Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday Morning Notes

I have been watching Kobi the past couple days to see if he has any changes due to the disappearance of Rio, here is what I found. Kobi is much more relaxed and has settled down quite a bit. He has stopped pacing and has turned his attention back to wanting us to constantly toss his ring, ball, or bone. Outside he will go into his dog house and sleep. Kobi is back to normal, we made the right choice for this time in our lives, a sad one, but the right one.

As for Linda and Dean, they have stopped pacing. They are more at ease with walking one dog which make it an enjoyable experience. They have been sleeping through the night because they are not worried that something might happen while they sleep. They have accepted Rio's departure and have moved past it.

I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments they made when we had to make this tough decision. It was very helpful and made the outcome of a tough decision a lot less painful.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jumping the Gun

When I was in High School, back in the 70’s, I participated in track as a distance runner. I was an average runner, but as a participant I considered myself a dedicated athlete and a strong team builder. It was my job, within the ranks of the Forrest Gumps, to keep our long and arduous runs exciting and fun, or so I thought. When we trained I always did something to make our time go faster. When we competed, I rarely finished first, but I was always there for the team to run any event that needed a warm slow body. I always gathered our group together for pre and post cheers to strengthen our team of runners and get them pumped up. Many times I did things that helped to break the ice, the nervousness, the tension when we were competing.

The one thing I remember doing that I wish I had learned a better lesson from was “jumping the gun.” It was in my junior year, one of the first track meets of the season, that I thought I could break the tension for my fellow teammates by purposely jumping the starting gun prior to our two mile race. Throughout the day our team of distance runners had been watching the sprinters line up, get into their boxes, and shoot out of the starting blocks at the sound of the gun. Sometimes their anticipation of the starter’s gun caused them to jump prior to the actual firing of the pistol and they had to reset and restart the race. Each time this happened, our pack of distance runners joked about the false start and how it never happens in our event.

When our race came around, I crowded to the front of the starting line, and just before the gun, I sprinted out, arms a pumping, causing the starter to fire two quick shots from his gun. I eased up and turned to the group and smiled. I though how funny I was, distance runners don’t jump the gun! The starter saw what I had done and knew immediately that it was intentional. He took me aside and in a firm way explained all the possible outcomes of my joke and expressed his concern about what could have happened. I was crushed. The starter was a coach that I had known for several years, who had worked with me as a runner and was a real mentor to me. The race was the worst one of my high school running career. I jumped the gun both literally and figuratively;s a life lesson we hope to learn from.

Here I am at 54 and I still haven’t learned the “Jump the Gun” lesson. I have learned to not jump the gun to be humorous, but sometimes I jump the gun when it comes to announcements dealing with our family and personal lives. I guess I get too excited and I want everyone to share in my excitement.

After a week of personal searching and trying to rationalize about how to make our new family work, Linda and I have had to make the hard and tearful decision to return Rio to the Golden Retriever Rescue people. It is just not the right time to be adding the second dog to the mix. As I write this I get choked up and tears fill my eyes. Rio is a great dog! He has great potential to be a loving companion to someone who can take time and work with him to dispel the fears that are imbedded from his previous life.

Over the course of the week we could not get Kobi and Rio to stop their quest to become the Alfa dog of the family. Every time we let them our side together it was nothing but a brawl, they never broke skin or caused damage to each other, but they tore up the backyard and got themselves completely covered with mud. When we separated the two, both would bark and howl to the point that our neighbors actually called us to let us know this was happening.

The two most important criteria Linda and I set down for having a second dog were, it cannot bark and it has to get along with Kobi. I have to admit that Kobi was probably the instigator of most of the problems, but he is our dog and our first priority. Like I said, I wish we could have gotten Rio during the summer when we could work closely with him and Kobi. It wasn’t in the cards, and we couldn’t make it work.

