Category Archives: dog park days

Out at the Delta

It’s been a very wet spring, and it snowed a lot in the Cascades, and the Columbia River (and its tributaries) were at flood stage (like so many rivers around the country) for much of May and June. But finally the water is receding.

In this picture, you can see what the Convergence Trail looked like on June 1st, 2011 and what it looked like June 30th. I’ll note that normally the Convergence Trail is not under water at all!

Two views of the Convergence Trail, June 1 and June 30, 2011

Sometimes I hate my dog….

I always love my dog. Really. But, just like when my kids were little, sometimes my patience is thin. Today… thinner than usual, or else Elly was truly annoying. A little of both, I think.

Elizabeth and I took her two well-behaved, obedient Corgis–who always hang around her feet and whom I trip over from time to time–and my two obnoxious disobedient standard poodles to Champoeg State Park. It’s a lovely park, along the banks of the Willamette River, with nice grassy trails. Her Corgis walked nicely with us… and Elly ran wild, fifty feet ahead, fifty feet behind, in the bushes, chasing rabbits, down through the blackberries… always with Dancer a few feet behind. Dancer returned when I asked her, and mostly Elly did, too, before going off on another side trail.

But… we got to the picnic area, where a man was setting up the kind of picnic I always hope someone will invite me to (you know, five coolers, grill, tables with table cloths, that kind of thing), and Elly went crazy. She was tracking something, I have no idea what, and she had zero (0, nada, zilch, none) interest in responding to anything I said, and all kinds of interest in evading me. She does that now and then, and eventually she always comes over and says “oh, excuse me, did you say something?” and acts very sweet and sucks up to me for a treat. Yeah, and usually, someone with nice obedient dogs isn’t watching my humiliation. Twenty minutes of loathing-the-dog later, she finally wandered over to me, bored of tracking whatever-it-was.

So I put her on leash and took her down to the river, and since she was hot, I tossed her in. I believe that would be called revenge. I did fish her back out, and she stopped panting, and her tongue stopped being four feet long.

Unfortunately, cooling her down meant she once again had the energy to pull me along, and I got dragged around for a while until we were back past the picnic area and could let her back off leash. After that, we finished our walk and went to the Heirloom Rose Garden and sniffed roses and admired roses and I bought a lovely old-fashioned rose. We also went to lunch at a new restaurant in Newberg: Recipe. Excellent. And very friendly. We sat outside where we could watch the car, since the dogs were in it.

Delta greens…

I took Dancer and Elly to the Delta on Monday; I took Dancer and Elly to the Delta on Tuesday. Today, Elly appeared to me to be a little stiff and tired, so I just took Dancer. It’s funny to me how different Dancer is when she’s just with me and Elly isn’t there. When Elly goes, the two of them run off ahead and then try to dig something up; they always end up muddy. When it’s just Dancer, she runs and comes back and runs and comes back, and runs some more, but she mostly hangs around pretty close to me, and she never does any digging. She’s very good company.

It’s spring here, all of a sudden. The field where they pulled out all the blackberries and plowed last year is now a sea of grass.

High Water at the Delta

It rained this past weekend, a lot. Today, the water was up in both the Sandy River and the Columbia River.

The Columbia River January 17th, 2011

The Sandy River, well over its banks and across the road at the Delta

It must be fall…

Elly caught (and ate) two fat field mice while we were out at the Sandy River Delta today. Most of the time, they’re just too fast, but at the end of summer, they’re fat and slow.

Once again, it is clear I am an idiot…

Went to the Sandy River Delta this morning. Went down a new trail. Trail tapered to dirt path. Path got narrower and narrower and less and less maintained. Did I turn back? No, I did not. I ended up bushwhacking through thistles and blackberries and a knee-deep pond to get to another trail.

I suppose being persistent is a good thing, but I would have to say that it should be tempered with a little common sense.

