Volt Rides Out

Cochise, on
Cochise tells the tale

Last night we had a party with special treats and we all talked about what a good boy Volt is. Blondie and I knew what was going on, we’ve seen this several dozen times now. Often it’s no big deal, at least not to me. I’m stoic. But once in a while saying “good-bye” is hard … even for me.

Volt, of course had no clue. He was just happy to get special treats and have so much attention paid to him. I explained it to him after everyone went to bed.

When we got up this morning, Volt went into the den for some morning lovies from HairyFace. Nothing unusual about that. But when Volt reached way up and licked Hairy’s face and neck, that was unusual: Volt’s not a real kissy-guy. Hairy thought he was saying good-bye, but I knew he was saying, “Don’t send me away; this is my home. I like it here.” So I had another chat with him.

It’s harder for him to understand because he’s been here so long. He’s gotten settled.

Volt’s Farewell Party

Cochise, on
Cochise tells the tale

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 was our final evening to spend with our buddy Volt. He’s been with us since January, and has become a regular member of the family. And it’s been a pleasure to get to know him: he is a true Southern Gentleman … err, dog. In the morning HairyFace will take him to The Shelter for his physical and preparations to ride the Rolling Rescue van.

He’s headed for Fur Friends in Need, a rescue in Pennsylvania. Or Staten Island, or both … I’m still a little confused by all that. But it is our understanding that he will go directly into another foster home situation while they find him a forever home. That’s good: it would just crush Volt to be put back into a kennel.

But for this evening, NiceLady bought is a package of toasted beef trachea. They were crunchy, all natural, and quite tasty. Everyone got to join in, too. In their own way.

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Volt’s Ticket to Ride

Cochise tells the tale

We received word last night that Volt has his ticket to ride the Rolling Rescue bus on Friday June 24th. Now we begin that bittersweet process of saying goodbye and congratulating him on moving to the next step toward finding a forever home of his own.

Volt has been with us since January, six months is a longer time than normal. He has come to think of this as his home and us as his family. But we know that Meryl will welcome him into hers and ease his transition. Hopefully he will find a permanent home quickly. He’s a really good boy and deserves that.

When I told him he was going to Pennsylvania on The Bus, he said, “WHAT!? I don’t want to go there … I saw a movie and that’s where vampires live! I don’t want to live with vampires, they’re even worse than mosquitoes.”

“Vampires? No, no, no: that’s TRANSylvania. That’s a whole different place. You’re headed for Pennsylvania — that’s where they make pencils, not vampires.”

“Oh! That’s different then. Will I like it there?”

“You’ll love it. It’s just like here except different. You will be living in a house and will have other dogs to hang with and Meryl will treat you well and help you find a forever family of your very own.”

“Thinking about leaving you and Blondie and Doug and Marie makes me sad.”

“Yeah … it makes us sad too. But you deserve to have a forever home of your very own. We can’t adopt every dog we fall in love with. We just can’t.”

Then we lay down and took a nap together so we wouldn’t cry. It isn’t becoming for Guardians of the Realm to cry.

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When Dogs Welcome Us Home

The dogtor is in

One of the great things about dogs is the way the dogs welcome us home. It’s always a celebration. It makes us feel great to know someone is so happy to see us again — even though we may have been gone only an hour.

I cannot speak about goats, horses, cows, sheep, pigs, lemurs, guinea pigs, rabbits, or ducks – I’ve never had those as pets. I had cats once, and for the most part their reaction to our return was, “Oh, were you gone? When are you going to feed me?”

When the dogs welcome us home, it is always with enthusiastic glee.

Volt Earns a Table Manners Gold Star

We’ve been teaching Volt that table manners are important for any dog who doesn’t want to eat every meal in his crate. Last night at dinner Volt was again allowed to dine with the rest of us (he’s learning this bit REALLY fast).

table manners
I’ve finished my kibbles, I’ve licked out my bowl, licked my blanket, licked the floor, licked my bowl again (just to be sure I didn’t miss any) … what’s next? Why, HairyFace: you’ve barely even started on yours!
table manners
That looks really tasty, Hairy, I’d be happy to help you with that. But since you did not offer it I will just sit here and be a good boy … if you think you need to eat ALL that food all by yourself.

When he finished his bowl he sat and watched for a bit (hoping the Peoples would share their food with him) then wandered off to find a cozy place to nap. GOLD STAR!

