Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Monthly Diary for July, 2012

I know July isn't really over yet, but Mommy and I are having a lazy day today after I took a SIX mile morning walk yesterday and went swimming in the middle of the walk too. I haven't taken such a long morning walk in ages and I'm still a bit beat today, so updating my blog seemed like a good plan for the day.

Well, let's see, July was a very hot dry month here.  Mommy actually did like some of the local farmers and just plowed under most of her veggie garden choosing to only try to get a harvest from her tomatoes and squash.  I've been spending a lot of days in the basement because it is about 78 degrees down there instead of 95 - 108 degrees like it has been upstairs.  I make sure to protest when Mommy puts my lifting harness on, but then I practically drag her down the stairs.  We don't have air conditioning and because the neighbors smoke non-stop we can't fully open half the windows in the house anymore so it gets pretty warm inside. Mommy and I been swimming so much in the lake that I developed what my vet calls "pond funk", but more on that later.

At the beginning of the month Mommy and I went to visit Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred in Wisconsin.  We had a really good time and Auntie Naomi wasn't even terribly upset with me when I pooped on the porch.  I had a bit of a tummy ache and Mommy and Auntie Naomi went in the house without me and went up to the bonus room which you get to by the back stairs by the garage. I thought they had gone out to Mommy's car without me and I got upset and, well, with my hind end problems, poop happens.  Sorry Auntie Naomi!  I realized I'd never worn my Merlin Cam around Auntie Naomi's house, so I did so.  Here is what Auntie Naomi's place looks like:

This is the fire pit and behind it is the exit of
The Path Through the Woods,

which I make sure Mommy and I walk at least once per visit
The private road for them and their neighbors
Looking across the street at the meadow.
I have to be sure to walk in the meadow at least once a day.

There are old derelict buildings in the meadow
and critters in the buildings
The meadow
Walking down the road with Mommy to the old midden.
We must explore the midden at least once at each visit.
Heading back down the private road to the house
Auntie Naomi collects teddy bears.
Usually most of the bears hide when I come to visit,
but this trip they stayed out.

I was good and didn't touch a single one!
The door to the inside from the porch
So that is Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred's place.  Mommy and I sleep upstairs and we usually take the main stairs up, but this time I found them too slippery and scary so we took the carpeted back stairs up and down instead.  That is when I learned that the room Mommy and Auntie Naomi had gone to without me is packed with teddy bears!  They are everywhere!  I now understand why the door to the stairs and the back door in Mommy and my room have always been kept closed.  Even though I was a good boy, I think that the temptation might be too much if that whole room was open to me.

We decided to go to take the ferry to Washington Island.  Mommy figured it was probably going to be the last time I could make that trip.  In the past we would walk on to the ferry.
Me on the ferry in the old days
That would have been way too much for me these days, so this time Mommy drove her car on.  Because we had a car we got to see some things on the island we've never seen before because they were too far to walk to and from one day and be sure to make the last ferry back.  Mommy and I both brought our cameras.

Someone brought a great big boat onto the ferry.
Mommy's car is right behind it.

The propeller of the boat is only about 1/2 an inch from touching Mommy's car.
None of us really understood why you would put a boat on a ferry.
Standing on the car deck watching the rest of the cars come on
The other ferry coming back to the mainland
We stopped at an outdoor museum. 
That is me sitting in front of the rudder of a ship that sank off the island.
There was a lake by the outdoor museum,
but it was pretty dried up due to the drought.

On our way back to the car we met some people coming to see it.
Close your eyes Shawnee!
Mommy decided to climb the Mountain Park Lookout Tower. 
These are the 98 steps she had to climb before she even got to the tower.
In the past I could have done this hike with her,
but Auntie Naomi, Uncle Fred and I decided to wait in the car.
The view from the tower. 
The hill-looking thing is Rock Island.

If you look closely you can see St. Martin Island behind it.
St. Martin Island is in Michigan.
We drove up to see where the ferry to Rock Island departs from.
Mommy took the Merlin Cam off and I got a swim in,
but we didn't take that ferry.
We ate a late lunch at a place called The Albatross
We ate at the picnic tables under the roof. 
There are other tables under umbrellas,
but Mommy wanted more shade.
The next day we went to 3 Springs for a hike.  Auntie Naomi stayed in the car, Uncle Fred took the shortcut hike and Mommy and I took the middle sized hike and met Uncle Fred at the turn around point.
Mommy said the hike had an alpine feel
and reminded her of hiking in Glacier National Park

but with old stone walls instead of ice.
I wanted to explore the old barn, but Mommy said no. 
It is made in the vertical log cabin style
rather than the more common horizontal log cabin style.

