Tuesday, December 27, 2005

home for the holidays

I hope that everyone had a most marvelous Christmas. Ours was delightful.

Terran and I drove to my parent's home in Olympia, WA this year for Christmas. I haven't had Christmas with my family since 1999 so, to say the least, I have been excited for the holidays. Everything lived up to my great expectations.

We got there late Friday night, had Chinese food for dinner, visited, and let the dogs work off some of their energy with Kaitlyn, our almost 3 yr old neice. She liked the "baby puppy" and wanted "tojo" to chase the ball. She was quite demanding in this and kept the dogs moving.

Christmas Eve saw a visit from my Aunt Barb, my Grandma, and some cousins. Then Terran and I, while different family members napped, took the dogs to the woods and let them explore the great Northwest Forest. They loved it. I don't blame them it was warm (in the 50's), smelled great, and was beautiful. If I could bring one thing to Colorado from Washington it would be the woods. I love, and have always loved hiking in them. They're so green and full of variety.

Christmas Day we ate breakfast out of our stockings, a long-standing Hansen tradition. My mom fills the stockings with a drink, an orange, some jerky, a package of crackers and cheese and of course, candies and chocolate. We eat it while opening presents. I can't wait to do it with our kids.

Our holiday adventure with the family (every holiday has to have some type of adventure, especially holiday trips) was, we had no cooking stove for Christmas dinner. My dad got up during the wee hours of Christmas morning to find, the kitchen had a strong odor of gas coming the from the kitchen stove. Off went the stove, and out the door went plans for dinner. We ended up with microwaveable potatoes from the store, (some of Oly's grocery stores were open) and our wonderful neighbors, and good friends from up the road sent down half their Christmas turkey. My family is blessed with generous friends!

The driving went really well. It does take a little longer to drive straight thru with dogs than just the two of us. We took 19 to 20 hours instead of 16 to 17 . The dogs did great. Kaia, the puppy, sat in one of our laps on the passenger side almost the whole time sleeping, or shaking with fear on the way there. It's a good thing she's small enough to hold still. Kojo slept most of the time, or sat looking out the window. He's figured out how to roll down the window by hitting the button, so at different times the window in the back would go down and the car was filled with cold air and rain. It was pretty funny. He looked pretty pleased with his head hanging out the window, smiling his doggy smile into the wind.
The only snow we encountered was about 1:30 am between here and Salt Lake City, on Soldier Summit. It was pretty tense, especially when we passed cars that had gone off the road. I am so thankful for the wonderous driving skills of a certain Mr. Goodwin.

Missing the fam, but glad to be home,


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Trials of a Tail

Kaia, our Australian Shepherd is a perfect puppy. She is playful, curious, cuddly, and (my favorite) little. She looks and acts like an Aussie in everyway, except she has a tail. One of the most distinguishing physical traits of an Aussie is their bobbed tails, which are very cute.
When we first saw Kaia, we almost didn't get her, because of her tail; but then she was so little and cuddly. Her offensive tail, black with a white tip, was just like our Border Collie, Kojo's. Who could say no to such a puppy? Certainly not me.
Kaia's tail has at different times become the topic of conversation of what it will look like, and whether we should have it removed or not. Each conversation ended with Terran saying there must be something wrong with Aussie's tails for them all to be removed.
A dark day loomed when it looked like Terran's words were true. Kaia's tail was not cute, it was no longer was covered with the sweet puppy fuzz like the rest of her, but long coarse hair. That day broke my heart, she looked like a little weirdo, a freak of nature.
The climax came when we took the dogs to the park one day, and they started playing with another Aussie, whose owner told us she had heard from breeders that if left long, Australian Shepherds had long rat-like tails, while the rest of them was covered with long hair. After getting home, Terran and I researched about having her tail cut off. Every website we went to used horrible words like "painful", "shock", "rehabilitation", "cutting through the bone" and many others. We could not do that to the puppy who would run to us when she is hurt or scared.
Our saving grace came when we stumbled on a Finnish site about Australian Shepherds. The first words on the site were about it being illegal in Finland to bobb the tails of dogs. We saw pictures of Finnish Aussies with tails. Beautiful, full, normal, long tails.

Proud owner of a Finnish-American Australian Shepherd,