Tag Archives: lab

Da Dogs

Good morning Everyone!

It’s been a while since I devoted a post exclusively to our three dogs, so today’s the day.

Regular readers to this blog will recall that we have three beautiful and unique dogs as pets:  Tyra, who is now 14, Mandy, who is 8 – 9 in August – (which is very hard to believe!) and Darwin, who is 5 (that’s another one that’s hard to understand.)  All three of them are pound puppies; we are forever grateful to the Montgomery Humane Society for Tyra and Mandy and to the Lake Martin Humane Shelter for Darwin.

Tyra is completely blind; we have suspicions that she might be losing some hearing also.  (To get her to hear where you are going/want her to go, you have to stomp like a dinosaur tap dancing – that is known as a clue!)  She is the sweetest dog we have ever had, although she has become a bit demanding when it comes to her nightly snuggle time with Mark.  She has always viewed herself as Mark’s dog, although she loves the rest of us too.  We suspect she is an Australian Shepherd mix.

Australian Shepherd Mix


Mandy is a free and independent basset hound/husky mix with excellent self-esteem.  She loves all of us, and she is particularly my dog (when we first got her, Woof was still alive.  Woof was my kitchen dog, as I called her – she wouldn’t leave me to myself no matter how bad she wanted to be in a room with everyone else.  She trained Mandy for the same position.)  She is the only dog we’ve ever had whose response to being scolded and told “bad dog” is to stare at you thoughtfully, let you know that she feels your point of view is interesting but not particularly upsetting, and then walk away to plot how to continue whatever it was she was trying to do in the first place.  While she is absolutely unique, I have been surprised at how many people are interested in or have basset hound/husky mixes.  Over 400 of them have looked at my post about Mandy as a basset hound/husky  mix, and I’ve had a good 8 to 10 people at least send me messages about the buskeys (a good handy nickname) that they own.

Basset Hound, Husky Mix


Darwin is the biggest dog we have ever owned.  He is either a black german short-haired pointer, in which case he is not recognized as a short-haired pointer in America although he is in Europe, or a Lab/Great Dane mix.  He is incredibly eager to please his people and surprisingly affectionate for a male dog.  He’s not entirely sold on the idea of being Kayla’s dog (he has an application in for the position of Mark’s dog which is never going to be granted while Tyra is alive), but is beginning to reconcile himself to that position now that we allow him to go to bed with her at night, which means he ends up sleeping on her bed with her during the night, a much better deal than he’d get in our room.

Lab/Great Dane Mix


The three dogs care about each other, and their interactions are fun to watch.  Darwin and Mandy play together a lot, which has kept Mandy young.  They like to chase each other around the yard, and while you’d think the larger Darwin would have the advantage, he doesn’t – Mandy is the fastest dog I have ever seen, and can hold her own against him.  Darwin wants to play with Tyra, but she can’t see him “play bow” to know that he is just playing, so things can get a little tense.  I did get to see the two of them figure out how to play one day, and it was ingenious – neither one moved their legs, while they kept moving their heads around playing “tag” with their heads – apparently you somehow scored a point if you touched the other dog with your head.  Tyra doesn’t believe that play is play unless barking is included, so the din was pretty astonishing.

Australian Shepherd Mix Camping

Tyra Camping

Husky Basset Hound mix camping

Mandy Camping

Lab/Great Dane Mix Camping

Darwin Camping

The three dogs like to camping with us in our (gracefully aged) motor home, but they each have different attitudes about it.  Boo is happy to be with us, but her level of happiness is the same as if she was going for a ride in the car or with us for a walk.  Tyra has always loved camping, and the motor home is no exception.  She likes to come to the front while we’re driving, flip up the arm rest on the driver and passenger seats and get her ears rubbed.  Continually.  For the entire duration of the trip, whether it is a five-minute drive to the nearby state park or a six to eight hour drive to the Smoky Mountains.   Darwin is ecstatic to be camping, and shows it with all his might.  Mandy and Darwin both like to sit on the dashboard of the motor home while we are gone and just watch the world go by until we come home.  I have been astonished at how little they bark at anything outside, including other dogs, when they do that.

Two dogs

Boo and Darwin Together Camping

Two Dogs in Motor Home

Tyra and Mandy Together

So there are our three canine family members.  Each well-loved and loving well in return, each unique and each one indispensable to who we are as a family.

Two Dogs on Bed

Tyra and Mandy Share a Bed

I hope your pets are every bit as interesting!  Tell me about them in the comments section if you have time.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day and weekend everyone!


Through the Donut Hole

Good morning Everyone!

Sinclairs, Lake Martin, Kowaliga

Sinclairs at Lake Martin, from the Sinclair’s website

My mother was visiting us last weekend and while Mom was here we decided to drive over to a restaurant that is on the banks of Lake Martin, Sinclairs on the Lake.  We sat down to a beautiful waterfront view, and an excellent meal, but before the meal arrived, Mark and Kayla completed their ritual walk along the boat pier that lets boats dock right by the restaurant.  While they were doing so, a little black and white cocker spaniel streaked by them, bound and determined to get into the restaurant, having just seen her master go through the door.

Cocker Spaniel

A black and white cocker spaniel similar to the one we saw.

Mark helped to catch her, and inside the restaurant, Mom and I watched the cocker spaniel being brought back to the boat to await her owner, struggling against the leash all the way.

Shadow, Dog


It reminded me of an experience we had with our first dog, Shadow.  Even though she was half cocker, half lab, Shadow detested the water.  However, paradoxically, she loved to ride in the boat.  Her favorite speed was wake speed; she would sit in the front of the boat then and enjoy watching the world go by.  Whenever we went faster, my appearance was required in the front of the boat to hold her as we sped through the water.  When she decided that Mark was going too fast, or the ride was too bumpy, she would jump out of my arms and walk back to where Mark was driving, and stare at him.

Bayliner bowrider boat

A new model Bayliner similar to what we owned back in the day from www.bayliner.com

She was the smartest dog we ever owned, hands down, although Tyra comes close.  Once, she was too smart for her own good.

We had taken Mark’s sister, brother-in-law and our nephews, out in the boat, found a likely spot on the lake and anchored the boat where we could play and swim in the water.  One of the toys we were using was a huge inner tube.

Inner Tube

Inner Tube Similar to the One We Owned

We left Shadow in the boat because we knew how much she hated the water.  She sat on the front of the boat, watching us, and we went ahead with our water sport.  Before we  could turn back around, a black streak came flying off of the boat, ringing the inner tube in the center and slipping right through it.

It was at that moment that I learned that dogs could cuss.

Apparently, Shadow had eyed the inner tube carefully, and not realizing the hole in the center was floorless, had decided that she could jump onto the inner tube to be nearer to us as we were playing without getting wet.

She came up from under the inner tube swimming (it’s not that she couldn’t swim; she just hated the water) and mad as a hornet, blaming us for her misadventure.  She did deign, however, to let Mark help her back into the boat as she scrabbled up its fiberglass sides, desperate to get out of the hated water.

All was forgiven, of course, once we all got back in the boat and headed back to the dock.

Dog in Boat

Shadow riding at wake speed.

Have a great day everyone!