Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fuller Mountain

I believe North Bend had about 3 hours of "sun" (or not rain) today so quickly I headed out the North Fork to hike Fuller Mountain.

Once we made it to the top it did start to hail a bit but the heavy rain didn't come back in until we were almost back out. So unfortunately I decided not to explore any lakes afterwards...we just ran for the car.
You may recognize the Visiting Shepherd from previous posts.

Unfortunately for me, Rusty has not taken to her well (he was a complete jerk); despite a previous introduction outside of the home. So I will be doing some crate rotation and separation for the duration of her visit. As long as one of them is crated, their observation and interaction to each other is absolutely fine, no fence-fighting, growling, snarling...nothing.

I did get lots of insight from my vet and a dog trainer (I was REALLY upset with Rusty's assertive behavior - many calls were made) and this has motivated me to really start hitting Rusty's training harder (all my focus has been on helping him live in a house and not pee on my floor) and get some outside help.

In the meantime, they don't hate each other, they can be in the same room together in harmony as long as one is contained, and for about 12 full days I have a loving hiking partner. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Owl Box

This link is going around right now and it really is amazing. Someone in CA set up an owl box with a camera which is documenting a barn owl couple. Their eggs have recently hatched.

I am a huge fan of wildlife cameras like this and I know there is a ton out there. It took me forever to finish this post because of all the cute noises and arranging going on.

Enjoy. It is addictive.

The Owl Box (live camera)

Molly (the barn owl) blog

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Rusty

Rusty has been with me exactly one month today and after a lot of thought I decided to formally adopt him. He hasn't made this decision an easy one. He is a very easy dog to love, but a constant challenge. I am painful aware how unfair this is to the cats. He still isn't housebroken. He doesn't know how to settle on his own in the house yet so when he is too tired he goes straight to destruction. And did I mention I wasn't looking for senior dog? :)

However, things definitely couldn't get any worse and I hope that in another month it will be even smoother. Despite getting a good chase in on both Leela and Emile today; he was out a lot this morning and self-entertained reasonably well.
When I take in an animal that doesn't have a known birthday their adoption day also becomes their birthday. So this evening Rusty got a birthday burger. It stopped raining long enough for us to walk a bit on the Iron Horse to eat it.

Once he realized the pieces of burger weren't coming out of the ground he was 100% attention.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Squirrel in a tree

On Tuesday, March 16th Rusty went to the vet again for some follow-up and shots. Because of his weekend of social life and grooming he didn't want to stand at the vet which was hard to see. I was talking to the vet about what a shame it was that I couldn't physically wear this dog out without major repercussions so we discussed maybe some more puzzle style toys. Right after the visit I got him a treat toy that he likes and takes him some time and ordered a fluffy-style puzzle toy from KVVet...

Introducing Squirrel in a Tree (I think technically it is called Hide-A-Toy). At first I thought the toy was a failure since he doesn't actually hunt the squirrels out and extract them - in theory wearing out his brain in the process. Instead he just shakes the tree repeatedly, sending them all flying and then rolls the log around. As it turns out, shaking the tree followed by the rolling and chasing of the squirrels keeps him pretty entertained for a lot longer than his other fluffy.

He likes the darn log so much that he carried it outside with him to pee, holding the log the entire time, and back into the house.


I have to admit, it is with some embarrassment that I post these photos except that some of them look OK (the above is Rainier). I actually did this hike last week, Thursday, March 18th. We had been experiencing quite a bit of rain (snow for the mountains) and when I woke up Thursday to some sunshine I was decided to get out.
I also woke up not feeling so well. I signed it off as stress that I thought a good hike and sweat would mellow me out. Unfortunately it turned out I was actually starting the stomach flu (talk about a bad read on one's own body) and so such a strenuous hike was a very poor decision. I didn't actually start getting sick until after I got off the mountain and back home (thankfully) - I am still trying to recover from the flu.
As you can see the day was absolutely gorgeous.
Kamikaze Falls on the way up:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grooming Day

This is our 3rd weekend together and it was a full one for Rusty. Yesterday I had to meet up with large group of people and dogs and Rusty came along. That is a lot of car time, people, dogs and chaos for him to experience. All things considered, he did surprisingly well. He showed some dog attitude against a large male Shepherd of all things. I think it was a full day for him - I never heard a peep out of him on the drive home.

