Echo River Ranch

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About Missy

More details and more pictures of Missy.  More about how we obtained Missy.  More funny things and stories about Missy.  More stuff that Missy likes to do.  More ...  More ...  More ...

Missy is such a character that we just cannot keep track of it all. There isn’t a day that she hasn’t made us laugh with her silly antics. Here we have extended her story.

Still can’t get enough about this dog? There are more stories about Missy on the blog.
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The Beginning - How We Obtained Missy - The Long Story

picture of Ileen
                      Ileen Schumaker

The ranch owners mother, Ileen Schumaker, lived in a motor home which she sometimes parked at the ranch and sometimes parked at her sons home in Yelm, WA. She loved her home and used to spend her summers in WA and travel to AZ and CA in the winter

Ileen also loved the breed of dogs known as Bichon Frise or Bichon. She had owned three of them at different times. Each one served as her companion and service dog. They went with her everywhere - they rode in her car, in the basket of her scooter, or on the seat of her walker.

Her last Bichon had a disease that stunted her growth, so she was quite small and sickly. She was a perfect companion for Ileen who was fighting fourth stage cancer herself. When the dog passed away, Ileen was very distraught over the loss and severe depression was not helping her own health. But she did say that she was willing to get another Bichon if it was a female and small like the last one.

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internet picture of puppy                             Finding Missy

An average Bichon is normally between 16 and 22 pounds. Finding a small one would not be easy. A search on the internet found that Miniature Bichons were about half the normal weight, but the puppies were extremely expensive and had to be flown in from France.

It was only by chance that a small female puppy was being advertised. The price was very high, but not as expensive as those dogs coming out of Europe. This puppy was reported to be out of a mother who weighed 5 pounds and a father who weighed only 4-1/2 pounds.

One look at the picture of this adorable puppy and Ileen could not help but be in love with her.

Unfortunately the puppy was only 6-1/2 weeks old and would not be released until she was eight weeks old. She was living in Mississippi and would have to be flown in for pickup at the Seatac Airport. It was going to be a long two week wait, but Ileen was very excited.

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Ileen & Missy at cargo meeting               Ileen and Missy Meet

The day finally came, Ileens daughter picked her up and drove her to the airport cargo building. They waited only a few when a small crate was brought into the room and placed on the counter.

The crate looked like it was stuffed with shredded paper. And inside, Ileen found a tiny ball of white fluff that was shivering from either fear or cold or both.

The little thing eagerly crawled into Ileens hands and they cuddled each other. Ileen craddled the puppy against her chest like a baby and started cooing the name "Missy".

Missy needed to be loved and cared for and Ileen needed to love and care for someone. They were an ideal match.

Ileen had brought along some food and water. Missy was not interested in the water, but she gobbled up the few bits of soft chicken in Ileens hand. Then a jar of ground chicken baby food was opened. It smelled wonderful and Missy rapidly licked up each spoonful offered to her. She had a great appetite and was trying her best to eat the whole jar. When the spoon was empty, she was trying to get her nose and tongue down into the jar.

Missy eating chicken bits Missy looking for more to eat Missy eating ground chicken baby food Missy trying to eat from the jar Missy in Ileens walker bag Missy enjoying a full belly rub Missy getting a new shirt Missy looks sad about the shirt Missy immitating a happy walrus stretch
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On the way home, Ileen stopped at a pet store to get some puppy food. She wrapped Missy in a blanket and set her into the pocket of her walker. Missy quietly sat there, eyes wide. While at the store, Ileen bought Missy a pink sweatshirt with a hood. Ileen had dressed all of her dogs and Missy would be no different. Soon she would have a wardrobe large enough to be fit for a queen.



Ileen talking to Missy about potty training         Adjusting To Life With Missy

Upon arriving home, Missy was placed in the grass in hopes that she might be potty trained. But she was more interested in exploring and meeting the stray cat (Barncat).

The next day, Ileen took Missy for a health check at a veterinarian. Of course, she was fine and weighed in at a meer 20 ounces.

Ileen herself, was still fairly healthy and retaining her own independance. She still lived in her motor home that was now permanently parked on her sons property. And she still drove herself to the store, appointments, cancer treatments, etc.

