Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 37

I'm just gonna come out and say it. I am in serious pain as I write this because I think I broke my toe tonight while cleaning the funnel cake booth for the Pumpkin Party this weekend.

Don't ask.

Okay, I dropped a cinder block on it, by accident.

For real. I did.

I know that I should be smarter than a cinder block and generally I am, but it was getting late and I was in a hurry and my rubber gloves that were coated in grease were also wet. It slipped and ... well the rest is history.

Its my big toe on my left foot and it feels like I slammed it in a car door just a minute ago...when in actuality this happened three hours ago. If its still bad in the morning, I'll go get it checked but I don't know that there is much they can do for a broken toe.

Bear doesn't seem to mind at all. He wants to play and that's about it for now. We had a shortened walk this morning because everyone on the hill decided to let their dogs run this morning and when they run, they pack. We've been having a problem with coyote's starting to pack at night on the hill here. This time of year, this is a common thing. The problem with it is that when the coyote's pack like this, they run the hill at night and take all of the smaller pets and livestock. Cats disappear this time of year, along with ducks, chickens, turkey, ground birds and even younger deer. I know it may seem strange to consider the turkey, ground birds and deer as livestock, but people here hunt for a lot of their meat and do consider these as "non-touchables" for predators. Its taken as seriously as if they had taken a calf from the herd, which would be next if the pack gets too big.

So, rather than allow the coyote's to rule the mountain, people let their dogs out at night to drive the coyote's away, which they do with great skill. All of the dogs on the hill know each other and when they are out at night after the coyote's start the yipping, the dogs know what their job is, except for Bear.

Bear hasn't met "the pack" yet. He's still an outsider and has to be for right now because deer season is coming up. One of the things I knew about Bear when I got him was that he could hunt. He's strong enough and big enough to take a deer at this point with no problem and dogs that do that don't last long up here, especially around hunting season. But, he does need to start meeting the other guys on the hill here because, as a dog on this hill, he is expected to be able to defend the houses, kids, families and livestock with the other dogs here, sooooooooo, I've got to work on that end of the socialization pattern with him. I was hoping that Willie would help with this endeavor this morning, but unfortunately, Willie thought that it would be big fun to go play with his buddies and wasn't listening to my thoughts on this issue at all. I think I'm going to have to work on that too...

Hmmm....The toe feels better when I'm not wandering around on it!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 36

There are worse things than Mondays. There are worse things than "The Impending
Financial Crash of Western Civilization as We Know It." In this world it is so easy to fall into a place where all one sees is the disaster and crisis within every minute of every day, and yet this morning I woke up thankful.

Today I awoke with my husband beside me, and there were many days when that was a privilege I did not have. I awoke in the knowledge that all of my kids were fine, again a privilege I have not always enjoyed. I got myself up and went for a walk in the morning with Willie and Bear and realized in that time that what is important to me in life, I have, and that is a great feeling. Life is not always easy, and there are days when the struggle to survive seems so overwhelming, but we do and things continue on. The work day is done, goldfish get fed and the dogs are walked, but there is a time after all of that, when the dinner has been served and the dishes are done, that emerges in the pounce of a puppy, the toss of a ball, the wag of a tail and the peace that comes from knowing that the world is still turning. There is a being beside me whose only desire is to be sure that it can see me, be with me and interact with me. Part therapist, part friend and the rest, a guardian angel, I have a dog who is my friend and along with all of the other blessings in my life, I am blessed by this great beastie of a dog sleeping beside my chair.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I count myself a wealthy woman.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 35

Wow! Busy weekend here! As promised, it rained...all weekend. Bear was okay with that for the first two days, but today we had to go for a walk. Because he's been cooped up with only really short games of ball and trips out to go "hurry," and because it was only misting heavily this morning, I decided to give him a treat and take him for a solo walk with me today. I think he really enjoyed having some quality time for himself and we enjoyed our walk before the torrent kicked in by the middle of the morning.

Today was a really big day for Bear because it was his first real experience with visitors coming to the house. We have a friend who is an Army buddy of my husband's who usually visits a lot but, due to our new arrival, hasn't really been here for the past few weeks. He came over today and we also had some friends up from Jersey for the afternoon.

I was a bit worried about Bear with all of this as he completely lost continence when the Army buddy arrived. He was so excited and spent about the first hour or so having accidents all over the downstairs between my taking him out. After that, he seemed to calm down a bit and we let him greet our friends from Jersey outside, which seemed to help. He really enjoyed having all of the people around and was really very calm around everyone, which was great to see! I was kind of worried about how he would react when people came to the house, but he was a real mush and not too pushy!

I think the day exhausted him, a blessing, because he is laying here in the doorway unconscious right now. It's good to see him tired out!

Hopefully tomorrow the sun will shine for a while!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Friday, September 26, 2008

Does anybody out there really care...
about what "Tom the Spaces Guy" is doing? I mean, for real, who cares? Do you? I don't. In any event, I love my job and had a great horoscope today! Here

By Rick Levine

Your pragmatic approach to life can bring you rewards today, especially if you don't veer away from your original intentions. If you have an important decision to make, do it as early in the day as possible because as the evening approaches, you could become more negative. Try to be fair-minded as you balance your pessimism with optimism.

I love that because I didn't get to read it until just now and ya know what? It fit my day. One of the difficult things about this job is that, aside from the fact that everyone is terrified of it, I am walking into someone elses brain that doesn't fit mine. My desk is a prime example. This girl had sticky notes with God only knows who on them and phone numbers. That's it. Just random sticky notes....all over the bulletin board that surrounds my desk. THEN, she has all of the stuff that belongs with what I actually do....just randomly stuck up all over this board.

This had to change...today.

It did.


From this I can gather that the last person who filled my position was not well liked within the agency.

She was there less than one year.

So onto happier things. My boss, boss, the top clam, and I call her that because she looks like she just climbed off the beaches in "One Morning In Maine" and someday I think the two of us will meet on a northern beach and do a sandcastle together if not some serious crabs and clambs...but she may have the affinity for conchs and seashells that I do as well and lobster is definite..., is backing me up 1050%. The job I am walking into is the worst in the agency and basically, I have carte blanche. I'm going to wait until after he is neutered, but I think I will be able to bring Bear into work with me for stress management. Yeah, its really that good a job...

"Hurry time" I'll be back.

ANYWAY, the job is going really well and everyone is very thankful that I am there, including me because I have never had a job where I had my own place...and the boss brought donuts in every Friday, and we had complimentary bags with no strings attached, and everyone was waiting to help me figure out what it was that I had to do.

There are a lot of people who have done this job in the agency, but not fully. My job is to put it all together and get the whole job done again. Don't know if it can be done, but do know that I have the skills to do it.

So "The Dog Lady" is on, so Bear and I have to go because he really loves this show!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 32...

but whose counting? Actually it was a good day today. Strike that, it was great. As far as days go, this was one of the better ones that I've had in a long while. The new job is, well, I think I've found where I'm supposed to be. I'm starting at the bottom, but there is a whole lot of growth potential in a direction that I could really do. Its a good place to be...finally, and I'm hoping to make the most of it.

Onto the real matter of the day, though, all of you probably are wondering how things went with "the crate." I set it up last night and put all of the dog toys into it so that if Bear wanted to chew, he would have to go in and get a toy out, which he did. Everything seemed like it would go well with it. We went for our morning walk which I really wish I had the camera with me to take pictures during because the mist in the valleys was really lovely this morning, but hindsight is always 20/20. (Don't hope for much tomorrow as its supposed to start raining tonight and not stop all weekend.)

