Monday, July 21, 2014

Sibling Bonding

Mischief is the middle name of both of my darlings, but the pets were in rare form this weekend.

Saturday was our first all-day rainy day in a while. We got a short walk in between the rain, but there was a steady drizzle most of the day. We probably could have gotten in a second walk, but I was on a roll with prepping materials for the online class I'm teaching in the Fall, so I decided it could be an easy day.

Hey, we haven't missed a day since May 20--and most days we'd met or exceeded our 3-mile goal--so it was okay to have a short 1.2-mile day, right? Wrong. 

I have created a monster.

Between the cooler temperatures and the lack of exercise, Barley was wound up! She bounced from the loveseat to the bed in the spare room to my bed back to the loveseat. She kept nosing at the lid to the trashcan--somehow she managed to pull out an empty cat food can. 

She beat me to cleaning out the litter box. She barked at every bird that dared to look for bugs in our yard. She pulled out toys from her bin and spread them all over the living room and the bedroom without actually playing with any of them.

I tried to work her out a bit inside. We tossed a toy around. We did 30-minutes of noseworks searches throughout the house. She had to work hard to find several of the hides! She still was not worn out. I sat on the floor with her and furminated her. That got her to be still temporarily, but it's not easy to type lecture notes while furminating. 

Of course, by the time I realized that a walk might be the only way to solve our problems, the steady drizzle was back.

Soth was not any better. He kept hopping up on my stack of New Yorkers that I've flagged articles in to read later and threatening to pee on them. He knocked cans of cat food off the counter and onto the floor. He climbed to the top of the bookshelf and tried to knock books onto the floor. He'd jump onto the back of the couch and the fly off and tear around the room.

Finally, at 12:30, I decided it was bedtime. Both pets hopped up onto the bed and curled up with each other. Usually, they give each other as much space as possible (and me as little space as possible!), but I guess in the spirit of mischief they decided to bond a little more.

It was the peace I had been hoping for all day. They were so cute snuggling that my earlier frustration disappeared, and I happily curled up with a book for a few minutes.

I was nervous when something outside let out a loud squeal and woke them both up. Normally, that type of noise sends Barley to the French doors and she wiggles her way behind the curtains to investigate. I couldn't handle the thought of getting her settled again.

Soth took matters into his own paws. He reached out a paw and put it on Barley's shoulder. She stared at the doors, but didn't get out of bed.

Then Barley leaned back into Soth a little bit. Normally, that's something that makes Soth hop off the bed, but he embraced it this time.

Are you sure everything will be ok, Soth? 
Eventually, Barley seemed to accept that everything was going to be just fine. She snuggled back in and I gave up on reading for a few minutes and turned off the lights before anything else ruined the peace.

Don't worry, Barley, we'll get through this together.
The darlings make me so happy when they act like they like each other that no matter how naughty they might be the rest of the time I can never be too cranky with them. Does cuteness get your pets out of trouble, too?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Adventures with Lindsey

Barley and I have continued our routine of staying close to home lately. Last week actually got a little bit warm. Most of the parks near us are actually 30+ minutes away and since I'm not a morning person, unless there's something really special going on I prefer to sleep a little longer and walk closer to home than adventure on warm days. In addition to the heat, my sister came to visit and we had some non-dog-friendly adventures planned, too, so our walks had to be fit in to the free time we had.

We started out last weekend with our trip to see the circus elephants get a bath. Then Linds and I ventured into Cleveland two days in a row for a concert and an Indians game. It was strange to be adventuring without my pup--pretty much the only time I've left the house without her all summer has been to go to the grocery store and for a couple quick lunches with co-workers. It was definitely good for both of us, though, because in a month I'll be back to work, so Barley needed a little reminder of how to be on her own.

Such a fun concert! Can you spot my Garmin GPS watch tan line?

There's nothing like a sunny afternoon in right field!

I had no idea Mickey was a Tribe fan.

Linds and I didn't adventure without Barley the entire weekend, though. My sister's a runner and is working on a training plan for her next half marathon and she made a goal to run in 5 different states this year, so she had to get in a run while she was here. Barley and I took her up to the State Park and we took a nice walk while Linds got in her miles.

Last summer, we discovered one of the gems of the Geneva-on-the-Lake strip, Madsen Donuts. We were planning to walk up to Madsen Donuts and then take the donuts back to the lake to eat them with a nice view, but a rain storm was blowing in, so we walked to the donuts as fast as we could and then took them back home.

Poor Barley wouldn't be so smiley if she knew there weren't donuts for her.

