Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Always new

A reader of this blog could understandably grow tired of pictures of my dogs while hiking. I could easily understand someone thinking that the pictures are boring and repetitive, but I assure you that for me and the dogs, it's new every time we hit the trails.
TJ is loving our walks, and as I've said before,
there is no better way to bond with a dog.

From the dogs' perspective, every scent is something new and exciting and they must change constantly. I know that for Maya at least, the prospect of spotting wildlife never grows old. I know the trails like the back of my hand, but we take a new route every time and I plan the route as I'm walking, thinking about which trails will get me the distance I want and get me back to the starting point where my van is parked. Today we came across a new trail that has just been opened, so we took that. I was hoping that one or more new routes would be added this spring and was pleased to find this one. I hope there will be others because it means more route options.

A walk in the woods exercises the mind as well
as the body. The dogs' brains receive and process
and lot of stimuli. They are both mentally and
physically satisfied when we are done.
I suspect that Maya views our hikes as
"patrolling our territory."

Monday, February 27, 2017

Same activity, opposite goals

TJ was very thin when he came here and he didn't have a lot of appetite. He legs muscles were weak and wasted, underdeveloped from lack of activity while living on a chain. I de-wormed him on general principles, just to eliminate that as a cause of the weight loss. Getting him out hiking has begun to build up his legs again and it has also stimulated his appetite.
He carries that tail like he's parading a flag around to show
that he owns the place. 

I walk to lose weight, but I'm walking TJ to help him gain weight. When we came back from today's five miler, I ate yogurt and fruit. TJ had a bowl of dry dog food mixed with a generous portion of satin balls, the raw meat mixture that I had made up for the last skinny dog we had around here.

I ran my hand over his rib cage while we were out walking today. You can still feel them, but they are smoothing out, indicating that he's beginning to put on some weight. He's a senior dog and he doesn't need any extra weight, but he needs maybe 10 pounds of good solid muscle. After our very first hike, he seemed tired and sore the next day. That's not the case any more, he's ready to go again, which tells me that he's getting back in shape quite quickly, remarkably quickly for a senior.

He has a happy smile all the time now.

With a few more weeks of good food and exercise, plus a bath
when it's warm enough, he will be a great looking dog by spring.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trying out the new ride

I spent much of Saturday morning moving out of the old van and into the new one. It's a bit like moving house. I had far more stuff in there than I imagined. I stored the removed seats from the new van and restored the stowed seats to the old van to get it ready for sale. The old rubber mat worked in the new van, saving me from buying and cutting a new one. Sparky supervised the process and afterwards a number of dogs took turns checking out the new ride.
Gigi said, "It will do."

Theo was ready to roll. 

The warm temps and sunshine on Saturday brought the
Saucer Magnolia into bloom -- the earliest it has ever bloomed.

Maya and TJ before our walk on Sunday morning.

The daffodils are blooming and the forsythia is coming out too.

Sunday morning was cooler but perfect for hiking. Maya and
I took TJ for a three mile hike.

TJ seems to have come through the surgery well, and if he's
missing his testicles, he isn't complaining.

After TJ's three miles, Maya and I took Sparky
out for another three miles.

Sparky enjoyed the hike and thought the new van was fine.

Maya may have been tired after six miles, but
she would have gone another six if I had asked.

Although the didn't get to ride in the van or
go for a hike, I took Theo, Toquima, Max, and
Trooper out to the pasture for an afternoon romp.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Simba and other news

I guess it was a week ago Sunday that I took Simba to his new home. It's a great home (former adopters) and he's a great dog, but sometimes you want to just wait a while and see how things work out before saying anything to avoid jinxing it.

He's a young male, not exactly what they are used to, but he's a sweet boy. While I was still there he ran upstairs and came back down carrying a shoe. He found the dog bed and knew that it was for him. From what I'm hearing, things are going pretty well and I'm very glad. He needed a home where he would start getting some training.

Maya went with us, of course, to give her final approval on the new home.

In other news, I hear that Abby is doing well in her new home. She's in training already and I'm sure she will do well because she is very smart dog.

TJ got neutered on Thursday, so there's a little less of him around here now. He tested positive for Lyme and Erlichia, but he dodged the big bullet by being negative for heartworms. He's fitting in pretty well around here. He's finally marking slightly less often indoors. He sleeps in the bedroom with most of the rest of pack now. Toquima is here for a fairly long visit this time so he will be making appearances on the blog from time to time. Scarlett is scheduled to be here in March, and Cooper and Teddy too. It's going to be more boarding and less fostering for a while, and that's fine. I'm not sure what the adoption prospects will be for a 12 year old Siberian Husky, so he may be a long term foster. We will see.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A little help from my friends

I needed to get the new van set up with the crates and all my gear. It's not all done yet but it took a big step forward today. I had some canine help, naturally.

Theo was just interested in playing ball and the project took
longer than necessary because I had to make frequent stops to
throw the ball for him. 
 I let Theo out of the dog yard to be with me as I worked, along with Vince, Samantha, and Gigi. There were several others in the dog yard. This area is Vince's domain and he kept a close eye on what everyone was doing.

This is the back of the van with the seats removed. The problem
is that the hardware that holds the seats was not removeable and
it would interfere with my placement of the crates in this area.

Gigi and Vince watching, supervising?

This was my low-tech solution, boards that were higher than
the hardware to support a new "floor."
This became the new base for the two crates behind the front
seats. I discovered that the new van is several inches wider and
longer than the 2000 model I had been driving. 

The two crates fit with plenty of room to spare. The space
behind the crates will be covered with a rubber mat. 

Samantha hopped into the old van after I had
removed the crates. It has a distinct dog smell
that the new one lacks, although not for long.
Theo hopped into the new van with just a little encouragement.
The jump into the crates will be a little higher than it had been
because of the platform below the crates, but that shouldn't be an
issue for most of the dogs. I think the jump into the back end
is actually lower than in the old van.

One of the nice things about the van is that there are four air
conditioner vents in the back end to keep the dogs comfortable
without waiting or depending on air making it back from the front.
There are also lots of cup holders back there, but the dogs rarely use them.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dog walking

Here are some pictures from two recent hikes, Maya and Sparky a couple days ago, and Maya and Gigi today. We are loving this early spring weather and taking advantage of it as much as possible.