Rico Suave is a rescue dog who is about as lucky as lucky can be.
This is how he spent 10/10/10, at Bear Creek.
Update November 23, 2010:
Rico has a lot in common with another little guy named Pepe. Pepe lives at the Pasadena, California Humane Society and is in need of a family to make him a "lucky dog" like Rico.
Pepe and Rico also share underbites and the fact that they are mutts, strong and smart and loving.
Pepe is a blue-ribbon winner because he's a perfect companion: great temperament, thanks to his lab and pug genes. (Rico is also a perfect companion, though I don't think he has the blue ribbon to prove it, and being part terrier, he's naturally more feisty.) And he is waiting for his new family. Note: Pepe needs to be the only dog in the family, much like our beloved dog, Ember. Rico is also an only dog.
Update November 26:.
Pepe has been adopted. And Rico had a fine Thanksgiving, with plenty of table scraps and hugs and nice laps to sit in. (He's really a bit too large for the latter.)
About the October 4th mystery of nature, the tree is a crape myrtle. Only one of its trunks (the center trunk) is twisted.
As to what caused this, nature or nurture, see this interesting discussion. It appears this was a harder question than I realized.
But I think we can rule out Paula's vine theory because of where it's located in my garden, because it's surrounding limbs are straight, because another tree in the yard has a vine growing in a spiral pattern around it, yet the trunk remains untwisted and, finally, because of what I know about the folks who planted this garden.
I also think we can rule out injury because trees never fully heal from an injury; the injured part is just walled off.
I also think we can rule out wind conditions because the other trunks are straight.
I supposed it could have been trained this way, but once again, this seems unlikely to have been done by the people who grew this garden.
I lean toward genetics to create this shape, but then, I have naturally curly hair, so I'm biased for that solution.