Saturday, November 28, 2009




If you wish hard enough and long enough, dreams do come true.  I know because all  my life I have wanted to sail through the countryside with my head hanging out the  window of a big Dodge Ram.  We are  not big truckP1030502 people so I was pretty sure this wasn’t in my future.  Wrong!  Today we had so much stuff to transport to Ridgway and bring back from Montrose that we needed a pick-up!  My eyes are only closed to keep the wind out….I truly am blissful here.

First we stopped by the Second Chance Thrift ShopP1030504 in Ridgway.  We dropped off a few chairs we don’t need anymore, lots of frameP1030501d pictures that will brighten up someone’s home, and some second-hand skis that  will move someone up a  notch  in the ski department.  Benj had pretty nice skis.  Curly-haired had really LONG skis…..someone  tall will enjoy those for sure. He liked them  for big long glides down the slopes.  Someone somewhere is going to be a happy camper, as they say.

It was Black Friday today so everything in Montrose was hopping.  We did a quick Christmas shop at Target.  The deals were great they said.  I don’t know because I was stuck in the truck the whole time. Actually I Loved it!  I even went up to sit in the driver’s seat for a while.  I looked  HOT up there.  Home Depot, Office Depot were on our list   and then we looked at cars.  I’m trying not to get my hopes up but it would be nice to have a little more freedom, and a vehicle would give us that. 

Benj took off to Maine again.  We left him at the airport.  He tookP1030487 home a big batch of cookies in his luggage. He made them so I guess that was fair. Look at the size of them; they are ginormous. My dog biscuits are never that big.  No wonder owner is always worrying about her five pounds.


Driving home owner was busy snapping photos of everything.  I tried to smile at first but it quickly became old.  Relaxing and sniffing was all I had on my day’s agenda.  Turkey day was just yesterday  and already people are thinking about tree season. That plastic bag likely blew off  about ten miles down the road….it was flapping like a turkey about to have its head chopped off!


We must have gotten a little carried away thinking about  Christmas because suddenly a Dickie Bird (what grandpa in Canada calls the coppers) was flagging us down.  Once the nice young officer  looked into the backseat and saw they were in my care and control  he went easy on curly-haired.  Gee we weren’t going that fast!…I had just been thinking FASTER, FASTER in my head when I heard the big “oh no,” from the front seat. It was instantly obvious that  my dreams of speed were dashed.

We went from dried brown grasses, no snow, and warm temperatures to cold temperatures, snow and ice in just over an hour.  Things change quickly around here. Cows were enjoying a good mow down on the leftover fall grasses, especially the ones near Ralph Lauren’s ranch.  I wonder what he does with his cattle?  Does he ride the range? 



By now we are getting closer and closer to home.  You can see the snow starting to gather up high on the red rocks.  The river isn’t frozen and is moving pretty quickly.  I just want to say that if you think the blurry bits look good… should smell them!  Those scents fly by at lightening speed and you just get enough of a taste to stir your passions….deer feet, river moss, skunk tracks, snow flakes, rotten leaves, dead mice, bear fur, oooh I’m driving myself crazy with this list.


Once the Valley Floor is just outside the truck window I know it is just moments to our driveway.   People in town raised about FIFTY MILLION to buy this land and preserve it for future generations.  Not every town does that! And let’s not forget that the town has 2,000 full time residents, give or take a few.  Buying the Valley Floor was a monumental achievement and the town made legal history as well. Pretty impressive folks.   Telluride people value their outdoor space.

  Soon the family will be out there cross-country skiing.  I’m not allowed to go.  Dogs can’t go out on the Valley Floor because we disturb the wildlife.  I’m OK with that.  There are plenty of outdoor spots I can go that I don’t even try to argue this point.   Besides, I’ve heard that cross country skiing is really hard if you are a dog.

P1030485It’s been a bit chilly up here lately.  I spend most of my nights huddled near the heater.  The other morning I actually hopped up on the couch and burrowed into owner’s chest to warm  up.  The couch is sort of off limits to me but she allowed it this one time.   She could feel my fur was cold to the touch.  It was a heavenly snuggle.  When I say the condo was cold, I mean it was cold! One Christmas  when my owner and curly-haired were up in Toronto, the water froze just like this (our bathroom sink!)  in Ron’s bathtub.  You could skate in the bathtub.  

