Years Timid

Happy Birthday Heart. Today you turned 5 years old. Recently you also passed your first year with us. Amazing how quickly time flies.

I still think back to the day that Sue and I met Heart, and how timid she was. Heart has come a long way in that year.

Crisp Wander

Heart and I got out for a fall ride at the dump yesterday. The conditions were spectacular. Very crisp, sunny, tacky dirt, not too much mud. Couldn’t have asked for more. Well, actually I would. I wished my legs had been up to the task. I just never felt warmed up, which was really odd.

We did a nice loop that incorporated some of the lower trails. Then we went up for a bit, ending up at C-Section. I had heard another rider mention night shift, and I thought that was a great idea. I started up the correct road for Night Shift, but as I got to the trail head, I decided to climb some more to get to Who’s Yer Daddy. Trail wise I was feeling on. I was hitting jumps here and there with ease, but my legs never felt like they had any power, and they ran out of what power they had quickly.

Heart is a great trail companion though. She sticks pretty close to me, and doesn’t wander much. Very different than Yoshi. I love riding with Heart, I just need to keep an eye on her still because when she does get separated, she gets a little frantic and goes the wrong way. When she gets tired, she starts to lag behind me. At the end of my ride, I am generally going pretty fast down the last couple sections.

In any event, she was tuckered out from the ride and wanted in to the truck as soon as possible.

View Nov 6, 2011 Dump Ride With Heart in a larger map

Total Distance: 6.70 km (4.2 mi)
Total Time: 59:23
Moving Time: 47:14
Average Speed: 6.77 km/h (4.2 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 8.52 km/h (5.3 mi/h)
Max Speed: 27.00 km/h (16.8 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 102 m (335 ft)
Max Elevation: 246 m (807 ft)
Elevation Gain: 235 m (772 ft)
Max Grade: 12 %
Min Grade: -9 %

Downside Spokes

Saturday I got out for a mountain bike ride. Originally it was going to be a road ride, but the other people I was going to ride with had to change their plans. Instead I took Heart out to the dump for a spin.

I was expecting the trails to be in pretty nasty condition due to the rain earlier in the morning, but I found them to be pretty good actually. The downside I saw was that any time I brushed by some grass or bumped a tree, I got drenched.

He ride itself was pretty good. I felt great on the bike, but I need to spend more time on my Bullit to get my timing back, and to feel confident when jumping. My legs felt strong, and I climbed some hills that I wouldn’t have been able to a few months ago. From the parking lot I went up Pooh corner, up past Inventive, then over to C-Section. Then I went to Walk Up, and came down South Ridge. It is vry depressing being at that end of the trail system and seeing all the new property markers encroaching on the trails. I made my way onto Fun Trail until I could cut onto Green Ribbon. I did a few more trails at the far end of the park before making my way back to the truck.

Heart had a good time and didn’t lose me at all this ride. Back at the truck, she jumped in as soon as I opened the door, and curled up in the back seat.

The only bad thing that happened was that when downshifting my chain jumped off the largest cog and into the spokes where it got jammed up pretty good. This happened twice, and both times it took me a while to sort things out.


Here is the map from the ride. For some reason, there is a section missing.

View June 18 in a larger map
Total Distance: 5.57 km (3.5 mi)
Total Time: 1:49:06
Moving Time: 1:11:57
Average Speed: 3.07 km/h (1.9 mi/h)
Average Moving Speed: 4.65 km/h (2.9 mi/h)
Max Speed: 24.37 km/h (15.1 mi/h)
Min Elevation: 112 m (368 ft)
Max Elevation: 254 m (834 ft)
Elevation Gain: 272 m (891 ft)
Max Grade: 0 %
Min Grade: -8 %

Figured Chewing

Hearty, Hearty, Hearty. What are we going to do with you? Just when we think we have her figured out, she throws a curveball. We know that Heart will chew on things if we don’t clean up properly, yet sometimes she gets into things that we don’t expect. The other day it was some Kleenex’s. Today some plastic bags and a bottle of sunscreen (she didn’t get into he sunscreen itself, just chewed the bottle).

The other day though, she outdid herself. Sue and the kids were outside playing. I was inside making dinner. Elliot had been playing with Heart and the chuckit was laying on the ground. A couple moments later I looked out and saw Heart chewing on a blue ball. It dawned on me that she was chewing her chuckit. I yelled, but she only looked at me, then resumed. I ran out there and she droped it, but the damage was done. A few chews had ruined the part of the chuckit that hold the ball. Damn. I think she thought that it was another ball to play with.

