Comfort and Joy

I don’t know if it’s because I’m the only dog to carry the weight of dog duties and activities over the Christmas season, or if it’s my age, but boy oh boy, am I tired. Trips to Strathmore, city excursions, visiting with family, presents to open, dishes to clean, and the list goes on. Being home for the holidays is a lot different than our quiet desert Christmases.

A couple of my Christmas biscuits from friends.

On the plus side, I was included in almost every activity this past week, which isn’t always the case. Some places just aren’t dog-friendly. I get it. Well … sort of.

Luckily for me, her Christmas mug tells the truth!

The week started off with a family visit at Nollind’s dad’s house and, even though he lives on the fifth floor of a downtown condo complex, I was invited, and pretty stoked about it. I had to stay behind when they went across the street to a restaurant for dinner but (insert happy dance) my cousin H didn’t like the meatballs that came on her pasta and was happy to feed them to me when she returned. I showed my gratitude by taking them from her as gently as I could manage. My meatball appetizer was followed by a beef chew that was part of my Christmas gift. Spoiled? Nah, just well treated.

I even got my own monogrammed gift bag from Nollind’s mom!

Two days later we were back in Calgary for some shopping and other errands. I did have to spend some truck time, but there was a late-morning walk in the community of Banff Trail, I got to try sushi for the first time, and we wrapped up the day with a sunset walk in Sandy Beach Park with Cousin H and Uncle C. (I know they’re not really my relations but I figure that, since I was adopted by T and Nollind, their family has become my family.)

Sandy Beach off-leash park.

Christmas Day we were on the road again, this time just to the mailbox to pick up Christmas cards (thanks everyone!) and to Strathmore for a walk around Kinsmen Park. The streets were mostly quiet and empty but the park was a popular spot for dog walking so I had a chance to make a few new friends.

Christmas Day selfie.

Yesterday was the busiest day yet when my cousins H and A came to spend the day with us here on the farm. Was I that energetic when I was a pup? Probably. It seems like a long time ago. There was horse visiting and feeding, cat cuddling, Kubota riding, campfire cooking, and that was just until lunch! Which was awesome by the way … lunch. Kids love to feed dogs and they also have a tendency to drop bits of food. The kitchen floor was like a buffet!

Winter fun and games.

After lunch was some craziness with a big saucer behind the Yamaha Wolverine (aka Fang) that I didn’t partake in. Some things are best left to the bipeds. As the sun started to fall toward the horizon, it was time to head indoors again where there was cheesy pasta and cuddles and more biscuits. It was a good day.

Cuddle time.

I’m tired today, went back to bed right after breakfast. Tomorrow Ria’s coming to visit, bringing her dog parents G and S. I’ve got six years on Ria and I hear she had a restful Christmas so I’d better get plenty of sleep until then!

Couch time.

Storm’ll be taking the reins of the blog next week, something about a big equine birthday celebration?

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

As I mentioned last week in my mini blog post, I went on vacation, just me and my peeps. Yup. Me. All the attention. All the snacks. All the back seat. (But hey, Logan, buddy, pal, in case you’re reading this, we sure missed you!)

What I might not have told you before is that I can be a little, I hate to admit it, needy. I might come across as a cool dude in my posts but, on the inside, I have a lot of insecurities. Will there be enough food? Will there be enough attention? Will I have a comfy place to sleep? Canine concerns. And, when there are other animals around that draw attention and food and space, well, I can get a bit … well … whiny. Ack. Nobody likes a whiny dog.

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The three of us.

I heard them talking before the trip, wondering if travelling solo would push me even further along the “it’s all about me” scale. But, they needn’t have worried. Take away the cats, the horses, the work, and Logan, and I had more than enough food, attention, and comfort to keep me happy. For example, when T and N came back to the hotel after dinner the first night in Edmonton, the container of rib bits was mine all mine.

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Mine … all mine.

The first stop on our 10-day trip was Edmonton for N’s aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Sadly, I didn’t get to attend the party and give them my best (Congratulations Allan and Karen!), but I did have a visitor to the Dodge kennel. Thanks for coming to see me, Laurana!

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Visitor to the Dodge kennel.

After a very busy lead-up to our departure, the peeps decided that a day of rest and relaxation was in order so we stayed an additional day in Edmonton. Following breakfast at the hotel and a trip outside for me, they actually climbed back into bed and watched a movie, very unusual behaviour for them. Fortunately for me, they brought one of my bed cover-up sheets so I could join in. What was the movie? Hmm … I may have dozed off once or twice. Something about aliens and guys in black suits and, oh, there was a very cool talking dog.

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Movie time!

Fed and rested, we were off to a dog park along the North Saskatchewan River. On a Sunday morning it was a busy place and I have never met so many dogs in one spot. During the hour and a half at the park, I must have met forty dogs, and the guy in the photo below was my paws-down favourite. We met along the river and again on the way back to the parking lot. Man, did we play hard. He was bigger and younger than me so I was exhausted by the time we reached the truck.

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Me and my new bud.

