Wordless Wednesday 15: Fall Has Arrived



Moses & Alma

To see the rest of Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Wordless Wednesday 14: Labour Day Weekend

A Labour Day weekend in photographs.

Alma waiting while camp is set up

Moses, filthy, in his element


Barrier Lake

Alma & Lake Louise

Alma at Chateau Lake Louise

Alma en route to Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House (Lake Louise behind)

Alma & Lake Agnes (at Tea House #2)

Alma & waterfall

Hope your weekend was just as scenic!

Check out Wordless others by clicking here.

Wordless Wednesday 13: Winter Storm Warning

It’s a late addition, but I just had to sneak in a last-minute Wordless Wednesday.

Alma was hanging out with the Husband at work, but I just had to take Moses out before the sun set to show you exactly what April looks like in Calgary.

Nothing like a Winter Storm Warning!

Moses in his element.

He hides his excitement well.

What’s that they say about “April showers”?

Wordless Wednesday 12: Hiatus

Well, I must apologize to all for the recent silence on the Soapbox, and it looks like there will be more ‘wordless’ to come in the near future.

You, see, at a regular eye exam last week, my optometrist spotted a detached retina in my left eye and it was off for Scleral buckle surgery on Friday morning for me.  Nothing caused it – lucky me, just a congenital condition that can happen when you have strong near-sightedness, as I do.

But since then, and for quite some time yet, I am to avoid reading, watching TV, and computers, which has meant for some very boring time off , and I am briefly violating that for this quick note.

Hope you all are enjoying your holidays!

I will have a lot of blog reading to catch up on when I get back!

Moses and Alma don’t mind having the extra company.

Wordless Wednesday 10: Yawn

Yawning is one of the most common calming signals dogs display.

And by calming signals, I am referring to behavioural communications used by dogs to prevent things from happening such as avoiding threats from people and dogs, calming down nervousness, fear, noise and other unpleasant things. Dogs also use them for calming themselves when they feel stressed or to make others around them (both dog and human) feel calmer or more relaxed.

Yawning is just one of several calming signals, including sniffing, looking away, excessive blinking, lip-licking, among many others, and to read more about about them and how they can enhance your own understanding of your dog’s behaviour, I recommend you look up the expert on this subject, Turid Rugaas.

Mid-yawn at Frank Slide, AB last fall.

But I’m not here to write about calming signals this Wednesday, but to demonstrate Moses’ most common one: yawning.

Moses yawns during the photo shoot for the blog about his new ramp before the surgery.

I often inadvertently snap photos of Moses mid-yawn.

I could try my hardest and never purposely get this photo again.

I’m not particularly surprised taking photos makes Mo exhibit a calming signal.  I mean, I usually have him sit or lay down somewhere I think is picturesque, then I move around – backing away, sitting on the ground, hover around him – stick a camera (or iPhone) in his face, and sometimes make noises to get him to perk up.

Grass in his jowls. Nice.

Yeah, suffice it to say, I might need some calming.

Moses yawns on a walk the other day.

Oh, and to anticipate a question: yes, Moses’ tongue is spotted; a common trait for the Newfoundland breed (but not exclusive or mandatory).

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.

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.

Wordless Wednesday 7: Making Friends

You know the drill.

Wordless Wednesday 6: The Nation’s Capital

Wordless Wednesday: Ottawa edition!

Some of the recent dead space here at the Soapbox can be attributed to a trip to Ottawa I took earlier this month for work.  And while I spent the bulk of the daylight hours in seminars of varying degrees of interest and relevance, I spent the free hours pounding the pavement – because I am that kind of tourist.

“Just Ottawa”?  Sure.  Maybe.  To some.  But I liked it and there is lots to see in the nation’s capital if you’re so inclined and nerdy enough.  So here are some photos.  I’ll see if I can restrain myself and keep it to a minimum.

Parliament Hill – Centre Block

Lots of statues on Parliament Hill

Detail at the main doors of the Centre Block

Knowing PM Harper’s affection for cats, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by what appears to be a cat sanctuary on the grounds.

RCMP Memorial

Bell from the original clock tower that was destroyed by fire in 1916.

My favourite part – the Library (opened in 1876).

Detail of Thomas D’Arcy McGee statue – a strong 19th C advocate of Confederation.

Some door on the East Block.

East Block

West Block

Centre Block tours are free! Inside the House of Commons.

The Senate Chamber

Rotunda / Confederation Hall

From the Peace Tower, overlooking the Library, Ottawa River, and into Gatineau, QC

In the Memorial Chamber

For Canadians who died in armed conflict since Confederation.

No Harper action figure?

Centennial Flame – lit by Lester B. Pearson in 1967.

Tulip season.

The Supreme Court

Justice is pretty ominous looking.

Bank of Canada

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Laura Secord – with not a chocolate in sight.

Locks at the Rideau Canal

Creepiest sculpture ever attacking Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Inside Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica – wow!

I was impressed.

Looking back to the entrance and organs above.

Now it’s headed for the National Gallery! (Note: add the National Gallery to your bucket list; it’s awesome.)

Best shot I could get of ol’ Steve’s house. Not worth the trek.

Okay, that’s all.  And I was trying to be selective.  Really!

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.)