Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Dog Days Of Summer

Wikipedia describes the Dog Days Of Summer as the hottest, mostly sultry days of summer. It goes on to say that in the Northern Hemisphere, this occurs between July and early September. We're in mid to end September now, and while we aren't having the hottest, or most sultry days, these bright and warm almost-Fall days are what I think of as the Dog Days. The sun is still here, but we know it won't be for long - too soon, the rains will come and we won't see nice weather again until Spring next year. So we make a point of hiking and beaching and getting out as much as we can before we no longer have the chance.

The weather channel keeps predicting a dire change to cold and rain in the next 48 hours. Maybe the dogs know it's coming, because today at the beach they gave us a little taste of everything, sort of a montage of summer '08.

We had, of course, Big Air ... or sideways air anyway.

(Big Air was so big he almost bounced out of the frame)


We had some Frisbee Fail:

and even Frisbee Hat Fail:

Mr. Woo and Piper even re-enacted the Classic Mad Teeth (tm) series.

They haven't done this for a while!

Fifa Mouth made an appearance:

So did Keener Face.

And the weird shaking faces dog came out to play

And Sport was Sport.

Speaking of Sport; you all know he is Tweed's little protege ... he is now totally on-board with the Kill The Food Lady program.

First, I lost him at the beach. Sort of. There are three paths through the shrubbery to get to the beach from the grass (frisbee) area. Our usual routine is to play on the grass for a bit, then the dogs go tearing down one of the paths to the beach and wait for the slowpoke Food Lady to show, then we play swimming games, then back to the grass before heading to the parking lot. Sport goes where everyone else goes, and this time they took path #2. I strolled at my usual dim witted two legged human pace down path #1.

As I made my way down path #1, the dogs came racing back up path #2, made a sharp right and roared past me down path #1. Except Sport. He's slower - especially uphill - and he got left alone at the top of path #2. Couldn't see any of us, since we were now halfway down path #1, and I guess he figured we had gone back to the car. So that's where he went.

*Public Service Announcement* - It's hard to run in rubber gumboots.

So there's me, screaming "SPORT SPORT" because I can see him making his way to the van, but he's kinda deaf and he doesn't hear me. And he is *not* street smart, so I know I need to get him before he gets to the busy parking lot, but it's a really long way and for mystery reasons, I'm dressed like a frickin' whaler.

Anyway, I finally caught him just as he was stepping off the curb into the parking lot, and nearly had a heart attack in the process. I need to train one of the other dogs to Go Get Sport!!

Funny Tweed Photo Interlude

After our beach session, we went home, and Sport tried to kill me a second time.

As I waited for Mr. Bones to make his painfully slow way up the back stairs of my building, first he stumbled, then his foot disappeared, and then ALL of Sport disappeared!

Where Sport vanished:

He slipped through the railing just as I lunged for him (and missed) and plummeted the 10 foot drop to the cement floor below. I.Thought.I.Was.Going.To.DIE. I went flying down the stairs where he was in a heap on the floor, and gathered him up in my arms. He looked a little surprised, but no worse for wear.

I cannot say the same for me. I'm pretty sure my heart actually stopped beating for a minute there. I mean, it's not like he has any body fat to prevent all his old bone from shattering into a million pieces! But he didn't seem to be hurt at all, and indeed, this morning was chasing Tweed at the park like nothing had happened. At least I think that's what happened this morning. I was awake pretty constantly from the NIGHTMARES his fall gave me, and was pretty tired for morning walkies.


On the weekend, the organization I work for threw a party for our volunteers at Trout Lake Dog Park. Miss Piper was her super star self, playing soccer with the kids for hours, and lots of other dogs from our organization came by. My favourite photo from the event has to be Sarah the Catahoula, who either really wanted a piece of cake, or was feeling a little anxious:
ha ha!

Sarah's mum takes Sarah to work with her several days a week and cycles from West Vancouver to downtown Vancouver (trust me, it's far ... and it's full of hills) with Sarah in a trailer. Sarah's mum Melissa is about 2 feet tall and 12 lbs, the cutest pixie lady ever, and has like 40 kids. I have no idea how she does it. Suddenly running in gumboots doesn't seem like such a big achievement anymore!

Speaking of cycling - blog readers who cycle, tell me about your wet weather / snow gear. What do you wear? I am totally unprepared as most of last winter I (*hangs head*) drove to work.

Also, I have made the painful decision to sell my Bianchi Cyclocross bike as it's just that much too big for me. I should never have bought it - it would appreciate a rider in the 5'7"-5'9" range and is great for commuting. It's going to waste here at casa de Food Lady. Anyone interested?


dp said...

