Category: The Dogs Tell All


Took a quick trip out to Prescott for these two to meet. Barbelo and Jeana, Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian Water Dogs.)

Barbelo’s a patch, white and brown, his coat is short here. Great temperament, he and Jeana hit it off.

 Jeana does the chase-me, chase-me zoomies…  could be puppies in their future!

My dogs exploring our host’s backyard. They’d just moved in when we arrived.  There’s a lot more Lagotto Romagnolo hanging out in the house and few cats too.

 

Going for a hike in Prescott. Olympia hunting for whatever she can find!

The girls cooling off.

Windy up here as I take a photo overlooking the dam.   I don’t know if dogs like heights but mine are very patient with me.

Lovely Spring hiking including displays of vintage gold and copper mining equipment.

River access and in-town trails make Prescott a great place to walk.

I’ve been to Prescott and surrounding areas of AZ and NM quite a bit in the last few years. (I haven’t always posted about these trips.) The area continues to grow. Wish to see less of the cookie-cutter stuff and more sense of place like this mural.

This trip was a working trip, still the dogs and I did some sightseeing including visits to Sharlot Hall for history and the Phippen for more American Art.

A gambling basket on display at Sharlot Hall Museum

In the Transportation Building at Sharlot Hall Museum. Notice the dog.

An overview of Prescott, Sharlot Hall Museum

 

Cowboys, Cowgirls, Native Americans and the Great Southwest.
Loved the Phippen! Here’s a few photos from the museum. I took a lot more. 

George Phippen, first President of the Cowboy Artists of America, died in 1966, leaving behind a group of artists interested in creating a facility that specifically represented artists in the American West. In 1974, the George Phippen Memorial Foundation was formed to create a centralized venue that would fully support Western Art.

Mule Train, George Phippen

Devil’s Herd, George Phippen

Walking your saddle, Hoss? Steven Lang

JD Challenger, From the Warrior’s Heart

James Swinnerton, Near Sedona

Maher Naguib Morcos, Jack-Knife the Leader

George Phippen, Danger in Red

Solon H. Borglum, Evening

Solon H. Borglum, The Indian – A Study

Jim Norton, A Shared Fire

R. S. Riddick, Midnight Arbuckle

Arthur C. Begay, Lead You To the Squaw Dance

Edward Aldrich, Under Dark Skies

Kim Wiggam, Full Moon

Leo Beaulaurier, Squatter’s Rights

Dave Drost, Sonoran Moon Glow

Jack Van Ryder, When the Desert Meets the Moon

Cowgirls

Gail Jones Sundell, She Dances for the Moon

The Road to Jerome

Interesting weather in Prescott. Had to shorten my visit to Jerome as the thunderclouds surrounded the smoke from a brush fire. Before I was down the mountain it’d started to storm. I could see the clouds streaming down with heavy rain while it remained only drizzly as I drove back to Prescott. The next day I was walking with the dogs in sunshine, visited downtown then drove to one of my favorite lakes in the area to be pelted with hail. The dogs and I ran back to the van with wind so strong it rocked the van and caused it to slide in the gravel, yet by the time I’d returned to the home I was visiting the sun was peaking back.

One of the nice things about my little B Camper is how easy it parks and how simple it is to take on tours. Did great pulling up the 7% switchbacks, parking in the tiny town of Jerome, camping in front yards, fitting nicely into parking areas at the lakes and trail heads, perfect for shopping, downtown, viewing wildlife . . . almost anywhere I want to go except for towns implementing no RV Parking and some oversize parking restrictions.  Although my van is legal for any normal or full size parking spot I can run into trouble with these regulations.

The Official Prescott Song — Will Strickland & Norm Fisk

 

Met many residents relocated from California and from the Mid West.
The CA folks missed the ocean, I would too.

Mason In Olympia, washington

Mason In Olympia, Washington

I really enjoy having an RV that is under 20′. It enables me to go almost anywhere and stay anywhere. Some roads and campgrounds have a 21′ max length, that’s never an issue for the LT.  The only limitation is in handling and roughness of the ride. The handling did seem to improve over time, towards the end of my trip the LT was powering ahead without much trouble in strong gusty winds. I was actually surprised just how strong the winds were when I parked and opened the door to discover walking was a challenge and took extra muscle power; we didn’t go far. I’d say there seems to some truth in what I was told that the new steering gearbox, tires, shocks, steering gearbox stabilizer and steering damper needed time to break in. When 3,000 miles have accrued, then I will know for sure.

The LT is capable of fairly robust speeds but I generally see little merit in traveling much faster than 55 or 60 mpg unless the roadway is particularly boring. I use the cruise control a lot. I know my mother hates cruise control, but I love it.  It keeps a nice steady speed and enables me to focus on being peaceful, relaxed and aware as I drive. Particularly when having handling troubles it’s something I will always use. My feeling is that those motorist speeding along can easily see another vehicle moving at a steady clip and plan their pass without pushing from behind.

My 1996 Class B Freedom Wide Leisure Travel can go anywhere.

My 1996 Class B Freedom Wide Leisure Travel can go anywhere.

The solarize curtain linings were great! A bit messy due to my lack of sewing skill but they not only kept the interior of my RV cooler they were a simple solution to creating darkness when parked under bright lights. My old system of mounting reflectix was awkward, the curtains with their linings were super easy. On the rear windows I could close just the linings or both the lining and the shade or just the shade.  Using the lining and the shade kept my dogs comfortable which was my goal.

Another perfect addition was the little auxiliary double fan which I mounted in the cubicle which used to hold the old TV in the upper front center of the rig. I really loved it as it meant I did not to run the generator while driving to keep the house air conditioner running. The fan pushed the cold air from the regular air conditioner back to the rear. It stayed nice and cool inside. I was really happy. When I stopped I’d open the wing windows and also turn on and open the upper Fantastic vent. I wish the old-fashioned wing windows were still utilized. You can’t put your hand in there and unlock the door and if you should need to turn off the air conditioner while driving such as climbing a steep hill in 100 deg heat you can open those windows and get a good blast of air, of course it’s hot air but still a lot better than opening the regular window.

