Tag Archives: Shiloh

After all, dog spelled backwards is…

I know I just linked to Cracked’s website yesterday and I don’t want this to become a habit but, they had a most excellent suggestion.  In about 5 minutes and at NO COST, you can become an ordained minister.  You can marry people (well, if you want the proper documentation to do all that it might cost you $30 – but you can pass the cost on to your first group of suckers blissful couple) and get to add ‘Rev.’ to your name which is so totally cool I can barely contain myself.

And so, dear reader, in my attempts to make this blog your ‘one stop shop’ for all your life needs, I am pleased to announce that Shiloh is now a minister in the Open Ministry and available to perform weddings.  While I haven’t discussed this in detail with him I imagine the recommended ‘donation’ would be something like a wubba squeak toy (and not one of those sissy ones either).

'Dearly beloved...hey, is that a squirrel?'

This is quite an accomplishment for a 20 pound creature without opposable thumbs.  Long time readers will recall that he was singled out for his contribution to the War on Terror.  Perhaps now he can chair some inter-faith outreach initiatives to bring peace to the Middle-East…or mid-town.

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Shiloh vs. the Chipmunk

More in the continuing saga of Shiloh’s attempt to catch a chipmunk that insists on setting up shop among two old dog houses I have…

I think he was off his game here…he wasn’t even close.

Shiloh update

Last night, I was cleaning up in the kitchen and Shiloh was lying in his bed in the adjacent dining room.  The room was deserted and the light was off and as I was banging around he started growling intensely.  I hadn’t heard him growl like that for awhile and so went into the room and he began growling more and barking…at me.  Very strange behavior, even for him.  I considered and discarded a number of theories (injured?  startled from a deep sleep and disoriented?  scared?) and couldn’t figure it out.  I sat beside him for a while (not wanting to reinforce the behavior that if he growled I’d abandon the bottom floor of the house) and he eventually calmed down but was clearly agitated.

When I woke up this morning and went into the dining room to give him his customary morning scratch and pet session he was as if nothing had happened.  Affectionate, tail wagging and ready to start the day.

I, unfortunately, had woken up with a feeling of pressure behind my left eye which steadily grew into a painful migraine.

Shortly after getting to work, we had some fairly serious thunderstorms and I was reminded that occasionally my migraines are triggered by thunderstorms, I suspect linked in some way to changes in barometric pressure (It must be a fairly specific set of circumstance since most thunderstorms produce no headache.  Under some circumstances, in fact, upcoming thunderstorms can produce something similar to a sense of euphoria but I always assumed that was more psychological than physiological.  As I think about it now, it’s a feeling very similar to how I feel after a migraine passes…hmmm…interesting).

Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps Shiloh’s reaction last night was one similar to what I experienced just a few hours later.  I did a google search for dog migraines and the results are paltry to say the least.    I suppose there’s no reason to believe that animals would be immune to migraines and certainly some believe that animals are sensitive enough to atmospheric and geological changes to anticipate earthquakes, weather,etc.

I know people are eventually supposed to resemble their pets but sharing medical conditions is going a bit far…

On the beach

I took Shiloh to Island Beach State Park yesterday to get a bit of fresh air before the hordes of tourists and beach goers descend.  In previous trips to the ocean, Shiloh would try to bite the waves, chasing the receding water and running away from incoming waves.  This time he was having none of that and gave the water a wide berth.

Still, he appeared to enjoy it…

Although he was also interested in the camera…

There was also a flight of Chinooks flying past which brought back some memories…


Making the world safe, one squeak toy at time

Jason has started what I hope to be a new feature on his blog:  Monday Pets.  He’s promising to delve into the behavior/cognitive abilities of the non-human animals we share our homes with.  This week, he takes on dogs and their play behavior.  In the post he mentions that he has to buy his dog (or, at least what I assume is his dog) a new toy squirrel every week.

That got me to thinking about Shiloh’s toy preferences.  Now, as I’ve stated, Shiloh is an odd dog.  I’m no vet but I’ve had dogs for most of my life and now after 12 years with Shiloh would be inclined to think he has a canine version of autism (if such a thing exists – perhaps I’ll go into all of his behavioral symptoms to explain why I think that’s the case at some point in the future).

