Mountain Snow: New and Old

So I have patiently been waiting for Zoe to put one of her movies together showing us up in the deep New Mexico snow, but she has been spending all her spare time studying her lessons from class – aside from the time that she is eating, barking at the neighborhood, fighting with me, etc. – which means her spare time might be, at best, the time we are on one of our walks with our parents.

I decided in the meantime I would share a couple of photos from our limited time in the mountains and a time from long ago when Banshee and Sammy first visited the original cabin on the land.  Oh, I should mention that despite the promised plan of staying up in the new cabin this time around, the deep snow prevented us from making it there as there were not enough snow shoes for all of us to tromp the 2+ miles of unplowed road to get there – and even if we made it up there was no place to plow the snow from the narrow roads so we’d of just had to turn back around if we did make it.  AND snow shoeing would not have brought our food, toys, bones, treats, bed and other necessities (NOT creature comforts like my heated seats, this was serious).  So, that was out.  Luckily, there is a dog run behind our grandparent’s place and a dog park in town so we had a blast running off leash.

Speaking of snow shoes, I have a little story that Sammy related to me before he headed off to college – a lesson for me in case I ever got up to the land when the snow was deep.  The first time he and Banshee got up to the land it was a winter before the drought.  Thus the snow was quite deep.  This also happened to be the first time off leash in the “wild.”  As soon as they were let out of the car they both took off down the road and around the bend apparently never to be seen again…they were very fast.  But once they realized their parents and grandparents were not as fast, they about-faced and came running back to the pack.  The road having been plowed and packed down they had no trouble running despite the deep snow.  However, this all changed when they started breaking a trail on the walk up to the cabin and on the land.  The going was much tougher but in only a few moments (of great exertion) they realized it was much easier if they dropped back from the point position and stay a step or so behind the man in the snow shoes who knew what he was doing.  Even though he was not proceeding as fast as they would have liked, a few instances of passing him and leading the way again made them realize snow and steady in second was the preferable way to go.

We didn’t have the luxury of following anyone in snow shoes when we were finally released in the dog run…but we did have a similar finding – deep snow, although a blast, is not always easy to navigate:

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As I previously mentioned, we did get a chance to go up towards the land and did our best to re-enact the classic photo of Sammy and Banshee from that first trip (one our grandfather recalls with fond memories):

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There were also these similar pictures from that trip:

Here is Zoe striking the pose:

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And myself sticking close to my pack but still investigating my surroundings:

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This was definitely a fun trip with all the deep snow and bright sun shine.  Absolutely beautiful!  Even back in town we were the Queens of the Mountain Snow.  Winter isn’t coming…it’s here!  If only the show would catch up…

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The Tempest

Creature Comforts

This Saturday we had another torture session with the dog trainer out at Tops.  As is typical of these excursions, it started snowing on the way there – nothing near the white-knuckler we experienced in New Mexico, but a bit more than a flurry which is what the weather-guessers said we should expect.

I took up a post in the back seat where I could watch the road but still be in a spot where I could quickly duck into the trunk area should things get to hairy.  Zoe alternated between her normal spot by the feet of the passenger and on the lap of the person riding shotgun:

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She was not being very vigilant on the way to the class…which I found inexcusable giving the driving conditions.  However, after an hour of being told to sit (or lay down

 

) followed by a stay command, a come or two, etc., the trainer shook a treat bag near our noses, pushed a broom around us and flaunted what seemed like a million toys – some that squeaked, some that flew past us…or landed between us, or looked like little critters – while we were supposed to not pay any attention,  I say “supposed to” not because we didn’t understand the “game” but there were a few occasions that we may have lost our attention.  For instance, there was a point in time that she accidentally dropped a beggin’ strip not a foot from my mouth.  Well that sucker was pounced on by “a cobra-like strike” (the words of another chap who was working on training another dog).  I was starting to enjoy this morsel of a treat before Dad rudely grabbed my jaws and made me drop what I rightfully had obtained.  He claimed it was a foul as I was suppose to remain stationary to which I responded by saying that I did not really move from my spot (my rear end was in exactly the same spot).  My rebuttal was not appreciated – apparently my super-fast snatch and grab was still against the rules.  This had the teacher laughing though as she didn’t think I had it in me… she literally said “I did not expect that of HER!”  Her laughter increased when my parents reminded her that last time we were there she tried a similar trick with some treats no dog has ever been willing to eat…until Zoe and I both scarfed them down (a bonus for us since we then got to take the treat bag home with us!).

