One Lovely Blog Award

untitled

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

IMG_3091

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.

 

untitled

 

 

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…….)

 

Sleep Tight Girls

Meals for Kali and Kloe was the first thing that came to Holly’s mind.  She went to the cupboard where the dog food is stored and began dishing out meal sized portions into plastic resealable bags.   She put them all into a large paper bag and set it by the door.   This is where Holly’s mind was when, yesterday for a few hours, we thought we might have to evacuate our property due to a wildfire in our area.

As it turned out we were never at risk but there were a few hours where we weren’t sure.    So we went into action.

Car keys?  Check.  Wallets? Check?  Dog food?  Check.   OK – we’re good to go.  “Wait.  How about clothes” I said.  Holly answered:  “Don’t be silly Michael – the dogs don”t have clothes.  Me:  “They have tooth brushes, why not clothes?”  Holly:  “You’re right, with all the food I packed for them we’ll need to stay up on their brushings.  I’ll pack their tooth brushes.”

OK, maybe that wasn’t the exact dialogue but it could have been.

In times of crises or emergency everyone reacts differently.  Panic,  fear, and indecision. Jump into action, organize, and take charge.   And in our case I guess our reaction was “take care of the girls”.

My mind went to thoughts about how the night would go if we had to bug out.  We’d jump into the car with Kali and Kloe and the plethora of pre-packed food bags.  We’d drive as directed by the fire crew into safety.   But what if nearby friends also had to evacuate.   Where would we spend the night?  Could we find a motel in the area that allowed dogs?  Would we just sleep in the car cuddled up in the back with the girls?   I remembered that the fairgrounds had been a shelter for people evacuated during another recent fire.   They were accepting livestock and pets in addition to people.   I thought they probably wouldn’t allow the dogs to sleep where the people slept.  They would probably have them sequestered outside in a giant pen or crates.   I thought if that was the case then I would ask to sleep with the animals because my girls would be scared without us in a strange place with other unknown animals.

Yep, that’s where my mind went.  Take care of the girls and the rest will take care of itself.

So, thank goodness, it was a non-event and after a non-eventful evening we headed off to bed.   I thought back about how we could have been sleeping at the fairgrounds.  Holly on a cot with the humans and me sharing a crate with Kali and Kloe amongst the livestock and pets.   It made me feel good to know that I would do that if necessary (I would) and I felt the girls somehow knew too.

We got into bed and I waited for the girls to settle in on their mattresses by the sides of our bed feeling grateful to be safe and at home.  Then my bubble was burst as Kloe went back into the kitchen to sleep on the cool tile and Kali went into the bathroom to sleep on the tile there.  So much for gratitude.   But in the end I guess they were grateful.  Grateful for the cool tile after a triple digit summer day and oblivious to what could have been under less fortunate circumstances.

That’s was fine with me.  Sleep tight girls.

SIMULATION:  Me and the girls sleeping at the fairgrounds with the rest of the livestock and pets.

IMG_3666

 

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

IMG_3091

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

IMG_0271

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

40

The Girls chilling’ in the back of my truck

img_3473

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!

img_4052.jpg

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?….

IMG_4297

 

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.

IMG_8613

Boss Lady Holly declaring the job is officially done.