Toasty Time (for four)

Kali and Kloe have guests.  Jaynee and Sadie will be here for the week while their parents and our good friends Marty and Jen vacation in Hawaii with their human kids.

Sadie and Jaynee are quick studies.  They quickly and effortlessly adapted to a morning ritual I have with Kali and Kloe.

My breakfast usually includes toast.  A long time ago, and before Kloe was born, Kali and I established a morning ritual where I give her  a corner (or two) of a piece of bread while I cook my breakfast.  I call it Toasty Time.  When Kloe joined the pack she eagerly adapted to the ritual.

This morning, the first morning that Jaynee and Sadie were with us, they didn’t miss a beat.  As I announced Toasty Time they got into position for their corner of bread as though they had been doing it for years.

Toasty Time For Four

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Zero to seventy five in a year

As I write I look over and see a puppy sleeping very soundly under the kitchen table.   Her older sister lies not too far away on her day bed also asleep but not quite as soundly.  Instinctively, and from 10 months of first hand experience, big sister knows that at any moment the puppy could wake up and launch an all-out surprise attack with a soggy cloth toy or a plastic chew toy and almost certainly with attitude and unbridled enthusiasm.

Kloe the “puppy” turned one year old this weekend.  Yes, it took a whole weekend for this to happen because when you go from zero to 75 pounds in one year it takes a few days to make the transition from puppyhood to, well more puppyhood.  That’s how it is with Goldens.  They start out as puppies and sometimes never grow out of it and if they do it takes at least a few years.  So much to her big sissy Kali’s chagrin Kloe will continue chewing on Kali’s legs, smashing toys in her face, and making countless surprise attacks initiating marathon wrestle-mania  bouts for at least another couple of years.

A little over a year ago as Holly and I began packing up 25 plus years of suburban life to move to the mountains we brought a puppy home.  There were many who said we were crazy to add a puppy to our family during such a hectic and transitional time in our lives.  They were right.  The moment we met Kloe – just 15 pounds at the time- we were crazy in love with her.  And I’m pretty sure Kali was too.

So zero to 75 in one year.  Wow!  We think she has stopped growing.  Kali prays for the same.  Meanwhile, all of us remain crazy in love with our giant golden red puppy we call Kloe.

Happy Birthday Sweets. It’s been one heck of a first year.  I love you!

 

 

Neither Snow Nor Rain….

The unofficial motto of the U.S. Postal Service is, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

With the seemingly endless storm systems continuing to deliver massive snow and rain to California it’s been a heck of a first winter to be a Golden Retriever puppy!   Kloe’s unbridled enthusiasm for completing her mission regardless of the elements would make her a great postal carrier.  Except in Kloe’s case the motto would be slightly amended to say completion of her appointed play time.

She seems to revel in the wet and mud.   It’s hard to keep a good pup down and in Kloe’s case that means who cares if it’s pouring rain outside. Open the barn door and let this race horse out!

Evidenced here in a photo taken by a friend on a recent rainy day when Kloe went to visit her friend Jaynee.

 

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A Much Belated Post

Thinking back on almost three years of posts, one of the first posts for this Golden Kali blog should have been a link to this wonderful video that shows Kali and 23 other Goldens at the airport in Taiwan preparing for their journey to America.

The video is beautifully done and starts with Kali and Team arriving at the airport, waiting with their caregivers in the terminal, and finally getting into their crates and heading down the moving ramp to be loaded into the plane.

This video, for me, is very moving and after all this time I still get choked up watching it (which I do often).

Kali:  Dad, blog posts are for reading.  No one wants to watch a video of me and my 23 cargo mates.

Me: I know Kali.  And they don’t have to if they don’t want to.

But just in case you do, here’s the link.

p.s.  thanks to all the volunteers at Taiwan Pawprint Dog-Friendly Society (TPDS), Rescued Love From Taiwan, and True Love Rescue for all the work they do match loving Goldens with families like mine in Northern California.

Her Loyal Highness

We arrived at the airport’s international terminal for arriving fights and waited to meet Kali who traveled with 23 other rescued Golden Retrievers from Taiwan to SFO.  The crates were wheeled into the terminal and the adopting families found their pup, wheeled the crate outside to the designated parking area to take them out of their crates, greet them, and take them to their Forever Homes.

It was almost three years ago when I stood in the evening air of that parking lot and opened the crate and we welcomed Kali into our lives.  It was a fourteen hour flight so she needed to pee real bad.  I hooked her leash on to her collar.  She she pulled me a few feet, squatted, peed, and everything that has happened since is documented in the archives of this Golden Kali blog site.

