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.

I’ll Be Okay …

T’s gone away again, up to northern BC to visit family for a week. She packed the little blue wheelie suitcase, which means she’s travelling by plane, which means that I can’t go. I wish I was the size of dog that could fit in one of those carry-on kennels. That way I could go along on all of her travels.

Do you think I could squeeze in?

It’s not that I don’t like hanging out with Nollind … it’s just that I worry … about getting fed. The cats told me a story about once having to carry dead birds into the house as a reminder to fill the food bowl when T was out of town. Cats like to mess with dogs so maybe they were just trying to scare me. But, I suppose, if things get dire, there are lots of pigeons around that nobody seems to be a fan of, and I’m pretty good at scavenging for wild mushrooms and other such treats.

Snuffling around for wild mushrooms.

And, I did supervise the making of the “Chico List”—daily walk, breakfast options, dinner instructions—and everything important was on there. Nollind is pretty good with a list. I should be fine…

Demonstrating that I’m the perfect size for her suitcase.

Maybe someone should come and check on me, say … Tuesday?