Sunday, May 19, 2013

Black & White Sunday # 3

Almost 4 months old... so small. and sweet.

This post is part of a blog hop hosted by some of our favorite bloggers, YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.comMy Life In Blog Years, and Dachshund Nola.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fit Dog Friday # 1 - I'll Carry You

When someone hears about our plans to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2014 and then takes a look at Athena, the most common reaction I get is a laugh followed by,

 "You better plan on carrying her."  

Don't get me wrong.  I know I'm going to carry her some. I just don't agree that I will carry her to the extent that other people seem to think I will have to. Athena is constantly amazing me with what she is capable of. Every so often she shows even shows me that I'm capable of things I didn't think that I was.

On Monday we began our hike by going down a steep set of steps.  Athena stood at the top of the steps. She looked back and forth between the steps and then back up to me with this little frown. Athena and I are such a great team because we're very in sync. She didn't even have to give me her "pick me up" whine. I said to her, "It's okay, I can carry you down." I picked her up and headed down to begin our hike.

Later we came to a fork in the path.  To our left was a wide, easy, gradual, very tempting, downhill trail.  To our right was a muddy, trail that seemed to lead straight up with wooden steps carved into the steep hill. I had no idea how far up it went and I knew that it would be tough for both of us.  I didn't even wait for Little Boss to state her opinion by veering off towards the path she preferred.  I'm not sure if she'd even seen it yet.  I just told myself "It's not a mountain" and made the choice to take the climb instead of the literal "easy way out" to our left.  

From here on out anytime someone says that I'll have to carry Athena I will think of that short but challenging climb.  As we ascended, Athena stopped meandering and sniffing and just focused. I love it how Athena gets this single minded focus in moments like this. She is stubborn and determined, confident and calm. The climb wasn't easy for either of us. 

But in that moment, Athena is the one who carried me up that hill.

She carried me.

This is our first post for the FitDog Friday blog hop hosted by SlimDoggy and Peggy's Pet Place! Yea!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Single Step

I really hate winter, especially February. This winter was the worst. It dragged on forever. I'm not exaggerating at all that this was the worst winter of my life. There are a lot of valid reasons why blogging wound up falling off the priority list all together. But spring is here and we are gaining momentum towards all of our goals.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Our ultimate goal is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2014.  I'm out of shape and Athena is a baby, so we really have a long way to go before we even set foot on the trail.  Not to mention, figuring out the logistics of funding and planning the adventure. I've been getting so overwhelmed with the whole thing so this morning Athena and I hopped in the car, cranked up some music, and drove to Mounds State Park for some hiking.

Athena and I have never taken a road trip together (even a really short one like today) so she was pretty confused at first.  Once we hit the trail though, she was in her element.  I realized right away that Athena needs a lot more experience in the woods before she'll have really good trail manners. She just needs to get used to the sounds of birds calling and creatures rustling through the forest.  

One of the magical things about Mounds State Park are, well, the mounds.  There are 10 earthwork mounds built by the Adena-Hopewell people.  These mounds were used as a place to gather for religious ceremonies and observing the heavens. They were special and sacred places reserved for ceremonies associated with life, death, renewal and connection.  Athena and I stopped at the Great Mound, constructed around 160 BC, to give thanks for the day and the opportunity to take the first steps on our epic journey.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Black & White Sunday # 2

A black and white picture of the prettiest black and white puppy I know. Happy Sunday from Maru.

This post is part of a blog hop hosted by some of our favorite bloggers, YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.comMy Life In Blog Years, and Dachshund Nola.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cutest Way To Wake Up

This morning I woke up in the cutest bed ever thanks to Garfield.  I haven't posted about Garfield yet so I guess today is his day.  Have you ever noticed that orange kitties are the sweetest, most loving of all cats?

This sweet boy is Garfield.

Of my three babies, Garfield is the most "normal". In most ways he is a typical cat who does typical cat things.  He just wants to be petted and loved and he loves catnip.  He's not a fan of dogs. Before I got Athena his primary dog interaction was Maru.  They're both about two years old and Maru is still very much a puppy. When Maru comes over Garfield hides.  Hiding is his specialty.  He's very skilled at hiding in plain sight and can sit in the same position without moving a muscle for hours. In fact, when I first got him he hid in the pillows on the couch and I lost him even though a part of his tail was sticking out the whole time.

You know you wanna pet my fat fluffy tummy don't you!

