California Burns

I’ve been trying to post all week and each time I’ve attempted to I find myself for a loss of words.   Well, at least a loss of significant words.

Many thriving communities have been devastated by the numerous wildfires throughout California.  Musing about Kali’s latest adventure or Kloe’s enthusiastic antics are insignificant when compared to the total devastation of  once thriving communities.   Posting  a cute picture of my pups romping around the homestead or cuddling before bed feels like an inappropriate action to take while the news in the background reports stories of people who lost their home or worse, their life.

The Golden K is over a hundred and fifty miles away from the fires raging in Sonoma and Napa counties so we are quite safe, at least from these fires.  I have many friends and colleagues that have been affected in these beautiful wine country towns and cities scattered throughout those counties.  Many evacuated early in the week and the fate of their homes is still in question. Some already know that their home is gone.

The winds have died down in Sonoma and Napa and finally there is some containment in these fires that have scorched over 150,000 acres which translates into 234 square miles.  To put that in perspective the area burned in those counties is greater than the size of San Jose, Denver, and New Orleans or Chicago (to pick just a few major cities).

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So I sit here and write with Kali safely asleep and my heart breaks thinking about the lost, confused, and scared pets and live stock who are affected.  Surely many have died as a result of the fires.   My closest friend and family who live a few miles away from Santa Rosa were able to return to their home today.  They are out of danger.  For that I am very thankful. But am keenly aware of the fact that thousands upon thousands of others have no home to return to and worse, some lost their lives trying to escape danger in a fateful early morning of Monday October 9.

This week many of us in the Golden State, especially those who are directly affected, are reminded of what we already knew:  most possessions, even a home, can be replaced.  But a life cannot.

Our heartfelt prayers to all of California from Kali, Kloe, Holly, and Michael.  Alive,  safe, and grateful for our blessings at The Golden K.

 

Play Ball!

The regular season of Major League Baseball ends this Sunday and moves into the playoffs.  My San Francisco Giants had one of the worst seasons in the Clubs 100+ years history.  But even in the down years baseball is never very far from my heart.   And any ball is never very far from Kloe’s mouth.

I always wanted a dog that would fetch.  One that would chase the ball down with the passion of Willie Mays making an over the shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series.   A dog that would love to play ball.  Bailey had no interest in playing ball choosing instead to chase squirrels and birds.  I thought Kali might have been a ball chaser but it didn’t take her long to find out that the ball was not food and therefore why exert any energy running to it and – God forbid – pick it up and bring it back to me!

So this may fall into the category of be careful of what you wish for.

Kloe loves the ball.   Kloe is never far from a ball.   Kloe sleeps with her ball.  Kloe drinks with her ball.  Kloe can play fetch for as long as your arm can muster up another throw.  Hey she’s 18 months old, is strong as an ox, impervious to fatigue, and frankly has a little tunnel vision (the ball).

So I muse about being careful what you wish for but really I think it is pretty cool that I finally have a dog that will “Play ball”.

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Somebody PLEASE throw the ball for me!

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Really?

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Kloeville

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“I can do this forever Mom”

Swim Time At The Lake

It was almost as though the water took the weight of the world off my eight year old Kali.  Well, I guess in some ways it did because when you’re paddling and floating the water is absorbing much of your weight instead of your joints and bones.

And so it was for Kali this afternoon at the lake.

With summer winding down we wanted to get the girls back up to the lake for another romp in the water while the weather was still reasonably warm.  I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the cold freezing snow melt later this year but Holly and I would!  Kloe loves the water and we knew that she would have no problem getting in the deep stuff so we were prepared this time with the long 30 foot leash.   We’re not yet comfortable letting either of the dogs, especially our little dare devil Kloe, into the Lake without a “safety net”.