These donuts are heavenly. If you are ever in our neck of the woods, definitely get some! The icing on the sprinkle donuts is magical and cloud-like.

Luckily for Bar, I'd made blueberry dog biscuits for her!

The rain didn't stick around for long, so after breakfast we took Linds out to the Harpersfield Covered Bridge for another short walk. Barley and I don't go there a lot because the trail isn't very long and she doesn't like to get wet, but it's a really pretty park. The walk started out a little more stressful than planned because there was some sort of dog event with games and prizes and a ton of dogs, so Barley was on edge--but we went in the opposite direction of the dogs and she forgot about them pretty quickly.

Barley loves posing with Aunt L!

My sister was only here for a few days, but Barley and I were both worn out from all of the adventuring, so we've kept things pretty low key the rest of the week and have kept our daily walks pretty close to the 3-miles per day we need for our goal.

Soth seems to really miss having his aunt around. He spent most of the afternoon after she left sleeping on the bed in the spare room. He's also been dealing with another outbreak of his FLUTD, which seems to happen every time we have company. It's not clear yet if it's because of the stress of having an extra person in his space or if he's stressed that the extra person left.

When will Aunt L come back to snuggle me?

So, I've also been spending a lot of time this week cleaning the carpet since he doesn't want to use his litter box. He's also been wandering around crying because he can't get comfortable. Luckily, if I can get him onto the down blanket on the bed, he will settle down for a little while. I don't want to jinx things, but it seems like he's almost through with this bout of FLUTD, so hopefully he'll be back to his normal cranky self soon.

It looks like there will be thunderstorms for the next several days, so we'll probably continue to stick close to home for the foreseeable future. Barley and I hope everyone else has been able to get some fun adventures in so we can live vicariously through your posts on this FitDog Friday!

7/11-7/17 mileage: 26.84 miles
Total Goal Mileage: 570.79 miles

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blog the Change: Adopting an Adult Dog

I was planning to write about Dogs in Need of Space (DINOS) or the Yellow Dog Project and their work spreading knowledge about reactive dogs and other dogs who need space, but let's be honest--almost every post I have is about reactive dogs in some way, so I thought I'd switch things up a little bit and talk about another aspect of my relationship with Barley.

Everyone loves puppies. What's not to love? They're warm. They're snuggly and squirmy. They have those little round, baby fat tummies. They smell like happiness. It's hard to resist them. But shelters and rescue organizations are full of adult dogs who need homes.

Growing up, my family had adopted puppies. I had never really considered adopting an adult dog before. I'm not even sure that I realized that was an option for a long time, but eventually after I was out on my own, I started realizing that I had no idea how to take care of a puppy. The last puppy my family had came to our house when I was 12. I was not involved at all in the potty training process or teaching her not to chew furniture or even basic obedience. Without having someone else to help with training, I was pretty certain I couldn't handle a puppy, so I focused my entire search for a dog around adult dogs.

She's pretty sure she can be as silly as any puppy.

When I adopted Barley, she was already a year old. She was housebroken, she didn't chew inappropriate things, she walked nicely on a leash. Of course, we've had plenty of other issues to figure out: her energy, her reactivity, her fear of fireworks and children, so it would be untrue to say adopting an older dog was easy, but it was a much better choice for me than a puppy would have been.

So, if you're considering adding a new member to your family, here are a few reasons to consider adding an adult dog to your family:

  • They often already have basic obedience skills. Adult dogs find themselves at the shelter for a lot of different reasons. Some times, they are surrendered because their owners have lost their jobs or their homes and can no longer keep their dog. Some times, they belonged to someone who passed away and didn't have family members who could take them. Other times, they get lost and haven't been microchipped or don't have any way to find their original owners. Adult dogs have often spent a lot of time living as part of a family and are housebroken, know a few tricks, and have good manners when it comes to things like chewing and barking.
  • They are more independent. Certain breeds have a lot of energy regardless of age and need more stimulation than others, but adult dogs are more independent than puppies. They don't have to go outside quite as often, so if you do have to leave them for a longer period of time, you don't have to worry as much about coming home to accidents. If they've gotten a decent walk in, they can often entertain themselves for longer periods of time (or be content curling up at your feet while you're working at home). 
  • They have just as much love to give as a puppy does. Just because you haven't been there their whole lives doesn't mean that older dogs will love you any less. You often hear people talk about how their rescue dogs seem to know how lucky they are, so you might feel like your adopted adult dog even loves you more. Barley smothered me in kisses before we even left the shelter, but our bond has strengthened even more from that first day as we've worked together on our training.
Barley loves selfies with Aunt Linds!
There are plenty of other reasons to adopt an older dog, but ultimately, the right dog depends on your life and your family. 

