Good Bye To My Baby Boy

My Handsome Boy

Wheaton got bit by another dog from the campground on Monday, October 4th. It was severe and he has succumbed to the injuries.

He died in the wee hours of the morning of October 5th…..at home. In bed with his Momma and his Daisy he passed in his sleep.

I don’t know if it was a complication from the surgery or if it was that his little body just couldn’t handle the shock of it all. I don’t know.. I was told he would be ok and that he could come home. For Wheatie’s sake, his final hours were at least at home where he felt safe and loved. He wasn’t alone & scared in a kennel at a vet clinic. My poor sweet baby boy. This is so hard.

I was going to write all about the incident but that doesn’t bring him back or honour his beautiful (almost) 7 years with us. And he deserves a glowing tribute.

He was the best little goofball and he made me laugh every day.

He came to us a broken mess. He had never felt love, or kindness, or safe. His old life was a life of puppy mill hell. Abuse, neglect, illness….he was just a commodity to them and when those bastards were done with him – after 4 years of using him to make puppies for their profit, he was put up for auction. He was worth $10 to them. But there was something in his sad little face and his big brown eyes that made the gals from a little Winnipeg dog rescue group add him to their list of dogs they would bid on to get them out of this cycle of mill life. That’s what these auctions are, just a trickle down one puppy mill dumping their “stock” for an even worse puppy mill to pick up stock for cheap. And those that don’t get sold off will get shot behind the barn after the auction. Those gals from our rescue got their bid and saved his life.

If you’ve followed since the beginning you know how I saw him on the rescue’s Facebook page and fell in love. Our 24 hour pre adoption test visit was November 9th, 2014. It was love at first sight for me. For Wheaton it was love at first sight when he saw Daisy. That was our “gotcha day” so it became his “re” birthday.

People thought I was crazy taking on a 4 year old “damaged” rescue case. But he was meant to be our boy and we loved him every single day for almost 7 years.

Anyone lucky enough to get to know the real Wheatie, behind the anxiety and skittishness, fell in love with his kind silly soul.

I will miss his hugs. He was my huggy boy. We had our own special “Momma and Wheatie” cuddle time every day….he would tell me it was time by putting his paw on my arm. I would say “do you need a cuddle!” And he’d wiggle his little bum as a yes. I would open my arms and he’d come in for hugs. His paws on my shoulder and his little face in the crook of my neck. Sometimes 15 minutes of just hugging like this, sometimes he’d slide down and curl up between my arm and my body with his chin resting on my shoulder. I would know he was comfy and settled once he gave his little sign and I could feel him completely let go and relax all his little muscles.

He was my comedy relief. He did silly things that made me laugh every day. His “happy” dance. His game of “the floor is lava”. His sneaky stealth like ways of trying to eat Daisy’s left over food. His not so subtle “here’s my butt, wanna scratch it” way of asking for pets! And more. He was just the best little guy.

He was my little energy worker/healer. When my mum died and I was struggling and at my worst he would lay across my chest, his heart to my heart and he would just stay like that, no encouragement, he just knew my heart was broken and I needed his love. He would physically push his back against my back in bed like he was letting me know I was supported. He healed me with his love just as I healed him with my love years ago. He was a magical healing dog.

He fell right into this life just as if it was meant to be. Camping, hiking, long car rides, coming to work, none of this was familiar but he took to camping and hiking like a natural! He loved car rides buckled in beside his Daisy, wanting me to roll the window down at every stop so he could stand up and look out the window – often entertaining the person in the car next to us with his “pop up” smile happy Wheatie face! He was my happy boy.

And Daisy. Oh my goodness he loved his Daisy! From the minute he came out of that kennel in my kitchen to meet us and his tail gave a wiggle when Daisy came to sniff him, it was love. He was devoted to her.

They played with each other, running and chasing and barking at each other. I’ll never forget coming home one day, about 3 weeks into him being with us, and there they were, curled up together in the dog bed for the first time! He had to be in her space all the time! Even if she took up the whole dog bed he’d stealth-fully back his butt up until he was just a few inches into the bed, 3/4 of him still laying on the floor. Anything to just be next to her. Her fierce protector right to the end. He was such a wonderful little brother and best friend to her.

I can’t even begin to express how much of an impact you had in my life. You taught me to be way more patient. You taught me even more about unconditional love. You will be missed my beautiful Wheatie boy. You changed my whole life and I will miss you every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you for blessing me and choosing me to be your momma.

Momma loves you.

Loves

Thank you to our readers. You’ve followed Wheaton’s story and the support was wonderful.

This is where we leave you.

Please, in memory of Wheaton, give rescues a chance. Adopt don’t shop. And always hug your dog a little more.

In love and in kindness.

Blessed Be.

Did you Smell That?

