Tails of The Evil Elvira
2003 2004 2005 2006

by Chris Watkins
The Clan of Woodsmoke
Scottish Deerhounds and Papillons in Central Oregon

Fri, 05 Dec 2003
Progress is being made on litter box training. Just this morning:

Monro jumped into the litter box and spun around and around, looking for the
best place and then, with his feet in the box, he hung his butt over the
side and pooped on the floor.

Elvira squatted in the box and started to go and Buddy jumped in behind her
and shoved her over the edge, just as she had success and she ended up
pooping on the floor.

Goth got confused and jumped up into the bowl of kibble and pooped there.

But what the hay, they are doing much better than they were doing 3 days
ago, when Goth wasn't tall enough to get up into the litter box, and
everyone else would get up in there and walk around and around until they
walked out the other side and then go on the floor. They will have it
figured out pretty soon.
                                              click on pictures for full size

Sat, 06 Dec 2003
We had a rescue here this evening, True, it was a short rescue, but a few
tense moments none the less.

Pups are in an X-pen which contains a 100 crate. 100 crate has an empty coop
cup about 1/2 way up the door. 100 crate also has a can of corn holding the
door open because pups kept pushing the door closed and locking themselves
out.  We serious dog people always have the best equipment made especially
for the job, thus the can of corn was readily at hand to be used as a

Elvira climbed into the crate and used the raised doorway to climb up onto
the can of corn, and from on top of the can, she climbed into the coop cup
and settled happily into her balcony seat to chew on the plastic edge of the

The cup is only 8 inches above the ground, but 8 inches is way over the top
of Elvira's head, so a rescue was launched.

While Elvira was being safely brought down from her tree house, Monro made a
dash for freedom and made it across the living room and half way across the
dining room before I caught him. When I was shoving Monro back into the
X-pen, Buddy made his move and escaped.  All of the hot pursuit gave Elvira
time to claim the cuddle bed and declare it hers. After a good game of King
of the Hill, everyone is sound asleep, with victorious Elvira in the cuddle
bed and the thoroughly repelled invaders asleep on the floor.

I know someone will ask if Elvira is related to Willow. Yes she is.
Elvira's dam is one of The Fuzzy Dice. Elvira's dam is also the girl who
used to give me heart attacks by climbing high into trees.

The coop cup has been removed.

Wed, 16 Jun 2004
I have one of those memory foam pillows. When they are torn into a bunch of
little shreds, they don't remember the shape that they are supposed to
return to.

When asked about the pillow, Elvira gave me the same answer I get from her
when I catch her up on the kitchen counter. She says: What am I asking her
for? She knows nothing about it. She was in Toronto on that day and has 4
witnesses who will vouch for her alibi.

Sat, 26 Jun 2004
I also had a little tiff with a Springer today,  but mine went the other way
in size. My son's Springer attacked my Deerhound over a tasty fresh dug sage
rat. The Deerhound simply knocked him down, rolled him over, and used his
elbows to pin him to the ground until the Springer realized that he had made
a grave tactical error.

Incidentally, neither the Deerhound nor the Springer ended up with the sage
rat. Elvira took advantage of the momentary opportunity to dash in and
snatch it out from under their noses. She took it under the shed where big
dogs can't follow.

Sun, 19 Sep 2004
Elvira is really non-stop wicked. She got into my son's toolbox and found a
tube of graphite, which she proceeded to dye my carpet with.  Her darling
little angel face and her protestations of total innocence lost some of the
effect that she was striving for (but surely, you don't suspect me?) due to
the fact that both her forelegs, her chest fluff and her entire face were
colored dark black.

 Sun, 24 Oct 2004
I know you all think that all my dogs are naughty, but that isn't so.

 Besides naughty Willow and wicked Elvira, I live with gentle loving
 cooperative Monro. Monro is a real darling. He loves his Mom. He loves his
 Mom so much that he has learned to bring me flowers. He brings me
dandelions  and little weeds and presents them with love in his eyes. I
always take them and tell him what a lovely boy he is to bring flowers to
his Mom.

 Fast forward to my new house. We just moved in and are living put of
 unpacked boxes. Unfortunately, this house only has one yard, so all the
 flower gardens are inside the same fence that confines the dogs.

 Monro is in heaven. He has beheaded every fall pansy and brought me the
 beautiful flowers. They are so much prettier than the dandelions that he is
 beside himself with joy to be able to bring such a nice present.

 Up until last night the thorns on the roses defeated him, but he has now
 figured out how to harvest the roses and to bring them proudly to me. Who
 wouldn't love a handsome guy who brings roses?

 The evil Elvira, by the way, has learned that she can take the roses away
 from Monro and lay on the lawn, pulling off one petal at a time and it is a
 great way to pass some time.  It hurts Monro's feelings, but soon he goes
 and picks another rose and brings me that one while Elvira is busy with the
 one that she stole from him.

Fri, 28 Jan 2005
Down on the base of every toilet, there are some little plastic or porcelain
caps that cover the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor.

The Evil Elvira has discovered that those caps can be removed from the
toilet, they are a nice size to carry, and they spin just great if they are
batted around the kitchen floor.  So we are locked in a battle of wits. I am
searching out and taking away toilet bolt caps from the middle of the living
room, and she is searching out new sources. 2 toilets have been raided, 1
she seems to not be aware of, I guess because no one ever uses it, so she
has no reason to go in there.

Toilets have previously just been the place to unroll the roll of toilet
paper and perhaps find bits of tissue to shred. Oh yes, and a good source of
bath mats that can be dragged around the house.