If you're in the DC/NOVA area (or are up for a little road trip to get your new family member), you might want to consider a dog from Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (my nephew's mothership!)--like Cream!

My sister fostered Cream, a 1-year-old hound mix, for a few days before an adoption event and I fell in love with her. She's not right for my family because Barley wouldn't appreciate her enthusiasm, but she's perfect for somebody with a lot of energy and love (and toys) to give. 

Cream loved hiding in my sister's blinds. You can read more about her from my sister here and here.
Regardless of whether you adopt a puppy or an adult, from a shelter or a breeder, be sure that you do your research and have thought about how much time and energy you can devote to a dog. There are a lot of dogs out there with a lot of love to give, so there's no need to rush into bringing one into your home. Take your time to find the right dog for your family and we can reduce the number of adult dogs being surrendered to shelters.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Running Away to the Circus

Circuses--like zoos and aquariums--are complicated subjects for me. I know there are many reports of abused animals and that even animals that are treated well are often living in conditions that don't come close to resembling their natural habitats.

On the other hand, I also think they have potential to be a good way to teach people about animals they don't see every day. Often, I think people embrace that out of sight out of mind mentality when it comes to endangered and threatened species, so having a chance to see how majestic they are up close and personal might make people care more about the ones in the wild.

So, when the signs started going up around town that the circus was coming to town, I was torn. I wanted to see the elephants, but I also didn't want to give the circus any money to support toting elephants and other animals from town to town.

Then I read in the paper that the elephants would be getting a bath with help from the local fire department on Friday afternoon a few hours before the first show and that the bath was open to the public and free!

Since my sister was coming to town that day, I knew she'd need to stretch her legs a little bit before we got back in the car to go to the concert she was coming up to see--and what better walking destination than the circus!

I decided Barley could come on the adventure since it was only a half mile from our house and we put on her cooling coat a few minutes before the bath was about to start and headed to the circus grounds. I was worried that we wouldn't be able to stay--even though Barley did just fine with walking through a crowd on her CGC test and when we attempted the TDI test she had no trouble with the crowd or with people using walkers, wheelchairs, and hacking and coughing, there were no large pachyderms nearby to distract her. There also weren't a lot of kids squealing and laughing or large hoses spraying water during her tests, so I wasn't sure how all of these things would affect her. Mostly, I was worried that she'd growl and bark at the elephants.

We got there right as they were unrolling the hoses and getting ready to lead the elephants out onto the grassy spot they'd get their bath in. We picked a spot way off to the side several feet behind everyone else. It wasn't the best view, especially not for taking great pictures, but we got to see the elephants walk out holding each other's tails and got to see them get covered in sudsy water and hosed off by the fire department.

Barley's not so sure why everyone's so excited. They're just elephants after all.

This was the best picture I could get of bathtime by zooming in with my phone--why didn't I bring my actual camera?

My sister got to sneak in a little closer to get this one.

I was very proud of my Barley girl. She sat patiently off to the side while we watched the elephants walking to their bath. She didn't act like anything unusual was going on (maybe she was a circus dog in her pre-shelter life?). Later on, she laid down by my feet and just waited for the occasional treat to appear in my hand.

Even when people started leaving and the elephants were heading back to their pen, she showed absolutely no interest. Such a good pup!

We walked back home and relaxed a little before it was time to get ready for our big girls' night out at the Sara Bareilles concert. I didn't feel bad about leaving the pup for the entire evening because she was totally worn out after her big circus adventure.

This might not be comfy, but she was too tired to find a new spot.

The circus was packing up and leaving town on Saturday night after their last show, so we took a late evening walk to say goodbye to the elephants. Even with a very clear view (and an even clearer smell!) of the elephants, Barley had no reaction.

It's not every day that a small-town pup gets to see elephants, so I'm glad we had the opportunity to do something fun and different in our neighborhood, but I don't think either of us will be running away to join the circus any time soon.

We're joining the Mischief Monday blog hop today--be sure to check out the mischief everyone else has been up to lately!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Staying Close to Home

As much as Barley and I enjoy adventuring, we find plenty of ways to have fun at home, too. We ventured out to the Arboretum last Friday for a pre-fireworks hike, but the rest of the time we've been enjoying sticking close to home. Since K9 Kamp has challenged us to play some backyard games, I thought I'd share a little of what Barley and I have been doing in our backyard.

