Volume 6 â€¢ Number 4
The Dog & Hound
P.O. Box 332 • Montmorenci, SC 29839-0332 • 803.643.9960 •
www.TheDogAndHound.com • Editor@TheDogAndHound.com
Time Dated Material • Periodicals • Volume 6 • Number 4
elcome to our Fall issue. After a long, hot summer, we are looking forward to autumn days and taking walks with the dogs on the wilder parts of the farm. Although I am not normally an early riser, glorious fall mornings can tempt even me to get up at dawn to take my dogs for a run. Autumn is a special time of year for our dogs and for us, especially in the mornings. We humans are mostly visual creatures, and for us there are red and gold leaves on the trees, grass that is still green, and the silvery magic of the early morning mist. For our dogs, living deeply in the world of scent, the scene is equally complex and intriguing. I love to watch my dogs run, especially my Pointers. They gallop in wide arcs, noses to the ground and tails wagging as they decipher whatever hieroglyphics they find in the scent trails on the fallen leaves and across the cool damp earth. I don’t know exactly what they read there, but I know that whatever it is, they find it fascinating. We have a variety of stories for you in this issue. Our cover story is on Lee Lee Milner, who is the founder of Girls with Gundogs,
a new organization devoted to empowering women by teaching them how to train their own gundogs. One of Lee Lee’s other goals is to get people (and especially women) away from technology, off their cell phones and out into nature, which she believes has healing properties. We met Lee Lee this summer when she came through Aiken, and we think she is onto something. We also went back to Spartanburg to visit Chaser the Border Collie. Chaser is known as the smartest dog in the world, and we got to spend time with her along with her human family, John and Sally Pilley and their two daughters Robin and Pilley Bianchi. Dr. John Pilley says he trained Chaser entirely through play, and he and Chaser are in agreement that it is important to incorporate play into our lives, and into our dogs’ lives. Not only do dogs learn best through playing, play can keep our dogs, and us, youthful and engaged. We think they are onto something too! We also have various other stories, including one about the rescue efforts during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and dog news from Aiken and around the country. Of course, we have our regular features too: Silver Paws, our series that profiles canine senior citizens, and an essay by Michael Ford about life with dogs. We hope you enjoy this issue. As ever, if you have a story we might be interested in, send us an email and let us know. We want to continue to be your dog newspaper.
Pam Gleason Editor & Publisher
Winner of the Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers Association of America: Best Canine or All Animal Newspaper Fall 2017
The Dog and Hound EDITOR & PUBLISHER Pam Gleason ART DIRECTOR Gary Knoll ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jean Berko Gleason LAYOUT & DESIGN Gary Knoll ADVERTISING 803.643.9960 email@example.com PHOTOGRAPHERS Pam Gleason Gary Knoll
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About the Cover
Our cover shows Lee Lee Milner, the founder of Girls with Gundogs with Grace, a Boykin Spaniel in training at Sarahsetter Kennels in Aiken. Lee Lee, who is based in Tennessee, is promoting women’s participation in dog training. Read more about her and her program on page 12. Photography by Pam Gleason
All contents Copyright 2017 The Dog and Hound
The Dog and Hound Policies: The opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers, editors, or the policies of The Aiken Horse, LLC. The Dog and Hound is owned by The Aiken Horse, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Table of Contents 6 12 15 16 18 20 22
Dog News Girls and Gundogs Storm Dogs Chaser the Border Collie Silver Paws Regional Calendar Lie Down with Dogs
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Dog News by Pam Gleason
Walks, Parties, Polo, Golf
Aiken, South Carolina has no shortage of animal welfare organizations that are dedicated to improving the quality of life for dogs and cats in Aiken and throughout the Southeast region. Saving animals from bad situations, finding homes for unwanted animals, treating the sick and the injured and helping pet owners who are down on their luck to care for their companions is expensive. To raise funds for their missions, several of Aiken’s canine nonprofits are having fundraising parties and events this fall, especially in October. In Aiken, the month started out with Pup-A-Pawloosa in the parking lot of the HIC Indoor Skate Park on Laurens Street to raise money for Saving the Chain Dogs. This is an organization that lobbied for Aiken’s new anti-tethering law. Its representatives travel around the county providing many types of assistance to dogs that have lived in chains. Not only do they give out free dog houses, trolley systems and dog food to animals in need, they also provide free spay and neuter, medical assistance and rescue and rehoming services. Pup-A-Pawloosa featured food, a bouncy house and rock hunt for children, two different bands, vendors, and a Chinese auction. Next, Friends of the Animal Shelter, Aiken (FOTAS) had two major fundraisers. First came Polo Under the Stars at the Firestar arena in Wagener on October 6. The event included a polo match followed by an after game party and dance with music, an open bar and other refreshments. Then, on October 9, the fourth annual Playing Fore the Pets golf tournament came to Woodside Plantation Country Club. This event also included a helicopter ball-drop raffle: pre-numbered balls were dropped over a designated hole on the golf course. The person holding the number of the ball that dropped into the hole (or the closest ball to the hole) won $1,000.
and the United States War Dogs Association. Shelter Animal Advocates focuses on providing treatment and arranging rescue or adoption of dogs in local shelters who have heartworm disease. The United States War Dog Association donates free medicine and some medical care for retired Military War Dogs (MWDs) and sends every active duty or retired MWD a Christmas care package each year.
Too Much Kibble?
According to most veterinarians and canine health experts, we are currently in the midst of a dog obesity epidemic. In fact, Banfield Veterinary Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health report, released over the summer, says that the rate of dog obesity seen in Banfield clinics has gone up 158 percent since 2007. According to the report, about one out of every three dogs is now overweight or obese. Banfield is a national veterinary chain with hospitals in 42 different states. The report based
The “new normal.” Ruby does not see herself as overweight.