Today it finally stopped raining so I decided to try nail-clipping and bathing. He kept trying to take the clippers from me (like they were a toy), and I didn't really bring the nails back as far as I would have liked, but he got a treat per nail and he let me clip all of them.

He wasn't as knocked out with the shower. It is actually pretty hard on geriatric dogs to endure a bathing and he was pretty weak after it. He got some towel time which made his day since I have been trying to clamp down on his need to drag my laundry around the house.

I needed him to settle down and dry so I brought out the secret weapon I have been keeping for him since he first came to live with me - the bully stick.

He was so quiet and engrossed in his chewing that Emile forgot he was out of the kennel. Emile attempting to backup...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Road-trip blanket

I finally finished one of the road trip projects. The pattern is "Basketweave Blanket" from Knit Baby Blankets! edited by Gwen Steege. The pattern was an easy one to memorize which helped in the car. Because of the nature of the basketweave, when I made a mistake it was usually in the stitch count and very noticeable so it did have to be pulled back.

The yarn was Bernat Cottontots and the photo makes the color look pretty awful, but it is actually a pretty and subtle purple. The pattern suggested another cotton yarn that I have used before and not much cared for. I liked knitting this yarn, but it tended to shed a lot of fibers. The good news is, the shedding seems to be over once you knit it; I didn't notice the blanket itself shedding.

It is a nice heavy and soft yarn. Not the easiest wash for a baby project (hand wash suggested) but hopefully washing in cold will be enough.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

At home in the woods - the tree

I after a bit of a quilting hiatus I decided to start work again on the "At Home In the Woods" project. Today's task was this tree that overlaps the border and block #2 - Autumn Gathering. I have one more border block and then I get to start the quilting.

I have to say, "Steam a Seam" and I are not getting along well. I find it harder to use than the "HeatnBond" the project was started with. If it isn't bad enough I mix up the sides, I end up with a black thumb because the pencil lines wear off. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This photo doesn't show it well, but when Rusty sits, he is so built in the front and small in the back he reminds me of E.T. When he is really tucked tight in the morning it actually looks pretty funny.

He doesn't sit often and I don't ask him to because of the physical effort for him to do so. But he does sit in the morning on his own while he is trying to get his back-end to catch up or for the above photo because he was annoyed that I tied him off away from me to attempt to get a photo.

He has now been on the Metacam for a full week as of Monday. I give it to him at night so that he can sleep through the potential stomach upset and because its peak concentration is about 7.5 hours after dosage so I am trying to get him the most when he needs it: morning. Within about 48 hours of starting Metacam all the yelping while shifting/rising stopped (much to my relief) and mornings got better. His is gait sloppy and it takes forever for him to get up in the morning, but it is still a big improvement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A much better day

Yesterday was Rusty's worst behavior day since he showed up just over a week ago. He didn't even have an accident in the house and it was still our worst day.

Looking back at it, I think it got off on the wrong foot in the morning when I came around the corner to see what he was barking at and found him nose to nose with Pascal the chinchilla who was repeatedly charging his side of the cage and doing this "barking" noise of his own.

From there the day just slid downhill. He wouldn't stop hunting the cats or taking my stuff; which he was more intent on "keep-away" and shaking the item; especially clothing, pillows and blankets. And he would start it up the second he got out of the crate each time.

