Thursday, January 29, 2009

Springer Spaniel Day

Boy am I exhausted. You would not beleive how many dogs came to Doggy Day Care Thursday. It was great fun, but whoo!!! I am tired. Vickie let me play with all of them for a bit, but she never took her eyes off of me. I think she is still watching to see that I don't eat rocks, but there was so much going on, I never even had time to look at rocks let alone taste one.

We always have a lot of fun dogs of every breed you can imagine. It is a real diverse (big word for a young dog eh) group. Shepherds, Huskies, Labs, Boxers, Hounds of various types....on and on. The interesting thing for Thursday was that we were crazy with Springer Spaniels.

My friend Cooper (they guy in the back of this picture) came to play and to his surprise his mom, brother and two sisters were also here. Sadie, Rocky, Weiner and Theodore. Yep, Theodore....and you thought Bert was a hard name to live with.

It was like a little family reunion for Coop. He was very excited. He even ignored me and played with his sister Weiner for most of the time I was out. Oh well, I guess I can forgive him for that since he hasn't seen her for four months.

Not to be ignored were Padi and Faith, also Springer Spaniels. It was like a black, brown and white colorfest. They all move so fast it was like watching a spinning wheel. Everyone joined in the fun as we all ran from one end of the place to the other.

Kodiak wanted to come play but he and Kenai were in a different play area so we just ran along the fence with them, back and forth at lightning speeds. It was great.

Don't you think he has spooky eyes? Sometimes when Kodiak looks at me (like in this picture) I wonder what is going on in there. He reminds me of a story Vickie used to tell me when I was young about a wolf and a little girl in a red cape.

Cody and Aussie were a little overwhelmed by all of the crazy running. They always had a kind of surprised look on their faces as we would spin around and out of reach. It was a great great day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rock Salad

This morning we were running thru the house when Arras knocked over the water bowl. One gallon of cool fresh water flowed across the kitchen floor. It was a beautiful sight but for some reason, Vickie was not happy.

A bit later I found a sprinkler head that Vickie had placed what she thought would be "out of my reach" but I am growing really fast and things that I couldn't get to a few weeks ago are now easily within my grasp. It was all metal and about the siz of a big guys thumb. It rolled around inside my mouth like a smooth cold piece of ice. I was about to swallow it when Vickie came barroling out of the house screaming, "Drop it Bert, Drop that thing RIGHT THIS MINUTE".

Well of course I dropped, gosh she scared the goodness out of me. To be truthful, I just don't get it. What is the big deal about swallowing smooth rounded objects. I mean, Jamie does it all the time. At least I think she swallows them. I remember from the very first day I got here, Jamie would bring a big ole rock over to Vickie or well, just about anybody who came to the kennel, and drop them at their feet. Then Vickie or everyone else would throw the rock and Jamie would happily run after it, pick it out of a pile of other rocks then bring it back.

Jamie told me that it was a great game and that people were really easy to trick into throwing them. So I started to play the game. At first it was ok, but then I just couldn't figure out why I would bring someone a rock, then they would take it from me and throw it away. I'd go get the rock and they would take it from me again and throw it away. Finally I just decided they didn't really want the rock so i just kept it.

They feel kind of cool in my mouth, so then I started just holding them in my mouth and well, it just seemed to make sense that when I was through holding them, that I should swallow them.

Now I learned quickly that some rocks were better to swallow than others. The smooth rounded ones are the best and they go down the easiest. That is when Vickie started yelling at me. She kept saying "Drop it Bert, drop it." But if I dropped it she just picked it up and threw it away. Now where is the sense in that.

So when she would start to holler and come running towards me, well I just swallowed it faster. Vickie says that is the reason we have become such good friends with Dr. Eddie Doughty. He is my personal doctor. I like him. He is really kind and he always makes me feel better when ever I get sick. I seem to get sick a lot. And usually it is a day or two after a big meal of rock salad.

The first time I got sick from "Rock Salad" Dr. Doughty stuck a long thin needle in my arm and I got to sleep over at his place for the night. He came in and visited me through the night so I wasn't scared or anything, just really tired and my stomach hurt. He has a daughter who came in to visit me too and all the nurses. Everyone was really loving to me while I was away from home.

I got to go home the next day and I felt a lot better. Vickie said she was glad to have me home but then started mumbling something about her wallet being a little lighter that day.