I was a bit puzzled to be finding more caps than should be available,
especially considering that she hasn't raided the guest bathroom yet. But I
caught her in the act. I put the caps on the bathroom counter and she jumped
up onto the toilet and from there to the top of the counter, where she
retrieved what was, after all, rightly her property.

Kids. You give them expensive toys and they play with the cardboard box the
toy came in. Elvira loves cardboard boxes, but I try to keep them away from
her, because the game that she likes to play with them is Shred the
Cardboard Box.

Mon, 07 Feb 2005
They are so smart, these little guys.

May will be my first show of the year, so Monro started training this
morning. His first lesson consisted of standing on the grooming table and
eating lots of cheese while I told him how pretty he is.  It went well. He
is fine with the table, he likes cheese, and he is quite happy to be told
that he is beautiful.

The Evil Elvira has spent the entire morning ever since, laying on the
grooming table and every time I look at her, she jumps to her feet, stands
square and beams at me with that Papillon-ain't-I-adorable grin.  So far it
hasn't netted her any cheese, but she is a very persistent little girl and
she is not giving up.

Elvira has never had a show dog lesson. She simply watched what Monro was
doing to get himself some cheese. Where do Papillons get such brains from?

Normally, I would reward such cleverness with cheese, but I spend all of my
time trying to keep Elvira from ruling the world, and I am extra careful to
not allow her to teach me commands (other than "pick me up" and "let me out,
I have to go potty" ). I don't want her to put me on cue to hand out cheese.

Mon, 07 Feb 2005
[[[.... and is there any chance Elvira is going to be shown????...]]]]]

Yes, Elvira will have her turn in the show ring, but she is nearly a solid
head, with just a got-milk mustache and a white V on her forehead, so she
won't be in the ring until after her coat is fully mature. If we can't
dazzle 'em with pretty markings, we will wow 'em with ear fringe.

Mostly, I find that if I take more than 2 dogs to the shows, it changes from
fun into work.  Monro will be my male entry this year, and for the 3rd year,
I am trying to show Skye. Every year she manages to ruin her fringe just as
the shows start, and she isn't getting any younger so none of the younger
girls will get shown until she is done. Except that Woodsmoke Legacy
(Chrissie), belonging to Ellen Turner of Lancashire England, needs to be put
into show shape so she will be ready to hit the show ring as soon as she
arrives in England. I'm in the process of obtaining her pet passport right
now. Chrissie will be at the shows with me this spring, getting used to all
the noise and excitement.

Elvira will have to wait her turn. If I get a chance to call her up onto the
table so that it is my idea to give her cheese and not her idea, she will
get her cheese for being on the table.

Sun, 20 Feb 2005
All of you who wrote to me privately to plead Elvira's case will be happy to
know that Elvira is now getting all the cheese she wants on the grooming
table. As any of my dogs can tell you, I am thick-headed and sometimes it is
hard to get through to me, but I am trainable with some persistence.

The Evil Elvira appreciates your intervention, but she really doesn't need
any help with ruling the world. She's a Natural. Since I was being
particularly willful, she had to bring out the harsh training methods.
Puppies, all stunts were performed by professionals. Do not try this at

Out my front door is 2 acres surrounded by chain link fence. The hounds are
allowed out any time they wish, the Papillons are only allowed out if I am
with them to watch them so they don't dig under the fence and also the
hounds must be with them to protect them from any coyotes who might dig
under the fence, mistaking my front yard for the drive through at
Mac Donald's.

We dog walked. We came inside. We treated. We realized that Elvira was not
there for treats.

No Elvira outside. No Elvira accidentally locked in a crate or shut in a
closet or under a bed. No Elvira left shut inside the garage.  I was in full
freaked out panic mode.

Midway through another search of every possible hiding place in the yard, I
looked across the street and there was Elvira sitting in the neighbor's
driveway and watching me crawl around on my knees, peering under bushes and
crying her name.

I opened the gate and called her. She sat and stared at me. I went out to
get her and she turned and ran.

I went back inside the fence and she returned to her place on the driveway
and sat. I left the gate open and I ran back toward the house calling and
making "great fun" noises. She sat and watched me.

I went back to the gate. I looked at Elvira and she looked back with an
expression that clearly said, "We are going to sit here until you get it."

I am trainable with enough persistence. I gave in. "OK, Elvira, come on. You
can have cheese on the table."

And that was all she wanted. She trotted home with her tail held high and
her snotty little nose pointed towards the sky. Se didn't even look at me as
she went past.

At least she has the decency to know that she pushed over the line. She has
been extra affectionate, emphasizing reward over punishment. She gets cheese
and I get a nice cuddle. Elvira prefers positive training methods, but
sometimes a Papillon just has to show their Mom who is really the boss.

Wed, 23 Feb 2005
The Evil Elvira is still with her dam and her litter brother and she is 16
months old. I hardly consider her to be doggy. She is about as peopled as a
dog can be and still be a dog, although she would probably argue the "dog"
point. Willow is 3 years old and she is still with her dam and 2 of her
sisters. Hardly doggy. Spider Mite is 5 years old and still with her dam and
she sits on my lap or shoulder and follows me around all day. She's not
lacking in her people skills. Spider Mite's dam is still taking care of her,
by the way.

I have several more who have never been separated from their dams and
everyone of them has a strong preference for the company of people.  They
all have excellent doggy communication skills, except for Spider Mite who
thinks she is immune from persecution because she doesn't understand that
her dam is still standing behind her and protecting her. Spider is the
daughter of number 1 alpha bitch, Ceilidh The Genuine Little Princess. No
one messes with Ceilidh or with anything that belongs to Ceilidh.

