Sassy Sue wows the bark park visitors with her catching and retrieving.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Sassy No Longer Has a Park To Visit - She Lives in One

In Phoenix, I walked Sassy to the park every morning, sometimes as early as 4 AM to avoid the heat.

In Northwest Arkansas, we live in a park, a double lot where trees surround the house. Just like the dogs in "Up," Sassy lives to chase squirrels. She has no hope of catching one, but the thrill never goes away.

The morning walk begins with, "Sassy - let's go kill a squirrel." She knows that includes walking across the main road and going up the hill on Wentworth.

First we stop to see Maynard and Homer, two neighboring guard dogs, big babies looking for attention. Sassy chases Maynard in circles and fusses with Homer. Old Homer is known for not liking smaller dogs, so he sometimes wears an expression of disgust and dismay, backing away to watch from the porch. Maynard enjoys the chase.

Across the street is a new Scotch terrier, usually inside. On the corner is a little dog who stays outside without a leash. That is Sassy's boyfriend. Our granddaughter got them together for a social meeting. Ever since, Sassy and her boyfriend have enjoyed daily chases around the yard. Sassy on three legs can keep up with other dogs on four. The new neighbors admire Sassy and talk about her with me.

Chipmunk holes are abundant, so Sassy checks them out. Chipmunks do two things to hide. One is the freeze. When they stop moving, they blend easily with the background. If Sassy charges, they duck into their hidey-holes nearby. PETA does not need to be alarmed. Sassy has no chance to touch her mammal friends.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Precious and Treasure Enjoy Their New Home

Precious can be counted on for mischief.
1 Silden Lane, Bella Vista, Arkansas, 72715.

Precious and Treasure are enjoying their new home, too. The previous occupant used the back porch for his dogs' exercise and sun. The house is stretched out, and the concrete back porch runs the length, with much of it under a roof. Today Precious and Sassy enjoyed a nap on the big pillow under the roof. The porch can be accessed from a guest bedroom, the living room, or the dining/kitchen area.

Treasure likes resting in little cubby-holes and sleeping outside when it is cold (Phoenix style - 40 degrees).

Sassy and I will also take our walks around the area, which is quite hilly. She has a nice front yard for tossing the ball. Lately we have had daily rain, so walking is a bit limited.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Sassy and her fur-sisters are moving to Arkansas, because Greg and Chris have a chance to live near their son's family. That means a permanent vacation, of sorts, with three delightful grandchildren about 15 minutes away. The grandchildren have rescue cats, but they love dogs too.

Sassy has enjoyed Glendale. She cleaned up the mean streets of Poinsettia. Where cats once roamed at their pleasure, now felines tremble and hide. Some head for the trees. Others zip under the semi-open garage doors. Sassy's favorites hit Mach 1 crossing the street or leaping over the fence.

Sassy has come face to face with many cats and kittens. If they play innocent and just look at her, she does nothing. She has great intuition for their sense of guilt. If they run, she boosts their speed as much as she can.

Today her street was free of roaming cats. It will probably take years for them to start purring again in the morning.

Sassy is enormously popular here. She greets every dog and person she meets, wiggling with pleasure when people talk to her. The pet owners all know her by name and call out to her. Dogs want to play with her and plant their front feet, which is canine speech for, "Let's run around the park together."

She will have a park-like setting in Arkansas, and squirrels to train in the art of survival.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Foster Mom Asks: "How Is Sassying Doing?"

Sassy is resting under the glass kitchen table.

BettyP has left a new comment on your post ""Some Books Are Meant To Be Tasted, Others To Be S...":

Hello all. We have been thinking about you and Sassy. We are glad that she found her wonderful new forever home and love to read about all her adventures. Is she helping to make the shelties less shy?

[Betty is Sassy's foster Mom.]

GJ - Sassy is having a great time with the Shelties. They were annoyed with her at first, but now they get along great. Precious and Treasure are both less shy than they used to be.

Precious has mock fights with Sassy several times a day. Sometimes Sassy is on top and snapping at Precious lying on her back. At other times Sassy is down and Precious works her over with fake bites. They trade a few on the bed, but usually they do this at the foot of the bed.

Treasure is much more likely to jump on the bed for her favorite trick. She grins and puts out her paw for petting. As soon as the petting stops, she juts it forward again.

They have fun and relax together too.

Chris buries her face in Sassy's fur every so often. Sassy likes that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Some Books Are Meant To Be Tasted, Others To Be Swallowed, Some Few To Be Chewed and Digested" - Bacon

Clown or contrite sinner?

"Some books are meant to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; That is, some books are to be read only in parts; Others to be read, but not curiously; And some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention."
- Francis Bacon, Of Studies

I was blogging about a little-known theologian named Knapp. I decided to get out my copy, which I used for the introductory information about his life and training. I left it on the floor as I was writing, since my desk is full of important materials: food, coffee cups, cookie crumbs, books, and pens.

I was getting some Internet quotations in the same post when I looked down. Sassy was busy digesting Knapp in her own way, chewing away on the spine. The book is about 150 years old and doubtless glued in the spine with tasty animal products.

All of our dogs have enjoyed books as much I do. An old set of Eisenach Luther kept attracting Old Precious. The green Concordia books must have a good flavor, too.

Sassy was suitably contrite after being caught. No dog fakes sincerity better than she does. We made up quickly, especially since the book itself was almost immune to damage. The spine is well chewed, but the book opens and reads the same as before.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I Just Love Cats

Photo by JJ

Sassy is a superb cat hunter but never hurts them. She even desisted when cornering the neighbor's cat on its doorstep, with the neighbor watching. This distant neighbor loves Sassy. Fortunately, the dog's impulse control finally clicked on.

