My Puppies Are Growing Up – Or Are They?

My little girls are no longer puppies. Georgie, my Chihuahua, is now nineteen months old, and Bella, my Papillon/terrier, is sixteen months, which technically makes them dogs. But they haven’t yet outgrown their mischievous and enthusiastic puppy personalities. We tried leaving them uncrated once while we went shopping and came home to a stuffy massacre.

They love playing in the yard. We supervise them closely outside, to shush them if they bark, and because they put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t, like rocks, twigs and bird feathers.

For several months, we had to pen them while owls lived in the tree next door. I still use the pen after dark, for their safety, and so I can round them up easily when it’s time to go in.

Bella usually has the advantage when they play.

A snoozing Georgie is too cute to resist.

In the morning, they enjoy snuggling together on my lap.

Bella sometimes lays beside me.

Hubby’s lap also works.

If our little granddog visits, we make room for her, too.

When the big granddogs visit, we have sleeping dogs everywhere – except on my lap!

Bella, my little shadow, is busier than Georgie. She likes to perch where she can keep an eye on the happenings outside.

Georgie will often join Bella to look (and bark) out the window.

Bella taught my son’s foster puppy the joys of looking outside.

Georgie loves playing fetch (Bella plays take-away). She’ll bring me one toy after another to entice me.

She’s also partial to squeak toys and will squeak them nonstop until she’s tuckered out.

Bella turned one in April, and she’s such a pretty girl. I wasn’t sure what she’d look like before she grew into those big ears, but her lovely long hair complements them perfectly.

I gave her a birthday chew stick, which she happily gobbled down. She’s definitely more food motivated than Georgie.

Georgie enjoys her walks. Bella’s getting better, but she doesn’t have Georgie’s love for it.

Georgie often coughed while walking, so we got them new harnesses, and the coughing’s stopped.

They’re terrified of my son’s cat when she visits. Tentatively giving her a sniff while she’s not looking.

Keeping a curious eye on her from a safe distance.

Carefully watching her from the security of my lap.

Uh-oh, she’s looking.

Georgie’s petrified expression is hilarious.

They adore my little granddaughter. Wherever the toddler is, the pups aren’t far away.

Reading to Georgie.

It remains a struggle to capture good shots of both pups together. Separately isn’t so bad.

And I occasionally get okayish candids.

But trying to pose them together is an exercise in patience. Usually I get several of these.

And if I’m lucky I’ll get a couple of these.

It’s all part of the fun, and I wouldn’t trade my precious little girls for anything.

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Two Puppies, One Lap

It’s a given, if I’m sitting down, I have a dog on my lap. It’s been that way for years. For the last eight months, however, I’ve had two puppies and only one lap. We got Georgie (brown and white Chihuahua) first, and she’s always been a snuggler. When Bella (black and white Papillon/terrier) came along, Georgie had to learn to share. It was easy at first, because they were both very little.

As they got bigger, things got a little tighter, but we talking less than ten pounds total, so not really an issue.

They even share my lap in the car.

Sometimes, they’re content to snuggle beside me, as long as we’re all together.

And although mine is their go-to lap, they’re happy to cuddle with Hubby, too.

Or my boys, if they’re around.

When they were younger, Georgie and Bella would snuggle together in their bed if no lap was available.

As they got bigger, I thought they’d be more comfortable in their own beds. At first Bella didn’t agree. She’d move her bed next to Georgie’s, then sort of worm her way over.

Usually if I’m on the computer, Georgie is on my lap, and Bella uses the nearby bed.

It gets tricky when, for some reason, Bella thinks she should also be up on my lap.

This only works if I’m scrolling Twitter or newsfeeds, and don’t need to type. When I’m using the keyboard, even Georgie usually gets down. Somehow she always manages to scoop the bed away from Bella, and Bella quietly moves to the mat by my feet. Which is strange because Bella is the bigger and more aggressive of the two.

On the rare occasion, Bella won’t move right away, so Georgie just sits there until she wins.