Kloe had a blast, as expected, swimming out to retrieve the sticks we threw in the water.   This was the first time she really had an opportunity to outright swim without her legs touching the bottom of the lake and it was fun to see her eyes when she realized she was floating and then started paddling.   She did get a little more reserved the deeper out she got.   This actually made me feel relieved because one, she knows her limits to a degree, and two, I wouldn’t have to reel her in like a Marlin.  On the other hand if squirrels could swim and happened to be in the lake all bets would be off and I’m pretty sure Kloe would hyperplane towards the dastardly swimming vermin.

But Kali was really the surprise star of the afternoon.

Kali had been hanging around in the shallow water as Kloe swam out to retrieve sticks.  We gave Kloe a break and put the long leash on Kali just for grins.   Before we knew it she was romping and stomping in the water.   I threw a stick as a joke but the joke was on me.  Kali dove into the water, swam out to the stick, grabbed it, and brought it back and dropped it.   I threw it again and she repeated the exercise.

So shame on me for underestimating my (aging) Golden Kali who seemed years younger as soon as her fur hit the water and her feet began to paddle.  Most days with Kali are a joy but today will stand out for many months to come.

She won’t get a lot of points for style or grace but I give her a 10.0 for effort and heart. Good girl old lady!

Kloe

The inspiration for this blog has always been Kali.  The story of a boy – a very OLD boy – and his dog.  The story of Kali’s life and that “boy” since she landed at SFO from Taiwan three and a half years ago. It was and is Kali’s new life in America and subsequently after the move to the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Kali’s new life in the Mountains.

Since then Kloe joined the pack and although the blog’s name will always be Golden Kali, Kloe has also become part of the fabric of our pack.  It is Kloe who will carry the legacy of Golden Kali, who is seven years her senior, into the future.

So it is with that in mind that I post these few pictures, some of my favorites, of our 80 pound puppy we call Kloe who inspires me just as much as Kali.

Sugar Lips

I’m a nicknamer.    I don’t know why but I’ve always given nicknames.  I call my oldest son Pop.  He’s 33 and I started calling him that when he was less than six months old.   It stuck.  There’s variations of the nick name as well like Popadoo, Popadoo-ron-ron, and Popodopolis  My other son I used to call Goosey-Goose’ because he was always bumping into things as a baby and getting goose eggs on his head.  This one did not stick which was probably good.  My daughter is Sweetie Girl, Holly is Hollis Marie, and so on and so on.

All the nicknames are organic; they just happen.  They just come out of my mouth without much thought (as do a lot of things I say!) and sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that “the girls” (Kali and Kloe) have nicknames.

Kali:   Kalis Marie (precarious because of the aforementioned Hollis Marie), Kal, Kalidonia, Fat Girl (sorry Kali), Kalifornia, and Sweetie Girl (yes, same as my daughter).

Kloe: Klois Marie (there’s a theme here), Kloe Bowie, Sweets (which always followed by me saying, “mind if I call you sweets”, and  Klo Klo.

The names are always organic except for one that I now have for Kloe:  Sugar Lips.

Some time ago Holly was teasing me saying that I have all these nick names for the girls.  So I say, “like what”.  And she goes on to name a few and throws in Sugar Lips for Kloe which I had never used before.  I said,  “I don’t call Kloe Sugar Lips….   until now”.

“Hey Sugar Lips” is now my usual response to Kloe when she comes to greet me.   Her lips and kisses are indeed very sweet so long as I don’t think about all the foraging she has been doing around the Golden K but that’s a post for another day.

So yeah, Sugar Lips.   What nick names do you have for your pups?

Sugar Lips Chillin’ on the deck of the Golden K

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Moments In The Sun (with our girls)

We took the girls for a drive and picnic up to the lake today and were pleasantly surprised when we found an area of the beach where dogs were allowed.  During past visits, due to signs all along the beach telling us “no dogs”, we were not aware that there was a section of the beach where dogs were ok.  Today as we strolled around the camp sites and trails we decided to go towards the beach and walk as close as we could with the girls.   I spotted a sign that said “Dog Area” with an arrow pointing down the trail.   Sure enough as we walked a little further we saw lots of dogs on the beach.  So we headed down.

