Aug. 6th, 2015 12:20 am
furtech: (no cookie)
I recorded an animal lifer on the dogwalk tonight: Cougar.

Honestly, this is the one lifer I -never- wanted to see. Coyotes are annoying (and city coyotes are more mellow then their wilder relatives); raccoons are moderately dangerous (more so than coyotes, really); skunks are just a pain.

Cougars scare the crap out of me. None of the others are capable of killing an eighty-five pound male husky and then leaping over an 8-foot fence carrying it (which happened around here a few years ago). Cougars are seriously scary.

We were walking/hiking around midnight (too hot to walk during the days now) near a gated community, at the north end of the neighborhood near the foothills. The border collies had been restless this evening and at one point took off after something. I heard a new sound in the darkness (never a good thing), a brief kind of "Rackh!" sound. Something bounded down the hill and leap a drainage ditch: for a moment I saw it silhouetted against the night sky: a long, lean shape.

My first reaction was, "Huh." Too big for a cat; too big and too long for a bobcat; and that tail-- uh-oh. The long, fat tail. Fuck. Fortunately, it had to be a yearling: The dogs were able to startle it into running and from the brief sighting, it had the smaller size of a yearling. She took off and the dogs returned to me, good boys!

I'll say that getting back to the car was unnerving. I kept fearing the cougar would change her mind and circle around to snatch one of the dogs. We were still a mile away from the car.

I'm still freaked.


May. 26th, 2014 07:05 pm
furtech: (R0ndo Goodbye)
[Memorial Day is as good a day as any to take care of this: I had been putting off the public post about this for a while now.]


R0ndo Bordercollie died on February 11, 2014. He had been recovering from a neck injury for several weeks when he unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest. We were all blindsided by an undiagnosed heart condition (Hypertropic Cardiomyopathy, for those curious). R0ndo was my Great Dog and my best buddy.

The last four months have been an emotional hell-- a rollercoaster of events brought on by his passing. He was only nine years old and I had fully expected to have him around for at least another six years.

Friends and family who knew him well have been my anchor. The BCR folk have been especially supportive with stories about their Great Dogs and loss and moving on. There will never be another dog like R0ndo and it took me four months to begin to understand this.


One action that has helped is the addition of a new dog to our reduced pack: An00bis, a year-old Kelpie-bordercollie mix. The road to this point has been torturous, but we're still here. And by we, I mean Apache and I. She was just as unsettled by R0ndo's passing as I was. She is *slowly* warming to the Noob, but she is definitely happier and calmer since Noob arrived about a month ago.


So long, R0ndo. You took a big chunk of me with you when you went.
furtech: (R0NDOSANTA)
Another BCR Xmas!


The weather was perfect: light breezes, temps in the 60's, clear skies. As opposed to those events where the temps were into the triple digits F (around 42C) or 40 mph gusty winds...or that year when the even ended with people scrambling to beat the snow storm heading that way. Those events always have me remembering to be grateful for mild weather.

There was the usual abundance of home-cooked food and dozens of hyper border collies. No altercations, though-- which would surprise most border owners. There was much begging, though: even the dogs trained not to beg at home know this is a *special* place and time.

The interesting thing that happened was that I found a R0ndo doppelganger. She looks like she could be his sister-- very similar markings, mannerisms. I think her name is Savannah. Very sweet dog! Speaking of doppelgangers, Tay's doppel was here, too: Skeeter looked great!


Apache was somewhat low-key, as noticed by several people (usually they have bruised noses soon after she arrives...and she didn't jump up this time). Probably the prednisone she was on. But that didn't stop her from her usual mischief towards the other dogs. Instead of her usual "11", she was more like a "9" that day.
furtech: (snowdogs)

I got a surprise present from an artist friend I work with: a pair of R0ndo and APache ornaments! ! She did a *fantastic* job of capturing their physical details *and* their personalities! Thanks, Laura!

She does great 2D and 3D art: check out her website! She also does toys and puppets!
furtech: (apache-r0ndo)
The dogs and I got a precious, rare invite: to celebrate King Dog Tay's birthday up in Oakhurst!
Oakhurst Snow
There are more gorgeous images of the Ranch, dogs and snow here

The timing turned into the most perfect trip we've ever made up there: the day after we arrives it snowed. Just enough fell that the ranch and the mountain turned into a winter wonderland. This was *ideal*: the snow only lasted for about two days-- then it melted and allowed us to drive safely back down the hill and home.