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A very important part of the walk is the sniff. I always keep this in mind whether it’s a regular walk around our neighbourhood block or a 5km hike through the trails……their noses are their door to the world!! It may seem like a walk around the block but there are so many new messages to get caught up on! Checking “pee-mails!! It’s their “social media update”! Every day there’s a new “post”! And a hike through the forest is the biggest adventure for the nose!

Every blade of grass, every tree, bush, telephone pole, fence post, rock, etc, holds a message only they can decipher. This is their time, you can’t rush this process for them, it’s the very essence of being a dog!

Sniffing isn’t just for Bloodhounds! Check out this article from vet Dr. Karen Becker.

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2019/04/25/why-dogs-need-time-to-sniff.aspx

You know it’s especially good and stinky if they do the above……

Rub their snout and face in it! Wheaton likes to rub his snout in dead things! Dead frogs, dead worms, dead bugs….he wants that scent all over his face and chin! Hahaha

Silly dog! I draw the line at face rubbing on the stinky decaying stuff! Yes, he’s a dog, but he also sleeps in my bed on my pillow! And as much as he may want to smell like worm and frog guts….I don’t!

Our point is, dogs need to sniff! So please, for your furry companion, leave some time for nose exploration!

The nose knows!!

The Fight

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A couple weekends back we went up to another campsite to watch the football game. My CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers (GO BLUE) #fortheW. I had packed my backpack with stuff. We arrived to the seating area outside and I put the leashes down to open the backpack……..

In that few seconds Wheaton saw the dog over at the site across and he took off. Because the leashes are tied together, poor little Miss Daisy was dragged along. Wheatie made a beeline straight to the other dog, who happens to hate little dogs.

Next thing I see is Wheaton being pinned to the ground on his back and this other dog on top of him and a lot of mouth fighting and I hear Wheaton yelping and screaming.

I ran over and without any hesitation I reach between the fighting dogs and I pull them apart. They lunge at each other again. More snarling and screeching yelps. I get them apart and the humans belonging to the other dog get their girl under control.

The other dog’s name is Dolly. And Dolly’s humans are of course concerned…..and lovely people. It’s not Dolly’s fault. I always take full responsibility for Wheaton. It’s my job to pay attention. I failed him in this one. I dropped their leashes before looking around. If I had looked I would have seen Dolly on her tie out, and I would have tied my fur littles leash to something before settling in and sorting stuff.

Wheaton was scared and shaken up but there was no blood. The biting was all snapping at air and no actual biting of flesh. Phew. He had one scratch on his back but it barely broke the surface of his skin. He was definitely traumatized by it so I of course felt like I failed him.

I held him and soothed him for a good 45 minutes before he settled and relaxed in my arms.

And then, for the next 3 hours of the game, Wheaton, and his new nemesis Dolly, just stared each other down waiting for a shot at round 2! Dolly is a beautiful medium sized dog but she has that “hunting for prey” alertness about her. Of course she goes into attack mode with small dogs! Especially when they come running at her barking their faces off!! Wheaton is an asshole. Seriously, I’m thinking we need him in a shirt that states this! He’s my asshole and I love him, it’s just who he is around other strange dogs. Off his leash he’s fun and playful with a bit of barking until he’s assessed the situation. On his leash he’s panicked and insecure with other dogs. And if the energy from the other dog is confrontational well, then it’s “go time”. We’ve had 2 other incidents in the 6+ years he’s been with us. Each one has been another dog charging at us. This is the first (and last) where it’s my fault.

Lesson 1; do not drop the leash until you know there are no hazards or dangers for your dog.

Lesson 2; stay the EFF away from Dolly!

With love & kindness,

Jenn, Daisy & The Asshole

Ps, an asshole but still a bloody handsome lil bugger

Let’s Go For A Walk…

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Every morning, when out at the camper, we get up and go for a long walk. It’s a bit cooler in the mornings, especially this summer with a drought and extreme heat warnings, morning are definitely nicer!

We have such a great time just walking around exploring our surroundings, back country trails are all closed given the forest fire situation all over our parks and forests so we just walk down the gravel roads.

The nice part is that there are no vehicles permitted down the gravel roads, also because of the fire ban/hazards, so the fur littles are free and open to explore with their sniffers!

Part of being a dog is sniffing!! It’s community and communication for them! They know more from smells than I know from looking around so if they hesitate at a turn or a new path I listen to their noses!

The other morning we just went walking and exploring and we ended up having a 7km adventure. I remembered a water bottle this time!! Unlike the last 7km adventure we had….we weren’t lost…. I knew the way back just couldn’t find where the rest of the trail picked up! Lesson learned, grab the water bottle!

Sometimes I worry that I’m “making” them walk too much but I watch them and they are loving it! They chase each other, they stop and sniff everything, they have pep in their step! They set the pace, when they stop I wait. And when we get back to the camper it’s all about resting and chilling!

