Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Meet “Bobbie the Wonder Dog”.  In 1923 Bobbie was traveling with his family from Silverton, Oregon to Indiana.  At a fueling stop while in Indiana, this two year old Scotch Collie mix was separated from his family and disappeared.  After an exhaustive search the family had no choice but to leave instructions in case Bobbie showed up, and return home.  Nearly six months later in February of 1924, Bobbie showed up at the door of his owners, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Brazier.   Bobbie, thin, weathered, and weary, had somehow managed to find his way back to his Oregon home, a distance of approximately 2,800 miles, in the dead of winter.

While news of his amazing return quickly spread, many people simply could not believe that this amazing dog was able to make this trek back to where his journey began.  Officials from the Oregon Humane Society launched an investigation into the claim and were able to determine to their satisfaction that Bobbie did indeed travel this incredible distance.

Bobbie the Wonder Dog with his owner Frank Brazier

Instantly famous, Bobbie was celebrated, receiving medals, keys to the city, and a jewel-studded harness and collar.  Over 40,000 people came to see him at the Portland Home Show, where he was the guest of honor, and was presented with his own dog-sized bungalow.

Bobbie’s story was also featured on ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’, and inspired a book by Charles Alexander titled, “Bobbie, A Great Collie.”  He also played himself in the silent film, “The Call of the West.”

Upon his death in 1927, Bobbie was buried with honors at the Oregon Humane Society. Portland’s mayor gave the eulogy and later Rin Tin Tin laid a wreath at his grave.


Droopy Dog 1951 Droopy’s Good Deed – VIDEO

Droopy is an animated cartoon character: an anthropomorphic dog with a droopy face, hence the name Droopy. He was created in 1943 by Tex Avery for theatrical cartoon shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio. Essentially the polar opposite of Avery’s other famous MGM character, the loud and wacky Screwy Squirrel, Droopy moves slowly and lethargically, speaks in a jowly monotone voice, and—though hardly an imposing character—is shrewd enough to outwit his enemies. When finally roused to anger, often by a bad guy laughing heartily at him, Droopy is capable of beating adversaries twice his size with a comical thrashing (“You know what? That makes me mad!”).

The character first appeared, nameless, in Avery’s 1943 cartoon Dumb-Hounded. Though he would not be called “Droopy” onscreen until his fifth cartoon, Señor Droopy (1949), the character was officially first labeled Happy Hound, a name used in the character’s appearances in Our Gang Comics. After the demise of the Droopy series in 1958, the character has been revived several times for new productions, often television shows also featuring MGM’s other famous cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry.

In the cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, Droopy’s last name was given as “McPoodle”. In The Chump Champ, it was given as “Poodle”. Nevertheless, Droopy is generally understood to be a basset hound.


The Bored Dog

How to stop your dog being bored. Boredom in dogs leads to undesired behaviours

The exasperated caller complained that his dog was escaping his yard, digging and fence running. The dog was becoming a neighborhood nuisance and driving him crazy. I pressed a bit and asked about the environment the dog lived in. All I got was the dog had a yard to play in. I asked about toys, attention, opportunity to get out with other dogs, etc. The owner grew silent. He thought all a dog needed was a yard to run in.

Dogs need stimulation

boreddogSadly, this is a common misconception. Dogs are not lawn ornaments. Dogs without stimulation and left alone in yards grow bored. Dogs are thinking creatures with natural instincts such as digging, chasing, and socializing. Dogs are social creatures and do best when part of a pack. We humans have to be this pack as we make the decision to bring dogs into our lives. To deprive a dog use of his basic instincts and social needs creates problems.
This dog was escaping the yard because he was bored. He had no toys, little interaction and was developing undesired and even dangerous behaviors. (What if a car came by the day he ran into the street or he attacked someone’s pet.) I explained in detail how the man could enrich his dog’s life and alleviate the boredom as well as stopping the developing “bad” behaviors. Again, silence and then, “Well, the dog is too much work, maybe I should get rid of him.”

Recognize boredom in your dog

Obviously even simple steps to helping his dog were too much for this owner. However, recognizing boredom and working to prevent it are part of responsible dog owning. In zoos, creating a stimulating environment is called “Enrichment.” Moreover, at home, we must enrich.

