The Golden K is Back

A couple of months ago I decided to merge my other blog site called The Golden K with this Golden Kali site.  The merging of the K’s was a failed experiment. You can read about it here:  The Golden K Is Back.

Kali in her infinte wisdom has asked me to revive the blog site called The Golden K in order to make a clear distinction between her beauty and that of our home in the Sierra Nevada Foothills that we call The Golden K.

In case there is any confusion you can find us in these three places in the blogosphere:

Kali and I send our best wishes and a heartfelt thanks for following us.

Golden Kali

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Young Pups

Many canine breeds are good with children and Golden Retreivers are one of the best. The American Kennel Club places Goldens fourth after the Bulldog (1), Beagle (2), and the Newfoundland (3).  Labs at number 5 were right after Golden Retrievers.

When Kloe first joined our pack it took her a few days but she eventually engaged Kali in play.  All of 15 pounds when she came home Kloe would run full speed at Kali nipping at her ears and bouncing off Kali’s torso, hips and head.  It was warming to see Kali, at 60 pounds, play so gently with Kloe instinctively knowing that Kloe was obviously smaller but also a “baby”.  During tug-o-war Kali could have shaken the rope toy hard enough to launch Kloe into the air but she didn’t.  She would hold on lightly and allow Kloe to gain some ground.  Kloe would eventually tire, lie down on her belly,  and Kali would drag her along the carpet or kitchen tile for a ride.

A little over a year later its fun to watch Kloe, now at 80 pounds, approach her big sister much in the same way she did when she was just a bitty pup.

Kloe still blind sides Kali at full speed, often with a toy in her mouth, daring Kali to fight back as if Kali has a choice.  The difference now is that Kloe has a 20 pound advantage over Kali who has to go full strength as a matter of self preservation.  And some games never change. Often after several minutes of tug-o-war Kloe will lie flat on her stomach, front and back legs fully extended, and Kali drags her along the carpet and Kitchen tile.

Until recently Kloe had not been around any young pups and I wondered how she would act if she was.  At only fifteen months does she possess the same instincts that seven year old Kali demonstrated with her baby sister a year ago?  Kloe has always had just one speed during play: 11 of on a scale of 10.  Through training and to some degree maturity (did I just use the word maturity in a sentence with Kloe?!?) Kloe is calmer around people when she first meets them.  It’s hard for her but she is learning what’s expected and keeps all her feet on the ground while wagging her butt feverishly.  Usually there is a thought bubble over her head that says, “Hi!  I love you!  Do you see me?  I am really really glad you are here!   Do you see me?  Did I tell you I love you?”

The young pup that Kloe met recently was not of the canine persuasion.  It was a human pup baby.  Perri is the granddaughter of our friends Marty and Jen.  We were at Marty and Jen’s for a BBQ when Perri was introduced to Kloe.  Kloe was very interested and saw that this was a person who just happened to be very small and very young.  In fact Kloe and Perri are just about the same age.   Kloe probably instinctively knew she had an advantage in most major categories:

  • Age – tie
  • Agility – Kloe major advantage
  • Intelligence – Kloe slight advantage
  • Weight – Kloe Super major advantage
  • Cute factor – Tie with the smallest of tie breakers going to Kloe  (full disclosure:   Perri’s parents and Grandparents were not consulted for the rating of this category)

Kloe laid at grandpa Marty’s feet while he held Perri in his lap.  She was fascinated and so very calm as she watched Perri’s every move.  I believe that with any dog, and I mean any dog, one must be very cautious with babies and they should not be allowed on the ground with the dog nearby until both parties – dog owner and parent/grandparent – are sure it’s safe.

So was the case with Kloe and Perri.   Perri was eventually allowed to sit on the ground near Kloe.   Our 80 pound bundle of energy 11 on scale of 10 “puppy” laid there calmly next to Perri and just hung out with “the baby” and let her do her thing.

But just for good measure, and so Perri knew that she loved her, Kloe gave Perri a little kiss on her nose, captured in the video below.

Take that Bulldog, Beagle, and Newfoundlanders!

Young Pups Kloe and Perri

 

The Fourth 4th

Happy fourth 4th my Golden Kali!

When Kali arrived from Taiwan in 2014 she arrived with a brown scarf.  At the airport one of the volunteers that was assisting with her transition to our care took off the brown scarf and replaced it with a scarf with red, white, and blue markings that represented the American flag.   Kali was now an “American Girl”.

