Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Weekend in the Woods

We spent the past weekend in the Mt Hood National Forest doing some serious car camping.  The forecast was all gloom & doom with temps barely surpassing 60 and rain, rain and more rain.  Y'know, the usual Pacific Northwest forecast.  Oh, and it was our very first camping trip with all 3 dogs.

The stream next to our spot.  It was pretty fast especially to the right of this picture but Sadie heeded my first few requests for her not to go too far and then was great not venturing far the rest of the weekend.  (Pardon the smugdy spot in the middle of this and every subsequent photo.  Girl needs to clean her lens!)
Despite the forecast and some serious misbehavior on the part of the dogs, we had a great time.  We drove out on the South side of Mt Hood to the small Forest Roads in the National Forest.  There are tons of roadside campsites that are perfect for car camping with a wild pack o' dogs my three wonderfully behaved pooches.

Looking angelic huddling underneath the EZ Up and out of the rain.  Don't be fooled.
The drive out to our regular spot is one of the most beautiful drives in Oregon and that's saying a heck of a lot.  Of course, I didn't have the foresight to take one darn picture of the drive so you'll just have to trust me on that one.  And if you're ever in our neck of the woods, we highly recommend taking Highway 224 past Estacada.  You won't be disappointed.

I hope this adorable picture of Sadie will make up for no pictures of the drive.
One of the things that I love most about where we generally go camping is the freedom our dogs have.  They don't have to be tethered as we would have to do at a campground.  There's almost always a stream next to our spot and it's easy to find a spot that is sufficiently far away from the road so that I'm not too* worried about them and the road. 

Looks cute and sedate, right?  Looks can be deceiving.
The freedom they had, that is.  Hurley, who heretofore has rarely influenced his sisters to be truly bad, was the king of bad influence.  You see, 60 degrees, rain and the Great Outdoors is apparently Hurley's kind o' camping trip.  To say he was invigorated would be an understatement; his rambunctiousness reached a really special level this weekend.  We evidently camped a bit too early in the season; a bit too early, that is, if you don't want to camp surrounded by a fish graveyard.  Yup, we were apparently in a prime spawning area and though the fish had returned down river, the bones left by birds of prey and possibly bear were still in abundance.  And Hurley was in heaven.  Keep away with a fish skeleton is just about the most awesome type of keep away, he would like me to let everyone know.  So we spent most of the weekend figuring out new ways to steal fish backbones from the Hurley man.  To be honest, I had fun out-tricking him.  :) 

Fish Skeleton.  My nemesis.
The fish issue wasn't the only source of Hurley's fun.  Our last morning, he had an epic case of the zoomies and decided to lead his sisters on a merry chase.  One in which they didn't respond to our calls.  After a half hour of near panic, we found them a half mile away.  Yup, new camping rule.  Tethers.  We've never had a problem with Sadie & Maggie.  If they're out of my direct line of sight, they respond to calls within 30 seconds.  Always.  And I'm religious about them checking in with me every 5 minutes.  Now with Hurley, we'll need to keep 2 of the 3 tethered at all times, if not all 3.  I'm kinda bummed that Sadie & Maggie won't have the freedom they normally do but nothing's worth the feeling of thinking, for any amount of time, that they might be lost.   

No one's enthused about the new rule.
Not even Sadie, who is happy 99% of the time.

Actually, I think Maggie was relieved with the tethering.  She was most harrassed by the Hurley Monster this weekend.
Oh wait.  Never mind.  They found a new way to torment Maggie.  Tug on her tether rope.  Endless trouble, I tell you!
Other than that, our camping trip was a relaxing few days in one of our favorite spots.  And we camped for the first time in our super duper ginormous new tent, which I love!  Despite having all the room we could want, I was happily snuggled by 2 dogs on one side, the other as my pillow and the Hubster by my side.  What more could a girl want?

A gratuitous 'Sadie's my pretty girl' photo
Getting her revenge.  That's what more a girl could want.

I promise never to be bad again.  I promise.  Can I please get out of this tub now?

Friday, June 22, 2012

On Being a Worry Wart Doggie Mom

Hi, my name is Sarah and I Worry.

Thankfully, I'm not the only one!  

I like to blame my excessive worry wart nature on maternal instincts.  I take care of those around me and therefore, I worry about their well-being.  Or so I tell myself to keep myself from worrying about the fact that I worry too much.

So what am I worrying about these days?  Mountain Streams (you may call them Bubbling Brooks).  Seriously.

I've already blogged about how Sadie is craisins about water.  I don't think I've shared the pre-blog adventure of almost losing Sadie because of her obsession with water.

A couple years ago, we went camping with friends and near the campsite, was a mountain stream, perfect for getting our feet wet and for the dogs to enjoy a good romp.  There was a steep embankment so we let the dogs off leash to go before us rather than potentially be pulled the 10 feet or so down to the stream.

Sadie tears off, leaps into the water, and by the time we got down to the stream/river's edge, she had already been swept 50 yards or so downstream.  It was early summer and these "streams" are the beginnings of some of Oregon's biggest rivers, full of runoff from the snow melting at this time of year.  I have never seen such a look of panic on my baby's face.  She was trying so hard to swim back towards me but the current kept pushing her farther downstream.

