Look what our neighbor got. I want them I am a herder I could round them up. I could make them stay in the corner. I could make them go in the barn or anywhere else I want! I want to live on that farm. No I love my Mom and Dad I will stay home. But I want sheep for my birthday on October 2nd I will be one, old enough for sheep. I will look good herding I am handsome.
Takoda here. Most days I am allowed to go next door for a little while and play with my friend. My friend is long-legged and skinny, a stray and he is young like me he is brindle stripey. He stays with a man who does not want him but no one can catch him he is too fast. The man feeds him but his other dogs get the food they are very big and strong. He runs faster than me that is very super fast. Mom and Dad thought he was a girl-dog Mom said “she” looked like my Uncle Robert and Aunt Karen’s dog Daisy, who is a Plott Hound, the state dog of North Carolina. I want to the be state dog of North Carolina. I am very handsome I should be the state dog. Daisy lives in California so I do not understand why she is the state dog of North Carolina that does not make sense. Vote for Takoda state dog! My cousin Daisy is cute she can be state dog of California.
My friend is too skinny he does not get as much food as I do Mom said his hip bones make her sad. Mom and Dad try to feed him but he is afraid of all people. Sometimes Dad puts food on his driveway for him. Mom calls my friend Daisy 2 she thought he was a girl until this week. Mom has wanted to catch Daisy 2 and have her fixed so she won’t have puppies that nobody loves. I don’t know why anybody would not want to love a puppy. That is dumb, puppies are the best things ever just look at me I am a puppy everybody loves me. Mom has tried to get a picture of Daisy 2 but he is too fast.
This week my Mom’s friend Elizabeth from San Diego came to visit I loved her. San Diego is in California I wonder if she knows Daisy? Elizabeth brought me a rope toy with bones I like it. Mom and her friend Elizabeth took me for a walk to the river we saw my friend Daisy 2 and Mom said he has a pee-pee now he is a boy so we won’t have puppies that is good. But Mom said she still wants to get Daisy 2 fixed so he won’t make puppies and she does not want me to make puppies. I don’t know how to make puppies I don’t care we went to the river! Mom made me stay on my leash but I got to run in the creek and I got to jump in the river I love cold water on my paws. Then I jumped on Mom with wet paws and got her shirt and pants wet she said “Oh Takoda get down!” I tried to jump on Elizabeth but Mom made my leash short Elizabeth said I am very good dog. There was a man at the river he smiled he did not have many teeth I think his puppy teeth fell out I smelled him he smelled okay. I loved Elizabeth she let me sleep next to her bed. Mom and Dad sleep with cats I loved Elizabeth.
Elizabeth has a dog her name is Gracie I don’t know her. Mom and Elizabeth talked about Gracie they said she runs she likes to chase rabbits she likes snow and being unruly I would like to play with Gracie. Mom and Elizabeth and Gracie used to live in Illinois near each other they miss each other. Gracie goes on a kayak and hikes. I like to hike. I don’t know kayak what is that? Gracie could be the state dog of California she is very cute but she got in trouble at her hiking class I like that. I get in trouble all the time. After we went to the river, we came home and Mom and Elizabeth talked and talked and talked they said they had not seen each other in two and a half years a very long time. At midnight, Mom took me out to do my business I ran. I ran and my leash broke and I was free it was a beautiful warm night I went to see my friends. Mom was upset she said I scared her I was sorry but only a little sorry because I saw Daisy 2 and Esa and Sam next door and the moon was out we ran. Mom said she could not go to bed until I got home I made her worry but I came back it was not that long. It was a good day I slept on Elizabeth’s floor.
Elizabeth can fly she flew back to California all by herself. My Mom and Dad cannot fly, they walk I did not know any people could fly. I wonder if Gracie can fly? I want to fly, I run. Mom said she just saw this picture of Gracie on Facebook with a dirty face. I get dirty face too I might love Gracie.
Mom said I am finally a normal dog. I am a big boy now. I get in the car by myself and I put my head out the window this means I am normal. Mom holds onto me though she said I might lunge at something because I am just a puppy. I am not a puppy I am a big dog. Mom is wrong about that but I like the car I am normal.
