Understanding Koda

Competition

Although the youngest member of the pack Koda has never taken a back seat. She can be pushy when she wants attention. She can be loud when she has a point to make. She has always been willing eager to stand her ground. The first thing to understand about Koda is that she is competitive!

Kloe was just two and a half when Koda at four months joined the Golden K Pack. Koda never really considered Kloe a surrogate mom and Kloe didn’t spend much energy schooling Koda. I think part of the reason for this is that Kali was oldest. Kali was nine and Kloe still looked up to her as the alpha and mother figure she had always been since Kloe was 9 weeks old.

At first Kali wanted little to do with Koda. When Koda was first introduced to her new sisters, Kali gave out a little woof, briefly sniffed her and walked off and seemed to say, “Oh no no no. You take that whipper snapper away. Things were just fine – perfect in fact – when it was just Kloe and I”.

From day one Koda stood her ground, was first in line for treats, and first one out the door when it opened. She pushed herself in front of her two older sissies and had no idea how much smaller she was than them. In Koda’s mind she was the biggest and the alpha. If there was something to be won she was the one!

Tenacity

For Kloe’s part and upon meeting Koda she gave her the once over and expressed some physical dominance as she sized up the newest family member. And for a few minutes it seemed as though Koda would acquiesce to Kloe being older, and much larger. Koda was 22 pounds and Kloe was 75! And here is the second thing to understand about Koda: she’s is tenacious!

From the first day home Koda never backed down to Kloe. They played chase and Koda kept up. The wrestled and at first Kloe was gentle fully aware of her size advantage. As an older and bigger dog when Kloe had enough she tried to let Koda know with a firm gesture like a take down or firm mouth on the neck. But Koda wouldn’t let up. A less tenacious pup would acquiesce until the older dog was once again ready to play. Not Koda! She was like a heat seeking missile with endless fuel. Throw her down and she got back up. Throw her down again and she got up again this time with more determination. And on and on…. Her competitive nature coupled with tenacity made her a formidable playmate for Kloe even with the weight and experience differential. Kloe was never mom in Koda’s eyes. She was her big sissy and she was determined prove herself. Wrestling matches usually ended up in a tie, which was saying quite a lot for Koda.

Communication

Koda has a high pitched bark. Koda has a guttural play-growl. Koda puffs up her mouth with air and vocalizes, “A roo-roo-roo…” The third thing you need to understand about Koda is that she is a very good communicator. Because the high pitched bark is startling it would be easy to think that Koda is just being annoying. But I’ve learned that when she barks there’s a reason. For example if she is outside and wants to come in she barks at the door. Contrast this to Kloe who, when outside and wants to come in will sit in front of the door or window until she’s noticed. When Koda is inside and Kloe is outside if Koda sees Kloe at the door or window she’ll bark to let us know that Kloe wants to come in. If there is a toy under a table or chair that Koda can’t get to, and she needs help, she’ll come up to us with a combination of the guttural growl and her “Roo-roo”, tail flapping and butt swirling around. We’ve learned that this means she needs help with something. We’ll ask her to show us and she will take us to what she needs help with.

A couple of years ago, when Kali was still with us but becoming more and more feeble, Holly and I were sitting on the deck relaxing. Koda came up from a part of the property that was mostly out of sight. She was growling and a “roo-roo-rooing” and very earnest about needing our help. “What Koda, what is it?'” I said as I stood up and followed her. Koda led me to Kali who had become stuck in a hole in the ground and couldn’t get up.

Loyalty

Although Koda competes for my attention when Kloe is nearby and always wants the toy or bone that Kloe has, she transcends that behavior when it comes to family. And that is the fourth thing to understand about Koda: she is loyal! Kloe is our sentry and protector. If there is a perceived or imagined predator nearby Kloe will sound the alarm with her very deep bark. Wherever Koda may be at that time she jumps up and follows Kloe off into “battle”; many times without any specific knowledge of what the alarm is about. For Koda if Sissy is on the move so is she. As competitive as Koda is she takes her cues from Kloe. If Kloe goes outside Koda follows. If Koda wants to go outside and Kloe doesn’t follow Koda stays inside.

When I call Koda she comes. No matter where I am she follows my voice and comes to see what I want or need. Of all my girls past and present Koda has the best recall. To a large degree that is training. But I also believe a big part of it is loyalty. Koda and I have a bond and we are loyal to each other.

