Today’s guest post comes from Sherrilee

My Samoyed is named for Thorin Oakenshield, the king of the Dwarves from “The Hobbit”.


He was a rescue dog and came with two names. His first family named him Angel and his second family changed it slightly to “Aingie”. Ick. We didn’t even make it home from St. Paul with him before we knew we couldn’t live with either one of those names. Since “The Hobbit” was one of the very first fantasy/science fiction books that I ever read, we decided that would be a good place to troll for names.

Although we think Thorin is a great name, I do have to explain it to almost everyone.

Thorin is a very sweet boy but not the brightest bulb on the tree. He has allergies in the summer that lead to eye and ear sensitivities and he has an insatiable appetite for paper stuff. He loves tissues, toilet paper rolls and anything that finds its way to the floor, even empty boxes. He’s also sampled books. If you ever need to know how much the library charges for a destroyed book, just ask me. He once ate a scrapbook.

Online descriptions of Thorin, the character, paint him as “officious” and “greedy”.

These two words may not be enough to capture the literary Thorin, but they do describe my canine Oakenshield.

Officious? My Thorin has a tattle-tale bark. It is completely different from any of his other barks and yowls. If one of the other animals is getting into something, he barks his special bark to let us know the rules are being broken. When my other dog got up on the counter and was eating the chocolate chip cookies off the wax paper, Thorin barked. When the kitties got into a bag of cat food on the buffet, he barked.

Greedy? Oh yes. If the spoils are being shared with him, you don’t hear a peep. Obviously this goes against his tattletale urge. Over the years, Thorin has quietly shared banana bread, dog treats, devilled eggs and recently an entire jar of sauerkraut.

Two possible explanations.

  1. When his mouth is full, Thorin chooses eating over barking.
  2. Thorin’s silence is for sale.

What would it take to buy your silence when others are doing wrong?

51 thoughts on “Thorin”

  1. The notion of buying my silence has been successfully employed on various occasions beginning back in childhood. Cousin Dan would stop by the little market store by his house in Fargo and grab a tube of cookie dough. He’d tell the guy at the counter to charge it and we would eat cookie dough on the walk home. I asked if his mom knew and he said they’d never know, he did it all the time. He got caught but by the squealer guy at the counter not me. We switched stores and continued with our errant ways on my return visits. In later days a bottle of beer or a hit off a dubious illeagal item could silence my outcries during an infraction in a private setting or even a public one.
    I guess my silence comes cheap if I am ok with the infraction. Ditching your Lima beans in the potted plant, licking the spoon and putting it back in the bowel, taking a 5 minute break on a hundred degree day when working outside are not ideas that occur to me on my own but when I see someone else do it I can be cooerced into silence, stealing from an unknown person at corporate never never land, lying to get ahead at the cost of someone else, being a slime ball in general will get a discouraging word from me. I think there are people who think if you can get away with it that makes it ok and I am there to let them know there is another view.
    Playing a round of golf and you want to trim your score a stroke? To make yourself feel better, ok. to win a buck, no way.
    When my dogs or children are doing wrong my silence can not be had. I must correct my dogs and children every every every time and enjoy the fact that they know the difference, one kid was on a basketball team where the team had To at the end of practice run to the first line touch it, ruin back, run to the middle line, reach down and touch it run back, run to the third line touch it, run back then run to the fourth line on the far end of the court. One kid wouldn’t bend all the way over and touch the line. He was a cheater every time and celebrated beating the kid next o him to the finish line as if he was a superior athelete, I love the opportunity to point to this kind of slime to answer life’s questions, different kid had pushups due at the end of karate class, never finished first but was the only one doing quality push ups and a year later he did good quality pushups faster than before and the others got sloppier and quicker. Great lesson. Who are you doing it for?
    The only bad part is the kid who wouldn’t bend over to touch the lines made the team every time because of politics and that teaches an indelible lesson too.


