Wednesday, July 31, 2019

help us stay young

Today the pups really started to play together. After a good part of the day away from home, we released a whirlwind into the yard. A red streak with an incredible burst of speed zoomed past us, Spike in hot pursuit. They zoomed around the field, Adia zig and zagging around invisible obstacles, Spike running his wee little heart out. There was joy of the game in Spike’s face. With elderly sisters, there hadn’t been much fun for ages…

I’ve been very careful to include Spike in the training sessions and I think that is working to help the transition to a new sister. Sitting side by side builds their relationship. It does highlight the difference between them: Spike was a super fast learner and revelled in the training game; Adia is somewhat slower but if we slog through many repetitions she figures it out. She is missing the spark, but that spark comes with some negative traits as well. Mr. Naughty is reactive and excitable. He never forgets, especially if it is a bad thing. He’s sensitive. When he is good, he is very very good, but when he is bad he is horrid.

I won’t say yet where we were today except to say that all my fingers are crossed. I may be getting really excited about something ;-)

Pat came over last night to meet Adia. They took to each other immediately and will be good pals.

We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.”
~Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

a click and a treat

Spike and Adia spent some time on the futon yesterday… progress. Today when I was doing some clicker training with her, he dashed over to be included. Click and a treat each for giving me eye contact - they both liked the game. I’ve been rewarding a sit so much that she’s starting to sit as a default behaviour, such a good girl!

It isn’t so hot today, although the humidex makes if feel like a sauna. Still, a bit cooler than it has been so we ventured into the village with Adia again. She’s all eyes and nose, trying to take it all in. Most things were okay, but a passing motorcycle bothered her a bit. Sadly it went by so quickly we didn’t have a chance to get used to it.

We did run across 2 dogs - one with an older gentleman who understood that we didn’t want the pup running up to us and kept everything calm and positive. And they another guy, dare I say JERK, who was going to let his dog, on the dreaded flexi leash, mob us, even though we asked him not to. He didn’t persist after I insisted and told him Adia is afraid of dogs and we want to take it slowly, but he did mouth off about it. I’m not certain he was out of earshot when I said to Carm “what a jerk”. It’s unlike me to say anything, but jeesh, what is it with people.

People don’t realize the danger of flexi’s either - there have been countless cases of the rope getting wrapped around legs (dog and human) and causing grievous damage. Think wire cheese slicer…

After that we drove to the dog park so that we could hang around outside the fence for a while - a safe way to increase exposure. Most of the dogs left when we got there so it was a bit of a bust. One dog was left, sitting in the far corner, so Carm badgered me into going just inside the gate so she could sniff around. With an eagle eye on the other dog, and the other eye on the parking lot I let her investigate (on leash). About 20 bikes went by right outside the fence we were standing near - that got some eyeballs but she didn’t freak out - her curiosity overrides her caution.

All those kids filed into the park (Adia wanted to say hello), and a truck pulled up with another dog. We skidaddled and everything was good. A positive experience, although next time I’ll hope for more dogs for us to look at through the fence.

(note that the outside photos were all taken at our place)

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as
the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.”
~Khalil Gibran

Bella: April 5th 2005 to July 25 2019

Our Bella: April 5th 2005 to July 25 2019

My second visit with her as a puppy. She was just a tiny little pup but already so much like a poodle. Look at that tail!

Bella with Grizzle, one of her uncles. Grizzle wasn’t with us for much longer after we got her, maybe only a year. He was so gentle with her

Nissa and Bella - they were both little ones. Nissa and Shenna would drag a long toy around and around the table thrilling Bella and making the rest of us laugh. That may be one of my fondest memories of her.

Bella and her uncles: Grizzle, Titan, Pan

Bella with uncle Pan in the pond.

Starting to grow up.

In her first year we took a few puppy classes and then graduated to agility. She loved it and would jump up anytime we said “do you want to do some agility”. Over the winter we took classes in an indoor arena so by spring she was doing well - not competition ready, but she did take place in a demo at a fair. She was a star!

She grew into a lovely poodle.

Bella at Red Rock Coolie in Alberta

She was always happy to chew a bone!

Bella was a gentle soul, always ready to be a friend. She’d rest her head in your lap or lie at your feet. She was Carm’s shadow. She was a great camper and loved nothing more to go for a walk. She’d be the one to lead the way or trott side by side with Kabira. All of the dogs came across Canada with us and each travelled well. Bella liked to look out the window for a bit and then she’d lie down beside Kabira. She had many adventures and was cheerful no matter what.

