Zoe the Corgi Snores

Zoe is a small dog — I think she is the smallest dog we’ve ever had — just about 20 pounds. She is small enough to pass under Tegan, who is not a tall dog.

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Tegan and Darwin, each 35-40 pounds.



Tegan and Zoe, who weighs 21 pounds.


Zoe pointy nose

Zoe has a pointy snout.

For a corgi, Zoe has a pointy little fox nose. When she sleeps, she likes to tuck her nose under something — a pillow, or a blanket, or your sleeve. It’s as though she’s worried that she’ll suddenly start to float off if she isn’t moored by her snout.

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Zoe is held in position by her nose under Tegan’s leg.

She likes to sleep on our bed, and she has taught Tegan to do so as well. Tegan stays at the foot of the bed, but Zoe rambles around and over everybody else. The obvious answer is to keep putting her back down at the bottom of the bed, but that requires waking up multiple times through the night to re-position her, so it happens only rarely.

Zoe often snores. For such a petite dog, she snores surprisingly loudly.

All of these factors came together last night when she stuck her little nose IN my ear, right up in the ear canal. And began to snore.

A little corgi dropped in and wanted to stay.

It was hard to lose our corgi, Darwin, but it was time. Still, we all missed him greatly. (The Gift Of the Dying Dog)

Then we got a call from our veterinary clinic, asking if we were ready to adopt another corgi. A relative of one of the staff at the clinic is going through a divorce, and moving to a smaller place. Too small for even a small dog. He didn’t want to give the corgi to the pound, if he could help it. Could we take the dog?

We were a little reluctant to take on another dog so soon after Darwin died. We were still recovering from watching the little skamp slowly decline.

More to the point, we already had Tegan, our year old corgi-Rottweiler-cattle dog-pit bull bundle of enthusiasm. (What went into this mutt?) Years ago we brought two dogs into our home one who didn’t get along. The result was ugly. So we were a little wary — once we said yes to Zoe, we’d be committed —  if these two dogs didn’t get along, we’d have a big problem.

Her owner said her name was Zoe. She was just a year old, and a little on the small side for a corgi — about 21 pounds. She’d been around a bunch of chihuahuas without incident, whom she was happy to let rule the house. The owner sent us some photos so we could see what Zoe looked like.


Zoe preview (2)

He really didn’t want to take her to a shelter, but time was running out. He wanted to know that she was going to a good home.

After thinking about the temperaments of the two young dogs, we said yes. We’d work out any problems as they came up, but we couldn’t let her go to a shelter.

It took the better part of a month to hammer out the details, but finally, on the day after Halloween — All Saints Day — Zoe flew in from her old home.

The people at the airport Live Animal Pickup were wonderful. It was obvious that they tried to make the animal’s trip as stress free as possible. Even so, her flight was delayed, so she had to stay in her kennel for about 8 hours. She was stressed.

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We took her home, and introduced her to Tegan the Terror. Loud noises, being bounced around, needing to pee, ending in a strange place, with strange people — it had been a very hard day for a little dog. Zoe took one look at Tegan, twice her size, and bolted to hide under a chair. She showed her teeth to tell Tegan she’d had enough.

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Tegan responded with a play-bow so deep she was in danger of rolling over. Pawing the air, with little yips of excitement, Tegan coaxed Zoe out from her hiding place.

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They then started a game of chase that has lasted two months.

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Zoe starts the chase as often as Tegan does. They race at top speed around the yard and through the house.

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They take turns being chaser and chasee. They have worn paths in the lawn.

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They play tug-of-war.



Tegan and Zoe Xmas




When they finally stop, they flop down next to each other. I think we can relax about how they get along.

Tegan and Zoe

Sometimes, you just have to trust that things will work out. And sometimes, they do.

May the New Year work out for you, and bring you unexpected friends.


Puppy Play

We got a new puppy in November, and it has been a pleasure to watch her as she grows.

We named her Tegan, which is a Welsh term of endearment that means “number one girl”, “sweetie”, “honeybunch”.

She is a Mutt. Based on what she looks like and how she acts, her ancestry probably includes Pembroke Welsh corgi, Dobermann or Rottweiler, cattle dog, and pit bull but we really don’t know.

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Tegan at four months old. She loves to cuddle and play. And her tail never stops wagging.

We got Tegan when she was two months old. One of the biggest things that attracted us to her was that the first time we met her, she climbed right into our laps. I want to use her as a Pet Therapy dog, so this was a big plus.

When we brought her home, our corgi, Darwin, didn’t know what to do with her. It took him about a month to figure out that puppies can be fun.


Tegan and Darwin playing together. It looks like they are fighting, but they were both free to leave at any time. Darwin was growling, but it was a high-pitched “puppy” growl.


Tegan is mouthing Darwin’s muzzle. He is comfortable enough with it to be on his back.

Since Darwin accepted Tegan, they’ve been good buddies.

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Darwin lets Tegan join him on his favorite perch.


Tegan is being very submissive here, no threat at all.

The red “octopus” is a favorite toy of both dogs.


