Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Warm Winter Weekend!

While my pals in the midwest and east have been suffering through awful snowstorms, we finally got a dry, warm weekend for the first winter in two years here in Northern Nevada. I happily skipped outside to remove the horses' blankets and let them romp together in the paddock, only to come face-to-face with my nosy neighbor. She stared almost as hard if not harder than her husband does when I come outside. My instinct was to say, "What? What do you want? Why do you keep staring at me?"

The problem is that she's my neighbor. I have to see her again tomorrow, or more likely within the next hour. I can't be too rude despite her rudeness. I try so hard not to stoop to their level and to just ignore the staring. Anyway, the woman finally turned away from me. She had her back to me. She wasn't facing anything reflective. So, I stuck out my tongue.

I know. It's incredibly immature, but it's my way of releasing some of my own frustration without causing a confrontation. Much to my horror, she whipped around and glared at me good and hard like a teacher who just caught me chewing gum in class. This lady really does have eyes in the back of her head. I knew I couldn't spend another lovely, sunny day hiding in the house from these creeps, so I decided to take the dogs on a very special field trip.

Do you recognize this place?

Yes, it is the same trail where I like to ride my horses.  Despite being cloudy all week, it was still warm enough to melt all the snow in the foothills.  Because the trail association laid down D.G., the footing was nice and dry.  I wasn't sure how the dogs would do, because I rarely take them off the property.  They have lots of room to run around at home.  The only time they ride in a car is when they are going to the vet.

I decided to put Midge in the backseat and Scrappy in the front next to me.  The animal control officer who helped me adopt Scrappy said she used to take him for rides in her truck, and he'd sit next to her in the passenger seat nicely as long as she didn't roll down the window all the way.  Then he tried to jump out.  So, I just cracked the window, and he did sit nicely.  Still, I held onto his leash while driving, because I didn't want him to suddenly leap under my feet and press on the gas pedal or something.

When we got to the trail head parking lot, a dog came leaping down the trail and circled my truck.  Scrappy and Midge were squealing at their windows, which broke into a bark fest.  I couldn't tell where the dog was, so I just stopped the truck and waited for the dog's owner to come get it before finding a parking space.

Scrappy was excitedly pulling on his leash all the way up the trail, peeing on everything in sight.  That dog sure does like to mark his territory.  I don't think we got more than 100 feet past the doggie bag dispenser and bucket when Scrappy stopped to do his business.  I cleaned it up and returned to the bucket to dispose of it.

Midge was very well behaved, heeling beside me on a loose leash.  I don't think Scrappy has had any training in that arena.  I heard voices up ahead and one of them said, "Oh God, not more dogs."

I looked up to see two horseback riders.  The other one talked about how popular this place has become.  Of course, I could totally relate to their desire to be alone.  We stepped off to the side of the trail for them, and Midge had what I call one of her asthma attacks.  She started snorting through her nose repeatedly as if struggling to breathe.  The horseback riders became very concerned, but she did recover.  Fortunately, these were not spooky horses.  They watched her with interest, but not fear.

When I saw loose dogs up ahead, I stopped to pick up Scrappy.  I wasn't sure how he would handle himself in that kind of a situation.  I knew Midge would just hide behind my legs while the loose dogs sniffed her rear.  Fortunately, Scrappy stayed quietly in my arms until the dogs passed, instead of struggling to jump free and bite them.  I think he was on good behavior because he wasn't at home trying to protect his own territory.

Eventually, Midge and Scrappy walked side by side, weaving back and forth, getting their leashes all tangled.  They also got their leashes tangled around my legs every time I stopped paying attention to them and started taking pictures.

I was proud of both of them, because they made it to my mounting block under the shade tree.  We rested there until they stopped panting.

Scrappy was a dynamo.

But Midge got tuckered out fairly early on due to her thick coat.  We did come across a woman with two Corgis and another little dog, which she carried in her arms just like I carried Scrappy.  Our three Corgis were so cordial toward one another.  I wish I weren't busy holding Scrappy, because I would have loved to have taken a picture of them together.  Each Corgi had different coloring.

I discovered that Scrappy is quite a jumper.

He could jump both into and out of my Crew Cab.  I can hardly climb into that monstrosity myself.  Here we are heading back down the trail.  Midge didn't heel as well on the way down, because she was excited to get home.  My shadow looks weird because it was so warm that I had to remove my jacket and tie it around my waist.

Just when we reached the bottom of the hill nearing the parking lot, a lone man crossed our path who gave me the heebie jeebies.  He seemed so out of place.  I know most of the regulars on this trail.  I know their dogs and horses.  We all wear jeans while hiking.  This guy was all dressed up like he was going to church and he reeked of cologne.  He started talking to me a little too much so I pulled the dogs along to keep moving.  I had left my mobile phone in the truck, so if something did happen I couldn't call for help.  I doubted that either Scrappy or Midge would protect me if the guy were up to no good. 

