Marty’s photos of the day #4560: Today is Nellie’s 4th birthday! Well, give or take three months. When Deb and I adopted Nellie, a little over three years ago, she had been a stray. So no one really knows her exact birthday. I chose Halloween for her because she’s a black dog.

As I’ve mentioned before, Nellie is the smartest, most energetic dog we’ve ever had. She’s always busy! In this photo she is demonstrating that dogs not only use tools, they will make them too. When we walk in the forest surrounding our house, Nellie is always on the lookout for the perfect stick. She will even break one off a tree. Then she will snap off any annoying twigs and use her leg for leverage (as in this photo) to break the stick down to the perfect size for playing whatever game she wants to play.

Today, however, will be Nellie’s last play-day for a while. Although you wouldn’t know it from the way she runs and plays, she has a torn CCL (the dog equivalent of an ACL). So tomorrow she will have TPLO surgery on her left rear leg. That will pause her running and playing for a few months, while she recovers. I’ll have more on that later.