A Gental Soul

This past week marks five years since my gentle soul Golden Kali joined our family.  May 24 is Kali’s “Gotcha Day”.  Long time followers of the Golden Kali Blog may remember that Kali was originally rescued in Taiwan.   After receiving a few months of loving care and rehabilitation from her Taiwanese foster care givers she flew to America with 23 other Golden Retriever rescues, landed at SFO, and pranced straight into our hearts.  For newer followers this very first post from five years ago will provide you with some historical context:  Kali’s New Life In America Begins.

Kali very quickly turned our family into a pack inspiring us and shaping our lives in ways I never imagined.  Her sweet and gentle disposition was evident from the very start.  That first night home, unsure of what to expect I tethered her to the foot of my bed post when we went to bed.  I remember being gently nuzzled by a wet nose in the wee hours of the morning by this loving girl.  I took her outside to pee and we returned to the bedroom and she willingly settled down by the side of my bed and immediately settled down for the rest of the night.  By the next evening she had earned full run of the house and has never ever displayed anything other than respect and appreciation for her surroundings and our belongings.

I’ll always remember the first visit – a meet and greet – to the vet when the vet gave Kali a few treats.  “Look”, she said.  “She takes the treats with her lips.  She’s so gentle”.  I smiled proudly (as if I had anything to do with her gentle nature) and felt immediately blessed to be in the presence of a soul so sweet as Kali.

Two years later we shook up Kali’s world by bringing home Kloe, a nine-week old Golden Retriever.  After about 10 or15 minutes of a lot of barking (“get that little dog out of here”), followed by about 30 minutes of indifference (“fine she can stay but I’m not having anything to do with her”), Kloe won Kali’s heart and they’ve been nuzzling, playing, and sleeping together ever since.   During the first several months Kali was a wonderful surrogate mom to Kloe giving her lessons only another dog can.  As Kloe grew older the relationship transitioned to sisters and to this day Kloe idolizes her big sissy Kali.

Within three weeks of bringing Kloe home we moved from the SF Bay Area to the Sierra Nevada Foothills.  We named our home The Golden K in honor of our two “K” girls.  Kali loved her new environment with so much more area to explore and smell.   Kloe followed in Kali’s every footstep and they became great companions with a common disdain for squirrels, an eventual acceptance of the black tail deers, and a love for the smell and whooshing of the tall pines.

Late last year at the insistence of Kali I finally convinced Holly that we needed another pup.  Another pup to be an active companion for Kloe now that Kali was slowing down.  And as awkward as may sound, I want to make sure that Kloe had a companion when it’s time for Kali to cross over the rainbow bridge.  I don’t like to think about that day – it scares me to think about being without Kali.  But I also don’t want to get another pup in the middle of my grief.  I love Kloe too much to let there be a time when she doesn’t have a canine companion.

So….enter Koda!.   Our third Golden K girl joined us last fall at four months old. This tenacious little fire ball joined the pack guns-a-blazing full of attitude, mischief, and, occasional mayhem.   In spite of some of her more, er, well, hmm…. let’s say challenging traits, she is a sweet and loving pup who with continued patience from the rest of the pack will turn into a lovely young lady in the months and years to come.

Through all the figurative -and actual- “planes trains and automobiles”  that Kali experienced during the  past five years she is always the same gentle soul we met on May 24, 2015.  The same gentle should who flew 6,400 miles from Taiwan to San Francisco and later drove 100 miles from suburbia to our new mountain home.  The same gentle soul who has shaped much of my life, Holly’s life, and the lives of her little sissies.

The same gentle soul who’s life in America is chronicled here in The Golden Kali Blog.

Kali the morning after she arrived from Taiwan

Kali today.  Our gentlest of souls

The Master Teacher

As I helped my Golden Kali with her aging hips onto the couch I cuddled her. We were alone in the family room while Holly cleaned up after dinner. Puppy Kloe was still sleeping under the dinner table.

As Kali settled onto the couch I whispered out loud into her ear. “I love you Kali, more than you can ever comprehend”.

