Chris at sunset in West Texas
picture of Troubador on his First Birthday
picture of the back of the house
picture of Dancer running Picture of Martin in museum December 2004
Martin, Mary,Jim and Chris working on IBAT History video
Chris & Dancer riding in River Crossing
                         
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Chris & Martin's ScrapBook

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Our Canine Family

picture of C&M's dogs  picture of C&M's dogs  C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs

Spot (Chris)        •        Susie (Martin)       •        Pepper  (Martin)        •        Pepper & Baron  (Martin)

picture of C&M's dogs  C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs

Gunta with Chris' Dad,Al, Anthony & Ken (Chris)  •  Baron (Martin)  •  Tonya & Baron  (Martin)  •  Baron & Bear with Carol  (Martin)

picture of C&M's dogs  picture of C&M's dogs   

Snoopy (Chris)                     •                                  Shilo & Twister(Martin) 

C&M dogs  C&M Dogs    C&M Dogs Martin with Kelly & Shannon Austin, 1982

Ceda (Chris)   •  Kelly & Brandy (Martin)  •  Kelly  •  Kelly & Shannon  (Martin)

C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs

Orion & Ceda (C&M)     •     Orion & Onyx       •       Onyx 

C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs 

Orion & Bach

Bach, Chris & martin in studio

Bach, Chris & Martin 2004

Bracken and Troubador

Bracken & Troubador 2010

Bracken

Bracken 2013

picture of Sasha and Bach   Reflections upon the celebration of Bach's life...August 18,2004   picture of Bach and Chris

    

picture of BachBach was so much a part of our life.  He split his time between Chris and Martin's offices always giving us equal time.  He loved to have ice as it came out of the refrigerator door and had learned to "whisper."  He could bark loud and medium, however could make a very small "oof" when asked to whisper.  He sang.  Really!  When he heard sirens, he would hold his head back and hit this deep solid note and hold it for the longest of times.  He always sang for our birthdays.Bach in studio march 2004 

picture of bach and Sasah with their new beds Christmas 2002  In the garage where they slept, we'd provided fans and blankets to keep the dogs cooler and warmer depending upon the season.  However, when we built the new house two years ago, we gave them a room of their own with air conditioning.  How Bach loved to wander about outside in the Texas heat and then come back to his own room whenever he wanted to cool off. 

Bach following Chris' Pathfinder out of the garageYou would think he "lived to ride."  picture of Bach in his favorite PathfinderOne of us would say "what do you want to do?" and Bach would bound to the garage door and hang by the tailgate of Chris' Pathfinder.  When Chris got in to drive, he'd go quickly look under the front wheel well to watch the engine start and then glue his nose to the back bumper as she would pull out of the garage to make it easier for them to get in.  As Bach aged, we felt that jumping in and out of the truck was hard on him, so we bought him a ramp.   When preparing boxes to ship, Bach would get excited by the boxes and sound of the packing tape, knowing he had a good chance of a ride to the Post Office, or FedEx. 

We are going to miss Bach so very deeply.  We were so lucky to have Bach in our lives.  He gave so much love and I know he felt it in return.  It is incredible that over the last several years we were able to work more at home and spend quality time with him.

picture of Sasha riding Bach in Chris PathfinderSasha, our 8 year old Doberman is confused and lonely.  From the time she came home Bach was with her 24/7.  They even shared the same kennel cage when we went away on trips.  Bach gave Sasha so much love.  He would clean her ears and face and allow her to do anything she wanted with him.  Bach disciplined her all of 4 or 5 times her entire life. picture of Bach & Sasha They never quarreled over bones and for several years, Sasha would ride on Bach's back when we were in the Pathfinder.  When Sasaha was little, she'd open her mouth wide and hiss at Bach like a snake.  We called her "the shark." When Sasha would begin barking at visitors from the Dining Room, Bach would come upstairs to Martin's Office to show he was not guilty.

