Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We really like the new K9 Shower!

A few weeks back, we were fortunate enough to have the nice folks at K9 Shower send us one of their units to try out for free! We were pretty excited about trying it out because we think it has a wide variety of potential uses for active dogs like us. We loved it, so of course we had to tell you about it!

The K9 Shower is billed as an effective solution to a common problem: “How do I clean my dirty dog before putting him in the car or taking him into my house?”

We think it fits the bill! We've been using it for not only cleaning up after a hike (you can hook it to a lowered car window and use it before heading home), or wrestling around in the backyard after a rain; but we believe it also has some other key uses like rinsing off after a dip in a chlorine pool (you don't want those pool chemicals hanging on your dog), and we believe it will be a great solution to take to agility trials when it's hot to rinse down and cool off between runs.

For our first test, Mum filled up the tank from the faucet as instructed. Then she placed it up on our deck railing, with the hose dropped down since the water comes down the hose via gravity pressure. She opened the vent valve, and called me over to come wash off my paws. She opened up the shower head and a nice gentle flow of water came out to wash off my paws, it didn't scare me at all. Here's a quick little vid (you can see even though I love the water of streams and creeks, I'm not that crazy about a bath, BOL!):


After we were done, Mum just shut off the shower head, closed the vent valve, wrapped up the hose and our K9 Shower is ready for our next hike, leakproof and all.

The K9 Shower comes with hooks on the back so you can hook it to a car window, or use the included mounting bracket and hook it to the side of your house by the back door for quick wash ups before going into the house.

The unit holds 2.2 gallons of water, plenty for almost a full wash up of a pup my size, or even a quick wash up for both me and Gracie after our hikes. It has enough pressure to get bellies too.

We love that it's manufactured in the US! It's a unique, fun, and handy product for any dog that likes to get out there and be a dog, like me!

The K9 Shower retails for $39.95 and you can pick it up at Clean Run through our affiliate link. Then we can donate 10% of our profits to dog rescue. Can't beat that!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hiking Aska Trails along Deep Gap!

Yesterday the weather was pawsome!

So Mum got up early, got a ton of work done, then we headed out to find a new trail to hike.

Our original plan was to hike from Aska Road along the Aska Trails along Deep Gap to Blue Ridge Lake, which on the map looked like about two miles in and two miles back. We took a wrong turn on the way there (the maps we've found so far aren't very good). So we got to the trail head kind of late, about 5:00 PM.

If you've ever hiked in the Mountains, you know that they are dense forest for the most part, and even mid-day there isn't much sun; which is nice to keep things cool in the summer, but the sun goes down a lot faster.

Even though we got there late, we decided to get as close as we could get to the lake, see if we could make it. So we ventured out.

All along the trail I knew I saw squirrels, like everywhere! Made me a little manic throughout the entire hike. I made Mum stop sometimes, just so I could bark at 'em. Hold on Mum, gotta bark! Woofs!

When I get manic, Gracie gets a little manic too, here's her wild eyed look, BOL! Oh she was having a good time.

We got in about a mile, then we needed to take a turn. Guess what? The map was wrong and we of course took the wrong turn :). Headed down that trial a bit and it came to the end, so we had to turn back and find the right trial. The trails all over here aren't marked very well, if they are at all. So sometimes it's kind of a guessing game. That's why Mum wants to get a GPS unit.

K, Mum, where now?

We finally found the right trail, and tried to get a photo of the beautiful gap that the trail follows. They call it Deep Gap, and yep, it's deep alright, we couldn't see the bottom. Oh, I sooooo want to run down there...

We changed elevation a lot on this hike, up 300 feet, down 300 feet, up 300 feet, down 300 feet. Was a little hard on Mom going up, but she loved going down! We liked it too, 'cause then we got into trail running mode. Wheee!!!

We got up to one of the top elevations and Gracie had to take a little breather with Mum. Me? I was ready to move on!

We saw a lot, and I mean a lot of this...trail and more trail; woods and more woods.

