Tag Archives: Service dog

Our Little Move

Matt called our move to Oregon The Big Move, that was his working folder for photos during the trip, so I am calling this Our Little Move.

Woof, where do I start? We have been so busy I haven’t had time to write and Matt didn’t either, or felt too bad to. He even got his October newsletter out late and he better hurry up on his November one. I never wrote my second part of our camping trip to Grand Teton, we had adventures with the truck and weather as usual and luckily on the truck it was something simple.

Me running on one of my "walks."
Me running on one of my “walks.”

It was when I told Matt to get a motel room because he wasn’t feeling well so we had to drive to the other side of the mountains to get a motel room we could afford. There is a pass you have to drive way up and then way down it is one of the steepest ones I have seen. I’m glad it’s not a real long drive over that pass just very steep, did I say the road went way up and way down? Woof, well that is the way that road is! When we got to the town on the other side Matt discovered an oil leak. We were lucky Matt picked a motel that was only two blocks away from the mechanic. Of course Matt was upset since the engine in the truck had been replaced last year and he imagined something really bad had happened. Well it turned out to be simple and inexpensive so we were lucky it happened where we could get it fixed fast!

And there I go!
And there I go!

We went back to the Grand Teton park early the next day. After spending most of the day there we started our trip back home in the afternoon. Our second day heading home was rainy and we got home on the third. Shortly after we got back we found out Matt had been approved for an apartment, he was on a waiting list and thought it would be a long time before we would get the place. It’s an apartment, at first I thought we were moving into one of those motels because it almost looked like one, only more buildings and a lot nicer than the ones we stay in when we travel. It’s like living in a park, real grass and real big trees, lots of them. We live in a grove of Redwood trees (WOOF! WOOF!) and just on the edge of town near some nice parks and trails.

This is close to where we live.
This is close to where we live.

After we settled in Matt got sick and I had to keep an eye on him. A lucky thing is Matt already had some doctor appointments arranged for regular checkups so I made sure he went to those so his doctors could help him. I made Matt stay at home mostly and even hid his truck keys for a while. When he started getting well we started taking a few short rides to neat places where I got out to run and walk.

 

Well that should catch some things up; Matt was talking about going to some waterfalls tomorrow. I hope we do.

On Our Way to the Tetons

   Woof, when we left on our trip it was warm and when we returned it was warm again so I didn’t mind the wet. After leaving early in the morning we stopped at a place along the way in central Oregon called Crack-in-the-Ground and what a big crack it was. We hiked a little way but there were some spots Matt thought was too steep for us so we turned around but it was a neat place. It was in a community called Christmas Valley, but it didn’t look like Christmas to me but it was still nice. I like the Oregon desert, woof!

Woof, me in the big crack in the ground!
Woof, me in the big crack in the ground!

After our hike we decided to drive on to Ontario (Oregon) instead of camping in the area to visit another place in eastern Oregon. Matt said if couldn’t find a campsite close to Ontario he would get a room, which he did. I was ready to go the next morning because we knew where we would be camping the next night it’s an unusual place. Matt doesn’t like to drive on the Interstates so we took a slightly longer but less stressful drive following the Snake River for at least 40 miles. Matt said we would get to see that river again when we got to the Grand Tetons.

We had visited Craters of the Moon National Monument two years ago. It’s out in the middle of Idaho and looks real strange. The ground is mostly covered in rocks and gravel, and the rocks have lots of holes in them. I usually have to wear my boots there because the rocks can hurt my feet, woof!  Matt got there early enough to choose a nice campsite and we had plenty of time to explore, even with the added time Matt had to go back to the campground to get his forgotten camera bag. We are lucky most campers are honest and leave other people’s stuff alone, though Matt was nervous until get got the camera bag!

