Saturday, August 24, 2013

The One and Only

There is no doubt about it.  Boone is one of a kind.  He's staying with us for 2 weeks and he fits in amazingly well. He COMPLETELY ignores the cats.  So much so, that Jack doesn't even flinch when he is in the same room as him.  Boone likes his "safety" area (which happens to be the bathroom attached to our bedroom) and we let him hang out there as much as he wants. The first few days that was pretty much the entire time, but now he is mainly out and about with us.

These are just a few of my favourite photos from this past week.  He is super fun to photograph and he rarely sits still.  Today happens to be his 10th Birthday - hence the balloons in the photo above.  :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Left to my Own Devices

Marlin's been working out of town a lot since the flooding a few months back so I've been left home alone to work and look after the pups... and to shop online.  :)

Not too long ago I became obsessed with dog activity tracking devices.  I blame Pack and the newsletter I write for them. The newsletter makes me browse the internet to find cool stuff for dogs and it seems to result in me buying stuff.  :)

Anyway, a few weeks back I mentioned activity tracking devices in the newsletter.  There are quite a few out there and they all look pretty cool. Some have GPS so if your dog accidentally gets out of the yard, you can track them and find them again (this only works in the states at the moment - something to do with cell phone carriers).  These also tend to have monthly fees that I didn't like.  Then there are ones that only track their activities but not their location - like FitBark and Whistle.

I figured a device like this would be great at tracking my dogs' activities as they age.  I think some times changes are so gradual you don't really see them but these devices would help you see things in black and white.  I also thought they would be good at tracking how much is too much, and how much is too little, when Coulee's feet aren't doing so well.

And well... I like gadgets.  Gadgets are fun.  So I decided to back FitBark on Kickstarter.  It was my first Kickstarter "investment".  To be honest, if I had discovered Whistle before I had done the Kickstarter, I probably would have gotten that one - I like stuff to arrive NOW, not later, although I'm trying to be patient. :)

As I browsed the internet looking at reviews of these different gadgets it was impossible not to stumble across similar gadgets for people and I managed to talk myself into one of those as well.  (Too much time home alone is never a good thing!).  I've signed up for an exercise program starting in September and I decided it would be cool to see what my activity levels were like before, during and after the program.

Earlier this week I received my FitBit Flex.  At first I was just going to track my activities but then I decided I wanted to see how easy it was to track what I was eating too.  So far, I've done a good job of not eating more calories than I've burned but I'm eating too much to reach my "weight loss goal" that it helped me set.  It has definitely helped me decide to pass up desert or an evening drink that I don't need though. :)  It is also making it extra clear (I already knew this) that if I could stop drinking Chai Tea Lattes, I'd have lots of extra calories to "spend" somewhere else.

The activity information above is from yesterday.  It is a pretty typical work day, minus a dog walk. (Coulee's limping at the moment but we are going to see a rehab vet today to hopefully get that all straightened out). I worked a split shift and was off between 10 and 1... which is obvious by the lack of movement during those times.  :)

It also tracks my sleep but it pretty much told me what I already knew - I wake up a few times each night.  It's funny to see the consistency.  Something happens at 1 a.m. each night to wake me up. I don't remember Coulee barking at the train this past week, but maybe she has been.

I will try not to become an exercised obsessed, food tracking fiend - at least online. ;) I'm excited and scared for the exercise program to start in September.  Because of my work shift (and the lack of showers at the facility) I had to sign up for the 5 a.m. class.  UGH.  There were so many class options but that was the only one that worked for me other than the 7 p.m. one. By the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is exercise so a morning class was better.  I just wish it didn't have to be quite so early!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

She Has Her Moments

Coulee is generally a pretty serious dog, but she has her moments of goofiness.