After all this that we had to endure, it was no surprise we were wiped out for our ride home.  Despite the continued wintry precipitation, I couldn’t help but nodding off on the ride home due to the fact that my Dad turned on the seat warmer where I was sitting.  This comfy chair, combined with my post-training exhaustion (and the realization that our car rocks in the snow – even when Dad is driving) resulted in a most satisfying siesta.

Why I didn’t have this comfort our entire trip to and back from New Mexico is something I’ll have to reflect upon.  And perhaps take action on.

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More soon,

The Tempest

White Knuckler

End of 2018.  Can you believe it?  Our last few days were spent driving across the country to see the mountains of New Mexico… and our maternal grandparents.  ETA was New Year’s Eve.  However, Mother Nature (MN) had a different idea for our itinerary.   We left Nebraska as planned but our Mom decided to rouse The Scribe a bit earlier than planned based on the weather conditions…which were down right blustery, and she said might make for a longer day than planned.  Little did she know at the time that this would be the best of times, not the worst of times.

Since we were in our electric car (Khaleesii)- which does not necessarily care for cold temps – we stopped more frequently for recharging as my parents were not keen on the idea of running out of juice in the middle of nowhere.  More stops are just fine with us since this means we get more opportunities to get out and get all new sniffs.  However, it can add a few minute to our travels.  But not nearly as much as what the greater power (MN) had in store for us.

After leaving Ogallaga, NE, our first stop was Brush, CO.IMG_6788.gif

Pretty darn wintery, eh?  (the extent of my Canadian vocabulary 🙂 )  Well it gets worse…it always gets worse (that is the extent of my understanding of what my uncle G says).

Next, we stopped in Colorado Springs where the chargers were indoors…but only slightly so.   We still got out in the elements (17 degrees F) for a quick tour of their downtown.  Here we found an outdoor skating ring in a park, a statue of a rather large dog (at the same park) and to our parent’s great relief a Starbucks!

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Then we all piled back into the car and headed further south in Colorado.  Trinidad…a place I had been before.  I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was more like 18 months ago.  Sammy and I sweating it out in the hot July afternoon.  So much so that our Mom took us to the only shade in the whole place.

 

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Dad, upon returning from his rest stop, noted that we were actually huddled under the overhang of a marijuana dispensary…which I thought was exceedingly funny.

This trip was a bit different.   No heat wave here.  Rather the start of a considerable frigid snow accumulation.  Not that we have any problem with deep snow (a story for another night) but it was something that concerned my parents…something about difficult driving or conditions that aren’t ideal for cross country travel,   Whatever, us dogs thought, they’re always whining about something.

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Only a few more stops and we’ll be reunited with our grandparents!  Oh what joy.  Almost as exciting as Christmas Eve!  The next stop, a mere 127 miles away.  With a speed limit of 75 MPH, it should only take us 1 hour 43 minutes.   Therefore, Zoe and I decided we had plenty of time for some good rough housing in the backseat.  This was not ordained by our parents…so much so that Dad climbed into the back to separate the two of us – which provided me an opportunity to take the shotgun seat!UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_13b71.jpg

Fortunately for Mom, she now had a Marvel Superhero Navigator!  See, the weather went from bad to worse.  75 MPH turned to 40 MPH.  Then 25 MPH.  Then 15 MPH.  Visibility was shot.  An interstate turned into one meager lane one could find only by mental calculating the middle of the road from the markers on each side of the road.  Too bad they couldn’t drive by scent as that would have been where I could have really exhibited my Powers.

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If you think this looks bad just take a look at the radar from the area we were driving through (Springer):

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No precipitation in our area?  So why the slow going?  We continued to sleep.

