27 December 2007

Bring on the New Year!

Happy Holidays, everyone--and warm wishes for a very Happy New Year!!!

Okay, yes, our picture doesn't look too holiday-y. As you can see, we didn't have a white Christmas, and our human isn't so much into decking the halls. Plus, we're not really into human mythology or human attempts at self-definition. Which is not to say, however, that we have anything against any reason for a good party with lots of food! Eat on!!


18 December 2007

Too many goodbyes

We've been saddened by an extraordinary number of goodbyes this fall. Not just our Buko, but other friends and friends of friends. We thought we'd take a moment to share a sigh then a smile...

LEWIS, we just heard... Glad to have met you--you were almost our wise older brother.

THRAWN--we didn't know you until it was too late, but you touched so many.

DAVE and ANNIE, our Border Collie herding idols, wishing you the sheep of your dreams--thanks for sharing your flock.

and "Uncle" MAC--the DOGNY model!--you were special for many more reasons than just being Narra's uncle.

06 December 2007

Let It Snow!

Hey, how awesome--SNOW!!! We hardly ever get the white stuff this early, but we got a nice surprise today. And this was Tuchuck's first snow (unless, of course, he came down from like Everest or the Arctic Circle--who knows where the kid's from or where he's been). Regardless, we love winter play. More please!

And more updates: Zion continues do well and has been pain free for two weeks now. We hear he loves the snow, too! Rock on, buddy! And NoName from the SPCA got adopted! His adopter was a GSD handler in Iraq, so we think he went to good home. We hope he got a good name, too. :)

28 November 2007

"On the Boulder River"

Yes, Wally, we are ART--yet again. While life is always art for us, at this time of year, our human makes us (literally) a special work for the Canine Partners for Life benefit auction. This year, he made a painting of Buko and Jacks on the Boulder River in Montana's Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. We love it there--we may even take Tuchuck next summer.
UPDATE on our buddy Zion: the neurologist thinks he may not have a degenerative spinal condition. Instead, it may be something called an invertebral disc protrusion in the spine. We don't know what that means, but Zion is on meds that may remedy the situation and relieve the pain. We're very hopeful, but still keeping our paws crossed. Hang in there, buddy!

27 November 2007

Needs a home--and a name!

Don't say you thought this guy was Zion with his ears up... he ain't. In fact, he's got no name--and no home. You can check him out at the Delaware SPCA in Stanton, DE, illustrious former home of Buko and Tuchuck. Call the shelter at 302.998.2281. You can refer to this guy as tag #587.

Our human evaluated "no name" for rescue. The findings? He's cool (the dog, not our human)! He's just a youngster who doesn't know the rules and, consequently, feels a little lost. He wants to be a good boy, but someone needs to teach him how. There's more pictures of him here. [Due to technical difficulties, this webpage may not come up--please keep trying.] You can also check out his Petfinder page.

BTW, if you're wondering about our friend Zion, he has an appointment with the neurologist (it's Buko's doctor!) tomorrow. Hopefully, they can figure out what's wrong and fix it. Everyone keep your paws crossed that Zion will be okay.

21 November 2007

Get Whitey

Our reference to eugenics in the previous post was in no way meant to be glib. We abhor bigotry, especially the kind that masquerades as "objective" science. Bad enough that Buko had to endure prejudice against white shepherds, but we've now learned that the same bias exists against white border collies! Poor Tuchuck, we'll protect you, little bro.

Today, in our ongoing efforts to serve social justice and stick it to the man, we met Zion, a handsome and sweet white boy available for adoption through Echo Dogs White Shepherd Rescue. We all thought Zion was super and liked him a lot. It certainly didn't hurt that he reminded us so much of Buko. Even though Tuchuck never knew Buko, he seemed to like Zion as much as we did. Jacks especially liked Zion, perhaps because Jacks has been most affected by Buko's passing.

What shall we do? Do we bring in one more to join our pack? The human isn't sure. We aren't either. All we know is that we miss Buko, and no one can change that. Stay tuned.

20 November 2007

Party hat minus the favors...

Ladies, you can come out now. The little man had his man bits removed, so you're safe! In fact, look how stupid Tuchuck was: he left in the morning intact, and when he got back, he had traded in his manhood for this silly hat. What a deal, huh?! We're not into eugenics or anything, but that kind of smarts you shouldn't be breeding anyhow! :)

Still, the little guy had enough brass--figuratively speaking--to think he could take Narra... "Bring it on, diaper breath," Narra says. "Let's see what you got (or what you don't got!)." Ha ha ha! Jacks is not amused...
And the winner is...

