So Happy

This past week was a rough one for Pongo and me.  First, Steve left town to work out in the field and we all know how Pongo deals with Papa leaving: not very good at all.

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On top of that, I was dealing with a nasty stomach bug and had little energy to do much of anything with Pongo.  He was one very bored pup this week.  But, I do have to commend him for handling it well and giving Mama the time to rest and recoup.

IMG_0789So today, with Papa back in town and me feeling so much better than I have the past 5 days, we took to the road for a little fun and exploration.  Pongo was beyond thrilled to be riding in the truck, off on an adventure to find some good snowshoeing.

We now have one tired and content boy.

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Portage Valley

I am loving this thing called Spring Break!  It’s been so nice to have some free time to get out and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful state we live in.  Pongo and I drove down along the Turnagain Arm to spend some time snowshoeing in Portage Valley today.

Turnagain Arm

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Portage Valley

The aftermath of an avalanche that swept across Portage Glacier Road.

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Snowshoe hare prints

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I had one happy dog on my hands today!

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DSC02909Someone didn’t want to cooperate in having his picture taken…

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And at the end of the day, I had one pooped boy ready for a nap.

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One Last Hurrah

It’s that time again…when the dread starts mounting and the countdown begins.  I’m way past the countdown part though–I’m grasping at my final hours of summertime freedom. Yes sadly (at least for me), I head back to work tomorrow.  As usual, summer break has flown by; it feels like I just got out of school and now it’s time to go back.  Not a good feeling.

I wanted to make the most of today and the nice weather we had this morning, so Pongo and I walked the mile, from the Kincaid Chalet, down the Coastal Trail to spend some time at Kincaid Beach.  We were so fortunate in that we had the whole beach to ourselves!

Pongo enjoyed wrangling his log in and out of the water…

While Mama tried to capture a very distant Mount McKinley and Mount Foraker.

The frisbee came out and Pongo quickly discovered: sand + mud = one very nasty and dirty frisbee.

But he used his problem-solving skills and made sure that frisbee was clean each time he brought it back.

Washing off the frisbee though didn’t necessarily mean that Pongo also came out clean.

But we tried to rinse him off every now and then, too.

Pongo and I had a wonderful day at the beach-enjoying our last day of summer break!

Beauty and The Beast

After a long night of managing Pongo’s restlessness because of fireworks going off around us, I woke up to grey skies and 50 degrees…again.  I was tired and a little bit weather cranky but knew Audra was going to be waiting for us at the Gold Mint Trailhead.  So, I packed up the car and made the venture to Hatcher Pass.  As we drove further North and further from Anchorage, blue skies started to peek in-between the grey.  I started feeling hopeful that we may actually get to hike in some decent weather.  By the time we arrived at the trailhead, the sun was shining and it was absolutely gorgeous!  I can’t believe I even thought about not going…I wouldn’t have missed this hike for anything.

Beauty

Greta and Phoebe

Audra and the girls

Cooling-Off

Pongo showing me he really doesn’t like having his picture taken.

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My attempt to get a picture with Pongo–he was having none of that.

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Success!  I got Pongo to sit still for the 10 seconds it took to shoot this photo.

The BEAST

I’m not too sure what jumped out and got Pongo: a rock, a log, an animal he found in the brush?  I didn’t hear him yelp or cry and he wasn’t acting any different until we got home. He was walking a little funny and I thought he was just tired and sore.  But as I was brushing him out, I came across this nasty beast that took 2 staples and a week’s worth of antibiotics to tame.

Our poor boy is now having to wear the donut-of-shame.
And is having a hard time getting comfortable.

I’m sure though he has absolutely no regrets about running, jumping and zipping around having the time of his life.

Meet & Greet

Living with a reactive dog is a learning process, especially when that dog is Pongo.  You never know what he’s going to be OK with and what is going to send him over the edge. Sometimes it’s a big guessing game and unfortunately, there are times when my guesses aren’t spot on.