Kloe loves water and although we’ve not taken her to a beach before I was pretty darn sure she was going to go nuts (nuts in the best way possible) when she hit the water.   My only regret is that we didn’t have the long leash so she was restricted to the shore with me holding on to the lease for dear life because this dog is so strong she would have pulled me under like a hungry great white shark with a baby seal in it’s jaws.

So we did the best we could with what we had and what we had was a ton-o-fun!

It was so fun to see Kloe jumping and splashing in the cool water.   The other dogs in the area were very dignified boring simply standing in the water paw deep or laying next to their owners in the sand.   I imagine had we planned for it and brought our beach chairs Kloe would have eventually laid down next to us and chilled out like the boring dogs.  But during the time we were there she was entertainment for all the beachgoers along this 50 yard stretch of lake shore. It was fun to see the smiles on the faces of young and old alike as Kloe did her thing in the water.   Kali even got in the game prancing knee deep in the water, smiling, and more than tolerating her little sister’s antics, seemingly very proud to be part of this pack.

As we all walked back to the car and our picnic lunch Holly and I were grateful for this beautiful day, our girls Kali and Kloe, and certain that we would be back very soon with the long leashes, beach chairs, and cameras ready to capture more of these beautiful moments in the sun with our girls.

Moments in the sun with the girls

 

Next time we bring the long leash for sure!

Girls at the lake

 

Conversing With Our Eyes

“The eyes are the window to your soul.”  

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It’s unclear who first said that. I know this because I waited 0.74 seconds for the Google search to return about 48,200, 000 results. I didn’t corroborate each and every 48 million results with one another.  But I did spend about 15 seconds reviewing the summary of the first article and came to my conclusion that the originator of the phrase is not certain.

What is clear to me is that when I stare deeply into Kali’s dark eyes it’s like staring into a pool of dark water at dusk with glimmering and subtle refections of the setting sun.   I can see her emotions and wants.  Sometimes I can see her fears.  But mostly I see the unconditional love and devotion that has been present since the moment we met three years ago.

So when I talk to Kali and she answers with her eyes, and I understand the answer, am I simply projecting a logical human conclusion or is she really talking to me with her eyes?  I believe it is the latter.  Someone who has never bonded with a dog might question my position.  But that same person could be reminded of the time his  significant other gave him a glance from across the room at a social event and he instantly knew what she was telling him (“I’m bored, let’s go).   Or the time his son hit a walk off home run in little league and as the boy crossed home plate he his eyes met the eyes of his dad in the stands (“We did it Dad.  “WE did it!”).

But even when drawing upon those memories that man may still question my position pointing out that dogs aren’t people and dogs can’t think in such complex terms.   To that man I say, “adopt and love a dog and you will understand”.

So it is for Kali and I throughout the day that she answers me or she herself initiates the conversation with her eyes.

Like first thing in the morning as Kali (not so) patiently waits for me to open my eyes and then stares at me and says, “the sun is up and I’m hungry”.   Or when she is so rudely awakened from a nap when her her “little” sister Kloe sneak attacks her by jumping on her to prompt play.   Kali glances at me as she rises in defense and her eyes say, “Please save me.”  When I give Kali a Kong filled with apples and peanut butter while lying on the ground,  tongue probing the Kong for the treats, she looks up and stares directly into my eyes, “Thank you dad I love this Kong almost as much as I love you”.  And of course there are the annoyed eyes as it gets close to dinner time and I get the prolonged stare, “You can tell time, right?”

One of my favorite lyrics is from “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” performed by the Counting Crows.   Adam Duritz writes, “If you’ve never stared off in the distance, then your life is a shame”.  That lyric really resonates with me and I might take it one step further. I suggest that if you have never stared off into the distance with your dog by your side who is also staring off into the distance then your life is a shame.  There is something special about being outdoors somewhere sitting side by side with your dog and looking off into the distance.   A cloud formation may catch my eye and a bird or squirrel may catch Kali’s.   But mostly we are just together with no particular goal in mind.