Part of enriching our dogs’ lives is proper socialization. Living in the suburbs is great as we (and I am a suburban person) have the best of both worlds. Yards and open space but the luxury of having shopping and other amenities nearby! This should be a boon to our dogs! We can get them out and in a variety of places so they learn about life and how to handle many situations. I can go from wooded trails with wildlife to downtown Washington, D.C. within twenty minutes! We also have yards and homes we can enrich to help our dogs not be bored. However, living in the suburbs tends to make some dog owners lazy!

Should I walk my dog?

Many suburban, and to a greater extent country, dogs lack adequate socializing as owners have the luxury of a yard for the dogs to go out in. Owners feel there is no need to walk the dogs. Personally, my dogs have about 5,000 square feet fenced for their use. However, walks are vital for socializing opportunities. How else can the dog learn that the world does not have to be feared? It is amazing what dogs will view as a threat and either shy from or snap at trying to escape that threat.
Often, I get calls from people who will not walk their dogs as the dogs lunge at bikes, other dogs, etc. By denying the walks, the owner is denying a great training and socializing opportunity. The owner develops a cycle – dog lunges, owner stops walks, and dog does not learn to ignore bikes, owner tried again in a few months hoping dog grew out if it, dog lunges, owner stops walks… Getting the dog out and building confidence in the world, the dog becomes less likely to respond adversely.

Dogs in the city

Dogs in the city, those that are well cared for, get several walks a day. This means they are out and about various people, hear and see traffic, learn to ignore bikes, walk over different surfaces and get to go to dog parks! Though many think keeping dogs in the city is cruel, the opportunity for the dog to be better socialized than a suburban or country dog is far greater! From a socializing standpoint, city life can be wonderful! It is amazing how many dogs I see in class who are bothered by simple things such as a person in a hood or a flapping coat! Why? These dogs may never get to experience them regularly. Some of the dogs that come through my classes have never even been out of their yards. Yet in the suburbs, we have access to so many opportunities and environments if we are just willing to take the time and get out!

Bad behavior due to boredom

Dogs who are bored tend to develop destructive and annoying behaviors such as barking, chewing, and digging. The dogs are not getting back at humans; they are just trying to entertain themselves. Dogs who spend all day alone and isolated from the pack may develop barking problems as well as become escape artists. The owner views the dog as hard to handle, trying to “get back at me” and refuse to take him out even more as a for of punishment for not behaving. This does nothing but exacerbate the situation. The dog is not being given the opportunity to learn and he is being even more socially deprived.

The dog has no idea why he is being deprived or punished. All he knows is frustration. Is this fair? When it comes to socializing, people in the suburbs and country have to work harder and not allow themselves to fall into the rut of abusing the yard!

Socialize your dog

116One way to get dogs out and around other dogs in a social environment is through training classes. Ideally, training in classes should begin as soon as pup has completed his 12-week or ten-week shots depending on the schedule your vet uses. (Some vets go 6, 9, 12 and others 6, 8, 10, but pup should have three sets of shots before starting classes for his own health). A good puppy-k program will emphasize socializing and give you ideas how to better socialize pup. Even a good adult program will teach socializing and what should be done. Another great way to socialize is through sports. Agility, Flyball and such gets dogs active with other dogs and working around them. Another way to socialize is going to dog parks. Many communities have them. And if not, have friends with social dogs get together once a week for a play date at a house with a fenced yard. Isolation from his own kind is misery for a dog.

Ideas to beat the dog boredom

Now, what about enriching our own homes for our dogs? Dogs view the world as a chew toy until we teach them what they can and cannot chew. A dog that is totally deprived of stimulus will find his own entertainment. That antique chair may fall victim to boredom and lack of training. The dog is not bad or trying to get even, he is just trying to fill a void. There are a variety of things we can do to fill this void and let our dogs act out the natural behaviors of chasing, chewing, tearing and digging.