The dam of a litter of puppies does a lot more for the pups than just feed
them. She teaches them. Then when they get old enough, the other members of
the pack teach them. Some of my males are absolutely excellent with puppies
and they put them on a training program, and being typical fathers, they are
usually teaching the pups judo or other wrestling techniques.

I know that Papillons are destined to be lap companions, but they still need
to know how to communicate with dogs. They need to be able to tell the
difference between the signal, "I am harmless" and the signal "leave me
alone or I will bite you because I am scared of you". They need to know how
to say, "I mean no harm". They need to know it isn't a good idea to announce
to that 80 pound strange dog that "I am the ruler of the universe, you had
better bow to me".

How is a person supposed to teach a dog those skills? The answer is that we
can not. They need to learn those skills from other dogs who have the
patience to teach them and not hurt them while they learn. The best dog to
teach them is their own dam and the other dogs in their own pack.

Wed, 02 Mar 2005
We just got a delivery of the coveted small squirrels. Spider and Elvira are
locked into a contest to see who will have possession of the squirrel. I
normally stay out of things like that, but Spider squeaks the squirrel
non-stop and Elvira simply carries it around. About an hour and a half of
"squeaka-squeaka" is just about enough for me to favor Elvira.

Elvira has been carrying the squirrel for about an hour and obviously wanted
to set it down. She'd find a good place and Spider would dash over and try
to grab the squirrel. Usually that would start another round of keep-away,
but Elvira was obviously wanting to set the squirrel down and yet not lose

So I said, "Elvira? Do you want me to hold your squirrel for you for a
little while so Spider doesn't get it?"

With a huge look of relief on her face, Elvira ran to me, jumped up into my
lap and made a serious effort to shove the squirrel into my mouth.

It all goes to show that even though we think they are almost human, they
are still dogs and still think like dogs. Elvira, thinking like a dog, knew
that even Spoiled Spider would never dare to try to take a squirrel right
out of Alpha-Mom's mouth.

Sun, 06 Mar 2005
Chrissie actually got the small squirrel. My how she loves that toy, but she
is young and little and doesn't have much of a chance. But she finally got
it and she was swanking around, showing everyone that she had the squirrel
and they didn't.

Finally, The Evil Elvira just couldn't take it any longer, and with a battle
cry of Rah, Rah, Rah!, she charged Chrissie and knocked her over.

Chrissie went tumbling, the squirrel flew high into the air, and Monro
grabbed the squirrel mid-flight. He ran outside, leaving Elvira staring in
disbelief at the place where the squirrel should have landed.

Naturally, Elvira glared at me like I was responsible for the disappearance
of the squirrel. I had to show her my hands and my pockets and she still
wasn't convinced.

Wed, 16 Mar 2005
The Evil Elvira is... well, she is evil.

Elvira adores her brother Monro and they play and play. Monro is a big
strapping strong good natured guy. Elvira is kind of little, so when they
play chase, Elvira grabs a big wad of hair on Monro's back and then she
lifts all 4 of her feet off the ground and makes him run around carrying

Monro has to come and get me to stand over him when he gets a drink.
Otherwise, as soon as he puts his head into the bucket, Elvira grabs his
back leg and picks it up off the ground. He turns around and pushes her off
and as soon as he tries to drink again, she picks his leg up. Unless I stand
right over him and keep her way, he can't get a drink of water.

I am trying different coat conditioners on Monro, trying to find the perfect
one to get him ready to show this summer. It is hard to evaluate the
condition of his coat since he is always covered in dried Elvira spit.

But Elvira is not just all about fun and games. She is a serious worker.
Right now her nose and paws are black with dirt from helping me dig holes to
plant trees, and her back is covered with little crumbles of dirt from her
jumping into the hole as I am trying to shovel the dirt back in.

Apparently, she likes that tree planting thing as she has started to dig me
nice holes big enough for new trees in places that she thinks a tree might
look good. Just in case I come along and decide to put a tree there.

Fri, 25 Mar 2005
I had $300 in my purse to put into the bank.

But then I couldn't find the money. Jeez, with my memory, did I put it into
the bank and forget? I didn't make a note in my check register, and I
couldn't find a deposit slip. I called the bank. No, they hadn't received a

I was tearing through my purse again when I noticed Elvira watching me with
her special innocent face. Her "Why are you asking me about that? I
certainly know nothing about it." face.

Aha!. My car has now been cleaned and I found a chewed bank envelope under
my front seat. Fortunately, the envelope is very chewed but only one $100
bill got a corner chewed off.

We could pull a CSI and check tooth prints against suspects, but I know who
it was. She will maintain her innocence to the bitter end, but I know it was

I've got to get myself a more secure purse.

Sat, 30 Apr 2005
(fanfare of trumpets) We have a new baby here at Woodsmoke. Paragon's
Highland Dream has joined the family. Her breeder is Wanda Simon, and Wanda
has done a superb job of raising and socializing. "Sibyl" is not afraid of
anyone or anything, and she is a real people oriented cuddle bug.

Sibyl came all litter box trained, but apparently my litter box is not up to
her standards. She will use it at night, but prefers to go outside during
the day. With just a minimum amount of watching her, we are accident free in
the house. She doesn't take much watching because she is never more than 6
inches away from my feet, looking up at me, grinning, hoping I will do
something fun and amusing.