We miss her so much but find comfort in knowing she isn’t suffering anymore.

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
~William Shakespeare

Monday, July 29, 2019

pals in the field

It’s hard to write with a ridgeback face drooling over my keyboard… oh wait, she’s finally lying down… oh wait, she just jumped up to get another drink of water, just enough to dribble all over the house and onto my lap… now she’s walking around again… another drink… walking… is it time for some quiet time in her crate?

Spike is still bossing her a bit, but licked her face and ear this morning - progress? They are starting to run side by side in the field. Both seem pleased. Spike’s grief seems to be passing and I believe some of that is due to Adia.

Today we are working on stay, down, and leave it. And always recall. I feel that she must have known all this before as she learns reasonably quickly and tries so hard to please. Of course having a pouch of treats strapped around my waist doesn’t hurt ;-)

We ordered a little dremel to use for nails… this is something that might be a rodeo with her. I have to figure out a way to build the behaviour but I haven’t had much luck. I was able to muscle Spike a bit and do a cursory job on most of his nails, there’ll be no forcing a huge ridgeback though.

On a more domestic note, we finally got the bed frame that we ordered just after we painted the spare bedroom. I wish it had been here when Kirsten was visiting, but there are sure to be other times and guests. And it will be nice for Pat.

It’s going to be another scorcher. Too hot for a visit to the village with Adia. But hot enough for many dips in the pool. One of those precious lazy, hazy days of summer.

It's so curious: one can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. ”

Sunday, July 28, 2019

a glimmer of hope

We had the pleasure of Jo Ellen and Don’s company yesterday and it’s a good thing we did. Like Spike, we seem to be able to only sit around feeling sad. We needed a diversion and I thought that Spike would benefit as well. Talking and laughing and reminiscing was good.

Things are going so well with Aida. She’s fitting in much better than I had hoped. I hold back ½ of her breakfast and supper and use those kibbles as rewards for learning a hundred different things: sit, leave it, down, walking on leash, not barging through doors, lying down, come (the most important of all and that gets special treats). Everything seems so easy. She’s not mobbing me for treats but now sits nicely. She asked to go outside this morning. She settles well in her crate at bedtime and again in the early morning after a potty trip outside. She is respectful of Spike. Really, we couldn’t ask for more.

We all decided last night that she’s a combination of Kabira and Bella. She has Kabira’s sleek build and good looks, and Bella’s loving temperament. We really lucked out and can’t thank her breeder enough for trusting us with her.

She is busy though! I think we have to add one more trip around the field to her day as she probably isn’t getting enough exercise. Now that she’s off leash she’ll be able to run around more too. She’s great off-leash, checking in often (gizzard) and racing back when we call her (heart). She had a few flashes of crazy dog circles :-)

It’s me, Spike. I don’t understand why my sisters aren’t here. I saw Bella lying still in a deep hole and knew she wouldn’t be coming back. But why? I miss her and Kabira so much, sometimes I cry. Laura and Carm seem worried and pet me but it doesn’t help much. Grandma was here yesterday morning. I love her but she didn’t bring my friends back. Jo Ellen came to see me yesterday too. I was happy to see her for a few minutes but then all I could do was lie around feeling sad.

That dog that looks like Kabira isn’t helping me at all. I don’t want to like her and wish she’d just go away. Laura is always doing stuff with her like she used to with me. She’s not smart like me so it takes more treats. It’s not fair. But then I remember that I’d be alone if she left so I think she might be okay. Today we went into the field together and for some reason I felt a bit better. We even ran around a little bit, and she likes to smell the ground too. It was fun for a few minutes. Maybe I feel a bit more hopeful now.


I visited Carm’s mom in the hospital today… the prognosis isn’t good.

You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”
― J.K. Rowling,

Saturday, July 27, 2019

nothing seems right

My heart is breaking… not for me but for Spike. He is a mess. I mentioned yesterday that he was in a state when we got home from our outings. He seemed to settle a bit but gosh, last night at bedtime he couldn’t get himself to relax to come to bed. After ½ hour  he was up on the bed with me, but that only lasted a few hours. In the middle of the night he was up pacing and crying - I thought he might have to go outside so took him out. Once we were back in the bedroom he paced and paced, crying for over an hour. Finally he came up on the bed so I curled myself around him with my arm over his back and he fell asleep.

Today he came out to the field for a little walk and now hasn’t moved from his sofa. He stares into space. Even Grandma couldn’t cheer him up. He is the poster boy for a depressed dog.