Toys and entertainers

Toys and bones you can fill with a tasty treat are one way to alleviate boredom and let a dog be a dog. Kong toys, hollow bones and such can be stuffed with a bit of spread cheese, spread meats, cheese cubes, hot dog chunks, semi-soft dog treats, canned dog food, etc. The dog gets to work and chew to get the treat out. If you hide these toys, the dog gets to enjoy the hunt and seek for a reward. Sturdy chew toys (hard-pressed rawhide, ropes, etc.) also allow for chewing. However, chewing is not enough to alleviate boredom. A toilet paper or paper towel tube with some kibble put in it and the ends crumpled allow the dog to tear into a toy. A clean milk jug with the top off and kibble dropped in lets the dog throw, tear, and tackle. Buster Cubes and similar toys have various compartments inside that kibbles rolls about in. Sometimes the kibble comes out. Feed your dog one of his daily meals or even both in this fashion (works well if you have a single dog, for multiple dogs I use stuffed bones).

Games are great

Games of hide and seek are wonderful! One person hides and another gets the dog to go find. Once the hiding person is found, a toy is tossed for the dog. Alternatively, hide a toy for the dog to find. Start simple (behind a chair in the same room) and build
up the complexity (up the stairs and down the hall and under a box in your room). Take a bunch of plastic or paper cups and lay them out mouth down. Put a treat under just one cup and encourage the dog to find the treat.

How about enriching our yards for our dogs? A strong rope tied to a tree with heavy bungee cords lets the dog pull and tug. Big boxes make great tunnels and many dogs will fit through the play tunnels sold at many human toy stores. Small logs and lengths of PVC pipe (4″ and 5″ diameter) can be laid down for the dog to walk and jump over while playing. (For safety, dogs under 12 – 18 months of age should have all jumps very low). Make a digging area for your dog! Lay down a 4’x4′ box and fill it with a soft sand and dirt mix. Encourage your dog to dig here and not in your garden. Use landscaping timbers to mark off the dog’s digging box. A toy buried or some kibble sprinkled over the area can help redirect his digging from your Azaleas to his personal digging spot! Build a couple platforms for your dog to jump on and crawl under (just keep away from fences, as some dogs will learn to use these as means to escape).

Get out and play fetch with various toys to allow your dog to engage in chasing behaviors. Take a box, hide treats in it and drag it through the yard on a rope (you stay still, just drag the box). This allows the dog to chase and tackle! These are all things that we can do to help enrich our dogs’ lives. In addition, if you have a higher- to high-energy breed, these games are wonderful for burning off that energy! Get creative. However, monitor toy use and if you suspect a toy is not suited for your dog, do not use it. There is no toy ideal for all dogs and safety with toys is essential!

Boredom in dogs leads to undesired behaviors. However, enriching their environment, getting them socialized and understanding that we make our dogs what they are goes a long way in making our lives together happy and healthy.


Dogs Playing Poker

Dogs Playing Poker refers collectively to a series of sixteen oil paintings by C. M. Coolidge, commissioned in 1903 by Brown & Bigelow to advertise cigars. All the paintings in the series feature anthropomorphized dogs, but the nine in which dogs are seated around a card table are the most reproduced.


The titles in the “Dogs Playing Poker” series proper are:

  • A Bold Bluff (originally titled Judge St. Bernard Stands Pat on Nothing)
  • A Friend in Need
  • His Station and Four Aces
  • Pinched with Four Aces
  • Poker Sympathy
  • Post Mortem
  • Sitting up with a Sick Friend
  • Stranger in Camp
  • Waterloo (originally titled Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff)
  • Ten Miles to a Garage
  • Riding the Goat
  • New Year’s Eve in Dogville
  • One to Tie Two to Win
  • Breach of Promise Suit
  • The Reunion
  • A Bachelor’s Dog

These were followed in 1910 by a similar painting, Looks Like Four of a Kind. Some of the compositions in the series are modeled on paintings of human card-players by such artists as Caravaggio, Georges de La Tour, and Paul Cézanne.

The St. Bernard in the paintings Waterloo and A Bold Bluff was owned by the Fifth Avenue florist Theodore Lang, who counted Coolidge among his friends. The dog’s name was Captain. On February 15, 2005, the originals of A Bold Bluff and Waterloo were auctioned as a pair to an undisclosed buyer for US $590,400. The previous top price for a Coolidge was $74,000.

A website dedicated to the paintings of dogs playing poker, and their artist, Cassius Coolidge.