Category Archives: Dogs

Shadow-dog proud of his mud-puddle

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O.K., I admit it. It’s a Taj Mahal type of reflecting pool sporting geometric designs. But must the architect, Shadow-dog, be so proud of it that, even in the rain he has to stand guard next to it, again and again taking up his post just there?

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He looks incredulous that I could possibly appreciate his handy-work, um, his paw-work. At any rate, for all those who think I’m so mean to Shadow, making him lie down in the mud in Winter, know that he does have a warm and dry wood-shaving bed that he can climb into at will, and he does, for a while, but then has to go back to guarding his mud puddle.

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And though invited into the house during the day he loves to be outside guarding his mud puddle. When things finally dry out after so very much rain perhaps I’ll have to artificially keep his mud puddle full so that it can be his to guard ever so proudly.

Isn’t that just about how our dear Lord works with us? Thank you, Lord.

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Filed under Dogs, Missionaries of Mercy

Laudie-dog happily in the Shadow

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Lots of people have been inquiring about Laudie-dog. It’s not that Laudie-dog is retired, though now she’s getting on in years, but she is happy to be in the shadows on the dog-pillow behind my chair where she yawns whenever she likes to express her contentment, I mean, you know, now that Shadow-dog has taken pride of place in serving and protecting.

But no one have one up on Laudie-dog’s history of going up against wolves and coyotes and bears and lynx and panthers. She still battles with that panther that dark and stormy night (really!) in her nightmares. I try to ever so gently wake her up when that happens. She’s happy to be reassured.

People make fun of me when I say that, but it’s true. You can almost pick out which incident it is that’s being replayed in her mind, whether the bear (yappity yap yap yap!) or the panther (scream-cry-howl-bark-scream). People say that dogs don’t dream and have no emotions or memory, but they just don’t know dogs. I think that by assessing a dog I could draw up a fairly accurate profile of its owner.

Trouble is, sometimes, that dogs can sometimes have multiple owners, as is the case with both Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog. I think those who had Shadow were fairly friendly with him and let him be the alpha-iest alpha GSD ever. But who knows. Poor Laudie-dog adopted me after having starved, with mange, and been shot between the shoulders, and was ultra-timid, and it was obvious she had suffered some abuse. Best dog ever.

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Shadow-Dog pooped a Timber Rattler

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Ho-hum. Looking out the kitchen window this morning I see that Shadow-dog just pooped out a full size Timber Rattlesnake. Markings. Fat body. Relatively short tail. Ultra-fat head with fangs. Wikipedia says that “Potentially, this is one of North America’s most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield.” They warn with lots of antics, but I think that only makes Shadow-dog’s adrenaline pump all the more. Sorry that this next photo didn’t focus, but this is the decapitated head:

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Out of focus or not, that’s good enough for me. All very poopy.

Not to worry. I looked it up. Dogs eating venomous snakes for breakfast doesn’t hurt them in the least. :-) Shadow-dog was simply content with a good snack.

It’s been raining and raining and raining after snowing and snowing and snowing. The back yard is a bit of a mess. I’m planning on extending the fence and planting lots of grass seed. Meanwhile, don’t feel sorry for wet and muddy Shadow-dog. He has a warm dry shelter out of the weather tucked far back under the non-mud-cement-patio corrugated roof. Also, he comes in for most of the night. You just have to know that a GSD loves water and mud. He’s been expanding his mud holes with water in them just for fun. I don’t mind. I did that as a kid. Why not?

Anyway, a thought came to mind. You can see how there is zero shelter, zero hiding places for a snake, particular a Timber Rattler which stays in, well, you know, the timber, the forest. We’re in the middle of a city. How is it that that Rattler would insist on being inside that fence line slithering immediately right into the jaws of Shadow-dog, who, by the way, wouldn’t be hidden. It just doesn’t make sense. Ain’t gonna happen if you ask me. The snake, on its own, would zip away. Poor snake. Maybe he was thrown in while I was on my day off. If that’s the case, the result is the following:

  • One proud and brave Shadow-dog.
  • One now impressed but scared snake-handler.

