OK, I didn’t kill my dog but he certainly gave me the opportunity to practice everything I have been studying the past few years. Walter is 13 going on 14, has cancer, has lost most of the muscle mass in his back legs, can’t hear but he’s still feisty. We are off to enjoy our annual stay in a cabin in Dahlonega Georgia. Typically our trip includes daily hikes on different trails through out the area. The dogs demand their hikes. Once we are out of bed and they are fed the excitement is palatable. Every movement we make the dogs are jumping around following us in anticipation of their adventure.
Before we left home we were contemplating how we could leave Walter behind at the cabin when we went hiking. Should we take turns leaving the one of the other dogs home with him? We knew we could not leave him home alone. After a lot of back and forth on our 8 hour ride we decided, no, we would look for short loops that would not have a lot of elevation and reevaluate his condition on a day-to-day basis. Continue reading “I Think I Killed My Dog or How I Used Natural Healing to Help My Dog”→
Yes we are on vacation. Without the dogs. Seems strange. The last few years every time we went away it was somewhere that we could load up the pack and head out. This time alas, it was and airplane ride to a wedding. No dogs invited.
This is good and bad. Good; I can stretch my legs out on the bed, I don’t have to get up at 5 am to let Louie G go out to pee, nobody cares if I sleep past 7, I don’t have to clean up poop, pee or vomit, nobody needs a bath.
Bad; it’s so lonely! And I’ve only been gone 24 hours. Luckily Woodstock is very dog friendly and everywhere we go we see dogs and meet new dogs.
We are lucky enough to have some great options for our dogs when we go away. First of course is I have a great staff that will come over and look over them. Second option is my brother who lives near by and has 3 dogs of his own and our guys all get along great. Third, which came as a complete surprise was my parents offer to come and stay at our house. Continue reading “On Vacation”→
The Dahlonega Cabin belongs to our friends Richie and Bob Whitaker, they are very generous with their invites and we are thankful. It is the most serene and calming place, sitting on the rocking chairs on the porch looking out over the mountains, watching the birds during the day and the fireflies at night. Long hikes in the
mountains with the dogs, exploring the quaint downtown area of Dahlonega Georgia. It is the place we come to relax and recharge ourselves. This is the last day of our visit to the cabin, feeling bittersweet as I think this could be our last visit. The cabin is for sale.
While here we get to spend a lot of time with the dogs, so with no other demands on our attention I think it really gives us a chance to learn a lot about what has changed with
them. Louie G, Standard Poodle, Walter, All American Wired Brushed Scruffhound and Penny Lane, Wheaten Mix.
Louie G has certainly mellowed in her old age, 11 this year. 2 years ago we had to tether her if we sat out back or she would take off for the road. Really? With all the open space right in front of her why did she have to go around the front of the house and up the road? This year, no problem. She would run around the house but come right back and she mostly stayed where ever I was.
Walter, well he certainly is showing his age, 12 this year. The first time we came, 4 years ago and he had just had his first knee replacement. We used the hikes as his rehab and he wasn’t suppose to use the stairs. Of course that year he hiked like a crazy man and went up
and down the stairs whenever he felt like it. This year he would not go up the stairs. We had to carry him up every time. UGH, total body workout. He is also losing his hearing. This has its own set of issues. He doesn’t hear you coming and then freaks out because you “snuck” up on him. When we are walking and he doesn’t hear another dog or person and then freaks because they “snuck” up on him. He doesn’t realized you moved to another room and freaks because he felt abandoned.
He also seems to have gotten a bit senile. We sleep in an upstairs bedroom that has a loft area that circles the staircase. One morning I went
down the stairs, he saw me go, but proceeded to walk around the loft like he could not figure out how to get down. I finally went back up to lead him down, I was afraid in his dismay he would just jump off the edge. The next incident I was out back by the fence, the dogs were on the porch watching me. The next thing I know Walter is barking and charging me like I have invaded his home. Once he got close enough and realized who I was, he stopped. My old man.
Penny Lane has been a pleasant surprise. She needs to be with the “pack”. If one of use leaves to go into a shop or cafe she goes totally crazy, barking and whining, especially if it’s Rob. The amazingly wonderful thing about Penny is she has great recall. Yeah! She always comes back when called (although, she can take her sweet time about it). She is becoming more confident and leading the way on our hikes. She is sweet and inquisitive. Now we just need to work on her being reactive with other dogs, thanks Walter.