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Yard Work Crew

Cochise tells the tale

It’s Tuesday. That’s yard work day. Not that it’s some sort of law or anything, we could do yard work any day. Saturday, for instance tends to be another day that is often consumed by yard work. But Tuesdays, somehow, generally do end up being yard work days.

It’s a nice day. It hasn’t rained for a couple of days, but there is a little overcast to break up the sun, it’s not too hot, and a breeze is blowing. A good day to be outside.

Cochise & Volt monitor progressVolt and I took up station inside one of the garden bed blocks. We were safe here from string trimmers, mowers and the cuttings these things toss around. We could see what’s going on, and enjoy being outdoors for a while.

Blondie in Equipment BarnBlondie Bear was pretending to be the Equipment Manager. She prefers the cool of the barn (she has a much heavier coat than Volt or I do). But she can still see and is safe from flying plant bits. She also likes to be more directly involved, so being where HairyFace goes to trade out (or refuel) pieces of equipment keeps her central to the operation.

Jasper watchingJasper was out on his tether early in the process, while Hairy was string trimming around things, but when the mowers started to roll, HairyFace insisted he go back inside his pen – for safety’s sake.

When HairyFace first went to get Jasper out, and had the tether in his hand, Jasper ducked his head and looked up through his eyebrows at Hairy saying, “I don’t need that: I’m a GOOD boy now.” When Hairy goes out to give Jasper a play session and will be giving all his attention to Jasper, he gets to run free (no tether). But while HairyFace has to focus on cleaning up the pen and changing out his water, Jasper gets tethered to a tree, giving him a 20 foot radius to play in while Hairy works. Previously, Hairy would then unhook the tether from the tree and let Jasper drag it around the yard. That was like tying him to the ground and he never made any attempt to climb the play yard fence.

HairyFace spent most of the day mowing and trimming. He took a break now and then to go in, rest up and get a drink. We have water bowls outside and can drink any time we want. Hairy could use them if he wanted, we wouldn’t mind, but he refuses. Well, that’s his choice.

We don’t mind going inside though: it’s usually cooler in the house – unless Hairy has done a bad job of window management and allowed hot air to be sucked inside. In our house, if you allow it to get hot, it just stays hot until evening when everything cools off.

So the yards are mowed – except for the High Yard (aka Copperhead County): he didn’t do that one this time – everything looks nice, and we’re ready to settle in for an evening of rest. It sure is tiring watching our friend work all day! But the results are nice.

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Triple Dog Trash Run

Cochise, trash run
Cochise tells the tale

Every Saturday morning, Blondie and I accompany HairyFace on the weekly trash run to the Convenience Center to dispose of recyclables and household rubbish. It’s something we always look forward to and get excited about. Volt has not been able to go with us because there is only so much room inside the little extended cab S10 pickup that Hairy uses to haul trash (and dogs). NiceLady tries to distract him with a treat and attention as we load up and pull out, but Volt often cries and bays his disappointment. When we get back, he meets Hairy at the door and prances around, “My turn, my turn, take me for a ride now.” Sometimes Hairy has business in town and will take Volt with him as he heads that direction.

The Copperhead Country Expedition

Cochise tells the tale

There is a buffer zone between our “yard” and the tree line above the yard.  HairyFace calls that buffer zone ‘Copperhead Country’ because he is more likely to encounter copperhead snake coiledCopperheads (and other snakes) here than anywhere else; other than up in the virgin forest. This area is sloping, has a few scattered trees, the ground is covered with dead leaves (Copperheads like dead leaves because their coloring provides the perfect camouflage), and fallen branches. The ground is littered with big rocks, boulders and outcroppings. All make a great playground for snakes.

One afternoon HairyFace announced that he was headed up into Copperhead Country to do some bush-whacking. That’s like weed whacking, but includes saplings and honeysuckle vines along with large weeds. I told him he needed to stay as far away from snakes as possible. I was once bitten, repeatedly, by a Copperhead and spend a day in the doggy hospital and many weeks of recovery. It’s not fun, it is best to just stay away from them!

Sharing the Coolaroo

Cochise tells the tale

NiceLady bought us an outdoor dog bed called a Coolaroo. It’s kind of like a miniature trampoline except without the springs. We all like it.

