Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Problem is Goats

Yes, I got all of the messages and emails about the book, thank you for those that have been reading it. 

The reason I haven't been publishing the weekly vignettes the past two Tuesdays is my laptop went kaput and I've been trying to resuscitate it ever since.  
Well I've just learned that it may be brain dead and, perhaps, it's time to pull the plug.  But that means some of the first book, The Rock, will be lost. 

But maybe that's a good thing. 

Maybe I needed a fresh perspective. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Black Cap Mountain

Hudson and Indiana love it when we spend us some time in the White Mountains with Mses. Grettie and Sophie, known respectively as the great chipmunk slayer and grumpy girl. The boys love em and that's them in the photo on the right with Larry.  

Every time we're there we're always embarking on some adventure or another and last week was no exception.  We hiked to the summit of the Black Cap Mountain and the panoramic view was absolutely stunning. 

Si Si Senor, of course El Guapo came with... he's very quickly becoming to me like Toomy and Pauly.  

But he's family now and it was good that Donna and Larry got to meet him for the first time even though I think he drank all their Tequila.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

THE ROCK: CHAPTER 12: Training Day

Fall 2007.  San Antonio, TX

“We’ve thought about it.  Your dogs will make it to Boston but you won’t.”


August 6, 2013

I never liked the word ‘training’ especially as it pertains to dogs and maybe that’s why I eschewed it prior to our walk.  Did you know that the Latin root of the word train is ‘Tractus’, which means pulled?

As I related some time ago in a post, I tried that with Murphy and he was like, ‘Aw Hell No!’.   Murphy couldn’t be pushed OR pulled OR prodded. 

Trainers say Pyrenees are one of the most difficult dog breeds to ‘train’.  Maybe that’s because most trainers just haven’t taken the time to learn how to communicate with them.  After all, they’re one of the oldest breeds still extant dating back to 3,000 BC;  they’re willful, independent, and really haven’t needed people ever.  And Pyrenees are part Castilian, part French, part Basque, and part Spaniard. 

That’s a whole lotta attitude rolled up into one doggie.

I had to learn how to communicate with Hudson and Murphy and establish a mutual system of language so that we could act and react in a moment’s notice since life on the road is measured in micro seconds.  And the two of them had to develop their own system.  This was no easy thing.  

I started with the basic mushing commands and built up from there with phrases like ‘Off the Street’, ‘In the Tent’, ‘Let’s get some Shade’, ‘Avante, Allez’, ‘G’yon’ (that’s a southern thing), ‘Electric’ (so they wouldn’t pee on a live wire which I did a couple of times) and many, many others that became our daily lexicon. 

There was someone I interviewed, I think part of the Raising Indiana series I did, that said that a dog’s vocabulary was limited to only a couple of dozen of words.
Bollocks.  He never went on a long treacherous hike with his. 


Even if that was true, it’s our responsibility to listen and understand what they’re saying to us NOT pull them into understanding us. We don't sense what dogs do, at a level they do, and comparing them to us is ridiculous.  


The two old naughty, nosey, outspoken women that we met from time to time on the nature trail at Trinity University midst our training in the fall of 2007, maybe they were right.  Hudson and Murphy did make it to Boston but I never did.


YBD’s Notes 1:  I mean no disrespect to trainers as I have met many, many great ones on our travels but I think communicators should be the appropriate title to those who listen.

YBD’s Notes 2: My deepest and sincerest apologies for not publishing part of the book last week.  I lost my inspiration but that’s no excuse and it’ll never happen again. The story must go on.  

YBD's Notes 3:  Next week Chapter 13:  Sponsors.  Shit. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August is the Mommy G Appreciation Month

August is such a significant month in our history.  It was 08.01.08 that I first met Mommy G and she saved the walk.  I'm not there yet in the timeline of the book but my first team had down and outright failed us.  I was at Mark and Brandy's house in Memphis when I first met Ginger and I knew I couldn't proceed without proper support.  

Indeed and in fact as I fought my way through the Arkansas delta on my own, the fuzzybutts were staying with folks in Lonoke, everything began unraveling.  

Drama, dog people, doesn't really matter and I'll deal with this later but this almost ended in Memphis.  Of the two times I almost gave up on the walk, Memphis was the first.  

Ginger will tell you that Hudson and Murphy had her at 'woof' but our paths were fated to cross.  For better, if you ask me but for worse when you consider that three years ago today, her beloved dog, Pete, passed away from cancer.  It was the first dog she lost to this dreaded epidemic.  

Everyone has always said that Ginger should be sainted which seemed ironic to me since I was the one out there, on the road, risking it all for the cause.  In circumspect, I supposed she should but only because she tolerated me.  

Loving dogs is easy.  

Ginger does more than that.  

Since I met her and she lost two dogs to cancer this month, I'd appreciate your help in honoring her for her efforts and by making August, Mommy G Appreciation Month.  

Thank you.