High Maintenance Mutt

I know I’ve not been the easiest dog to live with—anxieties, fussy eating habits, a fierce independent streak, and a bad leg—but now, I hate to admit it, I’ve officially become high maintenance. And, although I appreciate everything they do, I’m starting to feel a bit awkward about Teresa & Nollind planning the trip around me and my needs.

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A low-maintenance moment.

 

They’ve always been play-it-by-ear, go-where-the-road-takes-us kind of travellers … until this year. This year, every move we make has to be considered as follows:

  1. Is there room and ability to put out a ten-foot ramp? A camp spot on a slope, a camp spot with a bush in front of it, or a camp spot in a parking lot or RV park are just not options this year.

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    Room for my ramp. Check.

  2. Is there reasonable footing for me to walk on? I’ve always had issues with the rocky ground in parts of the desert but, until this year, they just put boots on me. Now, with my mobility issues, the boots add just enough weight and awkwardness to tire my arthritic leg more quickly.

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    Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite where we stayed just two nights. Quiet, plenty of space, but too many rocks for this old dog.

  3. Is there a vet nearby? I have intravenous injections every couple of weeks so we can’t wander too far from an available veterinarian. Although, I’d be quite happy to give up the regular stab in the neck.

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    My vet in Blythe, California,just a short drive from Quartzsite.

  4. Is it somewhere we can stay long term? My drugs are a huge help on moving days, but travel still takes it out of me. Teresa referred to me as a “noodle” after our latest travel day. Noodle… not something I aspire to.

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    After our latest travel day. I guess I kind of see the “noodle” thing.

  5. Is the temperature moderate? My black coat has always been an issue on hot, sunny days, but, as I get older, I have less and less ability to deal with temperature extremes. I wilt in the heat and shiver as soon as it’s a bit cool.
  6. Can I be off leash? I’m very good about staying in camp and I love to just lie on the mat or under the trailer but, in some places, it’s just not allowed. Other places, people and their dogs are too close and I’m constantly inclined to wander over and visit. And I’ve just never done very well with being tied. There’s that fiercely independent thing.

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    Enjoying my off-leash freedom at Plomosa Road.

Number six is part of the reason we’ve come here to Wickenburg for a couple of weeks. During the last half of January, Quartzsite fills with RVers. There are always a bunch of flea markets around Quartzsite, but during the last half of January are the rock & gem shows, a swap meet they call Sell-A-Rama, and a huge RV show. The town, the RV parks, and even the desert fills with people. The area at Dome Rock where we’d been staying had rigs rolling in every day.

So, here we are, camped on State Trust Land near Vulture Peak. We’ve been here before, and it’s a favourite for walking and, last year, became a favourite for riding. There are trails and mining roads all over the backcountry.

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Home for the next couple of weeks.

 

I won’t be exploring very far afield this year, but that’s okay, there are plenty of sandy trails near the trailer that have easy terrain for me. And this area has a lot more wildlife than Quartzsite so many interesting things to see and smell along the trails. We even hear coyotes singing at night sometimes.

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Sandy wash walk near our Wickenburg camp.

 

As for being high maintenance, I guess I’ll just have to get used to the idea and be thankful I have people who are willing to accommodate the new me. I have to admit, they don’t seem to be suffering.

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The faces of suffering? I don’t think so.

 

 

 

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Foto Fur-iday – Triple H Camping

We had our second horse/human/hound (Triple H) camping trip of the season last Sunday-Monday. We’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Aaaahhhh … feels good to be back in the mountains.

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Why lie on a man-made bed when you’ve got mountain turf?

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Campfire time on Sunday night.

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Logan likes the ground, I prefer to be more civilized.

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The horses were almost right in camp with us for the evening. For you horse people out there, don’t worry, they weren’t left unattended with that hay net.

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A chilly Monday morning in the trailer.

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Forest fire smoke kept the sun from heating things up.

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What happens when horses are fed leftover oatmeal from the pot.

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This is Storm. Watch for his upcoming guest blog post.

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Ice cream on the way home at Bragg Creek.

 

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Me trying to get my share. It’s not easy with Chico around.

 

Until next week …

 

Horses, Humans, and Hounds

It’s not even July and already we’ve been on a Double H and a Triple H camping trip. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology, the Double H is a humans/hounds camping trip and the Triple H is a horses/humans/hounds camping trip. You may have noticed the species order, with horses at number one, humans two, and hounds three. Well, that’s about the way of things when we spend time with the horses. Their needs always come first. I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact. And it means a different kind of camping trip than when the horses aren’t along.

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The horses (looking oh so innocent) – Rosa and Storm

 

One of the main differences in Triple H camping is that T and Nollind hit the trails on horseback instead of hiking with us. Of course, if you’ve read our blogs from a few years back, you’ll know that it’s our own fault, mine in particular, that we don’t get to go along on horseback rides anymore. There were just too many squirrels and other woodland creatures and I couldn’t seem to stick to the trail. My last trail ride was down at Etherington Creek in south Kananaskis when I ran off after a deer and Logan followed. We were gone quite a while so I think that was the infamous straw that broke the dog’s fun. I’m not sure if Logan’s ever quite forgiven me, although he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the horses anymore anyway.

But the horse trip last weekend was different … in a very good way. It was the addition of more humans, humans without horses, that made the difference. Our friends G and S were part of this excursion which meant that we had humans to walk with. It also meant being on a leash and not chasing after woodland creatures but, hey, that was absolutely okey dokey with me. I got to go walking instead of waiting in the trailer.

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Big Elbow Trail – Day 1

 

The eight of us would start off down the trail together, and then T and Nollind would carry on with the horses when it was time for us to turn back. We were mostly turning back because Logan gets sore if we walk too far, so I pleaded with them to let me follow the horses. (I look kind of pathetic in the photos, pulling on my leash toward the horses and wagging my tail like it’s on fire, so I’ll not include one here.) I think I was pretty close to convincing T to let me go with them but Nollind was the annoying voice of reason. I would have been good … well … maybe. I would have tried.

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Heading for Ford Knoll Trail – Day 2

 

We camped at an old favourite, Little Elbow Equestrian. Three days and two nights. All three days included an hour or so of walking and at least one swim, and both nights were filled with food, drinks, and camaraderie around the campfire. G and S are the best kind of people, dog people, so there were treats and attention galore! I know they’re missing their Dixie, so I do my best to fill a little bit of that big empty space she’s left behind.

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Morning coffee around the Little Red Campfire.

 

The living space in the horse trailer is a lot smaller than in Sid, and it doesn’t have heat, so accommodations were not quite as luxurious as we’re accustomed to, but we had our jackets to wear at night like pyjamas. I’m normally not a fan of anything that resembles clothing but, at just 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) overnight, I was happy to make an exception.

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Still wearing my PJs while I sample Nollind’s coffee.

 

Even with the jacket, I don’t think I slept that well because by Sunday afternoon, when T and Nollind were readying the horses and trailer to travel, Logan and I fell asleep in the shade, exhausted. Or it could have been all that fresh mountain air. Or maybe it was watching all that post-ride grooming, packing, and stall cleaning. Whatever the cause, it was the good kind of tired, the kind that comes from days spent outdoors, with friends.

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The good kind of tired.