How To Be a Runner

November 20, 2009

A Guest Blog By Mollie the Border Collie

1. Come in the house all bi-ped and buffoonish. Pretend like you’re not going anywhere so that the two dogs who CAN’T come don’t get excited for no reason
{Dude, we know you’re going as soon as you walk in the door. Get over yourself!}

2. Go upstairs and undress. Run nekkid down the stairs to grab whatever you left wherever, holding all the big jiggly parts of yourself together with your very short arms
{I should mention, it doesn’t work. And yeah, you do need to get some drapes on the window at the front door!}

3. Jiggle back upstairs. Make strange grunting and groaning noises as you try to smoosh abnormally large teats into sports bra. Curse while trying to pull on tight running pants, jiggle jiggle jiggle jiggle.

4. Run back down the stairs with minimal jiggling thanks to lycra and a minute amount of spandex…turn on heel and run back up stairs to grab forgotten running socks
{and they say dogs have lower intelligence….}

5. Be a dirty trick player while you’re up there by luring one non-running dog into his kennel.
{Yeah we all hear you with the ‘Good boy blahblahblah’. If you could hear us, we’d be saying ‘Get ready to flee, tricksy meal-on-legs’!}

6. Put on running shoes. And running sweater. Go out into the backyard to see if you will be warm enough, and then turn around to go back in only to realize that you LOCKED the door behind yourself.
{Nicely done, little wonder you have apes in your family tree!}

7. Try to climb chain-link fence to get in the front door, which is unlocked and wide open
{Hey you burglar, come on in and make yourself at home!}

8. Fall.
{Woof, snicker, snort, Woof!}

9. BLEEP BLEEEEEP BLEEEEEEEEEEP (insert curses here)

10. Climb over the fence. Stand on the other side in victory, huffing and panting like a sumo drag queen.
{No, we don’t think you are Rocky and we’d like you to not hum that tune, kthx.}

11. Enter house via unlocked front door. Realize that running shoes are dirty and no amount of tip-toeing will get you to the back door without making a big mess. Remove shoes and FINALLY let the beleguered and superior Canis lupus familiaris inside.
{After all this, you really must acknowledge our superiority. Now, FEED ME peon!}

12. Make a huge deal of retying your shoes, all the while asking me if I knew there was a proper way to tie laces.
{Honestly, you aren’t intelligent enough to understand my language. But suffer, I must.}

13. Put the dreaded collar on me and finally, FINALLY leave the house.
{You will pay for this, it’s all a part of my Evil Plan to Rule the World! Mwahahahaha!}

14. Run, walk, run, walk, run, walk, blah de blah blah.
{Just move already, would you?!?}

15. Blahblahblahblah end up at the off-leash park and NOW I am running!
{You could stand to learn a thing or eleven from me}

The End

{You, too, can be a runner if you just ignore these 15 steps and be one with your inner DOG!!}



October 7, 2009

The results are in:

It was an immune-mediated granuloma. Harmless and caused by the introduction of a foreign body directly under the skin.

Mollie is fine. She’s perfect and healthy and I am not going to lose her.

Thank goD. I am so relieved that what I’m feeling right now is indescribable. No more worry. The world has stepped off of my shoulders and righted itself.

I'm an Angel here on earth, and that's where I'm staying!

She’s Only Four

October 3, 2009

Last Sunday evening I took all three dogs to the off-leash park….which is conveniently situated right across the street from me. There was an uncommonly large amount of dogs there, one of which was a Rottweiler puppy who had virtually no manners.

He stole Mollie’s Wubba. Now, usually Mollie doesn’t let strange dogs get close enough to steal her Wubba and if I let them have it, she will snatch it at the first opportunity (meaning, when said thieving dog has dropped the toy and she can dive in and snatch it). But she wasn’t really even making an attempt to get it away from him. Instead of wondering what was wrong, I was marveling with pride at how nice she was being.

And then we came home, and she went out in the backyard to do her typical post-running poop. Except when she came in the house her tail was tucked so far between her legs that it was up against her belly. And she sat on my feet. Literally. So I sat her on the couch with me and started petting her, wondering if I’d find a hidden bite (from the manner-less puppy) or scratch….

I found a lump. A huge lump. If you were to boil an egg, cut the smaller end off at the point where it starts to narrow, and stick it on Moo’s ass, you’d feel what I found. It was palpable but Hard. And you know what? Lumps are my own personal demon.

On Tuesday she was in surgery. I was at home, sick as a Dog (no pun intended) and it was the most hellish six hours of my life. Mollie was left with a big, hairless patch on her right hind leg, and a dozen stitches in an 8 inch incision. And no lump. Thank gooDness.



The biopsy results aren’t back yet. Logically I am sure that it’s nothing serious – even the Vet suspects an inflammation. But…’s a lump. And, but…..

I’m trying desperately to think good thoughts. She’s fine. She’ll be fine. I can hardly hold her back for crying out loud. In a few weeks she’ll be able to work sheep again (ummm, I think? Can anyone give me an idea of how long I should keep her off of stock for?) and chase her Flying Squirrel and go for nightly runs.

In the meantime, Mollie would like you all to know that she’s warned me to sleep with one eye open. Because Hell hath no fury like a woman(dog) coned.


Be afraid, faceless very afraid.


September 15, 2009

Look Up....Waaaaaay Up!!

Mollie is agile.

Lady B&W

Beautiful in Black & White

Lady is agile.

Muggs agile??


Muggs, however, is the type of guy who trips on his own feet going up the stairs (he also farts while walking up the stairs, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!).

