Friday, July 31, 2009


When we were at the beach a couple days ago it was so hot we were only there for a short time. Too long by half according to Archer who started digging a hole to get to the cool sand. Raimi, ever the follower, started to help him but didn't seem to understand the point. So he lay down on the hot sand and allowed Archer to cover him with the top layer of hot sand. Leeloo lay down in some of the cool sand to take a break from doing nothing. Eventually Raimi started to get covered by the sand but he didn't seem to notice. I'm not sure where Archer was going but he was digging a trench inland. Perhaps he was expecting the beach to be stormed by Vikings. Archer was pretty insistent that a hole be dug. To be honest I'm not even sure Raimi realized he was being covered in sand.
It's hot. It's humid. He's covered in sand. He's happy. Go figure.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Event Horizon

Although it may seem like it I don't actually take my camera with me everytime I go out with the dogs. Sometimes I forget and regret it and sometimes I take it and come home with mediocre photos that I just delete.

Today was a day that I dithered about taking it. I have to be careful when I have it because I can be clumsy and don't want to accidentally drop it in the ocean. All I'd really planned was to hit the beach at low tide so the dogs had the benefit of the sand flats to run on. I decided in the end to take the camera and am I ever glad I did. Yesterday was the day that the Tall Ships were in Pictou and I was down at the pier taking photos but today they set sail to Pugwash(where I'll be on Saturday with my parents) which means they have to sail directly past the beach to which I usually take the dogs.

As I drove onto the gravel road of Caribou I saw in the distance the Picton Castle heading into the Strait. I sent a silent thank you to the nudge that pushed me to take the camera. We got to the beach as the Picton Castle was passing and about a mile behind it was the Roseway.
Since there are too many photos to post here I'll just provide a link to one of the most fortuitous accidents of timing I've ever had the benefit of experiencing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Rock

I do try to time my visits to the beach so the tide is out and the flats of the tidal plains are big and open for the dogs to run on but sometimes I forget to check and we get there to find the beach has shrunk and there's not much to run on. Not that the dogs want to run in this heat so we go rock climbing instead.
Rock climbing is fun though. Halo sure makes it look like the best time ever doesn't she? Archer wanted Halo to follow him but she would only go so far before she decided there was too much water around her. I used to be standing on the rock with Raimi but decided to move myself when he almost shoved me into the drink trying to turn around. I left Archer with him to take his chances.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cool Runnings

Since moving to Nova Scotia I've had to deal with the adjustment of much more humid weather than I or the dogs have ever dealt with. Humidity in the air makes it feel a lot warmer than the actual ambient temperature. Just as wind chill makes cold weather feel colder, the humidex rating tells you how hot it feels, rather than how hot it is. Sitting in the sun with a humidex over 30(as in it feels like 30 degrees Celcius) is brutal. I've never been one much for sun bathing because I've always had a hard time regulating my body temperature - always too hot or too cold. My perfect temperature is between 18 and 22 degrees and I think the dogs have the same preference.

Shortly after I arrived I thought Halo as having some sort of skin issue not previously noted. Turns out she was simply shedding out un-necessary undercoat and not going bald as I'd thought. She was the first, all the other dogs and cats ended up blowing a tonne of coat within the first month of being here. Some of it was due to the winter/spring transition but it was a lot more hair than I'd seen come out in previous years.
Doesn't Leeloo look like a supermodel?

The dogs don't like lying in the sun when the temperature creeps above 20 degrees on a clear day. Raimi especially seems to have a hard time keeping cool when he's outside in extreme heat. He doesn't look for shade, he is picky about what water he'll drink and he allows himself to get in heat distress when he does have other options to cool down. Despite this seemingly self destructive behaviour all the dogs have the same system for cooling down, the bulk of this is lying around stretched out on their sides fast asleep ... in the comforts of the cool house of course.
It goes without saying that heading out into the heat for a walk is a non-starter for me and for them. I just can't face dragging them out anywhere because 5 minutes after we arrive they are done. Early mornings here are not cool either, it's already 20 degrees by the time the sun comes up, it often doesn't drop to below 19 over night and with the humidity you're over heated before you've even started your day.