I felt pretty good for a few more weeks but then one day my stomach hurt so bad and I threw up all night and didn't want my breakfast so back to Dr. Doughtys place again. This time was different. Vickie was crying when she left me and I had the thought that this might not be as much fun as the last time. They put the same needle in my front leg again and all of a sudden I was very very tired. I fell asleep and when I woke up I was surprised to find I had a long cut down my belly and lots of things they call stitches. It hurt a little, but my tummy felt better.

Vickie came to get me that day and when I went home the nice nurses sent a really cool coller as a gift. It was big and white and it went around my neck. I felt pretty cool until I tried to go through the dog door or drink from the water bowl. I'm not so sure it is that cool of a gift after all.

Vickie tried to tell me that if I didn't want to wear this collar for the rest of my life I had to quit eating "Rock Salad" She even went to the store and bought what she though would be the most awful tasting, hottest hot sauce she could find. Then she went out and covered any rocks she could find with the hot sauce rock salad dressing and hoped I wouldn't eat them.

Well of course, I had to try the new delecasy and to my delight, I loved it. I grabbed one of those rocks and was swishing it around in my mouth when Vickie came running out AGAIN and screaming"Are you nuts Bert? Drop it"

The next day, three men came and spent the next week removing all of the rocks in the front yard and replaced them with grass. Vickies wallet was getting lighter and lighter.

Last week I found two rocks she missed and I ate them so quickly that she never even knew. Well at least she didn't know it until I got sick again and that Dr. took x-rays and found them. I love Dr. Doughty but he is getting to be a bit of a tattle-tale. Vickie was really upset this time. She just pulled out her wallet and handed the nurse a little card and said, "Have at it" then with tears in her eyes she left me for another overnighter.

I think I am getting to the point where I don't want to spend the night at Dr. Doughty's anymore so maybe I'll give up the "Rock Salad". At least I'll try. You know, it is much like asking Vickie to give up Chocolate.....There must be a substitute of some sort.....I wonder if I ate smaller rocks, or perhaps just ate them in "moderation" I hear Vickies mom say that to her all the time, and that makes sense.

At first I thought the sprinkler head could be a substitute that would make Vickie happy but clearly, according to her frantic reaction, I am going to have to keep looking.....

Fun at the Park

I know I have already said something today on this thing but I was so excited I had to add this. Vickie took me to the park alone today. No Jamie, no Abby and no other dogs. Just me and her. It was great fun. She hid things in a tree for me to find and when I found it she gave me a treat. I love treats.......

Then we ran and played in the snow as it was falling. I love Jamie and I like it when she comes along but it is really neat to have Vickies complete attention.

Check it out, I've leanred how to wave Good Bye......

Sunsets & Water

Last night while Vickie waited for some of the pups to be picked up by their families, She happened to look into the eastern sky and was amazed at the beautiful powder blue shades that coverd the horizon above the silky white of the mountains. It was wonderful. She was so caught up in the sight that I had to jump on her to get her attention drawn to the western sky where we both sat for about 10 minutes watching the beam of light that soared from the earth skyward. It was breathtaking.....

I think it was a sign that things are going to warm up a degree or two because this morning when I went out to releive myself, it actually made it to the ground before it froze.

All this cold weather is starting to get to Vickie and I hate to admit it but I am finding it less and less attractive each day. I've noticed Vickie doesn't take me to the park or on walks near as much when it is cold. I miss the days when we would go to the park and I could go swimming in the lakes and streams at the Fort.

I remember going for walks with some of the other dogs that come to Canine Country Club. Of course Zeus is my favorite walking companion but I would have a lot of fun when I went with Gus and Cleo too. It was fun to watch Gus drag Vickie all over the park for the first half hour.

Her arms would be stretched out, her body leaning backwards for balance and Gus just a pullin. He was always in a hurry to get somewhere fast.

One day on our walk we met a really nice man who lives in the park. He had the greatest smells about him. Gus was a little nervous about him. He barked and stood at the side of the trail while I went to check this guy out. Boy did he smell like a lot of different things. My favorite smell among all the excellent aromas was the smell of campfires. Vickie says we will be doing a lot of camping this summer and I am really looking forward to smelling that smell again.

Gus and Cleo are really fun to be around. They really have a lot of character. I think Gus can teach me a lot. Not swimming though. He doesn't like the water as much as me. One day while we were at the park, I got into the stream to play.