We got in about two miles and didn't see any sunlight anymore. And we didn't know how close we were to the Lake, so Mum made the decision to head back and try another time when we could leave earlier in the day to make it all the way to the lake. We will try again, right Mum?

Where's the lake Gracie? Do you see it? Oh, right! Another squirrel!!!

On the way back, we had a very, very long hill to climb, it just went up and up and up. Mum was real glad when we finally reached a little level land, because she knew then that it as all downhill from there.

We finally made it back to the car at about 6:30. No rain, so we didn't need any extra clean up and Mum didn't have to worry about car floor liners. In total, we got in four miles. We've been keeping up our exercise in the yard, but Mum hadn't been doing much, so she was feeling the burn.

Two other really cool things: Mum has been giving me a new glucosamine/chondroitin supplement for the past few weeks and we think it's really making a difference. She can't remember me ever pulling the entire hike when we've done four miles; Gracie yes, but me never! Game Mum an upper body workout, we did :). We'll really be able to tell when we do our USDAA trial in a few weeks. Can't wait! And, no ticks! Didn't find a single tick on us through the day and night of the hike...we are loving no ticks crawling on us or Mum, loving it!

The weather was amazing since all the moisture in the air was pulled in by Irene. Hope all of you are safe and dry that were in the path, we sure have been thinking about you!

Happy week all!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I like my Moose Antler! A lot!

Mum gave us some Moose Antlers the other day that the nice folks at Best Bully Sticks sent us! So grateful to them, 'cause they are yuuuummmmmmyyyyyy!

I like to carry mine around the cabin, running up and down the stairs with it, jumping up on the bed and hiding it in Mum's pillows, running down the stairs, then running up to get it and taking it out onto the front porch.

Then I like to hold it way up, get it way back on my teeth before I settle down for a nice chew.

Gracie just takes hers over on the rug and chews it right away, gnawing it down as fast as she can.

That's the difference between me and Gracie...I like to savor, she likes to dive right in, BOL!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More critters!

We've been meeting lots more new critters around our our cabin.

Here's a cute toad Mum met on our back deck. She tried to get it outside the fenced area, but it kept hoping off. I haven't met it yet; and Mum's glad. She doesn't know what toads are bad for us and which ones aren't yet! But after looking this one up, she thinks it's your typical American Toad, just a bit unusual for this area, probably about as far south as it gets. And not poisonous, thank DOG!

Here's one of our friendly lizards (actually it's a Gecko). Every morning when Mum let's us out for our morning doo, I run over to where the trash cans are and start sniffing for this little guy. Some day, little one, some day!

Very interesting...when we were looking to identify this young one, we researched and researched. Seems these are really native to Southeast Asia, but have been introduced in Florida, and seem to be making their way north. Not very common around here. At least that's what we think it is...a form of Family Gekkonidae.

Then one morning we saw this super giant gekko on the screen door on our front porch!!! OMD, he's huge, he could certain get his own Janitor Jobs, and take care of all the insects around here, BOL!

Just kidding, it's a camera perspective thing. He was only about an inch long, a baby of the other gal/guy, maybe?

And another beautiful butterfly! This one we believe is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, pretty common. This one is a male, the females are sometimes black (maybe the other ones we see around here :).

Here's what he looks like in the catepiller stage (photo thanks to: gardenswithwings.com). We remember seeing them earlier this spring, very vibrant little catties :). Reminds me of a cartoon character.

Then we saw this girly, a common black and yellow garden spider, although I don't think she looks that common to me! She was large, about 1.5 inches in diameter. See that zig-zag part of the web? That's done by the male, and the other part of the web is done by her, cool huh?

Oh, and we've found a couple of little scorpions here too, just a few though. No pics, 'cause Mum gets 'em before I can take a photo, BOL! Last night, Wiggy (my kittie bro) was very interested in something on the floor in the kitchen. Gracie went to investigate and she did the sniff, back up, sniff, back up thing.