  2. We had a Samoyed for 14 years on the North Shore, half Samoyed, other half likely to be cockapoo, judging by the neighborhood, not the animal. She looked all Samoyed. Kids named her on the car ride home. This led to the later acquired cat being Franklyn. Eleanor was the dumbest sweetest dog on the earth. She would not have known how to sell her silence. She only barked to be let back in the house. She whined to be let out. She worshiped my wife. No other word covers it but worship. She loved us all, but it was adoration in the religious sense in her eyes when she looked at Sandy. She followed her every move. Even gave up food to follow her.
    Verrilee, I hope you have a good vacuum, Sherrilee.
    I have longed wished I were more silent in all situations. I am afraid it will take the grave to shut me up, alas.


    1. We actually have TWO vacuums – one that lives upstairs and one that lives downstairs. If you’ve had a Sammy then you’ve heard these questions before… “Does he shed?” and “Do you have to brush him?”


      1. And spring is just around the corner. Eleanor died about 6 months before we moved to Mankato. Two years after we moved–and we cleaned almost everything before packing and many again after unpacking–we were still picking white hairs off of clothing, out of boxes, out of files.


        1. yep i am still being reminded of zeke with his blonde hairs coming out of the blue from under sofa cushions in the back of closets on black jackets. nice to have little flashback triggers.


  3. Good morning. I am usually not good at holding my tongue, a lot like Clyde has said is his practice. I have been in situations, like tim mentioned, where I will refrain from telling all.

    There were a lot of those situation where I managed to keep my mouth shut when I worked at Hormel. The plant management at Hormel is kind of hard on the work force. It is best to go along with your fellow workers there when they have found a way to fool the management and get a little advantage for themselves. I was always finding workers hiding out some place to take a break where the bosses couldn’t see them. Sometimes I was one of the workers that joined the other workers in their hiding places.


    1. My friend at fleet farm used to talk about how they would find places in the warehouse where little break rooms had been constructed to hide the break recipients from view behind cases and pallets sometimes on the third shelf of a pallet rack


      1. I worked on one crew that knew the foreman could not see their work station from the part of plant where he was usually stationed. When that crew got ahead on their work they would stop working and take a break at a time when they shouldn’t have a break and they told me to take a break with them. They didn’t want to get too far ahead on their work because the amount of work that they would have to do to reach their quota would increase. On most days they had more than enough work to do.

        Nice story about your dog, VS. That is a good name that you picked for him.


  4. In honor of my grandson, I am watching the LOTR extended version full run through over the next two weeks. Well, I do this every year about this time anyway. I just told him it was for him. He really liked Thorin a lot. I think he could easily see Thorin in light of the superheroes who have been the focus of his life for a couple of years. Thorin is something closer to a Rottweiler in my mind. Click on my name if you want to read a comment I made about Jonah and the Hobbit. (I like that, “Jonah and the Hobbit.”)


  5. It may surprise some of you to learn that like tim, with me, a lot depends on whose rules are being broken. If I think the rule is stupid, unreasonable, or unjust, you will not even have to bribe me for silence.

    Then there is the echo of Michelle Cady in elementary school in my head all these years later-pretty little girl, medium brightness level, but my enduring memory of her is a voice saying, “you’re not ‘pposed to do that”. I’ve never had any interest in being that voice.

    On the other hand, if what you are “doing wrong” is harmful or immoral, I will do my level best to see you are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, insofar as that lies within my power (which all too often, it does not).

    I have a suspicion that I am like most Baboons in this way-’tis a just Congress, as far as I can tell.


  6. The faculty room, like all job sites, has a code of silence, or rather non-comment. In many places that code means that the stupid, lazy, arrogant, belligerent get to talk, meaning often bullying other people’s opinions, often forcing their silence, and silence then means agreement. So I just quit going there. Speaking up was changing nothing but my blood pressure. Then after awhile, some got on me for not going to the faculty room. But this was not different than working at a taconite plant, as a janitor at the U of Chi, etc. Every group seems to have a resident storm trooper who leads that pack.
    I left a Bible study a year ago because no one stood with me when I gently (I do mean gently) called out the resident storm trooper for his open bigotry and statements of latent violence against anyone not of Northern European descent. Since I was surrounded by silence for my statements . . .
    In the end I think this is the main reason I am rather reclusive. Not because there are such folks but because I do not like the reaction they arouse in me. Whew. That was confessional.
    VS I keep staring at the picture of Thorin. I’m missing Eleanor.


    1. Totally understand, Clyde. Sherillee’s post has sent me to the Humane Society’s website. Just filled out the form to volunteer.

