Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too Much Energy And Asparagus

We got some very sad news last night when Heffner and I went off to his agility class. Our instructor's husband passed away. Her sister was there to hold down the fort and either find phone numbers and call people to let them know that classes were cancelled or let them know when they showed up. Kathy's husband had apparently been sick for a little while and finally lost the battle, so his death wasn't a total surprise, but she gave no outward signs in classes that anything was troubling her. So our thoughts are going out to her right now at this very difficult time.

Since Heffner's class got cancelled and it's about two hours driving round trip, I didn't really particularly feel like taking the dogs out for a run. Adam cleaned up his stuff in the ball studio, but I don't have everything washed and set back up again, so no playing on the balls for the doggies. They had to just settle for some lovin'!

Unfortunately, my dogs are used to a certain amount of exercise and don't tolerate a lack there-of all that well. Mostly in the form of giant dogs bouncing off the walls (and I do mean that literally!) and squirreling all over the house. It's pretty nuts when they both get going! I took them out jogging tonight to the soccer field a few blocks down from our house since I'm still only supposed to be running on softer surfaces. You would seriously have thought that someone slipped some speed to Heffner! Holy freaking cow! That boy was amped up to the extreme. He was overly reactive to things that I can normally get him to ignore. For instance, there are these two little shih tzus who's back yard butts up against the field. They normally come out and go nuts when they see the dogs. Heffner will go on guard and be all prancy, but I can usually get him to ignore it. Not so tonight! He was leaping in the air, twirling around, and just basically beside himself to go bark back at those little beasties! He seriously was like a high strung Arabian horse (I had an Arab growing up, so I know all about their high strung flightiness!) jumping all over the place. The only difference was that he wasn't trying to shy away from the "threat."

Anyhow, after much work to get him calmed down or at least able to high step if by that section of the field, it was basically a race around the field for every lap. That boy has a lovely ground covering trot when he really extends himself. Or I should say, it's lovely to WATCH when you're not "jogging" along "with" him. I don't try to slow him down too much because he obviously needs to burn off some energy, but I also have no desire to try and keep up with my juiced up dog! So that was fun!

Bess was thankfully much better (I run them separately). She's not reactive to other dogs and I can get her to ignore things like little yappy dogs pretty easily. And she's learning about her off switch so she's not the Tasmanian Devil that she used to be!LOL However, she too was feeling a bit pent up and decided that it was time to play with me like I'm one of her buddies. And when that didn't work, as I'm jogging along, she tried to play tug with the leash. On the up side, all of her efforts expended more of her energy. On the down side, I've got a 120 lb. overly happy girl trying to play with me like I'm Heffner. Yeah, it was quite the night!

Once we got home, I fed them dinner and then started working on the human dinner. I've been trying to eat a bit healthier and adding a lot more fruits and vegetables to my meals. Tonight's yummy veggie was asparagus! I just love the stuff when it's steamed!

Lately, with all the left over bits and pieces I've had from the veggies, I've been letting the dogs sample it. Heffner pretty much doesn't care for any of it. He'll take it into his mouth and then spit it out after mouthing it a bit. Bess has surprised me by really liking pretty much everything that I've given her so far. It's been mostly little bits of zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and now asparagus. She'll eat every part of the veggie that I give her! When I'm steaming the asparagus I like to cut off the very ends of them so that they fit into the steamer a lot better. She was quite happily gobbling down the cut ends. The only thing I'm wondering about now is, will the asparagus make the dogs pee smell like it does with humans?:) Guess I'll find out in a couple of hours!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for blog of the week is Murphy's Law! He's an adorable young dane who has fun going on outings like camping with a group of other dogs and their people! He just recently got neutered and his mom had a death in the family. So go over and send them some well wishes; I think they could both use it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls hike!

Our server was having some issues yesterday and I didn't want to post about the hike we did without the pictures!:) Yesterday morning we headed out to meet up with my friend Amy who has a weimaraner, a blue great dane, and a hiking group! I've been wanting to join her and her group on one of her hikes for several months now (we've hiked together before), but I've always had either a dog show or an agility trial the weekend that she was going. Finally our schedules matched up! The hike was slated to be a 12 mile hike (we did 11 out of the 12 miles) along the beautiful Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls and just a little bit beyond. The dogs and I were game and quite excited. This was going to be the first time that I was joining an actual hiking group for a hike and the weather was BEAUTIFUL!
The hike started off easily enough. The trail wasn't terribly wide, but wide enough to comfortably pass people even with my two slightly oversized dogs. And it was mostly packed dirt. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect (I'm ever paranoid about temperatures when hiking since Heffner can be a little on the heat sensitive side). A great start to a hike!
The above picture was taking by Pam, one of the wonderful people in the hiking group. Heffner was being a total turd and that's why we're off to the side. And yes, there were four great danes on this hike.:)

As the hike progressed, the trail narrowed a bit and the right side of the trail was dropping off slowly. I don't really consider myself someone who is "afraid" of heights, but I will admit that by the end of the hike, this trail had my nerves very rattled! But more on that in a little bit.

