Gertie 2017

Every day is a big adventure in Gertie World.

Here’s a recap of some of the adventures the Permapup experienced in 2017.


The weather in the Ozarks in February was a lot more like it normally is in June, as the temperature reached the upper 70s and even topped 80 on numerous days. Gertie, of course, took advantage.

“Toss me a tube of sun block,” she said. “Gotta preserve that Corgi complexion, you know.”

“But you’re covered with fur,” I said.

“A dog can’t be too careful, you know,” Gertie said. “And hey, when are you going to put the burgers on the grill? I’d do it myself, but no thumbs, you know.”

“Yep, I know,” I said. “You want cheese on yours?”

“Does a Corgi ‘go’ in the woods?” Gertie said. “And no bun, thanks; I’m trying to watch my figure.”

“But you’re shaped like a bratwurst with a head, feet and a tail,” I said.

“Best-looking brat around!” Gertie said. “I intend to keep it that way.

“You know, the first documentation of bratwurst was in the early 1300s in Nuremberg, Germany. And brat means ‘finely chopped meat’ and wurst means ‘sausage.’”

“That’s amazing,” I said. “Both that it was that long ago and that you would know that.”

“Well, being a brat with a head, feet and tail, I oughta know,” Gertie said.


Along with a friend, me and Gertie paid a visit to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s George O. White State Forest Nursery near Licking during its annual spring open house event.

While we were there, we found out how the facility grows and sells millions of tree seedlings each year. And we also were introduced to a tool called a deer cannon, which MDC sets up next to seedling plots to prevent deer from turning the young trees into snacks.

We came across one as we drove past one of the numerous seedling fields. It kind of resembled a bazooka mounted to a tripod. When activated by its motion sensor, the unit emits a loud bang caused by gas.

Gertie wanted to see one in action.

“Yeah, let’s blast those antlered nuisances off the face of the Earth!” she said.

“It’s not that type of cannon,” I said. “It doesn’t fire a projectile, it just makes a loud sound that scares the deer away.”

“Aw, man, and I was looking forward to some venison chili,” Gertie said.

“Always with the food,” I said.

“Just sayin’,” Gertie said.


One of Gertie’s favorite activities is going on a float trip on one of Missouri’s beautiful rivers.

Me, Wendy and the Permapup floated the Big Piney River from Dogs Bluff to Mineral Springs, and Gertie was in fine form, “falling” off Wendy’s kayak several times so she could swim to the shore and climb back aboard.

The water was at a virtually perfect level, and there was plenty of evidence of destruction and devastation caused by the amazingly high waters of the “thousand-year flood” that occurred during torrential rain in late April and early May. In many places, large trees were lying flat along the banks (facing downstream), and logs almost blocked the river in some spots.

There was also debris lodged high in many of the trees that weren’t downed; clothing and other man-made objects were visible more than 25 feet above the river, as its high level during the flooding reached more than 30 feet above normal.

“How did that pair of shorts and that sandal get way up there?” Gertie said. “And is that a used diaper? Yuck!”

“Yeah, that’s incredible,” I said. “Imagine when the river was running that high. We’re talking about some serious power.”

Gertie sits on the front of her kayak while Houston resident Wendy Davison paddles during a float trip on the Big Piney River in June 2017.

As we passed by the location of the old Lone Star Mill, Gertie spotted a snake lying on an old rock wall that still juts out into the river.

“Here, snakie wakie,” Gertie said.

“I think you’d rather have it stay put,” I said. “That looks like a copperhead.”

“Not a silverfoot?” Gertie said.

“Nope,” I said.

“Not a goldenarm?” Gertie said.

“Nope,” I said.

“Not a nickelback?” Gertie said.

“I think that’s a rock band,” I said.

“There’s a rock band named after a snake?” Gertie said.

“No, there’s no such snake as – oh never mind,” I said.

When we reached the iconic Horseshoe Bend, many people were hanging out and swimming in the deep water. Gertie spotted a girl eating a hamburger.

“You gonna finish that?” she said.

