Fall is… Gone?

Pacifica almost has reverse seasons, so we’re a bit confused what time of year it is, but the calendar doesn’t lie– it’s almost winter. In review of the last three months I figured I’d do a mega-post of what the humans have been up to:

#1 Weddings- 3 weddings this year. Congrats again to our friends Tera and Ryan, Meg and Jason and Evi and Kevin. Good people, beautiful weddings.

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#2 Apple Picking- 3rd year running, we headed to Giztditch to grab 20lbs of apples that were made into sauce, juice, pies and consumed raw. We really love this place.

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#3 Baking- Kris has made quite a few dishes including apple, berry and pumpkin pies, lemon meringue, and angel food cake. She also tackled and perfected a lasagna recipe that Brendan says is “the best he’s ever had.”

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This was my first lattice top… I kinda failed at the weaving, but next time I’ll be more diligent.

#4 Pumpkin Carving- this was the first year we had pumpkins, unfortunately they rotted within one week post-carving. :-( Oh well.

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#5 Road trip to Pumpkinland Chocolates- Upon a journey to Redding to see the Sundial Bridge, Brendan and I discovered a small roadside chocolatiers. This year on Veteran’s day we decided to drive up there, grab some chocolates, freshly picked persimmons, and walnuts. We recommend anyone near Red Bluff, CA, make their way that direction and enjoy some sweets and the large pond near the store front (unfortunately you can’t let your dogs out near the water, but they do have some really neat birds that hang near the banks).

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#6 Enjoying our home- Our lease will be up in January and the rent is going to go up at least $300 so we’re enjoying our beach as much as we can while starting to hunt for our next home (hopefully with a big yard, cause seriously how can you match this?).

Golden Retriever having the Best time on her beach

Up next on the calendar is Thanksgiving, followed by Kris’s birthday and then Christmas… and then 2014. Wow, I have no idea where this year went!

Hope you all had a fantastic Fall!

K and B

Happy Birthday, Beagle

1 whole year! Where has the time gone? The last three months have whipped by so quickly and now we’re looking at the holidays and we’re pretty confused how the heck we got here.

In celebration of Finlay’s first year of life I have made a list of things that have always been true about our beagle boy:

#1 He is ADORABLE while sleeping
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#2 No food is safe

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#3 EVERYTHING is worth sampling

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#4 or attempting to sample

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#5 Dad= THE BEST.

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#6 Tesla= Annoying

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We love this dog, and all his weirdness. In fact if he wasn’t weird he probably wouldn’t it in with the rest of us. Here’s to many more years, Finlay. We’re very happy you’re part of our lives.

Tesla, 10 Months: Obedience is a Must

Caught red-handed cuddlingAt 60+ pounds our “golden moose” is starting to live up to her nickname.

No longer a cute little baby, Tesla looks like a full grown dog, and she can pull like she’s training for the Iditarod. So, off to obedience class we go! Tesla and I have now finished a total of two separate 6 week courses at Petsmart (we tried to use a local option, but the classes were at 8:30 am on a Saturday, sorry but I’d like to sleep-in) and she has now graduated from beginning and intermediate obedience classes. Continue reading

Rollin’ on the (American) River

Earlier this month, Brendan and I took the dogs on their first river float down the American River. It was also the first time for Brendan and I, so in my true “be prepared” nature I did a lot of research.

us and the dogs on rafts

Finn really like standing on both rafts at the same time… this made him fall in the water more than once

The Rafts:
Dog nails can easily ruin your fun on the river by popping a raft with their claws so it is important that the raft’s plastic is very durable. After a little amazon review reading I knew I wanted products by intex. We chose a river run II — a twin tube design with a cooler in between. We also purchased a 92″ inflatable boat that was supposed to fit three people. I figured between the 5 seats and a cooler we would have enough space for Brendan, myself, Finn and Tesla. We also purchased duct tape and had the dogs’ nails ground down as precautionary measures.

Finlay the fearless beagle in his life jacket

Our fearless little beagle on a raft in the American River

The Vests:
I know dogs are supposed to inherently know how to swim, but I wasn’t too sure about Mister Finn being able to swim very well, so both dogs got life vests.
I bought them at Petsmart (Brendan was surprised that doggie life vests were so easy to find); Tesla is wearing a large and Finn a medium. I think they definitely helped them keep their faces completely out of the water while swimming. I really liked this version because it came with Velcro secures, plastic buckles, and two handles on the top. It was much easier to lift the dogs into the boat because of the handles on their backs.

river float? No big deal.

river float? No big deal.

