A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.





Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tito's 17th Birthday

It's Tito's birthday this July! We can't be exactly sure what day, or even what month he was actually born though. As a thrice returned to the pound deaf mutt with questionable parentage, Alycia had to simply take July as the most likely month he was born and treat that as his birthday month.

Tito is 17 years old this year. Seriously. I'll repeat that since it wobbles the mind to even write it. Tito is 17 years old. Tito has been with Alycia for 16 years and (aside from Alycia) is my longest tenured non-family live in companion. He looks and acts dang good for 17. Except for a few health issues and some occasional quivering/shaking in his back legs, he's about as healthy as can be expected at this age. 

We wrote back in March about Tito's health issues, a seizure and subsequent numerous vet visits. Between his age and health issues I was afraid that a big change in his environment (moving houses) would hasten his demise. In fact the opposite has happened and Tito seems downright reinvigorated. I don't know if it's dry air, the altitude, or the sweet new backyard, but he's improved noticeably. He's still on his medication for the congestive heart failure and he still has an occasional hacking cough, but he tries to play with me, Alycia, or the other pups nearly every day and he's been going on our short afternoon walks a few times a week, even though it's 90+ degrees outside.
Aside from his birthday, Tito's other overpowering characteristic is his shedding. It's hard to tell from the picture above, but Tito is shedding like a crazy. Chunks of his undercoat are coming out and he looks even more bedraggled than normal. Even though he's deaf and has obviously lost some vision, he somehow still knows when the camera is out and this is the best picture we could get.

Tito is probably part Corgi, a breed known for shedding. Every summer he usually sheds a reasonable amount and loses some of his undercoat, but this summer has set a new standard. There are huge Tito hairballs everywhere. Swept up one day, they magically reappear the next. They aren't so much hairballs as hairboulders. Shaak Ti and Shadowfax shed as well, but nothing in comparison to Tito. Plus the other dogs will actually let us pet them and when we're outside we give them both thorough massages to get the loose fur out.
Tito being Tito though, he won't let us brush him. We have (or had) dog brushes galore, and I think even one of those Furminators somewhere, but we can't use any of them. If he just gave us 2 minutes to brush him he'd probably be much more comfortable. But we're left to try to occasionally sneak up and grab handfuls of loose undercoat. As you can imagine, he's not too fond of this technique. The picture above is one such "Tito-grab" worth of fur.
Tito looks so bedraggled and scraggly that he reminds me of these bighorn sheep that we saw a few years ago in Glacier National Park (more pictures from this old posting). It was early June and the sheep were losing their winter coast and looked very scraggly. They were bickering over something tasty that was left in the campsite fire pit, an activity that Tito would likely have been proud of.

So the next chance you get, please wish Tito a happy birthday, after all he's 17 years old. Celebrate in true Tito style: snarl viciously and unexpectedly at a loved one, snap at a stranger, urinate on something you probably ought not to, or eat way too much meat in a single sitting. Tito salutes your efforts.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Shadowfax Demands Attention

At some point in the afternoon (every afternoon), Shadowfax begins to stir from her sunbeam slumberings. She'll usually explore the backyard, patrol around the grounds, and maybe bark at some squirrels for a bit. Ultimately though she will get bored and demand more personalized attention.
Typically I'm sitting in my chair, getting some work accomplished when she'll plop her big ole pittie noggin on the footrest. This is her "Ummm...yeah, so I'm bored and want some attention now" face.
"Hold on just a second, was that a squirrel?!?!?" These are also great photos that capture Tito and Shaak Ti in the background. More on Tito in future posts, but he's about to celebrate a big birthday. 
Meanwhile, Shaak Ti sleeps through it all. Today she had a big morning of chasing squirrels and barking vociferously at them. In her defense, the squirrels have seemed to recognize that the dogs cannot climb trees and are not threat from a branch that is 8 to 10 feet off the ground. The squirrels now just sit there, taunting our poor pups. Not cool.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Shadowfax Helps with Moving

The dogs have acclimated very well to their new homestead, settling into their routine and happily making themselves at home. Shaak Ti has loved having a multitude of warm places to sun herself, and Shadowfax has enjoyed exploring her new yard and barking at all the squirrels.
We have been in the house now for about three weeks and have most of the boxes unpacked. There's still a good deal of rearranging and reshuffling to do, and a more than a few things are still waiting in the garage. We'd moved a few things out of the guest bedroom and were arranging furniture the other day. This white sitting chair had to be temporarily placed near Shadowfax's bed. She decided it was useful to have there so she could watch the goings on without the burden of having to hold her head up on her own.
Don't fret though, after a few hours, her napping spot was back to it's regular configuration and she was able to sprawl out.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Shaak Ti Soaks Up the Idaho Sunshine

It's been over a week here at our new homestead in Boise, Idaho. Alycia and the pups road trip culminated with everyone getting here safely, and Alycia's parents stayed for a few days to help us with unpacking. The dogs have made a seamless transition to the new house and yard.

