Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Strong Willed Corgis

I've mentioned before that my corgis have very different personalities. In fact, when I talk to other corgi owners, I sometimes think that mine must be on opposite ends of the personality continuum. Princess is 'off the charts' independent, bossy, opinionated and strong willed.

Dee Dee is usually very compliant and easy going .... but now and then she exerts her will, and when she does, it's usually pretty funny. When getting ready for a trip, I can count on Princess to attach herself to my heel as soon as she sees the suitcase come upstairs, the camping equipment go in the trunk or the cooler in the kitchen. She is going to make darn sure that she doesn't get left behind. Dee Dee is more complex, because, while she doesn't want me to go off and leave her, she really would rather that we all stay home.
We had decent weather on our vacation overall, but the first few days were cold and stormy. The first night in the tent went well, as we had just a light rain that is actually a very soothing sound on the tent. The second night out, we weren't so lucky. Thunder, lightning and eventually hail pounded the tent. The hail was just pea-size (if that) but it sounded like baseballs on the tent. Dee Dee could not get out of the tent fast enough. I waited until there was a bit of a lull in the storm, and then I took her to the car and sat there with her until the worst of the storm subsided. (Princess was in the tent alone ... sleeping soundly.) After that, Dee Dee steadfastly refused to go back in the tent. In some ways this was nice. She slept in the car, and Princess enjoyed having me all to herself in the tent. But I felt bad for her, all alone in the car. Still, if she felt safe there ... then that was a good thing. So all was well until the second to the last night of our trip, which was a few days before July 4. Some kids in the campground decided to get a jump start on the holiday and were shooting off fireworks.
There is nothing that freaks Dee Dee out more than fireworks. I tried to cover the noise by putting the radio on in the car, but it didn't help her much. After that, she just couldn't find anywhere that she felt totally safe, and she became downright ornery. Both of the girls (and me, too, for that matter!) were getting pretty tired by that time and were ready to go home, but Dee Dee's logic played a trick on her. She wanted to go home; that was very clear. But she was tired of the car ... of riding in it, and of sleeping in it. With limited understanding of how a car 'works', she knew enough to realize that if she sat ON the driver's side floor, we weren't able to go anywhere.

And so each time I left them in the car to go into a store, bathroom or to snap a picture, I came back to find Dee Dee sitting right on top of the gas pedal. I told her to 'come'. She looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to grab her collar, and she dug down and arched her back. Dee Dee is strong when she needs to be. (Just ask the groomer who cuts her nails.) It was funny and frustrating at the same time. The first few times it happened, I was able to coax her out of the car with a piece of turkey, then pick her up and put her in the back seat. But she got wise to that, too, after a while. She really can be a character! By the time we crossed the Red River into Minnesota, we were all worn out, and happy to be home.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Big Sky Country

We had a wonderful trip last month to Glacier National Park in Montana. Camping with two dogs is fun but also takes some planning. We generally try to go early in the season before it gets too hot, because there are obviously times when I have to leave the girls alone in the car. If it is too warm, that really gets to be a problem.
I remember one time a few years ago where I stopped at a rest area and made a mad dash in and out because it was in the 90's and even with the windows open, it was just too hot to leave the girls alone for more than a minute. I've also been known to take them with me into public restrooms ... not very often, but I've done it. Anyway, we were very fortunate with this trip because, although it started out cold, windy and very rainy, by the time we got to our destination, the weather improved greatly and was perfect for the rest of the week. The US National Parks don't allow dogs on the
hiking trails due to the crowds, and, in places such as Glacier, because of the threat of bears. Bears see dogs (especially small dogs) as prey, and I cannot even imagine what I would do if one ever threatened one of my dogs. (It's one of those things I can't even think about.) It was cool enough to leave the girls in the car while I did some morning hikes, and the scenery that exists in the national park, also exists in areas surrounding it (national forests, state parks, etc.) where I can hike with the dogs.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the drive home along Hwy 200 which goes through a very sparsely populated area (i.e. no towns!!) I wouldn't want to have car trouble in that area, but fortunately that wasn't an issue and I just loved watching the sun go down over the vast, open ranch land with the mountains off in the distance. Our last stop was Medora, and the ND Badlands.

We took a day trip outside the park and around Flathead Lake one day, and it was beautiful! We even found a designated dog swimming beach at Yellow Bay State Park on the east side of the lake. That was fun!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July. We are spending a quiet day at home, as we just returned from a wonderful camping vacation to Glacier National Park in Montana. Truthfully, this is the girls' least favorite day of the whole year ... especially Dee Dee's. To say she hates fireworks would be an understatement. She spends a lot of time in her kennel and I leave the basement door open so she can retreat down there if she hears too much action and needs a safer place. MN is a state where fireworks are illegal, except professional displays, but we seem to hear plenty of them anyway.

I will post a couple of photos from our trip today, and more in the coming days. The first part of the trip was tough ... four days of rain and cold ... and getting kicked out of a bluegrass festival at Cross Ranch State Park in ND because dogs weren't allowed. I had called specifically to ask about this when I made my reservation and was told that dogs were OK as long as we sat towards the back. When I got there, I was told the same thing at the gate ... and we went in and sat down .. only to be kicked out by the ranger 10 minutes later. The girls were snuggled up beside me and not bothering anyone, so it was very disappointing to have to leave.

The rest of the trip was great. The weather improved and Glacier was fabulous. We also had a wonderful campground with WiFi internet (yeah!!!!) and we were able to connect with my brother Dan as he traveled from Seattle to Denver. That was unplanned, and a wonderful bonus to the trip! The girls had a great time, but were getting pretty tired by the end of our time there. I could write a book about Dee Dee's antics
on this trip ... maybe I'll limit that to a post. She was one worn out dog by the time we got home!