AboveTEK® Dual Head Car Auto Cooling Air Fan

12V AboveTEK® Dual Head Car Auto Cooling Air Fan, $35.00 from Amazon. These look big in the picture but they are actually small, I recommend them! The two fans swivel and turn.

Not so great was the latex bed topper. When my GERD was especially bad I found I could prop  my bed/couch part way up and sleep halfway sitting, actually kinda curled on my side with my torso lifted up.  It’s a bit hard to describe . . .  was comfortable and it worked. I still had room to lay flat if I wanted and the dogs had room to curl up on the bed in the morning . . they like to do that when they get the signal I’m awake. Dogs are amazing at knowing that instant when a person wakes, even if don’t move or make a sound, they know. The latex proved to be too bulky and too hot and just not comfortable. My wool bedtopper was all I needed. I wound up cutting the latex pad into pieces to use for dog beds.

Sand in the bed. This was an issue since we frequently went to the beach.  Mason hair does not hold sand, or dirt; Lagotti hair on the other hand marries dirt and sand and keeps it wrapped tight letting little bits fall out over a very long time (it does not come out with rinsing or light washing but eventually it all falls out in places you don’t want it.)  The best but most time-consuming solution was to shake everything out before I went to sleep each night and I finally resorted to this solution. I tried sealing off the bed with covers, blankets, towels, dog beds; sand still got through somehow making me like the Princess and the Pea, thrashing around sand irritated. Nothing like sand rubbing on your skin. I move around a lot when I sleep by learned habit. This helps me not wake with dead spots, painful cramping, headaches, or limbs completely asleep . . . most of you likely don’t have this trouble; it’s part of whatever’s amiss with my body. Moving from side to side during the night generally takes care of it.

Sand on the floor. This was the same solution. I have the rugs overlapping in short segments so it was super easy to lift them out and shake, shake, shake, did this every morning before leaving camp.  To remove dog hair I use a plastic hair removal brush or if nothing else one of the dog’s brushes works.

This trip I never used the exercise pens or crates for the dogs. Mason never goes anywhere, so I attach a light thin leash to his collar and that’s it. I know it’s cheating as the leash is not attached to anything.  He likes to be outside if it’s sunny, otherwise his favorite place is on the rear bed or one of the captains chairs. I tethered Jackson with a long line clipped to the side door. At first I was tethering Jeana as well, but she was like Mason, she didn’t go anywhere so I used the same system as Mason. If there were distractions I’d clip all the leashes to the RV or occasionally to the picnic table. My dogs don’t like to roam. They love to be with me. If I’m leaving them for some reason at the campground, like taking a shower or something, I’ll put them inside the RV.

Camped at the Rogue River: Leashes on but not attached to anything!

Camped at the Rogue River: Leashes on but not attached to anything!

If you travel with dogs the number one thing you should teach your pets is RECALL. A perfect recall is so important. Your dogs should be so happy to come when you call, whistle, raise your arm in the air (my silent recall signal)  that they just don’t think about it. 100% recall is not difficult. That means a recall when they see a deer, a squirrel, another dog, whatever it is they should be more interested in returning to you. I know it sounds impossible but it’s not. I make allowances for squirrels but only in how long it takes for the recall, the recall still happens. If you want to know how it’s done message me.

There are tons of things for second place, here are some of them. No bark, stay here, wait, let’s go potty, don’t do that, stay on the trail, ignore those other dogs, do you really have to go out now? Not your ordinary commands like sit and heel, but things that are useful for traveling. I talk to my dogs the same as I’d talk to a person that needed my care. I read a lot of studies about what scientist believe about the intelligence and communication skills of canines. I take all that with a grain of salt, no, something bigger than a grain of salt. Dogs are not as intelligent as a 3-year-old or only capable of understanding 100 to 300 words or any of that. They are not human, An adult dog is extremely capable and intelligent. Some dogs are certainly smarter and more aware than others. It’s people who make dogs dumb and sometimes helpless. A dog cannot be compared to a human. How many dogs would compare their human to another dog? Wow, is my human dumb, I’ve been telling her for 10 years that I need …  fill in the blank here….  and she still doesn’t get it. A dog is another species. They are 100% (wow I get to use 100% again) intelligent. In my opinion dogs are brilliant.  Not many other species can understand humans let alone work successfully with us in hundreds of skills and tasks. That said, try respecting your dog. No kidding, they know what they’re doing, their motivations and purposes are not the same as ours. Every dog is a bit different from any other dog. There are genetic breed characteristic and drives, inherited, learned and environmental variances and disturbances. Dogs are emotional creatures, they dream, they play, they thrive on approval and happiness. they base their actions on being dogs and doing what is normal to them. Most dogs are responsive to rewards and excellent communicators. Why else would people love dogs so much? They even emulate us. And don’t think for a moment that they don’t train us, for some people more than they train the dog.

All 3 Lagotti. Waiting until I'm ready to go. This is what they usually do when off leash and I'm not moving.

All 3 Lagotti. Waiting until I’m ready to go. This is what they usually do when off leash and I’m not moving.

Teenage dogs are a challenge but that’s normal for many creatures. It’s a time of self-discovery and development of adult personality and skills.  As dog trainers say, it may seem your adolescent dog has forgotten everything you ever taught it and will not learn; it is not true, so preserver and maintain your lesson plan. I don’t tolerate nonsense from my dogs but I allow them to be fully dogs. They bark, they run, they jump, they get dirty, they get excited. I only ask them to adopt a skill set so that we can be together and become a team. They don’t have to do it (it being what I want them to do) all the time or in all situations (except a recall.)  Mostly their job is to be a dog and mine to be a human. We get along much better that way and when I need them to do something they do it. I make it a priority to understand their language. Dogs will tell you everything. They love to communicate, they do it with each other all the time and they do it with us all the time too.