Essential wet weather gear:

- Waterproof panniers
- Goretex cycling jacket
- Waterproof booties that velcro on over shoes
- Helmet cover
- Fenders
- Thin neoprene gloves

I normally ride in tights and change into pants (brought in waterproof panniers) when I arrive. The ones with the Goretex fronts are pretty awesome -- in fact I think that I have a pair that are too small for me that you can have. They will be too big for you still, but free. There is no point riding in waterproof pants of any kind (even goretex) as your other pants will be sweat-soaked regardless.

Also I have my headlamp and rear blinkers on my helmet instead of my bike because some fucker stole all of the lights off my bike a couple of years ago.

Carol said...

Lurv the Tweed keener photo. So handsome.

DP's list is great. I'd add headlight and taillight.

When equipping for winter commuting, you need to think about how hot or cold you tend to be. Like DP says, unless you run cold, rain gear over work clothes will keep you dry from rain only to get soaked from sweat. Now my husband runs cold, so loves the rain gear from http://www.bicycleclothing.com/Waterproof-Rain-Pants.html

I run hot, so rainpants are out of the question. I just wear tights over my bike shorts and change out at work. Beware shoe covers that are windproof. They are NOT waterproof. I don't wear neoprene gloves because I'd cook. I just wear fleece gloves with gripper palms. The rain capes work well on my upright bike because I don't sweat as much, but I wear a breathable jacket for training on my road bike.

If I had a tight budget, I'd get the waterproof panniers, a helmet cover, and booties. Then I'd wear whatever jacket/tights/gloves you run in and just clean up and dress at work. Or skip the panniers and drive once a week to take in clean clothes and take home worn ones.

Black Jack's Carol said...

In almost every one of your blogs, there is at least one point where I find myself giggling aloud. Today, it was the "for mystery reasons, I'm dressed like a frickin' whaler" comment that got me going.

My heart stopped along with yours at the story of Sport's fall through the railings. Your vivid description had me picturing the whole thing, and feeling your fear as you ran down to retrieve him. Very happy to hear he was ok.

Loved the "montage" pictures. Beauty - every one of them.

I found the wet weather gear responses from dp and carol very interesting. Their lists seem excellent to me. There are some things that are personal to each rider, as carol explains really well. In a light rain, I never bother with rain pants, but in a cold downpour, I do find, even though I sweat from inside, that I appreciate the warmth. I don't wear the fancy cycling pants, but just the basic MEC ones. I've never bothered with a helmet cover, but just put a plastic bag inside the helmet, to sort of line the top. I may invest in one, though, but in a pinch, my idea works well. Yes, boot covers that aren't rainproof are useless. I've gone through a few pairs, and find them tricky to choose. Take some time, and for sure, try them on over whatever shoes you'll be wearing. I don't have a goretex jacket, but rather the cheaper MEC rain jacket that is waterproof but doesn't breathe. I guess I cycle cold, because it works really well for me. I love it. On cold days, I wear a 100% wool sweater underneath. On really cold days, I wear two wool sweaters - a thin one, and a heavier one. My worst problem has been cold hands. I've never tried Neoprene gloves (Thanks, dp). At least I don't think I have. I've bought every imaginable cycling glove I could find - even very expensive ones - and nothing works on the truly wet/cold days for me. The best I came up with was a pair of fleece-lined work gloves from Marks Workware (corner of Cyprus and 4th). Not the best for feeling the handles and shifts, but only thing that kept me somewhat comfortable. I don't know if you have to cross the Lions Gate. There's one spot on the causeway just before the bridge where I've been spashed to the point where it seemed to be a waterfall. Nothing to do but slow right down, because impossible to see for a few moments. Also, be REALLY careful about the slight freezing that can occur on a beautiful sunny day, early in the morning. I wiped out coming down Point Grey Hill, and although I was lucky not to be hurt, it wasn't pleasant. Happy rainy day cycling!

P.S. I just today completed my blog entry about biking. All fair weather stuff, but maybe a bit interesting for you.

Black Jack's Carol said...

By the way, this video, posted at the blog of one of the people who commented on a post of yours, had me giggling too. My friend and I watched it FOUR times last night (maybe a little excessive). Perhaps some of your readers will enjoy it too. I looked and looked tonight, so that I could credit the person who posted it, but finally gave up and just googled "bad dog trainer". Here's the link. I'm not sure how to post a link, so you'll have to copy and paste it.


Tristan - I'm a Heavenly King said...

oh doG! I can imagine your panic with o'Sport!Braun - My 2 month old Puppy - just tried a Sport-feat and jumped from a high chair and that totally freaked me out! I was wondering whether he broke his ribs or had some major organs shifted out of place! He whined for like 2minutes, got on his feet and run like nothing had happened! I'm still in disbelief as I'm typing this. I hope the jump does not come back to haunt me some day!

And yes, FL, please train tweed to go get Sport. Old people wandering away is dangerous. Haha.

Jane said...