My big dog teeth came in, they are white and strong and I can bite harder it is impressive. I like that. I like to try out my big dog teeth. Last night Mom and Dad both had to take something out of my mouth it took two I am strong and handsome.
Tonight before supper Daddy let me out to do my business I ran away to the creek. I stayed gone I got in trouble. I could hear Dad whistle and call “Takoda, come!” and “Takoda, treat!” but I did not do that I did not care. I was in the creek it felt cold to my paws I like that I like mud. Then I found something special; smelly, special, old meat. It was most of a deer I liked it.
Dad kept calling me I was busy I did not want to listen. But it was supper time I went home I brought it with me. Dad said, “Takoda, is that a snake?” I ran. He followed me it was a game I ran. I ran out to the field around the circle. Dad came he yelled at me to give him the snake it was not a snake I ran. Dad said I could not make him run, I tried he did not run he said stop I ran.
I ran to the house, Dad said “TAKODA DROP IT!” I did not drop it Dad finally got my collar. “Takoda that stinks drop it!” I ran. Dad caught the leg he had the hoof he said it was gross I pulled on it I liked it but it did smell. Dad took the leg from me he made me go in the house I smelled bad. I was very dirty he said I stunk he said stay off the couch don’t move. I could tell Dad was mad or disgusted. Mom was at a meeting, Dad said “Wait ’til your Mom gets home bad dog.” I found the leg of a dead fawn in the creek I liked it, It smelled bad it was mine. I brought it home Dad said it was very, very gross. It was not gross it was MINE but Dad took it he did not like it on his hands he washed his hands.
Mom came home she had food in a bag she said it was from meeting, I wanted it Dad made me SIT TAKODA. He said to Mom, “Wait until you hear this, he smells awful.” Mom heard the story then she said it smelled bad in our house it was me. Dad said I had to get in the tub I don’t like that I did not want the big wind machine like at the Pet Spa.
Mom ran a bath I would not get in, Dad picked up my back Mom picked up my front they put me in the tub Dad scrubbed, Mom scrubbed, Mom wore an apron. I shivered I did not like it but I was very brave I did not cry. The water was brown. Dad had a plastic jug he put water on me a lot I did not like it, but they said I had to BE STILL and get clean. They said bringing home the stinky fawn leg had CONSEQUENCES. I don’t like consequences they are foamy and vanilla bean and I did not smell like a dog after consequences. Mom said I did not have to have consequences it was up to me. I don’t understand how it is up to me. Mom laughed at the zig zag hair on my ears.
Then they put me in towels and dried me and I liked that it felt like hugs. I got to be in front of the fireplace and then I got my supper so maybe consequences are not too bad except for the bath part. Mom and Dad said I undid the spa day in a big way. Dad said “What are we going to do with that deer leg?” and Mom said she did not know but she does not want to see the rest of that thing. I know where it is and I want it but I don’t want consequences especially vanilla.
Thith week, Mom took me hiking at Alexthander Park and on the Rattlethnake Lodge Trail we hiked a lot I was happy. There were not any rattlethnakes I wath dithappointed by that. All my puppy teeth have gone, I have big dog teeth in thpots but in thome plathes I have no theeth, juth gumth that hurt. Altho I ran away for one hour and thcared Mom and Dad. I wath very muddy and wet when I came back, I don’t know what I did, but I wath tho, tho tired. Thith week my gumth were bleeding thome.
Mom took me to a dog thpa today I wath thcared. We went at 1:30, Mom athked when to come back for me they thaid “We will call you, it dependth on how he doeth.” Mom thaid the would prefer to thtay with me, they thaid no, they thaid I wath in good handth. Mom knew I would be nervouth. I wath. I didn’t want Mom to leave, but the did and the thaid “I will be back Takoda, thettle down.” Then the gave me thome treats and hugged me. I think the felt guilty for leaving me, but the wanted me to be all clean and handthome. There wath a little gate between the front door and another before the thpa, Mom put me in the little room I did not like it when the left.
I heard them talking, they thaid I was going to get a Paw-dicure and a fathial, then I would get my undercoat removed, thith thcared me to death becauth I didn’t know what my undercoat wath. I didn’t know what a Paw-dicure or a fathial was either. I wath hoping thingth would not hurt. My gumth hurt.
