Biking

Last fall, Huib bought a bike, and then several months ago, he got an attachment for the dogs. A few weeks ago, he got the bike out and started teaching the dogs to run alongside him.

The first couple times he took them out, it was slightly warm, so he did not take Canyon out as long as the girls. With his seizures, Canyon runs the risk of heat stroke, even when the temperature is just over 20 degrees celsius.

Of the three, Arizona loves it the most. Huib usually goes about four kilometres with her. He says nothing seems to distract her, that no matter what they pass, she just continues going straight ahead. I think she loves the speed.

Canyon only tends to go about 1.5 kilometres. Unlike Arizona, Canyon thinks he needs to pull the bike, so Huib is finding it more difficult to adjust speeds with him. As they work together, he’s getting better, so hopefully he’ll stop being a pain soon.

Rogue usually goes for two kilometres or so. The first few times they were out, she kept pulling further away from the bike. I think she thought it was going to eat her, lol!! The last time they were out, Huib said she did a lot better, so I think he’ll probably start going further with her as well.

Guelph is a very hilly city, so poor Huib is pretty tired once he’s taken the three dogs out. They all seem to really like it though, so I think he’s going to try and get them out at least a few times a week.

Summer Fun

It was a beautiful day, so Huib and I decided to take the dogs for a swim at the old Guelph penitentiary grounds.

Rogue standing in the water with a smile

With this smile, can you believe Rogue used to be the dog who wouldn’t even put a toe into a puddle?

Face shot of Cessna standing in the water smiling

Cessna hasn’t had a chance to swim this summer, so this outing was a pretty special one for her. She swam for probably 45 minutes before stopping for a rest.

Canyon, Rogue & Arizona swimming out to retrieve an orange bumper

Canyon often gets hot spots after swimming, so he hasn’t been in the water for probably 2 or more years. We thought we’d try it out and see what happened now that he really isn’t showing as often. He had a blast chasing the bumper and trying to keep it away from everyone.

Arizona spent a lot of the time on the shore waiting for the others to come back before she walked out to steal the bumper away. She’s such a lazy girl!

I’m not sure how Canyon’s skin will react to the water, but I definitely know the girls will be swimming again.

Hard at Work

Or at least Arizona thinks she’s working hard…

Arizona chewing pieces off the handle of a huge pink and black Jolly Ball. She has her paw through the handle so the ball doesn't get away.

Bubble Face

Arizona stands in a very large tub full of bubbles, she has bubbles all over her face, so she looks like a raccoon.

Happy Birthday Cessna

Cessna is now 11 years old!!

We didn’t do too much on the actual day of her birthday because I had school and Huib had work.

The dogs each got fresh beef bones for breakfast, and a ground beef Kong for dinner.

Since Cessna’s birthday is so close to Halloween, we decided to have a mini-Halloween costume party for her.

Arizona wears a green frog costume. It has a stuffed frog head that is on her head, and stuffed frog legs.

Canyon wears a Tigger costume. The costume has a stuffed Tigger head that is sitting on his head.

Both Rogue, the lion, and Cessna, the monarch butterfly, weren’t into being photographed, so we just took pictures of the goldens.

Arizona in her frog costume with a big smile on her face

Arizona really didn’t seem to mind her costume.

Canyon Looking for Trick or Treaters. He's looking out the screen door in his tigger costume, so the picture is taken from behind.

We had about 60 kids come, so Canyon thought it was great.

Arizona passed out on the floor in her costume

It was a pretty exhausting day, and then night for the little frog.

During the day Huib and I took the dogs to visit residents at the long-term care home where he works. We took the goldens together and then in the afternoon we took the labs. The dogs were a big hit with the residents.

Cessna even had her friends Ace and Piper come for a visit in their super hero costumes.

Happy Birthday Cessnaroo! We all love you!

Keith Urban

Brooke & Rogue posing in front of the Tiger Cats logo. Brooke is on one knee, wearing white jeans, a black hooded Roots sweatshirt, white roots baseball cap and black leather sandals, while Rogue is standing beside her in her red harness.

Last night Rogue and I went to see Darius Rucker and Keith Urban with Huib and our friend Sam. The new Tiger Cats stadium was opening in Hamilton and it was a pretty big event. The stadium was SO busy and loud, apparently there were like 20,000 people expected. Rogue was an absolute champ the entire evening. She walked beside me calmly when Huib guided me through the huge crowds, she guided me with confidence up and down the various stairs we needed to climb for our seats and during the concert, she slept under our chairs, where barely anyone noticed her. She wasn’t the only guide dog at the concert either, Huib saw a woman in the accessible seating area with her yellow lab guide that wore a brown harness. We chose not to sit in accessible seating because in my opinion it’s better not to use it if you don’t really need it – which I do not.

