Fiona hanging out on the porch.


Whim. Shortly after I picked her up off the road, I glanced into my rearview mirror, saw her sitting in the back seat, and thought, "She looks like her name ought to be Fiona."


None yet.


Probably around August 1, 2008.


Just about everyone guessed that she was part Golden Retriever, but the rest of the guesses were all over the map. My bet was on Sheltie. Her DNA test revealed the following breeds:
- Golden Retriever
- Saluki
- Poodle
- French Bulldog (!)

I have wanted a Saluki for years and years. Now I have one. Sort of.


Fiona is the smallest of our dogs. She weighed 55 pounds when we found her, making her somewhat overweight. She's down to 50 now. She's very blonde and poufy and pretty, with small paws and a Golden Retriever-like tail.


We didn't hear a peep out of her for some days after we took her in, causing me to wonder whether she was barkless. After a while, though, she began to enthusiastically guard her new property, barking at cows and passers-by. Her bark sounds like it's coming from a smaller dog. So far, she only barks when something important (to dogs) is going on, rather than barking just to amuse herself.

Her howl is quite odd - high-pitched and hoarse sounding. When I first heard it, I wasn't sure what kind of animal was producing the noise.


I was almost home from work on February 15, 2010 when I spotted a dog in the middle of the road, with cars going past her at 65 mph on either side. She clearly had no clue how to cope with traffic and was obviously lost and distressed. I pulled into the center turn lane and called to her, but she ran to the side of the road. I followed, pulled off the road, and squatted down next to the car and called to her. More comfortable with that situation, she approached me and let me put a leash on her and put her in the car.

She had no collar or tag - and as we found out later, no microchip - but she appeared to be well cared for and, as mentioned before, was on the chubby side. We assumed she'd slipped out of someone's yard, so we did the usual "Found Dog posters and ad in the paper" routine, then confidently waited for her anxious owners to call.

No one called and someone tore down the posters. It was pretty clear at that point that someone had deliberately dumped her.

Initially, we kept her separate from Lily. Lily was very "alpha" and was especially rough on other female dogs - and she was quite a bit larger than Fiona. When we cautiously introduced the two, we were quite startled to find that Lily not only tolerated her, but played with her and licked her. Given that, we ditched our "six dogs is the limit" rule and kept Fiona.


Fiona is cautious without being overly timid, not in the least bit aggressive with our other dogs, active and playful, and quite affectionate. She learns quickly and appears to be brighter than average. When she's not playing with the other dogs, she spends a good deal of time patrolling and inspecting her territory.

At first, she was a bit nervous around my husband and very clingy with me, which leads me to suspect that she previously lived with a man who was not very nice to her and a woman who treated her decently. She quickly learned that no one here is going to hurt her and has become much more confident.

She had pretty clearly never been on a leash before and initially was not interested in going on walks. One day, though, she abruptly changed her mind and now loves walks.


Bad hips and knees; one knee surgery; rattlesnake bite. See details


Protecting her yard, riding in the passenger's seat of my car when I drive from the gate to my parking spot, putting her front paws into the water when she drinks. She also enjoys helping me pick up poo and inspect the electric fence on Sunday afternoons.

She is very much into protecting her territory. When we brought her inside after her knee surgery, we discovered that she regards the vacuum cleaner and the mixer as dangerous intruders. She also views the blender with suspicion. Here's a video of her teaching the vacuum cleaner a lesson:

Fiona vs. the Vacuum


Fiona gets along with everyone, but is especially fond of Aardvark (Creedence).