When Mom left, the ladieth at the Pet Thpa took me back to the room. They put thmelly thtuff on my fathe and rubbed my fathe real thlow, it felt good I felt better. Then they mathaged my pawth and they thanded them down thmooth like I wath a houth dog like I don’t need tough padth but I do. They cut my clawth and thanded them, too. Then they wathed me with thoap I did not like that one bit they thcrubbed my whole body, I didn’t even know them they touched my whole body. Then they got a big mathine with wind and thprayed my body with it, I was crying and thaking, I thought they would kill me and they took my undercoat with a bruth with thome kind of thaver thing in it the pile of fur was huge I thought I would be naked I cried. They thaid I would not thed ath much in the thpring without my undercoat I don’t like what they did to me.
The ladieth worked thlow in my opinion, I wath at the Pet Thpa for three hourth way too long. There wath a Labradoodle there I liked him but hith breed name is dumb. I wath THO glad when Mom came back to get me. I barked and jumped and barked and jumped and I wath tho exthited!!! Mom put my leath on, the paid the ladieth the made a fathe when the paid them. We went outthide tho I could do my buthiness. Mom thaid I wath beautiful and thiny and I wath a handthome GOOD BOY. I like that.
We got in the car I went to thleep in 5 thecondth becauthe I wath thtrethed out. I do look real, real good. The puppy nexth door ith going to thwoon when the theeth me. I got a thcarf with airplaneth and trainth on it, it wath thtupid, Mom took it off becauthe I wath chewing on it. I hope I never go to the Thpa again but I heard Mom and Dad talking, they thaid I will. I hope they forget I will thtay cleaner tho they forget.
When we got home we went to the top of our hill, Mom and Dad had treeth taken out becauth we are getting a new houth thoon. There were big, big pileth of thawduth and I forgot about thtaying clean I ran up and rolled down the thawduth. Mom thaid I undid the Thpa I did not I may be thcarred for life but the thaid I am not going back any time thoon I am tho happy!
Mom thaid if a lot of people like thith thtory and thare it the will let me have my own blog tho I can write a lot more the will let me uthe her laptop. I like that.
My puppy teeth are coming out Mom thaid that ith good, but it makth me talk funny. I have big dog teeth and puppy teeth now they are mixthed up and I have to chew thingth. I did dethtruction three timth thith week and today Mom thaid, “TAKODA, YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR.”
I thought I wath going to obedienth training lath week, but the lady cantheled it becauth it thnowed and the thchools were clothed. Mom and I played in the thnow. I liked that. But then I got bored tho I did dethtruction. I wath going to do my dethtruction at obedienth thchool inthead of home but they left me no choith. I did it at home. Firth, Mom had to work. Dad thent her thith picture on hith phone that wath the firth time I got in trouble thith week.
Dad thaid, “I hope you were finithed with thith People Magathine becauth Takoda read it today.” I only got in a little trouble becauth Mom had already read it.
Then I bit Mom a few timth, that alwayth makth her real mad but I wath bored it wath not my fault. I leaned on her legth to thay “Leth go out in the thnow” and Mom did not lithen, tho I had to take acthion and I tore her coat tho Mom would go out with me. Then I bit her panth and tore them. Mom thaid I was a little thit and if I kept it up my name wath going to be changed to Thit inthead of Takoda.
Today, I woke Mom up really early. We had quiet time and a treat and I got a tummy rub. It wath nithe. Then I got to go outthide to do my buthineth. I found out the back door was cracked and there wath a bag of trath out on the porch. I did dethtruction again. That ith when Mom thaid “TAKODA, YOU HAVE GONE TO FAR!” Mom took my rib bone away and I had to wait on the deck while Mom cleaned the porch. Mom said I was an ath-hole. I think the coffee groundth were the real problem, they didn’t want that bread or thoth bonth.
Dad made ribth for the Thuper Bowl and I did not get any but I found them tho I helped mythelf. I got in trouble.