When we got back, I did some chores and got ready for the first day on the job. I decided to wear a skirt. Bear thought that was great and has apparently never seen one before because he thought this was big fun to chew and bat at, until I took him out. Upon entering back into the house, we reached the moment of truth.

He was not happy about going into the crate.

I insisted, so he did...with assistance.

Once in the crate he was not happy, but calmed down before I left. Will was very upset with the entire situation. I went to work and got oriented, sort of, and came right home. When I got home, there sat Bear in the crate, wagging his tail at me.

The house was intact.

I did not have to raise my voice or have my first words to Bear be reprimanding.

I went to the cage, noticed something was amiss, and focused on getting Bear out to go "hurry" before the moment passed and the impending mess ensued. As I came back into the house and checked to see what I didn't register while getting him out, I found what didn't make sense to me.

Bear had not destroyed the house, but he did manage to "reconfigure" the front bottom of the crate. How he did this, I am not quite sure, but this does pose a problem with keeping him in a crate as I'm not sure how much of this "reconfiguring" the crate will withstand.

I may have to consult with some experts with this problem because at this rate, I do not believe that the crate will last very long. He did have two toys, his tire that he likes to chew and a bone which is still in the blanket but can't be seen in this photo, while he was in there. His teeth and legs are all still intact as well as the toys and there was no mess in the cage...of any kind so I am thinking that the food is okay with him. This just appears to be the kind of thing that Bear likes to do when he is bored... and better he do it with a crate than my living room.
As you can tell from the photo below, Bear was a happy guy once he went out. He wasn't hyper but did enjoy moving firewood in for the weekend with my husband, Willie and me. He's just a really big puppy with a demolition instinct that even my daughter's black lab could not match.
So my husband unbent the crate and is off tomorrow so we will see how Bear does with it on Monday. My first words to Bear today were kind and if we have to get a new crate, then we do and that's life.
I really love those eyes and that face...even if he is in his "destruction phase."
Happy wandering!
The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 31

And life is getting better. I was off from my job today, a good thing considering that the job that I interviewed for last week called and...I got it! This is going to work much better for Bear and me because I will be working fewer but consistent hours every week and earning more than I was working 40 plus hours a week. Instead of being alone for six to eight hours a day, Bear will be alone for four hours and roughly 40 minutes. This is a "cratable" time frame, I think. I really hate the idea of crating him, but it's either that or the living room at this point. Once he's fixed, he should calm down, but that is still at the discretion of the town hall at the moment.

After getting the news about the job today, I called the woman I worked for and let her know I won't be in again. She knew this was coming when she hired me so it wasn't a great shock to her. She was kind of happy for me and offered to pay me today for the one day that I actually had work from her this week. I decided to take Bear with me to get my check and he proceeded to throw up all over the inside of the back of my car for one of two reasons: a) we changed the type of food he is on today and its not agreeing with him b) he gets car sick. Thus we are going to have to work on the car training to discern what, exactly, is going on with him. He's been acting kind of "under the weather" since we got back, so I'm not sure its not the food. He seems to like the taste of it, but also seems to not be quite himself so we shall see how he is tomorrow.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 30

And I am a toasty critter! Today was a rough day with the Bear. I went to work and dealt with two year old temper tantrums...for real, I work with young children when I'm not aspiring to become a writer, and spent a solid hour getting kicked and punched by a very "put out" little guy who was not very thrilled at the prospect of not being held through his entire nap. Aside from this, the day was pretty normal, until I got home...

The kitchen was just about perfect upon first glance, dining room was fine, and then I entered the living room.

You know that picture of Bear with the "beastie eyes" I took last night? Well, that's who was in my living room while I was at work today. Now, I don't know what the thing with the cushions is but every cushion from every piece of furniture was on the floor. The three dog blankets which normally reside in the corner were all over the place. The pepper shaker from the kitchen, the place mats from the table, the dog brush, both of my husband's boot brushes, chewed up pillows, a chewed up cane and I can't even remember what else...plus one accident over by the bathroom were what greeted me when I entered.

It was in that moment that I realized that "positive child guidance techniques" do not work very well with canines and that Bear is, in point of fact, a dog...who will continue to slobber all over and chew on everything in the house until he realizes that I am higher on the pack totem poll in this house than he is. Round about the time I was slinging the couch cushions across the room and back onto the couch while pointing out to him that this was not appropriate dog behavior in my house and that I did not want to see him or hear him while I was cleaning up his mess, I think he realized that.

By the time the husband got home, I had the mess cleaned up. I was calming down with a game of spider solitaire when he walked in and inquired as to why the table was not set for dinner. I only had to give one look for him to realize that this was not appropriate spouse behavior and that the table would be set when I won the spider solitaire game...which I did and then set the table. Bear spent the entire meal silently laying beside me without moving a muscle and, when offered his after dinner treat, was actually very sorry for upsetting me. Then he gobbled it down and proceeded to slobber all over me until we went out to play ball for a bit with both of the dogs.

Some days go better than others, I think, and hopefully tomorrow will.

We had a great walk this morning...

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 29

Great day...yadda, yadda, yadda... We went grocery shopping first thing today as the husband took off from work because he's got to burn up leave time before retirement and we had no food in the house.

So great. Dogs missed their morning walk and trashed the house while we were gone buying groceries...and bones for them, and special dog food...and THE ULTIMATE BALL! Okay, it was a guilt thing and we were compensating for being gone this weekend so we caved and got it.

Finally, this afternoon, we got the walk in, gave them their bones and special biscuits and introduced the toy and THE ULTIMATE BALL! So, the introduction with Bear went well, but he wanted to share it with Will, who thought he should have complete control of the ball for himself and thus the game ended until this evening after dinner. Dad had a brilliant idea of utilizing the old ball along with THE ULTIMATE BALL which was great and Bear got a real taste of off leash romping!

What was really cool to see was the two actually working together as a team on something other than destroying the living room or chewing apart my slippers which was what we woke up to this morning.

They did really well overall, but tired out after about 15 minutes of chasing back and forth. Bear is now sound asleep beside me as I write and will probably be resting up until about 10 pm when we are ready to go to bed.

Oh well...it was really fun to let him really stretch out a bit and play!

While taking these pictures, I came up with the ultimate Halloween picture of the dogs that I have to post, even though it is early. I think I'm going to use it as my profile picture as well until Halloween because it really is pretty cool. Anyway, here it is!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 26, 27 and 28

Oh boy! Three days tonight!

We are back from our trip, actually arriving home last night after having a great day in Greenport, New York! What a great town and festival they had there! If you're in the area next fall, be sure to stop in for this because it was a blast! Six pipe bands, great parade, air show, a ship from Mystic Seaport and a great waterfront make this a really great place to have a "Pirate Party!" Yes, I believe that sometime this month it was John Paul Jones' birthday...or maybe not, but its a great reason to have a party anyway...which the people of Greenport did...and we went to because my husband, as a 42nd Royal Highlander in the Brigade of the American Revolution...which is a Rev War reenacting group, was in the color guard for one of the pipe bands. So at 48 years old, I finally got to tell someone "I'm with the band" and got in for free.

The really cool thing about this festival is that it is DOG FRIENDLY with leash. We saw a lot of beautiful dogs and next year, ours will be among them, bus ride or no. Actually, I'd really love to take the dogs up and just walk the town without all of the festival stuff as it really is a lovely place! So this is definitely one to put on the list of where I want to go walking next summer or fall!

