Magic Water

Clementine, my blond cocker, hates the rain. I drag her outdoors when I feel that she can’t hold her bladder any longer.  This cocker tinkles as fast as doggly possible and then literally drags me back to the safety of a dry house. She also dislikes walking through wet grass, puddles, and other Mother Nature watering. Then there is the ocean or a lake; somehow, that water is different. My sweet-natured girl reappears and skips, frolics, and plays in the lapping waves. Maybe the smell is different? Perhaps it is the sand that is so much fun to dig into, rub her face in, and people laughing and coming over to pet her. Molly, my black cocker, could care less about rain. She joyously splashes in puddles, muck in the mud, and even enjoys barking at the thundering noise on my patio cover when it rains especially hard. Lakes and the ocean are a wonderful excuse to get even wetter.

Last May, I took them for an overnight stay at The Beach Hotel and Lodge at Tahoe. It is right on Lake Tahoe, but this was before Memorial Day and there was still snow on the ground. It was rainy-off and on, it was very cold, but we hit the sand anyway. Both dogs went straight for that icy water and would have tried to swim across if I hadn’t pulled them back. They were wet, sandy, and happy. There is just something mysterious about a body of water that takes away our cares and worries, and makes each of us feel unencumbered. Normally I would need to sled-pull Clementine along, but she was sad when we started back.

The next morning it was snowing. Snow; turns into ice, or heavy frozen rain, or snow that becomes lake water. Clementine was having none of it. Then I realized what it was missing; the magic. Water is just wet, but a lake or the ocean? It has cared for fish, supported boats, allowed children to play, washed away the problems of thousands or millions. Magic water that transforms us and imbibes us with a better, more honest spirit. Pulled and pushed by the power of the moon, this water refreshes and embraces our souls, to allow us to see the beauty in the world. The lapping waves seductively invite us to gather up all of our cares and toss them aside. Water, the most powerful element in the world.

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Summer is Coming

I live in a small town of about 6500 souls. Counting all of the newly hatched chickens and other legions of God’s creatures, we are a people blessed with bounty. Fortunate enough that the farmers markets are up and running by the middle of May. They pile on fat, sweet, and lucious strawberries by the crate when other parts of the US are fighting off the last frost. Blueberries by the basket sit waiting to stain your fingers while teasing your tongue with the ripe goodness of real fruit that only needed to wash the garden dirt off. Both of them hold promises of pies, cakes, muffins, drinks, and more with that incredible smell of freshly picked fruit. Vegetables straight from the fields are also showing up. Later we wil have corn by the bushel and tomatoes like your Grandmother ate. 

Since the farmers market is open air, at the crossroads of our two main streets, the dogs are welcome to come along. Molly can choose her own carrotts; big, orange, and super crisp, just like she loves them. Clementine is a fabulous beggar who manages to be both charming and sad at the same time. Many a blueberry has hopped into her mouth, supposedly unseen by all. Later, apples will be making an appearance which will cause both dogs to beg unashamadly. This is our favorite Sunday walk. We go very early, when it is cool and the people are fewer. The girls like to watch the set up of goods and sniff the air in case someone brought baked goodies. 

Taylor’s Drive In will have hamburgers that big and juicy, along with perfect crisp fries, and milk shakes thick and creamy with real ice cream and milk whipped into a decadent glassfull. Sometimes residents ride or drive horses over for bags of the real deal and the scent waffes down the country roads home. The Wild Chicken serves hot coffee abut 126 ways, with the largest cinnamon roles known to mankind. Since they have outside table, the girls and I have been known to pit stop our way to or from the market. 

The railroad tracks run through town and to much disappointment, the trains only pass on. Our old train station is alive and well as a private home. The new train station is still hoping that we get a real train to stop, even if only for twice a day. We like the old ways in my small town. Give us a train to the city, and one coming home, and you will see cars go no further than our building that waits and hopes. 

Summer is coming. The heat will be simmering, and we will all hope the Delta Breeze shows up at night. The amazing yield of fruits and vegetables will continue at the markets as the promise is full filled. 

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A dog should always have a good choice collars and leashes.