Pongo and I drove out to the Valley today to meet my girlfriend Audra and her two Golden Retrievers, Phoebe and Greta to go for a walk.  We wanted the dogs to meet before we do a bigger hike together where Pongo might have to be on-leash.  The whole way up I contemplated how to best introduce the dogs.  I decided that I would let Pongo out of the car, off-leash and then Audra could let her girls out.  Well, that didn’t work so well.  Pongo got snarky with both of the girls and ended up sitting in the car for a time-out and some cool down time.  I was prepared to leave Pongo in the car, while the four of us enjoyed a walk, if he couldn’t behave himself.

When it was time to try the meet and greet again, I asked Audra to walk down the road a little with her dogs and Pongo and I would follow.  That seemed to work.  When we caught up with Audra and her girls, Pongo appropriately greeted Phoebe and Greta and the rest was history…they had a blast exploring, running, and playing together.

Phoebe and Pongo deciding who was going to bring the stick back to shore.

They came up with a good compromise.

The dogs were always on the move so it was hard to get a shot that wasn’t one of their backsides.

Pongo’s new BFF, Greta.

While there was a small bump in the road upon initial meeting, I think it was a very successful meet and greet.  Plus, it was a great time had by all!

It Could Have Been Worse

Everyday, Pongo has been sitting at the front window waiting for hours for Papa’s truck to pull into the driveway; disappointed when it doesn’t.  He has really been missing Steve this week so Reid, Pongo, and I drove out to Big Lake last night to spend some time with Papa.  Our moping, miserable Cattle Dog turned into a bouncing, yelping, fiend who could barely contain himself when he saw Papa walk out of the rental house!

Steve and I decided to take the dogs out for a short hike after dinner.  We chose somewhere where we knew we could let the dogs run free, where no one else was going to be around.  We drove to a quiet, deserted area Steve had recently surveyed and walked into the woods. Both Pongo and Reid love being in the woods: running free, jumping over logs (that would be Pongo, not Reid), and exploring all the smells that come with hiking in a new place.  It was refreshing to be in the woods, after a long work week, spending time with Steve and watching the dogs enjoy themselves.

As we were hiking along, Pongo began frantically running around in wide, sweeping circles with his nose to the ground.  I commented, “He’s on the trail of something,” with images of cute little squirrels foraging in the area going through my mind.  We called Pongo to us.  He came but caught the scent again, and was off.  Then, what was suppose to be a peaceful evening hike turned one of my biggest fears into reality: Pongo + Porcupine = DISASTER!

I look over to where Pongo is sprinting around and see a porcupine, ever so slowly attempting to climb a Spruce tree as Pongo is closing in on his prey.  Steve is running toward the tree with the climbing porcupine, in hopes to intercept Pongo.  Steve is on one side of the tree, Pongo is on the other, the porcupine is in the middle c-l-i-m-b-i-n-g at turtle speed.  Pongo jumps up to grab the porcupine.  He misses.  He gives one last adrenaline-fed superman jump as the porcupine continues to work its way up the tree.  As this whole scene plays out before my eyes, I hear myself screaming, “Pongo, leave it!”  And when that doesn’t work, “PONGO, NOOOOOOO!!!!!” knowing well enough that when Pongo is in prey-drive, there is no stopping him: listening ears are off and wild dingo mode is on.

Steve is finally able to grab Pongo, leash him up, and carry him to a safe area away from the porcupine.  We check him over not knowing if he was able to make contact with the porcupine.  No quills protruding from his face–check. No quills on his underside–check.  Then we see it…a paw scattered with porcupine quills.

Steve immediately pulls out his Leatherman and gets to work.

I’m more than sure it hurt like hell having those quills pulled out but Pongo was a trooper–keeping one eye on Steve’s Leatherman and one eye on the porcupine sitting in the tree 50 feet away.  He sat quietly as Steve pulled out each quill, for the most part giving an occasional flapping of the paw or yelp.  And all I could think of to myself, as Steve pulled each quill out is…It could have been worse.

Labor Day Weekend

Sadly, Summer is quickly coming to an end.  We are moving into our split-second Fall and then onto our never-ending Winter. We decided to take advantage of the long weekend by packing up the trailer and the dogs, and head down to Discovery Campground in Captain Cook State Park.

It was a weekend full of…

catching up on our pleasure reading, 

walking along the beach with the dogs,

napping,

and just plain relaxing, which is what both of us needed the most.

We even tried to go for a hike but as you can see…that was quickly thwarted by fresh bear scat on the trail!