We ask a lot of them, to go against their nature to do what we want. Please don’t yell at your dog unless it’s an emergency and be patient with them. If you live with a dog teach your dog how to get along with others and what behaviors are needed in what situations. Don’t teach your dog to be a troublemaker and then throw up your hands as if You had nothing to do with it.

Leash is on.

Leash is on.

 

 

I have a great family of dogs, they haven’t had much chance to show themselves lately: my girl Olympia is vacationing in Placerville; hiking, playing ball in a large grassy and wooded yard and going to an agility class. She’s set for breeding Sept, 2016 What a wonderful mother she has been, this will be her final breeding so we’re all excited.

Comes cordis Olympia the Lagotto Romagnolo

Olympia the Lagotto Romagnolo

Re the Lagotto Romagnolo National Specialty, can’t you just see us racing across the states?  Little Mason riding lookout, giving directions, me with a rope in my teeth pulling and pulling the van across the highways, my Lagotti peering out the windshield from the captains seats …. faster Mom faster! Pull! Pull! Pull! . . . only 2,400 miles to go. the pups are 2 years old now. Seriously, the airbags were shot on the Firestone ride-rites and won’t be in until Fri. It’s amazing they lasted so long, a good 21 years! Still seems everything happens when I’m pressed for time and eager to make something special.  Decision time upcoming.

the old airbag for Firestone Ride-Rite.

The old airbag for Firestone Ride-Rite Air Springs. Both will be replaced.

Well, the dogs don’t care, as long as we have fun they are super happy whatever we do.

Flying Curls Jeana

Flying Curls Jeana, Lagotto Romagnolo

Flying Curls Jackson

Flying Curls Jackson, Lagotto Romagnolo

My little Mason (Jamie Rosenthal, Flying Curls Lagotto Romagnolo)

My sweetheart Mason looking very serious.

Brown with white male. House Trained, learning basic obedience, sleeps in his crate or next to your bed; great with kids / families / singles, cats, other pets, loves people; agile, sweet, smart and bouncy. He’d love to do K9 Freestyle, scent work, obedience, agility and to be your best friend. Details:  Comes cordis Olympia   New litter coming… Winter 2016 

julien: Lagotto Romagnolo Julien 20

Olympia and the Pups, 3 1/2 days old

Olympia and the Pups, 3 1/2 days old

I wrote this post just after I returned from Tucson (and Phoenix.)  I’ve been a little suspicious about completing it due to counting the long months since Olympia’s failed AI (artificial insemination) where she went into a false pregnancy. It’s been tough to wait the 8 months but this time…..  this time…..  well, we’ll see, I’m not saying anything; meanwhile here’s the story. She’s been an 8 month cycler for all of her nearly 4 years but nevertheless she was a bit early, I suspected such but with the pressures of day-to-day life and the usual emergencies and ‘must do now’ drills I was still surprised.

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix

First thing I did was call off all social engagements, oh yeah, I overreacted.  She came in on Thursday, blood droplets in the kitchen which I noticed as I was putting dinner on the stove;  the next day I rescheduled her pre-breeding check that I’d scheduled for later that week.  There was no sign of that nasty stricture.  I’m going to call it a mythical Warner Clinic stricture  since we’ve been to 3 other veterinary specialists, none of whom could find any evidence of this inoperable, uncorrectable vaginal stricture….  Sure, that makes sense you can’t correct something that doesn’t exist.  Frustrating and expensive yet good to discover such fiction.

Sunset in on the way to Phoenix

Sunset on the way to Phoenix 2

Then around day 7 it was time to go. Driving always takes longer than my GPS would have me believe especially though the morass of Los Angeles. On 11-11-11 I’d reconnected with my high school friend Lindsey on her marriage to her hubby Bruce; they offered their Phoenix home as a wayport, which I gratefully accepted.

Lindsey and Bruce invited me and the dogs to their Saturday Corvettes and Caffeine event  at their Corvette Performance shop   Lots of hospitality and lots of gorgeous cars! If you’re in Phoenix take a look! If you need anything for a Corvette and/or just curious give them a call. It was such a nice event and they are excellent hosts.

The stunning AZ sky

The stunning AZ sky

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Mason was terror stuck by their African Gray, I’d forgotten this from the 11-11 visit; the African Gray pipes up with explosive and piercing sounds not unlike the signal that the world is about to end.  I didn’t bother showing Mason the bird, how could he understand such a feathered creature is so capable?  There is a plethora of animals here, cats, birds, dogs, puppies, it brings back memories of being a kid and having such a lively houseful of species.  Olympia was having none of it, she made it clear that the enthusiastic welcome was not even remotely acceptable so we did the shuttle system. . . . the household dogs in, mine out and vise versa which worked perfectly except for the mornings when Olympia did a dive bomb into my bed landing on top of me on holding on for dear life, little paws grabbing on for comfort; she convinced that monsters were coming … bird crashing and screeching and the household pups clawing, snuffling and scratching at the guest bedroom door. ….  Ah such bravery!

As much as I love Lindsey and the delight of visiting with her we could all tell Olympia was ready, especially Duke, the King Cavalier stud!  Mason told me too in his sweet, look mom gentle way of his.  We were to meet Cubby In Tuscon at 1 pm. It was going to go well, everything orderly and calm….  I was telling myself this battling the heavy wind on the freeway….  this year was going to be  a good year, things were going to go right for a change! Cubby welcomed me with a sandwich and ice water, I was starving! She invited my two to relax in the backyard and then the big moment. . . . .  OUCH! Olympia took one look at Terzo and screamed like a demon.  What was she saying. . .  Hell no you!  Mason is my stud so don’t even think it!  Stop looking at me right now!  Good old Sweetie dog of mine kept up her screaming no matter what we tried.  We put the dogs together on leash . . . we walked them around the yard.. we gave them breaks.  … kenneled them next to each other…. I even brought out the Tennis Ball which Olympia happily chased… all sorts of things but it turned out to be the kitchen that did the trick.  I put a muzzle on Olympia, my vet at home had suggested I bring one just in case she freaked.  What actually worked was not letting Olympia see Terzo and giving her a little help by holding her in the corner between the wall and the refrigerator! If she didn’t look at him, she wasn’t exactly happy but at least more or less tolerant.  Anytime she could turn around, out would come her opinion of where Tero’s real place should be in her world.  She seemed quite proud of herself, bouncy and cheerful when he was done which surprised me. Oh, she still would have liked to take a bite out of him, if she could!