The band at Barkaritaville, SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare
On October 21, Barkaritaville returns to the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. This is the biggest party and fundraiser of the year for the organization, which is the oldest and most established in Aiken. (It was founded back in the days of the Aiken Winter Colony by Mrs. Fitch Gilbert who was the mother of the famous polo player Pete Bostwick.) Barkaritaville features a live band, with themed booths providing food and drink, and competition for various prizes. This is the fifth annual Barkaritaville event. During the warmer part of the year, the SPCA also holds monthly Wednesday afternoon Yappy Hours at the facility, which have gotten more and more popular. The last one of the year was held on October 4. Closing out the month, there is a dog walk on October 28 at Slade Lake in Edgefield. This will be a benefit for Shelter Animal Advocates
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its statistics on just over 2.5 million dogs that came into a Banfield clinic last year. There are some other organizations with even higher estimates. For instance, the Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity estimated that a full 53.9 percent of American dogs were overweight or obese in 2016. Dog obesity is a nationwide problem, but the Banfield report suggests that dogs in some states are more prone to obesity than dogs in other states. Doctors see a similar pattern in human obesity, with residents of some states being markedly slimmer, fitter and healthier than others. According to various studies, about 35 percent of adult Americans are obese, a rate just slightly higher than that of their dogs if the Banfield estimates are accurate. It would stand to reason that veterinarians should find stouter dogs in the same states where doctors find heavier humans. This is not, however, the case. The state with the highest level of human obesity in 2017 is West Virginia, with 37.7 percent of adults classified as obese, followed closely by Mississippi and Arkansas, with rates of 37.3 and 35.7 respectively. West Virginia has no Banfield hospitals and thus no canine statistics. But Mississippi and Arkansas have some of the slimmest dogs, with only 17 percent (Mississippi) and 20 percent (Arkansas) obesity rates. Colorado has the fittest humans (22.3 percent obese) followed by Massachusetts (23.6 percent). But those two states have very fat dogs, with 33 percent obese in Colorado and 32 percent in Massachusetts. South Carolina and Georgia are both states with high obesity rates for humans (32.3 for South Carolina and 31.4 for Georgia.) Pets in Georgia score reasonably well with a 26 percent obesity rate, while South Carolina’s dogs creep towards the heaver end of the scale at a
31 percent obesity rate. The fattest dogs live in Minnesota. A full 41 percent of dogs in that state are obese, compared to 27.8 percent of humans. Veterinarians believe that there are many reasons why our pets are getting fatter. The most obvious one is that they are getting too much food and too little exercise. Other reasons include the fact that people are getting used to seeing fatter dogs, so that now overweight pets are the “new normal.” Because of this, people often don’t recognize that their pets are overweight and don’t do anything about it. Why fit humans and fat dogs seem to go together (and vice versa) is still an open question. Do people who take better care of themselves overfeed their pets? What exactly is going on? One thing that is clear is that it is more expensive to have a fat dog. People with overweight dogs spend an average of 17% more at the vet than people with dogs of normal weight.
whose mothers lie down for them, and that might set the puppies up to be more tenacious as adults. “A hypothesis might be that you have to provide your offspring with minor obstacles that they can overcome for them to succeed later in life because, as we know, life as an adult involves obstacles,” said Robert Seyfarth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is the study’s co-author. Although Bray’s research will be useful at the Seeing Eye, possibly helping to identify the puppies most likely to succeed, it is not clear
Canine Helicopter Parents
Everyone knows someone who is a helicopter parent. These are parents who are so concerned with their children’s happiness and well-being that they try to shield them from any possible discomfort, distress or harm. They hover over them, like a helicopter. According to many observers, helicopter parenting is widespread in America today. Professionals in contact with young people (university professors, job recruiters) have often expressed the opinion that helicopter parenting is keeping today’s young people from becoming responsible, productive adults. There is some research that backs up these opinions, mostly showing that the children of helicopter parents have higher levels of anxiety and depression than children with a more free-range upbringing. Some new research focused on dogs came up with similar results. A study conducted by Emily Bray, a postdoctoral researcher at the Arizona Canine Cognition Center at the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology in Tucson, concluded that canine “helicopter parents” have a long lasting and negative effect on their puppies’ success later in life. Bray and her colleagues conducted their study at The Seeing Eye, an organization in Morristown, New Jersey, that breeds, raises and trains dogs to guide people with visual impairments. The results were published this August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Doting mothers seem to handicap their puppies, in this case reducing their likelihood of successfully completing a training program to become guide dogs,” according to materials provided by the University of Arizona. “You need your mom, but moms that are too attentive don’t give their puppies a chance to respond to small challenges on their own,” said Emily Bray. “Puppies need opportunities to deal with obstacles without their mom always being there.” To gather data for the study, Bray and her team of undergraduate research assistants set up shop at the Seeing Eye where they observed and videotaped 23 mothers and 98 puppies from birth until the puppies were weaned. They were able to identify different mothering styles among the group of dogs, with some mothers being more attentive to their puppies than others. “We documented things like nursing position, how much time the mom spent looking away from the puppies and how much time she spent in close proximity to her puppies or licking and grooming them,” said Bray. A few years later, when the team followed up with the dogs, they found that the ones with more attentive mothers were more likely to wash out from Seeing Eye dog school, while those that had to be a little more independent as young puppies were more likely to be successful. Nursing position made a big difference. Mothers could nurse their puppies lying down or standing up. Puppies that nursed lying down were less likely to graduate from Seeing Eye school than those that nursed standing up. One possible explanation for this is that puppies that nurse standing up have to work harder for their meal than puppies
whether the difference between successful and unsuccessful guide dog candidates actually comes from parenting style, or if there could be other factors at work, such as genetics. “With mothering, it seems like it’s a delicate balance,” Bray said. “It’s easy to be like, ‘Oh, smothering moms are the worst,’ but we aren’t exactly sure of the mechanisms yet and we don’t want to tip too far in the other direction, either.” Continued on page 10
Sybil Davis DVM: Rehab & Acupuncture Certified 307 Willow Run Rd. Aiken SC 29801 email@example.com
