A lazy day for two out of the three. I sit in the sun reading my book from my new IPad. Trekker warms my feet and Zoey guards us all. She doesn't like the fact that the snow birds are arriving and now we have more neighbors.
Trekker is lounging comfortable on the loveseat and little Miss Zoey decides she wants to be up there too. She never gives Trekker's discomfort a thought. With a sigh he moves to allow her space. Then he gives me the mournful look of, "Why a girl? We did so nicely as a male dominated household. Now look!"
Last Christmas Luke turned my blog into a hard cover book. It was a wonderful gift at the time, but a soul saver when Shiloh passed away. The day I had to put Shiloh down I sat and reread it's entries, looked at the pictures, and cried. Nothing helped me heal more than that book. I could remember Shiloh in his prime--chasing squirrels, antagonising Trekker, and being my bestfriend. I had forgotten so many of the dog antics that were included in the blog. My memories now focus on the outstanding dog Shiloh was not the dog who struggled to get up in the end. This has caused me to begin writing in the blog again regularly. My memory may be faulty, but the writen word and pictures live on.
Zoey and I have been in obedience classes for the last three weeks. I thought we needed to work on our skills with other dogs and distractions. What I am getting is a lesson on what not to do. The other dog is about the same age as Zoey, a year and a half, and been living with her owner about the same amount of time, a month and a half, but that is where our similarities end. The other owner is soft spoken and petite and her dog is reactive and with a tendency to lunge at other dogs and drag her owner. The owner needs to be firm and with quick corrections and praise which have been demonstrated for her multiple times. At each demonstration the dog quickly does what is being asked of her. But no, the owner says that she feels the corrections are mean and when reminded about the praise she says, “I forgot.” As a result, she is getting welts on her hand from holding the leash so tight and she walks this poor dog walking on his hind legs because the owner is pulling up so hard and continually. I saw her crying to her friends in the parking lot after class and saying that it was just too hard. This is a definite case of a dog being ruined because of a lousy owner. Where is the Dog Whisperer when you need him?
Zoey and I on the other hand are doing well on the other side of the room. We stay over a good leash distance from the other dog and owner. Zoey is a quick learner and wants to please. She picks things up faster than any other dog I’ve trained. After this class concludes we’ll be training on our own or in private lessons. I’ll put her in agility in the spring where she will really shine. Trekker is fast, but Zoey is faster.
As for Trekker’s training, agility training is starting up again on Thursday. I want to say for the hundredth time that when Trekker and I ran our beginner NADAC agility trial, he was the only one who had two perfect runs. Yeah! Yeah! This was definitely a case of a great dog rather than a great owner. He just loves running the course and struts. Now we’ll have to see how we both hold up as the stakes get harder.
If you’d ask me I would say that Zoey, our new addition, and Shiloh are nothing alike. From their size to their temperaments they would be measured as opposites. But as I sat outside this afternoon, I watched Zoey guard the fence line from rabbits with zeal and thought Zoey is so much like Shiloh. No rabbit or squirrel was safe from Shiloh’s watchful eye. As soon as we would go outside Shiloh would take inventory of our yard and run any wayward rabbit or squirrel from it. Then he’d continue to guard its perimeter until it was time to go in. Shiloh was never able to pass the torch to Trekker. Trekker’s interest in the joys of a good chase was always fickled. He was and is a fare weather chaser. For over a year Shiloh had grown too feeble to chase the invaders out and without a good predecessor the rabbits had the advantage. Then in marched little Miss Zoey. Once she decided that this was going to be her forever home she felt that all invaders must be pursued. She darts out the door and races for the fence line. Zoey quickly takes stock and more often than not a hot chase is on. She will not rest until the yard is free of any trespasser. But Zoey has taken the job a bit further. She feels that a rabbit should not be allowed in seeing distance of her yard. She will continue to run and jump until the rabbit just gives up and goes away. Maybe Shiloh is looking down with just a little smirk and thinking, “Way to go Zoey!”
Zoey here—I’m really nervous, tonight I meet Trekker’s boy. He’s flying in for Thanksgiving and Trekker can’t wait. Trekker tells me the first thing he does is shower Luke with kisses and sits on his lap so he can reach his boy’s face better. Trekker also told me that it is his job to follow Luke all around the house and love him up every time he sits down. Trekker even says he that he sleeps with his boy when he is home. That Luke must be really special because Trekker guards Mom’s head while she sleeps every night. He’ll have to leave guarding Mom to me while he’s busy with Luke. I am up to the task. While I have the chance I’m going to try and sleep up by her head where Trekker won’t let me go.
