Sunday, May 22, 2016

Mt Unnecessary Hike

Lunch break views from Mt Unnecessary
If the Grouse Grind is not your cup of tea... because it's too busy, too short, too easy, and the views aren't very good, then this one is a splendid alternative. Just a warning though, this is not a good hike for beginners or those not inclined to climb 1250m over 3kms for fun (or as the graffiti on the sign  says "hard as fucking hell and not for beginners". Mt Unnecessary is one of those beautiful peaks on the Howe Sound trail between the Lions and St Marks. I've previously conquered it on the way to the Lions from St Marks years ago, but never from it's own dedicated trail starting at Lions Bay.

The divide to Erin Moore Trail (dedicated to a 7 year old who died on the trail in 2014)
Happy in her element
mini breaks on the relentless climb
Steep! Steep!
kisses on a fallen log
This way!
We weren't able to finish the beast (about 250m higher to go) because of snow but we still got some beautiful views, a wonderful lunch spot, and the perfect workout all the while having the entire trail to ourselves.

Views halfway up
Looking down you can't even see the trail
beautiful and quiet here
Little ginger watchdog
Whiskey had no problems with the rocks
watch your steps up and down
Waiting for us slow humans
This hike is very to-the-point and unrelenting but also has enough variation and interesting scrambly sections to keep you interested going up. Because it's so steep, you climb altitude really fast and start seeing promising views within an hour. I'd like to think I've done quite a few steep hikes and this one is pretty up there on the list, for a dog-friendly one.

More little breaks
Lots of fun!
A beautiful long-weekend hike
not a bad spot to eat
The view NorthWest of Lions Bay
Coming down was harder and longer than expected and I was really tired of falling on my butt. The steepness, loose ground, and my knee injuries were a bad mix but we still made it down in one piece (Whiskey was wondering what the big deal was and why we were so slow). In all we finished in less than 6 hours and were happily sore the next day!

Getting to need snowshoes/crampons
Whiskey loves running up and down with sticks
I slid on my bum down, while Whiskey ran her but off
Heading back down
We all had a couple small tumbles heading down

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Cat's Guardian Dog

We just came back from a trip to the Sunshine Coast and luckily it was a trip we could take both our cat Moo and of course, Whiskey. Moo is a rescue cat that came to us months before we got Whiskey from her breeder. Unbeknownst to us, Moo had bad experiences with dogs before and was likely bullied by larger dogs before being rescued. It took us a couple months before we were able to pet her with Whiskey's scent still on our hands and lots of patience on all our parts. Of course Whiskey has always been super friendly to everyone, and overtime Moo is getting more comfortable sleeping next to Whiskey, although she'll fright easily with any motion or noise.

the ferry ride over, Moo roams around
checking out our new home
she loves the new windows
alright, let me out now!
Moo is a very unique cat in that she's obsessed with food and is therefore easily trained. She sits, lies down, rolls over, gives paw, and comes on command. Moo is also trained to use the human toilet (that took a good year to do) and she's also fearless in new places. This makes her a very easy cat to travel with, since we don't need to worry about litter or the normal cat relocation adjustment period. The only downside is Moo's smart enough to take off her collar in record time (it's a safe break-away collar) and she slips out of harnesses and abhors a leash. Luckily she has her guardian dog Whiskey to follow her around outside and both have amazing recall (for a 2 year old dog and a cat).

exploring the gardens 2 m away from the house
not scared at all!
everyone keeps an eye on Moo
Moo hasn't been in grass for a long while
Normally, we live in an apartment in downtown so Moo is never let outside. We only let her outside when we are in the country-side, and only then supervised. After letting them both explore their new Sunshine Coast home, we let Moo out. She always retreats back home within 15 mins and if we all go back inside and call her name, she'll come back in for treats, and also because she doesn't like to be left alone outside.
The kids get called inside
venturing out slightly further
Whiskey keeps tabs on her sister
Moo doesn't seem to mind the company
Exploring together
Super cute!
This was the first trip we've seen Whiskey's protective side of Moo. I've heard of dogs being protective of their cat siblings and vice versa but it's so endearing to see with my own two. Even though she's the younger sister, Whiskey will stay close to Moo and even follow her under the patio (about a 1 foot crawl space). I feel pretty safe letting these two sisters explore together and of course, Whiskey has already learned the command "where's Moo?". We use the same command "where's daddy?" and "where's mommy?" when we play hide and seek with her so she'll immediately go look for Moo. I just feel so lucky with these two.

until next time!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ovary Sparing Spay

Whiskey hours before her spay
We've just gotten back from a trip to Kelowna for Whiskey's spay. When we first got a dog, I didn't realize there were several different options for spays (and for neuters), each with pros and cons. As I'm typing this, Whiskey is next to me sleeping and recovering.

fetching and swimming in Kelowna
Just looking at a health perspective (let's assume you aren't leaving your dog in heat running around with intact males), there is up to a 25% chance of uterine infection with older intact females (pyometra) so if you aren't breeding, getting a spay in North America is probably going to be considered. Here are the types of spay I was looking at:

-traditional spay removing both the uterus and the ovaries
-removes chance of pyometra
-available anywhere
-increase chance of joint disease and cancers since hormones are absent

-removing only the ovaries
-removes chance of pyometra
-typically a key hole surgery requiring a smaller incision
-quicker surgery and potentially safer
-less painful with a smaller cut
-quicker recovery time
-less vets can do this
-increase chance of joint disease and cancers since hormones are absent

Ovary sparing spay
-removing only the uterus and cervix, leaving at least one ovary
-removes chance of pyometra
-still small chance of ovarian cancer
-increased chance of mammary tumors over other spays
-keeps heats but no bleeding
-keeps all the hormones
-difficult to find an experienced vet that does this

one last sunset picture

For larger breeds, because it's healthier to keep the hormones, spays are usually delayed until the dog is "fully grown" although with an OSS, you could even do it earlier. I only really researched about spaying later because of this, and honestly I wanted to delay any kind of optional surgery as late as possible. Once I did look into it, I found the only vets near where we lived that offer this special spay were at least a 4-5 hour drive away. Poor Whiskey had no idea where we were going when we headed out on a roadtrip to Kelowna. She was so happy, hiking, exploring, and modelling the whole day before her spay.

she's old enough to understand the vet is no fun place!
Whiskey's suspicious face
a small pre-surgery checkup
waiting for her surgery time
Freaking out a bit once we got her on the surgery table
Because Whiskey had such little fat, she was more difficult to put under and struggled more than usual. Outside of that her spay went normal and we were there when she went to sleep and woke up. It was so heart-breaking to watch her struggling against the anesthesia as well as flailing around when she woke up (apparently certain breeds flail more than others). We didn't leave her side until we drove home that evening.

right after she finished with heating pads
we made sure she could smell us before opening her eyes
forcing her to lay down and not run out!
stubbornly not laying down to recover at the office
That evening Whiskey was feeling so poorly it was very difficult to get her to pee and poop and she was walking like a very very elderly dog with her head hanging low. It was so sad to see! The next day however she was still walking slow but she had perked up and was already giving kisses. By lunch time she would let me spoon feed her (yes, she's a princess when she feels sad) and by the evening she was 80% back to normal. Currently I walk her on leash only with a long line and work on new tricks, training, and lots of patience!

2 days after and healing