Horizontal logs rot in the Wisconsin weather,
but vertical logs don't.
The turn around point. Must be one of the springs.
After that hike Mommy packed the car and we drove down to Lake Michigan which is at the end of the road to Auntie Naomi's house so I could take a swim and look for giant fish (there weren't any) and then Mommy and I drove home.  It was a fun trip.

The week after we got home I went to see the vet.  Mommy was concerned because I've been doing a lot of toe scuffing, I can't climb on the couch anymore or stand on my hind legs to get my cookie at the feed store loading dock, I hardly bend my right hind leg anymore and sometimes end up standing with my back feet pointed in weird directions.  When the vet came in to see me she said, "Well, I know he's been swimming in the lake a lot." without even looking at me!  Mommy apologized for my stink which had started to rise around 10 p.m. the night before but was really ripe and yeasty when we woke up that morning.  Mommy said she had decided stinky dog would be easier to examine than wet dog.  The vet agreed and said, "If you want to prevent pond funk you need to bathe him after each swim and blow him dry." Mommy laughed at that and the vet said she thought that would be Mommy's reaction and that giving me a bath when I become offensive was good enough.  I had TWO baths in July and I think that was two too many.  Anyway, the vet checked out my legs and said that my back has pinched off a few more nerves and also that I have developed arthritis in my knees and hips.  All that was combining to give me the weird walk and jumping problems.  She said she'd usually recommend aqua-therapy at the animal rehab place in town, but Mommy taking me swimming so much was just as good.  She gave me a supplement to take to help with the arthritis inflammation.  The pills are big chewables and smell like vanilla ice cream but don't taste like it.  Mommy has to put peanut butter on them to get me to eat them, and even then half the time I take them somewhere, lick the peanut butter off and spit the pills out.  The vet also decided that I should start laser treatments on my back, hips and knees to see if it helps.  Mommy had to find two weeks in a row when I could go to the vet every other day for treatments which was challenging.  We are going to start them next month.  After I do the first six treatments the vet will decide if they are helping me.  If they are then she'll figure out how many times a week or month I should have them from now on.  Mommy says she sees a lot of beans and rice in her future whatever that means.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Monthly Diary for June, 2012

This was a very interesting month.  It started off normal, except that Mommy seemed to be busy shopping and stuff on the weekends which was boring.  Then, in the middle of the month, Mommy packed our bags and we got in the car for a road trip.  I thought we were going to Wisconsin and I settled in for the trip. When we had traveled enough that we should have been a half hour from Grandma and Grandpa's house I sat up and looked out the window, but we weren't where we should  have been!! We were somewhere else and Mommy kept driving and driving.  Finally we stopped at something called a "hotel" in a place called Edina, Minnesota.  Mommy said we were staying at the hotel because Walter's human sister was getting married and Mommy was going to the wedding.  I was not invited, but neither was Walter, and Walter had to stay in the kennel that weekend! Bwahahahaha!

I don't know if any of you have stayed in hotels before, but they are strange places.  You go in and they are like stores but with a really high counter with people behind it that Mommy talks to.  The counter is too high for you to put your paws on to ask for treats.  Mommy was given a plastic card and we walked down the hall to what Mommy said was our room.  The hotel room was like a tiny little house with a bedroom, a bathroom, a dining room a living room and a kitchen all in a space that was about 1/2 the size of our living room at home.  The bed in the tiny house was way too high for me to get up on and I thought that was mean, but Mommy had brought my travel bed and pillow in so I could have a comfy place to sleep.

After Mommy got all our stuff arranged in our room we went out for a walk and we met an old grumpy girl Labrador.  She growled at me and I growled back at her and we went our separate ways.
The grumpy Lab's boy playing with a ball
 There was a very nice park a 1/2 mile from the hotel and we walked around some of it.
Walking to the park
Plants in the park

Back to the hotel
Mommy said we'd do the whole thing and an art walk too the next day before the wedding.  We went back to our room and just before bed Grandma and Grandpa showed up!!  They had a little house in the hotel too.  Mommy didn't know they were staying there when she got our room, but it wouldn't have mattered because she says it was the only safe hotel she could afford that would let a 75 lb dog stay there.  Grandma and Grandpa's little house was two stories above ours and I rode up in the elevator to see it.  Their little house was bigger than Mommy and mine.