Neighborhood Walks
Since we live in an apartment, we don't have a huge backyard--we've got a little concrete patio and a little grassy area off of it and we're near the edge of the complex and not near an exit, so there's really nothing to draw anyone towards our "yard." But the lack of a nice big, fenced backyard means that we have to expand our territory a little bit, so just about every day we go out and tour our neighborhood.

We live right off of the historic downtown area, so we've got a lot of variety in where we can walk. Turn one direction out of our complex and we're in a very residential area. In the residential area, we get to practice all kinds of reaction to distraction because there are lots of barking dogs (and this week several loose dogs) and kids on bikes and scooters.  Our favorite activity on these walks this summer has been squirrel hunting! A few weeks ago I noticed a grey squirrel with an ALL white tail. Apparently, white tails are a recessive gene, so it's very rare for a squirrel to have an all white tail. The first time I saw it, I had left my phone at home because it was threatening to rain. The second time, the squirrel scurried around a tree before I could zoom enough and I couldn't see his tail anymore. We've found one with a partially white tail with a tiny bit of grey in the middle, so that's the best we've done capturing one on camera. Our hunt will continue.

Turn another direction and there are some train tracks and a little baseball field. The baseball field has a big grassy area beside it with lots of trees, so sometimes we off road it and enjoy the shade--but it's also a great location to practice some obedience work like sit-stays and recall when we need different distractions than we get in our yard. To get to the park, though, we have to walk under the train tracks. The train tracks give us a chance to play with different paces from our normal walking pace. When we hear the sounds signaling the arms going down, we can either slow down and sit and wait from a safe distance or we can run and get under the tracks before the train gets there. Usually, we're close enough that a sprint gets us under the overpass and at a distance Barley's comfortable with long before the train comes into sight.

Barley says she was born to run.

Usually, we do a combination of park and residential areas, but sometimes we turn a different direction and head downtown where we can do some sightseeing and practice some obedience skills.

We live in wine country, so outside of town there are huge vineyards with lots of grapes. Barley hasn't had a chance to go to one yet, but maybe soon. In town, though, they have some vines planted off of a square to promote the wineries, so we can visit some grape vines without getting in the car.

It's tough being a pup growing up in wine country when you can't eat grapes.

There's a winery without an attached vineyard in town, so we can enjoy the smells of their incredible wine burgers as we walk by and we can pose with the old wine barrels.

There's also a Civil War memorial nearby that we can stop to visit. It's hard to get a picture of the whole thing, though. One, it's on the corner of the busiest road in town, so there's not a lot of room for Barley to do a sit-stay far enough away to fit in the whole obelisk. Two, there are lots of loud vehicles heading up towards the lake and they make Barley very anxious, so I can't back up too far away from her or she forgets to smile. Three, there's no shade here, so I can barely see what's on the phone screen and just have to point and click and hope for the best! But it's a great way for us to practice short sit-stays with lots of distractions--I just have to make sure I don't push my pup too far and put her in situations that make her anxious.

There's also a fairly ridiculous sight to see in town, the shortest covered bridge in the country. I believe it is 18-feet long. They built this a few years ago because our county also boasts the country's longest covered bridge, so now we hold two records. 


Lately, our routine has been taking a second walk in the evening and then if it's a nice night, we take my iPad outside and turn on the Pirates radio broadcast and sit on the porch. Usually, I take our noseworks stuff out with us and we practice searching for the odor.

The video shows several different searches Barley has done over the last few weeks. She doesn't have her usual energy in them because she's hot and tired, but you can tell she's working even though it's not quite as fast-paced as usual. In the first search, she figured out pretty quickly that the scent was near the bench--but she couldn't find it, so she backed away and then came back. This one took her a while, but she got it eventually. In the second search, we had the distraction of a train going by, but the extra noise didn't throw her off at all. In the third search, she had no problems at all, but the final search threw her off. Her nemesis, the Jack Russell who lunged at our French doors until one day Barley pulled her leash out of my hand and chased it down and inspired its owners to keep it on a tie-out, was barking in the background, so she was really distracted. The odor was also higher off the ground than we'd had it in a while (I hid it before her nemesis arrived on the scene--or I would have made it easier with the extra distraction). She knew the general area the odor was in, but she couldn't find it to put her nose on the tin and doesn't actually find it in the video. When she wasn't looking, I put the camera down, got out the bottle of Cheese Whiz, and squirted some below the tin to make it a little easier for her. Since we want to have 100% success, some times we have have to make adjustments to make things easier for her--even if it's something she can normally do without pairing the odor and food.

