Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The puddle puzzle

In an earlier post, I mentioned how eagerly Zorro laps up puddles on the path. Denny and I thought it was amusing. I don't think so any more. In this column, from a USA TODAY contributor, Sharon Peters describes how her American Eskimo rescue , a long-term victim of severe neglect, did the same thing. The poor dog had gone long periods without water and learned to store it up as a survival tactic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An incident

Training is an ongoing process. I have the bruises to show it.
Last Thursday, I took Zorro out for what I thought would be a short moon run. The weather has been insanely hot, punctuated by thunderstorms, so I take every opportunity to get Zorro out and about, and he's always happy to run when the moon is up.
As we hit the path, I saw a woman walking toward us with a small, short-haired brown dog. As I'm accustomed to doing, I pulled Zorro off the path and put him in a sit. I do this dozens of times every week and usually there's no problem. Zorro will look at the dog, but that's it.
Not this time. I think the dog may have growled at Zorro, or insulted his heritage in some manner, because the next thing I knew, I was flat on the ground with a face full of dirt. Needless to say, I lost hold of the leash.
Here's where it gets interesting: once Zorro got up to the offending dog, he stopped. He didn't jump on the dog, and the dog didn't go after him. They just stared at each other. I managed to right myself and put my foot on the leash before anything escalated. I apologized to the dog's owner, who said her dog was "unpredictable." A passing runner asked me if I was OK. I said I was, and continued our our walk, but when I woke up the next day I felt like I had been mowed over by a semi.
We haven't had any similar confrontations since then but when I encountered the same woman on Sunday, she turned around and went in the other direction. Meanwhile, I'm making Zorro do more sit/stays on his walk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Border collies are supposed to be smarter than the average dog, but sometimes, I wonder. On Sunday--a delightfully cool day in WV--Zorro stirred up a nest of yellow jackets during his morning walk with Denny. The enraged yellow jackets burrowed into Zorro's fur, and when Denny tried to beat them off, they went after HIM. Denny got stung three times in the arm and he thinks Zorro was stung in the rear, judging from the way he jumped. Zorro seemed unaffected by the stings, which could not be said for Denny. His arm swelled up and he was in considerable discomfort for the rest of the day. I've since heard many other stories about dog-yellow jacket encounters, but I expect more from Zorro.
On a more positive note, we're having thunderstorms all week and Zorro seems to be handling them well, even though I've lowered his Prozac dose. There were several loud rumbles last night and he didn't even hide in the bathtub. He went for a good run with Denny this morning, mainly because there were other dogs in the park and he was in pursuit.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A rescued Leonberger

Here's a photo of Callie, a rescue dog we met at the Bonnie Doone in Grand Bend, Ontario. Lilly is part Leonberger, a German dog of mammoth proportions. But Callie, who is also part Golden Retriever, is a gentle giant. She's happy to recline in front of the registration desk and greet guests. The Bonnie Doone's owners adopted Callie from an animal shelter in nearby Goderich. She had been abused, and for a while was afraid of men, particularly those with grey or silver hair. Happily, kind treatment by an older gentleman who stayed there for a week helped her overcome her fears. Now she seems to love everyone. And only someone with a heart of stone could fail to love her.