The Trip:

It took us about 2 hours to get up to the river site. The dogs slept for most of it, but when we got closer to Sacramento it was hotter and the dogs started to get more excitable in the cargo area. It then took about 30 minutes to blow up the rafts and tie them together; this have been impossible if there was only one of us responsible for the dogs. It was too hot to have them in the car, and too hot to have them stand on the paved area so one of us had to take them down to the riverbank, where they both insisted on drinking the water–remember this for later.

Once our friends had finished inflating the rafts, we were ready to launch our raft chain. Finn was okay with being handed off to Brendan, but Tesla wanted NOTHING to do with the boat raft she and I were supposed to sit in. A stranger actually had to hold the boat for us so that I could get in before she could jump back out. I think in general she was just worried I was leaving her, because once we were both in the boat-thingy she settled right down.

Finn jumped in a couple times to inspect ducks and quickly regretted it. Tesla slept in the raft with her head on the edge. She wasn’t very interested in anything, she just took it all in and was glad to be by my side, being fed snacks occasionally. The second half of the trip we switched rafts and she and I sat in the tandem tubes, she wasn’t a huge fan of this because her butt was in the water. After about 2 hours of that she was definitely ready to get out when we reached the shore.

Sleeping mid-float

Sleeping mid-float

beagles like to cuddle on the river.

Beagles like to cuddle on the river.

My Conclusions:

The float was 4 hours in total, which was twice as long as we expected. I have made a separate post on all the things I think someone should bring if they’re going to attempt this type of trip with their dogs … it was not easy on any of us. Tesla, my dear little love, got very sick the following day, and didn’t hold down anything for two days after that. Our guess is that she consumed something that she shouldn’t have — or most likely, drank too much water right at the river bank and slurped up some nasty bacteria. It was pretty awful. I had to give her pepcid and pedialyte to make sure the acid and bile production in her stomach wasn’t going crazy, and worked hard to keep her hydrated.

Brendan is not as comfortable in water as I am and he would tell you he was incredibly concerned with the dogs and his own safety the whole trip. For me it was totally fine, but everyone has their own limits. (EDIT: Brendan wants me to note that he’s reasonably comfortable in water but is a secret control freak. The drifting-along-with-no-control part of things is where the problems came in for him. Anyone with similar tendencies be warned!)

In general: Floating is a whole lot of waiting and hanging out. There were a lot of really drunk people around us (we actually saw someone almost drown, someone in our group rescued him), a lot of dogs swimming and playing along the banks, and lots of loud people playing really loud music. If you think any of this will bother your dog or if you have a dog that’s not okay with sitting for long periods of time, this is probably not an activity you want to take part in.

I think next time we’d rather have just a lake day and allow the dogs to romp around on land and in the lake but I wouldn’t be completely against doing another river float either (EDIT: Brendan says I lost my voting privileges).

but it was a beautiful day.

But it was a beautiful day.

Wine Tasting with Dogs

Two weekends ago we were coincidentally in Sonoma, CA with the dogs and decided to do a quick Google search for pet friendly wineries.

We were blown away by this huge list of dog-friendly venues. It was really hard to pick one, but we finally decided on Chimney Rock Winery in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley (we used the tried and true “What sounds interesting within 5 miles of where we are right now that’s dog-friendly and in the first three letters of the alphabet” method).

Chimney Rock, a dog friendly winery

Not only gorgeous, but dog-friendly!

As most pet owners know, “dog-friendly” is kind of a loose term and can mean a variety of things; Chimney Rock Winery was absolutely lovely to our dogs.

When we walked up to the front of the tasting room a woman greeted us, and our two slightly excited to be out of the car dogs. She knelt down and petted both of them a few times and then opened the door for us to go inside their beautiful, air-conditioned tasting room.

wine tasting with our golden retriever pupThis was already beyond our expectation — we assumed the dogs would be allowed maybe outside on some patio (it was quite warm, so we didn’t think we’d be able to stay long), but Brendan I were able to really enjoy our wine flight since the dogs were cool and resting on their gorgeous hardwood floors.

wine tasting, Chimney RockThe staff were incredibly knowledgeable, we chose a $30 flight that included mainly cabs, all delicious (although my favorite was the white wine we started off with it was deliciously crisp and had some really nice fruit on the bouquet — that’s my attempt to sound like I know something about wine haha).

We enjoyed chatting with our wine expert, I feel terrible for forgetting his name but he was tall and had curly hair. He told us “wineries and dogs just go together”, and we couldn’t agree more. We’ll definitely be visiting Chimney Rock and Napa again — with our pups!

What are your favorite dog-friendly wineries?