And then after a while I look into Kali’s eyes and silently say, “ready to go?”.  She stares back into mine and says, “This was great but yeah, let’s go home”.   And so off we we go where we can continue our silent conversation with our eyes.

 

 

Hurricane Harvey

As we sit here in the relative safety of The Golden K we are thinking about the impending impacts of Hurricane Harvey that, as of the writing of this post, will hit shore within the hour.  Our thoughts are with Kali’s followers and anyone else who is or will be in harms way.

Prayers, positive vibes, good thoughts, well wishes –  however you want to phrase it – we are sending all of them your way.

Its times like this that our country can show it’s greatness, resolve, and unity by helping one another regardless of race, religion, political affiliations, or sexual identity.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
And try to love one another right now

-Jesse Colin Young

Kali and Kloe praying for the safety of Gulf Coasters.    Let us know how you are.

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One Lovely Blog Award

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A few days ago one of our favorite bloggers, Miss Harper Lee, nominated Golden Kali for the One Lovely Blog Award.

Miss Harper Lee is a beautiful Golden Retriever who, with help from her human mom writes a fun, informative, and entertaining blog site called thek9harperlee. Click here to go to their About page and learn more about the site which at times is like a travel log for dogs as they spend lots of time traveling around New Orleans and surrounding areas.

Thank you so much Miss Harper Lee and everyone at  thek9harperlee for thinking of us and for enjoying our blog site enough to feel we merit this nomination.  OK, now onto the fine print 🙂 …

One of the guidelines is to list seven facts about yourself, or in our case about Golden Kali.  Another element is to nominate up to 15 other bloggers for this award.  We’ll start with the seven facts and then follow with our nominees.  The full list of award participation guidelines are listed at the end of this post.

Seven Facts About Golden Kali (getting to know Kali)

  1. Kali is a rescue from Taiwan who shared a commercial airline flight to America with 23 other Golden Retreiver rescues in May of 2014.  She was approximately five years old when she arrived.  No, we did not have to learn to speak Taiwanese (everyone asks when they hear about where she came from).   And we didn’t have to because Kali spoke the universal language of love (and food, see fact #2).
  2. Kali loves food.  Hey, what Golden Retriever worth their two coats of fur doesn’t?   You may have seen that video that went viral of an obedience contest where dogs are recalled at a distance by their owners.  They have to trot past lots of treats and food and go quickly and directly to the owner when called.  At the end of the video a Golden Retriever zig zags all over scooping up food as fast as possible while the song Yakety Sax plays (you may know it as the Benny Hill theme).  The Golden is eating everything in site much to the dismay of the owner, a young girl who is quite embarrassed.  This would be Kali.
  3. Kali doesn’t walk –  she prances.  It may be an artifact of her bad hips but nonetheless she prances which generates a lot of smiles and comments when we are out and about in town.  There have been countless times someone who meets Kali for the first time says, “oh look – she prances!”.   When she runs she does an exaggerated version of the prance that looks like a steam ship (slow) on stormy seas (very bouncy).  For every 60 pounds of energy exerted when running Kali goes about three feet.   It is not very efficient but it is so very cute and makes me smile and LOL each time I see her do that.  Which is usually on the way back from morning “business” as she heads to the kitchen for breakfast.   Again, see fact #2.
  4. Kali has a little sister named Kloe.  When we brought Kloe home, also a Golden, Retriever, she was just nine weeks old.  Upon meeting Kloe, Kali made it very clear that she was not in favor of this addition to the pack.  As soon as the shock wore off Kali looked to me as if to say, “oh no.  No, no, no.  You take that puppy back where you got it.” But little Kloe possessed magical powers over even this larger and older dog.  Kloe cast a love spell upon Kali and by that evening the two of them were spooning and cuddling.  Kali, who we think may have been a breeder in Taiwan before she was stray, became a loving and caring surrogate mom for this little 15 pound pup. Kloe is now 80 pounds (compared to Kali’s 60) and still likes to cuddle with big sissy Kali.
  5. The tagline of this blog site used to be “Kali’s new life in America.  Then in 2016 Kali moved from San Francisco East Bay suburbia with Kloe, Holly and I to the Sierra Nevada Foothills.   Kali now lives on five acres under the pines, oaks, and cedars.   When we moved the new tagline became “Kali’s new life in the mountains”.
  6. Kali does not play fetch.  From day one she made it very clear to me, much to my chagrin, that if I wanted the ball retreived I should go get it myself.  Initially she would run after the ball and sniff at it, look back at me, and then wonder off to smell other things.  After several weeks of effort (on my part not hers) I accepted her logical reasoning to not throw the ball if I just wanted her to bring it back.  With that logic I guess Kali would also choose not to snow ski if given the opportunity….
  7. Kali recently received the American Kennel Club’s “Good Citizen Certificate”.   To receive this distinction Kali had to perform 10 basic activities ranging from sit and stay, to recall at a distance, to remaining calm during distractions, heel while walking amongst a group of strangers, etc.  She had to receive 10 out of 10 in order to pass.   To top it off there could be no treats involved during the testing.  Yikes!   See fact # 2…    We are very proud of this certificate because of the work Kali put in over the years to be that good very good canine citizen.