On the fourth day, Ileen drove Missy out to visit her daughter at the ranch. Missy was growing and although she was brave enough to bark at the horses, she was smart enough to recognize danger. She stayed close to Ileens feet and immediately returned to her when she was scared.

Missy in her new yard Missy not sure what to do Missy checking out Barncat Missy running and ears flying Missy wanting to be picked up Missy getting unstuck from Ileens sock Missy watching Ileen back away Missy following Ileen Missy begging to be picked up Day four and Missy is already growing bigger Fourth day: Missy rolls over to expose her belly Ileen takes Missy for a walk Missy soon leads the walk Missy stands on Ileens foot for security Missy hides behind Ileen Missy trying to be brave Missy barking at Echo Missy safely back at Ileens feet Missy picks up a fir cone for protection
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Like her other dogs, Missy accompanied Ileen everywhere - bundled in the pocket of her walker, the basket of a scooter, or the child seat of a shopping cart. But Missy was not potty trained. So Ileen placed puppy pee-pads on the floors of her home (and Missy ignored them.)

Missy was a very happy and playful puppy. She rarely slept and if she did, it was only for a couple of minutes. Missy was keeping Ileen very busy.

Missy was also very spoiled and used to getting her way. She liked to be picked up and held. And she loved being the center of attention. Ileen did not allow other people to touch her, only her son and daughter were allowed to handle her. So Missy became very aggressive toward other people.

Missy at 10 weeks old; rare sleeping moment Missy at twelve weeks and growing Missy trying to crawl out of her pen Missy looks like a stuffed toy Missy on the lap of Ileens daughter (ranch owner) Missy standing against Ileens legs for attention Missy checking the garbage for empty paper towel rolls Missy getting caught chewing on papers under her stairs to the couch Missy at sixteen weeks old Missy next to her favorite bouncing toy (pink faced toy) Missy digging through some of her many toys Missy found a plastic bottle cap to play with Missy looking out the car window
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When Missy was about twelve weeks old, Ileen attended a holiday show to sell the jewelry that she made. Her health was starting to fail, so her daughter was there to help her. And Missy was a source of great entertainment for the customers. She was not happy about being kept in a playpen inside the booth and she often complained loudly. So Ileen would put her on a leash and let her play on the floor of the booth.

At home, Missy had a set of steps to help her get up onto the bed and onto the couch. She had so many toys that they barely fit into a large box. She would empty her toy box a couple times a day, just to keep Ileen busy in picking them all up again. Her favorite was a battery operated ball that bounced and jiggled and made laughing and music noises when it was bumped. It was very heavy, probably weighing as much as a pound. Missy could pick it up in her mouth and swing it over her head in circles. Sometimes she got too close to Ileen when she was twirling the toy and would clock Ileen in the head or face with it.

Ileen had to be careful not to drop anything to the floor. Missy would grab anything and it immediately became a toy with which to play keep away.

Missy asleep in Ileens lap while driving Missy at four and a half months old Missy laying on Ileens bed Missy sitting on the bed Missy sprawled with her back legs out Missy in her new jean jacket and matching cap Missy on top of and looking under the stool Missy eating a cheese puff, note xmas haircut
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Ileen regularly brushed Missys hair to help keep her clean and fluffy. Occasionally she even gave her a bath to wash out the brown stains around her eyes. At Christmas, Missy got her first haircut by a professional groomer.

Ileen enjoyed Missys company. Unfortunately, Missy had no respect for authority or her living environment. And Ileen was not prepared for so much activity. Ileen purchased training books and even hired a dog trainer, but Missy was still ruling the roost. Finally, Ileen decided to send Missy to the ranch for some training.



Missy waiting in barn on the wheelbarrow full of hay              Missy At The Ranch

At the ranch, Missys whole life changed. She went from total freedom to total confinement. She was in her safety crate or on a leash at all times. Soon she learned to come when called just so she could be held and rubbed. And for those times when her focus was on smells, a tidbit of chicken usually enticed her to come running.