Oh, Food Lady, Sport will be the death of you yet! My mother always says, "No good deed goes unpunished!" However, in spite of the years taken off your life, it is wonderful to see the sparkle in old Sport's eyes.

Thanks for the Wootie/Big Air shots. You've been sort of stingy with my Flamboyance pictures lately. ;-)

manymuddypaws said...

i'm glad Sports okay after his fall!!

oh, and sorry, can't help you in the bike gear department- we have no rain here, and uh...I don't ride a bike :o)

saratogajean said...

I know it sounds heartless, but the picture of the dogs looking at the empty space where Sport used to be cracked me up. Piper and Woo look concerned, but Tweed looks a little guilty.

The Border Collies said...

Thanks for all the great cycling tips!!

Here's another question - what size tires are ya'll using? I'm running 770X23 on my roadie, and 700X28 on Joelene. J has fenders already (though I can put free clamping ones on Alfie) and seems like the ideal choice for wet weather, but I like riding Alfie more. I think though that Alfie's tired are too skinny for inclement weather and that I might want to run sturdier tires on Joelene instead. Thoughts?

I need orange said...

Could you leash the old dude? For his safety, and your sanity? At least until you got to the flat places with no stairs/gaps/multiple paths?

Misty said...

Way to give Food Lady a heart attack, Sporty! He's such a cute old guy - that must make up for it.

The Border Collies said...

Could you leash the old dude?

Yes, thanks for your concern. As it happens, Sport has been coming to the beach with us nearly every day for the entire summer, and this was sort of just a freak incident. I suppose I was just not watching him carefully enough, and will keep a closer eye on him. He used to wait for me and walk with me, but his new found exuberance has him exploring greener pastures.

As for the stairs incident, he now gets a lift up the stairs from yours truly. A leash would not have saved him, though it certainly might have broken his neck when he fell. When I posted about this misadventure on the BC Boards, I was surprised to learn that lots of people have lots of BCs who have fallen off of lots of things over the years!

Just a message to my readers - I have had more dogs in my care in the last 10 years than most of you have seen in a lifetime. I share my silly adventures with you all, but remind you that I'm very capable of handling multiple dogs, and have not actually lost, misplaced, injured or killed one yet!

Sport was almost dead when he arrived ... I think he's just keeping me on my toes ;)

Carol said...

Yes, in the rain and dark, you want wider AND super flat proof tires, since you can't see the road debris. You can put Tuffy tire liners in Jolene's tires or Slime them. And remember, your bike will get dirty and components will wear faster. So maybe save your favorite bike for the few sunny days. Just a thought.

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh, I think my heart jumped into my throat when I read about Sport's fall. Totally a freak thing, but holy cow you must have been freaking out. Yikes! So glad he's okay!!

Anonymous said...

Man, I lived the Sport-falling and the Sport-wandering-into-traffic with you. Hope your heart has recovered and returned to it's normal location and rate of beating. Geez - that ole guy really wants to keep you on your toes doesn't he? BC's can certainly be *stupid* at times. I remember working sheep out on a ranch and there was this HUGE water tank (like 50 feet in diameter - sucker was large) and as I sent Cinder on this ginormous out-run I realized that "Oh shit, she's going to run into that thing." Seriously - I thought she was and so did my trainer: we looked at each other like "Does she REALLY not see that???" For a heart-stopping moment I thought my little dog was going to run head first at top speed into this, well, basically a BUILDING. (It's that big.) She darted around it at the last minute but it was also obvious she had not seen it up until then. Geesh,

jane said...

The New Adventures of Sport are a testament to your skill, knowledge, and determination to give him quality of life in his final days. One look in his eyes and you can see that he has a zest for life that had been missing for a long time. Maybe some folks need to check the archives and see what Sport looked like when you rescued him.

Cavewoman said...

Oh dear, Sport really is trying to kill you. For both your sakes, I hope he doesn't make any more attempts any time soon.

Tatyana said...

glad to hear that Sport survived all that! Ignorance is bliss, huh? :P

Jean said...

Oh...my...doG!! Reading your blog this morning about Sport falling gave me a jolt that ten cups of coffee couldn't have replicated! When my (now ex) husband fell off a ladder to the concrete ten feet below, he broke his back.
I am so very glad that Sporticus is okay. Well, he's more than okay. He's amazing!
I am so in love with your dogs..and your blog. Thanks for sharing your adventures - good and bad - with the rest of us.

b13 said...

OH! Poor Sport and poor Food Lady :(

MalaysianFan said...

Thank doG there were no witnesses as I stared at my screen, laughed, gasped, screamed, gulped and otherwise hyperventilated. The photo is a hoot (and I agree -- Tweed looks VERY guilty), but the thought of brittle old Sport plummeting onto concrete nearly put me into hospital. The thought that he'll outlast all of us begins to occur to me...