Traveling Dog Lady: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy gotcha day, Hobie!

Fourteen years ago today, a little dog was brought to my office at the travel company.  Our eyes met, and we fell hopelessly in love.  We went for our first walk, and I adopted him on the spot.  We went to Petco.

The receipt from our first visit to Petco!  "Pauline" Mueller???  LOL!
I brought him home and introduced him to Timba and the cats.  It was an unremarkable introduction; he just fit right in.

Hobie and Timba in the back yard!

Then, as today, Gil was out of the country on his annual trip, as he normally is in late May.  I remember picking him up at the airport a couple weeks later, and I brought Hobie with me.  The plane was late, so Hobie and I went up Route 1 to King's Beach in Lynn.  Our very first walk on the beach.  We met people on the boardwalk who stopped and said hello, asked how old he was, what kind of dog he was. I recall, I had to use the port-o-potty, and the only solution was to bring him inside that thing! I remember him sitting in the front seat of the car while we were driving, and when we stopped at a red light on The Lynnway, people were pointing and smiling.  He was so cute!  I remember going through Boston, and Hobie was alarmingly looking at all the people walking around -- he'd never seen so many people -- especially those walking on the overpass as we sat stuck in traffic.  Now, all these years later, every time I drive under that overpass, I remember Hobie watching the people walking!

When we went back to the airport, I brought Hobie into the parking lot so he could relieve himself.  He had never relieved himself on tarmac before, there was no grass or dirt anyplace, so.... he did not relieve himself!  He had no idea what to do!

So, Gil met Hobie in the car, at Logan Airport.  That's just how we roll!

Happy "gotcha day", Hobie!

Photos were taken May 30, 2000

Perrier bottle to show size perspective

So handsome!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

#WordlessWednesday Remembering Timba

I wasn't able to post yesterday, which was the real anniversary of Timba's passing.

Timba was 18 years old when she left me 13 years ago, on May 20, 2001.
[Do the math!!  It was 31 years ago that I adopted Timba... when she was a little puppy!]

Timba at about 5 months old, in Princeton, Mass.
My former roommate owed me $800.  I said "Forget the money,
I want the the dog."  He went for it.  Best investment I ever made!

Timba at about 5 years old; and Yours Truly at about 28!

In the late 1980s on Oak Lane in Spencer.

Hobie was a little puppy when Timba died, and Timba was Hobie's "teacher".  He still does things today that he learned from Timba (we still live in the same house); and Hobie, in turn, is teaching The Twins the same tips and tricks!
Hobie, left, at 5 months old; Timba, right, about 17 years.  She showed Hobie the ropes, and bowed out a year later.

I cannot believe it's been 13 years, and now Hobie is the old, disabled dog.  
I hate even thinking about it.

Good ol' Timba, and "the first Charlie".... Charlie the cat.  All the cats and dogs have always gotten along.

Timba on Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass.

At the Boathouse in Truro.

At Thompson Pond, where we still live today.
Her favorite thing to do "fishin'" in Thompson Pond!

Timba was (sorry to all the others) the best dog in the whole world.  She was SO smart, SO well-behaved, and, above all, SO loyal.   I have tried to recapture that with her successors, but nobody will ever measure up to my memory of her.  She went to work with me almost every day of her life.   It was so great not having to leave my dog at home every day!

Probably one of the last pics taken of Timba... when SHE was having
trouble using the same set of stairs Hobie is now battling daily.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Weekend Pack Update, plus Bloggers & Brands Working Together

What a week this has been with the pack!  First, they had a play date with none other than their new little friend, Red.  I read a headline today (didn't read the full article) from one of these trainers who doesn't believe in pack hierarchy (alpha dog or whatever you want to call it).  Well, he ought to come to our house when Red visits.  Charlie Brown, who is normally "Mr. Big Boss-Dude" around here, takes a complete back seat when Red shows up.  Red completely takes over.  He walks in, his tail high, his ears on high alert, and he is totally and completely in charge.  I LOVE it, because it makes Charlie back off.  It is actually kind of hilarious (to me) how "automatic" it is.  Red shows up, and Charlie says, "OK, I'm not the boss, I get it.  It's ok, I needed a break anyhow."  It's amazing watching these dogs interact naturally with no intervention from the humans.

Red showing Charlie who's boss!
"You may be huge, but I'm in charge."

Newman, high up on the kitty counter, is NOT a fan of little Red.

Alpha dog, Red, taking over the living room/studio! LOL!

At one point, I was so busy taking photos (ok, I took 159 that morning, but don't worry I won't post all of them here), I realized I hadn't seen Hobie in a while.  I had walked Hobie down the new ramp attached to the living room steps, and then brought him into the back yard so he could be part of the play date.  He and Red get along great!  [I should mention that, before Charlie came along, Hobie was "alpha dog" if that's what you want to call it.  He was in charge of the household.  He still is, in a senior-dog-with-special-needs way -- he's the one I lose sleep over, he's the one for whom I jump to attention if he needs something, anything.]  I digress!  So, I looked around and said "Oh, no, where did Hobie go?"  I assumed he left via an open gate.  But one of my landscapers hollered over to me:  "He's up there, on the deck."  I asked, "How did he get up there!?" and the dude said "He walked up the stairs.  I watched him.  It was difficult, but he did it."

