Friday, June 19, 2015

A Whole New World

Those of you who follow us on Instagram know that Barley, Soth, and I were down in Alabama last week. I spent a few days in Georgia visiting college friends while Barley and Soth spent time with their grandparents and then I joined them. I grew up in the Deep South, so I'm no stranger to the oppressive mugginess, but Barley is still new to southern life, which can lead to some challenges.

Other Dogs
The attitude towards dogs in my parents' area is so very different than anything I'm used to. Even though I grew up in the South, we always lived in neighborhoods where dogs were kept in their yards--either with a fence, an electric fence, or some sort of tie out. In my parents' neighborhood, though, most of the dogs run free. Some of the dogs trot along with us on our walks and are very good about giving Barley her space. The "neighborhood greeter," a sweet little basset hound, gets along with Barley so well that I can put them both in a sit and give her a treat without Barley caring a bit.

My nephew tries to play hard to get to keep this pretty basset lady interested.

Then there are the other dogs. These are the obnoxious ones to deal with--and the reason I don't leave my parents' house with my sprayshield. There's a Westie that I call Mr. Peabody because one day I saw him hanging out in a yard that wasn't his and he lifted his leg and peed on the head of the dachshund that did live there. One day, my sister saw someone take Mr. Peabody back to his house and instead of thanking the woman for bringing the dog home, the owner acted like it was no big deal that the dog was roaming the neighborhood. They also have a hound mix who has been sprayed with sprayshield so many time that I'm pretty sure you could sit next to him and not have to worry about mosquitos coming anywhere near you. I often wonder what their owners think when their dogs come home smelling like citronella.

Porch Sittin'
Houses in the South have porches like nowhere else in the world. My parents' house has a nice little front porch and a magical back deck with a covered area that has a ceiling fan and outdoor tv, so there's a lot of time spent outside.

One afternoon, there was a lovely rain storm--no thunder and lightning, just a nice soothing rain. I tried to show Barley the joy of sitting on the porch watching the rain--she was not impressed.


She was also not impressed with the evenings we spent out on the back deck watching the Pirates (and the Cavs). 


Soth was a big fan of porch sittin'.
Barley also had some additional porch time because my brother, his fiancé, and their dog (Barley's biggest nemesis) came for a weekend. We've gotten the dogs to the point where they can be in the same area as long as Barley's on leash because Hank's learned to stay out of her space, but when Barley's on leash, she's in work mode and knows that her job is to focus on me, so that gets exhausting for her and she can't stay on a leash 24 hours a day. We take turns having one dog on the porch and one inside, or if they're both inside, one is relaxing in a bedroom while the other one is free. It's taken some time, but we're starting to get a system worked out. Barley, however, does not believe in being an outside dog if she's not on a walk. She doesn't want to play in the yard, she doesn't want to lounge in the grass, she definitely doesn't want to be outside if I'm inside--so being the smart little border collie mix she is, she figured out how to open my parents' backdoor (which has a handle instead of a knob) to let herself in. I guess we're back to the drawing board on our dog separation system.

Variety
As any of our regular readers know, one of our favorite things about our area is the variety of different places we have to walk. There are over 50 parks within one hour of our front door--we can be at Lake Erie in less than 10 minutes--and we've got a great neighborhood for piecing together walks of many different lengths. If you walk my parents' entire neighborhood, you've walked 2.01 miles and the road outside of their neighborhood is kind of narrow and winding, so it's not the safest place to walk. It's a very pretty neighborhood, but when you need three miles a day to meet your goal, it gets old fast.

Barley with a teeny tiny sliver of a mountain in the background.

There's a nice lake with a walking trail around it near by, but you have to walk 3 laps to get 2 miles, so it's a nice change of scenery from the neighborhood, but not a place to get a lot of good mileage.

There were too many geese for Pup to look at the camera.

Awkward teenage geese.

There are a couple other parks and trails that are dog friendly, but they're all over a 30-minute drive and we were already having to walk around 7 a.m. just to beat the heat (and I am not a morning person), so they weren't as appealing to visit at this time of year.

One plus of walking in the South at this time of year, though, is that everything was in bloom. My favorites were these Dr. Seussian mimosa trees that were blooming all along the interstate (and in my parents' neighborhood) and made for nice scenery on the road trip.


The Dog Run
My parents' yard has a nice fenced in dog run, which is something Barley rarely gets to experience. She has no interest in it, though, unless there's a squirrel on the porch--then she'll tear down the stairs after it, but once it's up a tree, she's ready to come back inside. If I took a ball down into the run, she'd chase it and then run back upstairs with it so I had to go back up the stairs to get it. If I threw it from the top of the stairs, she'd get to the bottom but by that point she'd lost track of where it went and didn't care enough to search for it.