As the sun was lowering I set off for the ½ hour drive to my RV camp.  I’d picked Desert Trails  from on-line reviews.  I liked that it was a natural and quiet setting, that’s what I wanted and it was $23.  I was eager for calm after the noise my dog had made.  The Park was crammed, I was in the last available space which I couldn’t find until someone took pity on me and led the way….  way over on the outskirts of the Park up against a noisy and busy road, (it’s right behind that fence that you can’t see for the bit of greenery,) there in a massive offering of gravel, the kind the Mason won’t walk on, was my spot crammed in between  vacant RVs with lights left ablaze.

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

Desert Trails RV Park, my spot

I tried to settle after a stumbling walk avoiding the sharpest of the rocks; cars and trucks a few feet away whizzing their songs, not the vision I had in mind of peaceful and serene, but okay this was Arizona where smokers were still allowed in public and firearms are the norm, also the place were sunshine truly reigns and the cost of living is closer to livable.   The morning was better, the Park was not as advertised, yet not different from what was advertised….  the photos glorified it.  Yes it had a dog run with a few pieces of ‘imaginative’ agility equipment (it was touted as having a full agility course) yes it had an observation deck “of sorts” and a pool and hot tub of sorts….

Desert Trails, Sea of RVs Desert Trails, Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails...  Sea of RVs Desert Trails… Sea of RVs[/caption] Desert Trails Sea of RVs at Desert Trails

I didn’t go in.  I caught the end of a meeting, hundreds of gray and dyed heads absorbing the schedule for the week… daytrips, jeep trips, nature walks, bike tours, hikes, photo classes, arts and crafts, singing classes, cooking, movies, entertainment, wow!  Really?  Folks were busy.  There were  men out walking dogs, not just women, friendly seniors with big dogs. I’d step back out of the way and they’d take this as a sign to come forward, I’d move further back they’d give their dog full leash stretching their arms in my direction saying, oh don’t worry, my dog’s friendly!  OK what part of me and my dogs retreating didn’t register?  Well, I’d tell them, my dogs are vicious…yeah really. Those big dogs were in real trouble from my little ones.

I finished my exportation walking the trail towards Saguaro National Park.

The Trail

I didn’t have a map or water so I didn’t go too far instead I departed, heading up the road towards the Desert Museum at the entrance to the National Park.  I opted to spend time at one of the outlying picnic areas, only one or two other vehicles and no people! Was gorgeous and relaxing, I sat still with the dogs by my side listening to the birds enjoying the delight of the scene.

.Picnic Area

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I was looking forward to the next breeding… okay I was being hopeful….  Adrienne suggested we breed every day rather than every other day and that she would be available, but instead Adrienne wanted to be sure about the timing given Olympia’s less than stellar demeanor so we did a progesterone and vaginal slide. I spent 3 or 4 hours waiting in the parking lot at Four Paws, the vet where Adrienne works (except she wasn’t there that day.)  I had lots of time to explore the Trader Joes and the Pet Smart.  The vet clinic could not squeeze me in earlier than our appointed time.  $200 later (the next day) I’d learn that Olympia was indeed ready.  I’d been calling RV Park after RV Park trying to discover why they were all filled!  Turned out that a city wide Gem and Mineral Show had begun; the largest such show in the US!  Alongside there were 30 other shows spread throughout the city.  Given different circumstances it might have been a blast to explore but all I wanted was an inexpensive, quiet, safe place to spend the night.  Apparently it was fortunate I brought my RV, hotel rooms within a 30 or 40 miles radius were non-existent.  At least someone warned me that parking at Wal Mart and such during the gem show would be severely ticketed, could you just see them towing away the RV with Olympia and Mason barking and barking at the tow truck!  After what become the usual 3 hour search, I was directed by a Park that had filled it’s quota of dogs (yes they have a quota!) to the Voyager.  The Voyager is a village.

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

On the Streets of Voyager RV Park

It cost $40 for the “economy” spaces.  The dogs liked it as there was not too much gravel and lots of streets to walk; other dogs we meet were well behaved and didn’t approach us and even better it had restaurant for tired Mom so I could eat!  Around the back of the park is a green area with a long dog run perfect for tossing tennis balls and it was empty!  The rain started, not a downpour but cold and refreshing for this rain starved Californian.  I was sure tomorrow would be my last day in Tucson so I checked out in the morning. We met Adrienne early, with her it was straight to business.  Olympia’s numbers were good but she still wasn’t going for any lovey-dovey.  We bred them in the kitchen, I had her muzzle off but it was evident she still didn’t like Terzo yet Olympia showed the same happy tail, head up into the house and frisky playful when it was over.  Maybe all she wanted was put Terzo in his place, but I’m sure if given a chance she would have chased him off. Must be tough to be an almost 4-year old maiden bitch.  Next time….  breeding should be done in the 2nd year or else with a stud she already likes. When Olympia was 2 she loved other dogs, by 3 she began to be picky and by 4 she’s definitely established herself as the queen.  Terzo, looking adorable was trying his darndest to be a good suitor.  

I missed the offering of Fennel-Chamomile tea Cubby (Adrienne’s wife) had made me after the first time when Terzo had adorned his “smoking jacket” and we’d relaxed a bit in the “afterglow” . .. today was a rush.  It seemed to me Olympia was done and we could head home.  Adrienne suggested we go for two more times, Wed and Thur.  I said OK for Wed but declined for Thur.  I sensed she was passing out of standing heat and I wanted to be home Fri besides I couldn’t stand that screaming of hers. 

