Wednesday, August 23, 2006

It Takes A Thief

Remember the old 60's TV show "It Takes a Thief", starring Robert Wagner? Wagner played a cat burglar who worked for the government to steal state secrets. At 10 years old, me and my buddies thought that show was sooo cooool. Still do.

It seems that Roux has taken that cat burglarin' to heart. And we have proof.

Now we know Roux is bossy and has no compunctions about snatching the tennis ball away from Gumbo. At the park, Gumbo's the one who is goes after the tennis ball at "warp factor six." Roux kinda keeps up with Gumbo, instead waiting 'til Gumbo starts to trot back with the prize and BAM! - Roux snatches the ball from Gumbo and comes prancing back ever so arrogantly for another round with the ball in her mouth.

Ice cubes, Milk Bones, Booda Bones, pig ears, doesn't matter. If Gumbo's got it in his mouth, Roux steals it.

As of late, we've had to resort to placing platters of meat or other delectable dinner entrees to the back burner on the stove. It seems a certain border collie has been known so slink away during dinner to sample a morsel or two if the object of her affection is left too close to the edge of the countertop.

Earlier this week, during a morning bike ride, Kathy found a brand-spankin' new tennis ball over by the tennis courts. She brought it home and placed it on the kitchen table, close enough to the edge to make Roux go into the "klepto-zone." We caught the perpetrator in the act.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The crafty BC

Roux is quite the bossy girl.

She knows how to nudge her head under your arm so you know to pet her. She knows the routine in the morning -- when the newspaper reading and ball throwing is over, Lindsey gets up for his shower and it's time for "Mama love." She insists on her private time with me, right on schedule every morning.

She can't stand it when Gumbo is getting petted. She always manages to wriggle in on any lovefest.

Gumbo, the perfect gentleman, always acquiesces to Roux's intrusions. But he's got a one-up on her.

He's learned she also can't stand it when he plays with her toys. Roux especially likes Booda bones, and Gumbo really doesn't have anything to do with them.


When Roux wiggles in on his "love time," Gumbo has now started finding a Booda bone. He sits in plain view, tosses it in the air a few times, lays down and places it ever-so-coyly across his forelegs.

She's torn. This is human love. There's my Booda bone. Love. Bone. Love. Bone.

The bone eventually wins, and as she romps into the bedroom, merrily tossing it into the air ....

Gumbo gets his love.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Roux the island dog

Good fortune smiles upon the border collies occasionally, and this time it was an invitation to a weekend retreat at Worthington Island on the Mississippi River.

In addition to miles of trails to explore and other pups to play with, in mid-summer the island features a large sandbar that extends into the river.

We knew from a prior trip that Gumbo would chase a tennis ball anywhere, including into shallow water if necessary.

We toted our umbrellas, chairs, lunch and reading materials to the sandy beach. We gathered driftwood for a fire to grill some hot dogs. We turned around to count dogs -- there were five -- and Roux was standing in water up to her shoulders.

Just standing there.

We thought she was stuck in the muck. But no, she was just cooling off.

As we rafted in the cool water and watched the river traffic go by, we learned that Roux is one fine swimming dog.

In fact, she coulda been a retriever!

Monday, June 19, 2006

That's Mr. Alpha Dog to you!

Father's Day can be a little bit strange in our blended family.

My husband truly helped raise my daughter, whom he met as a teen-ager. I'm proud to say they are very close and he always has considered her his child also.

Together, we helped raise a foreign exchange student who now is in pharmacy school at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

And we have friends, who at various stages of their lives and our lives, can be more like family than friend.

Such was the conjunction of the planets on Father's Day 2006. A close friend spent the night to help us with some projects around the house. The daughter was happy with her other fathers and her new husband in Baton Rouge. We didn't hear from the student, which isn't all that unusual since he doesn't pay much attention to American holidays.

But we have our "children," the border collies.

They sent their Alpha Dog e-cards to announce their participation in the holiday. And on Father's Day morning, along with exquisite Honduran coffee on our newly improved, lushly landscaped patio, there were the border collies, showing up for their morning game.

But on this special day, they showed up wearing banners:

"Happy Father's Day!"

"We love you Dad."

And, in true border collie fashion:

"Our Dad has the best balls!"

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Mr. Personality"

Summerfest was indeed summer.

At 88 degrees, we were sweating out our time as therapy dogs and owners. But this was our first therapy visit with kids, and we wondered how Gumbo would react to all that energy.

It was a beautiful thing.

They petted. They loved. He behaved.

But when the kids discoveed the border collie would run after a stick -- well, we drew a crowd.

It's a miracle the tree beside us had any limbs at all!

We had a great time, and we're really hooked on this therapy dog thing. It's a wonderful thing to love an animal and to be able to share that love with so many people who want just to be able to pet a dog!

(Later in the dog show the two therapy border collies, Gumbo and Cody, were judged the dogs with the "most personality.")

Dog biscuits were shared by all....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Officially therapeutic

Gumbo is officially a therapy dog now. He made his first visit recently to Azalea Estates, which is an assisted living complex.

We think he likes it. Who wouldn't like being petted by everyone in sight?

Lindsey and I enjoyed our visit, also. We walked in the door, and a gentleman was sitting right inside the foyer.

"OOOOHHHH, a DOG!" he exclaimed.

We learned that many of the residents miss their pets. And we heard many stories of this good dog, or that good dog.

More therapy visits are definitely in our future! Lindsey and I are checking out where we might want to live someday!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Lately we’ve had an old friend helping with our landscaping. Over the last few years, vines have taken over the shrubs in the back yard and, in general, most of the perimeter border plants seem to have morphed into something else.

Deb, our friend, has bulldog tenacity when it comes to tackling our yard. She hangs in there if she’s pulling some big-ass vine out by the root, or meticulously unravels the spiral strangulation of the creeper vines. We can’t tell you have many sticks and branches Deb has dug out of the shrubs from the fragile pecan tree next door that drops branches with the slightest breeze.

But Roux can.

Every branch dropped from the top of the ladder Deb is working on gets carried away by Roux, who proudly takes the branch in her mouth and carts it off to another spot in the yard. She then proceeds to try and eat it.

I’ve yelled “Roux, quit eating that Goddamn stick!” so many times the neighbors are sure I’m gonna go to hell for blasphemy.

At one point, Deb would lower hard-to-get-at branches down to Roux, who would hold them in her mouth while Deb lopped the branch off. They had a system going and Roux was more than happy to help.

Roux takes all sticks, large and small. Sometimes she would have the stick in her mouth the wide way and would get hung up at the door trying to bring it into the house – just like in the cartoons.

Today she wrestled with a branch that had to be at least 3” in diameter and must have weighed at least thirty pounds. But somehow, this wiry, skinny, bundle of energy border collie somehow managed to cart that behemoth of a stick off.

And Roux has a new name for our friend Deb - "Aunt Stick"

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