Zadie: the bilingual pirate dog

This was written in early 2012 for another web site, but I’m re-posting it here because it ties in with Cochise’s story and as a tribute to Zadie, whom we miss very much.

Zadie sleepingThis is Zadie.

Nah, she’s not spoiled, not a bit.

She does have an unusual vocal habit though. Many dogs will grumble as they settle down to sleep or roll over. But Zadie uses her grumbling to converse… but not in Dog. When we talk to her or ask questions (like we REALLY expect to get an answer!) she responds in this grumble speak of hers. But she has, apparently been spending too much time in the cow pasture up the road. Her grumble speak sounds for all the world like the lowing of those cows. I don’t mean just a little, but very much like it. Not a dog-like sound at all. I’m convinced she’s bilingual.

Last night about 4:30 she was tapping at the door and whining. Since she is very reliably house trained and I don’t want to squelch that at all, I got up and let her out with the warning that there would be no barking at this hour. It was a pleasant night so I decided to stand on the deck and keep and eye on her.

She prowled around the lumber stacks and the base of the porch, nosing around in the damp leaves that pile up there for some delectable doggy treat that she seemed to enjoy very much. I don’t even want to know what it was, I’m sure just the thought would make me ill.

After a bit she went up the slope to a wooded area I thought, “Good, she’s finally going to ‘go’ and we can go back to bed.”

But instead I heard, ‘hop-hop-BOING’ and a large black, furry ball went sailing over the 4’ high wire fence as if it had been flung by a catapult. There is a large pole-mounted security light out that way and I could see her very clearly. She was not stretched out like Superman leaping the Daily Planet building, but curled up like a kid doing the Cannon ball into a pool. Very odd.

Zadie is a Border Collie with Rottweiler mixed in for coloring. And our research on Border Collies showed that they are difficult to contain because they are good jumpers. A fence needs to be a minimum of 6’ high, and preferably built of polished plate steel so they can’t climb it. They can also work latches and pick locks. Their owners swear they can! You may include us in that list.

When we had her spayed the vet said she must be contained for about a week to keep her from ripping out her stitches. The only way we could do that was to lock her in the house (not practical long term) or put her on a tie-out (which she HATES). The first few days she was content to lie about the house and convalesce. She’s kind of a baby that way. Dolly wanted out by the second day, but then Dolly is a dyed in the wool mountain dog. She’s tough. Zadie is… delicate. But after a few days she wanted to be outside with Dolly. And it wasn’t long after that she wanted to be out carousing with Dolly. Once she decided to leave, she broke two woven strap tie-outs. So we got a vinyl coated steel cable. That held, but she’d paw at the piston latch hooking it to her collar until she got it loose and was gone in a flash.

Clever girl.

Well, she continued her pursuit of tasties up the mountain side, so I went back inside. A bit later she found something to bark at, I called her, and she came right in and went back to bed. All in all, she’s a pretty good lass. A bit odd; but well behaved.

Zadie, dogs, garden, raised bed boxes
Zadie supervises garden box installation

Zadie is very helpful. She likes to shadow me and supervise as I work in the yard. While Dolly will find a shady spot and watch from a distance, Zadie is right at my side and involved in everything. She particularly likes gardening, especially when I’m digging. She gets a big kick out of watching me do the digging. “A little more off that spot. Yeah, that’s better.”

Zadie, pirate dog, plank
Blacktail the Pirate Dog

Another of her favorite things to do is to “walk the plank”. Ever since she watched Pirates of the Caribbean with us she has thought of herself as Blacktail the Pirate Dog and spends a good amount of her time on her plank commanding all she sees. And from up here she sees plenty!

Zadie, dogs, Christmas
Zadie is a Gift!

And on occasion, she will impersonate a Christmas present.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Zadie; one of our “girls”. Feel free to share tales of your pets with us below.

Author: Doug

I've been a wordsmith since the 1970s. Mostly for print magazine and newspapers, but I do have a few books, and now gazillions of web site articles.

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