Thursday, May 19, 2011

To the Rescue: Lilly Pad

So what is rescue and how does it happen? 

I am often asked that question and I can never find just a few words to sum up a very involved process.  Rescue is monitoring emails and shelters.  Rescue is transporting dogs to where ever they need to go to be safe.  Rescue is offering behavior advise to owners. Rescue is bathing dogs.  Rescue is opening a home to a dog for a night or for months.  Rescue is vet care.   Rescue is heartache and joy.  Rescue is a community of volunteers.  Those few volunteers are how rescue happens.
Sunshine at last!

R&R under the Zeus tree
Like Cash, Lilly Pad came from a shelter nearly out of time.  Lilly came to MMR terrified after being abandoned by an unstable person in horrible housing conditions.  After hearing of Lilly's plight, MMR scrambled to find this sweet mal girl a foster home and a place to stay temporarily while transportation was coordinated.  Many, many emails were sent back and forth between MMR members and volunteers as they bounced ideas around.  If one thing can be said of rescuers, it is that they are persistent!  When one plan fell through, another was created. "D" one of MMR adopters, supporters, and loyal volunteers stepped up and opened her home to Lilly for several days while transportation was arranged.  In the mean time, Lilly had to be vetted (check over, chipped and vaccinated).  Lilly also received a bath, all through volunteers.  Lilly is now in her foster home receiving the attention, food, and training she needs to blossom into the malamute she should be.
Lilly's first day of freedom

Lilly is nervous around people.  Notice the tucked tail.

Cash and Lilly running

Jumping beans

Tired girl!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where the Blue Bird Sings to the Lemonade Springs

Perhaps some of you may recognize the title to this post.  Wallace Stegner was a western writer and native.  This is the title he chose for a collection of essays on living and writing in the West.  One of the opportunities I had this semester was to become reacquainted with one of my favorite writers.  I adore his poetic use of language and descriptions of the Western landscape.  So much so that I wrote my senior thesis/capstone project on the West and issue unique to the West.  Forgive me for neglecting the blog this last month; I was absorbed in research and writing!  Here is an excerpt from the essay: 
There is a place just beyond the 100th meridian that is the land of the sublime.  Valleys give way to towering granite peaks shaped by millennia of freezing and thawing waters.  In Colorado, Mount Bierstadt is one of the monolithic slumbering giants that guard this unforgiving wilderness.  Bierstadt’s spine surfaces from the sodden, willow-covered Guanella Pass rising above the burgeoning alpine tundra like an ancient, barbed sea serpent.  As I crested this singular behemoth in a land of behemoths, I attempted to pilfer oxygen from the diluted atmosphere; the blood throbbed in my ears creating a cacophony equal to the lamenting keen of the wind.  Standing at 14,060 feet above sea level, Bierstadt is neither the tallest nor the most handsome mountain in the Rocky Mountain West, but it is the peak from which I first contemplated what it is to be “Western.”
If an American is asked to define the boundaries of the West, he or she may identify the area on a map west of the Mississippi River.  Certainly this is accurate if one is standing on the east bank of the Mississippi. However, the landforms, topography and climate that characterize the West are distinctly different from those of the Midwest and the Pacific Crescent.  Wallace Stegner, an award winning writer and western native, defined the boundaries of the West as those stretching from the 98th meridian to the coastal ranges and from the 49th parallel to the Mexican border (45).   The western landscape is varied and diverse encompassing the granite spires of the Tetons to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Stegner wrote, “The western landscape is more than topography and landforms, dirt and rock.  It is most fundamentally, climate – climate which expresses itself…as atmosphere, flora, fauna” (46).  Walter Webb, a distinguished Texas historian, stated the West is “a semi-desert with a desert heart” and has a soul too black to be truly converted (Reisner 5).  The aridity of the West, caused by the rain shadows cast by mountains unites the varied sub regions of the West.
As I contemplated what it is to be a “Westerner,” I realized it was the land itself that defined its people.  Stegner ruminated, “Whenever I return to the Rocky Mountain states..the smell of distance excites me, the largeness and the clarity take the scales from my eyes, and I respond as unthinkingly as a salmon that swims past a river-mouth and tastes the waters of its birth” (Stegner xxi).  This euphoric feeling of being “home” is allusive and impossible to label.  Alex Lowe, a mountaineer and Montana native, said that his “heart sang” when he was the mountains of the West.  Perhaps it is the extremes in weather and topography or the pockets of wilderness in the West that refuse to be tamed that still capture the minds and hearts of people the world over.
Perfect "Down" as Cash waits for a treat.
Lazy Saturday reading time

