Tuesday, April 26, 2011


A few words to sum up this hike: muddy, slippery, misbehaving dog (shortly before the neutering).

I didn't even remember that I had pictures for this. Not sure I wanted to remember it! Koda was pulling me everywhere. We have since gone to obedience school, gotten a gentle leader AND gotten neutered and are having much better walks/hikes!

So, very sorry for the picture quality, but Koda was not having it this day.

Not sitting still for the camera!
And, for you, a PDF map of Plotter Kill Preserve. It really is beautiful (though I will caution it is slippery in bad weather)... it has many waterfalls and is a gorgeous hike right in Rotterdam, just about 15-20 minutes outside Albany.

And lastly: SPRING IS HERE. There is little to no snow surrounding Albany, the Catskills are clear, and we see the Adirondacks in sight!! We hope to get up north for a hike before the dreaded black fly season *shudder*

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Leading gently

The vet-imposed rest period is over!

(Koda cheers)


It was nice. Chris and I took him on a walk to Buckingham Pond and it was lovely! Koda was very excited to get out of the house.

However, Koda is over 60 pounds now, 7 months old, and we have faltered in our training. Heeling is not going well. Obedience school starts this week, so that is tactic one for dealing with this issue. Tactic two is the Gentle Leader. I love this tool (and I am using it as a tool, not as a lifetime fix). Koda heeled the entire time on the walk with the Gentle Leader, got lots of praise and treats, and there was no tugging or fighting or distress on either of our parts.

It made for a very happy walk :D

I am in awe of this product. It is completely humane: it doesn't restrict their breathing, barking, or in any way prevent them from opening their mouths. And it had immediate results: he was unable to pull me forward, struggled for a bit, then relented to walking beside me, which gained him praise. He didn't choke again his collar from pulling, I didn't pull a bicep muscle from holding him!

So props to the Gentle Leader company. I wish I didn't have to use it, I wish training alone (my training and his!) was allowing us to have calm walks. But until that is a reality, I love having a safe and gentle alternative to walking my dog.

Four stars!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Recovery Time!

Koda is home and healing!

He is on restriction until next Wednesday. He has a four inch scar along the midline of his stomach and a small scar near his scrotum. The vet told us no playing, jumping, walks, etc for a week.

Koda was rather displeased to hear that!

It is hard to keep him from doing those things in general (he is a jumpy, playful, excitable pup) but I am following doctor's orders and resisting my strong urges to walk him during these beautiful spring days!

A healthy pup is important! His scar does look very serious, so we will get moving again next week :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pine Bush!

This post is being written at the same time Koda is in the vet's, waiting to be neutered. Sigh. I am a nervous mom.

So, I am posting this blog and these pictures to make me feel better! I know everything will be fine and we will be out there running rampant all over NY soon enough :)

I have posted about the Albany Pine Bush before, and will probably continue to do so for a very long time! I love it. The picture above is in an open, sandy field between all the trails. It is just an amazing landscape to find right in the city. Preservation is key and a lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to  keep the Pine Bush natural.

The Pine Bush is just a perfect place for me and Koda to work on having good trail manners while being very close to the city and not risking much at all!

Koda got a little photo shoot, courtesy of Chris. Usually I am the one taking the pictures, so it was nice to have someone else do it for a change! (though I am looking quite schlubby, hahah, I don't try to look nice for the trails, so sue me)

Aaaaaand, of course, the Pine Bush has something that Koda loves:


Hehe. There are some shady areas that still have a decent amount of snow, even though the rest of the area is dry and warm! He got to bite it and feel the cold for a little while, at least.

That's all for now, going to anxiously await the call from the vet letting me know he is out and recovering (and crossing my fingers that he doesn't have to stay overnight!).

Monday, April 11, 2011


So, this weekend was a bit of a party weekend. I was NOT feeling good on Saturday morning (solely because of my own behaviors!). However, I still got out of bed, put on workout clothes, and brought Koda out to a gorgeous hiking trail in Rotterdam (post to come later with a picture or two.... he was actually being a bit of a nutter that day, so I didn't take many pictures!).

Anyway, it got me thinking about how much a dog increases my fitness. Instead of laying in bed, watching TV, eating some comfort food, I thought about my puppy and how much he loves and NEEDS the outdoors. So out I went with him.

I love to be outside, I love to walk around the city, so Koda and I are a good pair. However, there have been days (or weeks) in the past where I just was. not. in. the. mood. Maybe it was rainy, or freezing, or some other excuse I would use to keep myself inside. But not now. I can't look at his face and think of myself over him!

I am looking back at our winter, one of the WORST winters I have experienced in Albany, and realized how much I got outside. Now, I would have gone out anyway to ski, but skiing is at most a twice a week activity. The other 5 to 6 days would be spent cuddling in a blanket inside! Not this year. Almost every single day, I bundled up and brought Koda out around the city or even on a hike.

He is good for my heart in more ways than one! :D

There are no excuses here. If I make excuses so that I can be slothful, I have to do the same to my dog, and I cannot bear that. Loki, whom I had earlier in life, when I was less fit, less mature, and less smart!... well, he spent too many days just hanging out with a lazy me inside. I promised I would never do that to Koda and I am not and it makes me proud. I love how strong and healthy Koda is!

Tomorrow is neutering day. I am nervous. But good, positive thoughts are being held up foremost so that all the good energy goes to my pup and the doctor tomorrow.

To chill out my nerves, I hope to make a little post tomorrow with pictures of my boy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Some updates!

All is going well with Koda! Spring is coming full force into the area, complete with days of intense, pouring rain! But we brave it and have a good time anyway. :)

Koda is looking pretty full grown right now, which scares me, because he is only 7 months old! I cannot imagine how else he is going to change in the coming months.

We have a vet appointment scheduled on Thursday, a pre-check up for neutering. I am definitely a proponent of neutering. We aren't going to breed him, so why risk anything else? I wouldn't mind a little less testosterone running through his body, either! But, seriously, I've known dogs that haven't been neutered that had problems later on and had to be neutered at an older age, which is riskier. I'd like to get it done now.

However, his testicles haven't dropped yet. (TMI?) So the doctor is going to check them, see what can be done, what our options are. But, hopefully, we will have his surgery on the books soon. (Oh, I am going to be a mess when that happens... surgeries make me nervous, especially on animals!).

I had to go down to NYC this weekend, and on our way north, we did some hiking in the Hudson Highland area (Bear Mountain, Harriman State Park, etc). We didn't have Koda with us, but will be taking him down there soon! All the snow is gone and it is dry! I think it will be a great option while the Adirondacks are in their crazy mud/bug season. We can slowly work our way up north, to the Catskills and then to the 'dacks :)

Well, I'll post more updates and pictures when I have them!