 

Bach and Sasha always came out to our new property to romp around the land and wander through the house as it was being built.  Stairs were new to them and a funny occasion as they learned to climb and go down.  Once completed and Dancer (Chris' Quarter horse) moved in with us, Bach took to being a Farm/Ranch dog like a duck to water.  Bach always went around with hay on his back and was constantly licking out the empty horse feeding bowl. Bach would lie in the stable hay room door while Chris fed Dancer and Moonie every morning.  Bach touched noses with dancer when he first met her. Quicktime videoBach & Dancer touching noses

 

 

 

Bach liked eating out.  Most often fed in the garage, Bach would pick up the corner of his bowl and carry it outside to a nice patch of grass to eat.  We never could get him to bring the bowl back.  However, Bach and Sasaha used to have a bed made out of an old water bed frame.  Our previous German Sheppard (Orion) eventually could not get in and out of that bed, so we'd cut out a piece and built a ramp.  Bach liked to get his ball, go to the top of the ramp and drop it so that it rolled down the ramp into his food bowl at the bottom.  He probably should have taken up golf.  Bach would come in and have ice first thing in the morning and several times during the day.picture of bach at Christmas 2002

Bach would shed during the Winter months and often leave what looked to be little lucky rabbits feet.  We called them "bits O Bach" as we'd pick them up.

Sasha's parents Austin Ploice Dogs    C&M Dogs  C&M Dogs  sc04BSRoom.jpg  sc04BSRoom.jpg 

Sasha's parents Austin Police Dogs • Bach (01/11/94 - 08/18/04) & Sasha (02/26/95 - 07/17/05

Troubador discovering stairs   Troubador

Troubador (11/26/04)

picture of Troubador on his First Birthday

First Birthday - November 26,2005 - view QuickTime movie

    Troubador Nov. 21, 2005  Troubador Nov. 21, 2005  Troubador Nov. 21, 2005  Troubador Nov. 21, 2005

click on pictures below for a larger image

picture of Chris & Troubador May 2006  picture of Troubador May 2006  picture of Troubador & House May 2006  picture of Troubador & house May 2006   picture of Troubador & house May 2006 picture of Troubador May 2006  picture of Troubador May 2006 picture of Troubador May 2006    picture of Troubador May 2006  picture of Troubador May 2006  picture of Troubador May 2006

May 2006

November 18, 2005

Hi, Chris and Martin,Troubador
Hope Troubadour has settled in and is everything you wanted him to be. I should have
written you last week to let you know the big news, but with the shows and traveling, just
haven't been at the 'puter. You may not want to tell Troubadour that his father at the national
specialty was awarded United States Grand Victor. That is top dog in the whole country.
I say that you may not want to tell him this as he may not let you into his inner sanctum
now that he is such royalty. It was quite exciting to see Honky Tonk Man win the top

award over some 700 German Shepherds. As I had told you, he was #2 last year, but I bred
AOL to him rather than the #1, Marquin's Extra Extra, because of some of the temperament
issues that I saw. As far as I know there have been no temperament issues with the Honky
Tonk dog. Let me hear from you, and let me know what you call him. (other than spoiled )
Best Regards,
Carolyn) 

Bonnie Bracken 03/23/07 Bracken joined our family!

Bracken   Bracken   Bracken   Bracken

Heading to new home   •  Troubador?

              Troubador & Bracken playing with teathered tennis balls  Bracken and troubador               

    

Troubador was referred to the Texas A&M Small Animal Clinic in Bryan for an MRI • back home drinking water with Brackenview video clip

Last Wed (August 26, 2009), Troubador (4.5 years old) began having serious  bouts of what they call "reverse sneezing." It looked like he couldn't get his breath. He'd done that a brief couple of times over the last month, however, it quickly passed and we attributed it to allergies. We took him to our vet and after x-rays and other tests, she was concerned he was bloating and sent us to the South Austin Animal Hospital (where we'd taken Bach). They completed a sonogram and other blood work. Everything came back normal, so they suspicioned it was neurological, as now he was having more severe problems with disorientation and drooling. The Hospital kept him Wed nite and we brought him home Thursday. Later that day we took him back to the Hosp as he was worse. Friday morning they did a throat scan to be sure nothing was stuck or abnormal and every test again was fine. The vet said we might consider taking him to A&M for an MRI. We brought him home Saturday and stayed up all night with him. Initially getting better, then serious turned to worse. Sunday afternoon, as we were unable to get him up to go out. We took him back to the Emer Hosp, realizing it was very likely he'd have to be put down. The ER vet said we may need to put him down. However, he suggested that if he did have a brain tumor, or some swelling, he would try steroids (+ other meds) and see what happened over night. Monday morning he seemed to respond to the treatment. The vet got us into the ER at A&M, so we drove to Bryan and they were able to do the MRI late Monday afternoon.  Dr. Wolf and his staff were excellent!!!

Turns out he has Encephalitis. There's no telling how he got it. It's more than I can describe, so here's a link they gave us.