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To complicate matters further, from the dog’s point of view, it is not clear how we really ought to measure success. The puppies in this study were purposely bred as seeing eye dogs and that is what, obviously, the Seeing Eye wants them to become. But the puppies don’t know that, and there is not necessarily any reason why the puppies should have any ambition to graduate from their training class and go to work for the rest of their lives. Being a service dog is hard. Although dogs with the right mentality probably do find it to be satisfying and are probably happy, pet dogs that are doted upon by their owners and get to spend more time playing and sleeping might be even happier. At the Seeing Eye, dogs that don’t qualify to become guide dogs are first offered to the volunteer that raised them from 8 weeks to about a year old. If that volunteer does not want them and they have the potential to do service such as police work, they are then offered to a police department or other organization. After that, they are available to be adopted as pets. The dogs are highly desirable, highly socialized Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Labradors and Lab/Golden mixes. The standard adoption fee is $1000 (it can be less for an older, retired dog) and the waiting list is between one and four years long. (www.seeingeye.org)
Rumor is a Mom
The winner of Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in February, a German Shepherd named Rumor, had a litter of eight puppies right before Labor Day. After a show career that included over 100 Best in Show wins, capped off by her triumph at Madison Square Garden just after Valentine’s Day, Rumor is officially retired from the show ring and enjoying her new role as a mom. This is actually the second time that Rumor has been officially retired. She had been heavily favored to win at Westminster in 2016. Her owner, Kent Boyles, a professional breeder, trainer and handler who owns Kenlyn German Shepherds in Edgerton, Wisconsin, had planned to retire her and breed her after that show. When she didn’t win (the
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honors went to a German Shorthaired Pointer named CJ), Kent did retire her and then tried to get her bred. She didn’t take, however, and so, itching to help her to the most historic and prestigious “Best in Show” of all, Kent brought her back to the ring, got her qualified, went to New York, and the rest is history. According to an interview he gave to Channel 3000 in Madison, Rumor was bred to two different sires. One was a shepherd imported from Germany named Milo. The second was a dog that Kent owns, Peabo, who is actually sired by Milo. When the puppies are a little older, Kent will do DNA tests on them to determine which dog is their sire. He thinks it is likely that the litter will turn out to be dual-sired. All the puppies are healthy and Rumor,America’s top show dog, with her new litter happy and Kent is currently evaluating them to determine whether or not they will have a future as show dogs. As for Rumor, as soon as her puppies are weaned, she will return to doing therapy work at children’s hospitals around the country. She will be 6 years old on November 6, and Kent says he probably won’t breed her again.
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Girls and Gundogs Lee Lee Milner’s Plan by Pam Gleason
ee Lee Milner grew up hunting with gundogs, and it is in her blood. Her father, Robert Milner, is a well known dog trainer and the owner of Duckhill Kennels, which specializes in British Labradors. She doesn’t remember how old she was when she first hunted herself, but she has early memories of being out in the duck blinds with her father and her brother long before she was old enough to handle a gun. The family has a farm in Grand Junction, Tennessee, and hunting with dogs seemed a normal part of life. After high school in Memphis, Lee Lee left Tennessee to go to Colorado College, and from there she ended up in New York, where she attended nursing school. She stayed on in the city to pursue a graduate degree, becoming a board certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. Then she lived in Brooklyn where she had her own counseling practice. Her life and her career had taken her away from her roots, but she always kept a connection to the outdoors. “I lived near Prospect Park and I walked there every morning with my dog for an hour, and I had to do that,” she said. “And then I went into the country every weekend. It took me about two years to adjust to being in the city, and it was really overwhelming at first.” Lee Lee had been away from hunting for a while, but then she found a group of women who hunted in upstate New York near Millbrook, and she started joining them on weekends. It was a bit of a revelation. “When you go out hunting with men, it always ends up being a competition,” she said. “But when you go hunting with women, it’s not like that at all. It’s just fun.” At the time she had a 7-year-old Lab that did not have any hunting training. She decided to train that dog to be a gundog using the positive training methods promoted by her father, and she was successful, While working with her dog, she began to think about how therapeutic training a dog can be. “You get a huge benefit from training your own dog,” she said. “Training a dog gives you discipline, patience and satisfaction. It also gives you self-awareness. If you are frustrated or having a bad day, the dog isn’t going to respond well to you, so you know you have to do something different.” Counseling her patients in her work, she often felt that many of them would benefit from more contact with the outdoors. “We are so attached to technology, and people are indoors and stressed and overstimulated all the time. I firmly believe that the less time you spend outdoors the worse it is for your mental health.” Thinking about all of those things and feeling so much more at home out of the city than she did in it, she finally decided to move back to Tennessee in 2016. While still maintaining her counseling practice via teleconferencing, she is now in the process of developing a new business called Girls with Gundogs. This new project has taken her on a journey through Southeastern hunting country to consult with various professionals, including her friend, Elizabeth Lanier, who owns and runs Lanier Shooting Sports in Providence Forge, Virginia. Elizabeth, who is a professional shooting instructor, has a group called G.R.I.T. (Girls Really Into Shooting), which provides shooting instruction and adventure vacations for women who enjoy using guns. This summer, Lee Lee’s journey took her through Aiken to consult with Mark Fulmer, the owner of Sarahsetter Kennels, an established training facility on Aiken’s Southside specializing in training Setters. “I’m here to see what Mark does,” said, as she watched Mark introduce a young English Pointer to clicker training, teaching him to jump onto a bench and go into a crate. Lee Lee also uses clicker training and positive reinforcement, following principles laid out by her father, who wrote
the influential book Absolutely Positive Gundog Training. “My father used to train bomb detection dogs,” she said. “When they started using positive training they had much better outcomes. He decided to use those same principles to train gundogs and then he switched over from more traditional methods. When I started with positive training, I found it to be much more fun, much more like a game.” She also believes that positive training is more suited to the way women like to handle their dogs. “I think women communicate differently from men,” she said. “They are more diplomatic and compassionate. In the dog-training world, everybody is very opinionated about how you are supposed to be doing things. I don’t want to be that way; I want to keep an open mind. There is no one right way to do things.
