Mine (All Mine)

I’ve been a solo dog for coming on two years now. We’ve had friends come to visit with their dogs, we’ve camped with friends and their dog, but I haven’t lived with another dog, had to share the space and attention that has become mine (all mine).

Last week, while our friend G went for surgery, Ria came to stay with us to lighten the load a little for S who was holding down the fort and offering moral support for the poor guy stuck in hospital. I’ve never been to a hospital, but I hear it is just not a friendly place for people who are accustomed to peace and solitude.

Ria likes shade and I like sun but we both enjoy deck time.

Ria and I have hung out on many occasions, at their place, at our place, on camping trips and walks, and I even stayed with them while T and Nollind were in Toronto in March, but having another canine in my home for a number of days is a very different thing. I had to share what is mine (all mine).

Before this visit, T and Nollind would have told you that I’m not great at sharing, that I can get pushy and needy, and it’s possible that’s true, or was true. But having a dog around that doesn’t require all the extra attention, special food, and treats (laced with medication of course) that Logan did, is quite a different deal.

No bed sharing required.

On top of that, Ria is a great houseguest. She often prefers to lie on the floor, so I didn’t have to share my beds or the couch; she loves toys and gave Logan’s old ones a workout, which didn’t bother me a bit because they don’t interest me; and she loves to chase gophers, and it’s been a long time since I had a hunting buddy.

Logan’s unused toys.

The only beef I had all week was that she seemed to get more food than I did, but then I eat fast so it was tough to know for sure. On the couple of occasions when she did finish before me, or when my bone seemed to last longer than hers, she was very polite, staring at me from an acceptable distance, and not making any attempts to take what was mine (all mine). She did hover a little closely when she finished her DQ pup cup before I did, but, hey, it was ice cream!

After Ria went home, I was a little concerned that the peeps might miss the presence of a second dog and start talking about adopting, since I’d totally rocked the sharing thing, but—whew—nothing of the sort. They liked having Ria around, but are still enjoying the simplicity of life with a single dog … me.

Hunting gophers under the rocks along the canal.

This means the food, the attention, the beds, the brushing time, and the treats, will continue to be mine (all mine).

Resting up after four days of sharing.

Snow in June!

You’re probably thinking that “Snow in June” isn’t a very promising title for a camping blog, but the snow was only in one place and made for a terrific roll. The rest of our recent journey was summery weather—warm, sunny, and buggy. The bugs don’t actually bother me too much, but they sure drive the humans to distraction.

The original camping plan was for a few days at one of many local campgrounds that recently reopened after the pandemic shutdown. Then T decided there was no reason not to add a couple of days and turn it into a bit more of a vacation. It was a long winter of postponed and then cancelled plans followed by a spring of isolation on the farm so I think she was ready for more miles than the short journey to Kananaskis or Severn Dam.

So off we went on the morning of her birthday, bound for Crimson Lake Provincial Park near Rocky Mountain House. She and I stopped there last spring on our way home from visiting T’s mom, I believe it was number eight of twenty-six in my 2019 season of lakes.

Aaahh…lake time.

Wikipedia says that Crimson Lake “received its name from the striking colours of the setting sun reflecting on the surface of its waters seen by an earlier trapper” but T and Nollind are pretty sure it has more to do with the voracious mosquitoes and subsequent bloodletting. Either way, it’s a beautiful spot with a nice campground, great walking trails, and we stayed there two nights.

Sunset walk at Crimson Lake.

Wednesday we were on our way west to another provincial park, Goldeye Lake. What should have been a happy arrival at this pretty lake in the foothills was disrupted by a flood in Simon the travel trailer. The campground road had some mega bumps and one of them managed to turn the tap on, which overflowed the sink down into the cupboards and onto the floor. T and Nollind normally turn the pump off when we travel but, oops, they forgot. I don’t think they will again. Our campsite looked like laundry day with everything hanging on lines.

What’s camping without at least one small disaster?

A hike around the lake, combined with a drying breeze and a lack of mosquitoes, put everything to right and the peeps were laughing and playing dominoes at the picnic table by evening (there may have been a drink or two involved).

Happier campers.

Thursday we drove to nearby Crescent Falls. It’s a bit of a bumpy ride from the highway to the falls but we left Simon behind at Goldeye so there were no concerns about further trailer disasters. The peeps loved the falls, took photos of them from many angles, oohed and aahed, but me, I was more interested in the other people, and their dogs. After all, it’s just a river that met a cliff, right?

Cooling my feet at the top of the falls.

While they watched three kayakers tackle the lower falls, I rested in the shade, watching the other visitors wander by. A few stopped to say hello and give me a scratch. But the best part? The picnic. Is there anything better than a picnic? I say, not likely.

Upper and lower Crescent Falls.

After another evening of campfire time and bluegrass jamming, we were on our way west on Friday morning to yet another provincial park, Thompson Creek. This park sits right on the edge of Banff National Park near Saskatchewan River Crossing. We were all a little concerned at first by the bright yellow signs posted all over the park, but we carried our bear spray just in case and never did see the resident bear.

They called this guy a “problem bear” but the people who fed him are the real problem.
Thompson Creek Campground.