Obedience Work
When she gets too tired for noseworks, we cool off with a little obedience work. We practice some sit-stays and down-stays. Sometimes we do a little heeling practice by doing figure eights around things in the yard. We practice a little recall--all the things that we worked on really really hard when we were thinking about becoming a therapy dog and then quit practicing as regularly when we decided that wasn't in the cards right now.

Sit-stays are really hard when people are grilling nearby.

Playing with Toys
Barley loves her toys. And by loves, I mean she's very very very gentle with them. We still have, and regularly play with, her very first toy. I don't worry about leaving toys in her crate with her when I'm gone because I know she won't shred them. She snuggles with them and then chooses one to bring out with her when I get home. She carries her toy outside with her to potty and then brings it back inside and sets it on the bed. Most of her toys are fuzzy and get bits of leaves or dirt stuck on them easily, so we don't usually take them outside. But Barley got this weird ghost/4-legged octopus thing in her BarkBox a few months ago and it's the perfect material for playing outside because things don't stick to it!

Fetch isn't easy to play in yard because she has to be on a leash, but as long as I do a running throw and have her on the long lead, I don't worry about losing an arm when she's chasing a toy down. Barley's not really a retriever, so fetch only lasts for a few throws, but it's fun to watch her chase down a toy and do a victory lap with it in her mouth.

Barley's also not a big tugger. If I try to take a toy she has in her mouth, she lets go. Like I said, she's very gentle when it comes to her toys. But she's starting to learn that tug can be fun, so occasionally I can get her to play tug with me in the yard. When she lets go, I just toss it and we switch back to fetch.

Cool Down
Usually, Barley's tired of the outdoors long before the baseball game is over (for a dog that LOVES hiking, she sure doesn't love to be out in the yard for long). I love to just sit outside and listen to the game, though, so we usually end our backyard games with a treat. Barley gets a Frosty Paws on the really warm days or a Kong with peanut butter and carrots while I enjoy a nice beer and another inning or two of the game before she's ready to go inside.

Please let me switch places with my brother!

Barley's perfectly content to watch through the window if I want to stay outside a little longer.

 And I can always count on my boy to want to relax and listen to the game with me.

We love that we can have a full day and never be out of a two-mile radius of our front door. We're looking forward to hearing about all of the wonderful ways everyone else has been enjoying their backyards during K9 Kamp.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Maria

One of my favorite books growing up was a picture book called Three Names by Patricia MacLachlan. I don't remember much about the book besides the cover, but I think that every person in the family had given their dog a different name, so someone decided to call him Three Names (which actually made four names). As someone with a history of pets with weird names (my first dog was Possum, our second family dog was a black dog named Snowflake, and then there's Sothlice), I always enjoy hearing how other people picked out their names for their pets.

When I met Barley, the shelter had named her Maria. I knew immediately that was not her name. Maybe if she had been a chihuahua or a xolo or some sort of Spanish herding dog. But it was not a name that fit my dog.

Barley's first picture while she was still named Maria.

I thought long and hard about the right name for my dog. My parents had chosen Maz for their dog after Pirates great Bill Mazeroski. I thought about the baseball players I grew up loving: Javy Lopez, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones. The only name that seemed like it could be kind of girly was Chipper--but that was the nickname my grandpa had given to my aunt's dalmatian.

My grandma had gone with holiday themes for the cats she'd had during my lifetime. Claus for her first Christmas kitten and Mistletoe (aka Missy) for her second. I adopted Barley on January 3--New Year was not a name.

I went through cutesy girly names I liked. Zoe almost stuck. Then I remembered I knew several people with tiny dogs named Zoe. It suddenly didn't seem like enough name for my girl.

Her first night at home before she had a name to put on a tag.

I thought about the other interests I had. Most of my favorite poets were men, so not good girly choices and I certainly wasn't naming her Emily. I thought about Emily Dickinson's dog, Carlo, but changing her name to Carla seemed as bad as Maria.

Then I came to my interest in craft beer. Most of my favorite breweries have the word dog somewhere in their name: Thirsty Dog, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head. It seemed appropriate.

Begging for snacks on her first night home. If Soth's nickname wasn't already Piglet, that might have become her name.

