What’s on the Floor?

The girls and I came home from a hike in the wash, the other day, and even though it wasn’t hot, they were thirsty. I usually carry a hydration pack, and they are adept at drinking from the nipple, (yes, we all share the same nipple) but this hike was short so I had left the cumbersome pack behind.

Sadie drinking from my bite valve

Hoping to prevent a swamp around the indoor water bucket, I encouraged them to drink before we came in the house. But, of course, one stop at the fountain wasn’t sufficient to slake their thirst, and they topped off in the kitchen. My partner BikeMike, a most skillful grumbler, griper, grouser, and growler, began a tirade about the mess. Now, before you take his side in this earth-shattering debate, let me plead my case.

Separate but equal segregated water dishes for dogs and cats

When said partner first joined my pack, we were just me and the love of my life, Studley Dude (a Maine Coon cat who seemed half cat, half dog), and a couple of other cats who had adopted me as their staff. He was informed that should he have any idea of being higher in the household hierarchy than Studley Dude, he might as well not move in. He readily agreed, being as how he had already developed more affection for my cats than for me, and like them, saw me more as staff than was warranted by my opinion that I was the pack leader.

But I digress. Shortly after settling in, he installed a dishwasher and a new kitchen floor, white, ceramic tile. I know you’re asking who would put white tile anywhere, much less on a kitchen floor?! But I wanted to have a CLEAN kitchen. About ten years later, I decided that clean was highly overrated. So, when we remodeled, I chose a dirt colored floor. Aside from vacuuming up the dog hair, it requires no maintenance. I’m only half kidding. It gets cleaned around the water bucket about twice a day! But seriously, the two dogs clean up anything that’s spilled on the floor and the vacuum gets the rest. As a matter of fact, since we got dogs, the dishwasher is almost superfluous.

“In Beauty May She Walk”

Have you ever noticed how the less active you are, the more tired you feel? The more tired you feel, the less inclined you are to pry yourself away from your blog to get some endorphins flowing and the more blue goo settles in your brain.

With Sally gone for the summer, through-hiking the John Muir Trail, I was without my favorite hiking/biking companion. So, I pottered around in the garden, ruining my back with digging, weeding, and harvesting, telling myself that because I was exhausted at the end of the day, I was getting exercise. No! Exercise is when your heart pounds so hard you can hear it in your own ears and you’re breathing so hard that you’re sucking up small pebbles off the ground.

Well, my girlfriend’s back and I’m happy again! Sally’s return got me back on the bike and we rode our favorite trail, the Santa Ana River Trail. We’ve ridden it dozens of times and I’ve described its harrowing exposures, technical stream crossings, and wild descents here more often than most would care to read. So, suffice it to say, heart pounding and heavy breathing ensued. In fact, it dispelled the summer’s ennui so effectively that yesterday, I loaded up the dogs and headed for a mountain hike.

Vivian Creek Trail is often crowded at the trailhead because there’s a waterfall within a quarter of a mile of the picnic area. For some unknown reason, there were two porta-pots stationed in front of the permanent restrooms, perhaps due to the overflow crowds induced by Covid-19. Both were disgusting! Ignorant city folks had dumped all sorts of trash into the toilet along with their usual effluent. Pity the poor guy who has to pump that tank!

Thankfully, the trail itself is too steep for most of the day trippers so, a mile away from the parking lot, we had the trail to ourselves.

https://www.relive.cc/view/vwq1YdBxALq This is a link to a Relive video of my hike and ten of the photos taken along the route. I have the free version so it’s limited to ten still images. I love this app and may have to upgrade. It would be nice if the app would turn itself on automatically because I invariably forget to start it until I’m well into the hike.

The strenuous climb, the soothing sounds of the forest, the company of my dogs, all combined to wash away the concerns of a world gone awry. The few hikers we encountered politely donned masks before passing and greeted us cordially, all reminding me that “all will be well” as I walked in beauty.

Wagging Tails

A happy dog’s perspective of the world

I stumbled, half awake, to the bathroom this morning, trying to keep my eyes closed and my brain stilled so I could crawl back into my still-warm down comforter and pick up my imaginary wanderings.

Morning dreams are only remembered for the briefest moment though, as I’m immediately brought to full consciousness by two warm noses nudging me and two tails fanning the chill morning air through my diaphanous silk long-underwear. I wonder at the evident joy with which Molly and Sadie greet me every single morning.

Their greeting conveys that they expect only good things of the day to come. And indeed, their lives are filled with doggie delights: breakfast (oh boy, my favorite thing!); a trip out to the yard to smell who’s passed through during the night (how interesting!); a walk in the wash with exotic aromas of chasable creatures (mostly unseen but nonetheless exciting); a dog biscuit from dad who rewards us just for being so adorable; a nap, filled with dreams of chasing, barking, and eating; a ride in the car; another nap; dinner (same thing as breakfast but even MORE delicious than ever before); yet another nap while Mom clatters away on her keyboard; and then bedtime, perhaps the best of all as our peeps are all safely ensconced just feet away from our ever-vigilant (albeit sleeping) watch.

When I come home from work, I’m greeted as if I’ve been gone for days rather than hours. Though if you think of it in dog years, I have been gone for 2.04 days. I try to explain this concept to young, working people who contemplate getting a puppy. The modern idea is that you simply store the little guy in a crate and give him a bowl of kibble when you get home from work. Maybe he gets a walk around the block or maybe you’re too tired, busy, bored, or preoccupied to even indulge the mutt in what is the single most wonderful activity in his life.


Deprived of socialization, exercise, and proper pack leadership, dogs become the opposite of what is expected of man’s best friend. I could go on for decades about how to be the person your dog thinks you are, but this particular post wasn’t intended to be about responsible pet husbandry. Rather it was to point out how a dog’s perspective on life could teach us how to be content. They focus intently on the good, praising it with wagging tails and quite literally $#!+-eating grins on their faces and sleep through the boring parts…dreaming of the good parts.