A Tale of Two Canines

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This quote from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities pretty much sums up the first years of the lives of both Logan and me, just the other way around. The worst of times came first.

Logan never talked much about his life before coming to live with T and Nollind. He was a very sensitive guy and didn’t like to relive the trauma of those early days as a stray. But, from the little he said, it was definitely the worst of times for a young dog, out on the prairie alone. When he tried to get close to a farm he’d get chased by the resident dogs and out in the open he was at risk of being attacked by coyotes. And then there was the cold, the rain, some snow, and the lack of food. Those were definitely the worst of times for Logan.

By the time he was picked up by a small farm rescue, he was skinny and scared and wounded. When T called the woman about the “1-year-old Border Collie/Lab” she saw advertised in the Bargain Finder in January of 2005, she made the following notes (yes, she still has the piece of paper): he’d been a stray (aaww), the other dogs pick on him (poor Logie), he dislikes being tied and will bark (that never changed), he didn’t fear bite when his wounds were treated (always trusting), and he’d been an outside dog and therefore not housetrained (quickly rectified).

Kind dogs like Aspen and neighbour Kody helped with Logan’s fear of other canines.

As T tells it, when she saw the farmer carrying Logan on her shoulder through the throng of dogs in the yard, his eyes like saucers, her heart melted. He needed a home where he wouldn’t be afraid. Resident dog Aspen (an earlier adoptee) seemed to like him just fine, so in the backseat he went, sleeping all the way to his new home. The best of times had begun.

(You can read the whole story from Logan’s perspective in From Stray to Rescue to Family.)

Safe.

I didn’t have quite the hard-luck story of Logan. I wasn’t a stray. I had a home for the first two years of my life, along with a couple of other dogs and some horses. Sounds great, right? The man who owned us rode into town on his horse and let us run around the community while he had a few in the pub. Sounds even better, right? Good times for me and my buds.

The good times came to an end when the three of us got picked up by the bylaw officer and we found ourselves locked in pens at the pound. The worst of times came when our owner wouldn’t fork out the money for the fines and we were left at the mercy of the system. Lucky for us, the bylaw officer had a friend at a rescue organization and all three of us were transferred there.

First day in my “foster” home.

My spotted red coat was my next stroke of luck. T saw my photo and I reminded her so much of Nevada their Appaloosa horse that she contacted Misty Creek right away.

This past Monday was ten years since the day T and Nollind showed up at my somewhat crowded temporary foster home to see about being my longer-term foster home. I just needed to get along with Logan who’d been with them for six years by this time. Although not always the most popular pooch in the yard, I had plenty of experience getting along with other dogs, so was pretty sure I could pass the first test. I managed to not annoy Logan or cause trouble on a short neighbourhood walk so T and Nollind agreed to take me in. Times were getting better.

First walk on what would be become my home turf.

When we got “home” from Calgary, I knew I had to make myself a permanent resident. They lived on a farm surrounded by wide-open spaces. Dog heaven! Sadly, the two cats immediately took a dislike to me, hissing and spitting as they do, and then Logan challenged me to a peeing match in the hallway, which didn’t go over well at all. By the end of the first day, things weren’t looking good. I had to win over the four-legged family members, and quickly. Or so I thought…

I eventually won her over.

In the end, I only needed to win over one two-legged family member, T, and that was so-o-o easy. All I had to do was wait quietly in my kennel each morning (such a good doggie) and cuddle up to her on the couch on movie night—that head resting on thigh thing was a stroke of genius! Three days later, on the 28th of January, I was no longer a foster dog … I was officially adopted! The best of times was just beginning.

(More of my story in From Forgotten to Foster to Forever.)

She didn’t need to know that I was more lazy doggie than good doggie.

Logan and I were buds and companions for the nearly eight years we were together and we shared a bunch of adventures. We even started this blog together and called it “Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures!” I tried to be his rock when there was something scary happening, like thunder or a ride in the car, and he showed me how to be a good farm dog. I’m a happy guy these days and quite content to be an only dog, but those months and years with Logan at my side were definitely the best of times.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

Christmas Past, Present and Future

This year will be my tenth Christmas as part of the van Bryce clan so I decided to take a little trip down Christmas Memory Lane. Come on along!

It’s possible that my first Christmas as a van Bryce in 2011 set up some fairly hefty expectations. It looked like this…

How you do Christmas in California — breakfast on the “patio”.
Chasing rabbits in the desert.
Happy campers.