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Pho Boy Vietnamese Restaurant

The dog park was followed by lunch at a place on Whyte Avenue, a restaurant that allows dogs on their patio. (Thanks, Pho Boy!) They brought me a dish of water and apparently the food was pretty awesome too. T and N ordered a spicy dish so I didn’t get much of a sample but they brought along some of my snacks for me.

I could have stayed in Edmonton all week going to dog parks, eating restaurant leftovers, and lounging in the hotel room but, on Monday morning, we were headed north to Charlie Lake where some of T’s family lives.

We’ve been to T’s mom’s place before, when T’s dad died and they held a memorial for him beside the lake. This trip was a happier occasion, T’s mom’s 90th birthday. 90. Wow. That’s almost as old as Logan (in dog years). And she’s a lot like him, slowing down but still going strong.

It was just us at first and, of course, Grandma Nora (can I call you that or maybe just G’ma?), and T’s oldest brother and wife who live just up the road. And then they started to arrive, the sister, the brothers, the nephews, the nieces, the great nieces and nephew. It was quite a crew by party time on Saturday. One of T’s four brothers hadn’t made it to a family gathering in about twenty years and it was a joyous reunion on Friday night and a big surprise for his mom.

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Hanging with my new friend, Kaden, T’s great nephew.

For the most part, T’s family isn’t what I’d call super dog-friendly, but there are some dog lovers, and I managed to seek them out, doing my best to stay out of the way of everyone else. My favourite part of each day was the morning walk, usually down to the Provincial Park boat launch. I only got in one swim, due to the blue-green algae that drifted in on day three, but the walking was great, and each day we were joined by one or more of T’s siblings.

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Smoky view from the boat launch.

At seven on Monday morning we were on our way home, with a stop in Dawson Creek for fuel and food. I’d been a good and easy travelling companion for the whole trip (proud me) and it was time for my reward … my very own Tim Hortons breakfast sandwich. Have I mentioned how much I enjoy a road trip?

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Yum.

Pop Goes the Pooch

Shhh…mum’s the word. If it gets back to Logan that I’ve written this post, I may have to enter the witness protection program and you’ll never hear from me again.

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Shhh …  (photo compliments of funnyanimalsite.com)

Well, here goes …

The first time it happened was in the car last summer. We were headed to friends for dinner and suddenly, there it was, a turd on the seat, flattened because Logan had been sitting on it. He acted like he had no idea where it had come from but there were only two of us in the back seat and I knew it wasn’t mine. Some wet wipes and a hosing of the Soggy Dog seat cover later, all was well. I wrote it off to “shit happens”.

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The Soggy Dog Seat Cover has been a life saver.

But, then it happened in the truck on another outing and it was messier, not the dry-ish turd pancake of the previous time. Even before the smell drifted to the front seats (and smell travels quickly) I had alerted T and Nollind by whining and trying to climb up front with them. “Help! Help! He’s done it again!”

Since those two incidents, there have been many an emergency roadside stop and clean up. Remarkably, we made it all the way to Arizona last winter without a problem but weren’t so lucky during Logan’s every-second-week visits to the vet in Blythe. Afternoons seem to be the most dangerous time to travel. It’s like his digestive system is almost ready to push something through but not quite, at least not until his travel nerves kick into gear.

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Happy travellers … but always on alert.

It’s a bit like traveling with a jack-in-the-box. The little handle goes round and round, round and round, the creepy music plays, and you wait, and you cringe, and you wait some more, knowing what’s coming but not quite sure when. And then, all of a sudden, POP!, the vehicle fills with stink and T & Nollind go into emergency mode: finding the next spot to pull over, evacuating the vehicle, grabbing the clean-up kit. At these times, I just tuck myself into a corner as far from the offending deposit as I can until things are under control.

It’s happening all the time now, even in the house some nights. Crazy thing is, I don’t think he can do anything about it. Not sure if he’s lost sensation, control, or both but, as much as T and/or Nollind try to take him outside and give him as many opportunities as he needs before a trip or before bed at night, when he’s gotta go he just does. No bark, no whimper, no asking to go outside.

It’s put a bit of a damper on our excursions. In fact, he hasn’t been in the car since we came back from Arizona other than to go to the vet for his Legend injection every two weeks. There have been four such trips and, surprisingly, only one with incident. Despite my love of going along, I wasn’t sure I wanted to partake in his trips to the vet, but T has been kind enough to let me sit up front and stay out of the danger zone.

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Me in emergency-lock-down mode.

Lately, T has been taking me on some short outings, getting Logan used to the idea of being left home alone. She doesn’t want me to miss out because Logan is becoming more difficult to take places and not able to walk more than 20-30 minutes. I’m glad of that. I like my old buddy but I do enjoy a trip to town or to the dog park now and then. There’s even talk she and I might get out hiking beyond our little prairie neighbourhood now that the snow is gone and the weather warmer. Kananaskis, Drumheller, Cochrane, and Wyndham-Carseland are just a few of the destinations she’s mentioned.

It’ll be sad to go adventuring without Logan, because I know he hates to miss anything, but I guess that’s just the way it has to be. At least we’ll still have our morning explorations of the farm’s back twenty and evening wanders to the wetland.

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Morning walk around the farm.

Maybe by the time it’s my turn to write again I’ll have a tale to tell from one of our spring excursions. Until then …