“My ultimate goal is to get more women out hunting,” she continued. “I am planning to have a training-based retreat just for women to teach them how to train their own dogs to hunt – training dogs has been a boys club for far too long.” Not only does she believe that encouraging more women to get out hunting will be good for them, she also believes that having more women involved will be good for the sport itself. “We need more people to get into hunting to keep it going,” she said. “If you get women out there, pretty soon they are going to take their kids out, and then you are going to raise a whole new generation of hunters. If we don’t get women out there, that won’t happen.” Lee Lee is currently planning to offer two-day training retreats at Duckhill Kennels that will be open to any women who are interested in learning more about hunting dog training. She is also planning to do a clinic with Mark Fulmer in conjunction with the National Field Trial Championship in Grand Junction, Tennessee in February. In the future she hopes to expand into holding clinics at various different sites, organizing hunting trips for women, and possibly holding some clinics in conjunction with Elizabeth Lanier’s shooting group. What about women who are interested in training their dogs but do not want to hunt ducks or upland fowl? “It’s all about having fun and being outside with your dog,” said Lee Lee. “You don’t have to hunt. You have to figure out what you like and do it. You can train your dog to be a field trial dog if that is what you want to do. And if you want to shoot, you can shoot sporting clays. You don’t have to shoot a bird.” “There is a lot of interest among women in learning how to hunt,” continued Lee Lee. “It’s not just among people who have a hunting background or whose husbands hunt. I have a lot of professional friends who live in New York, and when I tell them about Girls with Gundogs they get really interested. They say, wait, you mean I can do this? And I say yes, you can.”
Left: Lee Lee with her dog Goose, photo by John David Santi; Above: Training a retrieve, photo by Pepper Taylor
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Hurricane Survivors by Pam Gleason
n many ways, America’s modern animal rescue movement was reborn during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. When Katrina blew in from the Gulf of Mexico late that August, the rain, wind and storm surge overwhelmed coastal areas of Louisiana, and led to the flooding of New Orleans. Over 80 percent of the city was underwater and both people and animals were stranded in the rising waters. The rescue of the human residents of New Orleans did not go smoothly. But things were much worse for the animals. At the time, FEMA did not include pets in their disaster plans, and people who were rescued were not allowed to bring their animals with them. Shelters would not allow pets, either. This led to heart-rending scenes and horrific stories. It also led to unnecessary human deaths when people would not get on the rescue boats without their pets. There are documented cases of some of these people dying as a result. After Katrina, America’s animal loving public jumped into action. Humane groups from across the U.S. descended on Louisiana, determined to help save as many animals as they could. Dogs were rescued by national groups and by smaller local organizations from near and far. Humane groups set up temporary shelters and worked hard to reunite people with their lost pets, a task that was complicated by the sheer size of the disaster and the fact that there was no centralized organization to keep track of all the found pets. Although many volunteers worked for weeks scouring the flooded city, often by boat, it is estimated that over half a million dogs and cats died in the storm and in its aftermath. Two major things happened after Katrina. As a result of the uproar caused by the official FEMA policy to force people to abandon their animals, Congress passed the Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act (PETS) which stipulated that pets needed to be included in emergency plans and also gave FEMA the authority to provide for their essential needs. This bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006, and it was a major step forward in animal welfare. Aside from its practical effects, it also officially codified the reality that people in America now overwhelmingly consider their pets to be part of their families. The second thing that happened was that humane groups, after their success relocating displaced animals from New Orleans, realized that the transport model of animal rescue did not need a natural disaster to make it work. If you were a rescue in a state with more potential adopters than there were adoptable dogs, it was perfectly possible to go to a part of the country with the opposite problem and bring unwanted dogs back to your state for adoption. The concept of rescue transports was born. In the 12 years that have passed since Katrina, there have been a number of natural disasters that have called upon the resources of the animal welfare community nationwide, and the response has been getting more coordinated and effective year by year. This summer and early fall, with two massive hurricanes hitting the continental U.S., (Harvey in Texas, Irma on the Southeast coast) animal rescues and national organizations were stretched to capacity. Rescuing animals affected by natural disasters has three main components. The first is helping owned animals along with their owners. In an evacuation, dog people with ample resources are often able to find a pet friendly hotel somewhere safe, and many hotels that are not normally pet friendly will make exceptions if the situation is really dire. People who are not as wealthy often need to find free, government or church-run shelters. Since the passage of the PETS act, there are some official evacuation centers that are pet friendly and also some designated official pet shelters. However, Internet rumors to the contrary, it is not true that the PETS act requires hotels and motels to accept pets during times of natural disaster. Nor is it true that every official evacuation shelter is required to allow you to bring your dog. When there is an evacuation, there are generally more pets that need shelter than there are official places for them to go. To remedy this situation, private rescue groups often set up their own shelters to care for people’s pets during evacuations. Last year, when
A Hurricane Irma puppy in temporary housing at the SPCA Albrecht Center in Aiken.
coastal South Carolina residents evacuated during Hurricane Matthew, many evacuees came to Aiken where there were shelters for them. There were also two temporary shelters in Aiken where pets could find refuge. One was at the SPCA Albrecht Center on Willow Run Road. The other was at the Aiken County Fairgrounds on Columbia Highway. The shelter at the fairgrounds was set up by members of Team Stinkykiss, an Aiken-based private rescue, and volunteers from that organization were on hand 24-7 to care for the animals. During Hurricane Irma, the Team Stinkykiss shelter was opened again, providing safe harbor for about 85 animals of all types for more than a week. “At the end we were as tired as we could possibly be,” said Gretchen Iakovidis, who is a director for the charity. The second component of animal rescue in a natural disaster is going out and finding animals that were actually caught in the storm. Again, many private organizations pitch in to help with this, along with major national groups such as the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These big organizations can be very helpful with logistics and they tend to have more funds available to assist on a larger scale. Animals rescued during the floods need to be brought somewhere nearby so that their owners can find them if they are owned. Temporary shelters can be set up, but the most usual thing is for these animals to enter the existing local shelter system which is already staffed and ready to help them. This is where transports come in. Shelters near the disaster area need to be cleared out to make room for newly displaced dogs. Several local rescues stepped in to help clear the shelters in Texas and Florida before and after Harvey and Irma. For instance, Danny and Ron’s Rescue, based in Camden, went down to the area outside Houston, where the situation was dire after Harvey, and took in 19 dogs from shelters there. “We were lucky enough to find someone that donated a plane, since the roads were flooded,” said Ron Danta, one of the organization’s founders. “Then we found someone to donate $10,000 in fuel costs. We flew the 19 dogs from Texas to Camden, unloaded the dogs, then loaded the plane up with $30,000 worth of medical supplies to fly back to Texas. We got all the dogs spayed and neutered, and the majority of them got adopted right away.” During Hurricane Irma, the SPCA Albrecht Center also accepted dogs from shelters on the Southeast coast. The SPCA partners with the Charleston Animal Society, which worked throughout the Southeast to rescue animals displaced by the hurricanes. The Albrecht Center accepted 34 of these dogs in September, housing some of them temporarily in their education center until they could be placed on the adoption floor. A lot has changed since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. For many of the animals living in disaster areas, these changes have meant the difference between life and death. Aside the from legal effects of the PETS act, there is also a major cultural change in the world of animal welfare. Since Katrina, there has been a new sense of purpose and of community among animal advocates, a conviction that when we work together, animals can be saved, in the best of times, and even in the worst of times.