Christmas numbers two and three, in 2012 and ’13, looked more like this…

Poor little cactus regretted hitching a ride with us!
How far do you think it is to California?

Even the gift was a bit of a let down…

Looks like fish but doesn’t taste like fish.

It seemed a Christmas of eating breakfast outdoors and chasing rabbits through a warm desert was not going to be the norm, but I’m nothing if not adaptable. Instead of being outdoor warm, Christmas at home in 2014 was indoor cozy…

…and filled with cheer.

Christmas 2015 was a winter wonderland here on the farm. It was pretty hard to feel anything but happy to be spending it at home in Alberta.

Home sweet farm.
And there was skiing!

In 2016, just when we thought Christmas at home was a given, there we were on the road to Arizona in December, and we spent Christmas near Quartzsite.

Dressed for the holidays.
Lounging in camp at Hi Jolly dispersed camping area.

Christmas in the desert was so great we just had to do it again in 2017.

Christmas Eve by the fire at Dome Rock dispersed camping area.
Logie’s squeaky candy cane. He loved squeaky toys.
Christmas Day cocktail hour and Little Red Campfire time.

I was a bit disappointed when the decision was made to stay home in 2018 but the fish gift was better.

Smelly and delicious!

And it’s always good times with these two, no matter where we are or what the weather.

I think I need a hat!

Last year, we were home again in the wintry north.

Christmas Eve walk.

But it was an extra-special year because we spent it with extra-special friends.

Waiting for Christmas brunch.
A long walk on a big hill in Calgary.

We’re home again this year. It wasn’t the plan, but the Canada-US border is closed due to the pandemic so here we are. And after Monday night’s snowstorm, it’s definitely a white one. No dreaming required.

As great as memories are, Christmas present (or I should say Christmas presents), is the best kind. Here are a few puparazzi photos from this morning’s gift opening. I got all edible gifts this year. Thanks to my friends and family who know me so well.

As for Christmas future, I’d rather be surprised than to speculate, but, if Nollind has his way, it will look something like this…

Merry Christmas to all of you who read our blog, and may 2021 bring a time we can get together again in person … and in dog.

The Fur-iday Files

In a few days it will be two years since the guy who shares the name of this blog left us and took his stories with him. On the first Fur-iday of a number of months, I’ve tried to honour my buddy Logan by sharing snippets and photos from his posts. There were so many adventures and good times and I wasn’t ready to relegate him to the archives.

Kalamalka Lake in BC during the first week of our 2011 adventure.

But, two years later, I know he’d want us to move on. Stories of Logan will still come up, and maybe I’ll put something together to remember him on special occasions, but the time has come to say goodbye to “Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures” because Logan’s adventures are long over.

On the beach at Lake Havasu in March of 2018 just before heading north.

Nine years ago, in the fall of 2011, we started this blog as a way of sharing the five-month tale of our southern RV travels with friends and family. When we found ourselves desert bound again two years later, we were back on the blog telling more stories. In April of 2015, after our third winter trip to the southwest United States, we decided to tell tales of our at-home time too since “life is a grand adventure wherever we are.”

Exploring the back twenty in April 2015 after a winter away.

In February 2016, during a long winter spent at home, we started calling the days we posted on the blog Fur-idays. Not to brag, but it was my idea, and my name, the only one I came up with that Logan would agree to. Anyway, ever since, whether we’re at home or off travelling somewhere, Fur-idays have been blog days.

This is kinda what our discussion of names looked like.

Storm is one of the horses here on the farm and he guest blogged for the first time in November of 2017. After Logan died in 2018, Storm wrote a very moving “Tribute to a Trail Dog” and I decided then that it was time for him to tell tales from the barn more often. He blogged about Nevada’s brush with death that November, about the horses’ collective birthday in January, and winter weather in February. He’d earned a regular spot and, since then, has been reporting on all the things that happen in the herd.

A new blogger!

As we approach the two-year anniversary of Logan’s passing, the great adventures that began in 2011 no longer belong to him and me, but to a collection of four-legged, furry creatures here at Almosta Ranch. So, in this age and climate of inclusion, “Chico’s and Logan’s Great Adventures” will hereby be called “The Fur-iday Files”. We’re not moving, you’ll still find us at chicoandlogan.wordpress.com, but the banner will change in October.

You just might hear from this guy one of these days.

Whether you’ve been following our tales since the beginning or just found us last week, from the bottoms of our furry hearts, thank you for reading and commenting and subscribing. Knowing that you’re reading inspires us to keep writing.