These are our dogs past and present. They were the inspiration for 3 Dogs and a Tent
Stacy got Dakota as a puppy while living in Los Angeles. In 1999 Dakota, Stacy, Sedgwick, (see below) and her two cats, Zoe and Cody made their way back to the Midwest. Dakota was quite a character with definite opinions about everything - an Alpha in the truest sense of the word. Aloof as a puppy, Stacy actually thought he was deaf since often he wouldn't acknowledge being called. It turned out that he was just being stubborn, as Stacy learned later, was typical of his breed. It was her first dog as an adult, living on her own and she knew very little about specific breeds back then. Dakota was Stacy's daily hiking partner, going on a 4-mile hike daily in the Hollywood hills every morning and in more interesting places on the weekend. While living in Los Angeles, Dakota began suffering epileptic seizures after being struck in the head by a handy man that was working in Stacy's back yard (a long story). Luckily the seizures were well-controlled and he lived happily ever after until his unexpected death in 2002. We are grateful that although we think he was taken too soon, he passed peacefully in our backyard and did not have to suffer any illness. He is missed.
(Belgian Tervuren/Pitt Bull mix - really we had her DNA tested)
(Border Collie/Shetland Sheepdog/Collie mix - Really, we had him DNA tested also)
Dale got Keegan "for Stacy." Dakota's passing in 2002 was unexpected and needless to say there was not much sleep at the Smith house that night. Stacy was distraught, and Dale suffered from lack of sleep and like most men an inability to know what to do. The morning after Dakota's passing, Dale went off to work, but rather than spending his morning working, he spent it scouring the Internet looking for a dog that would displace some of Stacy's pain. He stumbled on an ad for a Border Collie/Shetland Sheepdog mix. He made the call, told his boss we was sick and took off for the 1 1/2 drive to a farm North of St. Joseph, MO. Dale picked the last Black and White male in the litter and drove another hour and a half home. The initial meeting wasn't as Dale had hoped, Stacy didn't take to Keegan as planned (she was still distraught from having lost her dog the night before and not quite ready). Instead, Keegan imprinted on Dale and they have virtually been inseparable from that moment on. Even while Dale spent 15 months, going through treatment for late stage 4 cancer, Keegan never left his side. Now at the age of 10, Keegan, bad hips and all, is still ready for whatever adventure Dale throws at him.
Seamus was seen on TV one morning when Stacy was home from work and Dale wasn't. One of the local television stations showed dogs available for adoption at area shelters and Seamus (then named Max) was the day's offering. He was about 12 weeks old, large and unruly on TV and Stacy decided they HAD to have him. She would have to convince Dale and knowing that he'd say "no" because we already had 2 dogs and 2 cats, she needed a plan. She also knew that Dale also now had a soft spot for the Border Collie breed and could play on that. She called him at work and asked if he wanted another Border Collie and that she'd seen one on TV and he was so cute, etc... and he was at the Lawrence Animal Shelter... etc. He said it wasn't a good time to discuss it because he was in the middle of something at work and said he'd call back. He didn't call back, but 20 minutes later he was home from work and said, "Let's go see him." The rest is history. The hardest part was NOT taking all of his siblings as well (there were 3 others, but solid black). We put a hold on him, filled out the application and picked him up the following day. While Dale thought he was getting an XL Border Collie, he turned out to have no BC traits in his personality whatsoever... just the classic BC markings. He is a typical livestock guardian dog, is rarely interested in playing, has no use for balls or toys, but guards the perimeter of our property and his family perfectly.
Clyde 2004 - June 8 2012 (Spleen and Liver Hemangiosarcome)
(St. Bernard mix - The DNA test came back that he is 70% St. Bernard and 30% undetermined.) Terms like "undetermined" or "unknown" typically are code for Pitbull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier.
For years Dale and Stacy placed free ads for adoptable pets in their monthly magazine, Paw Prints The Magazine. While paging that section of the magazine, Stacy emailed Dale a photo of one of the dogs available for adoption. This was common, what was different was that the subject line read "Do you want another Border Collie/St. Bernard mix?" They thought that's what Seamus was before the DNA test. As expected, Dale opened the photo attachment to look at the dog. He ran upstairs, and told Stacy to call the rescue who had Clyde to see if they could go take a look at him. Needless to say, they were off to go "look" at a dog. Just so you know, Stacy and Dale have never gone to "look" at a dog. If they go to look at one, they are bringing one home. This was no different, and they brought home what they were told was a 11 month old Border Collie/St. Bernard mix. Clyde's lovable personality soon came out and Stacy and Dale were certain, there was NO Border Collie in this dog (which through DNA testing they found they were correct), Clyde was an 11 month old 100 pound, lovable monster. He was by far the happiest dog either Dale or Stacy had ever seen. Clyde is always ready to go on any adventure, as long as Dale and Stacy are with him, he is up for any challenge. Clyde was diagnosed with spleen and liver hemangiosarcoma on June 6th 2012. He passed away on June 8th 2012. We miss him very much, he was the happiest dog we have ever owned. He was the third dog by age in 3 Dogs and a Tent.
Drover May 2011 -
(Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix)
OK... we were at exactly 3 dogs ... to go with our 3 Dogs and a Tent name... But Stacy thought that since we lost Sedgwick months earlier and we had an available space and our dogs weren't spring chickens, it was time for a puppy. Dale bristled at the idea. He thought our crew of 3 dogs and 3 cats was just perfect. While Stacy agreed, she was still pining for a puppy. Dale was firm in his answer... NO! Well, she sort of knew better. Again knowing his weakness for Border Collies and herding breeds in general she knew she could get him to change his mind when the right opportunity presented itself... and it did. As friends of the local disc dog group, Stacy and Dale are members of their Facebook group and see all of their posts and updates. One day one of the group's members said a friend of his family that had a farm near KC also had a female Border Collie that accidentally had a special play date with the Blue Heeler that belonged to the farmer down the road... that resulted in some BC/Blue Heeler pups... 8 of them! Stacy showed the post to Dale and he agreed to look at them (with some fake reluctance). Now we all know that when the Smith's go to "look" at a dog they're really just going to pick it up. In this case the puppies were a little too young to go home with their new families, but Stacy picked out the one being called "Houdini" (you can guess what that meant about his personality). He was active, bossy and creative in escaping their pen... Stacy thought he'd be perfect. They picked him up the following weekend and he fit in like a square peg in a round hole. He had no manners (he's being taught by both the dogs and the cats), but is a genius and learns fast. He was so brilliant, he was potty trained at 7 weeks. It worked out so well, Stacy is now thinking about the next puppy to bring into the family, Dale is still bristling at the idea.
Sawyer 2011 -
(Newfoundland/? possible Border Collie mix)
So there we sat less than a month after we had to put
I click on the link and a new window pops up and I see a really great looking pooch. I Skype her back and my message read ... “really cute!” By the time I pressed the enter key to send the message I was already running up to her office from mine. The dog was really cute.
After we exchanged a few pleasantries I said let’s go get him. I thought Stacy was going to fall out of her chair. She replies, “right now? You want to go look at him right now?”
Out the door we went and as I was pulling out of the driveway I asked her if we should get a leash. Her response was no, but I knew I should bring one just in case.
I was right; I should have brought the leash, because we came home with a 1 1/2 year old mutt. On the way home from the shelter we stopped off at out vet, got him weighed in, picked up a few meds we would need and set an appointment for the following Friday to get him checked out.
We’re back to 4 dogs and a tent again. We changed his name from Gus, which is what the shelter was calling him, to Sawyer. (like all our dogs we will be getting him DNA tested). Stay tuned.