Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tena Parker & Shayne and Rio

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Tena Parker and the dog in the photo is Shayne, my 5.5 year old female Border Collie mix.

Rio, my 1.5yr old Australian Cattle Dog/Whippet, is the subject of the photo below left.

I have a Master’s in Education and was working with a non-profit when the economy crashed and I was laid off—this, to me, was a sign to take my career in a new direction so off I went. I am a dog trainer, a (mostly) dog blogger, an amateur photographer, and lastly (I think), I am the Tena behind Tugs by Tena Etsy store.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Anytime I get a chance to have a relaxing picnic lunch with my dogs I leap at the chance. Since it’s a reasonably nice day (no rain or storms) I figured it was a good day to take advantage of with a picnic.

What's brewing?

Shhh, it’s a secret (though not really), but I’m not a coffee drinker. I rarely even drink tea but, in honor of the blog, I opted to make some fresh brewed Lipton’s Iced Tea (see, I’m low maintenance) to take with me for lunch.

Any treat for you and your dogs on this occasion?

Yep, I have a nice peanut butter and banana sandwich and an apple for lunch.

How were you and your dogs united?

I’d been looking for a dog for a year since losing my previous dog to a very fast moving cancer when I found Shayne in my local shelter. She was 10 months old and an abuse neglect case who was significantly under weight, really under socialized, generally scared of the world, and a really anxious dog.

Rio was adopted from a rescue in NJ when he was 4 months old. He was probably from an unwanted litter, no trauma or sad past for him.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My female dogs tend to have androgynous names and I heard of a female character on a T.V. show with the name Shane and I really liked it. When I got Shayne I had a list of five names and waited to see what suited her personality and Shayne won. Shayne is also known as Shayney, Shay, RED dawg, and Shayn-iac.

Rio… well he is named after the navy abbreviation R.I.O or radar intercept officer. This is the person in the backseat of older two-seater fighter planes. The RIO was crucial to the safety of the plane and the mission. They were not necessarily in charge of the flight of the plane but the input of the RIO was crucial and at times dictated the direction of the plane. That is sort of how I view my relationship with my dogs… I’m normally the one in charge of where we are going and what we are doing but the input of the dogs is crucial and will sometimes dictate the direction we take. Rio is also known as Ri or Ri-monster.

What inspired you to make and sell tug toys and leashes?

Shayne is a monster on toys. There are very few toys that survive more than a few days and it became ridiculously expensive. I like using tug-toys in my training but she destroyed commercially available fleece tug toys left and right so I wanted a much more durable product for her to play with. I made some for myself and in sharing photos and giving them as gifts I began to get orders for toys … and so Tugs by Tena was created.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Rio: Squirrel… no joke that word is considered a cuss word in our house because if it’s said, even in passing, Rio will run to every window in the house searching for squirrels (and in the process pull down curtains).

Shayne: hands down the UPS truck/person, she gets so riled up when they try to deliver anything.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

They are toy obsessed in general… so tennis balls, squeaky toys, puzzle toys… all their favorites.

Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?

A friend of the family has a large property where I am allowed to bring the dogs to be off-leash and play. They love this place. They can race through fields, chase squirrels in the orchard, they can scent out deer or turkey, Rio loves to roll in coyote poop, they can scent out gopher holes (and then stick their heads in them) and run through the crop fields.

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

They would probably long for me to have their same unending energy… after a 3hr hike I’m tired and they are ready to keep going.

What is each dog's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

Shayne’s proudest moment… well, I’d say my most proud moment of Shayne was the day I realized that she is no longer the terrified, anxious, tentative dog I adopted 4 years ago…that she’s, for the most part, a normal confident dog who can go anywhere and interact with anyone safely.

Most embarrassing for me (with regards to Shayne) was probably when we were doing a frisbee demo show in CT and she did a back vault (jump off my back) and I lost my balance and basically fell over!

Rio’s proudest moment happened recently. We were at the farm a few weeks ago and Rio was about 50 yards in front of me as we crested this hill, when I finally got to the top I saw Rio about 200yards away chasing deer into the woods. I recalled him and he turned on a dime and came flying back.

Rio … he’s so confident and sure of himself, I’m not sure he has ever done anything to embarrass himself and he, knock on wood, hasn’t really embarrassed me … yet.

Visit the Success Just Clicks blog and the Tugs by Tena Etsy store.

--Marshal Zeringue