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Category Archives: Dog Tails

Two Border Collies and a Frisbee

Last weekend we had a very special guest. (An)Gus is a local celebrity, the coolest dog in our little Mayberry-esque town. He’s a Border Collie, super-duper well-trained and fun to be around. Gus stalks his front yard and waits for unsuspecting folks to attempt a walk-by. Little do they know he will charm them with his powers of persuasion and they will be playing Frisbee or tossing a tennis ball for hours.

O Hai! I can haz Frisbee?

Border Collies are naturally smart, happy and entertaining dogs. They LIVE to work. Running and catching and doing and playing are all they really care about. Sleep? BAH! For the weak! I dare you to try to walk by a Border Collie and not get fished in by their charm. But don’t be fooled, they are as devious and cunning as they are lovable charming. So buyer beware. They aren’t a goldens, yo, and really need a special family. One that can keep up with the constant demand for attention and exercise.

O Hai! We Haz Frisbee!

Anywho, back to Gus. I was thrilled when his owner, my neighbor, asked me to sit him over the weekend while they attended a family wedding out of town. And my weekend looked like this:

Walk two border collies
Throw Frisbee with right hand, tennis ball with left hand
Walk two border collies
Throw Frisbee with left hand and tennis ball with right hand while kicking Hol-ee-roller
Walk two border collies and the lab who finally woke up for the day
Throw Frisbee, tennis ball, rope toy AND kick ball, nearly simultaneously
lather, rinse, repeat.

morefrisbeemorefrisbesmorefrisbeeeeeeee

Seriously, it was one heckuva fun weekend. It was like having two Daisies at my house. Except one had three feet and one four. And now I know why I ended up with a lab who doesn’t move. One Border Collie is all I need for now( Or can keep up with, since I get about eight hours of sleep. Per week). And Daisy’s birth family, my cousins, have three.

Keep them in your thoughts.

O Hai! I Can Haz Blog Nao?

Did you miss me? Missed me. I have decided I need to keep this dog blog thing going so forgive my, um, nine month absence. I have had one heckuva life since the last post. Like, sick parents, a deceased parent, kids having massive behavioral issues, surgery to remove polyps. You know, the usual everyday stuffs. Anywho. Back to doggies:

I like dogs more than most people.

No! Really! I like kids more than grow ups, too. Let’s just say my social skills are stellar. I have rarely met a dog who didn’t see me and go all OH MAH GAHHHHH ILOVEYOUILOVEYOUILOVEYOU. I seem to have that effect on kids and dogs. Maybe because I act like a teenager? And dress like one?

And smell good to a dog?

Ahem.

After a few months off, dog season is back in full swing. The first holiday weekend since Christmas and everyone and their uncle has gone away. Except for us, because our Bugaboo doesn’t do new and different so we stay home and do same-same. I have a few regulars that come often for quick jaunts to the shore or a weekend to see family that isn’t so dog-loving. it’s nice, easy money. Except when it rains.

Guess what the forecast was ALL WEEKEND?

*Sob*

I am totally not mopping, y’all. If you come over, wear shoes and grubby clothes because its going to be the first mudfest of 2012. Unseasonably warm winter weather creates havoc in the form of mud. It ain’t gonna be pretty. And naturally all three guest doggies are ginormous. All three of them are also light-colored. Really light-colored. At least with Bristol you can’t SEE the mud, AMIRIGHT???

So who did we have with us?

Ella, part tank, part lab.

Ella, the Yellow Lab. She’s built like a tank and once knocked me on my arse. Literally. Feet in the air, gymnastics, stuff flying out of my arms. I am soooo graceful!

Here's Zane sitting behind my brother's dog, Bruno. Looking a little perplexed.

Zane the Collie, also known as Zanye (rhymes with Kanye) or Zanelander. Ever see Zoolander? Zhe had problems turning left in the movie? Well, Zane is a teensy bit uncoordinated. He got the moniker “Zoolander” due to the fact that when I walk him he tends to go on the wrong side of trees, poles and other permanently placed objects and can’t seem to navigate around them. The first time I walked him he got stuck to the right of a pole and couldn’t seem to figure out how to turn left to get on the correct side on the sidewalk with me. I nearly died laughing. Also? Since he doesn’t go upstairs at his house he couldn’t navigate stairs. Until recently. One day I came back from an appointment and called him and called him to let him out with my girls and I finally noticed him peeking around the corner down the stairs at me. He was stuck. And a little embarrassed. But we love him, he’s goofy and sweet and loves my girls. Even if he did walk into my sliding door. On more than one occasion.

