Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Morning Walk

I feel like I haven't photographed the girls in ages.  I photographed two dog events, two weekends in a row and it usually takes a while to get my photography mojo back after just one.  :)  It is the editing that kills me and I'll do anything I can to avoid sitting down at the computer - including not taking any more pictures.

But today I felt the urge again.  I've got a date for a dog walk this evening but I'm afraid it is going to rain so I went out this morning, just in case. Lacey was feeling particularly sassy today and Coulee was relatively limp free so it was a good morning.

And just to add some extra excitement to the walk, we saw these guys in the field on the way too and from the park.  They kindly posed for me.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crypt Lake

After 9 years, I finally got to hike to Crypt Lake in Waterton National Park again.  30 years ago it was rated the best hike in Canada (and they are still bragging about it!  LOL).  If you are looking for a hike with variety, this is the hike to do.

You start off on a 15 minute boat ride across Upper Waterton Lake to get to the trail head.  If you'd rather, you can hike about 15 km in, but by the time you do that you probably don't want to hike up to the lake any more.  The trail starts in the woods and gradually changes to scree.

There is a tunnel you need to crawl through (See that dark spot just to the right of Marlin and Steve above?  That's the tunnel entrance.) and then a section that you need to hold onto a cable or risk falling off the side of the mountain.  It isn't quite as bad as it sounds, but if you stumbled in that section, it would be a very, very scary moment.

And then of course you get to a beautiful lake.

Despite hauling my camera, and big ass (aka heavy) lens, I barely took any photos (the one above was taken with my iPhone as I was too lazy to remove my backpack, get out my camera, change lenses, take a photo, change lenses back, put the camera away and put my backpack back on). But I am always worried I'll see something amazing and kick myself for not having my camera!

We saw a few beautiful waterfalls and 4 mountain goats (I maybe see one every year or two if I'm lucky)!

But they were very far away - the picture below was taking at 200 mm (my farthest zoom) and the one above was cropped on the computer afterwards - just to give you an idea as to how far away they were.

We had a fun time and managed to hike the 18 km and catch the 4:00 boat back.  It was long and a little exhausting (although I did get a second wind as we were running to catch the boat - we made it with less than 10 minutes to spare).  The ice cream I had in town after made all the pain disappear.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Smile Contest

EDIT:  Just read the rules a little closer... apparently we need to be in the states.  So why they had a box to tick off that we lived in Canada is beyond me.  :(

I'll try not to be too annoying with this, but at the same time, I really, really want your votes.

I entered Lacey in a photo contest.  I hate the ones that are a "popularity" contest where whoever gets the most votes wins, but the prize in this one is too cool to pass up on without a little effort.

The contest is hosted by Greenies and the prize is a photo session with Amanda Jones, a cover of Bark Magazine and a year supply of Greenies. What I really want is the session with Ms. Jones.  The cover of Bark would be pretty darn cool too.  And the Greenies I would donate to Windy City Canine Rescue as my girls really don't need all those!

So PLEASE vote for Lacey. You can vote every day.  I've made it really easy for you.  You can just click on the photo of her at the top right hand corner of this blog and it will take you straight there.  It is fast and easy although I think you need either a facebook or twitter account to vote.  So every time you come to the blog, you can just click the link and vote.  I'll try and keep the blog updated regularly so you have a good reason to come visit and vote.  :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Some dogs get all the brains in the family...

...and some dogs get the short end of the stick so to speak.  ;)

In her defence, she didn't try and fetch it again, so maybe she learned that banging herself in the head repeatedly wasn't a good thing.

Have you ever been hit with a Kong on a Rope?  It hurts!  She shook it right next to me and whacked my leg and left a bruise. Hence this blog post... I'm just getting her back for that.  ;)

Coulee Update

I have no idea when I last updated you, so I'll do a quick summary.... We went to the dermatologist for her feet in early June.  Her feet were looking pretty darn good at the time, but she was able to see small issues on most of her pads.  She suggested a hypoallergenic food, doubling the oil supplements we were already taking and continuing with the zinc.  She also suggested using Uremol20 (an over the counter skin cream people with diabetes often use on their dry skin) on her pads.  Well the short story is, nothing was helping and they've been getting worse, not better.