Mum went right over and saw it was a scorpion and beat it to death with her shoe before it could hurt any of us. Good thing we're not sure what they are, and are just visually interested. None of us have been stung yet, knock wood!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Oh, yeah!!! It's so nice to be zoomin' again with our new fence! Wheee!!!! And she's off!

Puttin' on the brakes! Whoa doggie! Sure wish we had one of those sony TVs to watch this on!

Tumble, bumble!

Wrestlemania!

Better get a move on Gracie, gonna get ya!

Hope your week is going well!

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Trick: Dramatic Dog Stick 'em up!

Mum and I have been playing around combining tricks again. This time she combined my 'beg' with my 'bang' and look what we got, BOL!



Wow, that was fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fetching I am!

Now that we have our new fence up, we've been out playing and playing in the late afternoons when it gets cooler. It's still kind of hot, but we still wanna play!

Oh, and that playing includes fetching!!! Sure did miss my basketball fetching games, but I'm back and I'm fetching, I am!


Whee!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hiking to Long Creek Falls!

This past weekend we took a nice little quick trip up the forestry road a few miles from our cabin for a nice hike up to Long Creek Falls.

It was a beautiful day, and was late afternoon when we got up to the trail head.

We started out walking the trail up the mountain to the Falls. Most all of the trail runs along Long Creek which is really peaceful - you can always hear the water running the entire hike.

We didn't see a single soul going up to the Falls. See? No one on the trail!

Wait! I think I hear something up the ridge! Ahhhh...just a squirrel, no bears this time.

About 1.5 miles in we came up to the sign directing us to the Falls, nice sign!

And here they are! Really nice little falls, maybe 20-30 feet.

Of course Mum had to pose me on some rocks in front of the falls and (hopefully) get a nice pic. Yep, that works Mum, like it!

We met up with some very nice folks at the falls. Some thru hikers and two young men who were hiking and camping the AT for a few days before heading back to their senior year of college.

They were dirty, smelly and we like them :) One was majoring in physics, the other in environmental engineering. Brainy dudes, they were! One of them asked if Mum was a dog trainer (we get that a lot :). She always says, "well, I train my dogs," BOL!

We hung out for a while, talked and all had a really nice discussion about work, school, dog training, my competitions, their studies and other fun stuff.

After a while we started back on the trail. Here's a take of the falls further down. We had fun wading here, but the rocks were super slippery.

Near where the falls are there are some very large rocks, about 30 times my size...some perspective for you...little dog, big rocks!

On the way back we walked more along the creek, finding lots and lots of different types of mushrooms. White with white bumps...Greeny, yellowy, little dudes...

And really nice contrasting tan ones mixed in with the moss at the base of a tree.

Down a little further we came up on the creek again with a rise on the bank of about three feet. What did Gracie do? She jumped right in, almost pulling me and Mum in with her, BOL!

This is just a bit unusual for the Grace-ster. She doesn't follow me in the creeks very often for a good wade, just hangs out with a couple of feet in and a couple of feet out and takes a little sip.

But this time she was raring to go! Jumped in the creek, got all wild on us, then jumped out and took both me and Mum for a nice run down the creek bed. Mum called them creek zoomies!

Mum got a shot of her after the little zoomie session. See? She's all wide eyed and wild looking, looks a little like Super Woman, silly girl!

Was a really fun little afternoon. We tried to pose for a final shot on the rocks, but Gracie had other things on her mind, BOL!

Hope you had a fun weekend!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Fox and the Hound!

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the original film, the nice folks at Disney sent us The Fox and the Hound / The Fox and the Hound Two Combo DVD and Blue Ray. We had a lot of fun watching both movies on Sunday after our hike!

Originally released in 1981, we had never seen the The Fox and the Hound and really enjoyed it. It's the story of A very young fox named Tod (named for the Middle English word "todde", which means "fox"; and voiced by Mickey Rooney) is taken in by an old woman (voiced by Pearl Bailey) after his mother is killed by a hunter. Young Tod quickly befriends Copper (voiced by Kurt Russell), a very young hound dog that lives down the lane. As they grow older their friendship becomes endangered by their reality...Copper the hunting dog and Tod the prey.

