B.C. Dog

It’s been 1-1/2 weeks since we pulled into Kamloops and started this next chapter of our life.  I just unpacked the last box and we are, for the most part, settled in our new home.  Dahlia and Flipflop are doing wonderful, they were such amazing troopers on the 40+hour drive to get us here and have settled into their new neighbourhood.

In order to balance the needs of both dogs, I started alternating our walking routines, one day is a nice leisurely walk throughout the neighbourhood, not unlike the walks we did in Ontario and the following day a short walk for Dahlia and into the mountains with Flipflop.

He LOVES it.  I have never seen him so happy and in his element.  He loves to run up and down the sides of the mountains and never fails to come back and check in on me from time to time.  I’m not going to lie, some of these walks are really challenging for me and I need to stop and catch my breath as we climb higher up the mountain trails.

Friday morning, on my way to my car, I ran into the building manager, he asked how my dogs were settling in, I told him they were both doing quite well.  He then mentioned he has seen me out with the dogs and that Flipflop looks really happy!  I told him Flipflop is loving it out here and the building manager agreed, “he’s a B.C. dog!” he said to me.  I can’t disagree.

This morning, being a weekend, and our hike day, we took Dahlia for a short walk and brought her home.  Flipflop and I then ventured out to the trail.  There are so many different turns and paths, and there was one I wanted to try, that another dog walker I ran into one morning told me about.

So off we went, it was beautiful. We spotted some white tail deer, but before I could get my camera into focus, Flipflop was off after them.  I waited in the spot I was at and called and whistled for him.  I heard him bark off in the distance, I called him again, and a few seconds later he appeared in sight.  We continued on.

We went over the bridge I was told we would come across and that’s where things went wrong.  I missed the path to get back toward our road, I ended up along a cliff and a very narrow path.  My ankle injury from many years ago came back to haunt me, I pushed through as I tried hard to maintain my balance.  And then Flipflop took off down the cliff, I called him.  And thats when I saw more deer running up another mountain side, I watched in horror as Flipflop climbed up after them.  He was gone, out of site, out of ear shot.  I forced myself to remain calm.  I climbed back up the steep cliff onto more stable ground, where I could call and whistle for him.  It felt like hours, but it likely wasn’t even a minute before I saw him appear on top of the mountain across from me.  I kept calling him and he eventually made his way down, in the valley he stopped.  I could tell he was debating if he should come to me or go back to the deer!  Fortunately, he choose to come to me, as he made his way up the mountain and the steep trail to me, his tongue was hanging out the side of the mouth, he was exhausted.

I opted to turn back and avoid the steep cliff trail in hopes of finding a less rugged area, with less distractions for Flipflop!  I had leashed him up, just to be sure he’d not go far!

As I made my way around different turns and paths, I realized we were lost. I looked at my phone, we were 8 KM out from our place and no where near a road.  We kept climbing, there were homes at the top of the mountain, surely they were off a road.  But when we made our way up, there was no road down the mountain, just more roads going up.  I turned around and went back down the mountain trying to remember the paths we took to retrace  my steps back to our street.

After an hour of looking and searching, I was feeling lost, and unsure what to do.  I could call someone, but who and what would I say “I’m lost in a mountain!” They wouldn’t be able to do anything more than I could on my own!

We ended up near a mining area, surely there would be a road near it, I hoped but…..nope!  As we left the mining area and made our way back to where we came from I came across another path, one we passed much earlier in our hike, one that led back down the mountain to my road!!  It was so clear I could see our street from where I was standing.

On top of the mountain looking down, it seemed so close, but it was not, we still had quite a trek back to street level.

After three hours, Flipflop and I made it back home to Dahlia!  Tired and a bit dirty but no worse for the wear!  I think I will save the exploring for times when I am walking with a fellow hiker and someone who has a much better sense of direction than I do!

Flipflop will still get his mountain hikes but we’ll stick to the path I know!

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Our first day in our new home…..