      Say it with me, folks, “we cannot adopt another cat right now”.


        1. no need. We will be getting another cat (maybe 2 this time) as soon as the 2 major projects of a) getting more work and b) shovelling out our abode (amazing how much silts into one’s home when one is hardly ever there-tim is most certainly right, dust keeps, even though I fervently wish it would get disgusted with my neglect of it and go off in a huff).


    2. I had many problems dealing with one “good old boy” who thought he should always have his way, He was one of those fatherly figures who was usually likable. He decided that he should be the head of an organization in which I was member. He really caused a lot of problems, as head of the organization, because he alienated many people who from time to time didn’t agree with him and were told they had no right to differ from him on anything. I don’t know why he was allowed to stay in a leadership position for many years.


  7. There is a type of person who is infuriated by seeing others getting away with doing wrong. They congratulate themselves on being ethical, but being ethical for them mostly involves jumping to quick negative judgments about others. They have a strong reformist streak. They monitor others’ behavior and report violations.

    That’s not me. My voyage on this planet has taught me that people are complex and ethics are slippery. I am probably too slow to judge others harshly, too quick to forgive. It has been my view that anyone who is quick to condemn others is more often wrong. If I am to err–and sometimes it seems that is why I was put on earth–I’d rather it be on the side of generosity and understanding.

    Would I speak up if I saw someone about to do something evil and hurtful? I’d like to think I would, but I cannot think of a time when that has happened.


  8. Depends on the “wrong” – “wrong” in the name of an ultimate good, I might turn a blind eye. “Wrong” that’s just wrong…well, that’s another thing. (Though frankly, good dark chocolate, red wine or an icy gin and tonic on a warm day might be a start on me looking a different direction if you’re not committing murder or shafting the “little guy”…)


  9. I have a friend who often walks her dogs at the Minnehaha Falls off-leash park. Kristen is a lovely woman in all ways. When her old Samoyed (“Kabekona”) died, I asked her if she would replace Kabekona with another dog. Kristen said, “I don’t go looking for my dogs. They find me.”

    And then she told the story of how she got Kabekona.

    Kristen lived in the upper half of a duplex. The man downstairs owned a beautiful Samoyed, but he had little interest in dogs and resented the fact his young Samoyed needed exercise. He often complained about what a nuisance the dog was. Kristen frequently did them both a favor by walking the dog.

    One day Kristen was tempted to walk the dog but was running late on one of those days with too many “gotta do” items in it. She ran into the dog on her way out, and the encounter haunted her because the dog was calm and seemed to gaze right into her soul. Hours later she couldn’t shake the feeling that the dog had been speaking to her in some fundamental way.

    She knocked on the downstairs door and told the man that she had decided she would become the dog’s owner if he wanted. “Oh, you don’t need to worry any more about that dog,” he said. “I put her down this afternoon.”

    Kristen was anguished, feeling she had betrayed the downstairs dog. Days later, a coworker told Kristen that he knew of a dog that needed a home. It would be destroyed if someone didn’t adopt it soon. “You might like that dog, Kristen,” he said. “Maybe you could adopt it. It is a Samoyed.”


    1. How sad! That certainly would have haunted me. At least she was able to save one of them. When my parents were in the military, they dogsat for a lovely Pomeranian. Unfortunately, his owners decided a dog was too much trouble to move with and put him to sleep. Decades later when my mom was telling me the story she clearly still felt bad about it, and said, “They never even asked if we wanted him. We would have been happy to take him.” I don’t think there’s anything I hate more than people who think of animals as toys or accessories to be discarded at will.


      1. The downstairs dog was black-needled, leaving Kristen feeling she was almost responsible for its death. When she heard of another Samoyed about to be destroyed she took the dog. That one lived a long life under the name of Kabekona (the name of a beautiful lake in northern MN).


    2. It is unfortunate that there are so many dogs that people seem to think they want and then don’t have time to care for. I personally think that dogs need to be more than just house dogs that sit around the house all the time and are rarely taken for walks or engaged in some kind of play. There may be some dogs that are very passive and can do well with very little activity. I don’t think this is true for most dogs. I try to give our dog regular walks and play with it at least a little each day. I wish I had more time for the dog because I think what I am doing with it is just barely enough or not quite enough to give it the amount of activity it needs.


