Blocker The Dog


Some Stories

A few rememberances about our Blocker boy below. And, please, anyone with any stories to add, please help us remember him with anything at all. Please don’t hesitate! Thanks!

Medvet, Again

I like to think I saved Block’s life a couple of times, in payment for the many times he saved mine. Early on, when I was recording in the studio with Robert Post and trombonist Jim Masters, Blocker was about 7 months old, and was enjoying watching the proceedings; Jim was there to portray the voice of one of the characters in Robert’s piece “Spiked,” about a beleaguered office worker. The trombone fit perfectly as the blustering, overbearing boss. Jim had suggested to Robert to voice another one of his characters with a blade of grass– Beasley, the meek, overworked employee drone. Blocker especially was fascinated by Jim splitting and blowing through the blade of grass to make musical squeaking sounds.

As the session progressed, it was for some reason getting harder to breathe. Looking out in the hallway, we saw painters with their buckets and brushes. Jim recognized the brand of paint as something particularly noxious. After a while, with some coughing and choking from all of us, Blocker included, we abandoned the session and left the building.

Blocker seemed to be affected by this experience, so on the way home I took him to the vet. They thought it was a stomach flu, and said they’d keep him overnight. I had the foresight to ask if they’d be checking on him through the night, or just the next morning. Thankfully they truthfully answered, “in the morning.” I thought for less than a moment and said in that case I’d just take him home and watch him myself. Very wise. By about 11 PM or so, he wasn’t doing well at all; he was barely breathing. I rushed him off to Medvet, where the ER doc, Dr. Warren Mauer, correctly assessed he had pneumonia. He would have been dead by morning had we not caught it in time. Thanks, Warren!

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A Story, And A Warning

I’m a musician, and I sometimes keep odd hours. One night when Blocker and his sister Blue-Bleu were about 16 months, I came in late to find them sleeping in the kitchen, waiting for my arrival. Blocker would always wait for me, and this night his sister had joined him. For some reason, I just crawled onto one of the dog beds on the floor next to them and cuddled up instead of going upstairs to bed.

About 6 in the morning I was awakened by an indescribable commotion. The dogs were not present, probably having gone out the doggy-door to the backyard. I opened the back door to see Blocker and Blue locked in what seemed like mortal combat, thrashing about the yard, yet strangely silent. The violence, the frothing, the snarling teeth and bulging eyes kicked in my fear and adrenalin as I yelled and manhandled the two 90 pound animals. Their strength was astounding as they fought for their lives. I dragged them into the kitchen as my frantic brain immediately assessed the situation: the two dogs both wore light nylon choke collars, and Blue had gotten her lower jaw tangled in Blocker’s collar, effectively choking the life out of him and pulling her mandible off. I was screaming and by this time my hysterical girlfriend was in the kitchen in a state of shock. I grabbed scissors and tried to get them under the bound collar and cut it off. Luckily(?) Blocker was losing consciousness and beginning to weaken. The scissors could not cut through the tough nylon cord. In desperation, I grabbed a knife and tried to fathom which dog I would sacrifice to save the other. In an instant I slipped the knife up under Blocker’s collar and cut it off. Both dogs fell to the ground, Blocker close to gone, it seemed, unconscious, not breathing. They laid there a long time. Blue seemed to be recovering but Blocker was not. His tongue was lolling out of his mouth like he was dead, but I could see he was still breathing a bit. After a few minutes, his eyes rolled back forward and he started to breath heavily. We all sat in shock for a while on the floor as he recovered.

Unbelievably, no damage was done to either dog. A testament to just how tough they were, and certainly how strong a German Shepherd’s jaws are; the fact that a 90-plus pound dog throwing itself about like a wild bucking horse strapped to Blue’s jaw had not broken or even damaged it! However, they were extremely wary around each other for several months. They went from being the best of friends, littermate buddies with an unbreakable bond, to animals that were pretty sure that the other one had effectively been killing them. Although they eventually became friends again, I’m not sure if that wariness ever completely went away.

I had read and heard about how dangerous choke collars could be, and now I had first hand knowledge. I’ve never used one again.

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From Suzanne-

When I met Blocker in 2000 it was love at first sight, on his part only. Tom had come to pick me up at my Arlington apartment and when he let Blocker out of his big-dog-car-seat he jumped and hopped and greeted me with fervor, real straight up full on excitement for me, a stranger. A long time dog lover but only a cat owner because of losing my best friend Henry, my beloved terrier mix mutt at 18, I thought he was nice and pretty and everything but that’s all.

He sniffed and licked me unstoppably from between the bars of the gate behind the front seat of Tom’s big old brown wagon for much of our trip. It was our “first date,” an outing to Alum Creek (we didn’t know that it was a date at the time, but Blocker did!). It so embarrassed Tom that his canine wouldn’t stop with the tongue action that he called him off of me.

Blocker already knew what I later found out, that we were familiars, a match made in paradise and this was our reunion, forget about Tom.

In fact, even up until a month before he passed Blocker nudged his way between Tom and I whenever we embraced. He thought of me as his “girl”, his Alpha Female companion of the pack. (Sorry Bella, but you know how arranged marriages end up!) We all had a place in the pack and Blocker was happiest when we were all together.

I am so grateful that I got to spend 6 plus years with him. There are many stories I want and need to tell but since this is the first, chronologically speaking, I’ll stop here for now.

Suzanne (Sweet Dove)


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