After many hours of crawling through these miserable conditions (or so they told us when we arrived – we were sleeping given it was dark and there were no good smells or places to run) we arrived at the next Supercharger.  After much discussion between my parents and a phone call to my Grandparents, they opted to hole up in the super-metropolis known as Las Vegas.  Remember this is New Years Eve.  I never expected to spend a night like this in VEGAS!  Zoe and I looked out our hotel window to see if we could see the famous strip from our room:

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Nothing exciting to see.  This is when our parents informed us we were in Las Vegas NEW MEXICO.  Apparently this is not the place where tawdry things you may have committed stay once you return home.  In fact, no Starbucks or Coke Zero to be found!  Good thing the car was loaded with enough dog food for the next millennium!

Our parents were wiped out from all the stress of snowy driving.  Apparently, this 13+ hour driving in snow “white knuckle” event was trying for them.  Something which I can’t understand as I always have white knuckles and I never behave that way.  Just saying.

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The Tempest

PS – Zoe wanted me to point out that she too does not act so erratically and she also has (at least some) white knuckles.IMG_6783.jpeg

Nice and Naughty

So guess who has been up to no good again?

If you guessed Zoe you’d be right.  In less than 8 hours in Ann Arbor it wasn’t just one thing that I would categorize as extremely naughty.

First off, while our parents were out, she broke into the room where our Christmas presents were being hidden and took out one of the toys that were meant for us after they’ve been wrapped and set under the tree.  But here she is looking a little busted for having the toy…once our parents returned home.

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And let me tell you, it’s getting real tiring being the good dog.

It didn’t take long for her to try and flip the script and make it look like she was the nice dog…

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…which she obviously is NOT.

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Once she got the squeaker out I had to step in and stop her shenanigans.

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Once I successfully got possession of the squeaker and brought it to Dad for proper disposal, I thought my work was done…that is after I picked up all the fluff she pulled from the toy and artistically placed it under the tree like it was snow.

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That was of course way to optimistic on my part for she still had tricks hidden in her collar (or maybe up one of her sleeves).

Not long after dinner we were outside running around, chasing each other, chasing squirrels (but not skunks), etc. like we normally do.  After a bit of this I came back in the house alone.  It wasn’t long before my parents got suspicious about what Zoe was up to in the backyard by herself.  They looked around for a bit but the fact that it was dark outside and Zoe is black they couldn’t see her.  They asked if I knew anything.  I of course said nothing about her jumping the fence and wandering around the neighborhood – more presents/treats for me if she didn’t return.  However, with the help of those GPS trackers that are on our collar (The Whistles) Mom quickly found out that she was on the neighboring street.  And after a few “come Zoe’s” she was back in our FarMor and FarFar’s house.  They double checked the spot in the fence that had a small gap that she escaped from shortly after we arrived… but the fortress my parents built seemed in tact so they had no idea how she got out after dark.

Then Dad found this little potting table up against the fence and figured she used this as a launching spot to spring over the fence.

So Dad moved it to the location shown in the picture next to the shed.

Satisfied with his work, he returned to the family and we were once again allowed out.  Minutes later the Whistle once again alerted them to the fact that Zoe had escaped.  Dad “reasoned” that she had gotten the idea that she was able to get out at this spot and realized she could jump out even with the aid of the table so he got a metal gate thing that they had in the basement and placed it into the frame that she was jumping through while Mom commenced with “come Zoe come!” in the front yard.

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TaDa!

Well at least for last night.  This morning she was out once again and after some police work by my parents – which included a surveillance detail – they found that with a running start she could clear the back fence near the spot she escaped from the night before.  They have not told her the fence around the whole yard is the same height and that she could probably jump it from a stand still (please don’t you tell her either!).   The good news (for them) is that she immediately returned to them when they called her to come.  Of course this coming meant jumping the fence from the other side and springing off the composter into the middle of the yard… but nonetheless she came!  Those training sessions are starting to wear off on us in a not so positive way – if you ask me.  A ladder in the spot SEEMS to have quelled the escape artist for a few hours…It is going to take them like a zillion hours to take down everything they have established as barricades when it is time to leave, but that is for another day.

Our grandmother in Michigan reminded us (or for Zoe and me she told us for the first time) that Sammy was called Hundini (hund being Danish for dog) because he was always escaping and getting into things that were a complete mystery to the rest of the pack.  Maybe Zoe is “Lady Hundini”?

