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

Friday, July 18, 2014

Continuing Adventures of Sassy

We saw this photo on the rescue group's website,
and we had to have this three-legged dog.

We think Sassy is the greatest, but we enjoy seeing how much others enjoy her personality and talk about her silky fur, which looks German Shepherd (top half) and Red Healer (bottom half). My neighbor on the corner would love to have her pups, but she is spayed.

Sassy has a combination of personalities and voices. She guards us night and day, even turning around while sitting on the grass, to keep her eye on the perimeter (GS).

Like a Cattle Dog (or Healer), she is a talker and a singer. We sing the Cattle Dog Blues in the car and for select audiences. I am teaching her Waltzing Matilda so she knows one of her two cultures. I had to learn the words and the meaning - a unique national song, not about a girl, and not about waltzing.

Many German Shepherd owners are puzzled by her, because she is off-spec for a GSD. She does not wear that worried look that so many GSDs have. Instead, she smiles all the time and really tries to make friends with everyone. Most adore her, especially when they learn she has three legs.

I was waiting for some attention at the Walmart drive-through for prescriptions. I said quietly to Sassy, "Bark." She let go a big bark and I had an instant reply from the pharm tech. At the bank she got a bigger response, which led to three treats. That was her own idea.

If I go inside, I crank down two windows and position the car so she can watch the front door. I usually say something like, "Guard the limo while I am gone." She usually barks happily to say, "Hurry up!" This time she licked her lips to remind me about getting her snacks.

Our helper's family is used to seeing her twice a day. In the evening Mrs. Helper loves to coax Sassy into her loud, happy barks.

Her are some funny communications from Sassy:

  • Staring at me with a big smile on her face - she wants something and I know what it is.
  • High-pitched sounds every so often - time for a snack.
  • Switching her tail so it beats against my arm - late for a snack, and I should know that.
  • Half closing her eyes - I am not doing my duty. If I respond, a bad daddy tirade starts. I argue back and forth about how I do my best. She barks back that I am neglecting my tasks, especially the walk. She is more impatient for walks than for food.
  • Lightly chewing my hand - do not pluck my shedding hair. I like it there.
  • Ear flapping - this is an alert so I do something for her, like take her out, without waking Mrs. Ichabod.
  • Banshee squeal - this is her loudest bark, far louder than her Wake the Dead bark. I went back to sleep inside after letting her out one evening (good weather, backyard). She used the Banshee on me, and I woke up. She knows how to go to the right window for effect.
That missing leg makes children love her.

Today Sassy asked permission to chase a squirrel. I said, "Our little girl is growing up." She is much better at asking permission. When she wants to walk down another street, she stops, looks at me and smiles, and looks down the street. "Do you want to go there?" She jumps forward for some exploring and seeing favorite spots.

Sassy usually asks if she can meet someone new. She looks up at me, looks at the new person, and smiles. We have had experiences where a new person is frightened or annoyed, so we are more cautious. Most start by admiring her, so she picks up on the affection or smells the dog on their pants. The stranger must like dogs, so she waits for the compliments and gets them.

Sassy friends cats now, but she began her career
on our block by sending a cat up the tree and into its garage.

Early on I took her to a dogpark, and I had her run a lot. As you can see from that early picture, she was rather weak from her neglect and then her amputation. Running at me became a big game.

Almost every day, she holds back, a half-block away. Then I say, "Go, go, go." She runs at me grinning and I grab at her. She evades me at the last minute.

Sassy is a Packer fan and does not mind rubbing it in.

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