Monday, May 23, 2005


I just realized that Friday was Raider's birthday, as close as we can figure. He's either 12 or 13 now, I'm not really sure. You can only really see it when he stands up and stretches, because now it takes a little longer to do those things, and he gets tired more easily. We got him from the pound about a year after we put my first dog (Bernie, part rat terrier part pomeranian and God knows what else) to sleep. She had epilepsy ever since a cat pushed her down the stairs as a puppy (before I was born) so she wasn't getting along too well in her old age. We got Raider (half schnauzer, half black lab) when he was on his last day at the pound. If we didn't get him, he would have been dead the next day.

When we first got him, he was scared of everybody. He warmed up to me first, after I did nothing but pay attention to him for two full days. He then slowly warmed up to everyone else.

He's a creature of habit. I'm at home right now, so this morning he barked at me a little bit until I made some coffee and drank it with him out on the deck. He likes to be outside, but his favorite thing of all is to be outside with somebody. If my dad doesn't take him for his nightly walk by 7:30, we won't hear the end of it unless he gets a walk. I got in the habit of taking him for walks at night, and now whenever I'm home it's expected.
When he goes outside in the morning Dad has to hide five treats, and when he comes back he sniffs and finds all of them. He knows when he's found all of them. I think he can count at least that high.
He likes to get scratched on the chest, and if you try to scratch him on the chin he will use his foreleg to push your arm down to his chest.

Once, Dad shot a possum (I assume with a 20-guage, maybe 12). It wasn't dead, only hissing mad. Raider jumped in after the shot and crushed its shoulderblades (he said you could hear the bones crunching) with a single bite. The possum was done.
He also likes to catch adolescent birds that don't know how to fly away.
Once, I was taking him out for a nighttime walk. We stumbled into something, and whatever it was he killed it. We came back out with a flashlight and everyone was telling him what a good boy he was and scratching him on the head: he had killed a mole. I never knew how damn ugly those things are.
One time he attacked a rooster, but didn't know what to do with it, so all he did was rip out some feathers.

One time my friend's sister had an unfortunate fall and Raider thought she had a pretty face. I'm not willing to talk any more about that, but let's just say I was rolling on the ground laughing.

He loves to dig. Under the shed out back he's been digging the same hole for years, and he's proud to show it to everyone.

One time I dropped a plate with six Oreos on it. He had eaten them all by the time I could say his name. Needless to say he was as hyper as I've ever seen a dog, squirming around on the carpet and making wookie noises. Luckily he survived the ordeal.

There's a little black dog in town we call "Archie," because he's Raider's arch enemy. This little guy used to get off his leash and harass Raider, and attack him. This never really bothered Raider. One day, however, Archie bit my dad when he tried to separate them. Raider then proceeded to put Archie's entire head in his mouth, and held it there. My dad separated them and brought Archie to his owners' house, and told them that next time he won't stop him. Archie has never gotten loose since.

So, this is a birthday tribute to the best dog ever to grace the earth. I will add more on him another day. I love you, Raider.

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