Friday, August 13, 2010

Elayne Fletcher & Strummer, Lola, and Cody

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Elayne Fletcher, with my dogs (l to r) Strummer-a 5-year-old black and white Border Collie, Lola-a 9-year-old red and white Border Collie mix and Cody-a 12-year-old brindle and white Border Collie mix. I'm a self-employed structural engineer in Boulder, Colorado.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We're stopping on our way to a hike in the mountains and celebrating Cody's 12th birthday.

What's brewing?

Whatever's on tap at the North Boulder Amante coffee shop. I'm having a medium mocha to wake me up and give me energy for our hike.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I'm training for a triathlon so no treats today but after my race I'll be sure to stop by for one of their fabulous chocolate croissants for a post race treat.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Doggie Biscuit-otti, of course.

How were you and your dogs united?

We adopted Cody from the Boulder Humane Society. Then I wanted a second dog and my husband not so much so I hornswaggled him a little by telling him I wanted to stop at the Humane Society's retail store for a special toy for Cody that I'd seen there. Well, the special 'toy' we came home with was 8 week old Lola. Strummer came to me from the local Boulder Collie Rescue. The woman who ran the rescue worked in my office building and brought her foster dog into her shop. I avoided her for about 3 years then my evil co-workers told me she had the sweetest dog down in her shop. I resisted for a bit then I had to go down and check her out. She was a very sweet dog but did not get along with Lola so we didn’t adopt her. Then the rescue lady called me a few days later and said she had a boy with a personality that would likely get along with Lola and she was right. All 3 dogs get along really well.

How did your dogs get their names?

Cody had his name already when we adopted him and we thought it suited him so we kept it. As for Lola [left], I took one look at that sassy little red-headed puppy and Lola popped right into my head. Not sure where it came from. Strummer is named after Joe Strummer, singer from the punk rock band The Clash.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Not on their watch.

Frisbee, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Yes please. 24 hours a day if possible. Strummer’s favorite toy at the moment is a big plastic purple watering can. I can’t get him to put it down. But basically the dogs will play with just about anything, even cottage cheese containers.

Where are your dogs' favorite places for outings?

All three dogs love the Boulder Reservoir. They can swim and chase after their toys in the nice soft sand and run around like the loons that they are. They also love to go hiking and running with me in the mountains. They also love to go to the agility field to practice and to agility trials.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Cody and Lola are loners as far as other dogs go. They’d much rather play with me. Strummer has a few doggie pals, an Australian Cattle Dog named Maggie that belongs to a friend and various dogs that he knows from agility.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They’d like me to play with them all day long rather than wasting my time at my desk doing work.

What's each dog's best quality?

Cody [left] is loyal to a fault. If I’m sick he won’t leave my side. I was stuck at home after foot surgery and he would refuse to leave with the daily dog walker, we had to trick him into thinking I was going with in order to get him out the door.

Lola is a sassy, happy girl. She has a lot of joy and enthusiasm for everything she does and she makes me smile.

Strummer has a big personality. He’s a walking comedy routine and always makes me laugh.

What's each dog's proudest moment? The most embarrassing?

Cody’s [photo, right] proudest moment is probably taking fourth place in the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix at USDAA Nationals. Though he loved doing agility at the practice field he had a lot of stress issues when he starting competing and it took a lot of work for him to overcome his fears. Fourth place might not sound like much but being able to put in a nice clean run in the huge arena with the crowds and pressure of a large National event on a very hot day was huge for him.

Similarly Lola [photo, bottom left] placed second in the Grand Prix Finals at a USDAA Regionals and it was a high pressure event with a big crowd. She also had to overcome some fear issues to be able to do that.

Strummer‘s proudest moment is a little harder. I’d say maybe the time he provided solace to a homeless man in my neighborhood. Strum loves people despite being seized in an abuse case and when the homeless man saw him Strum wagged his tail at him and the man asked if he could pet him. I said of course and the man told me his son was just killed in Iraq and Strummer reminded him of the dog they had when his son was a kid. He threw his arms around Strummer and started crying and Strum just snuggled in and wagged his tail some more.

Elayne Fletcher's dogs have their own blog that follows their agility training and other adventures.

There is also video of their agility competitions
here and here.

--Marshal Zeringue