It was really fun. The water was flowing really fast and I would jump in and swim upstream to the other shore, get out and jump in again. Gus and Cleo watched but didn't come into the swift stuff like me.

I was still pretty young and small and I guess I didn't know how quickly you can get tired playing this hard and so on the last time I jumped in Vickie say's I almost drowned. I didn't know that was what was happening but it was a weird experience.

I was trying to swim up stream when all of a sudden I started to sink. My mouth filled with water, then up my nose. Soon it covered my eyes ears and head. It was a little scary. I kept paddling and shortly my nose and mouth surfaced and I grabbed a big gulp of air. Vickie was on the shore screaming something like "Swim Bert, Come over here Bert, Come"
It didn't make a lot of sense to me, what she was saying so I just kept paddling my four little legs. Then I started to sink again. Now I am getting pretty tired and a little worried. This didn't seem to be working out as I had planned. Mouth, nose, ears, eyes, and head go down again.

Surfacing one more time, I still didn't get it and quickly sunk again. As I was heading down for the third time, I saw Gus and Cleo standing on the shore watching and Vickie hollering something and heading toward me. She was truly in a panic. I decided that if I came up one more time, I better go find out what was wrong with her.

I stayed under the water a little longer that last time and I think I may have been concerned because when I finally did come up, I started trying to get out of the swift water and headed to Vickie. I was pretty glad when she reached out and grabbed me and pulled me to shore. Whew!!! It was quite and experience. Cleo actually came over and nuzzled me, Gus just snorted and turned away. I think I had ruined the walk for him.

Vickie was shaking and we went home right after that. It was some time before we went back to the park and now she only lets me go to the lake to play. I think she wants to wait until I am bigger before she lets me play in the river and deep fast moving streams. Such a worrier.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From Down Here

When I first came to live with Vickie and the crew, I found that I had landed in "Doggy Heaven". She runs a little place called Canine Country Club. I had no idea what that would or could mean to me, but I found out quickly.

After the first evening of meeting Abby, Scrappy and precious Jamie (I'll tell you more about her later) I settled in for a good nights rest with only two trips out to the bathroom. (I am a very good dog because I learned how to work that doggy door on my third day, so I could go in and out without help from Vickie. She told me that really made her happy.)

Anyway, the next morning I got up early with all of them and began what I found to be the morning ritual of feeding. I got to eat first, which is a good thing because I was famished. It is odd when you have to wait for a human to deliver your food to you. Mom was always there with food, almost 24/7. Vickie only fed me three times a day and as far as I was concerned it wasn't enough.

But, I solved that problem because the cat and the other dogs left little snacks around for me all the time. Vickie would try to get to them first with that big metal scooper she had, but I am pretty fast and pretty tricky so I as able to get plenty to keep me alive. I still have a few tasties now and again. What I don't understand is how Vickie won't have anything to do with me after I have snacked. She walks around making this strange noise. "Uuugh, ohhhh, iiiicccckkkkyyy dog" pushing me away from her face, when all I want to do is give her a big face lick to tell her how much I love her. Strange woman.

Anyway, after breakfast for me, we go out and feed all the other dogs that have spent the night. That is kind of fun because if I follow her close enough, reminding her that I am there, she often gives me a bit of food from some of the other dogs food bowls. Once, I came around the corner of the building too fast and surprised her. I jumped up to say "Surprise" and yippee, she dropped a whole bowl of food right before my feet.

Next part of the day is really fun. That is when all the dogs that come to play for the day come. I get so excited to see them. I can greet most of them through the fence as they run by but sometimes Vickie would let me go in with them and meet them In Person.....

The first day care dog I ever met was Zeus......I love Zeus.... I will always love and idolize Zeus. He was the biggest blackest coolest guy ever. He even took me under his wing the first little while and would teach me the ropes. You know, how to get along with the other dogs, how to meet and greet. Things like that.

Once in a while, they would even take me with Zeus on his walks to the Park. Oh those were my favorite times. He would stand over me, looking out over the water. I felt like he was the Indian Cheif and I was one of his warriors to be. We would conquer the world together. Me and Zeus.

Each day I run to the fence excitedly hoping to get to spend time with Zeus. I will always love him, but one day I was surprised to find that there was at least one dog in the world bigger than Zeus. Oliver.....