I’m far more interested in what I smell than what I see, but I have to admit that our day trip to Athabasca Glacier was pretty cool, in more ways than one. That breeze that blows down off the glacier is refreshing, to say the least. We have some packed snow and ice that likes to linger in the spring around here, but did you know the Athabasca Glacier has been melting for over a hundred years and it’s still huge? How impressive it must have been when it flowed right down to the bottom of the valley.

The glacier used to go all the way to that building at the base of the mountain.

On the way back to camp, we stopped at Parker Ridge where there was still snow at the trailhead parking lot. Yup, quite a lot of it for June 12. The peeps weren’t interested in a snowy hike but stopped just for me because they know how much I love to roll in snow.

Going in for the roll!

Saturday morning was absolutely the best morning of the whole trip. Not because it was time to go home, although that was good too, but because I got pancakes and bacon for my breakfast. So, so, so delicious. The cute tablecloth and tableside fire were nice touches added by T, but, for me, it’s all about the food.

After one last walk around the campground, we started the journey home around noon, making a quick stop at Mistaya Canyon on our way south. I normally drink from every creek or river we come across, especially in the mountains where the water is cold and clean, but I passed on this one. T joked they could lower me down into the canyon on my harness for a sip. Ha ha. Very funny.

Mistaya Canyon

So, the first camping trip of the summer season is in the book (there is actually a little book that lives in Simon) and I’m sure hoping it won’t be the last. We came home to an injured horse—Nevada rolled onto an old stump and it punctured his hip—but I’m sure he’ll heal in time for us to venture out again soon.

If you talked to me on day one I might have said I don’t like camping, but it just takes me a little time to adjust to a new routine and a different bed. By day two or three of new places to walk and explore and sniff, I’m one happy camper.

And the bed doesn’t suck either.

The Trouble with Tummies

Last week I had this great plan to report to you from the road because that’s where I was supposed to be … on the road. I do love a road trip. But, instead, I was in and out of the house all night Thursday and on into Friday with the worst case of diarrhea I’ve ever had. It actually started the previous Sunday night when I had to get T out of bed five times overnight. Neither of us was very cheery on Monday morning.

Sunday morning. No idea what’s coming.

For you humans, who generally sleep near a bathroom, you don’t have far to travel when you wake in the night with the need to go. But, imagine me, waking up to an URGENT situation, having to get down off my couch, whine at both sides of the bed to rouse someone, wait for T to get out from under the covers and put her slippers on, climb the stairs to the main floor, wait for both doors to open, main and storm, and then find an appropriate spot away from the house. From start to finish about two hours! Or at least it felt that way. And then imagine doing that five times in one night. I was a wreck by morning on both occasions.

Recovery position.

Things were still not 100% by Thursday but much improved so the peeps started making plans for a day trip to check out some campgrounds to the south of us. But then, around midnight, that all-too-familiar pressure started in my belly. Uh oh. And out I went, many times, and again the next morning and into the afternoon. All I’d eaten was broth for breakfast so I have no idea what went into the creation of the nastiness of the afternoon. But, anyway, this is all verging on too much information.

I’ve normally got a pretty sturdy constitution. I eat lots of strange things I find in my travels, as I wrote about in The World is My Buffet in March, and rarely have any digestive response. T refers to it as my little iron stomach. Not to say I haven’t ever had issues, but normally only when we’re travelling out of country, like back on our first RV trip when Logan drank from that pool of standing water in Utah. Yeah, that was a big mistake, for both of us as it turned out since whatever he picked up transferred to me.

Happy hikers with no idea of what Logan picked up from a puddle.

You know, I think that was the only other time I had to go outside multiple times in a night, and that was almost nine years ago with a lot of questionable ingestion since.

Anyway, we’re pretty sure what got me was an overdose of probiotic. You’ve heard the expression “too much of a good thing?” Well, that’s what happens when a dog eats a bunch of horse probiotic. In an appropriate dosage, a probiotic is a great thing, but the wrong amount for the wrong animal is, I’ve discovered, less than ideal.

Oops.

Nevada is a bit of a feed dribbler as his teeth wear down with age, and that fateful Sunday, he dropped quite a bunch of feed. T always lets me clean up whatever lands on the ground as it’s normally just a few bits of kibble, but, on that day, the old guy spit out quite a lot, and we think there was a big wad of his probiotic in the stuff that hit the ground. Until Thursday night, it was only a theory. That was when T decided it was time to put me back on my own probiotic at dinnertime. Oh boy, was that the match in the powder barrel, launching me into another twenty-four hours of … well … the shits.

Nice of him to share, but …

After a week of purging and a mostly-liquid diet, by Sunday I looked like a dishrag on a leash when we went for a walk around the park in Strathmore. That lake has never seemed so big! I’m mostly back to normal energy levels now. It just took a few days for me to get my strength back.

Can I have some more, please?

In case you’re wondering about the remedy, it was that age-old cure, chicken soup, mostly broth with a little bit of cooked vegetables and a few pieces of chicken to make it interesting. The general recommendation for dogs with diarrhea is chicken and rice, a bland diet, but since I normally don’t eat grain, T didn’t think it was the time to introduce a new thing. She fed me nothing but soup for two days and my tummy troubles vanished.

Sadly, there was no road trip, but I hear we might be going camping next week for T’s birthday. Toes crossed and stomach fortified!

Feelin’ better and ready for the road!