As to the dog sitting. They actually did quite well with it. Bear did have the predictable accidents, but Willie did as well which is not an okay thing. Will was pretty upset when we too BJ down to my daughter and isn't doing well when we are gone for too long. The house was clean when we got home, and everything was good, until Bear decided that he didn't have to "go" outside anymore and had two messes last night...which might have something to do with the five pears he stole out of the fruit bowl yesterday, so, while he did get reprimanded for the accidents, we got over it quickly!

Today, after his walk, he seems much more his "happy-go-lucky" self. We did some off leash play with him for the first time today and he did wonderfully! He's been watching Willie and the husband play ball since we got him, and today I decided that maybe it was time to learn how to play stick. Well, I didn't have to teach him on this one and he really enjoyed being able to run and romp with Willie over the stick! He also got his first ride in the truck today because we went up behind the house to start on the pears. We have a pear tree out behind the house here and Bear and I have been monitoring it for the perfect day for picking and today was the day.

The great thing about picking the pears is that, basically, we just shake the tree and they all fall down. Bear thought he'd died and gone to heaven on this one. He loves fruit in general and has been tasting the pears with me for a week or so now. When they all came falling down around him he just laid down and started munching away while we picked up the rest.

We saw Roy and his dad last night after we got home. They came up to the house around ten to take care of the dogs, which was great. He survived well and so did these guys. Dog sitters are definitely great as the dogs can be in their home, but they want to be with us and not having them there yesterday was the one thing that was missing from an otherwise perfect day. So, we work on the training a little more and little by little we will get there.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear
PS...and just because I want to try this, a very short video of a boat!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 25

Oh the angst of having to leave a new pup! This is what we are facing this weekend. We had made plans a month ago, down in "The City." Up here, there is only one "city" on the planet, which is New York City. It is referred to as "The City" and everyone else in the world is expected to know exactly which city "The City" actually is. Actually, our plans are not technically in "The City," they are on "The Island" which again is the only island on the planet and refers to Long Island, or "Lawngiyaland" if you are from there.

So we had plans there...and can't bail out of them...which means I have to leave my Bear with a dog sitter!

Oh God!

Actually, its not that bad. You see, I've been working on this all week during our walks down the hill. In truth, I've been working it since the day we got Bear because I knew then that this dreaded day would come and we would need someone to take care of him while we had to go to "The City," or in reality, "The Island."

Right after we got Bear, he met a young man down the hill. He's a neighbor which means that he lives within five miles of this house. From my perspective, here, everything and everyone is either down the hill or up the hill and this young man is "Down the hill, Roy," which is not his real name but will suffice for now.

Down the hill Roy is one of the kids here. In fact, he is what we on "The Hill," which again is the only "hill" on the planet and the entire community knows this even though this entire town is in the middle of the mountains, call a "ridge runner." He is a kid that was born to these hills and we've watched him over the years do all of the "ridge runner kid stuff" that "ridge runner kids" are apt to do here. Its been fun watching him grow into the young man he is becoming and to introduce him to Bear.

From the moment Roy and Bear met, the two were trouble twins. Bear absolutely adores Roy, who absolutely adores Bear back. Its a mutual fan club and if either are in the vicinity of the other, they can't help but go to each other for a greeting. Roy has spent the past few days walking with Bear, Willie and me so that the dogs can get a feel for his presence and Bear doesn't dislocate Roy's shoulder while going out to go hurry. Roy now knows how to handle Bear and does pretty well, or at least I thought so until this afternoon when Roy came up to the house to get the final rundown on what to do and where things are.

Bear and Willie saw Roy come to the house and instantly decided that this was going to be BIG fun! It really reminded me a lot of when my kids were younger and the babysitter would show up...

Roy spent about an hour here walking with Bear and getting Will calmed down, which never quite happened, but long enough for me to see that Roy's older brother is going to be a necessary component to this equation as well. In time, like a year or two, I think that Roy will be able to handle the dogs alone fine, but right now, they see this as an opportunity to see how much stuff they can get away with because "Mom always lets us do it this way..." Yadda yadda yadda...

So we leave out tomorrow night and we get home Sunday morning. Hopefully, Roy, the house and the dogs will all survive...

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 24

Everything that went so well yesterday, well, Bear made up for it this morning. To understand this, I do have to reveal one of the awful things about Bear's past. Before Bear got to the pound, somewhere in the first four months of his life, Bear had his face broken by a human. By best guess, he was kicked in the face. He has scaring on his lower jaw, you can feel the break, now healed, at his stop and if you look really close you will see that his nose, snout and lower teeth are crooked. This is why, whenever you see a picture of Bear, he is panting. His nose doesn't work for breathing very well. Its also why, when he is trying to get the scent of something or someone, he has to get right up onto it and taste it as well.

He's still our Bear and it doesn't really matter to us...except sometimes at night because he breathes really loudly, especially when he is cleaning himself. Last night was such a night and after a couple of hours of taking him out to go hurry and telling him to stop cleaning himself while laying right next to my side of the bed, I put Bear out in the living room with Willie and closed our bedroom door.

This was a mistake.

He did stop the incessant cleaning, but then proceeded to get into my pine cone collection and chew it up all over the floor. He also stole one of my seashells and slobbered all over that and, just for fun, stole one of my slippers and slobbered all over it as well, piled all of this mess up and surrounded it with his favorite toys.

Now the thing about this behavior is that, in my house, this is not appropriate dog behavior. In fact, it is "Bad dog behavior!" But we looked at Bear, who really was proud of entertaining himself through the night, and we looked at the pile of stuff, and looked at that face with the crooked nose and beautiful eyes that really has absolutely no reason to love or trust any human on the planet... and, okay I caved...bigtime, and Dad did the reprimanding on this one while I got the leash to take him out to go "hurry."

I've really got to work on being able to be stern with this guy because he's going to walk all over me if I don't.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 23 part 2

The job was not the high point of my day today. In point of fact, it was pretty annoying, as jobs will be from time to time. I arrived 10 minutes early to a boss who was panicking and couldn't handle what was going on. Ergo, I immediately took over...and ended up leaving a half an hour late because, she couldn't handle what was going on.

This, of course put me a half hour behind on getting Bear out when I got home. Realizing that the worst had most definitely already happened, I decided to verify the location for the interview I have tomorrow...which put me another half hour off the schedule and thus, arrived home an hour late.

It wasn't until I got half-way up the walkway that I heard Willie bark. The dogs were calm as I walked in and there was no trash or recyclables littering the floor. Cautiously, I inhaled through my nose, searching for any clue of what I would probably find in the next room. There was nothing. I repeated the process. Again, nothing. I searched the dining room, living room, kitchen, even by the bathroom and then I found it, the only offense of the day, an old comb and hairbrush of mine, lovingly chewed up in the dog's blankets by the door.

There were no piles. There were no puddles, just a dead comb and hairbrush that just hadn't made it to the trash yet.

We went out immediately to take care of the pending business for both dogs, who, interestingly enough seemed equally proud. If pushed to say which one had been wonderful by the way the dogs were acting, I couldn't and I pondered that for a moment as we stood waiting five minutes for Bear to finish. In fact, I didn't think about this fact again until, after opening up my bedroom, I walked back out to the living room and found Bear lounging on the couch chewing the bone that I had given to Willie the other day as Willie sat in front of him watching in what, if I didn't know any better, I would call a very self-satisfied and doting manner.