But the house training was more difficult. Missy did not connect the crate with safety. Maybe it was the airflight, but she bit visciously when forced into the crate and howled for hours until exhaustion would force sleep upon her. Even though she was leashed and taken outside every few hours, she still soiled the crate time and time again.

Missy did learn the routine of the ranch. She loved going out to feed the horses twice a day. She was almost always greeted by Barncat also looking for a meal. Missy would jump on her and run along side of her out to the barn. Once in the barn, she eagerly waited for the wheelbarrow to be filled with hay and then jumped aboard. She balanced herself on top of the hay and watched as the flakes where fed to the various horses.

The horses scared her the first time she was wheeled out on the hay. But soon Missy was barking and nipping at the nose of any horse that dared to try and eat hay out of the wheelbarrow. Inside the wheelbarrow she was safe and could not be stepped on by a horse. Similarly, one day when horses were being saddled, Missy was placed up on top of Big, who was saddled, so that she would not be stepped on.

Missy put on the hay to keep her out of the way Missy balanced and looking at the horses Missy having second thoughts about the horses Missy checking to see if horses are sneaking up from behind Missy resting on top of Big, safe from being stepped on Missy and Barncat on the front porch Missy with a toy in her mouth and wanting to play a game of keep away Missy finally releases the toy after much running The keep away object was a soggy rabbit hair mouse
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Missy was still very playful and any opportunity that she got to pick up something in her mouth and run, she would. Fir cones where still fun toys, but she also picked up other small things like cat toys or socks. It was always a game of keep away and she loved to be chased.

One day she grabbed a four foot long stick and started running. She was running quite fast when the weight of the stick caused one end to drop into the ground and pole vault her through the air. She never let go of that stick, but a small branch on it gouged the top of her head and she had a sore that required some medicine for several days.

Missy carefully exploring her first snow Missy getting excited about the snow Missy has snow flakes sticking to the hair on her face Missy finding smells under the fresh snow Missy following smells into the brush Missy disappearing into the snow laden brush Missy smelling rabbit tacks in the snow Missy wanting the leash to come off so she can run Missy looks very dark against the white of snow Missy learning to kick up and attack balls of snow Snow starting to ball up on Missys legs Missy having difficulty walking with all the extra snow Missy looking like a sorry wet dog
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Just when she was starting to pay attention to the reasons she was regularly going outside, it snowed. Missy decided that she loved the snow and she would race around in circles and kick the snow into balls ahead of her. She had to go back on the leash because she was playing rather than focusing on why she was outside. Unfortunately she has a type of hair that the snow easily sticks to and eventually she becomes ladden down from the weight of the snow like a big snow ball.

During Missys training at the ranch, Ileen received daily updates and regular visits. But she missed her dog and wanted her back. So after three weeks, she called an end to the training and Missy went back to live with her.



Missy after digging in the mud                  Missy In Charge

Ileen was comforted by Missy and her regular comedial antics. Missys companionship was helping Ileen keep her mind off of her own poor health.

Ileen was loosing her independence. She was no longer driving herself in her car. Getting up and down the stairs to her home was becoming more and more difficult.

After her ranch training, Missy was great about coming when she was called. Of course, Ileen was reinforcing her good behavior with lots of praise and rubs.

The potty training still needed work and it was even more hampered by Ileens inability to get Missy outside frequently. So Ileen covered every possible surface with puppy pads and Missy ran the house.

Because of her failing health, Ileen was cleaning out her home in preparation for moving into her sons home.

Ileens daughter (ranch owner) visited at least once a week to help Ileen pack up her home and to take Ileen to doctor appointments or to go shopping. On their outings, Missy would ride in the basket of the scooter or shopping cart. She was extremely protective of Ileen and she would bark or growl at anyone coming too close. Her aggressive behavior was potentially dangerous.

Ileen wanted to visit the Pike Market in Seattle with both her son and daughter. Several times during this outing, Missy almost bit someone who was trying to be friendly and pet her. Ileens response was that people should not be trying to touch her dog. But reality was that Missy needed to be more accepting.

