Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Memory of Sadie

Sadie was our next door neighbor; a black lab mix who was the same age as Princess, and a couple years older than Dee Dee.   When Princess was still a puppy, the two of them would chase each other around and around my garage, the path worn bare beneath them.  Princess was the chaser and Sadie was the chasee.  Princess never stood a chance, but it didn't keep her from trying.   They had so much fun.

Then Dee Dee entered our lives and gave everyone a run for their money.   Sadie's gentle lab temperament was put to the test many a time, as Dee Dee fought to be top-dog.   There were a few occasions where Sadie put her in her place, but over time they became great pals.  Dee Dee would run to greet Sadie,  her butt wagging as only a corgi-butt can wag.  She'd jump up and kiss Sadie's face and then roll over in a submissive posture.   I saw that sequence play out hundreds of times and it always intrigued me.

Mike and Gina have a great bay window and nearly every day Sadie would sit there around 5:30 and wait for me to come home.   When she saw my car round the corner, she'd run to the back door and bark.   Gina would let her out, and by the time I pulled into my driveway she was standing on my front porch.   I didn't need an interpreter to understand what she wanted.  "Can the girls come out and play?"   My girls did the same.  I would be in working in some part of the house, and suddenly they would start barking and come looking for me.   I knew 'that bark'.   Sadie was outside and they wanted to go play.

Over the years, we dog-sat when Mike and Gina had to be gone, and those were the only times Sadie wasn't glad to see us.  Her world was upset, and she paced the driveway, waiting for them to come home.  The joy in her eyes was gone, and she didn't want to play.   As soon as Mom and Dad returned, she was back to her old self!

Recent years brought two bouts of Lyme Disease and a steady decline in her health.   On Friday, October 5th, it was time to say goodbye.   A few days before that, we took some final pictures on my front porch.  It is hard to come home and see Mike working in the yard without Sadie by his side.  We miss her. RIP sweet Sadie.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fall Foliage

Everything on last weekend's calendar got scratched on Friday night when I added 1+1+1 and came up with THREE compelling reasons why we were going to go to Maplewood State Park on Saturday.   1)  Fall colors - which are early this year due to the mild winter we had - were at their peak  2) Temps were forecast to be 80 degrees with SNOW in the forecast for the following week and 3) my State Park sticker was due to expire on October 1st!  

I knew parking would be a challenge, so we were on the road by 9:30 and got there just ahead of the big rush.   We even caught the very first wagon ride through the park - which was decked out in full autumn splendor.    It was a bittersweet day for me, as I realized this was Dee Dee's last hike to the Hallaway Overlook (an annual trek).   Her back legs are all but lame at this point, and when she attemps to climb steps, they no longer lauch her forward, but sprawl out sideways.   So we did most of the hike with my hand on her butt for support.   It was a long walk, doing it that way, but we were rewarded with a view of Lake Lida surrounded by Sugar Maples and Sumac that gave the shoreline the appearance of being on fire.

We had lunch at the main shelter  (pulled pork sandwiches ... yum!) and then went off in search of a lake that was clean enough for the girls to swim in.  Lake Lida (at least the section along the beach) had a layer of thick, fluorescent  green foam ... blue/green algae, which is not only gross to look at but can be toxic to dogs.    I did find Trout Lake, just a short hike off one of the back roads, and it was relatively clean,  so Princess and Dee enjoyed one last dip for the season.   

 On our way home, we stopped at Sherin Memorial Park in Pelican Rapids, which was also lovely.   That area is especially known for the sugar maples, while back home in Fargo/Moorhead, it is the golden ash trees along the Red River that almost take your breath away.     The drought conditions and early hard freeze that we had this year have made the colors more vibrant than I've seen them in years.   Unfortunately, a couple of windy days this week have caused the leaves to drop very quickly.