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Have some dogs

I am working on a blog post of Great Philosophical Import. I’ve known for a week what its topic would be. I have links, examples, it’s all plotted out (well, kinda; as much as I ever plot out anything). It will be worth waiting for, I promise.

But you will have to wait for it. Because I am absolutely incapable of writing an introduction to it that doesn’t immediately wander into the weeds, faceplant in a bog, and drown.

Oh heaven, how we Artistes — and our patient readers — suffer!

So in the meantime, to keep you My Dear Readers from wandering off into those weeds, yourself … have some dogs.


Up first is Trixie, our new family member.

And no, the motion in the next two photos isn’t her trying to shake the trash can lid off her head. She was perfectly happy to have it there until she shredded the beef jerky bag. Then she just knocked it off and went in search of other places to conduct food raids.

Modeling her new raincoat.

Rhett laughed when he saw that. Not having had a dog since his teens, he was bemused that dogs had raincoats.

“Panniers, too?” he joked … never guessing I’d actually just happen to have them on hand.

These saddlebags were Ava’s and they’re way too large for Trixie. But they used to be great on the beach, where the dog could pack a small picnic.

And the raincoat? Who could doubt the usefulness of that in the Pacific NortWET.

This, maybe not so much.

But I bought it years ago at a thrift store and never had a dog who could fit into it until now.


Ava was half border collie and all clingy, intense, active … well, border collie. After her, I swore I’d never have another.

Now here we are with Trixie. Not an ounce of border collie in her. She doesn’t do that crazy crouch-and-eye thing. She’s not (thank heaven) as dog aggressive as Ava was. But she’s an even a clingier, more intense, more active … well, representative of the herding breeds than Ava was.

I’ve responded by teaching her a few rudiments of canine agility, and just a few days ago I introduced her (and me) to the most basic moves of canine freestyle (aka dancing with dogs). Not because we’ll ever compete, but just for fun, exercise, and brainwork. And to keep her from standing and staring at me with a squeaky toy or a frisbee in her mouth 12 hours a day.

But now, if you want to see dogs and humans who are better than we will ever be, here are some extraordinary canine athletes and artistes. Oh, and a few maybe not so praiseworthy.

In the variety of canine freestyle that’s called “heelwork to music,” I’ve recently discovered Lucie Plevova and her dogs Jump and Phoenix.

Sometimes in freestyle, the communication between human and dog is both awesome and virtually invisible.

But this one is my all-time favorite (after a slow start) because of the story it tells and the very non-standard moves Lusy Imbergerova has taught Deril .

Then, moving on to agility and and other canine sports (and lest your beloved four-legged feel inadequate because s/he’s not SuperDog) performance dogs commit their share of bloopers.

One rescue mutt even became a sort of star for being so charmingly bad at agility.

Finally — since it’s only fair to show some fantastic agility work after the last two — here’s a bit of a longie-but-goodie. About 1/2 hour of the Crufts 2022 agility finals for intermediate/large dogs. Best in the world. You may not want to watch it all, but the quality of the dogs and their handlers is astonishing.

And you notice … unless I missed a ringer, every, single competitor in those Crufts finals is a border collie. After whittling down the competition, the best of the best are all border collies.

In freestyle, it’s border collies and golden retrievers. Just beautiful, and with such connections to their humans.

Okay, but enough of that. Enjoy. But now for me it’s back to crafting an introduction to my next Dazzling Burst of Brilliance. Or whatever it’s going to turn out to be.


  1. kentmcmanigal
    kentmcmanigal April 13, 2022 2:04 pm

    Just in case anyone was wondering if I’d vanished, been kidnapped, or died, my blog link has changed. This is what happens when you try to save money.

    At the moment, my blog can be found at or It may change back to again (just so my regular readers can find it again) if I figure out how to do it. If enough people find me without changing it back, I may leave it as it is.

  2. Comrade X
    Comrade X April 13, 2022 2:39 pm

    Thanks Claire; wish upon wish for one day to see Trixie teaching Claire how to dance on here!

    May every dog find their forever family;

  3. Granny
    Granny April 13, 2022 3:20 pm

    Trixie is adorable!!!!