I’d found a place to stay early while waiting for Wed’s 6 pm meeting (yep the very last space in the park!) at the KOA Lazydays.

KOA Lasydays...  the parking lot Park

KOA Lasydays… the parking lot Park

Nothing but a big parking lot. I don’t really understand the glowing reviews but for a parking lot, sure it was nice….  pool and hot tub did not look inviting so I avoided them.  Luckily my spot was on the border and there was no light which I appreciated except when I returned after the breeding it was dark and I had to ask the gate guard to send someone over with a flashlight.  The back-in space had a water spigot sticking out close to the ground…. impossible to see.  Two golf carts showed up, with two guys happy with something to do as they guided me in. Walking around and around was boring….  we’d done that earlier but we did it again for the dogs staying out of the dog play area, too many dogs were in there and now that Olympia had been bred I wanted to keep her away from where other dogs gathered. There wasn’t much to do but it was surprisingly quiet so I slept.  I slept in a little in the morning too not having anywhere I needed to be until breeding time and then the drive back to Phoenix.  I decided to head to a local grassy park and wait the hours there but just around the corner as I was leaving, what did I see! Two!!!  Strangely looking familiar shaped and colored dogs…. I told the woman sitting in front of her Airstream, hey…  you won’t believe what I have in here!  We spent an hour or so chatting about our darling Lagottos. She was from Washington, her dogs from Brigit in Vancouver. One of her girls was very very shy, I hope she contacts me.

I headed to Beyond Bread which Adrienne had mentioned as a good place to eat and ordered up at tasty chicken curry salad with bread to go, hit the grassy park for a quick 20 min visit and then was standing in the kitchen with Adrienne, Terzo and Olympia. Terzo was as revved and hot to go as ever but there was a problem!  A new problem!  Try as he would he couldn’t quite make the connection. Adrienne was helping and Terzo was exerting himself but it just didn’t work.  Poor Olympia was as tolerant as possible given how she felt about him.  After a ½ hour of him on her back she let out a low growl.  Adrienne tried digging a ditch in the in the yard so she would be lower…  that didn’t work!  Poor stud, the look on his face was too much…..  I want her but I just can’t. Terzo needed a rest without Olympia to distract him so we retreated to another park. I didn’t even get out of the van but I sat and thought. . . . It was starting to get late and would be later still after we tried again….  What was I gonna do?  The KOA was filled.  I’d need time to find a place.  Terzo would need time before he was ready to try again.

I called Adrienne and postponed until Thurs, I’d come all this way I could give up going home by Fri.  So for the next 3 hours I searched; actually  found a place that offered a $24 rate in their overflow as all their regular spaces were filled but my GPS took me on a wild goose chase over torn up roads packed with traffic and great views of the air museum and then up into beautiful canyon across town, but no RV park….  As it was now after 6pm I gave up and headed back to the Voyager.  The clerk was someone new and he wasn’t agreeable to giving me a space, saying they were full except, oh maybe he’d have a $55 space available…  so I was getting directions to another park when the kindly host who’d shown me to my space a few days ago appeared…   well, whaddya know, suddenly there was a space for me, a $45 dollar rate which quickly dropped back to $40 when I whipped out my Good Sam card.  I was led to a quiet area around the corner from my previous space, oddly no one came in the night to claim any of the spaces around me or behind me, I didn’t mind but for a full park there was a lot of empty.

hmmmm....  full, really?

hmmmm…. full, really?

After walking the dogs, I explored.  Voyager has a hotel, park models with little RVs like mine in their car port, mobile homes, cabins, 500 spaces for RVs, restaurant, bar, min-store, several pools, an array of Jacuzzis, tennis courts, an exercise room and lots and lots of classrooms and meeting halls.  I was beginning to get the picture, this was retirement and Tuscon was Mecca.  Recreation bonanza!  I popped open the ballroom door a crack and was greeted by ticket takers…  the concert tonight was Simon and Garfunkel.  Even a medical office and help with finances.

Voyager 20140205_201828 20140205_201901 20140205_201915 20140205_202130 20140205_202218

The Thurs breeding was to be at 8 am. I woke at 6 am (5am, in my CA time), walked the dogs, fed the dogs, cleaned up the RV, took a nice long shower, oh and I lost my bathing suit, you know, the one that fits nice and is flattering and cute…. that was a bummer.  This time it was Cubby and both my dogs got to run around in the yard, then we tried socialization with Olympia and Terzo in adjacent outside kennels while she offered me breakfast!!!  I was happy since I’ll always feed and take care of the dogs but frequently don’t bother for myself.  Cubby said we’d do the breeding just like we did the first time since that was successful.  I was hopeful, I didn’t believe Adrienne that the reason Terzo failed was that he couldn’t kiss Olympia…  you know flirt and play with her….  come on I’ve read lots of virgin bitches are not all that gung-ho….  or is it just Olympia??? No.  I wasn’t sure what was going on but my suspicion was that she was going out of heat and while some bitches may bred as long as possible that certainly wasn’t going to be Olympia’s style.

Terzo couldn’t do it, he gave up earlier this time even with Cubby helping.  The owner of the stud handles the stud and the back end, while the owner of the bitch handles the front end. I know, I know, why do we have to help them….  well because we do.  Olympia kept putting her tail down….  if there weren’t two of us helping I don’t think she would have been bred at all. We would have been off to the reproduction vet for a side-by-side. I didn’t feel bad for her as she was so darn cheerful, she’d stopped the plaintive yelping and replaced it with a low rumbling growl…  no doubt Terzo was not her choice, maybe if he’d succumbed to her authority she might have allowed it, in time, maybe?  Naturally Olympia has to pull out all the roadblocks and challenges….  With two failures and two successes and the packed conditions in Tucson I’d had enough.

