First Fur-iday

It’s the first Fur-iday of December and it’s got me thinking about how this blog got started. In one word … Logan. It was his idea. He wrote the first post, gave the site its name, and signed me up to write every second post. It was tough for me because Logan had a sort of cynical way of seeing the world that made people laugh. I’m a bit of a clown in person, but in writing, I had a hard time living up to the standard he set. However, once we began posting weekly and wanted a regular day, I was the one who came up with Fur-iday. :o)

I miss Logan. And not just his physical presence in my days as a friend to explore the world of scents with, but his storytelling, his sense of humour, his every-second-week posts in the blog. I considered ending Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures when he died. How could it possibly go on without him? And then I hoped he’d find some way to send his stories from wherever it is he’s gone. But, so far, no word from beyond. Now that he’s left behind that old wreck of a body, he’s probably too busy doing this…

or this…

or maybe this…

This morning I took a tour through the early days of our blog and reread some of my favourite Logan moments. And then I thought of a way to include him in the blog and keep his spirit alive. On the first Fur-iday of each month (Fur-st Fur-iday?), I will dig back into the archives for Logan’s wisdom and humour, combine it with some previously-unpublished photos, and add in a little of my own commentary.

Welcome to the first First Fur-iday!

Me in November of 2011

On the 11th of November of 2011 (11-11-11), it all began with…

Hi, My Name is Logan. I’m probably not your typical blogger; although, admittedly, I haven’t read a lot of blogs. I’m a 7-year-old Border Collie/Lab cross. Yes…a dog.

Logan, November 11, 2011

The dog blog was born! We were just setting out on a big adventure, a 5-month RV tour in the United States, and Logan thought it would be a fun way to chronicle the journey and share our stories with friends and family. Just as T and Nollind had no idea that our original trip would turn into another four winters of travelling, Logan and I didn’t know the blog would become a weekly event over the next seven years (and counting).

Arriving at our first mini destination in Coldstream, BC.

In that very first Logan post, we got a taste of a subject that would come up again and again in our adventures, his travel anxiety. Me, I never understood it. A dog bed in the truck doesn’t feel a lot different than a dog bed in the house other than the gentle motion and noise that lulls me to sleep. But Logan didn’t see it that way …

The stops are filled with new sights, sounds and, most importantly and best of all…smells! It’s an absolute scent-fest every time we stop in a new place. Travelling between stops is a lot less appealing, or let’s make that more terrifying — hurtling down the highway at great speed with others doing the same thing in the other direction. Does no one else see the danger we’re in? Have they not read the newspapers or watched the nightly news? My people sit blissfully naive in front, seemingly enjoying the ride, regularly trying to reassure me of the safety and okay-ness of it all. But I’m not falling for it. I’m a Border Collie and we’re known for our intelligence. Some might say we’re obsessive…I prefer to think of it as focused.

Logan, November 11, 2011

Our first RV park dog run.

It would also be the beginning of Logan’s experimentation with various kinds of recreational herbs and medications…

The morning we left Canada, they slipped something into my food. It made me feel a bit sleepy, but I fought it and remained ever awake and vigilant all the way to Spokane. Somebody has to watch the road and remind them of the dangers.

Logan, November 2011

For all his wonderful qualities, and there were many, Logan was a terrible travelling companion, for humans and dogs alike. If he hadn’t been so easy and happy once we arrived somewhere (see earlier comments about sights and sounds) I’m sure T and Nollind would have left him in the care of someone at home and we probably wouldn’t have stayed away as long without him.

Our five trips south wouldn’t have been the same without Logie.

Luckily for me, Logan was a trooper, T and Nollind were patient, and we were able to tell many stories in the pages of Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures over the next seven years.

Check back on the first Fur-iday of January for more from the Logan archives!

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An Exercise in Empathy

According to Oxford, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Some of you are probably thinking that empathy is reserved for humans. I thought so too and was quite excited to be embarking (no pun intended but that’s kinda funny) on a new adventure in humanness.

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Working on my “I care” face (which looks surprisingly like my “have you got any treats” face.)

But when I read about the nature of empathy, I realized that I feel this regularly, every time one of my people is upset, or sad, or hurt. It’s written in my canine DNA to go to the aid of my humans when they are in trouble. They’ve even done studies on the topic, including this one entitled “Dogs feel empathy for human suffering.”

The good news for me in this discovery is that human-ness and canine-ness may not be as far apart as I thought.

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Soaking up the snowy day happy vibes from T.

What got me thinking about empathy is my week of spending time in Logan’s world, the world of veterinarians and medications and restrictions. I’ve been a very healthy guy—an easy keeper they call me. I’ll eat pretty much anything that’s put in front of me without issue or repercussions (often finding my own snacks), I’m happy with a short walk but always up for a long one, I sleep through the night and am usually the last one out of bed in the morning.

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You’d be amazed what an easy keeper like me can find under a picnic table.