Missy in the basket of Ileens scooter Ileen and her son Missy eyeballing a crowd of people Missy window shopping with Ileen Ileens sons talking to her about Missy almost biting someone
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Ileens health was rapidly deteriorating and she moved into her sons home. Missy came back to the ranch and her potty training resumed. Ileen received daily updates and tales about Missys exploits. There were also regular visits for Ileen to spend time with her. Missy looked forward to these lengthy visits as much as Ileen did.

Even when Missy was finally potty trained, she continued living at the ranch because Ileen could no longer properly care for herself. Ileen was on home hospice and Missy was able to visit her almost daily during those final weeks. Ileen passed in August of 2011. Missy layed beside and comforted Ileen for many of her final hours.



Puppy Tails - Funny Things & Stories About Missy

Missy waiting on a stored saddle        Missy, Horseback Riding Dog

Putting Missy on saddled horses to keep her safely out of the way, only encouraged her desire to ride. Of course, she had extensive preliminary training. First she rode in the pocket of Ileens walker and then in the basket of her scooter.

At some point, Ileen had purchased a pet carrier sling bag with a strap that went over the shoulder like a purse. Missy had been carried in the sling bag a few times when taken along to a flea market. The sling bag hangs from the saddle horn and provides an excellent position for Missy to ride and see the trail ahead.

Missy is not tied to the sling bag or to the saddle. Sometimes she rides in a (no choke) harness that has an extendable leash attached to it. The leash is also carried in the sling bag and sort of a safety catch if Missy jumps or leans out too far and falls. She usually rides quietly, but she will stand up in the bag and lean forward when she sees other dogs or smells wildlife.

Missy & Big at Taylor Mtn Missy & Hawk under powerlines near the ranch Taking a break on Holder Knob View of Missy from saddle above Missy & Big at Sahara Camp near Elbe Missy & Big at Silver Lake on Crystal Mtn Missy watching the riders in front of her Missy sitting in her sling bag Missy riding almost upside down Missy taking a break at the waterfall
Missy & the trail guide Offering Missy a drink of water Missy begging to get back on the horse End of the ride; arriving back at the trailers
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She started on the short rides of an hour or two. She is always attentive during the ride, watching down the trail, ducking brush that comes too close, wiggling with excitement if she smells a wild animal, and nipping at other horses that are curious about her and put their nose too close.

All of the ranch horses have carried Missy on a trail ride, they don’t seem to mind. However, Hawk did bring his nose around to smell her and she nipped at him. And she will nip at the nose of other horses if they get too close to her.

Missy rides on the same horse as the trail guide. As the guide is generally the most experienced rider, the guide can protect Missy from trail brush and trees that she might be bumped into.

Missy at a powerline break Missy helping find Chanterelle mushrooms Missy can’t ride the CMOs, she is happy to sit in a saddle afterwards Missy looking behind as viewed from above Missy from the forward view Missy from the back view Missy riding at Mossyrock Missy watching the rider in front Missy taking in the view at Taylor Mtn Missy at the Cedar River overlook Missy at Easton Missy keenly watching the road ahead Missy riding at Cle Elum Missy riding trails at the ranch
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Missy was soon accompanying us on the longer trail rides. Though she does not go out on every ride, she would if she could. If we suspect the ride will be too wet or cold for her, we do not take her along. And she is not taken on the orienteering rides, as they have a tendency to be a little long and over some very rough terrain.

When the horses are being saddled, Missy is dangerously underfoot and at risk of being stepped on. So sometimes she will be put inside the ranch house or truck until everyone is mounted and ready to ride. Even then, she watches intently and voices her desire to ride.

When she is let out, she runs to the saddled horses and looks for the one with her sling bag on it. Then she begs to be put up on the horse.

Missy eating grass with Big at Onalaska Missy hanging out at Holder Knob Missy leaning back and ears flopping at Joe Watt Canyon Missy getting a kiss from Ellensburg Posse member Missy at Mossyrock, lots of clover Missy riding at Easton Missy asking to get back on the horse Missy recognizing a friend of hers Missy riding by facing backwards Missy found some grass to eat Big checking out Missys findings Big looking for more grass=s Missy & Big sharing a small patch of grass Missy & Big looking across the field for wildlife
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Out on the trail, when the riders stop for a snack or to allow the horses to eat grass, Missy is taken out of the sling bag. She will do her business and sometimes even eat some grass like the horses, but soon she is begging to be put back up on the horse.

