Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Merlin J. Wylt c. August 1, 2000 - June 16, 2014

Merlin's mom here.

After battling a raging bacterial infection for two weeks, Merlin had to be put to sleep yesterday morning. He started having trouble breathing late on Sunday night and x-rays taken the next morning revealed that his lungs were filled with fluid. We aren't sure exactly how he contracted the infection, why the antibiotics didn't work and why his lungs failed. It could have been an antibiotic resistant infection, there may have been a previously undetected  underlying condition such as lung cancer, his creeping paralysis could have finally hit his diaphragm, or he may have just been too old to fight off the infection without organ failure occurring.

He will be missed.

Puppy Love by Merlin J. Wylt
Painted February 14, 2004

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Nowhere fun, that's for sure.

It is hiking time and swimming time and ice cream time and cheesy fries time and I have had NONE of that for weeks now.  I was supposed to go to Wisconsin this weekend too, but that didn't happen either.

See, I got really, really sick a couple weeks ago. I had runny poops and nausea and a high fever and Mommy rushed me to the vet and they did all sorts of tests and found out I had a really bad bacterial infection in my gut and my white count was almost 5 times higher than it should be! I got put on two antibiotics but they didn't kill all the bad bacteria. I'm now on a third one that was a shot because my stomach can't take any more antibiotics and my ulcer started to act up.  So, all I want to do all day is this.

You can see the wheels for my stroller behind my head

And I don't want to eat anything but bread or biscuits and chicken or turkey. I will drink Ensure, and eat some doggie nutrition gel, but only if nothing better is out there.  I've lost almost 10 pounds and Mommy and the vet are worried because at my age (I'm almost 14) recovering from something like this is very hard.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Lazy Mother's Day Hike

Just to make things clear, I'm not saying Mommy was lazy. I'm saying the hike was on Mother's Day. Mommy was far from lazy as you will see.

We decided to do the south half of the river trail today. They were predicting big storms this afternoon so we got an early start. Even though we got there well before noon the lot was quite full as were the picnic areas in the preserve that connects to the trail. Lots of people were picnicking for Mother's Day. I wanted to do the tiny preserve loop, but Mommy knew I would quit after that because I always do so she said no, we were going strait to the trail.

There was a lot of large flowered trillium in bloom along with what we think were false rue anemone. Whatever they were they were pretty with the trillium.

I walked for about 1.2 miles and then when we came to a pump we stopped for water and Mommy called Grandma to wish her a happy Mother's Day. Then I got in my stroller and rode.

Mommy knew when she saw how comfy I was in the stroller she was in for a lot of pushing.

Mommy pushed the stroller all the way to the end of the trail and I rode the whole way.

 We stopped to watch some cormorants fishing and sunning at the lake in the big gated community

Mommy kept suggesting I get out and walk but I kept telling her I was too comfy and she could keep pushing. I rode all the way to the end of the trail and when Mommy turned around she thought I'd get out and walk, but I didn't want to so she pushed me back up the trail.  Finally, after I had ridden for almost seven miles I decided I wanted to get out and walk (and sniff) again.

I found this pretty feather

Once I was walking I didn't want to ride again. Mommy kept suggesting I get in the stroller, but I refused. When we came to a pond I hopped in for a swim.  After I got out I considered riding in the stroller then changed my mind.

The back end wants to ride but the front end doesn't

I walked about two miles back to the car and fell asleep almost as soon as I got in.  On the way home the sky started to get dark and then we saw lighting, but we got home and Mommy got everything in the house before the skies opened up.

(If the video won't load you can watch it on YouTube.)

Total miles hiked by me: 2.9 Total miles riding in the stroller: 6.7 Total miles hiked 9.6.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Nice Day for a Hike

It was a nice day, and Mommy had nothing planned so we decided to take a good long hike. We went to the trail head at the north end of the river trail that I like so much.

Mile 0

We weren't the only ones who thought it was a good trail day. There were a lot of other people hiking, jogging, biking and especially horseback riding.

That brown horse was HUGE! 
Mommy said he looked like he should be carrying a knight in armor.

 Mommy was happy because she got to see a lot of birds.

Sandpipers were all over the place

 Red-winged blackbirds too

And there were snowy egrets and peregrine falcons everywhere as well, but they were either flying or too far away to get good pictures of.

 We even saw someone kayaking on the river.

I walked about a mile and then I asked to get in the stroller. Then I rode for about a mile and asked to get out again.

 When we got to the preserve with the lake I stopped to cool my feet and then I asked to get back in the stroller.

We hiked down to a part of the trail we haven't been to in years because it is quite a distance between trail heads. It hadn't changed a whole lot.

 Some trees are FINALLY starting to green up!