She's lively and loving and has a generous portion of the infamous Woodsmoke
Naughty Gene, that she got from her dam, Woodsmoke Wandering Piper. Sibyl
also has a generous portion of hair, which she inherited from her sire,
Shazzabars Coup de Chance (who is also the sire of Elvira)

Willow is of the opinion that we should kill her while she is still small,
but The Evil Elvira thinks Sibyl is a gift just for her to play with.
Chrissie is rather pleased with the new addition, too, because Sibyl arrived
with a toy growling seal that Chrissie was able to liberate and add to her
cache of favorites. The rest of the clan just accepts that there is another
new puppy, no big deal. Sibyl just figures that everybody gets dropped into
a pack of 15 strange dogs, no big deal.

Fri, 03 Jun 2005
The Evil Elvira never misses a thing. She never rests; she always watches for her opportunity.

Elvira quickly figured out that if she pulled on the white plastic tube on the top of a can of whipped cream, it filled her mouth with sweet dairy goodness. She looked like a mad dog with her face covered in white froth, and her teeth showing because she was grinning with delight.

I am sure it was the biggest disappointment of her entire week when I took the magic can away from her.

Why did Elvira have a can of whipped cream? I use a foot stool to reach my window greenhouse and I pushed it aside, but didn't push it far enough. It took Elvira all of  10 seconds to notice the footstool, to leap onto the kitchen counter, and figure out how to work the can, because my back was turned only long enough to walk into the next room and right back. In those few seconds, she had made a big dent in the contents of the can.

On the plus side, my wicked girl is only sniffing whipped cream and not glue, so it could be worse.

Mon, 13 Jun 2005
The Evil Elvira talks. If she isn't getting what she wants, she has a noise
that is "Rah-rah, Rah-rah"  Which means Elvi-RAH Elvi-RAH,  and that is to
remind me that Elvira is what the world is all about and Elvira should get
what she wants. This is accompanied by a what-is-your-problem glare.

Now that we are getting some hot days, the dogs can't always go with me, and
when I put Elvira into her kennel and pick up my car keys, she starts
wailing, "Waaahhh!!!" It sounds just like a baby crying.

All of my dogs chatter at me, telling me what they want and how they are
feeling. I once had a German Shepherd who would copy human body movements to
communicate, but Elvira is the only one who tries to tell me in English.

Wed, 15 Jun 2005
I was sitting at the computer and hearing a bird cheep. It was a loud little thing and it didn't stop making noise. Finally, it occurred to me that it sure sounded like it was moving around inside the house. So I got up and went to look for the bird.

And there it was, safely inside Elvira's mouth as she trotted around the house with the bird squawking in protest. The Evil Elvira had caught herself a baby quail.

I tried to take it away from her, and when I pried Elvira's mouth open, the quail skedaddled under a door and took off. It is now hidden somewhere in my house and Elvira is following me around, giving me disgusted looks because I let the quail go.

Papillons are, after all, spaniels.

Wed, 15 Jun 2005
Because there was a baby quail loose in the house, I locked the dogs up. Baby quail are good hiders and very quiet. I found him because all the dogs in the X-pens were putting on their Pointer act, and all their little noses were pointed right at the little bird.

The little guy was well hidden, behind an electric cord, behind a curtain. He was relying upon his camouflage, so I was able to quietly move up to him and pick him up. He seems to be completely unharmed.

I know where the dogs are always chasing the quail, so I put him through the fence at the exact spot that the quail always jump through the chain link. He promptly hid in the grass.  I could hear a quail calling close by, and I hope it is his mother.

If Elvira was disgusted with me before, she was completely amazed at my stupidity as she stared in disbelief at the chick on the other side of the fence and then looked up at me with a look that said I was hopeless and completely beyond saving.

Wed, 22 Jun 2005
Have I ever mentioned that The Evil Elvira is spoiled and willful?

Elvira has just come into season, and because she is so clever and willful, that means full time confinement under lock and key for Elvira.  Being a girl who thinks the world should always go her way, Elvira is opposed to being  locked up. Being a very clever girl, Elvira has radar that tells her when I intend to put her into a kennel and she is very good at escaping capture. So the only thing that works is to pay her to go into her crate.

I have dried chicken meat that is a very high value treat. Everyone loves it, and will do anything to get it. So I offered Elvira a piece of chicken to go inside her crate. She was interested. I tossed the chicken inside her crate. Elvira studied the chicken, looked inside the crate, looked at me and sat down.

I tossed another piece of chicken into the crate. Elvira looked into the crate, looked at the chicken in my hand, looked me in the face and then very pointedly looked at the piece of chicken in my hand.

I am thick-headed, but even I could understand that. "OK, Elvira. The whole piece of chicken, in exchange for going into the crate."

With that, she trotted into her crate, stuck her head back out to get the piece of chicken, and let me latch the gate.

So that is the deal we struck. 1/2 a stick of dried chicken is the price to get a spoiled little dog into her crate. Every other dog on the place will work for a piece of the chicken the size of my thumbnail, but Elvira knows what her time is worth.

Fri, 22 Jul 2005
The Evil Elvira is back. She's out of season and out of jail.

The first thing she did was to try to convince me that our arrangement was for several large pieces of dried chicken for Elvira every day, in exchange for absolutely nothing. Since she knows that is not true (but hey, it never hurts to ask) she compromised on a piece of cheddar cheese and a couple of tortilla chips.

In her first 24 hours of freedom, she has been up onto the kitchen counter and emptied my purse, chewed up my checkbook, and stolen my pen.

She has helped me garden by jumping into every hole I try to dig where she digs furiously, therefore making it impossible to plant anything. If I do get a plant into the ground, she turns it over to see what I put underneath it.

She has restyled brother Monro's beautiful ear fringe into a knotted mass of damp Elvira spit.

She has lead a dozen charges down the driveway, with my entire quiet well behaved pack barking their heads off and running for all they are worth. Down the drive to the gate, and then around the fence line. All the while, there is nothing there, but why should life be dull?  At least everyone is getting good exercise.