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Love is a Leash

I love walking my dogs. It is relaxing, good exercise, the scenario can be fun or interesting, and I enjoy the dogs’ reactions to the silly and unforeseen. Until that unknown is another dog: loose, aggressive, and untethered in its ability for action or discipline. Then a walk becomes an exercise in terror.

I have been on far too many, battling off pitbull terriers that wanted to square off against another dog, or other terriers that enjoy a good scuffle. German Shepherds that may or may not be friendly, mixed breeds that might just be curious, and any of the other situations that a dog walker finds themselves in. It is frightening, it is intimidating, and it is nerve-wracking. I now carry the same mace that NYPD is armed with. I find my eyes searching around as though I am on reconnassaince in a foreign country.

I am tired of the loose dogs. I want to ask the owner, “Don’t you care about your dog?”. Why do you have the dog, if you are not concerned about its safety? There is always the standard reply, “Oh he is real friendly” (maybe he is or isn’t), or “He is happiest when he’s free”. Really? Free to do what? Get out in the street and hit by a car? In a fight with another dog ? Bitten by a snake in a rural area? Shot by a farmer who doesn’t want his expensive livestock destroyed? Chasing a rabbitt and then becoming hopelessly lost? Allowing a domestic animal to run without supervision is about as stupid as it gets. Let me get to the real reason that most of the public is unwilling to leash their dog; they do not want to pick up after the dog.

That brings me to The Trinity of Dog Walking. Always bring dog walk bags for your pet. It is unhealthy, unwanted, and frankly gauche not pick up after your pet. I love dogs, but I do not want to step in pet feces. Always leash your dog. It is safer for your pet, you, me, and my dogs. Our dogs may or may not want to meet, so let us do so without any drama. Always be respectful of others. They may be afraid of dogs. They may be very young and unsure of dogs. They may be elderly and infirm and therefore cannot handle a jumping excited dog.

I love walking my dogs. I want to enjoy the ambiance of singing birds, sunshine, and fresh air or maybe rain kissed skies and the earthy smells of nature’s beginning. Just please put a leash on your dog. We will all be so much happier to meet!

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Take Me to the Water

Molly, my black cocker, and Clementine, the little blonde one, weren’t all that enthusiastic about water. Especially Clementine! All of that changed, when Clementine got hurt. 

No one, including me, knows what happened or why, but suddenly Clementine lost her ability to walk on 4 legs. Her spine had a vertebrae sticking up that could be felt with your hand. Her disability became worse with time. The vet talked about massage, heat treatments, and doggy wheelchairs. Yes, you’ve seen them. The dogs back feet are tied to a bar and they pull themselves with their front legs. Wow-not much fun in that scenario! The final solution was surgery which meant months of crate restriction, a basketful of medication, pain, and oh yeah, $8000. 

I got the name of a vet therapist in Sacramento, and called to find out that therapist decided they were just doing cancer treatments. It turned out to be an incredible stroke of luck because Clementine was accepted at Johnson Pet Therapy in Roseville.   

Warm massage, laser treatments, and the dreaded swim. Clementine was all enthusiastic until she needed to get into the water! With her safety vest on, plus a safety line attached, all Clemmie had to do was walk on the treadmill with water. Clementine floated, Clementine bobbed, Clementine did everything except what she needed to do. 

It took our vet tech Kelly to get to the bottom-pun intended-of the problem. Clementine didn’t need to work out! She had a safety line and a safety vest-she was bouyant and happily floating in warm water. So Kelly put the naked Clementine into the pool. Magic! Clemmie is surprisingly adept at working out in the pool. 

More Magic! Clementine now loves water! The dog that I had to push into Folsom Lake last year, now hops into the pool to swim her little heart out. Never assume good things don’t come from bad situations! Clementine’s spine is correct, she can use all 4 legs again, and she is known as the swimming fool at therapy. 

Not to be outdone, Molly has joined “swim club” to trim down. The dogs treat therapy as their own Romper Room and cannot wait to go there. Both of them jump cavalettis, play on the balance ball, and Love the Water!

A daily baptism is good for every soul. 

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Folsom Lake

Folsom Lake

Cooling off in the summer

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