Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter wackiness

It's Saturday, Florian and I have been sick for days, and we've been snowed in since last night! Might as well write a blog post.

 

Last weekend, we were going to take a nice romantic trip to West Virginia for some hiking and relaxing. 










But why relax when you can obey an anxious, dangerous, and emotionally fraught compulsion? We decided at the last minute to drive 7-8 hours instead to upstate New York, where my parents' house in the Adirondacks may sell anytime and we both wanted to go there one more time first. 

It is still so bizarre to be in places where every inch feels like my Mom--but she's not there!












The dogs got some good running around but I was worried about Dahlia and her bald pinkness in the cold. 

The dogs only got warm when we all got under the blankets for a cold, sleepless night. 












One night of that was enough! After a thorough, cathartic emotional breakdown, I was able to leave there feeling satisfied. Satisfied that we'd honored Mom and her love for that place. And satisfied that for me to consider keeping that place, and imagining that I could be content living in Bleecker, NY or keeping it and visiting it maybe a week out of the year and letting it rot the rest of the time, is completely bonkers (as Mom would say). 

We took a slow drive back through back roads and stayed in a Motel 6 on the way back. Heaven for dogs and humans, though this human didn't sleep there either. 










All that emotional stress and a few nights of no sleep meant immune system meltdown! All week its been a challenge to get out of bed and get the dogs out, but I've done it.

Even today, when I could barely get the doors open due to 15 inches of snow and counting.




Since it wasn't like we could do much of anything else, Florian and I decided to take a walk/ski with the pups through the neighborhood. And Fozzie, who can't handle humans locomoting in an unusual way, decided to attack Florian's skis.







 











Little chilly Dahlia would probably have had a better time if she'd let me put on her booties, but she is a dog so a reasonable move was out of the question. 

We got those shivering things home and rested ourselves for a few hours before cabin fever compelled us to take another walk, this time without the pups. 

A couple miles through partially plowed streets, 

and Florian almost became one of those frozen explorers they unearth in a PBS documentary a few centuries from now.























Good thing it's so beautiful!


And good thing Dahlia can be persuaded to go out and pee. 



Because looks like we won't be going anywhere for a while.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Marshal's New Adventure

The timing for our beach trip was perfect, because the day we came back was already a bit blustery and much colder. 

Then it got so cold, in fact, and damp and clammy that all three dogs got to wear jackets.
Which became another opportunity for me to appreciate the fact that many of the dogs I get from the Washington Humane Society are the same compact mini pittie size. 

Marshal absolutely rocked Dahlia's hand-me-down hoodie, don't you think? 

Speaking of Marshal. Before Christmas I heard from a woman who had a playful, but not overly energetic dog and lived on two fenced acres. She heard from the shelter that Marshal might be a good match, as he was playful, but not tooooo playful and also liked to rest. 

I was a bit skeptical about that last part and was sure that Marshal would drive this woman, her husband, and their dog out of their minds with his wacky playfulness and insane noises. But they also have a neighbor with an extremely playful dog, Bane, who lives right behind them, so Marshal would have no shortage of playmates. And they have teenage kids who are at home. I agreed that we should meet.

They all came over to my house last weekend, and their dog Mya, also from the Washington Humane Society, was a bit wary of the young whippersnapper at first. But I kinda thought they would do well together, as they sniffed appropriately and wagged around. Mya's people were sure they'd be OK, and I had a good feeling about these people and the way they just loved Marshal. 

So right there we drove down to the shelter, they filled out their papers, and they drove home with Marshal!

Marshal very thoughtfully sent me this update:

I went for a walk today and met a new friend. His name is Bane, and we had a blast running and playing. I also discovered there's a super cool space under the deck in my backyard that beckoned me in. My new mom gave me a treat for coming out (I think she was worried). I am fascinated by the water in the fish pond, and love to weave in and out of the shrubs surrounding it. I know you miss me and I miss you too, but please know I'm doing great and my new family really loves me. Thank you for taking such good care of me helping me find them. I look forward to your visits!







I don't have too many shots of Marshal in action with his new friends yet. But I'm pretty sure he's having a good time. 






















Letting go of a foster is not easy, and every time, before we find the perfect adopter, I worry and fret that the perfect adopter won't come along. This time I'm pretty sure they did.

Congratulations Marshal! Don't drive your new family too insane.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Balmy Winter whirlwind

It's been a whirlwind few weeks here. Florian's childhood friend Thom├ís came from Switzerland before Christmas, and stayed for two weeks. 

Tom loves the dogs and they loved him so much it made them nice and tired. 





Like many of the Swiss I know, Tom is a whirlwind of energy and made the humans tired too.