This morning HairyFace went out to exercise Jasper. Jasper is a foster dog who is here for Behavior Modification: he was pretty wild. He’s doing better. He has been a total jerk toward Blondie Bear, though. She invites him to play, but he just wants to mount her. He has been neutered, but I guess old habits die hard for some. Blondie tells him off and gives him the cold shoulder for the rest of that session. As usual, Blondie went with HairyFace to work with Jasper … she keeps hoping …

Jasper REALLY wanted to come out and play.

HairyFace puts Jasper on a tether. Sometimes the other end of the tether is fastened to a tree, at least while Hairy has to focus on cleaning out the pen and getting him fresh water. When its play time, Hairy holds the loose end and they can walk around the yard together: it’s now a 20 foot leash and Jasper has some freedom to bound and run. If Blondie is in the house (or if Jasper does not know Blondie is in the yard because she’s hiding) Hairy lets Jasper drag the tether around behind him. Jasper can easily scale our 5 foot perimeter fence, but while he’s dragging the tether he “thinks” he’s dragging something around that would keep him grounded.

Today, when HairyFace finished cleaning the pen, he found Jasper on the Coolaroo with Blondie.

Blondie seemed to be okay with that too. That’s a first!

Since they were getting along so well, Hairy decided to proceed with a yard clean-up. When that was done he went to see if Jasper was interested in playing ball or going for a walk. But jasper had sniffed out Hairy’s treat hiding place atop the lumber pile and was doing his best to climb up and snatch the cookie. He could not be dissuaded and got rowdy when Hairy tried to redirect him into playing ball, so Hairy put him back in his pen and gave him the cookie.

Then he let Volt and me out.

Jasper and I don’t have any issues. I don’t play with him because I don’t like rough-n-tumble play. I like to run. So HairyFace keeps me inside while Jasper comes out to play. But I can walk past his pen or stop by to say hello and there is no friction between us.

Not so with Jasper and Volt. Volt is fine. Volt will stand up to Jasper if Jas gets mouthy, but he never initiates a disagreement. He does, however, come around in hopes of stealing some of Jasper’s food if he’s outside when Hairy feeds Jasper. So Jasper has flagged Volt as a threat and gets nasty any time Volt comes near. So we make sure they remain separated.

I took up position on the Coolaroo. I am The Big Dog, that is my right.

coolaroo line-up

Blondie and Volt lined up to wait their turn.

It was a nice morning and I had every intention of being here for a good long time. It’s going to rain later, and Hairy was working hard to get all his gardening, mowing, and trimming done before the rain moved in. So if we were going to be cooped up inside later, I wanted to lounge in the fresh air for a bit.


Volt was getting pretty insistent about getting a turn too. He wasn’t rude, just asking, “Cochise, when do I get a turn? I’d really like to have a turn too.” But he kept after me: kinda pesky-like, you know?

It was about time for my morning bowel movement So I decided to give the Coolaroo over to Volt and went off to search out the perfect place to do my business.

HairyFace was working in the garden. Blondie decided to go watch him. When she got there she spotted a pair of butterflies doing some sort of areal dance (or perhaps battling one another, with butterflies it’s hard to tell). For a good while they were just inches the other side of the fence and Blondie stood and watched, mesmerized.

By the time Hairy noticed all this and got out his camera, the performance was about over … and it started to sprinkle.

Blondie decided to take shelter in the barn. A few sprinkles don’t bother her much, but it felt like it could become more, so she was playing it safe. I went up on the back porch and started calling Hairy to come let me in. I do NOT like sprinkles. Volt came with me. HairyFace did not: he kept working even though it was sprinkling.

I kept calling – getting more insistent. Volt left.

May I join you, Blondie?

Turns out he joined Blondie in the barn. At least it was dry in there. They watched as Hairy performed his mystical ministrations with snippers and zip ties.

When Hairy finished up in the garden he came up to the house.

Blondie stayed out in the barn. The sprinkles stopped after a few minutes and Blondie went out on patrol.

Things had barely gotten wet so HairyFace went back out to do his mowing. Volt and I elected to stay indoors and guard the house against thieves and fiends. Someone has to do it!

Blondie took up position on the Coolaroo and supervised Hairy’s yard work. Jasper got excited by the mower and began running vertical laps in his pen (it’s amazing how he can do that!), and Hairy spent a few hours tending to the lawn.