She has gotten up onto the computer and refused to tell me what she was ordering. She is the master of the innocent look.

She has also jumped up into my lap, turned herself upside down, and patted me gently on the face with her soft little paws. She rubbed her cheek against me while giving me adoring looks--- just in case anyone is wondering why I keep such a horrid little naughty dog.

 Mon, 15 Aug 2005
Those parrots.

There is a sulfur crested cockatoo at the local feeds store and he really
really wants a Papillon.  He makes little clicky noises and chirps at them
to try to lure them closer, and then he will throw his toys to try to get
the dogs to play fetch. The bird is a giant baby and he will be laying
upside down in his owners arms and you can just see him begging for a
Papillon. If his owner tells him he can't have the dog, he will ask down and
he will walk across to me and try to climb up my leg. His owner makes him
stop, and then the bird will throw a toy and whistle.

If he still isn't getting the dog, he will go and climb up onto his perch,
throw food onto the ground and whistle. Then he climbs about half way down
and waits, keeping an eye on the dog.

Needless to say, I do not take the quail-hunting Evil Elvira into the feed
store. Elvira would really like to play fetch with the parrot.

The rest of my dogs just ignore him.

Fri, 26 Aug 2005
The prey is wily and elusive, but The Evil Elvira is a great huntress, cunning and primal. She stalks like a cat, concealed in the tall grass, creeping closer, closer,  and then she strikes, grabbing the prey by the neck and killing it with a hard shake. She drags her kill by the neck, bringing it to me, prancing with pride, eyes laughing, wanting me to share her triumph.

"Look, Mom, I caught me a zucchini, and it's a big 'un, too."

Sat, 27 Aug 2005 15:25:33 -0700
From: Cathy L Kaiser <borderflies@JUNO.COM>
The Evil Elvira is one of the most wily and cunning huntresses that I
have ever met. She is able to plot and plan her attack so that, most of
the time, her victim is unaware of what is about to happen. For example,
she located her prey, but it was very large and heavy and she knew that
she would need help in order to subdue it. So, she carefully, using great
stealth, snuck up on the front seat of Chris' van and sat on the bag of
cheese...thus it was unable to get away until she could retain help
carrying it away to enjoy.

The Evil Elvira has also mastered the ability to sneak up on unsuspecting
napkins. This is one of the harder types of prey to land as most of the
time they try to conceal themselves and their nest in the laps of humans.
Elvira has mastered the art of taking her prey napkin and never
disturbing the nest and leaving the human totally unaware of what has
happened until there are only bits of napkin floating in the breeze.

Sat, 27 Aug 2005
Sometimes it is hard to tell what goes through a dog's head. The Evil Elvira
is always very careful to follow the law. Laws can be bent, twisted,
sidestepped, stretched, reinterpreted, and appealed, but they are never
actually broken.

When Elvira sat on the bag of cheese, without taking any cheese, she was
obeying the law.

But what I always wonder is why "Elvira, get out of my purse" is not a law
to be obeyed, yet "no dog shall get into a bag of groceries in the car" is
scrupulously obeyed, no matter how tempting the contents of the bag. Elvira
ate the cherry cough drops out of my purse, yet she will not touch cheese,
meat, her favorite tortilla chips, or even ice cream, if it is in one of
those flimsy white plastic grocery bags.

Elvira did get a tiny little sliver of cheese, but not much. It was special
boutique creamery cheese brought to me from California, so Elvira got a
little bitty taste and then had to make do with good Oregon Tillamook
cheddar. That's her favorite cheese, anyway, so she was happy.

The napkin thing, though.... she loves a good napkin hunt. She's deadly to a

Thu, 15 Sep 2005
The Evil Elvira is the laziest slug I've ever seen in the morning. After I've let all the other dogs out, I go back and find the lump in the bed and pull the covers off of her. She will open one bleary eye halfway, blink sleepily, and go back to sleep. I carry her limp body outside and attempt to set her on the grounds as she pulls her legs up, believing if she doesn't actually stand up, she isn't obligated to wake up.

Once I've dumped her passive resistant little body onto the cold ground, she gives up and acknowledges that it is morning. Once she is awake, she is a little dynamo.  She thinks the tarp I am putting over the tomatoes to try to keep them from freezing at night is there to be an Elvira trampoline. Monro is there to be dragged around by his butt fluff. Quail are to chase, the fence is for escaping, toys are for fetching and Mom's lunch is for sharing with Elvira.

She loves toys. Toys for fetch, toys for keep away, toys to toss, and toys just to be carrying toys around.

Today Elvira proudly brought me her newest toy: a hawk feather as long as she is.

Oh dear, I told her. It is against the law to have possession of hawk feathers.  Violations are punishable under title 18 United States Code, with fines up to $100,000 for individuals and $200,000 for organizations, imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.

So now Elvira is back under the covers, but this time she is hiding from the Feds.

Sat, 17 Sep 2005
The Evil Elvira is thrilled to have 3 brand new nephews. She thinks Auntie
Elvira has a nice ring to it, and she is interested in teaching the new
babies how to hunt zucchinis. It has already occurred to her that maybe, if
they are quite little, they can fit through the fence to go after the quail
who escape by going through the chain link.  Elvira is having a little
trouble with the concept of "350 miles away". She doesn't quite understand
why the puppies can't come over so she can see them. Her response to being
told that they are far away is: "but I want them."

The new puppies' sire, Woodsmoke Rhythm And Blues, is the litter brother of
Elvira (Woodsmoke Classic Country). I'll bet some of you thought Elvira was
named after The Mistress Of Darkness. She's not. She's named for the
Oakridge Boys classic country song, Elvira.

