June 6th is the day we brought Robert home! I figure most of you have never seen any puppy pictures so here are a couple along with some more recent ones. It is pretty hard to believe he wasn’t always part of the family and even harder to imagine what it will be like without him someday. He was about 6 months old and only 45 pounds when we brought him home… as you can see he was an adorable pup! Freya went along with the idea during the initial meet and greet at a friend’s home until it suddenly occurred to her that we meant to keep him, then she took a bit of um, convincing. He was always really good with her. In fact, when he was about a year old, Freya was getting really arthritic but still loved to play fetch so we would go to the park near us at night and let them both off leash. Scott would throw the Frisbee, Rob would chase and retrieve it, and then bring it right to Freya so she could return it to Scott for the next toss — all without a word spoken or a prearranged plan — it all just somehow fell into place thanks to Robbie.
That intuitive caring is why Robbie has been such an amazing therapy dog. I would take him to an assisted living facility for a scheduled visit and as we’d enter the common room where everyone was gathered for the event, I’d have him sit at the entrance to get our bearings. I’d watch him scan the room’s occupants and then look up at me to indicate he was ready. I’d nod to him it was okay to go and let him lead me as he walked right up to a specific person and engage them. Without fail, the event coordinator would come up to me and whisper, “That’s who I was going to ask you to be sure to visit. He or she has been having a really hard time. How does he do that?” I’d just beam at him and say, “He’s a rock star!”
I’ve heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child and a dog is no exception. Thanks to…
Audra, for pulling him from the Pierce County Humane Society
Dana & Larry Babb of Paws-Abilities for making training fun for us
My Mom for teaching him so many of his tricks
TDI, Therapy Dogs International, for giving Rob a job he loves
Drs. Theresa Hetrick and Tim Cavanaugh for taking care of him
The staff of the VCA Emergency Animal Clinic for saving his life a couple of years ago
Tanya for being the best dog-sitter in the world
Everyone else who falls in love with him everywhere we go.
Because we have the good fortune to have a wonderful house sitter, we were able to take the dogs camping this weekend. We like Olympia Campground because it is wooded and close to where we keep Chinook, our boat. We don’t plan dog activities as such, they just lie around, chase pinecones, beg snacks, bark at stuff, really the same things they do at home but it is more fun because they are outside. I spend most of my time inside, this trip I’ve been working on my tattoo-story that I’ll have posted soon. I took a break this morning for some exercise, left Scott and the dogs at the campsite and drove to the state Capitol to walk the trail that circles Capitol Lake. It is partly paved, partially gravelled and busy without feeling crowded. However, it was crowded enough that the only blackberries that were ripe were too far away to reach. All the easy to reach vines were picked clean. I did see lots of tiny ducklings but I am bummed that they don’t show up in the photo, sorry about that. I made an extra loop downtown to lengthen the walk a bit and then stopped at Taco Del Mar to bring home tasty vegan burritos for lunch, yum!
I entered in a give-away on My Yoga Online and won 2 pairs of Pluggz. The give-away consisted of a drawing from all who responded to this question on the MYO forum, the question was: How do you ground yourself?
I responded: I keep grounded by slowing down, focusing on one task at a time and reducing media inputs. And… my name was drawn! So now I get to try a really cool product that I never would have heard of otherwise. I was going to get 1 pair for Scott and 1 for me, but their men’s sizes stop at 12, so that means I get both. He doesn’t really wear flip-flops anyway so he wasn’t exactly heartbroken in case you were concerned. So far I like them, I’ll give a full review in a week or so.
Scott has our Chinook, the boat, not the dog, up at the Center for Wooden Boat’s weekend boat show. She looks great with all the other wooden boats and it is a fun crowd. There are some classic Lake Union Dreamboats. The weather has been great (fingers crossed) and the little kids are all attracted to our boat. If you are in Seattle make sure to stop by and see her. We’ll be there periodically and a friend will be showing her the rest of the time.
Remember the old slogan, “Do the Puyallup?” Well, Rob did the Puyallup this weekend. He did his bit to represent TDI, Therapy Dogs International, with his buddies Nala, a Havanese, and Rowdy, a giant teddy bear in a St. Bernard suit. Clover, a lovely Dalmation, joined us later for the next “shift.” I played chauffer and Scott acted as his valet but this was his show and he did us all proud. He met more people than I could even keep count of and he actively engaged each kid who petted him with a sense of wonder while enduring the adults who heavy handedly patted him on the head. We didn’t get to go to PawsWalk because it was the same weekend but next year, I’d like to get a team together to walk PawsWalk under a TDI banner.
We spent another beautiful weekend at Crystal Mt and received a lovely gift when we checked into the Village Inn, a gift certificate for a two night stay to thank us for the previous blogpost. How cool is that?
We had the same room and the desk clerk, who Rob has a crush on, mentioned that this is the first year that the hotel has allowed dogs. I hope they continue because it is the best weekend get-away and if we didn’t bring Robert along, all we would be doing is pointing out different things and saying to each other, “Wouldn’t Rob love this?”
