Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

Zephyr, Astro, and I went to Phoenix to my parent's for Christmas.  The weather was perfect, upper 60's to low 70's.  Zephyr and Astro always get so excited when we visit.  They love the nice big grassy yard and pretty much play constantly while we're there.
The Contortionist
Christmas morning was super fun for Zephyr and Astro.  They got to tear up wrapping paper!  Both boys love paper.  Astro even found a box of biscuits after he ripped up some.
Somehow Zephyr managed to get wrapped up in a long piece of packaging paper.  I can't imagine how something like that would happen.  ;-)  Astro had fun chasing him around.
Even Puter had some fun in the pile of paper.
This is PJ, my parent's dog.  He has mixed feelings about Zephyr and Astro.
He was an only puppy, so he's not sure what to think about how playful and exuberant Zephyr and Astro are.  But he's learning.  He runs with them some and plays a little.  He gets overwhelmed when both of them try to play with him at the same time.  But, he's doing a lot better.
This is Tiger.  They have another cat, Mace.  Their three cats are brothers and sister whose mom was a stray that my parents took in.
Christmas afternoon we all went to my aunt and uncle's where the boys got to play with Buster, who they love.  Buster followed some kids to my aunt's school when he was a puppy.  No one responded to all the signs they put up, etc., so my aunt and uncle kept him.  That was many years ago.  Both Zephyr and Astro have played with Buster since they were puppies.
The house behind had a strange kind of dog that Zephyr wasn't sure about at first.  It is a large Pot Bellied Pig.  He or she was pretty funny, and would come up to the fence when ever the dogs were playing or talking to each other through the fence.  I think I even saw it wag its tail.

The boys were exhausted when we got home.  They get so excited when we visit that they don't eat much either, drives me nuts.  So, after eating a nice meal when we got home, they fell fast asleep.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice and Merry Christmas!

The past week we have had a lot of rain, it felt like we were living in the northwest.  Last Sunday it was really foggy and misty, which doesn't happen too often here, so I took Zephyr and Astro for a run in the forest.  The blue tape on Zephyr's back foot was just to keep a scrape clean. 

Funny, Zephyr will often not want to go take care of business in the yard when it's raining.  Sometimes I have to make him go out and I have to watch to make sure he goes before he immediately runs in.  But he had no problems running and checking things out for an hour and a half in the rain while off leash in the forest.  Hmm.

Something smelled really good.

Winter is a great time to go places where they don't usually get to run off leash.  The Forest Service closes road access so I don't have to worry about vehicles or people camping.

I love how the tree bark turns dark when it's really wet, makes nice contrast.  The coats kept the boys nice and dry, as long as you don't count Astro laying down in a mud puddle.  :-)

"I wish it would snow."

"Oh my gosh, my wish came true!  Santa must have come early!"

"Come on Astro let's go play!"

We woke up to snow this morning.  Zephyr has no problem going out in the snow, he loves it.

I love the way snow makes them so goofy.

I have been sick the past few days so we've been watching movies.  Today it was "A Dog Year" based on the book by Jon Katz.  It was good.  Astro was really interested in the dog, Devon, in the movie.

"Time to bust out the movie snacks please!"  After the movie I took the boys out for a fun run in the forest. 

As much as I like the snow, I always look forward to the days getting longer after Winter Solstice.  Zephyr's registered name is even Cebar Winter Solstice Zephyrus.  I named him that because he was born soon after the solstice, Jan. 6, and Zephyrus is the Greek god that brings the west wind and spring.  Plus I really liked the name Zephyr. :-)  I can't believe he will be turning four this year.  

I Hope You All Have A Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Couch Compromise?

Like all good greyhounds Zephyr and Astro love a nice soft cozy couch to lounge upon.  They would prefer that our couch be their dedicated bed.  They don't mind sharing the couch with me, as long as all three of us can share it at the same time.  It turns out that doesn't work so well but it's not because they haven't tried.
When I kick them off the couch this is where Zephyr often goes.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.  But, let me tell you that I often still hear about how unfair this is, especially if Astro happens to still be on the couch with me.  You can see another bed on the floor to the left.  That one is nice but it doesn't have much cushioning.  It's good for spreading out in front of the fire though.
So, I got them this nice dog bed in hopes that we can come to some sort of a compromise.  It's super special because it has 4 inches of foam on the bottom of the bed.  Great for svelte greyhounds.  It also has soft warm fleece on the inside.  At least one of its reviews said the dog preferred it to the couch.  I wasn't that naive, but they do seem to like it.  In fact right now as I am on the couch with Astro, Zephyr has chosen the bed over the cushy chair.  It's from Drs. Foster and Smith if your interested. 
Zephyr used to have a bed kind of like this and he really liked it until it wore out.  He would get down in it and get all goofy and kick his feet and paw at the side walls.  That's what Astro was doing in this picture. At least now when I decide I might like to have the couch to myself for awhile everyone will have a nice place to lay down.
"It's a great bed Mom, but as soon as your off the couch it's mine again."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Action Shots

The boys and I have a favorite place to hike.  We call it "Off Leash Canyon" and it's a great place because there are hardly ever people there, and because it's a canyon where usually there aren't any deer that Zephyr and Astro would love to chase. If we hike the whole canyon it's about 6 miles round trip.  Here are a some pictures I took on a hike back in October of Zephyr and Astro in action. 

