Friday, January 28, 2011

The Challenger

Smoke plume from the Challenger from Wikipedia

28 April 1986 , 25 years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart. Dad was a young man living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The launch was a media event because a teacher named Christa McAuliffe was going into outer space. Dad watched the launch on TV at his home. He remembers watching the Challenger take off, rise in the air, go high in the sky and then it was no more. Dog Dad later found out Judith Resnik, the female astronaut, on the flight was a cousin to a good friend and fellow Geology major and teaching assistant, that he went to school with at the University of Toledo. Dad told us his friend was a good man and he felt for him. However, many miles separated them and there was little he could do for him.

The disaster was not expected because of the glowing safety record of NASA. A nation was in stunned, this wasn't supposed to happen. The investigation and news that came out did not paint glowing picture of NASA.

Three days later at a memorial service for the astronauts, President Reagan said, "Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain." We guess that sums up what Dog Dad's parents taught him. To pick himself up and press on.

So today we remember those who went before us. We honor those who dared greatly, some of whom never returned to those that loved them. Rest in peace the crew of Challenger, you are not forgotten.

Dog Speed and God Bless,

Essex, Deacon & Dog Dad too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Time of Reflection

Deacon at Angel Paws

Three years ago today, Grand-maw crossed the bridge. Dog Dad is thinking about her and Grand-Paw right now. He remembers Grand-maw's wise words and how much she loved her family. He thinks of the twinkle in Grand-Paw's eyes and Grand-Paw fixing breakfast on Sunday morning. Dad always looked forward to that. As for us we are keeping Dad company

Dad misses talking to them both but he knows they are part of him. They will never really leave him.

One talks he had with Grand-Maw was about raising children. She told him the hardest things to do was to let a child learn from mistakes and allow the child to fail. How there was a need to push the child out of the comfort zone and out of the nest so they could fly. A good parent prevents injury but allow growth. A child learns failure is not the end and will keep trying. Like a flower needs sun and rain; a person needs to know joy and success as well as pain, failure and disappointment in order to grow to their full potential.

Dad has that same philosophy with us. He tries to protect us from grievous injury, but allows us to make little mistakes like learning that we really don't like extra hot chili powder. Confidence is the result of both success and failure. The knowledge to not call failure the end, that obstacles can be overcome and the need to realize you can not fix everything.

From time to time Dog Dad will say "Wisdom is born of pain." Thank you Grand-maw and Grand-paw for all the things you taught Dog Dad and most importantly for allowing him to grow.
Essex & Deacon

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Silly Hooomans

A couple of weeks ago there was an incident at Angel Paws. No one was hurt, there was no growling or dog blood. There was shouting, excited hooomans and adult hooomans behaving like third graders. For the purpose of this post we will refer to the Dog Dad of Chase & Hunter as C&HD.

Us and Dog Dad were at Angel Paws with Hunter, Chase & their Dad. A lady comes into the dog park with her two small dogs. She is carrying the one dog in her arms. Cyber-Paw pals, what do most dogs do in this situation? Yep, they jump up and try to see the other dog. This freaks out the lady a little. C&HD suggests the lady puts the dog down. Well, the dog rolls over and Hunter and Chase try to sniff it. The timid little dogs tries to run away with Hunter and Chase deciding it is time to play chase and trying to sniff the little dog's butt. This freaks the lady out even more.

Voices are raised, Chase & Hunter are accused of being ill behaved aggressive dogs. This is the first we have ever heard of aggressive butt sniffing. The lady and C&HD are yelling at each other, C&HD is swears at the Lady, the Lady is hostile and egging C&HD on. Chase goes by the little dog and the Lady takes a swing at him. Words even got more heated C&HD was so mad that he was shaking.

When we got back home, Dog Dad said the whole situation reminded him of kids in third grade. Two adults that should of known better wouldn't let the situation calm down. The little dog was evidently not socialized because it was so afraid of the other dogs.

