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Oh, Children!

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I think my mother's dog Shilo has caller ID as well. Either that, or she's making a very pointed statement about the realities of disciplining one's children. Here is an email Mom just sent about the crazy yellow dog:

Subject: She ain't nothing but a hound dog

The more I am around Shilo the more convinced I am she is hound. I see very little if any lab characteristics and bunches of hound traits. Hounds are the dogs who were bred to go off hunting with man and find their own way home. The working breeds work in tandem with man.

Two questions that have been foremost in my mind after since I re-adopted her - Am I anything special to her, and do I dare let her off leash camping? Both questions were answered with a resounding NO this morning.

Her hound traits - just listen to her "talk" or listen to her when she trees a squirrel. The newfs and I will all be downstairs. Characteristic of a newf, he wants to be with his master. Shilo is upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, dragging all her toys downstairs, and more times than not winds up going to bed upstairs by herself. She is clever like a fox. She quickly learns what she needs to know to survive. I frequently ask her if I mean anything to her at all and she just smiles and says, "Oh, yeah, you're the one who feeds my twice a day and gives me cookies." And off she runs.

The past couple of mornings the "girls" have been campaigning for me to get up and fix them breakfast between 4:30 and 5. TOO early! So, I've been putting them out for 45-60 minutes, then letting them back in around 5:30 or so and trying to catch a last half hour of rest. Two mornings ago when I got up to let them in, there was something black shredded all over the grass part of the yard. I was afraid Shilo had dug through the rocks and pulled up bunches of the weed stop Laramie Lawnery had put down under the gravel. I couldn't find any such place so went over to exam the shreds more carefully. (No contacts or glasses at this point.) It was the grill cover. I had grilled the night before and the grill was too warm to put the cover back on so I left it on the table. I chastised her, we all came in and went back to bed for another half hour.

This morning when I let the girls back in, Shilo had shredded the miniature rose Jo Armstrong had given me, the soil it was in, the basket the pot was in. There were bits and pieces ALL OVER the back yard. I dragged Shilo out, lay her on her back on the grass and scolded her and scolded her and scolded her. I got a bag and picked up all the pieces and came in and figured there was no sense in trying to catch any more rest this morning. I moved another small box of flowers to the front yard. I fed everyone breakfast, but Shilo was real hesitant about coming to her dish.

I have two big bare spots in the lawn that I am trying to grow grass in, though Shilo pretty effectively dug it all up Saturday. I had the hose out and was watering the muddy spots, the flower pots, and then went out the backyard to the side vegetable garden to water it. I have been leaving the gate open and teaching the dogs to stay in the yard, even if the gate is open. Up until this morning, they were being very good about it. But this morning, as I was watering, little yellow dog suddenly went slithering past, long and low. I called her, but she laid back her ears, tucked her tail between her legs, and took off. I put the hose down, ran after her, and continue to call her. By the time I got to the end of the driveway, she was half-way down the 700 block. I about caught up with her because she stopped to check out the Hall's house (Danes live there). But as soon as I got close, she was off again, crossed Sheridan and was half way down the 600 block. As I was running down my street I realized I had left the gate open, but didn't want to take the time to go back and close it. But now I realized I could never catch Shilo on foot, so I ran back and found two very good newfs waiting excitedly in the back yard, but both still in the back yard. Poor things. I didn't even have time for anything more than just a quick word of praise. I quickly turned off the water, found driver's license and car keys, and took off in the car after Shilo. By the time I got to Sheridan, she was at the end of 25th Street at Rainbow.

By the time I got to the end of Rainbow, she was nowhere in sight. I had no idea which way to go. I didn't see her anywhere. I turned right towards 30th and checked out the field by Sonic, check out the alley, then decided to try the route Dave might have taken when they went running. I went passed the hospital and up towards the golf course without seeing any sign of her. I remembered Dave saying she was very afraid of cars, so I decided she probably avoided Grand. I turned up 26th to Sheridan and then came back down 25th to the corner of 25th and Rainbow. There she was, at the alley between 25th and 26th trying to pick up a guy who was walking toward 25th St. "Please, Mister, wouldn't you like a little yellow dog? I'm very sweet!" I stopped the car and jumped out, grabbing the cookies I had grabbed on the way out to the car to use as a bribe. The man made good his escape and Shilo started to run up the alley.

If anyone had seen me, they would have assumed I was dog-napping. Shilo approached me warily, looked carefully at the cookies and skittered away. She finally came close enough I could grab her collar. I dragged her to the car, forced her in, then spread out all the cookies for her to eat. She looked at me very distrustfully. But, she did seem happy to be back in her house and she ran to greet the newfs and seemed happy to see them.

Bits and pieces of the rose are in a pot in the kitchen sink. I don't know if it will survive or not. And at one point I really did wonder why I was trying so hard to find her and bring her back home. But she's back in the fold and seems to have forgiven me for scolding her. What a hound.