I think the reason for that, although not always but now for sure, I understand Koda.

All In – Happy Gotcha Day Koda

Koda, Koda, Koda!

This week marks four years since Koda joined our pack. She was four months old when we welcomed her and she came in with guns-a-blazing! Koda very quickly made her presence known. I remember driving her home in my truck and pulling up to our property. She was just 90 minutes separated from her two litter mates who had not been adopted yet. Koda hopped out of the truck and followed me through the gate where her new sisters were “waiting”. Koda 18 pounds at the time was greatly over matched by her new sisters – Kali at 60 pounds an Kloe at 80. There was about five minutes when Koda seemed a little intimidated and she acquiesced to the “big girls”. But she quickly made herself at home and began romping around the yard chasing and being chased by Kloe. Kali went off to sleep and resent the new whippersnapper that dad had just brought into the family without her permission.

The aforementioned five minutes of being intimidated was the last time I ever saw Koda be intimidated by anybody or anything.

Koda is a tough pup who initially made up for her size with loads of attitude.

It was immediately evident how vocal Koda was. Tilting her head slightly down, butt up in the air, and a mouthed puffed up with air she exclaims, “A roo roo roo”. This was just day one/hour two and she had already established her spot in the pack. She was not be the oldest or the biggest or in charge of anything but she always made here needs, wants, and opinions known! To this day Koda speaks her mind and always gets her point across to her intended audience and anyone else who will listen. As if they have a choice… If she could speak english she’d use what might be considered “salty language”.

Early on there were some very touch and go periods.

Holly: “Get that dog out of my house. Send her back”!

Me: She is such a loving girl. She’s doing so much better. I just need a little more time to work with her.”

Koda: (Looking directly at Holly) “A roo roo roo! Roo roo rooooo….”

Me : (Turning to Koda and under my breath) “Koda – work with me here.”

Koda: (Thought bubble over her head) “Hey – where did mom go?”

And so it went.

Koda has matured and has (mostly) learned to temper her enthusiasm. She is lovingly referred by a close friend who also has Golden Retrievers, as my “wild child”. A spot on characterization! But Koda has learned to be a (mostly) respectful and responsible member of the pack. She is very smart and learns things the first time. Whether she chooses to adhere to the learning is another matter. But she does learn it and then makes her choices. I (mostly) respect that.

Did you notice all the “mostly’s” in the previous paragraph? So yeah lot’s of mostly’s. But the all-ins” far outnumber and outweigh those mostlys.

Koda is all in on Loyalty. She is all in on loving her pack members. She is all in on recall – where ever she is, if I call she comes.

Koda was all in on Kali, her Sissy Mama. During the last year or so of Kali’s life when she had a hard time getting around Koda looked after Kali. A great example was a time when Kali got stuck in a corner of the property and couldn’t get up. Koda came running up to us barking and alternating looks from us to where she wanted us to go. We followed her and found Kali OK but stuck in a small hole and unable to get up. Talk about a Lassie and a “Timmy’s stuck in the well moment”… wow!

Koda is all in on being Kloe’s wingman. Kloe, “Protector Of The Golden K” – often sees, smells, or hears potential bad guys. Bad guys like cats, deer, squirrels, someone walking along the road at the bottom of our property, and so on. If Kloe stands up and barks, Koda does too; even though she doesn’t know what she’s barking at. She looks to Kloe for her cues. If Kloe takes off running in the bad guys direction Koda follows even thought she has no idea where she’s going. To Koda, if Kloe is barking, upset, or on the prowl Koda is by her side to provide all necessary back up. Koda is definitely all in on Kloe.

I’m so happy to Koda in my life and part of our pack. My sweet “Koda Koda Koda”, my “Sugar Beats”, my “Kodachrome”, my “Kode-Red”. Oh, yeah and full disclosure of another often used nick name for Koda: “Damn it Koda!” ūüôā

Happy Gotcha day sweet Koda. Dad will always be all in on you!

Kids and Dogs

Kids

I’ve always likened having dogs to having children. We do so many things for our dogs that we do or did for our kids. We feed them, educate them, entertain, love, discipline, and so on. We even refer to them as our kids, our fur-babies, or in my case as “the girls”. Our human children are all gown and have been out of the house for many years. There are many things I don’t know about their day to day lives. When they were very young I observed and knew every small detail of their lives. As they grew older I saw less and eventually knew less. Which is the way it should be. I know as I grew older into a young adult and beyond my parents knew less and less of the details of my life. I needed them less. They were glad I was independent. I feel the same way about my grown children.