Our camp set-up at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Our camp set-up at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

We got up the next morning, Matt cooked breakfast, and we left for the Grand Tetons right after eating. It was still a long drive, we don’t like to drive more than four hours a day and Matt said it was going to be about a half hour longer than that and of course that doesn’t count for the stops for Matt to take photos, or just regular breaks. Sometime on our trips we are out where there isn’t much of anything but land, or mountains, or things like that. Matt always tells me we know we are in real remote places when you don’t see power lines next to the road for miles and miles. We went through a lot places like that in eastern Oregon and in Idaho, you can drive for hours and not see any signs of people. Now animals are a different thing, on these trips sometimes we see animals you wouldn’t see where a lot of people live, though we didn’t any on this trip unless you count squirrels.

Driving through these big open areas, we both love being able to see from what seems to be from the edge of the Earth to the other edge of the Earth. The most fun part of the drive for me was going over Teton Pass. The road winds back and forth and goes up and up. When you get to the top you feel like you are on top of the world, I made Matt stop at the top so we could look out over all the land below us. Woof, what a view!

The view from Teton Pass.
The view from Teton Pass.

I’m going to stop here; my next post will be about what we did and our return to Eugene.

R&R Part II; and not the fun kind!

  Woof my last blog was about rest and relaxation, this time my blog is still about R&R but this time it is rest and recuperation. I must mention here as I have on my Facebook page I was trying to hide the fact I was hurt, but Matt is too observant and took me to the doctor to find out what was wrong. Matt’s truck is a tall one and sometimes I misjudge my jumps. On one of our last trips I fell when I didn’t quite make the jump into the front and ended up on my back. That hurt but I didn’t say anything and acted like I was fine, but oh it did hurt to walk. The doctor took pictures called X-rays of my leg and shoulder. She told us there was no damage to my bones and no signs of bone cancer. Both of us were relieved and Matt said he hadn’t even thought of bone cancer. The doctor said she was worried about that but didn’t want to say anything. She explained to us I have either a muscle or tendon injury and I have to take it easy for at least two weeks.

I'm a sad Jackson.
I’m a sad Jackson.

  Well with all that fuss now I am restricted to just potty walks and can only go downstairs from our room twice a day so I stay downstairs for part of the day. Woof, this is so boring, butt Matt tells me it is necessary to help things heal. He does spend a lot of time with me, but we can’t play ball, or go for our walks, or go swimming, or the dog park, or anything! Matt rearranged his room so there is more floor space and moved my bed and added more cushioning to it because he doesn’t want me to jump up on the big bed because it’s high off the floor. I do get massages and treats but it is still boring. The only plus side I can think of is I have more time to work on my photographs, videos, and blog.

Me on a hike in the mountains.
Me on a hike in the mountains..

  I hope we can go on a trip soon I haven’t even gone on a truck ride since went to the doctor’s office. Matt keeps telling me we will go soon but he is waiting for an okay by my doctor. I get tired of Matt’s music too. I would rather hear the wind, rushing water, birds, or something outdoors. Well I do get to go out in the yard and lie down in the sun, but it’s been cloudy the last couple of days so I only get to sniff around the yard and, well, you know what.

You can get all kinds of stuff with my photo on it, or you can even buy photos of mine at www.matthewirvin.com!
You can get all kinds of stuff with my photo on it, or you can even buy photos of mine at www.matthewirvin.com!

  Woof, that’s enough complaining and I just have to get better! Oh since I am here at the house all day long I decided it’s time for another Photo Dog Jackson mug Mug Contest. I’ll have some details about it on Friday (8/9/19.) Plus I am making a compilation video from my very first one. I should have that ready next week!

Rest, Relaxation, & Swimming

 

  Woof, I had to put my paw down last week! Matt was spending too much time in front of the computer and not getting enough rest and relaxation. He need more time just to play. He had my head spinning with subscription pages, mailing lists, and other things with the newsletter. Then he decided to automate the page that announces what pictures we have for sale, but that took a lot of time for him to set up. But that wasn’t all, he was adding photographs to the websites that has the pictures for sale plus editing the photographs from our last trip. Then he wrote the entire July newsletter plus all the posts on Facebook during that time and some other things I can’t even remember. I was getting tired of taking the same walks every day and then watching Matt work so I told him to wrap things up and we were heading out. Where to I didn’t care but we had to go!

Us in the back of the truck resting & relaxing!
Us in the back of the truck resting & relaxing!