But he is the kind of dog that needs constant confidence-building. Even though I call him the un-dog due to his couch potato nature, he’s also extremely sensitive and biddable. I’ve started target training with him and I’m wondering if I should maybe raise the bar higher and do something more challenging with him.

I have a chair in my living room that gets moved directly in the path of the patio door when the TV is on. Muggs sees this chair as his own personal obstacle course and likes to jump right over the back of it – instead of going around…so like a man – to get out the back door.

And then one day I had a thought: what if I do some agility with him?

I have never done agility. Instead of contemplating one of my intense, high-drive Border Collies for this sport, I go for the lazy black un-dog in my thoughts. Because I’ve seen him perform stunning feats of physical agility, and also because I know how this kind of work can build confidence and trust. Heck, if he’d turn on to sheep I’d take him out to Ken’s! Except, knowing Muggs, he’d run into the middle of the sheep and flock with them.

Frankly, though,  I don’t even know if I could teach Muggs agility. He crumbles under the slightest amount of pressure, and he’s also easily confused by new,complex commands.  The girls learn like this:

Observe, attempt, got it.

Muggs, on the other hand, learns like this:

Oooh something new??? Got treats??? I know you have treats in your hand!! TREATS!! Wait, what are you doing with that post-it note? Why is Mollie touching it with her nose? OH doG don’t turn that scary yellow paper towards me!! NO – I give, I give!!!

And then I can’t even attempt to go near him for any sort of training. Rinse, lather, repeat and you have Muggs in a nutshell. I have never, ever seen such a sensitive dog. He also has absolutely zero drive. Oh, he is crazy for treats but even they aren’t motive enough for him to not crumble at my feet if he feels the least bit overwhelmed. I’ve tried many times, multiple different ways, to get him to play with me…I ended up leaving it alone, hoping that in time he’ll come along at his own pace (something that he often does). He is extremely uncomfortable in new places – this behaviour has improved in leaps and bounds since he first came to live with me but it’s still a work in progress.


She's got the Facebox....treats or no treats it's too scary!!

Are there any agility activities I could try at home with Muggs? Any ideas for activities that he might enjoy?

Our Very First Stockdog Lesson (Or, My Mother Is A Little Strange)

September 9, 2009

I was finally able to upload the video of myself and Mollie during our very first lesson with Ken on Youtube.

In hindsight, it’s a little bit embarrassing. I am running around aimlessly, no concept of positioning or timing….and Mollie is taking advantage of my ineptness. Listen, she barks! Many times. And it’s her WAHOO bark, the one that means she is all about the FUN. I’m proud to say that we have improved immeasurably since this first lesson, in huge leaps and bounds, and I only wish I had a contrasting, current video to show you.

Unfortunately, my camera-person, who is also my Mother, is pretty clueless about cameras and I forgot to tell her that she should use the zoom function on my crappy little Sony Cybershot. She also chews her gum like a cow, but it’s something I’ve come to tolerate (and so, too, shall you!).

So here’s to personal humiliation, in ways only Mothers can…followed by a song:

Dog Walks

September 7, 2009

Walk Softly

Tread Softly, Lest Ye Should Falter

Lady, CMH

September 6, 2009

You know those fancy titles lauded by the CKC and the AKC and the…well, you get the idea.

My dogs, not having the foresight to be papered (and in Muggs case, not having the parentage, poor sucker) have never had fancy acronyms following their rather common names. But every once in a while, a situation comes along in which a certain canine proves herself to be heads and tails above her peers.

They call her Lady.


You may take my picture now, peon.

Look at her. She just screams maturity and an unflappable character. Bah, what a lie.

You see, this year’s drought has produced a plethora of grasshoppers, which in turn has resulted in an overabundance of mice. Combine that with our town’s policy that cats aren’t allowed to run loose, and you can just imagine the bendy fun these little rodents have been getting (though I’d suggest you don’t imagine it, kthx).

Yep. Little mice knocking boots. In. My. Backyard. For the past several weeks, I have been greeted with this every single time I look out the garden doors:

Gone with the Wind

It's Scarlett on Mouse Patrol!!

That bountiful bush to the left is a yellow raspberry bush, and it seems to be party-central for the mice. Yum, food. Lady has stood in this very spot for the past week, transfixed as only a Border Collie can be.

Fast forward to last Wednesday when, as I always do, I let all three dogs out before leaving for work. I turned my back for thirty seconds, and when I looked out the glass doors Mollie and Muggs were slathered all over Lady, following her around like she was carrying the biggest, meatiest bone in the world. I called for her out the door, told the other two to stop bugging her….and then I watched in growing disgust as she trotted towards me, head and tail held high with an abundance of pride, bouncing something in between her jaws.

Now, let me explain this: when I say bouncing, I am not embellishing. Something small and brown was being BOUNCED in between her killer jaws as they opened and closed in time with her steps. Yeah, I was starting to get it. And then she got four feet away from me and I shrieked “LADY, DROP IT!” And plop it went, tail still twitching in the last throws of death. I, who used to pick up live mice by the tail and remove them from a cousins basement, freaked out in prime girlish style. I shooshed all dogs in the house…..and then I grabbed my Blackberry. The only thing close with a camera in it.

I then proceeded to take a picture of the newly crowned acronym-dog (whilst keeping as far away from the carcass as possible, of course):

Lady, CMH

Lady, CMH

Next to her prize:

The Bounty

What can I say? Some people are sick!

This post has been brought to you by Lady, CMH (Champion Mouse Hunter).

On vigilant patrol in a neighbourhood near you!