Tag Archives: dogs

Fraggle Friday: Ski Joring

Ski Joring with your horse is a pretty popular sport here in Idaho. And while ski joring with our dog isn’t as well-known, it’s also a lot of fun.

Back in the day Stella was pretty amazing at it, and she won our shelter’s fund-raising ski race a couple of times. Once with me, and once with a friend when I got to the race and realized I forgot my boots.

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The look of happiness

For a dog not bred to pull, she sure could pull. As long as she got to run, she was happy. She even had a guest appearance as a sled dog and carted around some kindergarteners.

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Pseudo sled dog

Stella is by far the most athletic dog I’ve ever had. I joke that if she was a human she would have been a multi sport Olympian. And if she was a horse, she would have won multiple 4* events.

In her prime she could do it all, and do it WELL.

And even as she aged, and I didn’t ask her to pull me down a ski trail anymore, she still just loved to come and run alongside me.

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In fact, she got to run ahead of me, free and happy far more than having to pull me around. She loved running down the path, believing it was groomed just so she could run as fast as she wanted.

Skijor champion, sled dog and incredible athlete, Stella has sure shown me just how versatile and fun the Fraggle can be.

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These days she’s a champion napper

 

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Fraggle Friday: Cold Weather Hacks

We’ve had a pretty mild winter here in Idaho this year, but I’ve learned a few things about having dogs in cold weather over the years and I thought I’d share that with you here! This list is in no way comprehensive, and it is based completely on experience, not fact.

While I think my dogs, Stella in particular, prefer cold weather to very hot weather, there are still a few things I find really help with having them stay comfortable when temps drop.

The first one is to keep them dry in cold weather! Siri is pretty hardy, but the minute she gets wet in cold weather it’s all over. She becomes a pupsicle! So, for senior Stella, I make sure she wears a coat if it’s cold and raining or snowing, it seems to keep her nice and comfy!

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It’s also adorable

This coat on Siri is nicely insulated and fits her  well. Plus it was cute so I forced her to wear it for a photo

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Another helpful hint in snowy weather is to use something called Mushers Secret on your dog’s feet in the snow. It keeps their feet from becoming snowballs and is really helpful! I’ve used cooking spray in a pinch, but this works way better

Mushers Secret All-Natural Paw Protection -- 60g

And lastly, just like when it’s really hot out, when it’s really cold it’s best to keep your four legged friends home, and not in your car. My dogs love going everywhere with me, but the inside of the car can get very cold once it’s turned off and dogs can get very cold as well! If you do leave them in the car consider an insulated crate, putting a warm coat on them and make sure they have access to water.

Any ideas you have for winter that help you get through the cold months?

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Fraggle Friday: How Siri Proved Me Wrong

My young dog, Siri, is a German Wirehaired Pointer who I adopted at the young age of 8-10 weeks old. I was super reluctant to adopt her not only because she was a puppy, but also because if I am being totally honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted a GWP.

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But who wouldn’t want this???

See, I was a Griffon snob. GWPs in my opinion, were the lesser breed. Originally bred with terriers, in my opinion, they were more independent, aggressive, and not as magical as a Griffon. The ones we got in at the Shelter seemed to always be really nice dogs, but I kept with my snobery and refused to believe anything else.

But then I met Siri. And I figured I would give it a shot. And while I cannot speak to the breed as a whole, I can admit that my bias of the breed appears to have been unfounded.

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Having grown up with horses, she learned about how delicious horse poop is at a young age

Siri is a very submissive dog. In fact, she is a bit of a target for other dogs, which makes me feel very protective of her. But, I’d rather she be omega than alpha. I never need to worry that she’ll be the fun police. In fact, she is ALWAYS looking for someone to play with.

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Stella isn’t the playmate Siri was hoping for in a sister, but she has taught her tons about how to be a good dog.

Siri is great with everyone. I got a chance to meet her mom, and get regular check ins from her brother, and both are equally friendly and happy dogs.

I definitely think Siri has good genes in the temperament department.