Anyway, just kidding with the above photo.  That’s really the water from my dog bowl on the patio! Good one, eh?  Keep warm everybody!  Hey, and if you own a big truck….come pick me up some time and take me for a ride.  I’d love it!  See ya later.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It’s time to give thanks everybody!



Well it is time for me to give thanks for my wonderful life.  When I think back to living in a cage and having no home I am extremely grateful for the life I lead.   In fact, I really have too much.  I have two personal dog beds, three bowls, lots of food to go in the bowl, a lovely waterproof duster to wear during wet weather,  a thick natural fur coat, and people who adore me. My sight may be going but so far my health is good.  Arthritis pills keep my aching joints calmed down.   What more could a furry little mongrel like me want.  The only thing I can think of that would make my life complete is a small piece of dark meat on turkey day! 

Living in Telluride has opened up a whole new world for me.  Now when my owners have guests I also get guests.   Recently on  movie night I was delighted   to have Zak show up for a bit of food and a night of “Keeping Mum”…..really good by the way if you are looking for a fun film  for your teens.  Last night we entertained for the Giving Thanks Day  and Lilly came over with Eric.   How great is that? P1030484Milan came too and was a bit surprised he hadn’t been asked to bring Hans…..those Rotties though? …small space?….three dogs…..their reps?  Oh well, next time Hans, next time.    Anyway, I admit I got a little miffed.  You can see I refused to look at the camera for anyone.  Lilly really knows how to work a crowd, perform tricks, and get everyone roaring with laughter.  I went over to inspect  the whole “tricks” thing and realised I had been led down the garden path!   She does tricks for vegetables….how dumb is she?  They had Canadian tortiere for the main meal and she did her inside voice, outside voice, rolled over, gave a high five for pieces of broccoli.  Weird, man weird!


Let me just add this…the  D ------A------Y I even dream about putting my chin on the table is the day Curly-haired Alpha  falls over in a faint.  AND…get this, he was  taking pictures and just enjoying the hell out of this English Bulldog chatting up the table.  (she does channel  Winston Churchill  well,  doesn’t she?) God, since her visit I’m  considering plastic surgery, can you believe it?  Jowls  are on my Christmas list.  Sad to say but I was embarrassed  for curly-haired, he was falling all over himself, laughing that unstoppable laugh he  gets when he’s having a great time!   And owner….she just kept looking down to make sure I was fine with the visitor.  How on earth did that help the situation? She was absolutely useless at  dealing with my emotional turmoil.  Let it be known I do love Lilly.  I’ve known her since she was just a little bag of wrinkles over at Resortquest.  Now, I hear I might  even babysit her sometimes.  I’m going to teach HER a few tricks.  You can count on that….remember my poop in the shoe trick.  That’s always good for a laugh.

Now we realise, as a family, that it is not just THANKS we should be giving.  GIVING is important too.  We  have found our little ways to try and give back.  Not all of the events  we participate in take place this weekend, but we are aware of our responsibilities given the lives we lead.   Santa Paws with Second Chance comes to mind – around Noel Night  I think.  I wonder if I get to go to that;  I’d like my photo taken with Santa.  

Recently,  we have been  busy giving to the birds.  Our grandpa in Canada has set such a good example for us that we have decided we need to follow in his footsteps.   We called him up in Haileybury, Canada (now known as Timiskaming Shores…how can you do that, change a town’s  name.  It infuriates owner no end.)   He tP1030462old us all  his secrets. He works hard to  make the birds come to his house rather than to his next-door neighbours.   He buys peanut butter, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and makes a big gooey mess.  The birds FLOCK to his place  (ha, good pun eh?). How hard can it be, right?   We went out and bought a nice big bird feeder, filled it with seeds, added suet because bird’s  need fat to survive the winter….and nobody came to our party.  So far we have had depressing results.  The big birds don’t seem to be able to get their beaks into the bird feeder or rest on it to peck  gently at all the great seeds we supplied.  The little birds either aren’t visiting Telluride this year or are afraid of the big birds patrolling the bird feeder.    Any suggestions anyone?  We want to give!  I want to hear those birds say THANKS…..well I haven’t heard my owners say that but gee, it is the least those tantalising little birdies can do.

