26 June 2007

Of dogs, kittens, and shoes

I'm aiming to get Buster a walk every other day, mostly. Saturday is likely to be a consistent miss, but I figure S/Tu/Th might be a decent schedule for the summer. I've found a few tricks for dealing with his tendency to pull at the leash. One is to drop into a very slow taiji walk. The harder he pulls, the slower it gets. Most of the time, that's sufficient to get him to stop. On the canal, I've also found that zigzagging helps. He pulls forward, I go diagonally. He starts trying to pull that way, I go opposite-diagonally.

Oh, today there was a large dead rodent on the canal. I'm guessing gopher; it was grey and slightly bigger than the kittens are now, with the huge gnawing teeth typical of rodents. The first time, Buster missed seeing it, much to my relief. He saw it on the way back, and mostly seemed puzzled by it. I gently tugged to get him to move along. There was also a snake, not in the water. What I saw seemed to be featureless gray, and somewhat flattened. Best guesses: a racer or a rubber boa. The racer looks more like what I remember, but the rubber boa is more likely to be found near a water source. *shrugs*

The kittens are much, much larger now. Longer than my hand. Howler is the smallest; I suppose she's the runt of the litter. All but Howler can now jump up the stairs instead of clawing their way up the carpet. I put the smaller litterbox down where they could reach it the morning Dovi wound up locked in the garage. They seem to have understood its purpose almost immediately, which saves Dovi a bit of work cleaning up after them. Adds work for me, but at least I don't have to eat the stuff. The kittens can also climb the last step to the outside, so I've been letting them outside to explore and wander and play. I generally sit out and read, and help Dovi keep an eye on them. No incidents thusfar.

And I decided that my tennis shoes needed replacing. They were bought on clearance last summer for about $20. I used them hard in hiking, especially out at Hell's Half Acre, and, well, they're starting to fall apart. Incidentally, I suspect they were intended as running shoes; I bought them because they had a more flexible sole than most. Anyway, I decided that I probably ought to get actual hiking shoes this time, and found a decent pair at Famous Footwear. A bit pricey, but for leather, waterproof, and comfortable, that's okay. They're also very lightweight.

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