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Siri’s first collage

So, the GWP. They’re actually really nice dogs. And while they maybe aren’t as mellow as a Griff, and may be more prone to chasing cats and livestock (I still can’t trust Siri with the chickens despite having grown up with them), they’re actually a wonderful companion. Thanks Siri for proving me wrong!

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I’m lucky to have both of these fun fraggles in my life!

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Fraggle Friday: Wirehaired Pointing Griffons

Let’s talk about my most favorite breed of dog. A breed you may not have even heard of- which is something I actually think has made the breed stay so solid for so long.

While I am not an expert on the breed, I have had 3 of them and fostered countless others, so I feel I have a fair bit of knowledge to pass along about them. Especially if you consider that 15 years ago, had you asked me if I wanted a bird dog, I would have said “Hell no. Those things are crazy.” But now, having had Stella for 14 years, I can’t even imagine having a different type of dog. And no, they are not crazy.

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon (otherwise known as Griff, WPG, or in my home, Fuzz Face), is considered a medium-sized dog (although males tend to be quite a bit larger than females) with a high energy level. Their distinctive beards and shaggy coats give them an adorable appearance, at least in my opinion.

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You can read all about them here: AKC WPG description

But here is my take on the breed, the nitty gritty if you will, and things to consider if you are thinking of adopting or buying one. (Yup, they’re popular enough to start showing up in shelters and rescues now. Really, really, nice ones, in fact).

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This was one of the handsome Griffs we got in needing a home. He found a forever home earlier this winter.

Is this a high energy breed? Yes. They’re sporting dogs. They’re bred to be out in the field hunting birds all day. But that said, I’ve found the WPG to be one of the calmer hunting dogs I have been around. They do need daily exercise, but then are completely content to hang around with you and lounge at home. I’ve hunted with them and they are fantastic. They don’t range far, and can do it all, point, retrieve and flush. They also make fantastic outdoor adventure partners. Stella and I have hiked all over Idaho and other states and the breed are great at getting out and having a good time.

How are Griffs with other animals? So, here is the thing about this breed and how I know they are soon going to be overbred. This is a breed that is friendly with everyone and everything. Much like a Labrador, they think life is great, and are always up for making new friends. However, they’re also incredibly loyal and love to be with their people. If you move from the living room to the bedroom you’d better expect that they will too. Lately, I’m seeing more and more Griffs that are dog reactive. Some people are breeding them for a look, and no longer for that temperament that is what makes this breed so great. So, do your homework on breeders and meet the parents. They should be loveable and know no strangers.

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Squirrel, on the right, was a classic WPG. She’d go home with anyone, but then probably find her way back to me when she realized I wasn’t around…

Why do I love this breed so much? Because of their ridiculous look, sure. But also because they are so friendly, smart and healthy. They are great to run and hike with, but also great house dogs. I never have to worry that they will be aggressive when they meet someone. I never have to worry that they’ll get in a dog fight. They’re..easy. But that said, they’re easy for me because I meet their needs. They live inside with me and go everywhere with me. This is not a breed that wants to live outside away from its family. I also exercise them like crazy. I run, skate ski, take them on trail rides, hike. I basically plan my life around getting my dogs out (and myself) for some exercise. So, they get a good outing and then are fine lounging at home the rest of the day. My Dad’s dogs, both WPG rescues, run around the farm with him but have to be in the fenced yard when he’s at work. This is fine for them. Knowing they’ll get to stretch their legs when he’s home is enough. But they’re also no longer adolescents.

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Sassy, now 12, still loves to run and hike, but she’s also really good at sleeping. We adopted her when she was a year old, but she is actually Squirrel’s daughter. I adopted Squirrel 6 years after I adopted Sassy and found out they were related.

So, is this the breed for you? I don’t know. I just know it’s the breed for me and has made me fall in love with bearded dogs. Fun Fact: Neither of my current dogs are purebred WPGs. Stella is half German Shorthair Pointer and Siri is a German Wirehair Pointer. So, while I rave about the WPG here, it isn’t always the only option if you’re looking for a fantastic canine companion.

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Half GSP Half WPG=Total Perfection

 

 

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Fraggle Friday

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The girls got to go on a long hike yesterday and our foster dog Butterscotch joined us.

