Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday Hike Report for 7/15/11

Another fantastic day on the trail for our Friday Hikers! The weather was just sublime and we were comfortable all day. Today, we went to Pratt’s Brook Park in Yarmouth from 8:45 until 11:00 a.m. and then to Fuller Farm in Scarborough from 12 to 2 p.m. Both locales offered a ton of fun for the dogs! At FF, we ran into the crew from Portland's Paws and I was so pleased that our pack was so social and kind to the 5 dogs hiking with the PP folks. Yay!

OSCAR Yorkie was hiking with us for the first time today. He’s still pretty young and is just about to transition from the DWD Puppy School to our Graduate Program for Small Breeds next week. He was a superb hiker! Initially, we had him drag a leash until we felt comfortable that he knew how to “check in” with us and would come back to us when we squeaked our squeaker. Once he knew that treats were involved, he was THERE consistently! Yay, Oscar! He made friends with Duke Puggle, who will be in his Tuesday Pack, and also really enjoyed Angus Cairn Terrier. Oscar is welcomed to join us for Friday hikes whenever his parents can send him! Welcome aboard, Young Man!

JETHRO Choc Lab returned to the pack today after being absent just before the school vacation week. We missed him!! Jethro is crazy in the woods and especially in the fields with the tall grass! It totally turns him on to bounce around in those fields! What is he looking for? We just don’t know, but it makes us laugh time and again. Jethro managed to find a TENNIS BALL in the woods at each location today, and then he had to do all sorts of crazy stuff with try to bury them, make mud pies with them, play some sort of fetching game for one (himself) in the water with them. It was nuts! We were glad to have our buddy back! Rosie wants him to be her BFF but he just raises his lip at her and shows her his big wolf teeth, which also makes us laugh out loud! Poor Rosie!

ROSIE Black Lab was her usual crazy self on the trail today. Thanks again to Dukey for putting up with her wild antics which usually involve tackling him, biting his neck, stealing his sticks and other assorted mayhem. Rosie had a blast and ate a ton of grass, gnawed on half a forest full of trees, swam in every water source, including mud puddles, and was just full of energy, as usual. We love you, Rosie...and it’s a good thing you’re so darned beautiful, baby!! Lola Sharpei Boxer has become a great pal for Rosie, and we are loving that....because Lola is about the same size as Rosie and can go paw-to-paw with her without us worrying that she’ll get hurt. Thanks, Lola!

LYLA Italian Greyhound/Min Pin was outstanding on the trail today, as usual. She is totally in her element in the woods and she and Lola are ALWAYS hot on the trail of some vermin or other! Addie is usually right with them, too. Lyla always returns as soon as she’s called and LOVES all the food rewards. Lyla is definitely getting the hang of our hikes and loosens up and enjoys her pack mates more each time she’s with us. We love this! She’s always a frontrunner and trailblazer, for sure!

LOLA Sharpei Boxer gave us a little trouble in the field after our first outing at Pratt’s Brook Park, because we couldn’t get her to come to us to get leashed for the last leg of the journey to the car. I decided to “trust” her that she’d come along with us safely and she did. But...then we had to coax her with some water in the water bowl in order to get our hands on her to put her in the car. Success! And a leash...ha ha! We outsmarted her at Fuller Farm and caught her BEFORE she knew what was up. HER leash was the first to go on. Other than that slight blip, she was wonderful and silly and fun! She is continuing to build some nice relationships with her pack mates and we can totally tell that she really likes certain dogs now. She will play bow and slam her paws down on the ground in front of Addie or Angus or Duke and get them to chase, wrestle and play with her. It’s adorable, as is she! We love her!

LILY Pomapoo had her first off-leash hike on Monday with the DWD school dogs and her second today. We think she’s wonderful in the woods. But, let me tell you -- she ONLY has eyes for Brody. These two are in LOVE! It’s ridiculous, really. She has to sit on his lap, pose for pics with him...and she’s always turning around to make sure he’s right there when she’s marching down the trail. He loves her right back, which is kind of heart-warming. Lily played with all
the big and small dogs in her class and she’s not shy about telling any dog who is too rough to buzz the heck off! I love that about this little 4.7 pound gal, don’t you? Lily, of course, road on Brody’s lap in the car. Good gawd...these two are joined at the hip!

