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

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.