So beginning with that 2014 4th of July it became a tradition for Kali to don that same scarf and take a photo.  A photo that represents our collective patriotism but more importantly our thanks to the Taiwanese care givers who rescued Kali and sent her to America and to me.  Thank you Jade Lo and team.  Kali and I salute you and honor you for your the work you and your team do for so many dogs in need.

Happy fourth 4TH KALI!

Happy Birthday America from Golden Kali at The Golden K

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My Golden Therapy

When I turn into the driveway of the Golden K, my body tingles with anticipation of seeing “my girls” who will greet me at the gate or inside the house.

If they’re outside Kali and Kloe will trot to the rod iron gate at the first sound of my truck rolling up the Golden K driveway.  They watch me pull into the car port with their tails wagging and anticipating our physical and verbal greeting ritual.

If they’re inside the house I can usually see them through the windows of the doors.  Kali is usually sleeping right by the door and Kloe somewhere near Holly. As the door to the kitchen opens Kali springs to her feet and Kloe runs in to join us.  Kloe’s a little pushy and will always come to the front of the greeting line while Kali hangs back and patiently waits for her turn.The anticipation and intensity of the ritual increases the longer the time I’ve been away.

Lately I’ve been away a lot and for longer than usual periods…

Recently, both my mother and sister have been very sick.  It’s been a difficult few weeks and the seven hour round trip to and from the SF Bay Area to help with their care during this period took me away from my girls for several long days and a few over nighters.  The worry took an emotional tole and the hours driving, often in heavy traffic getting into or out of the West Bay, has been fatiguing.

But when I arrive back home and pull into the driveway the tingling begins and it slowly becomes better because of the healing powers of dogs.   In my case two very special, sweet, and tender dogs that in many ways define the Golden K.

Kali and Kloe.  My girls, my medicine, and my therapy.  My Golden therapy.

The driveway leading to The Golden K and my Golden Therapy

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The Girls chilling’ in the back of my truck

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Doggie Daddies, BBQ, and Flannels

It’s Fathers Day in the U.S. of A.  A day to celebrate good o’l Dad and lavish him with praise, gifts, and hugs while he slaves over the BBQ attempting to satisfy his primal urge to drink a lot of guilt free beer feed his family and ensure their very survival.   After a day of hunting at the local butcher shop dad will season up his kill purchase, put on the gaudy apron one his kids gave his last year, throw the fatted cow (or chicken or fish or all three) on the coals (or propane depending on his heating preferences) pop open a frosty beverage and “get it on”.

There is nothing more American than these Father’s Day rituals except of course Mother’s Day and Apple Pie.  And Old Glory, rodeo, and baseball.  Oh and white picket fences and Levi’s jeans.  OK, well sorry Dads there are plenty of things more American so I guess we just need to work harder…

Meanwhile,  Kali and Kloe wanted to wish all the Doggie Daddies a very happy day.   Any Dad worth his cook’s hat has a flannel shirt in his closet.   As a tribute to all of you Kali and Kloe dawned one of their own Dad’s flannels to pose for this picture.

Happy Fathers Day!

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Good Citizens

“The family that obeys together stays together”.   At least that’s what we say around the Golden K.  OK, we might not actually say that but maybe we’ll start.

Earlier this Spring Kloe participated in an obedience training program conducted by a local group affiliated with the American Kennel Club.  Since the time Kloe was a pup Holly (mostly) and I had been working 1:1 with Kloe using the training skills we learned from a private trainer we hired when Kali first arrived from Taiwan.  We felt Kloe needed more socialization and structure so Holly enrolled her in the program.  Kali had been getting a little sloppy I had become sloppy with Kali so I decided to enroll her too so that we could all go through the program as a united pack.  The family that trains together remains together.  Maybe we’ll start using that phrase too…

Both girls flew through the program with flying colors.   Eventually…

When we arrived for the first session our “girls” entered the building with guns-a-blazing!  They announced their arrival with a lot of robust barking.  Kali: “Who are all these dogs and why don’t they run away when I bark at them?” Kloe:  “Who are all these dogs and why won’t you let me off my leash so I can go play with them?”  All the other dogs: “Who are those two loud mouths?”

After a couple of weeks both girls settled in, Kloe realized she was there to work and gave Holly her full attention for most of the 55 minute sessions. Kali was the star pupil.  I wasn’t surprised.  Most of the other dogs were pretty young because this is the class that is intended to follow the Puppy class.  At eight years old Kali was the the Geriatric Granny of the class but I was none the less proud of her. The trainers and other owners watched and smiled as Kali pranced around the room listing to and responding to my every command.  In Kali’s mind a command, regardless of who it is directed at, means a treat is not far away which has made her very trainable.

