Thursday, December 10, 2009

'Tis The Season



'Tis the season alright... for frigid temperatures!!! I am guessing this is Earl's first serious experience with the white stuff... and he seems to be doing okay. Although the temperatures have been quite chilly as of late, -29C/-20F. Earl has grown accustomed to his booties (thanks to Judy at The Dog House and her JudyMade products) and his super-warm winter coat is the talk of the neighbourhood.

Earl seems to get a kick out of the white stuff. He likes to lag behind me while we walk... snuffling in the snow with his nose... then he springs to life and gallops past me... stopping again to snuffle around in the snow until I am six feet past him... then starts all over again.

With the weather getting colder and colder I finally had to give up my usual winter apparel consisting of a polar fleece jacket and a down-filled vest, replacing it with a heavy-duty parka, new gloves and a fur hat. Upon further examination, it seems the fur on the hat is.... RABBIT! Which explains Earl's keen interest in the hat!

My daughter is home from school for Christmas, and the main gift she got from Santa was her new digital SLR camera. Naturally, Earl is her main subject.





Sunday, November 8, 2009

It's Been A Long Time!

It's been a while since my last post... but it is good to be back. Thundering Earl is doing very well. I think he is adjusting to the Canadian weather versus warm sunny climate he once enjoyed in Florida.

One concern I have had with Earl is he seems to have developed a limp. I don't know if it is a pulled muscle or what... he seems to walk fine on grass or dirt, and walks on cement sidewalks without any noticeable limp, but the moment we cross the street and have to walk on asphalt or pavement... he starts to limp, sometimes quite severely. It does not seem to be a pad problem as he has no problem putting his paw down. A girl I work with who has raised dalmatians and is quite dog savvy checked him out, from paw to shoulder, gently squeezing and prodding and got no negative reaction from the big boy... go figure.

I chose to leave Earl at home one morning last week as I had an out-of-office meeting to attend. My wife trotted-jogged with Earl around our crescent when she spotted her old highschool P.E. teacher, also jogging, with a dog (German Shephard).

Before my wife had a chance to say "hi", Mrs. Takahashi blurted "Is that...."

My wife was waiting for the usual "...a greyhound?"... but instead heard "Is that... Earl?"

It seems that shortly after I adopted Earl (almost five months ago), our paths had crossed and we had a brief conversation... and Earl made a lasting impression.

A two-minute walk is a recreation centre with a football/soccer field, baseball diamond... but in the winter the local parks and rec department puts up the boards for hockey and broomball. These boards provide a perfect little arena for Earl to run around until the snow flies and the ice forms... check out the video below.



video

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Weekend of Firsts!

FIRST FIRST
Friday morning, before I went to work with Earl, he did something new... he absconded with my lunch! Each morning I stand a few steps below Earl at the back door, getting my shoes on while he patiently waits. This time... with my lunch bag sitting on the stairs, I had to grab something from the basement... I returned just in time to see Earl merrily trotting through the kitchen and into the living room, carrying my lunch bag by its handle!

SECOND FIRST
Saturday evening we returned from being out for about 4 hours to find that Earl had marked some territory in one of our spare bedrooms. This was the first time it has happened that know of.

THIRD FIRST
Today the weather forecast was calling for rain, so although it was a beautiful morning for a walk (which we did after our sleep-in) we looked forward to the afternoon and the inclement weather. We weren't disappointed... we both donned our yellow slickers and drove over to the nearby park where of course we were the only ones out walking. We didnt stay out long, maybe 20 minutes, but it was fun. And probably funny if you were watching.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Road Trip






Last weekend Earl and I took our first solo road trip (not counting the day I picked him up from NLGA). The difference this time was it was an overnight. The main purpose of our trip was to go cheer on the skaters in the Northshore Inline Marathon, an event I have skated in since 1996... but due to injury have not skated the past two years. The other part of the trip was to stop in at Ryden's Border Store just across the border into Minnesota to pick up some clothing we had ordered from K9 Apparel.

This trip would also be Earl's first night in a hotel/motel. We stayed at a Motel6 in Duluth... despite having read some pretty lousy reviews on Trip Advisor, but it turned out to be an okay place to stay.

I had requested a non -smoking groundfloor room, so we would not have to tackle any stairs (good for my knees and Earl's lack of skill on stairs). They managed to give me a smoke-free room... but it was on the second floor. I thought this might present a problem... and although Earl was tentative at first, he did manage to go up and down the stairs with relative ease, and at a slow pace, which suited me and my poor knees just fine.

Earl sniffed out and examined every corner of the hotel room, restraining himself from marking his territory anywhere in the room, thank goodness. I wasnt prepared for Ear's exhuberance every time he heard a noise in the hallway; when there was someone in the hall Earl would run to the door wagging his tail thinking someone was coming to visit us.