The Fox and the Hound 2 was originally released in 2006. This version focused on the same main characters, Tod and Copper during one of their antics/adventures in their younger years. The second version of the movie showcases a lot more action and singing (by Reba McIntire, Patrick Swayze and Trisha Yearwood) and moves a lot faster as do many movies during and after 2006.

We liked the original one the most because it carries a good basic value story, with a little action/adventure, but moved at a more splendid pace, just right for our Sunday afternoon :).

You know that Gracie always likes a good dog movie (there she is watching this past Sunday)! She gives the first one four paws up; the second one 2-3 paws up! But we know both little two-leggers and dogs that love movies will enjoy them both!

The DVD with both The Fox and the Hound / The Fox and the Hound Two Combo DVD and Blue Ray will be released today, Wednesday, August 9th!

We hope you'll take in The Fox and the Hound, tworth the watch! Now, enjoy the trailer...


Monday, August 08, 2011

We have a new fence!

Can you tell that we are excited?!?!! Well, we are! Last weekend Mum moved the fence that she put up in the front of the cabin to a big area in the back. We can run a lot further now and we are loving it!

Originally, we put the fence in the front because it was a nice unobstructed area for training. There was a little rock in the fenced area, but the folks we rent from said we could easily rake that out.

Well, after about six weeks of raking, Mum had had enough! Turned out the rock went down about six inches in about one third of the area, and every time she raked it out, it would rain and expose even more and more rock. So she moved it for us and we really like it much better!

We are super grateful for the help of our neighbor. He brought over a big heavy chain and a huge crow bar and helped us get the old posts out and the new posts in. Then Mum took about a day to get the fence part up. She even fenced the area where we could potentially get underneath the deck. It was a lot of work for Mum, but she is very happy that we are happy :).

There's a nice high level where we can run full out...then there is a nice lower level where we can run full out too. And we can run from one level to the other, and get in some nice little hill work.

We also have the entire 25x50 deck that we can hang around on and take a nice dip in our kiddie pool. Love that!

Gracie likes to stand on the high level at one end...and look way, way over to the other area on the high level.

Thanks Mum, we sure are grateful for all your smelly sweat, BOL!!!!


Friday, August 05, 2011

How Wiggy keeps cool!

Wiggy has done this all his life, since he was a gangly young teenager back in 1999, even before I was a twinkle in the eye.
He likes to hang over this chair when it gets hot, guess it keeps his underarms cooler? Wiggy will stay there for hours like this, unless he's sleeping of course. You almost need rud tire chains to pull him away from his cool spot!

What a Silly Kitty!

Mouse in the house!

We expected we'd have some mice try to venture into the cabin eventually. Mum sees a lot of mice scrounging around behind the cabin in the dead leaves. And the person we rent from gifted us with a humane mouse trap when we moved in, BOL! Sure sign that is!

We'll we thought having the kitties monitoring such activity would keep them at bay. But noooooo!

One of those little critters (a baby actually needing some baby keepsakes from redenvelope) had the meeses to enter our domain. Mum and I heard a ruckus downstairs one early morning. Gracie was doing her Tim Allen grunting impression (which usually means that she wants to get in on the action, this time with the kitties).

So we got up and hustled downstairs. We saw the kitties huddled all around the wood burning stove. Just then Mum saw what they were after, yep, it was a mouse!

Mum got out that mouse trap and placed it behind the stove, then put our puppy pen all around the stove, hoping that with a little peace, that mouse would come out and go for the peanut butter in the little trap.

So Mum let out Gracie, and of course I was already on duty.

That mouse only ventured out one time during the day when Mum was on a conference call and Gracie and I were 'loaded up' in our crates, so we wouldn't disturb.

Once that was all done, Mum let us out and we were right back after it! Little mouse pup went right back under the stove to it's safety place.

We finally got bored after many, many hours (all day actually) of standing guard; and went to bed. Haven't seen the littler vermin since. Bet he never comes back again!