We can see Dog Dad shaking his head on the way back home, muttering "silly hooomans."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Very Brave Collie

Our Shirt-Tail Cousin Tosca
We received this e-bark from Tosca's Mom way back in August, just a couple days after it happened. We barked at her to post it, but that hasn't happened. We have decided to post the e-bark we received back then of a truly amazing story of a very brave collie girl from a very loving, proud and lucky Dog Mom.
Essex & Deacon
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I hope all is well with you. I just lose track of time these days. Thank you for always thinking of me! Kiss T's cousins on the nose for me!

Alas, T and I are recovering from a trauma. Let me share with you an email I sent to her breeders today.

Dear Kay and Dan,

On Thursday, August 19, while I was getting ready to take Tosca inside after our walk, we were attacked by two pit bulls. At this point, I want to ease your minds and let you know that both I and Tosca are fine. Thanks to Tosca.

The first dog was loose and the second one was dragging a woman toward us. They both belonged to one of the two women who were "walking" them. The loose dog arrived in a flash before I even saw him coming. I tried to run up the steps with Tosca, but the dog jumped on her. I kicked the dog in the stomach,and tried to put myself between him and my dog. But Tosca wasn't going to back down. Meanwhile the second dog arrived with an out of control woman at the end of the leash. Now both dogs were after Tosca. They knocked me over and I took a dive on the pavement. I let go of Tosca's lead, because I realized there was no hope for her as a sitting duck for these two freaks. In the meantime, the witnesses piled up. The one woman was still holding the lead of one of the dogs but it was hopeless. He was just dragging her around. Tosca suddenly showed me what herding is all about. She dodged and weaved. She circled me while I was on the ground, refusing to let them near me. They were snapping at her rump and neck but she was too fast for them to lock their rotten jaws onto her. Once I got up, she took the fight to the grass. I kicked one of them in the head and it started to come for me and Tosca literally threw herself at him and distracted him. They kept trying to get her throat and she wouldn't let them. She was covered with their spit at her neck and rump and her fur was hanging from their mouths, but never once could they lock on her. The fight was going on for too long. I went down again. These beasts were truly freaks and the two women who "owned" them were useless. Tosca managed to draw blood on one of them, but she kept dancing and turning on a dime. Mostly she was focused on the loose dog because he had the most mobility. Three calls were made to 911 but the cops never seemed to arrive. I had resigned myself that my dog was going to die because I knew she couldn't keep this up and these dogs were far too strong for me. I decided to go inside and get my gun to kill them both when my neighbor, bless him, ran out of the house with a baseball bat and cracked it in half on one of the dogs' heads. The dog staggered but didn't fall, but he was just disoriented enough for a break. My neighbor grabbed the stricken loose dog's collar and then he grabbed the leash of the other dog from the woman and yelled GET TOSCA IN THE HOUSE! I ran up the steps with Tosca and got her inside in just the nick of time. Both dogs had broken loose and ran up the steps and were trying to go thru the glass to get to Tosca. It was at this point that I smashed a stone planter onto the back of one of the dogs and the other dog bit its owner.The planter slowed the dog down considerably, thank God. Now there were two pitties, one had a bat cracked over his head and another had a solid stone planter dropped on his back and they were both still standing. I told them to get their animals the **** off my porch and I not to move because I was pressing charges, and if they lunge at anyone I was going to slit one of their throats with the razor sharp garden slicer I had on my porch. I threw a hammer I had in my garden kit to my neighbor "just in case" he needed it.

Now for the amazing part. Tosca was magnificent, and I don't know if this has EVER happened before, but every single witness to this event would tell you that a Collie got the best of TWO pitbulls. And the best part: She had no injuries. Next morning, I woke up stiff, but Tosca just smiled and said Okay let's have breakfast.

Next, I brought her to the vet and the Vet did a full exam. We looked everywhere for even a laceration. None. He did some gyrations with her neck to make sure her spine wasn't injured. Overall, except for her furs being messed up, she was in the same condition she was in before the dogs attacked her. Or as one of my neighbors pointed out, "I guess all those Lassie stories are really true". A visitor to my next door neighbor's home got out of his car yesterday and said, Hey! Is that the Collie who took down the two pitties??". Tosca just smiled, as usual.

The vet said he was sure that heavy coat didn't hurt. Laughing here. She was the buzz of the vet clinic. People were congratulating her and telling her what a good dog she is. She got some handmade dinosaur biscuits to take home. And well........I am just so darned proud of my Collie Dog Tosca.