Jasper, the big, giant, huge (did I mention large?) Teddy Bear.

Jasper is a golden doodle? Yellowlabradoodle? Dunno. One of those. Anyways, I have watched many doodle/oodle/noodle dogs and they are usually a little high-strung and goofy. Not Jasper. MELLOW. Sweet, laid back, obedient…I could go on. The quintessential dog at your feet. HS like a big teddy bear. And except for the fact that he likes to hump pillows (don’t ask) and once ate one of my throw pillows and left five pounds of down all over my yard, he’s pretty much the perfect dog. Do you know how difficult it isn’t clean up down from a lawn? I do.

And of course I have my own goofy duo.  Turns out it didn’t rain all weekend, we spent 99% of it outside and the dogs were happy (and tired) and my floors are much better for it. SCORE.

And there you have it. I’m back.

 

Dog Days of Summer

This summer, while lucrative, has also been very busy.  Dogsitting has been in full swing since Memorial Day and shows no sign of stopping before Labor Day.  I’m loving the extra money (because money is fun and stuff) but the truth is, I’m glad it is nearly over.  I’ll have the occasional guest come fall and holidays, but for the most part will be done with the dog chaos until next summer.  This is what my summer has been like so far:

GingerSandyLokiWhiteGingerZaneOllieBellaSandyOllieLokiSummerSimon

BuddyTheoSimonBuddySandyOllieLokiCaseyBrunoCujoMarleyRudyCocoa

OllieSandyZaneTheoGeorgeChaseJasperOllie

And the rest of the summer will be:

GinaWhiteGingerSandyGinaBanker

We’re coming down the home stretch.  Unfortunately, my camera has been under the weather and I didn’t get pictures of Cocoa (puggle,awesome except for the humping), Marley (chocolate lab. What can I say?  She was your typical lab) and Rudy (some kind of yappy Yorkie mix but mellow and sweet).   The good news is I have a few pictures of newer dogs, like Jasper (Goldendoodle, just about the sweetest and quietest dog ever):

And Chase:

But the real reason I’m telling y’all this is because this summer makes having a certain awesome puppy around, well, AWESOME.  We brought her home Sunday and we’re in love.  Bristol loves her, too. In fact, Bristol mothers her, snuggles with her and tries to carry her around the house like a mommy carries a puppy.  It’s too sweet.  Anyways, meet our newest addition, Daisy:

She’s a Border Collie that’s about twelve weeks old, sweet and sassy and totally holds her own around here, despite only having three feet.  We’ve ordered a bright pink puppy shoe for her (when she is full grown we will get her measured for a special prosthetic-like shoe) so she can be the envy of all the female canines on the block.  We’re so smitten with her. Really.

A Sucker For Hard-Luck Cases

So.

I’m going to be bringing home a new addition to our family. One with four legs and fur, that is.  And no, it’s not a cat.  It’s a dog.  A Border Collie. And her name will most likely be Daisy.  I think.  Because that’s what we’re calling her.

She’s a puppy. Wanna see her?

I Can Haz Doggies, Plz?

My new baby, Daisy

I’m also a little crazy.  See, Our Beloved Shad Roe the Wonderdog just passed three weeks ago (barely) and I’m just now not crying every time I walk by her favorite spot in the house.  I still have a lump in my throat when I think about her but at least I don’t start sobbing.  I’d say it’s a step in the right direction, right?

Anyways, puppy.  The little girl up there just happens to have a special need.  See, she was born breech and puppies should be born breech. So her Mommy dog tried to pull her out. With her mouth. And kinda sorta hurt her wee paw and it got infected and…you don’t want to know. So she doesn’t have toes on that wee little back paw of hers.  Poor baby!

