Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mah new friend

By Eddie

Wanna meet mah new friend?

(c) Jean Ballard 2013
This is Heidi.

She lives wiv Mary and Doug, who mah Mama knows from the Cowichan SPCA, where they worked on the garage sale together.  But Heidi was adopted from another of mah Mama's favorite animal places - Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue.  

Heidi is a very nice dog.  She's got a floofy tail just like me!

Floof-tailed Heidi walks the shores of Crofton Lake

When Mary and Heidi got to our place yesterday, we all went for a little walk around the block - Mary, Heidi, Mama, me an' Mitzi.  Just a 'get to know you' walk, before setting off on a longer walk.

Mitzi waz still tired from our hike on Thursday, an' since this was the first time we'd walked together, Mama decided Mitzi could lounge around at home while Heidi an' me led the humans astray  on a hike.

We went to Crofton Lake.  The lake was really shallow this time, even though we had some really heavy rain the other day.  My Mama doesn't remember ever seeing it that shallow. You can see how low it is by the water marks around the tree trunks.

Crofton Lake, August 30, 2013
(c) Jean Ballard 2013

Mama and Mary wanted Heidi an' me to pose for pictures together.  We didn't do so good.

Whaddaya mean, sit closer and look at the camera?

But we were very good at sitting near each other when it came to mooching treats!

Please, please, please, please, please?

We're both sitting!

Heidi:  I must not move, I must not move, I must not move....

Good Job!

After some lake-gazing, we headed back - but little old me decided to go where no dog went before.
Okay that's not quite true - but instead of returning the way we usually do, I insisted we take the trail through the old campsite, through the bush, and along the old logging road.  You know, the route where Mama and me and Margaret almost got losted once before.

Heidi relaxing by the lake

This time we didn't get losted - in spite of Heidi's help:

I think it's this way!

Huh?  Really?  You want to take the path MORE travelled?

Oh, that one. 

Views looking east toward Salt Spring Island

The Salish Seas, through the trees.

And although it was a long walk for little old me, we found our way back to the car just fine and I think we just might go that way again.

I waz so tired I slept the whole rest of the day - Mama even had to wake me fer dinner!  Whoa!

Anyway, It was nice getting to meet Heidi and I hopes we hike with her again soon.

Will there be treats?

Love, Eddie.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ah just don't get it!

By Mitzi

Yesterday Mama Jean gave me a bath.  She got me all squeeky clean, dried me with the noisy wind thing, combed out my little mats and tangles, and made me boo-tiful.

Today she dragged me out to Swallowfield for a walk in the mud and rain wiv our friends Gail and Sadie B.

Ah told her I didn't want to go!
Ah even tried to hide in mah crate!
Last week they dragged me to Chemainus Lake.
Did they even READ the sign that was posted at the entrance?
Shucks.  I lost the battle. 
Eddie:  Wimp!  It's just spitting a little now. Some
dogs are such Princesses!
Sadie B:  C'mon. Mitzi!  Lookit this great sand and water!
Sadie B:  Stick! Stick!Stickstickstick!
Eddie:  Yup, we haz fun on our walks --
an we picks up our poops too!
Do I look impressed?

Love, Mitzi.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mah Special Day

By Eddie.

Guess what?  Today is mah BIRFDAY!   I am TEN years old.  Mama sez that is older than her if you convert dog years to people years.  But I say I'm just a spring chicken dog, whereas Mama is a grey-haired old lady.

Ah can say that now because I've already got all mah presents! Heheheheheh!  Just jokin', Mama!

Me on mah tenth birthday,
makin' jokes at Mama's expense
 I had a very good day today.  In the morning I opened my present from Mama.  I got Honest Kitchen catfish strips,an' banana Fruitables an' Jake and Daisy's dried buffalo heart.  YUM!!!  Oh, and I also got a new Gulpy water bottle fer when we goes hiking.  It's got the dish built right in so Mama doesn't have to pack one fer me.

Mah presents from Mama

Did you notice the silly birfday hat Mama made me wear fer my photo?  Blech!

Stoopid hat!

After breakfast and presents, Mama and I went fer a walk along the beach, where lotsa people told me how booo-ti-ful I am.  Then we came home and Mama took Mitzi fer a walk and then I helped her water the garden and clean the house and get ready fer mah PAWTY!

That's right.  I had a PAWTY.  Mah friends Archie and Tanner came over, wiv their mama, Auntie Else.  They brought me more presents - some yummy Dynamo Dog treats (wiv good stuff fer mah hips and joints) and YUM YUM YUM a whole bag of raw bones!  I loves loves loves mah raw bones.

Mama and Auntie Else had dinner while we mooched played nicely in the house.  Well, mostly Archie slept and Mitzi slept an I supervised the dinner and Tanner played.  He played a lot.  With the dog toys and the cat toys and most of all with the Screaming Monkey.  He thought that was one great toy.  "Was" is the operative word - I think he mighta killed it.

Ah'm gonna kill this thing!

Then Mama and Auntie Else made us put on the silly hats again.  Archie didn't mind.  Tanner didn't mind.  I didn't mind.  But Mitzi refused to have anything to do with it.  She says princesses only wear tiaras, and mama didn't have a tiara handy.

