“A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.” – Robert Benchley

Dog Stuff

All kinds of information about dogs, especially our Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The Dog Show

We recently took the RV, three dogs, one cat, and ourselves to a dog show in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The good news is that Destin won major points on the first two days of the three day show and finished his championship. The bad news is that it was not the easiest dog show we’ve attended.

It all started the day before we were to leave. We’d pulled the trailer to the house and parked it in front while we cleaned and provisioned it. A quick run to Walmart was necessary, and on our way home the truck sort of died with a “Powertrain Fault” warning. “Call your dealership”, it said on the dashboard control panel.

The truck was running, but very rough. And, I had no control over the truck’s speed. All I could do was pull off the road and call the dealership. 

Upon explaining the error on the dashboard display, I learned that the problem could be any one of a myriad of things including some kind of spurious error. I am under the powertrain warranty, so had the option of calling Ford Roadside Assistance for a tow to the dealer. But, they could not look into the problem for several days, and we had all three dogs with us making the logistics challenging. I hoped that some combination of a tow truck, Uber, and the Suburban parked at home would get us all where we needed to be. But, what about the dog show?

After getting off the phone, I turned off the truck. Then restarted it. And, it ran fine. Great. We drove home and convinced ourselves it was one of those spurious error things and we’d be okay to tow the trailer 250 miles to Nebraska (and back).

The next day, we hooked up to the trailer and took off for a garage in Greeley where we can get nitrogen for the trailer tires. Yeah, they have nitrogen instead of regular air in them. That is supposed to give us a smoother, safer ride with less variation in pressure due to temperature and a bunch of other advantages. Anyway, about 3 miles up the road the truck threw another powertrain fault. This time on a narrow road with no shoulder. I turned on the emergency flashers, coasted to a stop, turned the truck off and then restarted it. All was fine again. With very shaky confidence we continued on our trip.

The service tech who added nitrogen to the tires said pretty much the same thing as the dealership. Could be any of a large number of things. Could be a spurious error. Probably not catastrophic since we can recover by restarting the truck. 

What the heck. We drove to Scottsbluff.

The trip was not fun. The wind was really blowing hard. Every time we had a truck pass us in the opposite direction my side-view mirror got pushed back and I’d roll down the window to push it back into position. It was cold. We has some show flurries off and on. But, we made it to the Gearing, NE city RV park (which is actually very, very nice). We dropped the trailer and hooked up utilities then drove to the show site 12 miles away in Mitchell to set up for the dog show.

As we prepared a meal that evening, we discovered that despite parking on a concrete slab that I had assumed was level, the trailer actually tilted to the starboard side very significantly. I almost fell down a couple of times just walking through the trailer. Cooking oil pooled in the back of the pan. Doors would not stay open. But, it was too much trouble to try to hook up and level the RV now, so we lived with it.

It was cold overnight. The heater in the RV just can’t keep up with below freezing temperatures. The RV leaks a lot, it was not built for winter camping, and the heater runs continuously trying to keep up. And, the next morning we went to take showers and water hookups were frozen. No showers. But, we did have some coffee and then took off for the dog show.

Destin won Best of Winners adding 4 points and another major to his wins. 

After we got back to the trailer, I went to Home Depot and got some heat tape and duct tape to wrap around the water faucet. I also got a small electric room heater at Walmart to supplement the RV heater. And, before going to bed I disconnected the water hose and drained it.

We had a nice dinner at a steak house with dog show colleagues, and then went to bed.

Sometime overnight we ran out of propane and heater stopped working. It was chilly the next morning, but we were able to hook up the water and take a shower. (I had the hot water heater working off electricity). The small electric room heater had helped a lot overnight, but gave up and stopped working that morning. We have two propane tanks, so I switched over to a full one.

We went the show, frustrated at all the problems but still somewhat refreshed. Destin won Best of Winners adding 3 points and another major to his wins. Enough to earn him his Championship!

On the way home we returned the electric room heater and got another just like it. 

Dinner was again with our dog show colleagues at a somewhat gourmet restaurant where we drank expensive wine, ate great food, and laughed until it hurt.

Then, it started snowing.

Again, I disconnected the water hose. And with both heaters running overnight we stayed pretty comfortable. 

We were due at the show site early, so we took off after exercising the dogs. Bella just stayed in the trailer since she does not enjoy dog shows. But, we took Natalie all days in order to get her acquainted with the process.

We showed Destin as a new champion in the breed competition, but he was not on his best show behavior (after all, Dad was showing his brother right behind him in line and that was very confusing to him), and he did not do anything.

When we got back to the trailer we had to disconnect and pack up everything as well as scrape snow off the trailer. But, the sun was peaking through the clouds and temperature was slowly climbing. The roads were in good shape and at noon we took off for home. 

The trip back was mostly uneventful. No wind, no rain, no snow. And the mirror only got displaced once. But, as we approached the location where the truck had died with the powertrain fault three days earlier, it happened again! Very weird. Restarting the truck worked and we got home okay.