We stay in the house, nice and cool, for the majority of the day when it's this hot. The intention is to put up a screened back porch to sit on and to be able to shade it when necessary so the dogs can be outside but nice and cool. That might be a project for next summer but it is definitely something I want to do ... for everyone's comfort!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life is Beautiful

Okay - so I know this is not a photo of a dog. It is, to me, a photo of the undying persistence of life. People amaze me with how much they complain about things. Imagine being one of the slowest ceatures on the planet and finding yourself stranded as the tide goes out. Instead of drying up and dying they point their shell into the tide and plod on toward the ocean of life leaving little snail footprints in the sand.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sand Trap

More beach time. It is just such a novelty for me I can't seem to get enough of it. Perhaps one day. Archer was pretty sure there was something interesting in the sand ... turns out it was just more sand. The beaches are now littered with these things. They are jellyfish. Dead ones. The dogs pay absolutely no attention to them, thank gawd, because they are pretty gross. You can see them floating in the water too but they are all dead ... their season must be over.
Archer enjoying a serene moment. Some seagulls caught his eye and he followed them to the edge of the rock but no further ... a boy after his mother's heart.
The three youngsters crowded on the edge of the rock - Leeloo splooshed into the water for a moment to follow the birds but changed her mind pretty quickly.
More often than not Halo can be found minding her own business and keeping her feet dry. It certainly makes it easy to clean her up before getting back into the truck.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Crush

Archer and Leeloo enjoying a moment of closeness. That little boy has quite a crush on the leggy blonde ... who wouldn't?
Occassionally he does pull off some annoying act that results in her sighing and doing her best eyeroll while tolerating his behaviour. Or rather, if you could see her eyes I'm sure they'd be rolling with all the affected drama of a teenage girl.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Paint Your Wagon

Archer was 'helping' me paint. As often happens when a dog helps you paint the dog ends up with more paint on it that the thing you are actually painting.
Fortunately it's latex paint and washes off easily. Of course, I didn't notice how much paint he got on him until he was truly and thoroughly covered; he got both ears, his nose, and both sides of his body. Dogs are always cutest when they've done something to amuse us and they don't understand why we're coo-ing and giggling at them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peter Pan

I love the early morning for the shadows it casts. The beach as the tide goes out is smooth as glass and makes for perfectly crisp shadows.

Archer's shadow looks like it's reaching out to touch him.
I like how in this one you can tell he's a little boy. His pawprints follow him too. Such a peaceful photo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Color Purple

Before the household descended into chaos we managed a few beach trips in the early hours of the morning to avoid running into beach goers. Along the boardwalk are fields of purple flowers the dogs like to bounce through and poop in. Irresponsible me, I am not conscientious in stomping through 2 foot high brush to track down poop.

Halo is fond of leading Archer through the foliage and then promptly losing him. You might think she's looking for him but no, she doesn't care where he is.
A while ago we saw Archer bounding through a field of buttercups. I don't know what these purple things are but it's an enviable joy.
Here's a larger version of the same joy.
Archer can't easily see over the tops of the flowers but has an even harder time floundering around in them.

I know you are asking "Where's Leeloo?" She was with us but Blogger is refusing to load the photo of her. Not sure why. Blogger is giving me some headaches these days.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

West Side Story

It's a miracle. I am finally back online after a week of withdrawal. The aforementioned cat incident from last week quickly deteriorated into a crashing keyboard. Thanks to LM Computers in Stellarton I now have a working keyboard. Dell covered the keyboard replacement under warranty and things seem to be working just fine.

A lot has happened in the last week, namely my homicidal impulse toward Raimi and his desperate and uncontrollable desire for Leeloo. It has been ... torture. For everyone. It seems that last Thursday evening it suddenly occurred to Raimi that Leeloo was the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars ... his whole universe. She was the very creature he'd been pining for his whole life. She was his Juliet - the forbidden love he couldn't live without.

I was nothing. I was invisible. I was the foil to his unrequited love.

I wanted to kill him.

This has continued the last 5 days and thankfully today we turned the corner and she no longer seems to be ovulating. He hasn't completely lost interest but the desperation has ebbed a little - it's faded into a sort of puppy love. Leeloo has also lost patience with his constant attention. She's told him to back off a few times and like any red blooded male he doesn't listen. We have settled into a kind of truce where he is allowed to be near her under supervision but he is not to harrass her. This seems to be an acceptable compromise for everyone. It sure beats the hell out of the constant whining, pacing, wrinkles and panting we've had to endure the past week.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. It's been an interesting ride and I for one, am not going through it again. When Leeloo next comes into heat Raimi and Archer will be sent to my parent's house where I can't hear them whine for the beautiful blonde who smells so good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've been putting off posting because I'm having some serious keyboard issues. Yesterday morning Ceilidh was napping on the window sill in the sunlight - a favorite place of hers. She must have lost her balance and fell off the sill ... directly into the water dish. A large water dish which is right next to the laptop. SPOOSH. (Ask me later why my laptop is on the floor ...)