The problem right now is that until they receive the blood work (3-6 weeks), they don't know what type of disease it is (fungal or infectious). The A&M vet thinks it has to do with his autoimmune system. So Troubador's getting 6 pills twice a day to cover all bases until they can refine the treatment. Unfortunately the prognosis is not good and it will shorten his life.  

 

       

Bracken playing ball • Troubador improving 09/03/09 (picked up his ball and carried it around) • movie

     

Dr. Wolff and Troubador at A&M on 09/17/09 • Chris with hay and Trou and Brac on 091809 • Martin & Troubador 092009 • Troubador and Bracken waiting for Chris to check gig at Hyatt Lost Pines • Carl's hamburger on Sept 26th

   

Troubador & Bracken 100209 • movie

    

Ferrier 100109

   

Trou and Brac on 100109

 

Bracken chasing squirrels

       

Playing ball with Troubador and reluctant Bracken. • View movie •  Troubador's become good at handing us the ball.  The ball is not near as important as chasing squirrels

Bracken in heat

   

Troubador & Bracken 11/15/09 and with Dominique's Stella

 

Troubador's birthday bones shared with Bracken

 

  

Cold and rain will not keep Chris from caring for KD & Dancer, nor does it defer Troubador and Bracken from loyalty standing watch

Bracken in rear view mirror

       

Spending time with the family • movie

     

        

Christmas Day 2009

Bracken & Troubador • movie

   

Bracken and Troubador

      

Bracken's Birthday - to Bastrop's Carl's with Troubador, Chris & Martin

Troubador & Bracken 02/13/10

 

Troubador and Bracken on cold Feb morning

    

    

Our first snow after 10 years on the property • movie

 

Chris with Dancer, KD, Bracken & Troubador

picture of Troubador opening presents at Christmas 2005                               

  

Troubador November 26, 2004 - November 5, 2012 • with all our love!  Trou's movie

   

       

Troubador November 3 & 5, 2012

Bracken

   

Bracken in the woods

   

 

Chris took Dancer and KD out to graze in the front & Bracken & Dancer connected. video

 

   

Bracken's 6th B-Day - Carl's • Bracken loves to ride

Bracken meets a raccoon

Bracken at seven - March 2014

       

Bracken April 2014

                 

Bracken 2015

          

Bracken finally passed her driver's test • can we go ride?

                         

Bracken in various looks

   

   

Bracken's most favorite thing is "getting to go" and her bed

   

Bracken 2016 Bracken going after skunk...luckily unsuccessfully (later not so lucky)

     

June 2016 - After 9.5 years, Bracken had her first close skunk encounter - happier after a bath (rt )

Bracken July 1, 2016

   

Christmas 2016

 

Sunset at Colorado Drive

   

Bracken and deer standoff • Chris brushing Bracken and Bracken howling...what a voice • video

   

Bracken Crossroads Vet • Brack sad as we head out to CTBA Christmas party

   

Another recorder arriving • Bracken waiting for Chris

       

Bracken chasing crow from tree and then a squirrels jumps down and runs to another tree • video

   

Bracken and Martin in the woods

      

          

Martin took Bracken for ride while Chris was out with Barb, so these are the many happy Bracken riding faces

    

Chris & Taffie out for ride with Jeannie • Bracken waiting Chris' return

       

First frost 11/20/2016  8 Bracken and Taffie • Brack

   

Bracken at night on wash rack • Bracken & Martin front porch

 

Home to stable cam • Bracken with big birds on Bill's and chasing bird to woods

  

Bracken and Martin

    

River Crossing Halloween hay ride

     

Bracken ready to go for a ride! • action move

     

Bracken • Frog in Chris' shoe • Bracken looking for Chris at HEB • deer on the run

    

Bonnie Bracken looking sharp

     

Chris, Bracken, KD, Taffie and Farrier

   

B out front • Bracken out with Chris in the morning

  

Bracken and Moonlight

       

C&M DQ with Bracken

   

Bracken much better with more energy after receiving thyroid meds - Out with Chris at the Stable • Chris brushing Bracken

       

Bracken at vet for checkup - after a pesky fly - diagnosed with thyroid deficiency • Bracken loves cheese

    

Bracken & Martin out for lunch and harmonizing

   

Bracken dealing with birds in the road • video

     

Evening rain • Martin Bracken quiet morning porch • KD trying to lighten the muck cart

    

Bracken and Chris • Bracken stalking armadillo

     

Chris and Bracken at the stable in the August rain • hay room door accidentally came down on Bracken • video

            

Bracken on a rainy day and taking her pills

       

Bracken watching squirrel that just ran in front of us.