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Keep on Playing
Life with Chaser the Border Collie by Pam Gleason
r. John Pilley is convinced he is that the best way for a dog to learn is through play. Dr. Pilley is a professor emeritus at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. and he is the owner and trainer of Chaser, a Border Collie who knows the names of over 1000 different objects. Chaser gained worldwide acclaim in December 2010 when Dr. Pilley and his colleague Dr. Alliston Reid published a scientific paper detailing her amazing abilities in the British academic journal Behavioral Processes. The paper was released online before it came out in print, and Chaser’s story was quickly picked up by the international press. Everyone wanted to meet the little dog from South Carolina who could correctly identify and retrieve 1022 different toys by their names alone. By Christmas, Chaser had gone viral, and she was featured on major television shows from PBS’s Nova to Fox’s “Fox and Friends,” 60 Minutes, and more. Dr. Pilley soon had a book deal, and in 2013, Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog that Knows 1000 Words was published, immediately hitting the New York Times Best Seller List. The book was translated into a number of languages, and Chaser was a worldwide celebrity. When Chaser first became famous, she was 6-and-a-half years old and still in the prime of her life. Dr. Pilley, who had gotten Chaser as a Christmas present from his wife Sally, was retired from his teaching job and was 82. After Chaser became famous, Dr. Pilley continued to teach her new things. Instead of teaching her the names of more objects, however, (Dr. Pilley himself couldn’t remember all the names of Chaser’s toys) he worked on improving her understanding of grammar and on teaching her to watch what he did and imitate it. It was fun for both man and dog because it was all play. “Everything she learned, she learned through play,” said Dr. Pilley at his home in Spartanburg this August. “I never used treats. She has always loved to play and using play takes advantage of her natural instincts as a Border Collie.” Although Chaser is now 13 and has had some age related health problems, she is still play motivated – extremely so. Chaser is a medium sized, fluffy, black and white dog who is always smiling. She is friendly and gregarious with a sunny personality and she loves people. One of the things that she likes best about them is that she knows how to get them to throw her ball. “She cons people into playing with her,” said Pilley Bianchi, Dr. Pilley’s daughter, who was visiting from New York. “And she is good at it.” Back in the spring, Wofford College gave Dr. Pilley an honorary doctorate and he was the keynote speaker at graduation. Of course, Chaser came to the ceremony too, and was seated near the area where students waited before being called on stage to receive their diplomas. Chaser had a toy with her, and she came up to each waiting student in turn and dropped her toy at the student’s foot. Then she looked up with expectant eyes until the student threw the toy. Chaser’s game became an unofficial part of the graduation ceremony. “Almost all of them threw it,” said Pilley Bianchi, who was sitting with Chaser at the time. After the ceremony, the whole family went to a luncheon, Chaser included. She even had her own place card at the table. “She made out like a bandit, with prime rib,” said Pilley Bianchi. “When she was younger she wasn’t that interested in food. But she is now, and after the meal she went around like a vacuum cleaner.” Back when she was first learning her amazing vocabulary, Dr. Pilley and Chaser worked and played for five or six hours every day. In recent
times, however, as both have gotten older, both man and dog are more focused on enjoying themselves. Early every morning, they take a walk around the neighborhood, and then on some days they head over to Wofford to play in the gym. Other days they stay home and Chaser makes sure that both Dr. Pilley and Mrs. Pilley (“Pop-pop” and “Nanny” to Chaser) get in some play time. According to the Pilleys, Chaser has always been a dog with a mind of her own who is not afraid to assert her personality and let her family know what she wants. As she has gotten older, she has gotten more communicative. “She has always been assertive, but she has become even more assertive expressing herself,” says Pilley Bianchi. “If she wants to play and if my dad isn’t playing with her, she’ll jump right up on the couch and nudge him or throw her toy in his lap. Another thing is that she never was a barker, but she barks now. It used to be if she barked to go out, it would mean she was having an emergency. But now she has learned that if she goes to the door and barks, she gets let out, so she barks at the door to go play. She’s using her bark now as her voice, to get our attention.” When it comes to playing, these days the game is usually fetch. Chaser has some favorite toys, such as her blue lacrosse ball (“Blue”) and she also enjoys carrying around large pine cones and sticks that she finds in the yard. Dr. Pilley says he can’t do as much as he used to, now that he is 89. “I can throw a ball for her,” he says. “Sometimes she can catch it. It is enjoyable for both of us.” Dr. Pilley, Pilley Bianchi and the science writer Julie Hecht are currently working on a proposal for another book, called Beyond Fetch, a how-to book for people who want to train their dogs using the same play-based reward principles that Dr. Pilley used to train Chaser. “We hope that people will want to teach their dogs language because communication is always a good thing,” says Pilley Bianchi. “ We feel that Chaser’s life has been incredibly enriched because of her understanding of language and her ability to communicate. But the biggest thing is to spend time with your dog, doing whatever engages both of you. What is important is getting to know who your dog is. It will enhance their life and yours, it’s a reciprocal thing.” At 89 and 13, Dr. Pilley and Chaser are growing older together. Neither does as much as they used to, and Dr. Pilley, who is very sensitive to Chaser’s desires, feels that she has worked hard and done a lot in her life and she deserves to do what she wants now. Whereas in the beginning, Dr. Pilley was the one who set the agenda, now Chaser has more say in what goes on, and both are happy that way. And what does she want? She picks up her blue ball and drops it at a visitor’s foot. Then she looks up expectantly, encouragingly. It couldn’t be more clear.