Sunday, when we walked at around 6 AM, Sassy found three cats on the ground. I only saw one, but Sassy chased them over their fences by charging them, driving them from their cover in bushes.

Morning morning, no cat was available for chasing as we walked toward the park. However, cats are either dumb or insolent. Maybe they do not learn very quickly. On the way back, Sassy caught one her regulars on the ground and got it flying into the garage, the door left a bit open at the bottom.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sassy Loves the Park

Sassy developed powerful muscles in her chest.
Our granddaughter Josie says Sassy has "an invisible fourth leg."
Sassy still stops traffic with her three-legged runs."
Photo by JJ.

Sassy loves her daily walks to the park. She meets new and old friends every day. All of us get going early because the summer heat is upon us - 108 in the shade right now. At 5 to 6 AM, the weather is perfect in Phoenix, as "Dawn, the rosy-fingered child of Morn appears." (Homer)

Sassy always runs over to meet her canine friends. She was quite unsure of a German Shepherd twice her size. The German Shepherd was well behaved and wanted to watch Sassy chase her ball. Somehow, Sassy ran a wide circle away from her friend as she returned the ball each time.

Sassy was not intimidated by a full-sized poodle. She must do a quick read of each dog's character.

Sassy's German Shepherd breeding is obvious to everyone. She is a grouch in bed when falling asleep. The Shelties are not much better, delivering kicks to anyone petting them or getting in their way during a serious nap. Sassy used to sit up in bed and give a loud, menacing bark, her lower jaw quivering, when touched the wrong time.

She has learned not to be so bossy about her bedtime, but she is funny in another way. She decided the best place to sleep was at the top, among the pillows, so she curls up there every night, sometimes with a head draped on my pillow. She may growl a bit if I am too close to her. I ask her, "Am I in your bed or are you in mine, you poacher?" She reaches out a paw and presses down, as if to say, "Watch your blood pressure."

She may turn toward my wife and use her paws out to keep track of her. Chris adores Sassy.

Precious has mock fights with Sassy each night. Each one plays at being attacked on the ground. Sometimes they clap their jaws at each other in bed, then settle next to each other. Treasure joins them in three-dog chases in and out the doggy-door, best done at 2 AM.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sassy Does the Pyramids

Sassy is becoming so famous that she escaped to Egypt for a brief vacation, to get away from her fans and soak up some rays. She got this recent comment in the park, "My neighbor told me all about your dog. She is an inspiration."

Photoshop is a lot cheaper than airfare.

Sassy's muscles continue to develop on her daily walks and runs. She charges out of the garage around 5:30 AM. I press the garage door lift and she throws herself under the rising door when it open a few inches. Naturally I take a little longer to get outside.

She tears around our street without her leash, checking the aromas and looking for cats. Sassy is an excellent cat finder. She flushes one out of hiding every few days. Nothing makes her happier than sending a cat over the wall, but she never tries to harm them.

At the park our ball-throwing sessions are getting longer. I throw the ball as far as I can for a few minutes, hot grounders she catches on the first bounce. Then I give her high pop flies when she is a bit winded. She is almost always under the ball waiting for it. If the ball hits a tree branch, she adjusts to catch it perfectly - most of the time. Once a pine cone came down into her mouth. She looked startled, dropped the cone, and grabbed the ball.

We are starting to see that Sassy has arms in place of front paws. She hugs with her front legs, taps me on the shoulder with one paw, and scratches me awake when I sleep too long (past 5 AM).

When I pet the Shelties too long on the bed, Sassy slams her front paw on the bed repeatedly until she gets some attention. She likes to sit beside Precious when I am at the computer desk, petting Precious. One day, Sassy used her front paw to push Precious' head down and away from me. She got a double lecture from Chris and me, so she flipped on her back and acted cute. We always say, "Nobody fakes repentance better than you, Sassy." She gets along great with the two Shelties. Cattle Dogs naturally dominate all other breeds, but she keeps her ego in check most of the time.

We love her personality. Recently we had words over her energetic behavior and noise. She was a bit miffed. I tried talking to her, but she kept her back facing me, as she sat on the bed, watching TV. I mentioned this to Chris. "Sassy isn't speaking to me. Sassy is shunning me. Sassy is pouting." Suddenly, Sassy threw herself backwards and looked up with a big grin on her face. I petted her and she hugged my hand with both paws.

When we talk about her or to her, she delivers long slow licks to our arms. For fun, she also chews my fingers lightly.

Sassy, Precious, and Treasure are best friends. They exchange bones. Sassy could easily take bones from the Shelties, but she watches them and cries out in little, hurt yelps. They may have five bones available, but the one being licked is the only one desired. They do not fight over food.

Treasure uses her cuteness to get attention. Precious is patient and foxy. She will quietly walk out the dog door with the community bone du jour, or wait for me to call her back when Sassy tries to hog all the attention.

Precious and Sassy have fake fights almost every day, more likely at night. They love to fight and play tag from midnight to 2 AM. Sometimes all three dogs are playing tag. Precious will work Sassy over with fake attacks, or Sassy will go up and down Precious with biting motions. They are utterly jived and happy, especially if I pretend not to see. Once I watch, Precious has to come over and get petted while grinning, opening and shutting her mouth - as if laughing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sassy Does Sedona

Anna, Chris, and I took Sassy up to Sedona. Sassy was great in the car, and she had Anna to pet her and talk to her the whole time. We went to Hyatt Pinon Point, which has a great view of Sedona, a Cold Stone Creamery, Wild Flower Bread Company, a pricey art gallery, and constant offers to buy time shares.