Since he's not a huge fan of dogs he wasn't exactly pleased when baby Athena came into our lives. He quickly realized that even though she's a dog, she's much easier to deal with because he's so much bigger than her and he still has his claws.  He warmed up to her eventually. They play with each other now but they don't wrestle around like Moses and Athena do. She stays out of range of his paws and they chase each other around the house. 

But even though they play, Garfield still rarely sleeps in bed with me anymore since Athena came along. Which brings me to my cute awakening this morning.  I have a studio apartment and my bed is on the floor in the alcove behind the couch. It's actually quite nice. It's like a den for me and my cubs. (I've been calling them my cubs since it was just me and Moses. He wants everyone too know that he's really a Siberian Tiger or a Puma or whatever big cat suits his mood that day.)  Last night when I went to bed Garfield walked along the bed between me and the back of the couch.  I pet him for a few minutes but I really had to go to sleep as it was waaaaay past our bedtime. So I rolled over and went to sleep.  When I woke up in the morning my elbow bumped someone's head.  I'd had that same thing happen the day before so I figured it was Athena's head.  I reached over to pet her and found a much bigger, fluffier head.  Garfield had settled in right next to me and slept all night.  Athena was under the covers, stretched out along my leg and when I stretched my legs out my toes found Moe's soft fur. 

I woke up to all three cubs in bed with me. Moses sleeps near the foot of my bed almost every night.  Athena always sleeps burrowed under the covers, right up against my body every night unless she's up to midnight mischief. The one thing I've missed since I got Athena is snuggles with my little middle child.  Just look at this guy, you know you wanna snuggle him too.

That's right... give me snuggles human!

- Kathy

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Black & White Sunday #1

We are joining the Black & White Sunday Blog Hop hosted by some of our favorite bloggers, YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.comMy Life In Blog Years, and Dachshund Nola. Our first post isn't even a pup.  I woke up this morning to find Moses in Athena's Crate.  He's part Bengal. He does weird things.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Athena's Indoor Adventure

My advice to anyone considering getting a puppy is do not get a puppy during the wintertime.  Potty training is a tough idea to sell to Athena when it's this cold outside.  Bad weather has kept us indoors so we haven't been getting enough walking done to wear her out. Winter is really starting to bum us out.  

Boo winter!

But we look on the bright side and we're using this time wisely. We're resting up and getting healthy. While I plan some adventures for when the weather breaks, Athena worked on some of her adventuring skills.  She built a pillow fort.  No joking, I had nothing to do with this.  She burrowed a little tunnel in the pillows on the bed, after jumping all over them of course! 

Look what I made mama!

Being stuck inside all the time has given Athena a lot of time to think about the future.  Ever since her dreams of being a DEA agent were dashed she has been considering other career options.  She has gone to my therapist with me a few times and she thinks, "I can do that." She loves a good story, so it might be fun to help kids learn to read like these doggies. There are so many options... world famous dog adventurer, professional athlete, YouTube personality?  

Athena looking dreamy in her pillow fort!

If Athena's future is in the spotlight she's already practicing.  We worked on "Stay" command and she was really good at posing for pictures.  Well we've gotta get back to exploring and planning and dreaming of warmer days.  Stay warm!

Kathy and Athena

Sorry, no more pictures. I've gotta investigate this.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wanderlust and Weather

A few days into the New Year, Egan and I found ourselves in a mostly empty bar on a Saturday night. With not much going on we wound up talking.  We'd both been feeling restless. We had some adventures together over the summer but it had been months since we'd done anything out of the ordinary. Things were looking bleak from our cubicles and we were getting frustrated. As we began to talk about places we would like to go and the adventures we longed to have, we both began to light up. Then and there we renewed our commitment to satisfying our wanderlust. We vowed to not let more than two weeks go by without doing something, no matter how small. As I've told Egan many times since then, we need to take baby steps to work up to the bigger adventures we have planned.

One of these big adventures is something I've wanted to do since I was a teenager, thru hike the entire Appalachian trail. Egan was immediately on board. Of course we want to take both pups. We're in the planning stages now.  At this point the goal is to get in shape with daily walks and weekend hiking adventures. Since it's January that limits us a bit.  It also doesn't help that as of right now Sundays are our only chance to adventure as a team.