  10. I’m going to bite my tongue on the actual topic of question. I’m privy to a lot of sensitive information…’nuff said.
    But I will say that, as a kid, I taught my dog to whisper. As a puppy, Rockford had a pretty substantial bark. So, one evening as I was munching on a bag of potato chips, I taught him by going, “Shhhhh… woof.” Every time he actually whispered, he got a chip. Pavlov in action! Took about 20 minutes and he learned it for the rest of his life. When he wanted something, he’d start asking with this kind of or suppressed sound. If he didn’t get attention or didn’t get what he wanted, he’d slowly increase the volume until he was actually barking. But we taught him that he’d get more with honey than vinegar. English Springer Spaniel. He was one sharp hound dog.


    1. i forgot i taught my bassedor to bark so i could teach him to not bark. he was a smart dog but i hated his bark. i was a hippy that believed in free spirit even for my damn dog but at age 3 or 4 i decided to teach him to bark . peanut m&ms is all it took. one bag over two or three days. gave him the sign and said bark it took a while for him to get the hang of barking for m& ms but not too long. then it was bark with the sign then the sign alone pop that m&m it was like patty duke getting it at the end of the miracle worker. the dog went ape that i was teaching him something and he was getting m&ms out of the deal. then once he new the bark sign i would able to ask him to bark with no m&ms then no bark with a strong no with the sign . he nave gave up barking but he never had a question about whether i d like him to stop again. oh yeah bassedor was the lab basset . i lost him in salt lake city and described him 1000 times in a week of refinding him. i fell in love with mormans . they didnt like hippies but i had joe smiths beard and i was looking for a lost dog so they welcomed me like it was my long lost town. looks just like a lab but with longer ears sadder eyes shorter legs bigger feet and a big tail that sticks straight up in the air. dylan was a good dog and the beginning of my love for dogs, they are magic. cats are wonderful dogs are magic


  11. Like tim and mig, I think it depends on what the rule being broken is. I think we all fudge a little here and there, but there are certain boundaries that should never been violated, and I think most people know what they are. That said, I’m more apt to confront the person breaking the rule than report it to someone else.


  12. I have now made a visit to both the Feline Rescue Center and Humane Society in St Paul.
    The Humane Society has a lovely grey medium hair who reminds me very much of my first kitty, only with some very classy white markings.

    She is 5 years old and has the same cattitude I prize in my cats (the general message being, “I’ll let you know, don’t call us, we’ll call you”).

    We really, really must wait awhile to adopt a new cat.

    I shall consult the s&h, who most definitely gets an equal vote on this. Being the sensible one, I suspect a veto for right now.


    1. MiG – you know I love ya and I’m absolutely the wrong person to be giving advice on this topic (two dogs, two cats and a fish!) but if you’ve already started looking, you’re done for. 11 years ago I told my girlfriend that I needed to wait until my life was less chaotic to get a cat that I had seen up for adoption at Petsmart. She told me “when you run out of chaos, you go looking for more. Just go get the d*** cat.”


      1. That’s exactly what I thought, ‘She’s looking? She’ll be getting a cat’…
        MIG: do NOT let S&H go see the cat and by all means, NO PETTING! 🙂


        1. well, see, it’s like this:
          A friend of mine in a similar situation became a foster servant for cats after both her cat and dog crossed the Rainbow Bridge and she lost her job. She did this for several years, quite happily.

          So, since I was out and about, I figured I would get the paperwork going to start fostering (and get a furry fix).

          s&h has flatly squashed the idea of permanently taking on servitude at this time, and has no interest in even looking.

          thank goodness there is at least one grownup in the house.


  13. What a great looking dog. Thanks Sherrilee.
    I’m afraid I’m too quiet. I have a hard time speaking out… doesn’t mean I approve… I just…………………………….


  14. What would it take to buy your silence when others are doing wrong?
    Let’s see, we could start with: “banana bread, … treats, devilled eggs and… an entire jar of sauerkraut.”

    There have been a couple of times when I had to confront a “wrongdoer”, when I was in a managerial position. I can remember my heart thumping as I approached this interview, and was so relieved when we were finished.


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