Luckily, one of our friends raced down the bank and was able to coax her to swim directly towards shore instead of struggling to get back upstream to me.  Though shaken up and left with a sprained tail, she was otherwise fine and harbors no ill will towards water or streams. 

This weekend, we are going camping in the same area.  There will be lots of mountain streams, full of runoff, on their way to becoming large rivers.  Sadie will swim in them.  She will be fine.  The Hubster will pick a campsite that's near a smaller, less rapid, stream.  I need to stop worrying.  But I will check out every stream we come across before allowing Sadie to leap into the water!

Don't worry, Mom.  I promise to be good!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The One with a Cat and a Goat

It had to happen sometime.  I've been worrying about this since we got Hurley, our rambunctious wrestling puppy.  It happened last night. 

Let me set the scene.

'Twas a beautifully sunny June evening.  A rarity here in Portland where the sun doesn't seem to come out until July.  I was enjoying both preparing dinner and the sunshine with open windows and doors while I chopped at the kitchen counter.  Sadie, the ever faithful, was hanging out with Mom while Maggie & Hurley, the ever playful duo, were doing their thing in our backyard.

It was just as the water started to boil for my pasta that I heard the blood curdling screams start in the backyard.  It's amazing how quickly your thoughts race as you react to such a scenario.  As I turned to rush out the back door, I quickly ruled out a dog fight.  Blood curdling screams are not the sounds of a dog fight.  Not unless one dog is getting its arse kicked but that is usually accompanied by fighting sounds from the aggressor.  No, my precious dogs were not fighting.  As I exited the door from the kitchen to the sun room, I saw my two locked jaw to collar, circling each other panicked.  Shit!  Hurley went and got his jaw stuck in Maggie's collar!  Round and round they went, neither able to get free, both screaming at the top of their lungs.

As I sprint to help them apart, I start shouting  "It's Okay. It's Okay" at the top of my lungs.  'Cause Mom running full speed at them screaming "It's OK" is totally going to soothe the panicked pups. 

As I slid to the ground next to them, I put my hands on each and they began to slow.  The second they ceased their panicked circling, Hurley was able to get his jaw free and Maggie got as far away as she could.

This all happened in about 15 seconds.  15 seconds of heart racing panic on all of our parts.  They were apart and just beginning to do the makeup butt sniffs when the Hubster arrived at the back door, panting from his sprint up the stairs. 

"What happened?" he asked.  After I explained the jaws caught in the collar, he said "It sounded like a cat and a goat were being murdered in our backyard."  Yup.  That's exactly what our dogs screaming sound like.  Hurley the cat and Maggie the goat. The cat and the goat who were back to their wrestling ways a couple hours later, sans collars.

It took me an hour and a vodka drink to stop shaking.  I prefer not to take off my dogs' collars at home.  Even though they're micro-chipped, a tag with our information is the quickest route back to us should something happen.  But from now on, I think Maggie's will have to stay off. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: That There Rope

That there rope?  Might come in awful handy for a game of tug.  Whadya say, Mom?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The One Where Hurley Hulked His Crate

A few months ago and tired of seeing Hurley scrunch down to get in his kennel, I purchased a new big boy wire kennel.  Would you like to stand up and move around, Hurley Man?  Why, your mama's got you covered!

Except that Hurley, for the most part, has completely shunned his new kennel.

Every morning, he squeezes his frame into a kennel, while perfectly sized for a 60lb dog, is way too small for my big boy.  And every morning, I face a dilemma:  make Hurley get in the bigger crate so that he's comfy but risk his acceptance of the crate in general, or leave him be and let him be cramped all day.

I always opt for the latter.  I'm providing him with a properly sized kennel and it's his choice.  A little cramped dog for now is better than having a dog who hates kennels. 

Until one morning earlier this week.  Hurley had been experimenting with hanging out in his big boy kennel in the evenings when we're watching TV and decided he was ready for an all-day trial of said big boy kennel.

I was more than happy to oblige.  Finally!  Now I don't have to feel guilty about him being cramped in the small kennel.

I got home that evening and found the Hubster painstakingly zip tie'ing virtually every seam of that wire kennel.  During the day, the Hurley Monster had decided he just couldn't stand the big boy kennel anymore and HULK'd his way out.  There is no other explanation for how he managed to bend almost every side, break most points where the wire was soldered, and squeeze his 80lb frame out in the crack he formed between the door and the bottom.  It was obviously a feat requiring super human strength!

It may have been my fault for not kenneling the girls.  Apparently, Hurley (as I had suspected, which is why heretofore, the girls were always kenneled when he was) cannot abide by the injustice of his sisters having free rein of ONE room in the entire house while he was stuck in his big boy kennel in the same room.  And so he HULK'd and he HULK'd and he muscled his way free. 

We can only assume that he was pumped up about his newfound freedom and could not contain himself because the Hubster came home to one HULK'd kennel, one proud as proud can be Hurley Monster, a den that was in complete frolicking-puppy-had-his-fun disarray, and Sadie & Maggie cowering in the corner, washing their hands of any hulking business.