Thu, 22 Sep 2005
The Evil Elvira isn't nearly as smart as she thinks she is.

I divide the dogs up when I have to leave them at home.  I got out my purse and car keys and got everyone separated and locked up so I was ready to go.  And then..... no car keys. They were gone.

I can't leave if I don't have car keys, right? The silly dog. She hid them in the shoe I had to put on before I could leave.

See. She's not so clever after all.

Cathy K. Jericho Farms Border Terriers and Papillons
Wed, 28 Sep 2005
It seems that Sparky (Jericho's My Hearts On Fire) may be taking after
his Auntie Elvira at an early age. The boys will be 2 weeks old on Friday
and already Sparky is giving me minor heart attacks.

First it was time to clean up the puppy bed. So carefully all three boys
are removed and placed in a cuddle bed right next to their regular bed. I
remove the old paper and begin laying new paper out when I notice that
one of the boys has climbed up on the edge of the cuddle bed and is
sleeping right on the edge of oblivion. Fortunately he fell asleep before
stepping off into space.

Yesterday I noticed that they boy's eyes have begun to open. Okay,
Sparky's eyes are all the way open. First in all things...that's Sparky's
motto for now. Then, just to prove that he would be a great hunter like
Auntie Elvira he climbed into Mommy Olivia's supper dish and licked the
kibbles before falling asleep right there in the middle of the dish...he
fit in the dish too.

This may be a long couple of weeks as Sparky establishes himself as the
ruler of California.

Elvira just had a birthday. She was 2 years old on Halloween.

This Halloween, Elvira got a good trick or treat birthday present.  Elvira loves trick or treat. She loves to play tricks and what could possibly beat a nice treat?

For Elvira's birthday, her dam, Heather, produced 2 new pups. Elvira has a new little brother and a new little sister. Elvira is completely enchanted, and Heather thinks Elvira should keep the heck far away from her babies. So Elvira stands in the doorway and quietly watches the pups with fond looks. She has to stand up and balance on her back legs to see over the edge of the whelping box. It is the most still that Elvira has ever been in her entire twitchy life. I notice that every time she gets an opportunity to see the babies, she moves about 2 inches closer. Eyes opened today, so it won't be too much longer before Elvira is allowed to take a closer look.

Since pups were born on Halloween, the girl will be Woodsmoke Enchanted, and the boy is Woodsmoke Incantation. Sire of the pups is Woodsmoke Summit.  The pups are lovely. The girl is a mismark, but with her nice structure, she will make a wonderful agility dog for someone.

                                                            Tue, 06 Dec 2005
The Evil Elvira's little brother and little sister  are doing great. They get out and toddle around loose in the house.  All the bitches want to lay claim to them and take care of them, so they have a great time with lots of fuss made over them. Elvira really wants to play with them, but has a hard time getting her share when the older bitches are hogging all the puppy time. When she does get a puppy, she is wonderful with them. She's very careful and gentle.

It finally occured to Elvira that she isn't the baby anymore, so she is giving me a lot of cuddle time. I think she is worried about losing her place to a young upstart.

I wish I had room in the house for another strictly pet. Enchanted is going to be a heart dog. If she hears my voice, she jumps up, tail wagging, and starts looking around to try to find where I am.  All the dogs want her to play, but her first choice is me. She hangs around with me. In order to get her to learn to play with dogs, I have to leave the room.

Both of these pups are lovely and have great fronts and lots of curve in the stifle. I sure wish I could show Enchanted, but I can't, so that's that. Unfortunately, the pups have chewed Heather's ear fringe off.  Heather and Elvira are my only 2 dogs with curtain fringe and I had been eyeballing Heather, thinking I should get her out into the show ring. Well... not for awhile, now. It takes a long time to grow that much fringe, so she'll be a long time getting her furnishings back. I hope the pups don't chew Elvira's ear fringes. I'm hoping to start showing Elvira next summer.

                                                    Wed, 14 Dec 2005
The Evil Elvira pulled my pants off.

Elvira adores the snow. We have a lot of snow right now, so she was ready and eager when I said, "Let's go for a walk."

But then I didn't move fast enough to suit her, and when a few cries of "Rah! Rah!" didn't get the door open so she could bound through the snowdrifts, she leapt up and grabbed my pants just below the pocket and pulled them down.

Elvira specializes in The Laws of Physics, but even so, I had to try to explain to her that I couldn't move as fast as she wanted if my pants were down around my ankles. She wasn't the least bit interested in my excuse, the only thing she was interested in was getting the door open so she could play in the snow.  So all I got for my teaching efforts was an impatient glare.


I am going to have to buy myself a pair of pants with a belt before I start taking her to dog shows.

Wed, 04 Jan 2006
It doesn't matter how long a person is in dogs. There is always something new. Dogs don't read the books. Dogs have minds and thought process of their own.

Elvira's little brother, Spirit, is so much like Elvira. He is reckless, adventuresome, and full of mischief. He is also very smart and  doing really well on his house training. He runs for his litter box of alfalfa pellets and he likes going outside under the columbines.

Today he was in the breakfast room and suddenly looked frantic. He ran and found his way blocked by the kitchen cabinets. He spun around, wild-eyed, and then jumped up into the roasting pan full of kibble, gave two turns and then, with a look of great relief on his face, he peed in the dog food.

Innovation is good. It means he is thinking. But I think maybe I will put a litter box in the breakfast room.

                                                            Tue, 21 Feb 2006
Argh! Some of the dogs got out again. I've spent hundreds of hours on that fence dog-proofing it, and no one except the Deerhounds are allowed in the big yard without a human. Still, they got out.

