Three evenings ago our smaller dog, Byron, pushed his way out of the front door as he regularly tries (and sometimes succeeds) to do. Usually he returns in about an hour wanting water and to get on a couch and go to sleep. This time he didn’t return.
Elly and I drove up and down the nearby streets for two days hoping we would see him or, a miserable thought, find him dead along the side of the street having been hit by a car,
We called the dog warden to see if anyone had turned him in, but there has been no lost dog answering to his description (nor has there been any dog reported hit by car in our area). The Warden keeps us on the list watching out for the next month, but Elly and I think we have seen the last of Byron. If someone has taken him in I hope he has a good new home.
We miss him.
Wonder of Wonders… Byron is Back!
We got a call this morning from the dog warden’s office saying Byron was found last night by a family several miles away. We, of course, immediately ran over to get him… a tired and roughed up dog that had spent two days on the run… his face looked like he had been fighting and he smelled of cow poop.
The folks who found him had three dogs and Byron was apparently not being all that friendly with the male of the three. But these good folks fed him and gave him a place to sleep and called the dog warden with his description.
We got him home and hosed him down to get the dirt and stench off and wiped off his face and brought him into the house. He immediately curled up near Elly’s feet. It looks like he’s glad to be home.
This is dedicated to my pals Nestle and Byron (thanks for the great walk, guys.)
Have a nice Thursday evening.
- In other news: Mutt Romney | Ana Marie Cox (guardian.co.uk)
- Mutts against Mitt Romney protest at Westminster dog show (thetimes.co.uk)
- Nestle Says 2011 Was Good, But 2012 May Not Be (huffingtonpost.com)
Where he used to, only recently, run downstairs in the morning to eat his breakfast, he now comes down slowly and ambles over to his bowl. He is very slow on his walks and certainly can’t keep up with Byron, our younger dog, where he used to have no problem.
And he now sleeps most of the day… and doesn’t come up to bed in our room at night without a lot of encouragement where he used to lead the way.
He now has signs of hip displasia and the stairs are getting harder for him (a tough thing in a 3 floor townhouse.)
There are days when he throws up what he eats, so we have limited him to no plate licking, which was his joy, and only 2 small biscuits as snacks.
- Welcome to Doggie Senility. (busterandtootsie.wordpress.com)
- The intelligence of dogs. (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- Two Dogs Eating a Meal With a Knife and Fork (laughingsquid.com)
- The Smartest Dog in the World, A Darkly Funny Animation by Grickle (laughingsquid.com)
Perhaps you saw this in the Huffington Post or elsewhere… there is a border collie named Chaser who has been shown to understand over 1000 words. The previous record for comprehension of words by a dog was
200… so this one, which has been proven over three years of testing, says a lot. (You can see Chaser in action HERE.)
Chaser will retrieve, from another room, various toys by name and always come back with the correct toy. Amazing. My two dogs, Nestle and Byron, respond to the word “Toy”, but it’s always a guess as to what they bring back. I have started keeping a list of words they DO understand… and I determine this by their reaction to the word and how specific it is… and so far I only have about a dozen (including Food, Lunch, Walk, Breakfast, Out on the Deck, go to Bed and, of course, their names.)
I spend a certain amount of time lately marveling at their personalities and the way the interact with each other. Nestle is 11 years old, but is fairly active for an old dog. We don’t know how old Byron is (he is a “pound puppy” and we think he is around 4 years old), but he is the more active of the two and is always challenging Nestle to chase him and try to take the toy stuffed animal he is carrying. They have both worked out what seems to be strategies in this game (my favorite is how Nestle ignores Byron until he puts the toy down… then Nestle grabs it and takes off around the couch.)
- Border Collie Comprehends Over 1000 Object Names as Verbal Referents (usnews.com)
- WATCH: Brilliant Dog Understands Over 1,000 Words, Breaking Vocabulary Record (huffingtonpost.com)
- Collie knows more than 1,000 words (calgaryherald.com)
- Meet Chaser: The incredible border collie who has learned the names for 1022 toys (dailymail.co.uk)
- Border collie takes record for biggest vocabulary (newscientist.com)
- Border collie comprehends over 1,000 object names (eurekalert.org)
What IS it about dogs that cheers up the gloomiest thoughts? I notice that Chevrolet is selling trucks with a TV commercial called “A Chevy and a Dog”, with retrievers being the lure to get buyers into the showroom.