This was not a pleasure trip or a chance to explore, this was for one purpose only….  to bring my recalcitrant 4 year old virgin bitch to her stud, nevertheless as I left town I took a detour to the Biosphere.  It was an enjoyable drive, scenic with snowy mountains in the vista.

On The Road

When I arrived there was a line and about a ½ hour wait until the next tour which would last an hour.  Outside temperature was 35 degs, yet I knew if the sun came out the LT would heat quickly.  What to do?  Leave the window vents and fan on and risk it getting colder or close them so the dogs would stay warm hoping the sun wouldn’t break through? The more I thought about it the less appealing the $19 tour seemed.  I continued to the little town of Florence and McFarland State Historic Park.  The town goes back to 1866 and while quiet boasts attractions. After a tour and history lesson, I bought some mint and root-beer fudge at the fudge shop and talked to a transplant from Oregon who was about to open a pet rescue store on main street. The building had been trashed and the woman responsible had just walked by. . . interesting small town.

Florence, AZ 20140206_132525 20140206_132529 20140206_134408 20140206_134436 20140206_134451 20140206_135732

Headed Back To Phoenix

Headed Back To Phoenix

Back in Phoenix, I arrived early, Lindsey and Bruce wouldn’t be home until 5:30 so I headed to Camelback Mountain trail area.  I’d forgotten that I’d tried that in 11-11 and dogs are not allowed….  I tired to remember the other place where dogs were allowed but it was rush hour so I opted for a rest at the Barry Goldwater Park where I read the mosaic and snapped photos of Arizona’s really cool looking plants.

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix ...  and the beautiful flora of Arizona

Barry Goldwater Park, Phoenix … and the beautiful flora of Arizona

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Lindsey made dinner, thank you sweetie!  And Bruce showed some of the great links and videos he’s put together for the Corvette shop.  Their pups mauled me, I thought they would have been able to tell the difference between human me and Olympia but I guess smell like her.  All was good, my adventure almost over.  I carried Mason across the kitchen past the birds to bed.  I slept well. I woke early to Daisy (the Cavalier mom with 3 puppies)  telling the world it was time to get up.  Once the household dogs were up I snuck Olympia and Mason out to the van…. we went for a neighborhood walk in the dark morning.  Lindsey and Bruce work hard long hours, here’s to wishing them happiness.  Maybe some day they’ll come to Santa Barbara.

On the way home I stopped in Quartzsite, the dogs liked that.  I was planning to pick up another basket but to my surprise my $4 basket increased to $10, I still could have bought it but on principle I didn’t.  Many vendors had packed up and left for their next venue ….  still so much shopping going on, it clouds the beauty of the desert and the desert is lovely. So cool and vast in February.

20140207_11353020140207_11362920140207_113837Quartzsite, AZ Rest Stop20140207_094603

Attempted lunch at the Chiriaco Summit Café outside of Indio but I lost my appetite as the wait staff twice looked right past me with blank glazed frazzled eyes….  my presence didn’t register.  A shame, it’s a great location, I wondered how the place must be managed; instead I opted for a yummy Garden Burger and date shake at Hadley’s after completely ignoring those blinking yellow lights on the sign coming over the San Gorgonio Pass that clearly says high wind, dust storm warning when lights are flashing!  Whoops, it was an interesting ride…. only one of the windiest places in the U.S…  sure no problem there.

Now the wait begins….  is she or isn’t she? I missed friends I wanted to connect with in Tucson, it wasn’t the time.  Baby Girl, aka Olympia was the star of this trip.  She was messy, almost the messiest she’s ever been…  good cover for NOT looking as special as she is.  I didn’t want anyone fussing over her or anyone knowing she was in HEAT.  Normally when she’s in season we stay home. She is to be pampered and stress free, plenty of time for exploring later.

Oh…  one last comment on Arizona….  gas prices!!!!!!  When I arrived back in Santa Barbara gas was around $3.70 a gal! The lowest price I saw in AZ was $3.09 and the highest $3.46.

Gas in arizona!

Gas in Arizona!

I wanted to make some changes to the last post and write more about indicators that can help you understand the body processes of your dog and help save a life. This information is found throughout the Internet and I hope the posters don’t mind that I recapped it here. Your dog or for that matter, a child, an elder, or any creature unable to help themselves needs your protection. We all hear about “accidents” but they don’t need to happen; and for those of you, like me that travel alone with pets should take the time to know what’s normal for you dog and to memorize indicators of a critical condition!

Normal body temperature for a pooch should be between 101.5 and 102.2.  For a very short time an increase to 107 – 8 deg. F. can be tolerated but not for long!  When hot, your dog pants.  A dog will pant for other reasons such as stress, excitement, fear, but when hot, a dog pants to regulate its temperature.  Panting creates an increase in saliva on that perky tongue, this moisture is utilized in the same way as a human’s sweat for cooling. If your dog has a short nose or a flat face, this mechanism is not so effective, likewise a double coated dog, such as a water dog or a northern type breed or mix will not handle heat as well as a southern type breed with a single coat.  Those thick fun to run your hands in, coats are meant to trap heat when swimming or in cold climates; however a point to know, is that if you shave your dog’s coat too close to the skin, especially if you’ve given your pal a bald cut he can not only sunburn but will lose his insulation. Your dog does not need a thick heavy coat in hot conditions but does need protection, just think if you shaved your head on a bight sunny day the top of your head would burn as well as your shoulders and maybe your back and so forth.   A dog’s coat not only keeps the cold away but also traps air to keep the heat away.

