Elsie Broke Mum

When you have 70lb dogs, exercise is very important. They will release energy however they can. If you don’t give them a means in which to do it that you both enjoy, then you can wave goodbye to that nice  house you have because destruction on an unimaginable scale is soon to occur.

We hike, play soccer, run, etc. (Not in the same day.)

Saturday, we found ourselves on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, hiking Blood Mountain. The hike is a tough one, but well worth it.

As we returned from our tough hike, Elsie was pretty excited. She is still learning not to pull to keep up with Maggie and Donatello when she is walking with Mum. Thus, it was a bit difficult for Mum. (A 60 lb Bouvier puppy trying to pull you down stone ‘steps’ covered in leaves is terrifying and challenging.) As we finish the hike, several things happen at once.

Maggie and Dad finish the hike and are at the head of the trail hanging out. Maggie catches the scent of a chicken bone 20 yards off trail and heads to get it. When she does this, Elsie catches sight of her. Donatello is calling Maggie because no one wants their dog to have a chicken bone. I am trying to calm Elsie, “Yes, that is Maggie, but you are walking with me.”

Elsie takes off. Mum’s foot is between two boulders and it does not take off. Rather, it pops. And, this, my friends, is how you sprain your Mum’s ankle for her and make her relax with you on the couch for a few days.

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Otto and the Importance of going Outside

From the Desk of King Otto:

I spend my days outside. Not only is it an easy way to stay in shape, but I am able to explore my kingdom, protect it from other felines, and grab nice lunch of skink and insects. There is so much more to be gained from being outside than these tasks, something fundamental and essential to life in the communing with nature.

As a house kitty, I am cuddly and loving. I even find that sometimes I reduce myself to responding to human commands when cheese is present. After a couple days inside, I am likely to loose my identity as a cat. I am a hunter, a predator, a KING after all. Not some simpleton begger, reliant on tricks to impress the human into feeding me. When I am outisde, I find the hunter within me and let him free to prowl, capture, and sometimes play with the creatures that trespass into my kingdom.

Staying fit is all good, but strength requires flexibility. I have tried to find a way to stretch and limber up inside to no avail. In the garden, there are trees to climb. After every climb, I feel more flexible and lithe. Being light on my feet is the only to creep around the big bears when they nap in the house to steal their water and their treats. Remember: A tree a day keeps the stiffness away.

A day outside revives the spirit and reminds you of who you truly are, this cannot be reiterated enough. If you are unable to spend a day outside, perhaps you can talk your humans on letting you go for a walk. I do appreciate a trip to the mountain, even if it requires a harness.

Otto

Paris Mountain

Monday, we finally made it back to the mountain since moving. We tackled one of the longest hikes Paris has to offer, the six-mile loop to North Lake and back.

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If you are at home wondering why Elsie has the pack and not Maggie, congrats to you for being super observant. And for you, we have an answer, which is like a prize just less fun for some…

Elsie, turns out, needs a bit of direction / a job to be a well-behaved puppy on the trails. That is not to say she is bad without it, she is just a bit mischievous with all her bounding energy. Giving her a pack kept her with the family, focused on the trail, and overall a much more pleasant puppy to hike with – given six miles are difficult when you have to yell “Elsie, back!” or  “Elsie, too far!” every ten steps.

Gyla is not a new addition to our furry family. Although I do love her and think she is adorable, we are quite full at our house. (As I am sure you would agree.) Gyla is my mum’s dog.

(My mum is the wonderful woman in grey in the pictures and the man in red is my incredible step-father. He never ceases to put a smile on mum’s face and for that we all love him.)

When you look at these smiles from all those involved, you can only wonder what took us so long to get out of the house and back to the mountain.

I have a lot of excuses about moving, but the truth is there are always excuses. I need to be more intentional about taking the family out. We have all very clearly missed going out as a family and will work to be out on the trails more often.