My kids many years ago. Left to right Michael (now 34), Jessi (now 30), and Jonathan (now 37). Wow! In some ways I wish they could have stayed just like in this photo forever. But time marches on. They are independent with full and robust lives of their own.

Dogs

But with our dogs it’s a little different. They never become independent in the way our children do. They rely on us their entire lives for their care and well being. While there are many similarities between a puppy and a human baby, the baby grows to be a toddler and beyond and they puppy grows to be like a toddler and mostly plateaus there. As dogs mature and age we continue to not only know, but also mostly control all the details of our their lives. When they eat we know it. When they walk we know it. When they find themselves into some sort of trouble or problem we not only know it but also correct it. Our dogs become moderately independent for short amounts of time but they can’t be (or shouldn’t be) left overnight by themselves. And as they grow older, like my 12 year old Kali, they need us more and more.

My “girls” a few hours ago. Left to right Koda (3.5 years, Kali (12 years), and Kloe (5 .5 years). Koda has finally matured into a toddler, Kali’s hips and eyes are deteriorating, and Kloe’s muzzle is graying. Like their human siblings they also have a full and robust life but rely on Holly and I to make sure of that. They are very dependent and we are ok with that.

So having dogs is like having kids but way different.

The Golden Kali Blog

Newer followers of Golden Kali can get caught up to speed about each of my girls here:

Thanks to everyone who follows Golden Kali! We’ve been away for a while busy with pack life but will be posting much more often. Tells us what you think about the Golden Kali blog and what questions or interests you may have about life in the mountains with three Golden Retrievers.

The Golden K

The Golden K, the history, and how Kali brought us to this place.

Long time followers of Golden Kali may remember that Kali was a rescue from Taiwan. I remember vividly sitting with her in the back yard of our home in Livermore the morning after we picked her up from the airport in San Francisco. Kali assimilated so quickly into her new environment. It had been less than 24 hours and here she was sitting calmly and seemingly very content at my feet as I started this blog. That was almost seven years ago.

The name for the blog was an easy pick. It would be about Kali’s new life in America. She is a Golden Retriever. So as I set up the WordPress site my fingers quickly, and without hesitation, typed Golden Kali into the title field for the site.

At the time I had no idea Kali would be such a big influence on our lives and our future.

A few weeks later Holly, Kali, and I were sitting in the same spot of our yard enjoying a nice Summer evening. Holly told me she wanted to start camping again. She said wouldn’t it be great, now as mostly empty nesters, to get away just the three of us – Holly, Kali, and I – and take some road trips. I agreed and said that was not going to do tent camping again; my back was too old for that. So we decided to start looking for small trailers we could pull behind our SUV.

Fast forward a couple of months and we take a visit to our friends vacation home at Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland, CA. It was a nice weekend, Kali’s first road trip, and she did just fine. Holly and I were like first time parents and we packed everything under the sun that we thought Kali would need. Her crate, food, treats, toys, blankets, leashes, and I’m sure items I am now forgetting. Of course Kali needed none of it including the crate. All she needed was to be with us.

A few weeks later, again sitting in the yard, Holly says to me, “I don’t want a camper anymore”. I asked her why. She said she wanted a vacation home! OK….. I can switch gears pretty quickly. Now instead of researching camper options I start looking at properties in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. A home comes up that I instantly fall in love with. I showed Holly and said, “Look, I found our our home. Not a vacation home but a full time home”. Holly laughed and said she wasn’t moving but she wouldn’t mind taking a road trip to see the home. Cutting to the chase, and after looking at more homes in Tuolumne County over the next couple of months, we closed escrow on that very home I saw online that evening in the back yard. One of the many selling points of the home was it was five acres and had plenty of room for Kali to roam and also be safe with various fences and gates that allowed us to give her a lot of room or just a little depending on circumstances. This was the end of 2015 and we prepared to move.

My romantic vision of living in the mountains included having a name for our home and surrounding property. This was important to me.

Like with this blog it didn’t take long for me to realize that the name of our new home would be The Golden K in honor of my beautiful Kali.

And the “K’s” just kept on coming…. A few weeks before we moved we adopted a new 9 week old Golden Retriever puppy and named her Kloe. It had to be a K name, right? And then a couple of years later we adopted another Golden Retriever, this time a 4 month old. We named her Koda. It is safe to say that the Golden K is full of beautiful Golden K’s! And Kali started it all!