The concert was awesome. Darius Rucker played a lot of his newer stuff and a bit of his stuff from when he was with Hootie and the Blowfish. He has such an awesome sounding voice. Keith Urban was better though. He was so into making sure the crowd had a good time and interacted with as many people as he could. Even though Huib and I Originally weren’t too thrilled on going to see him, we are glad we did, he was just that good!

With this concert, Rogue has now attended 4 concerts and one musical. I’m not sure what our next adventure will be, but I’m sure it won’t be too far away.

rogue & Cessna take On Marineland

Guess what everyone!!

Mommy took me and Cessna to Marineland!!

It was SO much fun!!

We had to get up a bit earlier than normal, but it was okay with Cessna and I because our friends Sam, Mikayla and Kira came, so we knew it was going to be something exciting we were doing.

When we arrived at the park, Mommy made me and Cessna wear our respective head halters because she said she didn’t want her arm pulled off. I personally think I didn’t need it, but Cessna was CRAZY!!

Once we were all suited up and the humans had their backpacks on, we walked to the front gates and met up with 9 puppies in training from Cessna’s school with their human companions.

I didn’t catch many of their names, but I did get to talk to a flat coat named Martha and 2 labs named Okra and Posy – Mommy says she is glad she isn’t going back to Cessna’s school right now because the names they are coming up with for the dogs are WAY too weird!!

Once we all got through the gates, we walked to a big stadium like place where there were tons of benches and a big pool where I saw dolphins swimming around. I had never seen a dolphin before, but Mommy says they are one of her favourite animals (with dogs and horses being the other two).

Mommy held on to Sam’s arm while we walked to our seats because there were tons of people and she wanted to make sure I didn’t take her on a detour.

At our seats Cessna and I had a perfect view of the pool. Cessna was making some crazy screeching and high pitch whining noises, while I watched intently and quivered with excitement.

When the show started, Cessna got even louder and Kira had trouble calming her down. Mommy tried to help Kira, but Cessna wanted so badly to go swim with the sea lions, dolphins, beluga whales and walruses.

We watched the sea lions catch big rings, collect stuff from the bottom of the pool and swim around. The dolphins jumped, swam and also did some ring catching, while the belugas carried their trainers and did some neat performing. the walruses, in my opinion, were boring, they really didn’t do anything.

after the show we got to meet a dolphin trainer and Mommy and the other humans got to go touch a dolphin. Mommy wasn’t too sure she wanted to do it, but Mikayla asked her to go with her and together they got to feel the dolphin’s tail. the dolphin’s name was Tsunami and Mommy said she felt like a thick, rubbery sort of foam material.

when everyone had gotten their pictures taken, the group began to disperse. We went to the car to get some food for the humans and Mommy asked Kira to come help her let me and Cessna go to the washroom.

After the humans stuffed their faces, we head back into the park and walked to Friendship cove. Cessna absolutely loves the orcas, so Mommy wanted to take us there first.

the first mammals we came to were the beluga whales. there were about 6 or more in the tank and we got to watch them from above and below. After that we went over to the orca and watched Niska swim from below before going up and watching her swim and splash everyone from above. Niska is the only orca at Marineland right now. Mommy isn’t sure if orcas like to live alone or if Marineland has just not had a chance to get another one since the passing of the previous one. She thinks she remembers there being more than one orca when she visited a few years ago, but she isn’t totally sure.

After the orcas, we went to the deer park and waited outside while Kira went in with our friend Elizabeth to feed and pet the deer.

Then we walked over to the ride area and Kira went on a couple with her sister while we watched. Cessna jumped around and whined as if she wanted to rescue Kira, but Mommy held on tight and asked Cessna to sit calmly. I found the rides interesting to watch, but I knew I wasn’t going anywhere near it, so Kira was on her own there 😉

On our way to the bigger roller coaster we stopped and saw the black bears. It was sad to see the older ones in the small pool, but it was cool to watch one of them tell off a youngster. Mommy said it sort of sounded like how Cessna tells off Arizona when she tries to steal something she has. the younger bear wanted to sit on a rock that the older one was on so started making noises at him. the older bear refused to move and made even louder noises back.

