shadow

The Usurper

Originally published February 16, 2016

Cochise
Cochise tells the tale

One of the great things about being a dog is our social order. We do not have to guess about who is in charge, we always know. In our pack (home) HairyFace is the pack leader because he provides us with food. That earns him the right to boss us around (he calls it ‘training’) and we comply because there is generally food in it for us. And because we love him, but mostly because of the food.

I am Hairy’s second in command. He calls me his Sergeant at Arms because keeping the pack secure is my primary job. I also mentor the fosters, and make sure the snuggle beds don’t escape (I suppose that too falls under security). It’s not that I’m a vicious dog.

When the Peoples take me out in public, I’m very friendly: encouraging people to scratch my head and pet me. For those who are truly deserving of such an honor I will even flop over and present my belly for a good rubbing. HairyFace calls me “a big moosh-baby”. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure it indicates non-violence.

Out there.

Here at home, I am Guardian of the Realm. It is my job to keep my pack safe from horrible threats like murderers, robbers, school buses (they eat children you know: I’ve seen them do it), loud cars, marauding stray cats, garden munching bunny rabbits, and the wind. Here at home, I am … intimidating (eye-brow waggle). And I do it well.

That’s why I was just aghast when I went off to deal with a heinous threat and upon my return I found this:

Would not you agree that this was totally unfair and demeaning? Imagine, sending me off to sleep in Volt’s bed so Volt could take my favorite place. SO unfair.

But, Hairy is the Leader, so … I hear and obey, because I’m a good dog. And I will be wanting dinner this evening (sigh).


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Blondie’s Dog Cabin in the Woods

Originally published Jun 24, 2016

When Cochise first came to live with us we erected a quick sleeping shelter out of a wire fence panel, a tarp and an old barn door. It was shaped like the top of an old west covered wagon using the door as a floor and the fencing hooped over to support the tarp. Cochise quickly decided it was lots of fun to jump on top of his wickiup and flatten it out. This required that I crawl inside to push it back into shape with my neck and shoulders. It didn’t take long before we decided we’d best move on to a permanent structure.

dog cabinSo Marie and I built Cochise a sturdy wooden cabin with a shingled roof that hinges up for cleaning the interior and an entry vestibule separated from his sleeping area by a wind baffle.

That cabin served him well until he became a full-time house dog. Then it served many other foster dogs. Some of these were none too gentle on it and repairs were made over the years, but it still stands and is quite solid … and very heavy.

When To Throw the Red Flag On Dogs Play

Originally published Nov. 4th, 2016

Cochise on dogs play
Cochise tells the tale

Most dogs like to play. Most of a dogs play is a lighthearted version of real-life skills: chasing, catching, fetching and … fighting.

As long as it’s done in the name of good, harmless fun, there is no problem. But if it should slide beyond play: because one “combatant” feels he is losing and doesn’t want to, things can get bloody fast.

Breaking up a dog fight is dangerous, especially if there is only one Peoples. It is best to red flag it before play turns to fight.

Signs of Play

Sampson demonstrates the classic Play Bow

When we’re playing, the tails will be swinging happily from side to side, we may bounce side to side or enter a play bow (forelegs and chest on the ground, butt in the air), we may lunge and retreat. When happy, our eyes are open and round, ears are up, and our mouths should be open and “smiling”. We may sound like we’re about to kill each other, but as long as it’s just trash-talking we’re okay.

We may wrestle each other to the ground and pin our opponent there. We may leap around and over one another, we may body slam each other, or we may take off and run – incorporating these other moves when we get the opportunity. Biting is okay as long as it’s gentle.

Speak! Do Dogs Talk? Understanding Dog-speak

Originally published Feb. 14, 2017

Cochise explains

When us dogs talk, most of what we say is not said vocally. Some of what we say comes through body language: the position of our head and body, how we hold our ears, the shape of our eyes, things like that. But some of us are quite expressive vocally as well, even when it comes to communicating with peoples. Many peoples don’t understand the unvocalized parts of our communications, so we have to use what they do understand to convey our desires and affections.

