Too Sexy for the Dog Park

It’s long been a struggle of mine, being too sexy for my own good. I haven’t written about this before because it’s … well … kind of embarrassing.

If you’ve been around dogs before, you know that, despite our cuteness, we can be crude creatures. A prime example is how we get to know each other by sniffing each other’s butts. It’s completely normal behaviour in our world and is the way we identify one another should we meet again. You’d be surprised at how much information a dog can pick up from the scent molecules and pheromones of another dog—health, reproductive status, happiness, gender, and even diet. Cool, right?

Dog park sniffing chain.

Another common behaviour in the canine world is mounting or, the less attractive sounding, humping. You’ve all seen it, one dog latched onto the back of another. The humper can be male or female, as can the humpee, and being fixed doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Sometimes it’s a misguided attempt at play, other times it’s one dog displaying dominance over another, and then there’s my situation. For me, it’s almost guaranteed to happen with intact males, occurs regularly with fixed males, and every now and then with a female. In a lot of cases, the owners are surprised, swearing it is highly unusual behaviour for their dog. Well, not when it comes to me.

If he were taller…

It looks something like this … New dog comes running up to me to say hello, tail wagging, all set for a meet and greet, and then they get the scent, that something about me that drives them to unseemly behaviour. It’s especially strong around my shoulder blades so I’ll end up with a taller-than-me dog running along beside drooling over my shoulders, waiting for an opportunity to jump on. And they do, repeatedly, sometimes having to be dragged away by their owners.

I try to keep walking and mind my own business, but if it’s a big dog and they latch onto my hindquarters, I’m stuck. That’s usually when I’ll growl or snap, to let them know I’m not impressed. But it doesn’t work. My intoxicating scent has clouded their ability to hear what I’m saying no matter how loudly I shout, “Get. Off. Me!”

Lucky for me, this guy didn’t like my cologne.

It didn’t happen as often when I was a young dog so I guess I’m just getting sexier with age. Problem is, I’m also less able to withstand large dogs jumping on top of me as I get older. Last Sunday at the Strathmore Dog Park, out of just eight dogs in the park, two of them were all over me, one of them a standard poodle who jumped on me twice and then knocked me onto the frozen ground. My left hind leg has been stiff and sore ever since and the peeps have curtailed my walks to give it a chance to heal.

Dog parks were better when I had my wingman.

Once, at the Southland Dog Park, there was a bulldog named Angus who got so crazy with lust that his horrified owner had to drag him away until she felt it was safe to let him off his leash. But what did Angus do as soon as the leash was disconnected? He came running for me from the other side of the park as fast as those stubby legs would carry him, smashing into me, knocking me to the ground, and then humping my side as I lay there stunned.

If it were small dogs that took an interest it wouldn’t be so bad, but they can’t get their noses into that sweet spot between my shoulders.

I love playing with small dogs.

So, what to do? T tried a deodorizer in my fur right before we went to the park on Sunday. It didn’t help at all. Or maybe it did and I’d have had four or six dogs on me instead of two with particularly good noses. But I don’t think so. What I do think, and I’m pretty sure my peeps agree, is that my dog park days are over, at least the small and/or crowded variety.

Pretty sure I’m safe with this guy.

I’m okay with it really. In my early days with T and N, I was more inclined to sit with them in the park than visit with other dogs (like in the photo below taken in California) and I’m generally as interested in sniffing around where dogs have been as meeting the dogs themselves. And, at this stage of life, when I no longer have excess energy to burn or a desire to roughhouse, an on-leash walk or a wander through a big off-leash area suits me just fine.

As for the sexy part, well, there’s not much anyone can do about that.

More Camping! … Or Something Else?

When I last wrote we’d just returned from a fab week in the Rockies. Sigh. Such a good time. The thing that made it easier to come home from that trip was the plan to set out again in just two weeks, and this time in partnership with our camping buddies G & S and their canine companion Ria. Yay! We were all so excited.

Our bestest camping buddies on one of last year’s trips.

The plan, although I’m reluctant to use that word in 2020, was to go to Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park at the bottom end of Alberta for a few days, followed by another few days at a lake a couple of hours west of there. Our departure date was set for the 10th. We just needed to get Fred the truck fixed. I wrote about the demise of the Dodge in my last post.

One week beyond that scheduled departure, we’re still home, and Fred is still in the shop. To be more precise, Fred is in shop number three. T and Nollind are not at all thrilled with the Dodge dealerships that charged a bunch of money to not fix the truck. Fred is now being repaired by a transmission shop in Calgary that was able to track down the actual problem.

Loading Fred for the trip to Mister Transmission.

But, as is typical, a setback didn’t mean a bunch of moping about the house. Instead, we were on the road last Fur-iday for a consolation road trip (T is quite fond of these alternative adventures). We trekked west past Cochrane to the Waiparous area, followed by a visit to Ghost Lake. I didn’t see any ghosts, but that mountain-fed lake was very refreshing on a 27-degree, sunny afternoon after being in the car for a couple of hours.

Heading for the water at a brisk trot.

Our wander along the lakeshore spurred a thirst and hunger so was followed up by a trip to the Half Hitch Brewing Company in Cochrane. T enjoyed one of their beers when we were down in the Crowsnest Pass in February and has been wanting to visit the brewery ever since. I was resigned to an hour or two of waiting in the car, but then … say what? They allow dogs on the patio? Even the covered patio? Doggie heaven—shade, people, other dogs, and food! Apparently, the beer was also good but I wasn’t given a sample. I’m eleven now. I’m pretty sure I could handle it.