The boys alternate between chasing each other around in and out of the trees and up and down the hills at full speed, smelling around, and coming to say "Hi" and walk a little with me.  They love to have their ears rubbed and backs scratched on hikes.  One of the best things about taking them out is seeing how happy they are in the forest.

They don't seem to hold back at all and fly over large logs and off rocks.  I love seeing them doing what comes natural to them and they are so beautiful to watch.  They leap over logs silently, come within hairs of trees, and stop and turn on a dime.  It's amazing to see!

They take turns chasing each other and try and challenge each other by making up the toughest course and tricking each other.  Astro especially seems to love egging Zephyr on and trying to trick him.  I love watching them but I still get a stomach twinge sometimes when they are going so fast and weave so close to the trees, etc.
"Run Zephyr, Run!  Here comes the Crazy Forest Troll!"  The forest can be a scary place you know.  Can you see the fear in their faces?  He, He, He. ;-)

They are often totally in sync with each other.  Either in the same position or moving and turning together as they run or jump.  One time they we running and I saw them take perfect silent jumps over a log one after another.  It was like they were flying.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.  There are patches of torn up ground all along the canyon from Zephyr and Astro.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone else notices the patches and wonders what happened.  Zephyr wears a Garmin dog tracking GPS collar.  Garmin actually calls it the "Astro" and I'm pretty sure that's what got me thinking that Astro would be a good name for the puppy that was to come a few months after I got the GPS.  Astro will be getting a collar too, it can track up to 10 dogs, super cool.  The reason I got the dog tracker will have to be for another post, but I'm sure you can imagine.  :-)

There's usually some water in the canyon and they love to get a drink or play in it.  This past summer Zephyr became quite the swimmer.  He always loved the water and would swim if he had too.  But this summer he started to swim a lot and it looked like he was doing it more for fun.  Astro loves to play in the water but hasn't been brave enough to swim yet.  I wanted to go somewhere warm enough that I could swim to see if that would get him to try, but it will have to wait until next year.

After he gets wet Astro loves to roll in dirt.  Mmm, yummy!

They take their breaks, and then they're off again.  On the trail they seem to have endless energy, but when we get home they crash out. 

We haven't had much snow yet this winter and it's been really warm the past week so we are still able to go to Off Leash Canyon.  After they have their romps they love to lay and roll in the snow that is in the canyon now.  The forecast is for warm weather through the next week at least, so we will get to visit our favorite play area even longer this year.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

He's A Big Boy Now!

Remember this?  Astro and Zephyr on Sept 26, 2009, the day Astro came home.  He was such a tiny little thing, eight weeks old and barely 12 lbs.  

From day one Zephyr was so happy to have a brother.  I think he could tell right away that Astro was was for him and wasn't leaving.

Zephyr was always gentle with Astro when he was a babe.   Both Zephyr and Astro are really good with small dogs.

Here's the little cutey pie now at 16 months.  He went to the vet the other day for his year booster shots and he was 75 lbs.  Not quite as big as Zephyr, 87 lbs., but close.  These two are absolute best friends.  Zephyr has done an excellent job teaching Astro the ropes and Astro's even taught Zephyr a few things.

Astro is full of personality and great facial expressions.  He's very playful and lets me or Zephyr or a kitty know when it's time to play.  Even though he is 16 months old it seems like he is in the middle of complete puppyhood.  He's full of energy and needs to get some good running and playtime each day. 

He is always bowing to play or stretch.  Last winter in one of our basic obedience classes Liz, our instructor, suggested teaching your dog to bow.  All I had to do was start giving this a name and it didn't take long before Astro was "taking a bow" on command.  He started agility classes last spring and is doing an excellent job.  When it came time to teach his contact behavior I decided on the 2 on, 2 off.  After a little while I realized that all I needed to do was tell him "Take a Bow" on the contacts.  It is so cute!  I'm teaching it to Zephyr now because so far his contacts have been the "unintentional running contact".  ;-)

The little guy tears it up on the trail and he's got nice strong bones and muscles too, just like his big brother.  I have some great action shots of the two of them in the forest that I will hopefully post soon. 

Today we got our first good snow, about 6 inches and the boys had a great time chasing each other around the yard and catching snowballs that I threw.
 And chewing on each other.

Here he is looking handsome in a rare moment of standing still.  Hopefully I will be able to show him a little this winter and spring.

The lights of my life!