He got all the mowing and trimming done (at least what he planned to do today, there is always more) and got Jasper out again for his afternoon play session … but he was all revved up and that was not going well, so he went back in quickly.

Then it started raining for real, so HairyFace and Blondie joined Volt and me in the house. I’m guessing no one will be lounging on the Coolaroo this evening. Oh, well … there’s always tomorrow.

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Miss Soggy Paws

Cochise tells the tale

It rained last night.

Pretty much all night. It was a gentle rain, nothing damaging, nothing scary: no thunder or lightning or high winds. Just a nice, gentle soaking. HairyFace says that’s a good thing: it helps the vegetable garden, and the grass, and NiceLady’s flowers. That may be … but it also makes everything all wet.

Just after dawn the rain stopped and HairyFace took Jasper’s breakfast to him.

Mist_Rising 160422The mists were rising. Jasper was curled up in his igloo, snug as a bug. He poked his head out as HairyFace approached, Hairy caught him napping. When he saw Hairy he stretched and came to the door of his pen to get his dish. He ate and went back to his igloo. The roof offers some protection from rain, the igloo offers more.

We'll get sticks, but also have paws dried.

As HairyFace came in, Volt went outside and took care of his business. Blondie and I discussed the situation.

If we all go outside to take care of our needs and come back, we all get a small chew stick before breakfast. That would be good: we like “sticks”. But because it’s wet outside, it also means that HairyFace will accost us with a towel when we come back in. We don’t like having our paws dried. We decided to pass on the sticks and just stay put for a while. Maybe it will dry out.

Volt got a small treat, but not a stick. That disappointed him, but it was still more than we got, so he was kind of smug about that.

After breakfast, it started raining again. We missed the window of opportunity. I could hold it for a while, Blondie Bear was getting antsy.

We were all in the den with Hairy. He was doing that button-pushing thing that he does on the fold-up picture box he has. He calls it a lap-top. Whatever that is, he seems fascinated with it, because he spends a lot of time tapping on the button thingies.

Blondie went to the window several times. It was open a crack and she could tell it was still raining just a little. She whimpered, “I need to ‘go’ Cochise…”

“Then go out and go.”

“But it’s raining.”

“Yep, it is.”

“You’re horrible.”

She went and laid down again next to Hairy.

Then someone’s car alarm went off. That got all of us revved up enough that we forgot all about the wetness and went outside to bark at the noise. It was barely raining then and we all stayed out to do what needed doing.

Volt went back first. It was about lunch time and he didn’t want to risk missing that.

Normally at lunch we each get a large dog cookie. But because we’re trying to fatten Volt up a bit, HairyFace gives him ½ cup of kibble for lunch instead. So he got that for Volt and put him in his room (crate) to eat.

I heard the kibbles being dished up and came in. I rushed past HairyFace as soon as he opened the door. He did not come after me with a towel. He did close the doors to the carpeted rooms, and gave me my cookie while I sat on a dog bed in the living room. My paws were clean, just wet.

Blondie was wandering around out in the yard. She often takes her lunch outside because she prefers to be outside on nice days. This time she wasn’t wandering because it was a nice day, but because she didn’t want to face having her paws dried: it tickles. HairyFace took her cookie outside and handed it too her, “Here ya go, girl, you may eat outside if you prefer.”

Blondie took the cookie and galloped up the pathway toward the back door. HairyFace laughed and followed. When he caught up to her, she was standing at the back door with her cookie sticking out the front of her mouth like a brown tongue, huffing, “Eat outside? Are you nuts? It’s WET out here.”

Blondie hides, doesn't want paws dried

Hairy opened the door and she bolted through before he could grab her to dry her paws.

She took the other picture box watching room dog bed and hid behind the rolly-foot-chair while she ate. She continued to peek out at Hairy, sure he could not see her, wary for the approach of a towel. No towel came.

Eventually we all relaxed again and continued our rainy day activities. Mostly that involves sleeping while HairyFace makes soft tap-tap-tap-tap sounds on his button thingie. It’s kind of soothing, really. He says it helps him earn dog treat money. If that’s what he’s doing, I say he should keep at it and it’s much easier to sleep through than vacuuming or lawn mowing. Not that he’d be doing any lawn mowing on a rainy day like this, but vacuuming could be a threat. It’s better that he just sits there tap-tap-taping.

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