MOLLY Morkie had a blast, as usual, on our hike. She really loved having Lily PP along and they shared Brody toward the back of the pack most of the time. Molly and I have actually grown pretty close on these hikes and I like to have her alongside me as well! She just makes me smile all the time because she’s such a rubber band...jumping over roots and boulders and bouncing like a bunny through the fields and forest! And she loves the water! Molly has a crazy bark when we meet up with other dogs/people in the woods and occasionally when we are in the car and she sees something. So, we’re working on that. Otherwise, she’s perfect and we ALWAYS love having her joyful heart along with us on these hikes. Wouldn’t be the same without her, truly!

DUKE Puggle was great again today. Other than whining in the car here and there, and excitedly barking here and there, he’s a dream to have aboard. He puts up with Rosie’s rough love all day and reluctantly shares his sticks with her. He’s nice to all the new dogs who join our group. He has more energy than almost any dog in the pack. He is obedient on the trail and never takes off on us. What’s not to love? Oh...and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a super cute baby, right? Duke seems like he was made for the Maine woods. He’s a true outdoorsman, or...outdoorsdog! Seriously!

ANABELLE Sheltie continues to be a favorite of the Pack Leaders and the pack members alike. She is just so steady and reliable on the trail and she is full of fun when we stop at the watering holes. She loves to be chased through the underbrush at break-neck speeds by the entire pack. It’s amazing to watch....and challenging to catch with the camera! This gal can MOVE! Anabelle gets into the water up to her belly, but she’s yet to truly swim with the group. That’s okay! We really enjoy having her along and she’s been such an amazing student at DWD that even THIS writer is thinking about maybe getting a Sheltie in the future.

ANGUS Cairn Terrier is yet another favorite of everyone! Angus has been beautifully behaved from the get-go with our hikes and he is completely at ease and in his element in the woods. His terrier build was made for the rocky terrain and he easily scrambles up and down banks to get to his favorite thing: swimming! I get so much joy from watching this sturdy boy dog paddle with his little head just above the surface. He’s been wonderful in the back seat, long as he gets a window seat! I think he missed Casco and Tonya this time out! Sorry, Angus...

ADDIE Schnauzer...last to get written about, but I assure you...NEVER last on the trail! Addie is very independent and curious in the woods, but she’s been really dependable on recall and we feel confident in her in the woods. She does venture off to explore the areas adjacent to the trail but she returns when we squeak our squeaker. Addie does like the water, even though she’s not gotten ALL the way in. She did a lot of rubbing of her snout and back in the grass when we got to areas that were good for this. It DID make me slightly nervous, as Addie missed our last hike because she had a serious allergic reaction to something environmental (we think an insecticide on someone’s lawn) about two weeks ago. But, she seemed fine other than the occasional back scratch! Addie sat in the back seat on the floor behind the driver (me) in the car and squeezed her snout in between my seat and the door so she could give my hand a few kisses....and accept a few stealthily-dispensed pieces of kibble during the car rides! Hee hee...that’s just part of being one of the teacher’s pets, right?

ABSOLUTELY great hike again today, folks! I will post a photo album on FB and send those of you w/o FB a link so you can see all the terrific photos taken by me and Brody on our outing. I am so grateful to ALL of you parents for funding your dogs’ weekly adventures. They are truly so lucky to have all of you!! XO

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hike Report for Friday July 1, 2011

WEATHER REPORT: Wow! Have we EVER been lucky with the weather for our Friday hikes so far. If it rains, it pours so there’s been that ONE cancellation, but...the rest of our Fridays have been EXCELLENT and today’s weather was no exception. Clear blue skies, plenty of sun and temps that didn’t faze the dogs one bit: we’ll take it!

LOCATION: Today we hiked in two great spots - Fuller Farm in Scarborough and Pratt’s Brook in Yarmouth. BOTH were exceptional and we didn’t run into a single human being or dog in either place, so we had them all to ourselves!