Every morning, they can be found on my lap right after Hubby leaves for work. I’m drinking coffee in my housecoat and catching up on the news headlines, and my two little girls are snuggled in tight. Makes it hard to get up and start my day. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my puppies!

 

Little Puppies In The Big City

As mentioned in my last post (link), we recently spent a week in Vancouver while I had eye surgery. My immediate concern was where to stay with our puppies. A week at a hotel would be expensive and inconvenient. Our youngest son lives there, but isn’t allowed dogs. Then his girlfriend offered us her awesome little suite, while she and her cat stayed with our son. Convoluted, but it worked great, and we were so appreciative.

The pups usually travel well, but on the way to Vancouver, Bella became anxious over the road noise and car wipers. She completely worked herself up, panting and shivering inconsolably. The trip home was more of the same. Although it broke my heart, I had to banish her to the floor a couple of times just to get a break. Thanks goodness Georgie is only quietly neurotic.

Georgie and Bella have constant access to our big backyard, so I wasn’t sure if they’d readily do their business on a leash. And poor Hubby having to take them out several times a day in crappy weather! Georgie was always a trooper, wasting no time doing the deed. Bella, not so much. She hated the wet grass and city noise, sometimes refusing to go.

Bella was a little sweetheart in the apartment, though. She was fascinated with the view from the window, and it entertained her endlessly.

When she tired, she’d snuggle in right there.

Georgie was more timid, and only took a look with my help.

She liked lying there too, if I lifted her up.

Her weakness was the old-fashioned radiator.

Bella joined her sometimes.

Could Georgie get any closer, haha?

Bella usually preferred a little distance from the heat.

We brought their favourite toys and chews.

Being dogs, they snoozed a lot. And being puppies, they looked adorable.

Bella turned eight months old while we were there. (And Georgie’s just turned eleven months)

The skies smiled on us the day before my surgery, so we took the pups to Spanish Banks with our son. It’s a lovely spot (even if I did fall off a big rock and bruise my butt!).

We saw lots of other dogs, some on leash, some off. Bella was excited, if nervous, to meet them. Georgie wanted no part of the spontaneous meet-and-greets.

There’s a dog beach farther down the trail.

Getting good photos of these two together can be challenging.

Maybe Georgie was meditating?

The girls were always excited when our son visited.

Except, maybe, when he made them wear a shark’s head. Because they love him, they cooperated.

It was beneficial for me, mentally and emotionally, to have my pups with me while I went through a tough time, and I’m thankful to the people who helped make it happen.

Georgie and Bella join me in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year. See you in 2019!

 

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, The Wrap-up – The Okotoks Erratic and Puppy Pictures Galore

The main purpose of our September trip to Alberta was to attend our youngest grandson’s birthday. It did my heart good to finally get to celebrate his special day with that precious young man.

Having five dogs – two large ones – in one house is a lot, but they all got along great. Piper continued with her fascination with Georgie, following her around wherever she went. Georgie learned how to jump on the furniture, feeling braver when they were face-to-face.

An audience gathered whenever Georgie ate. That’s Piper and Shasa watching, with Bella just off-frame, all keeping an eager eye on Georgie’s bowl.

My puppies forsook their usual preference for my lap, seeking my son’s company instead, even while the poor guy napped.

Not accustomed to such chilly weather, Georgie developed an appreciation for the gas fireplace.

She willingly shared the heat with Shasa and Sukie.

I even caught her huddled on Hubby’s shoes, seeking the heat coming from the vent under the bench.

Her absolute favourite was snuggling in the faux-fur couch blanket. Too adorable.

Bella has a thicker, fluffy coat and doesn’t usually like being snuggled up, but even she couldn’t resist the faux-fur.

One cold and windy day at the end of our visit, we ventured down to Okotoks. Bella, looking stylish in her little sweater, appropriated my grandson’s booster seat.