On this particular night I had brought a second toy for Lacey.  Usually Coulee is very "loyal" to her chosen toy and no matter what I do, or what I play with, she won't switch even when I want her to.  The exception to this is if I bring out a ball or cuz toy - they trump frisbees and "bumper-like" toys, but I can't switch from ball to ball or frisbee to frisbee or from frisbee to bumper, etc.  Some days it is annoying but most days it is useful as I can play with Lacey without Coulee trying to steal away the toy.

But on this particular night Coulee was feeling mischievous and kept stealing toys right out of my hand.  Whatever one I had, she wanted.  It cracks me up that I can see her mood even in the photos.

Sorry for the crooked horizons.  I was shooting from the hip in order to catch her expression accurately.  :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

SUP with the Pups

I think it was a picture on Ruffwear's catalogue that first caught my attention. Then back in May they did an article on their blog about "How to SUP with your Pup".  I was smitten with the idea but had never seen a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) before and  I even looked at a few local websites to see if anyone rented them and couldn't find any.  A facebook friend in the states mentioned it a month or so ago and I was again reminded about how I wanted to try it but I didn't do anything about it.  Then on Friday night, somehow it came up in conversation and Marlin said he'd love to try.  Really? OK!!

We found a local place that rents them and decided initially that our first trip would be without the dogs.  The last thing we needed to deal with were the dogs setting off our balance.  We went off to the store first thing in the morning and it was a bit confusing.  They sort of had one to rent, but not two, but maybe they could do two but they weren't really sure....  Errrr???  Do you rent them or not?  It wasn't that they had a bunch out already, it was more like they sort of rent them but not really.  It was weird.

Anyway, they had what is called a "Versa board" - (think of a hybrid between a SUP and a kayak) that was definitely available for rent and they got approval from the manager (who was off site) to rent us a SUP that was brand new and not actually supposed to be rented.  I heard the employee quietly describe us as "older" on the phone to the manager.  I think what she meant by older was "responsible".  ;)

Once I saw the Versa board, I knew for sure the dogs and us could manage that.  So we changed plans... got loaded up, picked up the dogs and headed out to Keho.  Oh what fun.

The SUP was definitely more of a challenge but was more manoeuvrable in the water.  I think an experienced SUP pup could ride on it, but it was too much for our girls.  So we ended up with both the dogs on the Versa and the other person alone on the SUP.

Lacey was awesome.  She'd find a spot and generally just stand there. Whenever we headed to shore for a break, she'd hop back on no problem to go again.  Her tail was down for the most part, but I think Coulee was affecting her quite a bit.

Coulee was not so awesome.  She whined and paced and whined and paced.  I'm actually wondering if it makes her feel nauseous.  Every time we headed to shore she'd eat a mountain of grass (which is unusual for her).  In the end we just let her run along the shore and swim around and she was much happier as was I.  My thighs were quaking like leaves trying to maintain balance on a constantly shifting board.

We also brought our Waboba ball with us and it was the first time we had a chance to use the "person one". (I've taken the fetch out with Coulee before.)  It bounces on top of the water... it is super fun.  The dogs of course also thought it was fun and Coulee got a tremendous work out playing monkey in the middle.  It was nice having someone retrieve it when we had a bad throw though.  :)

The horseflies were brutal!  We were constantly beating them off our legs while paddleboarding.  They showed up in quite a few pictures looking like helicopters while we were playing with the Waboba.

 Lacey swam for the promise of a cookie.

Whenever she got the ball, she'd run around on shore shaking it and not giving it to anyone.  :)

Coulee just wanted us to throw it again and again. so she'd deliver it when Lacey was tired of it.

It's funny how sometimes the GoPro catches what looks like "product placement ads".  :)

This is Coulee playing monkey in the middle and me trying to catch the ball.  Sorry for the crooked angle - I must have been leaning to the side to get the ball.  :)

Delivery service at its best.

PS - All the images are taken with the GoPro on a timer interval.

Friday, August 9, 2013


 Have I mentioned that Lacey is doing FANTASTIC after her surgery?

It almost feels like all that worry and stress was a complete waste of time.  You'd never know she had anything wrong with her or that she is missing a toe. I find it a little mind boggling still that its over. Completely over.