Kali looked at me with sleepy eyes and it hit me. I paused for a moment and then I said, again out loud, “Wait – maybe you love me more than I can ever comprehend”.

And so it was. Another moment, another day, and another lesson I’ve learned from my Golden Kali.

My Golden Kali The Master Teacher.

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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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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Kloe Time

From Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge, truth, wisdom.  And all for free).

Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.  Blah blah blababdy blah…

OK , I added the blababdy blah part but whatever….

I mean after all, isn’t time somewhat arbitrary?   I imagine, and can only imagine -because my ADD impatience keeps me from reading more than the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article and even then only some of the words – that there are scientific and logical arguments that prove time to be something other than arbitrary.  If I force myself to look farther down the Wiki page I see words like “physical qualities” and “temporal measurement”.  Huh?…

The article began to catch my interest and as I read further I saw that J.M. E. McTaggart’s 1908 The Unreality of Time argues that, since every event has the characteristic of being both present and not present (i.e., future or past), that time is a self-contradictory idea.  Apparently old J.M.E. was a deep thinker and something called an Idealist Metaphysician.  Cool title but how much could that job pay, right??

“But wait Mike”, you might say.  “I follow this blog to read about Golden Kali, and her little sister Kloe, and to see all those cute pictures of their antics and sweetness.  If I want to read science and hear fact-based philosophical arguments I’ll get that info like everyone else does by turning to social media and reviewing the seemingly endless stream of memes that monopolizes my feed”.

OK, fair point.  So on to the real purpose of this post.

One year ago today we brought a nine-week 15 pound puppy home that we named Kloe.  Kloe doesn’t give a woof about time except if it’s time to eat, or time to walk, or time to play, or time to cuddle.  Those are concepts of time Kloe can relate to.   Kloe time.  But, in “the continued progress of existence and events” it is has been a year, and now at one year and nine-weeks old, Kloe is still very much the same exactly the same pup she was one year ago.  Except now she is 65 pounds heavier and a few feet  longer.

One year, one pup, and one heck of a lot of love and fun this sweet girl has brought into our life.  I might have remembered anyway but in the spirit of full disclosure here is the real reason I knew that it was one year ago today that we brought Kloe home:

Yep – it was in my Facebook feed: “One Year Ago  – see your memories”.  And there were two pictures of Kloe the day she came home.  I smiled, paused for a few moments to reflect, and then scrolled down through the endless stream of memes looking for fake news.

Thank you Facebook for bringing a very special piece of the time continuum to my news feed. 

(1) On This Day 2017-05-07 09-32-59

Thank you Kloe for all the licks, laughs, and love during the past year.

 

What is hip?

There’s a favorite song of mine by Tower Of Power called What Is Hip?  Tower of Power was a very successful soul band in the seventies and eighties and continue to tour and play their brand of soul with the same enthusiasm and “hipness” that they did when I was a teen going to their concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Unfortunately Kali’s version of the song is “what is hip dysplasia?

Kali arrived in the U.S. with hip dysplasia, a common ailment with Golden Retrievers.  Also common for Golden’s is not to complain about much of anything.  So while she has always been a little slow going up the stairs and can’t jump she has gotten along pretty well.   Until recently…

Over the past few months I’ve noticed Kali slowing down.  I attributed this mostly to her getting older – she was approximately five when she arrived and is now eight.  But my overall observations and instincts suggested that it was more than that and the obvious reason was her hips.  It became really evident when she was laying on one side and wanted to turn to the other side.  She moved slow, grunted a bit, and was clearly uncomfortable making this move.

We’ve had her on Dasaquin since day one and we her dry food includes glucosamine.   While these supplements may have helped for a while it became very evident that she needed something else.

A week and a half ago Kali’s vet did a thorough check of her hips and prescribed a newly approved medicine for dogs called Galiprant.  After just a couple of doses there was striking evidence of improvement.  Kali has always pranced but now when we head out for walks she is very animated and jogs down to the edge of our property where she waits to be leashed for our walk.  She seems genuinely happy to be stretching her limbs.  What a joy this is!

