Take a hike!

IMG_0929When I’m walking with the pooch through the neighborhood I can’t help but chuckle at how my strolls have changed over the years. When my kids were little, really little, and I was pushing them in their strollers I would be soaking in the sights and sounds and pointing out birdies, squirrels and pretty flowers to them along the way. Then when they got older, I would be huffing and puffing trying to keep up with them while they rode their Big Wheels, tricycles or big girl two wheelers, yelling at them to wait for me at the next corner and not to get too far ahead.

Eventually it wasn’t cool to walk with mom anymore but luckily for me I’ve always had a dog in my life who doesn’t mind in the least! That latest pooch is, of course, Jasmine. Now when Jasmine came into our family she was supposed to be a lap dog, our first small dog, but she definitely had a different idea. She ain’t nobody’s lap dog!  She’s rough and tumble, loves to run and fetch, and thankfully a walker extraordinaire!

IMG_0916

We’ve logged a lot of miles, more than I ever realized until I started keeping track, and the fact that she expects numerous walks every day come, sun, rain or arctic snows, means I can’t rest on my couch all day long as I’d prefer.

IMG_0254

Being small, and just over 8 years old (not me, the dog!) hasn’t stopped us from logging an average of 3-4 miles a day. While we mostly meander through our neighborhood(s), we do occasionally get to be a bit more adventurous and see some pretty amazing sights!

And just like when my kids were little, I find myself yapping away to the dog telling her to say “hello” to her (doggie) friend, and “hurry up and cross the street”, and “RUN, there’s a moose in that yard”! Well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But sometimes all that exercise can tire the little pup out…

…. and I won’t show you my picture ’cause it ain’t a pretty sight!

Advertisements

Dog gone it I love dogs!

I have had a dog in my life in one shape or form for a long time. When I was a kid we had at least four that I can remember, a Collie named Lassie (how apropos), a French Poodle named Gigi, Puff the Old English Sheepdog and Spot the Dalmatian. Even though we had these dogs when I was kid they were never my responsibility and I never remember being too attached to any of them because my mother wouldn’t let any of them in the house!  I loved my mother dearly but looking back on it all I wonder why she bought them if she didn’t really want them as pets.

Lassie was my dad’s dog and he built a huge dog house and run for her in the backyard. He took care of her and ran her around the outside of the house every evening after supper. That I remember clearly, but the other three dogs are kind of a blur and to be honest I don’t really know, or remember, what ever happened to them.  That sounds awful saying that, especially being the dog lover I am, but like I said I never felt like they were part of the family.

I changed all that when I had a house and a family of my own, thanks to a VERY understanding husband! I got Tulip and Holly at a spectacular no-kill animal shelter in Texas called Adopt-a-Pet, and I was so impressed with the work they were doing that I ended up volunteering there for several years, as did my kids and hubby. Both Tulip and Holly were mixed breeds and were puppies when we got them. They moved houses (and states) twice with us and ended up living very long lives. Tulip lived to be 15, Holly until 17. I guess Texas dogs are long livers!!

Then when Holly and Tulip were in their golden years we brought a silly little puppy named Jasmine into our family as a gift for my daughter’s 16th birthday. My daughter (and I) both wanted a smaller dog, so this time around we actually went to a breeder to guarantee what kind of dog our pup would turn out to be. Jasmine is half Shitzu and half Havanese, and I like to say she’s a HavaShitz 🙂

Tulip and Holly were rejuvenated with the addition to our family, and began to enjoy walking the neighborhood again, even though it was quite a feat for me trying to walk two oldsters and a sprightly puppy but we managed, and I like to think that Jasmine added a few more years to their lives.

Holly & Jasmine

Holly & Jasmine 2011

And now we just have Jasmine. Having a little dog obviously has worked out for us, she’s portable, for lack of a better word, and we have been able to fly and travel numerous times with her. Luckily she isn’t a fragile little thing. She loves to walk, fetch, climb and play, and she especially loves the snowy, cold weather, which is a good thing since we spend a bit of time in Alaska! But she is far cry from the lap dog that my daughter and I were hoping for, she prefers her independence and hates being picked up and carried around. That’s not to say that she isn’t underfoot all the time, or making sure she knows where all her people are at any given moment, she just would never be caught dead being carried around in a purse!

Before I had these three wonderful furry friends in my life I never truly understood it when someone said that a dog was like a member of their family, but I get it now, I really get it.

Jasmine

Middle Seat Agnst

Flying to Alaska

Flying to Alaska

Last week was another flight and yet another middle seat. I’ve always avoided these in the past and sought out the aisle seat, but since I’ve been flying with the wonder dog, AKA Jasmine, I have done a 360 and actively been seeking them out instead!

I discovered the hard way that her soft-sided dog carrier does not fit under the aisle seat. Our first journey to Alaska had me sitting in the aisle, struggling to jam her and the carrier under the seat with the result being a squished Jasmine. I felt terrible. Luckily for me no one showed up to take the middle seat and so I placed her there and discovered the extra real estate the middle seat possesses. Since then the middle seat it is…

Jasmine under the aisle seat

Jasmine under the aisle seat

Jasmine hanging out in the middle

Jasmine hanging out in the middle

It’s a terrible seat to sit in for 6 plus hours, fighting for the arm rests from my fellow passengers, a dog between my feet, nowhere to go….and now that we’ve just completed our ninth one way flight I have to say it hasn’t gotten any easier! Every journey is different because my seat companions are always different. Most people are nice, but as anyone who’s flown knows, not everyone is pleasant and understanding, or even likes dogs for that matter!