     

Bracken watching for Chris • visiting with Barbara

     

Bracken watching for Chris, chasing squirrel and early morning out with Chris

         

Martin and Bracken

Chris and Jeannie out for ride

   

Bracken and Martin front porch sittin'

     

Bracken sleeping in bedroom, waiting to come in during the night and out at the hay room.

   

Bracken and Martin waiting for Chis at HEB • Chris taking mower for service

       

Bracken's Birthday • video

      

Bracken about to turn 10 • Baby rabbit was in our garage

    

2017 Superbowl   •   Brack out early with Chris

      

Bracken & Martin • Bracken & Squirrel - relaxing

  

The German Shepherd Rumor (left )won the Best in Show in the 2017 Westminster  Kennel Club • Bracken (right) is proud! - we posted the above on FB

     

Bracken stalking and barking a a passing large bird • video

     

Bracken with squirrel playmate

     

    

Chris, KD, Taffie & Bracken • Bracken and Turkey Buzzard

 

Chris, Shirley & Jeannie heading out for ride in River Crossing

 

Bracken watching Chris and the Farrier

 

Happy Bracken out for a ride

   

Bracken and Texas star • Brack in her room • Brack front

          

Thank you Chris! Very cool birthday!!! Love!!!! • video  •  Bracken on watch

   

Chris, Taffie and Bracken

  

Lizard • Bracken ready to go & waiting for Chris • video

Bonnie Bracken February 1, 2007 - August 1, 2019

 

Bracken's paw print from Crossroads • tributecompilationBracken June 10,2019 to August 1, 2019 video2007 to 2008

              

Best example of Bracken's spirit is this video of Bracken getting to go for a ride

            

Bonnie Brack February 1, 2007 - August 1, 2019

On June 11th, we got up and found that Bracken didn't have control of her left side. She was exhausted after running up and down the stairs scared of thunderstorms the past couple of days. We should have immediately closed her in the second bath, but thought she'd calm down.

 

Our vet sent us to the north Austin vet hospital where they said it might be a more severe stroke or a brain tumor. They recommended steroids to see how she responded. Between the steroids and her incredible determination, she continued for seven weeks.

    

    

The morning August 1, 2019 Bracken could not walk at all. Chris had stayed with her the night before and ended up having to lift and support Bracken's hips to enable her to go out and pee. We called the Crossroads vet and they scheduled an 11:30 am appointment. went took Bracken for her last ride, bought a couple of hamburgers and sat in the car under a shade tree for awhile.

She was twelve and a half exactly on August 1st. She had a good life, but boy do we realize how much she was ingrained in our every moment.

            

                               

Chris and Martin traded nights staying with Bracken from June 11th to August 1st, as she needed to go out 4+ times at night due to the steroids she was taking

     

Chris with Bracken • Chris Bracken, Martin & Taffie

        

July 28th Bracken chased bunny then patrolled in the woods • Martin with Bracken

         

Chris, Taffie, Bracken and Martin on a cool late July evening • video

     

Bracken at Hyde Park July 22nd while Chris and David met and back home • Watching rabbit at Bill's

      

Bracken at the stable, went for ride July 21st then Chris gave her a bath and brushing

    

Bracken and Martin HEB July 19th • Bracken & Martin back porch July 24th - seemed she was doing well

    

Chris and Bracken at the stable • Holly (farrier)

    

Bracken & Martin out for regular morning walk on July 14th, riding back from Austin and in the master bedroom - Bracken was so up and alert all the time.

   

Chris and Bracken at the stable • Bracken in Martin's studio

      

Bracken and Martin waiting for Chris at HEB • Brack watching Chris prepare supper and at the stable

 

waiting for Chris in the morning • sleeping

 

Chris, Taffie and Bracken out front grazing • video

          

We took Bracken to Wendy's - fries, no thank you! Hamburger, yes please! And a drink!

