2013 OOO Demo Day

The local paddling store, Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters in Hot Springs, has a ‘Demo Day’ every year. It was at this event last spring that we had a chance to meet the staff of the store and some local paddlers who had come out to help. It was at Demo Day last year when Bryan and Mandy picked out their LiquidLogic XP kayaks, and where Hayduke and I first tried, and settled on, ‘his’ Native Ultimate. Just a year later, we still have those first three boats in our garage, along with three more used boats we’ve bought since then, and four we’ve borrowed from other people. We’ve made some great friends of paddlers since then. We kind of felt like this year’s Demo Day was a sort of anniversary for us.


This year’s event was bigger and better than last year’s, I think. Hayduke kicked it off by cheerfully knocking me down and dragging me down a slick rock and into the cold lake. He does love water, but that was a little ridiculous, and I told him so, and he didn’t care about my opinion at all. Continue reading “2013 OOO Demo Day”

Foster Dog

A couple of weeks ago, my coworker Kristin noticed a stray dog outside her office window. I went out to say hello, and found that the dog was so afraid that he’d freeze anytime he saw a person, even far away. I stood still for five minutes or so, and he stood still too, just terrified of me. I felt awful for him but went back inside, hoping he’d go away and we wouldn’t see him again. I didn’t think there was anything I could do.

He was back again the next day, and was just as scared. I called the animal control place in Little Rock but they didn’t have anyone they could send to catch him. And then it was the weekend. Continue reading “Foster Dog”

Sick Puppy

Poor Hayduke.

He had a really nice visit to New Orleans last week. He behaved well in Aunt Dot’s backyard, when he was there, and when he was allowed in the house, he was a gentleman. He rested in our spare bedroom, played nicely with Emma, and even when he escaped to the living room he didn’t do anything more rambunctious than sniffing and wagging. He got to spend lots of time in Julie’s backyard playing with her dog┬áBourbon, and we took him to the NOLA City Bark four days in a row.

He’s also really good in the car. We couldn’t ask for a better traveling dog – he slept on his mat most of the time, and didn’t need pee stops any more often than the rest of us. We’ve been careful not to feed him fast food or snacks, ever, so he can share a backseat with a teenager and a cheeseburger without anything more than a vaguely left-out stare.

And now he’s sick. He has a terrible cough, which started really suddenly. I thought he was choking on something – he coughs so hard he gags himself, a reaction I remember clearly from his “I’m a Puppy and I Eat Mittens and Other Very Inappropriate Things’ phase. But he’s not choking, and he hasn’t eaten anything bad. He’s just a sick, sick puppy.

Water Dawg

Hayduke loves water, so when when we decided to buy boats early this year, it seemed unkind to consider getting into a hobby he’d love, in a way that excluded him. So I chose my boat with the intention of paddling with Hayduke. We brought him with us to the lake when we tested boats. I only looked at buying boats that his wet doggy body would fit in, and that he could get in and out of while out on the water. We practiced. I chose the Native because it seemed to work well for this, and once home, I put the boat in the living room floor and taught him to get in and out of it, and encouraged him to lie down inside.

A fat lot of good THAT did – the dog more or less totally refuses to get into the boat on the water. I’ve tried and tried to teach him to ride with me. I’ve put soft things in the bottom so that it would be less slippery. I’ve tried using a tab on his pinch collar to hold him. I’ve tried bribing him with snacks. I’ve given up. Continue reading “Water Dawg”


One year ago today, we took our puppy swimming for the very first time. At the time we really didn’t know if he’d like the water. He did – so much that we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate his first Waterversary.

So we went back to the same spot – a nice swimming hole on the Little Missouri river, a couple of miles’ hike in from the car. We invited Kathy and Jarion and Ivy, who were with us last year. We also asked Adam and Bonnie to come along, because we like Adam and Bonnie. (Note: Redheads do not always remember to wear sunscreen, even as adults. REMIND THEM.)

What a pretty day. We swam and played in the water. Mandy tried out Kathy’s new GoPro. Kathy took a hammock nap and I stayed near her while the others ranged upstream to play in the water with the dogs. Hayduke, ever the mama’s boy, ran back and forth between his playmates and me, while I sat on a warm rock reading a book.

Poor Hayduke

Hayduke’s been swimming so much that his ears have been bothering him. We ordered some stuff online that was recommended as a sort of dog swimmer’s ear remedy. It reviewed well, and we figured it would help.

Last week, we noticed some little bumps on top of his head. No big deal, we thought – they’re probably some kind of bug bites, or scratches from sticker bushes incurred while crashing through the underbrush in the woods somewhere.

But this week, on Monday, the little bumps were all over his poor head, and they were bothering him. All around his ears, and all down his neck, were little bleedy bumps. On Tuesday they were worse, and by Tuesday night they had spread to his muzzle. His eyes and mouth were all swollen. He was really feeling bad, and it was scary for him and for us.

