Saturday, July 30, 2011

Week in Waterton

Marlin, the girls and I spent this last week with family in Waterton. We camped at the Crandall Lake campground, which is much nicer than the one in town. Despite hauling my camera almost everywhere with me, I barely took any photos.  I had done all the hikes before so taking all the scenic shots just didn't seem to happen and I wasn't into crowding around the wildlife we saw on the side of the road or in town just to get a few pictures.  The bear you see below we saw during an early morning hike - it was just us and two joggers watching him graze.

We spent our time relaxing and hiking and some of us also did some boating, biking and fishing. I stuck to the hiking and relaxing. :)  It was the kind of vacation where I don't feel like I need a vacation to recover from the vacation, if that makes sense.

The dogs did great and enjoyed all the hikes we took. Micah was kind enough to carry Coulee's share of the water to help spare her feet a bit.  She didn't seem to mind the pack at all.  I have to say having the "canine assist" (aka Coulee/Lacey pulling on the leash) up the hill was great, but my shins are a little sore from resisting the "canine assist" down the hill.

We saw a fair amount of wildlife - bears, deer, sheep and hundreds of ground squirrels.  The dogs were most interested in the ground squirrels.

I am loving our trailer, but we'll need to cut back on our washroom use when we go out for longer periods.  We filled our septic tank and I was very sad when I had to become a "commoner" and use the public washrooms. Thankfully it was only for the last day and a half.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On Springs

Coulee, Lacey and I met up with John, Constance and little Paisley for Paisley's first off leash walk, or in Paisley's case, her first romp through the grass.  This girl has spring for legs.  And not very graceful springs I might add. She took quick a few tumbles as she tried to navigate the uneven ground at full speed.

Coulee has a new black and white fan to add to her collection.  :)  Paisley thought she was very fun and pretty much spent all her time just running around after her.

John and Constance also have a new fan - Lacey.  She thought the chicken in their pockets was pretty good.  Much better than the hypo-allergenic kibble I was giving out.

Paisley showed no hesitation at all at the water, but never actually swam.  She did manage to get nice and dirty though.  :)

She should be nice and tired tonight!  Thanks guys, for a really fun walk.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Coulee Update

I'm keeping a personal journal about Coulee's feet, complete with weekly photos, so we can keep track of what is happening, yet not bore all of you with the details. I've had people ask me how she is doing though, so I thought I'd do a quick update.

The disease is affecting her front feet almost equally now, but her back feet aren't quite as bad but there are definite signs of it on all her toes. They seem quite tender these days and she often seems to be walking gingerly around the house. We took a break from walks a little while ago, but the tenderness didn't seem to be going away. So now we go on walks every second day or so and I give her tramadol when she seems to need it.

I've limited river time but do let her go in for about 5 minutes to cool off on most walks. Her one sign of age seems to be heat intolerance! You can see she isn't comfortable on the rocky shore, yet walks more normally on the grassy areas of the park so that is where we stay for the most part. The toy usually comes out for a bit, then goes away after a few throws. It comes back out at the river so I can get her to swim (and try and maintain some muscle tone). I throw it upstream so she mainly swims in place against the current and then doesn't need to run far along the shore to get back to me. I'm not worried about making her feet worse, I just don't want them to hurt. At the same time, I'm trying to make sure life is still a little fun for her.

For a while I thought they weren't looking too bad, but then I went back 3 weeks and looked at the pictures and they had actually gotten much worse. Thank goodness for keeping track of things. When you look at something once or twice a day it is easy to lose perspective.

She is still on oil and zinc and she is on a hypo allergenic diet too, just in case. So far I don't think anything is helping. We've also been putting Uremol20 on her feet and for a while I thought it was helping, but now I don't think it is or maybe it just can't keep up.

We have a dermatology appointment at the end of August (probably right as her feet start to heal again - LOL) so we'll see what the next step is. I'm concerned as they seem to be hurting her more and overall, the disease is definitely getting worse. The cycles are coming more frequently AND lasting longer.

She ran more than usual today... We'll see if that makes things worse or not. Frankly I don't see much of a difference between walk days and rest days, but instinct says I should be. I did some research on tramadol though and it seems pretty safe to give on a long term basis. So if a little pain meds = a happier life, I'm OK with that.

Test Run

I picked up my rental 100-400mm lens this morning and promptly took it out for a test run with the girls.

My initial thoughts are that it is a good lens, but probably not one I would use a lot.

It has pretty good focusing abilities and can keep up with Coulee for the most part (I'd say the 70-200 is faster though).

I'm sure the extra reach will come in handy at the Lure Coursing (which is the reason why I'm renting the lens) but it is a bit much for a regular dog walk.  I took only a handful of photos of Lacey as she is rarely far enough away to warrant a 400mm reach.

My field of view was sooo narrow, I found it hard to throw the firsbee and get the camera in the right place before the action was finished.

And sometimes it was hard to get even Coulee far enough away to NEED the lens.  I mainly kept it on the 400 range as I wanted to test it's reach and whether or not I needed that kind of reach.

If I didn't already have the 70-200 and maybe took more wildlife photos, this lens would be a serious contender but the aperture has a 4-5.6 minimum range which also is a little limiting for action in low light conditions.

I'm excited to play with it this weekend though.  It should be fun.  I think we are going to go owl hunting tonight!  :)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Still Here

I'm still here!  I've just been busy taking lots of photos.  Not that this blog is any indication of that.  I've barely taken any personal photos this week, yet I still managed to fill my hard drive with just 7 days worth of photos!  I've actually been leaving the camera at home while out on walks because apparently it is possible to take so many photos, you aren't in the mood to take more.  Who knew?

I've got lots of time this week though to catch up on rescue volunteering, house work, relaxing, spending time with the pups. and hopefully time to handle a few more photo sales from all the pictures I've been taking.  :)

The dog sporting events have been going pretty good for me this year.  I've met my minimum goal for each event and in some, surpassed it.  I'm busy trying to figure out what to do with my summer photography earnings this year.  New lens?  New software? Definitely a new camera bag, if I can find what I want/need. Or, I may just put it into the general melting pot.  It isn't a huge amount or anything, but it feels like "extra".

I am going to rent the 100-400 lens for the Lure Coursing I'm going to photograph this weekend.  I've been meaning to try out Lethbridge Lens Rentals for a while, but I haven't had a reason to splurge.  I'm looking forward to trying it out.  It is the perfect event for it.

I think you can expect things will get back to normal this week on the blog.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Some friends of ours got a new lab baby and we went over and met her on Friday night.  She was cute, cute, cute!  I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

With Big Brother Ditto in the background...