At the conclusion of the seven week course the trainer told us about an upcoming AKC Good Citizens Certification test that would be available for the members of the class.  This test is comprised of ten behaviors the dog has to demonstrate.  They are relatively basic behaviors such as sit, heel, stay, etc.  They are also tested on distractions, walking through an area crowded with people, and so on.  They must score 10 out of 10 in order to be certified.  AND, there can be no treats used or on the owners body while they are being tested.  Rutt Roh…!!

So last Sunday Kali and drove to Jamestown to take the test.  I was a little apprehensive because Kali still gets a little anxious when new dogs are around.  Kali on the other hand was Kool, Kalm, and Kollected and when it was her turn performed all ten behaviors without issue (and notably with out treats).

Kali will always be my precious Golden Kali with or without any certificates or awards.  On the one hand this test was not a big deal and changes nothing.  On the other hand this test reinforced, at least to me, three years of development anD growth for Kali and I as a team.  So I will mail the paperwork to get the official certificate from the AKC to commemorate Kali’s accomplishment.  It will be framed and proudly hung in a place of distinction at the Golden K.  For me it will mean a lot.  For Kali it may only serve as a reminder of the day she did everything asked of her, on command and as described in the AKC good citizen manual,  without receiving one treat.

This ribbon will have to do until the official certificate arrives.  I wonder where I can buy a golden frame?….

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Face Lift for the Golden K

The Golden K had a bit of a face lift last week.  33 dead pine trees were cut down at their knees.  They never saw it coming.  But we did.

When we bought the property there were already 16 dead pines.  Over the past year – mostly during early spring – another 17 bit the dust.  Bark Beetle dust that is.  The beetles bore their way into the bark of the pines and the pines, after five years of drought, can’t produce enough sap to fend them off.  It’s evident from red dust protruding from the bark instead of sap.  You can almost see the trees dying in front of your eyes.  The death starting at the very top and quickly working its way down to the lowest needles.

Fortunately we still have 107 Pines and plenty of Oaks and Cedars and the 33 now removed pines will hardly be missed in the landscape and organic fabric of the Golden K.

The crew was here for five days and there was a lot of chain saw action to say the least.  Much to Kloe’s chagrin.   When you live in the mountains the sound of chain saws is as natural as the chirping of the birds or cockle-doodle-doing of the roosters.  Kloe has literally grown up listening to chain saw noise. Maybe it was the proximity of the saws cutting down our 33 trees or perhaps some sound beyond our audible spectrum that bothered her.   Whatever it was Kloe was very agitated when the saws were buzzing.  Kali, not so much.  Except for thunder nothing seems to rattle Kali.

Kloe survived the week and The Golden K is better off with the 33 dead 100 foot plus matchsticks.  If you’ve never experienced the sound of a 120 foot tree hitting the ground you are really missing something.  There’s a certain majesty of something that big and heavy hitting the ground with a massive thud and bounce!  On one of the falls I was about 15 feet behind the crew member making the cut.  After it was on the ground he turned around. I told him that I knew he does it all the time but for me it was so awesome to see and hear this massive piece of mother nature hitting the ground.   He grinned and told me that it never gets old for him.  Every time he still feels the rush.

 

So 33 dead trees and a chunk of change later the Golden K is a safer place.   33 fewer matchsticks in the event of a fire and 33 fewer chances of a giant child of nature falling on our house, or God forbid one of us or The Girls.

So at the end of the day ( a term I dislike but use here any way) our small piece of the forest was thinned for the greater good and as we look out over it, or under it as the case may be, we continue to feel blessed with our romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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Boss Lady Holly declaring the job is officially done.

Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day.  A holiday in the United States to honor those who died while serving in the armed services.  Before I launch into the main topic of this blog let me say thank you to all those and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our country.  I hope it was a justified and last resort decision by our government to put you in harms way.

Memorial Weekend.  The unofficial start of Summer.  Warm weather, BBQ’s, and frosty adult beverages.  A time to strip off layers and lather up in sunscreen.   A time when Rock and Roll gives way to Country music and Jazz moves aside for Bluegrass.   At least on my play lists…

There is certainly room for both perspectives on a long three-day weekend.  We can simultaneously pay tribute to those  who have passed during dark times while enjoying the brightness and warmth of the sun in the present.

Around the Golden K there’s other reasons for gratitude and remembrance.  Events that have greatly shaped this latest phase of mine and Holly’s life.