11 November 2007

Crazy Wisdom

Someone recently suggested to us that our picture of Tuchuck trotting (with hair flowing in the breeze) was reminiscent of an image from Tibetan Buddhism. Uh, what have you been smoking?! The boy has barely learned not to crap in the house, he's pretty far from any kind of spirituality.

Regardless, we were curious enough to check out the pee boy's doppelganger: turns out to be Dorje Trolo, an enlightened samurai, a manifestation of Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet. Dorje Trolo manifests "crazy wisdom" or wisdom "gone wild." According to teacher Chogyam Trungpa, crazy wisdom equates with being "completely awake," being able to tune out the confusion of the world around us and tune into a kind of primordial knowledge.

Uh, yeah, right. The "crazy" part fits Tuchuck pretty well--but he adds to confusion, forget enlightenment. But, hey, we would like to see him ride a pregnant tigress!

26 October 2007

Happy Birthday, Buko

Seven years ago today, brother Tsamba welcomed brother Buko into the fold, and our family grew from there. Buko had come some time earlier as a foster dog, but Tsamba and the human soon realized he was meant to stay. Since Buko came from the SPCA, no one knew his birthday, so we celebrate it today, the day Buko's life with us began--and the day our family started. When we celebrate Buko and his life, we celebrate all of us and all we share. And especially today, we try to be happy for all we have, even though we miss Buko so much. Happy Birthday, brother Buko!

Tsamba and Buko: the early days"The boys": Jacks, Buko, Tsamba, and Buddy

21 October 2007

Dr. Feelgood

Our house has been a sad place lately--and we just haven't known how to help our human feel better. We've been sad, too. Big brother Buko was always our guide and our heart, and, without him, we've all felt a bit lost. The human has tried to keep busy doing different things, but he frequently has those moments when, as our friend Pippa puts it, it's difficult to see.

One of the activities the human sort of resumed was his involvement with rescue. He actually went back to the shelter where Buko came from to help two GSDs looking for homes. While at the shelter, he happened to notice a dirty, urine-stained puppy who, for whatever reason, interested him. He returned the next day, with Wally's apes' help, to meet the little guy, and the rest is, as they say, well, you know. The decision-making process was drawn out for a couple days because the human couldn't make up his mind about adopting. And rightfully so! He needed us to give the final word--and the word was a hesitant "okay."

So, here we are... with a new a little brother named Tuchuck. He's a 6-month old border collie, but we don't hold that against him (at least, not the breed part--we would be okay with his growing up fast, though)! He's named after a mountain in northwest Montana that overlooks Glacier National Park (Tuchuck's name at the shelter was Glacier). Tuchuck Mtn was a place we all enjoyed on our recent roadtrip, and the name reminds us of a happy time we all shared together.

Anyway, happy is what we needed, and happy is what Tuchuck is! Our original hesitation has proven ill-founded as Tuchuck learns quickly and now fits in really well. He's a fun kid, and we welcome that back in our life. (And he doesn't take bad pictures either...)

14 October 2007

Goodbye, Buko, my special boy

Hello. Human, here--aka "Boy"--hijacking the dogs' blog for a bit. I haven't been able to write about it until now, but one week ago tonight, almost to the very hour, I had to let Buko go. As you might've read on the dogs' blog, he suffered a number of health issues since Labor Day, although, clearly, they must have begun long before then. The final diagnosis was numbing: cancer. What had presented at various times as orthopedic and neurological problems had ultimately proven to be a type of soft tissue sarcoma, well beyond any treatable stage. In his final hours, Buko experienced GI distress that caused obvious, acute pain and sent us to the ER. As much as I had hoped for him to drift peacefully off in sleep, at home in bed, we had to say goodbye on a surgical gurney in the hospital. How anyone manages the pain of such a loss is completely beyond me. At times, going on seems impossible. I keep waiting for the happy moments--and they were more than I deserve--to push the pain aside.

My Buko... He was my first "failure" at fostering, the first dog I ever entered a competitive ring with--a first ribbon, a first title. He never rolled his eyes at me when I was spaz, he held his breath when I held mine, and was always up for anything I wanted to do--he always tried, just because I wanted him to. And even though he didn't like it when I used bad words, he always knew when I felt bad and wanted to make it better. He was the purest, most sincere form of unconditional love I've ever known. And maybe one day I will be the kind of man he thought I was and actually be worthy of him. What I ever did to deserve him, I'll never know.

I miss you, Buko. I hope you know I will always love you as much as you loved me.

