Sammy Patrol

Sammy keeping an eye on the backyard.

Sammy’s big brother Charlie taught him a lot in the six months they were together. One of the things he taught Sammy was how to conduct a security patrol.

When we first moved here, Charlie was our only dog and we didn’t have a fenced backyard. We weren’t too worried about it because Charlie never roamed very far and always came back. When we would go out in the hot tub, Charlie used to sit at the corner of the house, on alert, at a spot where he could see the driveway approach and the whole back of the property, protecting us while we were tubbing. He was such a great dog….

Well, after we got Cowboy Joe the Great Escape Artist, we had to fence part of the back. Joe used to dig under the fence, find holes to go through and one “last straw” day he actually sailed over the top. From then on, my goal was to contain at least one dog (Charlie) so they wouldn’t run off together for hours. In any case, Charlie started to perimeter patrol every night, running around the whole fenced area before coming in for the night.

I think Charlie saw it as his job to teach Sammy the basics, as Sammy now does the same thing.  Charlie also used to sit just where Sammy is sitting in the picture above, on the top step of the back deck, with his front legs on the step below. For me, having Sammy takes a little bit of the hurt out of losing Charlie.

Our big, beautiful Charlie on watch.


The Roll of Joy

You’ve probably seen your dog do this…The Roll of Joy. I wish I had a picture or video to post but it’s an elusive moment that I haven’t been able to capture on camera yet. Usually it’s done on the grass, that wonderful, twisty dance on the back that dogs like to do. Charlie used to do it with a stick in his mouth, which we called The Roll of Joy With Stick. Sammy doesn’t do the roll very often for some reason. Maybe because his hair is really short and he doesn’t shed much. Molly, however, is a master at this.

In the winter, she’ll run outside (not on leash since she’s a good girl), grab a mouthful of snow and crunch it up, then roll on her back. Snow, ice, it doesn’t matter. In fact, I think she prefers ice. She’ll find an icy slope of snow that has built up around the house, roll on her back and slide down the slope head first! Someday I will get a video of this. Last year we got two feet of snow in one day, so we had a huge pile of snow in the front yard from all the snow that we shoveled off the walk and that came off the roof. For a few months, until it melted, Molly had the perfect icy slide for her unique Slide of Joy. It was about a five-foot long icy slope and when she landed at the bottom she’d squirm around for a few minutes looking very happy.

Horses also do the Roll of Joy, and the most amazing thing I ever saw was a giant Belgian draft horse doing it in our pasture. We had a logger guy here to take care of about 50 trees that blew down in a windstorm shortly after we moved in. Instead of letting a logging operation go in and tear up the forest, we hired this guy who used two draft horses to pull the logs through the woods to our driveway, where we had them milled. He left the horses in our pasture overnight so he wouldn’t have to keep carting them back and forth, and one day I looked out and saw this huge horse doing exactly what the dogs do. It was incredible!

Maybe when it thaws I’ll try the Roll of Joy for myself….



The not-so-indestructible Kong

I love Kong dog toys. They’re red, so they’re easy to spot in the woods and in the snow. They’re rubber so they are fairly durable and you don’t have to keep buying them every week. But, they’re not indestructible. Case in point is the ball at right, which used to be round. Sammy has been working on it over the past two and a half years, taking it apart one chunk at a time. Most of the time I’m able to pick up the little chunks and throw them away so he doesn’t swallow them. Other times, I’m sure he’s had interesting-looking poops!

When we first got Sammy, I bought all kinds of toys that were supposed to be tough and indestructible. He tore all of them apart within hours. The Kong is the only thing that has given him pause. He used to have a bone-shaped Kong, but he ate the ends off of it and then it disappeared in the woods. There are actually 4 of the round Kong balls in the woods surrounding our house. Sammy and Charlie ran off with them and then dropped them out there. Someday maybe we’ll get them back. For the record, the woods in our neighborhood are also hiding: one frisbee, one dog vest, and one dog bootie.

Charlie was famous for losing his Kong balls. Once we took him to California and were playing on the beach. We had just bought him two new round Kong balls. He took one and dropped it at the water’s edge. The ocean came and took it. Stupid me, I threw him the other one. He dropped it at the water’s edge and the ocean came and took it. Oh well.

The only Kong that Sammy hasn’t been able to tear up is the large, bulbous one (I don’t know what that shape is called). It’s his favorite because it’s oddly shaped, and when you throw it it bounces in terribly interesting ways. Molly is only interested in the Kong when Sammy has it in his mouth, because then she can play tug-of-war with him. It’s pretty hilarious to see them lip-to-lip, their snouts mashed together while they try to get the other one to drop the ball!



Uh oh! Cuddle angst….

You gotta love these faces!

After the first day of the two-dog cuddle, Sammy and Molly decided it should be like that every day. Gulp! After the second day, I had to nip that in the bud right away, and did I ever get the look from Molly! When I told her she couldn’t come up with Sammy, she looked at me like I hadn’t fed her in a week.

Speaking of which, these crazy dogs get really worried if they don’t get their breakfast on time. I try not to feed them at the same time each day just for that very reason, but if I go much past 11am, they start to follow me around looking mournful. Today, Sammy literally followed me everywhere and stood right next to me until the meat I was thawing for them was soft enough to feed to them. Have I ever not fed them? Sheesh!

The cats just sit in the kitchen and meow, because they know I can’t stand the noise, so they usually get their way. [Of course we get our way! I am the boss of you! ~ Boots] If I don’t feed Little Miss quickly enough, though, she just goes out and hunts. She’s pretty self-sufficient.