Sassy enjoyed sharing a little ice cream, which gave her a powerful thirst. She went to the flower pots and scavenged some fresh water from the overflow and later from the fountain.

Sassy now has powerful shoulders from her daily runs in the park. She is now so famous in our neighborhood that people stop me and say, "I heard all about your dog." If they call to her, Sassy wiggles up with her entire body wagging.

Sassy also goes on short errands with me. She sits in the back quietly and waits for me for a minute or two. Now that it is hot, she will not be in the car alone.

We went to McDonald's the other day. I ordered some food plus McNuggets for Sassy and her fur-sisters Precious and Treasure. "What sauce do you want for the McNuggets?"

I said, "None. The dogs get them."

"Oh that's great. I get it." She was still laughing when I paid and drove ahead.

Anna gave Sassy a taste.

Cattle Dog Rescue Fund

Few dog breeds can match the intellect of the Australian Cattle Dog. Sometimes too smart for its own good, this alert dog thrives on activity to keep things interesting. Brave and loyal, this breed demands plenty of daily attention from its master. Sometimes considered a one-person dog, the Australian Cattle Dog tends to bond strongly with its owner.

Hello Friends of New Hope Cattle Dogs Rescue,

The annual Bowl-A-Rama event for Animal Rescue is here once again! This is New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue's biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s a great event that allows rescue groups to raise money during the summer months when, due to the heat, the opportunity to host adoption events is very limited.

We realize that money is tight for a lot of people during this down swing in our economy and with rising gas prices, but if enough caring people donate just a small amount, the effect can be surprising! Our goal this year is to raise $4000. New Hope Cattle Dogs Rescue raised $2942 last year for this event. WOW!!

We have until July 31st to obtain pledges/donations and would greatly appreciate any assistance in meeting our goal for this very worthy cause…Every little bit helps!!! If you would like to make an online pledge, please use our Firstgiving Bowl-A-Rama website. If you choose to donate by check, please make it payable to "New Hope Cattle Dogs Rescue" or "NHCD" and write Bowl-A-Rama on the memo line. Please keep in mind that we are a 501(3) non profit organization, so your donation is tax deductible and a receipt will be provided upon request.

PACC911 sponsors this awesome event for many local rescue groups. This is the event link from PACC911 If you are interested in taking pledges in our behalf for this event, print attached pledge form on this e-mail. Please let us know if you are taking pledges, so we can coordinate with you.

Thanks in advance for your support! FYI...We have a tentative date for the 3rd Annual Cattle Dog Round Up, November 14th.

Volunteer - New Hope Cattle Dogs Rescue

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank You Foster Parents

Betty sent a thankyou note about Sassy, but we think about Betty and Mark often.

Sassy got her leg fixed with them and grew much stronger. She learned to get along on three legs.

Most importantly, she learned to love people. I really thought a Cattle Dog would be shy and loyal to one person only. Sassy loves everyone and shows great gentleness toward other dogs.

Today Sassy collected love and gave plenty back all the way to the park. The kids and adults call out her name, and she circles them. She makes everyone laugh.

Sassy ran up to adopted Asian kids. Their mom just glows with love and happiness. The two boys were in their baseball uniforms. Sassy said hello, checking with me to make sure she could greet them.

Almost every day Sassy gets applause from someone. Today a couple admired her and said, "Now that dog can run."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sassy Tales

One student asked, "Did you PhotoShop her leg off, or is that real?"

A few days ago my wife was laughing. Sassy had announced her hunger with a big, "Woof!" but we did not feed her right away. Chris left the bedroom and came back. Sassy was sitting on the bed, grinning, with a sealed bag of doggy treats beside her. Chris said, "I get the hint. I will give you some treats."

Our Sassy has been busy uniting the neighborhood with her personality and energy. Most days someone will stop to talk to her and ask about her missing leg. At the park, people come over to say how much they admire Sassy for running at full speed with one leg missing.

Sassy gets wired when she is going outside, because that means playing with her ball. Now we are walking in the morning. When I get the ball and the leash, she goes wild. On our block, she wears no leash, so she runs ahead, stops, barks once, and runs back. I point and say, "To the park!" She responds, "Park! Park!" and runs ahead. She turns around several times before we are out of the home zone.

Her first stop is the Babysitter House across the street. Two to four children will often run out to toss Sassy's ball. One little girl yells, "Thathy, Thathy." Sassy impresses everyone with her ability.

On the left side of the block, Sassy checks out every lawn and says hello to dogs near fences. She goes by to get them going, grins, and trots away. One neighbor has five rescue dogs, so he loves to greet Sassy and pet her. Sassy will go to anyone, but I only have to call to her and she leaves strangers alone. Not everyone likes a German Shepherd coming closer.

If Sassy can trap or chase a cat, she is especially happy. She did that on a neighbor's doorstep, just as the neighbor was coming outside. Fortunately the cat's owner was understanding, and Sassy obediently came away. Most dogs would never pass up a good cat chase, but Sassy did...for once.

Children stop us and admire Sassy on later trips. One boy said, "Your dog does a lot of tricks. I have three boxers and they don't do any tricks." I have not tried to teach Sassy. She learns on her own. I indicated that I like the ball placed in my hands, so she brings it back and usually puts it right between my palms.

On the way back, she barks for Pucci, the pit bull she rescued. She stays on her leash for the walk along 63rd Avenue. When we round the corner of Poinsettia, she waits for her release. I take off the leash and whisper, "Go!" She runs full speed at the three canine Stooges. They love to wait and scare people and dogs at their gate. Sassy charges their gate so hard that she slides right past on the smooth cement. That sends them into howls of outrage. Sassy grins and walks away. She is obviously not upset because her hackles are not up at the Stooges. If she is meeting a strange dog, her hackles go up while doing the nose touch.