I went through all of the types of beer I liked. IPA was not a name. Porter seemed great, but also seemed like a boy name (and will be the name of Barley's next brother should we ever get a boy dog).  I kind of liked Stout, but my mom said that was mean. Hops seemed too generic. Then I came to Barley. It seemed perfect. I tested it out as we walked around the block together. By the time we went to bed, it was official.

Barley and I have a pretty musical life. Barley's so wiggly that it frequently looks like she's dancing instead of walking through the house. I sing to her (and poor, tolerant Soth) all the time. Pretty soon after she got her new name, I realized she was a little bit more than I had bargained for. I thought of the Sound of Music (which I've never actually seen, but I know all the music from a piano book we had growing up): "How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you find the word that means Maria?" Suddenly, the shelter's decision to name her Maria didn't seem so bizarre. 

"I'd like to say a word in her behalf: Maria makes me laugh!"

Recently, we were listening to the xm Prime Country station and one of my favorite childhood songs came on, Brooks and Dunn's "My Maria." It's a song I always belt out when I hear it, so I turned the radio up and started singing along. Once again, Maria didn't seem like such an odd name: "She is the sunlight when the skies are gray."

"Maria, I love you."

At our house, the shelter names become the pets' middle names, so she hasn't officially shed the Maria moniker, but it mostly comes out when she's in trouble or moments of silliness or frustration. I still think that Barley is a much better fit for my girl, but Maria might fit her a little better than I originally thought.

What about you? How did your pets get their names? 

We're linking up with Heart like a Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs for Thursday's Barks and Bytes.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of July Adventures with Barley

Barley is terrified of fireworks. I know most dogs are, but watching my 53-lb. dog try to fit between the back of the toilet and the wall is heartbreaking. So, I was determined to make yesterday Barley's best 4th of July yet.

I managed to actually get out of bed when the alarm went off and we headed to our favorite spot, The Holden Arboretum. Barley's learned the new route we have had to take since they closed our usual one for construction, and she was crying and barking like a fool when we were still 5 miles away. She  doesn't get that excited about anywhere else we go.

It was a lovely 61 degrees out when we got to the park, so we took a few of the sunnier trails we haven't really explored since it's usually too warm to not run for shade. Unfortunately, they're doing some work on some of the gardens, so a lot of the trails ended up turning into dead ends, so it wasn't long before we were back to the shady trails.

We love the Pierson Creek Loop, but I just wasn't feeling up for massive sets of stairs and rock hopping across the river, so we just walked the top portion between the staircases. Some time between when we passed the first staircase and when we got back on our return (which was no more than 15 minutes), somebody had made several arrows out of sticks and branches. I made one of the arrows point at the most awesome dog I know.

Usually, we don't spend a lot of time in the butterfly garden because that's where most people who are visiting the arboretum end up. When we're in the woods, it feels like we have the whole place to ourselves. But, we got there early enough that there weren't too many people in the butterfly garden, so we got to see some awesome bees enjoying the flowers.

We saw the biggest frog I've ever seen in one of the ponds in the rhododendron garden. Then we saw another one sunning a few rocks over, but Barley sniffed him and he jumped into the water.

We took plenty of water breaks and posed with Barley's 4th of July bandana. It was so nice out that we got in 4.5 miles without even realizing it. 

Since we've regularly been walking 5 a day, I thought we should try to set a new record with our Garmin GPS watch and we kept going until we ended up with 6.37 miles for the hike.

Bar's pretty proud we set a new record! All smiles!
When we got home, Barley got a bath with some calming shampoo--who knows if it actually worked, but she needed a bath before her Aunt L comes next week anyway--and then we went out in the backyard to dry off while I listened to the Pirates game and Barley ate a Frosty Paws.

We heard our first fireworks around 4:30, but amazingly they don't seem quite as scary when your nose is shoved inside a Frosty Paw's cup! My brave girl played a little bit of tug with me and a little bit of fetch and was as relaxed as she ever is outside until about 6:30. 

When we got inside, I ended the day with an extra special dinner: Blue Buffalo's Red, White and Blue Stew. Barley was so excited that she grabbed the can after our photoshoot and tried to run away with it. I think she was happier when I took it back and emptied it into her bowl. 

Around 8, the fireworks started going off more regularly, which sent Barley running for cover. She spent a little time huddled under my lamp--who knows how she gets in there--and then eventually went under the bed instead, so I got a book and read until I fell asleep, too. Who knew a few fireworks were the key to getting me to go to bed before 1 a.m.!

Hope everyone else's 4th was as enjoyable!

We're linking up with Ruckus the Eskie for Sepia Saturday.