Quillen’s Corner: Being Top Dog Is Overrated

Columbine and Bodie.

By Martha Quillen

Everything I ever really needed to know I could have learned from my dog. But for some reason I didn’t realize how smart he was until after he was gone. Bodie died last month (with a jolt of assistance from the vet). He’d started getting sick about three months earlier, and the vet prescribed an antibiotic.

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The Crowded Acre: The Dude

By Jennifer Welch

It’s no secret to most that I am part woman, part wild animal. I walk a paper thin line between human reasoning and animal instinct, between empathy for our man-made problems and disdain for the four walls surrounding me. I find it difficult to relate to most people, especially the ones that don’t have dog hair on their pants. Animal communication is simple, straightforward. Humans are much more complex and I constantly find myself fumbling through the intricacies of interaction. When I am in town I feel slightly out of place, the proverbial fish out of water, as it were. But when I come home there is a small tribe of humans and horses, poultry and swine, goats and cats, that make me feel at peace. There is also a giant dog that insists on climbing into the truck to greet me every time I pull into the driveway. These are the things that make those four walls feel like a home. It may not be the cleanest home on the block, but it’ll do. 

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From the Editor

Best Friends

Back in February I got a call from my friend Ken Vargo of Howard. He was wondering if I had any interest in joining him for a trip to Southwestern Utah in early March to volunteer for trail-building at the Best Friends Animal Society.

Having had few opportunities to spend time in the red-rock country of Utah since I moved here from Durango, I decided to take the trip with Ken in his trusty VW Westphalia van along with his dog, Buster.

This would be Ken’s third trip to Best Friends in as many years and he had made all the arrangements. Ken works for the U.S. Forest Service so has lots of experience with trail building; skills that are a good fit to help out at what is considered North America’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary.

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The Legend of Loyal Duke

Loyal Duke

By John McManus

The tale of Duke stems, as most legends do, from the seeds of reality. Where reality ends and myth prevails can only be personally resolved.

The name of the lonely Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad worker who brought Duke the dog to the Salida rail yard is lost forever. Duke, however, a smart, obedient and friendly canine, soon became part of the scene in the Salida yard during his master’s shift. A rail worker’s life in the 1890s could be described as hard, dirty and dangerous work with little compensation. The dangerous part of the job caught up with Duke’s owner one day when he was caught between a boxcar wheel and rail.

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A Canine Playground

by Mike Rosso

It was a chance visit to an Englewood, Colorado dog park that ultimately led to the creation of Chaffee County’s first open space for dogs, Loyal Duke’s Dog Park.

The dog park, which opened its gates on November 29, 2009, is the brainchild of Salida resident Laura Pintaine, who, along with her husband and family, first stumbled upon the dog park in Englewood sometime in 2005 and were thrilled to see the interaction that went on between dogs and owners.

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Lessons from a Big Dog

By Susan Tweit

At the Post Office recently, someone asked, “How’s your Great Dane? I haven’t seen her in a long time.”

I had to clear the lump from my throat before answering: “She died more than two years ago.”

Some dogs stick in your heart. Isis, named for the Egyptian goddess of wisdom and beauty, lives on in Richard’s and mine.

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Sunny’s Days

by James E. Muse

This is not the story I would like to have written about this four-legged family member. No, that story would have had a different ending, or in this case a different beginning. So, starting with the bad news is the only way to deal with not having to tell you in the end. We lost Sunny Boy on Labor Day weekend this past year. He was bringing joy to a group of disadvantaged teens at a group home where my son-in-law is a teacher/mentor. At some point Sunny, an almost teen Old English Sheepdog, gobbled a chunk of rawhide bone, which later in the evening became lodged somewhere it shouldn’t have. Sunny went to sleep that evening in the arms of Joey, as the rest of the family slept. A quiet passage for such an exuberant dog.

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