We have been on the road a lot lately, but it is now time to check in with you all. One weekend not long ago we took the Blitz and Teka to a hunt test in Smith River, California. Go a bit North of Smith River and you’re in Oregon. Here are a few pictures from our travels and a bit of pen and ink.
We stayed at a RV park with this ship in the front yard. I thought lumberjacks had big yard art, but I have to admit the sailors win the “BIG” prize.
It was a happy morning when I left the house today. I opened the door and said, “Ok girls left go,” and two golden retrievers raced each other out the door and to the truck. I usually take two dogs with me when I go to the woods and they ride in the back of the truck. According to my dogs, all of that empty truck bed is being wasted with out a dog. Today we traveled to the coast. It was a hot day inland but cool on the coast. It was good day to take my furry buddies along. I loaded up the mother-daughter duo of Nellie and Blitz. Once secured we headed west.
Taking the dogs to work has its own special requirements. The summers here are hot, very hot, 115 degrees hot, so the dogs can’t go every day. Today it was in the low 90s inland, but only in the 60s on the coast. It was a good day to ride along. This is the time of year when the road department is doing all kinds of road construction. When traffic is stopped by the flaggers, I try to stop my truck so the dogs are in the shade. I can’t always do it, but I do it when I can. The dogs have taught me that they need a break every couple of hours to air out.
When it’s hot they need a swim too, and the stops are more frequent. A soaking wet dog is the best air conditioning on those hot days. When we stop for a break, I like to pick out a remote spot away from the highway where they can safely get out and run loose.
I like to pick a spot with water, preferably swimming water, because as every golden knows a drink of water taste best while you swimming in it.
After a drink, we have to fetch a hundred or so sticks and then eat grass along the riverbank. Then it’s time to load up and hit the road. Down the road we go with a couple of brand new sticks to go with the other forty already in the back of the truck. I travel through many of the same areas frequently enough to learn all the good places to stop. I will use those places over and over again. That way I know what to watch for. When picking a spot to stop I also look for what to avoid. Around here, poison oak is near the top of the list. The dogs don’t care about it, but they aren’t the ones that get it. It’s miserable when they give it to me and even more miserable when we bring home for my wife. Not good, because then we are all in the doghouse.
Other things to avoid are rattlesnake areas and foxtails. For those of you unfamiliar with foxtails they are a nasty sticker that will bore into the dog’s noses, ears and between their toes requiring a trip to the veterinarian. Often an inspection of the site is in order before the dogs unload. Taking them along definitely takes a little more time and care, but nonetheless it is a joy to have them ride along. When we get home, I have two very tired and satisfied golden retrievers. They crash out on the rug after a long day on the road. Over the years, I’ve had my share of canine emergencies that I had to deal with. So, just remember when taking your dogs to work that sometime things happen and you have to be ready. When the dogs are so well traveled and so active they have more opportunities to get into trouble so be careful out there, but have fun.
Blaze rode with me for years. She loved to go to work and hated to be left at home. When I would go into my office in the morning she would find the highest point on the truck and intently watch the backdoor impatiently. She would wait for me to come out so I could take her to the woods. If she could have driven the truck herself she would have, and I would have been left behind.
She was a tremendous AKC Hunt Test competitor and loved to work. I painted this of her when she was actively running events. She would sit in the yard and stare at me refusing to come in until I would come out and train her. In this watercolor I was trying to capture her intensity and joy of the hunt.
We logged a lot of miles together a chased a lot of squirrels. Well, she chased the squirrels. She was amazing companion and I miss her dearly.
One of great things about being a forester is taking your dogs to work. They want to go and I have an empty truck bed. It works out for all of us. It is a joy to take them along and bears run away from them. They are pretty handy to have around. When they find a yellowjacket nest they love to run to me so I can knot the bees off of them. If they find something dead or smelly they love to roll in it so they can find me and share their awesome prefume. However, we do have to watch out for rattlesnakes and Nellie could tell you a story, but we will save that one for later. Perks of the job. It seemed like a good time to bring up my traveling companions. They bring a smile to my face and with all the chaos going on around here I hope they do the same for you. More about them later.