Monday, April 16, 2018

Frostbite in April?

I'm probably exaggerating, but seriously, it feels like I got frostbite on our walk tonight. It was the most miserable walk I've taken in a long time.

Ice has returned to the Wisconsin River.

When I got home from work tonight, the dogs were really wound up and obviously needed to get some exercise. I figured it would take more than backyard fetch to tire them out and I really want to get Jake on a good routine of daily walks so he knows what he can count on each day, so I talked myself into taking a walk even though it felt pretty cold out.

The ski hill in the background is still operating... in April.

Actually when I checked my cellphone for the temperature, it said it was 28 degrees, which in April should feel more like 35. But no. With the extreme windchill, I think it was more like 2 degrees.

My legs are REALLY red and hot, like burning hot. Which is weird because they're freezing.

The dogs are tired though, and that was the goal. I'm going to snuggle in bed and get warm now. Wake me up when spring gets here.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Snowmageddon - 4.15.18

When I brought our new puppy home last week, I was thinking how much better it is to get a puppy in spring rather than in winter (like I did with Charlie). It would be so much easier for potty-training and getting into a leashed-walk routine morning and night.

And then Snowmageddon happened the following day. Between Friday night and Saturday night we received 15 inches of snow. By Sunday morning there was an additional 6 inches of snow... and at the time of writing this on Sunday afternoon, it is still snowing.

Luckily the dogs are loving it! They are romping around the backyard and burying & digging up toys. I am exhausted from shoveling in shifts around the clock to prevent it from getting too deep for me to handle. Every few hours I go out and shovel. I'm sore and tired, but in a good way I guess. It's great exercise. And I absolutely love watching these guys play. It's entertaining beyond belief.

But it's also April 15th. And I want to see green grass. I want to hear the birds singing.

I am sick of snow.

VIDEOS (backyard blizzard fun):

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Year of the Dog - Introducing Jake!

I have been seriously considering getting another dog for at least a year now. But with Charlie's fear-aggressive issues toward other dogs, I was skeptical whether we could make it work. Fortunately, Charlie has done great with all the work we've done to get her ready... and it finally happened!

I had been searching rescue sites for the past couple of months and after filling out applications and being approved for several organizations, we found a good match for Charlie this week. On Thursday, we drove 3+ hours to Milwaukee to visit a puppy from Rescue Gang.

We spent some time at the foster's home introducing the dogs and learning about our new puppy. Charlie seemed to take to him fairly well and after careful consideration, he came home with us!

It's crazy how so much time went into this process and then is seemed like it was happening so fast. I couldn't believe we had a new puppy!

Both dogs are doing great and every day they get more comfortable with each other. Jake is very good at watching Charlie for cues when she's had enough and is respectful when she gives him a growl/nip to stop playing.

VIDEO (snacking on bully sticks together):

But for the most part, Charlie is loving playing with another dog. It's so much fun watching them chase each other around the yard and playing tug with toys in the living room. And Jake seems so happy to have a "big sister" to look up to. He follows her on walks and shadows her every move.

Our first walk together... it was already starting to get a little dark out.

Jake and his four other litter-mates were found abandoned in an empty field in Texas when they were 4 months old. Their mother was missing and they were all starving. After being scooped up by a rescue down there, they were shipped up to Wisconsin. Jake received treatment for ringworm and giardia and is now all better. He's slowly putting on weight and getting to a good size. He appears to be a Black Mouth Cur/Lab mix and I'm seriously considering having one of those DNA tests done to see what he actually might be.

In the meantime, he's pure cuteness. He's bringing so many smiles and laughter into the house. It's fun experiencing all the puppy nuances again and seeing him bringing out the puppy in Charlie too. I don't even mind the fact that after leaving him alone for 2 minutes on his first night home, he ate my cellphone. All things are forgiven when learning the "rules" of having a puppy again.. like, if you value something, put it away.

The first puppy "casualty". I'm sure there will be more. Lol.

So in this Chinese Year of the Dog, we now have double the dog to love in our home. And we couldn't be happier.

Those eyes will melt your heart! And the forehead wrinkles!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Finding Joy in the Snowstorm

I'm not even sure what to say about this. It's April 4th and we've gotten almost 18 inches of snow in the past four days... 6 inches on March 31st and almost 12 inches over the past two days. It's crazy.