I looked at Willie, who never shares anything, especially the bone ... that disappeared almost the minute I gave it to him the other day. He just looked back at me and wagged his tale a little. I looked at Bear who was lavishing this treat... almost as though he had been waiting for it all day...and I couldn't shake the feeling that an arrangement had been made somewhere along the line...which entailed a trip out to play in the middle of the night, a disappearing bone, a miraculously mess free house to come home to this evening and two very proud and happy dogs.

I know its silly, but as I think about it, I can't help but wonder if the reason we think dogs can't talk to each other is only because we can't hear the conversation.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Day 23

Today the goal is to outsmart the puppy. Now that I've gotten a job working in my field, everyone wants an interview, so even tomorrow, my day off, I am going to have to be gone for part of the day. Thus, I have come up with a strategy to keep Bear out of the recyclables and garbage. I'm going to empty them before I leave!

I know, this is rocket science, but somebody had to figure it out.

He had a great walk this morning with Willie and managed to go through the entire night without going, but did make me take him out at 2:30 in the morning because Willie wanted to go out and play in the moonlight. Neither of them had to go, they just wanted to go outside.

That was fun.

I did learn, though, that Bear is capable of lasting nine hours without "going" so part of this is about making inappropriate choices on his part. We will see if he makes better ones today.

Anyway, got to run. Will update tonight.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 22 part 2

As I was walking Bear tonight around in the yard, I realized that there are so many things I have missed seeing for so long now. I looked up in the sky and the moon was rising so huge and beautiful in the sky! I haven't seen it rise like that in so long!

I looked through the pictures of the past few days and found the beautiful fall leaves and the wonderful view down the road where I live... Its all still here and happening and I was missing all of it until I started getting out and having to walk my dog, Bear.

I have to remember these moments when I get home from work and am greeted by a mine field of chewed up soda bottles and the obligatory noon time mess that he missed going out for even though I walked him repeatedly this morning before leaving. I also have to realize that it was only one mess and that he is only six months old and, all things considered, it could have been a whole lot worse!

Where did I put that list of possible sponsors?

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Day 22

We were up early this morning as today is my first day off to work with Bear in the house. We didn't walk yesterday and it was very hot and heavy outside so I wanted to be sure to get a good walk in this morning. Bear was more than ready, and as I walked out the door and looked back, there stood Willie looking at us and wondering why he couldn't come too. There was no reason, except that he's my husband's dog and my husband is the one who does fun stuff with him. That's changing, and so is the fact that Bear is "my dog."

As the days are passing, an interesting thing is happening in our house. The dogs are starting to show us that they each and both want and need to be with both my husband and me. The Vet is great for rough housing, giving the stern backup when I need it and just hanging out. I'm great for cuddles, walking and going "hurry." Increasingly, they are looking to both of us for instruction and having their needs met and, as we are working as a "team" on this, they aren't getting away with so much inappropriate behavior, especially Willie. He's actually developing a nice personality!

One of the biggest changes we are seeing in Will is his voice. He has a "play voice" that we had never heard before. We're hearing it a lot now and we're also not hearing a lot of the "snarly voice" that he grumbled with all of the time. He really was a grumbley dog who was very snappy and snarly. Thankfully, that part of his personality is receding and this other dog is starting to come out who is really quite a pleasure to be around! We still have set backs, but they are quickly corrected and Will is learning that if he wants to do fun stuff, he needs to be nice.

A development we're not quite used to is what happens when we get home. It used to be a situation where the dogs attacked the door whenever they heard one of the cars pull up. Walking in was always a challenge because there would be jumping, and BJ was 98 pounds of 3 year old Lab jump, scratching and really loud barking. That's not happening so much anymore. Bear and Will are glad to see us, but there isn't any barking or jumping and we can actually open the door without forcing the dogs back. Its nice to come home to this!

So, our walk this morning went very well. I did spend some time working with Bear on basic obedience yesterday, mainly heeling and sitting, which really paid off during today's walk. I was actually able to chat with the neighbors as they drove down the hill to work. The dogs just sat and waited patiently until I was done and we'd continue on. It is so cool to be able to do that, to have them under control and working with me instead of going all over the place! Bear is still having a problem with distractions and focusing, but is getting better by the day. He's still young but I think by the time he is a year he is going to be incredible!

This is my first day to work since we got him and I'm a bit nervous. I'm going to be gone for 7 hours, roughly, so I'm a bit worried about what I'm going to arrive home to. Its going to be what its going to be though. Four days a week of my working outside of the home is not going to kill him and he can learn to "hold it" until I get home...I hope. We do have a crate for him, but I don't want to go there unless absolutely necessary. We did pick up extra paper towels at the store yesterday, so I'm prepared for the worst. Hopefully it won't be a problem.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dogs, Bear and Willie

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 21

...and a rainy Sunday. Sunday's were made for resting and I think this is what we will do with this day. We may go for a walk in a bit, just to keep the legs working, but today is a much deserved day off for all of us, I think. It's been a summer full of changes for us and a day to just not "do" is in order.

We did have a development last night that was wonderful to see. As we watched one of our favorite shows on TV, Willie and Bear started a game of romp in the living room. They were prancing and barking, chasing each other in circles and having a great time! It was wonderful to see this happening again in our house; something that has been terribly missed over the past few years. The did get loud. They did run all over the downstairs but nothing was destroyed or knocked around too much.

They were playing...and it was good.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 20

Peanut brittle. That was what I was dreaming about. I was standing by a shelf with Bear, reached up and pulled down a bag of peanut brittle. It wasn't just any peanut brittle either. It was the peanut brittle we get at the gas station at exit 37 off of 95 in Virginia from the peanut farmer/Publius who owns the gas station, when we go see the kids. We always stop there for peanuts, peanut brittle, bacon, gas and political commentary on the events of the day.

The stuff is amazing! Not to sweet, but not bland. It actually tastes "nutty" and it's my favorite peanut brittle in the world! His boiled nuts and regular nuts are wonderful too! The bacon, we haven't tried yet. It's still sitting in the bag in the cupboard awaiting a cold Saturday morning breakfast toward Thanksgiving.

He owns the gas station, the peanut and pig farm and the factory that does the processing. A man of outspoken political views, he always has an opinion about Washington to express...which he does with feeling, conviction and hard work. Sundays mornings we usually find him sweeping up the outside of the gas station and debating with the customers who, whether they agree with him or not, usually give him credit for standing up for his beliefs.

And in my hand, I had a bag of his wonderful peanut brittle just waiting to be opened...

I looked at Bear who was anticipating the delight of the most delectable treat I was about to share with him. He knew it would be good, just like the home made split pea soup I had shared with him for dinner. I could see the joy in his eyes stemming from the excitement of another shared adventure and I opened the bag. As the clear plastic separated, it began to hit me, that smell that wasn't the peanut brittle that I had come to know and love. It was a stench of unbelievable magnitude! Something so incredibly foul that once it hit the nose there was no retreating from it and it kept growing...and growing...and growing until it saturated everything, everywhere!

It was horrible. In fact, it was so horrible that I couldn't accept it as being real and awoke from my deep slumber at 1:00 am and when I did so, it was still there, in my bedroom, and growing.
It took a few moments, for me to realize that I wasn't still dreaming and gently, so I wouldn't wake up the Vet, I folded back the covers, and in the dark began searching for my crocks with my feet that Bear has taken to moving all over the house. As I sat up, the light on his side of the bed quietly went on.

"You smell it too?" I asked.