The night passed without event as Earl and I maintained our routine of suppertime walk and late night (11:00pm) walk before going to bed. Earl did have his bed on the floor next to mine, which is a little different than the arrangment we enjoy at home but he sure didnt seem to mind.

The next morning after breakfast Earl and I packed up the car and headed to the race location. For two hours Earl watched skaters go whizzing by at speeds upwards of 20-25mph and did not blink an eye. He was not tempted to chase anyone and did not bark... what a greyt guy!

After we had watched enough of the race to satisfy our need for speed we went to the finish area and chatted with old friends and made some new noes (thanks to Earl). Everyone commented on how well behaved he was, even with the commotion all around. They also commented on how the German Shephard that was walking around with its owner of NOT well behaved. So I guess Earl really shone by comparison.

After a quick stop at a local pet store Earl and I headed back home to Thunder Bay, with stops in Two Harbours and Grand Marais along the way to break up the trip and stretch our legs. All in all, a successful little 30 hour jaunt to the US.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Who You Are


In a recently previous life I had a truck, rollerbladed marathons and played a lot of volleyball. On the back window of my truck I had a volleyball decal and a Salomon logo decal, displaying my interests.

For the past few years on my current ride I have displayed both the old and new Apple® logo decals, showing that I have been an avid Apple® afficianado for several years (circa 1987) and not just since the iPod generation. Now I have added yet another decal to the back window... check it out!

The Things You Find


I have noticed while walking Earl that people lose a lot of things while they are out and about, and they also litter a lot! I leave the litter alone, but get a kick out of "collecting" things people have lost, and I have started a "treasure chest" of items.

By my house are a couple soccer fields, and when people are not playing soccer I guess golf neophytes like to use the field as an unofficial driving range, hence the golf balls.

The pink baseball cap started out as a deep red, however after it became Earl's favourite play-toy, it began to fade after almost three months in the sun.

The rubber work gloves are in pristine condition and were found in the parking lot of the local elementary school. They must have belonged to one of the janitors.

The waterbottle had some beer caps and paper towels stuffed inside.

The running shoes were found hanging over the fence at the soccer field.

The baby toy I found on the sidewalk in front of my house, which technically, I would have found whether I was out walking Earl or not, but as it happens I was walking Earl. I hung it from the tree in front of the house in hopes that the owner would come around again, but after several days, no one claimed it...so.... another prize for the treasure chest.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back To Work!

My wife is away in Toronto for a week, so I have taken the opportunity of having no one home during the day to give me the kickstart needed to slowly re-introduce Earl back into the workplace.

The difference between our new routine and the routine we previously enjoyed is that now I let him eat his breakfast at home instead of at work. Probably a good idea anyway.

It is going to take a bit of adjusting to the new digs... previously I had my own little office (closet) but now I am sharing a "graphics department" which is also used as a thoroughfare for everyone going from the front office through to the press room (I work in a commercial print shop).

The first day, I only brought Earl in for a half day. Today was his first full day. He did well. We went for a walk at lunch at the marina for about 30 minutes before returning to work. It seems to be working out well.

The top picture is taken from my chair... this is the view Earl and I have of each other the entire day.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

I received an email from Northern Lights Greyhounds saying that someone who had previously adopted a greyhound from them was looking to get in touch with me. I emailed back and apparently the people adopted a dog from NLGA two years ago, and live in Thunder Bay! Not only that... they are on my side of the city! Hopefully we will be able to get the dogs together for a visit.

My niece brought her Beagle over last week. This was Hunter's first time off-leash in the city (our back yard) and he and Earl had a nice time playing with each other. It was good to see.

Adjusting

The company I work for has switched buildings, and the entire transition will most likely take a couple weeks. For this reason, mine and Earl's routine has had to be adjusted. Instead of Earl coming to work with me, like has since I first got him, I bring him back home after our morning walk and head off to work alone. :-(

I have adjusted my lunch break to one-hour so I can drive home (10 minutes) and take him for his walk at lunch. Today was a little weird though. I came home... and Earl was nowhere to be found. I phoned my wife on the cell phone and asked "....uh....where's my dog?". She had him. Apparently he just had to go with her when she went out for coffee and to drive my daughter to her second job.

Hopefully once things settle down at work Earl will be able to come back... but we will have to see... the arrangements at the new locations are not as pet-friendly as the original job site.

Stereotyped

Earl is stereotyped. Everything he did not do when I first got him, he now does. For example:

BABOON BUTT
He had it, but it has pretty much filled in with newly grown hair.

CHATTERING
Not often, only a couple times, but he has done it, and it is pretty funny.

COUNTERSURFING
He tries, but we are faster than he is in this endeavour.

ESCAPED TONGUE SYNDROME
Oh yeah.

FAWN
That's him!

GOTCHA DAY
June 13, 2009

HELICOPTERING
Not just when I come home... even when my wife comes home!

