Saturday, March 16, 2019

The End is Near

It's too soon to say "we're in the clear" but after a long and difficult winter, it seems the end is near. Spring is definitely on its way.

We've hardly had a chance for outdoor activities this winter. After an icy December/January, we received record snowfall in the month of February. I was so busy and sore from all that shoveling and I had no energy left to take the dogs for walks or hikes. Even if I had wanted to hike somewhere, the parking areas were plowed in with snow and not accessible. The couple times we did make it out for snowshoeing, the snow was impossibly deep for the dogs and we had to turn back right away.

Last week we finally saw a bit of thawing but the thawed snow quickly froze on sidewalks causing dangerous conditions again. I attempted to take the dogs for a walk last Friday night (a week ago) but ended up falling on the ice and hurting my knee (among other things). I've been taking it easy this past week and opted to forego any additional walks until the sidewalks are completely clear of ice and snow.

A few days ago Mother Nature dumped a bunch of rain on us, which weighed down the snow on roofs and caused major ice dams. One of those ice dams fell off my roof and took down part of the roof overhang and rain gutters with it. That piece of roof crashed into a window. So I spent the afternoon cleaning up glass, boarding up the window and shoveling the remaining snow off my roof (actually Alan helped me with that part - thank you honey).

The cleanup of this damage will be ongoing for a bit... contractors are so busy with all the snow/ice damage that it's impossible to get someone out to look at it anytime soon. The next night, flood water from my backyard started pouring in a hole in my basement. I had to chop ice in the backyard to divert water away from the house and then mop up the mess in the basement. It feels like this crap will never end.

But then we had today! It was beautiful out. Spring is in the air... the sun is sitting higher in the sky, days are getting longer and the air has a humid quality to it that makes me believe winter is almost over. Just a couple more weeks of gradually warming temps to melt this incredible depth of snow and we'll be able to get outside on a more consistent basis. It's almost here... I can feel it.

The dogs were in heaven today. The snow on the trail has condensed enough that they could manage running around without getting too exhausted. No one had been through to break trail yet, so it was still exerting, but the sunshine and fresh air invigorated us and we spent over an hour walking and playing in the woods. I wore my snow-shoes still to make sure I could get through, but the dogs did well on their own without following me.

I found myself singing along to the radio on our way home, my spirits lifted from the time outdoors. My mood's recovery still has a long way to go after this crazy winter, but today was a good start and I'm looking forward to getting out again soon.

VIDEO #1 (click link):

VIDEO #2 (click link):

VIDEO #3 (click link):

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Meet #Adoptable Sassy & Sara

Meet Sassy and Sara. They are a mother-daughter bonded pair currently residing at Lincoln County Humane Society in Merrill, WI. Sassy is approximately 12 years old and her daughter, Sara, is approximately 6 years old. They were surrendered to the shelter when their owner went into the hospital (likely permanently), so they are looking for a new place to call home. 

I assured them that a lot of people start over in their middle years or even much later on in life and that it’s nothing to be scared of. In fact, many people find their “second lives” even better than their first!

Sassy and her sweet little sugar face
Sara with the alert ears

We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together since another winter storm was on its way to our area, but we had a nice little walk around their current neighborhood for some fresh air and a potty break. I’m pretty sure these two are completely house-broken since they took this opportunity to go #1 and #2. Good girls.

I don’t think these girls had a lot of exercise opportunities in their last home, but they seem pretty open to getting a couple daily walks. They would probably be open to more walks if their new person would be willing to work them up to a healthier fitness level slowly. With spring coming, I’m sure it would be a piece of cake to get some additional exercise in the coming months. 

Sassy is a sweet little #sugarface and seems to love attention! Sara is a little shy at first but warms up quickly. Both walked well on leashes, although I did a poor job of keeping us untangled. I was grateful for their slow pace since I had slipped on ice the day before and took a pretty ugly fall. My knee wasn’t up to walking a rambunctious youngster today, so these two were very nice and took it easy on me. Their leisurely pace would be great for someone who prefers easy dogs for walking partners.


If you or someone you know is looking for a couple sweet girls for leisurely walks and snuggles on the couch, please let them know Sassy and Sara are waiting to meet you at Lincoln County Humane Society.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Meet #Adoptable Hazel

As often as possible, we'll be volunteering to walk/hike/kayak with #adoptable dogs and promote their story on social media. This is Hazel's story:

This is Hazel. She is approximately 9 months old and currently residing at Lincoln County Humane Society in Merrill WI due to being previously homeless. We picked up this silly girl to take her on a volunteer walk around her neighborhood. She was not expecting visitors, but seemed glad to go along with us. We took her out to the car to get her suited up with an appropriate walking harness (which didn’t quite fit her petite frame), but she jumped into the car like she knew what she was doing and was ready to go for a ride instead of a walk. Since we were only approved for walking on this particular day, we lured her out of the car with a few treats. Hazel is a smart dog and seemed to understand the agenda after that.