Mad scramble by the cat get out of the dish and some water droplets hit my keyboard. I dried it off as quickly as I could but obviously some water got in. No processing issues so far but 'n' is fickle, windows pop up unexpectedly, the space bar doesn't work all the time, the arrow keys don't all work and the shift key has some ... issues. I also have to randomly smash the keyboard and it mysteriously works fine for a little while and then starts with the nonsense again.

I'll see over the next couple days if it improves but unfortunately this likely means I'll end up just posting a photo or two with minimal description because typing is becoming incredibly frustrating as you may well imagine.

The cat was fine if anyone cares ... I know I didn't.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Across the Universe

My new house offers sunlight through every window on every side of the house. Insane I know. First thing in the morning the sun bursts through the east window, then it moves around to the southern windows, then streams into my bedroom from the west, and finally, in mid evening, it comes slanting into my livingroom from the north. It's like the sun orbits my house. I'll try not to let it go to my head.

There is no compare to the cat for sun worship. The Ridgebacks come a close second but if the day is hot they do seek shade. This chair ists at my back door and has become a fast favorite of the cats for napping. The sun hits it about mid-morning so Ceilidh is often found there soaking up the rays. The other day she had company with Weasley and they had obviously been enjoying the quality time together. The sun had moved off the chair but as we can see Ceilidh was loathe to let it go.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stick It

I went out to my parent's house yesterday because I wanted to try and take some posed photos of the dogs together. That didn't go well. It was like trying to herd cats. The only dog that did what she was supposed to was Halo's down. She patiently lay there while I stumbled around trying to get everyone where they were supposed to go. In the end we got a semi successful photo but it's not really what I wanted. It is a nice photo of the four of them though. When I got to my parent's house I like to take provisions. They don't really stock candy so I bring my own if I know I'll be there for most of the day. Leeloo wanted to share and so I bit off part of a gummy worm and tossed it to her. She snapped to catch it and this was the result.
It looks like some malignant growth on her nose - she could see it but couldn't remove it with her foot and couldn't shake it. We spent some time giggling at her expense until I relented and unstuck it for her to eat. Silly Leeloo.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lilies of the Field

Oh, to be a puppy in a field of buttercups.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Three's Company

I do still have cats although I don't often post about them. They do their thing without much interference from me; and by thing I mean they break things, knock things over, dig in things, rip things apart, chase things, and eat things.

I groomed Ceilidh the other day and took about about another half cat's worth of hair. Everyone, including the dogs, has been shedding up a storm since we got here, possibly because of the warmer air. This means more vacuuming - my second least favorite chore after laundry. Her favorite spot is sitting on the TV and looking out the front window.
Weasley is a character and a half and is constantly doing things that I find annoying and amusing at the same time.
I caught him catching a couple flies against a window in the laundry area - he had to stand on the expen to get to the window but he was determined.
Mallaig is the most obliging cat in the house ...until dark. And then she turns into the naughtiest cat I've ever known. She is a hellion of trouble and takes advantage of the absence of the dogs and me to wreak her own special havoc during the midnight hour. She just looks naughty doesn't she?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Be Cool

It's a bit chilly here this morning in Nova Scotia, the wind is up, it's raining and it's only 11 degrees Celsius so the dogs are feeling particularly sedate. In fact, so sedate they got up, had breakfast and went straight back to bed.

Halo likes to sleep on my bed up near the pillow, everything on the bed is down filled so it's particularly cozy on days like today. Raimi likes the bed too for the same reason and also, he often just does whatever Halo does.
He was looking a little chilled so I got out my other down throw (because I don't usually want them under the covers - although we'll see mid-winter if everyone is piled under there to keep me warm) and put it over top of them. That's Halo's ear on the right hand side ... she didn't move when I put the blanket on them and in fact Raimi snuggled in further. Leeloo and Archer have been in the livingroom with me for the better part of the morning. They were all snuggled up on the couch, They looked a little cold so I relented and put the other down throw over them. Can you tell I love down? I suspect this is something like heaven for a Ridgeback. I suppose we should enjoy the cooler weather now because over the next week it's supposed to be up near 20 and sunny - with the humidity it's just sweltering.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Above the Law