NITTING
He does this a lot! Especially when he and I are roughousing in the living room.

PLAY-BOW
When I come out of the house to play in the backyard after having my morning shower, Earl is all about the Play-Bow.

ROACHING
To the extreme.... sometimes it looks like Earl is a statue that has been upended.

ROO
When we try hard enough, we can get him going with this. The first time we did it... my wife had no idea what was happening and it was quite funny.

SCRITCH
Earl loves having his ears scratched. When we do it... he really pushes his whole head against your hand.

SPHINX
This is Earl's second favourite position, right after his "dead deer" pose.

ZOOMIES
These are part of our usual morning routine, two minutes of Zoomies and then our half hour walk.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fitting In


Well its been a couple weeks since my last post, but never fear, all is well with Earl. He continues to come to work with me, and has figured out that when I put my jacket on, we are going out, and that just because I get out of my chair doesn't mean we are going outside.

My daughter Brianne, who has always been a dog lover and looks forward to me picking her up from work with Earl in the backseat, has taken the time to do a watercolour painting and a sketch of Earl.

I have been in touch with Earl's original owner who had raced him. I have learned what ended Earl's racing career... a pulled muscle. Apparently Earl pulled a muscle and was rested for six weeks, but after the injury never came near to achieving his previous glory. It was as if he was hesitant to go all out and risk another injury. Smart boy. How many professional human athletes would be smart enough to not take risk? Good boy Earl. Just Say No to drugs.

After 5 weeks in our house Earl has tried to start collecting things in earnest. He has had his eye on the television remote, slippers, my jacket, pajamas... the list goes on. I have to remind my wife that she cannot give him her slipper one day, and then tell him NO the next day when he takes it on his own!

Living with Earl is like watching a child going through their developmental stages, except it is the Readers Digest condensed version.

Each day it seems there is a "he's never done that before" moment.

Digging in the back yard has started, not too bad, kind of amusing to be honest. Our back yard has never been a lush retreat of greenery as it gets a lot of hot afternoon sunshine, so we are not concerned. My mother-in-law was over visiting and decided Earl must be hot, so she put some water in the wading pool and coaxed him in. He loved it, splashed everyone as he tried to dig through the bottom of the pool and then, while soaking wet... decided to go and lie down in the dirt pile he had created earlier with his new-found digging skills.

Although I have been taking Earl to work every day, I am not sure how that is going to work out when our business moves to its new building. It has been good at our current building because I have my own small office. Okay, i used to be a storage room, but we cut a whole in the wall so I could see the rest of the graphics department and let in some natural light. Unfortunately I won't have my own office space in the new building, so the days of Earl accompanying me to work may be numbered. If this is the case I will still be taking him for his morning walk and zoomies... but then I will have to make the 10 minute drive to work (the luxury of living in a smallish community) and come back at lunch to take him for his noon walk. We will see how it all works out.

Last night I had a lousy sleep and was zonked when it came to take Earl outside, so this morning we only did Zoomies and then we went back to sleep. At one point I laid down on the floor with Earl and he reached out his paw to me and placed it on my arm. We are such buddies.
:-)





Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Morning Walks and Bedroom Talks

Earl and I have settled nicely into our routine of rising and shining at 6:30 a.m. When I wake up I take Earl into the backyard and allow him some free time to himself to play with some of the toys. Hopefully the neighbours love the "screaming monkey" as much as Earl.

After showering and getting ready for work I join Earl in the backyard where he runs his zoomies for 2 - 3 minutes... then we hop in the car for our short drive to Boulevard Lake where we enjoy a nice stroll, appreciating the birdsongs and the view of the mist on the lake.

Today however we had a bit of a mishap. Earl likes to walk along a stone wall which is about 3 ft. above street level. This way, he and I are at virtually eye level, which I think he gets a kick out of . Well today, while walking along the top of the wall Earl was distracted by a passing car, and when he turned around he lost his footing and partially tumbled off the wall. Not entirely off, which may have actually been better... but instead he was scrambling his back legs to gain a foothold and prevent falling off the wall completely. He suffered a few scrapes, but nothing that seems to bother him, and I am sure nothing worse than he may have experienced in his racing days.

I am also realizing a couple benefits of all this walking with Earl in the wee hours. Treasure! So far we have found: 2 golf balls, 1 red ball cap, 1 pair soccer cleats, 1 pair of socks! The ball cap has become one of Earl's favourite toys to play with in the mornings (sometimes taking a backseat to the screaming monkey).

Earl is winning over even the most die-hard anti-pet people and so far everyone he meets falls in love with him, which is surprising because even I will admit that greyhounds are not necessarily the most visually appealing dog... being mostly skin and bones. Earl's personality, disposition and friendliness seems to really win him some "fast friends".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Life with Earl


Earl is a minor celebrity. All my daughter's friends want to see Earl. The neighbours want to visit Earl. My co-workers want to take him home. Life is good for Earl.