Our destination was Okotoks’ big rock. Called the Okotoks Erratic, it’s a massive pile of fractured quartzite that formed many millions of years ago during the formation of the Rocky Mountains, and was transported to this prairie field by glacial activity many thousands of years ago. You don’t need to be a geologist to find it fascinating.

Huddled against the freezing wind, the guys look awfully small beside that ancient hunk of rock.

I didn’t see the exchange, but at some point Hubby cajoled our grandson out of his red toque. Luckily, the boy’s hoody offered plenty of protection. Yes, it really was that cold!

We headed back home the next morning. Bella, now a seasoned traveler, promptly sprawled out on my lap and slept soundly.

Georgie, however, has developed an obsessive fear of overhead structures, windshield wipers (she’d never seen them operate before) and even the towering mountains lining the highway. She kept her head on a swivel, searching for dangers.

She eventually grew sleepy, but nervously kept her guard up.

Even after sleep claimed her, she diligently (and comically) refused to relax.

I can unequivocally call Georgie and Bella’s first road trip a huge success. I’m so glad we took the time to explore some of our beautiful province and I’m especially happy we had the puppies with us. The pleasure of their company far outweighed any challenges of traveling with them. I look forward to many adventures to come.

Links to other stops on the trip:

Moses Creek Falls

Golden’s Rotary Trails

Confluence Park

Wapta Falls

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Four – Wapta Falls

Hubby and I left Golden later than planned on the second day of our September road trip to Alberta, after visiting Confluence Park earlier that morning. (Link to that post) Our next stop was Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. A gravel road from the highway turnoff leads to a good-sized parking lot. The trailhead is marked with a National Parks signpost.

The 2.5 kilometer trail through a mossy pine forest had many muddy patches and was often tangled with roots.

Our intrepid hikers, Georgie and Bella, dodged around the worst of it with incredible ease and enthusiasm.

I felt lucky to have spotted this renowned tree with the massive burl.

Before long, we could hear the rush of the falls and see glimpses of the gorgeous turquoise water of the Kicking Horse through the trees.

The closer to the top of the falls, the more lush and mossy the trail became.

Same as at Moses Creek the previous day, the water’s loud roar frightened Bella. She jumped onto a bench at the viewing platform above the falls and there she stayed.

Georgie, on the other hand, was keen to sniff and explore.

At 100 feet high and 500 feet wide, Wapta Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Canada in both volume and width. Photos can’t grasp its riotous grandeur.

The steeper trails leading down to the base of the falls apparently offer a variety of dramatic views. We stuck to the main path with the easiest grade.

The magnificent Wapta Falls from below. Mount Hunter looms behind.

I would’ve liked a closer view of the falls, but to do so means getting a good soaking from the abundant mist, so we stayed well back.

With the immense volume of water cascading down the falls, I expected the Kicking Horse River to be deeper and more turbulent, and I wondered where all that water went.

I couldn’t convince the girls to drink from the cold, clear water.

Taking a breather before heading back.

The short, steep slope from the riverbed to the trail is an obstacle course of enormous roots and rocks. The puppies powered through it like pros.

Natural blowdowns crisscross overhead throughout the trail.

We happened upon the tiniest mouse happily scavenging without any fear of the large humans towering over it. I was enchanted.

With the afternoon rapidly drawing to a close, we decided to forego our next stop, and head directly to our destination in Alberta. It had been a satisfyingly full two days of explorations, and I relished the experience.

Next week I’ll wrap up the trip with a visit to the Okotoks Erratic, and will include lots of cute puppy pictures.

(Link to the start of our trip)

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Three – Golden’s Confluence Park

The early September morning was cool and slightly overcast as we left the Travelodge in Golden. We had a couple of fun stops planned along the way to Alberta, but I hoped to make an unscheduled one first.

As I mentioned in last week’s post (link), we ran out of daylight looking for Confluence Park the prior evening. Confluence Park is where the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers meet. With their vastly different colours, (the Columbia is emerald and the Kicking Horse is turquoise) I thought it’d be cool to see them mingle, and it was disappointing to have missed this.