     

Bracken watching Chris and Taffie getting ready for ride and heading out July 9th

Bracken July 1, 2019

                     

A Day with Bracken (Brack/Bonnie Bracken)

     

To provide some perspective, Bracken was born February 1, 2007. We acquired her in Austin on March 23, 2007. She joined Troubador who was born November 26, 2004 and came to us on September 9, 2005. When we built our home/studio/stable in 2002, we included an air conditioned room for our previous dogs, Bach and Sasha. Bracken and Troubador would sleep in their room, however would be in the house during the day. Both Bracken and Troubador loved to be inside, but also loved the outdoors as we had all kinds of critters and room for them to roam. Unfortunately Trou really liked to roam. So shortly after he came to us from Houston, we installed an electric fence to help keep him in our yard. The fence was turned off when Trou became ill and never used again. We also had a divider in the Murano that kept Bracken and Troubador in the back. This was removed after Troubador passed away. Bracken was very good about staying in the back. Only once she came in the driver's seat when two dogs came by while Chris and I were out seeing a horse (bel.

    

When Troubador became ill in August 2009, we stopped using the electric fence and collars. After Troubador passed November 5, 2012, Bracken still slept in their room in the garage. Then on August 20, 2014, our main downstairs air conditioner went out and was not fixed for 6+ days. We were in a string of 100 degree days. Bracken could not stay in the hot dog room, so we allowed her to be inside with us. She could sleep under a fan. Well, she never returned to the dog room, thus becoming an even closer family member and a total part of our daily routine. She never damaged anything, nor peed, nor pooped in the house until her stroke. Well that's not true.

When Bracken was about six months old, she ate part of Martin’s motorcycle front fender and a side cover. We bought a baby fence and put it around the motorcycle. She was always respectful of things in the house. Very rarely, if we were gone too long, she might take some dirt out of a planter and throw it on the ground. While attending a reunion in Alpine, she felt we left her in the room at Antelope Lodge too long and distributed her food around the living room. Oh, and she also chewed one of Chris' horse brushes and a bed in their dog's room. Other than that, Bracken was perfect!

Our day with Bracken would start out early in the morning when Chris would get up to take care of the horses. This was usually about 7 o’clock. After Troubador passed away and Bracken became a house dog, Bracken would often come through from her bed in the living room and wake us. Later in life, she would bark around 7:00 am. Unfortunately that slowly changed over the last several months.

In 2017, Bracken began having really low energy and did not want to do much. We were afraid we were going to lose her. Chris had started Bracken on Cosequin, as shes had a bad right hip. Unfortunately, early in her life Bracken began rolling over on her right hip when she sat down. That caused problem when she had the stroke effecting her left hip. In 2016 when we took her to the Crossroads Vet, Dr. Halley asked to check her thyroid levels. They were low and when we began giving her the thyroid pills, she turned into a puppy again and had great energy. Giving her the pills was difficult, so Chris found some dog chicken rolls at HEB that Bracken liked and it was much easier.

So back to our morning routine. Chris or I one would give Bracken her morning pills. Then Bracken would follow Chris out to the stable as she fed Taffie (and prior to Taffie, Dancer and KD). Bracken would wander through the back of the stable, or explore over by Dry Creek that runs along the side of our property. Often, she'd just lie down and keep an eye on what Chris was doing.

When Chris came back in we would have breakfast. If I was still getting ready, Bracken would come to the master bath and push open the door and say hi! As I prepared my breakfast, I liked almond‘s on my cereal and always gave Bracken six or more almonds which she enjoyed. Then she would sit with us as we ate in the living room watching the morning news. When we were through with breakfast we'd take Brack out front of the house checking for bunnies. We'd say "let's go check for bunnies" and Bracken would leap up, beating us to the front door. Often there would be something to chase. When we came back in, Chris would go finish up at the stable and I would normally go upstairs to my studio.

Bracken always kept an eye on both of us. She'd watch Chris when she'd go out to the stable and prepare Taffie to go for a ride. Then she'd watch for her to comeback. Sometimes Bracken and I would meet Chris and Taffie when they returned. Bracken and Taffie were always respectful of each other.

 

 

 

Our stairs had a landing half way up that provided a view out the front and Bracken could see out the back. This enabled her to keep up with both of us. Until later in her life she would spend some time in the studio with me, but preferred the landing. We bought mats for places she like to lay down, plus she had her beds.

 

 

At 10 o’clock in the morning, Bracken would often bark and I would come down and she'd be waiting at the bottom of stairs. We'd go out the front door and over toward the woods by the creek and walk around looking for bunnies or squirrels.

Around noon, Bracken would once again let us know it was time for lunch. Bracken would come into the kitchen and lie down as lunch was prepared. She could always depend on receiving cheese bits and other food scraps. She would come through to the living room and sit with us and receive pieces of cheese, or lunch meat. Then when we were done we would have some more pieces of cheese or other snacks waiting in the kitchen.