This afternoon I could hear crying as he lay prone on the sofa. I cried for him and for me and for Carm...

Adia meanwhile is getting more comfortable around the house. She started playing a bit, leaping around in that funny puppy way. She’s still my shadow and doesn’t let me out of her sight. On this morning’s walk around the field we decided it was safe to let her off leash. Her recall is coming along well, and honestly we are fully fenced along the road and partially into the cow pasture so the risk isn’t great. She’s at the stage now that when something worries her she runs to my side. She did great. Oh, it may help that I have a bag of hearts & gizzards with me ;-)

We’ve done a hundred sits so she’s getting pretty good with a hand signal, tomorrow I’ll add the verbal in. She probably already knew how to sit but it seems she’s having to relearn a bunch of stuff.

It was Carm’s night at the hospital and in a flash I had the brilliant idea to invite my Mom out for the night. We had a lovely evening talking about all sorts of things that only we (and Kirsten)  would find interesting. The evening flew by.

“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, July 26, 2019

Adia's first outing

The sadness in our hearts is alleviated by a red whirling dervish by the name of Adia. She’s still settling in and runs around the house smelling everything over and over again. Perhaps she’s looking for food (she is one serious chow hound), or maybe she’s looking for Tina and her rhodesian ridgeback friends. Regardless of the reason we have to keep an eye on her.

Every so often I stick her in a crate so that I can take a bit of a break. She’s mostly fine with that, unless I step out of the house, then all hell breaks loose… slightly alarming since we are camping for a month in 5 weeks. Hopefully with a bit of time she’ll feel more confident about being alone.

We are trying to keep ourselves busy today otherwise grief washes over and tears start to flow. I want to do a big post about Bella with lots of photos but can’t quite do it yet. Maybe tonight. We were expecting it to happen but not just yet. She’d really improved with the increase of prednisone. She was perky and happy. Looking back to yesterday she maybe wasn’t 100% her cheerful self, but she still trotted around the field with us and seemed to be having a good time. When she didn’t eat her supper we thought maybe she was just having an off day. 1 ½ hours later she was gone. At least it was fast. It is strange in the house and later today I have to go around and put away the 3rd dog stuff: leashes, dishes, dog beds, a pile of medications. I’ll have kleenex in my pocket.

We’ve been out of the house twice today and each time Spike has been hysterical. He’s never made a peep when we get home but boy he was sure stressed today. The quicker he makes friends with Adia, the better.

Hi, I’m beat. Today Laura and Carm took me in the truck somewhere. I thought maybe I’d be going home but we stopped somewhere strange. There were lots of houses close together and some grass and trees. There were lots of interesting smells, maybe  some other dogs had been there. We walk for a while then came to a busy road with lots of cars. I wondered about that for a minute but Laura said it was okay and gave me lots of treats whenever a car went by. That was okay and soon I wanted cars to go by so that I’d get more food.

Then we walked back to the truck and drove some more. We didn’t stop at my home again. There were lots of cars staying still so we just walked around that boring spot for a minute. Then Carm said he had to go into the building to get me more hotdog treats. I thought that was a good idea. Laura and I walked on the sidewalk in front and met some nice people. I liked when they petted me and said how pretty I was. They thought I was smart too when I sat down when Laura asked. Of course I would, there are treats! Then a man walked by with a big noisy thing rattling on ground. Laura asked the man if I could sniff it, but I wasn’t really interested, it was boring and there was no food in it. But I got more treats when it went by me. Laura said she was really pleased with me and that I am a good dog.

I’m starting to think that riding in the truck is a pretty fun thing.

It’s strange though. The people start crying all the time and I can’t see what they are crying about. Do they have to go outside to pee? Maybe it’s because the big black dog went away last night and never came back. Spike seems really upset about that. Maybe he will be my friend now. He let me sniff him when I came back from my adventure.

Last night some people came to the house and sat down for a while. They kept saying how well I’m adjusting (what is that?) and that I’m fitting in with the family. I think that maybe I am. It might be okay to stay here.


“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
~Langston Hughes

another friend lost

I can’t believe that I’m having to write such sad news just 16 days since we lost Kabira, but her best buddy Bella has left us as well.

She had some sort of catastrophic event and she went downhill in hours. When she fell over on the futon and didn’t try to get up we knew her time was up and made a frantic phone call to the vet. Our old vet, Dr. Shackleton, who saved her life several years ago when she bloated, helped her make a peaceful crossing to the rainbow bridge.

I’m numb. But yet tears continue to flow.

