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.





I’ve never been very good at giving the one word answer or the ‘in a single sentence describe the..”  I tend to be a little wordy.  Holly will laugh when she reads the last sentence and think to herself (or say out loud), “A little?!?”.  Often when I’m asked an important or provocative question, rather than take a thoughtful pause, I usually start talking to fill the space while my mind is thinking and formulating the right answer.  The succinct and meaningful answer.  The answer I wish I had  given after a moment or two of silence while I thought it out rather than vamping on gibberish until I “got there”.

And so it was last weekend at a friends house.  After a wonderful meal the six of us were enjoying after dinner banter and Jenny, our host, asked a great question.  A provocative question.  One of “those” questions.  Jenny and her husband Greg have lived in the mountains for many years; Greg his entire life.  Holly and I moved to the Golden K, thanks in a big way to Jenny, less than a year ago.  Jenny was lock step with us the entire way helping us to navigate the life changing journey from Suburbia to the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  And she’s still there for us and interested in “how we’re doing”.

“So what do you like most about living in the mountains?”

There it was.  Jenny asked one of those questions.  My brain started going where I make lists, prioritize the list, organize it into categories, rationalize the motivation for the items on the list, and then put it all into a spreadsheet for the beginning of an executional plan.  Yikes – I was doing it.  But this was a great question.  It meant a lot to me that Jenny asked and then I could almost hear the ringside announcer saying, “Let the rambling begin….”.

I went on to describe the people, the slower pace of life, the laid back vibe, the blah blah blabadee blah blah blah.

I woke up the next morning thinking about this question and the answer was perfectly clear:  solitude.  That’s what I like most about living in the mountains.  Not solitude as defined in the dictionary (the state of being alone) but the solitude of being in the middle of a piece of our planet that Mother Nature has shown great favor to.  A  habitat shared (mostly) peacefully by man, beast, and plants.  The solitude of the fresh air.  The solitude of the sound of the wind blown pine trees.  The walks with dogs in the middle of a dirt or gravel road.  The silence of night.  The sunlight filtered through the pines and oaks sneaking into my bedroom at first light.  The solitude of a sustained stare with a five point buck outside my kitchen patio.  The solitude of waking up to a frozen world after a night of snow.  The solitude of walking out on a cold morning, closing my eyes, and taking a deep breath.  The solitude of sitting under the summer stars with my bride of 34 years and our two Golden Retrievers, all three whom I love desperately.

So yeah, solitude.  That’s what I like most about living in the mountains.  It’s solitude that fortifies my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

The solitude of waking up to a frozen world after a night of snow.



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.