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Bob and Precious: Mighty Chihuahuas Story and Photography by Pam Gleason
t 18-and-a-half a 19 years of age, Bob and Precious are definitely canine senior citizens. But they don’t let their advanced age slow them down too much: both are still active and vigorous, even if their coats are mixed with grey and they don’t hear as well as they used to. Both are Chihuahuas, with different mothers but the same father, and both live in Aiken with their master, Jan Fleetwood. “We used to walk downtown and back every day, but now we only go a block or a block and a half,” says Jan. “They are old. But they are doing well. Precious still wants to play with her squeaky toys, and they still play fight up on the bed. They are pretty cool little dogs.” Before she got Precious and Bob, Jan had Great Danes. “When I was younger, having a big dog was pretty cool,” she says. “I had horses then, too, and they all went together.” Great Danes don’t live very long, and after Jan no longer had horses, she became interested in smaller dogs with more extended lifespans. She had seen Chihuahuas, the longest-lived breed of dog, and was intrigued by them and so she started researching the breed. The dogs come originally from Mexico, where they were prized by the Aztecs. Jan read that one particular color, chocolate, was especially valued because when the dogs get excited, their eyes turn fire red. According to her reading, the Aztecs believed that the red-eyed dogs had a special ability to guide dead people’s souls to the next life. After much research and study, Jan found a breeder in Camden, S.C. who had a litter of chocolate puppies, and she bought Precious back in 1998. Thinking that Precious needed a companion, she returned to the same breeder about six months later to buy Bob, and the two have been inseparable ever since. Although Precious and Bob look very much alike and they have the same father, their personalities are quite distinct. “Precious is the gladiator,” says Jan. “We call her the gladiator because she is so fit and nothing ever affects her. When we used to live in Charleston, she would go out on the beach and just run in circles. She would have done it for an hour if I let her; just to keep fit. In addition to being a true athlete, Precious is also a dog with a special kind of charisma. “It’s the weirdest thing. You can put her in a room with a bunch of other dogs – male dogs, big dogs, whatever kind of dogs – and they will end up all following her. I don’t know what there is about her, but there is something.” Bob, on the other hand, is a more gentle soul. “He’s ‘undercover Bob,’ says Jan. “He’s so sweet and such a momma’s boy. He sleeps in bed with me under the covers. Everybody loves Bob. He’s funny though. When he was younger, he would go out in the yard and spend a whole hour just following a single ant.” When they were young, both dogs lived with Jan at Lake Murray. They loved being out on the water in the boat and they became excellent swimmers, unusual for Chihuahuas. They are still strong swimmers today, and often swim laps in Jan’s Aiken pool. “In the summer we do races with them,” says Jan with a laugh. “You can bet on them. Of course, you always know Precious is going to win, so the betting is about how much distance you give Bob.” Twelve-pound Precious may be the gladiator, but when it comes to doing battle, 7-pound Bob is the one with the resume. When he was about 10 years old and the family was in Charleston, he went outside to do his business and there was a rabid raccoon in the yard. For whatever reason, he went after it and got in a fight. Jan went out to rescue him, and he ended up having to get stitches, but was otherwise okay. Fortunately, his rabies vaccination was up-to-date and he recovered completely and without any complications. Jan, on the other hand, had to go to the hospital for rabies shots, since she had been exposed. It turns out that Bob’s first experience with a rabid raccoon didn’t
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teach him any permanent lessons. In fact, a few years ago, the same thing happened again. “I had to go back to the hospital for more rabies shots,” says Jan. “I figured it was time to sell the house in Charleston.” In addition to living at Lake Murray and in Aiken and Charleston, Precious and Bob have done quite a bit of travelling in their lives, including a recent month-long trip out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where Jan’s daughter lives. After Jackson Hole, they visited the Grand Canyon and Santa Fe. “They’ve had a pretty good life,” says Jan, smiling at them. How is it that these two dogs are in such good shape at their age? It could be genetics or luck, but it might also have to do with the special care they receive. “I’m very holistic. They don’t eat dog food,” says Jan. “Never. I cook their food for them once a month. I put a pound of hamburger, a pound of ground turkey, a pound of ground pork, kidney beans, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots, a cup of brown rice, coconut oil and herbs. I cook it in a huge pot and freeze it and that is all they eat. I hate to even say it, but they drink distilled water. “They also have great vets, both here and in Charleston. With the fabulous vets we have now and the knowledge they have, and the medicines we have access to, our dogs can live so much longer now, and healthier. People should realize that: just because they are old, it doesn’t mean that they can’t have a good life, they can’t keep on going. I figure I’m going to get five more years out of these two. That’s what I am planning on.”