For a previously homeless dog, she knows how to make friends quickly. She was happy to meet all kinds of people on our walk and greeted everyone like good friends. When we came across birds feeding at a neighborhood bird feeder, she got very excited and jumped onto a snowbank twice her height to greet them too! If given the chance, I think she would definitely chase birds and probably squirrels too.

The busy street we walked along didn’t seem to bother her at all. She was just happy to be outside and getting some exercise. Hazel walks really well on a leash and every so often would turn her head to check on us to make sure we were still coming along. We stopped a few times to snuggle her sweet face and admire her curly tail. She was more than happy to soak up the love and eat some treats. I’m pretty sure she’d be a good snuggle buddy on the couch at home too. 

Hazel has a pair of the most expressive ears I’ve ever seen. She wears them all kinds of ways… up, down, backwards and sideways. There's no doubt that she is a beautiful little charmer and completely adorable in every way, but her ears are definitely my favorite feature!

When we found a big empty parking lot to run around in, she got very excited. Hazel scooped up snow in her mouth and got a small case of the zoomies, which was a little complicated since she was attached to one of us via a leash. This little girl has lots of energy and would love a dedicated playmate to take her on walks and hikes.

If you are interested in this silly loveable girl, you can find her hanging out at Lincoln County Humane Society. But with her sweet demeanor and good manners, I don’t think she’ll last long.

Special thank you to Sara Guden for assisting me on today's walk! Your help is much appreciated.
If you're interested in helping #adoptable pups, check out Rachael Rodgers e-Guide on Instagram for Adoptable Dogs.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

An Exercise Project

Jake and Bella

On a recent visit to my sister's house, I noticed their dog Bella had gotten a bit overweight in recent months. Winter can do this. It's often hard to get outside when the temps are so cold or the snow is too deep. But I also noticed that my niece was slightly pestering her mom about getting more of an allowance.

Long tongues from lots of playtime!

So on my drive home, I put the pieces together and decided to offer an allowance proposal to my niece when I got home.

The terms: I would pay her $5.00 for every 30-minute walk she took with Bella up to $20 per week. She'd need to download a dog-walking app similar to the one I use to track my hikes with the dogs to show proof of the walk (mileage, time walked and the date) and send me a screen shot of the completed app results as well as a picture of Bella on the walk.

We've just finished up Week 2 of the project, and so far it's been a pretty good success! My sister reports that Bella is much calmer in the house now that she's getting a few walks each week and my niece is happy with the extra allowance. Plus I get to have more communication with my niece via the texts about their walks so we can stay in touch better.

I'll be happy to see if Bella has lost any weight the next time I'm down for a visit. I guess it's a win-win for everyone.

Beautiful Bella

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Sweetheart of a Weekend

We're enjoyng a 3-day weekend to celebrate Alan's 50th birthday! I wish we had planned something more special for such a milestone but with the crazy weather we've been slammed with these past two weeks, there wasn't much time for planning anything.

Yesterday we went road-tripping to do some antique and second-hand shopping around our area. The dogs came along for the boring car ride, but unfortunately we didn't do anything too fun with them.

So I decided to take the kiddos snow-shoeing today to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and fresh new snow. Alan had to bow out for this excursion so we went just the three of us.

The roads are in great shape now that the plow trucks have had time to clear them. The trails, on the other hand, have not been blazed yet. I should have known when we arrived to the parking area for the trailhead and it was empty.

There was one zig-zagging snow shoe trail someone had left, but it didn't really go anywhere and by the time the dogs and I made it to our actual trailhead, we were totally exhausted from trekking through the extremely deep snow.

VIDEO #1 (click link):

VIDEO #2 (click link):

I laughed out loud at how the depth of the snow completely swallowed up the dogs when they climbed the snow mountain at the end of the parking lot and disappeared on the other side.

Look at them run!

I struggled up with my snow shoes on and then was as buried as the dogs were on the other side. After some photos and romping around, it became apparent that we weren't going to make it too much farther so we headed back to the parking area.

I have a feeling a lot of people will be out today packing down other trails for us, so tomorrow we're going to head out really early before anyone else and enjoy some quiet time at one of our favorite places.

Waiting for me to slide down the snow mountain in the parking lot to go home.

Despite the difficulty of removing snow earlier this week, it sure was pretty to get out in nature and enjoy the fresh drifts like a little kid!

Reflection of Charlie in my sunglasses.

Dog is co-pilot.