January has was a busy yet lazy, freezing yet warm month of walking. The first half of the month, we spent lounging and walking while I waited for the start of the new semester. The second half was diving back into teaching and all of the planning and grading that comes along with it. We had days when it was in the teens and too snowy/icy to go much farther than a mile at a time. We had days when I didn't need a coat or gloves. It made for some weird, but wonderful adventures this month.
The WinterFest snowmen decorations have been put up downtown and we had a thaw just in time to be able to get in some nice walks down there to admire them. Some of the snowmen have been transformed into penguins or other winter creatures. One is even something from the new Star Wars--which I haven't gotten around to seeing yet. It's always fun to see how the different groups and businesses in town put their creativity to the test with these guys!
Last weekend, we had a day in the mid-40s, so we took off to the state park for a stroll. There was still a lot of snow and ice on the beach, but the trails were all completely clear, so it was easy walking with a few more challenging spots thrown in to get some photos.
|Who says late January isn't a good time for a Lake Erie beach trip?|
|These ice "curtains" have been up all month. I love them.|
The following day it got up to the 50s, so we we took off on another adventure to the Holden Arboretum. We usually don't make it out to the arboretum until at least March since there's usually a lot of snow and the trails are groomed for crosscountry skiers and you aren't supposed to walk in those trails, which leaves us with the spots along the trails that come up to my knees sometimes--and I'm just not ambitious enough to want to drive half an hour for that kind of workout!
Even though most of our snow further north was melted, there was still a good bit on the ground (and on the trails) at the arboretum. Combined with the 50+ degree weather, the ground was a slushy, muddy mess. I quickly regretted wearing the tennis shoes that I'd worn to the state park and was very happy I still had a pair of flipflops in the car so I could peel off the cold wet socks I ended up with. It was a great day for a walk, though, and Barley got to practice more reaction to distraction work since there were lots of people out with dogs and kids. It's so nice to know that when spring rolls around it won't have been over 3 months since we saw another living creature on one of our walks. Last year, it was a challenge to remind Barley that we do sometimes have to share our space with other creatures.
This wacky January gave us lots of opportunities to reach our goals and even get a little bit ahead in case February isn't as kind to us. In January, we got in 97.25 miles towards our goal of 1100 miles this year. So far, so good!
Facebook reminded me this morning that it's been 3 years since Soth had his bladder-flushing procedure, so it seemed like as good a time as any for an update on him. If you're squeamish about reading about cat pee, just stop reading after these two cute pictures of his post-procedure waking up faces.
|Aren't his sleepy post-anesthesia faces cute?|
I'm almost afraid to type this because it seems like every time I give a positive update, I jinx things, but for the last 7 months or so, Soth has show minimal signs of feeling pain when he urinates. He's using his litterbox consistently (partially due to a switch to Cat Attract litter, I think--big shout out to my cousin who recommended we try it!). On the few times he has had an episode, they have been short and there has been little blood in his urine, so that suggests there are fewer crystals forming and irritating the lining of his bladder.
I still can't say that we have any answers for why he's doing better. Maybe being on a prescription diet and lots and lots of wet food have helped. Maybe losing a little weight has helped. Maybe now that he's older, he's outgrown it (which I've read can happen). Maybe he's just adjusted to whatever stressors triggered the first episodes. I try not to question it too much and I'm just thankful that he seems happier and more comfortable than he's seemed in a long time.
As moving to our very own house is becoming more of a reality every day, I am worried about how he'll react to a big change. He's been quite the trooper this past year with two visits to the boarder while I traveled and three trips south to my parents' house in Alabama, plus he handled the move from New Mexico to Ohio like a champ in the pre-Barley days, so I'm hopefully that a change in environment won't cause a setback, but keep your fingers crossed (and send out some prayers, good vibes, or whatever you believe in) for my boy as his world gets a little shakeup in the next couple months.
Happy FitDog Friday everyone!