Mommy was happy to see they had added an outhouse in this long stretch between trail heads. My stroller even fit in it.  After the potty break we hiked some more and then we stopped for lunch and turned around.  I rode for a bit then decided I wanted to walk again. We were slowly walking up the trail when suddenly a group of about 25 horsemen wearing cowboy hats and leather jackets came galloping past us from behind. This is totally against the trail rules (you aren't supposed to go faster than a trot) and very dangerous on such a busy day.  I'm sure they thought they looked very macho, but Mommy and I thought they just looked like a bunch of fools.  

I walked for about a half mile and then decided I wanted to ride until we got back to the preserve with the lake. Then I wanted to walk again.  You may remember when we hiked this preserve in the winter there were Christmas trees on the lake.  They were supposed to fall in the deep part when the ice melted and make places for the fish to hide, but the spring was so weird they must have gotten rides to shore on the ice. I guess they'll have to take them out by boat later this spring.

Old Christmas trees not doing their job

After about a quarter mile I asked to get back in the stroller and rode the rest of the way to the car.  It was a fun hike and I fell asleep almost as soon as I got in the back seat.  Then when we were driving home Mommy said, "Should we stop for a Pup Cup on our way home?" Well that woke me up!

We got to the Tastee-Freez and waited in line, and waited, and waited, and waited. There was a woman ahead of us who was arguing with the kid at the cash register. She wanted to use a Groupon and he didn't know what to do. I got mad about the wait and started barking at the woman to hurry up. After all, she arrived in a big SUV, and was waving her iPhone around. I think she could afford two Tastee-Freez cones without a Groupon. She finally got the message and gave up and paid the whole $4. The next people in line were very fast so I didn't have to bark at them.

 Waiting for my Pup Cup to come out of the window

There it is! 

Don't worry. Mommy put it down on the ground so I could eat it, but she was so busy eating her ice cream cone she didn't take a picture.

Total miles hiked by me: 2.25  Total miles riding in the stroller: 5.75  Total miles hiked: 8

Sunday, April 20, 2014

An Easter Hike

It got up into the high 70s today! Needless to say Mommy and I decided we needed to go for a hike.  Mommy chose the river hike because it is usually cooler there than on the other trails and we aren't used to the warmer weather yet. We were glad we chose it because even by the river it was quite warm since none of the leaves have come out yet.

 The turtles were awake

Mommy and I hiked for about a half mile and then I thought maybe I should ride in the stroller. I wasn't sure though so Mommy waited for a bit while I thought it over.

Debating about riding

I rode for about a mile and then we got to the park where we stop to have lunch. I barked to get out and we walked to the benches by the river to eat. They were packed with people, but we waited and eventually the people left and we got to sit down and have our lunch. After the lunch I walked for a bit more and then decided I wanted to ride again, so back in the stroller I went. We hiked for awhile and then Mommy spotted a small snapping turtle trying to cross the bike trail. Mommy was worried the turtle would get hit by a bike since the trail was so busy today so we sat by it for a while so Mommy could stop the bikes if it went onto the trail, but the turtle didn't want cross while we were there so we moved on.

 Hi turtle! Are you looking for somewhere to lay your eggs?

 Close up!

We kept on going until we got to the park where dogs aren't allowed and then Mommy decided to turn around. I told her I wanted to walk again when she turned around so I got out and walked about one mile.

 We noticed the beavers have been busy improving their lodge

I walked for about a mile and then wanted to ride again, so back in I got. I got mad when Mommy stopped pushing the stroller to take some pictures, but she wanted to get a shot of the blue-winged teal because they have come back for the summer.

 Blue-winged teal

When we were almost back to the trailhead a little brown bat flew overhead. Mommy was surprised to see him since it was about 2 hours before sunset, but he may have just migrated back in, or he might be a bit desperate for food since the bugs aren't out much yet and it is still getting very cold at night. Then we saw some big bunnies in the woods.

Can you spot the big bunny?

There he is!

When we were about a 1/4 mile from the trailhead I decided I wanted to hike so I got out and walked back to the car.

Total miles hiked by me: 2.1   Total miles riding in stroller: 4.2  Total miles hiked: 6.3

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Hike Between Storms

We had a thunderstorm last night, but it had stopped when we woke up this morning. Mommy woke up first and said, "Do you want to come get the paper with me?" I opened one eye and then quickly closed it. Mommy got up and got dressed and came back into the bedroom and said, "I'll drive. You can come for the car ride." I responded by getting up, walking over to her side of the bed and flopping back down with my head on her pillow. Mommy went and got the paper by herself then she made us breakfast and I got up for that, but then went back to bed.