When we got to the bigger roller coaster, Kira was too scared to go on it, so Mommy offered to go with Mikayla. Mommy gave my leash to Sam and Kira held on to Cessna. I was SO worried about Mommy leaving us, so I whined a lot and tried to follow her. Sam wouldn’t let me, so after a bit I gave up and waited. Mommy got back 20 minutes later – I was SO excited to see her!!

Mikayla needed to get to work for 6pm, so we left Marineland at 4:30pm.

Oh yeah! Before we left, as we were getting ready to get into the car, Sam dropped a can of Coke and it exploded all over her, also spraying me, Cessna, Mommy and Kira. So when we got home, Mommy put my gear into the washer, wiped Cessna’s down with cleaner and then made us both have baths. Neither of us like baths, but we also didn’t like feeling all sticky, so tolerated it.

I had a lot of fun at Marineland and I hope to go again some day. I think Cessna had the best time though and I am glad she got to go before she retires fully.

Another Lesson On Caring For Horses

Around 7:30am, Sam, Kira and their dog Molly arrived. Huib, Canyon and I were ready, so we all got into our car and set off for Herb’s farm in Milton.

I had wanted to bring both goldens, but since Arizona had not yet seen Bianca, I thought it was better to leave her home. I worried about her contracting fleas or some sort of parasite.

when we arrived at the farm, we let the dogs out of the vehicle and walked towards the barn.

Canyon lived on a Mennonite farm for the first 6 months of his life, so I was pretty sure he’d be okay around the horses – and he was!!!

Canyon was amazingly well behaved. he stayed in the barn the entire time we were there. He was off leash, but stayed close and got out of the way without even being asked when people walked near him with horses. If a horse seemed to be uneasy, Canyon backed up more or walked away completely.

we got several compliments on canyon’s looks and temperament.

Huib and I took care of four horses while we were at the farm. We brushed Lovie (Love Detective) and Wine (Wine Photo), then got them both ready to jog. then we brushed Jerry (Jet black Cadillac(. Jerry was a gentle guy, but he was a bit uneasy having Canyon around, so Canyon wandered off and spent some time with Kira, who was caring for a sick horse and then brushed some of the young foals in the pasture.

After Lovie and Wine were bathed from jogging, Huib and I combed and brushed them. then Sam came over and began teaching me how to care for the heels and hooves of the horses. She had me feel for scabs on the heels and then showed me how to put the heel cream on and then she showed me how to oil the hooves. After we finished with Lovie and Wine, herb had Huib and I go groom gem (Magical Gem).

Gem is my absolute favourite horse at Herb’s farm right now. I love how she feels and I love how affectionate she is when we spend time with her. Huib says she has a really nice coloured coat and said he really likes the dappling on her back end. I was so glad Huib got a chance to meet Gem. gem had been in the pasture until near the end of our time at the farm, so I wasn’t sure he would get a chance to meet her. I guess Gem was in a bit of a bad mood, so it took the farm helper a bit of time to coax her inside.

Once everyone was groomed and had their halters removed, we put their lunch into their stalls and got ready to go home.

Canyon was walking around the farm with Kira, so while we waited for them to return, Huib and I talked a bit with Herb. he asked me about myself and asked how my phone works. I showed him how Voice Over works and sent Sam a text message while herb watched.

When Huib saw Kira coming back, he saw that Canyon had gotten into some mud, so walked towards them and took Canyon over to the bathing stall to be hosed off before going back into the car.

I think it was a great day at the farm and I will definitely be bringing Canyon with me again. I just hope he stays out of the mud next time because I worry about him getting hot spots.

Horsing Around

As mentioned in a previous post, our friend Sam is part of the horse racing industry. After meeting her friends Herb and Caroline at Grand River, I was eager to learn more about the horses and what goes on behind the scenes.

Lucky for me, Sam’s friends really liked me, so invited us out to their farm in Milton.

Sam took Kira and I to the farm early Monday morning to help wash, groom and prepare the horses for their daily jog around the track.

Herb and Caroline worried about Kira and I working with some of the more unpredictable horses, so assigned us to work with three they felt were safe.

First we groomed Gem and got her ready for her jog. I brushed her with the softer brush, while Kira worked on her mane and tail and then we both cleaned out her hooves. Then Sam helped us put her gear on, showing me each step so I’d get an idea of how it all worked.

Kira and I with one of the horses we groomed.

It’s not totally the same, but the harness racing gear is sort of like the gear Canyon wears for drafting.

Maybe I’ll see if Sam will explain it all to me so I can post it here sometime.

After Gem was ready, herb took her on to the track.

