Tuesday, January 31, 2012


After postponing Petey's vet visit down island twice due to snow and ice, we were finally able to make the trip yesterday, a mild, partially sunny day perfect for an outing.

So we left Allie at home to guard the house, lest any of those renegade birds decide to break in to steal the valuables, like kitty treats or warm, soft kitty blankies,

Yeah, and you stay OUTTA here!

And with Sadie on the bench seat at the back of the van

Car Ride!  Yaaahhhhhoooooo!  Car Ride!

And Eddie in his crate in the middle of the van

What?  Huh? Am I goin' home now?

And Petey riding shotgun - sort of - beside me in the front of the van


We headed off to the Saanich Peninsula. Rather than going down Hwy One over  the Malahat, a pretty but not always safe mountain highway, which would have taken us south to Victoria, from which we would head north up the peninsula,...

Hwy 1 down and 17 back up, or pretty little ferry ride across the bay???
(Map from http://www.explorevancouverisland.com/)

....we decided to take the little ferry from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay, which would put us on the peninsula just a short drive from the vet's.

We had read a lot of stories about ferry lineups on this route, so we allowed lots of time.  Here's our van in the long, scary lineup at 9:50 AM, waiting for the 10:25 ferry:

It's lonely being first

Eddie, Sadie and I got out for a little walk while we waited. There's not really anywhere to walk a dog there - just a narrow road with no sidewalks, and private "NO TRESPASSING" properties with very pretty beachfront that I could only photograph from the ferry terminal.

Then I glanced up to see a big, big dog standing on the empty road, no human in sight.

I hustled my dogs into the van, in case he wasn't friendly, and turned around to see him trotting towards me.
Hi! Gladtoseeya! How're ya doin? Can I haz a cookie or a pat on the head!

What's that black box in front of yer face???

Very friendly, lovely boy, though I still didn't let him meet and greet my crew. He had no collar or tags - had I not had a vanful of dogs, I would have been tempted to offer him a ride to the nearest animal control. However, we were surrounded by First Nations lands, so chances are he lived in the vicinity as many of their dogs are allowed to roam free.

We travelled across on the M.V. Klitsa, which according to a nearby sign holds 22 vehicles on average. A baby compared to the big ferries that travel to the mainland and back, but rather more picturesque.

The trip across takes about 25 minutes, and is very pretty. The green hills surround the bay, with mountains in the distance on the open side of the inlet.

Those green hills are spoiled only by the high density development - sure brought to mind a song from my youth....

Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky-tacky....
Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes all the same....

The boats in the marina, however, more than made up for the sameness of the little boxes on the hillside - there were boats of all sizes and shapes and colours:

Red ones....

and blue ones.....

Ones that looked homemade....

And ones that were futuristic.

And little tow-alongs with cormorants sunning their wings.

And even boats in for repair - and the sign waaay in the back says "Tomorrow". 

And then there were colorful kayaks and canoes racked up waiting for spring:

Kayaks on dock
Canoes waiting for spring

But my favourite was one off by itself in the shadow of the hills, all black and ominous, a pirate boat lacking only a skull and crossbones hanging from its mast and Captain Hook parading along the deck:

Avast, ye landlubbers, avast!

On the peninsula, we stopped to pick up Cora, one of the directors of Broken Promises Rescue for whom I'm fostering Petey, and then headed off to the vet. Petey was an angel, and submitted to all sorts of pokes and prods and very personal intrusions, and soon the bill and the estimate for other work was presented, and we were on our way back home.

Petey slept like a log the whole way back, exhausted from his medical ordeal.

Those vet visits are enough to make my head spin!
Or maybe Dr. Poke 'n Prod just turned me right inside out when she was fishin' around in there.

All in all, we had a very nice day full of new experiences for Eddie and Petey, a favourite activity for Sadie (riding in the car), and some photography opportunities for me.
And tomorrow will be February 1st - which on Vancouver Island means winter is over and spring has begun!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Three Dog Night

I stand outside in my pjs, shivering in the drizzling rain as I wait for Petey to find that elusive spot to do his business. He sniffs and spins and sniffs some more, then stumbles off to find a better biffy. Apparently, the sparsely grassed mudpuddle that I call a back yard contains very few canine toilets – finding an available spot to relieve himself is as much of a challenge for Petey as it is for a woman to find an available cubicle during intermission at the theatre.