Occasionally, when we haven&t been riding recently, Missy will disappear. We almost always find her in the barn where she has climbed onto a stored saddle. She will be just sitting or laying there, with a pout look on her face.



ranch truck and living quarters horse trailer           Missys Camping Adventure

The ranch purchased a living quarters horse trailer. Previous horse camping had always been a tenting experiece.

The trailer was designed in levels; floor, bench, counter, bed. The levels are equal to the height of a hay bale. Since Missy regularly climbs the hay stacked in the barn, she also climbs the levels to the bed of the horse trailer.

This first camping trip with Missy and horses was to an area called Fifes Peak located in the Cascades along Highway 410. The camp ground itself is very small, but offers a few trails that are perfect for a weekend adventure. This was her first horse camping trip.

The first days ride was up the Crow Lake Trail to Sheep Lake. The trail climbed several thousand feet and offered great views of Fifes Peak, of the valley below with the American River, of the peaks of Mt. Rainier, and of alpine meadows and pine forests.

Missy in doorway of new trailer Missy checking the steps to counter and bed Missy in her sling bag hanging from saddle horn Missy, Big, & Debie starting up the trail About half way up, view of Mt Rainier Taking a break from the climb More climbing View of rocky peaks View over the edge into valley below Missy looking back at rider behind her
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The hillside was very steep and switchbacks helped a lot to make the climb easier. The trail was solid and safe.

Missy seemed disappointed at every rest stop, though she soon found something to explore. She liked being up high, so any log angled up was an invitation for her to climb. Her balance is excellent.

Lunch break was a large meadow filled with grasses for the horses to eat. Missy quickly ate her lunch of baked chicken and then set about exploring. The log used as a lunch bench extended high into the air and she was soon as high as she could get.

Missy wondering why the riders have stopped Taking a lunch break; our riding companion Bobbi Playing on the log Looking around Missy likes to be up high Return to camp along the same trail Missy looking back at Bobbi Now everyone is looking back to see what Missy is watching Arriving back at camp Missy still on Big who is tied to the hitching rail Missy exploring the campsite Missy covered in little plant seed hitchhikers Missy leashed to prevent her wandering
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When everyone returned to camp, Missy set about exploring. There was a chipmunk scampering from tree to to tree stump near the camp. Missy saw it and off she went. The chipmunk was faster and smarter and was soon safe high in a tree. Missy, however, had followed the chipmunk through a bunch of weeds and was now covered in little seed pods clinging to her hair. It took over an hour of careful picking to get them all off of her.

Occasionally, other visitors would drive by the campsite. So for Missys safety, she was put on a leash and teathered so she could walk around camp but not get into the roadway.

Later that evening, Missy sat quietly in her own chair near the campfire. Normally after a trail ride, she takes a nap, but there was too much going on and she was afraid she might miss it. And that night when she did sleep, it was down at the bottom of the sleeping bag.

The trail next to the American River Old growth trees & Vanilla Plant covered forest floor Missy eagerly watching the trail ahead View from above, Missy falling asleep against the saddle View from the front, Missy falling asleep Crossing the American River On the banks of the American River Checking out the shore rocks Seeing something in the water Wadding into the water The water is too cold for wadding Warmer on the shoreline Exploring a shoreline log Watching something in the water Returning back to the camp
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On the second days ride, the riders took the trail that looped and crossed the American River. If Missy was tired from the prior days ride, it was difficult to tell. The prior days ride was approximately five hours of riding, but over eight hours out on the trail. About four hours into the second days ride, Missy was falling asleep. She was resting her head against the horse and saddle, rather than leaning out of the sling bag to watch the trail.

There were a couple of stops made along the river in order to play in the water. And near camp, they took a long lunch break and even washed some of the sweat off the horses in the river.

Missy spent her time along the river wadding in the water and exploring the shoreline. The water was very cold, too cold for swimming.



         Missy Games & Toys

Missy is very active. She loves to play and run. Sometimes she will just start running in big circles for no reason. And while she is running she makes a heavy breathing sound like she is growling at the same time. Ileen used to call this the Bichon Run, as all of her other Bichon dogs had done the same thing.