I think the walking keeps us young! And yes, I am including myself in that category! The mileage is good for us all!

So are the naps!!

Summer goes too fast! All it takes is a couple cooler nights and seeing some yellow leaves and you start to hear the “summer’s over” talk.

Well no! Hang in there cause the calendar says it’s summer until September 21st! And my camper is set up till Canadian Thanksgiving in October!

Make the most of the remaining season! Go for a walk!!

Be well!

Love & hugs,

Jenn, Wheaton & Daisy

Spiders and Snakes and Bears… Oh My!

So different part of the province means different flora and fauna…I get it. It’s not like Hecla didn’t have spiders and snakes and ticks and bears…….it did have spiders but different spiders. It had snakes but I only ever saw 1 in my site. Ticks yes but not a lot. And bears were not around much cause the only way into Hecla is a long causeway over the marshy lake.

So far here….. 3 snakes, two snapping turtles (laying eggs on the side of the road in the campground), spiders are so big I’ve named them and we hang out…..and the bears. They are present and like roaming the campground. Had one coming into my site a couple weekends ago! That was exciting! I was just sitting out reading my book, I heard a noise and looked up….

There was an adolescent black bear about 30 to 40 feet from me. I stood up and waved my arms over mg head and yelled “GIT BEAR!” And he startled and ran back.

The owners chase the bears and shoot off the bear banger and the 12 gauge to scare them off but they come back. So far harmless but still we all must be bear-smart! They’re hungry cause all this heat and no rain has depleted all the wild berries. There is also a mother and a cub so do NOT ever get in the way of a momma bear and her babies! I thought I was a fierce protective momma!! Woo-wee!

Anyway, we have cut out the hiking cause trails are dry and most are closed to keep the risk of human caused forest fires down!! Also, I don’t want to tempt the bears with two little white furry snacks!

So, are you worried that I don’t like the new site because of these distractions…..NOT a chance!!! I absolutely love the new camp! My site is perfectly shaded from this unbearable (hahaha) heat! There have been days where it’s 37°C out in the clear open sites and my site is only 28-30°! Still quite warm but tolerable! Thank you trees!

Game changers I never realised changed the camping game SO much….

Electricity

Water hook up

Port-a-Potty

Mini Bar Fridge

Having an electrical hook up has been a real perk! I had a solar panel to change my battery and that has been great for 5 seasons but I’m always aware of the limited power. So lights and fans are used sparingly. Now I have electricity I can use the lights! I can plug in the kettle! I can have a little mini fridge! More on that…

Water hook up!! I have my own water tap! Cold delicious drinkable fresh well water! Makes it so easy to fill my camper water jug right there and not have to lift it out! Water my flowers! Oh yeah, I have flowers!

Part of the COVID rules are that you must be “self contained”! Meaning outhouses are locked so you must have you’re own facilities!! I did not have this option with my little camper so I had to buy a potty. And get a little “hygiene/shower tent”. The “tinkle tent” or “sh*t shelter” as I refer to it! This weekend I’m installing a pallet floor and a shower bag! You learn during a heat wave that sometimes it’s good to wash some stink off!!

And back to the mini bar fridge! Huge difference! I can bring salad and it won’t spoil! Strawberries don’t get fuzzy and rotten after a day!! Some foods just don’t do well no matter how great the cooler is. And there is always a cold beverage waiting for me when I get there!

And I think, I’m not sure, but I think the fur littles are content……

You tell me?

What I’m saying is…..

We are loving this new site. We love the campground. The people are nice and friendly!

We were forced to make a change and it worked out better than I could have ever hoped for!

We are still happy campers!

Hope Summer is treating you well!

Jenn, Daisy & Wheaton 🐾

Birthdays, Camping, Consistency & Yoga

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First, my first born, Daisy…..well she turned 15 on June 12th….I’m a little late getting back to this draft!

We were at the camper of course so to celebrate the day we went for a nice long hike!! It was a pretty warm day but with a great breeze so the heat was balanced out. I took a nice big insulated water bottle and a compact water dish so we were all able to stop in the shade and get plenty of hydration!

There’s a couple bears in the area so we made sure to make noise and I kept the fur littles on their leashes! I don’t approve of the extension leashes as a regular walking leash but on a hike like this they’re handy to give the dogs some freedom to explore but still have them attached to me. Also, I didn’t know the trail at all so I didn’t want them ahead of me!

Let’s talk about camping…. The new site is pretty great and the private campground is quite cozy. Plus, the owners drive around in their golf cart on hot afternoons with a cooler and offer us ice cream! This is a perk for me since frozen treats are not something my tent camper can sustain! My Yeti cooler is great but it’s not going to keep ice cream frozen!

We’ve really settled in to our new camp summer home….. I was anxious about “new” and “change” as these are not usually my thing!! But it’s been real easy to adjust because it’s just a lovely place!

