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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mr. Squirrel Smiled at Me.
Squirrels 11, Humans 0

I was looking for snack food at Sam's Club and saw an enormous bag of peanuts in the shell. I thought that might be fun to eat, a little at a time. Once home, I was tempted to put a few peanuts on the window ledge.

Every so often I put a few out and closed the window. Birds and squirrels quickly adapt to random food and come looking for it. Soon I had three small squirrels stopping by to look for food. Sassy Sue got used to the traffic.

I was careful to open the window a little bit, push some peanuts out, and close it again. I was concerned about the squirrel getting into the room, revving Sassy, and racing around the house in a panic. I was even more concerned about my wife's reaction to such an event and the inevitable growth of the tale afterwords.

I saw a lot of squirrel traffic one day, so I edged the window up an inch. Just as I pushed a peanut out, a squirrel came by and grabbed it. The saucy little thing sat on the ledge and ate it, smiling. The picture above is not mine. I really saw the squirrel smile.

They are all laughing at me. I got the squirrel-proof bird feeder to prevent them from looting the seed. I added the baffle for $13.50 to keep them from climbing the pole, once they learned to get at the feeder and pump the bar. Soon they stood on the baffle to pump the bar.
This squirrel is demonstrating how to use the bar to jiggle seed.
Why sit on it and close off an abundant supply of sunflower seeds?

I let the worthless baffle slip down to the ground. Now the squirrels climb the pole, hold on with one front leg, and pump the bar with the other front leg. I have also seen them pump the bar with both front legs. Rather that keep them from eating, the bar serves to jiggle seed into their mouths.

They are more entertaining now. First the bar jiggle is fun to watch. Squirrels are athletic and inventive. They can get at the feeder from every angle. The second part is fun, too. They get a few seeds, jump over to the ledge, and eat while keeping an eye on me while I work or watch.

A chipmunk has climbed up to the ledge to eat, but he simply stuffs his mouth with as many seeds as possible, and leaves. He must have figured out that the ledge was more productive than the ground where he got the scattered seed.

Sassy Sue's window is next to me and behind the bed. She parks at the window and watches over her neighborhood. She is quite upset when a chipmunk comes up to the secondary feeder below her window. She also watches for the fox that seems to appear from time to time. Then Sassy bays like a German Shepherd, "The fox is here, come to kill us all." The Shelties join the chorus, "Kill us all. Kill us all."
Treasure smiles when she is looking for food,
for attention she lifts up one front paw.

If the UPS truck drives up, Sassy bays again, "The UPS driver is here, come to kill us all." The Shelties add to the noise. "All, All. He will kill us all."

If someone rings the bell and waits for me, Sassy runs to the door and barks at it, warning whoever is ringing that she will defend the entire house. She races to me, "Hurry. Hurry. You open the door. I will attack at once." I open the door and Sassy wiggles outside for petting and a greeting. Everyone loves her at once.

At the dog park I warn people that she is loud but gentle. The only problem has been with large, intimidating dogs. I have decided to leave when a pit bull is present. Those dogs are gifted with muscle and no brain.

Sassy is just starting to learn dog racing. Most breeds love to chase around the park, but they cannot catch a ball or bring it back. One mutt spent about 30 minutes deciding what a ball was before stealing Sassy's. The bright orange ball is magical to the other dogs, because Sassy catches it, gets applause, and brings it back while everyone talks about her. The dogs ignore 10 balls on the ground for Sassy's magical toy.

Sassy Sue watches me while I work, clamping down on my
right arm when she wants attention.
When I give up, she rolls over and laughs.
"Tummy rub time."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dog Park Star and Entertainer - Sassy Sue

Our granddaughter was not hurt when the chair went over.
She held her pose for the photograph,
and Sassy Sue came into the shot to smile.
We were all laughing.

Nothing shows Sassy Sue's character more than this photo. Danielle fell over in the easy chair, a very soft landing. We were all laughing as I said, "Hold it so I can get a photograph." Sassy saw me get the camera ready and poked herself into the shot, grinning.

Sassy smiles a lot and gets other smiling.

She is the star of the Bentonville dog park. In 30 months only one dog has been able to duplicate her catches and bringing back the ball. Maggie, a black lab, did that the other week. Maggie even alternated with Sassie in catching the ball. They had a great time together.

Today Boomer, perhaps an Irish setter, also planted herself in the right spot to catch the high pop flies I toss to Sassy. Everyone had a big laugh with Boomer getting in the way, catching the ball, and running off with it. Sassie waited for her chance and tried again.

Children love to toss the ball to her and ask to pet her. One little girl did that for about 10 minutes when she suddenly said, "Sassy only has three legs!" Children often overlook the missing leg, but adults also watch her for a time without noticing.

Sassy watches out the window during the day and works me over emotionally about her trip to the dog park. She sits at my feet and mews. She looks sad. She comes into the garage with me and points at the car - her favorite thing. Cattle dogs are known for managing their owners.

Recently I took her along to the Bentonville Post Office. She knows a mail trip ends at the dog park. However, when I turned left for the post office, she looked at me like I was lost. The dog park is a right at the light. Everyone knows that. She was happy later, when we headed south for her favorite place to play.

She loves the orange ball, which is necessary but not sufficient for her fun. It must be the orange ball and the dog park.

If we go out to the back yard to toss her ball, she looks around and brings it back once. She makes it clear that playing catch in BV is not close to the fun of the dog park. It is only a sad reminder of what she is missing.