Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dog With A View

June 5, 2011
Mt. Mitchell, NC

A bird dog always has its eyes on the birds!

Mt. Mitchell - The Top

June 5, 2011
Mt. Mitchell, NC

The last time I was here was October 12, 2005, with two German friends and my American Bulldog Milka. We came on foot, a 2-hour hike one way. It was strenuous at times but not too bad, still, I felt strangely exhausted when I arrived at the top. Little did I know it was the first sign of a major health crisis to come, and with it, many life changes.

Six years later I was back on top of the highest mountain east of the Mississippi, with my new dog Tessa but again in the company of some good friends. We arrived in a comfortable Honda Pilot, a much easier ascend than back in 2005. The observation tower has since been replaced with a newer, wheelchair accessible one, but the views were as stunning as ever.

Tessa was the perfect model up here, posing any which way and for as long as I needed her to. Here she rummages through my camera bag in search of her pay - cookies!

Atop the old tower, October 12, 2005:

Milka [2004 - 2008]

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mt. Mitchell - Ascend

June 5, 2011
Mt. Mitchell, NC

Day two of our ShipAway, and this time we found relief from the heat on Mt. Mitchell, where daytime highs were 71 F compared to 90 F in Black Mountain. This was our first stop on our drive up the mountain. The breeze was so refreshing!

Cloud Nine

June 4, 2011
Edneyville, NC

At an abandoned warehouse, with Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" blaring in the background from speakers in the wall. Cloud Nine indeed.

Firehouse Friends

June 4, 2011
Beacon Village
Swannanoa, NC


June 4, 2011
Hendersonville, NC

High Falls

June 4, 2011
High Falls
Dupont State Forest, NC

ShipAway 10, the fifth one in North Carolina, and the heat was on. We spent a big part of the day in or near the water in the Dupont State Forest. The most popular swimming spots were really full on this Saturday afternoon, but High Falls was not too crowded, maybe because it is a little harder to get to.

View from the top of the falls.

Jones Gap Baptist Church

June 4, 2011
Hendersonville, NC

Bon Bon Vie

June 4, 2011
Hendersonville, NC

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

May 30, 2011
Athens, GA

At The Rodeo

May 28, 2011
Shady Dale, GA

Cracking Up

May 28, 2011
Griffin, GA

Party Crashing

May 28, 2011
Luthersville, GA

We were generously invited to attend the Vizsla Club of Metro Atlanta (VCMA) Fun Day. It was a long drive to the Beaver Pond Farm near Luthersville, but it was well worth it. Beautiful grounds, tasty food, the best raffle I have ever seen, and nothing but fun people with fun dogs.

Tessa swimming and retrieving with Bart, the wonder-Vizsla. Bart lost his left front leg to bone cancer three years ago, and has been cancer-free since, which is nothing short of miraculous.

Freya and Tessa investigating a floating tire. Tessa is a bit suspicious, Freya, young and reckless.

Dock Diving!

May 21, 2011
Jersey, GA

That was some training day today. The bird work didn't go all that well. First off, I helped my friend train his puppy, and the plan was to then take Tessa and follow the advanced teams to work on backing/steadiness. That was cut short when a friend's dog suffered a snake bite and I rushed them off to a nearby vet. Back at the plantation, we caught the tail end of field work before everyone proceeded to the water, as it was getting hot.

There was too much serious duck work going on at the duck search pond, so I took Tessa to the puppy pond where she had a blast jumping off the dock on the far end. She's done it before, but not as much as that day - she absolutely loved it. Once she got to shore, she raced up to the dock, ready to jump again, just like a kid at a pool.

The Reach

We are planning on entering in a dock diving competition in July but there are two things we need to work on: jumping into a pool (blue water instead of muddy lake water) and running into the jump, rather than stopping at the edge of the dock for push-off. Access to blue water is a problem for us - the Canine Ranch, a training facility near Canton, GA, is a 2-hour drive away.

Walking on water? No problem!

Soon, Tessa was joined by a bunch of Vizslas that got all excited about watching Tessa jump, and Tessa actually managed to talk some of them into following suit!

My Girl

May 16, 2011
[at home]

On Point

May 6, 2011
Athens, GA

Not sure what she was pointing, all I saw was a water hose at the base of a shrub, but there is a good chance there was something else buried in there. She stood on point for quite a while.

