Monday Mischief 24: Chow Time!

This weekend, Moses got some company: Homer and Kimbo!

(Alma is off at work with the Husband and wasn’t home to hang out with our visitors.)

Homer, Moses, and Kimbo... I think I need to find a bigger bench

Homer, Moses, and Kimbo… I think I need to find a bigger bench

Moses and Homer go way back to training class when they were pups, and both chows have stayed with us before.

Furry trio

Furry trio

Walking these three sure does draw some attention. I think my favourite comment of the weekend was the lady who thought Moses was the “momma dog” and Homer and Kimbo were “her pups”. Probably the first time Moses has ever been mistaken for a female dog!

So photogenic!

So photogenic!

Homer kept an eye out for mischief in the rain

Homer kept an eye out for mischief, but not much was going on in the rain

And they didn't always cooperate with my photo ops. It's easy to get them to sit. To look in the same direction, however...

And they didn’t always cooperate with my photo ops. It’s easy to get them all to sit. To look in the same direction, however…

Sometimes it's just easier to stick to one-on-one

Sometimes it’s just easier to stick to one-on-one

I think Moses was happy I had other faces to stick the camera in for a couple days, but he wasn’t completely off the hook.

Posing for photos as storm clouds roll in

Posing for photos as storm clouds roll in

This post is part of the Mischief Monday blog hop – to see what everyone else has been up to, visit Snoopy’s Dog Blog here, My Brown Newfies here, or Alfie’s Blog here.


Black & White Sunday 12: The Breakwater

This may be the view on top of the breakwater in Victoria, BC:



But what’s below the surface?



Can you see the octopus?

Can you see the octopus?

Yep - Giant Pacific Octopus

Yep – Giant Pacific Octopus

Where there's an octopus, there's probably a hungry lingcod

Where there’s an octopus, there’s probably a hungry lingcod



Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin



And SCUBA divers! (Yours truly, actually)

And SCUBA divers! (Yours truly, actually)

Quite the different ecosystem from the tropical waters of Costa Rica.

It'll be swimming ON the surface for Alma

Alma will stay swimming ON the surface.

Check out everyone else’s photos and the blog hop hosts here and here.


Monday Mischief 2: Three Dog Walk

This post is part of the Monday Mischief Blog Hop.

There was lots of mischief to be had this weekend as Moses’ First Wife, Juniper the Bernese Mountain Dog was over for a visit.

Moses and his Sister Wives*, Alma and Juniper

Having Juniper around is a lot like having a second Alma around and the three of them with – with the two cats – definitely makes a fur-filled full house.

Moses sits quietly and looks at the two of them getting a little over-excited and bouncy when I pull out the leashes and it’s time to go for a walk; I can only assume he’s thinking “bitches be crazy”.  At least that’s what I’m thinking.

And speaking of a walk, I’ve now set a personal record for most pounds of canine companions in one walk:  370!

The three of them are a treat to walk.  Though, it becomes a bit of a spectacle in the neighbourhood, and passers-by gawk or stop and want to meet the dogs, so it does make it a bit difficult to get anywhere quickly.

But I thought I would share the sight and set up a little video to share.

*Apologies to any Mormon readers who may take offence.  Unless you’re Mitt Romney; you know what you did.

A Second Dog? Revisited

Back in June I mentioned that The Husband and I were in the process of determining what kind of dog we would like to add to the household next.  That process is still under way.

In fact, nearly 6 months later, we have explored a lot of options, researched some breeders and even more breed-specific rescues, but are still a single-canine family (for now).

Our “short list” for breeds is pretty much the same – and not at all narrowed down.  Newfoundland.  Saint Bernard.  Tibetan Mastiff.  Great Pyrenees.  All favourites.

So in our commitment vacuum, I decided to turn to the one place that could give me concrete answers and unveil some insights from my inner most psyche.

You guessed it: the interweb.  The land of online quizzes.


I'm most like: Lisa Turtle! (Photo:

And there are no shortage of online quizzes that attempt to match you with your perfect dog breed.  I found 11, to be exact.  And I took them all.

Now, I might argue that Newfoundland – Moses, in particular – is the ideal breed for our household and lifestyle, but I’m curious to see what the “experts” say.

So let’s look at some results!

(Photos are of adoptable dogs available on

Quiz #1:  Dog Breed Selector,

By grading qualities by importance on scales of one to ten, the best breed for me is:

St. Bernard (Elly, Mikey's Chance Canine Rescue, PFId#19414949)

Not bad!  Though, not sure what bumps Newfoundland to #19 on the results list.

Quiz #2: Dog Breed Selector,  

And my ideal dog breed is…

Newfoundland! (Geyser, Heart of America Newfoundland Rescue, PFId#20863395)

St. Bernard was #2.

So these results seem to be right up my alley.  But does that just mean it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy?  I mean, I am filling out the quizzes to indicate large breed, lower-energy dogs that do well in a cold climate.  Let’s see what else comes up.

Quiz #3:  Dog Breed Selector Quiz,

(Terrible website URL, by the way.  Sounds like a puppy mill broker or something.)