It was remarkable how quickly Kali assimilated to her new life. We bonded instantly and for the first few days she was constantly by my side day and night and for the most part has stayed there ever since that night.

A lot has happened since then.  The tag line of this blog post changed earlier this year from Kali’s new life in America to Kali’s new life in the mountains.  The biggest events have been our relocation from the SF Bay Area to the Sierra Nevada Foothills and we adopted nine-week old Kloe in May, two weeks before we moved.  So a lot has changed for my Golden Kali and she has been there by my side, never complaining, always loving with unwavering loyalty.

Yesterday was the rare day that we would leave Kali and Kloe for the day.  We would be gone to long to leave them home by themselves so we arranged to have them stay with Marty and Jen, our close friends who live nearby and who also have two dogs who are playmates with Kali and Kloe.  We arrived at Marty and Jen’s around 8:30, drove into the property and the gate closed behind us.  Kali and Kloe eagerly jumped out of the back of the Outback and began sniffing and running.  Kali mostly sniffing and Kloe mostly running; Tazing actually in anticipation of a full day of play with her her buddy Jaynee, our friend’s three year old Queensland Shepard mix. We chatted briefly but needed to get on the road.  I gave the girls a kiss and we began to drive off.

I’ve never observed any separation anxiety in Kali. We’ve been fortunate that I work mostly from home and Holly has worked off and on part time so there is almost always someone home.  But there have been many times that we have left Kali, and now Kali and Kloe alone for a four or five hour stretch.  Although they’re both very happy to see us arrive back home there is never any signs of distress or evidence of acting out in the house or the yard.

Holly tells me that when I leave the house for whatever reason Kali will lie down next to the door I left through.  She’ll stay there for a long time (presumably waiting for my return) until finally moving to her bed or onto some other area of the house or yard.  So there is clearly still that bond and desire from Kali to be next to me if she has the choice.  Truth be told it’s the same for me with for her… So yesterday as Holly and I got in the car I told Kali to stay and she watched us drive down the gravel path towards the gate.  She stayed back where I left her as I punched in the key code and the gate slowly opened.  I looked back through the rear view mirror and Kali’s body language told me she realized I was leaving.   She began trotting towards the car as we headed out the gate.

Kali looked beautiful and regal trotting after me.  She was earnest and determined.

The gate is on a timer and I realized it wouldn’t have closed in time to keep Kali inside so I stopped the car and got out.  I placed  her a few feet back from the gate and again told her to stay.  She knew what I wanted, and she really really tried to stay, but as I walked back to the car she followed.  I started walking back up to the house.  “Come on Kali” I called.  “Let’s Go”. Kali eagerly followed me back to the front porch where Marty was holding onto Kloe.  The irony here s that Kloe was not inclined to follow the car because a full day of Tazing with Jaynee is way better than just about anything else.  Kali was the one who needed be held in order stay back.  Marty grabbed her collar and she reluctantly watched as I jogged back to the car, open the gate, and drive off.

Kali has spent the day at Marty and Jen’s before.  Both her and Kloe have stayed overnight there.  So I know she is fine and I know she doesn’t have any anxiety.  She just wants to be with me.  It’s a very special bond we’ve had since that evening almost three years ago that I opened her crate at SFO brought Her Loyal Highness Kali home and into my life.

HER LOYAL HIGHNESS, GOLDEN KALI

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And so it goes with my Golden Kali…

Me:  “C’mon Kali, do something”.

Kali:  “I am.  I’m sleeping”

Me: “No I mean, romp, play, give me some fodder for a blog post”.

Kali:  “OK, post about this nap I’m taking and wake me when there is a biscuit in your hand with my name on it”.

Me:  [sigh…]

And so it goes with my Golden Kali.  Since the day Kali arrived in America almost three years ago she has been low key and very content to just hang and be with me and observe the world around her.

So this past weekend, after a few days of steady snow, when we took Kali and Kloe for a walk up to the back section of the Golden K I was smiling to see Kali exhibit a little bit of puppy in her.  I’m still very much a kid at heart and it was great to see my Golden Kali, who is just about my contemporary in dog years, act a little bit like a pup as we romped through the snow.

