Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Lazy. Hazy. Crazy. That about sums it up.

I’ve always liked a good nap, especially on a warm day, but this summer, my fifteenth, I am borderline lazy.  I have found more places to sleep in Logieland (isn’t that a great name?) than Nevada has spots. Just when I think I’ve got enough nap locations, I discover yet another shaded, grassy, idyllic piece of paradise.

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A great afternoon spot in the shade of the house. The downspout makes for very soft grass.

The hazy I speak of is due to the forest fires in our neighbouring province, British Columbia. It isn’t a big deal but it has caused my eyes to burn a little and my throat feels a bit raw. It would probably be a lot worse if I was actually doing anything other than sleeping most of the time. I guess being an old dog with arthritis and a heart condition has an upside!

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Smoky morning walk.

Which brings me to crazy. The crazy has nothing to do with a hectic pace, lots of outings, or full days. I wish. The crazy has been in my head. But, before you worry, it’s getting much better. The old brain has not given it up to dementia just yet.

It started at the end of our camping trip last month. Not only were my guts in turmoil but so was my brain. A call to the vet resulted in a round of antibiotics and other stomach settling meds that got the GI problems under control, but the crazies continued. Teresa was worried I’d slipped a cog and wasn’t coming back. So was I quite frankly.

But then, in true amateur vet/sleuth fashion, Teresa set about researching my conditions, my symptoms, my medications. My greatest advocate came to my rescue again. What she found was that two of the pills I’d been getting for quite some time don’t play well together. In fact, the combination of them can cause diarrhea, restlessness, and anxiety, all the things I’d been experiencing. She almost threw out all of my meds right then and there. Enough!

But, instead, we embarked on a path of medication reduction. One med of the pair that doesn’t play nicely was removed altogether and two others were reduced.  Can you say “withdrawal symptoms?” Holy DTs! I was a mess for the first week, even though the drugs were being tapered off slowly. I paced. I panted. I hardly slept. I was a wreck. Who knew Gabapentin was such an addictive beast?

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The first night of detox.

But, she got me through it. The crazies were worst in the evening and she sat with me every night. She’d watch TV while I lay at her feet on my favourite blanket. There was something about the ritual that was soothing. I’d start to feel anxious and she’d put the blanket on the floor, I’d lie down, she’d climb into the big chair, and we’d spend the next few hours that way. If I started to feel unsettled again, she’d give me a rub and I’d go back to sleep.

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The sweet spot.

It’s been almost a week since our last TV/blanket night. I’ve been feeling much better since then. I guess I’ve kicked it, or at least part of it. I’m still getting some of the medication but less than half of what I was. Admittedly, my stupid arthritic elbow is more painful than it was, but I’m not as wobbly and my mind is clearer and calmer. A fair trade I’d say. I even slept through the night the past few, which I know makes my light-sleeping dog-mom very happy.

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Walk along the canal.

Despite the increased elbow discomfort, I’m getting around okay. I still help out at the barn every day, patrol Logieland regularly, and get out for short walks. And, if I walk too far and don’t think I can make it back, I just call a taxi.

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Farm taxi. (His shirt says “do gooder)

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Close Encounter

It was a lovely morning for a walk as we set out last Sunday morning. Part of my routine is to circuit the barn on our way west, just to make sure all is as it should be. Well, on Sunday morning, it definitely wasn’t. A small, black and white, looked-like-a-cat was on the south side of the barn next to a freshly dug pile of dirt. You can’t just move into our yard without so much as a hello so I ran over to check out the newcomer. That was when I discovered it wasn’t a cat, but a very unsociable, straight-from-hell, toxic-gas-spraying beast!

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The face of a happy dog looking forward to a morning walk.

 

It turned as I ran toward it—I assumed to run away—and I was looking forward to a good chase when the animal’s tail went straight in the air and a nasty, yellow stream hit the left side of my face. The smell was bad but the burning in my left eye was excruciating. I ran back toward T who’d just come around the corner of the barn to see what was happening. I thought she might go after the creature that had attacked me but she just clipped the leash on my collar and we were running toward the house, away from the dispersing cloud of gas.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that it was a skunk that I encountered. It was my first experience with one so I had no idea. Logan thought it was hilarious, having had his run-ins with them more than once as a young dog. One time it happened when they were out camping with the horses and he had to ride home in the front part of the horse trailer where the tack usually goes. The tack got to ride in the truck. I guess I was lucky it happened at home where they had stuff on hand to help me.

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Logan’s still laughing.

 

So, anyway, once we reached the yard, T called for Nollind to come and help and then took me to a grassy area away from the house. I rubbed my face on the grass again and again, so many times that my lip was bleeding, but it just kept burning. I was sure relieved to see Nollind coming with a bucket full of remedies. I knew I could count on my people to know what to do.

The first thing they did was rinse my eye a few times with saline and that helped a bunch. The burning subsided. The direct hit to the face meant the spray was fairly localized, but it also meant it was hard to clean off without hurting me. They first tried a store-bought deskunking solution with written instructions to avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. They applied it as carefully and as thoroughly as they could and let it dry. I was hopeful.