The next morning Mommy abandoned me in the little house and went to get some breakfast.  I barked twice, but she came back and said, "Inappropriate!" which I know means I'm in trouble so I sat and pined for her by the door while she was gone.  Then Mommy and I went back to the park for a long walk.  When we started off it was nice and we saw quite a few people and dogs walking.
Taking path into park

Mommy's picture of the park

Mommy's picture of a great egret
People in park

Then it started to get cloudy and then it started to drizzle.
Getting cloudy
Starting to rain so we sat under a arch by a fountain
Just before Mommy and I got to the sculpture garden it started to pour down rain.  We stopped under a bridge to wait out the storm, but it soon became obvious that the storm was not going to let up any time soon.
Waiting under a bridge for the rain to stop.
So Mommy took my Merlin Cam off and put it in her camera bag with her camera and then covered the whole thing with a poop bag and we continued on our walk, but we skipped the sculpture garden and only did the park.  By the end of our walk we were the only ones in the park except for a poor wet, cold chi and his mommy who was carrying him.  By the time we got back to the hotel Mommy and I looked like we'd been swimming.  Grandma and Grandpa were having breakfast in the lobby and they followed us back to our room.  Luckily Mommy had remembered to pack my towel and I got dried off and then Mommy got dried off and changed her clothes.  Grandma and Grandpa wanted to know if I'd been a good boy in the night and Mommy told them I had.  Grandma and Grandpa went to their own room and Mommy and I hung out in ours. Then Mommy and I took a short walk and when we came back Mommy put on fancy clothes, put my Merlin Cam on me and abandoned me to go to the wedding!

Poor abandoned me
Here is how I spent my time while Mommy was gone:
Wait for Mommy for a half hour then sleep for a half hour

Check to see if Mommy maybe came home and went to bed. Nope.
Watch for a half hour, then sleep for a half hour.
Mommy's back!!!
 We took a walk and then Mommy left AGAIN! She said she was going to something called a reception.  So this is how I spent the reception:

Look out the window to see if I can see Mommy's car.  Nope.
Wait and doze off.
Wake up and see if Mommy is maybe on the couch.  Nope.
Wait and nod off again.
Check to see if Mommy is in the bathroom. Nope. 
Sleep for 2 1/2 hours.
Wake up see if Mommy is maybe eating something at the table. Nope.
Sleep for an hour.
Mommy's coming back!!
So, as you can see, weddings and receptions are kind of boring.  The next morning Mommy and I got up and went for a walk and then Mommy packed the car and talked to the people at the high counter and we went to Walter's house so Mommy could see people at something called a brunch, but I had to stay in the car, so brunches are even more boring than weddings.  Mommy only stayed at the brunch a 1/2 hour since I was waiting in the car and then we drove home.  So that is a hotel, wedding, reception and brunch for you dogs who haven't experienced them.

Finally this month we went to our town's 4th of July fireworks display.  They always hold it the Saturday before the 4th because it is cheaper, but Mommy and I don't care, we just like the fireworks.  First we stopped at the lake for a swim (my idea). Then we went to the Tastee Freeze for a Pup Cup for me and sundae for Mommy.  Then we went to our feed store spot for the fireworks show.  Just as we were walking into the lot an SUV with out of towners pulled into our special spot by the sign.  Mommy grumbled as we set up our blanket in the second best (but more dangerous because it is closer to the entrance) spot. The old-timers didn't show up again this year so I think they are done coming, which is sad because they pet me and gave me popcorn, but one second generation feedstorer and the RV family did come as well as some other townsfolk.  Some more out of towners came and parked next to Mommy and me. Abut 5 minutes after the show started friends of theirs came tearing into the lot and shone their headlights in Mommy and my eyes I barked and Mommy yelled "DUDE!" at the driver and they turned their car, but kept their lights on.  Then after about five more minutes people changed places and the second car tore out of the lot again and the remaining bunch spent the rest of the time walking around and playing with their phones and not watching the show. Plus the people that took our spot left their car before the show and never came back! We don't like that out of towners have found our spot. Just for fun I wore my Merlin Cam even though it isn't designed to take night shots.  Here are some of the fireworks: