Tag Archives: Dogs

The Eastern Setter

Ol’ Wylie is pretty much the neighborhood rock star. When we go out for our regular after-work walk, the neighborhood kids frequently flock to his side. The kids inevitably want to pet Wylie, and many remark on how soft his hair is. (He uses shampoo with extra-conditioner.)
One of the most frequent questions the kids ask me is what kind of dog Wylie is. They’re never satisfied with “I don’t know” so I’ve tried variations such as “Black” or “He’s a Wylie.” None of those work either. Some Wylie-historians claim that Wylie is an Irish Police Dog from Scotland Yard, but Wylie insists that this is a gross exaggeration and he only ever worked with a small constabulary on the outskirts of Dublin.
So far though, Wylie hasn’t been willing to discuss his origins. Until now.
Earlier this week, Wylie and I were talking about the problem with the kids not accepting any of the standard answers. He admitted that it always bothered him to be putting me on the spot like that, so he’s decided to share his secret with the world:
Wylie is an Eastern Setter.
For those unfamiliar with the particulars of this breed, the Eastern Setter is native to North America with a range covering the mid-Atlantic states, going North into New England and as far West as Indiana.
Here we see the Eastern Setter in his natural environment — setting on the couch.
Wylie, setting on the couch.
Likewise, here we see the Eastern Setter in another of his favorite settings — setting on the deck, getting his back skritched by a pretty girl.
Wylie, setting on the deck, with a lovely pirate girl.
And again, the Eastern Setter, setting on the couch, getting his back skritched by two more pretty girls. (It’s truly a dog’s life!)
Wylie on the couch with two more pretty girls.

Another Day, Another Wylie Nickname

When he isn’t busy teleporting, or destroying furniture, Wylie loves to collect nicknames. He is truly “The Dog of a Thousand Names.”
This past weekend was spent visiting my parents, and as usual Wylie came along.
He’s been very well behaved lately, so when it was time to get in the car, I put him in his harness, but instead of clipping the leash on, I just carried it and let him walk out on his own. We walked out to the car and once the door was open, Wylie hopped right in and stood on the back seat, waiting to be buckled up.
The first stop on the trip was at my aunt’s house. A few minutes after arriving, I took Wylie’s harness and leash off and let him run around my aunt’s and cousin’s dogs. I only had to call him back to the porch one time, and when it was time to leave, he followed me straight to the car again.
Likewise, coming home on Monday afternoon, Wylie allowed me to put him in his harness and he walked straight to the car, all set to go for a ride.
We arrived home around 5:00. I unhooked his harness and let him hop out of the car while I gathered one or two things from the floor of the back seat. As I started back to the house, I realized that Wylie was no longer with me.
Looking around, I realized what had happened. We’d arrived just in time for Wylie’s usual early evening walk and he was walking himself! By the time I realized what was going on, Wylie was already two doors down, following our usual route. I called his name, whistled once, and Wylie realized he’d jumped the gun and came trotting back.
Because after all, one of Wylie’s nicknames is Good Boy!
And he likes hearing it as much as I like saying it.

The Fearsome Hunting Dog

Wylie and I generally go out for a walk three times a day. If the weather’s nice and things are calm, there’s sometimes a “bonus walk,” but those three core walks provide a sense of normalcy no matter what else may be going on.
The early morning and late afternoon/early evening walks are really just a chance to get out and stretch our legs while Wylie checks his messages at various neighborhood hydrants. But there’s nothing routine about our evening walks. Those have become the stuff of legend.

  • Five years ago Wylie was intently watching a rabbit and walked straight into the side of a parked car. (Yes, my dog hit a car.)
  • The next night, he did it again. Same street. Same car. Probably the same rabbit.
  • Three years ago, while visiting Mom and Dad, Wylie and I encountered a black and white cat. Wylie wanted to go sniff, but I chose to get us the heck out of there before the skunk could notice us.
  • Two years ago, Wylie was intent on his sniffing and failed to notice that his buddy Riley had stopped to “leave a message” at the local hydrant.
  • Six months ago, Wylie was intently staring at the flashing lights on a police car and walked head-first into a tree.

During this past Thursday’s walk, Wylie was very intent on cataloging all the new scents around the neighborhood. It had rained almost every day for the past two weeks (and indeed, most of the past two months), so the scents were particularly fresh, to the point where even a human such as I could appreciate some of them.
So intent was he on the scents of the grass, earth, and trees, Wylie completely failed to notice when he walked within 10 feet of a deer.
On the one hand, I really do believe it’s commendable that Wylie is able concentrate so intently on a given task. I’m a little jealous of his powers of concentration.
But I sometimes find myself thinking ol’ Wylie needs a seeing-eye dog.

Bad Birdy!

I have a child safety gate sitting in the hallway at the top of the stairs. The general idea is that if I put the gate across the top of the stairs, Wylie will stay upstairs while I’m away at work. Of course, it’s really just one more thing I have to deal with every morning and again in the evening. Wylie is so well behaved that there would really be no harm in just getting rid of it.
Take today for example. After a somewhat unusual start to the day, I forgot to put the gate up before leaving for work.
Not to worry though! When I came home in the evening, Wylie was still sitting on the bed. Oh, to be certain, he was ready to spring into action if there had been any sort of trouble – flood, fire, break-in, ol’ Wylie was prepared. But mostly he was just sitting on the bed, patiently awaiting his master’s return. Wylie is a good boy after all.
Wylie, patiently awaiting his master's return.
Clearly it was that dirty, rotten Terry Dactyl who tore a hole in the sofa cushion.
Torn sofa cushion in front of the bird cage.