What’s really got me worried though is whether Luke will like me. I know that I am not Shiloh, the dog he grew up with, but I’ve been trying really hard to make the family love me. I’ve been really good and I snuggle up to Mom or Grandma every chance I get. I guard the yard from quail and rabbit. I heard Grandma say that I am a real sweetie so I know that I have her heart, but can I win Luke over this weekend. I’ll sure try. I’ve got to go and make more plans because the plane is in the air and he’ll be here soon!
The three years Shiloh and Trekker were together I was amazed at the differences between them. Their characteristics were unique, in no way did they look at the world the same. Now with having two dogs of the same breed I am amazed with the similarities. When stalking a quail they both lift their front paw in anticipation. They caulk their head when listening to me in the same way. After play they stretch out with one foot behind them. They even patrol the yard for wildlife with the same methodical way. But the most fun to watch is the intense laps around the house. Zoey is by far the fastest on the straight away, but Trekker has a quicker, sharper turn. Then the play becomes a close wrestling match. Groundhog, the stuff toy, is the prize. They are corgi and boy are they fun!
What a pain!!! I want to get Zoey in an obedience class and can't find any on our side of town other than Petsmart. The closest class appears to be a 30 to 40 minute drive. There seem to be plenty of trainers that come to your home, but I want a class that has other dogs and owners as detractors. I have started with sits and downs on my own. Once we have those I'll go to stay. The question is, how important is heel? Zoey does a nice loose leash walk but has no clue what heel means. I'm just not sure until I know where I want to go with her that I need a strong heel. I sure wish that I kept the weekly lists for training from other classes that way I'd have a better than my own pacing guide. On a positive note, she is a willing and quick learner. I think she'd make a better therapy dog than Trekker. She wants to please.
By Sunday night Trekker wanted Zoey to pack her bags and leave. She was fun for a little romp and snuggle, but enough is enough. Trekker did not like sharing his people and wanted her out of his house. By Monday morning I began searching the internet for articles on getting two adult dogs to bond. (Not much there.) I called Cindy back in Iowa, but got no answer so I just winged it. Then this morning they decided they could share my lap and were buds. I guess Trekker decided Zoey wasn't going any place and it was nicer to just get along. As I write this the two are guarding the yard from rabbit invaders. So far three have been run off and they are looking for more. I think I can breathe a sigh of relief and just relax in a two corgi home.
Zoey is now part of the family. I picked up her up about 5:15 Friday night. Zoey decided the front seat suited her just fine for the ride home. I didn't know I could drive an hour and a half of freeway traffic one handed, but I can. I stroked and talked to her the whole way. If I stopped stroking she nudged for more. I can also say she does not care for the GPS voice and the car calling unit. I think that long ride helped the bonding process.
When we got home Rich and I introduced Trekker and Zoey in the neighbor's driveway. I then took both for a walk. When we got home we went into the backyard and hung out. All Trekker wanted to do is sniff Zoey. Neither dog showed any aggression. Zoey would explore part of the yard and then run back to me. Maybe it was all that petting and talking on the ride home seemed to anchor her to me. I sat down on the dog pillow so I was accessible to both dogs. Finally, Trekker enticed her to a little play.
Trekker is not used to heavy play and can't keep up with Zoey, but he has learned from the best. Trekker used to run lap after lap and then run to close to Shiloh. Bam! Shiloh would have him. Trekker found that same works for Zoey.
To pillow snugglers
My only problem is that we have had two accidents. We will have just been outside and Zoey waits until she comes in. Now all of our doors are closed and have moved furniture to limit her access to other rooms until she is over this. I guess everything can not be a perfect transition.
As a teacher I have always known what is good for one student is not always good for another. To be the best educator I can be I need look at the needs of individual students as well as my class. So it is, as well as, with having dogs. Trekker has grown up as part of a canine-people pac, there has never been a time that he was a lone dog. I have known that since Trekker was young that he would need to be part of a dog and people family. He loves me, but Shiloh was his best friend and buddy. When the vet gave the announcement that Shiloh had probably no more than three months left, I knew that I had to do something to help both my babies. For Shiloh I had to make his last days the best I could and for Trekker it meant finding a new sibling.
The first of September I saw Darci's breeder ad. She was looking for a family home for a fifteen month little girl, Zoey. Zoey had been intended for the show ring, but she her nose was to long and she was too "lighter of bone" to be a good show dog. Hence her need for a forever home. Darci had had several people inquire and had turned down three perspective owners. We both felt that Zoey would make a perfect sister for Trekker. I explained my situation about Shiloh and told Darci that as long as Shiloh was living I would not bring home a new dog, no matter how perfect. Because the two corgis seemed to a perfect match and Darci agreed to keep Zoey until we were ready to bring her home.