An unenthusiastic "Ugh.." was his quiet reply.

The smell was nauseating! We expected the source to be right there in the room, it was so strong, but after a thorough search, we found nothing, including Bear. As I entered the living room, Bear was on the couch looking happy and fine and Will was curled in his chair. I turned toward the bathroom and there, right at the threshold, was the offending pile that was permeating the entire house with it's caustic smell.

It wasn't a big pile, more like a "leak" than anything else, so I quickly searched the rest of the house to ensure there wasn't anything else as I grabbed the leash. I took Bear out and the Vet had the honor of cleaning it up, a task my stomach couldn't take at that hour.

Note to self: No more home made split pea soup for Bear.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 19

OH NO! It rained today... all day! Bear, the dog who has been getting three walks a day plus his yard time had to make due with one walk, plus, I had a job interview. My husband was here with him while I was gone as he was off and reported morbid depression accompanied by one great moan as Bear planted himself by the kitchen door until I returned. Basically, when I'm not here, bear lays by the door...or so we thought until we ran out to the grocery store. Something about living in the middle of nowhere which is that to get anywhere, it's about a half an hour. Thus, we were gone for about an hour and fifteen minutes total and the dogs were here, alone.

Willie did not eat Bear while we were gone. Bear did not eat any of my shoes or slippers that I have been finding soaked with slobber but intact all over the house. What we did find when we got home was a ball of twine...unraveled all over the living room, two freshly picked squash...one on the couch and one on the floor of the living room, that had been nibbled but not chewed and one empty soda bottle which had been removed from the recycle bin and was now on the living room floor.

There were no accidents.

I addressed the issue with my sternest voice and explained to Bear the error of his ways ... and the need to reform them immediately, as my husband stood by the living room door and giggled...nothing like a little back-up there. My husband then reasserted that this was not acceptable behavior with Bear by discussing the fact that this was "BAD DOG BEHAVIOR!"
Bear took us seriously for about two hot seconds and then resumed his attempts at frolicking with us.

I'm hoping the lesson took because I start work on Monday. It's a part time position and should allow time to maintain most of Bear's schedule. We will see how he does with it.

Another change that's happened in the house is that when we arrive home, the attacking of the kitchen door and barking doesn't occur anymore. That is a welcome change and having both of the dogs, while happy to see us, not jumping all over the place and going nuts is a relief! Hopefully this will continue as well.

Here in the Catskills, it's going to be raining all weekend, so rather than go up to Blueberry Heaven again, I think we're going to do some car training and go geocaching for a bit. We also have the dump to do tomorrow, which should be interesting. Our town dump...actually it isn't a dump it is a "Waste Station and Recycling Center" and is one of the "hubs" of our community. Everyone goes there on Saturdays and gets the local ... well, "guy gossip." The local "girl gossip" is acquired at the library, but if you want to really know what's going on with the men of the community, Saturday at the dump is where you find out! I'm sure that between Frank-down-the-hill and Phil the farmer, the whole town knows about Bear by now, so the talking should be pretty good down there tomorrow. I may just have to tag along with the Vet for this trip! We shall see.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 18

The Tale of Five Tails

We had kind of a crazy day yesterday with all of the Blogger stuff! If you're visiting from "Dog Parks," welcome! Feel free to look around and hang out. We're just working with the dogs here, which is developing into a full time job!

We are beginning to have a huge break through here with "The William." He's been pretty horrible since we got back from North Carolina and when Bear came into the picture, things just got worse. Never what I would call a "well behaved" or "good" dog, Willie is known throughout the neighborhood as "The Brat." He came to live with us shortly after the Vet returned from Iraq. At the time, we had two shepherds, Buddy and Rocksie. They were both getting old at the time and Rocksie had developed cancer in her gut while he was in Iraq. She was his dog and hung on until he got home.

Rocksie Buddy

He was devastated when we had to put her down and swore that there would be no more dogs, then the girlfriend of our nephew in Florida had a Cairn terrier that had pups of questionable heritage. My husband had always wanted a Cairn because he is into the whole Scottish heritage thing. Willie was the last of these pups, the runt of the litter and nobody wanted him. So, we snuck my nephew up to a family gathering in Philly, met him there and on my birthday and gave Willie to the Vet for my birthday present. Since then, Willie has ruled the roost and has been very spoiled, until Bear came along. BJ and Budman never questioned his authority as they were both large dogs and, for them, it wasn't an issue. Bear has and Will is having to make some adjustments.

One of the biggest problems we've had with Will is that he never played with our other dogs. Budman didn't play with toys, ever. He did like to romp, but his greatest joy in life was just to shepherd his family. BJ is a black lab and, would play with toys for like two seconds and then want to be under the hand and leaning on either my daughter or me. He did chew a good bone, but never really played with Will.

Baby Will and Bud BJ and his girl

Bear lives to play, and now, "The William" is having to learn how to do that with another dog. He's also learning that life consists of other things besides "ball." There are walks and grooming, petting time and even lap time with Mom. Yesterday was the first real play we've had with the dogs. When my husband got home from work, Willie, of course went to greet him and Bear did as well. Bear was on the 25 foot lunge line and they started playing with a tire toy that they both like. It was so great to see these two having fun together! Later in the evening, Will actually came over and sat on my lap for a while, an event that never happens with him. He's also sharing the toys, even the ball!

Willie and Bear

I feel like a balance is finally returning to the house that has been missing for a long time! Yes, the house is a mess right now as there are dog toys and blankets that Bear seems to enjoy rearranging all over the place, but the important thing, the rightness of the energy in the house, is coming back to us and balancing itself again.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 17

...and "socialization" with Bear has begun. I must confess, after thinking about the socialization issue last night, that I called Frank-down-the-hill and set up a hot date for this morning. If we are going to be able to "wander all over the planet" with Bear and Willie, then they really need to be very well mannered dogs. The natural disposition with Bear, with some training, should be very amenable to that, however, Willie still seems to believe that the sole function of anyone who passes this house is to play ball with him. My thought is to get Bear trained to visit with manners first and then add William to the equation.

Today was our first day with it, so, at 7:30 this morning, Bear and I were out the door for our first "meeting." Frank-down-the-hill lives in the next house "down-the-hill" from us. He's maybe a quarter of a mile down from here and confessed to "spotting" me walking with a "new family member" when I spoke with him last night. I didn't tell him that I've seen him watching us with his face plastered against the window as we pass by, or that driving his new Matrix out to the the field next to his house to watch us was a bit obvious, even though he did try to hide it by the tree line. He's getting on in years, isn't as steady as he used to be and the Matrix is quieter than the four-wheeler so is better for "covert operations" like spying on your neighbors.

People do still do this kind of thing here because, living in the Catskill State Park, there isn't a whole lot else to do but watch what everyone else is doing. Frank has been retired for years, is a widower and a wonderful friend so when any changes happen at our house, he's the first to know. Bear's first "official" visit couldn't be with anyone else.

When we got to the door, Bear was frightened about going into the basement that Frank converted to a living area when his wife died, so Frank came out to meet us at the door. It was cool this morning and damp enough that "older bones take on a chill," or so Frank insisted. After standing outside and having an initial meeting, Frank invited us in again and, with some coaxing, Bear came in. There was an ulterior motive on this entrance on Frank's part. He likes it when our dogs "come visiting" on their own because he likes to have dinner with them. Pizza night is a particular favorite and there have been many a night over the past two decades that dogs who have lived with us came back with anchovy and cheap beer breath. He teaches them about the "neighbor path" we have between the houses and after that, there's no stopping it.

