Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hiking DeSoto Falls and Blood Mountain!

Wow, what a day we had yesterday!!! About 10 AM we headed out to the Wilderness area near Dahlonega about 1.5 hours from our cabin.

There are a lot of hiking trails in that area that we haven't explored yet. The first two trails we explored were at DeSoto Falls where they have one trail to the Lower Falls then back, and another trail to the Upper Falls and back.

When we came to the trailhead we saw this sign. Bigify (by clicking the image) and you'll see that there is a warning to stay on the trails that folks have slipped on the rocks and fallen to their death - hmmm, good to know!

The trails was a super nice surface of red Georgia clay with occasion pea gravel mixed in areas. A few nice rock formations I enjoyed to cool off.

Cute little wooden bridge where I took a little break.

Mum loves that moss, so I indulged her with a photo of my butt on it, BOL!

Then we came to the Lower Falls, very pretty, serene and peaceful. We got them all to ourselves, and stopped to play in the fall pool.

Then we ventured back the way we came and headed up the trail to the Upper Falls. A very nice site!!!

We enjoyed a cool drink from the Falls and then took a little break before heading back to the car.

On the way back we stopped and talked with a couple who were camping and on their Honeymoon. Gracie and I gave them our congratulations and then started back when Gracie found a Luna Moth, very pretty!

Another stop on the way back to let Gracie play in the stream, she got kind of wild and crazy so Mum put her on a long line. Don't think she was quite sure what to do with all her freedom, and I didn't like that she had that much freedom without me at all! 

Gracie's signature, "I had the most awesome time in the stream!!!!' pose, BOL!

Once we got back in the car we headed a little further east to the trailhead for Blood Mountain. But first we stopped at the Waleisi-Yi Center and Mountain Outfitters at Neel Gap where there were some amazing views and a great store. The Walasi-yi Center was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s (completed 1937) and originally used as an inn and restaurant for the few brave souls who ventured this far into the wilderness. Now it's a stop for all kinds of die hard hikers on the AT, and the only place that the AT cuts through a structure.

We stopped and talked with some of the folks there, especially the folks that own the store and told them we were going to hike Blood Mountain. They told us that lots of people were intimidated by the hike because of it's difficulty. After we told them we had hiked seven miles from Aska Trails to Blue Ridge Lake, they said, 'Oh! Then you three will be ok, it's tougher than Aska to BR Lake, but you'll be OK, just take it slow.'

So with our wide eyes, we ventured on.

But first we had to explore the cool shop! We found this sign we thought you'd like :) and I got to meet the resident MO dog, Patches a testy little Aussie.

The elevation at Waleisi-Yi  is 3108, and the elevation at the top of Blood Mountain is 4458 ft., so it was a good little climb.

We first took the Byron Herbert Reece Access Trail where it meets up with the Appalacian Trial at Flat Rock Gap. There we connected to the Blood Mountain Trail that heads up to the top of Blood Mountain, for a total of about two miles. 

The last mile gains most of the 1350 elevation and is a very steep and strenuous hike, with some trail and a little rock climbing mixed in. In a few places Mum had to lift my little butt up the rocks, there were too high for me to jump. That's part of the trail (below) heading up the rocks to the left of the big rock.

The trail was like walking a stairmaster for about an hour, we saw a lot of rock steps.

More rockin' up the rocks!

And even more steep rock walking! Going up Gracie and I led the way, pulling the entire hike. Have to say that Mum loved the help :). But going down was was a little tricky. Mum slipped a couple of times, so she switched us and had me lead and had Gracie last (which Gracie did not like!) But, ahhhh....that was much more efficient and safe!

After awhile we finally made it up to the top! The summit of Blood Mountain is the highest point in Georgia of the Appalachian Trail. The famous stone shelter at the top (below) was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. The Blood Mountain Shelter is a two-room stone shelter that is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

That's me after cooling off in the shelter!

Just as we were about to head down, we saw...yes, a deer!

Heading down we stopped for some photo ops. Here I am at one of the highest points of the trail, checking out the view! It was a little hazy yesterday, you can see one or two of the ranges beyond, but there were even more beyond those that you can't see in the photo, gorgeous!

I'm on top of the World, I tell ya!

Wow, what a fun day! After hiking six total miles, we finally got home at about 8 PM after stopping in town for a few stock up supplies. 