But for today I’ll just talk about his toy preferences which are very specific.

He is only attracted to toys that squeak (I’m talking about solo play here, btw).  Toys with a squeaker are savaged until the noise maker has been destroyed and then they are forgotten.  His focus when it comes to such toys can be intense, with him chewing for hours on end (assuming the toy is sturdy enough to handle the abuse) and one one or two occasions he has even wet himself rather than stop attacking the toy.

I would suspect that the squeak elicits some sort of kill response from him except for one piece of evidence.  Shiloh enjoys chasing chimpmunks (whose warning chirp sounds remarkably like a squeak toy) and on at least two occasions has had the opportunity to actually get grab one in his jaws.  Both times he released it, unharmed, immediately and with surprise.

In terms of other play behavior Shiloh enjoys fetch and seems to use it not only for play but (given his general reluctance to petting by anyone other than me) also seems to use it as a tool for establishing/maintaining social bonds.  If he gets anxious or I have to discipline him he’ll frequently go for a fetch toy or act in a way to try to elicit me to throw one.  It seems to be a way of communicating “I know this was a stressful situation but we’re still cool, right?”

The fetch instinct is apparently fairly unusual for beagles (they’ll chase just fine but tend not to come back) and was totally organic on his part.  He chased and retrieved to my amusement without any encouragement or prodding.

Total play behavior. Bow pose, mouth open but no teeth, and relaxed face.

Shiloh will not play any sort of ‘tug-of-war’ and, in fact, will not but his mouth on any toy I have in my hand.  While I didn’t encourage such play in him as a pup I don’t recall actively discouraging it but it simply doesn’t compute for him.  That’s generally a good thing.

While Shiloh has been a bit of a challenge, his behavioral issues provide an interesting view of canine behavior because many times they’re so exaggerated.

Today Jason continues the dog theme with a discussion about dog growls.  Again, Shiloh provides a great learning experience and over the years I am well attuned to the meaning of his growls with or without visual clues.  His food/territorial growl is very different from his play growl which is very different from his stranger growl.

Definitely not a play face...ears back, lips curled and a warning growl means much more and you could expect a snap.

His barks, similarly, are very distinct (at least to me) and I have a high degree of confidence I can understand them even when he’s out of sight.

While the differences and very noticeable to me, Mrs. TwShiloh was unable to distinguish them for a few years and is only now able to distinguish them (and not to the degree that I can which is understandable).

Now for a beagle with a manic focus I can tell you that regular squeak toys do not last long in our house.  They typical toy will generally not survive more than 15 minutes of his attention (and no, I’m not exaggerating).  I find the kong wubba to be a very satisfactory and sturdy toy, well worth the price.  While he has ‘killed’ several we have one that has defied him for several months at this point.

Back to normal operations…

With our full staff back on board the TwS blogging empire can now return to normal operations.  Just a few bits of follow up to wrap up our little dramatic situation.

We are unsure of how, exactly, Shiloh managed to get off of our property which is surrounded by a fence.  The two (wholly unsatisfactory) hypotheses are:

  1. He managed to squeeze through a very small gap at the corner of our property.  If he could make it through that small opening he would have to squirm an additional 10 meters of so between two fences that are narrower still before breaking through to open ground.  While I had blocked the opening months before to make it incredibly difficult for such a small dog to even get to the opening it is now completely sealed.*
  2. Someone (probably kids) open the gate fence, coaxed Shiloh out and then closed the fence behind them.

In any case, this is the most satisfying picture I’ve taken in awhile…

We shall now return to solving all of America’s the worlds problems…

*To the best of my knowledge, Shiloh has never seen, nor has the capability to understand The Great Escape.

Best day. EVER!

Shiloh was found this morning.  BIG shout out to the people in the neighborhood who kept an eye out and for the Morrisville PD for finding and keeping an eye on him until I could get to him.

Somehow he made it to a brush and vine thicket in the middle of a very busy 4 land highway.  From reports of people who had seen him over the past 24 hours he had been chased by a variety of dogs and kids and so wasn’t too amiable to the police when they found him.  Once he saw me however, he made a bee-line out of the sticker bushes to me.

A bit worn out and worse for wear but no apparent damage.

More later…