Sassy trots away from the Stooges happily while they continue their howls. The next yard promises the neighborhood outside cat, which Sassy treed not long ago. The rest of the yards are fairly calm on our side of the block.

Sassy is smart and intuitive. She growls when she gets into rough play. Last night she did a realistic and scary growl. We both said, "Don't growl like that!" Sassy responds immediately to moods. She flipped on her back and waved her paws in the air. "Just playing." How can anyone stay upset with a dog who fakes contrition so well?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poochy Rescues Gucci

I took Sassy on her regular walk while the sun was setting. It is getting too hot in the mid-afternoon to walk her.

She stopped to touch noses with a dog loose in a yard. I could not see an owner and lights were not on in that particular home. Sassy and I walked on, but the new dog followed us or ran before us.

Finally, the dog followed us into the garage. I shut the garage door and turned on the light. I was looking into the uncomprehending face of a pitbull named Gucci. The dog did not appear to be hungry. I still had all my limbs. I found my cell phone in the house and returned to phone the owner. Gucci was quite calm but too nervous to enjoy water and some dog food.

When the owner came, I opened the garage door for Gucci. She ran out with her tail wagging her entire body.

The owner explained, "Gucci is a nice dog."

I thought, "I know. I am still alive."

Since then I have seen a number of pitbulls on a leash around Sedona. Their owners tell me that a pitbull can be a wonderful pet.

Pitbulls seem to be long on muscle, short on IQ, but Gucci figured out a way to have an adventure and still end up at home.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Precious Foxes Sassy

Precious looks like a little fox when she grins.

Treasure makes sure that the food comes to her.

All three dogs love to share in treats, so the crackling of paper makes them line up. I know chocolate is not good for them, but they love a little taste of it. When I have a square, each dog gets a tiny corner of it.

Sassy was enjoying a chew-bone when snack time came around. Precious stole her bone and walked off with it. I first saw her do that with Sacky, our Cattle Dog who died. Sacky was senior to the Shelties, but let that happen. Sassy is not so tolerant of her snacks walking away. She moved away from the line-up and retrieved her bone, resting on the bed, relishing it.

That let Precious have the ringside seat near my desk chair. Precious lined up for her taste of chocolate. So did Treasure, her daughter. Treasure affects a great sense of shyness, so I have to place her treats near her - so she can sniff them and delicately enjoy them. Sassy saw the Shelties living it up while she had her old bone. The light went on in her head and she came down to claim her taste of chocolate.

All three dogs get along great and cuddle together on the bed. The Shelties have reclaimed their rights and no longer feel threatened by that big, loud intruder named Sassy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From the Treetops

Every movement toward the garage now means a few tosses of the ball. Salesmen call this the assumptive close. Would you like your new freezer delivered on Monday or Tuesday? Would you rather have a blue or a green SUV? The closing question assumes the sale.

Sassy assumes I go to the garage to toss her ball. I can take out the garbage or pick up the paper, but she waits around with that big goofy grin, waiting for me to wise up and throw her ball.

The other day I tossed her ball into the street (only when it is safe) and saw her lope off to get it. Two men were cutting down a tree. The one on the street caught her ball and tossed it back for Sassy to fetch. From the top of the tree, his co-worker said, "That's quite a pooch you have."

Now kids are calling her the tripod dog. They know Sassy by name. Sassy loves the attention and charms everyone. One day she saw two boys get out of their family car, across the street. Sassy planted her front feet and did her best German Shepherd baying. Then she ran full-speed at them to be friends. One boy looked like he was facing his death, but I shouted that she was just trying to be friendly. Sure, it was an odd way to say hello, but Sassy can switch from guard dog to lapdog in a flash.

Sassy's new trick is tapping. She uses her front paw more like a hand. She does a tap, tap on my shoulder to get attention. When I turn, she is grinning. We are getting used to her big vocabulary. She has words to express many different emotions. She tells on her fur-sisters when they are eating food she wants. She moans and burbles in the oddest way when going outside to the park - her happiest moments. If she is hungry, she works up one big bark.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lassie Come Home

Lassie (left) was portrayed by Pal and his descendants. Tom Rettig played Jeff Miller in the TV series for four years, grew up to be a famous software engineer, and died of a heart attack at age 54.

I still remember my mother reading Lassie Come Home to us four Jackson kids, and that was more than 55 years ago. I don't know if I saw the movie as a child, but we watched the TV series, disappoinited that Jeff Miller was replaced by another actor.

Lassie has her own website, like everyone else.

When we had Old Precious, many people stopped to say "Lassie!" when they saw her. Purists say that a Sheltie is not a collie, but the coloring is much the same. Now our little Precious has a similar face, but she avoids the public.

I forgot that Tom Rettig was famous as a software engineer.

The film was the only movie Old Precious watched from beginning to end. She even barked back at Lassie. Roddy McDowell played the dog's owner, but Lassie starred in the movie. A little girl who shows up at the end is Elisabeth Taylor. Wikipedia had her "starring" in the film. She starred in National Velvet a little later.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rin Tin Tin

The original Rin-Tin-Tin still has a line of descendants.

Rin-Tin-Tin has his own website, but does he have his own blog?

His story is quite interesting and worth reading.

Most people see the German Shepherd in Sassy. Her head is very much German Shepherd, but her body is more like an Australian Cattle Dog. She seems to have the herding instincts and intelligence of both breeds, and a very high IQ. Her foster parent Betty thinks Sassy is one of the smartest dogs she has ever known.