From what I had read (and from what the jerk of a surgeon was telling us the morning we dropped her off to get her toe removed) removing a weight bearing toe in the front should have had an impact on her.  And it hasn't.  At all.  Or at least none that I can see.

I have plans of bringing her to a rehab vet to see what we need to do to keep everything balanced but at the moment, I don't think it is necessary.  One is coming to town next month but she'll be taking appointments at the site of an agility trial and I don't think that is the right environment for Lacey's first visit.  I'll probably take her next time she is in town just in case things are going on that I'm not aware of.  I'd rather try and keep a problem from happening, than to have to deal with it after.

In the meantime, we'll just keep having fun.  That shouldn't be too hard.  :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I'll be honest, editing photos is not my favourite thing and I like things to be fairly "true to life" but at the same time I can see what basic adjustments can do to a photo and I even like it sometimes when major adjustments are done to photos.  Part of my dislike is because I don't think I have the time - or rather I don't want to spend the time. I've been getting Photoshop via "subscription" for the past year and it took the sting out of buying a big expensive program that I wasn't sure if I would use.  It has definitely been useful when I had to keep a dog on a long line (editing out that leash was a BREEZE!) and it has been fun for the few composite photos I've done (I've been meaning to do more but haven't had a chance).  But I haven't done a whole lot with it that I couldn't do in Lightroom.

I recently bought some actions (basically they are editing short cuts that someone else has created to give a photo a certain look). I know I can get some for Lightroom as well but I wanted to play with Photoshop. I've done some playing around and even when I use the action at a pretty weak opacity (or strength shall we say) I find it a bit much. But then when I go back and look at my original edit, the original looks kind of dull.  LOL.  I need to figure out how to find a better balance and obviously more play time is needed.

Before and After - I realize the white balance isn't quite the same but it seemed like too much effort to fix.  See - told you I'm lazy.  :)
 Anyway, that's it for my ramblings.  I'll leave you with a few more pics.  :)

I caught this "from the hip" with my 70-200.  I'm thrilled her face is actually the part in focus.  :)

My car was getting a new windshield installed so we borrowed Marlin's vehicle so the girls got to ride loose in the back.
Speaking of vehicles, I'm getting some fun "stickers" added to my car's back windows.  It will be a little cheesy but it will make me smile and hopefully make some others smile as well.

Lacey will be smiling at everyone going by on the passenger side.

While Coulee will be grinning at everyone passing me on the driver side.

I've had this idea for a long time, but I originally wanted them facing towards the front of the car with the wind in their fur.  I imagined taking the photos on a windy day so that the car would be stationary (and they wouldn't be driving with their heads out the window) but I needed a windy day, with the light in the right place (in relation to the wind) and then someone to help me so I could turn their heads.  After taking Micah's photo in the car a few weeks ago, I figured that while this wasn't my original plan, it would still be cute.  I'm getting them on the car on Tuesday.  I can't wait.

Friday, August 2, 2013


I had to go to the car to grab something... she thought we were leaving.  This is her "What? But we just got here look."

Life has settled down dramatically these past few weeks... at least for now.  But I'm still not really in a mood to take photos or rather to edit or do anything with them.  I've still been taking my camera most days and taking at least some photos but they are mainly just sitting on my computer doing nothing.

I got a Waboba and I like it.

I have a client order that needs to be fulfilled and I keep putting it off - claiming (to myself) that I haven't had the time.  And that isn't true.  I have had the time, but I just haven't been in the right mood, at the right time. Hopefully I'll snap out of it this weekend as I'll need to do the order as well as edit some more agility pictures from Regionals.

They are supposed be used on land but it bounced pretty good so we just went with it.

So while I was going to do a casual review of the Waboba fetch ball, I'm going to leave that for another day.

And I wondered why she stunk to high heaven after this walk.

Coulee enjoyed it.  What more do you need to know?

Riding home with her new toy.