Archives for July 2008

10 Years Together

Wednesday was Phoenix and my 10 year anniversary together. I can’t believe it has been 10 years already since I had the trainer knock at my door and hand me Phoenix’s leash. He was the second smallest in the class, a female black lab named Chelsey was a bit smaller, but he was sure the one with the most personality. I remember how he would walk me into things when I didn’t let him do something he wanted to do, and then when I would correct him for it he would just look up with a big smile and wag his tail. He has always had a deviant personality, but he has also been the most loyal of all my dogs. I remember how attached he was to his trainer, but then by the end of the second week in class he was following me everywhere. Phoenix was my protector all through my time at the University of Guelph and is still my protector now, I guess he doesn’t feel Cessna can do as good a job. The only time he will let his guard down is when Huib is home to take over watching me. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to move away from home and attend school alone, but with Phoenix I had the feeling I could do anything because I knew no matter what happened that I would never be alone.

Phoenix, we have reached our 10th anniversary, let’s try for another one!

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Last weekend Huib and I took Cessna, Aspen and Aiden camping with my sister Brandi, my friend Karen, my cousin Dakota, and his friend Blair. Overall it was a beautiful weekend, it sprinkled a bit when we first arrived in Huntsville and then sprinkled a bit on Sunday before we left. The weather was warm, but not too hot…great weather for just hanging outdoors and wonderful sleeping weather at night.
Brandi, Huib, the dogs and I all left Guelph around noon and had a nice leisurely four hour drive up to Huntsville. The traffic was pretty light for a Friday afternoon, except of course on the 401 between Mississauga and the 400 cutoff. With our air conditioning not working that great it was nice to be driving on a somewhat cool day for the summer (21 or so). Brandi and the girls sat in the back while Aiden sat at my feet in the front. We drive a Cavalier so it was sort of squishy and at times we weren’t so sure the car was going to make the trip…who would have thought 3 people, 3 dogs and a car full of camping stuff would be too much for a car. Once in Huntsville we met up with Karen and headed to the camp site to drop off stuff before heading into town for some groceries.

Dakota and Blair arrived about an hour or so after us and we helped one another put up the tents. Once the site was all set up we piled into the cars and headed to Walmart, yes, Huntsville does have a Walmart. Since it was sort of moist and we weren’t sure how long it would take to build a proper fire we picked up pizza before heading back to our camp site. The pizza was great and the fire didn’t take overly long to start. After eating we all sat around the fire and chatted, meanwhile Cessna began pawing at the tent to be let in…it was only 9:30pm and we had only been there for a total of 2 hours by that point. Huib let her in and she fell asleep only coming out to pee before the rest of us headed in for the night.

Saturday was beautiful, lots of sun and not too much humidity. After eating eggs and bacon on english muffins we got ready for a trip to the water falls. Brandi, Karen, and I all thought Dakota and Huib knew where we were going so we followed along, but after about 15 minutes of walking we quickly began to realize that they had absolutely no clue. Dakota finally suggested that we take a different direction and we finally arrived at the water falls, after only walking 20 minutes or more…it should have only taken 5! It was rough terrain walking to the falls, quite rocky and lots of tree roots sticking through the ground. Karen did a great job guiding me, but I was happy to take Huib’s arm once we got closer to the falls and the terrain became not only rocky, but sort of clif-like. We had thought the dogs could play in the falls, but we were quite mistaken, the waler was moving quickly and the dogs would have surely been washed away or pulled under. After sitting for a bit we decided to head back to the camp site and have some lunch.

In the afternoon we took the dogs to the pet exercise area and they finally got in their swim. Cessna and Aspen had a great time fetching the hockey ball while Aiden jumped around on the shore. He swam a bit more than the last time he went swimming, but was still more comfortable when he had four paws on solid ground. The black flies were awful near the wate, but we still had a fun couple of hours playing with the dogs. Aspen even met another golden named Meghan. Meghan is 11 years old, but like Phoenix (at 11 ½) still has tons of energy to swim and enjoy herself outdoors.

