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)

It’s Our Anni-fur-sary!

Nothing makes me happier than finding another word to insert fur into. Actually, I like to insert fur just about anywhere—car seats, clothing, furniture.  Did you hear it? Fur-niture? I didn’t even have to mess with that one.

Anyway, this weekend is the 9th anni-fur-sary of me becoming part of T and Nollind’s fur-family. Nine years! Can you believe it? Nine years of snuggles, snacks, and adventures. It was a lucky day when T spotted my photo on the Misty Creek Dog Rescue website and thought it would be fun for Nevada to have a mini-me. I started off as a foster dog, but I think it was more of a try-before-you-buy situation and, after quickly wedging myself into their hearts, I was adopted.

Not sure if it was my good looks or my ability to make them laugh that clinched the deal.

At the time, the rescue said I was two years old. So, January 26 is also the closest thing I have to a known birthday. On Sunday I turn eleven.

Hanging in my “foster” home in 2011.

In the world of dogs, eleven puts me well into my senior years, but I really don’t feel old. I’m more inclined to trot than run full out these days and I can’t jump up on the bed anymore but, other than that, not much has changed. I never was much of a jumper so I’d really rather be lifted anyway.

I can still get on the couch. :o)

Logan was the opposite. In his younger days, he could jump like a deer, and he continued to jump into and onto things far beyond his ability. T or Nollind used to block his way when the truck door opened so that he wouldn’t crash. I make a good senior as I’m happy to have assistance. And, I can still hop up on the couch. All is good.

Logan had slowed down a little by the time this pic was taken in 2012. He was eight.

I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate my combined birthday/anni-fur-sary. Extra treats are always a good option. A walk somewhere new or different would be fun. An afternoon nap maybe (and probably one or two in the morning and another two or three in the evening). And cuddles of course. I do love to cuddle.

A winter afternoon nap and cuddle. (I’m not the only one getting a frosty face.)

When we were out walking yesterday, T and Nollind were talking about the upcoming occasion, and that my arrival in their lives also marked the first year of their RV adventures. I think I can pretty much take credit for five winters of southbound trailer trips and a bunch of Canadian camping. My adventurous spirit inspired them to travel (and in a fashion that suited the inclusion of dogs).

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah in 2011

If Logan were here, he might try to claim some responsibility but, we all know that his travel anxiety never inspired anyone to hit the road. We just dragged him along because we liked him so much.

So, nine years in my fur-ever home and eleven years on this planet later, life is good for this colourful canine. If it weren’t for my face fading to a lighter shade of pale, nobody would be the wiser when it comes to my age. Maybe I can get a dye job? Then again, I remember the tomato-face experience. I think I’ll stick with my frosty look.

Not quite the right shade of red.

Flashback Fur-iday – In the Beginning…

This time of year brings up a lot of memories of autumns past, particularly the autumn of 2011 when we set out travelling by RV for the first time and started this blog. It was T’s idea for Logan and me to write a blog. She wanted to share the tales of our travels with friends and family back home but didn’t want it to be the standard “weather is here, wish you were beautiful” stuff. Wait a minute. What up, Jimmy? That’s not how you say it.

So, there we were, a couple of rescue hounds, writing a blog. Crazy, right? Logan took to it like a Lab to water, but it was a tougher learning curve for me. I just wanted to run and chase and run some more. Who had time to sit still and tell stories? I was a 3-year-old dog!

On the other side of that coin though, I was an excellent traveller, but Logan, well, not so much. He loved the new places but …

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 recognize 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.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan
Maybe if I close my eyes?

I mostly just slept, still do. What better way to pass the hours in a vehicle? But I could never convince Logan, at least not until the “magic cheese”…

I think I’m finally getting a bit more comfortable with truck time. Sa and Nollind think it’s due to the new treat they got for me that they call “magic cheese”, but it just says Havarti on the package, which I’ve had before. There is something special about it though because I feel really mellow about an hour after I eat some, and riding in the truck is pretty cool then, watching the world go by outside the window. I like sticking my head out and getting that rush of a thousand scents at once blasting in.

December 2011 – Murky Water and Magic Cheese
With magic cheese assist.

For two rescue-come-farm dogs, travelling for five months in the United States was quite the grand adventure—sand dunes, beaches, cool spiky plants, rocks the colour of a sunset, and Logan’s favourite …, dog parks.

Viva Las Vegas…or so the humans like to say. I wasn’t clear what all the fuss was about until we arrived. Once we’d settled in and done a bit of exploring, I found out why it’s such a hot destination — Las Vegas has the best dog park in the western USA, possibly in the whole country!

January 2012 – Viva Las Vegas
RV dog paradise – freedom!

But it wasn’t all fun and games on the road, especially for a sensitive guy like Logan. Some of those great things I mentioned above had a dark side…

I drink from puddles at home all the time but whatever tiny critters live in the water down here do a number on my digestive system. Drinking from a watering hole in a dog park at Oceanside gave me a thorough understanding of the term “explosive diarrhea”. Another normally innocuous part of my life on the farm, plants, also seem to be out to get me down here. I’ve had more thorns in my paws than I can count, one big ball of nasty stuck to the back of my leg, and a spiky branch that seemed to jump right off its host onto my thigh when I walked by. I also had an eye infection that took many days of an antibiotic ointment to cure, and running in deep sand at the dunes tired out my hindquarters so much I had trouble getting up the stairs into the trailer when we got home.

February 2012 – How Do Dogs Live Down Here?
It was a long way to the top.

We were away five months that first trip, a long time for a couple of dogs who’d rarely left home. Logan in particular, got a little homesick toward the end…

Yesterday we left Bisbee, the farthest point south we’ve travelled on this trip, and drove all day heading north. I hear we’re going home! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time, but I am a bit of a homebody and I’m looking forward to my farm, my bed, my doggie friends across the road, and leashes that hang on a hook in the porch. Oh, and friendlier plants.

March 2012 – Sore Feet and Sore Eyes
Montana’s high country on the way home.

There’s talk of a trip this winter, and Sid’s all cleaned up and ready to go. As excited as I am about the prospect of another winter in the desert, it sure won’t be the same without Logan. But then I’m pretty sure he’ll be there with us, exploring our favourite boondocking spots, enjoying the desert sunsets, and riding along easily without the aid of magic cheese.