Mr. Tinker Goes to Town

Cochise tells the tale

It was a sunny Saturday morning and there was extra excitement in the air. Saturdays are always fun because we get a fancy breakfast then HairyFace, Blondie Bear, and I go on a truck ride. But this morning it was a little different.

The evening before, HairyFace and NiceLady made us go out in the yard while they filled little bags with doggie treats to take to a craft fair that the Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue folks were hosting as a fund raiser.

This morning Hairy was loading the truck, but instead of the trash cans he was putting in folding chairs, the treats they made up last night, a metal bowl, a big bottle of water and some things I didn’t know what they were.

Blonde Dogs in Bandanas

NiceLady brushed Tinker and ironed a red bandana and put it on him, saying, “You need to look extra spiffy today.”

Blondie was jealous, so Lady put one on her as well. That made her happy.

After breakfast Blondie and I got all excited because we were ready to go ride in the truck, but Hairy said, “Not yet, Cochise. We’ll do that later: when we get back from town.”

Millie is Gun-Shy

Cochise, on DST
Cochise tells the tale

It was a sunny weekend afternoon. NiceLady had Millie out in the play yard for some off-leash exercise. Millie was being good and just wandering around sniffing things.


Suddenly someone pretty close by fired off several rapid rounds with a large caliber gun, “BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG

Millie shot across the yard and into the dog cabin with a thump.

It is not unusual for Millie to play in the cabin, so Lady did not think too much of it as she sat in a sling-chair up on the walkway. But after a few minutes when Millie did not emerge and there were so scrabbling sounds of Millie scratching the shred paper used as bedding in there, she became concerned.

Lady went to the dog cabin and called Millie.

No sound. No indication she was even in there.

She called again and added, “Want a cookie?”, which is always an enticement.


The roof of the cabin is hinged so it can be swung up to clean inside or make repairs. Lady opened the roof and found Millie curled up in a tight ball with big eyes in the corner farthest from the door.

Poor Millie!

She is a Plott hound, and Plotts are known to be great hunting dogs. But THIS Plott don’t hunt … unless maybe you’re using bow and arrow.

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Tinker Is A Good Friend

Cochise tells the tale

Before Millie had her heartworm treatments, Tinker and Millie were frequent playmates. Millie likes to play rough-n-tumble. Jasper was a great playmate for her, but Jasper has moved on. Blondie has not been fond of rough play since a foster snagged her eyelid and tore it, requiring surgery to repair it (and weeks in a cone collar). I don’t do rough play. That’s kid stuff. But Tinker likes to play, and he has been good with Millie.

Tinker is twice her size, but he does not abuse that, and neither of them get combative in play as some dogs do. When play turns to a fight it can get bloody fast. Tinker does growl when he plays. We don’t like that and are discouraging it. But some dogs are into trash-talking when they play and it’s hard to get them to stop.

The Tinker Collection – notes on a rescue dog

This is a foster dog diary post. Here we’ve collected glimpses of Tinker’s life with us in one place to show what you could expect if you adopt Tinker.

Last updated: February 3, 2017

TinkerTinker Steele is a Golden Retriever / Husky mix. He is around 7 years old and weighs 75 pounds. He gets along well with all our dogs and everyone he’s met. He is fully house broken, knows his basic commands, and is affectionate, but rarely demanding. He’s not fond of high activity. Oh, and … he LOVES squeaker toys.

Tinker Is All Backwards

Cochise tells the tale

Most of our foster dogs don’t like being penned and use every trick in the book to slip out every chance they get. Sometimes they play on the People’s sympathy, sometimes they use subterfuge, sometimes they attempt brute force. Not Tinker: he likes his “room”. He especially likes that Coolaroo and spent most of his time lounging on it his first day or two here.

Nearly all the foster dogs who were house-trained while here, came inside with the idea in their head that being allowed inside meant they could do anything they like, any time they like. Life for a house-dog is one big party. I’m pretty sure it’s Blondie who tells them this, but none have ratted her out yet.

We have to clamp down on that idea with heavy restrictions like being crated except for short, closely supervised “play periods” until they learn the rules. As they learn, we allow them more and more freedom until they are full-time, free-ranging house dogs like Blondie and I. When they break a rule, they go back a step.

tinker-tries-out-a-snuggle-bedTinker is an exception. Tinker is an older dog (around 8 years) and was a house dog before being surrendered (aka “booted out”) by his family. We have found him to be quite calm and responsible. We actually have to encourage him to loosen up and have some fun. He IS allowed to sleep on the dog beds. He IS allowed to play with us (when we want to). He IS allowed to come into the house (or go outside) when he wants to. Blondie taught him to scratch on the metal part of the storm door when he wants in. He’s done that a couple of times, but mostly he just sits next to the door and waits for someone to notice him. I feel sorry for him sometimes.

This morning Tinker went outside to take care of business. NiceLady was asleep. HairyFace was in the den working at his button-thingie. I trotted into the room and started talking to him, “Rowr, rar, rar, rouf” and went toward the door.

Hairy said, “You want to go out, Chief?” (He sometimes calls me Chief) and followed me through the laundry room to the door.

Tinker was standing outside peering in.

“Oh, Tinker’s back.” observed the brilliant and deductive HairyFace. He opened the door.

My job done, I spun around and left.

Tinker said, “Thanks, Cochise, I was getting cold out there.”

Peoples can be so oblivious.

In the time he’s been here he has come out of his shell and is becoming a lot of fun. But we’ve never had to scold him for going counter-cruising, or getting on the people furniture. He considers carpeting ‘off-limits”. He is just now accepting that we have furniture of our own that he can rest on. He’s not fond of being crated, but when told to go “in his room” he does and is calm and quiet all night long. He is bright and obedient.

While food is being prepared he sits quietly and watches. He is interested, he is eager, but he stays out of the way and lets the Peoples get the food ready. He even keeps Millie company while they wait. Most newbies are underfoot hoping that something will get dropped. He already has a place at the table at meal times.

tinker_not-hungryHe eats slowly and in small amounts. Hairy worries that Tinker isn’t getting enough to eat and puts extra stuff like shredded cheese or chicken broth in his kibbles to encourage him to eat more. (I wonder why I didn’t think of that.) When he’s done, Tinker never tries to raid our dishes. He may sniff up at the table, but never tries to go after anything.

In short, there’s not much Blondie and I can teach him that he doesn’t already know. In fact, he taught us something new the other day.

How’s that for a role (roll?) reversal?

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