And as for you and your  thanks, I have only this to say. If you are lucky enough to be a dog owner….GIVE THANKS.  We are the best thing that ever happened to you.  We make you get exercise.  We never argue with you about anything.  Every single thing you do is the smartest thing we have ever heard.   We love  unconditionally.  We snuggle any time  and give kisses unabashedly.  If you have high blood pressure, we lower it.   We clean up all crumbs under tables and on the floor. And, we are funny as hell!  Take that CATS. 



And now I give thanks.  I am thankful  to live in Telluride.  It is probably one of the greatest places on earth to be a dog.  Yes, I love my Lone Star State but my loyalty to my newfound friends and my newfound town runs deep.  What would my life be without Shiprock down the street tridesummer08_103making snow angels? (Gee in the above photo it  looks like he lost his head!)   Zak tiptoeing through the tulips, so to speak.    Hans hoping to come to dinner?  Lilly entertaining the family with her silly jowls and tricks.  Eloise eating her carrots. It is true.   I miss my old pals. I do.  But thank you God for giving me new ones.


Now  I know many of you  have seen this  video of my new hometown but I swear  it is worth watching over again. This little video makes my owner cry.  I’m not lying.  She cries with delight.   I think that is her way of giving thanks for living in this incredible town too.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  If you haven’t….ENJOY.  And let me add…everything you see is true.   It snows like this.  People ride their bikes in their ski boots with their skis and dogs alongside.  Avalanche dogs apparently know how to get on a chair lift…I do not!   People drink beer here!  HA!  Who would have thought that right?  Snow makes us happy!    Telluride awaits.


Shot and edited in the winter of 2009 in collaboration with the Telluride Visitors Center, Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association, Telluride Ski Resort and Telluride Mountainfilm in hopes of giving viewers a soulful look at the winter experience in Telluride

Happy American Thanksgiving.   See ya later.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A dog’s eye view


Boy, they go to see a movie which is supposed to be a pleasant event and suddenly they are home having a  heated discussion about what the movie meant.  Why go to a movie in the first place would be my question?  And this movie was in bloody English.  Imagine if it had been in a foreign language with poorly translated subtitles. In that case you  would be forgiven for having different opinions on what  the heck was happening.    Curly-haired Alpha  likes to take his movies literally and owner likes movies that make you think about what else it could have meant. She likes to imagine herself in the movie and curly-haired Alpha wants to be the director.  Not the best combo I guess unless you are already movie stars.

Me….I would just like to see things clearly.  My vision is seriously deteriorating.  I think they call them cataracts.  One day I could see fine and then POOF everything was a little cloudier, like looking through a piece of beach glass.  At first I thought it was pretty but now it is just irritating.  Put me in a dark room and I  trip over things as I mentioned last posting….a pair of slippers set a trap for me.   Benj better keep his suitcase out of the way when he comes home or he may find me sleeping in it; this would not be because I chose to  but because I fell into it and couldn’t get out.


Today is your chance to see the world as I do, minus the cataracts.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Quickly  you  will realise how close to the floor I am.   It is pretty amazing that I have any sense at all of what is sitting up there on the kitchen counter.  There’s no way  I can get a glimpse of a chicken or a lovely cut of beef.  That is why the good Lord gave me a great sense of smP1030444ell.  The fridge opens and I  appear because it smells so darn good. Actually if everything in there was rotten  I  would still come.  Refrigerators  equal potential. We will take stinky rotten cheese if that is what you offer; dogs in France must have it good. Getting back to my big dream of everything  rotting in a fridge…I  hope they would let me roll around in some of the liquified remains because that would be absolute heaven for any dog.  That  delicious thought aside,  I think everyone should have a canine pal because we provide a good vacuum cleaning service.   You can’t see the crumbs on this floor but I can and  I do the doggie snuffle daily  to clean them up. 