I locked up Heather and Elvira. They are my escape artists, and incidentally 2 of the 4 dogs who escaped. They took the two puppies with them when they went.

Heather gets out and pretends she can't hear me. Elvira gets out and she sits just outside the fence and starts renegotiating her contract. It always costs me a bundle because I would give anything to get her back safely, and she knows it.  She can hold herself hostage and demand a high ransom, and I will pay it.

Anyway, I locked everyone up except for the puppies. I took them out and we walked around the fence. They were so happy to go for a walk with me. They trotted right by my feet wagging their tails and occasionally grinning up at me.

Then Spirit laughed at me and said, with great pride, "look what I can do, Mom. I can scrunch myself right out this tiny little hole  under the fence."

I caught him by his fat curly little tail just as he was sliding under the fence. He got a good cuddle, and I got the hole blocked. It never occurred to him that he had been tricked. He just thought we were having fun.

I just had some trees taken out and it looks like that's what caused the small hole under the fence. We finished walking the fence, but Spirit didn't have any more holes to show me.  He showed me a nice big rock where he can play King of the Hill, and he showed me a couple of his favorite sticks.  He showed me the hole that the contractor put under the fence 2 weeks ago that was promptly blocked back up again, and he showed me how he tries to get out, but can't, no matter how hard he pushes.

He followed me back to the house, got a little treat, showed me his prize sock that he stole out of the laundry and then went to sleep on top of my foot while he was helping me with the computer.

I'm not going to let Elvira know that Spirit showed me the new hole under the fence. I will let her think I found it all by myself. I don't need to have her explaining the facts of hostage negotiation to him.

                                                    Wed, 10 May 2006
Monro, as you all know, is The Evil Elvira's litter brother. He got all the sugar, and Elvira got all the spice. Monro is always good.  That is why an enormous party was held in Irvine California, all for Monro.

Monro loved the Nationals. Every person he met loved Monro and petted him and everyone had pockets full of liver and beef heart which they shared with Monro. He sat in laps at ring side most of the day, and he got to ride on the glass elevator. It was a wonderful party.

Monro is always good. That's why he is the dog that got to ride on the airplane and stay in the extra nice hotel room.

Always good, except that, ahem.... I left Monro with a friend while I went to get suitcases out of my room at checkout.  Monro gave her the cuddle treatment until she let her guard down, and then he jerked the leash out of her hand and took off. He ran through the lobby, down the hallway, and right through the middle of the ring where judging was going on, all with my friend running after him and screaming "Loose dog, loose dog. Close the doors!"

Then he jumped up onto a stranger's lap and checked his pockets for liver.

Monro gave me his most innocent look, pointed out that he is always good, so either it was some other dog, or, what can he say, maybe my friend is a liar.

For a second there, looking at that very innocent face, he looked an awful lot like someone else I know who claims she is always innocent, and certainly I am not talking to her.

As they say:  blood will always tell.

                                                        Mon, 15 May 2006
I am trying to convince Fat Butt that he can go out through the dog door when he needs to potty. Fat Butt is trying to convince me that he can't potty unless I let him out the front door and go outside with him, just like I've done since he was barely big enough to walk.

He stands at the front door and barks. Let me out. Let me in. Now let me out again. Let me in... out... in... out......

I am tired of standing outside with him. The Deerhounds are tired of standing outside with him. In fact, Thunder has gone on strike. She will go out 3 times before noon, and after that she turns her back on me when I call her to go out and stand guard over the Papillons. The Papillons can not go out alone. I don't consider the chain link to be secure enough for Papillons.

So I have put Fat Butt into an exercise pen that has a dog door that goes out into the dog yard.

Fat Butt loves the dog yard. There is a tunnel, a rock pile, a race track, and balance beams. However, Fat Butt refuses to potty in the dog yard. He wants to play in the dog yard and then go out the front door. Bark bark, let me out NOW!

The poor dogs in the X-pen with Fat Butt. As soon as he starts barking, they huddle in the far corner, as far away from him as they can get. Because they know what he can't seem to figure out. Fat Butt is about to get himself squirted with the spray bottle.

He barks, I squirt him. Then he looks at the water on the floor with surprise. Then he glares at me. After a good glare he starts barking again. Let me out.

We have reached a compromise. He barks. I take him out of the X-pen and carry him through the door to the dog yard. Then I stand outside with him. If he will potty, I then carry him to the front door and Scotia Rose and I go out and watch him play in the front yard. Where incidentally he will finish his potty, just to make a point I am sure.

It's a toss-up who will win this contest. Don't forget that Fat Butt is The Evil Elvira's little brother. Elvira won the battle over the cheese table and Elvira is winning the battle over whether or not Elvira can be left at home when I go out.

It's a good thing for me that Elvira can't stand to be separated from me. She doesn't want to be out in the yard. She wants to be sitting on my feet.  Elvira wants to know everything that happens outside, but she flies in and out the dog door that goes from the family room into a steel kennel in the front yard. She quickly spies out the action and then comes running back to me.

So Elvira's goes in and out, in and out, just like Fat Butt, but with her independent nature, she is quite happy to let herself in and out.

Oops, gotta go. Fat Butt is standing at the front door and barking his head off.  It's 9:48 AM and this will be his fourth trip out. Fourth trip, it will just be me and Scotia Rose. Thunder will refuse to go.

                                                                    Fri, 26 May 2006
My Paps travel in crates, but they are still loose in the car fairly often.
They are loose while the car warms up. They are loose for a few moments
while I go and get a cart for them to ride in at the store.