Mom thaid they better not canthel my clath thith week, becauth I am dithobedient and a trouble-maker. But Mom altho thaid I am very, very cute and that workth in my favor and altho my gumth hurt. Mom and Dad laugh at me after they get mad. I have heard them talk, I am adorable and cute and funny and thweet-natured, tho I get away with thom thingth. My gumth hurt now.
It’s me again. Mom took me to puppy socialization class again last night. Wheezer was not there, he graduated even though he humped too much. So did Caramel and Laia. I was the biggest puppy in the class by 15 pounds. The blue ladies said I was good because I made myself small when I played, so the little puppies would like me. I wonder why the other puppies are so small I am the biggest puppy in the world. There was a new puppy this week, Radley. He was a little Lab mix with a tail that curled up over his back. He never shut up, YAP, YAP, YAP. His parents said he was a chicken. We had chickens at our house, I know a chicken when I see one. He was a puppy he was not a chicken.
There was also a new puppy Nelson. His Mom said that was because of Willie Nelson. I don’t know who that is. Nelson was fun he was not afraid of me he jumped on my back and we played. Jasmine was there, too. She is a Golden Retriever. I got in trouble because I humped her too much and made her hide behind her Mom’s legs under a chair. Taffy Two was still there, she grew a lot, like me. I love Jasmine. Jasmine does not love me.
I want to show you my teeth and my nose. These are the tools of my trade. Mom said my trade is destruction and I excel at my trade. My nose makes me get in trouble. Last night Dad made fried shrimp it drove me crazy I didn’t get any but I got in trouble for trying to take one. I had to go in my crate with a bone so Dad could eat in peace whatever that means. I smelled 10,000 things in one day not my fault. Mom and Dad say “TAKODA GET DOWN” all the time now I can reach the counter and the table. I don’t like raw onions.
Today Mom and Dad put me in the truck and we drove and drove. It was snowing, the truck made me nervous I wanted to stay home. We went to a place in the mountains I had to be on a leash in the snow too many new smells. We went into a foreclosure, Mom had to take pictures there. It was cold and it made me nervous I didn’t like the foreclosure, it did not feel happy. I thought they would leave me I was scared. Mom picked me up and put me in the truck I was very glad so I went to sleep.
These teeth are the tools of my trade. Destruction. Dad said they are fish hooks, he calls me “Grip.” Mom said they are needles. They hurt unless I have an ice cube or a cold bone to gnaw. Chewing on Mom helps, too but she does not like that. She said I am a pain in the ass and the hand and the ankle and I like boots but they won’t give me boots. I eat snow. Dad got me a toy box made of wood, I chew it on the corners.
Sometimes I get bored. It has been very cold, I like cold I have thick fur but not this cold. I have to stay indoors too much and Mom has only walked me once a day instead of two times. Dad takes me in the truck but the gravel man came with a dump truck for the driveway I was not allowed out he said I might get rocks on my head dangerous.
I got bored I had to do destruction. Mom and Dad said it could have been worse. I put my blanket with Dad’s blanket. I emptied the trash. I tore up the mail so they don’t have to use the shredder. I ate part of the magazine so they don’t have to read it.
Even though the cats don’t think I like them, I pulled the stuffing out of their toy so they don’t have to do it. I like to do destruction it feels good. I don’t mind helping, it only takes a few minutes I have time. I have to stop biting I am trying very hard. Mom and Dad did not bleed this week at all, I heard them say that is good. Also I am learning to stay DOWN.
Mom and I go to obedience class this week. I think they will let me do destruction there.
Takoda here. Mom is asleep, I got the laptop. What a day I had yesterday! First, Mom put me in the car. I don’t like the car, it makes me dizzy, I whimper. Mom says if I get in the car every day I will like it, she said I am not a regular dog or I would like the car. I don’t like the car. We went to Alexander Park. I ran, ran, ran. We went up a trail, I ran. Mom ran to keep up. She had on a hike-belt with water bottle and puppy treats. When Mom ran, she sounded like a bag of garbage chasing me, it scared me at first. Up hill, down hill, I ran, ran, ran. Mom made me sit while she took a picture I did not want to sit still at all. But I got treats and some water in my bowl I liked that. Mom said I would see turkey vultures and rabbits I did not see anything but ferns and footprints. We walked and ran for 50 minutes. We went home, Dad walked me around the Big Loop in the field. I chased Rory Gallagher I got in trouble. Mom walked me down to the mailbox. She said I had to walk a lot today because we were going to Puppy Class and I needed to be tired for Puppy Class. I was tired. I was sleeping, Mom made me get up and put me in the car again, I didn’t like that.