He and my former dog Buddy, aka "Budman," were great friends in younger years.

I let Frank know that this one will not be "visiting" without me because he is going to have a job and that Willie was in training now too. Judging from the look he gave me, I think I am going to have to be extra vigilant about this as Frank is not above "sneaking" when there is a challenge involved. Between him and farmer Phil, who is still oogling my dog, I've got my hands full in preventing these guys from turning Bear into a complete delinquent or worse...

Thankfully, I do have the complete cooperation of the neighborhood ladies, two of whom we met and Bear slobbered all over, while they were out having a healthy morning walk on "the hill." They saw that we had been visiting with Frank and will be keeping an eye to things as well!

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 16

...and she keeps on chugging away at it. Things are going relatively well today, except for the rain that is dumping here in the North East. Oh well. It could be snow, so I should be happy. We missed our morning walk due to excessive thunder and lightning, however, we did make the lunch walk, all three of us, and hopefully we might be able to have a dinner one too. That is the plan, at least. I'm trying to encourage the Vet to walk in the evening with me as it would be a good thing for both of us to get used to doing! We shall see how that goes tonight.

Today I turned my attention to the business end of this whole idea and it is a spiderweb! The basic idea remains the same, to get out and walk with the dogs, but our approach for sponsors needs to be tweaked. Then there are the logistics of the entire project and planning of where we actually want to go to. It's a lot to figure out, but I think if we put our heads together, we can come up with something.

I went looking around the blogger end of the web a bit today and was really kind of surprised at how few dog blogs were findable. I'm going to keep searching, because I really can't imagine people not writing about the adventures they have with their dogs...unless my hunch was right and they aren't having all that many adventures. It would be a great shame if they really aren't having that many adventures! For us, just walking down the road is like going on a vacation to a different planet! I'm really excited about the prospect of even thinking about a trip with these guys, but we're a ways from that yet.

Another event for today was meeting Paul-the-Hardware-Guy down at the Post Office. He owns the hardware store in town and has been a great help to us over the years with the myriad of plumbing supplies we've needed for this old farmhouse! One of the things I'd like to start doing in a bit for socializing these guys is to take them downtown to meet people. Our downtown isn't very big, really. It has the only blinking stop light within 7 miles, a deli, a hardware store, the post office and the library....and that's it...really. There's nothing else. So, I figured that we'd head down once these guys have passed "Greeting Walkers on the Road 101" and meet the folks in town. Oh! I forgot the Town Hall! That's downtown too. And then really, that's all there is.
I asked Paul if he allows dogs in the store and he said "No, but I do keep dog biscuits and come out and give them to the dogs while I say Hi."

So I've got a "sometime in the not too distant future date with Paul-the-Hardware-Guy." Now I just need to get with the Town Hall, Matti at the Deli, the Post Office and farmer Phil who likes my dog, because while he is a cattle farmer, he is also building a library and I think I could convince him to give Bear and I a tour of the place! I think this might be my first real "wandering trip" or as they say in Germany "Wanderung!"

We don't have that word in English or a word to convey quite the same meaning.

That needs to change.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 15


Well, it's day 15 of the blog and day 3 of socialization and training for Bear...who is rapidly managing to steal the hearts of my neighbors here on the hill. One guy in particular, a cattle farmer who lives up at the top of the road, cornered me at the library during the Pumpkin Party meeting. He's been watching Bear and I on the road in the morning, at lunch and in the evening.

"What a dog that is! He is absolutely beautiful!" says he. "I can't believe what you've done with him already! What kind of dog is he?"

So I told him..."He's a pound puppy."

He couldn't believe it. Loves the dog who he has been waving and grinning at...with enthusiasm, every time he passes. If Bear comes up missing, I'm going to know where to go looking!

In any event, it was a really good day with training. Willie is still pretty jealous, but is also beginning to "instruct" Bear in the finer points of the pecking order in our house. You see, in Willie's mind, he is the top dog. As a point of fact, in Willie's mind, he is the only dog. In short, he does not share or play well with others because with BJ, he never really had to as they were into completely different things. BJ was into being directly under the hand of either my daughter or myself. Willie was and is into playing ball...until Bear got here. Now he has taken possession of everything else in the house as well, except me. Known throughout the neighborhood as "The Brat," because he terrorizes everyone until they play ball with him, here he is in all of his glory...

I know, "He's soooo cute!" which is why he gets away with his behavior, but he is now learning that there are other cute dogs on the planet as well.
Yesterday on our walk, that seemed to lessen some when we walked them together. Seizing on the exhaustion and sore muscles of the day today, I decided, after Bear did so well on his morning walk, to try taking them for a walk in tandem. It was wonderful! Will had a bit of trouble at first heeling with me, but once he got the hang of it, did a wonderful job. Bear decided, as we turned to come back up the hill, that it was time to take a nap though. Pulling contests with this dog are a losing proposition as he locks his legs, digs in with the paws that are more like flippers and doesn't budge.

Thus, I decided that this was an opportune moment to utilize psychology with my new friend.

I loosened the leash, turned with Willie, who was more than willing to just leave him there, and took two steps. By step three, we were right back in tandem.

Lesson learned, don't fight with him, just do.

This afternoon, as the dogs were pretty tired and I didn't want to stress them anymore with another walk, I decided to use the lunge line with Bear outside to give him some romping room and socializing with Will. We use a 25 foot horse lunge line that we got for my daughter's dog when he was young. Basically, a long web leash, we use it first for play room for them and then for training them to come. It's really great and, with large dogs, works very well. Bear really enjoyed having some freedom and he and Will even managed to play for a split second.

It was good.

No walk tonight after dinner as I had a meeting at the library... oops, time for Bear to "go hurry!" Be right back!

My apologies!

Where was I? Okay, no walk because of the meeting and the Vet felt that maybe we should back off a little on the exercise. I don't think the dogs are the only ones who are feeling yesterday! Anyway, just because I can, this is my daughter and her dog, reunited last week. She tells me that BJ is doing great and adjusting to his new roomie wonderfully, which makes me feel about two inches tall but we will get there too...eventually.

No, his eyes don't usually glow...

So that was day 15. Little by little we are getting there!

Happy wanderings!

The Writer ...and her dog, Bear

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 14


Today...was supposed to be "The Tail of Tales."
That tale will have to wait until tomorrow

because today was a gorgeous day outside and

we took a walk we've been waiting to take for

a long time. We went out in back of the house

and started up "the hill" to a place called Blue-

berry Heaven. It's at the top of this "hill" we live
on and, in our younger days, we used to

take the kids up there to pick blueberries at
about this time of year. We had planned a

date to go up there for yesterday, but the hurricane we had spent the previous three

days praying off finally hit and it rained for most of the day, a blessing considering the driving we

had done this week and the fact that Bear needed a day to just hang out with us.

The trip up is a gorgeous hike through the

woods and up our side of the mountain and while

the path looks deceptively flat in this photo, this

is only because I angled the camera up as I shot

these photos. It is definitely a hike and a few

spats ensued, but our marriage did, miraculously,

survive the trek! You see my hiking boots

died...oh about ten years ago and all I had to wear were sneakers and the trail is very rocky.