It helped some, but the smell was still pretty bad and I wasn’t allowed in the house. T did some research on products that could be used on my face and tomato juice was at the top of the list. It was nicer than the skunk product but I’m not a big fan of tomato. Too bad bacon grease didn’t take out skunk odor! When they rinsed it off I smelled kind of like a skunk in a tomato patch.

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It’s a little redder than the rest of me but I think it makes me look younger. What do you think?

 

The third and final solution was what they’d used on Logan all those years ago, once they got him home from the campground. It’s also not recommended for use on the face but we were desperate by this point. They were very careful, I did my best to keep my eyes and mouth closed, and we got the job done. A quick eye rinse after and I was just fine. It burned less than the skunk spray. The magic concoction? A mix of peroxide, baking soda, and a little bit of dish soap. If ever you need to get rid of skunk smell, here’s the recipe.

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I think all the peroxide bleached my face. I’m sure it wasn’t this white on Saturday.

 

I don’t notice it much anymore but, apparently, I still smell at close range or when I get wet and I’m told this could last for a month or more. As long as I’m allowed in the house and people still pet me, I’m okay with being a little stinky.

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I thought a swim in the canal would help but the water just brings out the smell.

 

As for the skunk, that pile of dirt was what he’d dug out from under the barn to make a den for himself … or herself. And, yes, he/she is still there. T and Nollind have tried a number of things in and around the den that are supposed to repel skunks but, so far, it keeps returning. They’re wondering if there might be babies in the den. I hope not, because as long as the skunk is there, Logan and I don’t get to go anywhere near the barn. They’re being silly, really, because it’s not like I’d do that again. No way. Next time I’d grab him before he had a chance to turn around and lift that tail!

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A Good Kind of Different

This winter makes five that we’ve loaded up truck and trailer and headed south to the desert. The first was supposed to be a one and only, but it was just so much fun that we did it another four times and there seems to be no plan to stop anytime soon.

Works for this dog. I love the sun, I get cold when the temperatures drop much below freezing, and I hate wearing coats and boots. Being a snowbird suits me like spots.01-chico-different-spots

Every year is quite similar. We spend a few days getting out of winter, hang out in Las Vegas for anywhere from four to fourteen days, and then head into the deserts of Arizona and California. The first year we moved every three to five days but, in the trips since, it’s more like ten to fourteen, with a few shorter stays in RV parks or places that T and Nollind don’t take a shine to (like last year’s noisy Ocotillo Wells visit).

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One of the stops T & Nollind like to make in Las Vegas.

 

Our longest stay before this year’s trip was sixteen days at a place called Saddle Mountain a few trips ago. Since then the long stays have been in places like Borrego Springs, Wickenburg, Quartzsite, and Tucson. These seem to be the perennial favourites.

Tomorrow will be three weeks here in Quartzsite, a new record. We had to up anchor and go into town to dump the holding tanks and get more fresh water a week ago, but otherwise, Sid has been parked here in the same place since we arrived on December 16.

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Home sweet home for the past three weeks.

 

It was part of the plan before we left home, to move less and make things easier for Logan. I’m pretty easy about new places but it’s hard for him, the travelling itself and the settling into a new spot. For example, he’s made himself a den under a shrub and he’d have to start all over again at a new location.

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Logan’s den in the current camp.

 

It also means he can go to the same vet every two weeks for his Legend injections. New vets aren’t necessarily bad, but he prefers familiar places and people. They give him a bit of comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

So T and Nollind looked at all of the places they like to go and chose Quartzsite as a good place to hang out a bunch of this winter.  Why?

  1. We can camp close to town. There are a lot of dispersed camping (boondocking) areas in these parts, but very few that are this close to a town.
  2. There’s a strong music community here and T & Nollind love live music and like to play music with other people.

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    Bluegrass jam at an RV park in Ehrenberg (another nearby community).

  3. Blythe, California is just twenty-five minutes away for the vet and for any shopping the stores of Quartzsite can’t accommodate. (Blythe also has a very good Mexican restaurant. At least it smelled good when they brought the go-box back to the truck.)
  4. There are tons of trails for walking and/or riding in Fang. (I’m still hanging out to get my turn. They’re worried I’ll be scared or uncomfortable but I’m pretty sure I won’t.) And the walking around our camp area is fairly old-dog friendly (although Logan would deny this being a required element).

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    Logan-friendly walk in the wash next to camp.

  5. Quartzsite has a place where T & Nollind can go dancing (the Quartzsite Yacht Club), a library with free wifi, more markets than you can shake a stick at, and an outdoor pub that YOU CAN TAKE A DOG TO. (I haven’t been there yet as you might have guessed.)

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    The outdoor pub I haven’t actually seen.

  6. And, last but not least, the camping is terrific. Quiet, privacy, starry nights, and off-leash time. It doesn’t get better than that.

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    Off-leash time!

So it will be a different kind of winter, spending most of our time in one area but, from this dog’s perspective, a good kind of different.

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Me, experiencing a good kind of different.