Analogy:

  • Just when people think they “have you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when the devil thinks he “has you”, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.
  • Just when your fallen human nature thinks it has won, you come out stronger for it, more character, a broader foundation of experience from which to proceed, with Jesus, of course. Hah.

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Shadow-dog eating stainless steel

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Water dishes are fair game, I guess. A bit self-destructive if you get thirsty.

So, here’s my temporary solution. Cement blocks. I’m thinking a nicer looking affair would be perhaps six carriage bolts holding the dish down to the cement slab.

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I may have to lay two standing up sideways in the back with another laid over the top front.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Shadow-monster-dog wins? edition)

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Shadow-dog, pictured here staring down at Laudie-dog next to me, is not so much sitting as now being entrenched in his starting blocks, that is, the new hole he’s re-dug. It’s now his favorite spot. He’s won. He thinks.

He’s been chewing on the rose-bush, the “super-abundant Guadalupe” rose bush. So, It’s been dug out and moved out front. I filled in the hole but he immediately dug it out. But that’s O.K. The rose has now found a new home out front near the road next to the telephone pole where the larger bed of flowers is.

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The rose was clipped down for the Winter, but Shadow-dog finished the job. Fine.

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We’ll see what happens. Perhaps this is where the little grotto of our Lady was supposed to be from the get-go, so that more people could see it. Who wins then?

img_20180121_175319427~2307854138..jpgMeanwhile, the very first warm day we’ve had in it seems like forever saw the blooming of a dandelion, a Lion’s Tooth. All very acceptable to our Lady, as this was provided to her by the Creator of the entire universe. Just simplicity, like a little child. That’s the way. That’s the only way. “Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children you shall not enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.”

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Laudie-dog becomes concealed carrier

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Up to now, while playing, only Shadow-dog (truly an over-sized German Shepherd) would cover his ferocious canines while trying to convince the much smaller Laudie-dog to play soccer with the double-handled green ball, or a game of tag. A game of tag consists in tapping the back of the other with a paw and running away. Laudie-dog never played tag, until now. Laudie-dog has come into her own, also covering her canines and, here anyway, getting the upper paw. You can tell from her eyes that this is rather distracting for her. She’s a dumbed-down version, if you will, of a Rhodesian Ridgeback, an African Lion Dog. Unusually, she’s a bit small, but has an amazing ridge even twice as wide as the usual. Her ridge is about four inches wide and stands strait up. Amazing when you see it. I didn’t see it for years, not until Shadow-dog arrived. But now, as I saw, she’s come into her own.

She’s now sleeping next to my chair, as is Shadow-dog. :-)

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The upper paw: fighting the right way

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Whenever I arrive home Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog have to put on a very dramatic, very loud show of attacks and growls. Shadow-dog covers his teeth completely at all times, even while Laudie-dog half-bares her teeth. There is a disparity of force with Shadow-dog about three times the size and weight of Laudie-dog, who does, by the way, get the upper paw:

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Personally, I wouldn’t want to go up against either. And if there was any untoward aggression from some weirdness, they would, I’m quite certain, team up together to take on the threat head-on. Yikes!

And while this is all simply play-fighting, and shows people in our fallen human nature where we are to draw the line with violence, the stronger having respect for the weaker but nevertheless engaging them to encourage them, we often fail to take such a good example, and instead do that which needs a reprimand, even severe. But this also helps one another to get on our way, please God, to heaven.

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Shadow-dog: “Here’s looking at you”

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Shadow-dog, with a look of happiness in his eyes. Can you tell the difference?

“They say” that if a dog looks you in the eyes, it means either one of two things:

  1. You’re his next meal.
  2. He thinks you’re a dog’s best friend.

Still in the newly acquired stage, Shadow has been gaining a bit of weight what with all the de-worming that had to go on being overwith. I’m guessing he’s up to 90 pounds by now. Not bad for 15 months old or so. I’m guessing he’s the best dog-soccer player in the world with perfect control, tackles, strategy. A joy to see and play with. Man’s best friend. He’s a bit of a fright though when he jumps so high up in the air while spinning about and landing running with that low-attack run. I’m thinking of changing his name to Shadow-Monster.

