Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Thown-Away Puppy Rescued

On Wednesday morning, January 1st, 1998, my son Joel was at his friend Shane's house, recovering from New Year's Eve festivities the night before. As he stood drinking coffee and looking out the kitchen window, he noticed a car stopping briefly across the street at Patterson Park here in Austin, Texas; a door on the far side opened and closed quickly, and the car sped off.
Left behind was a small gray puppy.
Joel ran over and picked up the oblivious, happy little pup so it wouldn't get splattered by traffic on nearby Airport Boulevard. After trying but failing to find anyone in the area who'd claim or take him, he took the puppy home. His roommates were reasonably cool with it (since he was the only one who ever cleaned anything anyway!), but pets were a violation of the lease...

When I eventually met the new addition, I suggested the name "Cloud" (because of the grey color), but it was decided that "Claude" fit him better because he was always climbing up on people and they sometimes got "clawed" in the process..

It was soon clear that this was one very happy, very, very active puppy.

"Claude" was taken to a vet the next day for a general checkup, and the vet diagnosed this cast-off puppy as healthy but suffering from a couple of tiny spots of mange, for which he was treated. The vet also guessed that Claude was only about 5 weeks-old and a Weimaraner (wrong).

Claude the Lacy in the wildflowers (Not a Weimeranar!)
Five weeks old...bless his little heart; he really should have been with his Mama and litter mates for a few more weeks. But I guess getting away from people mean enough to dump him was probably worth it. Since he was abandoned on New Year's Day, I'm guessing he was an unwanted Christmas present...

Claude settled in to newspaper-covered floors and was taken for multiple long walks and runs every day, and was quickly pronounced totally inexhaustible by his exhausted human roommates. Even following a speeding bicycle for miles, Claude never got tired; nobody knew then that his energy came from the fact that he was a specialized breed meant to work hard herding cattle and tracking wild hogs, not hanging around the house...

All was going pretty well (except for the fact that he was too young to be housebroken), until he broke a housemate's expensive glass bong. As a puppy, he'd chewed up or peed on a lot of things, but with that last transgression, Claude was banished and came to live with me, my brother Phil, and my two other dogs out in the country near Driftwood. I had 10 acres on a hill, with 5 horses, some rabbits, some country cats, and a big vegetable garden.

One day while I was at work at the Wildflower Center in Austin, the meter reader from Pedernales Electric came by to read the meter. He spotted Claude in the dog run and remarked to brother Phil, "That's a nice little Blue Lacy you got there."
"Uh, what? What the heck is a "Blue Lacy?" Phil asked.

The meter reader explained that a Blue Lacy is a great all-around ranch dog, and that they say a Lacy can do the work of 5 cowboys.

Wow...who knew?

Unfortunately Phil HATED poor Claude anyway for absolutely no reason and yelled at him constantly, an especially bad thing since you're never supposed to yell at a Lacy! Unfortunately, the helpful meter-reader never mentioned that detail; a Lacy will work his heart out for you, but he really can't handle being yelled at. Yelling at any dog is counter-productive, cruel, and a sign of a frustrated owner who's losing it, but it's especially hard on dogs of the Lacy breed. But Phil was a hopeless slacker anyway as well as a total idiot about dogs, and was finally banished himself. (Phil, if you're out there reading this; you suck!)
Claude lived with me out at Driftwood for about 6 years, until I became disabled and we moved to Austin in July of 2004. He's still with me as of June 2009; he'll be 12 around Thanksgiving, 2009.
Every morning we go for "walkies" before it gets hot. Claude's a local goodwill ambassador for Blue Lacy's.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Texas on a Lacy

Blue Lacys usually have a little white patch on their chests (and on at least some toes); Claude is a perfect example of this. I think his chest pattern looks a lot like a white map of Texas. (Or is it just me?)

Pictures of Claude and his friends

above "Luckenbach" the Black Lab, Claude's pal, emerges from the tank with a stick; Claude (below) wouldn't go in
No way I'm getting in there!
above, Claude performing a routine investigation...
Claude (foreground) does the getting-to-know-you dance with new pal "Harper"
(above) Yo! Dudes, can I play?

(above) Whoa! You ARE just playing, right?
(above) Whew! Just playing:)

(above,) Claude interrupts "walkies" to visit "Davis"

(above & below) Two nice dogs named "Daisy"

(above) "Holiday" ambles over to greet Claude

(above) ever-loyal "Joey"

(above) Claude meets a little friend at the Thing in the Park

(above) Claude at the left edge of the crowd at the annual neighborhood Ice Cream Social, enjoying affection from a kind stranger.

(above) Investigating what lies beneath...

Claude in the wildflowers

(above) Intrepid Claude

(above) Claude with his Human
“A well-trained dog will make no attempt to share your lunch; he will just make you feel so guilty that you cannot enjoy it.” -Helen Thomson