When I knew that I didn't have to worry about Trekker's needs, my attention went to making Shiloh's last days the best they could be. He could no longer take walks, but Shiloh loved riding on the golf cart. Every night after dinner I took him out for his ride so that he could savor the neighborhood smells. He got treats that Trekker didn't (to fattening for Trekker.) And when Shiloh's appetite was leaving him, I treated his food with broth. On the days Shiloh could crawled up into Rich's beloved recliner, Rich gave it to him and sat on the sofa. He'd say that he didn't want to disturb Shiloh. We hope Shiloh knew how much he was loved.
Now the focus must return to Trekker. He walks the house and the yard looking for Shiloh. He wants to sleep more than play. I went and bought him new toys and they lay unused on the floor. It is evident that Trekker is mourning as much as we are. Next week I will deliver Trekker to Grandma's house before work and pick him up after, this will keep him from being home alone. Then next Friday I will pick up Zoey. Zoey will never replace Shiloh, but she will find her own nitch in each of our hearts.
My best friend and loyal companion was called to the Rainbow Bridge this morning. It is amazing that one dog could touch so many hearts, but Shiloh did. He was loved by many. Thank you Shiloh for giving me fourteen years of love and devotion. I love you and will miss you terribly.
The weather in the mornings are now cool and enjoyable. The dogs and I take every opportunity to be outside taking in the cool breezes and passing wildlife. An occassional coyote will amble by, the hummingbirds have returned and flutter quite close, but my favorite is the quail. I love everything about them: their strut; their calls; and most of all how they act as a family unit. The quail seem to have a regular route around the neighborhood. They visit our yard about 6:30 every morning. I throw seed into the rocks to encourage these regular visits. On a normal day we have about 1o quail visitors. This morning the quail announcement seemed to go out that there was ample food and the quail swarmed in. Within minutes we had over 30 pecking through the yard. All the while, Trekker lay on his pillow watching the amazing sight. Soon the quail began to quarrel over who got what section of the yard. This seemed to annoy Trek. He would leap off the pillow and run through the middle of the eating, quarrelling quail and send them running out of our yard. Then he'd make a couple laps through the perimeter of our yard to make sure all the quail were gone. When satisfied his job was done he'd return to his pillow. The food was too much to resist and the quail would gingerly return. Trekker would watch patiently from his pillow until another argument would pursue and then he'd leap off the pillow to clear our yard again of quarrelling quail. This happened over a half a dozen times. It was quite a sight to watch. I believe the moral of this story is, visitors are welcome, but we'll send you packing if you aren't pleasant!
Most of the house projects are done, I'm feeling healthier than I have in months, and the mornings are cooler. All this adds up to-- I need to start working Trekker again. For the past week Trekker an I have been out, working through our paces. We run through all the basics, including meets and greets and staying while a rabbit goes by. Trekker is a master. After a year and a half of living here and not doing much obedience work I expected a rusty corgi and what I got was a corgi who remembered everything he had been taught. He learned by the third day that running shoes mean we're heading out, otherwise mom lives in sandals.
Both of us miss the camaraderie of working along side other dogs and owners. I thought when we were ready for another class there would be lots of classes around us to choose from. Wrong! We live on the wrong side of the city. But travel if must, Trekker and I will be in the class starting in the end of September. It's part obedience and beginning agility. I know Trekker is ready, but I'm hoping I'll be able to keep up too.
Summer in Arizona is hard and for the hearty, and I have not been feeling so hearty. When the heat soars to 115 in the day and only cools to the mid 90s in the day everything is affected. The fruit trees leaves are yellow and sad, I’m told it is sunburn and won’t hurt the tree. The palm has fronds that have browned beyond repair; I’m told that happens to protect the rest of the fronds from heat reflected off the rock landscape. The rabbits have been eating the lower leaves of the grapefruit tree just to get some water. Everything I have potted and diligently watered through the summer has died. The dogs and I have been lethargic and even a little depressed. For them going outside to relieve themselves has been a chore. Nothing has escaped the Arizona heat. If it were like this year around only a fool would live here. But at the moment of feeling the most despondent cool air has begun to arrive!
The nights are beginning to cool, which means the dogs and I can be out on the patio in the morning. It is wonderful! I do my best reading and relaxing there. Trekker is in heaven. He had forgotten there is a world of rabbits, quail and even the occasional lizard to chase and harass. Shiloh hobbles to the large pillow placed out there for yet another nap in his old state. As he lies down even a sigh can be heard from him, the cool weather is coming back and life is beginning to be good again. Trekker and I took our first evening walk in ages. We both felt good and alive again. In this new awakening I have gotten the urge to blog again so my theme for today is good and needs to be rejoiced.
This for you Luke-- I was unprepared for being an empty nester. Luke had gone to college and Shiloh, my lab mix best friend, was wanting to rest more and play less. So after much thought and investigation I brought home Trekker, a ten week Cardigan Corgi. Trekker has brought a joy and an excitement to our house that was missing. Now I am a proud mother of three boys; Luke, Shiloh and Trekker.