- Dog in Germany gives birth to 17 puppies (boston.com)
- Rhodesian Ridgeback in Germany gives birth to 17 puppies (chron.com)
- Dog in Germany gives birth to 17 puppies; all survive (timesunion.com)
- One more mess for Obama: cleaning up after the dog (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
…so I’m watching a show on PBS about the evolutionary development of dogs from ancient wolves. Part of my “can’t sleep” strategy is to try to find something very boring to watch on the Tube and to fall asleep in my recliner. Unfortunately, I’m getting very interested in this dog/evolution story. Now they are talking about ancient civilizations in Mexico who believed dogs had magical powers… especially a large, hairless dog that still exists as a species, but shows up in wall paintings on ancient step pyramids.
Apparently the whole litter of new Mexican pups are not hairless… only a few out of many have the gene that causes hairlessness… and these are the ones revered as magical. Oddly enough as I watch this, I can hear Nestle, my Labby, up in the stairwell. I can tell from the sound of his license and collar items jingling that he is up on the stair landing where he will likely stay until I come back upstairs to bed. This is a ritual we go through on a regular basis.
Now they are showing Inuit dogs that pull sleds in -30° weather and never sleep a night indoors. Their extreme senses of hearing, touch and smell protect the Inuit hunters from falling into hidden cracks in the ice into a deadly sea among other dangers. The dogs are the only species that can fight with Polar bears and win.
OK… I’m getting tired again… I’m going back to bed… Nestle will come along with me (he has slept in the middle of the bed between Elly and me for the the past 9 years.) ‘Night folks.
- How to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep (lifescript.com)
For the last hour and a half I have been attempting to get my younger dog, Byron, back into the house. He wriggled his way off his leash when we were coming back from a walk and now he’s running around the neighborhood.
Has this happened before? Yes… but we try to avoid it recurring since he gives us such trouble getting back into the house. Our other dog, Nestle, can be lured by dog biscuits or by opening the car door and saying “Let’s go bye-bye.” Byron likes to run in large circles… come back to the door and wait till you come out to get him, and then run away again with a big laugh on his Rottweiler Mix face.
So my final solution is to leave the front door open and c0me upstairs to the living room (2nd floor of our town house) and wait until he gets so thirsty he’ll come in for his water bowl. It always happens eventually. Meanwhile, I have to keep Nestle on his leash or he’ll run out the front door looking for Byron. The problem if Nestle, my old Lab Retriever (10+ years), forgets what he’s doing, wanders off and gets lost. I have to drive for blocks to find him, and then he’s happy to jump in the car. Byron never likes to hang out with Nestle if they both run off… something you think my older dog would remember… but he doesn’t. Nestle stays by the window, at the end of the leash, and watches for the escapee.
Wonder of wonders! as I write this Byron has tiptoed up the stairs and is heading for his water bowl… excuse me while I run downstairs and close the front door.
Dogs! The children of our old age!
Three hours later, I found Nestle, the older of the two (10), about a half mile away and across trafficked streets, wandering in an overgrown field. I got him to come to my car and get in… he likes rides and, frankly, he was very tired of running.
Byron, on the other hand, had completely disappeared and I drove the neighborhood and surrounds until it was too dark to see. I left the gate to the back yard open, hoping he might come up on the deck in the morning (it’s where he eats), but he didn’t.
At 6 am I heard barking outside and it was Byron bothering another dog being walked on a leash… When I got to my front door (in my bathrobe) he was standing there… but he wouldn’t come in. I bent down to grab his collar and Nestle rushed between my legs and they were both off again.
I got dressed… got into the car, and drove around until I saw them… but they ignored my calls and kept running in the opposite direction. Finally Nestle, who tires out quicker, appeared alone. He walked toward me, but when I got out of the car he ran the other way. So I got in the car and slowly drove in the opposite direction. He followed at a slow walk. When I stopped the car, he stopped. So I went a little farther, and he walked slowly behind. Then I stopped the car and opened the side door. Nestle got in.
That was one.
I got Nestle back into the house and looked out the windows for Byron again, No sign of him. So Nestle and I had breakfast.
While having coffee, I heard barking outside… and it was Byron bothering a guy walking his dog… so I went outside again, but Byron saw me coming and backed off. I walked back toward the house… but Byron was bothering the walking dog again. I called out to the guy walking his dog that he should try to grab Byron’s collar.
His second attempt succeeded. I walked over and dragged Byron back to the house… he didn’t want to come in. I finally lifted him up and got him into the door.
Byron didn’t want to eat… who knows what he was eating through the night? He went up to our bedroom where Elly was still asleep and curled up on the floor.
That’s where he’s been for the last hour or so… and I’m exhausted.