Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Pictures of My Dog

There are many, many animals here at Ft. Harrington. Three of them are dogs. Two of those, Emma and Jax, are special beyond expression, and are loved to an extent that would probably be considered obscene in poverty-ridden places.

But they are not My Dog, with a capital M and a capital D. That distinction goes to Kelsey and to Kelsey only. However, Kelsey is not cute by any stretch of the word's use, nor is he the product of multi-generations' planned breeding. He's a mutt, one found wandering in a pack in an industrial area eleven years ago. Taken to the nearest shelter, he wasn't given much chance of being re-programmed to be a good family pet.

Through a long series of co-incidences, though, he wound up in the high forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains, in a place where he could be some of what he wanted to be, and sacrifice an acceptable amount of the other things: he could be a watchdog, a guardian, a protector... and a lesser member of a pack (not expected to be the alpha, which he was never cut out to be.)

His first two or three years here at Ft. Harrington were tough for all of us, but he eventually learned his place, and our place, and the place of all the other animals here. And so we all have enjoyed a decade of great, great joy: Kelsey in his place, and us in ours, and love and confidence and joy.

He doesn't get much play here, or over on Flickr, or on PicShers, because he's such a working part of our Fort. But he deserves more, so here are recent pictures of Kelsey-the-Dog: (click, please, on each of them to be taken to larger views):

Kelsey, March '09


God bless you, Kelsey-the-Dog.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Ah! I wondered what his antecendents were, till i checked your captions on the flickr photos - and that got me to look up the Akita. That is an intelligent, thoughtful face he has.

Mike said...

Looks like a good ol' boy in the most positive sense. If he were human, he'd be the guy you'd want to come along when your car wouldn't start.

ronnie said...

There is a saying that goes something like, "Lucky is the man who earns the friendship of an old dog".

What a wise old face he has. He's a treasure.

oddprofessor said...

I'm with Nostalgic, Mike and ronnie. What a wonderful face he has! It's a wonderful thing to adopt a lost dog and give him a place that's his own.

Brian Fies said...

Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy? Yes he is! Yes he is a good boy! Nom nom nom nom.

Xtreme English said...

what things did he train you to do? I'm curious. have you ever read Temple Grandin's books...I just finished "Animals teach us to be human." (or words to that effect)

Kelsey looks like one lucky, well-loved dog!!

Jessamyn said...

Love that Kelsey.

I didn't realize he was a beta boy too - Gilly is also happiest at number two, or three, or four. : ) I called him omega-dog when he was a pup, but by four or so his confidence had grown to a point where he's more 2nd in command.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Nothing like posting a few snapshots of your dog to garner comments.

Thank you all, and Kelsey especially thanks Brian for the cookie. Nom nom nom.

Mary Ellen, what he mostly taught us (especially me) was patience. My friend Theriomorph says that her sister thinks that dogs were put here to domesticate humans, and that their frequently-forlorn look is reflective of what a hard job that is.

Jessamyn, his reluctance to be the alpha leads to some really funny interactions with the little spaniels. They absolutely worship him, and Jax is his faithful little soldier -- but Kelsey is terribly confused about what to do when Jax tries to play. He lets Jax steal him absolutely blind -- so Kelsey, the big, brave, guard dog has no toys. Jax stole them all.

And Kelsey looks at me with his big liquid brown-eyed despair whenever the little thief makes off with something.

I think Kelsey could have benefited a whole lot from tutelage at the paws of one Nellie Melba.