For the last nine weeks, all four of Coulee's feet, and every single one of her pads have been dry, cracked and sometimes painful.  We are only walking her every second day or so because of her obvious discomfort.  At home she tiptoes around like she is on egg shells and on walks she is always raring to go but I'll see her hitching or running with her back legs together.  Gone is the graceful girl I used to see. :( But she loves it so much and doesn't seem to want to slow down, so we've been giving her Tramadol to get her through the more painful times.

A week or so ago, I thought we were finally seeing some improvement.  They weren't as cracked and they had softened up (usually the skin is rock hard).  But a few days later they had cracked again.  I think she was getting the "next wave" before the last wave had healed.  Poor girl. She was limping quite obviously at home and we were giving her pain meds every 4 hours or so.

Yesterday we went back to the dermatologist and she confirmed that nothing we were doing was helping.  So we've changed everything.  We've put her on a new hypo-allergenic food (again we don't think this is the problem, but it doesn't hurt to try), we've started some anti-inflammatories, we've stopped the oil and zinc and we will be putting a different cream on her feet.  In 5 weeks we'll check back with the vet to see if there has been improvement and to consider our next steps.  We are only putting the cream on half of her feet so we'll be able to see if the meds or cream is having an impact.

If there is no improvement, our options for the next steps are steroids and/or getting an ultrasound of her liver to see if there is something there that is causing the problem.  We are taking baby steps - we started with innocuous supplements, have moved on to meds with minimal side effects/long term impacts and are resisting steroids as long as we can.

These next few days will be filled with treats and chew sticks. We had to order her new food so she'll have a few days of non-hypoallergenic diet.  She'll be making the most of it, as we've been warned the new food isn't that tasty.

Coulee did really good at the clinic yesterday.  She was able to relax enough to lay down in both the waiting room and the exam room and for the first time in a while, didn't try to crawl out a window.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Heart Pets

I Heart Faces is having another Pet Week and yet again, I can't resist playing along.  For some reason I never think of doing a photo session for Chewy (who lives at the daycare).  One day, she really is going to have to have a proper one.  But in the meantime, this is by far, my favourite photo of her.  She really is a quirky cat!

Go to I Heart Faces to check out many more awesome pictures of pets!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


We've had the Hydroplane from Ruffwear for over a year now.  It has lasted so long for a few reasons - 1) It spent a lot of time in Marlin's vehicle so I didn't take it out (and he only walks the dogs once a week at best), 2) I can't throw it very far, so I don't like to throw it  3) I find fabric toys get really dirty, really fast and then look crappy in photos, so I tend to avoid them and 4) It floats AWESOME!

The Zisc from West Paw Design is by far my favourite frisbee.  It flies great, it stays clean and Lacey also likes playing with it.  But we've lost more than a few this year because it floats just on top of the water.  And because it is easy to throw, I tend to throw it far into the river. Coulee then loses sight of it and off it goes on a journey to Medicine Hat.

The Hydroplane on the other hand sucks on dry land.  Sorry Ruffwear, but it just doesn't fly very far.  But in the water it is perfect.  I can throw it as hard as I want and it won't be too far away and it sits on top of the water.  There is no way Coulee is going to lose sight of it.

So these past few walks we've been taking it out (frankly I started taking it because it was the only frisbee I had left!  LOL).  The nice thing about Coulee's fetching style is that on dry land, she drops the toy at my feet and then takes off in a super big arch. I wait until she finally circles back and then throw the frisbee.  Even though Coulee gets a good run, there is just no satisfaction with the Hydroplane - it doesn't go very far, and I look like a schmuck who can't throw.  :)  With the Zisc, we can get some long throws and graceful catches.

But in the river, this thing just shines.  I love it.  We won't be losing this thing any time soon. The other really great thing about the Hydroplane is that it is always good for a laugh.  Seriously.  Give your dog a big donut toy, sit back and let the giggles take you away.  It will snap you out of any bad mood.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Made My Weekend

Late on Sunday at the agility trial, I noticed an older gentleman sitting in a chair that didn't seem to be with anyone.  There were a few people milling around but most people were either building the last course, or off at the Ribbon Ceremony getting results, etc.  So me and the old guy started chatting.  He was fascinated with everything and asked a lot of questions.  I did my best to give him the layman's version of the sport, seeing as I'm a layman myself!