 

After lunch we take a short walk outside, Chris would often go get the mail and then Chris and I would return to our offices. Another time when Bracken would bark to let us know it was 3 o’clock and time for an ice cream break. We would give her dog cookies and let her lick the ice cream cups. Chris found some dog peanut butter cookies she really liked. Sometimes we go to DQ and Bracken would get the botom of the cones.

 

 

We’ve been Bracken’s “pack”since Trou passed. So most afternoons after an ice cream break, around 3:00pm, we walk with Bracken all the way around our home checking for critters and giving her an opportunity to go. Often coming back up to the front door, Bracken would scratch her back along the bushes. These bushes were hers from the beginning as she played ball with Troubador running in and out of the bushes. video

Speaking of cookies Bracken was very adept at blocking our way when we were walking and requesting cookies for us to pass. She was never pushy, but deliberate.

I'd go exercise after our ice cream break. When I was done, I would go through to Bracken. She'd be on her bed or in the dining room. I'd hug her and give her a couple of cookies. Then return to my office. The rest of the afternoon, if she needed anything, she'd let one of us know.

Bracken loved being in the kitchen when Chris was preparing supper after she'd brought Taffie in. We'd always give her some snacks and we would watch the news as we’re having supper.

After supper we would normally go out and sit on the porch, listen to the jukebox, or watch something on TV. For a long time Bracken stayed with us while the TV was on, but in the last few year, when we are watching movies and there’s some loud sound or something she really would try to get us to turn off the TV. we found that Bracken could go into the master bedroom away from the sound and she was comfortable. It was only in later years that Bracken became more sensitive to loud noises, thunderstorms and fireworks. We had been impressed because Troubadour (her companion who passed away on November 5, 2012) was always scared of thunderstorms and fireworks and she wasn’t.

In December when she may have experienced a minor stroke, she started having trouble hearing in her left ear. So when you would call, or talk to her she’d always turn to the right. The vet thought that it may have affected her left eye side as well. If you’re giving her a cookie and you  approach from the left she still kind of drew back. Then if you circle around so you’re on her right, she'd take the cookie

While on the front porch, we often had squirrels, rabbits, or armadillos that would wonder onto the lawn from the creek area. It was really fun for Bracken as she would chase them. She often also chased squirrels earlier in the day. We had a squirrel regularly come up on the back porch and sit on the railing or sit on the ground floor and harass her. If we couldn’t get here quick enough Brack would be really anxious. As soon as Bracken went out, the squirrel would quickly jump onto the roof.

 

Bracken very often chased squirrels between the trees in the front yard. One time Bracken completed a long chase and at the end brought back a filter, or paint  face mask. Guess she felt we deserved to receive something.

 

 

In the evening Chris would go out to feed Taffie. Bracken would go with us and again maybe go into the stable or go out and back and comeback through and check things out. Then she would lie down as Chris finished working with Taffie. I would toss Bracken cookies as she laid in the lawn outside the stable.

Then we all came in. Even though we just been out to the stable, we had a ritual with Bracken that we would go out the front door and say we were going to check on bunnies one last time . She’ll go out and around the front yard and do anything she needed to do and that was it for the night. Bracken would come back in and go to bed or lay down in the dining room. When it was warm she would lay down in the dining room under air-conditioning.

Another behavior in the last couple months if she really wanted to spend a lot of time close to Chris she spent more time around the stable, or go back and sleep for a while in the master bedroom. She’d come get us if she needed to go out. Then she went through a period where she didn’t get up to come get us, she would just bark. However she always took care of it outside. She never did anything in the house, until she had the stroke last month. Then it was necessary for one or the other of us to sleep in the living room so we would be able to get up with her multiple times a night. Then later the steroids are making her have to more.

 

Weekends were always special. For a long time Bracken could count on going for rides on both Saturday and Sunday. Then it became even more frequent. Her excitement when you offered her a ride was transforming. She became a young puppy bouncing around and corralling us out the door. Right up until June 11, 2019, when asked “if she wanted to go?”, Bracken would trot down the hall as I went to retrieve my car keys. Then she would perform all kinds contortions, sometimes nipping you. Bracken was always a subtle nipper. Sometimes you didn’t know you’d been nipped until a bruise appeared.

