Posts Tagged ‘life’

They’re cute. They’re in your backyard. And they can be deadly to your Best Friend. In the Northwest, raccoons weighing as much as a hefty 50 pounds, present a distinct threat to even large dogs that surprise a masked mama and her youngsters.

And fact is, those rascal raccoons are in the backyard at our invitation: They just naturally gravitate to the food left on the back porch for an outside cat… or their amazingly dextrous hands work through the autumn vegetable garden and compost pile for scraps, or they dine on apples, fallen from trees. If a crawl space in accessible, they’ve been known to set up housekeeping in those cozy, dry places.

Our Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife reports that 90% of their requests for help with pesky wildlife are for raccoons. Not only are dogs and cats in jeopardy in an attack, but owners are often bitten breaking up the mele, requiring rabies shots.

This mama & child showed up at Cooper’s house. While only 10′ away from us on the porch, they seemed quite unconcerned by our presence, even while Cooper barked from safety inside. Were they looking for seeds, from the bird feeder above?

After snapping pix, we clanged cowbells to ward them off. The youngster started to climb the cedar, whilst mama arched her back & grumbled her displeasure. It was a strong protective stance, and ’twas easy to imagine her standing her ground to a dog. Then, they ambled off–joined by TWO less brave youths from the bushes…

We’re a bit more cautious on our nightly outings now. It’s a thrill to live where woodland creatures abound, but a little caution can keep everyone out of trouble.



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Swirl knows it.

Ivan the Incredible knows it.

Certainly, little Precious knows it….

“It’s not for nothing that good dogs don’t wear watches. They’re on dog time, which seems the best time of all.” ~Joe Murray

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It’s in the fine print of the contract when we bring these earnest, joyfilled creatures into our lives: that in all probability, one day they’ll take their leave of this Good Earth, while we remain behind to juggle memories, an empty food bowl, a broken heart… We live with that fine print, because life with dogs is just so darn good, we cannot imagine it without their glorious company.

Nevertheless, we shed tears recently when Kelso, one of Cooper’s Cocker Cousins in the Lone Star State, lost his battle with the serious health challenges that had plagued him for months. He’d downright amazed his vet by holding the symptoms at bay for so long. His happy-go-lucky attitude and his fabulous mom, Andrea, an editor for the AQHA Journal magazine (and your basic backyard genius with critters) were a big part of his ability to live many more happy days than anyone could have reasonably hoped for. Of course, his Cocker brother, Domino, cheered him on, too.

We’ll always remember the doggone joy and exuberance he personified, and the fun Cooper had interviewing him for this blog (click here to read the whole Speak! interview here). Here’s a bit of Kelso’s Wisdom: “Perfect happiness is love, whether that’s being cuddled up with my person, or eating a bacon cheeseburger. Or True Love: cuddling while eating bacon cheeseburgers!”

We laughed hearing about the tactics he used to ‘liberate’ socks from his mom–a true Sock Ninja! After he passed, a friend told Andrea that Saint Peter had best watch his socks… We had to smile.

We loved meeting him, and thank Andrea for sharing her boy.

We’ll never forget Kelso–the very Special K.

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Nearly 100 years ago, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Brit Robert Falcon Scott raced to the South Pole, with much of their burden shouldered by brave sledge dogs. Thanks to U.S. Air Force Col. Ronald J. Smith, the former commander of Operation Deep Freeze which supports Antarctic research, names of those heroic dogs–like Helge and Urroa–will mark points on the aeronautical charts used every day by pilots navigating between New Zealand and Antarctica. The Colonel wanted recognition of the important canine role (& in most cases, their ultimate sacrifice) in exploration of the most southern continent.

Cooper says, “Thanks, Colonel Smith! Those great dogs gave their all.”

Check out an entire article on this honor, from the Sept. 28, 2010 New York Times.