I woke up at 5am this morning to begin the shoveling. The moon hung low in the southern sky and the faint moonbeams sparkled on the fresh snow. I made my way around the front of the house and down the sidewalks toward the driveway. By the time I was finishing up the driveway, dawn was arriving and the sky was slowly getting lighter. The moon had disappeared and the birds finally began their morning song. As the sky brightened, snow began to fall again. Big fluffy flakes swirling in the breeze.

Part of me wants to whine about how unfair this is. All the snow had just melted the week before and sidewalks were finally blissfully dry! We were taking regular walks and enjoying the longer days again!

But another part of me wants to accept what is and enjoy what I can of it. Maybe this is the last big snowfall for some dog out in the world who won't live to see next year's snowfall. Maybe there's joy in this snowstorm. Charlie is a good role model for this line of thought. Dogs live for the moment and enjoy whatever comes their way. Everything is good.

You should have seen her eyes light up this morning when I let her out in the backyard to go potty! I brought the shovel with me to scoop out an area for our other dog, Peanut - a chihuahua mix - to go potty when she got up later (if the snow is too deep, she won't go out). At first, Charlie thought I was coming out to play with her, but I patiently explained that I needed to shovel all the sidewalks on our corner lot and the double-wide driveway before I could play. This is a hard concept for Charlie, or any dog for that matter, to understand.

Why would you want to work before play????

An hour and a half later of shoveling and thawing out for a bit while sipping my morning coffee, I finally went in the backyard for some playtime with my kiddo. She was elated! We had a good bit of fun throwing her ball into the deep piles so she could romp around and dig for it. But, eventually I had to go to work.


I came home at lunch and spent the entire hour hanging out with her in the backyard, continuing our game of fetch and "go find it." The sun was brilliant and the glare off the snow was blinding. With the sun now higher in the sky than it would be in winter, the snow has begun melting already. The temps will remain quite cold for the remainder of this week, so much of the snow will stick around, but it is slowly condensing into smaller snowbanks.

Once again I had to return to work, but Charlie seemed a bit more satisfied this time. I want her to enjoy this as much as possible before it's gone. We never got any big snowfalls like this over the winter and she absolutely loves diving into the deep snow to find her toys. This is her one big last HURRAH of the season, and I'm doing my best to enjoy it with her.

Admiring her playfulness and the way the snow sticks to her eyelashes and frosts her whiskers is lovely. The melting snow on her back glistened and sparkled in the sunshine. She was absolutely adorable and filled my heart with joy.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Final Winter Hike

Today is the last day of winter... the Eve of Spring. And I couldn't be happier to have this winter season behind us. Not that it was a terrible winter or especially long, but I have this bone-deep desire to walk a long distance without needing to trudge through snow or ice. I want to walk!

But even though I really want to move on to spring, our final hike of this winter season was pretty darn awesome!

Alan had never seen the old quarry on top of Rib Mountain and Charlie & I had never been up there in the winter, and since the weather was so gorgeous on Saturday, we all headed out to enjoy the new terrain together!

The trail is not very steep but there's a noticeable incline. We were definitely breathing heavier by the time we got up to the top. It seems this has been a busy trail over the winter; the snowpack on the trail was pretty dense and was becoming slippery as the sun began to warm the surface. I had a feeling this would be a challenge when we were ready to descend, but I decided to "be like a dog" and just focus on the present moment... enjoying the beautiful day.

Charlie romped around off-leash as Alan and I observed the quarry walls while shielding our eyes from the glaring sun. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sunny blueness was nearly blinding.

It's definitely hard to "treasure hunt" with a deep layer of snow still covering the landscape, but Alan managed to find a palm-sized heart-shaped rock to add to my collection. He's so sweet and thoughtful.

Charlie also found a treasure... a deer antler burr. The ironic thing was that Alan and I had planned on trying to train her to do some shed hunting (looking for naturally shed deer antlers), but haven't had time to work with her yet. Apparently she found one all on her own! She's a smart cookie.

We played fetch with her little antler burr for a bit, until I realized what it was and tried putting it in Alan's backpack to save for later. Charlie found it immediately and began jumping up trying to get it out of the backpack. Oh well. I gave it back to her, but she lost it a little while later. Figures.

Anyway, now that we know she's interested in finding antlers, we can work with her as the snow melts and see what we find!


The walk down was slippery, as I had predicted. But we clomped through the crusty snow at the edge of the trail instead and no one fell.

Overall, it was a pretty short hike - only 2 miles. But the incline and challenging descent gave us a good workout and Charlie was ready for a nap when we got home. Good-bye winter! Hello Spring.