Oliver only comes up to stay with us when his family leaves town. He can't stay out in any of the other buildings with the other dogs because there isn't a dog door big enough for him to go through. I hear Vickie call him a horse all the time. I wasn't sure what a horse was until just recently, and I have to agree with her. Oliver is as big as a horse. He fills the house with his presence. And he slobbers all the time. I'll be getting a drink out of the fountain and all of a sudden a big ole glob of white gooey stuff comes running down my head past my ears and over my shoulder. Some of it flips into my eyes. Come On......Even I don't care for slobber on my face.
ooooooeeeee yukkkk When Oliver comes through the house in one of his playful moods, all of us run for cover. Even Vickie.
Once, I saw Vickie tell Oliver that she wanted him to come out of play area so she could shut the gate and let the grass have a break. He just ignored her. No body ever ignores Vickie.
She called him again and he just kept playing so she went over and put a leash on him and started to walk him out of the play area. He still didn't want to come so he pulled back and tried to yank her off her feet.
She stood her ground.
Oliver stood his ground.
This was getting interesting. Who is going to win this one I wondered?
Then Oliver pulled back and stood on his hind legs. Oh my gosh, he was seven feet tall. Now I don't really know what seven feet tall means, but I do know that the look on Vickies face was not only surprise but I think I saw a little bit of fear in her eyes as those big ole feet started coming downward.
I have never yet seen Vickie back down, but that day was the first time I ever saw her think about it.
She won by the way..... But it sure wasn't by using a leash. "Food Reward" is the only way to Olivers heart.....

Monday, January 26, 2009


Today Vickie put Jamie, Abby and I into the car and took us to the Roy Dog Park. We had a great time and spent the whole time making new tracks in the snow. We were the first ones there since the latest snow. Abby seemed to be having and excellent time. She ran and ran, bounced around and flew from one end of the part to the other. It was a great time for all of us.
Vickie was so excited to see Abby having so much fun. She explained to me that Abby had always been so afraid and jumpy that she was never allowed to leave the safety of Canine Country Club.

She told me how Abby had been found about four years ago when she was just a young pup. She was running in a panic down the highway, dodging in and out of traffic when Vickie first saw her.

Vickie parked her truck up the road a bit and waited on the side of the road until Abby got closer to her. A nice man who was also driving by stopped and parked his car, then went out into the road and directed the fast moving cars to the other lane so Abby was a little safer.

Abby was frightened but curious about the girl sitting on the side of the road with food in her hand. She circled the girl several times getting closer and closer, when suddenly the girl grabbed her and pulled her safely into her arms.

Still frightened and wanting to flee, Abby tried to frighten Vickie by acting like she was going to bite her in the face, but Vickie didn't let go. (Can't say that was the smartest thing to do) She stood up with Abby tightly held in her arms and carried her to the truck where the nice man opened the door and Vickie tossed the panicked Abby inside.

Vickie got in the truck and tried to calm little Abby down as they started to drive back to Canine Country Club. Vickie had planned on letting Abby stay for a few weeks while she learned to trust people again, but it became clear to Vickie after a month or so, that Abby would never really trust humans again. That loud noises and changes of any kind in her daily life would send Abby into a quivering, terrified state and if given half a chance she would run from it, never stopping and never going up to another human being.
So it was decided that Abby would live out her life in the confines of Canine Country Club. Not a bad thing, since she had an acre of land to call her own, new friends that came to play with her on a daily basis and the company of the one and only human being that she trusted. Not completely, but trusted enough to relax and enjoy life.

For the next three years her only excursions were to the vet for shots, creating just another reason to never want to go in the truck or leave the safety of her surroundings.

So you see, it was a great feat for her to go to the park today with us.

Jamie, Abby & Scrappy

There to greet me in my new home where three new creatures. I have been used to my siblings and my mother. All white, fluffy and playful. That had been my life. Now I am suddenly low man on the totem pole, the youngest, the smallest and the shyest.

First to greet me was Scrappy. He had joined Vickies family a year earlier. He had been found wandering the streets close to death from starvation and other medical problems. HE was more my size and was very welcoming. We even played for a minute but I was pretty tired from the adventures of the day so after a few rounds of chase, I went inside and fell asleep.