On Christmas Eve we went ice skating. 



















Then we had everyone over for fondue in the evening. Marshal spent some of the time outside on the porch, nervously looking in at all the action, but he spent plenty of time making a giant fur ball with Dahlia, Fozzie, and his friend Sky Princess. 





Marshal sure is more confident when he has other dogs around.

Christmas Day we left most of the pups at home to give my aunt's nervous dog Charlie a break and so the humans could eat and drink irresponsibly. 

Their reward came right after Christmas, when Florian, his son Quentin, Tom and the dogs and I went on a Swiss expedition to Rehoboth to enjoy some spooky empty winter beach fun.

Love Rehoboth in the winter, when there's no one on the beach and the dogs are welcome everywhere.

It was about 70 degrees the second day 















so perfect weather for long walks and some exploration.


Cape Henlopen State Park was also pretty empty and stunning.


I'm betting this was Marshal's first time on the beach and he seemed to love it. 









He was confused and delighted by the surf crashing on his paws and happy just to be with his people and dogs.












And of course, Fozzie and Dahlia, who have already wet their paws many times in the surf of Rehoboth, were in heaven.


We rented a little cottage to stay in, and I was a bit concerned at first about having all these little monsters there especially Marshal with his monstrous play noises. Fortunately, with all that walking on the beach there was not much play in the cottage and everyone behaved very well.


What a sweet little getaway! Sometimes I love those dogs so much it just about kills me. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Evangers Nothing But Natural Freeze-Dried Beef Tripe Snacks: More evidence that I love my dogs

We've tried the Evanger's Freeze dried treats in different flavors before and the dogs loved them. 


I've heard from Raw Food aficionados and people who make their dogs home-cooked (or uncooked) meals themselves that green tripe is a really good thing to give them but I've never had the GUTS, so to speak, to try it, so I figured this was a good opportunity. 

Upon first opening the container, I already knew they would be a hit with the dogs as it is a well-known fact that the more horrifying something is to humans, the more appealing it will be to dogs. 




Beef tripe treats are little bits of fatty tissue congealed with what seems like the partially digested contents of a cow's digestive system, and smells about like you'd expect.

One whiff of that and the dogs were ready to do anything. 

They were so excited about the whole thing it was hard not to feel a little excited along with them, 

though I was distracted by the difficulty of functioning while I was holding my breath.














I tried to be a bit creative about getting them to work for their food. 

Fozzie has been with us for six years now, and we've done so much treat training that he is an old hand at trying creative behaviors to earn a treat. 










Marshal goes for the more direct approach to get what he wants. 

But its good for a shy dog's personality to gain confidence through trying new things. 

 

Well, that was fun guys. After all, my distress is as nothing when compared with your satisfaction and well-being.


Thanks, Chewy.com for letting us try something new!

Monday, November 23, 2015

To the Shenandoahs

We last hiked in the Shenandoahs over the summer when Florian's friend Thomas was here, and we don't go often as the trip entails driving along Route 66 which is notorious for its traffic. 

But I had a hankering for the mountains, the peaceful wide-open views, the foliage and the special sensation of being in an area where wildlife and trees are paramount over human settlement. 

I haven't been to the Signal Knob trail since probably 2007 or 2008. 

It's in the George Washington National Forest and I hiked it the weekend I went camping with Tashi and Lamar just before I met Florian. 












It's a steep trail up the mountain and affords amazing views of open space all around


We hiked a few miles straight up, and were ready to stop near the top on some nice sunny exposed rocks. 

It was a perfect place to rest, enjoy some lovin' 















and share a snack with the pups.

The best part was that Marshall finally relaxed and looked happy. 

The combination of exertion, tasty salty snacks, and a warm sunny spot to sit on the rocks proved too much for him to maintain his worried expression. 











We got in some nice cuddles 


and a few more smooches, and Marshal smiled the whole time. 

A good note on which to turn around and head down the trail. 

Being with these dogs and being out in nature is sure good for the soul. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A hike in Great Falls

This has been a wonderful fall so far, with mild temperatures spread out over the weeks since September. It was the driest September on record though, so the leaves were quick to turn and less dramatic than in other years. 

Still some beautiful sights when we went to Great Falls to follow up Florian's Nutcracker rehearsal with a hike, as we do every year. 

Marshal enjoyed the hike, but seemed a little unsure about the water.













Good to expose him to new environments though,

and of course beautiful to see the Potomac with the changing leaves

 and observe all of nature's wacky, artistic manifestations.

Marshal trotted along, tangling himself up with the other dogs as usual and taking everything in.

Slowly letting go of his uneasiness.

Only for Florian to brutalize him all over again with intensity. Poor Marshal.