Sunday, May 31, 2009

Barking at the moon, part two

The moon rises now around 4 PM. I know this not because I've been checking the almanac, but because twice this weekend, Zorro was on the deck of our house in WV when the moon rose, and chaos ensued. Not only did he bark madly at the moon, he stamped his front paws, like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum at the grocery store.
I know that border collies are closely related to wolves. But Zorro doesn't howl at the moon; he berates it. The only way to get him to stop is to put him inside. And this was just a crescent moon. God knows what a full moon will unleash.
Weirdly (and this is a word that can't be overused where border collies are concerned), he only reacts this way when the moon is on the rise. Later Saturday, I took him out for a walk before bedtime, and the moon was behind the house, high above the trees. It was bright enough to read the newspaper by, but he ignored it.
Also need to add to things he doesn't like: the blender and the hand mixer. However, Denny used his chain saw yesterday to clear the trail we're building, and that didn't bother him a bit.
Successful walk this afternoon: he sat quietly while a dog passed us on the bike path. I rewarded him with two treats.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

barking at the moon

When I heard mad barking from the screen porch last night, I assumed the neighbor's dog was out, or that a fox was in the vicinity. But when I asked Denny what the ruckus was about, he said, "Zorro is barking at the moon."
I don't know why this surprised me. Here's a short list of things that agitate Zorro: the lawnmower (big time), the vacuum cleaner, the coffee grinder, the weed whacker, anyone standing on a ladder, airplanes, and of course, other dogs. Sometimes, he appears to be barking at the sky. They say these dogs have extremely sensitive ears: maybe he's barking at the space station.
Thunderstorms are a source of major drama. Every time it thunders, it's as if it is happening for the first time. He races around the house, jumps on the bed, and ultimately squeezes himself into the tightest space he can find. The space between my side of the bed is a favorite refuge; so is our shower stall in Berkeley Springs.
We have had him for a little more than three weeks. The website for the Blue Ridge Border Collie rescue states we're still in the two-week trial period ("Cross your fingers that they'll love this handsome boy") but we're past that.
His past is a mystery. He was rescued from a shelter in Charlottesville. Sallie, who fostered him for BRBCR, said simply, "His family didn't want him anymore." But someone put a lot of time and care into this dog. He's housebroken, doesn't jump on people, doesn't beg. and knows how to sit, lie down and stay (sometimes). He can shake hands and will do a high five. He has nice teeth. He loves riding in the car and behaves like a gentleman in the back seat. He does try to herd other dogs, which makes walking him a challenge, but his behavior isn't malicious or aggressive (although other dogs may perceive it that way). Most of the time, he wants nothing more than to be near us. Occasionally, though, he retreats to a quiet place to think and reflect. Apparently, this is not unusual behavior for a border collie. Hard to imagine a golden retriever or lab doing it, though.