Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Barry Good & Bella and Logan

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Barry Good and these are my dogs, Logan and Bella. Logan is a five year old English pointer and Bella is a three year old retired racing greyhound.

I have been a public safety dispatcher for over 10 years. Prior to that I managed a boarding kennel for dogs and cats for 8 years which was also home to a greyhound adoption organization. I returned to the kennel in the summer of 2008 on a part time basis, though the greyhound adoption agency has recently been dissolved. My wife, Terri, and I live with the dogs, two cats, and have a horse and 6 chickens. We enjoy gardening, camping, hiking and traveling when we can. I also consider myself an amateur naturalist, a not half-bad birder, and aspiring runner.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I'm taking advantage of Coffee With a Canine to actually sit and enjoy a cup in the company of the dogs. Things are usually rather rushed around here.

What's brewing?

Something special on this occasion. I drink a lot of coffee, but today we brewed a selection from Dean's Beans called Sirius Blend. I thought it appropriate. I have mine with a splash of 2% milk.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

None for me.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Logan has food allergies so he can only have a couple Hills Prescription Diet Hypoallergenic Treats.

Bella can and will eat just about anything. Today, she is sharing Logan's treats.

How did Bella and Logan come to be united with you?

We received information from one of our friends who boards her horse up the road from our place about a litter of pointer puppies that the barn owner had for sale. So, we visited with them to "just look". We were interested in a female, but she was already spoken for. One male really stuck out among the remaining pups. He was running around with a plastic water bottle in his mouth with this really proud, so-half dopey look on his face. We really liked him and decided that he was the one.

Bella was brought to the kennel sometime last year, not long after my return. She came from one of the Massachusetts dog tracks (now closed due to the racing ban in the state). The manager saw her and knew instantly that she should go to us, though she never really expressed this until after I was hooked. I think the manager knew me well enough to know that I would fall for this girl. Instantly. She was right.

In fact, she is an exceptional greyhound. She ran very few races and was apparently quite terrible at it.

How did they get their names? Do they have an aliases?

We decided on Logan after seeing the X-Men movie. My wife and I are both Hugh Jackman fans, so, at the time, it seemed appropriate.

When Bella came to the kennel, part of her track name was Rogue. I was not certain about how well the idea of a second dog would be received at home, but I sent a couple cell phone pictures to Terri and told her that the dog's name was Rogue knowing that she would get the connection. For those not familiar with the X-Men movie, Wolverine (Logan) has interaction with a character named Rogue early in the film. We thought this certainly was meant to be, though I did not really care what her name was. She was a perfect beauty and I wanted her. We changed her name to Bella soon after adopting her mainly because her track name was a bit awkward. Terri was reading the Twilight series when we were in the midst of trying to rename her. She suggested Bella and I agreed not really knowing anything about the book at the time. I still call her Rogue or Bella Rogue from time to time (among other things as you will see). In retrospect the way the dogs were named seems pretty lame, but here we are and they stuck.

Logan's aliases: Doodle, Doodle-bug, Lo-dog, Poodle.

Bella's aliases: Rogue, Bell, Bella-boo, Bucket, Banana, Bella-banana. I have no idea where some of them came from. I just started using 'B' words.

Where is their favorite place to go for an outing?

They are homebodies, but certainly enjoy tagging along when I am working at the kennel. There they are allowed a good romp in the fenced in pastures. Bella really lets loose and is quite difficult to photograph when she is running. They will also make any excuse for a car ride.

Tennis ball, stick, frisbee...?

Logan's all-time favorite is a soft frisbee, or floppy as I call it. He will chase and retrieve just about anything though.

Bella is rather fond of anything soft. She has a hedgehog plushie right now.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

They live with cats (Maggie and Sprout) and are indifferent to them. Our bird feeders are usually covered in gray squirrels, so the dogs could care less about them. Logan is a fierce watchdog and will advise us (loudly) of any perceived intruder on the property to include the UPS man, trash collectors, FedEx driver, and the postman.

What's an ordinary day like for Bella and Logan?

Mostly eating and sleeping unless they are at the kennel with me. Logan spends a lot of time on patrol keeping watch over the house. Bella plays the "I'm retired" card and enjoys hours of sleep.

Who are Bella and Logan's best pet-pals?

Well, I guess the simple answer is each other. When we are away they stay with the kennel manager at her home and get along quite well with her greyhound and chihuahua.

What are Bella and Logan's best qualities?

Aside from being fiercely loyal, Logan is, without question, the best watchdog I have ever had. He rarely misses anything and his bark, growl and appearance become quite menacing when someone approaches the house. He is also very loving and quite expressive.

Bella is, in my eyes, one of the most elegant examples of a racing greyhound I have ever seen. Her body is perfectly proportioned, she maintains her weight quite well and her musculature is just beautiful. Many greyhounds lose a lot of hair on their behinds, chest and sometimes their necks. She did not.

What's each dog's proudest moment so far? Most embarrassing?

We once brought Logan with us on a trip to Moosehead Lake in Maine. One day he accompanied us on a hike up Little Moose Mountain. I suppose if I had to choose a proud moment that would be it. He hiked well, though he did pull on the leash an awful lot.

I think Logan's most embarrassing moment was when I tried to get him to swim at a nearby pond. He was somewhat leery of the water. Eventually I carried him in and slowly lowered him into the water, but still kept hold of him. He began slapping his front paws rather wildly in what may have been an attempt at swimming. I let him go on his own and though he could still touch bottom quite easily he attempted to climb up the front of me. This was probably not the best approach at getting him in the water, but it certainly was entertaining. We never tried again.

I think Bella's proudest moment was the day she learned to sit. In my experience, it's not very easy to train a greyhound to sit. She picked up on it very quickly. Though it's not perfect, she does do it well and is quite willing to please which makes our job easy.

Her most embarrassing moment occurred fairly recently. I had her and Logan loose in the kennel compound while I was doing some maintenance work. She got up a little too much speed while chasing Logan around. As they approached the building she put on the brakes in an attempt to stop. She had too much speed going and slammed into the side of the building. She was fine, save for a few scrapes on her rear end and what seemed like a bruise on her pride.

Visit Barry Good's blog, "
Frost Bottom Farm."

--Marshal Zeringue