30 September 2007

More Buko

Down the road and back again

Reminiscing... and enjoying our time together. Some early video of Buko with big bro and best friend Tsamba (whom we lost two years ago to kidney failure). The song is Nancy Griffith's "Don't Forget About Me," from her album Flyer(1994).

09 September 2007

(Belated) Happy Birthday!

"A belated 'Happy Birthday!' to me," says Narra. It's a week later, but Narra celebrated her birthday by running in an agility trial. She loves nothing better than the wind through her hair! Our human is overly focused on ribbons and such, but this girl knows what it means to have fun. That's her present to herself. Who needs ribbons and bows?! You go, girl!

[photo credit: Barry Rosen Photography]

05 September 2007

A note on terminology

We would like to comment on our recently adopted use of the term "boy" to refer to our human. Rather than go into lengthy, culturally specific explorations of the word's usage, let us simply say we use it as a term of endearment. Since humans are so fond of infantilizing us canines, we thought we'd return the favor. (hee hee) We do understand, though, that this practice (in either direction) is not malicious. And we certainly do not intend to reference centuries of "benign" infantilization heaped upon certain humans by other humans... Let's just call it a joke between us and our boy. :)

Besides, it is kinda funny, isn't it? One of our favorite (albeit slightly uncomfortable) uses of the term "boy" accompanies photographs of eccentric Henry Chapman Mercer with his "boys," his Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. (Mercer's castle Fonthill is a museum open to the public, along with the Mercer Museum and the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works.)
And, of course, you've gotta love the scene in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey where Golden Retriever Shadow is re-united with Peter, telling him, "You're my boy, Peter, and I love you..." Sniff.

[photo credit above: Collection of the Spruance Library of the Bucks County Historical Society]

Woe unto me

It's been a difficult week. Not only has our boy had to return to work (he says it pays the bills), but Buko has been pretty miserable. The emergency vet thought it was a cruciate ligament injury of some sort, and we were all really worried that Buko would have to have surgery. (BTW, the human joined an online group called Orthodogs that's been really helpful. Thanks, Orthodoggers!) As it turns out, our regular vet doesn't think it's an ACL/CCL issue. While the cruciate ligament may be injured, there seems to have been another type of injury causing unusual swelling. The short of it is that Buko has a new meds regimen that we hope will help. He still can't walk much and doesn't want to come out of his crate too often, but at least he seems to like eating again. Now, you know something's wrong if this guy won't eat!

Buko says, "That Jackson always wants to copy me!"
Narra says, "What about my birthday?! I didn't even get a party or presents or anything!"

We didn't even get a stupid t-shirt

Another Saturday, another day to be left behind. Although this one wasn't so bad because, well, we just weren't that interested in hanging out with a bunch of northern breeds... Our human, his parental units, and some family friends went to Hike N Howl, an event to support northern breeds rescue: Delaware Valley Siberian Husky Rescue, MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue and Referral, and Harnessed to Hope Northern Breed Rescue. Our human didn't "hike" to raise money, but he did want to buy a "Hike N Howl" t-shirt to support the cause, but there weren't any in sight (they can be bought online, though)! That's okay, we're just glad he didn't come home with a puppy--or an adult, for that matter.We gotta ask: why would you go to a husky event and only take pictures of Great Danes???

29 August 2007

Say it ain't so

Was our human smokin' something funny up in those hills? 'Cause the next day, he was looking at puppies... Narra and the human went to an obedience match to practice up, and friends were there with a new passel of Belgian Malinois pups. The breeder has been tempting our boy to take one of the nasty things, but he's resisted so far. Apparently, this "light blue boy" would be a good agility prospect...

Back to the garden

Well, the human left us behind again... It wasn't Woodstock, but we woulda liked to go, too! He ventured up to the Catskills to Denniston Hill, an artist-writer-owned, 200-acre spread dedicated to the self-sustaining--in all its implications--powers of creative practice.

He made some new friends, enjoyed nature, and basked in hippie-like activities. He hung with the homeboys (was nicknamed "Tocayo," alternatively "#2"),
although was unable to help film a Tagalog action flick from the back of a pickup. All the while, the river beckoned. Sounds like the human did alright--though no one does tie-dye like the canine set. And, yes, there were dogs, too! What the... ? Couldn't have been that good without us.

BTW, Narra turns 4 on Sunday! She has been told that we expect a new level of maturity from her as she will no longer be a "young adult"!

13 August 2007

Please give Lewis a home!