Patio dog – they only take well-behaved dogs so, guess what I am? :o)

Back in the car, I was just settling in for the trip home when we turned toward the river instead and took a short tour of the Bow RiversEdge Campground. Nice spot. Might just return one day with a trailer. It’s right next to the river and the off-leash pathway. More RV park-ish than we’re accustomed to, but did I mention the neighbouring off-leash area with swimming?

A dip in the Bow River.

We pulled into a parking lot near the campground so that T could feed me my dinner. She’s good that way, always bringing a meal along on our road trips in case we go beyond my six o’clock dinner hour. (And yes, I can tell time. More about that in a future post.) Post dinner, we were off and walking on that same off-leash river pathway I just mentioned. We were actually there four years ago when Logan was still around so our wander brought up some great memories, and yet another swim opportunity. It won’t be long before all of the water in Alberta is frozen solid so I have to get in these soft-water experiences while I’m able.

River walk September 2016.

So it wasn’t a camping trip, but by the time we were driving in the direction of home, after three walks, some patio time, and a road trip with my favourite peeps, I stretched out on the back seat of our old-but-trusted Honda and slept all the way home.

River walk September 2020.

Flashback Fur-iday – In the Beginning…

This time of year brings up a lot of memories of autumns past, particularly the autumn of 2011 when we set out travelling by RV for the first time and started this blog. It was T’s idea for Logan and me to write a blog. She wanted to share the tales of our travels with friends and family back home but didn’t want it to be the standard “weather is here, wish you were beautiful” stuff. Wait a minute. What up, Jimmy? That’s not how you say it.

So, there we were, a couple of rescue hounds, writing a blog. Crazy, right? Logan took to it like a Lab to water, but it was a tougher learning curve for me. I just wanted to run and chase and run some more. Who had time to sit still and tell stories? I was a 3-year-old dog!

On the other side of that coin though, I was an excellent traveller, but Logan, well, not so much. He loved the new places but …

The stops are filled with new sights, sounds and, most importantly and best of all…smells! It’s an absolute scent-fest every time we stop in a new place. Travelling between stops is a lot less appealing, or let’s make that more terrifying — hurtling down the highway at great speed with others doing the same thing in the other direction. Does no one else recognize the danger we’re in? Have they not read the newspapers or watched the nightly news? My people sit blissfully naive in front, seemingly enjoying the ride, regularly trying to reassure me of the safety and okay-ness of it all. But I’m not falling for it.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan
Maybe if I close my eyes?

I mostly just slept, still do. What better way to pass the hours in a vehicle? But I could never convince Logan, at least not until the “magic cheese”…

I think I’m finally getting a bit more comfortable with truck time. Sa and Nollind think it’s due to the new treat they got for me that they call “magic cheese”, but it just says Havarti on the package, which I’ve had before. There is something special about it though because I feel really mellow about an hour after I eat some, and riding in the truck is pretty cool then, watching the world go by outside the window. I like sticking my head out and getting that rush of a thousand scents at once blasting in.

December 2011 – Murky Water and Magic Cheese
With magic cheese assist.

For two rescue-come-farm dogs, travelling for five months in the United States was quite the grand adventure—sand dunes, beaches, cool spiky plants, rocks the colour of a sunset, and Logan’s favourite …, dog parks.

Viva Las Vegas…or so the humans like to say. I wasn’t clear what all the fuss was about until we arrived. Once we’d settled in and done a bit of exploring, I found out why it’s such a hot destination — Las Vegas has the best dog park in the western USA, possibly in the whole country!

January 2012 – Viva Las Vegas
RV dog paradise – freedom!

But it wasn’t all fun and games on the road, especially for a sensitive guy like Logan. Some of those great things I mentioned above had a dark side…

I drink from puddles at home all the time but whatever tiny critters live in the water down here do a number on my digestive system. Drinking from a watering hole in a dog park at Oceanside gave me a thorough understanding of the term “explosive diarrhea”. Another normally innocuous part of my life on the farm, plants, also seem to be out to get me down here. I’ve had more thorns in my paws than I can count, one big ball of nasty stuck to the back of my leg, and a spiky branch that seemed to jump right off its host onto my thigh when I walked by. I also had an eye infection that took many days of an antibiotic ointment to cure, and running in deep sand at the dunes tired out my hindquarters so much I had trouble getting up the stairs into the trailer when we got home.

February 2012 – How Do Dogs Live Down Here?
It was a long way to the top.

We were away five months that first trip, a long time for a couple of dogs who’d rarely left home. Logan in particular, got a little homesick toward the end…

Yesterday we left Bisbee, the farthest point south we’ve travelled on this trip, and drove all day heading north. I hear we’re going home! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a good time, but I am a bit of a homebody and I’m looking forward to my farm, my bed, my doggie friends across the road, and leashes that hang on a hook in the porch. Oh, and friendlier plants.

March 2012 – Sore Feet and Sore Eyes
Montana’s high country on the way home.

There’s talk of a trip this winter, and Sid’s all cleaned up and ready to go. As excited as I am about the prospect of another winter in the desert, it sure won’t be the same without Logan. But then I’m pretty sure he’ll be there with us, exploring our favourite boondocking spots, enjoying the desert sunsets, and riding along easily without the aid of magic cheese.