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Dogs in the Woods

Dogs in the Woods

I took my camera to the woods today as the sun was out, and got some nice posed shots of the girls…

As well as posing and looking noble, there was lots of running about and checking out ducks and things…

And then there was some silly chasing and playing- I think it’s the first time Holly has actually been herded by another dog! ๐Ÿ™‚

Snow dogs

Snow dogs


Even though we went to the woods early this morning (before the snow) I took the girls out to the Rec this afternoon to burn off some energy. We have no idea of Faith has ever seen snow before, but she seemed to have a good time ๐Ÿ™‚

Silly hour…

Silly hour…

I was hoping that Faith and Holly would get to the stage where they would actually play together, I was just hoping it would take place mostly outside.


This will now carry on, on and off, with breaks for panting, for the next hour or so ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting used to each other

Getting used to each other

As Faith and I get to know each other better I’m having to get used to a slightly different style of dog walking. Holly, though she is pretty spry for 10 1/2, now never really goes more than about 50 feet ahead of or behind me, and only occasionally runs off to the side to investigate a squirrel or something (I actually haven’t even bothered to bring a leash with me for Holly for years), whereas Faith, when given her freedom, is never still and is often 400 or 500 yards off to one side or the other as she dashes through the woods.

After the time I lost her for about 45 minutes the first week this still makes me a little nervous! But she is never out of sight for long, and if I lose sight of her and call her she comes dashing back within a couple of minutes, checks in , and then dashes off to the other side of the trail. However I will say I’m very glad I got the gps tracker- that little extra confidence that I can pinpoint her on a satellite map anytime I want to is huge ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s all a learning process as we get used to each other. I’m pretty sure she is “fixed” on me now, I’ve noticed that when there are other dogs about she stays very close to me for reassurance, and at the end of the walk, when I open the car door she bounds in with no hesitation.

Though I will still occasionally take them to the beach, I much prefer the woods, as at the beach I get very little exercise myself as I just walk up and down a bit. So I think I will continue what I’ve been doing the last few days and alternate free walks in the woods (she’s now been round 3 times completely off-leash) with walks with Faith on the 30 foot leash. She seems just as happy either way and I think that little extra reinforcement as we learn to truly trust each other is going to pay dividends later ๐Ÿ™‚

Who are you?

Who are you?

When we got Holly the shelter told us they thought she was a Rat Terrier, I knew right away that there was Border Collie in there and we did a mail-in dna test to find out, which told us that she is in fact 60% Border Collie, 30% Springer Spaniel, and 10% Yorkshire Terrier.

So now of course we have to try and work out what Faith’s genetic make up is (she’d just got back from a muddy run in the woods in the picture below, so she’s tired and filthy)…

There’s obviously some Border Collie in there, but how much, and mixed with what?

One of the people who had fostered her when she was in the shelter is a dog trainer who posted a couple of entries on her own blog about her (here and here) and surmised that she is part BC and part Staffordshire Terrier (part of the Pit Bull group). I don’t see that at all; I think that she possibly has some German Shepherd, based on the shape of her head and the way she is kind of low on her back legs when she runs.

It is interesting though, that she does confirm a couple of other things we’d wondered about- Jackie was fairly sure she’d had a litter (she wasn’t spayed until she got to the shelter in October), and at some point her tail was broken (it has a kink in it that doesn’t show because of her feathery hair).

We’ll never know the full details of her previous existence, but I got her dna test kit today, and have taken the required cheek-swab samples ready to mail off tomorrow. So watch this space- hopefully in a couple of weeks a few questions will be answered ๐Ÿ™‚

And Sasha?

And Sasha?

After my last post a couple of people have asked about Sasha…

ย Sasha is absolutely fine! She’s camped out in Crispy’s room warm and snug and comes out to eat at night when the the dogs are asleep (I couldn’t take a picture of her right now coz they’re both asleep). Faith has been in to visit a few times and gets hissed at and backs right off, so I don’t think it will be long before Sasha has re-established her spot as “top dog”ย ๐Ÿ™‚

In praise of the old girl :)

In praise of the old girl :)

I’ve been posting an awful lot on here about Faith recently, and I just wanted to say a few words about how awesome Holly is.

She has been part of our lives (and has pretty much had us to herself) for more than ten years now, and though part of the reason I wanted to bring Faith home was so that they could be company for each other, I knew that it would not be easy for her to adjust. And in less than two weeks she has gone from tolerating this new interloper to playing with her in a way I haven’t seen her do in many years. For example, the first few days if Faith jumped up on me to welcome me home Holly would jump up too and snap at Faith to make her back off, but now I just get knocked down by having two furry beasts jumping on me happily together.

Faith discovered many of the toys that Holly hasn’t played with for years, which of course meant that Holly had to take them away from her and hoard them (thankfully Faith has been very good about deferring to Holly anytime Holly wanted anything Faith had), but over time this has developed into an hilarious game of “hide the toy”- Holly hides them, then when she isn’t looking Faith sneaks in and takes them back out. And in the last day or two they have started actually playing chase around the apartment for an hour or so in the evening: tails-up-and-wagging, occasionally barking, chase. Some of the time Holly is chasing Faith, and some of the time Faith is chasing Holly ๐Ÿ™‚

And one last observation… I’ve been letting Faith off leash a bit in the woods, and she’s getting better at paying attention, but it’s made me realize how totally rock-solid Holly is. I just don’t even think about it- all the times we’ve been walking around the woods, and sometimes I’m distracted with a camera, and now distracted by another dog, she is just there, right with me and never giving me cause for any worry.

I’m so happy they seem to be really getting along now, if Faith can learn a little of Holly’s awesome steadiness, and Holly can regain a little youthful playfulness by having Faith around to play with, I think they can make an amazing team ๐Ÿ™‚