Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Zacchaeus!

One year old! 
I can hardly believe that this handsome boy is one year old already!    When I brought him home at 6 weeks, he was just 2-1/2 pounds and fit in the palm of my hand.

Seven weeks old
In fact, I snuck him into the food court at West Acres Mall (in my purse) and passed him around the table for my stamp group to meet.  He grew so fast over the next few months that I could literally see him change from day to day.



Zacchaeus Robert is now a big boy at 31 lbs; lean and muscular with a long back and, by corgi standards, very long legs.   He is full of puppy mischief, loves to play with anyone who will engage him but is just as content to snuggle up beside you.   Zakki loves everybody!  The only time you hear a snarl is if Princess walks too close to his kennel when he's eating.   He is very sweet to her and always gives her a good-morning kiss.   He loves sticks, Frisbees and balls of all shapes and sizes, but his favorite 'thing' to play with is Scarlett.    The chasing and rough housing show no signs of slowing down.   They love to go to the dog park and play with the other dogs there, but are always happy to get home so that the 'real fun' can begin!

Happy birthday, dear Zakki!   Happy birthday to you!!  What joy and fun you have brought into my life.


As this handsome boy was entering the world, another handsome boy was preparing to leave it. Elvis Bogart Wales left us on July 29, 2013 - just one day after Zacchaeus was born.  Of course at tthat time, we had no idea of that link. We miss him so much, especially when we're together at the cabin.   We will be there again next week, spending a few days with both of my brothers.   The weather is looking to be much warmer than it was in June.   Can't wait!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Week at Au Train and One Determined Puppy!

About mid-March of each year, when Winter seems endless and Spring as elusive as a moonbeam, I begin counting the days before we go to Au Train.   In the upper peninsula of Michigan, snow pack lingers far into May, but by the end of June, even in a year such as this, it has given way to wildflowers and lush green countryside.   However, because so much of Lake Superior froze this year, swimming is unthinkable, and even in a kayak, the cold permeates the floor and sends a chill through your body.  But Au Train Lake and the Au Train River (on which our cabin is located) are surprisingly warm.

 https://vimeo.com/99468558

I was hoping to get Zak swimming this week and we certainly tried. He is able to paddle to shore, but not yet brave enough to willingly lose touch with the ground.   We'll get there.   It was a relaxing week, with lots of time to sit on the deck,  hang out at the beach and explore the backroads.   We've been vacationing there for years, but now we are 'locals' so we figured we'd better get to know the area!

Princess rides home in style

If our week at the cabin was relaxing and uneventful, our trip home was anything but.   Zak has gone on several trips this year already - to the Twin Cities, to my friend's lake cabin over Memorial Day weekend - and done well in the car.   I decided that I'd rather have his wire kennel along this trip, so I left his travel kennel at home.   That was a bad decision.   On the way over, a couple of things happened that freaked him out.    We drove through a pretty intense thunderstorm with pea size hail (which sounds VERY loud on the car roof) and, taking state highways rather than interstate, we hit a lot of rumble sticks.   Like Dee Dee, Zak has a zero tolerance for rumble sticks! He felt that the only safe place to ride was in my lap, and THAT was where he determined to sit!   This didn't start until the last 100 miles of our trip to the cabin, and I was able to push him back with my hand, although it was hard.   He is 31 lbs; very strong and very determined!

So, for the trip home, I decided that he'd ride in the kennel in the back seat.   I thought that if I got it through the door flattened out, I'd be able to assemble it inside and it would fit on the seat.   It didn't.   Tim folded it up and made a barricade between the front and back seats by tying it to the headrests. It took Zak all of two minutes to figure out how to get under it. I stopped to plug holes several times, but he managed to find a way over, under, around or through every barricade. He wanted to be in my lap, and was determined to get there.   I had to pull over five times because he had gotten himself stuck between the door and the seat.   He nearly strangled himself when I leashed him to the kennel.  I was becoming far too distracted by his theatrics, and finally gave in and put him in the front seat.   I knew he would try to get into my lap, and he did, but when I shut off the AC vent in front of him, he finally settled down and rode reasonably well the rest of the way.    The girls slept nearly the entire twelve hour trip home, whereas Zak didn't take so much as a catnap.   He was exhausted when we got home, curled up in his kennel and went right to sleep.  

We are going back to Au Train for another week in August.   Needless to say, the travel kennel will be going with us!
Sunset over the Au Train River


     

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

It is hard to believe that we began the month of May with temps   in the 30's and are ending it in the 90's!  We made a quick transition from winter to summer!   The puppies and I had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend at a friend's lake cabin south of Duluth.  We have so many wonderful memories of Princess, Dee Dee and Elvis swimming in the Great Lakes, so I was eager to teach Scarlett and Zak to swim.   I held Scarlett's collar for about five seconds and she took right off!   Zak was more tentative.  He desperately wanted to get the stick but couldn't muster the courage to get his nose wet.  My friend tossed him in once at the end of the dock and he paddled to shore; a look of abject terror on his face.   He didn't let her get near him again!  He loved the water though, and I have no doubt he'll be swimming by the end of the summer.
Scarlett learns to swim!

