Monday, August 27, 2012

Visiting my childhood home

After spending two weeks in Switzerland with Florian's family, it was time to go for a visit with my own. It wasn't just that I missed my folks, but also that my very own dogs could come with me and have 70 acres of Adirondack wilderness to run around in. 

The least I could do for them after running off with the Swiss goats.

I love my parents' place. It always brings back nice memories of spending summers playing with frogs and sunbathing and swimming in backwoods watering holes when I was a kid. 

Of getting pelted with water balloons and tormented with threats of a crayfish being thrown down my shirt during those summers when my brothers were with us too, but even those memories are fond ones.

Vacations there are times of complete relaxation. No cars or city noises, just crickets and frogs and the sound of running water.  

We hike in the woods without even a thought of leashes or of Fozzie and Lamar encountering a dog or cat or human they'll likely attack or devour or at least lunge toward or jump up on.  

The dogs can lounge in the sun all day, Dizzy following Fozzie around with love in his heart, and there's no feral cats around to taunt Fozzie or gates to tempt him to break out of.

Sleeping in the room I slept in from about age 13 on, cuddled up with Fozzie, I actually slept for the first time in months with no help from my prescription buddies.

Dizzy was away getting a thorough haircut by a local groomer when I first got there, so I didn't have the honor this time. When we brought him back the next day I was looking forward to seeing if he still loved Fozzie as much as he did the last time he met him.

Dizzy's affections were never in question, but when he first planted his nose in Fozzie's butt Fozzie did not take kindly to it. His snarl and lunge were really angry, and I thought, crap, maybe Fozzie's getting to that age in bully pups where he is not just leash reactive but genuinely doesn't like other dogs. I remember reading on Pit Bull Rescue Central that this is a common trait for our friends who may at least have some pit bull in their ancestry--however much they may get along with, or at least tolerate, other dogs when they are very young, many pitties lose this flexibility and tolerance once they reach maturity. 

Great! Another layer of complexity to managing Fozzie's behavioral issues.

But before I really started worrying that my relaxing stay in the Adirondacks was going to get a lot less relaxing thanks to Fozzie's behavior, I decided to do a proper introduction and hold Fozzie as he strained and lunged at Dizzy, ask for a sit and a wait, and give cheesy snacks to Fozzie as Dizzy approached and sniffed. A little of that and Fozzie decided Dizzy was OK after all. 

I was very proud of both of them!

Lamar and Fozzie loved seeing their grandparents and checking out all the good things to sniff and explore. 

Overall I have to give these three behaviorally questionable male dogs--and Dizzy is even a bit more male than the other two, having not had a certain, you know, procedure--credit for getting along. 

I guess being in such idyllic surroundings brought out the best in them. 

They loved as much as I did relaxing by the pool with my adorable parents, and even having a swim...though just like when I was a kid, that water was chilly! Fozzie and Lamar got their little paws wet, but Dizzy was the only one who joined me for a swim.

Actually, the swimming was the only part of the whole experience that was less relaxing than one might hope. Dizzy has this habit of barking and running around the pool whenever anyone is in there, which of course sets off the other two, who then bark and chase him around. 

Dizzy usually ends up falling in at some point, which used to be a real concern because he had all that hair weighing him down and we were sure we'd have to dredge him up and rescue him. This time he swam right up to the stairs with no problem.

So glad I motivated myself to drive the quick 8 hours to upstate NY. I would happily have stayed a lot longer, but sooner or later I had to get back to work, back to my Swiss guy, and back to the hikes and wilderness I know await me closer to home.


  1. I love taking trips like this. Look at them getting their little paws wet in the pool! What a great scenic place!

  2. Oh my goodness, what a completely beautiful place that looks, heaven on earth for doggies. Sorry we haven't been around, we've been in sunny France with limited internet, just about managed to update the blog but not read much of anything else. Whilst there read a book written by a swimmer and funny enough, she lives in the Adirondacks, when I read your bit above I recognised the name and couldn't place it. What a coincidence :)

  3. What a beautiful, beautiful place! Maybe the dogs all relaxed because you did!!

  4. It's lovely that you still have your childhood home to go to. What an idyllic place, I bet I could even sleep there! LOL

    BTW, I think I had that exact same wallpaper in my bedroom when I was 13. :-)

  5. What a terrific month you're having, Kirsten. Your childhood home looks idyllic. I think you might have used that word and it's so apt. I particularly love the first shot of the house. I think I might hear the crickets and frogs! No wonder you can sleep without meds :)

  6. What a wonderful trip. Mom enjoys those relaxing moments
    Benny & Lily

  7. Isn't it lovely to have a home away from home. Sounds like a wonderful time and hopefully made up for your disloyal behavior with those sweet Swiss goats.

  8. Beautiful! It reminds me of the farm my grandparents had when I was growing up, which I miss terribly.

  9. Wow - what a wonderful spot! I'd want to go back there all the time!

  10. I didn't realize it was a common trait in pits to lose tolerance for other dogs as they age. My pit was five when he started snapping at other dogs on walks, now at eight he is vicious if he sees another dog on the other side of the gate. I wish he could be as sweet to other dogs as he is to people. :/


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