Golden Kali relaxing at home

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Now for our nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Click the links below to go to the sites’s “About” page.

And now finally for the full set of rules should the nominees above choose to participate:

  • Thank the person (or dog) that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Display the award on your post.
  • List seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them.

 

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The Chopping Board

She’ been conditioned and I guess it’s my fault.   When Kali hears the sound of a knife on a chopping board she comes running from into the kitchen and alternates glances between me and chopping board.   She knows there’s a pretty good chance she’ll get a sample of what is being chopped especially if it’s a vegetable or an apple.  If I’m chopping up left over cold chicken for a salad or sandwich she will usually get a little sliver of that.   OK fine, I admit it.   Usually whatever is on the chopping board she will get a little piece so long as it’s not unhealthy.  Since I don’t eat too many unhealthy foods I guess this means she just about always get’s a little “sumpin’ sumpin” from the chopping board when I’m chopping.

Chopping boards make a distinctive sound especially when someone like me is a “hack chef” doesn’t know how to cook.   I always thought it would be cool to be like those chefs on the cooking shows where they can dice up a five pound zucchini while making hardly any sound faster than you can say Magic Bullet.  Not me.  CHOP!  KER-CHOP… CHOPPITY CHOP!

Kali sees well but not as well as she used to.  She rarely catches a tossed biscuit or treat in mid air any longer.  She’s getting on in years (8 now) and her eyes have begun to get a cloudy look to them.   Hopefully it won’t be an issue as she continues to age.

Her hearing though is still very keen especially when it is the sound of the chopping board.

There could be sirens sounding overhead, howling wind, and explosions all around and Kali would still be able to distinguish the sound of the chopping board that she loves so much.

Recently Kali was outside on the deck and I was in the kitchen, chopping.   CHOP!  KER-CHOP… CHOPPITY CHOP!  It must have been driving Kali nuts because although she could hear the sound of chopping she couldn’t see first hand what was going on.   Another aging part of Kali’s anatomy are her hips.   She is not a very good jumper and it would put her in pain if she was propped up on just her hind legs for more than a second or two.

But that sound of the chopping board sure motivated her to jump up and get a look through the kitchen door to see what was on the chopping block as evidenced by this brief video of her trying desperately to see what was being chopped while also trying to get my attention.

The Chopping Block in Action (wait for it…….)