She lived a good 14 ⅓ years, travelling across Canada, camping, resting her head in every visitor’s lap. She was always gentle with people and puppies alike. She loved Kabira from the first moment they met, so maybe it was grief that sped her departure. Carm likes to think that when she saw Adia she saw a young Kabira and wanted to leave so that she could come back young as well. Kirsten thought that maybe Bella was waiting for Adia to come so that we would be taken care of.

Bella and Kabira are again lying side by side in death as they did in life. We are going to get a crimson maple to plant at the head of their graves.

I’m glad that we have an energetic bundle of red fur to distract us.

I intend to write a nice long post about her, but I can’t right now…

When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”
~William Shakespeare,

Thursday, July 25, 2019

settling in

It was Carm’s night to spend at the hospital while I stayed home with Adia. We wondered who would have the worse night - and it turns out that I had a very peaceful night. She settled into the crate in the bedroom right away and hardly made a peep all night. We had setup the crate right beside the bed so that she could see me which may have helped. I was awake for hours but it was 100% of my own doing.

It is a beautiful morning but I’ll have to say that the mosquitoes are out in full force. If I didn’t have west nile before, I’ll sure have it now! Longer pants, high boots, and long sleeves are my armour, but I need a full face mask too!

We’ve started working with Adia on a few things: I tried to work on a recall outside on a long line, but she’s always shadowing me so I haven’t had much luck, Carm and I did puppy in the middle a few times - she certainly knows ‘come’ so just some practice is needed; she’s getting the very beginnings of ‘leave it’, but she’s such a chow hound it will take some work. Barging out of her crate and diving for her food dish will come gradually, already there’s a difference. She responds immediately to a firm uhuh. Obviously Tina has prepared her for domestic life.

Already her spookiness is abating but I foresee a lot of work to get her used to the wide wide world. I’ll take my time to make sure she has lots of positive experiences. She’s already great with people which is a blessing.

Bella has stopped barking at her and Spike just lifts a lip when she has her nose in his face. She’s not too bothered by the rudeness!

Her tail never stops wagging :-)

Oh gosh, sometimes she reminds me so much of Kabira. She’s a darker red but the same sleek build. She’s well put together and if it wasn’t for her overbite she’d be perfect. But wait, she’ll be perfect for us.

She just settled by herself on the futon - a good sign. She’s lying exactly where Kabira use to lie and in exactly the same position… cue the tears…

A while later… she’s a bit of a perpetual motion machine… I’ve been around the field several times and out a few more times, she’s sniffed every inch of the house multiple times. I’m not sure of her potty schedule and I want to make sure she doesn’t have an accident. I needed a bit of a break so she’s in her crate right now (mostly quiet).

Hi, Laura is letting me say something again today. I think she’s nice and always pretty exciting with treats. I love treats and will try to learn anything to get one. She’s trying to get me to do all these things. It’s confusing me but I’m trying so hard. I was so tired that I almost slept the whole night. Sometimes Laura got up and when I saw her I couldn’t help wagging my tail. Laura says that I settle down in the crate but I knew I’d be good cause Tina taught me already.

Carm said that I needed a bath. I didn’t know what that was and never would have guessed how awful it was. I jumped and scratched to get away but they held me too tight. When they kept the water just on my toes it was okay. I got used to it and now they say I smell really nice. I thought I smelled just fine.

I sure miss all my friends. Maybe someday Spike and Bella will be my friends but now they don’t like me very much. I don’t care but I try to get them to like me a bit. Maybe Spike does a bit - he’s not growling at me very much. I think he might be a bit afraid of me so I try my best not to scare him. He doesn’t scare me though cause I’m trying to be a brave dog.

I think I like it here.


Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.”
~Dalai Lama

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

meet Adia

Introducing our new family member, Adia! I had been looking for a puppy with no luck until Tina, a Rhodesian Ridgeback breeder mentioned that she had an 8 month old female pup with an overbite. Well, we are no strangers to overbites in RR - Kabira had a huge one, and the thought of bypassing the puppy stage seemed like a good compromise given our travelling plans.

So… we got prepared and tonight went to meet her with the intention of bringing her home. She was super friendly, winning us over in an instant. We did the formalities and helped her into the backseat of the truck.

We named her Adia which is Swahili for ‘treasured gift’.

Hi, my name is Addi or maybe Adia, maybe both. Tonight strange people came to see me to take me away from my home. If I had known, maybe I wouldn’t have been so friendly with them, but they seem okay so maybe it’s alright. We went on a long car ride - I was a bit scared but the people kept telling me how good I was so I started to feel more brave. I even fell asleep for a while it was so comfortable. They said I was a good traveller, whatever that means.