So, yes, we've been home for a little while now. The responsibilities of homeownership smacked the human in the face as soon as we got back, but he's recovering. The big excitement, though, has been his parental units' decision to get a canine companion of their own (because our boy won't let Jacks go live with them!). The decision came down to an interesting choice: calm, adult dog from rescue or mold-able puppy from a breeder?

Unfortunately, the older humans decided not to adopt Lewis, a 7-10yo cattle dog mix that our human strongly recommended. While Lewis fit the bill in almost every respect, he is rather deaf, and the older units decided that might be too much for them.

So, a puppy it is. But the maternal unit has decided to wait until she's fully retired next May. We all like the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and have found a good breeder: Heritage Hill Cardigan Welsh Corgis in Northeast, MD.

No little brats for us at the moment, but there's definitely one in our future. That's okay, we have enough time to prepare mentally (we think).


Our last agility trial before heading home was the Pikes Peak Obedience Club trial in Elbert, CO, just outside Colorado Springs. We entered both days but only did the one so we could get home before our van registration expired. :) We had a lot of fun--as usual--but no Qs again. Human was in a good mood, though, because of no stupid mistakes.

These pictures, btw, are actually from the Bozeman trial. (Ah, yes, we're reminiscing already...) We realized we hadn't posted any agility pics--very disrespectful of our raison d'etre! (Well, Narra's raison d'etre really, but we wouldn't get to go everywhere if not for agility!)

[Pictures by Play Action Photos]

12 August 2007

Glorie Be

Our last stop on our summer roadtrip was the Denver area. We made a new friend: Glorie, a husky-aussie mix, who let us stay at her house. She's only 10-months old and had even more energy than Narra! We didn't mind so much because she shared her tennis balls and rawhides. Even better, we had the honor of being there when Glorie got a new brother. Her humans adopted Mookie, a four-year old Saint Bernard, from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley during our visit. We hear Glorie and Mookie are enjoying siblinghood--though the house cats aren't so sure! Hee hee.:)

10 August 2007

We're going to Jackson

When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow...

A little consideration please

Although we enjoy the national forests far more than the national parks, they're not perfect. Case in point: Sheffield Creek campground in the Teton Division of the Bridger-Teton NF. This campground is beautiful and super convenient, just outside the south entrance of Yellowstone and on the way to Grand Teton. The little forest road to it is rocky so maybe dissuades many potential campers. But not us! When we got there, there was only one site taken (a nice, older, European couple in a funky Toyota camper like we've never seen before), and a car showed up later.

Unfortunately, also arriving later in the evening were a group of young people who decided to make the campground their party ground. About five cars altogether, and who knows how many people. And they chose the site right across from us! Now, our human is not (really) an old fuddy duddy--and he can still party with the best of them (somewhat)--but his patience was severely tested by these morons. They blasted music from someone's trunk-mounted speakers, built a big fire around which they hooted and hollered all night long. We waited to see what would happen at "quiet hours," and, unfortunately, nothing. The older couple ended up vacating, but we do believe they recorded license plate numbers and hope they reported these rednecks to someone. By midnight, we couldn't stand it anymore and moved ourselves. We ended up at the far end of horse-trailer parking, well out of earshot. Finallly, sleep.

We planned to take license plate numbers in the morning, but only one car was left--and no plate! It had a temporary sticker in the window, but maybe that wasn't even real. We wanted the human to confront the five guys who were there, but he just glared at them and opted for discretion as the better part of valor. We coulda taken 'em. Wimp.

Biting the Big One

We've already established that national parks suck, but how much more so the granddaddy of them all, Yellowstone (and Grand Teton), in the middle of July? Yeah, that bites. We've actually avoided these parks because of the crowds and "no pets" policy, but the human felt obligated for some reason. (Also, his maternal unit really enjoyed Grand Teton, so we went on her recommendation.) They were okay. Not much snow left this record-hot summer, but the crowds were out regardless.

Clearly, common sense had deserted our human: he wanted to camp in Yellowstone our first night! A big board at the West Yellowstone entrance informed us that most of the campgrounds were already full, but we ventured on, seeking a site of our own. After scouring a few campgrounds, though, our boy regained his senses and took us out the park's north entrance to find peace and quiet in our favorite Gallatin National Forest. But, crazy enough, our targeted campground was also full! On the map, Snowbank campground, in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, looked out of the way--we thought it'd be perfect. Guess lots of other people thought the same! The beauty of the national forests, though: camp where you like (unless otherwise posted). We followed the forest road east and found the Wallace Pass parking area to be a great place to park, hang out, and have fun. We had the place to ourselves, and you know what that means: off leash!!! Since we were at a trailhead, we woke up early the next morning for a little hike. Other people were out on the trail, too, though, so we made it a short one. We didn't mind, it was getting hot already, and the boys were ready to move on. Still, the Beartooths are awesome--at this point, they feel like home. :)

25 July 2007

Missin' Missoula?