  I gave Matt a little time to sit and rest before we left, but I sat in front of the computer so he couldn’t get on it, woof! Then I told him to get everything ready and I give him credit, he has everything pretty organized so it doesn’t take long to pack. We left Friday afternoon and headed up to the mountains. Matt decided to go to a place where we had visited before, he said even if the campgrounds were full we could find a place in a big forest next to a creek and that was what happened. Matt knows on a Friday you usually need a reservation unless you get to the campground real early. The place was perfect for me and we ended up staying there two days. The first day, Saturday, we did nothing. The next day we took a hike and I went swimming in the creek. Matt told me its name was Jack Creek, the water was from snow melt runoff from a mountain called Three Fingered Jack and it was cold!

Me swimming in Jack Creek at our first campsite.
Me swimming in Jack Creek at our first campsite.

  Matt looked at a new map he bought at the ranger station for our next place to explore. He said he was tired of being like a bear in the woods and wanted to be in a real campground for the next day at least. I’m not quite sure what he meant by that and he won’t explain it to me… Our next place ended up being only a few miles away. He was hoping to find a good scenic view of Mount Jefferson, we didn’t find that but we did find a beautiful river so we decided to camp there and hike along the river and I got to go swimming again. Matt took me to the place where the river starts, it just comes right out of the ground and becomes a river right there, I have never seen anything like it!

On our hike on the Metolius River.
On our hike on the Metolius River.

  When we woke up the next morning clouds covered up the sun and it started to rain a little so Matt told me our plans to photograph the big mountain were canceled by clouds once again. Matt had to drive into a town called Sisters. I asked Matt why it was called Sisters and he said it was named after the mountains called the Three Sisters. When we got there Matt decided to drive up a scenic road and then we went back to Sisters so we could visit a place called Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

  Our last day before coming home was more like our normal trip with taking photos, exploring, some hiking, and then setting up camp but things went pretty easy. We saw a lot of beautiful vistas and a lake called Paulina. I am sure Matt will share some photos of that and I have some I took on the trip.

  Woof, I almost forgot, I got to go swimming again on the way home in the Willamette River!

Did I mention I like to swim?

Jackson Ruminates on Ageing

  Woof, I am getting an understanding about old age. Now I know why Matt groans and complains sometimes. I will be turning 11 this August and I am close in dog years to Matt’s age now. I think Matt has noticed I am slowing down a little. He is observant because he told me we weren’t going to play ball or Frisbee until my shoulder stopped bothering me. I don’t know how he found out, I thought I was hiding the fact from him, but he watches over me pretty closely. It started hurting a couple of weeks ago, but I like paying so much I didn’t want to tell him. We are still going on walks and we are taking it pretty easy. When we were at Elk Lake on our trip I tried to entice Matt to throw one of the wonderful sticks that were on the beach. It was a cornucopia of dog sticks and so many it was hard to resist. Matt told me to use that word and I looked it up so it fits, woof!

Matt's truck is high off the ground, woof!
Matt’s truck is high off the ground, woof!

  One day on our last trip I didn’t make the jump into the front of Matt’s truck  and fell on my back. It really surprised me and scared Matt. He has started helping me jump in by assisting with my harness. That time I didn’t wait for him and I slipped and fell when I jumped up. The truck is higher than most because it is a four-wheel drive. It has a lot of road clearance plus the back of Matt’s truck has always been a tall jump and occasionally I have missed even when I was much younger. On our last camping trip Matt figured out a real smart way for me to get in the back easily. Matt puts his chair back up to the dropped tailgate and I use it as a step to get inside. That makes getting in so much easier. Even Matt has to use a stepping stool to get in so I really don’t feel embarrassed to use it.  I tried the stool once but it is too small for me to use.

You can tell how far off the ground the tailgate is. The yellow chair is my step up into the back.
You can tell how far off the ground the tailgate is. The yellow chair is my step up into the back.

  Matt said we will grow old together as gracefully as possible. I still have my job to help Matt and I can do it but one day I will have to retire. Now I know why Matt has discouraged me from jumping like I used to. He told me not to worry or get upset about it. He explained there were a lot of things he couldn’t do anymore but what we needed to do was to focus on the things we can still do and enjoy. Oh and he told me he would find a good place for me to swim as that is a good low-impact exercise and I can chase things in the water, double woof!