Here's a little vid to enjoy the scenery!

Can we do it again tomorrow Mum? Paaaaleeease!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My favorite vids from EO!

Here are my favorite vids from this past weekend's EO 2012...you know, the ones that make you go WOW!

Krisztina Kabai and Rio  - 1st Individual Medium Agility Standard

Silvia Trkman and Bu - 1st Large Individual Standard

Jannie Abelsson-Svens and Inna - 2nd Small Individual Standard

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to my sis, Gracie!!!

I want to wish my sis, Gracie, a pawsome Happy Birthday!!!

You are the most fun, fun-loving, goofy, best friend, zoomin' racer, wrestling partner a pup like me could ever have!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Little Boy Blue, an eye-opening book about the shelter and rescue world.

We just finished reading an advanced copy of the new book about to hit the shelves - Little Boy Blue: A Puppy's Rescue from Death Row and His Owner's Journey for Truth.

The nice folks at Barron's Educational Series were kind enough to send us an advanced copy for free to read and review if we wanted to. After reading it, we can't stop talking about it, and thinking about it...because it relates a lot to my life.

For those of you who know me, you know I'm a rescue; adopted by my Mum from the Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis back in 2004. The SSASI, a no-kill rescue, regularly plucks dogs from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, the designated animal control unit of the city of Indianapolis.

Indianapolis Animal Control is not the place you want to end up, because your chances for survival are slim. According to IndyChannel, the Indianapolis Animal Control has just about a 50% euthanasia rate, meaning about one half, or just about 4,000 animals were euthanized last year because of space or other reasons, including sickness or age.

Thank goodness there are no-kill organizations throughout the Indianapolis area that regularly visit the Indianapolis shelter to help dogs and cats get a better chance at being seen, visited and adopted.

When Mum visited the Southside Animal Shelter back in 2004 after she saw me on Petfinder, she didn't think to ask about my past and how I came to be at the shelter. Now she wishes she had. Our best guess is that my birth Mom, me and my brothers and sisters were either found  or dropped off at the SSASI, or at the Indianapolis Animal Control, where the great folks at SSASI found me and brought me back to the rescue to help me find my furever home and saved my life.

Life is different for homeless dogs all over the country, the plights in the major cities like Indianapolis are different from the plights in remote areas like where we live in the mountains of NE Georgia. But plights they are nonetheless.

We see a lot now that we wish we didn't see. Dogs regularly running loose, people who talk about dogs as livestock, and folks who talk about how they would kill a stray dog in a heart beat. And we hear folks speak of dogs as just a means to help them hunt, and even stories about dogs being stolen for fighting rings.

Throughout the US there is an amazing network of people who help dogs in kill shelters find their way into the no-kill network and Freedom Trail, rescues similar to where I was put up for adoption. This network is one network that, to tell you the truth, I have never put a lot of thought to, even though all of my kittie bros and my sis Gracie were rescued in a wide variety of ways.

So when we received the book Little Boy Blue, we were very intrigued about this little guys story.

Little Boy Blue: A Puppy's Rescue from Death Row and His Owner's Journey for Truth, written by Kim Kavin, chronicles Kim's journey to find out the past of her newly adopted pup, Blue.

What she didn't know when she logged on to Petfinder, just like my Mum did back in 2004 and thousands of others do every day, was that Blue, even though available for adoption through a local no-kill rescue near her in Pennsylvania, was actually a last-minute survivor of the gas chamber at a shelter in North Carolina. He was  pulled just in time and transported along with a dozen other dogs to states north.

The book is about her story in getting to the bottom of exactly what happened every day of Blue's life until he came to live with her, love her, and become a voice for rescues dogs everywhere.

It's a eye-opening story about the shelter/rescue world in the southern part of the US, the very one we have come to learn about living here in Georgia. It's a powerful story of those that care and work miracles, those that follow their directives from small city run municipalities and believe they are doing the right thing for their community, and those that believe they are helping pets, but may actually be hurting.

If you've ever thought about, or have adopted a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue, this book is a must read in understanding how the shelter/rescue system works in the new Internet age, how your pet's behavior and demeanor may be influenced by their past shelter/rescue experience(s), and how you may be able to help solve some of the problems plaguing our world's homeless pets.