It was three years ago this Memorial weekend that Golden Kali’s foster care givers drove her and 22 other rescued Golden Retrievers to the airport in Taiwan.  The care givers stayed with the Goldens cooing and petting while waiting in the terminal until the last possible moment before placing them in a travel crates for the 12 hour flight to SFO.  Meanwhile, Holly and I and our daughter were driving from Livermore to SFO in great anticipation of meeting Kali and welcoming her into our family.  The plane landed and eventually the 23 Golden Beauties were wheeled in their travel crates into the terminal and united with their new families for a second and well deserved chance at forever happiness.

It was just one year ago this Memorial weekend that Holly and I closed the door behind us in Livermore and drove away to our new home in the mountains.  After 23 years of raising three kids in Livermore we sold our home, packed up our belongings and drove away.  But not before taking one last walk around the empty house, mostly in silence, remembering both the good and challenging times with a melancholy fitting for a major life changing event.  As we walked out we paused and hugged, choked back a few tears, closed the door, and drove away.

When we drove away Kali  – our Golden Treasure – was there by our side as she had been for the past two years.  But now there was also Kloe.  Kloe – the ten week old precious puppy we adopted just a week before the big move.   Some would call it crazy to adopt a puppy before making a major life change.   But thats how we roll and we considered ourselves blessed to have this little girl at Kali’s side as we drove into the future.

Our home in the mountains is called The Golden K.  A year ago we were mesmerized to be living in the middle of the Stanislaus forest under pines, oaks, and cedars.  A year later the magic remains.  Except this year the boxes are unpacked and we sit and relax on the patio looking up at the pines, cedars, and oaks reflecting on a year of great change and good fortune.  I look down at my feet and see my  rock, my girl, my Golden Kali who’s been by my side every day all day for the past three years.  Next to Kali is Kloe who a year ago was 15 pounds and now weighs in at 80.  Still very much a puppy and so very much a part of the fabric of our lives.

So it’s It’s Memorial Weekend 2017 and we are so blessed here.  Here at The Golden K with our two girls and a romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

Warm sunny greetings to all  from Kali and Kloe @ The Golden K

 

Seasons Of Love

Today is the three anniversary of when Kali arrived from Taiwan and rescued me. This is a re-post from two years ago after our first 365 days together.. Happy Anniversary Kali – I can’t remember or even imagine life without you!

Golden Kali

12 Months, 52 weeks, 365 Days, 525,600 Minutes.  They all add up to one year. And what a year it’s been!

Exactly a year ago at this time we were anxiously awaiting our Golden Kali who was on a plane with 23 other rescues heading to America from Taiwan.  It had been about two months since we saw pictures of dogs “coming soon” on the Rescued Love From Taiwan Facebook page.   We immediately called the local rescue group organizer to express our interest in Kali.  I’m a fatalist and I believe this match was meant to be.

The picture that instantly won our hearts! The picture that instantly won our hearts!

Our love affair with Kali started the moment we saw that photo and here I am a year later reflecting on the anticipation, the greeting at the airport, the first few days home, how Kali and I instantly bonded and how she immediately became part of our family as soon as…

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Merging The K’s

As some followers of Golden Kali know I have another blog called The Golden K.  The Golden Kali blog began the day after Kali arrived from Taiwan and joined our pack.  The Golden K blog started shortly after relocating to the mountains a year ago.

The lines between the two blog sites have blurred because we wouldn’t have The Golden K without our Golden Kali and her sister Kloe.  The tag line for the Golden Kali blog used to be “Kali’s new life in America”.  When we moved to the mountains the tag line changed to, “Kali’s new life in the mountains.  The tag line (I’m a big fan of tag lines) for The Golden K is, “A romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet”.

I can’t think of Kali and Kloe without thinking about how lucky they are, we all are, to be living on five acres of paradise in the mountains.  And I can’t think of the Golden K without thinking about Kali and Kloe and how the Golden K would not be so Golden without them and it certainly would not be called the Golden K.  Maybe the Iron Ranch, or Silver Spurs, but not the Golden K.

So I now succumb to the obvious and will merge the two blogs because they are really the same.  I hope regular followers of Golden Kali will enjoy an occasional post about The Golden K located in the Sierra Nevada Gold Country town called Tuolumne.  And I hope followers of The Golden K will get to know Kali and Kloe, the inspiration for the Golden K.

Followers of Golden Kali can read the first post from a year ago for more context about The Golden K here:   https://goldenk.net/2016/06/22/the-golden-k-begins-now/.

Welcome to The Golden K

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