So is Galiprant a miracle drug?  It may be too soon to say, and I certainly don’t want to jinx anything, but for now “what is hip dysplasia” has become “What Is Hip?” and Kali and I are both feeling a lot younger as she gallops freely around the Golden K and I reminisce about Tower Of Power.

What is hip?
Tell me, tell me if you think you know
What is hip?
If you was really hip
The passing years would show
You into a hip trip
Maybe hipper than hip
But what is hip?

Tower of Power

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Kali almost three years ago the day after coming home forever

Return of the Black Tailed Deer

Spring is in the air and the deer seem to know it.

We got to know “our” black tailed deer during the past year.  We enjoyed their visits each morning and evening as we became accustomed to mountain life and our new surroundings.  We got to know the regulars – three bucks we named Scratcher, Kicker, and Chester – and the occasional doe who would follow behind in an appropriate amount of distance based on pecking order.

In early summer we gushed when a spotted fawn accompanied a doe and the three bucks down for breakfast.  We watched in awe as the bucks antlers grew and made these mature males look all the more powerful and glorious.  We mourned the loss of Gimpy, the buck with a broken leg, who we found him dead on our property in early Fall not far from our driveway.  He was an older buck who hobbled along on a three legs for at least a few years (per the previous property owners) and apparently died of old age and not because of his injury that he seemed to manage relatively well given the circumstances.

In Fall hunting season is followed by rutting which drive the deer away from the Golden K with only an occasional visit by a stray buck.  The mostly absence of deer throughout Winter was striking and I missed them.  I wondered where they went, how they were doing, and if they would return back to the Golden K.

And then they did. Last weekend our black tailed beauties returned home in full force.

There were antler-less bucks with foreheads sporting only sockets where their magnificent antlers once were but fell off in the last month or so.  There were does, skinny and hungry and presumably preparing for birth later this spring or early summer.  And there were the yearlings.  Small and skinny but healthy “kids” who survived the winter when the majority of their peers have perished.  Fawn mortality rate runs between 50% and 70%.

So as Spring begins friends of the Golden K have returned much to our joy and anticipation.  Anticipation of more fawns, more grand buck antlers, and continued health and prosperity that all  creatures- man or beast – hope to experience and be blessed upon by Mother Nature.

It’s been almost a year since we arrived at the Golden K.  The return of the black Tailed have Deer reinforced the circle of life and most notably my romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

 

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

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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The Year Of The K

I don’t typically partake in reflection of the past year as the new year approaches but this year has been like no other. It has been the year of the K.

Packing up 34 years of suburbia and moving to a rural area was a truly life changing event for Holly and I. This journey started in September of 2015 when “just for fun” I began looking on the internet at homes for sale in the foothills.  One of the first I saw  was a five acre property in Tuolumne CA.  It seemed to call to me and Holly agreed that it looked wonderful but she was not keen on moving; at least not for several years.

A few weeks later we drove up to see the property “just for fun”.  Over the following weeks and countless discussions about the possibility and rationale for moving  the “just for fun” became serious and we decided to look at more properties.  We saw several that we liked but none met the beauty, charm, and rustic elegance of what was to become The Golden K. We made an offer in November and closed escrow in December, just over a year ago.

Wow! What in September were only musings about one day moving to a simpler life in the mountains became reality just four months later in.  It’s one example of many over the past 34 years of Holly and I aligning on a goal and making it a reality.

The sellers rented back from us through April which gave us time to sell our home in Livermore and for Holly to finish her school year as a teacher.  In early May while still living in Livermore we brought a nine week old Golden Retriever home that we named Kloe, with a K or course like her big step sister Kali with a K.

That was all the inspiration I needed. I then knew we were moving “home” to The Golden K.  We moved in full time over Memorial weekend and we never looked back.

So here we the four of us: a guy and a gal still desperately in love after 34 years of marriage, two beautiful and loving Golden Retrievers, and one shared romantic perspective of life at 3100 feet.

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