"Help" from Miley

Cash with Darcy, the manager of the Doggie Daycare where Cash plays

Despite my dreadful neglect of my husband, dogs, Cash our foster, and rescue work, none of them were far from my mind.  Cash’s behavior continues to improve, bit by bit.  We keep circling the idea of adopting him, but the result would be an end to our ability to foster other dogs.  We have fostered with four dogs, but that was when 3 of our dogs required minimal exercise (they were all seniors).  Exercising two high energy dogs is manageable, but three high energy dogs are more than we feel we can handle.  So we just keep thinking it over.  Miley adores Cash, he learns quickly, and is very fun to have out on walks and trails. I cannot wait for camping season to start to see how Cash does.  He is such a smart dog!  Cash has been busy the last month working on new training including down, stay, touch, and wait.  Stay and wait are the hardest for him, and "touch" is by far his favorite!  
Cash enjoying a nap in the sun

Kind of adorable, right?
Ohh...spotted something!  Is it a squirrel?

Keeping my big ears on the job!
"Sit" well of course, esp if there are treats involved!
"Work" with Miley and Savina

Going into a "down"

All the way!

Cash and Amadeus napping

Good dog!  Shared "his" bed with the cat!

Miley and Cash "helping" Kevin with the new girl...the bike.

Not a great picture, but Cash with our nephew Ryder playing in the back yard.

Both "kids" trying to squeeze through the same space:)

Post Cinco de Mayo dog party...Cash's fav buddies, Max a male English Mastiff puppy

More of Cash's friends.  Rigo the GSD is Cash's second favorite dog after Miley.
The small lake.  We still cannot figure out how he turned the faucet on!
Last but not least....I know I have mentioned before that Cash is smart.  Really smart.  We have successfully curbed a lot of the unwanted behaviors that Cash exhibited as a result of little training and a big brain, but every once in a while he still pulls a fast one on us!  Tonight was no exception.  We went out with friends for about 2 hours and when we arrived home we discovered Cash somehow figured out how to turn on the outside water spigot.  We had a small lake in the back yard!   

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ducks, Bunnies, and Porcupines...Oh My!

The weather has been wonderful here in the valley the last week.  The sun is shining and the dogs finally get to enjoy the canyon again.  The canyon hikes are a little too strenuous for the older dogs, but Cash and Miley enjoy these excursions. 

We started the weekend with a pair of ducks in the front yard.  I expect to see ducks in the canyon, but not at my house in town!  The dogs all went crazy, especially Miley (our lab) and begged to be let out to chase these delightful creatures.  From there, the day just was just filled with critters!  I lost track of how many bunnies we startled on our hike.  Again, much to the disappointment of the terrible twosome, we did not allow them to harass the wildlife.  I know porcupines live in the canyon, but I have never had the pleasure of observing one.  During our Sunday hike we rounded a bend to find one "hanging out" on our trail.  He observed us for awhile and eventually ambled off to the right.  I took Miley and Cash off the trail to the left.  Neither dog was too sure what the animal was, but they really, really wanted to investigate.  I will be eternally grateful that we walking on leash!  I have had the misfortune of seeing a few dogs over the years that "investigated" a porcupine.  Dogs faces and quills are not a good combination.  I thought we had seen the last of the porcupine, but on the way back down, he was in the same spot on the trail!  Fortunately Kevin spotted him and we once again circumnavigated this prickly creature.
Terrible twosome "dancing" together
My semester is almost over (yes!!) and a new round of obedience and agility courses will start at GNDT.   We are going to take Cash through both courses and Miley back through agility 1.  I love agility courses because they force humans to figure out how to communicate in a real meaningful way with their dogs.  It is all about building positive relationships and communication.  It is challenging for both humans and dogs and such a great bonding tool. 
Are you supposed to be there? 

Grumpy Miley when her "brother" moved too close during nap time