Hobie 'n' Red, such good friends!


"Pack Leader" Red, escorting Hobie down the stairs!
Hobie hadn't used the stairs in 3 weeks!

Ever since Red's visit, Hobie has used the stairs in BOTH directions about half a dozen times.  Roughly 50% of the time.  The other 50% he either uses the deck as his bathroom, or I walk him down the new ramp in front of the house.  

Later that day, Cali gave Hobie a 5-minute massage!! Hobie actually fell asleep and SNORED!  I've never seen anything like it, these animals truly amaze me on a daily basis.

The next day, I was a little worried because I think Cooper had over-done it on the play date.  We have to be careful of that one front leg, his shoulder and ankle area can get achy from being constantly slammed into the ground.  I decided to take the twins for a R.I.D.E. when I ran errands in the morning.  But they had other plans and took off down the dirt road.  I opened the back of the car and yelled, "Let's go for a RIIIIIDE!" and Charlie hopped in.  I was so busy making sure I didn't close the hatchback onto Charlie's tail, that I didn't notice Cooper had sauntered up beside me and his head was poking into the back of the car.  I closed the hatchback... on his head!!!  I was horrified because our dearly departed Hector died of a head injury (from falling down a flight of stairs and crashing into a bookcase at the bottom), so I was freaked out for an entire day.  But Cooper was perfectly fine.  I think he probably "saw stars" right when it happened, but then he was fine for the rest of the day.  I even asked my pet sitter/cleaning lady to check on him and give me a report halfway through my workday. She said I was just "being a mom" and he is perfectly fine. Phew!

Cooper says, I love play dates, but I need to lie down and rest my leg!

Cooper, exhausted from the play date.

Other than that, we members of the BlogPaws Influencer Group received a nifty new infographic from BlogPaws which I"m sharing here.  I'm bummed that I couldn't go to the BlogPaws Conference in Las Vegas, which is happening right NOW!  They just announced that next year's conference is a little bit later in May 2015 and it'll be in Nashville.  It's still a bit far, and May is SO busy at the travel company, but maybe I can make it work.  I won't be able to bring any dogs to Nashville with me, though, because I won't fly a pet in cargo.  I would consider driving to Nashville, but I think Gil would have my head!  I digress AGAIN... here is the infographic which depicts the results of some surveys we bloggers participated in, back in March.  It shows that bloggers and brands definitely like working together.  I've only worked with a handful of brands since I started becoming more serious about my blog, and every time it's been a great experience.  You can see by the large percentage numbers that most of us pet bloggers not only like working with brands, but actually use the product we worked with in the first place, or start using it after working with the brand.  There's also some great data on how us bloggers purchase goods, how much we spend, and where we shop.  Check it out!!  I'm so thrilled to e part of the BlogPaws Influencer Group, and sure hope I can attend the 2015 conference!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Then and now

As promised yesterday, here's a picture of Hobie at approximately 6 months of age, running on our dirt road:

Hobie on Oak Lane, 2001  How strong and confident.  He was always so "intense".  Look at the black muzzle!!

Here's the picture I took yesterday, on the exact same stretch of road (well, ok, within a few yards):

Hobie on Oak Lane, 2014.  Our beautiful senior dog.  How he has mellowed and matured.
Gray muzzle now, much softer eyes.   Love!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Saturday baby steps

In my quest to further my dogs' socialization, and get over my paralyzing fears and phobias, I did two things today with the pups.

First, I took the twins to Petco.  They did not go inside with me (despite my feeling terribly guilty about the sign Petco has posted on their building -- "Don't leave your pet in a hot car") -- it was not hot out, I went when they first opened and it was actually so cold I needed to put on the heat in the car whilst driving.  So anyway, I brought them to Petco's parking lot!  I had to buy bulk dog and cat food because Petco is not nearby -- nothing is nearby, we live in the middle of nowhere.  So I needed to push a cart, bring it back to the store after loading the car, etc.  It would have been impossible to bring both dogs inside the store AND get all that stuff, all by myself.  My guys are reactive dogs, and of course they went ballistic with each dog they saw entering the store (I was only inside for 5 minutes, I ran as fast as I could, I know exactly where all the items are; and no one else was in line because it was so early).  I left the sunroof and all four windows open about 4 inches.  There isn't a lot of crime around here so it's pretty safe, and like I said it was chilly this morning.  Anyhow, I got all my stuff, threw it in the car and we left.  The only mistake I made was buying my coffee before going to Petco and leaving the coffee in the cup holder.  When one-legged (ha ha) Cooper reacted to a dog in the parking lot, he mashed my coffee cup with his one front leg and coffee spilled all over the console and into the cup holders and I had to drive home with an empty coffee cup, no coffee to sip on, and no towels for clean-up.  Note to self:  keep a roll of paper towels, or a hand towel, in the car from now on!