Shadow-dog has successfully been trained in to sit still while he has a supper dish in front of him. But that’s still just when I’ve hovering over both him and the supper dish with only about three feet between the two. Previously you might wonder how to get out alive with any food anywhere near you. I want to get that where he’ll patiently wait for the go-ahead while I’m sitting some ten feet away. Laudie-dog is so well-mannered. She would rather starve than eat something without having thanked me first. For her, there’s a whole ritual to go through. Not yet the same for Shadow-dog. But progress is being made.

Right now, though, I’m concentrating on teaching him not to bark at the dentist’s office, which is the main target of his very opinionated commentary day or night. He’s learning with that too.

If I ever get him to “stay” no matter what I would be really very tempted to take him on short trips. The problem around here is that people look for dogs to steal so that they can feed them alive to their fighting dogs, you know, before a betting match more serious than anything you could find at the two casinos in the area of the parish, you know, to make them there fightin’ dogs, with fresh blood all over their canines, all the more ferocious for the real fights. Of course, Shadow-dog could be trained in to take care of himself from robbers. He’s incredibly strong and agile and always more protective of yours truly. But I’m not at all sure if I want to go there. Priests should have “nice” dogs, right? Right now, I think he would still just lick the hand of a robber. And yet, dogs are really good judges of character. I’ve seen that with Laudie-dog, who’s very discriminating, barking only at one in a thousand; but when she’s got a reason it’s a good reason.

Saint Teresa of Avila was happy to make a spiritual analogy with just about anything whatsoever. So, with that in mind, on the wall opposite my chair is this painting of Jesus. The comments I’ve received on it reflect my own thoughts, that this is a depiction of Jesus knowing something we don’t know, that we have some stuff yet to go through in this life, but that He will be with us. A look of friendship, absolutely not because we’ve made ourselves friends of His, but that He’s loved us while we were yet sinners, laying down His life for us, but… but… as the Master, so the disciple. No one gets a pass. Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

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King of the Mountain: Dogs & Jesus

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Shadow-dog atop Laudie-dog’s house, showing everyone who’s King of the Mountain.

When I was a kid in third grade at Wilson Elementary School, we were out in the playground for morning recess. The snow had been plowed into mountains and had since been coated with a crusty ice, making climbing or staying on top of the mountain while playing King of the Mountain an extreme sport. Being game for all things extreme, I climbed right up when no one was looking and was surveying my kingdom but without any situational awareness. Stupid me. I should have learned by now with my previous experience of being shot.

Bam! I was hit from behind by what must have been a locomotive. That hit, right on my spine, gave me a bit of whiplash that lasted for some weeks and put me out like a light for a moment even while I went flying through the air crashing down below. The kid that hit me was standing triumphant atop the mountain ready to take on all comers. I obliged, of course, but without running from a distance, which meant the fight was on. It was a tie. Competition is hilarious. A great learning experience. Situational awareness is good anytime, anywhere, with anyone. It’s not paranoia. It’s a method of deescalating situations. Although roughhousing doesn’t call for deescalation.

Meanwhile, Shadow-dog has a size advantage over Laudie-dog. While Shadow-dog is really smart, he’s still too over-confident and unaware of just how tricky Laudie-dog is. She can manipulate him, taunt him, and not let him get away with anything with ease. She has the wisdom of years. Just when you think you’re King of the Mountain, someone comes along and knocks you off your perch.

But sometimes it’s no longer a game or a mere competition. Sometimes it’s life and death. An all out war. May as well make that perch unassailable, where you are unremovable, where you reign alongside the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder-Counselor, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace, in solidarity on Mount Calvary with Him who is in solidarity with us, Christ Jesus, who, lifted up and nailed to the Cross draws us to Himself, He being born to die to bring us to life, to give us a chance at participating in the greatest love possible in laying down our lives for our fellow man, being nailed to the Cross of witness to love and truth unto death. Unassailable. Never tricked. Never manipulated. Taunts becoming a blessing. Surveiling all with perfect situational awareness. And unremovable from that cross on that mountain. Because it’s His love, it’s His truth that are important, He always being the same, ever ancient, ever new, always King of the Mountain.