Next we worked with Love Detective or Lovie. Lovie isn’t as nice as gem in my opinion, she isn’t as streamlined, her hips are really boney and kind of stick out. Sam says the best horses are the ones with big butts, lol!

Lovie is a 3 year old filly. She is a really dark brown bay horse. I really need to ask Kira to describe how each of the horses look again, so that I can explain it better.

She was really patient. She stood calmly while I brushed the dust out of her coat and Kira combed her mane and tail. Then Sam came and we got her ready to take out. Kira really wanted to help Sam jog her, but Sam wasn’t sure how Lovie would be, so asked us to stay in the stable and help Caroline bath Photo Wine or Wine for short.

wine was a 2 or 3 year old gelding. He was going to race that evening, so needed to have a bubble bath.

first Sam wet him down completely with the hose then Kira and I got out sponges to soak Wine with soapy water and wipe down his body. he was perfectly happy to stand and wait for us to finish cleaning him. After he was thoroughly soaped up, we took turns hosing him off. Kira worked on his back end while I did his front and the top of his back since Kira couldn’t reach. At one point herb came over to tell me that I needed to aim a bit lower because I was hitting the horse in the next stall, lol!

While we were all busy working with the horses, Molly, Kira’s 2 year old female French bulldog was running around the stable looking for rats and other critters. At one point she found a toad that was probably half the size of her head. She went to grab it with her mouth and it sprayed her, causing her to foam for several minutes straight. While Molly foamed, Kira grabbed some water for her and Sam took the toad outside where it could find a new place to hang out.

I think I want to bring the golden retrievers to the farm the next time we go. I think Canyon will enjoy wandering around the stable and it will be good for Arizona to learn to interact properly with horses and other people.

After we finished bathing Wine, I stood with my back against one of the stalls. I didn’t know who was inside until Herb told me “your horse is in that stall behind you”. It turns out Gem was in the stall and she kept nuzzling the back of my head and neck and tried to eat my hood a few times, lol! Every time I turned to touch her, she’d back up and then when I turned, she’d return to nuzzle and check me out, lol!

caroline asked Kira and I to groom her again because she had been washed after her jog and needed to be brushed. Both Kira and I love this filly, so were eager to spend more time with her.

I brushed her with the soft brush and Kira combed out her mane and tail. Then Kira asked if it would be okay if she braided Gem’s mane and Caroline said sure. Unfortunately, Kira wasn’t able to finish the braids because lunchtime for the horses came, but she got about half of Gem’s mane done and it felt really neat. It would have been cool to see how her mane looked after the braids were taken out.

Once all of the horses were given their lunch of pellets made by Purina, Sam took Kira and I into the field to visit the brood mares and their foals.

a brood mare checks me out.

A foal checks out Kira.

There were about five mares and 5 foals, most of which were females.

I'm in a field with a number of foals and brood mares.

The foals were about 3 or 4 months old and 3 of them were really interested in us.

I'm surrounded by foals and maybe even a brood mare or two.

We had some foals biting at our clothing and others trying to bite our bums. It was a really neat thing to experience. I had never been around such young horses.

Kira with the foals.

Magical Gem

Our friend, Sam, has her horse racing and trainer license. She used to race regularly, but now tends to only help friends warm up or care for their horses. Huib works with her and we became really good friends almost immediately.

On Wednesday her friend’s horse, Magical Gem, was racing at Grand River raceway in flora, so her and I took off for the track. When we arrived, we went directly into the stables and I got to meet Gem and meet several of her friends which included a couple jockeys, like Sylvain Filion, that I often hear about when we go to watch horse racing at Mohawk.

It was SO cool! I have always loved horses, so it was really neat to be able to get up close and personal with real race horses and their owners, trainers and drivers.

When it was time for Gem to race, we went out to the benches to watch. gem did well at first, she was in third place until the last quarter. then she broke stride and fell back to fifth or sixth place.

Magical Gem is a two year old copper coloured Bay. She is dappled and has a bit of white (I think) on a couple of her legs, but otherwise I think she’s just copper colour. she was very patient when getting her gear on and she really enjoyed the attention she got from us.

I stand with gem in her stall at Grand River while she waits to go home.

After Gem’s race, we went into the horsemen dining room and ate with Sam’s friends herb and Caroline. they were so interesting to talk to and really nice to me. When dinner was finished they got ready to load gem back into the trailer to go home, so Sam and I took off.

I can’t wait to go to another race with Sam, she does an amazing job at explaining what is happening.