So, while there were many problems, including dog throw up and diarrhea, I’ve chosen not to go into in detail, we had a productive trip that was worth all the hassle since Destin came away as a Champion.

Tags:  dogstraveldestin
Posted under: Dog StuffTravel • by Rick on 04/04/2018 at 03:36 PM
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Cabin Trip 2014 - One Week In

Let's get food out of the way first. Steak and baked potatoes for dinner on Saturday, Lynne's chili with homemade cornbread on Sunday. Yum to both! I also baked a loaf of bread on Sunday because I need bread and bread crumbs for the Italian meatloaf later in the week. We'll eat it up for breakfasts, I'm sure. Lynne made a peach cobbler recipe that called for self-rising flour. We learned that Bisquick is probably not the same thing -- at least at this altitude. Leftover sliced steak on salad with home made blue cheese dressing for lunch on Monday.

Here is the bread:

I'm writing this early afternoon on Monday. We arrived exactly one week ago. 

Yesterday (Sunday) was a cool and rainy afternoon. Not typical of Colorado, we had a full day of clouds and light rain. According to my little weather station, we got about 1/2" of rain. It was wonderful. Everything smells so good and the moisture is very welcome. It will help the trees get stronger and better fight off disease and critters. In fact, in the morning we walked down to the beaver pond to give Bella a chance to swim, and I have never seen the pond so full this time of year. 

The lumber jacks were supposed to come today and do the "clean up" of the meadow. However, they were short a person and for safety reasons, did not come. Probably best anyway because of the heavy downpour we had mid-day. It really came down for a few minutes -- cold, wind and wet. We even fired up the stove for a while to stave off the cold and humidity. But, it was a more typical Colorado rainstorm and passed quickly and the sun is now out. The loggers will try again tomorrow.

I got a couple of chores done today. I changed the oil in the generator. For the record, it has 77.6 hours on the meter, now. I also took down some "shelves" that I had put up on the porch years ago. They were staggered in a way that made them a great cat tree -- and they were for the cats. But eBay doesn't care, so I took them down.

I'll leave you with a photo of aspens that Lynne took:

Tags:  cabinnaturefoodbellaweather
Posted under: Cabin NewsDog StuffCat StuffFood and Cooking • by Rick on 09/22/2014 at 01:47 PM
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Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rest in Peace - Alex; 10/24/2002 - 9/8/2013

Today, we had the sad task of letting Alex go. Just a few weeks before his 11th birthday, he was in too much pain and too weak to let him go on. In the end, the lymphoma got him, but he put up a very brave fight for a couple of months. 

He was fine just a few days ago. Well, "fine" given that he was undergoing chemotherapy for the cancer. But, he was eating, running around, playing with his toys. Here is a video of Alex with his toys.

Sometimes it seems like it just isn't worth it having pets and losing them. But, I've come to believe that a few hours of crying, a few days of pain, and a lifetime of occasional sad reflections is really a small price to pay for the all of the companionship, joy, laughter and unconditional love they provide.

PS: Here is a cross link to Lynne's post: http://www.rickandlynne.com/rick/go/lynne/index/alex

Tags:  videoalexthoughts
Posted under: Dog Stuff • by Rick on 09/08/2013 at 10:06 AM
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Alex is in the Hospital

Last night, we could not witness Alex's continued suffering with frequent abdominal cramps, his moans of pain, the shivering and restlessness. So, after first thinking we'd sleep downstairs on the air mattress to try to comfort him and keep an eye on him overnight, we instead decided to take him to the animal emergency hospital about an hour away. 

I'm glad we did since he just seemed to be getting worse and time went by. They treated his condition very seriously, calling for a Code One emergency, and immediately swept him away to do tests and to get him some fluids and pain medications. After initial examination, the doctor was happy with his glucose level and blood pressure, ruling out a couple of dire scenarios, but wanted to keep him hospitalized for at least a day, do more tests, and try to catch up on his hydration.

So, we left him there about midnight last night, came home to a restless night of broken sleep, and now await a call about his condition.

Tags:  alex
Posted under: Dog Stuff • by Rick on 09/08/2013 at 05:16 AM
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Saturday, September 07, 2013

No Renn Faire Today

We got up, did our morning routine and were all dressed up for the Renaissance Faire. But, Alex was clearly not feeling well. He did not eat breakfast (although he seldom does). He needed out a lot and had some diarrhea. He was clearly in pain, moaning occasionally and shaking/shivering. So, we got dressed back in 21st century clothing and took him to the local vet. 

He is suffering from GI distress and just can't get relief. He is cramping frequently and moans in pain when he does. We gave him fluids and put him on some pain meds, but there is little else we can do until this passes. 

But, it is hard watching him in such distress and pain. Frustrating. This is probably the sickest he has been in his (almost) 11-year life.

We bobbed in the pool some, but will save swimming for later. Kind of a bummer of a day.

Tags:  alex
Posted under: Dog Stuff • by Rick on 09/07/2013 at 01:00 PM
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