The Street Sweepers

April 30, 2011
Laurens, SC


April 28, 2011
[at home]

Tornado warning at 2 a.m. - off to the closet we went for a good 30 minutes. It's a small closet and a little crammed but Tessa is always such a good sport!


April 27, 2011
[at home]

I took Tessa to the vet today to get some advice in regards to her right hind leg which she has been favoring for a while. She is not limping, and jumps, runs, plays as usual, but when she is standing or getting up there is a little stiffness and the leg seems a bit unstable. Having been through two torn ACLs with Milka I am worried so I took her in.

The vet tried his best to perform the drawer motion test - manipulation of the knee in a way that allows for the joint to move in a drawer motion, which is the tell-tale sign of a ruptured ligament - but was unable to get that motion. This could mean that the ligament is intact, or Tessa could have tensed her muscles to counteract that motion. The test is best done under sedation so we will repeat it when she is out for her x-rays which we will take next month.

The vet discussed "cruciate ligament tears and their repairs" with me although that was not really what I wanted to hear (again)! He suggested that for now, to rest her for three weeks, limiting her activity, no off-leash running or play, but thankfully, controlled leash walks are okay. After three weeks, we will up the exercise level carefully. She is also now on Cosequin which is a joint supplement that has excellent reviews from pet owners and vets. He strongly urged me to put her on it whether or not this is a more chronic injury, because she is such an active working breed.

I didn't realize until I came home which breed is represented on the box of the supplement. I take that as a good omen.

Gone Fishin'

April 26, 2011
Athens, GA

Easter Sunday

April 24, 2011
Sandy Creek Park, GA

Bird Dog Cemetery

April 19, 2011
Waynesboro, GA

On our way back home, we stopped near Waynesboro to check out this bird dog cemetery. The cemetery is located on the 8,100 acre Di-Lane Plantation created by New York industrialist and Eagle Pencil Co. heir Henry Berol, who had as many as 60 bird dogs at one time, and bought land mainly to be used during hunting season. With Berol's backing the Georgia Field Trials - which have been held at Di-Lane for decades - rose to its national level of prominence and gave Burke County its reputation as the ''Bird Dog Capital of the World" which is proudly displayed on signs and water towers around town.

The cemetery was established soon after the Berols created the plantation, and some of the stones were relocated from the family's home in New York. It now contains approximately 70 graves, mostly of Berol's bird dogs but also of Tootsie the cat and two field trial horses.

Go West!

April 19, 2011
Statesboro, GA

At the abandoned West store.


April 18, 2011
Stateboro, GA

It was pretty hot that evening, but after a day of mostly driving, we had to stretch our legs a bit. Our motel was within walking distance to downtown Statesboro, perfect for an evening stroll.

Welcome To Metter!

April 18, 2011
Metter, GA

And that was about the extent of it. We had planned to spend the night in either Douglas or Alma but got there too early in the day so we drove on in the hopes of finding a dog-friendly motel somewhere else. We struck out in Baxley and Vidalia so Metter was our next best bet - it actually has quite a few motels. Turns out, some of them were dog-friendly but not too people-friendly or out of my comfort zone. I was quizzed pretty hard by one owner who conducted a 10-minute interview about my dog, shooting stern warning glances my way the entire time, when I only inquired about the rate. So I kept on driving. In retrospect, it all happened for a reason...

But the Welcome Center was wonderful and provided for a nice break at the goose pond.

Tifton Skyline

April 17, 2011
Tifton, GA

We had intended to spend the first night in the Moultrie area, but due to lack of acceptable accommodations, we ended up at the Hampton Inn in Tifton, always a great place to stay with a large exercise area for the dog.

Not A Happy Camper

April 17, 2011
Cook County (GA)

Abandoned dog impersonation at a decaying camper fuel stop.


April 17, 2011
Plains, GA

Next stop was Plains, GA, home of former President Jimmy Carter. Here is Tessa in front of the old depot, which was used as a campaign headquarters in 1976. During the campaign, a stray dog showed up here and hung around. He became known as J-Who the depot dog. When J-Who died in 1986, he was buried across the depot on the town green.

History Lesson

April 17, 2011
Andersonville Prison Camp, GA

Yearly spring road trip. First stop was Andersonville National Historic Site for a little history lesson. All my dogs go here at some point in their life.

Friday, June 10, 2011



April 12, 2011
Athens, GA

Tessa gets the evil eye from a turtle.