Shaak Ti had a few favorite spots in the yard back in Grand Forks, like her deaf dog dirt day spa, but nothing as nice as they have here. The yard here has a large sweeping path of crushed granite and rocks that looks really uncomfortable, but apparently is great for sunbathing.
The late Spring and early Summer weather out here is perfect for sun starved sleepy pups. 80's and 90's and few clouds, nothing to get in the way of that sunbeam. Consistently hotter weather is certainly on the way later in the Summer, and we had a taste of near 100 degrees earlier in the week. It gets so hot in fact that we have to go rustle Shaak Ti from her napping once we see her panting. Sadly she's not smart enough to come in out of the sun on her own.
On top of the gravel area, there is also a large mulch area to nap on. Again, this looks uncomfortable to me, but apparently it works for Shaak Ti. In addition to the giant swaths of gravel and mulch there is grass, shaded patio, sunny patio, and a few dog beds. And if all that somehow still isn't your cup of tea, there is frequently a nice lap to sit on too. Our backyard is truly a napping paradise for our spoiled pups.
And don't worry, Shadowfax and Tito are doing just fine. Shaak Ti has felt a bit left out of the postings recently and has been clamoring for some blog space just for herself.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shadowfax on a Road Trip

Alycia and the dogs have been on a North Dakota to Idaho cross country caravan with her parents the last few days. I have followed from afar as I've stayed in Idaho coordinating movers, electricians, relatives, and others. That and wallowing in unpacking joyousness. 
Shadowfax has reportedly been very well behaved and has enjoyed the rest stops with new smells and fresh mountain air. She has also enjoyed getting to stay in dog friendly hotels and sleep on the bed. This is truly a treat for her, one usually only reserved for stays at the grandparents house or when we have to sequester in the basement at home.
On their last night in Bozeman, Montana, mighty Shadowfax stared stoically at the mountains in the distance wondering if there are going to be squirrels to chase at her new home. There are. Lots of squirrels. Shadowfax (and Shaak Ti) may not yet realize it, but they are going to be busy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

First Post from Idaho

This is our first blog post from our new house in Idaho. It's not quite home yet, since the pups have yet to arrive (a long story for another post) and all our stuff is still stuffed on a truck somewhere. We've spent the last few days camping out in the house, sitting in camp chairs, sleeping on an air mattress and coordinating various things to happen to and around the house. It's enough to make me occasionally cranky, but these are pretty good "problems" to have.
We were sitting in our camp chairs yesterday afternoon staring out the front window and noticed we had visitors in the front yard.
These ducks are all over town. We had a cup of coffee at coffee shop the other day and watched a mother duck and her three adorable ducklings. The two visitors to our house spent about 15 minutes foraging through the front yard and then made their way along. We were trying to decide if they were in the irrigation ditch in our front yard, but it didn't look like it. Yes, we have an irrigation ditch that runs along the edge of the South and West periphery of the property. Don't worry there will be plenty more on this in subsequent posts, it is fascinating. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Big News!

We have a big announcement to share. After 8 years in North Dakota, we're pulling up stakes and headed West to Boise, Idaho. Alycia has accepted a position with a university in Boise and is pretty excited at this new opportunity. We're planning on moving out there shortly and hoping to get settled in before her semester starts at the end of Summer.

It will be a bummer to leave North Dakota. It was enjoyable to be close to Alycia's parents and see them on a regular basis. We have made some great friends in our short years here, and found people who gladly accept my *ahem* eccentricities. It will be rough to leave the garden I've spent 8 years toiling in, but the sting of leaving is replaced by knowing the our new household is in Zone 6, so many new plant opportunities abound. For the first time in 8 years I didn't plant a garden this Spring, or start seeds in the basement, or take multiple trips to area nurseries. That felt very strange.

This big news is why we've been quiet here on the blog front for the month of May. Coordinating the end of two jobs, buying a house, and preparing to sell a house have taken up most of our time. Not to mention the myriad of other little things that go along with moving a thousand miles away. It's also been critical to give the dogs extra attention and love during this time of change. They know something is up and we want to give them reassurances that they're part of the moving plan.
In the meantime, we're in the midst of the actual physical moving process. The house is a mess and strangers of all sorts have been coming and going over the last month, the dogs are exhausted from having to vet and re-vet so many new people. And since most of the dog beds and people chairs have been packed, everybody gets to snuggle together on the spare bed. This seems to be a fairly acceptable consolation prize for the pups. More to come.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Shadowfax - Sleepy Face

Shadowfax generally has only two speeds. 1) 10,000 rpm of love/mischief and 2) sacked out asleep. It's rare when you get so see the immediate progression between the two, but recently Alycia was able to capture the quick transition.
Searching for trouble and/or for someone to actively love...
...trying to keep her eyes open and not really succeeding.