Five years in Taiwan, two years in Livermore, and five years (and counting) in Tuolumne, my Golden Kali has been on a great journey and I’ve been lucky enough to have spent the last seven years with her. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that if not for Kali, there would not be a Golden K, a Kloe, or a Koda. How can one dog have so much influence over the lives of her humans? How can one dog can bring so much joy and happiness into the lives of two people who were otherwise already very happy with their lives?

I guess when that one dog is my Golden Kali it’s as natural as taking that 12 hour flight from Taiwan and straight into my heart.

Kali on move in day five years ago at The Golden K
The Golden K at night

Reluctant Leader

Four and a half years ago when Kloe joined the pack Kali was seven and took an almost immediate role as surrogate mother to Kloe. To this day I am grateful that Kali’s maternal instincts activated almost immediately upon meeting Kloe as a nine-week old puppy. Within about an hour Kali went from the the “no way that puppy is coming in my house” stage to the “Ok little whippersnapper, I’ll show ya’ the ropes” stage. Within an hour Kloe was laying on a willing mommy Kali’s tummy and the bond grew stronger each day.

As The months passed Kloe grew in size. By the time she was six months old Kloe was already as big as Kali – 60 pounds – and much taller. By the time Kloe was 9 months old she was 80 pounds. During play Kloe would sometimes use her size advantage over Kali. But it was never aggressive and it was never in any effort to establish herself as the dominant or alpha female. It was more of a “if you’ve got it flaunt it” demeanor and only occasionally did I have to come to Kali’s aid as she got older and a little more fragile.

Kloe 9 months, Kali 8 years

Enter Koda two years ago. She joined the pack at four months and was full of energy piss and vinegar; she still is. Koda at four months old was 17 pounds. Kloe now two and a half was still around 80. Koda’s moxie was remarkable. She played hard often bouncing off of Kloe during rough play but getting right back up again and never backing down. I occasionally had to come to Kloe’s aid and protect her against her tough little sister! I recall thinking that by the time Koda was six months old she would establish herself as the alpha female.

Koda and Kloe

Kali, now nine, was slowing down and she never really had any interest in being in charge; unless it was in charge of food. Looking back Kloe was too young to be a surrogate mother to Koda like Kali was to her. I thought Kloe would be that surrogate but at just two and a half she was still very much a pup herself. So I began thinking that Koda was going to be the leader of this pack. From day one, and to this day, Koda always pushes herself to the front of the line (first out the door and first back in), steals toys from her older and bigger sisters, and makes her voice heard above all others. She vocalizes like no other dog I’ve ever been around. I’ve said it before, if she could actually talk her vocabulary would make Jon Gruden blush.

So yeah, Koda as the alpha. Made sense then and it still kind of does. But she’s not the Alpha. She wants Kloe to be the alpha dog but Kloe is a reluctant leader.

Kloe is a gentle soul (except when she see’s a cat). She really has no interest in being in charge. She has aways been a rule follower. Most dogs want to please their human mom and dad. Kloe takes this very seriously and if she could intellectualize it she would tell you that her sole purpose in life is to make Holly and I happy. Koda tends to get excited out of control at times. During those times we have to very direct with Koda and put her in a sit or down position to help her calm down. Kloe can be in a different room but if she hears one of us sternly tell Koda “SIT!” Kloe sits. If we say “Koda settle. DOWN!” Kloe immediately puts herself in a down position. So yeah, beyond all else she wants to please us.

Koda wants Kloe to be Alpha. In spite of Koda’s pushiness she looks to Kloe for her cues. If there is a deer or some other critter outside she runs to the door and looks back at Kloe as if to say, “should we go out and get that critter”? If I suggest that the girls go outside by opening the door Koda, of course, is first out. But if Kloe doesn’t follow Koda turns around and comes back in the house. And when Kloe sees or smells trouble in or around the property and runs off barking Koda follows her even though she – most of the time – has no idea what’s going on. But if her big sister is going she’s going to provide back up.

Koda wants Kloe to be Alpha. And while over times I have seen glimpses of it in Kloe it is with reluctance that she takes a leadership role in the pack. She is the logical choice. At almost five years Kloe is in her prime. She is all muscle. Her legs are fully repaired (thank God) from her Bi-lateral TPLO in August of 2019, and she once again runs like a gazelle. She is a sight to behold when “she is on the move”.