There was the red-eye flight where the guy in the aisle seat shut his eyes at takeoff, placed his arm on “my” arm rest and never budged for the entire 6 hours, sleeping pill perhaps? or the impatient woman who got mad because she had to wait in the aisle for 20 seconds while I got Jasmine placed under the seat and then pouted the entire journey.

But the worst was the crabby old woman in the window seat next to me that screamed, “There’s a dog on the plane, there’s a dog on the plane!” and asked the stewardess to move me. Luckily for me the stewardess said I had paid for that seat and she would be glad to move her if she liked, which of course she didn’t, so unluckily for me I had her sitting next to me the entire flight. Even more unluckily for me she had her deaf, 80-year-old boyfriend moved to the empty aisle seat next to me, and throughout the trip she leaned across me with her arm patting him to get his attention, and passing him food from her voluminous carpet bag of a purse! Worse trip E-VER! The best part though…when we were deboarding and her very nice boyfriend (he was too nice for her!) said, “There was a doggie under the seat the whole flight?, what a sweet dog”. Oh brother!!

But the nice people make up for the bad, the stern looking businessman who turned to mush when he realized there was a pooch next to him on the flight, the people who spot Jasmine and get a wistful look in their eye when they tell me they wish their pup was along for the ride too, and the Alaska Airlines personnel (and some TSA agents too!) who always fawn over her and comment how she is so well behaved.

It always gives me a warm feeling when Jasmine and I are strolling through security and the airport concourse before a flight and I see how excited and happy people get when they see this peppy little doggy strutting amongst them. That part alone makes the whole thing worthwhile!

cropped-p8270136.jpg

Walking is so amoosing!

Last night I was walking with my constant companion, Jasmine, when we witnessed something so endearing. A little boy was taking his first ride on his itty bitty bike without training wheels. His mom was beaming as he anxiously attempted the ride and showed off for us. Very sweet to be a witness to this “big” moment.

It made me think of all the many happenings that my dogs and I have witnessed over the years while we’ve taken our daily constitutional.

Holly, Tulip, Jasmine and I were a well oiled machine when we walked around the neighborhood or at least I liked to think so. As I’ve noted in other posts I am not an outdoors woman so when my doggies and I were walking along one morning and saw a poor dirty looking pooch across the street pacing us, I felt so sorry for it. It looked so bedraggled and hungry I was hoping I would be able to get a look at its collar once we made it home and I could untangle myself from the three leashes in my hands.  But my dogs, being much brighter than I am, knew trouble when they saw it. They started panting, growling and acting so goofy, slow poke that I am, finally figured out what I was feeling sorry for was a coyote. I picked up Jasmine (the smallest dog) and started hauling some city girl booty with the other two limping along behind (they were 12 and 13 at the time) and we made it safely home none the worse for wear. But now I knew what a coyote looked like…a mangy dog!

When Holly was an old girl of 16, she Jasmine and I were walking very slowly through the neighborhood when I saw a sight that made me freeze in place and wonder if what I saw was for real. Tearing out from behind a house comes a red fox with a doe chasing it at full speed. They passed right beside the sidewalk we were standing on and then ran around the house to the backyard. I was gobsmacked and still in shock and waited a minute before deciding to proceed. When I returned home I googled what I saw and actually found several videos on YouTube showing something similar to what I’d witnessed. Just checking to make sure I wasn’t crazy!

I’ve found lots of stuff too, a woman’s work ID (she sent me a gift card as a reward), some guy’s whole work portfolio in a leather folder (he didn’t give me a gift card), a kid’s learner’s permit and a license plate (I called the police and they found the neighbor who it belonged to, the same one who lost the learner’s permit). I’ve seen the cops chasing and arresting some kid in our neighborhood. I watched while he went around one side of the house and the cops the other and they met in the middle…like a Keystone Kops moment!

And today in my neighborhood I saw a new “old” friend, Mildred the Moose! Jasmine and I were walking and I was talking on my cell phone when I saw her in a yard up ahead. I needed to walk past her to get home and I figured she was pretty well occupied with her breakfast to worry about little ‘ol us, but I was wrong. We slipped past her but then she started making her move, jumping over the fence in the yard she was dining in, and heading in our direction. I didn’t wait around to see what was up, I sped up the pokey little puppy and heading quickly towards our house. Jasmine, unobservant dog that she is, noticed nothing! I felt relieved when I finally got the key in the door and got inside.

I decided I wasn’t going to let Mildred get away without have her paparazzi moment, so I hopped in the car with my camera and went back to find her. No Mildred…I sadly headed home and guess what? Mildred really had followed us home! She was around the corner enjoying the breakfast buffet in my neck of the woods. Good old Mildred!

My nemesis, Mildred

she's just noticed her privacy has been invaded

she decides that breakfast is more important than evading the paparazzi