Now that Kim has experienced the world of shelters/rescues, she has become a foster dog parent. She talks about her first two fosters, Izzy and Summer in her book. That's Izzy, to the left. He looks a little like me only bigger, don't you think? Sooooo, cute. Izzy quickly found a loving home not too long after Kim fostered him.

I am one of the lucky ones, so is my sis, Gracie and so are my kittie bros, Wolfie and Wiggy. Just like Blue, we are loved and have an amazing home, life and family.

Kim has a knack for investigation and telling real stories of hope, betrayal, sadness, success and true love for those in need. We want to thank Barron’s Educational Series, the publisher of Little Boy Blue, as they will be donating a portion of proceeds of the book to the Petfinder Foundation to help further their efforts in helping dogs like me and Blue find their furever homes. 

Little Boy Blue: A Puppy's Rescue from Death Row and His Owner's Journey for Truth. is available at Amazon, as of today.

With this post we join in the Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue event.

Next time you are looking for your new best friend, please consider adoption through a rescue or shelter, you never know, you may just be adopting an agility champion, just like me.

Rescue pups are pawsome, pawsome pups, just ask my Mum!!!

And while you're hear visit other blog post about dog rescue, lined below.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I caught a squirrel!!! That's one off my bucket list!

See that look?

It's the look of pure satisfaction!

Yes, today was a big, big day. I caught a squirrel, one of the five items on my bucket list for this year.

Mum let me and Gracie out for our mid-morning romp, and I ran around to the back side of the cabin. Just then, Mum heard squealing and squeaking, all kinds of noise! She ran around the cabin, but by that time, the noise had driven Gracie right to me.

Even though I caught the little buggar (not an easy feat by any means), Gracie went in for the kill shot....a good crunch to the neck. 

While all this was going on, Mum ran inside to get the camera, of course. We promise not to show the very gruesome detail, but you can see Gracie didn't want to give up that squirrel after I had disabled it. As Mum approached, she took off with it to the other end of the yard.

After calming Gracie down a bit, Mum pretty easily told Gracie to leave it and she did. Dropped it right after this shot was taken.

Then Mum had to go through the process of getting it out of our fenced in yard. Yep, she squinted her eyes, shuttered a bit, then scooped it up with the rake and took it across the road for some other wild animal to enjoy for a nice dinner tonight.

Ok, bet we're really grossing you out. Sorry about that, but I have to say that there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into your highest level nemesis. After that, I was more than willing to let Gracie share in the joy with me.

Now I can add squirrel to my list of kills - mice, rabbits, a bird...If I was living wild, this is just the thing that would keep me alive. Nature and instinct is sometimes sad, but always interesting.

Sorry, gotta go, I think I see another one!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fun agility practice last Saturday!

Gracie and I got to go to agility training last Saturday.

We haven't been for quite a while. As a matter of fact I don't think we've run a full course since our last USDAA trial in April!

So we were super excited to run!

Mum wanted to practice gambles with me, so she planned out to send me to certain groups of obstacles. I didn't do too bad!!! Check it out.

We worked on sending to the tunnel (Mum needs to cue me earlier, duh!), rear crossing into the weaves at a bit of distance then moving out laterally with a send to the jump and table, then sending me to the tunnel again. Fun stuff!

Gracie was kind of crazy after not running for so long. The main thing Mum wanted to do is to help Gracie with her teeter, since this is the place that she got the teeter fear.

So Mum ran her through her favorite things and the goal was for Gracie to eagerly at least put a few paws on the teeter. Then Mum and Gracie went into the back room to work on the mini low teeter. The first time Gracie only put two paws on the teeter, but the second run she went all the way to the tipping point and then got scared. But it's progress!

I had a lot of fun and got lots of compliments on my speed and distance work. We were the only ones working on that, so I stuck out, BOL!!!

Hope you enjoy the video!

Got frog?

We are finding lots of critters around our new cabin!

 The other day we found this guy (guess it could be a gal?) right on our front porch when we went out for our morning business.

 Gracie, silly girl, did that sniff, snoop, back up...sniff, snoop, back up thing that she does when she sees something she hasn't seen before or for a long while.

We weren't quite sure that this guy would be happy in our fenced in yard now, and not sure that he could get out.

