Friday, March 31, 2017

End of month

I can't believe that it's the end of March already. Time really does speed up as you get older. I've had in my head the goal of getting back to hiking at least 100 miles each month. That's not always easy with a job and 10-15 dogs, but I have been closing in on it. I missed a couple days hiking this week, however, and although we walked over 7.5 miles on Thursday, I was still about three quarters of a mile short. It was rainy Friday, but actually most of it was done by morning.
I'd love to get a head-on pic of these three.
Do they make an 8' long selfie stick?

I set out with Maya, TJ, and Theo, determined to reach the 100 mile mark even if we had to walk in the rain. It was sprinkling a little when we started, but nothing came of it and we did a nominal walk of about 1.5 miles to put me over the 100 mile mark for the month. Maya walked every one of those miles with me too, I can't imagine going without her.

Maya walks around the standing water and mud
puddles. Theo walks right through them. That is
why I don't let him in the dog yard on rainy days,
he just gets to be a muddy mess. 

The little stream we cross was running high
today. We just stopped for a drink but didn't
go across it today.

TJ has the happiest expression on his face
when we are out hiking.

Maya mostly walked beside me today and
let the two boys vie of the out front spot.

Maya's footprints, right next to mine.

It's redbud time.

TJ and Theo in the back of the van

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Alex went to his new home today. They were anxious to have him. His poop was better if not yet perfectly normal. The demodex on his face looks like it's cleared up and I sent a couple doses of NexGuard along with him which should finish it off. His overall health has improved, he's gained weight, and should continue to do so.
I pay a lot of attention to how people touch and
handle their dog and I like this - it's a hug, but also
 a secure grasp. That's reassuring to the dog and to me.

There are two or three other dogs in his new home and a few kids as well, so he will be a busy pup. I think he will fit in well there.

He's going to be a really striking,  handsome shepherd when he's fully grown and has a new, healthy coat. He's a sweet boy, a good temperament for a shepherd. So many of the solid blacks I've seen or had in recent years have been inbred, high strung, and crazy, he seems to have none of that. He's fairly mellow and eager to please. With some training he will be a really great dog.

Here's a good view of the nose, where the worst
of the demodex and hair loss was. 

He's got the German Shepherd
coffee table clearing tail sweep.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sweet Sadness

I learned of the passing of two former fosters this week.

Luke was a two time former foster. He was fostered once and returned a few years later, along with a female rottie named Tasha. You are inclined to feel bad for a dog who was abandoned not once, but twice, but they both landed in a better home each time.
Luke (center) with foster folks, Sandy and Steve.

Luke had actually gone to another foster home who found his adopters. I just learned about it on Facebook this evening and I guess I was a little surprised to hear that Luke just recently passed on.  He was 8 or 9 years old when he was returned to me back in 2010. He lived to a ripe old age and I know he had the best of care and the best possible home. That's really something more to celebrate than to mourn.

The same is true for Jasso, who died just a couple days ago. Jasso came out of North Carolina, a retired police dog who was essentially abandoned by his handler and the departments that he served. He ended up back in a shelter as a senior dog who was deaf, had heartworms, and a variety of skin infections, but he remained one of the nicest and happiest shepherds I've even known. After a few months of medical rehab at our place, he went to a retirement home that most dogs can only dream about. His medical problems were ongoing, but they were managed. He was with his new person every day for the rest of his life, they were never apart. But they didn't just sit at home either. They traveled, for work, and for pleasure. This North Carolina dog saw a lot of new places in his last year. They walked, and they went for a drive nearly every day, which Jasso really loved and which accommodated his declining physical abilities.

He had cancer, but he seemed well right up to the end. It took him quickly so he really didn't suffer a decline in the quality of his life.

And best of all, he had a loving, caring home. We should all be so lucky.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bees and Ball

Theo, Alex, and Baron
I'm happy to say that my bee hive survived the winter and seems to be a going concern. I've been seeing bees on flower weeds around the yard and have seen quite a bit of activity at the entrance on warm days, but today I went inside for a closer look.

But first it was ball playing time in the pasture with the two pups, Alex and Baron, along with Uncle Theo to show them how it's done. Neither of the pups has that much interest in the ball, but they loved running after Theo as he ran after the balls. Alex would pick up a ball if he came across one, but he quickly dropped it and just ran. The pups seemed to think it was more fun trying to get the balls out of Theo's mouth. He always carries two but he keeps a firm grip on them both and only dropped them once, surprising himself and both of the pups.

Theo and Baron
I had a new batch of tennis balls (used ones from Amazon). Any ball that Max gets a hold of gets destroyed and the mower takes a toll on them throughout the spring and summer, but I hope this will be enough to last until next fall.

I took the heaters out of the water tanks today so spring is official now, I hope it stays warm.

I got the dogs back in before suiting up and going into the bee hive. I rotated the two boxes, pulled out a few frames to check how full they were, and then added a third box on top. That's where my honey should come from this year. There's a queen excluder between the second and third box. They will have to lower two boxes for breeding purposes and storing their own food, and my honey should come from the top box(es). I can keep adding them as the colony grows.

Alex, Baron, and Theo

Alex is sweet, he was torn between running after Theo and
running up to me.  He did some of both.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Learning to get along

TJ has been a bit of a challenge to incorporate into the household. He's a bit of an asshole with other dogs, particularly male dogs, which I'm told is a husky trait. He doesn't try anything with Trooper, and Sparky just avoids him, but he challenges Theo and Max, staring at them, posturing, asserting himself, and just generally being an asshole. The blog post I did on TJ generated 800 hits on the blog that day, but not a single inquiry about him, so I have to assume that he's here for the long haul. That being the case, we need to work on his interpersonal relationship skills.
Maya, Max, and TJ

Today I took him hiking together with Max, and Maya of course. Max can be an asshole himself. He doesn't really mean to be, but when he gets excited he doesn't know how to act is can be aggressive towards other dogs. I crated Max for the drive to the trailhead, but they walked together with no problems at all. All three rode home together in the back of the van without incident. I'm going to start walking him with the other male dogs, one at a time, so they develop, hopefully, a better relationship. I also continue to hope that his testosterone level will continue to drop the further we get from his neuter date and that his attitude will mellow a bit more.

They walked in every possible configuration today. Max was
generally out front because TJ is more inclined to pause for
a quick sniff and pee. Max does some, but he's pretty single-
mindedly focused on the trail when we walk.
We did another five miles today. TJ refuses to act his age.

It was warm enough today and the water crossings were a
welcome respite. We paused there longer than usual.

Maybe it's a husky thing, but TJ isn't really interested in the
water. Max wades into the deepest part and splashes to cool
himself off. TJ gets a quick drink and they usually sniffs around
on the bank rather than stay in the water.

I hadn't had Max out on the trails for a while and he was very
happy to join us today. Walking three really isn't much harder
than two, although we were slower than yesterday's pace.