So if you might be interested in buying this amazing place please let us know and we will put you in touch with Richie and Bob.
The pack was ready to roll this morning. We picked a short hike for today not knowing how Walter would feel after 4 miles yesterday. Well, let me just say that all the hiking is making him stronger and ready to roll.
On our way to Jarrard Gap we passed through Suches, Ga, a unincorportated area in Union County Ga. Suches describes it’s self as the “Valley Above the Clouds” It’s a small picturesque area through a winding road. Be careful when driving these road as on the weekends there are dozens of bicyclist riding the mountain roads.
The trail begins at the Lake Winfield Scott Recreation Area. The entrance offers a camping area and a non-motorized lake. You have a choice of the Slaughter Creek Trail, 2.7 miles or the Jarrard Gap Trail, 1 mile. As I said we opted for the shorter Jarrard Gap Trail today. Both these trails are up and back but you can make a loop with by using Jarrard Gap, Slaughter Creek and part of the Appalachian Trail. Part of the trail is in a designated Wilderness area and you almost feel like you are in the woods 100 years ago. The trail is narrow and steep in parts, we crossed the stream several times and enjoyed the natural beauty. The trail has moderate traffic and we did pass several people on our way down.
At the top of the Gap it intersects with the Appalachian Trail. You can change your course and head to Neels Gap or Woody Gap or just hike back down the trail like we did. We met up with a trekker who started in Georgia and was hiking by himself up to North Caroline, what a great adventure. The Georgia Appalachian Trail Club maintains the 79 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the state of Georgia.
When I hike with the dogs I always make sure to take:
plenty of water
First Aide Kit
Harnesses (typically more comfortable for the dogs than a collar on a hike)
6 foot lead (typically required when hiking in parks)
Bags to clean up
As always the dogs had a great time. Penny Lane had to lead the way, she found a centipede and was totally enthralled. Walter was strong, I was impressed. He kept up and wanted to keep going. Hiking has been great for him this week. The exercise and stimulation of doing something different and fun has really done a lot of good. Louie G, well what can I say she’s momma’s girl, where I go she goes no question asked.
After a day off lounging around the cabin the dogs were ready for their next hiking adventure. After breakfast the anticipation was in the air; pacing, barking and a general sense of anticipation.
We headed out to Vogel State Park, Georgia’s oldest park. It is located at the base of Blood Mountain in Chattahoochee National Forest. It offers an array of amenities in addition to its beautiful hiking trails. Cottages, campgrounds, primitive backpacking sites along with play grounds, a lake and a miniature golf course. And it’s dog friendly.
The park offers several different hikes from the very easy hike around the lake to the difficult 13 mile trek of Coose Backcountry Trail. We opted for the 4 mile Bear Hair Gap Loop with its gentle grade and meandering stream.
Once parked Rob went in the visitors center for a map and the dogs were anxious to get on the trail, let’s go, let’s go, pulling on the leashes. Penny Lane has gotten confident since her first walk 3 days ago where she stayed behind or with us. Today she wanted to lead the way. Looking for creatures in the brush, playing in the streams when we crossed, jumping over the fallen trees in our path. Full of energy of a youngster, ready for the next adventure.
Louie G, loves the trails but is happy to stay right with me. Well, maybe the occasional curiosity to look for something in the brush. Just to be a dog and enjoy the moment.
Walter did great. He was slow on the uphill but we took it easy and let him rest when needed. When we stopped on the overlook Rob let Walter off the leash. He won’t go anywhere, he said. Hmm, I said. Sure enough Walter started to follow his nose and of course being hard of hearing when we called to him he didn’t come back. Fortunately for us he doesn’t move very fast these days.
Our return was all downhill so we made great time coming back. Penny had to stop at all the stream crossings to play in the water and was a muddy mess when we got back, but hey a girl has to have fun.
On our way back we stopped for lunch at Turners Crossing Cafe. Built in 1928 and still the original building. They were happy to accommodate the dogs and set a table out on the porch and brought them a bowl of water. The cafe is quaint with good food and friendly service. Louie G and Walter are veterans at eating out and settled down to take in the sites. Penny Lane, of course, was not sure of what this was all about. She got her leash tangled in the chair legs, barked at a few of the people coming and going but once the food was served she became very attentive to us. Good dog.