It's funny how habits are formed. One of our most regular trips in recent years was to the HEB in Bastrop. My mobility had become limited, so Chris had been doing the shopping. We began taking Bracken. Bracken and I would stay in the Murano, while Chris bought groceries. Bracken enjoyed watching everyone. When it was cool, we'd have the windows open and when it was hot we sat in the air conditioning. it amazed me that Bracken never slept when we were out for a ride, or even when parked. If we went inside a store or restaurant and she was in the car, she stayed on high alert. Over the past year, we installed a couple of cameras to check on her when she stayed home. We found that when we were gone, she also did not sleep and was on high alert waiting for us to come home.

Bracken's favorite joy by far was hanging her head out the back windows and going fast. We always closed them on the highway, but we might getup to 60 mph before she came inside. It made it even better if there was a dog or something to bark at. She learned that we did not approve of her barking at people, or horses.

 

 

In the past couple of years, Bracken hardly ever missed a day that she didn’t get to go for a ride and for a hamburger most weekends. Bracken would sit in the back  of my Murano (she had the whole back to herself ). So she would sit in the back on a couple of old beds she used to have and put her paws over the front of the front bed right between our seats. It was just like being in the front with us.

We liked to go to Trudy's for breakfast or Friday night supper. Bracken would almost always go with us on the Sunday morning Trudy's trips. Sometimes it was too hot. We would bring her out some bacon.

 

Bracken loved to take trips with us. We made several trips to Alpine over the years and other shorter trips. Bracken was welcomed into Carl and Alice's home in Midland when we were visiting a couple of times.

I know Chris and I gave up going out on our own as we used to do in order to give Bracken these opportunities. Although Bracken was always good about being left home alone. Sometimes we’d have a neighbor look after her. One time we went to Denver to see Joan Baez and hired a girl named Erica to stay with Bracken several nights. Erica took care of Taffie as well, as did Barbara. 

 

When we built the new home in 2002, Bach and Sasha decided they needed to get on the back porch without using the gate. They created their own entrance by shifting a spar. Troubador and Bracken continued using it. in fact, it became Bracken's entrance of choice and the spar was permanently removed..

Speaking of beds, Bracken had several very nice beds. One time, Chris ordered  Bracken a new bed. When it arrived folded up in plastic in a box, Chris pulled it out and Bracken quickly laid on it before we could unwrap it. No clue how she knew that it was hers.

 

Bracken loved being brushed by Chris. We also gave her a bath periodically. She was not happy when we began, but was always cooperative.

We had a friend that said she was surprised to hear us talking o Bracken like she was a person. Chris always said she had a good sense of the English language. There were lots of comments we could make to her and she'd respond uncannily.

 

Some other reflections:

Bracken truly had a good life. She was exposed to all kinds of critters, including cows that wondered into the property next to us. there were deer that passed through the pastures and our yard. coyotes wandered through as well, especially by the creek. Bracken experienced (as did we) two skunk encounters. She had squirrels on the run most of the year. Rabbits and armadillos would come out from the Dry Creek woods while we'd be on the front porch. Bracken was an excellent stalker, but never wanted to actually catch any of them. However one time she and Troubador caught and picked up an armadillo and couldn't figure out what to do, so they dropped it back on the ground. One time we found a live but scared rabbit in the garage. We suspected that Bracken caught it and left it alone to show us. It finally moved on after being frozen in place for a short while. Chris captured two raccoons in the stable stealing the horse feed. Bracken went up to the raccoon cage and was surprised by the ferocity of the raccoon.

         

Troubador was a wanderer early in his life. He always came home, but would go next door and often toward the street. So we installed a wireless fence and used the electric collars. It helped, however if Troubador chased a squirrel or rabbit, the fence made no difference as he went through it so fast. Bracken would be right behind him. Bracken was always good about coming back and that's when the fence would be a problem. After Troubador passed away, Bracken stayed in the yard more. The first year we had her, she somehow became locked in the the shock zone and ended up severely biting her tongue. Bracken rarely wore a collar except when she left home to go for a ride. Then putting on a collar became a treat as Bracken was "getting to go."

Troubador liked getting ice from the fridge. Ice made Bracken sick, so she would get a dog treat when Trou got ice. This went on the rest of Bracken's life. When I'd get ice for my drink, Bracken would receive a dog cookie.

While Troubador learned sit, stay, roll over and chased balls, Bracken did not. She excelled at coming every time she was called, but was not into tricks or balls. Bracken had a small stuffed squirrel and a small stuffed boomerang for a short time. Chris took Bracken through obedience school in May 2009, but she retained her independence to the end.