Coffee table anyone?   I bet you had to sit and think a moment, didn’t you, before you realised what it was.  Now don’t think my owner doesn’t clean up; she does.  Dust in Telluride is a never ending problem.  I don’t know if dust doesn’t show up as much in a humid environment or what, but here  at a “high and dry altitude” it is impossible to eliminate.  I’m only a fan of coffee tables when we entertain and have cheese  or meat trays  laid out for guests. When not in use the darn thing should be sent to a black hole in the bottom of the floor.   Wiggle room between a coffee table andP1030448 a couch is always a touchy problem, literally!  I can just barely squeak my way between the two objects but lying down is damn near impossible and I am not a big girl.  Imagine how Boris at 110 pounds must have felt and apparently he thought he was the size of a lap dog.   Many stories abound in this house of Boris, when the TV was lower,  deliberately standing   between the  TV and the viewers and completely  blocking the screen.  Old Bo had a good sense of humour I must say.  However, they ultimately responded by moving the  TV up higher  and never thought to lower it for me.  Most funny stories end up with consequences, don’t they?

I’m thinking of asking Santa for my own laptop with which to view my favourite TV shows.  Dear Santa…. I believe, I believe. (I think that is how it works.)



Here’s my view from the window seat.  Aren’t those cushions on the left annoying.  I don’t have proper hands so I can’t move them; however, my chin rests on them quite comfortably.   Summer time on a window seat with open windows is pure heaven.  The odours from everyone’s evening meals waft in on the breeze.  Of course my owner decided  to replace the seat cover materials.  Now they are beautiful  with  expensive fabric which was a huge mistake in my opinion.  I’m not really allowed up here anymore but they aren’t home all the time.  Who’s going to tell on me?



Lying in front of this little Amish heater is my favourite place during the winter months.  Yes, I love snow and iceP1030318  but when I get inside again I love to warm my toes and whiskers and dream my life away. From here  I have a bird’s eye view of everything that is important in my little kingdom.   My bed is just behind me but  I like to save that for evenings.    I don’t understand why but I have always preferred the floor in daylight hours.  Lying  in front of the stove gives me a direct visual on  the fridge and  food and water bowl.   You just never know when a scrap of something delicious is going to make it over  to the bowl outside of feeding times.  It doesn’t happen often (Lane) but it has happened and I’m not P1030446one to miss out on a treat.





It is almost bedtime at the OK Corral.  Time to get the leash down  P1020644and snap it on the old collar and go for one last evening amble. Look what they wrote on the back of the Made in Canada tag.  Those Canadians really have a sense of humour about things eh?  Gee, now they have me doing it too, eh?  OK, eh, gotta stop, eh?



So, time to head out and look at the stars, as they say. Water the lawn; check the pipes, write my name in the snow.  You get the drift, eh?  See ya later. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Got Milk?

Ok so it isn’t milk….but it sure looks like I’m in one of those Got Milk ads doesn’t it?  Whatever you call it, snow, nieve, neige,  frozen water, a damned pain in the ass….I love this stuff . You can even see how hard my paws are working as I cut through the snow.  I have grip extraordinaire;   no yaktrax for me.  This picture was taken on Sunday morning…it didn’t start to snow until Friday morning. Isn’t nature amazing?
It really helps that  our huge snowfall  has dried out a lot  since  it arrived.   When I went out about 10 p.m. on Saturday night  the road was booby trapped with thick snow over a lot of  puddles.  My owner and I both slopped right into a deep one (not fun!).  The temperature  fell  taking a lot of moisture with it….that wet sticky stuff is really tough on my feet  when it turns into ice balls.   As easy as I found the River Trail today, it  was  tough for the humans  to negotiate.  Luckily some cross-country skiers and then some runners had been out and back several times.  This pounded down the snow to allow them, not yours truly as I have  good paws and even better claws,  to make our unsteady way out to the old bridge and back.  It was a slow trip as we had to take a lot of photos. 