It’s dinner time and Precious and Bob trot happily back to the house for their meal. They are accompanied by Kitty, a 4-year-old tabby that was rescued off of Fort Gordon Highway near Augusta when he was a little kitten. “I think Kitty keeps them younger too,” says Jan. “He loves them – he’s always playing with them. I don’t know what he would do without them.” “The best thing about them is their love and their companionship,” she continues. “They’re the easiest dogs on the earth. They have been so much fun. They are so smart, too. I think people forget about how smart they are. When I had Great Danes I had to train them, but I never had to train these two. They are so smart they just pick things up the first time you tell them. And what about their eyes? Do they really turn red? Jan laughs. “Well, not any more, now that they are older. But all of my friends can tell you they have seen it. If they were having a blast playing, or they got real excited about something, or they got mad, it’s true, their eyes turned red. I remember it. ”
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Fall Calendar OCTOBER 1 Dog Show. Wills Park Equestrian Center, 11925 Wills Rd, Alpharetta, GA. 770.338.0143, www.willspark.com 4 Yappy Hour. 6-8pm. SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, 199 Willow Run Rd, Aiken, SC. 803.648.6863, www.letlovelive. org/calendar 4 Basic Dog Training. Odell Weeks Activity Center, 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC. 803.642.7631. Offered by Take the Lead Dog Training Services. www.k9leader.com. Every Wednesday evening until November 8. 6-7 pm. 4 Puppy Class. Odell Weeks Activity Center, 1700 Whiskey Road, Aiken, SC. 803.642.7631. Offered by Take the Lead Dog Training Services. www.k9leader.com. Every Wednesday evening until November 8. 7:15 - 8:15 pm 6 Polo Under the Stars. 7:30pm. A benefit for FOTAS Aiken. Firestar Polo Club, 3298 Camp Rawls Road, Wagener, SC. www. forasaiken.org 6-8 The Brightside Diving Dogs Event. The Brightside, 2032 Jones Phillips Road, Dacula, GA. 770.685.1989 or 404.998.9382, northamericadivingdogs.com 7 Dog Obedience Class. Every Saturday - contact Kirby before coming. Three Runs Plantation, 125 Three Runs Plantation Drive, Aiken, SC. Kirby Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org 7-8 Augusta Dog Show. North Augusta River Park, 100 Riverview Dr, North Augusta, SC. www.augustakennelclub.org 9 FOTASâ€™ Playing Fore the Pets Golf Tournament + Helicopter Ball Drop. 8am. Woodside Plantation Golf Club, Aiken, SC. 603.533.4111, email@example.com, www.fotasaiken.org 14 Dog Obedience Class. Every Saturday. Contact Kirby before coming. Three Runs Plantation, 125 Three Runs Plantation Drive, Aiken, SC. Kirby Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org 14-15 AKC Rally and Obedience Trial. Simpsonville Senior and Activity Center, 310 West Curtis St, Simpsonville, SC. www.akc.org 20-22 AKC Cartersville K9 Kick Off Diving Dog Event. Dellinger Park, 100 Pine Grove Road, Cartersville, GA. 706.351.2980, 20-22 AKC Agility Trial. T. Ed Garrison Arena, 1101 W Queen Street, Pendleton, SC. 864.646.2717, www.clemson.edu/public/ garrison/calendar 21 Barkaritaville. 5-8pm. SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare, 199 Willow Run Rd, Aiken, SC. 803.648.6863, www.letlovelive. org/calendar 21 Foundation Skills for Open & Utility Taught by Gail Puzon. Augusta Kennel Club, 3970 East White Oak Road, Appling, GA. www.augustakennelclub.org 21 Dog Obedience Class. Every Saturday - contact Kirby before coming. Three Runs Plantation, 125 Three Runs Plantation Drive, Aiken, SC. Kirby Hill, email@example.com 25 Novice & Beyond Taught by Georgia Smelser. Augusta Kennel Club, 3970 East White Oak Road, Appling, GA. www. augustakennelclub.org 27-29 Bulldog Show. Piedmont Kennel Club Showplace, 13607 Choate Circle, Charlotte, NC. www.akc.org
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27-29 Atlanta Obedience Show. Wills Park Equestrian Center, 11925 Wills Rd, Alpharetta, GA. Lisa Miller 770.361.1773, www. willspark.com/equestrian-calendar 28 Second Annual Dog Walk to benefit Shelter Animal Advocates and the United States War Dog Association. Slade Lake, Edgefield, SC. 10am-2pm. Registration at 9 am. Halloween Theme with orizes for best costume. Kim Walker (803-553-9448) Mary Lou Seymour (803-334-1219) 28 Dog Obedience Class. Every Saturday - contact Kirby before coming. Three Runs Plantation, 125 Three Runs Plantation Drive, Aiken, SC. Kirby Hill, firstname.lastname@example.org 28 Foundation Skills for Open & Utility Taught by Gail Puzon. Augusta Kennel Club, 3970 East White Oak Road, Appling, GA. www.augustakennelclub.org
1 Novice & Beyond Taught by Georgia Smelser. Augusta Kennel Club, 3970 East White Oak Road, Appling, GA. www. augustakennelclub.org. Every Wednesday through December 13. 2-4 AKC Field Dog Trials. Iodine State Beagle Club, Doc Stoddard Farm, Pelzer, SC. Wayne Plemmons 828.667.5184, plemmonsw@ bellsouth.net 4-5 AKC Obedience Novice-Only and All-Level Rally Trial. 947 S Stadium Drive, Columbia SC. www.gcoc.net 11 Foundation Skills for Open & Utility Taught by Gail Puzon. Augusta Kennel Club, 3970 East White Oak Road, Appling, GA. www.augustakennelclub.org. Every Saturday. 17-19 AKC Dog Show. Greater Monroe Kennel Club, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, 4751 Highway 49 North, Concord, NC. Ruth Hoffman 704.784.3900, email@example.com, www. greatermonroekc.org 24-26 Canaan Dog Club of America All Breed Agility Trial. T. Ed Garrison Arena, 1101 W Queen Street, Pendleton, SC. 864.646.2717, www.clemson.edu/public/garrison/calendar
1 AKC Field Dog Trials. Foothills Beagle Club, 417 Oakhill Road, Belton, SC. Lewis Wilson 864.915.7973, www.akc.org 1-3 Circle of Friends Dog Agility Show. The Georgia International Horse Park, 1996 Centennial Olympic Pkwy NE, Conyers, GA. www.georgiahorsepark.com 2-3 C-wags Obedience And Rally Trial. Greater Columbia Obedience Club Training Facility, 947 S Stadium Road, Suite #10, Columbia, SC. www.c-wags.org 8 AKC Field Dog Trials. Palmetto Retriever Club, Becker Sand & Gravel, 620 Marlboro Road, Bennettsville, SC. Joanna Lewis 704.965.3084, firstname.lastname@example.org 9-10 Nosework and Obedience Seminars with Julie Symons. Greater Columbia Obedience Club Training Facility, 947 S Stadium Road, Suite #10, Columbia, SC. www.gcoc.net
Classifieds ADOPTIONS/PUPPIES Black Russian Terrier Puppies now available. Good pedigree. 803-646-8606, karenphillis@ yahoo.com Trinity Farms Terriers: Quality family dogs with proven calmer dispositions. Generations of gre.at temperaments. Health/dispositions guaranteed. Breeders of terriers for 30+ years. Donna Fitzpatrick. 803.648.3137. www.easyjacks.