I've been meaning to post these photos for some time now but have been easily distracted. Archer has taken his cue from Leeloo about how and where to sleep. I posted a photo a while back of him lying on top of Leeloo and Halo and while it's a good example of his talent it could have been a simple one off thing. Not so with Leeloo getting some of her own back ...
Raimi has been surprisingly patient with Archer's attention. Sometimes there's a grumble and looks annoyed - as in this photo with the droopy sad eyes - but he generally allows Archer to stay. Leeloo must have warmed Raimi up to being slept on. Halo gets the ass end of the deal though ... as usual.
Just as with Leeloo no one is immune. Although, it's actually pretty darn cute the positions he gets into with his napping. He is less about squeezing into a space he doesn't fit (like Leeloo) and more about draping himself over as much body area as possible. Check out that KILLER ridge ...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Deer Hunter

We haven't been to the beach in a few days but we have been to the school field a couple more times doing some exploration. The first foray involved being dive bombed by deer flies and mosquitoes which had us running for our sanity out of the woods. I'm going to have to buy stock in OFF!.

So I'm not sure I love the forest really. Pity that since Nova Scotia is almost entirely made up of trees. We took the road less travelled at one point, were about 100 feet into the forest when I heard a strange noise. It sounded *exactly* like a squeaky door opening. Only there aren't any squeaky doors in the forest. I looked to my left and saw a log with a hollowed out part that looked suspiciously like a doorway. I glanced up to see Raimi cocking his head and listening, obviously having heard the same sound I did.

Halo was halfway to New Brunswick but recalled after a moment and we beat a hasty retreat. I have absolutely no interest in an entanglement with whatever angry creature was hiding in the dark recesses of that tree. All I know is if there is an encounter with something sharp a few things will happen: Halo will bay it regardless of the danger factor, Raimi will stand a few feet away and bark, Leeloo will dive in and out barking, Archer will be confused and upset and I will be apoplectic with anger and fear. And not a single dog will recall easily.

So off we headed back to the gravel path we'd been on. We popped out into the sunlight and continued down the trail and the dogs were all preoccupied with smells along the edges. I glanced up and my heart stopped.


A deer stood about 30 feet ahead of us just off the trail with it's head sticking out of a bush. Immediately I started walking backwards and then did an about face as I yelled "COME!". Man I wish I had a photo of four Ridgebacks trotting toward a deer they haven't noticed but I can see all five animals and the disaster about to ensue.

Halo stopped to glance back at me and over her shoulder the deer walked out of the bushes and trotted down the trail away from us. Halo kept looking at me while she turned around. Thank gawd for small miracles. They all seemed confused about the sudden course change but were happy enough to follow along. I continued walking quickly with a comet trail of four obedient Ridgebacks, glanced back and saw the deer bound a couple steps and leap back into the trees.

There is really only one conclusion to Halo spotting a deer and that is Halo bolting after the deer. I think Raimi would bolt too but would stop sooner - possibly even recall. Leeloo would likely just follow Raimi's lead and Archer would get stuck at the first fallen log. Halo would disappear into the trees and I'd be wasting my breath yelling for her. Although, I suspect if I simply stood in one spot and called her she would eventually return. Once Halo loses the target she loses interest and a deer would likely be able to lose her quite easily. She'd stop, evaluate where she was and, hopefully, follow her own scent back to me. That is best case scenario ...

So we headed home with new resolve to stick to the field and take the forest path on rare occasions. I was obsessively scanning the trees for other creatures to pop out and make my life hell but at worst we encountered a boy on a bike who was talking to himself. The forest is full of surprises and I think I'll stay out of it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Family Matters

I have been so busy and absorbed in the adventures of the New Home that I haven't updated on the progress of Halo's final litter of puppies. They are all doing marvelously well and as puppies, do, getting everyone to fall madly in love with them.

Hunter went to Kelowna, he was White Boy, and he has two little girls to play with there. Apparently he ate peach pit and after some vomiting part of it came up. A couple days, more unsuccessful vomiting, a visit to the vet, a shrug from the vet, more days to stew, and then the other half came up. His owner has compared him to a piranha and I think it's pretty apt. Tikka is in Kitimat, BC (she was Bridget) and she is also enjoying the company of children as she grows and she is kicking Doberman butt. Her owner asked about the bald patch she has partway down her tail - totally normal for a Ridgeback puppy. It will grow in as they mature - the puppies with more black in their coat makes it less noticeable but for whatever reason they all have it.
Rio is in Calgary and spends a lot of time in the mountains. Her mom puts Rio in her backpack and carries her when she gets too tired during a hike - so cute. Rio's new best friend is a German Shepherd named Jack and he is the most stable temperamented GSD I've ever met. Rio is right on track with her growth - giant feet and ears!

