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Posts Tagged ‘unconditional love’

Recently, we had the great good fortune to meet Priscilla, who lives with her family on the East Coast. Happily, her family includes Jack, a 6-month-old, 55 lb. boxer puppy, and Gorda, who was a surprise: they thought they were rescuing a rat terrier (15-20 lbs) and instead, she really was a toy fox terrier, weighing in at 7 lbs. “She’s a mini-surprise!” says Cooper. Priscilla shared a beautiful portrait of her pups:

“Wow, you can use the words ‘clean’ and ‘white dog’ in the same sentence!” Cooper says. Since Cooper’s idea of cleaning up for dinner is shaking off the horse poop he’s been rolling in before he comes in to eat, you can imagine that our country bumpkins were pretty impressed by Priscilla’s beautifully groomed family… But she soon set us straight, and we haven’t stopped laughing since! In her own words:

Jack’s not all that white all that often… once again, the husband is to blame, and yes, i roll my eyes every day. Jack’s the great white boxer, he only looks clean here. he likes to roll in dirt, eat dirt and otherwise loves anything to do with dirt. he likes to eat mice. i have pulled two dead mice out of his mouth in his short 6 months of life, and i pulled a bird’s head out of his mouth last weekend–i wonder where the body went? lalalalaa, not thinking about that. so don’t think you have the market cornered on bumpkin!

and by the way, shortly after i took the picture, ostensibly to show my decorator girlfriend the new white flokati rug i bought, jack ate said rug.

also, we took jack to a puppy play group and THREE people came up to us to tell us about whitening dog shampoos. when complete strangers are recommending shampoo, you’ve got to know you have a dirty dog!

“My sides hurt from from laughing so much,” Super Coop says. But read on, to learn how changing their newly adopted dog’s name influenced her behavior… It’s doggone amazing!!!  Again, in Priscilla’s words:

gorda is the toy fox terror, i mean terrier. she only walks on her front feet in the snow!

she was a rescue. when we got her, we kept her original name, haley. she had gone thru a disastrous 2 weeks with a family who abused her, so we weren’t keeping that name (besides it was “prancer” and i could not see myself calling that out loud in public!). and the name the temp foster mother, a teenaged girl, gave her was the german word for pretty: shon (umlauts over the o), and i was so-so on that, so we went back to her breeder given name, haley.

haley proved to be a VERY difficult dog, extremely fearful and a big time peeer. if you looked at her, she peed. if you said her name, she peed. etc. it was a real trial. then, i read a book by jon katz about his very bad sheepdog, boris. boris was bad to the bone. his trainer suggested renaming the dog, as it appeared to her that the dog misbehaved even more when the author said the dog’s name. he changed the name, and overnight, he claimed, the dog changed for the better. bad associations with his former name?

what the heck, i sez to meself, let’s try it. and, after a family conference, it was done, she was officially gorda. har har, that’s the husband’s humor: gorda is spanish for fat little girl; gorda weighs 7 lbs.

ANYway, the next day, no one could believe it. she was way less fearful of the family, and actually showed confidence, and didn’t pee every time someone looked her way. everyone kept reality checking one another, but it was true, she was different. the neighbors came over and confirmed it, not knowing we’d changed her name.

go fig. what’s in a name, eh william shakespeare?

Fantastic concept! “And fantastic new friends!” adds Super Cooper.

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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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When we left the Wright family’s two white puffs of fluff, they were waiting for their adventurous siblings to return from a day in the Oregon woods… Watching and waiting….

Then like clockwork and just in time for dinner, came Tahoe, the hi-energy, Shepherd with a penchant for eating everything plastic (“Perhaps it’s a teething thing,” Cooper suggests). Tahoe is young and impulsive and very well intentioned, but even NINE obedience classes haven’t distracted her from all things plastic… like, 100-feet of soaking hose, 3 kennel mats and the mud flaps on the family truck—all snack material for the ravenous girl… Hmmmm, she’s licking her lips–has anyone seen our plastic water bottle?

And then there’s Oakley, a love bug Retriever if there ever was one. No matter, that unlike 99-percent of his fellow Retrievers, Oakley doesn’t retrieve and he doesn’t like water  😉  He is patience personified, and like a doggie Zen master, Oakley waits for the world to come to him… And it usually does—bearing treats!  Good Dogs!

Cooper says, “A wag of the tail to our very special friends in Oregon!”

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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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