I woke up at Dr. Wootten’s office I thought I would see Dr. Wootten and Linda but Mom took me to a different door. I pulled and tried to go to the door I know. Mom made me go to the other door, there were puppies! I got very excited, very excited, very fast. We went in and there were tiny puppies in a fence, and outside the fence an English bulldog puppy with his Dad. His name was Wheezer. There were toys on the floor and bowls of water and there were ladies in blue who let me jump up and said I was very soft and cute. I like that. I had to be on my leash until they said I could play, that was hard for me, Mom made me SIT with all that going on! Then Caramel came in, a red tick hound. Then Laia, a Border Collie mix. Then Jasmine, a Golden Retriever, then Taffy Two, a yellow Lab. Laia was crazy she shrieked and shrieked. Then a blue lady talked for a while and said “take them off their leashes now” and the people did, puppies went crazy! They ran, ran, ran, sniffed noses, butts. Some puppies peed indoors, but no one got in trouble. I did not pee the whole time I was good. Wheezer, Caramel, Jasmine, Laia, Taffy Two, they were all in a pile, a wiggly group, sniffing, sniffing. Wheezer humped Jasmine then Taffy Two. Taffy Two was only a baby but Wheezer he liked her a lot if you know what I mean. The blue ladies got Wheezer away from little Taffy Two. All the puppies ran and sniffed, they knew each other from last time, I did not like that.
I stayed back, watched, went to the people one by one, I got treats from all. One lady said I could be a politician. Then I sniffed dogs, but they yelped and barked and jumped I went behind a chair to wait. I did not like the puppies all at once.
Mom said if this was Puppy Hump Class, Wheezer would graduate at the top of the class. Wheezer’s Dad said “He is flunking.” Wheezer chased all the girl dogs and boy dogs, humped them from all sides. Mom said he was acting like Carlos Danger. Wheezer tried to hump me I am bigger he could not do it, but his Mom was embarrassed, said he had a one track mind.
One of the blue ladies put me in a little pen, she was going to give me a baby Cocker Spaniel to play with because I was timid. Mom was in the pen with me, I was watching the other puppies, I got excited and wanted to play with them. The blue lady let me out. I got in the pile, it was fun, but one dog barked too much. And Wheezer kept humping, humping. So I humped Taffy Two, I got in trouble because she’s just a baby. Her Dad said, “He is ALL BOY” to my Mom and she rolled her eyes. Then I chased Jasmine, I humped her, Jasmine’s Mom thought it was funny. One of the blue ladies separated us and she said it is a domination thing, not a sex thing. Another lady said Wheezer wanted sex slaves. It was all very confusing. I don’t know what sex is. Or domination. I just know it was fun. Mom said I can go back next week because I was a GOOD BOY.
Takoda here. Don’t tell Mom I used her laptop. I am not allowed to play with it. Or phones. Or remote controls, socks, books, magazines, shoes, sweaters, cats, chickens, coyote poop, wastebaskets, beer bottles, couch cushions, blankets, pee pads, rugs or gloves. I am not allowed to chew on furniture. I am not allowed to take food off the counter or out of the trash. They fuss at me in the kitchen. I am not tall enough to take food off the counter yet, but they act like I do it all the time, like I am a problem. I just want to see what I smell! They have a lot of rules.
