The dog who counts

As some of you noticed from Instagram (@likeasmallfire), our household canine population doubled. We’re watching Syd, who is Lyra’s birthmommy, for a bit. It’s hilarious how two dogs could not possibly be more different from each other, yet share genetics. Sydney has some pretty intense herding instincts in her and as a result her inner monologue is a constant process of counting her people.

Syd Water

One… One… One two… One.. Onetwothree…. Two? Two Three? ONE?!? ONE?!?!?!!

And so it continues. Endlessly.

Syd and Lyra

This picture sums the two of them up really well–Syd fearlessly retrieving the ball at all costs* while Lyra watches. She watches because 1–she doesn’t fetch. She might run alongside the ball if you throw it, but the concept of retrieving the ball, or even acknowledging the ball, is entirely lost on her and 2–Lyra doesn’t do water. Once, when she was a puppy, my sister and I were in a canoe and talking to her as she stood at the edge of the dock. In her excitement, she walked over to us and belly flopped right into the lake, and that was the last time she willingly entered a body of water.
Syd Climbing

Syd is the classic dog you can do dog things with. You can get her to catch a ball-in fact, she begs you for it constantly-and she gets really into faux-agility training things like jumping over hurdles and climbing onto logs. Lyra patiently stands glued to your thigh and watches Syd, cheering her on politely.

All of this to say–she is a really great dog. We adopted her after our German Shepherd was killed in a pretty tragic car accident, and she filled our house with happiness we didn’t expect from another dog. Well, she filled it along with her brood of eight puppies, that is–we adopted her when she was almost full term. Talk about exciting life experiences! We don’t know everything about Syd’s background, but what we do know makes us surprised and grateful that she’s such a good dog. She’s loving, she’s trusting, and she’s even gotten over her fear of men, thanks to my very patient brother-in-law.

Syd Mid Fetch Syd Playing Syd Water Shake*The hilarious addendum is that, as much as she loves the water, she is not a water dog. If you throw the ball into a lake, you better not throw it further than she can walk because this dog does not swim. In fact, a couple times we had to politely ask some of the real water dogs to retrieve the ball when Syd refused to get within two feet of the floating tennis ball.


7 thoughts on “The dog who counts

  1. My parents-in-law’s dog also has a powerful herding instinct. She likes to walk back and forth many times over among her crowd and gently nips at the heels of those who are lagging behind. So I get that.

    Still want to meet your dogs. Oh so much.

    And that last picture of her shaking?!? Needs to be framed. LOVE. There is so much captured motion in it that you feel you’re going to get soaked just by looking at it. Awesome job!

    • Thanks! I was really pleased with how her photos turned out. Usually she slinks away and looks like I just beat her with the camera, so it’s nice to see a change. Syd is definitely a herder, although I have to say we’d never let her get away with nipping us! That’s a big no-no in these parts 🙂

  2. After reading about your very active dog, I feel almost like what I have are cats! They are two elderly shepherds who stopped running a while back, but hike every day. But I vaguely remember what it was like to have an energetic dog (though I got both these fellas when they were older). These are terrific pictures, btw.!

    • Oh tell me about it! My dog (who is pictured at the top) is the calmest, most cat-like animal I’ve ever seen, even as a puppy. While her mom is a super active dog, though, her best trait is that I can tell her to lay down and she’ll fall asleep within five minutes. It makes her a perfect house guest! And thanks, I think these are definitely my favorite pictures of Syd!

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