What does it take to wear out a poodle? (part 2)

Took the dogs to Sandy River Delta Park today. It is now firmly established that I should either stick to established paths or unreel a string behind me when I go places. I got lost again. Well, I wasn’t lost, as much as I couldn’t get where I wanted to go from where I was. I took a more southerly path than usual–a nice dirt path–and ended up at the river. I thought I’d walk along the river and take my usual path back to the car. I couldn’t find the path. I went up the bluff with great difficulty THREE DIFFERENT TIMES and all three times I ended up enmeshed in a blackberry patch. I have the scratches and torn clothes to prove it. The blackberries were so thick the dogs were following me and complaining about it.

Finally–after TWO HOURS of walking–I gave up and walked back to the path I came in on… and couldn’t find that path either. I nearly cried from sheer joy when I saw a woman throwing a ball for her two dogs. But then she vanished and I couldn’t find HER path either.

Elly saved the day. She looked back at me, and then RAN up one path. Damned if the girl wasn’t right. It still took another fifteen minutes of creating a path through waist-high grass (thankfully NOT blackberries) to get back to the right path. Fortunately at that point I could see where the path was going to be–because I could see the enormous towers holding the high tension electricity wires. Hard to miss those.

So THREE HOURS (well… 2 hours and 48 minutes) late I got back to the car. About a hundred yards from the car I put the girls back on leash.

Now, when Elly was a puppy, people kept telling me that the key to having Elly not pull on leash was to tire her out first. Before today I never managed to tire her out that much. She walked those hundred yards so nicely, with a nice slack leash, that it was like a different dog.

Not a method I plan to use often.

High Energy Dogs

I took the dogs to Chimney Park this morning. It’s fully fenced, and that’s pretty much its best feature. But there is enough room for the dogs to run full out, and it’s not very popular, which means not a lot of other dogs. This was a good thing this morning. It was cool and a bit moist (not quite drizzly), and the dogs were full-out nuts. I opened the gate into the park, and they took off running the whole length of the fence. They ran and they ran and they ran some more. They ran in circles around the park chasing each other and yipping. (Another advantage to Chimney Park is that the closest “neighbors” are industrial parks with lots of truck repair going on. No one was complaining about the noise.) They chased squirrels up trees. They are optimists, my curly girls, they really believe that, one day soon, they will catch a squirrel unawares.

They splashed in the muddy puddles. They ran some more, sliding in the mud.Lots of mud.

They were filthy messes by the time we were done. I took them to Hair of the Dog–a Portland grooming salon with self-serve baths too–and gave them baths. I brought them home and they could not wait for their lunch. They kept yelling at me: “when is it going to be ready! add some ice cubes so it cools faster! do something! what do you mean “sit”? I have no idea what you want!” While they were waiting, I got a handful of liver treats and had them do fast sits and downs. After a few repeats, you could HEAR their elbows hit the ground on the down. They were ravenous. Once their lunch cooled enough and I put it down, it was seconds before it was gone.

Then they fell deeply asleep, curled in little puppy balls. Like children, poodles are cute when they sleep. This is a very very good thing.

Thanks Amy!

A while back Amy suggested that if Elly ran off at 15 minutes at Marymoor, I should quit after 14 minutes and give her a reward. I took Elly to Marymoor this morning and noticed–hyper aware of her recent penchant for running off–that she was attentive at the beginning and got more and more distracted. When she seemed suddenly more interested in tracking a scent than in my treats–but decided after a moment to come back to me anyway, I thought of what Amy had said. I gave her a jackpot–lots of treats, lots of praise and petting–and put her leash on and we left. I stopped on the way out for a series of “sit, wait” and reward sequences, but I made it in and out of Marymoor without losing my dog.

Thanks, Amy.

Elly finally catches a rodent

I took Elly and Dancer to the puppy park today. Elly loves to dig holes, trying desperately to catch the rodents that live in them. I’m pretty sure they’re voles, but it’s hard to tell. Today she got especially involved and spent a very long time digging. She was in the hole pretty much up to her shoulders. I finally got a leash and went to her… just in time to see her pounce gleefully, raise her head and swallow–and a tail disappear into her mouth.

She looked unusually pleased with herself.

This is what her face looked like after I got her back to the car.

Filthy Elly