Fortunately (for us and them) our girls are spoiled to the max and there really is no need for an alpha dog. In the wild, Kali at 11 years with very bad hips and legs, would need a protector. Koda would need an alpha dog to dampen her “enthusiasm” when predators much bigger than her came calling. Kloe would be that logical choice. Would her gentle soul allow her to be that Alpha dog if it was necessary?

I’d like to think that Kloe would step up to the role and protect her sisters even if reluctantly. I also know that if she did, and when all was once again well with the pack, she would come looking for Holly and I to please us with her gentle demeanor and by doing whatever we asked of her.

Sweet Gentle Kloe

Gotcha!

Today is Koda’s gotcha day. Or maybe it’s mine…. I’m not sure who got who but we’ve got each other now. After two years our (almost) two and half year old Golden Retriever puppy has finally begun growing out of puppyhood and into… well whatever comes next.

Like many other things Holly and I do we decided to rescue Koda on kind of a whim after Holly gave into my obsession with looking at Golden Retriever puppies on Facebook and Instagram. And also my incessant nagging about how we needed another dog. Sitting after dinner or at breakfast or anywhere else when I would see a picture of a puppy and say, “Look a puppy!” Or, “We need a puppy; Kali’s getting old and Koda needs an active playmate”. Or… “Can we please please please please please get another puppy?”. I may have exaggerated the “pleases” but you get the idea. I was begging!

So one night when I showed Holly a picture of a puppy on the facebook page of the rescue group all my girls have come from she says, “Michael if you want another puppy, get one.” Holly and I almost always make big decisions together but in this case I really wanted a pup and Holly was reticent. She must have thought it would be better to have a puppy in her face than my laptop or iPad with pictures of puppies in her face. I called the rescue group organizer and said I was in. The next day I drove to pick up my sweet sweet Koda and the rest, as they say, is history was a lot harder than I had planned.

Koda totally changed the dynamics of the pack. She was, and still is, tenacious, fearless, and had mouth on her that would make your English Mastiff blush! She was four months old when we rescued her. When I brought her home she was intimidated by Kloe and Kali for about 3 minutes. She tried to take charge and they kind of let her. At the time I thought she’d be the alpha by the time she was six months old. Kali was nine at the time and slowing down. Kloe was two and not quite ready to be the mother authority figure. Kloe also has such a gentle demeanor she let Koda walk all over her at first. They eventually worked it out – sometime around last week ūüôā – and Koda has grown into a lovely young lady loving dog full of piss and vinegar. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Happy Gotcha Day Koda, Koda Koda Koda, Kodachrome, Kode-red, Suger Pie Honey Bunches of Oats, Suger Beets. And all of the other goofy names I have for you. You have made me better at being a doggie parent and probably a better human being too. But dogs have a way of doing that to us uprights, don’t they?

Kloe Hates Cats

So Koda pretends to hate cats. Mostly I think because she knows Kloe hates them. When Koda sees one of the feral cats before Kloe does, she’ll sound the alarm with her high bark and then immediately look at Kloe. “Kloe, there’s a cat. See it? See it? C’mon, lets go get it.”

Read more ›

Falling In Love With Koda

I’ve always taken for granted that I love all my girls desperately and without reservation. ¬† ¬† ¬† So I caught myself by surprise recently when I was looking at Koda and realized that I had fallen in love with her. ¬† Not at that moment, or even on that day. ¬† But over the months I had fallen head over heals in love with the youngest of my three girls.

That’s not to say that I don’t love my other girls with equal passion. ¬† I do. ¬†But I realize now that the dynamics of adding a third dog placed more demands on the pack than I had anticipated. ¬†Like children to some degree adding numbers to your family has an exponential effect. ¬† One dog is like having one dog. ¬†Two is like four and three is like nine. ¬† Or at least that’s how it feels at times. ¬†My love is bottomless so it’s not really a problem. They put more in my tank than take out…

Koda, now 21 months, joined our pack at four months old. ¬†From the moment I brought her home it was clear that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with¬†a handful. ¬†She had tenacity both physically and vocally. ¬†In play with her big sister Kloe – who outweighed her by almost 60 pounds at the time – Koda never backed down even when Kloe tried to tell her enough was enough. ¬† When I told her I didn’t like something she was doing she would slink her body around puffing up her cheeks and letting out a stream of profanities vocalizations that sounds like “A rooo rooo rooo!” ¬†If I were to ¬†translate those sounds into words they would have to be written something like, “#@%&#*!!”.