If she can get someone to chase her, all the better. She likes to play a game we call Gimme That. When she picks something up in her mouth and you want it, you must say bring that here. Because if you say "gimme that" she will run expecting you to chase her.

She will make a toy out of anything. Outside she frequently picks up fir cones, leaves, sticks, and even dried horse apples (pieces of horse poop).

Like most dogs, Missy will also play fetch. She will go after thrown items like a stick, a fir cone, or a golf ball. And she will bring them back a few times. But after four or five throws, she wants to change the game to Gimme That.

Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy chasing leaves Missy playing fetch with a stick Missy playing fetch with a stick Missy playing fetch with a stick Missy playing fetch with a stick Missy playing fetch with a stick
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Missy also has a large blue bouncy ball that she plays with outside. Initially she would push the ball around with her chest and direct it where she wanted it to go, similar to a soccer player. But since the ball has lost some of its air, she can now grip it in her mouth and carry it around. She often shakes it and it flops back and forth around her head. If the ball is kicked or thrown, she chases it and flops upon it and rolls with it on her belly.

She has some pit bull tendencies. She will unexpectedly grab the end of lead ropes after horses have been released from their halters. Then she violently shakes the rope and often jumps into the air to get a better bite on the rope. If we try to lift the rope out of her reach, she leaps and grabs with her teeth. She hangs on like a pit bull. We have to be careful that we don’t lift or drag her, and she is also in danger of being tripped over and stepped on when she plays this game.

Another dangerous game that she plays is biting at our shoes as we are walking. She positions herself directly in the path of the shoe and bites at it. If it moves, she opens her mouth over the shoe and grabs it on top and bottom. Trying to walk by just shuffling the feet makes it difficult to keep our balance and also puts her in danger of (once again) being tripped over and stepped on. She leaves bite marks on our shoes.

Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball Missy playing with her blue ball
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Some of her games are played inside the house. Her favorite indoor toy is a stuffed toy that we call Tiger Bear. She knows her Tiger Bear by name and will pick it out if we ask her where it is. She enjoys playing tug-a-war and also shakes it violently while tugging. After a good deal of tugging and shaking, Missy will then quietly lick and preen her Tiger Bear.

Sometimes she plays this tug-a-war game with floppy cat toys or socks. She also likes to play the Gimme That game with socks that have been left lying on the floor. And the socks often get transported outside if we aren’t paying close attention.

Missy playing with egg hunt eggs Missy playing with egg hunt eggs Missy playing with egg hunt eggs Missy playing with egg hunt eggs Missy hanging from and violently shaking the lead rope Missy hanging from and violently shaking the lead rope Missy hanging from and violently shaking the lead rope Missy hanging from and violently shaking the lead rope Missy hanging from and violently shaking the lead rope Missy attacking and biting shoes Missy attacking and biting shoes Missy attacking and biting shoes Missy attacking and biting shoes Missy attacking and biting shoes
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Missys habit of making anything a toy also extends to empty paper towel rolls and tissue boxes. She will shred the towel rolls into a million pieces. And she chews the pieces until they are wet and soggy. Tissue boxes must be kept out of reach or she empties them. Not only does she pull out all the tissues, but she then shreds the tissues and spreads them throughout the house.

Ileen had problems with Missy chewing on inappropriate things. We have found that providing her with a ’Bully Stick’ satisfies her need to chew. She also likes chewing on a deer antler that was given to her by our friends at Aumans Taxidermy. And she picks up all the hoof trimmings from when the horses have their feet trimmed or shod. She eats the little pieces and saves the larger ones for later by hiding them in the bushes and in the loose hay.



Missy checking out the ice on a branch            Missy In The Snow

Missy makes a game out of everything, snow was no exception. She would leap and bounce even in the shallowest of a snow fall.

If we throw or roll snowballs across the top of the snow, Missy will chase them. When she catches them, she bites them and shakes them apart.

She does not seem to be affected by the colder temperatures caused by the snow. She must be having too much fun running, bouncing, and digging in it. When she runs and bounces, her ears fly high above her head and she looks like she has rabbit ears.