They are loose in the car while I am cleaning the interior (and getting good
help from Elvira, who loves to pick up all sorts of things from inside the
car and remove them to places unknown). They are loose inside the car while
I am unloading my groceries.  How else would they know what's on the menu if
they couldn't all take a peek inside the grocery bags?

And I turn them loose in the car before I drive into the garage because it's
a bit tight in the garage for opening all the doors. So I let them out, open
the garage door, and then call them all back into the car, so I don't drive
over them. Inside the garage they all come out the driver's door.

I fully expect at some point to have Elvira lock me out of the car. Since I
am extra careful to take my keys out of the car the only time she is inside
the car with the keys in the ignition is at my house. So I keep a spare car
key outdoors just in case she locks me out of the car.

                                                    Sun, 11 Jun 2006
The Evil Elvira is looking mighty fine. I have decided it is time to show her.

She's got the table thing to an art, because she gets up on the table every time I work with Monro. Elvira gets her share of cheese that way.

Unfortunately, all this time she has been getting cheese, I haven't been hand stacking her. So now she is peevish if I try to move her around while she is on the table.  If I try to hand set her feet, she jumps off the table and goes under the bed until I learn better manners.

After all, for a year now, cheese has appeared for just standing pretty. She is not about to perform more work for the same amount of cheese.

Apparently we are about to enter into some new union negotiations.

                                                    Mon, 12 Jun 2006
It isn't getting any better.

Today, I offered Elvira the coveted dried chicken for free stacking on the ground. She has been copying Monro all year, so she knows how to do it.  She set herself up. I tried to lure her forward, told her to fix her foot.

She gave one quick longing glance at the chicken, looked me straight in the eye and glared at me, then stomped off and refused to look at me (or the chicken).

It looks like I will have to try something else. Elvira already thinks Elvira is perfect and I have no business messing with perfection.

                                                            Wed, 14 Jun 2006
Elvira had a little set back in her show dog training. I asked her to move her foot. That implied she wasn't doing it perfectly. She stomped off in a huff because I had been so rude to her.

So Elvira was on strike.

I was doing ground work (free stacking) with already-a-show-dog Monro. He does a lovely job. I showed Elvira the chicken and she stuck her nose up into the air and turned her back on me.

Then I worked with already-a-show-dog Skye. She does a lovely job, other than she has somewhere along the line decided that she gets the treat if she tucks her left front foot up like a pointer. It's cute, but not right for the show ring.

Elvira was still pointedly sitting with her back to me.

So, with some chicken left, I decide it was time to train Hunter. He hasn't been in the show ring, due to having all his ear fringe ripped off.  He had 12 long hairs remaining on the tip of one ear, not good for the show ring. His hair is growing back, and barring accidents, I might have him in the show ring by the end of summer.

So I lured Hunter with the chicken, maneuvering him into the correct stance and when his feet are set just right, he gets chicken. It takes a while but at some point they suddenly realize that it is the foot placement that wins the treat.

So Hunter was trying everything, standing on his back legs, crawling up my leg, sitting, sprawling, rolling over. I would lure him with the chicken right in front of his nose until he looked like I want and then he got a treat. It takes a lot of trail and error on the dog's part.

Finally, Elvira couldn't stand it any longer. With a cry of "Rah Rah Rah!", she body slammed into him and knocked him out of her way. Then she positioned her feet perfectly, arched her neck, fanned her ears, and gave Hunter a disgusted glance out of the corner of her eye.  "Like this, you idiot. What is so hard about looking pretty that you can't understand how to do it?"

So Elvira is over her snit and back into training. She even got up onto the table and worked there.

As long as I didn't suggest she should move her feet.

                                                            Thu, 21 Dec 2006
The Evil Elvira loves the drive-through window at the bank. She wants to sit on my lap and stare at the teller to make sure she gets her cookie.

She won't eat the cookies from the bank, because they are nasty cheap biscuits and Elvira deserves better. But it is a matter of principle. She is owed a cookie at the drive through, and she intends to collect.

Elvira has just discovered an excellent use for her inedible bank cookies. She drops them into my purse.

Then,  she is justified in rummaging around inside my purse to look for her cookie.  When I tell her to get out of my purse, she looks very innocent and insists that she is simply looking for the cookie that she dropped by accident into my purse.

(PS: for those of you who don't know me, Elvira does not ride loose in the car. She rides in a crate, but I let her loose at the bank so she can get her drive through window meal. And just like a small child at Mickie Dee's, she won't eat the food, she only wants the toy)

29 Dec 2006

The Evil Elvira has her very own Mini-Me.

Little bitty puppy girl McKenzie, 7 weeks old, fluffy and adorable, has a will of iron and a strong idea about her rights.

McKenzie and her brother River are allowed to roam free in the house when I can watch them, otherwise they are confined in an X-pen in the den where there is a lot of action and they can get a lot of attention.

McKenzie's goal is to be loose. Important puppies should not be locked up. If you don't believe that, just ask her.

I put her in her pen and she screamed bloody murder in protest. When that didn't get her out, she hooked her tiny little paws into the wire and she started climbing.

The X-pen is 4 feet tall. I caught her just as she reached the top.

So no more X-pen for McKenzie until I can set up a very low pen with a top so she can't break herself while in the process of getting her own way.

Right now, she is contentedly sleeping on top of my foot.  She got what she wanted, so life is good. At least she is a gracious winner.

She definitely reminds me of someone else I know.  Who, incidentally, is sleeping on top of my other foot.

butterflies courtesy of Andy

website courtesy of Ingrid

stories courtesy of Elvira

any missed Tails, please send them to Ingrid or Chris