Eddie:  What's the matter with that spot, little buddy?
Petey:  Eewwww!  It smells wrong - it isn't the right spot AT ALL!  Don't you
know nuthin'???

Waiting for Petey to find just he right spot is a ritual which occurs many times a day. I don't really mind when the sun is shining and the grass is dry, but in the pouring rain it becomes an issue. For one thing, Sadie and Eddie wouldn't think of letting Petey go outside alone, so every trip outside means twelve muddy paws to wipe. Times that by about ten trips in a twenty four hour period and that's - let's see - 120 muddy paws. No wonder I'm so tired.

But that's not the only - or even the main - reason I'm feeling tired these days. It's not the frequent trips outside with leaky old dogs that is the problem; it's the lack of sleep. And for that I am also blaming the dogs.

I don’t do well with a lack of sleep, especially if I am woken several times. Early bedtimes are not an option – Sadie has to be fed around 11:00 PM or she will be in a state of collapse when I get up in the morning.

Petey sleeps beside me on the bed – if I try to leave him in his basket or crate on the floor, he awakes just as I doze off and begins to wander about barking incessantly until I fetch him. Once snuggled tightly beside me on the bed, however, he sleeps like a log. Unfortunately, I am always concerned he MAY wake up and wander off the edge of the bed, breaking his scrawny little legs. So he may sleep like a log, but I sleep like the mama of a brand new baby – very lightly.

Sadie climbs up on the bed for a cuddle each night, but as soon as I turn off the light, she wants to climb down – which she has trouble doing in the dark. Light on, Sadie stays, light off, Sadie wants down. I have resorted to a nightlight to illuminate her steps without playing fast-and-loose with the lamp, but it interferes with my sleep. I like a completely dark room.

Whaaat?  Ya expect me to break MY scrawny little legs?  Old dogs can't see
very well in the dark, y'know!

But that’s not all. Because Sadie’s meds for insulinoma make her pee, Sadie needs out at least once in the night, usually around three AM. Sadie needing out means four things: I have to untangle and detach myself from the CPAP machine that keeps me breathing so my sleep apnea doesn’t snuff the life out of me; Eddie will also want out even though he doesn’t need it; Petey will have to be woken up since he can’t be left unattended on the bed lest he sense I am gone and try to find me (see earlier comment re breaking scrawny legs), and twelve muddy paws will need wiping. By the time all that has occurred, and I’ve climbed back into bed and reattached myself to my breathing machine, I’m wide awake, staring at the ceiling and the glowing red numbers of the digital clock.

While Petey would happily stay snuggled in bed with me until noon, Eddie is an early morning person. Regardless of how many times we are up in the night, his inner clock tells him when it is time to wake up the household and to order the chef to prepare breakfast. He bounces over to the side of my bed, and pogosticks up and down, up and down, all to the accompaniment of his squeaky debarked vocalizations.

Every dog needs a job, y'know!  Mine is to make sure everyone
is up at the crack of dawn!

I drag my tired butt out of bed, wake up Petey, and traipse outside with all three dogs before the chef in me can even think of canine breakfasts, let alone prepare and consume any strong, hot coffee. It is six AM, and I have had perhaps four or five hours of broken sleep.

And once again I stand outside in my pjs, shivering in the drizzling rain as I wait for Petey to find that elusive spot to do his business.

Yeah, but ah'm worth waitin' for!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Photo essay: the week in review

On Tuesday, while much of south west BC was digging out from under a ton of snow,
 I was going to post a picture of our blue, sunny skies.......

and the flowers still blooming in my garden.......

And Eddie enjoying the half centimetre dusting of snow we did get.......

But my gloating got us all into trouble......

And the wind blew and the snow flew and the temperatures
dropped and dropped and dropped......

In the end, we still only got about 4-6 inches, compared to as much as two feet elsewhere.......

Petey:  H E L P!
Me: Suck it up, Petey.....it's not even up to your elbows!

Eddie LOVED the snow.  I've concluded he is a malamute in sheltie clothing -
he would happily spend all day in the snow, and his favourite pasttime is making
doggy snow angels!

He even catches snowflakes on his tongue!

