Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rocky Run Regulars (a continuing series)--G'day, Mates!

This is the first installment of what I hope will be a longrunning feature at Washington Tykes, now that I'm getting more conversant with the various means of posting photos here. For example, that spread I did on Hannah and Kyla utilized web-hosting--I simply linked images on Photobucket to the blog. No time-consuming upload, but the images are a bit cropped. I'm going to fix that sometime soon.

A lot of my best photos are still on my old computer (transferring them to the new machine has proven to be a more challenging operation than Apple Computers would have me believe), but I happen to have some very nice pictures handy of two of our most regular visitors--Australian Shepherds both, but very different in appearance and personality.

Rio is one of the ultimate party animals--always ready for a chase or a tussle--I wish I had more good photos of him in action, but it's rare I can catch him when he's not a shaggy black brown and white blur. Anyway, he's something to see, stationary or otherwise, and one of our greatest instigators--that is to say, if the run is calm and quiet when he arrives, it'll be anything but, just one minute later. And that's precisely why everybody loves to see Rio arrive. After all, it is supposed to be a dog run.

He's just precisely the type (if not the breed) of dog Robert Burns was referring to in the poem I was thinking of when I named this blog--

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne - Lord knows how lang.
He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face
Ay gat him friends in ilka place;
His breast was white, his tousie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a swirl.

Ocean typifies the more familiar merle pattern found in this breed, and also possesses their irrepressible herding instinct in abundance, or even overabundance. Thing is, there are no sheep at the run, so he ends up herding the other dogs--who cheerfully pay him no mind as he barks at them in an authoritative fashion--but the important thing is that he feels useful. And like Rio, he keeps things hopping, always an OzShep specialty.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ocean has one more claim to fame--recently, I am reliably informed, a female pit bull was brought into the run while in heat (a major no-no, but possibly her people didn't know yet). Ocean wasted no time getting acquainted, and before anyone realized what was happening, the two were, shall we say, in flagrante delicto.

Which wouldn't be so strange, except Ocean had a certain well-known surgical procedure performed on him at the age of 8 months. His shrimp, you might say, are no longer on the barbie. And yet to all accounts, the encounter with the lady pit concluded satisfactorily for both participants--though obviously there won't be any puppies, which I imagine is a disappointment their people can live with.

I've long been curious as to whether this kind of thing happened with neutered males, and I will never stop kicking myself for not having been onhand, with my camera. I'd have even tried posting video to the blog. I couldn't be arrested for that, could I?

To quote a Flann O'Brien character, "We must assume his spiritual testicles remained intact."

It's not everyone who can keep this energetic intelligent breed healthy and happy in an urban environment--Rio and Ocean are as lucky as they are handsome, in having people who go the extra mile (or ten) to give them what they need.

More lucky dogs to come.

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