Soth, on the other hand, thinks the dog run is the best thing ever. I normally don't let him down there because he just wants to eat grass, which he comes in and immediately barfs up, but he wore me down with his insistence this time. Barley wasn't really sure if Soth was supposed to be down there, so she tried herding him back up the stairs a couple times.


We had a lovely visit with my family, but we were all happy to be back home this week (except maybe Soth who is missing all of the bird feeders and the dog run). Barley and I were ecstatic on Wednesday when we woke up and it was only 60 degrees, so we got to eat a leisurely breakfast before taking a late morning walk at the lake.



We logged 30.92 miles this week and didn't fall behind where we're supposed to be at this point even though I was separated from my Barley girl for several days. Even though I didn't comment much while we were traveling, I did read as many of your posts as possible and we're very happy to be back linking up for FitDog Friday today!


23 comments:

  1. Welcome back - hope you had a great vacation. That's impressive you kept your mileage up!

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    1. Last week wasn't quite as impressive, but the temperatures were so nice when we got home on Tuesday that we got to add quite a bit to our mileage the last few days :)

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  2. Hi there again, and hope you had a great time off.

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! It's always fun to get to spend some time with old friends and family!

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  3. Dogs roaming the neighborhood would not make us happy, just the thinking of them peeing and pooping all over is plenty. Katie was visiting a dog friend through his fence one day and he peed on her head. Mom was so pissed! I don't think he meant to, but it happened.

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    1. Poor Katie! Barley has had some close calls with her boy cousins when she's been walking along behind them sniffing something and they've stopped and lifted their legs, but so far she's avoided that!

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  4. The downside of living in the South is certainly the limited time span available for walks & hikes throughout summer time. We're in NC and have been experiencing a heat wave, and it's only June!!

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    1. We were definitely thinking of all of southern blog friends while we were whining about the heat! Luckily, my parents were always up for some early morning walks and late evening walks to help block the loose dogs for us :)

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  5. I think all the stray dogs roaming around would drive me crazy! Smart Barley. I'm pretty sure Mr. N would also learn to open doors if he was tall enough!

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    1. I have no doubt Mr. N would learn to open doors if he could reach them. I was out getting cupcakes when it happened, but Barley clearly thought space in the air conditioning was better than being out on the porch. Luckily, my brother got her herded upstairs into my bedroom before she found her cousin ;)

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  6. It's hard to keep dogs separated, especially when they're used to being by your side all the time. I have to put Leo in the backyard when my mom visits, and he's not so happy about the arrangement. He enjoys the outdoors more than Barley does, it sounds like, but he'd rather be where the people are. It's nice that your family is patient enough to work on a system to keep all the doggies safe and happy.

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    1. Yes, it is nice that I have an understanding family that helps me work through my girl's issues. My brother's dog just started a reactive dog class, too, so hopefully they'll continue getting better at sharing space. I'm not sure why Barley opposes the outdoors so much, but she is not interested in being outside even if we're all out there!

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  7. Hi Y'all!

    What a nice vacation. What a beautiful spot to walk, and what 60F at home?

    We haven't see that since, April I think.

    All the doors here have those handles. I learned to open them the first week. My Humans make sure all the doors are locked so I can't get out, not that I'd want to...

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. We were definitely thinking of you while we were trying to figure out how people survive in 90 degrees! 60 is not really common for this time of year here, either--usually we're in the high 70s with a couple days in the low 80s--but we are definitely not complaining!

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  8. Hey, I know that handsome dog in the first photo :-)

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    1. I don't know how that little dude ended up in so many of my pictures ;)

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  9. Looks like you had a great vacation,xx Speedy

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    1. We did! It's always nice to catch up with family and friends and see the rest of the family pets :)

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  10. Having an intelligent dog that can learn to do things on their own can be challenging, can't it? You have to find new ways to outsmart them.
    Visiting and vacations are always nice, but there's no place like home!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. It is challenging--but I wouldn't have it any other way! She keeps me on my toes (and so does Soth--my parents' dog is used to go out a dog door any time she wants to hang out in the yard, but Soth learned how to get out of it, so that has to stay closed when we visit, too!)

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    2. I would love to have a dog door, but my biggest fear is that Samantha would figure out how to use it, and follow the dogs right out there!

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  11. Oh what we'd give for 60 degrees right now! Rocco loves porch sitting, must be a southern dog thing!

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    1. It's been nice to give the AC a break! Rocco definitely seems like a southern gentleman ;) Barley much prefers building snowmen to sitting on the porch in the summer!

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