Sunday, July 3, 2011

Finnegan Learns His Trade

Dogs have been part of my family for most of my life.  As a child we got a dog when I was 4 and we had her until she died when I was 18.  A few years after that my parents got another dog.  As soon as Patty and I purchased our first house in 1996 we got our first dog within a week of moving in.  Since that first dog - Bailey, I have had a continuously unbroken string of dogs in my house with the most recent addition being Finnegan.

One of the things that has been really marvelous about having two dogs at a time but of different ages, is that the youngest dog is taught the ropes by the older dog.  Bailey taught Devon and Lex and now Lex is teaching Finnegan.  This weekend has been Finn's first real education in one of his primary job's - trail dog.  Finn has learned most of what he needs to know around the house and though Lex isn't a good of a teacher as was Bailey he has done OK.  But where Lex seems to excel is teaching Finnegan what to do when we are out hiking.

Typically I let the dogs off leash when hiking unless it is specifically prohibited by local law or if I feel the pups might get into trouble.  But - I have to be at a point where I trust the dog and I typically don't trust puppies.  Finnegan has been a great exception to the rule.  By his nature he wants to stay close to me and Lex so he has done a great job being out on the trail without a leash.  Lex also did a great job "herding" Finn the way to go.  If Finn was going off in the opposite direction, Lex would be sure to be at his side and bump into Finn to get him going in the right direction.  I am definitely please with how fast Finn is catching on to the concept of being out on the trail and doing the right things.  He is learning his trade as a "trail dog" very quickly!!

The weekend seems to just be flying by as we have been busy from sun up to sunset.  We arrived at our condo around 7:30PM on Friday night.  Once my brother and his family arrived all 5 of us went out for some dinner at the Dillon Dam Brewery.  The brewery is by far my favorite place to dine out here in the mountains.

Zack and I spent most of Saturday with Tim, Celinde and Cole as we rode the Vail Pass bike path up to Copper Mountain and back.  We stopped there for lunch and had a very enjoyable day overall.  Zack was amazing in how well he did riding up hill to Copper!  He was like a machine and for the most part just kept going and going.  I had thought he was going to have a tough time with it due to the steep nature of the trail but he did great.  He is really starting to come into his own in so many ways!  I can't express how proud I am that he is really starting to mature and work through a lot of issues that have plagued him these last couple of years!

After our day of biking we were pretty much exhausted so I made some dinner for us at the condo and then we just stayed in watching TV and hanging out.  I spent a good part of the evening sitting out on the condo's deck enjoying some wine while I watch the sun fade from the sky.  It was a very relaxing and good evening.  On top of that I have installed a gate on the deck so that the dogs can be out on the deck without being able to run down the stairs and run off.  So for much of the evening either Finnegan or Lex was curled up at my feet.  It was an evening of happiness in the moment in which I was living.  And all the happiness and contentment came exclusively from me and being by myself.  That felt good!

Today - Sunday Zack and I were back biking again as Tim, Celinde and Cole had gone over to Vail to see some friends.  We did 15 miles on the Lake Dillon/Frisco bike trail.  We did have one little incident though when Zack crashed.  He was about 20 yards behind me so I didn't see it but I sure did hear it.  I heard the sound of a bike tire skidding followed by the sound of a bike going off the trail and then crashing.  Zack didn't start crying or screaming or anything like that he just called out "DAD".  I turned around quickly and got back to him.  Even before I could reach him 2 people who were behind him had stopped to help him.  Thankfully he suffered hardly any injuries at all.  He had a few scrapes and brush burns but that was all.  We were very lucky!

Lulu - my brother's dog did not escape an incident today as easily as Zack escaped his crash.  This morning when Celinde had the dogs out for their morning walk, Lulu decided to take on a porcupine.  Needless to say - Lulu came out the loser in that battle and ended up in the puppy ER with lots of quills in her muzzle and mouth.  Apparently she did OK with the surgery to remove them as Tim and Celinde took her to Vail with them.  Poor Lulu - I am sure she isn't feeling too good this evening!  (But I do bet she will give porcupines a wide berth from here on out.)

After we finished up our ride we got the bikes on the car and headed to Leadville for lunch at the Golden Burro Cafe and a visit to National Fish Hatchery on the outskirts of town.  The Golden Burro isn't anything special but it kind of is a Leadville tradition, so every time we are in Leadville we stop and have lunch there.  As for the Fish Hatchery...  I don't know but both Zack and I just think it is a lot of fun to stop and visit.  With the amount that Zack has been going fishing recently it definitely makes sense that he would be interested in how the fish are hatched and grown til they can be stocked in the streams and lakes of Colorado.

This evening we are going to watch Harry Potter 7.1 and have leftovers from yesterday.  Ah...  a good end to a fun and enjoyable day.

Now totally switching gears from my normal - "here what we have been up to" blog entry.  In my last blog entry I mentioned how that we were approaching the 3 year anniversary of Patty's final struggle and passing.  This date - July 3 is one of the most bittersweet of those last days.  It was the day that I had my last real conversation with Patty.  As per usual I spent most of the day at the hospital with her.  But I had committed to Zack that I was going to take him to Dave and Busters for dinner and then to see the Disney movie Wall-E.  So as the afternoon wore on I started to look at the clock.  Early in the day I had talked to Patty about going outside, but there was too much stuff that came up from physical therapy to various different doctors dropping by, etc.  Yet around 2:30PM that afternoon she told me that she wanted to go outside.  Getting Patty outside wasn't an easy activity as she required a special wheelchair, portable oxygen and a portable medicine pump that could accommodate 4 different medicines at once.  The set up time for everything and getting everything approved with her nurses took a while.

I was tempted to tell Patty that going out could wait until the next day, but for whatever reason that day I decided I was just going to push through things and get her outside.  The day was perfect as the temperature was only in the low 80's and there was a nice breeze blowing.  It took a bit to get everything set up but then we were freed from all the plugs, wires and tubes that were attached to the wall and we were free to go outside.  There was this special courtyard in the center of the hospital that I used sit in some times to just catch my mental/emotional breath.  So I decided to take her there.  It had been probably a month since Patty had been outside so it was a very special treat for her.  She looked at the sky and felt the breeze and we shared a very good conversation.  I will always remember those 30 minutes in that courtyard.  Maybe we both knew what was coming upon us the next day.  I really don't know why I didn't put her off that day and I really don't know why she wanted to go outside.  I didn't do anything special but those 30 minutes gave us one last moment together as husband and wife, as life partners before Patty began to fade away from this life.

And with that I will say - I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!

Thanks for reading my ramblings, it is cheaper to write this then to go to the therapist.  Oh wait a minute...  I do go to a therapist!  LOL!  Just a little humor to lighten up my mood as I finish this post!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

PS - I would like to add some pictures to this post, but I recently switched broadband carriers from Sprint to AT&T and I am paying the price as the AT&T Broadband network is just not very good.  So I can't get any pictures uploaded from here in the mountains.

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