for a photo-op near an Antonov AN-2.

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HR-ARK, an Antonov AN-2 single engine Soviet built plane.  Production of this type started in, get this, 1946!  This one looks a bit forlorn with a ragged vertical stabilizer and tires sinking into the turf.

During a foray to downtown Chicago, My Dad made me pose in front of the “honorary” Armenian Consulate located in an exotic rug shop…really!20180322_131836

On the way back to the Scion xB, a quick photo-op at the FAMOUS Gene & Georgetti Restaurant.  Best steaks in the City.  Unfortunately, we did not stop for a meal…

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This past weekend, we (My Dad and I working together) were investigating a  creep-o-zoid who lived in Uptown, around Wilson and Broadway.  After we finished our inquiries, we drove south to the Wrigley Field area for some additional visits and photo-ops.

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An example of, “it’s not always the dog who is photo-bombing.”

For the Cubs being in St. Louis (getting swept) this weekend, there was A LOT of activity going on at Wrigley.  Restaurants were busy, the Wrigley Run had just finished up, and many dogs were out with their owners, like I care.  Ian, one of the Wrigley Field Security dudes, wanted to pet me, and My Dad turned it into a photo-op.

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“Hey, Ian, it’s me, MAGIC!  What’s happenin’???  Am I photogenic, or what?

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The MUSIC BOX Theater opened in 1929.  An integral part of the busy and thriving Southport Avenue commercial district several blocks west of Wrigley Field.

I had some friends over in my spacious back-yard for some play time, bitey-face, chase me-chase you, and dust-ups.

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The Pointy-Prick squad…ears that is.  CASH, an ACD mix is in the foreground.  OZZIE, who looks like a chocolate lab in a German Shepherd body and head is to my right.  Tongues hangin’ out means everyone is having a good time!

AFRAID OF STAIRS, ME? and THE INSIDE DOG

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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???

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“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.

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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.

 

 

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.

 

Off leash with the Red Fox

My first home with my Dad was on Central Road, in the town where my Dad grew up.  This home was on the public golf course.  The grass, shrubs, trees, ponds, fairways and greens were like our private estate.  The land baron and his trusted Border collie patrolling, wandering and exploring.  Early mornings, dusk and before-bed evenings were wondrous times of freedom and discovery for an off-leash Border collie.  Yes, off-leash.  OK, let me bring you up to speed on this concept of a leash…on-leash and off-leash.  I’ve mentioned this earlier.  My breed, BORDER COLLIE, has a reputation for intelligence, for paying attention, for knowing what to do – automatic, self-regulating, instinctive, unforced.  Yes, it is pretty cool…and until a human experiences this aspect of my breed…sorry, I’m babbling.  My Dad saw that I had this ability to respond quickly, well, let’s say immediately, to the slightest cues – a subtle whistle, a hand signal, perhaps just a look.  I always like to be in the lead – first out the door, leading the way, on the lookout for danger, for grizzly bears, clearing the way.

Mid-September is a wondrous time of the year.  The air is starting to transform, the sun is low, shadows are long.  There is a cooling, a hint of change, of what is to come.  The after dinner rounds of the estate, a mist, ethereal, above the damp grasses.  The sun is below the trees, below the horizon, dusk approaches.  I am in the lead.  Every few moments I look back, check-in with my Dad, we make eye contact.  A subtle whistle, “this way,”  “wait.”  I am paying attention – always.  West for awhile, north for awhile, then a gradual course change to the east, along the edge of a fairway.  Bunkers, bushes, thickets, hazards, all require an examination.   We’re not alone, we’re being shadowed.  A determined trot, silently approaching from behind, footsteps on our footsteps.  My Dad notices my interest.  “Wait.”  Now facing west, I take a seat on a damp green.  She approaches with caution but also with an obvious interest, a red fox. She is a bit timid, but there is no fear.  She is interested in me.  She approaches within an inch of my tail, to smell, to examine.  I do not move.  She has no fear of me, I have no fear of her.  She lays down on the putting green and eye-to-eye, she rolls onto her back.  A pink tummy.  I thinks she’s trying to impress me, make friends.  My Dad is watching this very unexpected meeting of the so-called wild with the so-called domesticated.  While she is orange-red and I am mostly white with black, tan and gray markings, our alike-ness and similarities cannot be denied.  Life is about moments like these.