This past week I had to take painkillers that made my stomach feel a bit off, my walks were a good length but limited to on-leash, and I had to sleep with a life preserver around my neck. I know, I know, small potatoes compared to what Logan dealt with his last year. I realize my experience was just a taste of what he went through.

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I admit to a few moments of feeling sorry for myself.

Don’t get me wrong, Logan wouldn’t have had it any other way. Some dogs may have opted for an early exit rather than have their activities continually curtailed and spend every second week in a vet’s office, but that wasn’t Logan. He was a fighter, with a zest for life that carried him through his health trials with spunk and dignity.

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Logan’s final canal adventure in mid-August. Spunk and dignity.

My time in Logan’s world is almost up, at least for now. I’m spending less time in the life preserver and my stitches come out on Monday. After that it’s all systems go, life returns to normal.

If the lump they removed from my leg had been a malignant fibrosarcoma, I’d be telling a different story, but, hooray!, my easy keeper streak continues. The lab tests confirmed it was just a benign fibroma. I’m in the clear!celebration time

I’ll wrap up my thoughts on empathy with some words I’m going to try to live by:

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird11-Chico-empathy-chinooksky

 

 

Two Kinds of Cones

Yesterday was my surgery. It wasn’t open heart or anything else potentially life-altering, but surgery is surgery and involves risks. I’m happy to report that I woke up the same dog as when I went to sleep, minus a bit of hair and one suspicious lump.

My vet, Dr. Julie, said the lump is either a fibroma (benign) or a fibrosarcoma (malignant). I’m hoping for the former and we’ll know in a week or so when the results come back from the lab. But, either way, it’s gone.

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Wednesday night. Blissfully unaware of what was to come in the morning.

I’m generally kind of a lumpy guy and have a number of what they call lipomas or fatty tumours. They’re basically little pockets of fat between the skin and the muscle. Apparently, dogs who are metabolically challenged are prone to them but they can also result from my body’s inability to rid itself of toxins. Lipomas are always benign so they get left alone unless they start interfering with movement or comfort.

I normally don’t mind going to the vet—I get tons of attention, the staff all like me, I get treats. It’s a good gig. But yesterday was different. For starters, I love breakfast and there was none. Then, after we arrived at Animal Care Centre (ACC) and we’d had a short visit with Dr. Julie, I took my typical trip down the hallway from the exam rooms to where they draw blood and sample lumps and other such activities, but instead of going right back to T and Nollind I was put in a kennel. I should have paid closer attention when T was explaining what was going to happen. She probably mentioned something about staying for the day.

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Thursday morning. Waiting for the breakfast that never came.

Early in the afternoon, one of the staff came to get me from my kennel. They were kind to me, as they always are at ACC, stroking me gently, and next thing I knew I was waking up in a very groggy state. Logan had been sedated a number of times—teeth knocked out by horse, porcupine quills in face, ear lump removed, joint injected—but I’ve managed to keep myself out of the emergency clinic. Being sedated was a new and not entirely unpleasant experience, like floating maybe, in thick soup. Mmm…soup.

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Me and Dr. Julie before the surgery. I was in good hands.

A little while later, Kristin, the vet tech, returned for me and took me back to the exam rooms where T and Nollind were waiting for me. Was I ever happy to see them! I ran over, wagging my tail, telling them all about my day, which probably sounded a little like whining to human ears.

Kristin went through my post-surgery care, which I’m happy to report does not involve skipping any more meals, she gave T some pills to keep me comfortable and an enormous plastic cone. The cone had me baffled until T and Nollind starting discussing it in the truck. Oh, it was for me. I’d heard about what dogs and cats refer to as “the cone of shame” but I’d not seen one. If I could speak I would have promised them, sworn on Logan’s grave, that I wouldn’t touch my sutures if they wouldn’t put that thing on my head.

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The thing I’m not supposed to lick.

Maybe it was because of the cone, or just the kind of day they knew I’d had, but Nollind turned left instead of right when we left Animal Care Centre, bound for Strathmore and … wait for it … ice cream cones! Did you know that Dairy Queen has “pup cups”? Yup, free ice cream for pooches at the drive-thru. For those few minutes of blissful licking, the trials of my day and the cone-wearing to come were completely forgotten.

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Good to the last lick. (Cone of shame in the background.)

Homeward bound, we were halfway between Strathmore and the farm when Nollind pulled the truck over. He did some looking at websites on his phone, T made a couple of calls, and we were driving back to town.

I love my people. They weren’t going to make me wear the cone. There was another way. I’m not over the moon about the Zen Collar either (I don’t even like wearing my regular collar) but I can drink, eat, walk around without bumping into everything, and it makes a reasonable pillow. As an added bonus, as my Auntie Sus pointed out when she said I was ready for the Titanic (she’s funny), in the event of a flash flood, I’m covered!

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Ready for the Titanic.

So, this Fur-iday finds me with a life preserver around my neck and a chilly spot on one hind leg, but grateful for the life I enjoy and the care of the people who adopted me nearly eight years ago. Life is good for one slightly-less-lumpy rescue dog.

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Enjoying my new headrest.