After she finished reading the paper Mommy came to find me and said, "It is going to rain this afternoon. Do you want to go for a hike now?" I opened one eye, groaned and flopped over onto my side. Mommy said, "Well you have to at least take a walk and go potty, so get up." I reluctantly got up and took a one mile walk with Mommy and then curled up on my porch bed and went back to sleep.

Around 1:00 I woke up and started barking at Mommy because I had decided I DID want to take a hike. Mommy looked at the weather radar and said, "Well, we only have about 2 hours before the next storm hits so we'll have to go somewhere close. She picked a short hike that close to home and packed up the car and off we went.

This is the only patch of trees on this hike so Mommy thought a cool overcast soon-to-rain day was a good one for this trail

I hiked the first 3/4 mile and then decided I wanted to ride in the stroller. There were lots of chorus frogs peeping and red-winged blackbirds calling despite the weather being so overcast.

I got mad when Mommy stopped to take pictures of these birdhouses. 
We don't know who they are for, but nobody is going to be able to move in if they don't close them up.

Mommy pushed me in the stroller for a mile and we took a side trail off the main trail for a bit, but then the cold front came in and Mommy decided we had better head back to the car. When she turned the stroller around I barked that I wanted to get out and hike so she let me out and we continued on.

There was a nice little creek hidden by some trees on the side trail

Mommy thought for sure I would tire out after a half mile or so and want to get back in the stroller, but I didn't.

Me plugging along.

I walked the whole way back. It started to rain when we had about 1/2 mile to go and I glared at Mommy because it is always her fault when it rains on our hikes, but we made it back to the car and I got to get inside before the rain started to do more than drizzle. Mommy got a bit wetter because she had to take apart the stroller and pack it up. She should have thought of that before letting it start to rain on us.

Miles hiked by me: 2.25  Mile riding in the stroller: 1  Total miles hiked: 3.25

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is It Finally a Spring Hike?

The temperatures almost got into the 60s today so Mommy and I had to do a long hike. We decided to hit the river trail because it is very long and so you can hike for as long as you have time.

How do you know it is spring and not fall? The deep ruts from the bikes give it away.

 I hiked the first mile while Mommy pushed the stroller then I got in to ride.

Mommy had a laugh when she spotted a group of 10 year old boys running around without shirts on while their parents sat and talked. She said only in the upper midwest would parents say, "It is in the mid fifties today. Sure, go ahead and run around half naked outside. It is a great day for it."

Usually at this part of the river we see turtles sunning on the logs. 
Today we saw carp sunning on the logs.

Just kidding. Mommy knew this winter was going to be really rough on the fish in the lakes and ponds because the ice was so think and opaque and covered with over three feet of snow.  When that happens the lakes and ponds become deprived of oxygen and a lot of the fish die.  We didn't think the same thing would happen with the river since the water moves under the ice, but it must have barely moved in some of the shallower sections and a lot of carp lost their lives.

After the dead fish we came to the great blue heron rookery. 

We've never seen so many of the nests occupied before. We are betting they were attracted to the dead fish. Should be a good year for herons.

 Here is a closeup of the herons

After the herons I was ready get out and hike again. We were going to stop for a snack at my favorite benches by the river, but when we got to the benches two people who were together were each taking up a bench for some reason. They talked to Mommy and pet me, but neither of them offered to get off their bench so we could sit. So we continued on to the bench by the river's flood plain.  Mommy considers this bench to be Boo's bench because he liked to stop there when they would hike and so Mommy requested a bench be installed and the county DID install it!

The river had gone over the trail a little bit, but not enough to stop us

The flood plain

 Me relaxing after I ate my snack

After our snack I got back in the stroller and we turned around to head back to the car.  I forgot what trailhead we had parked at so when we were a quarter mile from the more northern lot we sometimes park at I insisted on getting out and hiking again. Mommy told me I was going to be mad when I realized we were at the wrong lot, but I kept barking to get out so she let me walk. When we got to the trailhead I tried to turn down it to get to the lot and Mommy said no, we weren't at that one. I walked a couple hundred yards farther and then insisted on getting back in the stroller.

A mile from the RIGHT trailhead I insisted on getting out of the stroller again. Mommy let me out and I hiked the rest of the way.  I did demand a rest at the bench a half mile from the trailhead. Mommy offered to let me ride in the stroller again, but I didn't want to do that, so, since we had time Mommy said we could sit there for a half hour.  About 10 minutes into our rest a herd of about 10 big bunnies came up behind us. They didn't know what to make of the stroller any more than the big bunnies did last week, but this group, instead of running away stood behind us and stared at us. Sometimes one or two would get brave and approach us, but then they would back off.  I was lying in the shadows under the bench so I don't think they could see me, but they certainly could smell me.