I like to bite Mom. I can’t help it, she is chewy and I love her. I love Dad too, but he is tough not chewy like Mom. Dad says she looks like a battered woman and it is my fault. I don’t know what that means. I have torn 3 pairs of Mom’s pajama pants, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 winter coats, and a pair of corduroys. (Also a fleece shirt, but I don’t think she has seen that yet.) She gets mad when I tear things, but I am a herder from way back, how else can I control her? When Mom walks me, she gets out of line and I have to correct the situation. It’s fun. We walk and run every morning. We go down the driveway. I have to wear a leash part way because of the stupid cats and stupid birds. They need herding, no one understands that like I do, but I am not allowed to chase and nip them. When we get down the hill by the fire pit, Mom takes my leash off so I can RUN!!! Run, run, run, run! I run! I like to disappear into the brush and wait until Mom walks ahead. Then I run! I run by bite Mom while I am running I don’t even have to slow down. She yells at me “TAKODA NO BITING” and I look back smile keep running. I like my Mom, it is funny when she gets mad. I am very fast, too fast for her to grab it’s funny, I run! We go around Big Loop in a field, I get to dive into the brush over and over until I have seeds and burrs all over me. Sometimes
grass sticks out of my fur and I get frost on my face. Sometimes I find briers, they scratch it hurts my belly so I run. Then we go down to the well pump. I can see the cows next door but I am not allowed to herd them, either. After that, we go up the road to the top of our mountain. I see turkeys and smell bear and deer and possums. I run! Mom throws a stick ahead of me I get it, chew it. I don’t take it to her. I am a herder. Not fetch dog. I run. Then we run down the hill. I stop at the puddle and splash or bite the ice. Some days water, some days ice, I like to slide on ice but splashing is good. I run. Mom moves her hand and says “Takoda come” and I do so I get a treat. Then I run ahead so she will do it again when I get too far away. It works every time. Mom has a lot of bruises and little cuts from my puppy needle teeth. So do her clothes. I like to bite Mom. Sometimes she flips me over and holds me down and looks in my eyes and says “TAKODA NO BITING” I don’t like that.
Could you get mad at this face? I ate the chickens’ treats that day, I had yogurt on my nose I got in trouble.
At first I thought my name was TAKODA-NO-BITING! Then I figured out TAKODA-NO-BITING means I am in trouble again. My name is plain Takoda. That means “friend to everyone” in the language of the Lakota Indian. I am a friend to everyone so far. Except Amos and Rory Gallagher. Cats suck. They either run from me or turn on me and hiss. There is no in-between with those two. I heard Mom and Dad say the cats used to fight a lot before I came, now they are all buddy-buddy and stay together and plot against me. I just want to play, when I run at them they run like I want to kill them and I get in trouble. TAKODA NO! I just want to herd them so we can play. Cats are stupid. One day I stuck my head through the cat door and Amos smacked me in the face and I was stuck until I could back up and get away. Then he ran like I did something bad. Rory Gallagher taunts me, he runs by me outside, up a tree, down, back by me with his tail up and his sideways run and I can tell he wants me to herd him but I get in trouble if I chase him.
I ate two pairs of Dad’s prescription glasses in the same week and knocked his milk over. He got more mad about the milk than he did the glasses. Milk went everywhere and he was trying to eat a sandwich. I can reach the table next to Dad’s recliner. When he leaves the remote there I am going to eat it. I check every night unless I fall asleep. I fall asleep at 10:00 and I sleep until 7:00 a.m. when I bark at the door. I am not allowed on the other side of the door. The cats are. They sleep high on a bed and glare at me from there like they own the place. I know how to SIT and LIE DOWN. I don’t like to STAY. I don’t like to be QUIET.
This week I went to Highgate Farm twice to play with Kelly. She is an English Shepherd, too. She is really big, almost 2 years old and she can roll me over and herd me and she knocked me down in the snow or the mud a lot of times. I am only three months old, I run as fast as her. She is bigger. Kelly pushes me around I like to chase her and she does not get mad at me when I run by bite her run look back run. She likes it, she runs, runs, runs. We are not allowed to chase the chickens there or the cats. We jump on the people, though. Mom took the chickens to live at Highgate Farm because something ate Snapdragon. It was not me. I was in the house. Then something got Clara and hurt her wing and tore feathers off her neck. Mom was supposed to take them to another farm but the people were out of town at Christmas so they went to Highgate instead, where there is a fence and I am not allowed to chase them. There are a LOT of chickens there, I would like to get into that pen but I would be in very big trouble, maybe the most trouble yet.
