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

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?