For a long time Bracken was the exuberance police. If we got excited watching a football game, or we'd laugh loudly during a movie, Bracken would come over and place a paw our knee as if to say "too much exuberance!" Some of the time she would go up onto the second landing on our stairs. One time when Dallas won a last minute football game with a touchdown, we were all excited. We looked up and Bracken had flipped on back with her back legs in the air - like "touchdown." We laughed until our sides hurt.

When we built our current home, we included an air conditioned dog room with a dog door in the garage for Bach and Sasha. Troubador and Bracken used the room. When Bracken came into heat, we hoped to mate her with Troubador. However she was not interested. Given Trou's later illness, maybe that was a good thing. We closed off into the room when she was in heat and shut the dog door, so she couldn't get out. However we came out to the garage and she was out of the dog room. Then it happened again. Watching through the outside door, we saw she was opening the main door herself. Video

    

 

Bracken loved water. She and Troubador had great fun early on after a heavy rain chasing each other around the fence between our and our neighbor Bill's home. Later we provided a large bucket of water for her in hot weather. video She was known to attack water sprinklers on ocas ions.

Troubador would wander over to Bill's home next door. Bracken would follow him. When we called them, Trou was reluctant to come, but Bracken always came when called her entire life.

Troubador loved our getting rib bones from Don's Bar-B-Q, however Bracken never was excited about bones. She liked the brisket. She loved cheese (especially Tillamook). Oh course hamburgers and other people food. She actually like some fish. Mostly she ate dry and early in her life some canned dog food.

When Troubador was diagnosed with encephalitis, he was referred to A&M where a Dr. Wolf treated him and through their care gave us several more years with Troubador. Bracken would go with us the Trou's checkups at A&M and was very loving and supportive to Trou.

 

 

Bracken was also respectful of people who came to the house. Once she knew we were okay with them, she never hassled anyone. She did always sound ferocious when the door bell rang. On the other hand, while she was very close to Troubador, we didn't socialize her sufficiently around other dogs, so she was always overly protective.

Troubador went through several years of severe illness. Was treated at A&M and toughed it out giving us several years of joy. Bracken was at Trou’s side the whole way. 

After Troubador passed away, we took a trip to California and left Bracken in a new and unfamiliar kennel. She’d always been with Trou in kennels, never by herself. She panicked, was traumatized and even tried to chew through the cage’s chain link fence. Previously and a few times later, she was happy at the Canine Hilton, however it closed. We never left her in a kennel after that. If Chris went back to the UK, or to seen family in the States, I'd stay home with Bracken. I don’t totally know why I made such a serious commitment to Bracken. I suppose guilt over what she was put through in the kennel.

Secondly, after Trou passed, we would look at movies of playing ball with Bracken and Troubador. Troubador lived to chase and always carried a tennis ball around. We tried to encourage Bracken to play with a ball(she had a oversized orange ball she’d sometimes play with). But she just wasn’t into ball playing, partially because Troubador been very possessive of his tennis balls. She was serious about chanting squirrels, rabbits and armadillos.

  

However while watching those movies of Trou running and chasing balls we were throwing and also slinging, I suddenly saw sadness in Bracken as she watched. I felt that Troubador’s illness had taken out attention away from Bracken. She made an effort all the time, but still I saw sadness and I swore that I would make it up to her.

After Troubador passed, we considered finding Bracken a new companion. However she seemed to be enjoying being the center of attention. She had given a lot of support to Troubador after his long illness.

   

Chris is getting the long ramp for Bracken when she became unable to make it up the short one.

      

One time Bracken seriously chased a squirrel and brought us back a filter of some kind. Bracken was truly good "most of the time." When she was young she crews up Martin's new motorcycle fender and battery cover. She also chewed on a horse brush and sprinkler. On occasions when she was really excited, like getting ready to go, she would give us a nip, bite at a plant, or throw something. If we were gone sometimes, she would remove some dirt from one of the planter. On a trip to Alpine we left her in a motel room too long and she spread he food all over a room.

                                                         

Bracken's Photo Gallery

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Bracken's Mom and Dad

 

 

 

 

Go to Family photosGo to Motor ppicsGo to Music picsGo to ScenesGo to martin's work pics

Chris at sunset in West Texas
picture of Troubador on his First Birthday
picture of the back of the house
picture of Dancer running Picture of Martin in museum December 2004
Martin, Mary,Jim and Chris working on IBAT History video
Chris & Dancer riding in River Crossing
                         
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