Koda’s tenacity and determination was evident from day one. ¬† The Golden K sits on five acres and the girls have designated fenced areas for their safety. ¬†Koda quickly found that she could slip through the bars of a wrought iron gate that leads out of one of those fenced areas. ¬† In some ways it was endearing because the only reason she wanted to escape was to be me with who at the time was doing some work in another part of the property. ¬† I put chicken wire on the fence the next day to keep her from slipping through the bars. ¬†No problem for Koda – she scaled the fence, again in an effort to follow me to where I was going. ¬†There were several iterations of this as I experimented with various methods to keep her inside the safety zone. ¬†With each escape she would come trotting up to me smiling as if to say, “I found you. I’m here. ¬†I figured out how to scale the fence”, or “I missed you and I was able to slip under the bottom of the railing” and so on.

Koda was destructive at times chewing on furniture and finding her way to clothes, shoes, and other personal items. ¬† Some of that’s on me of course but still Koda seemed to set new household records for finding her way to trouble. ¬† The drip lines in the garden? ¬†No matter how deep I buried them Koda found them. ¬†Sprinkler heads? No problem. Apparently she knows how to twist them off the risers and with her jaw. ¬† Last summer was dry and brown in the garden to say the least!

Koda Koda Koda! ¬† The typical third child who believes the rules don’t apply to them. ¬†But over the months this tenacious pup has fallen into line (mostly). ¬† ¬†Through maturity and a lot of time and training on our part Koda has tempered her “enthusiasm” and is learning to respect the pack. ¬†She and I recently completed intermediate obedience training with our local AKC group. ¬†I was so happy and proud to see how eager she has become to learn and please me as her handler and as her dad.

Throughout much of last year Kloe was injured or recovering from her bi-lateral TPLO surgery. ¬†During much of that time Koda was challenging the status quo and finding new ways to test our patience. ¬†Much of our energy went into “managing” Koda and nursing Kloe back to health. ¬†Plus Kali is getting on in years (almost 11) and sometimes needs special attention and help. ¬†Distraction was definitely a theme for 2019!

I now realize that throughout these past and sometimes tumultuous 17 months I was falling in love with Koda. ¬†Maybe it was the aforementioned distractions. ¬† Maybe I simply took it for granted. ¬†Certainly I didn’t expect this deepening of love to be a journey. ¬†¬†I don’t believe Koda will ever lose the tenacity she displayed from the moment she arrived home. ¬† Nor do I want her to. I believe it will serve her well over the years even if at times it is a challenge for me. ¬†In many ways it has helped me to be a better pup-parent.

As it turns out falling in love doesn’t happen over night. ¬† It really is a journey and I’m ¬†blessed to have Koda as my guide.

Koda then and now

 

 

Koda Gotcha Day

Koda’s “Gotcha Day” was this past Saturday and it came and went without fanfare or much excitement. ¬† The same can’t be said for the first year she’s been with us. ¬†It’s been quite the year of the puppy around the Golden K… ¬†In many ways the Year of Koda!

We adopted Koda at 16 weeks old through the same Golden Retriever rescue group all our girls have come through.  As soon as I got her home I realized we had one tenacious pup on our hands.   Upon getting home I introduced her to our other girls who were only mildly interested.

Upon arriving home with Koda, Kali – almost ten years old at the time – had the same reaction she had when we brought Kloe home two years before: alternating looks between Koda and me,¬†“Sniff, sniff…. WOOF, BARK, WOOF”. ¬†Translation: ¬†“Oh no no no. ¬†You take that little pup right back to where you got her! ¬†I will not stand for that in my house.”

Kloe was much more interested sniffing Koda up , down and under. ¬†They began running and playing and it was now evident to Kali, and much to her chagrin, that this pup was here to stay. ¬†Kali was probably thinking, “Great Kloe, we had it pretty good here just the two of us and now because of your open mindedness and welcoming demeanor this pup is probably going to stay”. ¬†But Kali being Kali who above all is a gentle and loving soul quickly accepted Koda and has even taken on the occasional role of mom to her.