And most importantly the fur littles love it!

There is a memo that dogs have to be well behaved and we all know Wheaton can have some issues when he sees another dog… so I’ve been working with him and the training treat bag. When we go for a walk I reward him with a little treat or piece of kibble when we walk past a site where there’s another dog.

I will give him a “shhishh” and distract with “here” and he looks at me & the treat….followed by a “good boy”. The bark is what we want to avoid first. Tackling the biggest hurdle first. I know it can work….and it’s not Wheaton’s fault we haven’t mastered this technique…..

It’s mine. I’m not consistent. I just don’t think of it! Or it’s not convenient when we’re walking before or after work. Training isn’t just one walk. It’s every walk. Every walk is a training opportunity but I’m missing 9/10 walks! Not good stats.

My general way of thinking with his barking at other dogs is “that’s what he does, it’s been 6 years, this is just the way he is” keep walking and just get past the other dog.

I know! Brilliant! Great technique! Watch for my expert dog training video soon!! (Haha)

But I don’t want to be that “annoying woman with the crazy dog” that everyone hates in the campground. And the crazy dog part is my responsibility! I must be consistent with this reward for good behaviour technique. Period.

Of course I left the handy training bag at the camper.

I think I need the training!

And then the yoga. Wheaton loves yoga. He thinks it’s cuddle time when I get on the mat! If I’m moving from pose to pose he just watches but as soon as I sit still he wants to come in for a cuddle.

All in all, summer is just starting and it’s pretty great!

Be well,

Jenn, Daisy and Wheaton

Sunning ourselves!

Camping – New & Different

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In February I got the letter from the Manitoba Parks campground draw that I did NOT get a campsite at Hecla. Our sacred site for 5 consecutive seasons would not be ours this summer.

Hecla set up

No more private path to the lake for our early morning shoreline walks and rock collecting. No more wine in hand late evening sunset views over the lake. No more sound of the Lake Winnipeg waves lulling us to sleep. No more Rusty Nails around the campfire with my “Hecla camping family”.

Our sitting rock
Sunsets over Lake Winnipeg
Early morning shore walks and all those rocks
Hecla hikes

Panic set in. What if I don’t get to camp??? Because of Covid and travel restrictions, the number of people wanting to camp has pretty much tripled! The reservation site for day bookings crashed. And when it wasn’t crashing, the wait to confirm bookings was hours long.

Our last Hecla campfire of 2020

After my 3 minute cry upon reading my letter that I didn’t make the draw, I was Googling “private Manitoba campgrounds”. I knew a few people who over the years had changed from public provincial seasonal to private seasonal….at a much higher cost but the perk of never having to take the chance with a camping draw ever again.

I found one that I liked. Not an easy task as many private campgrounds are very much “parking lot” style; side by side sites where your neighbour is close. I don’t like that….in fact I’d rather not camp at all if that is my only option. I don’t camp for socialising. I am an anti-social camper. I want trees and birds chirping. I want quiet and serene. I will always take the farthest site from people.

Wheaton likes the quiet camp life too

I sent them an email to find out if they had an opening.

Universe was on our side. They had a site. One of their more private sites even. Universe was REALLY on our side.

We made it. We’re camping. And we are forever camping. This site is ours for as long as as we want…..we’re lifers here now. No applications, no draws, no picking sites and hoping to get one of your “top 5” sites. It truly is ours every season.

The site viewing
Gnome Sweet Gnome

I set up last weekend. The fur littles and I settled in and there are pros and cons in comparison. Where we don’t have our lakeshore we instead have a wandering windy lazy river to walk the bank of and we have a chance to find new forest trails to hike. Instead of sunsets through the pines and birches we now face east and can watch the sun rise through the oaks & ashes. Instead of 2.5 hours of driving to get to our camp it’s only an hour, definite pro!

Our new site set up

We all settled right back into camp life as if we had not missed a step and as if this place was home all along. My little four legged campers are happy! The site is all sand so the digging and sand zoomies are non stop! I don’t know what it is about sand that makes them so excited but it is hilarious to watch! And the napping after is a given!

Right back to where they left off

Can’t wait for the leaves to grow in and give us a bit more privacy! It’s going to be a great place for many seasons to come!

Sibling Love

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Wheatie loves his Daisy. He is bonded to her. I often kid that Daisy is our emotional support companion, neither of us can function without her. Wherever she is, Wheaton is never far from her. I have tried to take him for a run with me and he will NOT go without Daisy.

For Wheatie it was love at first sight, for Daisy it was “who is this stinky boy dog and when is he leaving!?”

He’s not staying is he?

Of course you all know she came around and she does love him. They are best buds and bonded to one another. I love my fur littles. I love seeing them look for each other and seek comfort with one another.

My loves.

They bring me great comfort and an abundance of love. I would be lost without them.