Velvet boy is home….

Kai went to the groomers today. He usually goes about every 6 weeks. However, for a number of reasons it was closer to 2 months between clips this time. I dropped off a scruffy, dirty dog and got back a velvet boy very happy to be home.

I keep Kai in what’s called a ‘kennel’ or ‘puppy’ clip. It’s very short and as a result when he’s first clipped he feels like crushed velvet. When his coat is longer it’s more like the curly wool of a sheep as he has hair rather than fur. That’s why standard poodles are considered hypoallergenic by many.

He has his face and paws clipped even tighter which helps keep him clean and also helps me with his working gear. He wears a halti when he’s working and often has to wear boots either because of the hot sidewalks in summer, or the snow, ice and salt in winter.

While he was being groomed I took the opportunity to take Molly for a walk on her own. We met up with a friend and had a short walk in the drizzle along the boardwalk. Molly enjoyed the morning without Kai.

Right now she’s been pushed down the couch so that Kai can get back in next to me. She’s very tolerant of him as he’s very insistent on being next to me. She loved bedtime though when there’s space for both of them to be next to me! It’s a good job I’m single as I’m not quite sure where we’d fit another person in with the three of us and I have a king-size bed!!

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p style=”text-align: justify;”>Thankfully it was a quiet day for me. I try to plan Kai’s grooming days for such time as I find it very hard to manage without him. I forget how much I rely on him, until days like today when he’s just not there. I even had to pick my own cell phone up when I dropped it this morning!

Welcome home, Kai!

A freelance writer is born….

Just under a year ago, I started this Blog as my first endeavour as a non-academic author. Since then, I’ve had an article published in an online forum and a poem selected for inclusion in an anthology; both under my pseudonym. The first was unpaid and the second payment is on a royalty basis and as one author among many royalties will be minimal and a long way off.

However, today I can count another milestone: My first article published as a paid freelance author. Yesterday I attended the Sault Ste. Marie Annual Dog Show. I then wrote about it for SooToday. Today, that article was published as “Dispatch from a dog show“. At the end of the month I’ll submit my invoice and I’ll be paid for what I wrote. Not it’s not going to get me out of debt in a hurry but it’ll certainly buy me a soy white-hot chocolate at Starbucks now and then and help me complete my bucket list.

Unfortunately with summer on its way I may need to stop them soon as fruit smoothies will start ruling the day and exposure to citrus becomes more problematic. However, I have enjoyed the occasional ones that I have managed. So whatever you drink, raise a glass with me, to me – Nikki Shaw – freelance writer!

Photograph courtesy of Kirsten Wilson.

The first cut of the year….

Kai 17th May 2017

Yesterday my garden go its first cut of the year. That to me is the first step towards summer. When the snow has been gone long enough that the grass is long enough to need cutting.

I’m fortunate in that a teenage neighbour cuts my grass for me, as needed, each summer. He earns some money and I don’t have to manage the equipment which in the past, has been known to shred my hands as I didn’t feel how badly the vibration was blistering my palms.

The only time I’ve enjoyed cutting the grass was the year I lived on a small-holding and we have a ride-on lawn mower. Then I was quite happy to cut the grass!!

Maybe that’s what I’ll invest in when my teenage neighbour grows up and leaves home; a little ride-on mower so that I can do my own grass.

Anyway, Kai and Molly loved the cut grass and brought lots in on their paws for me to see for myself!!

The theory is that by not raking and bagging the cut grass mulches back into the ground and helps the bald patches cover back over with grass once more. I’ll just have to see if it works!

At least we got this cut in between the thunderstorms!!

What’s the first thing that signals the beginning of summer for you?

Just for one day I started to feel like myself again….

Yesterday I felt like myself again, just for a day. It was wonderful. I packed up snacks and emergency survival equipment, loaded up the dogs and hit the road. It was wonderful to feel well enough to just drive….

So Molly, Kai and I went to visit the home of Winnie-the-Pooh, White River, Ontario.

The day was mostly spent driving as it’s a good 4 1/2 hours from Sault Ste. Marie. However, it was a nice sunny day for the most part. Though I drove through two storms on the way home just in time to beat the massive thunderstorm that hit last night.

Some gorgeous views and amazing sights. I saw moose and birds of prey. The lakes were starting to unfreeze so the edges were mixed between waves and open water and icebergs. Some of the waterfalls were just flourishing with the snowmelt.