Sassy is not the shy, one-person dog I expected of a Cattle Dog, and she is not intimidating, as some German Shepherds are.

She learns the first time but has her own ideas about things. When I send her outside, she stops twice to see if I am including her with the other dogs (two Shelties). The message is clear - "There must be a mistake."

Treasure can be clever too. I was absolutely certain I had all three dogs locked outside. She could have stayed hidden in the bathroom, but she hopped on the bed, grinning, very pleased with herself. That is a Sheltie trait - outsmarting the human and gloating about it.

Sassy Trees a Cat

When Sassy gets back on our block, coming home from the park, she has two important destinations. One is to bark at the three dogs who lie in wait on the other side of the fence on the corner. Today she ran there so fast she skidded into the fence. The three dogs sound like they are wounded and furious each day, but they are always looking for a bark-fest. They bark from across the street when we avoid them on the way to the park. They are very quiet when we approach their property on the way back. As soon as I say, "No one is home, Sassy," they light up.

The next yard is the best for Sassy. A grey cat lives there and often hangs around outside. Sassy does a quick search mission each time. Almost always the cat has an escape route into the garage or under the car.

One day, on the way to the park, Sassy caught the cat in the open and treed her. She marched off to the park, pleased with herself.

Old Precious finally cornered a cat on one of our walks. The cat puffed out her chest and raised an ominous claw with talons extended, hissing. Old Precious suddenly decided cats were not worth annoying.

Sassy's Wake Up Call

Recently I was sleeping a little late for Sassy, around 7 AM.

I felt a warm paw gently touching the end of my nose. I opened my eyes. Sassy was smiling at me, glad that she found the On button.

Sassy has become Miss Congeniality for the whole neighborhood. We walk to the park every day, so she is well known for fetching the ball. Adults and children marvel at her agility and speed in spite of a missing hind leg.

One woman today said, "I thought she was born that way. I cannot get over how she runs." Sassy was really showing off, leaping in the air to catch the tennis ball as it bounced away from her. If the ball bounces from her nose, she happily follows it.

Sometimes Sassy drops the ball to sniff around. Then she runs happily back without it. We have little discussions about where the ball is and whose turn it is to get it.

Sassy has a patented hug. She grabs an arm with both front legs and presses her head against the individual. She wants to meet every person on her walk and check out their dogs. Not everyone wants a dog introduction, so I keep her back from unwelcome meetings. At the park she was invited to meet one of two dogs, since the other one was a grouch. She went nose to nose and was very happy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Give - Works Well

I have been searching and ordering a few things on the Internet. The "I Give" search works well. New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue gets a little bit from everyone, which adds up to quite a lot. It is fun to think I can order from the usual vendors, like Barnes and Noble, and send money to the rescued dogs.

Any non-registered charity or church could use "I Give" by asking for checks back, among the members, and turning them over.

I Give.

Sassy the Neighborhood Magnet And Diet Secret

Everyone knows Sassy now. Every walk draws smiles from the neighbors and requests from the children to pet her. Sassy wiggles with delight as she meets each person on the sidewalk. If she is off her leash, she heads for the nearest person. Children think they are being bitten by Sassy, so I go over to explain her herding tactics and gentleness.

Adults grin at Sassy and call her "Sweetheart."

We got Sassy for two reasons. I really missed our Cattle Dog Sackett, and I wanted to be encouraged to walk every day.

Sassy is not a one-person dog, as most Cattle Dogs are. She loves everyone and knows how to charm each person. She is a bundle of energy, typical of Cattle Dogs, crazy to go for walks and ball chasing.

Sassy insists on a daily walk, which has helped in losing 14 pounds so far. When she approaches the park where we toss the blue ball, she is more of a Siberian Husky tryinig to win at Iditerod.

She interprets every movement as her constitutional right to go outside, so we often go out on the driveway for supplemental ball-tossing.

Sassy has the Cattle Dog look of, "You must be kidding!" One man said he would never own another one because the dog outfoxed him so much. When I usher all three dogs outside, Sassy stops and looks back, "That doesn't include me, does it?" When I urge her outside, she stops a second time, "There must be a mistake."

I get the same thing while ball-tossing. I kicked the ball down the street for a long chase. (We have very little traffic on our quiet street and cars are especially careful around the pets and children there.) Sassy saw the blue ball receding from her, not slowing down, and walked back to me. "Not my job description." We had to walk down the block and get the ball back.

We still have some debates about her role. Overall she is very precise about getting the ball back to the tip of my toes, often from a fast roll. She charges at me in the park, delighted with her catch, letting go of the ball just in time for it to stop at my feet. At other times she breaks her concentration with some sniffing around and runs back to me without the ball. We go back and forth about her fetching duties, but I walk back with her to find the ball.

The best part of the walk is the muttering warm-up. She has a series of sounds that show her ecstasy at going to the park, as I wrote before.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Think Sassy Is Trying
To Tell Us Something

"Getting shoes on? You need to walk? Sweater? Time for a walk! You are leaving the computer? That is a perfect time for a walk."

Sassy is a talker and very sensitive about her rights. She enjoys daily walks to the park, where we throw her blue ball. One day went by without a complete walk, and Sassy was higher than a Cardinals fan.

Sassy is very talkative, more than any dog I have known. She has a complete set of sounds for her walk, which range from "mao, mao, ma, ma" to murmurings of great contentment.

Sassy got four teens to come over and ask about her at the park. Dog owners come out of their homes to see Sassy and talk to her. Sassy always wiggles with happiness and meets each stranger and her old friends. Chris wondered, "What if Sassy had four legs? Would she be a celebrity?"