Now we need to buy another one.

Curve Pieces

And so it begins. Yoshi was destructive when he was bored. Heart is too. We keep lots of toys out for her and do our best to clean up before we go out. But sometimes she throws us a curve ball. So far Heart has only destroyed a few plastic toys of Amy’s and Elliot’s. Today she took it up a notch.

She found Sue’s brand new pair of riding glasses and spare lenses, and chewed them to smithereens. Some pieces are still missing.

Quietly Habit

Heart is such a unique dog. She is sweet and lovely, but has a few funny qualities.

Sometimes she gets super excited when we get home. I mean, SUPER excited. As in crazy barking, running around, doing lags around the outside of the house excited. The kids generally get out of her way, but someday someone is going to get hurt.

The other thing is that in the morning when Heart come upstairs, she comes up ever so quietly, walks into out room and curls up on her bed up there. One of the reasons we locked Yoshi in the kitchen at night was because in the summer he would wake up at 5 am and come racing up the stairs. He was so loud he woke everyone up. Yoshi was a morning dog and never slept in. Heart will stay one her bed sleeping as long as there is no movement in the room.

Another peculiar habit is that she is a garbage can surfing dog. If we forget to close the cupboard, she will dip in there and find something to grab. She doesn’t always eat it though. Sue told me a story about this once, and I just experienced it today. The kids were on the couch watching TV. I had just sat down to read some blogs on my computer. Heart would not settle down. She was waling around the dinner table where I was sitting, then would walk around the couches. She did lay down at one point, then promptly got up. It was starting to get a little annoying. Then she walked toward me and she was holding her jaw funny.

I suddenly remembered Sue telling me a similar story and how Heart had gone into the garbage can and carried around something in her mouth for awhile. I grabbed her and opened her mouth. Sure enough there was a piece of celery stalk that I had likely dropped on the ground. It’s almost like she wants to eat the food/garbage, but knows it is wrong. Instead she skulks around the house with it in her mouth thinking “I am in so much trouble”, but unable to put the food down. Silly girl.

Anniversary Office

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of Yoshi’s death. I still think about him a lot, and I still miss him a lot. He was a great dog, and even though we have Heart now (who is another great dog), the hole he left behind is still there. I find it hard to believe that a year has gone by already. I still distinctly remember his last night with us, and the awful trip to the vet’s office.

Having Heart around does help since she is so similar to Yoshi, but her differences make me think about him. I kind of like that. I never intended to replace him.

Elk Air

Sunday I took the kids and Heart out to Elk Lake for a walk. Heart needed some exercise really badly and this seemed like a great way for her to get some. It turned out to be a great walk. The kids and I had a lot of fun, Heart ran around lots and played with some other dogs, and I got some fresh air. We walked over 3kms too. Elliot walked the entire way, and Amy walked most of the way (I carried her for three short stints).

Skittish Element

I had been wanting to take Heart out mountain biking since we got her. It has been a long time since I took my a dog of mine riding, and I missed it a lot. Heart is still fairly new to us, and I although her confidence is getting better, she is still a little skittish at times.

My fears were unfounded it turned out. I went for a short spin at the dump this morning, and Heart was a star. She is a great trail dog with some pretty good instincts. She always likes to stick close to Sue and I. I was hoping this would be the same while riding, and it was.

What surprised me though was that she liked to take the lead on the trail. She was happily running in front of me for most of today’s ride. Once free in the bush she carried herself well, and looked very confident. I loved seeing her like that.

We took some easy trails and I made a short loop. During our breaks Heart would roam around a little checking things out, looking down gullies, sniffing the air. She really seemed in her element.

We came to a stream crossing at one point and while I rested she wandered around checking things out, even walking through the stream a little. Heart even took log piles in stride, and easily trotted across a couple bridges without any hesitation.

One descent we were on, I could see her beelining from the side right for where I was headed. At the last second she slowed enough that we didn’t collide.

The only negative thing that happened was on Skull Trail. This back and forth downhill trail is pretty fast, and Heart was keeping up just fine. Until she stopped to sniff something. When I stopped and looked back to find her, she was nowhere to be seen, and I couldn’t hear her collar jingling either. I called for her and I saw her take off up the hill away from me. I yelled her name a few more times and she turned around and raced down the hill to me.

Back at the truck, she quickly climbed into the back seat and curled up for the ride home. Mission accomplished.

For the rest of the day Heart has been pretty quiet. Tonight she is flaked out on her bed and really isn’t moving all that much. A tired pooch is a happy pooch.