I loved the sense of humour of whoever was naming some of the lakes. At one point there was ‘Mom Lake’ and ‘Dad Lake’ just next to it. Just as I was wondering what you’d call a third lake I came upon ‘Orphan Lake’ just far enough from Mom and Dad to be orphaned!

It was a lovely day out and the dogs loved the ride and the walk by the Winnie-the-Pooh memorial. Next time we’ll have to go when the museum is actually open and see if I can handle the scents.

However, for right now just getting out for the day was such a huge step for me after almost a year of being mostly housebound. I’m only extending my limits to my vehicle but now that I’m well enough to drive like that again…. it’s wonderful!!

Even with the thunderstorm last night all three of us slept well last night!!

If it’s not dog poop, it’s mud! Spring seems to be here….

This is my back garden right now. Though you should replace the toddlers with an elderly female shepherd/husky mix and an 18 month standard poodle. They seem to love the mud just the same.

So trips outside now include wiping 8 paws! Which usually means that one dog spreads as much mud around the floors as they possibly can while I wipe the other dog’s paws. Then the first dog gets in the way of the second dog having their paws wiped as they’re jealous of the attention. It’s an experience!

It’s a good job I’m working from home and nobody can see me from the waist down on any of the WebEx meetings that I attend. I’m usually covered in mud too by the time all 8 paws are wiped off.

BIzarrely both dogs are trained to wipe their feet but neither seem to be able to remember the concept! At least most of the time it’s just the floor which wipes clean pretty easily.

Then last night I got quite the surprise. Rather than making my bed yesterday I’d pulled all the covers back to air out the bedding. Apparently at some point I forgot to shut the bedroom door for in a perfectly straight line, right across my king size bed, were two lines of 4 prints. It almost seems a shame to wash the sheets they did such a great job of getting such perfect prints!

I will be glad when this specific part of spring is done with and the flowers start to come up and I can let the dogs out without being ready for the mud tussle on their return!!

Oh, and I’m still battling the spring poop…. but I think it’s winning 🙁

Some days recovery is so much slower than I’d like…

So today I decided to start clearing up some of that dog poop. I got myself well prepared with rain boots, heavy-duty plastic waste bags and dozens on bags for picking it up.

It was gross!!

However, the weather was probably perfect for it as I could dig my fingers in the snow around the poop and pick it up often in one slushy piece.

I got all of the side area to the deck done and started on the garden itself.

However, what I didn’t take into account was how hard all that bending down would be physically. I managed about 10 minutes before I was too out of breath to ignore it any more. So I packed up for the day and came in.

Flashback to a repeat of what my life was like for months last year…. It took a good hour for me to recover my breath again. Even after that I couldn’t eat and breath at the same time for a few more hours.

I’m sure it was a combination of the type of exercise, the scents from being outside (though the poop itself hasn’t got to the point of smelling yet – it’s still too frozen) and just doing too much.

It was scary though!

So now,  I’m inside resting and working out how long it will take me to finish off the yard if I just do 5 minutes a day. At least my dogs don’t walk it in. Somehow they pick their way round it!

I’m also looking up different poop scoop devices to see if there’s something that might be easier for me to manage once I’m finished with what’s left in the snow and I’m dealing with the bog that is the majority of my yard currently. If anybody has any recommendations, please let me know!

My apologies for the gross subject matter but hey, this blog is about my life and this was my life today! Dog poop and extreme shortness of breath once more.

The good news is that I did recover and I can breathe again and eat, and talk (to my dogs anyway!). So I am improving but the space between how sick I was and how well I am is much closer than I thought 🙁

 

Spring = dog poop season!

It’s that time of year when I regret not going out in -10 with my dogs to pick up their poop as it appears in vast quantities as the snow melts. Every spring I promise myself that this year I’ll pick it up all winter and every spring I regret not keeping that promise.

Two dogs equal a lot of poop!

Especially as one likes to share her treasures with as much of the garden as possible by walking around as she poops. The other is easier to deal with. His treasures tend to all be exactly where you’d walk as you step outside the door on the deck so much of his has been cleared up already as I don’t have to stand in ankle-deep bog to find it!

I wonder if there is a yard cleaning service that does a spring poop clean-up?? If not, there’s a great business for some young entrepreneur. I’ll admit – I’d pay a lot to not have this job to do!

PS I apologise for the poor grammar in the cartoon…. 🙁