Quick Update

Hi everyone!  I have some quick updates to give you.  We have had  a LOT going on lately!

We leave in less than two weeks!  On August 6th, we are leaving RI to drive to California.  Our overnight stops include:  southern Chicago, Winter Park, CO, St. George, UT, Long Beach, CA, and then finally San Francisco.  On the 14th my car will be shipped out of Oakland via Matson, a large transport company, and we fly to Honolulu on the 15th!  We have most the road trip planned and ready to go – last step is to book hotel rooms in the above mentioned cities, except for San Fran (we are staying with a wonderful family I have known for years), and book a car rental for our arrival on the island, since it will take a few weeks for my car to arrive.  We already sold John’s car, an older Toyota, and he has grand plans to get a scooter after we arrive.

I also sent out of the necessary paperwork/payment to the Quarantine Station in Hawaii, so that the dogs can qualify for direct release from the airport once we arrive.  We shouldn’t run into any issues, but I can’t help but be a little nervous.  The thought of those two having to go into quarantine at a facility is not a pleasant one!  They get their health certificates on the 5th, which is the last piece of paperwork we need to present to the office upon arrival. Fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly!

We are still looking for a place to live over there.  We do have a friend, Shawn, who lives on Oahu and is able to view properties for us, which is a HUGE help!  He looked at a potential house for us on Monday and it is definitely an option, but we will continue to look into places this week and next.  John talked with a few Hawaii realtors last week and they all told him that it was still pretty early to get a place, because properties get rented out so quickly over there.  They advised we keep looking towards the end of the month, when our arrival is closer, to find the latest listings.

I am in my last week of work, and I am SO EXCITED to be finished.  My job definitely has its ups and downs, and while I have learned a lot and worked with some great kids and families, it has been a mentally and physically draining year.  I’m now looking into easy part-time jobs on Oahu to fit in with my school schedule.  I do have some money coming from my loan disbursements that can be used for living and personal expenses, but it is only about $1000 a month and rent and my car payment will just about eat that all up!  Some extra money coming in will be helpful, but it’s nice that I won’t need to work full-time in addition to starting grad school.

So, those are some of the major happenings as of late.  As far as the dogs go, they are both doing great!  They are both over the heat-related sicknesses they had and back to their normal selves.  I actually had a PHENOMENAL walk with Lexi last night, just the two of us.  We haven’t been doing much walking lately, but now that she is feeling better (and the humidity has given us a break) we are back in the swing of things.  I have been playing around with a Gentle Leader (head harness) for a few weeks now and I really like it on her.  We have used it a few times and she is not a big fan of it, but I mostly use it as a tool to reinforce loose-leash walking and keeping her attention on me when we see other dogs, rather than spaz out (aka pulling towards the dog, whining, being a nut, etc).  The Gentle Leader is great because I can control her head, and thus get her attention back on me more easily.  I use the Gentle Leader periodically to give her a “tune up” of sorts, and otherwise I use her Easy Walk harness on walks.  Last night I had her in the Easy Walk and we practiced all of our usual skills, with great success!  I barely had to remind her to stay by my side or give me her attention – with treats as a motivator she did it on her own!  I even had one group of people compliment me on how well-behaved she was looking.  Go Lexi!  It was really a pleasant walk.

She was exhausted after her great walk last night!

She was exhausted after her great walk last night!

How do I know Lexi is comfortable and feels safe?  Take a guess!  She even shows her belly to a few of our friends who see her frequently.

How do I know Lexi is comfortable and feels safe? Take a guess! She even shows her belly to a few of our friends who see her frequently.

Okay, I think that’s good for now!  I’ll have some more updates and pictures soon!  John recently got a really nice Nikon camera, so I will have to figure out how to upload the pictures of it, since the dogs serve as his usual models and he has some really cool shots of them.  Hugs and kisses from Lexi and Zev!

Hot, hot, hot!

Sorry I’ve been M.I.A. for a bit now.  The internet at our house hasn’t been working, so I am sitting at a nice coffee shop right now getting some work done.  We have missed you all!  I have a lot to share, starting with this oppressive heat!  It has been in the mid-90’s for about 5 days straight, which has been brutal.  Zev got sick (gastro “issues”, out both ends…) about a week ago when the humidity really started to set in.  Every summer he seems to have an issue like this – I think the sudden onset of high humidity really throws him for a loop.  Luckily, he was sick for about 20 hours and then started to feel much better.  I got a kiddie pool from a friend and put it on the deck, and he LOVES it!

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If I walk into it, he will follow me and just walk around in it for a few minutes.  It definitely helps to cool him off a bit.  Lexi isn’t a big fan of it, but if she seems hot I put her in and splash some water on her chest and stomach.

Speaking of Lexi, she has been sick the past 4 days or so.  Someone always has to be sick, right?  I think she also had a tough time with the heat and high humidity.  On the first REALLY hot day this week, she got REALLY sick out of nowhere – even though she was in the relatively cool house all day while John and I were at work.  John came home on his lunch break to discover a huge mess and he figured she was not feeling well in the heat.  She seemed a lot better the next day, but then yesterday morning she got really sick again.  John was able to spend the morning home with her, and she seemed to perk up a bit, but he scheduled an appointment with our vet to have her seen that afternoon.  Luckily, by the time I got home from work around 2:30, she was drastically better.  I decided to cancel the appointment and just keep a careful eye on her, and she has since been much better and is back to herself.  I cooked her a nice bland dinner and have been making her “slushies” of pumpkin mixed with water to help rehydrate her and also keep her cool.  So far, so good!  The heat is supposed to break tonight and be more manageable by tomorrow, so I am definitely looking forward to that.

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So, that’s it for us for today.  I will have some more updates to share tomorrow.  Hugs and kisses from Lexi and Zev!

Party Time!

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a fun and safe 4th of July!  Our families held a big cookout/going-away party for us yesterday (Saturday).  We brought both the dogs with us and they were both AWESOME!  I was a little nervous about bringing Lexi, because I knew it would be kind of chaotic with a bunch of people coming in and out, and I knew there would be other dogs there.  In all, there were 6 dogs there (Lexi and Zev included) and probably 20 or so people.  The dogs were all kept separated but within eyesight of each other, and all went well!  Zev is always good at these cookouts and loves the attention he gets.  Lexi really relaxed quickly and enjoyed herself, and barely cared about seeing the other dogs.  When they first arrived and she got excited about it, we redirected her attention away from the dogs and toward an exciting treat or toy instead.  She quickly realized that seeing the other dogs was no big deal and no reason to get worked up about.  I also brought lots of “stuff” to occupy them both – doggie beds to lay on in the shade, frozen Kongs, antlers, toys, dinner, bug spray, etc.  I was so proud of how calm and confident Lexi was in such a new situation and glad that it was a positive experience.

cute decorations!

cute decorations!

really cute cake my parents got for us!

really cute cake my parents got for us!

Christian, me, and John!

Christian, me, and John!

Zev hanging out in a shady spot

Zev hanging out in a shady spot

Lexi had a blast and was super social!

Lexi had a blast and was super social!

It was HOT!  She wore her Ruffwear Swamp Cooler for a while to help keep her cool.

It was HOT! She wore her Ruffwear Swamp Cooler for a while to help keep her cool.

970757_10151468477301431_1085097332_nThe dogs had a blast and are STILL tired the next day.  It was great to see family and friends and have one last big celebration.  We leave on our road trip in a month!