“Gertie! Don’t be rude!” I said.

“I just don’t want to see a perfectly good piece of beef go to waste,” Gertie said.

“That’s so noble of you,” I said. “You’re always conscientiously thinking of conservation, the environment – and yourself.”



Viewing the total solar eclipse from the fairgrounds in Sullivan was an unforgettable experience. But at first, Gertie wasn’t sure what to make of it.

“Houston, we have a problem,” she said. “There’s no sunshine shining where the Sun is supposed to be shining it.”

“That’s because the Moon is blocking the Sun,” I said. “It’s directly between the Sun and the Earth.”

“Well, someone needs to move it then,” Gertie said.

Gertie (the Permapup) and her sidekick Doug Davison observe the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in at the Sullivan Fairgrounds in Sullivan, Mo. 

“Don’t worry,” I said, “God has that covered. Just like it got in the way, the Moon will move back out of the way pretty soon.”

“I’m not sure if that’s cool or weird,” Gertie said.

“It’s definitely cool,” I said.

“I guess,” Gertie said. “But it’s weird that it’s going to happen again on April 8, 2024.”

“That is weird,” I said. “In a cool way.”


When my wife, Wendy, and I took a nine-day trip to visit friends in Ohio and Kentucky, Gertie spent the time staying with her “Dogparents” at Licking: Her Dogfather, Steve, and Dogmother, Marsha.

The Permapup loves visiting their house and considers it her home away from home. She has her own food and water bowls there, has more than one favorite place to lie on her back (Corgi style) and has access to a large grassy yard and hundreds of acres of pasture land.

But Gertie might go a little too far in enjoying the situation, and sometimes acts like she’s in charge. This time, she was like one of those ancient kings or queens in one of those old movies, sort of leaning back on a cushy chair eating grapes with a slave cat waving a huge fan made of peacock feathers over her.

Steve played along.

“Your highness, the peasants are revolting,” he said.

“Yeah, they’re ugly, they stink and they’re usually pretty annoying,” Queen Gertie said. “But what’s an empress to do? They’re a fairly significant aspect of my empire.”

“No, I mean they’re involved in a revolt,” Steve said.

“Sounds lovely,” Gertie said. “Let them eat cake.”

“As you wish, your highness,” Steve said.


During a customer appreciation day event at Romines Motor Co. in Houston, Gertie got to share her knowledge of all things Ford and learned a lot about what goes on behind-the-scenes at an automotive dealership.

She also got to stick her paws in the middle of some real business by helping with a few attempts at financing.

“I just don’t understand why these people want to try to finance a truck,” Gertie said. “They don’t even pay their other bills, so how are they going to cover a big monthly car payment?”

“Well, they aren’t,” I said. “At least not from this day at this dealership. I don’t think they’re getting approved.”

Gertie checks over some financing paperwork at Romines Motor Co. in Houston during November.

“I approve of their non-approval,” Gertie said.

“How diplomatic of you,” I said.

“I feel kind of bad for them, though,” Gertie said. “I love the body style of that new F-150 they were hoping for and it had the perfect combination of options. And the passenger’s seat is very comfy, which is crucial to a dog like me.”

“Yeah, the things are incredibly nice, inside and out,” I said.

“I would approve if you got one for me,” Gertie said.

“We’ll see,” I said. “Right now just focus on the last eight things I got for you.”

“You know, in the Bible, the number 8 represents a new beginning,” Gertie said. “So I think me beginning ownership of a new F-150 would be appropriate.”

“Nice try,” I said. “But I only buy trucks for someone with thumbs.”

“Dang it,” Gertie said. “That gets in the way a lot.”

“Maybe, but I like you the way God made you: A thumbless quadruped,” I said.

“Make that a smart, good-looking, loveable thumbless quadruped,” Gertie said.

“Roger that,” I said.

“Who that?” Gertie said.

“Never mind,” I said. 

Doug Davison is a writer, photographer and newsroom assistant for the Houston Herald. Gertie is a female Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Email Gertie at

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