But after a couple of weeks, we haven't seen hide nor hare of him! Maybe he got some good it consultant insurance and hitch-hiked out of our little galaxy on the interwebs, poof!

Last night we found another critter, more on that later, stay tuned!

Monday, July 09, 2012

A little garden!

Mum planted a little garden not too long ago. And of course Gracer had to help with the digging!

Gracer gets a little manic when Mum starts digging. See! She's just waiting for that shovel to move!!!

She arroooooos, and then digs at the shovel. Mum has to be very careful digging when Gracie is around, so she doesn't get hurt.

And of course, when Gracie does that, I have to bark and bark and run around her, telling her to stop!! What does she think, that Mum is planting lobster tails or something?

Whew, glad that's over. Now everything is all calmed down now that the the plants are in. Mum planted tomatoes, cucumbers and jalapenos, her fav!!!

After a couple of weeks the plants are doing well, and we've got a little yield coming! Whee!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Baby birds!

Awww....they are so cute!!!

Even though I'm an expert bird herder, I've been nice and have left the babies alone that were born not too long after we moved in.

They have their nest in the rafters of our front porch. It scares Mum because their nest is just teetering on the edge. Maybe we need to add a cotter pin and keep it secure or something!

They are all grown now and flew the coop just the other day. Now the nest is bare. Mum says we're gonna leave it just in case they want to use it again.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Big storms!

We were out on our after dinner romp in the yard, when it started raining one day last week.

Unexpectedly a huge storm came up, so Mum, Gracie and I hung out on the back deck, and we watched Mum scrub up all the bird poo that had accumulated before we moved in. Since the cabin had been vacant for a long time, the birds used it as a resting spot for a long time!

In the middle of her cleaning and scrubbing, all of a sudden a huge CRACK and big FLASH OF LIGHTENING all at the same time!

Gracie and I looked at Mum, Mum looked at us, like 'what was that?!' Mum said, 'wow, that was a big one, maybe we should head inside.' We wagged our tails and headed for the door.

Mum says we amaze her! That crack of lightening was very close to the cabin, yet, we all kept our cool and didn't show any signs of fear or stress. With so many of our friends afraid of thunderstorms, they don't seem to phase us or our kittie bros one little bit! We are luck!!!

Sure hope those businesses down the mountain have liability insurance for small business, very scary storm!

This photo from our deck is that storm after it moved south. Check out those cloud formations!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Gracie's first agility title!!!!

Well, she did it, finally!!!

Gracie got her first title in agility!

Gracer got the USDAA P1 Snooker title back in April, but we got the official certificate in the mail last week!

Mum was looking at Gracie's results the other day. Of the Q's that's she's received in Snooker and Jumpers (all the events she has Q'd in so far), they are all first place! Gracie is on a roll, her future's so bright she's got to wear shades! Maybe rayban sunglasses, BOL!

As Mum says, 'when she's on, she's on! And when she's off, she's really off!' :)

Congrats, sis, you are on your way!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

We got to read 'Follow The Dog Home!'

The nice folks at Sweet Tea Books recently sent us the new book, Follow the Dog Home: How a Simple Walk Unleashed an Incredible Family Journey for free to read and enjoy as part of our Summer reading list!

The book chronicles three generations, spanning 70 years, and 17 dogs who are part of the lives of one family throughout those generations.

Throughout those years, one thing is always constant in their lives, the family dog.

The authors are:
  • Kevin Walsh lives in Wellesley, MA, is a seasoned sports and news broadcaster with Comcast SportsNet New England and New England Cable News. 
  • Dad Bob Walsh lives in Ledyard, CT and is now retired from a forty-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. 
  • And, Samantha Walsh, the ten-year-old daughter of Kevin and granddaughter of Bob, who likes taking care of her family's German Shepherd, Beverly, and dancing in ballet performances, and who hopes to one day become a veterinarian.
The Walsh's aren't agility competitors, but are normal loving families who enjoy dogs as part of their life, and care about them as family members.

We enjoyed this little read! Even though their dog life is a lot different than the dog life we have, it gave us insight into how 'regular' dog families enjoy, love and appreciate their dogs. The book includes engaging stories of miracles, joy, and lifes struggles, as Bob, Samantha, and Kevin Walsh share their dog loving journey.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

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