Tonight she was giving me loud barks while I was watching and reviewing a film on the computer. There was no mistaking her indignant, "Bark!" as she looked out into the hot tub room.

There I saw Treasure and Precious enjoying two halves of the rawhide bone Sassy was chewing before. Sassy was too lady-like to seize the bone, but not too delicate to tell on her fur-sisters. Treasure got the hint and walked inside, so Sassy went back to her gnawing.

Sassy knows how to deflect irritation. Later, when I was still watching this long film, "Facing the Giants," I heard paper ripping. I have to write up the film for a cinema course in journalism school. For the longest time I did not look down. Finally I glanced at the floor, which was covered with scraps of paper torn up by Sassy. She looked up innocently into my face and began thumping her tail against the floor. She was happy, so I had to smile at her.

Every so often Chris says, "Look at Sassy." Sassy is fawning over her, kissing her hand, curling up against her on the bed, or gazing into Chris' eyes.

Precious and Treasure get their time too. Every so often I announce, "Group lovie time!" All the dogs pile on the bed and get petted at once. Each one has a favorite form of affection.

Treasure wants stroking around her face and shoulders. If I stop, she lifts up her paw for more petting and grins.

Precious wants her nose rubbed and her chin scratched. Stopping gets a hurt look and head movement: more, more.

Sassy is a two-legged hugger. She can grab with her front legs, hang onto an arm, hug and lick.

Friday, January 23, 2009

One Way To Support Non-Profits

You otter try this.

When we adopted Sassy I noticed a link to The basic concept is Internet shopping through the Igive toolbar to donate money to a cause. One option is to take the cash and not give it to anyone. That provides a way to give to non-registered charities, too.

Many major companies will donate when their websites are accessed through the toolbar.


Message from

Gregory - thanks for visiting your first-ever store through!

This confirmation e-mail is only sent after your first-ever store visit, to let you know that our automatic purchase and donation tracking system is working! If you made a purchase during this (or any) visit to an store, your donation will be processed AUTOMATICALLY within 30 days, with just a few exceptions (for details, scroll down to **EXCEPTIONS**).

It can take up to 30 days after your purchase has shipped (or travel has commenced) for your purchase to get posted to your account. However, the average turnaround time is approximately 10 days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sassy Is the Neighborhood Sweetheart

All the children love Sassy, but the adults do, too. They see the missing leg and ask about her, or they say, "That has to be a rescue dog. I have some at my house."

Sassy loves people so much that she runs to strangers and wiggles all around them, greeting them. Then she runs back to me. And she returns to her new friends to get another round of compliments.

Treasure and Precious (Shelties) accept her completely now. They overlap each other on the bed, sit for attention when food is mentioned, or when they hear a wrapper rattling. They share well and do not fight over food.

Sassy met a family friend today, showing how lovable she is. Sassy has a way of wrapping her front legs around someone in a hug. Everyone finds it quite overwhelming. I think Betty (foster mom) taught her or showed her so much affection that Sassy wanted to return it.

Sassy exudes energy, love, loyalty, and mischief.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tripper - A Beautiful Example of the Shetland Sheepdog

Tripper, a Sheltie, gave a lot of joy to his owner, Leah Rucker.

I found Tripper's photo so enchanting that I asked permission to post it. Shelties have a tender, loving look on their faces, unmatched by any other breed. Many times they break into a wide smile, so they are known as a happy breed.

Shelties have astonishing speed and agility, but combing them is quite a challenge. They need weekly combing, at least. I combed Precious and Treasure yesterday. Their legs have beautiful streaming hairs which add to their look of speed. Their chest hair is more like a lion's mane. Our old Precious loved having her hair done with a Kirby vacuum cleaner. She turned her body to get each part done with a grooming attachment. In contrast, the late Sacky (Cattle Dog) was terrified of the sound and required manual grooming.

Little Precious and Treasure? They had a rough life before they were rescued, so they get manual grooming. They resist a bit but they love having that extra hair removed.

Treasure likes to sleep outside in the winter, so she has a sleek, black, thick coat.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sassy Leads Me into Girl Scout Cookie Strike Zone

Girl Scouts deliberately used Sassy to sell me cookies.

Sassy and I take daily walks to the park, where I throw the ball and she fetches it. She is already a neighborhood celebrity. The kids love her and dog owners stop to pet her. She returns the affection, unlike most Cattle Dogs, which are usually wary one-person dogs.

We were almost home when we saw two girls and their mothers at our door. The girls recognized Sassy right away and came over to pet her and talk about her. The mothers wanted to know more too.

I was going to skip Girl Scout cookie season, but talking up Sassy rendered me defenseless. I could not buy from just one girl, so I bought from both.

Faith, The Two-Legged Dog

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sometimes a Zebra Costume Is Not Appropriate Dress

Sassy's Bed and New Camera

Betty gave us a blanket for Sassy's bed, and Chris bought a dog pillow bed. The bed and blanket stayed on the floor near the bed because Sassy loved being on the bed. Once I answered the phone and had a big lump behind me. "What's that?" I asked. Chris said, "The Lug." Sometimes we call Sassy The Big Lug, because she worms her way into everything.

Sassy is quite the kisser, like most Cattle Dogs. She is affectionate toward everyone, which makes it fun to take her on walks. At home she is prone to hug with both front legs, to stretch out on the bed so she can touch several at once, including Precious or Treasure.

The dog bed seemed like a failure until I put it on our own bed last night, with Betty's blanket on top. Sassy sniffed the blanket and plopped herself down on it. She even let Precious have part of it last night.