What is that big red thing?

 Why does it smell like dog?

Big bunny!

After about 10 minutes of being stared at by big bunnies I couldn't take it any more so I stood up and barked and they all darted back a bit. Then Mommy and I continued on our hike to the end.

Miles hiked by me: 3.5. Miles riding in stroller: 4.5. Total miles hiked: 8.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Stroller is Out of Storage!

Mommy noticed the other day when she was driving past the preserve by our house that the snow had all melted off the trails. So, today, even though the temperature never got into the 30s, Mommy got the stroller out of storage!! I barked at her when I saw she had it. Then I barked at her while she inflated the tires. I continued to bark at her while she put it in the car. Finally we set off for our hike.

 I hiked for the first 1.25 miles sniffing everything before I asked to get into the stroller

Mommy finds it interesting that I will insist I'm tired at a 1/2 mile when we don't have the stroller, but will continue walking for over a mile when we do. I don't see what is so interesting about that. After all, I know that when we have the stroller I can always get in and ride when I get tired so I don't have to worry about getting back to the car.

We saw Canada geese chasing ducks off a pond that usually is where the ducks hang out. We wondered why the geese were acting so badly until we came to the geese pond and saw this:

 A pair of mute swans had taken over the goose pond. 
Swans are very territorial and won't let geese nest in the same pond with them.
We've never seen swans at this preserve before.

 Since Mommy had her camera out she decided to take a picture of me.

 Stop taking pictures and start pushing, Mommy!

We kept going and then we heard a very distinctive call which means that one of our favorite birds were back!

 Welcome back sandhill cranes!

I rode in the stroller for 1.25 miles and then I barked to get out again. It was a good thing I did because shortly after I got out we came to a section of trail that was still covered in snow. Mommy would never have gotten my stroller through it with me in it. I hiked for a mile and then asked to get back in the stroller. Shortly after I got in the stroller we came across some deer. They didn't know what to make of us. They were downwind so they could smell dog, but all they could see was a big red thing.  So they decided the best thing to do was run away.

Bye, deer!

When we got back to the car I started barking that I wanted out of the stroller. Mommy told me to wait but I wouldn't listen. I wanted to get into the car and while Mommy was taking the front wheel off the stroller so I could get out I tried to turn around and get out the back door and I flipped the stroller over backwards! It took Mommy quite awhile to get the stroller upright and me untangled from it. She said I should have waited, which I thought was rather cold of her. My hip is a little sore, but not really injured. Mommy gave me a tramadol when we got home just to be safe though. I'll probably get another one tomorrow morning.

Miles hiked by me: 2.25. Miles riding in the stroller: 1.5. Total hiked: 3.75.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Daylight Savings Day HIke

It has been Mommy and my tradition to take hikes on the days that Daylight Saving Time starts and stops.  When I was younger these hikes would be all day hikes, but now they are just hikes for as long as I want to go at one of the trails we didn't get to much in the previous hiking season.  Well, the weather has been so bad we had a lot of trails to choose from this year.  Mommy decided we should go to the lake trail in the northern part of the county so off we went.  Mommy made me wear my lifting harness because she wasn't sure if the trail would be icy or not.  I sure was glad she did make me wear it because when we got to the trail there was a HUGE mound of snow blocking it.

That pile was about as tall as Mommy.
You can see the trail curving off to the left behind it.

Mommy and I worked our way around the pile of snow using my harness to keep me on my feet on the uneven climb and got to the trail. The conditions beyond the mound were quite good.  Very few people had hiked or skied on it so it was mostly soft snow with very little ice.  I guess the big snow pile had protected the trail from the less intrepid users this winter.

There were even some spots where the snow had all melted.

We didn't see a single hiker, but there were quite a few ice fishermen out on the water.  Mommy said it sure didn't look like a fun sport to her especially since they aren't allowed to build shacks on this lake.

The Christmas trees behind that fisherman were put out by the county. The lake was originally a gravel pit so they are still working to improve the bottom. When the ice melts the trees will fall in the water and provide hiding and nesting places for the fish.
There were lots of really good things to sniff in the snow and I ate a pile of fox poop too. Mmmmm

After we had hiked a little more than a 1/2 mile I spotted this truck in the north parking lot.  

I led Mommy straight to the truck, then stood by the door and held my paw with the missing toe up in the air and looked miserable to show her I was too sore to keep hiking. Mommy pointed out to me that 
A. My foot was not sore BEFORE I saw the truck 
B. It wasn't her truck and she wasn't going to steal it. 
She did agree to turn around and head back to our car though.

The clouds gave us a nice return hike show.

Total miles hiked 1.25. 

Mommy and I both can't wait for the snow to melt so my stroller can come out of storage.