But that doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, it makes me want her more.  So my cousin (who owns the dog) is letting me have her.  Well, sorta my cousin.  It’s my Dad’s first cousin’s son.  So we’re second cousins or third cousins or twice removed or blah, blah, blah.  Cousins.

I think she’ll be perfect for our family.  And we’ll love on her something fierce.  Because doggies here? PAMPERED.  They all know it, too.  I have a few dog guests that hide from their owners when they get picked up.  My puppers don’t know how good they have it, yo.

And the countdown to Daisy begins…

Raining Cats and Dogs

After a nearly three-week drought in my area we have finally hit that typical Philly summer weather.  The three aitches – Hazy, Hot and Humid.  Ugh.  It’s so humid you shower and walk outside and you are damp again. It’s grooooossssss.  Add the daily thunderstorms and it’s hot. DAMN HOT. We have that heat index phenomenon here and it feels five degrees higher than it is.

Which translates to hot doggies.  Get it?  HOT DOGS?  HAHAHA!

HA.  ha?

Anyways.

I get the sprinkler and baby pool out for the dogs. Because I buy sprinklers and baby pools for? THE DOGS.  Yes, it’s true. I buy my dog more toys and crap than I buy for my kids. This should come as no surprise to you since I’ve already revealed that I like dogs more than people. This may or may not be the reason I have difficulty with social skills. Just sayin’.

The past few weeks I’ve had many dog visitors.  One of them was (is, he’ll be back)Loki, Norse god of mischief.  He’s sweet. He also likes our rubber chicken and “kills” it daily, drowns it in the pool and tries to break its neck.  I love nature.  He’ll be back this weekend to kill more “ducks” and to protect us from the eeeviiilllll birds that inhabit our yard.

Loki, god of Mischief

We’ve had Ginger, the Dog that could escape from Alcatraz, back with us.  Except this time?  NO ESCAPES. Ha. HAHAHA.  Got your number, Ginger!  I finally figured out how to contain her. Until the next time she learns a new way to chew apart a chain-link fence.  Now, according to her owners, she can CLIMB THE FENCE. Old dogs aren’t supposed to do this, Ginger. Stop it.

Ginger, stop it.

We’ve had “The Beagles” come and stay with us.  Simon and Buddy are sweet, sweeeeet, sweeeeeeeeet dogs. They snuggle, beg for belly rubs, curl up and keep us warm.  Which is useful in ninety degree heat.  But they are lovey dovey, just like every beagle I have ever owner or dog-sat.  The problem?  HAVE YOU HEARD BEAGLES?  They don’t bark. They don’t whine. They do, however, alert us to every leaf that falls off of every tree. They let us know when a bug is flying by. They warn us that teenagers are approaching on bikes and scooters.  And, AND!  If a baby goes by in a stroller?  ALERT!  ALERT!  ALERT!

(pretend there is a picture here until the battery on my camera charges, will you?  kthxbai!)

Summer, another older doggie, came to see us again.  She’s a shep mix of some sort and was last here back in November around Thanksgiving.  She had a two week stay with Bristol and Shadow and is still recuperating.   Summer is neighbors with the beagles so they had an all-weekend dog party.  Good fun! Summer is one sweet doggy and super-well-behaved so she can pretty much come back whenever she wants.  Especially since Bristol LERVES her.

Summah Time.

We also had a Golden Doodle visit us. Theo is a nice doggy who loves to romp and play with Bristol. He runs and runs and runs. And then runs some more.  And is a bit demanding with his princely self. Like, must have ice cubes in his highness’ bowl.  And must have freshly chopped vegetables dropped to him on a regular basis.  He is like a giant teddy bear and is sort of woolly like a sheep. Oh, and he cannot be alone for five seconds because!  He might be lonely for five seconds!   And.  He has this problem with, ahem,mounting absolutely every dog that comes to my house.  Yes, even the males.  Dominance.  It’s what’s for dinner.

Theo the Doodle Oodle Oodle.

And our all-time favorite frequent visitor, Sandy, is back for two weeks. Poor Sandy came in and started looking for her good Buddy Shadow.  Gulp.  Gosh, I miss my dog!  Anyways, Sandy and Shadow frequently slept butt-cheek-to-butt-cheek.  Now Sandy sighs and sniffs around for her. Which makes me sad. But Sandy still chases Bristol in the yard and gives the best hugs, hands down.  Which is why we love her.