And the jury’s back with…

Curly Coated Retriever!... ? (Abby, Pick Me! Pet Rescue, PFId#21105232)

Interesting.  Newfoundland was #2 on this list.

Quiz #4: SelectAPet,

This website picked four breeds “most suitable” for my lifestyle, so I decided a screen shot of the results would speak for themselves.

This website has the caveat that results are based on "Australian lifestyles". Not sure what that implies.

Is it just me, or are they a bit all over the place?

Quiz #5:  Breed Match, 

First, props go to Eukanuba for having the nicest quiz so far!

My ideal breed is:

Bull Terrier! (Kenzie, Yakima Valley Pet Rescue, PFId#20868959)

Unexpected!  But how can you not fall in love with Kenzie?! Though I’m not sure she’d appreciate the long, cold Calgary winters.

Rounding out the top 5 were Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Great Pyrenees.

Quiz #6:  Dogfinder Matchup,

My favourite quiz thus far.  Doesn’t look like a website that will give you spyware, and the questions are different that the others – more insightful.  Despite the results, I think I’d actually recommend this quiz to people initially considering getting a dog, based on the way it highlights time, exercise, and training commitments.

And after that glowing review, my Matchup results:

Akita! With a 96% match! (Ginger, Washington Akita Group Inc., PFId#20084568)

Not a bad option, if not a bit on the small side 🙂

Also recommended for me: Alaskan Malamute, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Black Russian Terrier.

Quiz #7:  Purina Dog Breed Selector

This quiz slowly eliminates breeds as you answer the questions.

Interesting concept, but once I was finished, zero breeds matched my criteria.  That’s a little depressing.

With a little revamping of my answers, my sole ideal match is:

Great Pyrenees! (Aspen, Friends of Animals Utah, PFId#19332264)

Looking at that photo, I’m not sure what’s stopping me from dropping everything, driving to Utah, and adopting Aspen!

Quiz #8:  Which Dog Is Right for You?

Not being Good Housekeeping’s target demographic, this should be interesting.

And the votes are in…

Bichon Frise?! (Benny, For Pets Sake Inc., PFId#21102764)

I’m sure Benny is adorable, but I’m going to have to say Good Housekeeping is just a little out to lunch on this one.

Quiz #9:  Dog Breed Selector,

The breed that “best satisfies my requirements”:

Beauceron. (Zoey, Wags, PFId#15685531)

Very interesting!  Had to Wikipedia the breed, since I’d hardly heard of them and judging by the low PetFinder results (only 10), I’d say it’s a pretty rare breed.

Extremely varied results in my top 25 from this site, though, with lots of spaniels, hounds and terriers, so I will be putting even less stock in these results.

Quiz #10:  Dog Breed Selector, Animal Planet

On question 3 I’ve already decided I’m not a fan of some of the messages behind this quiz: the maximum daily exercise option is only 45 minutes?

As I moved through the questions, it seemed like someone who’d never actually owned a dog wrote this one.  Heaven forbid someone actually take this one looking for advice.  For shame, Animal Planet.  Let Ms. Stilwell at it, will you?

Nevertheless, my result is:

Another Akita! (Inu, TikiHut Akita Rescue Association (TARA), PFId#20517268)

Quiz #11:  Dog Breed Selector Quiz:

(The last one!)

And with a 100% match, my ideal breed is:

Mixed Breed! (Buster, Edmonton Humane Society - no "mixed" search options on PetFinder)

Ha!  Well I can definitely see the underlying message from these results, and I must say: I approve!

The results go on to say that Leonberger and Newfoundland are both the next-best results, with a 72% match to my responses.

Phew!  And that’s it for the online dog quizzes.

Call me a sap, but Moses is the only 100% match for us I can be sure of.

After all that I can say with confidence that I have learned… nothing.  And gained no new insights.

But I suppose that shouldn’t be too surprising.

The search continues.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In our long weekend travels, we came upon the perfect fall photo location and I couldn’t help myself.

So Happy Thanksgiving!

Or, to any Americans, Happy Columbus Day!

Having given Moses canned pumpkin on occasion, we thought he'd be more familiar with actual pumpkins.

But he wasn't quite sure what to make of the giant fruit at first.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you enjoy the long weekend!

Wordless Wednesday 9: Moses & Kimbo

You know, I could’ve written a blog post or two in the past couple of weeks.  I really could’ve.

In fact, lots of blog-worthy things have happened.  And I still fully intend to blog about them.  Like Petland Canada’s announcement, for example.  Or Toronto’s awesome and unanimous decision to ban retail pets sales.

And if you follow me on Twitter, I would have spammed your news feed with exciting posts about both of those events (my apologies), so I’ve been around and aware, just not blogging.

It’s not like I have an overly good excuse, either.  I’ve been enjoying a life of luxury reading books (can’t believe I hadn’t read The Book of Negroes earlier!) and enjoying the sunshine (29°C this late in September?  Yes, please.).  I do not apologise for that.

And I don’t even have a blog post for you now.  Nope.

So here: enjoy some more adorable puppy photos, from Homer and Kimbo’s visit a few weekends ago.

Moses & Kimbo

Play time!

Vertical play is exhausting.