Me two years ago swimming in Lake Michigan, photo by my good friend Robin Long.
Me two years ago swimming in Lake Michigan, photo by my good friend Robin Long.

  Woof, it’s time for my nap so I had better wrap this up for now. I need an extra one anyway because we recently got back from a four night camping trip. Oh and don’t worry we all age, Matt is making sure I get all my proper nutrition and supplements to help me as much as possible.

A Trip to the Beach

 
  Woof, I made a new friend and we got to go to the beach last week! We had company visit from North Carolina and they brought Maggie, their new dog and she and I became good friends. I knew Joy and Bob but Maggie was a shelter dog that adopted them. She told me when she saw them especially Bob, she knew they were her people and she would go home with them. Her life before ending up at the shelter was pretty rough but a kind veterinarian made sure she was taken care of.  I won’t go into detail but she did escape a possible real bad outcome but now she is a mother of some fine grown up dogs and she has her forever home. Though she is like me and travels a lot.

Woof, Maggie, Joy, Bob, and me at the place they were camping. Matt took the picture!
Woof, Maggie, Joy, Bob, and me at the place they were camping. Matt took the picture!

Joy and Bob told Matt they wanted to go to the coast while they were visiting and Maggie and I were all for that! Luckily a trip to the ocean is a short one from Eugene and our friends were staying at a campground just north of town. We went to South Jetty Beach in Florence. It was a nice day but windy and there we almost no other people or dogs there.

Woof, Bob is finding just the right stick for us. Matt took this picture.
Woof, Bob is finding just the right stick for us. Matt took this picture.

It didn’t take much encouragement on our part to get our humans involved with playing as you can see from the photographs. This beach is long and sandy and flat where we can run and jump all we want to. Maggie likes to chase after the birds while I prefer sticks. Any stick will do, big or little ones. As long as I can chase, run after, and chew them I am happy. We had the best time running around on the beach and had a long walk. We did watch a couple of trucks and buggies try to go over the dunes. One couldn’t make it over and had to drive the long way to get back.

Woof, Maggis likes to chase the sick with me, birng it back, not so much. Joy took this picture.
Woof, Maggie likes to chase the sick with me, bring it back, not so much. Joy took this picture.
Woof, us bringing back the stick. Joy took this picture.
Woof, us bringing back the stick. Joy took this picture.

After that we drove up to part of the beach that is rocky and had no beach, it was pretty but no place to play and I don’t like to swim in the ocean and Matt doesn’t want me to anyway because he says it is dangerous.

Woof, one more photo! Me jumping, Joy took this picture.
Woof, one more photo! Me jumping, Joy took this picture.

It was a nice day and I was glad to see old friends and meet a new one. I hope we get to see all of them on our next visit to North Carolina.

Bye for now,

Rain, Wind, Cold, & Snow, Woof!

 

  Woof, are we there yet?  I know Matt got (and gets) tired of me asking that. We had such a hard drive to get to Joshua Tree National Park. We had planned to camp along the way but Mother Nature and some ocean guy Matt calls the Pacific or is it Specific? It rained, and rained, and then it rained more. Along with the rain was wind that shook the truck around as we drove. It was just too bad to try to camp out because we would be soaking wet every time we got in and out of the back of the truck. When we got there Matt told me I was a bit excessive about asking if we were there, but I was worried. It wasn’t fun being in all that bad weather. It was hard to see we were in the truck, no fun or hiking so I just wanted us to be there. Matt watched the news every night and there were stories about mudslides and all kinds of bad things happening. A lot of times Matt would say we had just been right through that place or in the case of Joshua Tree we saw what it looked like after the flooding that happened the day before we got there.

A sunny day at Joshua Tree National Park.
A sunny day at Joshua Tree National Park.