The first real scenic stop along the hike was Punchbowl Falls. Even though the dogs were on leash, I was still leary about taking them too close to any edges. They just made me way too nervous. But here are the shots I got of Punchbowl Falls.

As we progressed, the trail continued to narrow and get rockier. I wasn't too horribly worried because the dogs have pretty well conditioned feet. I may have had to take it easy while my foot was healing up this summer, but I found numerous ways to keep them in pretty good shape. As weird as it may seem, it's really important to keep their feet in good shape. If their feet give out you have a very unhappy and potentially lame dog. And I can't have that! And I digress! Back to the trail. Like I said, the trail was getting rockier as we went along. Amy had warned everyone in an email that they should wear hiking boots with good ankle support for this trail and she was definitely right! I packed boots for the dogs just in case, but I wasn't terribly worried about their feet at this point. They were going PLENTY strong and not showing signs of being the slightest bit bothered by the rocks on the trail. And then we came to this narrow part of the trail that sort skirted around the hillside with a lovely drop off on the right. That's when my heart rate really went up!

Thankfully the trail widened out again for a while and the drop off wasn't RIGHT next to me! There were some hairy moments when other hikers were coming from the other direction and wanting to pass us as we were going along that little rocky bit I posted above. I had the dogs going single file with me. Heffner was in the front and Bess was behind me. But even with that, passing was kind of a scary thing on some of those spots!

Just when I started to relax more, we came upon another section of the trail (there really were many!) that had the rocky hillside directly on your left and an unnerving (at least for me!) drop off immediately on your right.

All of that was within the first two miles. It had me seriously rethinking whether or not I could finish this hike with the dogs. But the dogs weren't feeling any strain. If anything, they were raring to go and tired of being stuck on the leash. But there was NO WAY I was letting them off!! There are also numerous bridges across the creek and the dogs had a wonderful time crossing those. One of these bridges passed really low to the creek and our group took a little break to refill any water bottles, eat some snacks, and just chat.:)

After this lovely little break, it was back to the trail! And oy! More tricky trail spots and drop offs!

By the time that we reached Tunnel Falls, my nerves were shot! We made it to the falls, then I saw the trail that went under the falls and around and along the other side of the rock and I knew there was no way that I was going to be able to handle it with how rattled I already was. The rest of the group continued onwards and we turned around. Here are some pictures I snapped of the falls, the trail on the opposite side, and some of the group members on that trail!

The way back wasn't too bad. Since the day was wearing on, there were more people heading out the falls as we were coming in. As much as possible, I would squeeze the dogs to the side of the trail and let them pass. Thankfully initially there were large gaps between groups of people and the dogs could really walk out more into their natural stride. Unfortunately, things were starting to heat. Sections of the trail that had been shaded before were now fully in the sun and had been for a little while. This meant that a lot of the rocky sections were quite warm to the touch and were radiating a fair amount of heat. It wasn't too bad initially, but as we were getting into the last two miles of the hike, Heffner was definitely feeling the heat and it totally zapped him. I was wanting to booty the dogs up, but didn't have any where to get enough off the trail to have the time to do it between groups of hikers. So we just pushed onward!

Along the way we met back up with Michelle, who had Brooke, the mantle dane. Brooke wasn't really liking the bridges so much and at one point flat out refused to go across one of them. Michelle was going to hang back and try to work her through it, but she just wouldn't budge. She came back to the parking lot with us as we were heading back. Made the last few miles much more enjoyable!