Of course Odin(or Odie and I still think of him) shares a house and a blog with his new sister Kika. He is learning all kinds of new things from Kika and growing like a weed. Soon he will weigh more and be much bigger than little Kika but I bet she is still the boss no matter how big he gets!

I don't have a recent photo but in Yellowknife Missy's name has since been changed to Ella and she is stealing hearts all over the north. She came down with a bladder infection just like Rio but it should be on the mend now. Not sure why this litter of girls was afflicted with UTI problems - maybe next litter I'll stay away from Iams ... I've had too many problems with it to continue using it. Also, Ella seems to have started the 'flying nun' ears rather soon ... this is often related to teething and causes their to ears go all wonky. You can correct it with added vitamin C to the diet or simply wait for the ears to settle after the teeth are done. A show puppy would have its ears weighed down to 'teach' the muscles to behave.

I also don't have recent photos of Elsa in Calgary - who is now Gracie - but I'm sure she is doing great. This is the family's second Ridgeback and they know what they're in for. They have three small children too so a very busy household!

Send me your new photos of these guys - I'm sure anyone reading the blog is now getting sick of my beach bums!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not Another Teen Movie

I've spent the last week trying to get the video my mom took of Leeloo in the ring to behave itself so I could post it on Youtube. At last, yesterday, it all came together but I'm not sure I can repeat the result since I don't know how I made it work in the first place.

So here, finally, is Leeloo's very second time in the ring which is Best Puppy in Show. Now remember, this is the first show on the Saturday when she didn't win, not the second one where she did. Regardless, her movement is the same and so is mine - heaven help me. She is a little bewildered but held up very well ... the little darling. This is the first and last time she'll be shown as a puppy since the next show we're entering she'll be 1 year and 1 day old!

Leeloo Movement 9 1/2 months

Leeloo now continues her journey into womanhood and thankfully so far, it's been a relatively trauma free process ... early days yet.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

American Beauty

Halo, as we know, was spayed this past spring when she had her c-section to remove lazy little Odin and thus we see the end of the high and low tides of her moods during her heats. A happy farewell do I bid those days of misery.

But the show must go on. I was thinking a few weeks ago how Leeloo is almost 10 months old and I should be watching her for signs of 'becoming a woman'. As though she could read my mind last week Raimi started thinking very hard about her bottom and I suspected she was on the cusp of coming into heat.

Now I'm sure she is and although it's a little more subtle than Halo's grotesque explosion of swelling and blood we are still in the early stages. There's time yet to get gross. Raimi gives her a good sniff now and then but is not the whining, trembling, howling, annoying Boy he will be in a few short days. Archer won't be as badly affected but he still won't have access to Lady Legs when she's in full blown heat.

As it is, though I am quite sure she is no where near ovulating(or even being in proper heat yet), they are all under strict supervision and never left alone together.

So far Leeloo is just paying a little more attention to her bottom, which is only slightly swollen, and has quietly become more clingy. Since it's her first heat she will not know what is going on and a young bitch's reaction to being in heat can often vary from total confusion to instant slut. I think Leeloo is more the confusion type. Rather ... it's a hope.

So my little girl is growing up. Sniff. I suspect this burst of hormones will trigger her body to catch up with her legs. I hope she doesn't completely lose her ballerina body but I'd like to see her start to look a little more in proportion ... otherwise people will think I'm breeding drop eared Ibizan Hounds.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Emerald Forest

I have a lovely video to put up of Leeloo in the Best Puppy in Show ring - it's a recording of the first one that she didn't win although her movement is the same so it doesn't matter. She won the second show which we decided we wouldn't record. Duh. Anyway, once I have figured out a glitch or two I'll put it up.

Anyway, I took them all for a run yesterday in a field and some forest adjacent to a school yard about 3 blocks from my house and they had a wonderful time. I think they more enjoy the grass than the sand so I'll alternate the runs. Here's Leeloo being silly. She was boinging through along and ambushing Archer. What a screwball. And Archer in the flock of ferns that were along the forest floor when we ventured into the trees a bit. It looks like he's listening carefully to The Secret of the Ferns. I bet they have a lot to say.
They all like to venture ahead whenever we go into new territory ... I have to admit, I always feel very safe when I'm with them.