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May 3, 2014

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>Wordless Wednesday 2/2 — Winter’s Majesty

February 2, 2011

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>Winter Magic

February 1, 2011

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Bunny here at the keyboard to tell you about our weekend adventure.

Morgan has had a bad case of cabin fever since we didn’t get to hike the last couple of weekends.  I think Mom might have had a touch of it, too.  She said she was feeling much better after her bronchitis and so we decided we were going to go for a hike.  This time we went back to Matthiessen State Park.  If you look at the link, it will show you what it looked like there back in September.

We had heard that it is beautiful in the Winter, and it’s true.  The waterfalls and cliffs look like something you’d see in an enchanted forest.  A lot of people come there to cross country ski and hike this time of year, and we saw quite a few people out.  We were pleasantly surprised to see so many people, and even another dog there.

Since the waterfalls are what the park is known for in the winter, we took the lower trail through the Upper Dells.  It leads past several very pretty waterfalls.  I’m afraid that the Giant’s Bathtub was quite frosty this time of year.  I hope he’s not planning on taking a bath anytime soon.

It wasn’t surprising that we didn’t see any wildlife this time.  I know there are a lot of deer there — it was originally known as Deer Park, but they were scarce.  We did see a lot of footprints, though.  Even though they are good at hiding from people, there are a lot of animals still in the park.

I know some people think it’s too cold to go out hiking this time of year.  We were disappointed that Aunt Julie and Ruby decided not to come with us at the last minute.  After we got started walking, we were all plenty warm.  Going out hiking this time of year allows you to see spectacular sights that you never dreamed could exist, though. 

It’s also nice because it gives you time with your humans that you don’t always get with the distractions of home.  You go out with your family and it’s just you and the sights to enjoy.  That’s a pretty good reason to go out right there if you ask me.

Of course, all that fresh air does wear you out.  It makes for a nice nap on the way home, too.  Those after a hike naps are the best kind.  While I was sleeping, I was already dreaming of the next hike.  I hear Mom and Dad have one planned for us for next weekend that we haven’t done before.  I can’t wait!

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>Why We Hike With Our Dogs

January 31, 2011

>If you are a regular reader of our blog, by now you know that most weekends find us doing some sort of hiking.  We started hiking late last summer after we realized that Morgan was going to need a lot of exercise to help keep her grounded.   However, it’s more than just occupying Morgan that keeps us going back out on the trails.

I’ve found that I really enjoy it for a multitude of reasons.  We are very lucky here in Illinois that our state parks are still free.  This means that we just have to get gas in the van to get us there and find something to eat, which makes for a rather inexpensive weekend outing.  It also gives us an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful sights our state has to offer, many of which are hidden gems that few people know about.  Almost all of our state parks allow dogs on leash, too.  I only know of a few exceptions.  Almost all of our national parks are closed to dogs or provide extremely limited access.

There are also other places where we hike, but with so many different state parks, we’ve been trying to see as many different ones as we can. The important part is that we get a chance to disconnect from the fast-paced world that we normally live in and reconnect with each other, the dogs and ourselves.  It’s not the same as the walks we take around the neighborhood during the week.  Our time out hiking is a chance to really leave the stresses of the week behind and spend time with those we really love. 

As soon as the backpacks come out, the dogs begin their merry dance.  They obviously love the time we spend out away from the house as much as we do.  I think it’s as important to them to have time with us as it is to us to have time with them.  As soon as we head out on the trail, I see tails wagging and I notice that Bunny will keep looking to me to see if I’m coming and we’re really going to go.  After a while, she’ll get immersed in smelling things on the trail and looking at things around us, but the first part of the hike she’s always looking to see that she’s connected with me. 

I don’t think that hiking is the only way to make a connection with your dog.  There are lots of ways to do that.  I think the truly important thing is that you disconnect from the things that tend to distract you in this electronic age and learn to engage yourself fully with your furry companion for a while.  What ways do you enjoy spending time with your pets?
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Second Puppyhood?

January 28, 2011

There’s nothing like life with an elderly dog to really humble you.  If you’re not familiar with our blog, Lilac is our senior Greyhound here and she’s fifteen and a half years old.  I believe the average life expectancy for a Greyhound is from twelve to fourteen years old, so our old lady really is quite aged at this point. 

 

It’s been an interesting week at our house.  To start with, Lilac has gone on strike.  When the weather gets cold it’s tough on the older hounds.  We try not to leave them out longer than we have to and to make things as bearable for them as we can.  It seems that we’ve come to an impasse in this area.  Lilac is suffering from a lot of weakness in her back end.  She does okay when she’s walking around, but standing in one place is tough for her and it doesn’t take long to see her back half start to sag to the ground.  To get in our back door, you have to climb five steps.  These steps are difficult for the old lady to climb.  She would really prefer to avoid them.  This leads to a stand off at the back door every night.  I am more than happy to carry her up the back steps.  However, Lilac’s pride can’t accept this.  So, I reel her in gently with the leash and we have a little chat at the back door as I hold it open and try to cajole her to just walk in the door so I can help her.  Once I push her in the door, she gives me a dirty look and hauls herself onto the steps before I can maneuver to stop her. 