Tosca is now a neighborhood hero. The kids who love her, even the ones she has met on walks, stopped by and were all over her telling her how cool she is and one little girl cried at the thought that her Tosca would not be here, but I just told her, look how smart Tosca is! Do you think she would let two dumb pittbulls get the best of her? Tosca did her tricks for the kids and they were all happily convinced she is fine. Tosca, of course, is enjoying the adulation and all to happy to cooperate with the treats she has received from her admirers.

I only wish someone had taken a video of this altercation. The entire scene left people breathless and horrified. They expected to see a dead Collie, and truly, if it weren't for the guy with the bat, I don't think Tosca could have carried on that way for much longer. But the truth is, my Collie outsmarted two brain-damaged pittbulls. So let's hear it for brains over brawn.

I am still freaked out, but Tosca forgot all about it, it seems. She's the same jovial kid-loving Collie Ambassador she always was and the children who adore her cheered as she walked away from the pittbull death trap.

I'm not sad to say that the two pitties didn't fare as well. One of them has a concussion and possible hematoma, and the bat is no longer in service due to a head split. The other is in back pain. It also seems Tosca drew some blood. And to be perfectly honest, I don't care. I have pressed charges and the dogs will probably be confiscated as vicious, because that is exactly what they are.

As for me, I have some ugly scrapes and a huge dog nail scratch down the back of my leg. It's just today that I am feeling sore. But I'm okay. Thanks to my dog who put me first in the face of two pitbulls.

Thank you for my Tosca. I can never say it enough times. She saved my life and her own as well, because she just knew I couldn't live without her. I always knew I won the dog lottery when I got her.

This afternoon, Tosca is going to deliver a nice bottle of wine to the neighbor who cared enough to help a Collie out.

*** We later received a note that the two pit bulls were later euthanized. ***

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Review

We wish all our cyber-paw pals a barky New Year. We hope 2011, the Year of the Rabbit is kind to every paw. We are laughing as pictures of Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs Bunny dance through our head. For us 2010 was okay, but there were sad times and good times. Now for the Key West Collies 2010 recap.

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20 JAN - We meet Benjamin the White Collie at Angel Paws.

27 FEB - Renovations are complete at our house.

15 APR - We have a new vehicle .

13 MAY - Cousin RJ signs are guest book.

22 MAY - Brother Buddy - Deacon Pawther adopts a family in the Florida Keys.

10 JUN – We celebrate our third blog-aversary.

12 JUN – Trip to Ohio, we see our pals Clyde, Hattie, Cassie and Dog Dad’s family.

Essex, Grand-Paw & Deacon

20 JUN - We celebrate Pawthers Day with Grand-Paw.

2 JUL – Return to Key West from our Ohio Trip.

13 AUG - Emergency Trip to Ohio.

18 AUG - Grand Paw crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

19 AUG - Tosca gets the better of two mean pitbulls.
We get email from Tosca's Mom a couple days later and are amazed by the story.

25 AUG - Return to Key West.

25 SEP - Gremlins destroy our pool.

27 SEP - We meet Chase, the Red & White Irish Setter.

Essex, Deacon & Buddy

9 OCT - We get together with Buddy (Deacon's Dad, Essex's Brudder) at Islamorada Founder's Park Dog Park.

25 OCT - 5th Anniversary of Herricane Wilma.

3 NOV - Our computer and Internet go down.

10 NOV - The 35th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Edmond Fitzgerald. Made famous made famous in song by Gordon Lightfoot.


13 NOV - We meet Kylie the Collie, who is staying next door for several months.

25 NOV - Essex's pal, Lucy crosses the Rainbow Bridge in Valdosta, Georgia. Lucy was 14 years old.


8 DEC - The 30th anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon.

11 DEC - We are back up on the Internet

22 DEC - Dad’s Brudder, Stevie-Grrr-Wonder, comes to visit us.

23 DEC - Opy crosses the Rainbow Bridge. There are many sad dogs and humans through out DWB.

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We look forward to 2011 and all the adventures that may come our way. Dog speed and may the Great Dane be with all our cyber-paw pals.

Essex & Deacon