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If you thought Charlie and Snoopy were characters that only existed in a Charles Schultz cartoon, then you probably haven’t had the distinct pleasure of meeting two charming Wright family members: Charlie, 9, a Maltese, and Snoopy, 4, a Bichon.

Snoopy lives to entertain an audience. “I can see that he’s trying on a costume for his next part–perhaps in Annie?” Cooper says.

Actually, Kathy Wright tells us that her twin 9-year-old grandsons, Mitchell and Austin, put the scarf on Snoopy because they were going for a walk, and it was drizzling outside (in the Northwest, we call that ‘liquid sunshine!’). Don’t forget your boots, Snoop Dog!

Snoopy loves to walk across a room on his hind legs, and dance to music (to everyone’s delight). “He has a future on Broadway!” the Coopster cheers.

Until he debuts on The Great White Way, Snoopy is quite content to entertain the family, four generations strong, who live in woodsy Northwest Oregon. Kathy says that she was searching for a lap dog, and met Snoopy soon after he was born. He was the tiniest pup of the litter, and had “take me home eyes.” So, she did!

He may have been small in stature, but his personality is very very BIG. “I think that’s the way it is with us little guys,” Super Coop observes…  Snoopy’s partner, Charlie, is a more mature, mellow fellow.

Charlie loves to go on walks. “That cute Mr. Bright Eyes looks like he’s ready for one now!” Cooper says. There are always so many interesting sights and sounds and smells in the woods, every walk reveals something new–and something fun to investigate. And there’s nothing better than an afternoon snooze after a long walk…. Except perhaps a treat then a snooze!

We’ve always loved the Charlie Brown and Snoopy cartoons, but we think that our real-life friends, Charlie and Snoopy, are the cat’s meow! “Could you use another term, please?” Cooper asks.

Tomorrow we’ll introduce Charlie and Snoopy’s big buddies, Tahoe and Oakley.

Thanks for the doggone cute pix, Kathy!

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Yesterday, when we mentioned the Catahoula Leopard Dogs that Punk and Rita Carter raise, some of our friends told us that they weren’t familiar with the breed. We are, because of one very special girl…

We first met her when she was barely more than a pup, living at a remote mountain lodge near Leavenworth, Washington. She immediately became a member of our family. Originally called Mud Puddles because her coloration looked like, well, a muddy puddle, the owners of the lodge had renamed her Miss Maud Puddles… “Far more suitable for such a lovely girl!” Cooper says.

In winter’s snow and summer’s heat, she showed us the way on mountain trails. Maudi was the best, the bravest, the kindest, the strongest… words fail to adequately describe all that she was, and all that she meant to us.

Maudi was our Catahoula Leopard Dog, supreme.

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During our recent summer hiatus (more on that later!) we had the fab opportunity to do a story on Punk Cater for AQHA Journal magazine… Punk & his wife Rita live in the Lonestar State and are perhaps best known for training great cutting horses—It must be in the family genes, cause Punk, his dad, John, and his brother, Roy are all in the National Cutting Horse Hall of Fame. Even Punk’s daughter, Cassye, is in the youth HOF!

The family also raises great dogs–one of our fav breeds, the Catahoula Leopard Dog, along with Fila Brasileiros and Black Mouth Curs. As you can imagine, Cooper was all ears to hear that! Punk told us the Fila is from Brazil, and very rare here in the States. All 3 breeds are renown for their bravery and smarts, and are used on the ranch to work cattle. The Carters crossbreed the Fila and the Catahoula for their own breed: the Filahoula! A brand new litter had just arrived when we spoke…

The Carters are a terrific couple, with what you might call an ‘open door’ policy at the ranch—they’re always welcoming young people from around the planet–Australia to Slovenia to South Africa–to learn about horsemanship and life on their Texas ranch. What great ambassadors! We sure enjoyed meeting them–to read their story, check out the AQHA Journal‘s August 2010 issue, and click here to visit their website. Cooper says, “A wag of the tail to the Carters!”

Punk & Rita Carter

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