But higher ground has an advantage.

Or does it?



I assume I have sufficiently made amends.

Eight Weeks Later

Eight weeks ago today, this is where we were at:

Moses at the vet after surgery to remove the cyst on his spine.

But now check out where we’re at!

Up and at 'em on a first official walk!

That’s right!

And eight weeks post-op is the milestone we’ve definitely all been waiting for (especially Moses, I imagine), because it means we can begin easing into a walking routine!

So Moses and I went out this afternoon for his first walk in eight weeks.

Still waiting for the fur to finish growing back.

For the next two weeks, we’ll start out with two 5 minute walks daily, and once those two weeks are up, we can slowly start to increase time based on his progress.

Walks resume just in time for fall weather.

And even though five minutes is ridiculously short, it’s still better than nothing, and it was great to get back out with the big guy.

Was going through surgery expensive and stressful?  Yes.  But it was worth it.

And unlike our short pre-opt walks, there was no tripping or scraped knuckles.  He may be a bit clumsy still, but the improvement has been great to see.

I even made a short video to commemorate the first walk back:


What a good day.

Wordless Wednesday 8: Two Chows and a Newf

This edition of Wordless Wednesday features our wonderful house guests over the Labour Day weekend.

This is Kimbo.

This is Homer.

Homer and Moses actually go way back to 2008, as dog school classmates.

Homer and Moses, Fall 2008

Kimbo is a new addition, and probably one of the calmest, cutest puppies I’ve ever met.

Hangin’ out.

Moses was pretty happy to have some company.

Hey, what’s that you have there?

Mind if I….

… Yeah, you don’t mind.

I tried to take a couple of group shots.

They weren’t really working with me at first.

There we go.

Ha! Something delicious in the air?

I was pretty happy to have our canine guests, too, since it’s been a while since I’ve been on a nice, long dog walk, and it’s still a couple of weeks until we start easing Moses back into it.

A nice evening walk with a couple of Chows.

And it wasn’t until my last walk of the weekend with these guys that a neighbour’s breed profiling brought in the startling reminder that Chow Chows are often considered a “bully breed”.  I had literally forgotten and was surprised – his comments took me completely off guard.

Sadly, even Wikipedia says Chows have “aggression towards strangers or other animals”.  There are at least three municipalities in the U.S. that have Chows listed as a banned breed.  And I don’t think I really need to go into the long list of things that are wrong with BSL.

Just looking at Homer and Kimbo, and trying to reconcile them with this vicious breed stereotype left me dumbfounded.

Oh yeah, a real menace to society.

Spinal Cyst Saga: A New Chapter

“Well, he’s not dead.”

That’s the response the Husband received when he spoke to Moses’ surgeon this afternoon.  …Part of me is beginning to think that maybe spinal surgery is a little more risky and complicated than she initially lead us to believe.

I kid, of course.  But having gone into our last consultation with our minds really already made up does mean we had selective hearing with respect to some details.

Moses hydrating this morning - then it was off to the vet

And today was the big day.  We have now entered the period “Moses: AC” (After Cyst).

I don’t really have a lot of surgery details to report right now.  She went in through the top at the shoulders (rather than other surgical procedures, like for a disc problem, where they go in through the bottom) and had to make a large incision to get through all of the muscle in that area on a big dog.  And once she had cut into the vertebrae, apparently there was a lot of spinal fluid that came out, since there was such a blockage due to the cyst.  (Hats off to surgeons everywhere – not a job for just anyone!)

And now Moses is in post-op care; he’ll be their guest for the next couple of days.

The good news is that as soon as he woke up his tail was wagging, he can move his front legs and has already tried to sit up on his own.  (Key word: ‘tried’ – not there yet.)

Will we ever get back to this point:


Only time will tell.

But we are very happy that he made it through surgery and it’s now on to the recovery and rehabilitation process.

Thanks to all for your kind words and support throughout this whole thing!

(Video from last spring; Moses accompanies the Husband to work whenever possible – I wish my job had that perk!)

(Also, after uploading the video, it came to my attention that there’s another Newf out there on YouTube named Moses – is it ‘great minds’ or ‘mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery’? Hmm…)

Wordless Wednesday 5: Osoyoos in the Spring

On this week’s episode of Wordless Wednesday…

Photos from our extended Easter weekend in what was the warmest part of Canada – Osoyoos, B.C.

Sunshine, blooming orchards, ordered vineyards… not too shabby for one long weekend.

Tongue hanging way out – Moses wasn’t really digging the heat at first.

But there is a definite benefit to heading to a warmer climate:


Our ridiculous water dog had initially forgot he could swim, but it all came back to him soon enough.

And there were some relatively dog-friendly tourist attractions to visit.

“How to”? Really? If you can’t operate a poop bag, I might suggest you’re not qualified to own a dog.

I didn’t snag a photo of the “Marmot Crossing” signs

More swimming at the dog beach.

Okay, more like “lounging”.

Fun fact: that house, viewed from a street in Osoyoos, is in Washington state. And that dilapidated barbed wire fence is meant to keep us ruffian Canadians out.

(All photos were taken on the iPhone – left the camera at home.)