You already know all about Fuller Farm and I still highly recommend you take a trip out there. Your dogs will show you all around! Pratt’s Brook is yet another AMAZING find and we will be going back there regularly. We could’ve stayed and played for hours today, but the dogs were tired from the earlier jaunt at Fuller Farm. To find Pratt’s Brook, take Rte One through the center of Yarmouth. Go past the Hannaford Plaza on Rte One (McDonald’s is in the corner of this mini mall), go under the overpass for 295 and then take a LEFT at the light just after that. You’ll go up a little hill to a two-way stop. Take a RIGHT and then a quick LEFT onto NORTH ROAD. Go about a mile or two and look for the sign for the trailhead and parking area on your RIGHT. Plenty of parking and a kiosk with site map await you. My advice is to LOOK at that map and decide on your route before entering. There’s a lot of trails in there and we sort of lost our way momentarily before finding our way back out!

The terrain at Pratt’s Brook is quite easy to hike....more of a woods walk than a mountain hike for sure! You can wear Teva or Keen water sandals, athletic shoes or hiking boots and you’ll be fine in any of them. We wore long pants for bug protection and were glad we did. Bug spray is recommended....for your dog as well!

NEW PACK LEADER: Today we had Pack Leader In Training (PLIT) Brody Cullenberg along for his first hike. He's fresh from the streets of Istanbul, Turkey where he just spent five months doing a semester abroad. He was an excellent navigator in the car as well as in the woods. The dogs all loved having him along and want him to come back and hike again next time. Since he's getting paid....he most likely will! Thanks, Brody, for being such a great helper today.

HIKER REPORTS: Oliver Fluffy Mix had his FIRST hike today! He won’t be a regular part of the Friday group, but joined us today as an audition to be sure he could handle being out off leash with a group. He’ll now hike with the DWD small adults on Mondays. Oliver had some fear of crossing bridges and we got him through that eventually (many bridges to cross). He lost his off-leash privileges for ignoring our recall requests and heading into someone’s yard and garage at Fuller Farm. He dragged a leash the remainder of the day and was excellent and obeyed recall from there on out. He had a blast and was in the front of the pack with Lyla most of the day. We think he'll make a fine little hiker with his Monday class!

Molly Morkie was so happy to have her pal Ollie along today. She’s not seen him in a while and today she had him all to herself. Of course, she prefers to stay at the back of the pack near me, so they only played when we stopped to rest, etc. Sometimes Ollie would walk with her when he wasn’t at the front of the pack. Molly went swimming again! Yay....she loves the water. She got independent after a couple of hours and stopped traveling alongside my ankle, which is always wonderful for her. She had some serious fun chasing and being chased when we stopped at the watering holes!

Lyla Greyhound/Min Pin Mix will now be a regular Friday hiker and we’re happy to

have her aboard! She always blazes the trail ahead of us and she’s super-reliable on recall. I trust her immensely and she never lets me down. She loves treats so comes running whenever I squeak my toy for her! She loves everyone in the pack, but keeps away from the wild young Rosie because she’s afraid to get hurt I think. Lyla went in the water a lot today....not swimming but definitely wading and running along the shallow areas. Great to see...

Angus Cairn Terrier is an excellent swimmer and keeps right up with the Labs. He had yet another fabulous hike today and we trust him off-leash for sure! He did have one bobble....when we took a wrong turn at Fuller Farm and the trail ended at someone’s horse farm! Angus went right under the fence and went in to say hello to the horses. Brody was able to coax him (and Lola too) back out. Silly! Angus can sometimes be pesky in the back seat because he MUST have a window seat. Molly didn’t like being stepped on by him, lol! Angus is terrific to have aboard and he is totally in his element in the woods. Oh by the way....umm...Angus got a Benadryl before we left in the morning by accident. I was attempting to give it to Lola in a piece of cheese but she was refusing and I dropped it. You-know-who was right there and snatched it and swallowed it right up. Damn! But he wasn’t harmed and was his normal self all day.

Lola Sharpei-Boxer Mix had a lovely time today. There’s absolutely NO WAY I’ll be able to give her Benadryl, though. She won’t eat anything I’ve tried. So, she’ll have to have it before leaving home on future hikes. I don’t feel comfortable having her with us if she’s not had it, honestly, and it’s not something that’s going to leave her feeling drugged out or lethargic, so I’d just as soon have her take it as a precaution. I will carry a bottle of LIQUID Benadryl with a syringe-type dispenser for emergency use. In any event, Lola didn’t have a reaction to bug bites today, thankfully. On the trail, she’s ridiculously energetic and veers off the trail regularly, usually with little Lyla following or leading. We trust Lola to return to us, but she did have a hard time resisting the urge to join the horses in their corral and we had to coax her back out! Silly girl, she wanted to play cattle dog!! Lola got in the water a lot and she also laid down in a mud puddle or two with Tonya and Rosie. Lola is making good friends with the rest of her pack and you can see how much she enjoys being with all of us. Awwww.....