Archie in his pawty hat

Tanner in his pawty hat

Me in mah pawty hat.
If you think Iz gonna wear one of dem silly things, ferget it!!!

Then we had mah birfday cake.  It was made of frozen yogurt wiv slivers of dehydrated buffalo heart, and a Fruitable in the middle.  Doesn't it look yummy?

Yogurt buffalo-heart chip birfday cake!

It waz.  The humans had Tiramisu instead, which looked a lot like mah cake but had chocolate on it which us dogs can't have. I betcha buffalo heart tastes waaaay better than chocolate.

YUM! Dat waz good!

We sat on the patio while Mama and Auntie Else guzzled sipped wine and yakked and yakked and yakked.  Tanner was bored so he tried to get Mitzi to play wiv him.  He's just a young whipper-snapper, only six years old.

Tanner:  Play wiv me, little dog, play wiv me!
Mitzi:  Are you outta yer cotton-pickin' mind?  I saw what you did to the monkey!

Mitzi didn't cooperate so he went and dug a hole in the lawn instead.  Not a big hole. Mama told him if he wants to dig, that is fine as long as he is just digging weeds from the garden.  He can dig all the weeds he wants.

Here's some photos mama took of mah friends Archie and Tanner when they were here a couple of weeks ago.  Ah like these better than the ones wiv the silly hats!

About 15 years old.


Tanner, who won't put his ears up fer his photo

Huh?  Why would I wanna do that?

After they went home, Mama took Mitzi an' me fer another walk, and now it is bed time which is a good thing because we is very tired puppies.

And that was mah Very Special Day.  Maybe next year you can come to mah pawty too!

Wanna come?
Ya might hafta wear a funny hat.  

Love Eddie.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Special Woodstock, Special Day

Dateline August 1969. It was the time of hippies and peace marches and civil rights demonstrations.   I had graduated from highschool, worked in a bank for a year or more, and was about to head off to Europe with my best friend. The news was full of the colour and controversy of Woodstock, a three day "Peace and Music" festival which (according to Wikipedia) was expected to attract about 50,000 mostly young people, but attracted over 400,000.  In the end, it lasted four days, wasn't held at Woodstock but on a farm about 40 miles away, and entertained the world with journalistic images and reports of pot-smoking, rock music, muddy fields, raining days, a lack of facilities, and many, many hippies sharing a very good time.  I was jealous and wanted to be there.

Dateline August 2013.  Providence Farm, North Cowichan. It is the fourteenth gathering of  Special Woodstock, a music festival for those with special needs, their caregivers, and their friends, family and supporters.  I am sitting on a grassy field on a comfortably warm sunny day, surrounded by hundreds of people enjoying music on two stages.

Crowds begin to gather for
Special Woodstock 2013

The smell of fries and cotton candy, of hamburgers and coffee fills the air.  Children run around, laughing happily.  Jugglers, giant puppets, and cartoon characters roam the grounds.  Pet therapy dogs walk among us, being greeted by some of the familiar faces they see in the course of their work. Booths are set up where people can make musical instuments for the "Raggedy Band Parade", get their faces painted, try their voice at Karaoke, or decorate cupcakes  The grounds are a delight of gardens full of flowers and fruits and vegetables, and even the most simple buildings exude a charm that makes one smile.  I am excited to be here with my friends Dea and Tobius.

Stilt-walking juggler adds colour and brings smiles
to the crowd. 

Penny Wise, the Island Savings mascot,
wanders through the crowds.
St John's Pet Therapy Program
brings its canine cohort to collect some cuddles.
Wonderful artwork on an old outbuilding
My favourite outbuilding - few animals make me
smile more than donkeys and pigs!
Two children explore a quiet corner
of the Providence Farm gardens

It is a familiar setting for Dea, who participates in equestrian therapy at Providence Farm, and for many others present.  Providence Farm is a working organic farm,  a therapeutic community which is, according to its website,  
...dedicated to restoring the spirit and skills of those with physical, mental and emotional challenges.....  We believe that caring for the land together is, by nature, healing and therapeutic.  Take a deep breath and you’ll find the air is healthy;  the work, worthy; the place, happy. (
And it is certainly a happy place this fine August day.

Entertainer Rick Scott dances with the audience

Even the dogs are mesmerized by the music

Entertainers and audience members
of many abilities

I first met Dea about three years ago - she and her caregiver, Tobius,  live near me and I occasionally drive them to events and activities.  She is a quiet, shy woman whose smile lights up her whole face.  Last weekend nothing delighted her more than when performer extraordinaire Rick Scott, who comes off the stage to engage with the audience face to face, came over to sing with her.  These photos (used with permission of her caregiver) say it all:

Rick Scott on dulcimer
sings with audience member Dea
High five!
No caption needed - this says it all!

A smile that lights up my world. 

It was a very Special Woodstock.  It was a very special day. Thanks for letting me tag along, Dea and Tobius.

Postscript: A conversation with my dog

Eddie:  Mom?  It's a special day tomorrow too, right?
Me:  Yes, Eddie, tomorrow is a very special day.
Eddie:  Can I tell your readers why it is so special?
Me:  Let's save that for tomorrow, Eddie.  We'll blog about it then.  Today's blog is for Dea.
Eddie:  Aww....  well, okay.  But come back tomorrow, y'all!