When everyone was done getting the results and came back to prepare to walk the course, he was amazed with the number of people. He wondered why they had to practice the course as all the obstacles were numbered.  :)  He wondered why everyone stuck their arm and fingers out while walking the course. He saw one person mentally practicing the course in one spot and wondered what he was doing. He wanted to know who the judge was and how he became one.  He asked about every little detail - he was that enthralled.

And when he saw the first dog actually run the course, he was in awe with her grace and style.  Then he saw a faster border collie run, and he actually leaned forward in his chair.  He grinned from ear to ear when he saw the Italian Greyhound enter the field. His emotions were so genuine, you couldn't help but smile with him.

Turns out I sort of knew this old gentleman.  He told me he and his wife had owned Chesapeake Bay Retrievers their entire lives and when he said this, something sort of twigged in my memory.  I asked who his wife was and he told me.  Turns out I used to work with her.  I was sad to hear she was diagnosed with Parkinson's about a year ago and he's been looking after her.  They had been out walking earlier in the day and had seen the field of equipment and all the dogs.  They both wanted to check it out, but by then she was too tired.  So he came back without her and promised to find out more for her.  If he manages to bring even a smidgen of his enthusiasm home with him, he'll have her grinning from ear to ear.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

K Country

On the way there
It has been years and years since Marlin and I went to Kananaskis.  The last time we were there was before we were married (which was more than 6 years ago).  Back then we did a backpack trip... this time we stayed in a trailer.  Times have changed!  :)

View from the campground
But the amazing scenery has not.  The campground was awesome but it was the third one we checked out.  The first one was nice, but wasn't on the lake.  The second one literally had hoards of children running around.  But the third one, was juuuuust right.  Apparently we were channeling Goldilocks.  :)  We didn't get a lakefront site, but we were just across the road and behind our site was something even better.

Wild Strawberries!!!!  They were unbelievably tasty.  Although they took a while to pick due to their size.

The first day we started a hike up Mt. Indefatigable.  We didn't get as far as we had thought we would.  Man, it was steep!!!

The trail started along Upper Kananaskis Lake.

And it quickly went up, up, up.  This was about 40 minutes in at our 100th rest stop.  :)  It is also of Upper Kananaskis Lake.

Even the chipmunks enjoyed the view.
As did Lacey.  She freaked us out by constantly trying to peer over the edge.  This was literally a straight drop down.  I was hoping and preying she wouldn't spot a critter down there.

Coulee wore her boots to protect her feet from all the scree.  This is what the second half of the trail looked like.  I'm not sure if you can tell how steep it was, but trust me, it was steep.

The view of Lower Kananaskis Lake
It was hot, exposed and have I mentioned steep?  After about 2 hours, we decided the views wouldn't get that much better than what we'd already seen and we should just cry "Uncle" and head back down.  I'm glad we did.  Our thighs were pretty shaky by the time we got back down.

The next day we decided to head up to Rawson Lake. The guide book promised a hike through the forest, and that sounded pretty darn good to us. It turns out, it was perfect.  Nicely wooded trail, lots of shade, no shale and plenty of water at the base, on the way up and at the top for the dogs.

This hike also started at Upper Kananaskis Lake just from a different spot.

Coulee had learned from the day before to seek out shade wherever you could find it!

The waterfall at Sarrail Creek (I think!)

Marlin's first two casts produced two fish.  Then he snagged his lure on a log, broke his line and his luck went downhill without any other fish to show for his efforts.  Rawson Lake is catch and release only, so no fish for dinner for us.

Me just playing around with the reflection in Marlin's shades.  I couldn't manage to get the scenery without also including me.

Lacey was a "tad" bit excited by the local squirrel population.

Rawson Lake
We had a great time.  The girls were great - very calm and relaxed (unless there were squirrels in the area).  We decided to come home a day early because the weather wasn't supposed to be that great today.  We didn't want to get soaked, and then pack up so we tried to beat the rain - and we did.  It may not have even fallen, but that is OK.  We'll just have more time to relax at home now.

I'm not sure why we waited so long to go back to K Country.  We won't be waiting quite as long next time!  We were already talking about next year.  :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

But It Moves...

Coulee really doesn't like it when I stand in the river.

She hates dropping the frisbee down in the current as she knows it isn't going to stay where she put it.  She wanders in and out a few times before working up the nerve to leave it with me.

She looks so uncomfortable it makes me laugh.