I was finally able to salvage the day later in the evening by keeping him on leash while I read. Eventually he just laid down next to me.
Today started off very cold. Thankfully Rusty woke up like yesterday never happened and was more on routine. The snowline came down in the mountains, but never really stuck at my level. I took Rusty on the Snoqualmie Valley/Iron Horse Trail for his outing. He has come so far in his car riding; it really is nice. Far less barking and whining and an overall willingness to get in.
As you can see the day was nice and sunny.
Leela and Emile are a bit frustrating at times with their over-inflated trust that I will keep them safe. :) The worst is Emile (orange tabby) he is convinced that as long as his head is covered; he is invisible. It never occurs to him that even if he is under the blanket that if he is moving, that is almost more exciting than if he was fully exposed. And often I catch him with his head and body covered but with his rear and tail sticking out. He tends to do this right at the doorway under an entry way curtain right as I am bringing Rusty in. Fortunately Rusty is always moving too fast to realize he has just run by a tail.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

P.S. Koda

Photos of Koda, the miniature Australian Shepherd have been added to the South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana entry.

I set a terrible example - always remember it is unsafe to hold a small dog and drive. :)

The Rusty Report

Since I haven't been doing sewing (although a lot of knitting) why not talk more about Rusty. Today was his 3rd car training day and he practically wanted to jump in the crate in the morning. FAR less whining and barking which made me really happy.

After our morning of errands I decided to brave Petsmart. Armed with dog treats, belly band, patience and an exit strategy; we gave it a shot. He did really well considering.

I noticed that he wasn't attracted to all the birds and small animals jumping around which explained a lot to me how I could get a dog with such high prey drive that no one seemed to notice. When he is in a new situation or under stress he simply acts indifferent. Some dogs make a far more noticeable behavior of avoidance, but not him. I saw him notice all the birds and movement and then keep walking. Very different from the excitement and lunging I am dealing with at home.

It amazes me how much he gets out of busy parking lots. He will just come to a complete stop and stare at all the people and the cars and the noise.

What I am learning from errands with him is that he really doesn't have a very far distance before his gait really degrades and that is hard. I know the Metacam will help with the pain thankfully, but it really doesn't fix the degradation.

This photo was taking around 8pm last night. The fact that he is still out of the crate at that point and I haven't killed him is amazing in itself. :) He is a nightmare at night but I am determined to work on it. We had an accident in the morning - so belly band back on.

On the good side he went to the door later that night and we went out and he pooped.

During the day I came around the corner to see him slowly pulling a blanket off the bed - his agility and troubleshooting in moving and displacing objects is something else. Just as I walked in, Emile's bedhead popped out the other end of the slowly retracting blanket (much to Rusty's excitement) so it was a good thing I was there to intervene. Poor Emile.

Rusty LOVES his Kong. However, after that photo he took my knitting project and ran with it at which point I lost my patience and he went in the crate. He fell asleep crazy fast with no whining (unusual) so clearly some of the bad behavior was just being overtired. I would like him to get to the point in which he just lays somewhere on the floor and sleep on his own rather than working up to a destructive point. But we aren't there yet.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Seeing more of the world

Today was Rusty's second real day of car exposure (training) and getting out into new places. The very first time I met Rusty I had to take him on a 4 hour ride. He had an accident in the car and whined the entire time.
So we have moved on to crating. So far no accidents, the whining is less but the barking is probably a bit more. His barking annoys me; but it is kind of a funny seal sounding old dog bark.

He gets better as the day goes on which I would like to think means he is getting used to the car but might also be giving up in defeat. :) He just isn't used to the car and doesn't know what to expect. I am allotting extra time on my errands so he gets positive time out of the car and associates the ride with a worthwhile experience. The crate also makes him lay down which helps with his physical lameness.
It is hard not to really walk him. He has the energy and the desire for it. We started him on a Metacam for his weak back end which is looking more like his hips. I am anxious for it to kick in. Once he is up, things don't look so bad, but the mornings are painful.
Once he is UP...mornings are his golden time. He is better behaved and we seem to have fallen into a schedule. It is the one part of the day in which he is more willing to self-entertain while I do my stuff. As you can see he loves fluffy toys. He is a shaker and a thrower.
Leela and Emile. They are so patient with the dogs I bring into the house. Rusty has recently discovered the cats and is "overly interested", he has not however figured out their rafter system however so they can look down on him when it behooves them.