I woke up to the gentle sniffing of a big black and white older dog, checking me out while I slept. She had such wisdom in her old eyes and I knew imediately that she was my mentor and that I wanted to be just like her. I later learned her name was Jamie and that she was about 13 years old.
I learned that she was a great search dog and beloved by children and adults all over the country. From her I would learn many great things, as well as a few things that would later come to haunt me day and night.

Finally there is Abby. She isn't the friendliest girl. She basically tolerates me because she is sure I wont be here long. (Little does she know) On the outside she appears to be sweet and passive, but don't turn your back on her........This I have learned......

Aunt Gwila & Judy

The drive to my new home was pretty nice. Vickie has the truck fixed up so I can lay right behind her but up high enough to see out the window. I curled up next to her neck and went to sleep. It had been a busy morning. That was the first and last time for months that I enjoyed driving. (From this point on I find that I get car sick. Oh so sick. Oh so very very sick.)

On the drive home, Vickie was hard at work trying to think of a new name for me. She had told Aunt Gwila to think of names too. Between them, they hoped to come up with the perfect name.

My Fathers name is Prince Maxwell Charming and moms name is Princess Goldilocks XIII. Aunt Gwila wanted me to have a name befitting my progenitors. A long line of grand pedigree. By the time we got to my new home she had called with her new choice.

I overheard them on the phone and the conversation went something like ths.

Aunt Gwila: "Vickie I have the perfect name for him."

Vickie: "I have had a few thoughts too. But lets here your first."

Aunt Gwila: "I think he should have a royal name. Something befitting of the life he will lead as a search and rescue dog and all the other good things you are planning to do with him. I think he should be called....Prince Charles Charming....

Vickie was quiet for a moment....

Vickie: "Well Aunt Gwila, that is a wonderful name, but don't you think you would rather save that name for your own dog one day?" (Vickie was pictureing herself out in the field on a search for a missing person calling out "Prince Charles, Prince Charles. Do you have something?" It was a little bit of an emberassing thought.....

Aunt Gwila: Well what do you want to call him?"

Vickie: "BERT"

Aunt Gwila: "BERT" "How awful, what are you thinking?"

Aunt Gwila was not pleased.

Later in the week, my new friend Judy D'Hults was at the house visiting when she came up with a great solution.

Judy: "I've got it, why not name him "Prince Albert" then your aunt can have the royalty and you can call him Bert for short."

It was the perfect solution and that is how I got my name. Thanks Judy

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In the beginning

The way Vickie tells it, is that she wasn't really looking for a dog to bring home the day she met me. Of course I know that she had been looking for a golden for about 6 months. She had been watching Debbie's dog Bear for a few weeks and fell completely in love with him.

After that, it was just a matter of time. She was online everynight looking up "Cream Golden Retreivers" from all over the country. She was even considering going back to New York and getting one of Bears brothers, when she just happened to look on

There he was....My father. He had just sired a litter of pups weeks earlier and they used my dads picture to show what kind of dudes we would be. Vickie was so excited. She called Aunt Gwila and asked her to meet her at my mothers place the next day.

Aunt Gwila lives a few miles from my mom and dads house, so she was happy to meet Vickie.

Vickie told Aunt Gwila that it was her job to see that Vickie DID NOT bring a puppy home that day.

The people, I was staying with, set up a little corral like thing and brought all of me and my brothers and sisters out to meet Vickie. I knew it when I saw her. She was mine......I ran through my brothers and sisters who were busy smelling things in the grass, right up to Vickie. I climbed in her lap and cuddled up to her face with licks and wags. She didn't have a chance.

Aunt Gwila stood outside the corral looking on nodding and quietly saying, "He's the One. He's the one".

Vickie was not taken in so easily, or was she. She stood up, stepped outside the circle and said she would like to meet my dad. We all piled into two cars, Vickie and Aunt Gwila in one, me and my first family in the other and headed the two blocks to see dad.

Dad, of course, is the most handsome dog Vickie and Aunt Gwila had ever seen. He proudly stood in the driveway of his home waiting proudly as we drove up and got out. And that was that. Out came the wallet and on my way to my new life I went.

Four Legs have views too

Well, I finally talked Vickie into joining the blogging community. She doesn't think her life is interesting enough for anyone to follow so I told her she could write about Me and My life.

My name is Bert, I am eight months old. I am a handsome young golden retreiver who has graced Vickies life. I do my best to keep it interesting for her so check in every now and then to meet my friends from Canine Country Club, American Search Dogs, and our little family.