May 30, 2012


This week is K9 Kamp's "Play with your balls" week. Since I couldn't bring myself to borrow that title, I figured I'd go with the play on balderdash instead. And I'm not talking nonsense - no, I'm talking about getting some exercise dashing around with your dog and his/her favorite ball.

I have to admit, this has been a tough one for us, since Rita's not a huge ball player, but we managed to come up with a few things.
  • Sunday at the beach, we happened to find a bright pink beach ball. Musta been K9 Kamp kismet. Now, I ought to have some lovely photos here of Rita herding said lovely bright pink ball, but the hubster talked me out of bringing the camera. Oh well. Anyway, we were booting the ball back and forth, and watching Rita run after it and herd it, when a chihuahua ran up, chomped it, and it popped. Waa-waaaaa. Well, it was fun while it lasted. (Later we wrestled her for a dead gopher - we won!! - so that was some bonus cardio.)
  • Monday, we played a game of fetch and the hubster and I did squats while Rita ran after the ball. (And I think we might have messed up Mike's bad knee doing that, so maybe that wasn't a great idea for him...)
  • At Helen Woodward where I volunteer, I played a game of soccer with one of the adoption dogs. I'd post a pic of her gorgeous cattle-doggish self, but she got adopted right after our game. I'd like to think it was me helping show off her mad skills that helped find her furever home. :)
  • Finally, yesterday, I was trying to get Rita to play some ball in the house (our yard's not great for ball - too small, with a BIG slope that I've never even been down) when the ball accidentally landed in the laundry basket. Luckily I'd been lazy about getting to my folding, because our version of "basket ball" turned out to be pretty fun. I'd sneak in some arm curls while she'd fetch the ball, and it was good for her self confidence since she was a little afraid of the basket at first. We'd also play a little tug (upper body workout!) when she brought the ball back.
"It's a little scary in here..."

"...but I did it!"
She's strong for a little thing!

Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge
In other ball-related news, Mike's work is having a dodge ball tournament next week. They have a super classy team name - Dodgy Style. Nice, huh? After one practice session (one!), Mike came home with major pain in his shoulder muscles; he ran into a co-worker icing her finger that was bent at an odd angle; and one poor guy went to the hospital. So, if this is how things are after one practice, I guess we'll see if any of them are still standing/mobile/fit for work after the actual tournament. It's all fun and games, until someone ends up in tears. Or the hospital. But it's all in the name of Team Building! And who wants to miss out on the chance to throw a ball at their boss's head??

And Now For Something Completely Different
Enough with the ball talk. My sister and I hadn't felted a dog in a while, so last week when we met up for our usual Thursday morning session, we decided to create a random dog, rather than try to make one of the actual known dogs we have on our to-do(g) list. We came up with this little gray poodle-esque pup. If they'll have him, we're planning to donate him (and hopefully another pup or two of some sort) to the San Diego Humane Society's silent auction fund-raising gala this summer.


What's a Blog Post Without a Shameless Plug?
Another book-review blog posted a review of What the Dog Ate. She rated the book a "perfect beach read" and wrote:
As a pup owner, I loved the emphasis on dogs and their abilities to help a person heal.  The author used the dog at the right times to show unconditional love, this could be a great book to give to someone to encourage them in times of trouble to get a pup!
Pups certainly can help us out in times of trouble. And they can help us get some exercise! Rita and I are looking forward to the next week's challenge! Now, get out there and play with your balls. (Or do it indoors if you prefer.)

BTW... this is a blog hop!

May 23, 2012

We're Walkin' Here

This week's K9 Kamp challenge is walking. Lots of walking. Because Rita is a pretty high-energy pup, we walk every day. But this week's challenge is to either get out and walk if you aren't already or, if you are, then amp it up by hitting hills, adding in intervals of faster walking/jogging, trying new routes, etc. So, in the paraphrased words of Ratso Rizzo from "Midnight Cowboy" (a movie I've never actually seen...), "We're walkin' here!" And we're trying to up our usual efforts!

Rita Romping at Fiesta Island
Pretty much every M, W, F we meet Rita's friend Dakota and her mom at Fiesta Island and we walk for an hour. It's great exercise for the dogs (they run and play like maniacs) but not such great exercise for us, because we end up standing and watching the dogs play, or we run into the other "regulars" and stop to talk. My heart rate only goes up if I have to wrestle Rita for a dead gopher or if we see a snake. (Which we just did on Wednesday! Aggghhhh. It was not poisonous, but still. Aggghhhh, I say!)