Well, we woke up in a hotel this morning, with a few hours to spare before we moved into our apartment, so I googled dog parks in Kamloops and off we went.  It was such a fun morning and so deserving for Dahlia and Flipflop.  The first dog park was just an open field but it was enough to let Flipflop run and Dahlia roll around in the grass.  I left the off leash area with them and we walked along the park path.

We came along an off leash dog beach…..yes a beach for just dogs!!  I immediately unleashed Flipflop and Dahlia and they delighted as they played with another dog and then went into the river.

We then went back to the hotel where I packed up and headed to our building.  I left Flipflop and Dahlia in the car, as I spoke with the building manager, who then asked me to bring them in the office.  The dogs delighted him, as he fed them cookies and saw their two very different personalities.  He loved them both, Dahlia for her sweetness and Flipflop for his flare!

He gave us a tour of our building, which is fully constructed, but so new, they are still working on the landscaping around us.  That said there’s lots of wonderful places for us to walk, and some flat sidewalks for Dahlia to be comfortable.

I walked around my apartment and out on to the balcony where mountains looked back at me.  I also noticed I had a drug store across the street as well, which could come in handy!

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The view from my balcony.

While I was unloading my car, Telus called and asked if it was ok to come by earlier (my original appointment was for this afternoon). I said that would be great.  I was still unloading my car when Dane (from Telus) pulled up.  Dane also loved Flipflop and Dahlia, it was wonderful!

Once Dane left, I took the dogs for a walk, it’s a beautiful day in Kamloops and Dahlia found it a little warm for her liking, but she did ok.  I ran into town and picked up some food and essentials that I needed while I wait for my belongings to arrive.

Flipflop and Dahlia were amazing, as they have been the whole journey. When I leave the apartment they don’t bark or make a fuss, they are quite calm and seem, for the most part, taking it in stride.

That said, Flipflop still needs hugs and assurances, but I’m really pleased with how well they are adjusting.

B.C. Bound – The road trip – Day 4

WE MADE IT! We’re here in Kamloops, although not in our new home, that’ll be tomorrow am.

We started our morning around 7 am, leaving Medicine Hat, Alberta with the intent of arriving in Kamloops today.  The drive from Medicine Hat to Calgary was pretty cool.  It was a bit flat with wheat fields and then right next to those fields, there were oil rigs (or whatever they’re called).  It was kind of cool.

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I also found it pretty neat that every few kilometres, there were areas you could pull over to throw out trash and recyclables.  A cool way to keep litter off the highways for sure!

As we made our way closer to Calgary, I though my eyes were playing tricks on me.  Did I see mountains in the distance, or was it clouds? I kept looking as I drove along, for clouds they weren’t moving or changing shape.  I contacted my west coast expert, Janet (aka Auntie Janet) and she confirmed they were in fact mountains.

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We stopped in Calgary and I took Flip and Dahlia for a nice walk, they have been such amazing dogs on this long trip.  They enjoyed rolls in the grass and a long drink of water and we continued on our way.

Our next stop was about 300 KM later at a small mountain down and it was beautiful.

 

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This was our last stop, until we entered Kamloops!  The last 200 km seemed the longest of this whole trip.  But we made it!  And I’m so excited to go through this adventure with my two best friends.

 

B.C. Bound – The road trip – Day 3

Nine hundred and three kilometres to go!  We had quite the long day today, but as usual Flipflop and Dahlia were troopers!!

After a morning walk, I packed up the car around 6:30 am, I left Flipflop and Dahlia on leash and took them in and out of the hotel room with me as I packed up.  I think Dahlia thought I was going to leave her, as she had no interest in packing the car with me, she wanted in the car and happily waited in the back seat while Flipflop and I packed up.

We drove through the rest of North Dakota and through Saskatchewan and it was exhausting! There were very few places to stop, so I ended up stopping along the sides of roads and/or in business parking lots to let the dog have a stretch.  As we got closer to the Canadian border the snow was gone and both dogs delighted in rolling in the grass.

