Sunday, September 11, 2016

TZ and TaturCakes' trail dogs

A little over a year ago, these two puppies joined our family. Roxie was sort of a rescue dog. She was born on a farm and her canine family were outside-only dogs. We got her when she was 7-8 weeks old (owners were not sure) and the two girls they had left were both timid and skeptical of this so-called adoption process. Roxie had longer hair than her sister, and we just fell in love with her. We paid what the owners wanted, and they advised us that she "might" have a few ticks. On the way home from Stroud, Roxie sat in Dana's lap and Dana picked off several ticks and flicked them out the window. (Cruelty to ticks?? YES!!!) When we got her home, we spent hours and hours picking of what was into the hundreds of ticks. Our friend Susan came over to the then new puppy. She and Dana just kept pulling the blood-suckers off. In the folds of the pads on her feet, each paw had several dozen ticks--many fully engorged. The next day, we took her to our vet, and he determined that there was no danger to her health despite the tick coverage, and gave her a flea/tick dose that he assured us would take care of any stragglers. It did--we found dead ticks on the floor for the next couple of days. Roxie is supposed to be half Pyrenees/half chocolate lab--but I think she may be half Burmese, not Pyrenees. Roxie took over the house in no time, and has grown into a beautiful intelligent young lady (although she definitely has a bratty side.) 

But we just kept thinking she would be lonely by herself, and we really wanted a chocolate lab male, and we found the one we wanted in Hugo Oklahoma. Zeke just crawled right up in our lap when we saw him for the first time, and he still thinks he's a lap dog some 95 pounds later. He was the easiest dog to potty-train ever, and like a lab, LOVES to play fetch. These two dogs are inseparable. Sometimes squabble like they hate each other, but whine when the other is not nearby.

Zeke and Roxie at around 2 months old
It was a given that these two should be trail dogs, and when they were around two months of age, we took them on their first trail exploration. They were full of curiosity, and Turkey Mountain has an unending buffet of smells. Their excitement is not so much for the miles, but for the smells, and the critters that make these smells. The sight of a rabbit, armadillo, or deer sends them into a frenzy. Now that they are older and heavier, having them on a tandem leash is a real challenge when a bunny crosses their path!

A year later at around 14 months old. Roxie is 62 lbs, and Zeke tips the scales at 100 lbs
So we compromise. For the first mile, I give them all the sniffing time they want, then we focus on being good trail dogs. This works out about right. When they fall into trail boss mode, they look like champs. Side by side--tails flying like a flag--I'm so proud of them. Both dogs step off the trail to pee and poop. I'm not sure how they learned that this is proper, but they have never dropped a load where a trail-runner would step on it! (That certainly is NOT the case with a lot of other dog visitors.)

Right now, they are three-mile dogs. I have taken them a bit longer a couple of times, and they really seem wiped out (and sleep like logs when they get home.) They both get excited when they see me get out the leash and harnesses, and in fact, we are going to Turkey Mountain for another run in a few minutes!

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