In the evening we made some hamburgers and sat around the fire chatting and eating marshmallows and spider weenies. By 5:30pm or so Cessna was back in the tent and only came out twice the whole night; once to check out the hot dogs we were eating and another time to go pee before bed. She is really not a camping dog, she loves to be outdoors for hours, but also likes the comforts of home and her bed. She was pretty happy Sunday morning when we began packing the cars up because she knew that home was coming soon. I guess the biggest event of that day was at night when Aiden peed on me! He had been lying by my chair the entire night and hadn’t moved to relieve himself, so when he jumped up to let me know he had to go, he landed on his bladder and it began to flow.

On Monday we picked Phoenix up from his foster family. He stayed with them for four days while we were camping. He has a lot of environmental allergies and doesn’t understand that he is no longer a puppy…therefore, instead of fighting with him to relax or to stay out of the water and dirt we decided it would be best for him to visit his grandma and grandpa. Ray and Alice are in their early 80s and not too active these days so we know Phoenix will be treated well and given tons of opportunity to relax and be himself. When we arrived he was so excited to see me, he wiggled from his nose to the end of his tail. He had had a wonderful time with them and had been spoiled! He has a way of convincing them to give him treats whenever they sit down or even look at him. He loves his grandma and grandpa, but he also loves to be wherever the action is, so with all the walking from here to there around the house he had begun to limp. We had forgotten to send some Aspirin with him, but gave him some when we arrived Monday afternoon so he had a comfortable drive home. He has had a relaxing week at home now and is back to himself with no more limping.

What Weather!

The past two weeks have been mixed with days of beautiful sun and days of nasty humidity and stormy weather. On the less pleasurable days we have spent time working on indoor skills with Aiden like leash manners and not sniffing the floor as we walk through the mall. During these days Cessna usually sits by my side patiently waiting for Aiden to figure out what is being asked of him, but some days she sees that we are taking him and decides that she wants to stay home. I guess she gets frustrated with all the repetitiveness and standing around.
On the more sunny and sometimes humidy days we have gotten into the habit of packing up a picnic and heading off to a local conservation area with the dogs. They love to swim and romp around together like lunatics. I guess they too need their time to just let it all loose. On Monday of this week we ordered some Swiss Chalet and headed off to Shade’s Mills Conservation Area in Cambridge. The dogs had a blast running in and out of the water and at times running off to greet another dog and their owner. Cessna and Aspen spent most of their time chasing a ball in the water, while Aiden and Phoenix spent their time sniffing here and there, trying to find something interesting to get into. We were lucky to catch Aiden each time he found something, but weren’t so lucky with Phoenix who decided it was a good idea to eat a dehydrated dead bird’s head. Lucky for him the bird hadn’t died of something awful because it seemed to have no ill effects on his stomach or health. Aiden seemed to enjoy the water a bit more this time, I’m not sure if it was the fact that I’d put Cessna’s life jacket on him or if he has begun to understand the fun of swimming. He still spent a lot of time on the shore though, attacking the girls for the ball as they approached. He is such a boy, more into the wrestling than into the game itself.
We spent Wednesday in Toronto visiting my friend Lynette and her GDB dog DeeDee. DeeDee is such a cutie, so small and mismatched in looks. She is not only allergic to cats, but also has an under bite and her eyes are two different shades of brown. She seems to be settling well into her new life with Lynette, but there are still some issues they need to work through, but who doesn’t have those when they first come home. We spent a lot of our time at doctor’s appointments, but also got a chance to walk around the Eaton’s Centre and walk to Mountain Equipment Co-op, a cool hiking and camping store. While there we tried out some self-inflating mats and Aiden made sure to get in some kisses while we were at his level. I am really looking forward to our camping trip next weekend. Phoenix will be going to stay with his foster family, while Aiden, Aspen, Cessna, Huib and I head up to Huntsville to go camping at Arrowhead Provincial Park with my cousin, sister and a good friend. Even though it will be a small group, I am sure we will still have loads of fun.

I guess the most eventful thing which has happened this week is that my sister’s cat, Branden, has decided that he likes to play fetch with Cessna. He will bring his spongy ball to Brandi (sister) and run after it with Cessna. It is funny to see Cessna running down the hall with a small spongy cat ball in her mouth and Branden sitting at the end of the hall wondering when it will be his turn to catch the ball. I think by the time Brandi and him move back to Huntsville he will be best friends with the dogs.

“Dogs are miracles with paws.”