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Shadow-dog Snow-dog

First time in the snow. Reminds me of when I was a kid.

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If the shadow of Shadow is what it is, what is the shadow of “Shadow”?

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Shadow-dog has no shadow for the past few days as the clouds have made everything everywhere into one big shadow. He’s kind of a shadow of himself, a black hole into which all photons in the universe disappear. However, a very kind reader sent this in from a Texan Parson who also has an all-black German Shepherd. There is a wolfish revelation in the shadow of the otherwise innocuous looking GSD:

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Meanwhile, my own “Shadow” has gone dark, or perhaps everything around him is so cast into shadow that he himself casts no shadow. I sent him a text reading: “Jerusalem capital…” He has no comment. Don’t read anything into this. He’s too “Gray” to figure out. Things are never as they seem. Ever. A shadow just looks the way it does because of angles. And then there are those who make puppets of shadows and even of a “Shadow;” and I don’t like that at all.

shadow puppet gsd

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Doghouses: Shadow-dog – Laudie-dog

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When I only had a tiny doghouse for Laudie-dog, impossibly Shadow-dog slept in it. Now that he’s got his own doghouse he doesn’t sleep in Laudie-dog’s house, but just throws Laudie-dog’s doghouse in the air and around the yard. I solved that by surrounding Laudie-dog’s house with solid cement blocks. Ha ha. Meanwhile, with the door of Laudie dog’s doghouse narrowed by the cement blocks so that Shadow-dog can’t enter, Laudie-dog has also on occasion taken over Shadow-dog’s doghouse, until Shadow-dog throws that around the yard. Again, that was solved with solid cement blocks, 14 all told. We’ll see how that works. I’m happy to see that Laudie-dog is still holding her own over against the monstrously extra-large Shadow-dog.

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Poor Shadow! [snip-snip] Fake GSD?

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There are certain things I would never do to animals… but…

  • I would never clip the beaks of chickens. I haven’t done that. But people do that. There is a reason. A bad reason. A horrible reason. A reason that could be avoided other ways.
  • I would never clip the nails of cats or dogs. And I haven’t. There are reasons. I understand that. But, just, no. There are other ways of taking care of reasons to do those things.
  • I would never neuter a female dog. There are reasons for that. I understand. And however much I protest I did have Laudie-dog “fixed” (how grotesque) when she adopted me at the request of the neighbor who didn’t want a thousand male dogs, mostly pit-bulls, on the property having their way with Laudie-dog.
  • I would never neuter a male dog. And I haven’t. There are reasons. I understand. But I am bringing Shadow-dog, GSD that he is, to get snipped in just a few minutes from now. This is life in the big city of Andrews, where puppy farms abound and GSDs who are not fixed would spend their time jumping the tallest of fences to jump anything in heat, perhaps also getting shot or run over in the process. So, O.K. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. But, here we are.

I hope this doesn’t mean that Shadow’s going to be a fake GSD…

Are there things you would never do but end up doing anyway?

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German Shepherd service dog?

What could a German Shepherd do for me?

Update: I’m pretty much all better by now, still DEAD tired, but, O.K. My question still stands above. ///

Both my hands are swollen to three times normal size. Fingers don’t bend. Turning blue as blood vessels are vicegripped shut by the swelling. White blood cells can bead up on the surface of the stretched skin. Joints can feel as if they are dislocating. The swelling can get in the feet and stomach and intestines and face and throat as well. The latter case is often deadly. It’s hereditary. Ultra super rare. My mom was a Guinea pig at Bethesda Naval hospitals as my dad was Dept of the Navy, USMC. It can last for days or even a week or two. But it’s always there for a lifetime, ready to make the body explode like this. It can come without much reason like being overtired. You feel an ache or see the tiniest bit of swelling and you know exactly what’s going to happen. It’s so quick you can almost watch yourself literally explode. If it’s in the throat even if you make it to an emergency room you’ll likely die as they won’t know what it is, how quick it is, or what to do, giving you stuff like a blood transfusion or epinefrin. That’s for the acquired not the hereditary version. But you can’t explain that with a swollen throat. There’s carcinogenic medicine I take but that doesn’t stop all incidents by a long shot. I’ve been at death’s door dozens of times. Without the medicine I’d be dead almost immediately.