 Zak has been limping on and off  the past few weeks so I took  him for an Xray on Wednesday.   I expected to learn he had a bad sprain or maybe had sustained a hairline fracture when he jumped off the bed a while back.   Unfortunately, the news was much worse than either of those things.   Zak has a  condition known as premature growth plate closure, which occurs  most often in short-legged breeds.  I am waiting on a second opinion, but we are  almost certainly facing at least  one surgery; quite possibly  more.   It was a devastating  blow and has turned my summer  upside down.  The timing is  especially bad, as we had looked  forward to some summer fun, after a long, cold winter.   The hardest part will be keeping Zak quiet.  His favorite 'toy' is a chipboard mailing tube and I have accumulated quite a stash, thanks to a co-worker who works part-time at WalMart.  I'm hopeful that they will keep him happy and entertained in his post-operative recovery.


 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Yunker Farm Dog Park

Spring has been slow to come this year as is so often the case in this part of the world.  But we have gradually been warming up, and the mud at the dog parks has been drying up.   We enjoyed about a week at the Midtown Dam park (the closest, and our favorite) in April before the rains came and flooded it.   Since then, we've been going to the Yunker Farm Dog Park which would probably be our favorite, if it weren't so far away.    We have met some great people - and canines, too! - at both parks.   One night recently, we met a great young couple, Jake & Jade, and their two dogs, Eleanor and Rigby.   It turns out that Jake is a talented photographer, and he took these great shots of my puppies.



Photos by Jake Blotter Photography

Zak and Scarlett are extremely friendly and sociable with other dogs, no matter what size, breed or temperament.   We usually go to the 'big dog' side because corgis are really 'big dogs with short legs'.  They do seem to gravitate towards other dogs in the 'herding' family ... Australian shepherds, border collies, shelties, blue heelers.   Scarlett can keep up with the big dogs very well and often is the the first to get the ball or stick or whatever toy has been thrown.     Zak enjoys playing with the other dogs too, but he enjoys the people even more.   He is particularly drawn to men, and one night recently had a great time playing with a young boy (10-12 years old) who had long legs and let Zak chase him for a solid 30 minutes.  I don't know who had more fun!   I enjoy the dog park because I know when we get home, the puppies will be tuckered out, I'll have the rest of the evening to myself and we'll all sleep well.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sleeping arrangements



We cycle through various bedtime routines that are established by the dogs; not me.  Currently, Princess and Scarlett start out sleeping with me while Zak prefers his kennel.   But about half way through the night, everyone switches places.   Princess gets restless and jumps off the bed and goes out to her bed in the living room.   Zak starts whimpering, and after a trip outside to go potty, comes into bed with me.   And Scarlett finishes out the night in her kennel.   I can't have Scarlett and Zak on the bed at the same time because they would play rather than sleep.   This picture was taken about 3 a.m. during one of our middle-of-the-night switcharoos.

Zak and Scarlett experienced their first thunderstorm this week.   They were unphased by it.   I'm so eager to take them swimming for the first time.   They've waded into the Red River a couple of times and did well, so I'm hopeful that they will acclimate to the lake and learn to enjoy it as much as Princess, Dee Dee and Elvis did. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marching through Mud

I never got this dirty in Alabama!
It's that season we call 'early Spring' .... the time of year when you spot the first robin, observe daffodils pushing through the soil and exchange down parkas for canvas jackets.  In Minnesota we eventually experience all of those things, but first, we have to endure the season of mud.   Melted snow pools over the yet-frozen ground, potholes wreak havoco on your shock absorbers and sidewalks turn into skating rinks.   We won't see anything green for at least a month.   And for corgis, the season of mud is especially nasty.   Short legs and plump mid-sections are destined to drag the dirt wherever they travel.

All clean and shiney! 
After a brutally cold winter with far too few trips to the park, I was eager to get the puppies out for some exercise.  So last week, we made two trips to our  favorite dog park near the midtown  dam.   The first time wasn't bad. There were  a few puddles, but it's a large  area and most of it was still covered with compacted snow.  The puppies had a blast; especially Scarlett.   They ran with the Bassett Hounds, the Golden Retrievers and an assortment of mutts.   Scarlett practiced her herding skills and kept up with even the largest dogs.

You track it in .... you clean it up!
Three 45+ degree days later, we went again.   I should have known better.   The snow covered lawn had turned into something that resembled a freshly plowed cornfield.   I gave serious consideration to just leaving.  But there were other dogs there - a few, anyway - and their owners didn't seem to be too stressed.   And Scarlett was pulling at the end of her leash.   So we entered and against my better judgement, I turned them loose.  A large golden was begging Scarlett to give chase and she happily obliged, with Zakki in close pursuit.   Less than a minute later I knew my plans for a quiet evening at home had just been canceled.   It would be 'bath night'.   Soap, water and several large bath towels turned my blackened furballs into cuddly puppies once again.

We can't wait to go back to the dog park.  In May.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Handsome Boy!

I went to a craft show last weekend.     Bought Zak a tie.   It looks so cute on him that I just have to share it! I think he looks very dapper.

Zak is full of puppy playfulness, but when you take his picture, he gets pretty serious and it's hard to get a smile.   We are working hard on obedience these days and he is learning his commands.   He knows 'sit', 'stay', 'down' and 'come' very well.   With those essential ones mastered, we're starting to work on some more fun ones like 'shake' and 'roll over'.    He learned to roll over in about ten minutes.   I pushed him all the way over three times, then he went part way over twice on his own and I pushed him the rest of the way.   After that, he had it!    It's his favorite trick.