This combined with Bear deciding he didn't need to listen to a word I said about pulling made me

pretty grumpy rather quickly. We almost threw in the towel, but we both really want to do this,

and thus continued on. As my husband was a dog handler in the Army years back,

he helped me get the idea across to Bear that while he didn't

have to walk in a heel position while we hike, pulling was not

and I am sure I will be feeling my shoulder tomorrow! He

did get the idea rather quickly, though, it was just hard for

me to use a firm tone with him. I really want him to be able

to do this though, so I have to work on my ability to let him
know what he needs to do because once he understands
what I'm asking, he is more than willing to do it.

And here's
my guy. Turns out he's not so camera
shy at all. He just didn't like being photographed
in his pen. He had a blast today because he and I
also took two shorter walks along with this one.
The Vet and I did too and once we got used to
each other's paces because we haven't walked
like this in years, the dogs did as well.
Happy wanderings!
The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 13 part 2


I cannot tell you what this day has been to me! My daughter is now getting ready to come home from work in NC, sleep in her own bed and have her own dog there waiting to greet her. My middle son is laying in bed right now in Camp Lejeune, dreaming of his fiancee who he just got an apartment with in PA. My oldest son is sitting on the couch, staring at the tv in that way that only a parent who has a newly crawling baby can, and while trying to be affectionate with his wife, but, quite frankly right now, both being so fried from chasing my grand daughter all day that neither of them have the energy to do anything but the 5000 mile glare into the tv set...and he thought an Iraq tour was hard... My husband is carelessly tossing the ball for Willie off the couch while Bear... okay, I can't help it, I look at this dog and all I can think is "He's such a bear!" is laying by my feet while I write...and house breaking with this one is gonna be nothing!

I've been waiting for seven years for this day to happen in our life and ... finally, it's here. Everyone is in their place and moving forward and, quite frankly, I am exhausted!

Bear is wonderful! Everything I wanted in a dog and more!!! I can't say enough about checking with your local pound and will be writing an article for the local paper on this one. He really is a gift, is socializing well with Willie and...AND loves to watch my goldfish by the way...and natural chunky peanut butter with rasberry jelly sandwiches on oatmeal bread...and the pears from my pear tree...and the apples from my apple tree...and has frizzy curly hair when it rains, just like me...and has a "noisy nose" when he sleeps...and seems to want to do anything I want to do whenever I want to do it...and...and...thinks that having a home is about the most wonderful thing in the world...even if that home has a "Willie-whose-nose-is-very-out-of-joint" in it.

Even "The William" has his weaknesses and Bear is finding them!

I'll post about the trip tomorrow because I am still braindead from the driving, but I wanted to let you know about the name thing... My spouse and I had decided, on the way down to NC, that "Ernie" was the perfect name, so most of the way down and all of the way back, that is how we thought of him.

It's not his name, though.

First time I saw this guy, first thought I had was "Oh my God, this dog is a bear!"

Every time after that, when I saw this dog, upon greeting and leaving him, that is what I thought. Today when I went to get him, this is what came right into my head when he was sitting in the pen waiting for me to go take him for a walk again.

Somebody was talking, I just wasn't listening.

Okay, "Bear" is not the name I would have chosen, but it is the name he responds to and it is what he "is"...even though he is a dog...which is technically a canine...which is not a bear but we aren't even going to go there. "Bear" is his name because ... this guy looks just like a baby bear and the teddy bear I had as an infant.

I'm sure there is something very Freudian in all of this, but ya know what? He's happy with the name. I'm happy with the name and if I want to call my dog Bear, who, on the face of the planet, is really going to care?

His name is "Bear."

Tomorrow, pictures and the "Tale of the tails," I promise! Tonight I am going on about 10 hours of sleep in the past 72 so I'm heading to the bed...if Bear lets me because, not for nothing but, he snores louder than "the Vet" after Iraq when he's not trying to climb into bed with me...

Did I mention this dog is at 68 pounds right now and is maybe six months old but possibly younger?


He's a love though!

Happy wanderings!

The Writer ... and her dog, Bear!

Day 13


We're back and today is "the" day but before we go down to get Ernie, I want to let you know that Blackjack, aka Galumph, aka the big black dog, aka my daughter's dog is very happily reunited with my daughter. We beat the hurricane, both on the way down and back, which was a God thing, I think. We left at 6:18 pm on Wednesday and arrived at 6:45 am on Thursday as we traveled I-95 all the way down. BJ made the trip very well and was thrilled to have his girl back.

To understand why all of this had to transpire the way it did, I need to set up some background. My daughter is the youngest of my three children. She is 18 and graduated from the community college last spring. She is starting her junior year this fall and decided she wanted to be in North Carolina because she loves the beach. Blackjack came to live with us when my middle son graduated from bootcamp. He is a Marine, as is his brother and both of the boys decided to enlist after their father returned from his deployment in Iraq. During my husband's deployment, my oldest was in Michigan in college, but my middle guy, my daughter and I became very close because we were all we had.

When my son left, my daughter was devastated! Noting this, my middle son's girlfriend, who had awoken one morning to find a litter of puppies and two older pups tied to her porch at the end of the summer, showed up one day with BJ. My daughter loved him and much pleading and begging ensued...we caved and ended up with this huge puppy who became everything to her.

When she moved to North Carolina, she did so with the intent of finding a place to live where she could have BJ. She got a full time job, found a beautiful house that she is renting with another wonderful young woman who is a student and is having a third move in shortly. There is one stippulation on the house-mate situation, and that is "must love dogs." All do and all do have. They also have a huge, fenced yard and a beautiful home with lots of room!

Anyway, this is why BJ had to remain "her" dog. The plan had always been to get him down to her, it was just a matter of when this was going to happen. We were planning for Christmas as my grandbaby's birthday is Christmas Eve and both of the boys are at Camp Lejeune, so we could have Christmas together, but Ernie is ready to come home now and we thought it best for all parties involved, because there has been a lot of coming and going here lately for everyone, including Ernie, to come to a stable family that isn't in the middle of moving all over the east coast.

So BJ is now stable with his girl and Ernie is about to get stable with us. It took a killer trip, but this is the way that we wanted it to happen. I'll update later to let you know how things go.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer ...and her dog, Ernie

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 12


Sorry about missing day 11. We are back from North Carolina and as it is 11:30 pm here now and we have been on the road since 7:15 am this morning, I am really tired. Things went well and I will fill you in tomorrow.

Happy Wanderings!

The Writer... and her dog, Ernie

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 10 part 2


WE'RE LEGAL! Bernie, who will probably be renamed "Teddy"... ugh, is now legally my dog! He has a brand new collar that I put onto him today. He has a home address and he has a dog tag and his rabies shot. He also has a "Puppy Packet" and a case of "Science Diet Large Dog Breed Food Packets" for when we go hiking and walking that the Animal Control Officer gave us as well. Saturday cannot come soon enough as we have a "date" with my husband and his dog, Willie, to go up to the top of the mountain and find the benchmark and then to Blueberry Heaven to pick blueberries. I haven't been up there in years and I can't wait!

When I went to adopt him, the town clerks were so relieved he has a home. Right now, they and the Animal Control Officer are all checking, actually they started checking on this yesterday, with Albany to see if they can get the state to subsidize his neutering, which would be wonderful! This is one of the reasons I love living here! It's "small town America" and everybody really does know everybody elses business...and tries to help when they can. I'll keep you updated on the neutering situation as we progress.

In any event, he does have a home now and I do have packing to finish, soooo.....

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog who is still nameless

Day 10


Busy day today! I brought the furniture down yesterday and we broke it down last night. Pre-packing on the truck went well. Unfortunately, we aren't going to be in NC long enough to do any walking or geocaching this time. Basically we are going to sleep, get the furniture set up, sleep again and come home, but on Saturday, I think we will take a walk!