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Filed under Dogs, Father Byers Autobiography, Uncategorized

“I am a DOG with no worms” – Shadow “Maggot, I am, not a man” – GOD

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Since the moment the police arranged for me to get Shadow, a pure-bred German Shepherd, his poops were continuously softer (worms?) and stickier (blood?) until they were like thick water. Enough’s enough. I didn’t want him to bleed out. Off to the veterinarian.

Yep. The entire array of every kind of worm known to dogs were ripping his intestines to shreds. That’s why he was so thin, ribs cutting your hands just about. He was put on a course of two antibiotics for ten days, twice a day, and a large inside the throat “injection” of a good cup-full of white paste one a day for three days.

It would have made for hilarious youtube videos if I were to have filled out antics. I wanted to make sure he was going to get his medicine and not spit it out in the grass. GSDs are too smart for the own good methinks. So I put them manually down his throat. Fun! The wrestling match was on. The rules: he doesn’t bite me, and he never even thought about it, good doggie-puppy that he is. Everything went down so far. His poops became healthy poops, not sticky, not smelly, almost immediately. Father George: Dog Poop Slave.

More than half-way through the process and still having to do the pills morning and evening, and half getting a heart attack with a GSD that is now rapidly putting on healthy weight, with both of us exhausted, both out of breath, both having to sit to catch our breath, it finally hit me to pray to Saint Anthony, Saint Francis, Saint John Bosco, Saint Roch and my Guardian Angel: “Please let this go smoothly.” It’s now twice I did that. No problems at all. It wasn’t pleasant having Shadow be a mere shadow of his former shadowiness. But now he’s a healthy Shadow once again.

Meanwhile, what to do with a maggot? Kill it! We treated Jesus, God-Man, like a maggot. Psalm 22:6. A maggot nailed to the Cross. And the translation is maggot, not simply worm.

By the way, Jesus stood in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, which means that we’re the actual maggots. Humility provides the opportunity of thanksgiving to Jesus.

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Shadow-dog gets a “cage” um… “crate”

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I’m on a steep learning curve with my just acquired 13 month old German Shepherd. This picture shows my failure in trying to keep him from overturning his water dish by surrounding it with solid cement blocks. Nope. He turned it sideways in the “hole” I had made for him to drink out of. So, I got him a huge un-tip-over-able super-size stainless-steel water dish. That works so far.

Meanwhile, the neighbor got him his own outdoor dog-house in addition to Laudie-dog’s dog-house. I thought I might get him a cage, that is, crate, as GSD owners call it, for use inside the house. It’s a 48″ cage with a hard plastic tray, under and over which I put some used carpet bits to keep it quiet and comfy for this gentle monster. He went in right away and sleeps in it at night, all on his own. I haven’t tried to close the door yet. I’ll need some advice for that. But for now, this is good. This is his space. I had put another piece of carpet over the top to give him a sense of a cave, but he ripped that off and unceremoniously tossed it a good dozen feet in the air, leaving me quite amazed. I tried it again and he left it there. I guess as long as he proves to himself he could destroy it he’s happy with it.

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Progress with Shadow-dog

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Not a dog, but a wolf, as they used to be called before our German friends became politically correct to those a bit scared of wolves. Here’s a few seconds of audio of Shadow-dog welcoming me home after being away for only about 90 minutes. Honestly, he gets a little carried away. I think he scares the whole city:

Meanwhile, a breeder/trainer in the parish has agreed to take on the training of Shadow-dog with myself as a welcome challenge otherwise impossible, for free.

Meanwhile, I’m heading down to the Vet right now to get shots regardless of what the previous “owners” said he got or didn’t.

Meanwhile, utterly impossibly, he’s taken up residence in Laudie-dog’s dog-house, which is half his length, half his height, but, hey, that doesn’t stop wolves, right? I now understand the need for a metal “crate” on the owner’s part, and am not too against this as it seems that GSDs think of this not as a cage but as their own private den, and a way to please their owners. So, fine. As it is, he’s just about ready to eat the 27-ton log-splitter.