The night we arrived there was also a bit of excitement: on the night walk Carol and I discovered a brush-burn that had gotten out of control (these are supposed to be watched by the burner until the fire dies down). Between the windy gusts and all of the pine needles that hadn't been cleared, the fire had spread well into the brush nearby. A fallen pine was in flames and embers were spreading under the pine needles. We went back to get Eric and shovels...Carol got all of the water jugs (they keep them for pump failures).


With a lot of work we got the flames down and the embers mostly doused. The owners of the lot finally arrived with a tractor and used that to completely bury the rest of the fire. They were grateful that it had been discovered, so it was all good. Plus, bonus activity points for me.

new snow

We awoke the next day to a winter wonderland: several inches of snow fell during the night and it was cold enough to stick. Check out the link above to see how beautiful the area became. The dogs (all four border collies) and I took a number of hikes in the silent, white world. I love walking in fresh snow (especially when it's only a few inches deep) and watching four crazy border collies run around on Very Important Business.

There are few places that aren't improved by a fall of snow. Since Casa Coyote starts out quite lovely, the snow transformed it into a fantasyland. R0ndo and Apache loved it: they had experienced a dusting of snow in Seattle a few years ago and had a lot of fun...but this was like doggy-disneyland for them. They bounded through the small drifts and still managed to dig ghost varmints. They loved that it was nice and chill out and if they get hot or thirsty they can just eat the refreshing "white dirt".

Tay was showered with goodies and treats. He enjoyed the ribeye steak he got as a present. As any good tyrant, he tolerated the manic attention of all three of the other dogs. He's well-deserving of his Kingdog title!


Nov. 18th, 2013 05:01 pm
furtech: (apache)
My dog looks like something launched by the Russians in the '50's.


Both dogs got bitten by fleas at a friend's house (where said friend feeds the neighborhood cats). R0ndo just scratched a bit and that was that...Apache is so OCD that she literally licks herself raw in minutes.

I tried a cervical collar (so she could still use the dog door), but after a couple of weeks I gave up: she's just too limber and too determined.

So I tried an inflatable collar...and that didn't work-- though she was able to make herself look particularly pitiful with this thing. She also demonstrated how clever she is by trying to get a puppy-friend of hers to bite the collar off (witnessed by puppy's owner!) It was amazing.

Finally I gave up and put the Cone-O-Shame on her...only to have her be able to work the cone down so she could still lick. Agk.

So I was forced to go to the Ultimate Combo: the inflate-a-collar and the Cone-O-shame. She looks ridiculous.


However, the good new is that for the first time in over a month, the wounds are finally drying out!! Hopefully I can give her a skin treatment to ease any residual itching. Plus more Benedryl.
furtech: (apache-r0ndo)
I managed to scrape together the money for Eurofurence again. Love Germany, love this con. This time I tried something different: flying out of SFO and staying at my sister and BiL's place for a few days before and after. Big difference: much less stress because anything I forgot I could still get in SJ. Also, dogs stayed at dog-sister's place, so were less stressed than if they'd just been boarded (their regular boarding place is great, but still a boarding place).


Full Flickr Set Here

The trip started well: food and more food. A friend highly recommended a place in Buttonwillow, CA to stop and eat at. A bit early in the trip, but he raved about this place. He was right. The pulled pork was delicious on its own...and the salsa that came with it (served on the side!) was also perfect-- a pleasant burn, deep flavor. But the PIE! Oh, the peach pie was the best I've had in decades. Crisp texture, deep flavor and a perfect crust. So good we're making a roadtrip -just- for this pie. 100 miles and worth it!

Same friend also got tickets to the Ikea Crayfish Party . I'd never heard of it, but they sell out fast. Thank goodness there was more than just crayfish- which has too low a ratio of reward-to-effort. Eat, eat, eat.

A big bonus was getting to meet Don Knuth and his wife, Jill (who were part of the group). He wrote the seminal book, The Art of Computer Programming. Anyone who has taken a college-level computer class has seen this book; it is so far out of my ken that I have to take their words on this. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he brings a unique take on current events. I could listen all day, week, year to him. My friend was also able to get him to autograph another seminal work: an early writing sale-- to Mad Magazine. Read his Wiki: wicked sense of humor!