Our first night camping was windy and cold but at least there was no rain. I had to get right next to Matt to keep warm under the warm and fluffy sleeping bag. The next day was windy but Matt said it was too but clear for photographs so we hiked a lot. When we went exploring the next day it was clear and sunny where we started but by the afternoon it started getting cloudy and started to snow while we were hiking, woof that was fun! Matt decided late in the afternoon we should get dinner instead of cooking and go to camp. The next morning when we woke it was sunny but everything was covered in white! I got out and played in the snow that morning, it was fun. That morning we drove through the park and too photographs before going to our next camping place.

Us hiking in the snow at Joshua Tree National Park.
Us hiking in the snow at Joshua Tree National Park.

  After all that rain and the snow we finally had a couple of nice days at a state park called, I hope I write this right, Anza-Borrego in California. It was nice and sunny for two day, but when we left there it was getting cloudy again and Matt was worried about rain. Well that rain followed us all the way to Arizona and the rained on us like crazy for ours. We got to the place called Organ Pipe Cactus, and why they call it that I don’t know, I did not hear any organs at all while we were there. We got there in the dark and the next day it rained, and rained. We stayed in the truck all afternoon and night. When we got up the next morning it was all wet and the mountains had snow on them. Woof, more snow. After spending the morning there we headed to Phoenix where some of Matt’s cousin’s live and we even saw snow there!

The morning we woke up to snow at Joshua Tree National Park.
The morning we woke up to snow at Joshua Tree National Park.

We are getting ready t go camping again this morning so I expect some more adventures, though Matt said he wouldn’t mind a bit less rain and snow and some warmer temperatures and honestly I think I agree with him.

Bye for now!

Jackson Takes a Swing!

  Woof, I have been on some scary trails, but this hike on Drift Creek Trail is one of the scariest ones I have ever done. I am just glad there was only a short section I didn’t like. Matt had read about this place and the very next day we went there. He was rambling about bridges and I was thinking about the bridges that look like houses he goes to all the time. Don’t they look like big dog houses? Woof! Well let me tell you while we went to one of those house bridges along the way we also went to another kind, but I am getting ahead of myself. We left in the morning and it was a long drive, not as long as some but we got to the trailhead before lunch. Then we got ready and gathered our gear to get ready for the hike. It had warmed up some but I could still see my breath and Matt had his funny looking wool hat on, he lost that later when it warmed up. As we hiked along big trees I had to check who had been there before me but I kept up with my job and led Matt as I took in quick sniffs without delaying our hike. We are interconnected in walking rhythm when we are working together. Sometimes I have to stop and help him cross difficult places by giving him added balance by giving his resistance on my leash or by him using me directly for balance since I am a tall dog.

Watching over Matt.
Watching over Matt.
What kind of bridge is this?
What kind of bridge is this?

   The trail gradually descended and went back and forth on the side of the mountain to make it easier to walk It was a pretty normal hike crossing over some creeks on small wooden bridges and I was enjoying it thoroughly until… The Bridge.  At first it wasn’t too bad, I was a little hesitant because there was only wire on the sides but when that bridge started moving from side to side and the 100 foot exposure below and a waterfall roaring right below me I froze up! We were right there at the midpoint of the bridge and I just thought I had to get back where we came from. That bridge moving I though meant it was coming down and I didn’t want to fall that far. Luckily Matt turned my video camera off at my most embarrassing moment and gave me some love and along with encouragement and some treats I made it across. Luckily the return back over the bridge went much better. This time you could see the waterfall and exposure in advance instead and I had done it before, the other way it was a big surprise!

The return trip.
The return trip.

That’s it for now, but we are getting ready for another big trip, oh boy!

Flying Jackson!

 

  Woof, I think I am finally rested from flying back to North Carolina and back. It was hard work and honestly my space was pretty cramped. Matt told me it was much better than flying in the belly of that big plane and not with him. I got a new soft travel blanket; Matt packed one of my toys, some treats, my portable water bowl and other tings in a carry on. He packed everything he needed in his camera bag so we would be traveling light. All the smells, buildings, people, hallways, it was like a city in one big building that never ended. I have been a lot of places but nothing like this. Then there were all those noisy airplanes.

Me relaxing at the restaurant in the airport.
Me relaxing at the restaurant in the airport.