Buster is a funny little guy. While he was here, he didn’t bark much, but if he was lonely he’d do whale song to get our attention. When he was joyful, he’d get happy feet. He is just full of personality.

Others were not so conversational, but had their own distinctive style of verbal expression. King among these had to be Malachi. He had a unique bark that led HairyFace to poke fun at him with this video:

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats Recipe

The Dogtor is in

Originally published June 19, 2017 by Grit Magazine Online

When it’s summer time and the heat of summer is upon us once again, your fur-friends will appreciate this treat.  They don’t like the heat any more than you do, so as a special treat on those hot days, try making up a batch of these frozen yogurt dog treats.

Makes 30-40 Cubes or around 12 Dixie cups

Ingredients:

4 cups yogurt, plain
½ cup creamy peanut butter (Xylitol free of course!)
2 tablespoons honey
1 ripe banana, mashed
Pkg thin chew stick treats (optional)

Directions:

frozen yogurt dog treats
Dixie cup version

Melt the peanut butter in a microwave for about 30 seconds.

Place all of the ingredients into a blender, mixer or food processor and mix until smooth.

Pour into ice cube trays or Dixie cups – depending on size of dog(s).  Add a piece of chew stick to use as a handle.  Freeze until firm.

Pop out of the tray (you may need a table knife if using an ice cube tray) or peal the paper cup away and let your dog enjoy this frozen yogurt dog treat!


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All Hail the Chief

Cochise BigDog, also known as Cochise the Amazing Talking Dog passed away on Thursday, May 3rd around 9:30 PM at the age of ten years.

Cochise was a great companion to us for six of those years, an amazing mentor to 63 foster dogs, an effective Guardian of the Realm, and a great ambassador for rescue dogs everywhere, for he too started out abandoned in a shelter, heartworm positive and scheduled for destruction. We saved him then, now it’s time to let him go. Farewell my Bestest Boy, you will be missed.

Bed Check

Callie is a sweet, gentle, lovable gal. She is a Staffie mix after all. She gives us almost no trouble at all and so she has earned the right to be a full-time, free-range house dog — except when we leave the property for an extended period of time. But that’s not Callie’s fault.

Josephine likes to play rowdy. If I’m here I can monitor that and shut it down before anything gets torn up. When I’m not here, she and Blondie sometimes knock into things, moving furniture around a bit, but rarely tear anything up. If Callie gets into the mix, Callie likes to play tug-o-war. Dog beds are handy tug toys because all three can pull on it at once. That leads to tearing. Tearing leads to stuffing poking out. Stuffing poking out gets everyone excited about pulling out all the stuffing. We’ll arrive home again to find an “exploded” dog bed. Not good!

So when Marie and I are both going to be gone a while, Callie gets crated. But she doesn’t mind.

Cochise vs the Dump Truck

Today we had some driveway work done. The driveway up to my workshop is a MESS! All washed out and badly rutted. I bent a rim on Marie’s Subaru by taking it up this driveway. It’s time to dig deep into the pockets and get repairs done or it will just keep getting worse.

Cochise insisted on going out to chase the tractor and the dump truck and hurl heinous threats at everyone. He stayed on his side of the fencing, they stayed on theirs. He got so worked up early on that he leapt up against the fencing, bounced back, and did a back flip!

After a half hour of these intense aerobics, I went out with a lead to bring him back to the house. He offered no resistance at all. His tongue was hanging so low he was tripping on it!

We got half way up the hill to the house and he just flopped over on his side and panted, “I can’t go any farther, carry me!”

Callie Complies

Cochise, Callie conforms
Cochise tells the tale

Callie was sleeping on the cushy quilt-topped dog bed HairyFace made for her in the den. She follows him around like a shadow, so he accommodates her when he’s “at work”. I came in and looked at her bed and said, “That looks pretty comfy, Callie. I’d like to try that out.”

No response.

“I’m the Big Dog here, you need to move.”