As we got off the path that circles the inner section of the property around the house and began “off roading” to the deeper snow Kali began acting like,  well acting like a dog.  She  romped, she pranced, and she threw herself down on the snow and seemed to make a snow angel, although in reality it was probably something dead she smelled and wanted to roll around on it as she loves to do…

Kali is about eight and I find myself doing the “numbers game” and thinking ahead to the day when Kali will be gone.  I know there are still – God willing – four or five years until that inevitable day arrives.  For Kali, like with my human kids, I would not ask her be something she is not or doesn’t want to be.  She doesn’t have to fetch, she doesn’t have to romp, and if she prefers to nap and just observe this is ok with me because she usually chooses to do these things at my feet, by my side, as a truly loving and devoted companion.

But when she does choose to romp and play, as she did this past weekend in the snow, I will cherish it and be happy for her because I see that she too is very happy to be alive with her pack at the Golden K.

Kali’s Romp In The Snow

Winter Dance

I thought we were getting a Golden Retriever but we got a bucking bronco, a race horse, and at times a bull in a china shop.  At least that’s how it’s seemed the past several days.  Kloe is the bull and the rest of us and the house is the china shop….

A recent series of much needed storms has grounded “Air Kloe”.  If we could somehow harness and store (externally) her unused energy it could potentially serve two good purposes.  First, we could sell the stored energy to power companies and make a few bucks while the energy was put to good use running power tools in a factory or local lumber mill.  It would probably last them weeks.  And two, and even more important, the energy would not be in her body (hence the reference to external storage) and our world would a much safer and saner place to ride out these storms.

Golden Kali’s last post was called Rain Delay.  And the rains have continued to delay and preclude Kloe from spending any significant time outside.  The Golden K has a lot of places for Kali and Kloe to roam and explore.  There are a series of gates, chain fences, and farm fences that connect our wrap around deck to several large areas that the girls can roam and run in.  Well Kloe can roam and run, Kali mostly just roams for a few minutes and then quickly lies down and enjoys the scenery.  The rain makes these areas, except for the deck that just gets icy, mud bowls.  We’ve learned a lot of things this first year at the Golden K and one of them is that we need better drainage throughout the areas the girls have access to.  There is definitely a Spring project or two having to do with grates, drains, and pipes in there somewhere…

Although Kloe is impervious to rain the house is not impervious to mud.

A decision to allow Succumbing to Kloe’s pretty brown eyes and relentless pleas to allow her outside in the wet and mud is usually followed by 30 or 45 minutes of getting her cleaned up and house worthy.  We’ll try to work in walks when it’s not raining too hard but this past series of storms has been very wet and walks have been few during the past week or so.

The girls have always had unlimmited in and out privileges so Kloe is very used to going out for a spell, coming in to see what’s up inside, and then asking to go back outside again.  She’ll do this several times throughout the day but when it’s wet and muddy, depending on what we’re doing at the time, it may not be practical for Holly or I to sign up for the clean up rotations.  We were talking about this the other day and were saying to each other that other dogs spend the day outside rain or shine and the owners are ok with.  Why aren’t we ok with it?  This in itself doesn’t make us good dog owners or make them bad dog owners.  Like us they love their pups.  In fact those dogs may be happier than Kloe (or our perception of her happiness?)…

But that’s not how we roll at the Golden K and that’s not the type of relationship we want to have with our pups.  They sleep next to us at night, lie under the table when we eat dinner, wrestle at our feet when we watch TV, and are lavished with treats (healthy treats of course!) throughout the day.

It finally stopped raining and things are drying out.  Kloe was able to spend significant time outside yesterday and will again today and tomorrow.  Clean up rotations will be much shorter and “the bull” will be happier outside the china shop where she can burn off some energy, chase a ball, do a little “Tazing”, and be able to take some long power naps when the energy is finally spent.

But alas, the rains will back again by Thursday and apparently in full force.  China will need to be protected in the shop and clean up rotations will be longer. Our 70 pound puppy bull will stare out the window, look at us with pleading eyes, and of course we’ll relent and let her out for a short while.

Rain, pleading stares, relent, clean up, and repeat.  This is the Winter dance we do at The Golden K.  We’re’OK with it.

Holly, the puppy bull, and the stare

OK with it.

Rain Delay

A series of storms over the next several days should deliver 7 to 10 inches of rain to the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  Great for combating the last several years of drought but not so great for one “little” 70 pound puppy named Kloe.

If Kali and Kloe were human children Kali would be the child who was content to stay indoors and read on her bed all day.  Kloe would be the hyper-active kid who had to be outside riding bikes, playing sports, or climbing trees.  The extra wet weather has made outdoors off limits except for taking care of “business” a few times a day.   This has been just fine for Kali.  For Kloe, not so much.