Koda was not shy about immediately exploring her new surroundings and getting in the face of her new sisters. ¬†If her sisters tried to “school” Koda she would put her head down and her butt up in the air, puff up her mouth, and make this “aroo roo roo” sound as if to say, “bring it!”. ¬†This has become a signature trait for this fearless little girl.

Koda’s tenacity was also immediately evident in her play, in her response to being scolded, and in her unrelenting desire to engage in rough play with her older sister Kloe. ¬†She quickly learned and seem to accept that Kali was not going to play with her. ¬†But as long as Kloe responded to Koda’s overtures that was fine for Koda. ¬†As most puppies will do Koda initiated play with Kloe often by blind-siding her and jumping on her back or with a head crashing ¬†tackle to her face. ¬†The thing about it was that Koda at that time was just 22 pounds and Kloe was 80. ¬†It didn’t seem to phase Koda.

Most older dogs instinctively are aware of their larger size and will go easy on a younger smaller pup. ¬†Kloe started out this way but quickly learned that Koda was not your normal little pup who acquiesces to an older and much larger dog. ¬†When provoked Kloe would thrash Koda around pretty good but each time Koda went back for more usually with an extended “aroo roo roo” head low to the ground and butt in the air tail ‘awagging. ¬†“Bring it ! ¬†You’re not so big. ¬†I can take it and give you some right back….a roo roo roo roo…”

Koda has been more challenging than her sisters ever were. Kali was a mature five year old when we adopted her and she demonstrated immediate respect for authority and her surroundings. ¬†Kloe was a normal puppy with normal challenges but she is a rule follower by nature and therefore has always been easy to manage. ¬†Koda on the other hand? ¬†Well, “aroo roo roo” says it all!

“Down Koda”. ¬†“Aroo roo roo”. ¬† “Koda leave it!” ¬†“Aroo roo roo, GRRRR, aroo!”.

Koda is still learning that every dog she meets is not instantly ready or able to play and that every stranger we meet is not a human trampoline for her personal use. ¬†She is also slowly learning that good things happen when she is calm and obedient. ¬†I’m growing too. ¬†I’ve had to learn and deploy different training and management techniques. ¬†I’ve had to develop more patience. ¬†And, I’ve become a bit more tenacious myself in my commitment to helping Koda become the best dog she can be.

So one year down – the year of the Koda – and God willing many many more to come!

Happy Gotcha Day sweetie girl Koda!

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Koda First day at the Golden K

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Koda at about 5 months¬†“aroo roo roo!”

 

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The heart of The Golden K

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Koda on her Gotcha Day

 

 

 

Christmas Trees At The Golden K

This will be our third Christmas at The Golden K., our mountain home in the Sierra Nevada Foothills.   When living in suburbia with our now grown children Holly and I  bought high priced Christmas Trees, usually Noble Pines, from various lots or drove miles to cut them down ourselves.  Later we invested in artificial trees that looked great until the lights started to go out after being wrapped back up and stored for a couple of years.

While packing up Suburbia three years ago we threw out the last artificial tree. ¬† When Christmas rolled around several months later, and now living in the mountains we went to a local nursery to see about buying a live tree. ¬† While looking at what was available we had a “duh” moment realizing that we have five acres full of trees. ¬†Why would we spend money on a Christmas tree when we have hundreds of trees of our own to choose from. ¬† Our pine trees are a hundred feet tall and we don’t live in altitude high enough for firs. ¬†But we do have a lot of cedars so choosing a small cedar for our Christmas tree each year from our own property has become our new tradition.

While cedars are not ideal for hanging ornaments it hasn’t mattered to us. ¬† This new tradition has become important to us as a symbol of our transition out of Suburbia and our new way of life in the mountains.

So today we headed out with the girls and a chain saw in tow to hunt for a tree.

After about 20 minutes of surveying our options we chose a tree on the edge of our property.   After giving the tree a sniff and once over the girls approved of our selection.  Good thing because it was already cut!

After some trimming of branches and securing the tree stand we were ready to trim the tree.

The girls were not to interested in helping with the trimming and almost immediately went into power nap mode. ¬†Kloe woke up briefly to “snoopervise” (thanks for the term Monika!) but it didn’t last too long.

After a couple of hours of trimming the tree was done.  The girls seemed to approve as they leaned into to get on their Christmas cheer.

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*Editors Note: ¬†The girls would have had on their Christmas scarves for this photo but that is just not possible with a six month old puppy who would rip her sister’s scarves to pieces as well as her own…..¬†