Anyway, since M,W,F walks are not good cardio days for me, I try to make up for it on the other days - and this week with the kick in the butt from K9 Kamp we tried to really up the effort. For example, on our usual route on Tuesday, we walked FAST and finished 8 minutes quicker than usual time. Another day we added some bits of jogging in here and there - even on the uphill bits. Painful!

On Saturday, Rita and I went back to the beach and when she would stop to play with another dog, I'd keep walking. Then I'd call her and I'd start running fast until she caught me. It was fun - so fun I had other strange dogs chasing me as well... Perhaps not a great idea, but a good time was had by all. And since I can't run in circles around the bushes, like Rita does with the other dogs, (well, I could, but I don't want to be labeled The Crazy Lady of Fiesta Island) this was the next best thing.

We are ready for our next week of the Challenge. We'll keep up with the walking and add in whatever is next! Check out Kol's Notes and Peggy's Pet Place for K9 Kamp details or for info on giveaways.

Something Fishy
Waiting for the Fish Oil to make its next move
In other health-related news, I started giving Rita a fish oil pill every day. We used to give Abby one, and a friend mentioned the other day that her vet said fish oil is good for dogs (read more on that here), so we decided to start giving Rita one as well.

I'd read that most dogs will just eat the pill if you hand it to them, but not miss picky eater super model Abby. I had to pop it down her throat and reward her with a treat after. (Hmmm. Clever ploy on her part for more treats?) But chow-hound Rita does like to just eat them. Well, after she inspects/plays with them a bit.

Summer Reading
If you are looking for a fun summer read, don't just take my word for it that What the Dog Ate makes for good pool/beachside entertainment. Check out this lovely review from Also, the ebook is now finally also available on iTunes and at Barnes & Noble, if you don't have a Kindle.

Thanks for reading. Join us next week for part II of K9 Kamp! And get out there and walk/jog with your pups!

May 17, 2012

Kamp K9: It's Not "Fat Camp"; It's "Fit Camp"

What? Two posts in two days? It's unheard of around here, but I came across a blog (Kol's Notes) that is doing a "Kamp K9" challenge and I thought Rita and I would join in the fun. Since it starts tomorrow, I wanted to get a little intro post in today.

Kamp K9 (sponsored by Kol's Notes and Peggy's Pet Place) is about fun and fitness with your four-legged friend. (Or three-legged -- little shout-out there to my Tripawds pals.) Each Friday for the next four Fridays, there will be "weekly fitness challenges designed to get us all out and having fun."

Now, Rita is in no way overweight. She's absolutely perfect. Although her vet described her weight as "the high end of optimum." So, still optimum, but he made it sound like if she gained even one pound it would be too much. Momma on the other hand has gone past the high end of optimum. I know I'm probably not considered "overweight" by a BMI calculation or whatever, but I'm definitely into the "low end of regrettable."

Ever since Abby's H.O. (her Hypertrophic Osteopathy, described here) started to curtail her activities back in November, my working out went downhill. My little cardio buddy didn't have it in her anymore, so from the end of November through early January, our usual one hour beach walks turned into 20 - 40 minute beach strolls, where we ambled along, covering a fraction of the distance we'd normally cover. Of course this was also the critical Christmas calorie-crazy and cookie-craving season, so the timing could not have been worse for cutting back on the working out. And I felt guilty going for a walk or run without her. I know that's a little crazy, but I also know that Crazy Dog People will understand that. (Are you a CDP? I am.)

Then when we lost her in January, depression hit and I no longer felt like doing weights or yoga or any of my usual routine. Once we got Rita, I hoped that would help, but we don't walk as fast as Abby and I used to, and I've been lazy about getting back into the weights/yoga.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you'll remember that Abby was very into her fitness routine and all about maintaining her slim super model figure. With Rita, eh... not as much. Don't get me wrong - she loves to hike or play, but she's really all about the eating. (That's my girl!)

She does enjoy a little Downward Facing Dog, but...
...weights? Eh...
So boring!

So, although I'm not saying I'm fat, I am definitely saying that I've gained a few pounds and need to reverse that trend. Last week was great since we were on vacation and hiked every day, but now that we're home again, I need to get back into a routine! Hopefully Kamp K9 will be a fun way to get back into enjoying getting some exercise.