com & trinityfarmskennel.com & trinitynorfolkterriers.com. Albrecht Aiken SPCA. Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens for adoption. 199 Willow Run Road, Aiken. Hours of operation: MonSat. 11 am - 5 pm., Sat 10 am- 3 pm; Sun 1:30 pm - 6:30 pm. www. LetLoveLive.org 803.643.0564 Adopt a Shelter Dog or Cat from the Aiken County Animal Shelter. Many beautiful, healthy, friendly
animals to choose from. 333 Wire Road, Aiken. See the pets at www. fotasaiken.org. 803.642.1537. Pointers! Many beautiful purebred Pointers of all ages available for pets or hunting. www.pointerrescue.org. ANIMAL CARE Horses And Hounds Aiken. Pet & Horse-Sitting. Reasonable Rates, Bonded and Insured, Vet Assistant. 803-643-9972/803-443-8303.
horsesandhoundsaiken@gmail. com. www.horsesandhoundsaiken. com TRAINING Palmetto Dog Club. Training classes, puppy socialization, obedience, rally & agility. Check out the website for class schedules and more information. Join us! 803-262-9686. www. palmettodogclub.org.
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Lie Down with Dogs by Michael Thomas Ford
have a confession to make: I haven’t washed my sheets in six months. To be fair, it’s because I haven’t slept on them in six months. Actually, I haven’t slept on them in going on seven years. Perhaps I should back up a bit. For ten years I was in a relationship with someone who did not think dogs belonged on the bed. During that time, the various dogs who came and went slept in individual dog beds and crates placed around the bedroom. Occasionally, one would complain loudly or long enough that they would be snuck into the bed, but this was always met with disapproval when my partner woke up and realized that there was a furry body between us.
When the relationship ended and I found myself with my own bedroom for the first time in a decade, things changed. That first night in the new house, all four dogs who came with me piled onto the bed. As if they had been doing it their whole lives, they almost immediately settled into a pattern, each one choosing a spot based on size or favored manner of sleeping. Greta, the largest, took the foot of the bed and stretched out. Andy, the oldest, slept on one side of me. Lillie, ever anxious, slept curled up tight to my other side. And George, the smallest and least social, made a nest in the pillow beside my head and burrowed beneath a fleece blanket, a hermit in a cave of his own making. At first, I attempted to sleep like a normal person, beneath a sheet and bedspread. But it quickly became apparent that turning over while pinned down by several sleeping bodies was not only difficult, but disturbed the dogs. Also, it was really, really hot. And so I started sleeping on top of the bedspread, beneath only a blanket. Each dog also got a blanket. Then more blankets. Like George, Lillie displayed a fondness for making nests. Andy liked to be wrapped up like a burrito. And Greta, like me, slept most comfortably when lightly blanketed so that she could turn several times during the night. I started collecting fleeces, the cheap, brightly-patterned ones that you find at big box stores for a couple of dollars. They’re the perfect size for small dogs. Soon, the bed was covered with them. Still, I kept adding to the collection. “This camouflage one is perfect for Andy,” I found myself saying as I tossed it into the cart. “Oh, and Lillie will love this one with the polar bears.”
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I didn’t really notice exactly how many fleeces had accumulated until the first time I decided to wash them all at once. It was when I was on the third load that I considered that, possibly, I had gone a little overboard. When finally they were all washed and dried, I counted. There were 16 fleeces on the bed. That was in addition to my own blanket and the two other blankets I’d spread over the bed to keep the bedspread from getting dirty. Well, the bedspread is indeed still clean. Covered in blankets and fleeces, it’s like all of the furniture in my aunts’ houses when I was growing up, hidden so deeply beneath layers of protective wrapping that it’s difficult to remember what it actually looks like. If pressed, I would say that I think it has stripes, but my memory of it is hazy. The thing about sleeping in a dog pile is that, eventually, everything smells like dog. Also, there’s a lot of hair. Which is why periodically, I strip everything off the top layer of the bed and wash it. This is an all-day process, and the dogs hate it. As load after load of fleeces and blankets goes into the washer and comes out again, they watch the proceedings with expressions of horror and betrayal. Gone are the familiar scents, replaced by the ghastly freshness of Alpine Breeze. Remaking the bed takes almost as long as the washing, as every blanket and fleece has to be returned to its rightful spot. Heaven forbid George’s reindeer-and-holly fleece is accidentally swapped with Greta’s foxes-and-autumn leaves one, or that Lillie’s favorite blue blanket ends up in someone else’s pile. My own purple plush blanket goes in a narrow strip down one side, which has become my designated space since Andy passed earlier this year and his territory was willed to me. “Is that really where you sleep?” my sister asked, walking into the bedroom while I was making the bed up. “You have a queen-size bed and that’s all the room you get?” The dogs, all of whom had piled onto the bed as soon as their blankets were back in place, relaxed into their standard sleeping positions. “Oh, wow” my sister said. “How do such small dogs take up so much room?” This, of course, is one of the mysteries of the universe that will never be solved. It’s something I ponder every night as I lie on my side, an arm around Lillie while I bend my knees and angle my legs so I don’t interfere with Greta’s slumber. George continues to occupy the entire upper right quadrant, where his aerie has expanded to include two pillows and half a dozen blankets. I, like tiny San Marino, cling to the coastal edge, in perpetual danger of tumbling off in to the Adriatic. Occasionally, I think about how nice it would be to have a bed all to myself, to sleep under actual sheets and not have everything constantly covered in hair. The reality, though, is that I don’t sleep well any other way. A few months ago, I attended a conference, the first time I’d been away for more than a night in years. The first night, I stretched out under the duvet, luxuriating in the acreage that was all mine. But the novelty was quickly replaced by a profound feeling of absence. I missed Lillie’s body pressed against mine. I missed reaching out and feeling George sleeping on his back, feet in the air and snoring. I missed Greta lying across my legs. I slept poorly the next three nights, waking up every quarter hour or so and reaching for the dogs. I don’t know if the dogs also slept fitfully. Possibly they did. My first night back, they all seemed to be a little more eager to snuggle. At one point I woke up and thought for a moment that I was still in a hotel. Then I rolled over and found my face buried in George’s fur. He apparently had rolled in horse poop while I was gone, and the scent lingered. It smelled like home.
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Our fall issue has articles about Lee Lee Milner's Girls with Gun Dogs, Chaser the Border Collie, Hurricane rescue and more