Pet Tips 'n' Talesİ

Something Fishy About Dog's Babies!

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"İ
Retta and Jim watch their confused dog Carrie-Belle check in on one of her "babies."

TALES

Carrie-Belle is well known around town as her parents Retta and Jim dedicate their time to the Cottage Grove Prospectors and Goldiggers organization and Carrie attends many of the events.  But not everyone is aware of Carrie's private life!

Not every dog has a godparent, but Carrie-Belle, a 7-year-old Border Collie, is lucky enough to have two!

When Jim and Retta adopted their puppy, their friends Elaine and her husband, Tom, also fell in love with the spirited puppy. 

Retta joked and suggested that Elaine and Tom become the pup's godparents.  In the process, Elaine made up the unique name of Carrie-Belle to honor her god-dog's beautiful breed.

Jim and Retta were stunned when they heard the name!  Was it a message from their guardian angel? Unbeknownst to Elaine, Jim's deceased grandmother's name was Carrie-Belle!

Many of us, upon seeing a much-loved cat or dog that is catered to--we laugh and say, "When I die, I would love to reincarnate as your furry companion." In this case, it sure does make you think!

"Border Collies are intelligent," says Retta, "My husband trained Carrie to bring me my slippers.  For the first slipper he went to the bedroom with her and then, on her own she went and got the second slipper.  After that one time, she fetches my slippers on her own when asked. This is a great arrangement when my toes are cold in the winter! As smart as Carrie is to fetch the slippers, we have yet to train her to put her own toys away!"

On their back porch, Retta and Jim have a koi pond with ten fish in it.  Two of the fish, Bob and Barbara, are named after their friends that gave them to Retta and Jim.
Carrie has adopted the fish as her own babies. When Retta and Jim have a visitor, Carrie rushes to the pond to show off her babies.

Visitors have to admire Carries "babies" until they have been gushed over them long enough.  Carrie is obviously a proud mother!  She gently puts her paws in the pond, and the fish come up to nibble her toes.  If she places her face close to the water, her "babies" give her a kiss on the cheek. 

It is amazing to see that these large fish are not afraid of Carrie, or she of them.  "Koi can live for 100 years, so you have to be committed to their care. Our fishes' leader fish is Bob, and all the fish stay with him. Bob must be their fish schoolmaster," laughs Retta.

Having a loving dog with such an expressive face has its advantages and disadvantages. When Carrie is admonished for a slight doggy infraction, "... her face gets such a sad expression that we feel guilty for upsetting her," seriously says Retta.  "The flip side is that when she is happy, her joyful smile captivates everyone."

Carrie's two great loves are Jim and the beach.  "As soon as we arrive at the beach and she sees the waves, she flashes us her best doggy smile.  Her entire body shakes with JOY as she runs down the beach to chase the waves.

Retta has a rock collection and Carrie's favorite rock is a round ball size thunder egg. According to Retta, "Carrie continually steals the rock from its shelf, puts it on the floor, and rolls on it.  She plays with the rock like other dogs do their favorite ball.  She even hides it from me!  Also, Carrie has opened her own Christmas presents since a pup. She also knows exactly which ones are hers!  And Carrie intuitively 'knows' when I come home with a special present for her."

Carrie is an entertaining character who adds love and happiness to Retta and Jim's lives - and the fishes' lives!


 TIPS

"Being retired and raising a puppy is so much easier than when we were working.  We are at home, and it takes time, and repetitious training to have a puppy's behaviors work into your  household rhythm.  We believe dogs should have social skills just like people do.

We love to travel with Carrie, so she needed to have excellent social skills.  We trained her to be polite and accepting of other dogs, no matter how loud they bark at her.  Carrie is trained like a school child to have in an inside voice-a soft bark! We say, "Use your inside-voice and she gives a quiet woof.  We also trained her not to jump on people.  This is a benefit to young and old alike.  Now she won't knock people over in her exuberance, and she won't scratch elderly friends' frail skin.  I wish our children had been this easy to train!" adds Retta with a smile to match Carrie's!
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Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Tips 'n' Tales newspaper columnist, Mary Ellen with Miss Wings
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