You and your pup can play along too! No need to register or sign up or anything - just find out what the challenges are here or at the sites noted above each week and participate. If you visit this page on the Kol's Notes blog, you can find out about all the fun giveaways related to the Kamp K9 challenge.

This is a Blog Hop
This is my first attempt at a blog hop. Until a couple of days ago, I didn't even know this existed. But basically it's a bunch of bloggers posting about the same topic, so you can click any of the links below and see their posts, and on their post you should also see the same list of links. Hence, hopping from blog to blog. (Damn, the hopping thing would have good to do when Abby was still around. She was an excellent hopper!) Hope this works... Paws crossed. So, here it is, the blog hop:

May 16, 2012

Reservoir Dog

I usually try to update the blog at least once a week, but we were away last week on a very last minute vacation. Since it was so last minute it was too hard to figure out something to do with Rita, so she went along. And since Rita was coming along, our options were limited to a car trip so we drove 8 hours north to the little one-time gold mining town of Murphys, CA.

A puppy in the poppies
Murphys is in the central Sierra Nevada foothills sort of halfway between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. It's a cute little town with wineries and nice restaurants. It's nicknamed the "Queen of the Sierra," which seems funny for a town with such a masculine name. Maybe they should change it to "King of the Sierra." Or better yet, the gender neutral "Monarch of the Sierra." But I guess that just doesn't have the same romantic ring to it. ["Where'd you go on vacation?" "Oh, we went to Murphys. It's the Autocrat of the Sierra."] I guess the Murphys PR people know what they are doing. (BTW, I keep wanting to write Murphy's, which is not correct. You can read a funny little story about why there's no apostrophe in Murphys here.)

As you can see, it was lovely. We hiked every day and since it was HOT (mid- to high-80s) we had to always go someplace with water so Rita could stay cool, like New Melones Reservoir. Most of my pics ended up being just of Rita chilling in the water, hence the Reservoir Dog title.
On our first hike, before she got too hot!
Reservoir dog, pic #1
More reservoir dogging
Here she's at least playing fetch-the-stick in the water.
And there were LOTS of geese, including wee babies
...which Rita loved! (And thankfully did not eat.)
Other than that, we chilled at the cabin, on the chaise...
...or the sheep skin rug.

A relaxing time was had by all. Until we had to drive home through Friday afternoon LA traffic. Bleh. Not a great way to end a vacation. Still, it was wonderful to get away! I just hope Rita's not getting too spoiled. She's been with us less than 4 months and this is already her second vacation. Definitely not the norm around here! Now it's back to the grind little puppy! Back to the grind! (Laughable, as she has a totally cushy life. Right now she is sleeping on the sofa after a one hour romp at the beach this a.m. Her work is never done.)

Cinco de Meow Update

Thanks to everyone who voted for Rita in the Cinco de Meow contest that I wrote about last time. We ended up third, which is kinda fitting since three is obviously the lucky number of all Tripawds. Our 3rd place winnings of $50 went to support And Rita got some special lamb and duck treats as payment for her modeling services.

May 4, 2012

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo-Eve. As you can see, our Margarita Rita is ready to celebrate!
Cinco de Mayo is a funny "holiday." Much like St. Patrick's Day, it's one of those days where Americans make a much bigger deal about it than the folks in the country of origin. And it's not Mexican Independence Day, like many Americans think it is. (That's actually in September, and it passes with barely a Corona being raised in salute.) Cinco de Mayo is a remembrance of the Battle of Puebla. But at any rate, it's as good an excuse as any (as if we need an excuse around our house!) to have a margarita (or two), so we will definitely be participating in the celebrations on Saturday.

Rita says, "Just don't over-celebrate!"

I entered the photo above of Rita (the one where she's sniffing the bottle with that "It smells like...home" face) in a little Facebook photo contest for "Cinco de Meow" (oddly named since it's almost all dogs. Plus a turkey. Or a really ugly dog...). She's so funny. She was asleep, so I set the bottle down next to her, thinking she'd get up and walk away, but nope - she struck these two funny poses. Maybe she has a little of her angel sister Abby's modeling ways in her! Anyway, if she wins we are donating our winnings to Tripawds. Right now she's in 1st place so hopefully she'll win and the Tripawds coffers will be $100 richer!

A Reminder
Don't forget, you have until Friday May 11 to leave a comment on my friend's blog and be entered for a chance to win a copy of What the Dog Ate.

Have a happy Cinco de Mayo! Don't overdo it!