Sibling Dogs, but Very Different


Clover and Raven have similar coloring, so they can be difficult to tell apart. As they grow, the size difference between them widens and it is easier to identify each dog. Raven is heftier, while Clover has a thinner face. If you spend time around them, it is relatively easy to know which dog is which. Their personalities are very different.

Clover is a barker. She is particularly reactive at night and can easily bark for hours over something that she knows about but I do not. I usually cannot identify the problem, so assume a wild animal or lose pet is nearby and she will not settle until it is gone. I do not doubt that she is aware of something. When Raven chips in, I know I better take a look because it is likely something I can identify. Once it was a utility representative marking the ground for utilities prior to the installation of a fence. Another time, the neighbor’s German shepherd was loose and running around outside our house. Clover usually does not bark if she is crated or penned, but sometimes that is not enough to stop her.

Clover is a digger. She has a few holes she is working on around the yard and under the deck. When I catch her in the act of digging, Raven is usually lying next to her watching her progress. We had a fence installed last Friday and our yard is on a hill. The gate needs to be basically level, so there is a small gap under the gate on the downhill side. It did not take Clover 24 hours to widen the gap and escape. I was reading a book when I heard a dog whining like it was stuck somewhere. I looked out back to see Raven whining inside the fence while Clover was exploring outside the fence. She came immediately when I called her. The other day I was digging up the edge of the garden to install pavers. She rushed over and started digging frantically like she was saying “I got this.” If I could have directed her efforts exactly where needed, the task would have been accomplished quickly. Instead, she became a little roto tiller in the garden.

Clover: I should have named her Digger.

Clover likes to stash her found treasures underneath the deck. Every day, I retrieve the items she has hoarded. I usually find socks and some of her animal toys. The other day I found a camera lens cap. Fortunately, I have only found underwear a few times.

Clover likes to trim the garden. Plants do not have a chance around her. Raven will sometimes join in on the trimming but Clover is more determined. Clover likes to move the rocks around the yard if they are light enough for her to pick up. One of the front gardens is filled with small rocks and she regularly places them on the sidewalk, her preference.

Clover likes to get silly on walks. She will start biting the leash and jumping up in the air. It is hard to walk that way. I am trying to train her to behave when she is on the leash and having modest success. Three seems to be a magic number with Clover. She needs to be told at least three times she is not allowed to do something before she believes it to be true. She can be expected to test this regularly to see if the rules changed since yesterday.

She is an enthusiastic dog and when she wants to obey commands, she does it with great joy. It is a pleasure to work with her when she is into it. When I ask her to sit, she often comes running to sit in front of me looking straight up at me and wagging her whole body. It is as though there is nothing that could be more joyous then doing a sit on command.

There is not a toy, stick, leaf, rope, or other item that one dog has that the other does not try to take away. The ground could be littered with sticks and the only stick acceptable is the one the other dog has. The best toys for them are ones that have long parts (e.g. legs) so they can each grab an end and pull. When Raven has a particularly nice chew, Clover has learned the best way to get it is to come to me with great enthusiasm to say “hello, please pet me.” If I say a kind word at that time, Raven is alert and immediately by my side. Clover is just as fast leaving me to grab whatever he was chewing. I fall for it every time.

Raven is the ideal pet. He only relieved himself in the house once since he arrived at eight weeks and that was my fault. He trains easily. He rarely barks. He is content to lay around chewing dog toys. He likes to watch what Clover is doing when he is not actively playing with her. As far as I can tell, most of the items that should not have been chewed, like carpets, charger cables, and furniture have been Clover.

Raven spends much of his time chewing on these bully sticks. When he tires of chewing, he sometimes lays or sleeps with one hanging out of his mouth like he is smoking a cigar.

Yesterday, I told the dogs to sit before putting on their leash. Raven sat right away. I started to put the leash on him and Clover started circling him like a shark. Then, she starting darting in to nip at him. Today, she has been so good, I am worried about her.

I adore their differences and would not have them any other way, usually.

Also, today. My brother and his wife began driving our RV and tow vehicle from Pensacola, Florida back to Washington. Regis had the RV and car in Pensacola while he worked on the boat. It is a working marina and they do not want people staying on the boats. Regis stayed in the RV and used the car to get supplies, parts, etc. The original plan was for me to fly down and bring the RV back to Washington. I asked my brother if he wanted to join me and he enthusiastically agreed. Soon after, his German Shepherd died and he asked if his wife could join us. Of course.

Then, Dart started to have obvious health issues and I did not want to leave him. Since my brother’s wife was in for the ride, I asked if he was willing to do it with just the two of them. He was up for it.

My brother’s initial concern was how safe it was to travel. I have heard this concern expressed by several folks. Regis, Dart, and I have crisscrossed this country including parts of Canada five times and have had no issues. You can encounter bad people and situations anywhere, including a block from your house. I can never say it is totally safe to travel in an RV but it is not totally safe to be in your home. Most car accidents take place close to home. I only remember two people I would have been happy not to have met. One guy in Montana was building a large charcoal fire on top of his picnic table while the campground had no burn signs posted everywhere and the sky was so thick with smoke for local wildfires that you could not see the Rocky Mountains 4 miles away from our campsite. After Regis politely telling him there was a burn ban, the guy got irate and we left the next day before he burned the campground down. One time, while Regis was swimming in a lake in Washington, a relative of the campground owner who was sitting on the shore near me, told me that we were not welcome in the town if we were not Republicans, blah, blah, blah. I did not feel threatened. We mostly met wonderful, helpful people on our travels. Two grumpy guys in all those miles of traveling is nothing.

My brother and his wife arrived in Shreveport for the night. They were pleased to have had wonderful encounters with people at gas stations and the campground. Their first day proved the experience that Regis and I usually have. After 500 miles of driving, they were as enthusiastic after arriving at the campground as when they started.

I put together an album of Dart as I do for all my dogs. I usually use a template, but now that I know inDesign, I designed this one myself and I love the results of the interior for Dart’s book. I am putting the interior here of the PDF file for those interested. He was such a special guy and this is my homage to him. Click on the link for interior or download below to see the contents.

2 Comments on “Sibling Dogs, but Very Different

  1. On The Actor’s Studio at the end of an interview, each guest was asked a series of the same question, one of which was “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?” I have had Scottish terriers for over 40 years and my husband, now deceased was Scotty. My response: All your scotties are waiting for you in the library.”
    I loved Dart and think he came to enjoy seeing me when I visited. Beautiful boy who left me with wonderful memories.


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