John and I have talked about getting a dog for a long time. We were never home enough, had no fence, no time, etcetera. And let’s face it, cats are EASY.
John wanted a German Shepherd. I did not. I wanted a Golden Retriever or a shelter dog, something more giant-lap-dog-ish. John did not. So when I visited Highgate Farm in late October and met Kelly, an English Shepherd, I got very excited! The perfect compromise; an English Shepherd is part family dog, part guard dog, a hiker, has herding instincts, high energy and a great disposition. I came home and told John about Kelly, he did some research and a consensus was reached. English Shepherd was the breed for us!
We began our search for a breeder and found 4 within a 4 hour range of Western North Carolina. I filled out several questionnaires; about us, our pets, our thoughts on training and discipline, why we wanted a dog, how we would keep a herding dog happy. Lots of questions, lots of essays. We talked to breeders on the phone, like nervous potential parents we worried about saying the wrong thing, blowing our chances. It was an interesting experience. Fortunately we passed the test with the breeders we elected to talk to. I was actually glad they care where their puppies end up.
We began to correspond with Carla from Old’s English Shepherds, near Roanoke, Virginia. She had a litter born October 2nd, almost ready to go to their forever-homes. Carla sent us the cutest summary from the little squirt herding trials. This picture shows our eventual puppy at 6 weeks, herding ducks. The text with the picture read “Dream Weaver – hit heads and heels (seal, white). Went right to work as soon as released in pen. Worked close, accepted encouragement from me. Consistently singled out a duck or went for the single. Usually indicates predatory rather than herding behavior, but in this case the single always rejoined the flock as a result of his work. At one point, I was working 3 and he tucked in behind the single to drive it to my 3. He did grip once (tail).” I saw the tip of that tail, white like it had been dipped in paint like his paws, and thought he was so adorable!
We drove up on November 20th and spent the night at the Hotel Roanoke, a Hilton property, very nice. We planned to have a night on the town, but the hotel had a cool pub, so we had dinner and watched an NIU football game. We were tired, but excited about the morning! We got up and drove about 40 minutes out to New Castle. When we arrived, Carla was outside with the dogs. There were 8 puppies. I had seen a picture of him, but wasn’t sure which of the eight in the pile of wiggling fur was our guy until he jumped over his siblings to lick me, and we locked eyes and fell in love. Puppy love. Carla said, “That’s him, he went right to you.”
We brought him home that day at 8 weeks old and our lives have not been the same since! We had a 250 mile drive. We had a carrier with us, but I didn’t have the heart to take him from Mama and put him in the crate. So I climbed into the backseat of John’s truck and held him in my lap for 5 hours. He whined a time or two, but was remarkably calm overall. He got stressed when we stopped for lunch, screamed like he was being murdered when we left him in the crate in the truck for 15 minutes. We were all glad to get out of the car! My sister-in-law Cindy and my niece Samantha came to visit as soon as we got home. They thought he was pretty adorable, too!
We renamed the puppy Takoda. It’s an American Indian name meaning “friend to everyone.” He is thus far! We take him to a new place to meet new people almost every day. He is a baby, nervous, but loves the attention. In the dog friendly town of Weaverville, he is allowed in the shops. Most have puppy treats and water bowls for dogs. He has debuted in two towns, Weaverville and Marshall; he was equally popular in both. What’s not to love? He’s so cute! He went to a party at my sister’s at Thanksgiving, we had 17 humans, another dog, a cat, and several chickens. He did pretty well.
He knows a few commands, like SIT, LIE DOWN, and IN YOUR HOUSE. We are working on a few more. He is pretty well leash trained now, and we are letting him off the leash a little as of today. Still not sure what he’d do to a cat or a chicken, so we are cautious yet!
He has a large toy collection, 22 acres to walk on, 2 cats and 3 chickens to pester. Our young cat, Rory Gallagher, has taken to sleeping in the bathroom sink. Our old cat Amos is thoroughly pissed and stays under the bed for days on end. Meanwhile, Takoda is oblivious to all that is not food-related. He is a funny little character.
It’s late, the monster is asleep, and I need some shut eye. I’ll keep you posted on the new baby and his antics.