One time after a snow was a hard freeze. The snow was frozen enough that Missy could walk on top of it and only fell through if she tried to run or bounce. When she bounced, little pieces of frozen snow were sliding across the other solid surface. Soon Missy was chasing the pieces and making more and more pieces slide around. She was overwelmed at which piece to chase and each leap was making even more pieces that she wanted to chase.

Missy tasting the snow Missy with a snowflake stuck on her nose Missy chasing a snowball Missy attacking a snowball Missy starting to get snow clumps on her legs Missy with snow clumps on her nose Missy bounding with snow clumps Roxy playing with Missy Digging in the snow Missy with snow clumps up to her chest Missys got snow in her eye Missy looking at something in the snow Missy bounding and creating rabbit ears Missy about to attack a snowball Missy shaking a snowball apart
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It snowed several different times during the winter of 2012. During one of the snows, Roxy was visiting and played with Missy in the snow. Against the bright white of the snow, Missy looks grey.

Missy often pokes her nose or entire face into the snow. Maybe she smells something or maybe she hears something under the snow. When she pulls her head back out, the snow has stuck to the hairs around her face.

Only when the snow is fresh and packs easily, does it stick to Missys hair. The stickier the snow, the more readily it clings and clumps to her hair.

Missy pouncing on a snowball Missy waiting for another snowball to chase Missy on side of horse trailer Missy walking on frozen snow Missy waiting for a piece of ice to be thrown Missy chasing a piece of icey snow Missy carefully walking so not to break through the ice layer Missy attacking a piece of icey snow Missy hearing something under the frozen snow Missy trying to smell something under the frozen snow Missy begging for something to chase Missy after rolling in the fresh snow Missy was able to shake some of the snow off Missy chasing more snowballs Missy covered in snow clumps
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Sometimes the snow has made such large snowballs around her legs that she can barely walk, that is probably why she usually bounces through the snow instead of running or walking. The snow packed onto her legs and body make her look like a little snowman dog.

And the clumping snow does not fall or pull off of Missys hair. The only way to get it off or out of her hair is to melt it out. So when she is so burdened by the weight of the snow or it looks like she might be getting cold, it is time to come in.

We do our best to break off the clumps of snow that we can and carefully pour warm water on what remains. Then we make sure Missy has a nice warm towel to dry off on.



           Other Missy Antics

Missy is part of life here at the ranch. She is a good companion and accompanies us most everywhere. But mostly, she provides the entertainment.

She often mimics the eating habits of the horses. She licks at the alfalfa leaves when she is in the wheelbarrow full of hay that will be fed to the horses. We have never seen her lick at the alfalfa leaves in the barn or on the stack of hay, only that hay that is in the wheelbarrow.

She will also chew at grass. She usually does this when we turn the horses into the yard to mow down the grass. She gets too close to the horses feet and eats at the same blades of grass. She often does this when we take a break on a trail ride, eats grass because the horses are eating grass.

Missy likes carrots and she is clever about stealing them away from the horses. If a horse should accidentally drop a piece of carrot and Missy spots it on the ground, she will dive for the horses nose and poke them so they will pull away and she can grab the carrot. Because this could eventually be very dangerous for her, we try to feed her carrot pieces before the horses. This way she will be eating her carrots and leave the horses to eat theirs.

When apples are fed to the horses, Missy wants to taste them, but seldom does she eat them. She is rarely aggressive about eating apples in the way she is with the carrots.

Occassionally, Missy will eat the pieces of grain that get dropped outside of the horse feed bucket. We try to discourage this, as she seems to have grain allergies.

Missy peeking from under the computer keyboard Missy peeking from under the computer keyboard Missy peeking from under the computer keyboard Missy peeking from under the computer keyboard Missy playing diva on the bed sheets Missy sitting on the bed Missy sleeping on the bed pillows Missy, found eating stolen sunflower seeds                  back to home page back to family page back to the top of this page

Living on the ranch, Missy is seldom clean. It is fortunate that she is well mannered for bathing and grooming. She doesn’t necessarily enjoy being brushed, but she will lay still for it. She is also very still when we clip her hair and nails.