The Tempest

The Chewers of the Pack

You may not be able to read this note…which was my point.

This was written on Friday when both Zoe and I are confined to our crates due to the person coming by to clean up our house.  Quick aside:  as far as I can tell all she does is ruin all our hard work.  We strive to leave our tracks all through the houses.  This includes romping through the kitchen and bounding on the couch (after a good romp in the muddy yard), getting our feet wet in the shower and then, with our freshly wetted paws, jumping all over the bed linens.  After a week we have things just about perfect and then they come along and mess the whole den up again.  Anyhow, the note says: “Please put Tempi back in her crate.  Thank you! Have a nice weekend! T&K”

So apparently I am not trusted outside my crate after the one or two times I picked to throw the cleaning basket after they were here.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the note until after the pet sitters came by but I thought if I was able to dismantle this note maybe, just maybe, I’d be free from captivity NEXT week.

This selective “editing” isn’t anything new in our family.  I myself have indulged in some pretty creative activities.  One of my favorites though was when I stole our Dogtra collars off the kitchen counter and hid them under the cushions on the couch.  Well in actuality, I only took my collar and left Zoe’s behind with the buzz controller.  After all, it was her fault we had to wear them recently.  The Scribe thought he took a photo of it but somehow he couldn’t find it (more subterfuge?)

Then there was the time I stole the book Dad was reading and chewed on this page:

This is kind of funny but what first caught my attention in this book was Chapter 2 – it just wasn’t until Toys were mentioned that my chewing instincts kicked in.

The there was the time my brother Has, whom I never met but heard many stories about, once shredded a piece of paper down to the words “Sunflower seeds”.  This was way back in the day when my parents lived in Oregon and Mom was experiencing migraines and my parents couldn’t figure out why.  As they discussed possible reasons, while snacking on sunflower seeds.  Hasenpfeffer sighed and walked into the guest room and started chomping on the piece of paper that was about foods that could cause the onset of migraines.

OK.  So he doesn’t look particularly intelligent in that picture but for a cat he was pretty damn smart – according to Sammy who lived with him for many years.

Speaking of Sammy, that special big brother of mine, here is a picture of him “finishing” a novel about dogs that a co-worker had lent my parents.

Sammy eating/reading a book

Reading and chewing have long been a part of our pack!

Cheers,

The Tempest

Shame on You

Chapter 2: Fooled You Once

Back this summer, shortly after Zoe joined our pack, Mom was working on dinner while dad and I worked on a blog out at our picnic table.  The exact date, thanks to the time stamp on the photos we shared recently, was August 11th.  The story we were working on was entitled “Toe Nail Tempi.”  Here I am reviewing what the Scribe had written to make sure he hadn’t added anything or misinterpreted/misrepresented my dictation:IMG_3732

..and getting distracted by Zoe flying across the table.  So, we decided Mom better give it a once over before we published the story.  This required the Scribe to carry the computer into the kitchen where Mom was still busy making dinner.  After completing his task he returned to me and we discussed potential future blogs while Zoe continued to be Zoe in the backyard.  Mom finished her review and brought the computer back outside leaving the fish fillets in the flour concoction the recipe called for in the kitchen.  Gone only a few seconds, she quickly returned to the kitchen to finish the….WHAT?  ZOE!  NOOOOOOO!  The meal which was supposed to be four fillets was reduced to but one.  The tilapia thief had a bit of a hard time with an alibi and did not have time to wipe away any evidence as to where the “sushi” had gone.

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She can run but she can’t hide those flour encrusted lips!

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Even in disguise and trying to lick the flour off her lips she was still busted.

Thus we learned not to turn our backs on Zoe when preparing food.

Chapter 3: Fooled you twice.

Skip ahead a few weeks and join us at our dinner table while we eat a peaceful meal together – well to be honest we already had eaten and were sitting quietly at our parents side while they ate.  On this particular evening, some major ruckus transpired in our front yard.  Zoe and I, performing our domestic duties, alerted our parents by barking vehemently at the front window.  The incident which was occurring out front was significant enough to get warrant both of our folks to also run to the window and join the two of us on the couch.  As we viewed the spectacle together as a family, none of us (except me) noticed that Zoe had left the party and sauntered off to the dining room table and helped herself to some of our parents repast.  This is nothing I would ever consider doing myself as I am far to refined to do such a thing (Editor note:  https://wordpress.com/post/montanamomentstrn.wordpress.com/2916).