Both Linda and I are heartbroken. We hope that our inviting Rio into the family hasn’t harmed Kobi and set his training back. We hope that Rio finds a great home; he is perfect for a couple who will care for him and work with him to get over some of his past fears. It has been a hard week and a very hard day. We talked last night and this morning about our reasons for wanting this dog. We came to the realization that because Rio reminded us of Baka, we thought that maybe he could be Sebaka. After talking we know that this could not be. The last post on our blog came about because I was hoping deep down inside that Rio would fill the Baka voids that we have not let Kobi fill due to his youth. I again jumped the gun.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh My, What Have We Done.

It’s very quiet here in the house, our two dogs are asleep. Yes, I said two dogs. When Sebaka passed away, we were very lonely for a dog. We were very hesitant to get a puppy and raise the little critter, bringing it through the wonder years of terror and destruction. We had had such good luck with the first Golden Retriever Rescue dog; our first thought was to get another rescue dog. We contacted the lady that placed Baka with us and put our names in to see what might come up. Time went by and we did not get a call for a Golden that fit our criteria. We gave up and within a few months Kobi joined our family.

Three weeks ago we got a call. They had a male Golden that fit our needs and asked us if we were still interested. Linda has a soft spot for rescue dogs and she wanted to go out and see what he looked like. We set up an appointment and from that point forward we started the discussion about having a second dog.

Kobi has to stay home all day and lately he has been a bit of a rhododendron trimmer. Each night I come home and there is a little pile of branches in front of our door, along with Kobi and a block of wood. Our back yard is a complete mess right now and Kobi has taken it upon himself to prune every low lying branch in his domain. We think he is bored and is just keeping busy until we arrive home and he can go for a walk.

Our visit to see the new dog went fine. Gordon was found in Othello WA. He is somewhere between 1 1/2 and two years old and has a very nice Golden look. He is a bit underweight by about ten pounds. He has been mistreated somewhere along the line and is very cautious around humans. Once you get him to know you, he is very nice and really wants to please you. His tail wags constantly and he really loves to be touched. At the time of our first visit Gordon was getting over a bout of Kennel Cough and so we could not introduce him to Kobi until our dog got his booster shots and Gordon was out of quarantine.

Two weeks passed and all the vaccinations were updated. Friday night we picked Gordon up and brought him home to meet Kobi. On the drive home both Linda and I agreed that the first thing we needed to do was to take the dog to a pet shower facility and give him a good old fashion scrubbing. This was the worst smelling dog I have been around in a long time.

We went to a local coin operated dog shower and within about fifteen minutes we had a presentable dog, that both of us felt could go into our house. Gordon put up with us and actually did real well. He really does not know us and being submitted to a complete cleaning in the first two hours of the visit could have gone worse.

At the house we introduced the two dogs and I think things went very well. Of course they are posturing and seeing who is going to be the Alfa male of the dog family, but our evening was relatively calm. Kobi has so much energy we sometimes think Gordon might get mad, but he has been able to deal with our little nut quite admirably.

The dogs played and mouthed each other all evening. When we went to bed Kobi went into his crate and Gordon slept on a blanket at the foot of the bed. We all had a very good night’s sleep.
Linda got up early to go work out and let the dogs out to relieve themselves out side. She put them back in the bedroom where I was finishing my beauty sleep, and left for the club. Both dogs did well for about a half hour and then Gordon started to pace around. When Gordon paced, Kobi got restless and within fifteen minutes, I was up and our day began.

At this point we were still not convinced that this two dog road was one we wanted to go down. I spent my morning watching the dogs feel each other out. This went well, Kobi was rambunctious as ever, Gordon was trying to keep things together and put up with the pest.

Linda came home and we took the dogs for a walk in the field. Gordon has never been let off a lead since he was found, so we kept him on the long line and let Kobi romp. After about a half hour of walking the dogs, we looked across the field to the west and spotted Ollie and Rags charging down on us. Ollie and Rags are two dogs who live down the street from us; they belong to Eric and Jean and love to play with Kobi. It was wild for a bit as our dogs met their friends from down the street. Ollie is the same age as Kobi, but he is a lot bigger, a whole lot bigger! Ollie is a St. Bernard and is probably three time Kobi’s size. Rags is a Labradoodle that puts up with the two kids.