Now I have a digital camera so I can photograph the dogs and PhotoShop the results. I am taking an advanced digital media course and doing more with photos, Flash, and other digital media.

Sassy's First Week at Her Forever Home

Sassy, or Sassafras.

Sassy had a wonderful first week. Precious and Treasure, our two rescue Shelties, had a little trouble with their big sister, but they both accepted her by the end of the week. We now have regular dog puddles on the bed, with all three touching each other. Watching a tiny Sheltie do a lip curl is pretty funny, mock ferocious. Both dogs showed a little temper at having their territory disturbed, but they adopted Sassy right away.

Sassy gets a daily walk to the park, where she chases balls as long as it suits her. She can run effortlessly with one hind leg, but she tires easily. When she is winded, she stops chasing the ball.

Now any movement toward the door or suggestion of going out is greeted with a panoply of Sassy signals. She has an odd muttering noise she makes when especially happy. She reserves that for walks or getting ready. She reaches out her paw, just like a hand, to show how much she wants to go. She snagged my sweater several times to get my attention.

Sassy gets to mock the house-bound dogs as we go to the park. She is supposed to be quiet, but she lets loose one high-pitched Cattle Dog yelp and that warns the block ahead. Then she feels obliged to meet the barks aimed at her and raise the level a bit higher. On the way back from the park she is content to let them sound off. She has a short answer, which seems to suggest, "I was at the park. You weren't."

Sassy is already famous as "the three-legged dog." People walk over to meet her, and she loves up everyone. Several children have said, "May I pet your dog? She is so pretty." One girl's father said, "We have five rescue dogs." He rolled his eyes.

Rescue Cats

Zathras, Josie's rescue cat.

Dani with Xander in the cat tree.

Rescue pets come up in conversation all the time. Our son's family has five cats, four of them rescued. They are beautiful cats, like Zathras, affectionate and entertaining. Josie has loved animals from the time she was a toddler. Her Christmas gift this year was a second cat tree. The cats climb up and have mock battles in the tree. Xander likes the cat tree, too, but he is displaced now.

Norman Teigen has several rescue cats.

So far it seems as if rescue cats do not have the same groups distributing them as dogs have. Owners of cats seem content to abandon them away from their neighborhood in the hopes that the cat will be adopted or adapt itself to hunting. The Jackson cats were all found this way, one wandering into church.

I suspect that a certain house has cat scratches on the curb, similar to what transients have used. The message seems to be, "Cats welcome here," because they show up regularly and let themselves be taken in. Suspicions of a conspiracy are difficult to supress.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Deep Thoughts from Sassy

An office chair is great, but a king-sized bed is better.

Why did they have lunch without me? I smell bacon.

Those neighborhood cats really admire me. If I could only get closer.

I eat once a day, but I scrounge for food 24 hours a day.

I guard this house, so try to get past me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sassy's First Day with the Incorrigibles - Precious and Tresure, Rescue Shelties

Precious is probably Treasure's mother. They are best buddies.

Treasure has perfected the cuteness routine.

We missed Old Precious, a Shetland Sheepdog we bought as a puppy. She died suddenly and left a hole in our lives, even though we had Sackett, a wonderful Australian Cattle Dog.

Precious and Treasure

We looked into buying a new puppy when someone said, "Try a rescue dog instead." We did not realize every breed had a rescue society in Phoenix. We checked out the Sheltie group (Mid Arizona Shetland Sheepdog Club Rescue) and found out about Precious and Treasure.

No one wanted them. The foster caregiver had tried them out in various homes. They were branded "incorrible." They had been taken away from a backyard breeder in Prescott, stuck with the improbably names of Fergie and Pinty.

When they came over to visit, we held them right away and put them on the bed. We already heard they were bed dogs. They were still thin and terribly shy.

We renamed them Precious and Treasure. Precious had the sparkle and tricks (like stealing a bone from Sacky). Treasure had the cuteness, which included tucking herself under Chris' arm while she was beading.

Little by little the Incorrigibles calmed down and learned their canine lessons. Soon we found out they played tag every night at midnight, zooming in and out of the doggie door, snapping in the air at each other and grinning.

They did well with Sassy on the first visit, but they were a bit intimidated by her loud bark and larger size. They had their barkers removed by the breeder, so they only huffed.

Sassy and the Incorrigibles

Sassy's first 24 hours were great for everyone. She wanted to befriend Precious, who had been top dog. Precious was anxious at first, but we got a dog puddle going by the end of the first day, January 2nd. All three dogs were on the bed watching TrueTV with us. Every dog was being petted.

Precious and Treasure get extra attention by lining up for lovies. Treasure lifts her front paw for more petting. As soon as the attention stops, she lifts it again. Sometimes she just nudges it forward. Precious lines up against a leg and has her face stroked repeatedly. If the stroking stops, she pulls forward for more. Since I work at home, she stops at the desk for face stroking and compliments.

They call Shelties love-sponges, but Sassy makes them look like icebergs. She murmurs, whistles (Dingo dog-like), licks, hugs, chews lightly. For those unfamiliar with herding dogs, the nibbling is a greeting and a way to get attention. My elderly aunt said, "Precious is biting me!" when Precious was saying hello with her teeth around my aunt's hand. Sassy has a big German Shepherd head and a formidible mouth, but she has a gentle mouthing touch.

Sometimes we see a petite German Shepherd posing, attentive, with huge ears listening for every noise, a vague Bentley (Cattle Dog mark) on her head. Other times we see a big Cattle Dog, agile, active, ready to chase a ball. Sassy is a perfect combination. Chris likes having a guard dog with a voice.