I also got to visit a friend who's back to working at Apple: like most large, hip tech companies, they have wonderful food-services. The seared ahi sandwich is...wonderful. It's no wonder I gained four pounds even before leaving the country. This, despite a bunch of hikes with the dogs in the hills around SJ.
furtech: (apache-r0ndo)
Complete Flickr Set Here

This last weekend I was at this year's 2013 Pet Expo in Orange County. I look forward to this event every year: I love running the dogs and helping them to find forever homes. There's a lot of validation when you see a dog with issues that make them not-for-everybody be adopted by someone who is absolutely perfect for that particular dog. We had some great dogs out this year and four of them went home with neat people. Considering how few adoptions seemed to be happening this year, I was really happy.

For the most part the majority of rescues were pit-mixes and chihuahua/yap-mixes. I was surprised by both the large numbers of these dogs here and that there was such a plethora of them.

I got to see a Silken Windhound for the first time in-person. Very Saluki-like in demeanor. Also saw a Japanese Ken for the first time (I think). They are bigger than Shibas and smaller than Akitas and much more out-going than either of those sister-breeds.

By Sunday I was exhausted and Apache (who was at the breed booth) was even more done.
furtech: (apache-r0ndo)
My dogs love this time of year, thought I doubt they know the why's and wherefore's of the reasons they enjoy it. Cooler weather, for one thing, means more hikes at any hour of the day. Plus there is all the food-- events where they often enjoy the bountiful foodstuffs.

More dog stuff under cut... )
furtech: (Default)
Images from the fall of 2012.
FLickr set here

The weather has finally turned autumnal and dog walks can again be taken at any hour of the day. We took a couple of hikes in the mountains above the Valley and enjoyed the sunset.

The first hike had us watched by an early-rising gibbous moon. We noticed a jet-- a very modern fighter jet-- circling the Valley. Very unusual for that time of the day since there is usually a lot of airline traffic. Then I remembered: President Obama was coming in to town to be on Leno-- and his helicopter was hopping from LAX to Burbank at about this time. I love my camera: P&S it may be, but you can actually see the armament even at this distance.

A friend's daughter broke the zipper on her halloween/cosplay costume and E and I offered to repair it. The most difficult part: the zipper itself. 56" long with double sliders. None of the regular stores in the Fashion District (forget JoAnnes!) had anything even close. Despairing, I wandered the area and, true to FD form: came across Zip Up Zipper! A zipper super-store! The have zippers that are literally floor-to-ceiling-- there was one hanging from the warehouse ceiling that had to be 25 feet long! I found a stainless steel, double-slider zipper that was about 20 inches too long...and the owner just cut it down, added some ends and voila! Perfect! The FD is certainly one reason to love Los Angeles.

Bonsai class was a huge surprise!: the teacher took one of my pot-bound (cup-bound, really) 7 year old oaks and used a technique that will create a plant that has a foot of bare root, terminating in the soil of the pot. I had no idea that I'd see this that day-- it's an advanced technique that I'd never have the nerve to try myself.


Lastly, we had some special guests at work the other week: four Bengal tigers! It turns out that the whole place needed to be on lock-down: tigers are so temperamental and sensitive that no extraneous visitors or pets (especially barky border collies) could be in the building. One of the tigers was charming: she was a 17 year old veteran who was so calm that the trainers let us get close and take pictures with her. I've seen many tigers at zoos...but it's not until you see them this close that your really get a sense of the immense size and power. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet them.
furtech: (halloween)
Full Flickr Set

Another BCR Funday! My favorite of the year: Halloween! Candy, dogs, great food.

The weather this year was *beautiful*. Breezy, clear and in the 70's.

R0ndo and Apache got matching skeleton dog costumes. Watson was too big to fit into his, so he got halloween jingle bells.

There was a dog that Apache was absolutely giddy about: an Aussie tri (male) who seemed aloof-- yet Apache adored him and even puppy-play-bowed and wriggled up to him. Weird little dog.

I loved R0ndo's reaction to the talking/grasping zombie hand in the dog treat bowl!

He would be a great zombie-hunting dog.
furtech: (halloween)
Full Flickr Set

Another BCR Funday! My favorite of the year: Halloween! Candy, dogs, great food.

The weather this year was *beautiful*. Breezy, clear and in the 70's.

R0ndo and Apache got matching skeleton dog costumes. Watson was too big to fit into his, so he got halloween jingle bells.

There was a dog that Apache was absolutely giddy about: an Aussie tri (male) who seemed aloof-- yet Apache adored him and even puppy-play-bowed and wriggled up to him. Weird little dog.

I loved R0ndo's reaction to the talking/grasping zombie hand in the dog treat bowl!

He would be a great zombie-hunting dog.


furtech: (Default)

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