Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sheepdog Christmas

Duffy (left); Mike (lying down); Sophie (right rear)

Dear George,

Donna went to Nashville to be with her kids for Christmas, so 8-year-old Sophie came to stay with us and her older brothers. Sophie is the perfect holiday guest since she livens up all the dogs and the humans. Here (above) are the boys and the girl in the bedroom, demonstrating all possible levels of holiday excitement.

Sophie (left), Duffy (right), Mike (rear)

These three dogs have grown up together since early puppyhood and make up a well-formed pack. They were usually in the same room together this past weekend, and, when one started barking or looking out the window, they’d all be barking and looking out the window. Here they’re praying together that maybe I’ll give them a treat.

Katja with Duffy (front), Sophie (middle), Mike (rear, sitting)

The dogs are well-known in our neighborhood, and everyone’s pleased when they see them on the street. They’ve elicited so many smiles that they should get some sort of humanitarian award. Often when I have Mike and Duffy out, people will ask where the third one is, and I have to explain that Sophie is a visitor.

Sophie resting

Sometimes it seems hard to tell the dogs apart. Sophie’s hair is longer -- sometimes you don’t even know for sure if she has any eyes.

Duffy (left), Sophie (right), Mike (bottom)

Duffy used to be the clear Alpha dog in the pack, but, as they’ve aged, Sophie has gotten pretty assertive too. Sometimes Mike gets stuck at the bottom of the stairs, afraid to trespass on territory controlled by his two more dominant siblings.

Sophie (standing), Mike (sitting)

More often than not, though, Sophie and Mike are most comfortable with one another and hang out together.

Mike (sitting), Sophie (standing)

Sophie’s a lot more playful than her brothers. She’s a little wary of Duffy, but likes to initiate play with Mike, usually by pawing at and chewing his face. Mike, who doesn’t fully get the idea, usually responds by growling. Sophie knows he doesn’t mean it.

Duffy (left), Mike (right), Sophie (forward), all with their hopes up.

All three dogs become totally fixated when Katja is in the kitchen. They’ve learned that sitting is more likely to get them a treat.

Mike (right), Duffy (left) in the foyer for dinner.

When they finally do get fed, you’d think they hadn’t eaten for a month. I think they gobble their food up so quickly out of fear that another dog might get some of it.

Sophie in Burnet Woods

I took Duffy and Sophie on a hike in the park (Mike was being lazy). All the dogs like to romp in the snow. Sophie, in particular, likes to roll around on her back and kick her legs in the air. She is a real snow dog.

Sophie (left), Duffy (right), heads together

You wouldn’t think it, but there’s plenty of good stuff to sniff in the snow.

Duffy (front), Sophie (in the distance)

Duffy sticks closely to me when we’re out walking, but Sophie likes to run ahead. Sometimes I worry about losing her, but she’ll stop and look around if she goes too far.

Duffy (left), Mike (middle rear), Sophie (right)

After an outing, it’s time for a nap. Sophie’s the only one with any energy left.

Sophie in bed

Every evening at 8 o’clock Sophie would disappear, and then we’d find her in our bed. She apparently wants to stake out her spot before the other dogs arrive.

Duffy (left), Mike (front), Sophie (right rear), plus Katja

Once three dogs are in bed, there’s not much room for any more humans. But that’s what makes for a Merry Christmas. We wouldn’t have it any other way.



G-Mail Comments

-Donna D (12-28): david i just saw this...it was in my junk mail!!? anyway, it is so fun, what wonderful dogs! hmmmm, i don't think i've ever seen sophie roll on her back in the snow and kick her legs up! wish i had seen that...what fun! at least it wasn't mud or poop.... donna

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