Best friends.

So, it has literally been raining cats and dogs here. Well, just dogs. Because we don’t have cats. Except for my neighbours’ cat that sits at my front door (which I often leave open for the doggies to watch the world and protect us from evil flies) and torments the dogs. She literally sits there, pawing at the door, begging to come in.  And scares the heck out of the dogs. Silly dogs! You could eat her for dinner!

The next two weeks will bring dog after dog after dog after dog.  I should be pretty busy.  I’ll attempt to take pictures.  In between vacuuming up buckets of dog hair, scooping up the poo in my backyard and throwing tennis balls.

Girl’s Best Friend

Today was one of the toughest days I’ve ever had. Today I had to say goodbye to my cherished pet, Shadow.

Shad Roe, best doggy friend ever.

Shad Roe had it rough in the beginning. She and her litter mates were found in the trash in a horrible neighborhood in the city. She had worms, fleas, ticks, you name it. Girlfriend was SICK.  When we found her in the pound that Monday evening (We just went to look, honest!) we couldn’t resist that gorgeous, fuzzy baby.  She had ears that were half  up and half down, a white spot on her chin and longish hair.  She licked The Man’s face and the rest is history. For $45 we brought her home.  Where she proceeded to puke all over me.  Turns out she was never a big fan of the car.

She went three days without a name.  We didn’t want one of those, “She’s a black dog so we have to name her ______.” kind of names. But she followed us everywhere. Couldn’t be alone for a tenth of a second.  So Shadow it became.  Totally fitting.

Shadow cost us thousands in vet bills over the years.  She was a bit, let’s say, dramatic. She cried and whined every time we took her to the vet, even if it was to weigh her and check her temp. Seriously? She was HIGH MAINTENANCE.  We called her our autistic dog because she was anxious and ritualistic.  Basically she fit right in around here.Being mostly Border Collie (we think) she had to “do” things constantly.  She needed jobs. We taught her tons of stoopid pet tricks and did the throw-ball-constantly-thing in the yard.  Dog sitting helped keep her busy, otherwise she’d chew up tissues. Or the toilet paper. Or nudge open the cabinet with the lazy susan and steal beef jerky. Or put her paw on the trash can foot pedal and help herself to the contents.  Or just take whatever was on the table, including, one time, a whole stick of butter.

Which resulted in a vet trip. Sheesh.

She loved swimming in lakes but hated taking baths.  She could spell so we had to talk in pig latin. Then she’d learn that.  She hated the car. She loved eating melons.  She pouted if we left but was as happy to see us if we were gone for nine minutes as she would be if we were gone for nine hours.  She never though I looked fat, always agreed with me, didn’t talk back or argue. She was always there.

Best Doggy EVER.

Towards the end it got bad.  Two years of fighting kidney failure and pancreatitis.  A discovered tumor lead to blood work which indicated cancer.  The very end was very quick.  She just slept all day, barely ate (even if I put gravy on it. Even if I fed her the puppy’s food) and just wasn’t herself.  When she lost bowel function we knew it was coming.  But this morning?   When she wouldn’t even go outside?  We just knew. She was telling us she was done and it was her time to go.

My Bug Boy took it better than I thought. He knew I was taking her and when we arrived home (he was at music lessons when I took her) he went to our Bristol and took her outside to “explain everything.”  It was so sweet listening to him tell her that Shadow was gone and that she was happy now. He’s one heck of a kid, I’m telling you.

Three hours later and a vial of blue juice and it was all over.  She was sedated and slept in my lap while they administered the dose that would allow her to slumber forever.  I whispered in her ears that she could eat all of the gardens she wanted now, that there were plenty of rabbits and hundreds of mailmen with treats waiting for her.  It was peaceful. She wasn’t in any pain anymore.

But Golly Ned it hurts. It hurts worse than I  could have imagined.

Designer Doggies

My little not-a-business is in full swing until Labor Day. I’ve literally booked all summer, every single week and day.  There are a few days here and there I could have an extra, older, well-behaved dog (like Sandy) join us but then there are weeks I cannot take another animal because I know they will NOT get along.