Duke Puggle is just the BOMB on our hikes. He was the object of Rosie’s affection all day, and that’s a big job for a Puggle! She was all over him all day, wanting to wrestle and bite him and wanting to take his sticks and wanting to get on his back in the water. Seriously, Rosie?! Duke takes it all so well and just keeps on trucking. Duke had a new experience in the car today....he got to ride in the “way back” with some of his pals on the way home! He did okay...only whining for Auntie Ju Ju a little here and there. I got some great photos of Duke practicing his balance beam act for his next gymnastics meet. He managed to walk gingerly across a stream on a downed tree limb...and it was skinny...and he ALMOST made it w/o falling in!

Rosie Black Lab is officially a teenager. She was impish and wild and rough here and there. We’re giving her a warning today! All of her pals can only take so much, after all. Rosie has boundless energy and she’s all over everyone all day. They are mostly indulgent and tolerant of her, but once in a while they yell at her in annoyance. She tends to rip down the trail when she’s excited (which is most of the time) and takes out the smaller ones, who now step aside in fear when they know she’s on the way. Good news, everyone....Rosie gets spayed on Tuesday and that might simmer her down a bit. Let’s not forget she’s the BABY of the group, even if she is one of the largest now. And she means well. And she LOVES all of you so much, doggies!! Rosie swam like a champion with the best of the swimmers today...even if she did try to climb on Auntie Tonya’s back and drown Angus with love while doing it! Good grief... Rosie is good in the car. She always rides in the “way back” and we do our very best to wear her out for the ride home. Thankfully she’s better on the leash than DUKE is, so she gets extra points for that...

Anabelle Sheltie gets another Gold Star hiking award today. Anabelle is never a moment’s trouble on our hikes. She ALWAYS gets to sit near Casco in the car because she’s nice to him. She keeps everyone happy when we stop for play time in the woods because she flies around and wants everyone to try and catch her as she nimbly jumps tree trunks and water obstacles along the path. She takes treats very gently (Rosie, please take lessons from her!) and doesn’t hurt our fingers. And she indulges us by wearing a bandana around her neck, even though she really doesn’t want to. THANK YOU, Miss Anabelle, for being such an amazing presence on our hikes. The joy that Anabelle gets from being in the woods and keeping us all in line is evident. And, she’s pretty special to Uncle Mike, who always brings her home last so he can have her little head on his shoulder for a little while as they travel to her home at the end of the day.

Tonya Bernier should get a special mention today, and I hope you all take time to read her paragraph as well as Casco’s. Tonya is just an amazing Momma dog for our hikes. She is quiet and steady on the trail. She never yells at Rosie when Rosie insists on kissing her for the 100th time each hour. She sits and waits for her treats and

doesn’t expect special treatment because she’s so pretty or because she’s the owners’ fur daughter. She supervises all the young-uns swimming lessons, and she’s just the best car traveler, sitting and napping on the floor of the back seat so Angus and Casco can have the window seats. THANK YOU, Miss Tonya, for being all that you are. We love you to pieces.

Casco Bernier has also been a wonderful presence on our hikes, but we have a very sad announcement to make: today, he is giving up his bandana and retiring from our program. He just can’t keep up with the young dogs on the trail, try as he might. He has tried to keep it from us, but today, he was limping and when we’d stop for the kids

to swim or play, he would lie down on his side and really had us worried. His exhaustion was too much for us to bear and we’ll be allowing him to stay home on the couch from here on out. He will celebrate his 10th birthday this summer and we always knew that this time would come eventually. We’ll miss our boy so much on our hikes!! XOXO Casco!

ABSENT: Jethro Choc Lab and Addie Schnauzer will rejoin our program after the school vacation next week.

DWD is closed from July 4 through July 8. We look forward to seeing our Friday Hikers again on July 15! Sadly....there will be NO video of our hike this week, as my iMovie program is acting up. I will TRY to get this fixed over my vacation. I know how much you all love the videos, believe me!!