Next Joe arrived with his Boxer named Lucy. Lucy is very fast and a bit aggressive, but she played better then she usually does. The last to arrive was Riley and his master, Judy. Riley is a Golden and is about three years old. He looks and acts like he is about ten years old though. Riley loves all the other dogs but is a bit out of shape for kamikaze dog fun. We were able to keep everything under control as the owners talked and the dogs frolicked. One by one we split up, our pack of four heading home.

The dogs had a great workout in the field and by that time Linda and I had talked quite a bit about our situation and we decided to go ahead and keep Gordon. With this decision came a list of things we needed to do. First we had to get a second dog bed and crate. Then we needed to get some supplies from the pet store such as a Nylabone for our new dog and a choke collar. Then as we gathered the necessities, we made the decision to change the dog’s name. We have changed all our dog’s names and had no problems. Kobi was the youngest and easiest to train to the new name. Kobi’s original name was Jessie, not as bad as Sebaka’s, “Gus”, but we wanted something that was our name.

Right now I would like to take this opportunity to introduce everyone to Rio, our new Golden. Linda likes this name for several reasons, first it is a Spanish word and she has been studying to learn the language. Secondly it means River in Spanish. We love rivers and our lives have been enriched by the exploration of those bodies of water. We called up our rescue friends told them we wanted to adopt our new friend.

We shopped and purchased the items we needed and returned to the house. We entered the kitchen and looked out back to see our two beautiful Goldens’. To our surprise there were two black dogs standing at the sliding glass door. Well not exactly black, but the two clean dogs we left two hours ago were covered with water, grass, and mud. We cautiously enterer their domain and spotted why they were dirty. The must have spent the whole time we were gone playing “King of the Hill” and rolling in the muddy snow.

We gathered them up in the truck and drove directly to our pet shower facility and gave them both a rinsing. Rio did not do as well during this cleaning, he was a bit agitated, but we were able to get him cleaned up.

Returning home we let the dogs into the house, gave Rio his dog bed and did a little grooming on both dogs. This was at about 4:00 PM and both dogs walked directly to a dog bed and went to sleep; Kobi on Rio’s bed, Rio on Kobi’s bed. I am working on this blog entry now and it is 7:00 PM, they both have not moved.

Monday, February 16, 2009


The view from the front window doesn't change much from one year to the next, maybe this year the lake is frozen more, but that is a subtle difference. The pine and cedar boughs still frame the vista, snow in foreground followed by the white ice covered water, then the islands and finally the Selkirk Mountains. I can't remember how many years we have been coming up to these cabins at Hill's Resort. I'll check last year's blog post when we get reconnected to the web; I think I figured how many times we have been here in that past entry. The point is that even though it has been 365 days since we last looked out these windows, there is so little change, there have been great personal changes in our group and in the world over the last year, but our little cabin retreat has not changed much.

Yes, the couch is new and we have discovered that the pots and pans are different, but let's look at our group and note those changes. Raina has married Dean Weyen and so we are meeting her new husband for the first time. Bridget is dating Dennis so she no longer is the single person in attendance, which to her was always a bit of an issue. Rob and Julia could not attend this year; we'll blame that on Rob's new Magistrate Judge-ship, just because we like to tease him about all the attention he is getting in that new position. Each year this trip brings together a little different group, but each year it is always a fun and relaxing retreat from the February doldrums.

We started gathering at about 1:00 PM. Linda and I checked into the Resort and as we loaded up to go to the cabin we ran into Raina and Dean. They traveled up from Kendrick, leaving at 5:00 AM. As they walked to the cabin we drove the truck over and parked to unload. The next half hour was filled with a flurry of activity. We started the fire in the fireplace, organized the food, settled into the rooms and of course started drinking. We received a call from Bridget and within an hour and a half Dennis had escorted Bridget to Hill's without getting her usual speeding ticket.
As the light of the day turned to dark, we sat in the warmth of the cabin and proceeded to get to know our new friends. Bridget cooked a wonderful Greek shrimp dinner which she served with a green salad and foccocia bread. Toasts were made and we laughed and talked.