So I suggested to Hubby we drive to Confluence Park that morning before leaving Golden, and he agreed! We found our way back to Fisher Road and continued past the small airport and around the bend. A parking area next to the road soon appeared, and an informative sign confirmed we were at the right place.

The slow-moving Columbia River is visible behind the parking area. This is the same river we’d visited the previous morning at Moses Creek Falls in Revelstoke. (link)

We took a trail on the right-hand side of where we’d parked. Sometimes we were in the trees, sometimes we had glimpses of the river.

At one point, we descended onto a small bank to look downriver. The view was spectacular, and we thought we could see the mouth of the Kicking Horse off to the right. But what did I spy just before that? The same teepee structure I’d asked Hubby to photograph the night before? Could we’ve been that close?

We accidentally lost the trail and ended up back on the road, and it became obvious, indeed, that this was exactly where we’d left off the evening before. Working our way down to the large sandy bank of the river, we found the ‘teepee’.

The puppies had never been on sand before, and they soon realized it wasn’t good for sniffing. Poor Bella got the stuff stuck all over her hairy little face.

The vibrant fall colours were lovely.

This is the emerald-green Columbia River.

And this is the turquoise-blue Kicking Horse River.

They meet here, with the Kicking Horse emptying into the larger Columbia. If I could’ve, I would’ve crossed to the other side of the Kicking Horse to better see the discernible change in the Columbia’s colour as the commingled rivers flowed south.

No wonder Hubby mistook this for a backwater from the road. There’s barely a ripple on the surface of the Columbia River. What a gorgeous vista!

The girls were happy to get back on the trail, sniffing smells and chasing leaves.

Back in the car, they snuggled on my lap and snoozed all the way to our next stop – Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park.

Join me next week as we visit one of Canada’s largest waterfalls.

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Two – Golden’s Rotary Trails

We arrived in Golden, the next stop on our trip to Alberta, late on that sunny September afternoon, having taken longer at Moses Creek Falls (link to that story) than I’d allocated. After checking into the pet-friendly Travelodge, we drove to Spirit Square, where the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge connects with Golden’s Rotary Trails.

I’d originally hoped to walk the entire seven kilometre loop, but with only a couple of hours of daylight left, we opted for the section that runs along the Kicking Horse River towards Confluence Park – the meeting point of the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers. (The trail is outlined in green below)

This timber-framed covered bridge is the longest freestanding span in Canada, measuring forty-six meters across.

On the other side, a gravel path follows the turquoise-hued Kicking Horse River in both directions. We went to the right.

Looking back towards the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.

The puppies were thrilled to be released from the confines of the car, and eagerly sniffed and explored every new smell. We met a massive dog (Irish wolfhound?) along the way. The poor lady could barely control the huge creature when Bella and it wanted to make friends.

We veered off the trail at the point where it leads away from the river, and followed Fisher Road in search of Confluence Park. We crossed a wide set of train tracks and eventually, when the road took a left turn beside a small airstrip, Hubby suggested we turn back. With dusk setting in and still no obvious signs of the park ahead, I reluctantly agreed.

Before we left, I asked Hubby to photograph this teepee structure I’d spotted in a clearing beside what he thought was a backwater. (More about this in next week’s post)

Back on the trail, I stopped to take a picture of Hubby and Georgie, while Bella eagerly tugged to join them.

Meanwhile, Hubby took a picture of me taking a picture of him. (Fisher Road is visible behind me)

The fall foliage lining the aquamarine water enlivened the trail with spectacular colour.

The evening sky offered its own brilliant show of colour.

Back at the Travelodge, the girls watched nervously while Hubby unloaded our gear from the car.

Didn’t take Bella long to make herself at home.

And she soon succumbed to her strenuous day.

Georgie took a little longer to unwind.

But then exhaustion claimed her as well, and they both snoozed the evening away.

Next week I’ll share what happened after I persuaded Hubby that we couldn’t leave Golden without finding Confluence Park. (Link to that post)