As we entered Saskatchewan, tumbleweed flew across the highway and I texted some friends that I was definitely no longer in Ontario! 🙂

The dogs are getting restless on the long drive, I stopped for gas and Dahlia climbed into the driver seat!  And later on while I was driving she tried to climb up front with me.  But my car is fully packed and there was no room for her so I couldn’t allow her to come up. Flipflop finally laid down and slept a bit today, but as he woke up between naps, he was panting a lot, a sign of distress.  And unlike the past two days, neither of them wanted to get back in the car after each stop.

But we are now stopped in Medicine Hat, Alberta and I took them for a nice walk, bought them some chicken nuggets (they get spoiled on road trips) and they are both sleeping peacefully now.  And while it’s 8:00 pm local time, this Torontonian girl is exhausted and will likely call it a night soon as well.

I am hoping we will get an early start to our day tomorrow and get to Kamloops in time for a nice hike with the dogs as an award for them being such amazing babies.

B.C. Bound – The road trip -Day 1

I would be lying if I said the past week hasn’t been the hardest week of my life, emotionally.  So many goodbye’s, so much cleaning and packing, and preparing to leave my very comfortable, very familiar life in Ontario.  Even now, 950 KM’s into the drive, it still hasn’t really hit me that I am actually going to be living in B.C…..the place I’ve always wanted to live in, since I first visited over 20 years ago.

But this blog isn’t about me, it’s about the dogs in my life, and of course they are on this adventure with me!!  For the past few weeks, Flipflop knew something was up.  He constantly needed assurance from me, hugs and cuddles (more than usual).  Dahlia, true to her nature, was oblivious for the most part.

Last weekend they moved into Auntie Janet’s apartment, while I continued to stay in mine, making sure I visited them and walked them a few times a day, so they knew I was still there.  I moved in with them on Tuesday evening, as the movers came for all my belongings Wednesday.

This morning when I woke up, I started getting myself organized, Janet offered to walk the dogs, to give me time to pack up my final things and to help get me on the road quicker.  I left my home at 9:45 am.

The dogs were troopers, Dahlia pretty much slept the whole time we drove today.  Flipflop likes to look out the window when we drive, so he refused to sleep.  At times he literally passed out sitting up!  But he’s now stretched at the end of my motel room bed sleeping peacefully.

We drove to Sarnia and crossed the border, after an hour wait, into Michigan.  Shortly after we crossed, I pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot with lots of greenery around it.  Flipflop drank almost a whole bottle of water, poor guy, and Dahlia had a few sips.  After a brief stretch of our legs, we got back in the car and kept going.  We stopped again in Michigan a few hours later, I thought we’d never get out of that state!  But there were plenty of rest areas, which was nice.

Finally, we crossed over to Indianapolis, it was a short drive through that state and we entered Illinois.  I thought I was so prepared, printing my list of rest area along the way……I didn’t realize Chicago and I90W pretty much has NO rest areas!!!!!

Chicago traffic was horrible, we crawled through it for an hour and the finally the roads opened up again. I could tell Flipflop was getting hungry and I planned to pull over at first rest area I saw, but as an hour flew by there were none.

As I continued my drive I spotted an exit with tons of hotels off of it.  My eye got the Motel 6 sign……I was sure on my “bring Fido” app, it said all Motel 6’s were pet friendly and don’t even charge an additional fee.

Side note: bring Fido is a super cool app (and website:  https://www.bringfido.com/)  that tells you all dog friendly parks, restaurants, hotels, activities, etc. world wide!  It’s awesome for travelling with your furry companions.  It also tells you any pet restrictions (size/breeds, etc.) and if the hotel charges an additional fee.

I arrived at the Motel 6 and asked if there were any rooms, the girl asked if I wanted one or two bedroom, I said I only need one bed, as it was just me and my dogs.  As she was processing my room, she questioned if I would take a two bedroom, it cost a bit more but was on the ground floor for the dogs.  I told her I was fine with the extra charge as it will be nice for the dogs and easier for me. 🙂  I used a blanket off the second bed to make a bed for Dahlia, as she doesn’t enjoy human beds, only couches!