But last night the temperatures finally rose, the rains came pouring down, and today we are back to two inches of water and mud in the back yard.  And life resumes in our soggy slice of paradise.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fancy Dudes in Fancy Duds

Eddie and Petey received a present today, courtesy of two members of the herding pawty gang. Deb sent Riley's and Ginger Snap's raincoats (Riley got a new one, and Ginger Snap passed away), and now the Wet Coast can be wet again. Of course, the day they arrive we get snow instead. So Petey thinks his parka might be more appropriate, though Eddie has a built-in parka and is very thankful for the cooler covering of a raincoat to keep his thick handsome fur from getting snowed on.
Eddie:  Ah looks like a SUPERHERO!
Petey:  Ah suppose this is better than yesterday's homeless old man look.  Now ah'm
 a well-dressed homeless old man.

Sadie recognized Riley's and Ginger's scents and was most curious:

What the heck?  You don't look like mah pal Ginger Snap!

Petey also received a little sweater - a preppy boy sweater for which he needs a little private school tie. But I think it must have had girly germs on it, because soon-to-be-neutered Frisky Eddie decided he couldn't leave her him alone and kept trying to do things Petey didn't like. A fifty pound chunky monkey can soon flatten a ten pound little old man. Petey showed some spunk by finally growling and swearing at Eddie, which caused the not-so-brave-even-if-much-bigger boy to back off. And I removed the sweater to end further amorous overtures by His Royal Balls.

Eddie is now completely over his fear of the camera. I have been clicker-training him, and coincidentally discovered the clicker sounds almost identical to the click of my camera. So now, when I try to take photos of Eddie, this is what happens:

Eddie's nose. 
"Hey, where's the treats?"

We'll be practising the "Sit/Wait" routine quite a bit, I do believe.

Petey's vet visit has been postponed until Friday. Sadie collapsed again this morning (my fault, as I went to bed early last night so she didn't get her 11:00 pm feeding), and wasn't stable enough by 8 AM  for me to be comfortable either leaving her or taking her with me, espcially with snow in the forecast and a long drive ahead. I err of the side of caution. Perhaps we'll have better luck on Friday when the appointment is a little later in the morning, and the snow is supposed to have passed through.

Ah hope this snow doesn't get too deep.  A little old blind dog
could get lost in just a few inches!

Oh, and more good news - Coco has found a home! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012


London is safe!  I was out for the afternoon after doing a quick sweep of the area this morning, and I came home to the wonderful phone message that London was caught shortly after 1:00 this afternoon. 

After 9 days on the run, and a week without a sighting, she returned to the very same property where she had previously been seen.  Gary and Jill, from Chelco Farms (a border collie rescue), had placed a live trap there last week and the breeder had put toys and blankets smelling of London and her litter mates as well as a tasty dish of food.  Sure enough, as lost dogs often do, she came back to that spot.

She did try to run again, but Gary and Jill's dog, Abby, brought her back in and the breeder, Judy, was also there with one of her dogs, so London made the wise choice to let herself be caught.

As the new owners are currently in Alberta  (don't ask what I think of that), I expect London has gone back home with Judy. 

Thank you to all who helped in this search, and especially to Gary, Jill and Judy.  This girl got safely home because of your commitment.

Your message made my day! Heck, it made my whole month!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

We need some balance here!

With all the sad and bad news of the past few days, it's time for a little restful, happy, and even humourous interlude. I'm a firm believer that sanity and survival depend on keeping one's life in balance.

And so....while my friends in the Fraser Valley dig themselves out from many inches of snow.....here are some photos from my island paradise today:

Osborne Bay, with mill in background
No snow, just a bit of frost and some beautiful red seaweed!

Steady Eddie is getting over his fear of the camera!:

Hai!  It's a beautiful morning!

This afternoon we headed back to Stocking Creek Park to search and put up more posters for London, and enjoyed a few minutes drinking in the beauty of the sun streaming down on this waterfall:

Waterfall in sunlight

Back at home, Allie enjoyed the sunshine too:


I was going through my email, and realized I'd never posted a photo I received a couple of months ago.  Martin, the alpaca I found abandoned on my farm in the Fraser Valley, is clearly enjoying his life with his forever family. His pure joy made me laugh.

Martin and friends get the zoomies

But what made me laugh most of all was a shot I took of foster dog Petey - supposedly to show him enjoying the sunshine. I had pulled a sweater over his tee-shirt as the house was quite cold this morning, but it wasn't until I saw the photo on the computer that I realized he looked like a little old homeless man.

Oh....wait....he IS a little old homeless man.

Who stole mah shopping cart?
What're YOU lookin' at?  Never seen a dog down on his luck?

Balance restored.