First thing Wednesday morning, he and I were at the vet’s office. The awful hives and the swelling were an allergic reaction to the ear stuff, they said. He got a terrible haircut and some benedryl and steroid shots, and I stayed home all morning with him until the antihistamines kicked in and the swelling started to subside. He’s got different ear medicine now, and some oral antibiotics, but it’s going to take awhile for these awful itchy bleedy hives to go away.

And the worst part? He’s not allowed to swim for ten days. So stay away from “Vet’s Best Ear Relief” or else your $12 in over-the-counter product will turn into a $150 vet bill!

Dog House Project

Hayduke has a pretty good life. That little stray puppy huddled in the tree roots, hungry and scared, has made a fine life for himself in the house across the street. He gets good dog food and an endless supply of toys and treats and belly scratches and long hikes in the woods. It’s his first winter here, and even though he sleeps inside at night, he needs a doghouse for the cold mornings and evenings he stays outside during the winter, or during the rainy parts of the year.
But will any old doghouse do? No, it will not. No doghouses we can buy locally are insulated. No doghouses we can order online review well. Most dogs in Arkansas do just fine with a non-insulated doghouse. Most dogs don’t read online reviews.

We’re BUILDING a doghouse. We ordered plans online from doghouseplans.com and gathered ideas from reviewing hundreds of doghouse photos. We’ve gone to Home Depot a half dozen times. We’ve spent good money and large parts of four days building this doghouse.

Continue reading “Dog House Project”

Obedience Class for Dogs

Hayduke went through a puppy kindergarten this past spring (Blue Sky Dogs) with flying colors, though with perhaps a little bit too much enthusiasm. We took the class from Colleen who runs a pet shop on Cantrell Road, and it was worth every penny and every minute we spent.

For his beginning obedience class, we switched to the Little Rock Dog Training Club. They have a much more extensive lineup of courses for people who want to show their dogs, but we thought that many of the skills involved would translate well to just having a good, obedient, reliable family hiking dog.

Boy, were we wrong. What a waste of time and money! We spent nearly eight weeks relearning all the things we already knew from puppy kindergarten, except that we spent time to learn them in a snooty, dog-show way.

Hayduke had already learned that when I say “sit”, he should put his butt on the ground. He’s very good at it. Sit. Butt. Ground. Good sit. NOT a good sit, according to the snooty dog show people. He should sit THIS way, doing THIS, and not do THAT. Hayduke wasn’t interested, and I wasn’t either. He’d sit sideways, or stick his leg out, or lean on me. He and I were both so grumpy about the ‘new rules’ that I really believe he started sitting wrong on purpose. In fact, when he’d occasionally get it exactly right, he’d realize it and get up and sit again, pointing backward.

When we practiced ‘recall’, I’d call him from across the room. “Hayduke, COME!” I’d say in a happy, excited voice, and he’d run as fast as he could straight to me. But was this correct? No, it was NOT. I was supposed to say it sternly, in a voice of authority. “Hayduke, COME”, in a frowny loud tone. I pointed out that the students who said it this way had dogs who walked slowly to them, or ignored them completely, or wandered off to someone else. Mine was the only dog in the class who actually appeared to want to mind his human.

Most of the class was completely impractical pickiness and time spent fiddling with skills already learned. We were both disinterested and frustrated. I had to invent games for Hayduke to play or he’d get bored waiting on other dogs to do things perfectly.

Ugh. We finished our class, and we got our certificate (that’s it, up top), and phooey on them. We’re not going back.


The Amazing Giant Cat Tree Palace Sniper Tower

We asked Nathan to borrow his Big Dummy cargo bike, and I swung by Pete’s on Thursday after work to pick it up since that’s where Nathan was storing it. While doing so, I couldn’t help but notice that Pete’s neighbors across the street had put one of those enormously expensive cat trees on the curb next to their trash can. Some of the carpet was worn through, but it seemed clean and bug-free so Pete and I shoved it into my Subaru.

I spent Saturday morning with a utility knife, ripping carpet and rope off the cat tree. I vacuumed it and covered it with a just-in-case coat of flea spray. Once Bryan discovered a similar cat tree for sale online for $400, he cheerfully supported my project. We moved it inside and I spent some time over the weekend wrapping the now-naked legs with new manila rope.(four 50-foot packs of 1/4″ rope and three 50-foot packs of 3/8″ rope)

Hayduke thinks that, when the cats chase him around spitting and clawing for his eyeballs, that means they want to play. Hopefully they’ll use their new Amazing Giant Cat Tree Palace Sniper Tower to climb up and away from the overenthusiastic puppy.

Adoption Announcement

It's a DOG

We’ve decided to keep the puppy. He’s been trying to be a good boy, and has already learned some commands like ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ and ‘come.’ He’ll grow up to be big and strong enough to stay outside during the day, and he’ll like coming with us on backpacking and hiking trips. We’re getting him at the perfect age to teach him to behave and cooperate. And he really needs a home, so even if we aren’t perfect puppy parents, his life with us will be a lot better than just being out on the street, or stuck in a shelter, or chained in some guy’s backyard.

We’ve enjoyed having Hayduke underfoot the last couple of weeks. We’re looking forward to seeing what kind of dog he turns out to be.