Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

As we do most every year, we loaded up and drove to my sister's place in Kentucky for Thanksgiving. If you think that we've got a zoo here, it's nothing compared to their place where they live with multiple dogs, cats, birds, and until recently, an iguana. Here are some pictures of their dogs.

Aggie is the senior dog in the household and the
only one who fits in this bed, but she is usually
sitting in a chair instead.

Ruby is the youngest, she is sweet
and goofy, but very well behaved for
being just about a year old.

Jack, a/k/a "the prettiest one."

This is Mojo, a frequent visitor.
He belongs to a friend and visits
often enough that even the cats
accept him.

Sarge technically belongs to a neighbor but
lives with Kate and Kim most of the time.
We stopped at the vet to pick up some medication
for him. He's a senior white GSD.

An upright picture of Ruby.
Mojo helped with the dishes after our
Thanksgiving dinner.

Ruby does not fit in this bed but it doesn't
stop her from trying to use it.

Mojo is a Plott hound.
All these dogs are rescues.

Sarge has lousy owners but good neighbors.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving prep (cooking and hiking)

Barkley on Saturday's hike with Maya.
Getting out of town for two days, four days, or two weeks requires about the same amount of preparation. I don't have so much yard work this time of year, although I did mow some grass today. Mostly it's about the dogs, dog food, straw, getting things ready for the house sitter, and of course actually getting ready to go. I also prepare food. Although my sister's partner, Kim, cooks virtually everything, I take along a few things to help out, mostly for breakfast and happy hour, but I'll also be making creamed corn and the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the things I prepare in advance and take frozen to be thawed and cooked once we get there.
Maya has gotten faster and better
about leading on our walks.

Onions cooked in butter and cream.
It's not a low fat week.

A crockpot full of chili-cheese dip.

Breakfast casserole, two for next
week and one for Christmas morning.

Quiche, also for breakfast
next week.

A roast and veggies I made for dinner
while cooking everything else.

Ten+ miles on Saturday with Barkley and Maya
and Sparky. 

Five+ miles on Sunday with Trooper and Maya.

I was still a couple pounds over my pre-Thanksgiving target weight, so I'm not letting up on the hiking either. I know I'll put on a few pounds next week so the more I lose now, the better off I'll be after Thanksgiving. On Saturday I took Maya and Barkley out for five miles, and then followed that up with another five miles with Sparky. On Sunday, Maya and Trooper and I did a little over five miles again. Trooper is a slow walker, but I have the dogs attached to each other so Maya pulls him and they arrive at a compromise pace. I have a floating lead attached between them and just walk along without having to really pull or be pulled by either dog. I'm at 145 miles for the month of November, my best total yet, but I doubt that I'll be adding much more to it by the end of the month.
Trooper was usually bringing up the rear.
Trooper and Maya

Panorama pic from the trail along the river.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I am Groot!

I am Groot!
I  had Friday off from work so I used it to drive Groot to his new home. I had met these folks at an adoption event in Gainesville a couple weeks ago and liked everything I heard from them. Groot has a new sister named Bella, a female shepherd just about his age. They were concerned that she might be too dominant, but she was fine with Groot and I assured them that Maya occasionally kicked his butt and it would be good for him if Bella did the same. The two dogs took to playing together as soon as we let them off leash. Bella needed a companion her own speed and Groot needed a dog to show him the ropes in family life.

They've got about six fenced acres, plenty of room for the dogs to run off their adolescent energy. There's a senior mastiff mix in the household as well, and he was a bit more challenging of Groot, but they were fine. They have a couple kids too. Groot landed well.

I probably held onto him longer than I needed to, but it was worth it to find the right home.

Bella is a bit of an acrobat and an aerialist.
She doesn't feel the need to confine her legs
to the ground.

This placement should be good for both of them.

I love that head and face.

The big guy's name is Jeb.

On my way home I stopped at the Orange County shelter to meet a new dog. Groot had come from this shelter back in September and they contacted me again just yesterday. I'm not going to take the dog myself but she will be going to another foster home with Promises Animal Rescue.

This girl has no name but was picked up in Orange and charged with harassing chickens. Apparently that's a capital offense so she needs to get out of town and start a new life with a new identity. Her stray hold is up tomorrow and it's doubtful that anyone will claim her since the chicken related charge would follow her.

Sweet girl, probably less than a year, full of puppy energy, especially after being in the shelter for 10 days.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Zen of Sparky

People would be better if they were more like dogs, if dogs were our role models, our teachers, our spiritual leaders. I learn a lot from dogs, often when I'm not even trying. I'm lucky have had so many dogs in my life and they've all had something to teach if I was able to learn.

Sparky, I'm convinced, is a Zen master, with far more to teach than I'll be able to comprehend, but he never gives up on me.

If you're not the lead dog,
the view never changes.
Look at the world through eyes without artifice.

Simple physical contact is the best
way to show affection.
Walk with purpose.

Smile when you're happy and
don't worry about what you look like.
Take advantage of the sunshine.

Give yourself over to pure joy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Housesitter Cometh

Max is putting on some weight
now that he's eating twice a day
all the time and is living mostly
indoors.  I have hope for this one.
Thanksgiving is coming up fast, a week from tomorrow, and we leave for my sister's place in Kentucky next Tuesday. I have boarding arrangements made for Trooper but the rest of the pack will stay here with our house sitter. She came out today to meet everyone so they could get a good sniff of her before she walks in the door unannounced next week. She's a brave and foolhardy soul.
Barkley is going to move back to
the kennel while we're away because
I don't entirely trust him with a
stranger. Fortunately, it's due to
warm up and he will have access to
the shed at night and as needed.

I prepare a spreadsheet showing everyone's food, medications, daily routine, and sleeping habits, as well as any pertinent information on personality conflicts and the like. It's obviously too much to remember from one visit, especially because everyone goes crazy when anyone new arrives around here. The barking is off the charts. Everyone wants to join in and Gigi even got off the bed to investigate, which is something of a rarity.
Groot is meeting prospective
adopters on Friday.
The housesitter loves Vince because
he follows her everywhere.
Vince is most loyal, to whoever is around.

Ochie started his pre-heartworm
medication regimen today so I will
need to package up his daily pills.

Charlie loves his crate and he gets
along with Ochie, so he's very easy
for the housesitter.

Of course, Gigi is probably the easiest to handle.
Trooper stealing some time on what is really
Vince's bed in my office. That's Maya trying to
get close to Trooper. He has a home away from
home that he goes to when we travel since he's
such a butthead with strangers.
My walk with Maya today, a little over 5 miles.
We left Trooper at home today so we could
move a little faster. It was cold enough
that we needed to, and we did.

The challenge with Maya is keeping her at home.
I've kept her inside for several days now,
going out for hikes daily to give her an outing.