I’m jumping ahead of myself in the story. People do such strange things; after we drove up to the airport and got out and we had to go to a counter in front. It was late in the evening so not many people were there but another Jackson was there with his persons. He was a bit mouthy so Matt had me stay back at the line so the other Jackson would be quiet while he talked with the lady at the counter. The next thing we had to do was a lot of fuss, woof! The security checkpoint was a lot of people and confusion. Matt said he had done this before and assured me things would be okay. He had to take his shoes off and take all sorts of things out of his pockets and his computer out of the backpack. Then we had to walk through a gateway and have a wand thing waved all around me and Matt. All the people that worked there wore uniforms like police officers do and they were real nice. After Matt put himself back together we were able to roam around. I didn’t have to take my harness off in Portland but in Charlotte I did. Woof, I’m glad I don’t wear clothes all the time like people do but as you know I do have boots and a sweater!

The sign Matt was looking for in the airport.
The sign Matt was looking for in the airport.
Now where are those treats?
Now where are those treats?

We stopped by the “Pet Rest Area” and it was real nice but I didn’t have to go and then we walked around for a while because we were there early. Matt got something to eat and some water for me at a restaurant, I did get a snack too. Then we found a nice spot near the entrance for the airplane to wait and I had my nice soft blanket to lie down on. We got to board the plane early and I had a spot about as big as my chair at home for me and Matt’s feet. We were right next to First Class, Matt said it was a bulkhead seat, well I didn’t see a head and if you had any bulk you wouldn’t have much room so that name made no sense to me, woof! The takeoff wasn’t too bad, I didn’t like the noise of the engines but the landing in Charlotte scared me. Matt reassured me and held me tight. I was shaking like it was cold out.

We had a good time in Norwood and I enjoyed seeing my friends Trish, Strey, Purceophie and all my other friends. All that went too fast. Our return flight was different. The Charlotte airport was a lot more crowded and we had someone sitting right next to us that time. Luckily he didn’t mind me taking up some of his space. The flight was better and I liked the landing better. I think the pilot did a good job. She smiled at me when she first got on the plane.

Resting at home in Oregon.
Resting at home in Oregon.

Well, I need to wrap this up, I could go on and on but it was a fun weird experience. I am finally rested and I am making Matt stay at home today so he will get over his ear infection, woof, and that’s that!

Bye for now,

No Fun at Home

 

  Woof, Matt told me before my surgery the next few weeks would be tough and he was right. That place on my mouth was beginning to be a bother and I know it needed to be done but this staying around the house has been no fun. I like to go out on my morning walks to the dog park or hiking when we are traveling or camping. Even a day trip with a hike is fun but having to stay home all the time and have no play time is so frustrating. To add to all this I had to wear this plastic cone collar so I wouldn’t accidentally scratch or rub and hurt where the doctor removed that lump. That crazy collar made me run into everything and knocked things over and off tables. At least it was clear so I could see through it a little but that didn’t help much. One consolation was Matt did stay at home with me and gave me extra attention.

That stupid collar I had to wear!
That stupid collar I had to wear!

  Finally Matt took that nasty collar off, I hated that thing and we started short walks. Matt says my mouth needs to heal more before we can play with any of my toys though. I kept asking when we could at least walk but the doctor wanted me to rest, she said resting would help me heal faster. The first couple of days weren’t hard because I really didn’t feel like playing but after that I was ready to do all the things I normally do. That was the frustrating part, feeling good enough to play and run but all you can do is lounge around the house with a stupid collar on and your person calls you a Radio Dish head, woof!

Me with no collar showing my boo boo.
Me with no collar showing my boo boo.

  Next it will be Matt’s turn, we have to go to Portland and he is seeing one of his doctors then when we get back he is having something done to one of his eyes. He can’t see very well in one eye and he said after an easy operation he will be able to see out of that eye better than ever. He did say he would be coming home with a shield on his eye and have to wear it at bedtime; I’ll have to think of a name for him.

This is what I would rather be doing. I don't think the collar would work in a situation like this!
This is what I would rather be doing. I don’t think the collar would work in a situation like this!