Whenever we do ranch chores or activities involving dirt, Missy is right there wanting to help. She likes digging in the dirt. When we pull weeds, her nose is in the root hole as fast as the plant is lifted out of the ground.

As we have a great interest in mushrooms, we have been exploring the species of the truffle. We think Missy with her keen sense of smell would make a good truffle dog. On our first attempt at locating local truffles, we found a potential sight with soft dirt. Missy was very excited about our digging in the soil and was soon worming her way into the earth. The soil was very soft and she was able to root through the fir needles and dirt, some of which may have gone up her nose. Her entire head and neck were covered in dirt and we had some concerns about her ability to breath. Now if we can get her to recognize and search for the truffle scent.

Missy with a beef bone to be buried in the garden Missy with a santa hat on standing on top of the hay Missy soaking wet after caught in a rainstorm during a walk Missy, found in the gravel roadway outside the yard Missy behind the ranch gate Missy in a common pose and wanting to play with a stick Missy watching over the ranch from the porch Missy will weed seeds all over her head
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Missy commands a lot of attention where ever she is. She greets familiar faces with uncontrollable excitement, trying to climb up their legs or jump into their arms. Ranch customers are amazed to learn that she rides on the saddle of the trail guide and often take pictures of her. Anyone seeing her riding on the horse comments on how happy or satisfied she looks to be riding. In the car, she waits and watches from the dash or back window. People who pass by the car are astonished when she jumps up to bark at them, because she looks like a stuffed animal.

She is good at getting attention from us also. When we are sitting at the computer, she will try crawling into our lap from under the keyboard. If we are laying in bed, she will climb onto our chest and put her face in ours. If we are working at the counter, she will stand against our leg. On rare occasions, she will talk to us.

Missy pretends that she is brave, but she is a coward at heart. We proved this one day when we slipped out the back door and re-entered the house through the front door. Missy heard our steps on the porch and began barking. But as we slowly pushed the door open, she bolted through the house, into the bedroom, and under the covers. And we never made any aggressive sounds or movements, so her reaction left us surprised and laughing.

As many times as she has made us laugh, she has frightened us too. She was playing outside when we noticed that her head was bright red. It might have been blood, but darker like something dead that she might have rolled in. She does sometimes roll in things that smell bad, thus she then smells bad, usually dead things or bear poop. But this did not smell. It took us awhile to figure out that it was red mineral salt. Earlier we had spilled some cat food next to the salt blocks. And Missy had rubbed on the salt in her efforts to eat the cat food.

Missy appearing with a bright red face NOT BLOOD, it is red mineral salt Missy watching the waves slap a rock at Dog Lake Missy wadding in Dog Lake Missy and Lucy on the porch with a cat Missy and Surprise in the blue huckleberry patch Blue huckleberry patch Missy riding Surprise on the shore of the lake The lake
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Missy eats mostly natural foods. She will eat a lot of fruits and vegetables; in addition to carrots and apples, she will eat watermelon, banana, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and green peas. She also likes peanuts and almonds. And she likes sunflower seeds. She will roll the seed in her mouth for the flavor and then pop the shell, eat the seed, and leave the shell.

We usually feed Missy fresh cooked chicken, but occasionally we give her meaty pork neck bones or meaty beef bones to chew on. Once we gave her a huge beef bone and watched while she carried it outside and proceeded to bury it in the garden. We caught her digging it up a few days later and confiscated it for the garbage.

Missy does not really have any dog friends. We have taken her to dog parks, but she is afraid if there is more than one dog and begs to be held. If there is just one dog, all she wants is for that dog to run with her. A good friend of the ranch moved to Medford OR and invited Missy down to visit. She has a little dog named Lucy and Lucy loves to run as much as Missy does.

During the visit, Missy and Lucy ran for hours upon hours. First Lucy chased Missy, then Missy chased Lucy. While in Medford, we also went for a horseback ride to a beautiful lake and picked wild blue huckleberries. Missy liked the huckleberries, but could eat them faster than we could pick them, so we taught her how to pick her own berries. We hope that Lucy will come visit Missy soon.