By the way, this GSD was an absolute surprise. No budgeting for this guy. It all took place within hours. I’m on a steep learning curve. What I’ve learned so far is this, ever so simply, these GSDs are not dogs, but rather wolves. But to me, that’s really cool altogether. I love it.

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Shadow GSD crushing all “needs a job”

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Shadow, in his new collar, crushing what must be a dinosaur hip joint, the huge “ball” of which in in his mouth. As you can see, the other side of the bone was already crushed cleanly in half by this amazing dog. I’m thinking he would make a good “bite dog” saving the lives of police by grabbing armed and dangerous runners hiding under houses etc.

Anyway, bones are not the only thing he’s been crushing. He’s basically eaten the pooper scooper and was going after his dog dish before I rescued it. He’s eaten the manger scene my neighbor gave me, with only the holy family and three kings more or less surviving. He started going after the hose until I stored it. I’m worried for the city’s rolling garbage bin and Laudie-dog’s dog-house. He’s got plenty of toys – and I’ll be getting him a regulation basketball to destroy – but, as others have pointed out, he needs a job. These are work dogs. Here I thought “watch-dog” is a good job, but not enough for him, unless…

I think he needs a bigger yard, so that if the fenced in area weren’t just the back of the house but skirted the house to the front, he would then be able to run back and forth, and that would in fact be “a job.” Thoughts?

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Shadow-dog, holding down the fort

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Shadow, demonstrating how to make the back yard of the rectory look tiny. The tiles temporarily making up the base of the Marian shrine, are one foot square.

Good points:

  • Providence provided under incredible circumstances, no cost to me
  • (reportedly, we’ll see, with papers) pure-bred German Shepherd
  • Pure black, not a spot of white or tan anywhere, not chest, not feet
  • Straight back, as usual for the all-black variety
  • Double-coat, laughing at what never counts as really “cold” weather in WNC
  • Almost four feet from nose to rump plus another 19 inches for the tail
  • Edging toward 27 inches tall
  • At this extraordinarily massive size, even for a GSD, jaw strength competes with the strongest in the world, the Rottweiler
  • Not neutered, super-friendly, gentle, knows who boss, but totally doesn’t know his own strength, or does
  • Can put his front paws on your shoulders as you stand straight up

Challenges:

  • At 12 1/2 months old, had total control of his owners all of his short life (I saw this up-close)
  • Not trained in any way at all, except possibly, to be disobedient (jaw dropping)
  • Never fed any kind of normal diet, hanging out at the high school cafeteria, so, possibly, the absolutely worst diet a GSD could have ever (that’s just upsetting)

Unknown:

  • Can he break a training bite-arm in one bite?
  • Can he learn how to learn, even though the talent has been suppressed by the previous owners?

Known:

  • Even if he is untrainable (I doubt that), his perpetual presence at all the vulnerable parts of the rectory is already an invaluable asset and most appreciated

Laudie-dog:

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  • Laudie-dog, in her house, utterly dwarfed by “Shadow”
  • A bit of turf wars were at foot during the first day, but now they are friends
  • I was really happy to see little Laudie-dog hold her ground with no fear at all, tolerating no hanky-panky, she being fixed, but not he, but she setting proper boundaries immediately, he now behaving as a gentleman, er, gentledog

Tips for training such a smart dog:

  • I have no idea. Have you?

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Threat: We are antifa, we do not forget

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How very boring. A comment came in from Bolivia, of all places (pretending to be from elsewhere), but clearly written by an American probably in self-imposed exile for what I’m guessing are cowardly fascist crimes, even while he is claiming he is speaking for “antifa.”

The problem is that I’m perceiving this as a threat directed at Laudie-dog, as this picture of her was included in the threat. Really? I mean, that’s pretty cowardly.

On the other hand, there were plenty of codes in the message. So, like… what? Just write clearly.

I recall this scene, not that I’m a godfather, and not that Laudie-dog is a horse:

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