I'm toying with the idea of bringing them (or maybe just one of them) to Petco again tomorrow, not buying anything, and just bringing them inside.  We shall see if I have the courage and bravery!

When we got home, it was time to take Hobie down his new ramp and for a little walk.  If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that Hobie has not been out of his five-foot world (i.e., he has been indoors!) for about two weeks.  His rear legs have been giving out on him.  He has a herniated disk in his spine, and his legs become partially paralyzed from time to time.  It's pretty awful to watch him going through this.  He is on medication.  It's one of these situations where he has good days, bad days, good moments and bad moments.  We are taking things one minute at a time.

He flatly refuses (to his credit) to use stairs, and has been using our deck as his "bathroom" since Gil left on an extended trip two weeks ago.  So, I bought a ramp and put it on the front steps.  He doesn't like using it, but I am able to lift him onto it and then guide him down, and back up, so it's good.  I can't carry him up and down the stairs because of my own back problems, and there is no stairless exit from our house.

Hobie and I went for a nice walk today, to the neighbors on our left (The Browns ha ha I think that is funny because our other dog is Charlie Brown), and then over to our old house to the right.  We lived in this other house across the street for years, and I finally got sick of living like "campers" (it's an extremely small house, like 500 square feet, maybe less, with a 5-gallon hot water tank, pipes that always froze, and a myriad of problems  -- imagine we lived there with seven cats and a black Lab!?). We bought the house across the street, where we currently live, about 18 years ago, but we still own the old house, and rent it out to our dear friend/colleague/cousin, Kent.  So, Hobie and I went over to the old house which happens to be on the pond; Hobie dipped his feet in the pond (brrrrr!).  I cleaned out some debris from the pond (two pieces of plywood, a cigarette lighter, and ewww a dead fish).

Wait a minute!  He used the stairs!

On our way back, Kent opened up the door to say hello, and Hobie decided that was his invitation to take a little pause (paws!).  This is a variation on Hobie's standard "theme".  Ever since he was a little puppy, and I was thinking about this, and I truly believe it is every walk we have ever, ever taken... Hobie hates going home.  He will simply lie down and refuse to go home!  Often, he will do this far, far away from home, so I have no choice but to sit down beside him until he's ready.  He won't budge, not even for a treat.  Over the years, I have had postal workers and police officers help me by coaxing him with cookies, have had people stop in their cars asking if he needs assistance, have had people point and laugh or ask what the heck is going on, friends have offered us rides,... you name it.  When he was really little, I would carry him home!  Sometimes, here on the lake, I will just go home and he'll follow me a half hour later!  Sometimes, I'd drop the leash and walk ahead of him and he'd reluctantly follow (but that generally never really worked and I'd end up going back to sit with him!)  So, today's walk was no exception... Hobie walked into Kent's house/our old house (using the stairs hmmmmm) and plopped himself down in front of the open front door!  I should point out that Hobie never lived in that house, but has spent a lot of time there visiting the various tenants, of which there have been several, so he certainly considers it part of his territory.

I ran across the street and got my iPhone so I could take some pictures, and here they are.

P.S.  I had to carry him down Kent's stairs when we left!

Our dead-end dirt road.  Very safe for our pets.
All the neighbors have dogs and cats too, it's one big happy family! 

This photo is nearly identical (I did it on purpose) to a picture  I took of Hobie on the same section of road when he was just  6 months old.  I need to find the photo and I'll post them both here side-by-side tomorrow.  When he was a young pup he used to run off a lot and I would freak out.  That day, when he was 6 months old, I took a photo of him running back home, into my arms LOL  Now, he's the best dog in the world and can walk off leash with no problems.

Update!  Later on, I took Charlie for a walk on-leash.  We went up the same dirt road (of course, we have to, there's no other way outta here!) and then onto the main road.  This is where I start to panic as he lunges at cars.  Three cars went by us and he didn't lunge at them!  But that's because I maneuvered him slightly back from the side of the road.  I still half-panicked and turned around and took him to the lake and then went home... but hey, it's progress!  Baby steps!  Tomorrow, maybe we'll go 5 feet farther.  The only other problem was... when we got back there was a dead squirrel in the yard.  I assume one of the cats killed it.  Grrrrr.  Charlie is obsessed with squirrels.  He "trees" them.  It's quite remarkable to watch.  He has never gotten close enough to one to hurt it or anything.  In fact, I think the squirrels play with him -- they sort of have an understanding.  So, one of the cats got the tame squirrel when we weren't looking.  Darned cats!