Once again, my parents were left with less than a full meal and Zoe had come as close to being sated as she ever has been.

Chapter 4: Hey!  Why aren’t you distracted?

Over the next couple of weeks whenever there was food present (in preparation or in the process of being consumed, Zoe would run to the door or front window and bark like we were being invaded).  For some reason, neither of our parents took it seriously.   Zoe would return to the kitchen and stare at Mom incredulously.  Not getting the reaction she wanted, Zoe tried again to no avail.  Mom stood her ground guarding the “people” food.  Zoe once again came back to the kitchen, glared at Mom, and then barked at her repeatedly.  As I said, this happened several times until Zoe learned that you can fool them once, maybe twice, but eventually they’ll catch on and protect their grub.

The Tempest

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(depressed over the fact she can’t edit this post and clear her “good” name)

 

Drama Queen

I know I still owe you the prequel to the last story about eating soap but “Shame on You” will have to wait for another day as we had a bit of an adventure this afternoon.  As I have alluded to, Zoe and I have been taking classes at a training center that also teaches police dogs.  This was our fourth lesson (each) with good stories I plan to release in an upcoming blog – but that is later in our pub strategy…after “Shame on You” which has been bumped back by today’s events which I think I already mentioned.

About 15 minutes into our one hour session with MaryAnne (MA), Zoe once again took center stage.  This time, rather than laying down and refusing to stand up as she was being dragged across the floor or standing on her hind legs and mouthing mom, dad OR our trainer, Zoe decided to squat and relieve herself.  All of us that really know her were quite shocked as she never pees inside.  Mom was with her at the time and initially was unaware of this indiscretion on the part of Zoe until MA alerted her to this fact.  From the vantage point of MA, dad, and myself the spillage looked rather dark for urine but we thought it was just the lighting in the building.  Then as mom looked down with a shocked look on her face “we” all realized it was due to the pee being composed largely of blood!  Of course I was already aware of this the second she started voiding her bladder as I had already detected the distinct iron-esque odor of blood in the air…and if I am to be honest, I smelled she wasn’t quite right before we even left the house but I was too excited by the opportunity for a car ride!

MA approached the “accident” and immediately looked concerned saying she had seen blood specks in urine before but nothing close to this flood coming from my sister Zoe.  She got out the mop and bucket and we continued our training.   Once again the little drama queen was unable to distract the lesson plan for the day.  However, in between shouting out orders for us, MA was Googling “blood in dog urine” and texting vet friends to see how urgent this medical condition was.  But still the lesson continued.  The verdict was if Zoe didn’t have an elevated core body temperature (fever) she probably was OK but should be monitored for the next 24 hours.  However, since my parents had plans for the evening they opted to go to the emergency vet to make sure she wasn’t in immediate peril.

So off to the Blue Pearl clinic that brought Sammy back from the dead a number of years ago.

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Here we are awaiting the vet:

As it turns out – the vet who had the same name as my mom – said she still had a lot of stuff in her bladder so she was able to get a sample and determined it was “just” a UTI – no crystals had formed suggesting it was still early times in the infection process.  Phew.  Just a week or two of antibiotics and she should be back to her same annoying self which I suspect will happen even sooner as she was already walking on (frozen) water – which reminds me of yet another story I have to tell when Snowy visited us this fall – as we were waiting for mom to pay for the whole affair…

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That is if she doesn’t get further sick from the chunk of butter out of the frying pan tonight, or the pork chop bone she stole out of the trash after dinner.  Thus “Queenie” kept our parents  home with us for the evening.

No concerns about my health though as I may have shred the hanger that my mother had her favorite shirt drying on, but I was smart enough not to ingest any of the parts…Zoe almost got a piece but dad caught her and shook it out of her mouth before the swallowing occurred.  We should tell you some time about the gorgeous surprise left on the front stoop.  Only made it to the back for about 30 seconds :).

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The Tempest