P1030362 There will be no more  climbing up to Ajax Peak, Ingram Basin, Blue Lakes or any of those places until  June for us.  Some people risk going up there with their snowshoes  but they are much more mountain savvy than we are.  We have no experience hiking into back country with avalanche danger. I mean who would want to mess with that kind of thing.  You can see in the video below  how powerful they can be. This one was dynamite triggered.  Our ski area is avalanche controlled to keep us all as safe as possible. We have never seen  a  real avalanche but the raw power of  this video makes us cautious about venturing out where we don’t belong. In the little town of Ophir the residents were held captive for several days a year or so ago from a big slide.   Everyone took good care of each other and many little parties were held to avoid cabin fever.
Last December the Telluride area received so much snow  that  we couldn’t go for our morning walks without hearing dynamite charges going off  up close to the ski area – before anyone was allowed on  the slopes obviously.  It makes you realise that real people are out there keeping  the  mountains safe for us to enjoy ourselves…..where they don’t go we don’t go. (sometimes the videos work better the second time through…buffering and all…make sure your sound is on! )
We tend to stick to the tried and true trails over the winter months. It was great to get out today and see that cross country skiers are already  enjoying all this white stuff. The difficult  question  is where the heck am I supposed to go when they are passing me on their skis?  Is there a rule about this?  P1030401 Curly-haired  Alpha  seems to think I need to step off the path…well easy for him but it was up to my nostrils and I could have suffocated.   To me the skier needs to get out of my way because they don’t sink nearly as badly as I do.  However, he   has never listened to me so he’s not going to start now.

I  made a new friend that I thought was my old pal  Rusty for a moment. P1030407 It only took a sniff to realise I  was mistaken.   We had a quick chat about how strange humans can be.   He  told me he was out on the prowl ownerless!  Now that I  would love to try.  I’m no longer constantly under lock and key (read leash) but always under watch.  They still have never allowed  me head out alone and roam around town.    Nine years old (X7) and never allowed out on the loose…excluding the one time I ran into the field where all the coyotes live.  I survived so what’s the big deal? Of course there is that fine  they would have to pay if I got nabbed by the dog catcher….but why should that bother me?   My Rusty look-a-like pal took off on me and left me dreaming of what it would be like to be footloose and fancy free. P1030414
Just as he ran away  we noticed more beautiful scenery.  We had never before seen  sepia tones that sang out loud.    Before you know it this snow will have fallen and the ethereal effect will be gone until the next dusting.   Even I try not to brush the snow off the lower branches.  I don’t do this because I care about the beauty.  The wetter I get the longer I have to lie on my mat in the front entryway. 

Soon this bridge leading to Lift 7 will be lit up with fairy lights.  It is hard to make a magical environment more magical but those lights do just that. 
  As the winter solstice approaches,  yes I am a learned dog, change is in the air.    Summer clothes have moved to the garage in special ziplock bags…who knew? Quilts have been replaced with comforters. Fuzzy slippers lie haphazardly in the  hallway.  I tripped over a pair yesterday which really irked; I am losing my sight it appears.  Candles are being lit and lining our windowsills to warm the night for travellers to and from their homes.   Our little heater is doing what it can to warm our toes.  Specially spiced cookies are cooling on the counter. Who is going where for tree season  is a topic of conversation along with do you want turkey or roast beef….I’ll eat anything folks. I have never been fussy about my meat.    See ya later. 
(again buffering works best the second time through….patience eh?  I’m new at this and doing my dog (ha) gone best!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Always wanted to live in the neighbourhood – with snow!


Woke up this morning and burrowed deep down under the covers.  Curly- headed Alpha popped up right away because he had to head to Clarkes across the street to get his caffeine fix.  I hP1030283eard my owner ask, “did it snow.”  “No”, he replied.  “OK then I’m staying in bed for another hour.”  I snuggled closer to her relieved to not have to head out  because it wasn’t quite light outside. Suddenly she poked her head out from under her pillow  and said, “I think it is snowing now.” And it was.  Everyone came to life.  We LOVE snow.  Call us weird, call us bizarre, call us downright loco,  …we love that white stuff.  Clothes were thrown on, jackets dug out of the closet, old Uggs  that can get wet slid on happy feet and out we went.  We love snow so much that we went the long way to get the coffee.  Now THAT is devotion to the fluffy stuff.  I did mention last posting, however, that no one bothered to figure out where MY coat was so look at me….I’m dressed in a snow blanket but it was worth it.