When I got out of the truck I could smell other dogs, but not the dogs that I’m used to. It was very scary so the nice man told me that it would be okay. The lady came outside with two strange looking dogs who seemed angry to see me. I was so scared I tried to run away. The lady walked ahead with the two dogs and we followed behind. Soon I felt brave enough to sniff them. The little brown dog growled at me but I wasn’t too scared of him. We walked around for a while and then we were all walking close together and I felt that someday they might be my friends.

We went into the house which was very strange and full of things to smell and see. There was so much stuff that needed me to check out but luckily nothing dangerous. I ran around for quite a while to see if there was a way to my home. There isn’t a way to my old house and my old dog friends. It was all so scary but at the same time exciting. I felt happy and scared at the same time and I couldn’t make my tail stop wagging, especially when the people talked to me.

There’s this thing that looks like a giant dog bed on legs that the people tried to get me on. I thought it was pretty exciting and wagged my tail like crazy until I got brave enough to jump up. Even the little brown dog whose name is Spike let me lie down near him. The lady sat up there beside me so I felt calm and went to sleep for a while.

Oh. The people tell me I’m good all the time and give me treats. It is amazing and very fun. It might be okay to live here for a while.

I’m tired now and want to sleep beside the lady.


"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

terrible tuesdays

Another terrible tuesday. Carm’s mom is in the hospital and doing rather poorly. We aren’t sure what to expect so are sitting tight hoping for the best outcome. It’s been a hard day for Carm - no matter how well you think you are prepared, you aren’t.

Yesterday was a marathon day starting at the crack of dawn for Carm. He golfed, then we clipped the poodles together. They used to be so well behaved, but I must have nicked them a time or two ago and now they won’t stay still. Getting mad doesn’t help.

After I’d rested up from the flurry of scissors we dashed into town. Costco for new microwave, Best Buy to return the one Carm had gotten the day before, Home Depot to look at some granite countertops, shawarma place for an incredibly late lunch, pet food store to check out foods, Canadian Tire for a plug adaptor, another pet food store, and then finally… home!

The house is all set up for the new pup. We were supposed to meet her tomorrow, but that’s a bit up in the air at the moment.

Today I had Spike at the vet for some blood work - what a little shi% he was with other dogs. I don’t know what to do about him. How is the introduction going to go? I’d like to dial his reactive behaviors back a notch.  I need training help! I downloaded a sample of a book about aggression in dogs but it’s almost $30 so I’m not sure if I’ll take the plunge - if I knew the silver bullet was in its pages there’d be no hesitation.

It’s been a bit cooler the last few days which has been a relief. (although to be honest I like it really hot!)

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
~Marilyn Monroe

Saturday, July 20, 2019

the final days

I’m in the house taking a respite from the brutal inferno. It’s 32C with a humidex of 46C - too hot for doing much more than watering plants and washing dog crates, both of which involve cold water. Even so, I jumped in the pool a few times to cool off.

Back in the house, I pottered around doing loads of laundry (another set of sheets and more pool towels and another load of dog towels). I’ve done some puppy proofing and set up a crate in our bedroom and another huge one in the living room.

What the heck!!!

We are going to look at an 8 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback (rr) on Wednesday and will bring her home if all goes well. I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time - I have no idea what to expect from an 8 month old dog - what will she know? Will she already have bad habits? She was held back by the breeder as a potential show dog, but unfortunately didn’t grow out of an underbite.

I’ll tell you all about her on Thursday.

Bella has been having good moments and not so good moments. It isn’t time yet as the good is still outweighing the bad. She’s enjoying going outside and is spry enough to trot around the field a bit.

I’ll re-wind just a few days to the final days of Kirsten’s visit. I drove in on Wednesday morning with the giant truck (I could barely fit between driveways in front of Mom & Dad’s). We dorked around for a bit and then went to DQ for lunch (cue sugar overload), and then a bit of shopping. Shenna helped me to pick out an eyebrow brush/filler - way beyond my knowledge of looking good ;-)

At 9:30 pm we piled into the van and struck out for downtown. The sound and light show on Parliament Hill was entertaining.

I spent the night so that I could immerse myself for the last day. We did some shopping, hit-up Tim Hortons, and then Carm stopped by so that we could drive both vehicles home, feed pets, and then return for a final supper. It was a slightly teary good-bye - but we expect that they are moving back so my tears weren’t just of sadness, but also excitement about the future.