So to sum it up, day 1 of our B.C. bound adventure went pretty smoothly, and I’m excited to see where we end up tomorrow evening on our drive.

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Flipflop, when I invited on the bed, wasted no time!

 

 

 

B.C. Bound – The road trip – Day 2

Well almost 2000 km under our belt and we’re still going strong!! Dahlia and Flipflop are troopers!!!  It hit me along my drive today, that I really am moving to B.C.!  The numbness I felt yesterday has left and I’m so excited today!

Last night after we settled in for the evening, Flipflop was unsettled, he kept growling and I think it was because we were just off the highway and he could see the lights or hear the cars.  I took him out for a short walk so he could see there was nothing to fear and that seemed to work.  Dahlia, of course, didn’t mind a thing!  I think she is enjoying the fact that I’m not restricting her food and she keeps getting up through the night to eat!  At home they have designated feeding times but being on the road, I’m being a little loose with their schedules.

I always have a hard time sleeping in strange beds, so I was up at 5, and relaxed in bed until the sun came up and got the troops ready for a new day.  We left our motel around 6:30 am.

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Starting our journey on day 2.

My sister surprised me with a phone call, and it was great to pass some time chatting with her, it’s definitely going to be strange not seeing her for our weekly lunch.  But as I stated yesterday, leaving those I love in Ontario was the only hard part of this journey.

We spent our night just outside of Wisconsin and we crossed into the state early on.  Our drive was pretty uneventful, short of two warning lights coming on while I was driving. Both my error, thankfully!  When I filled up with gas first thing this morning, I forgot to put the cap back on, so I had to pull over on the side of the road and screw my cap on!  And then leaving one of our rest areas, I didn’t have Flipflop’s door closed properly. Thankfully that light came on immediately and I was able to secure his door prior to pulling back on I94!

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Flipflop, absolutely thrilled with snow at the rest area just outside North Dakota.

We made our way through Minnesota and into North Dakota.  North Dakota was not what I expected at all.  Past Fargo there’s very little off I94!  Fortunately, using my bring Fido app, I found a pet friendly hotel 7 hours outside our border crossing back into Canada!

Since we had such an early start, I pulled over early so we can all relax for a few hours (and Flipflop can play) before we go to bed for the evening.  It’s been super cool, driving through the US, but i’m looking forward to getting back into Canada tomorrow and making our way from Saskatchewan to Alberta (hopefully) tomorrow!

 

Happy Birthday Lady Dahlia

Like most rescues, Dahlia’s birth date and exact age are unknown but she was about 8 years old when she came to be fostered by me, two years ago today (April 4). So, when she became a foster fail (when the foster parent adopts the dog), I made the day we first met her birthday.

Dahlia seemed old and frail when I met her, she wanted to enjoy life but was fearful. When I would go to pet her she would freeze, unsure if my hand would be a gentle touch or one that caused her pain. She was such a nervous wreck she would pee constantly, in fear I was going to hurt her.  It was both heartbreaking and, after weeks of cleaning up urine, frustrating.

I was an inexperienced foster mom at that time, and as with all the fosters, Dahlia taught me a lot.  She learned to trust me by observing my many interactions with Flipflop and also, by me giving her proper structure.

A couple months after meeting her, I adopted sweet Dahlia, and made her part of the forever pack.  She has been by my side ever since, along with Flipflop, helping other dogs in need.  She no longer fears a human hand, in fact, she kind of demands everyone she walks by use their hands to pet her!

I remember when I adopted her, and called to get her license, I debated over getting a one or two year licensed, as I was sure this fragile dog wouldn’t be alive in a year.  Boy did she prove me wrong.  She is no longer frail, she is strong, playful and a DIVA!  I have taken to calling her Lady Dahlia as she holds her head high and feels so entitled to her life, it’s beautiful to see.

She is getting younger all the time, and I’m so excited to be celebrating her 10th year with her today and bringing her to beautiful British Columbia in a week to live out the rest of her long life!