I am very afraid of all noises that sound like guns. I am not the type of dog that fetches ducks in the water after someone has shot them dead. As you can see by the photo above, I like to be close to my family. I am a herding dog. Baa, baa sheep—that type of dog. There is a big difference between me and a golden retriever. My tail wags and I bark with excitement at the prospect of rounding up errant animals, including human beings. Fetching dead feathered things after someone has pulled a trigger and then leaping into the water to bring it back to my person with a soft mouth—not so much.

Fireworks come under the category of scary sounds The fourth of July means many things to many people. To me, it means I take cover in the back of my cage behind the furnace, which drowns out the sound of fireworks. I like music too, especially cello, piano or guitar. 

In the photo above, I am with Eleanor, my favorite Minnesota girl. We are being peaceful, quiet, and loving on the lake. I love Eleanor. I love being quiet on the lake where all we hear is our kayak paddle and our kayak moving through the water and the lily pads. Sometimes, if we’re very lucky, we’ll see loons. We try to get just close enough not to scare them but close enough to see the beautiful white spots sprinkled on their backs.

Dogs have a keen sense of hearing. Dogs like me, who are already very sensitive, can be permanently traumatized by fearful noises. Believe it or not, we get PTSD. Just ask my predogcessors, Shadrach and Samoset, two fine dogs who leap around in doggie heaven—that is, if you can make yourself heard that far.

You already know, if you’ve been reading my blog, that skateboards are anathema. 

I have been very sensitive lately to other wheels as well. Rollerblades, scooters, segues, all of those awful inventions that sneak up behind me when I’m not looking. Terrible. Awful. It’s as though you have lifted my extra long ears and blasted me with the worst sound imaginable directly into my neurological system leading to my brain. Remember that next time you plan to light off a firecracker or plug in your little white wires and skateboard down my sidewalk.

Advice from Oliver: Please be sensitive and respectful. I am a dog, and you have a lot of power to overwhelm my delicate sensibility. 


As soon as you pick up the oars and have me step into the orange leg holes and zip me up, I race down to the water and try to jump in the kayak before you’re ready. It’s very hard to control my joy.

Here I am in a kayak with you and cousin Sammy, wearing my life preserver. I sit very well and try not to wiggle, even when I see things that make me twirl and jump around.

If I go swimming, I break out in a rash. If I race around in the woods, I get Lyme’s ticks in my extra-long hair. Sometimes, it’s hard to be me. I have to watch from the porch when other dogs get to go swimming and chase around the yard. But, I am a very good boy. I try hard and I have to work at it. I’m happy to be in the company of dogs and people who accept me.

Advice from Oliver: Even when I’m different from other dogs, you still love me exactly as I am, and I love you. No one’s perfect.