At 8:00 PM I walked to the bar and watched the Zags game. Sitting in a bar, sober, with a bunch of drunken people around you is a very interesting thing to do. The straight shots that some folks can consume is somewhat unnerving. The only thing I hoped was that they were staying at the resort and not driving on the highways. Gonzaga was winning, but I left at half time because they were not playing well. It seems that the Zags just can't get it together this year and dominate; they just squeak by.

Back at the cabin we all talked till about 9:30 PM and then, one at a time turned in and went to bed.

Reversing the pattern from the previous night we all woke up. We ate breakfast and put on our hiking gear. We snowshoed for about an hour, hiking over the frozen lake and then returning via a lakeside hiking trail. We were out hiking for about two hours and when we returned we ate and most of us took naps. Our dinner was prepared by Raina, we had enchiladas and salad. It was "gooder" because we cooked it with the top cracked open a bit.

After the great meal we sat around the fire place talking and laughing. It was a lot of fun getting to know everyone. We stayed up just a bit longer than the previous night.

Monday morning everyone was up and packing very early. Raina and Dean left first and headed to Sandpoint to visit Raina's sister. We got our truck loaded and left about an hour later. Bridget and Dennis were headed to Sandpoint also, but since we left before them their departure time is a mystery. I think Linda is planning next year's visit already. I'm sure she has secured our cabin; it wouldn't be the same if we didn't get #236.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Around and Around But No Change

During the doldrums we watch too much TV. It is part of the nightly ritual, Linda corrects papers and gets her next day planned, I surf the net and we watch the tube. One of the shows we watch on occasion is called Cold Case. The premise of this police drama includes a division of detectives that take cases that have not been solved, Cold Cases, and they follow old leads, interview people and eventually solve the case. At the end of the show they always show a box of evidence for the case being placed on a shelf with a big CLOSED stamped on it.

The one part of the show that I really enjoy is the morphing of the characters involved in the case between the age that the event took place and the present time, this takes place many times as the detectives investigate. Throughout the show main characters change from old to young as each piece of evidence is collected.

Last week I had a Cold Case moment. No I was not involved with a police case, nothing like that! I went roller skating at the local roller rink. The entire event seamed strangely similar to this television drama, in the sense that as I entered the place I recognized the manager as the same person that was there about fifteen years ago when we had college skate nights at the rink.

He looked much older, but I clearly remember how he looked as a younger man. Also, when I entered the food court I recognized the woman running the concessions area as one of the roller groupies fifteen years ago. She was older just like the manager. The two were obviously partners at the rink; it looked like they might even have been married. My Cold Case point was that the roller cad had not changed much if fifteen years and in my mind, I could morph back to the days when these two people were young skaters starting out running the roller rink, the manager a young stud skater and the woman the young skate rink beauty flirting with the boys.

There were several other odd things I notices about this never changing venue. The music was the same! There were newer songs playing, but the bulk of the songs were the same popular tunes I had skated to. Some of the music was remixed into rap or hiphop to satisfy the younger crowd’s tastes. With each song I could close my eyes and see how this place was when we first did student programming here.

The people never change in a skate rink. Back when we first laced up the skates, there were the roller groupies, both male and female. Fifteen years ago they had tight pants with bell bottoms and a halter tops for the girls, flowered puffy shirts for the guys. Today it’s tight pants, girls with Spaghetti straps, guys with Hurley t-shirts and both with some form of tattoo on their shoulders. They get on the floor and strut their stuff dancing, cross stepping, and speeding around; their only intention was to impress. Also in the mix were the older dance skaters and the hippy tie-die folks; all out to relax and enjoy the movement and the music. Young kids with their parents and grandparents all mixed into the circular rhythmic dance. Every type of person, and only their clothing had changed.

Sitting back that night I saw that there was really no difference between then and now. They have inline skates now, but for the most part if you had a video of an average night fifteen years ago, and one from last Wednesday, you could morph between the two decades with very little significant changes. That’s good to know.