This time we snowshoed to Bullion Basin on an old abandoned ski run. When we arrived at the saddle, the area was packed with kids on snowshoes and their dads. Robert wasted no time but began greeting and schmoozing them all. When they finished their lunch and departed, Rob noticed that snowmen they left behind had carrots for noses. He ate one right then and then remembered to stop and eat the other on the way back down.
What a great trip! I joined the fan group for the Snorting Elk Apre’s Skiing Adventures at Crystal Mt, WA on Facebook and have received some emails about discounts and special offers at the ski area. Scott and I decided to take advantage of the latest 3 nights for the price of 2 deal. The Village Inn has what they call deluxe pet rooms so we were able to bring Robert along for some snow recreation. The hotel was comfortable and clean and very pet friendly. They even had a dog bed in the room and each day the housekeeper left a cookie and chicken treat for him.
We brought our snowshoes and found some great trails. Scott says, “Today we ventured out of bounds into Pickhandle Basin between East Peak and Pickhandle Ridge. It was serene and very quiet. We are inspired to come back and explore further plus Robbie was beside himself with the joy of being in the snow.” He really had a blast. He never got cold or tired, he met dogs, skiers and kids, figured out that the Tully’s had milkbones and ran and ran. He did run off with a trio of snowboarders at one point but for the most part he stayed with us.
There are several different places to eat up here. The Snorting Elk Cellar is a deli and pub, the Alpine Inn is a fine dining restaurant, and the Tully’s kiosk has hot dogs, sandwiches and chili. At night the stars come all the way down to the mountaintops and we had a beautiful first quarter Moon high above us. I recommend this ski area as a great getaway, whether or not you ski. While we both love to ski we figured that snowshoeing would be more compatible with having Rob along. Have you tried snowshoeing? It is fun and great exercise. I added my snowshoe and book recommendations to my Amazon store. Click the link to the right of the blog to enter the store.
Click the link to see the rest of our photos on flickr.
Robert Bruce will be 3 on the 19th! At least he is according to his paperwork from the Pierce County Humane Society. They have a birth date that I assume is the day he was found backdated to however old they thought he he was. The really cute part is that his breed is listed as “little brown dog.” I guess they don’t see many Chinooks. He has lived with us since June 6th of 2007.
I’ll make Rob’s favorite: oatmeal peanut butter cookies. When I made these last year I left out the wheat germ because I don’t keep that around and just added a little more flour and oatmeal. They were as popular with the humans as the dogs and we ate as many as Rob did!
He will also get some new skineez. Freya ate most of these when he wasn’t looking.
I’m also making Freya’s favorite: peanut butter bark. My friend, Molly, made this last Christmas and it was Freya’s absolute favorite treat ever. For anyone who doesn’t know this yet… We lost our Freya just before Thanksgiving. She was a beautiful dog and a wonderful friend. Thank you for all the kind notes and condolences.
I always forget what a cool city Edmonds is. It has the requisite quaint downtown, beautiful waterfront and marina and more cafés than I can count. We don’t get up that way very often but Scott had an errand near town and we decided to walk the waterfront with Robert. Well, that didn’t work out because there were “no dogs” signs posted absolutely everywhere. Then a woman approached us and said that way down at the end of the street, past the marina was a dog-beach. That sounded intriguing so we headed down there. We eventually ended up at the OLAE, The Off-Leash Area Edmonds. It was a beautiful section of beach, fenced and full of dogs. One black lab was digging an enormous hole in the sand, another was fetching huge logs out of the Sound, several little terriers played together and Rob found a young German Shepherd who was just about his size to focus on. They ran and jousted and generally had great fun together. I will have to find an excuse to make that drive again soon.
Rob and Annabelle had a wonderful time at the park next to the marina in Des Moines today. What a beautiful way to start the day! Amy and I had a great hike in the woods and the trees sheltered us from most of the early drizzle. The downpour started once we were back at the truck just standing around letting the dogs play. We saw several salmon swimming up the stream from the Sound and lots of maple trees in autumn colors. Amy and Annabelle are also in the Paws-abilities Therapy Dog Pack. Her sheppie-coat sure sheds rain better than Rob’s fluffy sled-dog coat does!
PawsWalk: A Seattle tradition for 18 years. Paws, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society hosts a fundraising walk through Seattle’s Magnuson Park. Rob, Scott and I participated this year and plan to make it a family tradition. Rob had a blast and I was surprised by how calm he was. In fact, all the dogs were polite and well behaved. Now I realize that people probably only bring polite dogs to an event like this, which is why we never brought Freya, but it seems to me that the fact that we were all moving in the same direction as a pack really made a difference. When the dogs were milling around they were pretty “doggy” but once we all started walking, they were very focused. A double row of volunteers were standing at the finish line clapping for each dog who had completed the course. I was going to bypass the gauntlet but Scott nudged me and said to take Rob through. He was right! The volunteers started clapping and waving at him and he positively pranced to the water bowls at the end of the corridor. Next year, I think we’ll form a team and see if we can get some more donations. Paws announced that they had more than 1500 walkers, most with dogs ( they don’t list how many dogs) and the final dollar-count is not tallied yet but as of today they’ve raised $185,000.