Now snow means different things to different people.  For many in Telluride  it is their livelihood.  All of the lifties who have come to town are excited to see snow falling because the hill opens in just under two weeks.  Shop owners are excited because visitors will come to town and pick up gifts for their friends and family who didn’t accompany them  this trip.  Restaurant owners are happy because all that altitude and  fresh-air exercise makes for some hungry folks.   For a huge percentage of people in  town it  means getting out on the slopes and skiing and snowboardP1030298ing their tails off….OK, they stole that expression from us dogs but you know what I mean.  Others are delighted to see snow because, like my pack, big fat falling flakes just make them happy.  It can’t be explained; it has to be felt. 

Some people just can’t accept that there are people in this world who  truly do  love snow.  Don’t forget curly-haired Alpha  grew up in Toronto and my owner grew up  in Northern Ontario  on the Quebec border so they really  understand winter! P1030309 I will admit  my owners don’t like brushing snow off the car (but hey, we don’t have one, problem solved.)  They hate freezing rain. They really  hate stepping into a half-melted puddle in the middle of the night on the way back from a movie at The Nugget Theatre, but other than that snowflakes make them happy.  Everything looks clean and fresh and new and hopeful.  I think that is what it is…. snow makes us  feel  alive and reveling in life kindles our sense of hopefulness.  


For me it means that some or maybe all of the boys are DSCN1845 coming home. Once turkey season rolls around it gets more and more likely someone is coming back to walk me, hug me and play with me.  If it is David….I’m getting fed extra food off the counter.  The rest of the bunch are just old  DSCF1604 fuddy duddies.  Jon and Benj worry about my heart, my liver, an extra roll of chub around my middle….to hell with that, bring on the grub guys.  I love turkey scraps, even a  bite of pumpkin pie tastes good to me.  Oh well, I heard David isn’t coming home this year.  He’s still off with China teaching China to speak English.  I hope he is teaching  her  to love dogs too.  Since I’m half Chow a part of me comes fromP1000602 there…I wonder which part?  I guess my head  since I have a mostly black tongue; in case you didn’t know Chow’s have a fully black tongue. I have a feeling only Benj will be home this year.  He’s leaving College behind again  but we all know how that goes…they just continue breaking up and getting back together.  I bet anything that by January he’s back with her again.  I can’t even think about Kim  not coming. She and curly-DSCF1446haired Alpha are so similar that it makes the energy level of the condo  go up…they are always up and ready for anything.  Oh well, we have to share her, and by default Jon,  with her family too.  I can’t bear to  think about it.  Bring on the snow I need to feel hopeful!

Anyway, this town has a real sense of humour about snow.  There is a lovely bronze (I think) statue near the school bus stop at the local Middle and High School.  That little charmer is always dressed up by the locals.  Today she had on a wig to keep her head warm and a cute little scarf.  How sweet is that.  Someone keeps  her stylin’


I admit that snow can make navigating difficult.  Mind you I do it by smell not by signage.  However, people can get lost because it gets harder and harder to figure out where you are. P1030297   And it becomes much less likely you are going to be using your patio furniture with your friends.   But hey, how much can you do that anyway.  Gee in Texas you sit outside on your patio and drip sweat and swat mosquitos all night.  How much fun is that?  Instead   we meet up with friends and  ski until we are exhausted, nourish ourselves with  savoury winter foods and then  hop into hot tubs and feel like a million bucks.  Well I don’t   hop in  because I avoid water as much as possible but the owners like  to lounge around in the hot water  and laugh as their hair and eyelashes collect snowflakes.  Add a glass of wine  and they are in heaven….P1030301 (probably NOT recommended by their doctor but he doesn’ t need to know  everything).   I prefer to sit on the edge and  let my tail swish in and out of the water once in a while.  It just makes me feel happy to be out in the snow  with the owners.  If they are happy; I am ecstatic. 

And look at these little fellows. They  probably think it is almost tree season. It is not even eight o’clock in the morning and they have begged to get outside to roll in the white stuff. Kids are closer to P1030302dogs than you would actually believe!  Don’t lose the magic guys!   You wouldn’t want them rolling around on the grass in Texas…you’d be worried about fire ants and stray snakes.  There’s only one problem.  If you have ever lived in a cold climate you know there is a relationship between snowsuits and needing to pee…in fact I really could use a fire hydrant about now. See ya later.