Going back to that tongue, watch it closely, note the shape and color, how far is it hanging? Get to know what is normal and you will discover a indicator of what’s going on inside. When staring to warm the tongue hangs gently, its shape will appear relaxed and soft; as the dog continues to heat the tongue extends and widens. The pinkish red color darkens to a deep bloody red when this happens it’s time to take a rest in the shade… say you’re playing a rousing came of  Tennis Ball…  Olympia’s favorite, and you see the tongue hanging way out and turning deep,  ‘ol team player still wants to chase, the edges of the tongue have now turned upwards, like a cup. . . your dog is hot and thirsty, remember a dog is built for action not introspection, it’s time for a break, time to get in the shade with something cool under the belly. Heat emergency happens quickly and is not dependent on how hot it is but rather the condition of your pet, age, the intensity of the activity, the humidity.  This is not the time to pack your dog in your RV and head off to get yourself a nice cool drink. Cool your dog slowly, watch that tongue and offer small amounts of water, spritz the coat and work some moisture in if you think its needed. Don’t offer food and do stop throwing that ball or Frisbee until  Fido shows signs of a more neutral temperature. When out traveling check for dehydration by checking your dogs gums …  if they are dry and tacky (pull back the lips and run your finger on them) your dog needs fluids, pinch the skin around the neck, it should snap back, if it kinda hangs your dog is dehydrated and you need to take action! If the tongue turns bright red or gray and pale you are in an emergency situation!

Here are some other ways dogs cool down:

  • The blood vessels in your dogs face and ears dilate when hot to draw the blood closer to the surface of the skin. . . you can help by applying cool water to ears and face.
  • Dogs sweat through their feet. Check the pads for redness, burning, cracking, to help cooling spritz water on those feet or get you dog in some nice lush moist grass. Always remove shoes when you’re back in your vehicle; you may be using them because the ground is too hot, so their pads can breathe.

Lean These Symptoms of Heatstroke in Dogs

  • Rapid heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Petechiae (pinpoint, deep-red hemorrhages on gums/ skin)
  • Bright red mucous membranes on the gums and conjunctiva of the eyes
  • Hyperventilation (gasping for air)
  • Salivation early then dry gums as heat prostration sets in
  • Staring
  • Glassy eyes
  • Anxious expression
  • Refusal to obey commands
  • Warm, dry skin
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

Cool your dog with cool water, not icy water and not ice!!!! Apply cool water to your dog’s belly, feet and the inside of its ears. Spray and drench your dog if you have enough water to do so but do so slowly depending on the amount of distress your dog is in.  Cooling too fast can do a lot of damage to your pet. Drench a towel and have your dog lay on it, get him/her under a hose, next to an air conditioner or a fan with a bowl of ice cubes set in front of it.  Offer plenty of water for drinking.

It’s always a good idea to take a Pet First Aid course.

It’s a good idea to measure the temperature inside your vehicle.  The ASPCA writes this: even on an 85-degree day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 102 degrees in ten minutes — and that is with the windows cracked. Do not be fooled by shade on a hot day. A car parked in the shade becomes a furnace due to the outside ambient temperature, plus the sun moves and a car once in the shade may soon be a car parked directly in the hot sun.

Interested in the science of why is so much hotter inside a vehicle than outside? Radiant energy, visible and infrared light, heats the exterior of your car and passes in from the windows but like a greenhouse, that heat cannot escape due to the materials from which your car is made but becomes trapped, the energy is absorbed and intensified as the interior of your vehicle radiates some of this energy back into the air.

If you travel with your dog  and you are alone, you will have times when your dog must stay in the vehicle; know what you’re doing!!!  If it’s risky just don’t do it. Sometimes you can stake you dog outside in the shade with a water bowl; in some places such as out in the desert in the summer restaurants and stores will graciously allow you to bring your  pet inside but watch that their feet don’t get burned and be sure to teach your dog to be calm and clean so others will be  equally welcome..

Use good planing when you’re on your own!  if you need to get groceries do so early in the morning or later in the day when it’s not too hot, provide ventilation with window fans, lots of water, ice packs, park in the shade, wet your dog down and provide a  wet surface like a thick wet towel if you need to leave your pet alone. I like to run the air conditioner on max before I park as it will stay cool for awhile and may give me enough time to complete my task before it’s gets hot. Run your generator for the air conditioner but flip on the vent and a fan as well (what if your generator should fail?  Have a back-up plan!)

Park facing into the sun!

Here’s quick list of some handy supplies:

Non-spill dog bowl for water
Solar Shields
Reflectix
12 Volt Fan
Cool caps
Easy Up
Cool mat or ice mat
Kool collar
Cool and frozen treats
Doogles (yes, sunglasses are available for your dog.)

Okay, that’s it for now.  Use this as a starter, much more to know. Ask questions if you want and I will try to answer them for you.

No dog show today  Even with Olympia looking super, or she was, right now she has grease on her rear but we’re back home. Today was the AKC SLO dog show in Paso Robles; we were the only Lagotto Romagnolo entered so easy win to get Breed (Best In Category) and likely we would have won Miscellaneous (our Class) to earn a few points for her Certificate of Merit (COM) which in dog show speak, is the title you can earn when your breed is new to the American Kennel Club.  Little Curl Puff, had two baths this week and a carefully managed coat, not so easy in a breed that naturally felts and particularly not when it’s Olympia who loves LOVES dirt and cannot resist a good roll and waggle in piles of sticky leaves, debris, mud, fertilizer, sidewalk scum  . . whatever comes her way.  We had the trot thing rehearsed and unlike the disastrous last time at the Santa Barbara show when Olympia was coming out of her false pregnancy / hormone high she was all happy girl excited , . . . she was gonna show me how it was done, strutting her stuff for the judge, it was a done deal.

I left a little later than planned but plenty of time. Decided not to enter the printmaking show in spite of urging by the show committee so I could concentrate on Olympia, decided not to do this and that, and the other things…  all for my pup. Olympia deserves titles, the only thing holding her back is me, I find dog shows stressful and her pacing drives me nuts, but when she trots that goofy waddle turns into smooth movement.