I'm looking forward to that at least.

My dog, who I can't name Bo because my husband really can't work with that name, is getting his shot today and will become "officially" my dog this afternoon. He will be staying at the pound until Saturday morning when we pick him up. I wish it could be sooner, but I really think it's better for him to stay there rather than being here in a new house with a complete stranger to feed him and let him out. The extra two days won't hurt him. We're having a friend come stay with Willie, my husband's dog, and feed the fish while we do this.

So, sorry for such a short blog today, but I've got stuff to get done here and not a lot of time to do it!

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog...who still doesn't have a name.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 9


It looks like Saturday is going to be the day for us to bring my new dog home. I spent some time this morning at the pound with "the dog of my dreams that I want to name Bo, but my husband doesn't" and really had a nice time! He isn't as big as I thought he was and is a complete mush-head! It is not that he is not intelligent because he did everything I asked him to, he just wants to spend his life being right next to me and being loved. He isn't demanding of affection, but just really enjoys it!

We went for a short walk together and he enjoyed being out of the pound, but wasn't rammy or anything like that. He doesn't know how to heal yet but isn't "a puller" on the leash either. He responds very well to vocal instruction and praise, so I don't think we are going to have to use treats to train him. All he wants is a kind/gentle word and a good petting and he will do anything I want, basically. He isn't house broken, which is a challenge, but I think he is aware enough that it isn't going to be a huge problem, which is good. He never really took biscuits from the woman who has been caring for him but I think that has more to do with the way she was giving them to him. A lot of people try to give treats using a pincer grip with their forfinger and thumb and having the dog nip it out of their fingers. There are two problems with doing this. First, because of the way they are holding the treat, the dog feels like it is taking the treat out of your mouth. In a dog that doesn't have a propensity to nip, they will generally take it out of the hand and drop it onto the ground and leave it there. This is what my dog did when the woman caring for him offered a biscuit. The second problem with this is that in a dog that has the tempermant to be a "nipper," people who do this are encouraging and rewarding the nipping behavior in their dog. By taking a buscuit, breaking it in half and offering it to the dog from a flat, open palmed hand below his mouth level, most dogs will accept anything you want to feed them...unless they really find it unappealing. This is what I did with my dog and he ate six of them right up. Problem was that he then expected me to hand feed him his breakfast because he thought that was a really good deal! When he realized that was not going to be an option, he decided he could still feed himself.

I saw no indications of any nipping or biting behavior with this guy at all. Snarfeling with his nose is another matter. He has a lot of boxer in him and drinks everyone and everything in with his nose. How much of that we will be able to adjust, I'm not sure, but it is something we will have to watch with young children...and ice cream cones. Basically, the most overwhelming characteristic I noted with him is that he really loves to be loved and wants nothing more than to have someone to spend time with doing whatever. He's also very young and acts very much like a baby still, which is fine, he's just a big baby as opposed to a small one. We stopped several times while walking, by his preference, because he just wanted to be reassured and rest, which is fine for now. I think that was more of the baby in him than anything else. His canines are still not quite in yet, so he actually may be younger than thought or the malnutrition may be causing some developmental delays which is okay because intellectually he is very alert, attentive and responsive. We're just going to really have to ensure great nutrition for development from here to adulthood and keep an eye to the bones and joints once he reaches adulthood and exercise is going to be a part of that.

Now, it's time for me to do some packing as we are leaving tomorrow night for North Carolina. I can't believe all of this is happening so fast but things fall into place like that sometimes...well, at least this time. Don't know if I will be able to blog through our travels, but will try.

Happy Wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog who is almost here!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 8 part 2


Sorry about being "gushy" on the last post, but I'm really stoked about finding Bernie... Okay, we may have to change the name, but he's the dog! I've called my daughter and we are set to return Blackjack, aka Galumph, to her this coming weekend.
While I was talking to her I realized that until we had found the dog, we really didn't have any reason to really push to get BJ down to her. Now we do. I want him with her before we bring Bernie home. He's had enough separating to do and has been alone enough. Tomorrow morning I will be going over to walk with him for a while and spend some time as I will until we get him home.

So onto Geocaching! Our second site was kind of a surprise for both of us. It was a benchmark by a flower box that we see everyday. The things we didn't see were the rock sculpture of the turtle and the beavers at the box as well. The box has been there for a couple of years now and is in such a place that if you never stopped to look, you would definitely not see the turtle, which is the greatest part!

Pretty cool, huh? Anyway, very fun to find and I ask your forbearance with the photos as I'm just getting used to doing this on Blogger. So after this we went to our third cache site which was down by the covered bridge in town. This one got a little hairy as the cache was supposed to be hidden in the roots of an old tree stump next to the guardrail on the bank. There are several problems with this location. First, every spring the creek floods and the bank gets washed out. Anything hidden on that bank would probably not survive as these floods take down whole healthy trees, not to mention wash out all of the dead stumps and the like. Also, there is no longer a guardrail as the garden club had it removed to put up a fence and shrubbery during a town beautification project. Thus, if the floods didn't get the cache, the garden club probably did. In any event, we spent quite a bit of time climbing around the bank and seeing the bridge and brook from the underside which was really pretty fun! When we returned home, my husband discovered that someone had logged the cache as missing a while ago, soooo, it wasn't just us. The thing really isn't there.

We did have fun looking for it though!

So overall, a great day! We had a lot of fun and I'm going to put up this last picture, just because I can!

This is my dog, Bernie.

Happy wanderings!

The Writer...and her dog, Bernie

Day 8


The husband and I have been having a blast this morning! We've been looking into this geocache stuff and decided to give it a try since there are a ton of these things around here. One of the caches was right down by the town pound, where we wanted to go look and see if the "dog of my dreams" was there.

On the way down, we passed the pound road and decided to look for the cache first because that would be the first turn around anyway. The cache was at the Eagle Lookout down by the reservoir. This is a place we know quite well and usually try to visit in the spring when the eagles are nesting down there. We did see geese and I even got a shot of one of the eagle nests, now empty because the little guys are flying on their own, and...we found the cache! Really cool and we had a good time! Also, that cache we found on the ground rather than "above ground" as stated on the site.

We got back in the car and headed up to the pound where I think the real "treasure" of the day was found. There was one dog in the pound. He was abandonded and is about six months old. By my own estimation, I would say he's a mix between a boxer and a St. Bernard. He's a goofball and really wants out of that pen, young enough to train and by the look of the paws will certainly be big enough to keep the bears away when we head up the hill to get berries. He's a little on the hyper side, but I think that has a lot to do with being confined. He's got a shaggy, brindle colored coat, a good face and eyes and was not at all happy when we left.

So, we came home and I called the Animal Control Officer, who has just returned my call. "Bernie," the dog, was supposed to be put down this weekend because he has been at the pound for two months now. Because of the holiday, they couldn't schedule it. Tomorrow, instead of being scheduled for that, he will be scheduled for his rabies vaccine and... adoption... and he loves blueberries! :-) I'm going over to "socialize" with him in the morning...and maybe we will take Willie, my husband's dog, over to meet him now, I am being told because our friend who went to find the cache at the Eagle Observation point is obviously lost, even with the GPS.

So life is really good right now and sometime tonight I hope to finish the writeup on the geocaching stuff because we hit two other sites and I want to write them up as well, but for now,
I'm going to see MY dog!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...AND HER DOG!