If I can say anything about Spike it is that he was a dog that knew his own mind and he was unanimous in that!

He was quite a character.

I had contacted Carol about getting one of the older males from a rescue from a breeder who had passed away.  It had to be a male because Sadie (the alpha queen) wasn’t female friendly.  It turned out there were only 2 males and one was spoken for and the other was undergoing medical treatment.

Carol asked me about Spike, who was a little over a year old.  My response was that I didn’t ask about him because I felt he would be an easy placement as opposed to the seniors.  

She said they had Spike for about 3 months at the time and no real interest.  

I immediately said “lets get him down here”.

Carol said “I need to warn you, he isn’t good on leash and likes to pull.”  

I started laughing.  “Now Carol…you know me…where is HE going to pull ME?” (I’m a big guy…be like pulling a boat anchor and not a little one).

So Mr. Spike came to Lancaster, SC.

He was a bit on the weedy side and his topline was so high he was almost wheel backed when he arrived.  This was because he had never had proper exercise.Deco & Picasso took care of that though.  

Spike found he had a 3 acre yard to run and play in and 2 siblings, about a year older, who loved to romp.  It wasn’t long before all the exercise started getting him in shape and he came into a normal topline.

Now that the background is done, it’s time for the Spike stories!

The Ringing in My Ears

Now Carol told me his first owners had taught Spike to ring a bell when he wanted to go out.  I didn’t take that as a warning…I thought it would be handy…boy was I in for a surprise!

I got a large bird bell (about baseball sized) and hung it on the door knob.  He rang it so much he wore an arc into the door from ringing that bell.

OMG…I felt like Quasimodo in the Notre Dame bell tower!  Anytime Spike wanted something or I wasn’t paying him the attention he felt he deserved….Ding a ling a ling…ding a ling a ling.

I want out….ring the bell, I want attention…ring the bell…I want a treat…ring the bell…I just want to be annoying…ring the bell.

Well one evening he came in from outside and I went to sit down.  He grabbed a mouthful of kibble and drank some water and rang the bell to go out.

I looked at him and said “no…you just came in”

He gave me this quizzical look like “hmm..he must not have hear the bell” and so he rang it again.

Again, I said “No”.

He turned his head sideways and pricked up his ears like he was thinking “now what’s going on here…I ordered him to open the door.”

Next, he rang the bell, gave me a look and stomped his front feet as if adding “I mean now” to his command.

Again, I said “No, you just came in”.

By now he was getting seriously irritated.

He rang the bell again, gave me “the look”, stomped his feet and barked at me to emphasize that he meant “Move it right now!”

When I said “No” yet again he was so frustrated he started chasing his own tail!!

Mocha has his number

Spike had been here for several years when Mocha arrived.  She was an older female that came from a breeder in Ohio who had passed away.  

Karen “Cricket” Murray had been fostering her until a placement could be found.  She was the last one left because she didn’t like people.  She had never been around men either.  I was a Cricket’s one day talking and petting whatever set of ears were thrust under my hand. Suddenly Cricket stops, I ask why.  She says look who that is..it was Mocha…she had chosen who she wanted to be with so she joined us.

Now Mocha was a sweet old girl, but somehow, she got Spike’s number and she seemed to enjoy giving him the business.

Every other dog would step over Mocha if she was laying in their way.  For some reason Spike would not.

Now you can see where this is going.  Spike goes to the bedroom….Mocha would move to lay across the hall trapping him there…Spike goes into the living room…Mocha moves to block the archway into the hall.

She seemed to derive great pleasure from this game and Spike’s frustration.

It was so funny because I would here whining or barking and go to see what was up and Mocha would have Spike trapped in one room or the other.  He would not step over her for some reason.

Spike discovers the Magic Bowl

At my house we free feed, a system Spike had never seen and with him getting more exercise he was often hungry.

So he gets here and he finds 2 bowls of kibble in the kitchen.  He was totally amazed by his sudden bounty and stunned that no one else had eaten the kibbles.

He immediately scarfs the food down before anyone else can intrude on his feast.  He then heads off to the living room content that he had gotten a great prize.

Maybe 10 minutes later I go into the kitchen, and unbeknownst to Spike, and refill the bowls.

He heads to the kitchen for some water and stops…looking at the bowls…I could see the wheels turning “I am sure I cleaned those out” and he proceeds to empty them again.

He comes back a while later and they are full again.

I think he thought they must be magic bowls.  It took him about 3-4 days before he realized he didn’t have to eat whenever he saw kibble in the bowls…it was always there.

It’s a bird..it’s a plane..it’s Super Spike??

I had no idea when he came here that Spike would be a courser.  Looking at him when he first got here you would say “No Way” but he loved to run and once he got in shape he was fast.

I was trying to finish up a title on Perry and I took Spike along just to see if he was interested…and was he.  

I got his ILP and we started coursing.

He finished his AKC title in 2 weekends with 4 Best of Breeds and 2 Best in Fields over national contender whippets!  Wow could that dog run.  I thought one of my 1st Borzoi Leon was good, he won a lot but wow Spike was better.

We had a lot of fun going to events.

A Borzoi who….FETCHES?

I have had number of Borzoi and they all would chase whatever was thrown until it hit the ground.  Then it was like “Dad, you can go get that now”.  Not Spike…he loved to play fetch.

His favorite was a large kong ball (like 12” in Diameter).  I would chuck it and he would run…grab it by the rope…and bring it back and play keep away for a minute or two before letting me have it.  

Sometimes he would just go get it and run around the yard with the ball banging his legs as he ran. 

As time went on this game got some interesting twists.  The first one was introduced by Deco.  If Spike got the ball, she would chase him and if she got it from him she would take it under the oak tree and put it between her paws and dare him to take it.

He would get so irritated, but I would go get it because she was spoiling my fun too.

The second version was the Preston maneuver.  Preston would run toward the ball when thrown and if Deco managed to head Spike off, he would grab the ball and trot off behind the house, leave it and come back.

I’m not sure why they wanted to be the fun police…or maybe it was just to irritate Spike.

-Ken Terry