Half way up the Cuesta Grade, it happened, the big kahuna (this video is going the other way…  I was heading North, but I liked the whirl of the road:   At first the Ford slowed a little, no problem, I turned the air off and eased up on the accelerator, no point pushing, we were almost there, just a few more miles. My mind was already working though our perfect trot, doing a little vendor browsing, chatting with some friends….  it’s been a stressful week, my heartache flaring along with a sinus trouble, but so what, life goes on and the road ahead will have new joys; yet when the Ford died my heart was pounding.  Stuck on the shoulder with semis whipping by, the heat cresting and worst of all the clock ticking.  Where was the background music and the fade to panorama?

AAA sent someone out within 20 mins, I told them it was an emergency, the operator was from LA she had no idea what the Cuesta Grade is, she wanted an off ramp to pinpoint my location…. hmmmmm…  if there was an off-ramp don’t ya think I could have taken it and removed myself from one of the most dangerous sections of the hwy?  This is a scary place to be stuck!!!! Oh yeah, never mind in LA traffic moves at 17 mph.

I got to test out my improved jerk handling skills with tow driver #1. He was a younger sort and a bully. I could put up with his ordering me around and getting me to go sit in the cab of his air condition truck, it was hot.  He didn’t offer any water or anything like that and apparently the AAA rescue squad does not carry items like antifreeze, way too advanced for them. We got into it about my dog….  he didn’t even notice the dog. “Dog can’t ride in the cab, lady, you see I’ve got to watch out for customers that are allergic to dogs.”   I’m probably being too nice with my quote, as I told him 1) my dog wasn’t the kind people were allergic to, 2) she is valuable, 3) she is extremely important  4) if he insisted I would put her in her crate (there was no place inside the cab for her crate) or I’d carry her and hold her in my arms.  The guy was a….  XXXXXX moron, control type . . . you get it? Is this really AAA policy, even with a window cracked open I don’t want to think about the outcome of a living creature alone in a box on a hot day.

It takes only minutes to cook up in a car, easily can rise to 160 deg or more even if with windows cracked down a bit. It was easily 90 deg out, so how long would Olympia have before her tongue started to hang out, then curl and darken with heavy panting, her eyes would bulge and glaze over, then her heart would start to beat too fast . Parked cars are deathtrap for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

He ignored me, repeating his manifesto with his dictate to remain seated. I didn’t, I got out and let Olympia out of the backseat of the Ford, walked her around, gave her some water, then I picked her up and somehow, no help from Mr Jerk, clambered up into cab without letting her beautiful paws touch anything other than me.   I announced to the driver that if he didn’t allow her he could just leave and I’d stay there on the dangerous hwy with my dog. He had my keys and had already chained up the Ford.  I felt like I did when my Mom dumped me on the street in Europe with no wallet, no pocket change, no sweater, no name of hotel, nothing and drove away. She came back while I still figuring out what to do but really I would have managed.

As soon as we were underway he got on the radio, “I’m only taking you down the hill,” he told me, “another truck will pick you up from there.”  I was relieved, he was stony and I didn’t have a chisel. I was supposed to wait in the lot for 1/2 hour and use the hotter than hell outhouse around back over the slightly less hotter than hell blacktop.  I could hear him tell the other driver about my evil dog.

Driver #2 had a flatbed truck, I liked that, rather than having the Ford dragged like a child by its hair and even before he got out I saw him smile at Olympia. Oh wow! I was happier. We stopped for gas, we stopped and got some drinks, we got water for Olympia and a little walk, we stopped because I needed the rest stop. He even washed his hands so he could pet and play with her although she’d already gotten the grease on her by then.

I thought we would need to have the big flatbed tow truck towed, it sputtered, the air conditioner kept cutting out so we had the window wind blasting us, he gave me his book of maps to cover my legs which were burning. The tow truck groaned and made noises that it shouldn’t have made as we chatted, little Olympia in-between us on the front seat. We were talking about trips and GPS systems so you could travel alone as I do and still find your way but he reminded me how much fun it is to get lost, to discover places because you didn’t know you’d be there.  He made the day kinda fun, a temporary find, a friendly hand….  we talked about the attitude of offering cheer when things go wrong, He’s a dog lover, a good kind of people. So thank you AAA Premier for the tow.

towed home

Got home in time to pick up Mason and take them both for a romp at sunset. Time and Money of course down the drain . . . lost on the highway . . . when will the winds blow the other way?  So many troubled years, cursed bad luck. Which direction should we head? Maybe it’s time for getting lost.

Here’s a shot of Olympia showing us that her favorite thing in life is round.

Olympia and her ball

Sorry readers!!!  Just got a notice about ads being added to wordpress.com  unless I pay, I don’t want that for you or for me so I’ll move these blogs as soon as I’m able . . .  until then please use an adblock program!!!!

Time Passes

Today is my 2nd year Anniversary on WordPress. Wow. Currently not traveling, but hope to take a short trip to Placerville and my great friend Lee if Olympia is up to it after the July 4th weekend Ventura Cluster Summerfest All Breed Dog Shows. I think Terzo will be at the show (Olympia’s stud!)and some other wonderful Lagotto! I’ll be volunteering with my local AKC Club, Channel City Kennel Club, setting up the judges lunch. This year Mason and Olympia will be watching from the couch waiting to see what fun things I bring home from the vendors.

Comes cordis Olympia of Flying Curls

Waiting for puppies!

 

Then there was Chico

The two things that make Olympia the happiest are Tennis Balls and Water!

Olympia at Bidwell Park

Olympia at
Bidwell Park

We got lucky I choose the right part of the Park

Dogs
Dogs may be off leash from 5:30 AM until 8:30 AM in Lower Bidwell Park– All other times dogs must be on a leash. Along the north side of Upper Park Road, dogs may be “off leash” anytime. While “off leash”, dogs must remain under control via master’s voice. Dogs are not allowed in One-Mile or Five- Mile swimming areas, or swimming holes in Upper Park.

At least there were lots of other well behaved dogs hiking off leash and playing in the shoreline. BTW Olympia doesn’t chase the birds, only Tennis Balls! LOL

Swim, girl, swim

Swim, girl, swim

Happy Little Mason

Happy Little Mason

Mason at Bidwell Park, Chico