We lucked out last Sunday even if we had to change plans.  We had wanted to get an early start and be at Mounds State Park in Anderson, IN when the park opened at 7 AM. This turned out to be for the best as the temperature was around 24 degrees. Neither dog was geared up for those temps and everyone would have been miserable if not unsafe. By the time we got to Holiday Park in the afternoon the temps were in the low 40's and we had a great time! 

However, temperatures dropped again and it's been below freezing all week. Athena and I haven't even walked the past week. Heck, it's been a struggle to get the stubborn little wiener just to go potty outside. We were hoping for another local adventure this Sunday and luckily for us Indianapolis has lots to offer herself as well as being a short drive to lots of other fun places to explore. Unfortunately looking at tomorrow's weather forecast isn't leaving me hopeful.  It's supposed to be dangerously icy. I suppose we could find some indoor adventure but would probably have to leave the pups at home.

Egan texted me this picture the other day. So far she's only successful at eating on the treadmill.

Speaking of indoors, Egan has been trying to talk Maru into getting a little indoor exercise on the treadmill.  I'll leave you with this picture of Maru wearing her backpack on the treadmill.  Note: she is not a fan of neither treadmill nor backpack.

- Kathy

P.S. Why's it always gotta be nice when I'm stuck at work on Saturday. When I went out at lunch it seems like it might be almost warm enough to do something.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Puppy's First Hike

I'm a little late getting this posted... and it's our first post!  I hope I'm not setting a bad precedent. Maybe I can make up for it with some cute pictures. In the coming posts we'll introduce ourselves and tell you our story. For now here's the basics. I'm Kathy, and my mini dachshund puppy Athena is almost 4 months old. Egan is my best friend and his pup, Maru, is a Pitt Bull-Border Collie mix. We're adventuring buddies. We're training for bigger and longer hiking trips but speaking for myself, I'm in terrible shape. So, we're starting with baby steps and baby hikes.

Speaking of babies and hikes. This past Sunday was Athena's first hike.  The week before I had an epiphany. We were at my other best friend, Pony's house. The stairs up to his bedroom are very steep and I'd been too afraid to let Athena climb them by herself. Now, I don't mean unsupervised. I wouldn't let her climb them at all. I was afraid she'd fall. Pony had been giving me a hard time about babying her so much. As I explained to him, when I got her she was about 8 weeks old and she was so tiny and seemed so fragile to me. The more we grow together the more we both see how much she is capable of. She took after one of his Pitt Bulls and tried to climb the stairs when it occurred to me... If I'm terrified of her climbing stairs, indoors, and with me right there then how on earth are we ever going to hike to the top of mountains together?  That's when I realized I needed to let her do this.  She whined a little on the first few steps but eventually made it slow and steady up the rest of the stairs.

On her very first hike my little girl decided that she was the Trail Boss. We hiked around Holiday Park here in Indianapolis, IN. There are lots of stairs. Every time we stopped to decide which way to go at a fork in the trail Athena tried to pull us in the direction of stairs in her stubborn dachshund way. She lost the battle every time but she still got to do lots of Stairs. I only got one, not too terrible picture of the little Stair Master. It's hard snapping a picture of a puppy running up stairs when you're trying to chase her up those stairs yourself.

They weren't big stairs for the most part, except for one.  I was just about to lead Athena to a lower part of the step when I noticed her trying to jump up on a step that was at least 8 inches high on one side. Before I could help her she scrambled right up there. I was so proud of her.  I guess I didn't need to worry about her so much after all.

The first time I walked both dogs by myself I had a heck of a time with Maru. She needed a harness and Egan thought so too. Before we set off on our hike we took a trip to the pet store and spent quite a bit of time trying different harnesses on Maru before we found one that was just right. We also got her a backpack that will go well with her harness so she can get used to it for longer trips in the future. 

Here's Maru with her pretty (and handy) new harness.  She was sooooo much easier to handle.

After we came back Egan was trying to relax but two wild pups kept bouncing all over him while they were wrestling around with each other. Since three of Athena's dog cousins, including Maru, are at least part Pitt Bull, she thinks of herself as a some kind of Tea Cup Pitt Bull.  She'll figure it out after she spends more time with her three Dachshund friends. I snapped pictures while they played and got this adorable shot of the three of them. It would have been perfect if Athena's ear wasn't flipped back... but what can ya do with a floppy eared puppy.

 The doggy girls were finally tired enough from all the hiking and playing to allow me to get the one shot I'd been trying to get all day, both pups in one picture actually looking at the camera.  I love this picture.

Well that's all for now.  More soon.

- Kathy