    My younger German Shepherd really should be in agility training. Lord knows that girl can hustle! The FedEx man was none too pleased to see that she almost made it over the driveway gate today. She definitely could, she just doesn’t know it yet. She is the sweetest dog ever born and she can scare the ever lovin’ crap out of strangers, with teeth and everything. My older German Shepherd (only 1 month older) is a people person, so he ignores squirrels, and strangers, just so he can lay the frisbee or ball at your feet in hopes of getting some attention (12 hours a day!). Bless them both. I love dogs like I love babies.

    Can’t wait for some more of Claire’s brilliance!

  4. Jeff2
    Jeff2 April 14, 2022 6:07 am

    Thanks Kent! I was beginning to wonder. Worked Monday but not after. Thanks for the updated links!


  5. Toirdhealbheach Beucail
    Toirdhealbheach Beucail April 14, 2022 6:10 am

    Claire, the pictures of Trixie are delightful (we have thought about panniers but never got them as too expensive – but then again, there is the whole “Used InterWeb Shopping Experience. Hmmm). And thank you ever so much for the links – I have seen them from time to time and am so impressed not only by the athleticism but by the ability of the trainers (Poppy the Brave has rudiments of training – the failure is likely more mine than hers). And the video of the “bloopers” made me giggle uncontrollably after reading a bit of “the world” this morning.

    I would be remiss if I did not point out that rabbits also have a form of agility courses:

  6. John Wilder
    John Wilder April 14, 2022 10:29 pm

    They’re fun dogs. There was one (many houses ago) on my way home that would chase every car as it went past. One day, I just stopped, but the dog kept on going and then looked back, like, “You got me!”

    The next day, I stopped. He did, too – recognized my truck. Best dog I never had.

  7. billmiller667
    billmiller667 April 15, 2022 11:12 am

    We don’t own dogs; we simply get the right to serve as their guardians for a short while. Five years, two months and 15 days ago a Great Dane named Knight came into my life. I had been looking for a dog and researching different breeds for about a year before I saw his photo online. A dog trainer named Julie rescued him at the age of six months from a family who just didn’t know how to raise a dog. She took him back to her 50-acre ranch in Montana where he grew up being part of a pack of a dozen dogs. Eventually she had to downsize her pack. When I saw Knight’s photo I felt his calm spirit come through, and I knew right away, “that’s my dog!” A week later the professional dog-delivery guy arrived at my place out in the woods of rural east Texas, and Knight jumped out.

    For the next five years Knight was with me as we moved from east Texas to Houston to central Texas and then back to Houston. I have the kind of job where I can bring my dog along as I make my runs, so Knight was with me just about always. We visited only dog-friendly places, and he loved getting out and meeting people and other animals. At 175 pounds, he was truly a gentle giant.

    Last September he started having days where getting in and out of the car was just too much, and i didn’t force him unless it was a tripe to the vet. This last January he started having trouble with his right hip, and I knew that 2022 would probably be his last year.

    On the afternoon April 2, 2022, I came home from work. He heard me at the gate, so he came out wagging his tail. We went through the whole “Dad is home, I love you, Knight!” ritual. I pulled in the car, locked the gate behind us, and started for the house. he ran past me into the side yard, leapt into the air, and landed on his side. Eyes open, not moving. I rushed over and realized that he was having a heart attack. His death was quick, and i was with him at the end.

    Five-minute video celebrating his life and the five years of unconditional love that he brought me is up on Youtube. If you watch it, you want to have tissues handy.

    When I die, I won’t be at all surprised to find him waiting for me on the other side.

  8. larryarnold
    larryarnold April 15, 2022 10:59 pm

    “Panniers, too?” he joked … never guessing I’d actually just happen to have them on hand.

    Doh! Does Rhett not know you are The Claire Wolfe!

  9. E M Johnson
    E M Johnson April 17, 2022 11:43 am

    thank you for the lighter fare

  10. JB
    JB May 19, 2022 9:06 pm

    Actually, the best bad agility performances at Crufts (he attended for several years) was a Jack Russell named Olly. Awful, but he threw himself into it and always had a great time.

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