I watched him out of the corner of my eye as I moved down the trail and I could see he was standing there watching us instead of hiking.  Maybe he was just a friendly fella, but he sure didn't dress appropriately for a hike.  He seemed to be there on impulse.  Whatever that impulse might be, I don't know.  He just didn't have normal hiker behavior, if you know what I mean.  I'll have to get out earlier in the mornings to avoid such encounters, like I do when I take the horses.

I love zooming in on the farmland down below and seeing all the animals out in their pastures.

As we were driving home, I breathed a sigh of relief that we made it without any incidents.  We came around the corner, and I realized that I relaxed too soon.  My nosy neighbor was out in front of my house walking her dog.  Ack.  After sitting quietly on the ride home, both dogs jumped up to the windows and started barking.  I came to the realization that even though I can't escape my nosy neighbors around my home, I've never actually seen them in town or on any of my hikes or trail rides.  So, I can escape them as long as I leave my home.

For that reason, it's really important that I get Bombay comfortable in the horse trailer so that I have a horse to trail ride.  I'm not sure if Lostine can withstand anymore hilly rides with her pedal osteitis.  I've also got to get Gabbrielle trained so she will be safe on the trails.  Until then, I know the dogs will enjoy the trails with me.


Sydney_bitless said...

Thats good you can get away with your dogs. Have you had any luck with Bombay in the trailer? Did any of my suggestions help?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Sydney - I haven't been able to do any trailer training lately. Everything must come together. I have to have the truck available, good weather, no distractions next door such as honking horns and construction, and I can't have any appointments that require someone else to get his truck down my driveway. I live on a very small piece of property, so we are constantly having to shift vehicles around. We really haven't even had non-slippery ground until today. And now that I've worked so hard to back my trailer into the perfect spot to block my neighbors' stares, I don't want to have to move it out.

If I know for sure that we are going to have several dry days in a row, I'll get set up for the trailer training, but it's just too much work if I only get a few hours of sunshine. I'm a wimp in the winter months and usually don't do anything with my horses until spring. I also have to admit that I don't want to risk anymore injuries with these horses because I cannot afford anymore vet bills with me being out of work. Bombay always bloodies himself up once he gets in the trailer.

Do you remember if you left your suggestions in a comment on my blog or as a comment or post in your blog? I can't retain information well, so I'll have to find them and print them out and take them outside with me when I do the training session. I know I've tried other people's suggestions in the past when I was trailer training Gabbrielle, and when I posted about it, they came back and said, "That's not what I told you do." So, I know I can't trust my brain to remember the techniques correctly.

Most people tell me to just trailer two horses together, but who's going to ride the other horse once we get to the trails? The trails aren't wide enough for me to pony one. I have to get Bombay comfortable in that front slot without him attempting to jump the center divider, and I really don't want to have to hassle with taking out the divider either. I'm mechanically challenged in addition to having no memory.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a nice walk except for the creepy dude. Glad you got some good weather!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Looks like a nice trail for a walk with the dogs or a ride with horses. Glad you got out for a while and out from under the eyes of your nosy creepy neighbors.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Good for you getting out to enjoy a beautiful day with your sweet dogs and escaping the watchful eyes of your creepy neighbors.

I take Dobbie everywhere with me...hiking, to the store, up to Santa Fe (there are dogs ALL over the place up there on the plaza, outside at the cafes, inside some of the art galleries, strolling down the roads...super dog-friendly place). It's harder during the summer if I have to do any shopping because I can't leave her in the car. So she stays home, but the rest of the year she goes wherever I go.

It's funny to think back during the first few car rides I took her on because she shook and shivered in fear the entire time (remember she spent her first two years of life in a cage at a puppy mill farm). She'd even have an accident when I'd go into a store. But once she realized I always come back and always let her out to relieve herself, she stopped that, and now never has any accidents.

And she never shakes or shivers anymore either. She sees me grab my keys and she runs to the garage door to head out to the car. Dobbie always rides on my lap and sleeps most of the way. She's the perfect lap-warmer during the winter. :)

Oh! And it must be a doxxie thing, because Dobbie is an amazing jumper, too.
I've often thought about how well she'd do in dog agility because how fast she is and how well and high she jumps.


Nicole said...

The funny attack your dog had was probably somethihng called a reverse sneeze. Very strange and kind of hard to describe unless you've seen it.
You wouldn't believe the amount of people who come into the er with their pets convinced their dog is dying. LOL

Rising Rainbow said...

Sounds like it was a nice outing with the dogs except for the creepy guy. I always keep my cell phone with me just for such times. I feel a little less vulnerable that way.

JanLou said...

Cute dogs. Glad you enjoyed your walk.

achieve1dream said...

The asthma attack that you described Midge having isn't asthma. It's called reverse sneezing and is completely harmless. The easiest way to stop it is to make them swallow by giving them something to eat or drink or rubbing their throat or blowing quickly and gently into their nostrils. It won't hurt her but it is concerning if you've never seen a dog do it. :) If you want to verify that's what she's doing type reverse sneezing in dogs into YouTube.

I'm glad you had a fun, peaceful (except for creepy man) time on the trails. That makes me want to get out and start walking again. :)