I thought Chris went out to the garage because I heard the security system say, "Garage door open." I heard Sassy barking in the front. I went out and saw Sassy baying at a father who decided to try out skates - across the street. Sassy thought it was a danger and began her baying.

Some other threats warned by Sassy were:

  1. The steamer. She did not like it at all, but satisfied herself with growling at it.
  2. The overhead fan. I turned that off, and she barked it up and down until the blades stopped. Then she barked some more until I comforted her and told her to cool it.
  3. Outside noises. She lets loose and comes in, threat vanquished.

Old Precious was so smart that she took me outside and pointed (never taught that skill) until I saw the line from her head and tail. She aimed at smoke from a fireplace lit for the cool night in Phoenix. She held that pose until I told her it was alright. She looked at me again to be sure.

No Office Chair Left Vacant

We fixed a bed for Sassy and put her blanket on it. She picked my office chair instead. Sassy put her head on the armrest and looked at me watching TV. She is happy to jump into the chair when I am working, too. She is one big lovable lapdog. I can do some computer work with the mouse alone, so we talk and hug while I do some editing or check out news sites.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Sassy Finds Her Forever Home

Sassy rode home in the back seat on New Year's Day, 2009. Chris sat with her to keep things calm. Sassy barked and whined for her adoptive owners, Betty and Mark, for 10 minutes, then fell asleep with her head in Chris' lap.

I took Sassy for a walk. She runs along without seeming to think about her missing leg. Betty and Mark worked with her to adjust after the necessary amputation.

Sassy follows me around the house. I tried to keep her out of the garage while the automatic door was closing. She kept poking her nose into the garage from the chapel office area. That is why Cattle Dogs are called velcro or shadow dogs.

Sassy met Precious and Treasure before. They touched noses today and showed a little caution. There were no conflicts. Precious and Treasure have been flashing their big Sheltie grins. I will get photos of them soon.


Cattle Dogs Endorsed by Australian

L P Cruz has left a new comment on your post "Sassy":

Pr. GJ,

She is what we would call a Kelpie, I had one. They are very very smart dogs, highly intelligent.

You will enjoy her, I guarantee. They have good intuition.


I Will Stick to Cattle Dogs

Sassy: Still Waiting - Foster Owner's Story

I stood on the curb at my house and watched my current foster dog, Moxie, drive away with her new family. Moxie watched me from the window of the car, looking confused. At that moment I felt waves of emotions wash over me. First, happiness, after all she had found her forever home. Next came the sadness, tears began to well up in my eyes. I was about to lose a part of my family. And finally, relief. I sighed deeply as I began to think about how me, my husband, and our dogs would spend a much appreciated break from the demanding work of fostering dogs.

I smiled as I headed back to the animal shelter where I work. But as I walked through the door at the shelter my smile faded. There she was: my new foster. I knew it from the moment I saw at her. She was on the floor, curled up in a fetal position, tail tucked completely under her, her eyes wide with fear. She was shaking and every now and again she would let out a little yelp. The man on the other end of the leash continued talking to my co-worker but his voice was just noise to me. I was completely focused on this scared, wonderful, little girl that needed my help. I began to wonder what her life had been like. Did she like children? Did she like other dogs? Did she like to camp or hike or swim? I knew that the answers to these questions would come soon enough, as I had already decided that she would come to stay with us. I quickly snap out of my daze when I noticed something wrong with her back right leg.

I manage to ask, “What’s wrong with her leg?”

“Oh she got kicked by a horse in April,” he replied.

“April? But this is August,” I muttered.

“I know, but we just couldn’t afford the medical care,” he replied.
Such a common answer in my field of work but for me heart wrenching to hear. I began to fear for this little dog’s well being and worry about what the future might hold for her. I scooped her up and took her to the shelter vet right away. The x-rays revealed a compound fracture that had been healing improperly for several months and the doctor informed me that the leg couldn’t be saved. I buried my face in this beautiful little dog’s fur and began to cry. Tears of joy? Tears of sadness? I’m not sure which it was but I suspect it was a little of both.

Sassy, at the very young age of a year old, had her leg amputated later that week and came home with us a couple of days later for a long road of recovery. She was amazing! She put all her trust in us and ran that long road to recovery in a very short amount of time. She quickly learned to walk using three legs, and then how to jump onto the couch using three legs, and then how to jump into the bed using three legs. She continued to amaze us when she chased the other dogs around the park, went on long walks with her foster doggie siblings, and went swimming at a local lake. But we knew that she would be just fine when she went hiking with us and literally had a tantrum when Mark tried to carry her up a very steep hill. She was going to do it by herself. That has pretty much been her attitude during the whole ordeal, it Sassy’s way or the highway.

Mark and I consider ourselves very lucky to have met Sassy and to be able to care for her. For all the things that we may have taught her during her stay with us, she has taught us just as many. Among her lessons: perseverance, trust, confidence, the ability to overcome, and the ability to smile when things aren’t so great. All lessons that each and every one of us should practice. I know that those waves of emotions will wash over me once again when Sassy finds her forever home, but that’s why I do it. Fostering can be the best and the worst feeling. But every time she looks up at me with those big brown eyes I know she is grateful for what I was able to do for her and I look forward to the day I stand on the curb, tears welling up in my eyes, watching her drive away with her new family, with that incredibly silly grin on her face.

Sassy Proves How Wonderful Rescue Dogs Are

This is a fast PhotoShop of Sassy's pictures so far.

Sassy is mostly Australian Cattle Dog, but also a bit German Shepherd. Her leg had to be amputated because it was not treated after a horse kicked her. She refuses to accept any limitations. When her foster owner tried to carry her up a steep hill during the recovery period, she had a tantrum and insisted on walking up herself.