Her reward is to get to play with the favorite toy.

There are limits though. When Darwin has had enough, he retreats to his “man-cave”, which happens to be the bathroom. Tegan is not allowed in.


Tegan waits for Darwin to come out and play.

Once Darwin has had a chance to be by himself for a while, he’ll be back out, ready to play.




Dogs and Raccoons Battle to 1-1 Draw

My dogs got me up at 3:00 this morning to tell me that the raccoon we have visiting the backyard was back. I stumbled downstairs in a waking-up-from-deep-sleep daze to let them out. I always turn the light on before I let them out, to give the raccoon fair warning that it is time to move on. But this time, when I flipped on the lights, there were four sets of eyes reflected back at me — a mama raccoon and three babies, or kits.
The lights were on, but the raccoons weren’t moving. The bird feeders were too much of an enticement. I banged on the window to tell them that we were here, and we were getting impatient. Mama raccoon finally began to amble over towards the fence. Her kits followed, darting here and there to investigate the yard as only curious youngsters can.
Finally, though, all four were perched on the top rail of the fence.  I knew that they would jump into the next yard as soon as I let the dogs out, so I opened the door.
The dogs raced out to defend their territory. To my horror and confusion, though, mama raccoon launched herself back into our yard. The kits followed. Now the backyard was seething with six snarling snapping animals. I watched, helpless to do anything.
My corgi, Darwin, was the first to throw in the towel. He came back inside, casting resentful looks over his shoulder. Mom! Those guys didn’t play nice! They hurt me!
As I shooed Dawin back inside, I discovered why mama raccoon had come back and started a fight: clinging to one of the screen doors around the sun room was a fourth kit. Mama came back to protect her young.
This information didn’t immediately help, but it crystallized for me what had to happen next — I needed to break up the fight and get my 12-year-old Chow-Golden Retriever mix, Kurama, under control so that I could drag her back inside. The problem, of course, remained how. There was no way that I was going anywhere near those flashing teeth. I had just decided to get the hose out when I heard a yelp from mama raccoon, and she shot back over the fence. I think she finally got hurt. I grabbed Kurama, who had been having a great time and didn’t want to stop playing with the raccoons, dragged her back inside, and closed the door. As soon as we were inside, the last kit shot over the fence to mama. The whole fight probably lasted two to three minutes.
I cleaned up the dogs, both of whom were covered in slobber, and Darwin had a cut on his muzzle. Then I went to bed.
This morning, I gave both dogs baths and took them to the vet. He said a number of interesting things.
First of all, Darwin’s cut was minimal and didn’t need stitches. He was far more concerned with Kurama, who like most elderly who over-do it, was really stiff and sore this morning. She hurt.
Next he said that I was very clever to wash the dogs. Not only did it minimize the transmission of any saliva-borne diseases and fleas, it allowed me to check them over for cuts better. Thankfully, there were none besides Darwin’s lip. He also said that washing out the wound with plain water or saline solution (he recommended contact-lens solution) is now considered the best way to deal with cuts. Back in the day, we had been told to disinfect with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, but they have discovered that those two liquids kill the white blood cells that flood the area around the cut, taking away a secondary line of defense. Saline doesn’t do that.
Other than recommending extra arthritis pain pills for Kurama, he didn’t do anything more. If the dogs hadn’t been up on their vaccinations, he would have vaccinated them for rabies and leptospirosis, a bacteria that is common in my neighborhood, although not necessarily everywhere in the Denver metro area. But they were good.
Finally, he said that the dogs had been lucky. Raccoons have teeth as long as a dog’s and as sharp as a cat’s. One small cut was nothing. He agreed with me that, although it sounded and looked terrible, the fight was mostly just a way to get the dogs to back off so the kit could rejoin it’s family.

As a precaution, we are now taking down our bird-feeders every night. This is a major undertaking, but we would really like to discourage the raccoons from making us a regular stop.

Neat feet betray coyote

Dog prints at top of picture, coyote prints at bottom.

Dog prints at top of picture, coyote prints at bottom.

We had a visitor come through the yard last night. There are three sets of tracks in this picture – my two dogs and either a fox or a coyote. How can I tell that it wasn’t another dog?
My dog’s tracks are at the top of the picture. There are a lot of them, four to a step, and they are messy. My old girl and my low-slung corgi didn’t pick up their feet.
Now look at the tracks at the bottom of the picture. Two neat imprints per stride. Wild canines like wolves, coyotes and foxes all make sure to put their hind feet in the prints made by their forefeet. Based on how far apart the prints are, my guess is that this was a coyote, but I don’t really know.
I’ve heard that wild canines step in their own tracks to minimize their scent trail. I don’t know if I believe that. It seems that the doubled-up prints would have twice the scent. And why would it matter? For the most part, wild canines are the hunters, not the hunted, following others trails, not being followed. If this was to minimize their scent, wouldn’t prey species be noted for it, too?
Regardless of my lack of understanding of why the do it, the wild canines are very neat walkers. And their minimalist tracks alerted me to their presence in the neighborhood.