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He thinks he’s pretty tough, and to be honest, he kind of is. No shivering or getting tired for this guy. He had no problem keeping up with the big girls.

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We have so little snow right now, which is nice in that all my favorite trails are still easy to access. But not so nice in that it is winter in Idaho and we should have substantial snow right now…

At the end of the hike Siri learned an important lesson about ice. It breaks. And maybe you shouldn’t run across it unless you’re ready to go swimming.

I’m hopeful this was her last mid December dip

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Wet dog looks like she learned a lesson

Grateful for another great outing with the Fraggles and Butterscotch too!

 

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Fraggle Friday!

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It’s pretty where I live. It’s probably the #1 reason I live here. Which may seem silly to some, but being surrounded by natural beauty that I can enjoy easily is important to me.

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The other day a storm was blowing in and the light was incredible. I got some shots of the girls as we climbed a mountain before the rains came.

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I’m not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but living out here, I don’t really need to be.

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Happy Fraggle Friday!!

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Fraggle Friday: Foster Edition

My dogs took a bit of a back seat this week. A chaotic schedule left me wondering how they would do for hours at a time alone at home. They did fine.

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Always dorks, these two.

And they happily accepted a temporary member to our pack. Welcome, foster dog Brian!Brian

Brian is an ancient, blind and mostly deaf Dachshund who sadly was given up to our Shelter because his owner had terminal cancer and had to be placed in hospice.

Brian is pretty cute. He’s been struggling with some rotten teeth for a while so our veterinarian removed them and he seems to feel much better!

There was a small tear in one of my dog beds, and Brian did what Dachshunds do best- he used it as a place to burrow!

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It’s now a much larger tear, but as long as he’s happy, I’m happy

I’ve enjoyed fostering him, but am ready for him to find a forever home. Ya know, so I can foster another needy dog!

If you know of anyone looking for a super mellow and sweet small dog, send them my way!

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Fraggle Friday: Oregon Coast Edition

When Macy and I had to scratch from our eventing debut I was determined not to stay home and mope about it. I called up a friend and asked if she’d want to go to the Oregon Coast with me. Luckily she was game!

So the dogs and I hopped in the car and headed to Portland! We picked up my friend and headed to the ocean.

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If you haven’t been to the Oregon coast, you really should go. It’s stunning, and quiet, and super duper dog friendly. Siri ran the length of 3 different beaches and both dogs had an absolute blast.

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Pure Siri joy

We ate some amazing seafood, I got to run on the beach, and was constantly walking around saying “look how pretty that is.” While it wasn’t the same feeling as running cross country on horseback, it was really great.

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Our last night in Portland we went to Stella Taco, a fun street taco joint and honored my favorite dog by eating delicious tacos and drinking margaritas.

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It was a great trip all around and definitely made not going to an event bearable.

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Fraggle Friday Catch Up

The quickest synopsis of the last couple of weeks ever:

At Stella’s yearly exam I was told she had a cancerous tumor that had to be removed. Fourteen year old dog is not having surgery unless she absolutely HAS TO, so I got a second opinion.

From Siri’s brother’s adopter, who happens to be a board certified surgeon.

He said she is fine, NOT a cancerous tumor.

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She hates the vet so much… but is such a good girl there

Best money I ever spent was getting that 2nd opinion.

There will be more of this:

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Happy Dog!

Family came to town as I was giving a talk at:

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I was SO excited.

Siri instantly fell in  love with my Dad.

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Zero loyalty

And has been sad ever since he left.

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She got to go shopping with us and was really good at not knocking over retail racks

And now life is back to “normal.” Daily hikes and lots of cuddle time.

Happy Fraggle Friday!!

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Fraggle Friday- Stella’s 14th Birthday!

My little turkey monster baby, as I call her, turned 14 on Tuesday!

We celebrated the day with a hike up a mountain

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And then she did some serious napping in preparation of a special birthday dinner.

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She gave Siri some wisdom about how to last well into your teens, and how to be the best dog ever.

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I hope Siri heard her.

Happy Birthday Stella! The best dog I’ve ever known.

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