 

Tuesday night I arrived home to see that Mr. Taleteller was home early.  I thought maybe his excitement about going to class that night with Morgan had motivated him to leave a little early to get ready.  It turns out that it was not the case.  He’d stopped by home late in the afternoon on his lunch break and had to call the office to tell them he wouldn’t be back in.  It turns out that one of our breakfast dishes in the sink had something irresistable on it.  Lilac decided to counter surf and broke one of her bad toenails in the process.  She has SLO so this happens on occasion at our house.  Mr. Taleteller bandaged her up to keep her from bleeding on anything else and set to work on cleaning up the kitchen.  He tells me that it looked like a scene from a horror movie with blood all over the sink, counter, kitchen floor, dog beds, living room carpet and probably still hidden in some nooks and crannies that we haven’t discovered yet.  It was so much fun wrapping Blueberry and Lilac in matching IV bags over their wrapped up feet for turn out.  Fortunately, we only had to leave Lilac bandaged up for a few hours until the bleeding stopped.

 

Thursday night we had steak for dinner.  Lilac, Blueberry and Morgan all gathered around to gaze at me adoringly as I began to eat my dinner.  None of them is ready for an Academy Award yet because I didn’t believe for a minute that any of them was more devoted to me than they were to the steak I was cutting.  This steak had a bone in it and as I sat trying to cut it on a tray, Lilac walked up and decided to take matters into her own, erm, mouth.  Right in front of me she reached up over the edge of the tray like a Great White Shark surfacing to attack its prey.  I pulled the plate away and scolded her.  She smirked at me and went for it again.  I feared there would be a wrestling match between the two of us over my steak, and I wasn’t sure I’d be the victor.  In the end, I did eat my steak, and there was a bite for each of the dogs after it was over.

Lilac seems to be really feeling full of herself this week.  I’m not sure what has brought about her burst of fiestyness, but she’s definitely sassier than she’s been since Old Man Winter came knocking on our door.  I have to wonder if she’s entering her second puppyhood as she fades into her twilight years.  Alright, I confess, a part of me wonders if she ever completely left puppyhood.  It’s tough when she talks back to you like a teenager and then reminds you that she’s old enough to be your great grandmother in dog years.

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>In Racing Form

January 28, 2011

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Bunny here at the keyboard with a race update.

While Pip has been off in the hot tub with a certain group of ladies, I have been concentrating on winning the prize.  I hope he and Roo have been having fun down there in the tropics.  I admit, I was hoping to have some dogs cheering for me to win, but I am happy to be the dark horse, er blue fawn dog, and come from behind to surprise everyone on race day.

I suppose a lot of you think I’ve been living on Puddles’ Cheetos and beer diet, but this is not the case.  As an athlete, I know that I have to be careful with what I eat.  I leave the junk food to Puddles and stick to my yogurt when I need a between meals snack.
I’ve been looking for inspiraton to win.  It’s not just about being cute enough, fast enough, or doggone liked by others, it’s about that drive from within.  Then it hit me.  There are lots of Greyhounds waiting back at the kennel where I was adopted, waiting to win their race to the couch.  So, I’m not just running for me now, I’m running for them, too.  I feel the fire or competition in my heart now. I’m ready to go!  So, Pip, what do you say?  Are you ready for race day?  Be sure to tune in February 5 to see the race, everyone!

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Who’s There?

January 27, 2011

Bunny here at the keyboard writing about our newest housemate.

When we go out on our hikes, we’re always looking around, hoping we’ll see some interesting things in nature.  We’ve run into a few deer and spied some Bald Eagles from a distance, but we really haven’t seen too many unusual animals when we’ve been out and about.  Now it turns out that we have a better chance of spotting wildlife right here at home.

It seems that an owl has taken up residence in our resident bird nest.  A couple of years ago, some robins built a nest in the awning outside our kitchen window.  This fascinates Dad.  He keeps saying he’s going to get us a webcam to put out there so we can watch them all the time.  After the robins move out, some wrens take over the nest and hatch their chicks.  Dad enjoys this so much that he won’t disturb the nest.  It sits there unoccupied until the next Spring rolls around.

Last year we had an owl visit once in the awning outside the living room during a bad snow storm, but he didn’t come back after that.   This year, the owl seems to really like the spot under the awning.  The three days we’ve seen him there have been really cold, bitter days.  He seems to know we’re in here, but it doesn’t bother him much.

Now I’ve been thinking.  You all might know that I consider myself a mighty huntress.  There’s nothing that I’m scared of.  That owl is also a mighty hunter.  If I had an owl to hunt with, imagine what we could catch.  That would make us an unstoppable duo.  Those rabbits wouldn’t know what hit them.  He’s so fast, Mom’s been trying to catch a picture of him flying off, but he always gets past her.  The best we’ve gotten is this short video.

We think he’s a Northern Screech Owl, but we aren’t certain.  Is there anybody out there who knows for sure?  Also, can anybody tell me how to convince him that we should be hunting partners?

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