Some of the dogs I watch?  Their owners don’t always have previous pet experience. Meaning, this is the first pet they’ve had their entire lives. Some of them did extensive research before purchasing a pet from a reputable breeder. They had reasons for wanting the breeds they selected.  Some of them didn’t know better and purchased at a pet store (BAAAAAAAD!  BAAAAAAAAD!), not realizing that the majority of them get pets from horrific puppy mills. PA is full of them. I’m so proud.

Anyways, the majority of the dogs I watch are mixed breeds. Some come from shelters, some are deliberately bred this way.  In other words, designer dogs.  Like, someone said, “I’d like less shedding, but with the cuteness of a Golden Retriever!”  and the Goldendoodle was born.  Labradoodles (Labrador Retriever/Poodle crosses)have actually been bred for hundreds of years, starting in Australia.

Now, Poodles are NOT my favorite breed. I will come right out and say it. Poodle crosses?  More than tolerable. In fact, I almost don’t notice the poodle in them, except for the gorgeous, curly, soft hair they have. And sometimes the coloring.  Take Bella, for instance.  She is a Cockapoo.  Cockapoos and Cocker spaniels are known for submissive peeing. Like, they get so excited they whiz everywhere.  Every single Cocker and mix I’ve ever come across has done it.  They’ve peed on my floor and on my feet. It’s so much fun. Anyways, Bella is a pee-er, too. She’s so excited to be here to play that she turtles, turns to her back and begs for a belly rub, while peeing all over.  In fact, she was here last weekend and I was lucky enough that I met her on the sidewalk when she arrived. Meaning she missed my feet!  WOOO!  SCORE!

Bella takes a Breather from Bristol

Last week I had Bella and another friend’s dog, a schnauzer-poodle mix.  A Schnoodle. Can you say that ten times fast?  Anyway, Ollie is a sweet, calm, gentle doggy. He’s also snuggly and spoiled, but that’s how we like ’em around here.  He and Bella are good friends (since their owners are also good friends and were camping together last weekend).  Ollie, Bella and Bristol had a blast last week.  They pretty much ran around and played the entire weekend.  It was a three-dog party, yo.  The fourth dog (Shadow) had a bit of a hangover and wasn’t in the party mood.

Par-tay time

Ollie kinda hung out on the sidelines, mostly.  Which is fine, because it gave me time to get his picture a few times.  Bella and Bristol spend the whole stinking time wrestling so I can’t get a decent shot. Unless you think decent is blurry.

See? CUTE. Reason #63 why I love my job.

Lately I’ve seen advertisements for cockapoos, malti-poos, labradoodles, golden doodles, shi-poos, yorki poos, puggle (beagle pug mixes) and the list goes on.  And the best part?  The breeders charge nearly as much as they’d charge for a pure-bred dog, mostly because the parents of these litters are registered.  Like, $800.  And I have to admit, I almost purchased a labradoodle last year because I fell in love with them because they are so freaking cute.  But then I remembered how many thousands of dogs are euthanized in shelters every year and couldn’t bring myself to do it (and besides, $1,000 for a dog seemed a bit much to me).  rescues are the way to go.

In my research I did come across some Border Collie and Lab breeders. Now, Border Collies are HANDS DOWN my favorite breed. Ever.  Favoritest and Mostest.  The husband likes Bernies but me?  MUST HAVE BORDER COLLIES.  Anyways, while poking around (I’d never purchase one, not when they have a hundred dogs in a Border Collie Rescue in Maryland) I came across a local guy who breeds Border Collies and Black Labs together.  Like Shadow!  Only on purpose, and I’m sure he doesn’t throw litters of ten dogs in the trash like Shadow’s owners did.  Except this guy charges a few hundred bucks a pop and calls them, “Bordadors.”  Can you imagine?  SHADOW IS A DESIGNER DOG!  Who knew? And I got her for a bargain $45 nearly eleven years ago.  GO ME! This way I’ve got all the neurotic routine needs and OCD of  Border Collie with the insane friendliness of a Lab.  Best of both worlds, really.  And we didn’t know we were adopting a designer dog.  Go figure!