As it turns out, the road that runs north of the Sawtooths runs straight into Missoula! Funny thing, huh? Also known as the Salmon River Scenic Byway (lots of "scenic byways" this trip--at least they've all lived up to the billing), this highway indeed follows the Salmon River north--and we followed it. The scenery was beautiful and the river cool on yet another 90+-degree day. We enjoyed the max AC in the van, then would stop and run around for a bit, take a dip in the river, then hit the road again. Not a bad way to manage the heat.

Anyway, back to Missoula... can we just ask why??? At first we thought the human was forcing us to accompany him on a questionable assegnation: we knew he'd been thinking about that homeless orphan Bacon. Luckily, that was not the case. Quite to the contrary, in fact: we scored organic Bitterroot ground beef! This meat is good stuff and many thanks to our human for thinking of stocking up. He also enjoyed re-visiting Stevensville and the Bitterroot Community Market where the beef can be bought. And we know he was tempted to use their free wifi, but he wouldn't let us fry in the van while he surfed the net. When we reached Missoula proper, the human did treat himself to a Thai dinner. That's okay, we'll give him that. After all, if there's ever a good reason to go some place, food is as good as it gets. :)

Update: Bacon was adopted, we found out. As was Maggie (happily living on a ranch in Kalispell) and Freya. Guess we're out of the woods!

Jacks Unleashed (sort of)

Perhaps the most notable aspect of our visit to the Sawtooths was Jackson's first visit to a (kind of) dog park! We really appreciate that the forest service recognizes the role dogs' play in their humans' enjoyment of the outdoors (not to mention our own)--as evidenced by two, off-leash dog beaches in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Jacks was able to enjoy Alturas Lake's newly designated dog beach, at its most northwest shore. (And this beach is clearly marked at the parking area!) Given Jacks's lack of canine social skills, he normally can't join in on these activities, but Narra and her human ran reconnaissance to see if this place might be an exception. And it was! The beach was comprised of a series of little alcoves, each somewhat private. Only one other dog-and-human combo was out, so it seemed a safe bet for Jackson. He did stay on an extended lead, however, just in case... Good thing, too, because the very pretty, white Akita at the neighboring alcove decided to come over for a visit. Narra and Buko sniffed and welcomed her, but Jacks was restrained by his human. To his (Jacks's) credit, he remained relatively calm while the Akita's human came to retrieve the wayward one. All in all, a successful and satisfying outing for all of us. (Although we now find Jacks sometimes looking off wistfully into space--perhaps thinking about what could have been?)

Idaho Sawtooth Massacre

Actually, the Sawtooths were pretty cool--though can you believe we went back to Idaho??? The human was considering a number of options (including going back up to Mt Baker), but, in the end, decided we should move on to new territories. He has always wanted to see Sun Valley, so that's where we went--though the real target was the Sawtooth National Forest. First, let us say that we can imagine the Sawtooths would be ultra-spectacular in the winter--they weren't bad in July. However, the number of people there was daunting, to say the least. The heat was manageable (especially since the evenings were totally cool), but the crowds were--we suspect--typical, huge summer crowds. Not our scene. Or our human's.

Case in point: we had thought to play around Redfish Lake--there's a dog beach there--then camp at one of the numerous Redfish campgrounds for the night. Well, we couldn't find the dog beach (even though we were told there would be obvious signage). We may have had better luck on paw, but, unfortunately, we couldn't find any place to park! Yes, indeed. So, we thought we should just grab a campsite, and let the human find the dog beach. Guess what? Not all the campgrounds were full, but most were. And, really, would you want to grab the one or two sites left (which clearly were the least appealing)? To make a long story short, we blew off Redfish Lake to find a little solitude and quiet. We wound up at the Iron Creek campground (just west of Stanley) which ended up being super. The next morning, we left the Sawtooths behind.

On a side note, we'd like to add that we're not really resort types, so Sun Valley and Ketchum were total eye openers for us. Places like Whitefish and Bigfork come perilously close, but this place was like no other (though we haven't seen Aspen or Palm Springs). This place revolved around the golf course and, we imagine, even more so around the slopes come winter time. Also, for a little town in the wilds of Idaho, Ketchum hosts quite a bit of conspicuous consumption. Was there a beemer convention in town? And, wow, we didn't even get a chance to visit the Sotheby's real estate office...