Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend walking

Saturday was a beautiful day so I took Maya and Sparky out for a hike.  It was the first time Sparky has been out in a while and he had his usual Sparky enthusiasm so we went for five miles.  There was still a lot of snow and still a lot of trail where we were the first non-wildlife footprints.

Sparky sets a good pace, but he's the dog who is most tuned in to my needs and abilities on the trails.  He trots along as fast as he thinks I can go, and when we come to hills he slows down and even drops back to walk next to me.  It would actually be more helpful if he would pull when we are going uphill, but I appreciate the concern anyway.

We had a good walk and it's the longest distance I had gone since we had the snow.  It's melting, but there's still plenty of it out there and it makes for slow going where it's still fairly deep.

Maya on the snowy bank of the Rivanna River.

Sparky and a holly bush

Max and Maya were pretty good about giving me an assist
on uphill portions of the trail.
Max, blazing a trail through untouched
Clay is out of town and I had no obligations that I could remember on Sunday, so I made myself a nice big breakfast and then hit the trails with Max and Maya.  It was warming up nicely by noon and the snow was melting, but it will take a while before it's gone.  There was snow and there was mud and there was some slushy mud in between.  We still found portions of the trail system where we were making the first footprints in the snow.  I had both dogs double leashed today.  They don't really mind and it gives me a little more control and a lot more sense of safety.  The three of us did over four miles and then came home to take a break.

After Maya and I had rested up and drank some water, we went out for a second Sunday hike, this time with Trooper.  He had not been out in a while and was very anxious to go.  We covered another four miles or so, making a total of about 8.5 for Maya and me for the day.  Walking in snow and mud is tougher on the dogs too, and Trooper crashed on his bed after we got home and had dinner.  I think we will all sleep soundly tonight.
Trooper spotting deer.  He's interested but
he doesn't try to drag me after them the way
the Max and Maya do.
I can usually step across this little stream
but the snow melt was making it higher
and faster.  We crossed it several times
today and it was noticeably higher at each
crossing. My feet were soaked by the end
of the walk. 

Trooper and Maya on a snow-free portion of the trail.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Jasso meets cats

"Tigers are nimble and light on their toes, My respect for tigers continually grows."  That's a line of poetry that Calvin recites to Hobbes to affirm his recognition of feline greatness.  Everywhere you turn there are cats, and they must be given their due.  Jasso has a prospective adoptive home and it sounds like a good one, but there are two cats involved.  I've been known to refer to cats and kids as "obstacles to adoption" because they just complicate matters when you are trying to place a dog.  Not all obstacles are barriers, however, they are just something that must be overcome.

I didn't have any information about Jasso and cats so I contacted the shelter where he came from. The director of that shelter contacted Jasso's former handler to ask about cats and was told that he had never really been around them, so he just didn't know.

With that bit of non-information, I set out on a Friday afternoon mission to meet cats.  I contacted old friends at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA and wrangled an invitation.  (I also met a rottweiler while I was there, but I'll save that for another day.)   I brought Jasso into a small room and they brought in a cat.  Jasso displayed zero prey drive and actually, no interest at all.

Clay's mother has a cat.  She's a young one and doesn't seem to have had any bad experiences with dogs.  Maya has met her on several occasions and the cat seemed interested in her and even wanted to play.  Jasso and I stopped by.  True to form, the cat was curious about the dog, not at all scared and certainly didn't seem to sense any danger.  Jasso had absolutely no interest in the cat.

This seemed a little too good to be true.  I decided to try one more so we drove over to the vet's office.  They produced a kitten and the young woman holding it sat down on the bench next to me, but still Jasso didn't care.

Jasso's vet was there and she came out to ask about him.  That was fortuitous because Jasso has been having a urinary incontinence problem.  I've been pulling wet bedding from his crate pretty regularly for the past week.  We managed to get a urine sample, they tested it, and it showed some bacteria but no blood cells.  They gave me some antibiotics to treat him for a possible urinary tract infection.  If that doesn't clear up the problem, we'll try him on Proin.  I still have a bottle of that from Cabell who had been on it for a long time.

As always, thanks to the wonderful folks at Old Dominion Animal Hospital who saw us as a late in the day walk-in.  (They like Jasso.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The cure for cabin fever

Maya and Max
We haven't been as shut in by this snow as many people have been.  Our road was plowed and we got out on Sunday.  I've been out hiking a couple times already, and most of our dogs have had some dog yard time at least.  Today I took Max and Maya for another hike on snowy trails.  Actually, it was more like slush today.  It was still hard and slow going but we made four miles today.  When we got home I took Theo, Commando, and Lola out to the pasture for some ball playing.  I got Jasso out too, because his outdoor time has been pretty much limited to bio breaks since the snow.  The dog who has barely been out at all is Gigi and I made her come to the pasture with the others this afternoon, very much against her will.
Lola is good about returning the ball
and giving it up for another throw.
Commando and Jasso (rear), Lola (front)

Jasso and Commando
Bright sun with a snowy background is
the best for taking pictures of a black dog.

Commando, looking like the puppy he is.
Jasso, Theo, Commando, and Lola

Lola has become more playful with other dogs.
Theo, Jasso, Commando, and Lola

Theo, in a rare moment without a ball in his mouth.

Commando wanted to play with Gigi.
She wanted none of it.

Theo (front), Lola (rear) and Gigi being chased by Commando.
Lola and Jasso

Jasso, Commando, and Lola
Theo with ball

Jasso had a good time out there today.  

Theo, Lola, and Commando
Lola, Commando, and Theo

Commando, Lola, Theo, and Jasso