I have been extremely fortunate in having a boss who has generously allowed Earl to come to work with me. This has made life with Earl wonderful. Our routine consists of an early morning walk each day for 30 minutes, a short walk around the company property at 10am, another 30 minute walk during the lunch hour, another short walk around 2:30 around the company property again, then we head home at 4pm. In the evening Earl and I also go for a walk in the evening for 30 minutes to an hour.

Life in the household has been great with Earl. He has staked out his own piece of property in the living room, where he drops himself like a dead deer, no matter where we put his special dog pillow bed.

Earl went for his first local vet visit and did great. No behaviour problems. The vet said she would like to see him add 10% to his body weight, so we have been feeding him a bit extra with his meals. Next appointment is in a couple weeks, so we will see how he does with his weight gain.

Initially upon taking up residence in our home Earl was pretty low-key. He is starting to come into his own, developing his personality and playing with his stuffed animals.

Each night when it is time for bed, we turn out the lights... and shortly thereafter, Earl wanders into our bedroom to make sure we are safe and sound.

Earl has also started collecting some of our personal items... t-shirts left carelessly on the floor... sandals, slippers...and one time... almost my wristwatch!

So far, having Earl has been exactly what i expected and we all love him!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Release the Hounds!


I made the drive to Coon Rapids, MN on Friday so I could visit the a couple dogs which were being fostered on Saturday morning. It seemed like the hounds were going like hotcakes throughout the week and crossed my fingers there would be a suitable one available by the time I arrived.

I used a GPS to find my way and when the GPS stated "you have arrived at your destination" I pulled over and found myself parked in front of a funeral home. This couldn't be right, could it? It turns out, the vet clinic where I was to meet the dogs was two doors down (thank goodness).

After introducing myself I was shown a video about owning a greyhound, and immediately after that I was introduced to the first dog, Alan. Alan was sweet, adorable, brindle in colour and very laid back. I took Alan for a short walk and he was great on the leash. The only problem I had with Alan was he obviously had a tendency to shed and one of my reasons for getting a greyhound was for their lack of shedding. While this did not immediately put Alan out of the running (pun intended) it did make me consider waiting a few weeks until another batch of dogs would be coming available.

I was asked if I wanted to see another dog that they had brought in for me, and I acknowledge that I would like that very much.

The next dog, THUNDERING EARL was a fawn-coloured male with a black snout. He had a bit more energy than FLASH ALAN and had a mind of his own, which he demonstrated while we went on our walk. It was a hard decision to make. I felt like I would be letting down FLASHY ALAN if I did not adopt him, since this was a "rescue", right? But in the end I had to consider the shedding problem and how that would affect life on the homefront... so in the end, THUNDERING EARL made the trip home to become a Canadian citizen.

The toughest part of the entire 7 hour trip home was coaxing Earl into the van the first time. Once that was accomplished he hopped in and walked right into his travel crate. We stopped three times on the way home and Earl came to recognize that the sound of the side door of the van sliding open meant it was time for a walk.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dwindling Options

As the day approaches to drive to Minneapolis to select a hound, it seems another one gets adopted each day! If I don't find one that I like... I will have to drive home empty handed and see what comes in the next few weeks when the next shipment of hounds is due to arrive.

Over the weekend I received a plethora of birthday gifts from a friend... which consisted of things my new dog would need. Thanks Paul and Michelle!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Success!

I got 'THE CALL" today! I have been approved. Tentatively (but a pretty firm "tentatively") I will visit Northern Lights Greyhound Adoption on Saturday, June 13th and select a hound! Can't wait!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vetted

Vetted. Not the dog. Me. Like a Supreme Court judge. My first reference check has gone through. Apparently with flying colours. Awaiting the next reference check now. Perhaps I should start accumulating doggie things? Crate, blanket, toys, dog dishes (do they use cutlery?).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Telephone Interview

While at work today I got the phone call I've been impatiently waiting for. Steve from Northern Lights Greyhounds called while driving from Chicago... it was a bit frustrating because I was very busy at work so I called him back... only to have the call not go through. I called again but this time got his voice mail. Arrrgh!!! I went outside and used my cell again and we managed to eek our way through a telephone interview. Now he will contact my references. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Still Waiting

I heard back from Northern Lights Greyhounds... someone name Steve is supposed to get back to me either by telephone or email sometime this week. Waiting sucks!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wait Begins

I have submitted adoption applications to two greyhound adoption organizations. Initially I was going to try to adopt a hound from an Ontario-based group, but due to the geographical logistics (a 17 hour drive, each way) I have opted to look south of the border to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The second organization I contacted, which did not have any hounds currently available suggested I contact Northern Lights Greyhounds... which coincidentally, I had applied to first. Crossing my fingers and waiting.