All-in-all it was a good hike, but one that I won't take the dogs on again. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but I'm thinking my nerves couldn't handle that again! I have tentative plans to hit this trail again with my friend Bobbie minus our dogs and we'll see how that goes! Oy!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nice lazy Saturday :)

We're taking it pretty easy today. Since we spent all day yesterday at the beach and tomorrow I'm joining a group of hiker's led by my friend Amy for a 12 mile hike, I figured that I have a pretty good excuse to be lazy. That and my husband has apparently filled up part of my day with other things. I was hoping to do at least some ball work with the dogs, but my ball studio currently looks like this:

Adam has been doing some trim work and other things to our media room and totally trashed my ball studio. Thankfully I have all the balls deflated, but they're still going to have to be thoroughly cleaned before I inflat them to make sure that there aren't any little wood chips that could potentially pop them.>:o(

Bess and I did make a little outing this morning though! We went to one of my favorite doggie boutiques, PetUtopia, to meet my friend Chrissy and her husband, who have Morpheus, Bess' half brother.
They were looking for a Halloween costume that would fit Morpheus since a lot of places don't carry sizes that even come close to fitting a young or adult dane. Margie is awesome though and usually has a few different costumes in the giant sizes. I got Bess' lion costume there last year!
While we were chatting, I remembered a funny story that I had that's sort of about Heffner. When he was younger I used to take him to the dog park all the time. I usually went around the same time and there were a group of other people who got there at roughly the same time as well and we just sort of started hanging out. One day we were all just standing around chatting with each other and this sort of odd woman came into the park with her dog. She came over and started chatting with us and just seemed sort of odd. Heffner came up to me to say hi and check in like normal. She asked me what his name was and I told her. I'm totally used to people asking me if we named him after Hugh Hefner. It's kind of the obvious question. And yes we did, but changed the spelling just a smidge. I was NOT prepared for the questions that SHE asked though! Her question was "so do you work in The Industry?" I wasn't quite sure where she was going with that question, although I had a sort of idea that I thought was totally wrong. I asked what exactly she meant by "the industry?" She said, well you know, Playboy and that sort of industry. LMAO I about DIED!! I asked her if she meant "did I work in the porn industry?" She said that Playboy wasn't really porn, but yeah, if I worked in that general industry. I seriously almost bust out laughing!! As a matter of fact, a couple of the guys in our group did! I told her that no, I'm actually a reserach assistant and pretty far from that end of the spectrum.:o) Anywho, that was just something that at the time was freaking hilarious and I had forgotten about until today!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beach Day!!!

Today Adam and I headed out to the Oregon coast with the dogs for a fun beach day! I normally have the day off and usually use my Fridays as hiking days since I like to hike on trails with less people and congestions. But Adam took the day off to come and join us! We left the house at about 7:30am and got back at around 5:00pm, so it was a very lovely and full day!:)

The first stop on our journey was Ecola State Park and Indian Beach. First of all, Ecola State Park is a beautiful park! It has some wonderful trails, picnic areas, beaches, and small camping areas! We parked right at the Indian Beach picnic area and headed straight for the beach. As to be expected, the dogs were SUPER excited to get out and run around! There were a few ladies that were already down there on the beach walking around and they were laughing at what a great time the dogs were having. And commented on how beautiful they were.:)

After the dogs burned off a little energy and got their zoomies out, we headed off for the Clatsop Loop Trail, which is rated moderate. This trail is 3.6 miles round trip with a bit of elevation gain. We were shooting for primarily easy level trails since Adam isn't much of a hiker and I wanted this to be enjoyable for him as well. However, we really couldn't resist this trail! It's not too bad, the increased level of difficulty is just due to the elevation gain. It's not a lot, but enough that you can start to feel it. I was a little nervous with the cliffs and drop offs along the trail, but I'm happy to say that there were railings or fencing at every single one of them! My dogs just get a wee bit too curious for my liking and can have a tendency to try and give me heart failure if they're off leash on some trails!

We headed up to the WW II bunker and the view point to see the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, and then headed back to the truck.

After grabbing some yummy lunch in Cannon Beach we headed out to Cape Falcon to do the short hike (1.2 miles round trip) down to Short Sand Beach. The trail is again, an easy one, but enjoyable! We kept the dogs on leash until we got down to the beach, where we sort of had a chunk of it all to ourselves!

After playing on the beach for a while, we headed south towards Tillamook. And no trip to Tillamook is complete without a trip to the cheese factory!!! We picked up some curds (YUMMY!!!) and got some delicious Tillmook ice cream while we were there. It's so freaking good!!

After our little break, it was off to Munson Falls. This is another really easy and short hike. It's actually only 0.6 mile round trip. It's a nice little stopping, pottying, and watering break, but not really much else. About the first half of the trail is coated with rocks that aren't rounded and I worried about the dogs' feet a little bit. The falls and the area were pretty, but there wasn't a whole lot to do.

After Munson Falls it was time to head home. We got home, I fed the beasts, and they are happily snoozing away in the other room.:) It was a really great day!