First thing in the morning after breakfast Kloe looks at the door and then looks back at me as if to say, “Go ahead.  Open it – I don’t mind the rain.  In fact I love the rain because it makes the dirt turn into mud and you know how much I love the mud!”  She eventually gives up and just lies in front of the windows facing the back yard and sulks.  Today, to add insult to injury, I spent much of the morning shoring up drains and doing various chores outside in the rain.  I see Kloe through window looking me and I’m sure she is thinking, “What’s up with that?  Dad gets to play in the rain and mud and I don’t?  Not fair!”

This afternoon Holly and I drove into town to run a few errands and spent about 50 dollars on new dog toys.  Yes they are spoiled but this is another form of “rainy day recess” to keep Kloe occupied and so that she can chew off a little energy.  Kali is content to read sleep but Kloe does a pretty good job of getting Kali to engage in tug-o-war and wrestling when new toys are brought out.  This is good for Kali otherwise she’d read the entire collection of Harry Potter in a day or two before coming up for air.

As the afternoon turns to evening Kali sleeps out of harms Kloe’s way and Kloe for the moment is content being inside.  But this rain delay may be more than Kloe can tolerate and at some point I suspect we will let her out to belly flop in the rain and mud.

Thank goodness we have an outdoor tub.

The Outdoor Tub (earlier this year)

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And to all a good night

We’re back down to from 200 to 120 pounds of dog!

For the past three days we had a Crazy (as in crazy good) Canine Christmas.  Smokey arrived Friday and Sadie and Jaynee arrived Saturday.  Throw Kali and Kloe in the mix and the dogs outnumbered the humans 5 to 3 for this low key Christmas celebration with Holly, my daughter, and myself….. and the five pups.

The youngsters (Kloe and Jaynee) played hard wrestling and chasing much of the weekend.  The old ladies (Kali and Sadie) opted to sleep in the warmth of either the sun or the house. Smokey, being the smallest (yet wisest) of the group tried to stay out of harms way.  Contributing only 11 of the overall total 200 pounds of dog, he held his own but knew when to run for cover to avoid getting smashed.

It was a howl of a Christmas for sure.  All the pups were respectful of the house, the outside areas, and one another.  Barely a growl or snip was noticed as this gang of five co-exsited for three days eating, begging, getting way too many treats, napping in the sun, rolling in the mud, and being dogs together.  Spoiled dogs, but dogs none the less.

Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee were gone by 2:00 this afternoon.  Since then, and as expected, Kali and Kloe have gone into deep power naps.

And to all a good night!

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200 Pounds Of Dog For Christmas

There will be a large group at The Golden K this Christmas!  The breakdown of attendees goes like this:  three humans, five canines, and one cow.  Well, only part of a cow; a prime rib to be more specific.

Meet the humans:  Michael, Holly, and Jessica (our daughter).

Meet the Canines:  Kali, Kloe, Smokey, Sadie, and Jaynee.  Kali and Kloe you already know and Smokey some of you have “met” in past posts.  Smokey is an eleven pound Morky (Maltese / Yorkshire mix)  of pure cute.  Sadie and Jaynee belong to our friends who live nearby and who will be traveling for a few days.  Sadie and Jayne will be with us for three days over Christmas.  I’m not sure what breeds Sadie is but she is about 45 pounds, 11 years old, fuzzy, and very sweet.  Jayne is an Australian Shepard mix about 35 pounds and lighting fast.  She and Kloe have become good friends over the past several months.  Kloe and Jayne run, chase, and wrestle while Kali and Sadie lay and watch them or sleep in the sun.  It’s a good mix and lots of fun to watch.

Meet the Cow:  just kidding.  I meant eat the cow (sorry PETA advocates but I really love beef…

So this long Christmas weekend will be interesting and fun to say the least.   It could be a howl!  Smokey arrives tomorrow (Friday) with my daughter, Sadie and Jayne arrive Saturday.  They will all leave on Monday.  So we’ll have three days with twenty paws running around the… well, probably running around the house because it’s supposed rain and/or snow most of that time.

I sure hope Santa is quiet coming down our chimney Christmas Eve otherwise he’ll be sharing his milk and cookies with 200 pounds of dog!

With a little Mother Nature luck the nine of us (yes, I’m including the cow) may wake up to this on Christmas morning as we did over Thanksgiving weekend.  Just enough to look pretty but not so much to have to shovel  🙂

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