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Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

foldable favorite: portable invisible fence

I was outside at a Utah Starbucks when a man arrived with his two chocolate labs. He left them unleashed near a table, and without a word, went inside to fetch his latte. The dogs watched him disappear, then sat politely to wait for his return. “That,” I said to my friend, “is the difference between a lab and a dachshund.” Ralston would lie down to wait. Ripley and Raven would cry, “Yay, she’s gone! Let’s play in traffic!” and I’d never see them again.

Thus the need for Invisible Fence at home and a new camping must-have: “The Rock” portable electronic fence system. It works like a charm and the concept is fiendishly simple.

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Ralston’s passing, as any pet owner can attest, was difficult and bittersweet. He will never be replaced, and I miss him every day. His demise was no reason to delay restoring the Four Rs to pack capacity, however. Ripley needed a companion—preferably a non-human that could understand the byzantine games he likes to play.

When people asked if I was ready for another dog so soon, I replied, “I may never be ready for another dog. But I’m ready for a miniature dachshund!”

Down, small dog lovers; just kidding.

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Ralston crossed the bridge comfortably at home this week after a bout with cancer. He was nearly twelve; a little early in the life span for his breed, but well into his senior years.

Everybody loved Ralston, and he lived a life more robust, meaningful and exciting as many humans.

A crossbreed (Yellow Lab x Golden Retriever) born into the Guide Dogs for the Blind program, Ralston grew up going to work every day at U.S. Bank in the Big Pink tower, preparing for his future blind partner by learning office manners and getting accustomed to the sights and smells of downtown Portland.

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foldable favorite: hot dog chills out

Ripley required only minor first aid after stepping on the cactus but Ralston, age ten, inconveniently fell ill with some kind of undiagnosable ailment the day we left and appeared to be at death’s door during the entire first week of our trip. After consulting vets in three states he was eventually back to what passes for normal. We kept him hydrated and cool along the way with the help of this special mat and bandana.

Soak the mat in water to activate the “cooling crystals”, then plop it down as a place to ride in the car or rest in the shade.

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in search of sasquatch

Ask anyone. Bigfoot is alive and well and roams naked throughout the Pacific Northwest, scaring campers and microblogging on Twitter.

The woods by the Molalla River near Canby Oregon are purported to be home to a Sasquatch family, with sightings as recent as 2006. Formal campsite reservations along the water are unavailable, but we ventured forth anyway and had a tough time finding a place to spend the night; the best turnouts were filled with Harley people flying confederate flags, and the “river patrol”—two bored and aggressive volunteer seniors in a pickup—dogged us for miles, preventing us from choosing a site arbitrarily not to their liking.

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toutle river

A beautiful autumn weekend in the Northwest, sunny and crisp. Camped at Seaquest State Park next to the Mount St. Helens visitor center and bushwacked down a steep brambley bank to the Toutle River to scout fishing locations. Ralph put his gear into action, but alas, no bites. Dogs enjoyed being wet, sandy and smelly.

Later, Ralph bravely figured out how to use the designated dump station facilities by filling the tank with water and sending it out through an intimidating hose and down a foul concrete hole. A successful rehearsal, but all agree that the goal is to never actually use the DWR bathroom for anything other than a storage area for the chairs and kitchen trash can.

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meet the cast

‘Streaming is published by Oregonian RG Coleman, who explores the 45th parallel and beyond in a crowded 16’ Airstream with a tall mate and two wet dogs.

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