Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Grandpuppy Arrives!!

It's been awhile so I'll update you on some of the major events for late August.

We set a new record in August spending more days on the road than in our 'sticks n bricks' back in Quincy! We are beginning to get a much better understanding of our ability to stretch out time on our holding tanks and seem to be establishing more of a daily routine while at a site.

Trevor is recovered from his concussion and back on the EIU football field so after the August 22nd Panther Club picnic and Scrimmage we were ready to head out of Charleston and back to see Kyle again.

This time rather than work on Kyle's new house, the purpose of our Carlinville vist was to get introduced to our new grandpuppy, Staley.

First off, I had to be educated that her name comes from the name of the Chicago Bears mascot, Staley Da Bear. I guess Kyle wanted to stay with having our pets having names related to Chicago sports!!

Staley sort of 'happened upon' Kyle. One of the law firm secretaries lives on a farm and someone was cruel enough to dump this little puppy all by herself on their road, barely old enough to be weaned.

Kyle and Jenni went to see the pup and decided they would do a 'trial' weekend since they weren't sure whether they'd keep her and especially wanted to have our Quincy vet check her out before they made a final decision. So, Staley was in Quincy the first time while we were still in Charleston.

The doc here proclaimed Staley to be 'healthy' and a 'mutt' with difficulty saying she will show any specific breed similarities or exactly how big she'll get but best guess maybe 40lb range. That was all good news and so, since Kyle and Jenni had already fallen in love with the little mongrel, they got her started on her shots and we officially have a 'grandpuppy'!

We decided to take Staley on a Frerx Adventure Monday while 'daddy' was working and so took her out to Beaver Dam State Park with us to visit 'Uncle' Ditka and 'Aunt' Sox. Things went ok until Staley decided to start into her puppy rambunctiousness and Ditka got an introduction to just how sharp those little puppy teeth and paws can be when they are playing. He growled at Staley. Motherly Sox decided that Ditka was out of line with that growl and Ditka and Sox proceeded to have a knock-down-dragout fur-flying dog fight. We don't see that too often and poor little Staley had no idea what was going on except she wanted to stay as close to me as possible until the ruckus ended.

I took the shibas outside under the awning with me while I read and they settled down and apologized to each other. Staley stayed in with Ken for a long afternoon of watching the Cubs game with their eyes closed. She was out like a light for nearly 2 hours.

Staley was actually very good about NOT piddling in the motorhome. As soon as she woke up we took her outside on the grass and she immediately did her business. She is also exceptionally good at staying by us (2 shibas I know could learn from the puppy!!). We have almost a whole section of the campground to ourselves and I could walk around in the grassy area with her and she'd stay very close to me wherever I walked. She was showing similar smarts back at the house. As soon as she started to whine or go to the backdoor we'd hustle her out to the backyard and she would instantly do her business and then follow us back in to the house. The 4 steps on the deck are still a bit of a challenge since they are taller than she is but by the time we left she had those mastered with only a few minor tumbles.

Kyle and Jenni came out to the RV Monday night and we grilled salmon. Staley, Ditka and Sox did a bit more socializing. Sox seemed largely uninterested but Ditka was wary of Staley's sharp little claws and nipped back when Staley tried a playful pounce. Because Staley needs to have good social experiences with other dogs as a puppy it looks like we'll need to find some better ways to get her that socializing dog time since Ditka is not liking this at the moment.

Having been brought up in a house where we always had a house dog, Kyle seems to have a good handle on how to care for Staley and insure she grows up a loving companion but one that understands and obeys him as the 'pack leader'. I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty of complaints about 'the little mutt' as she puts them through the puppy years, chewing on anything accidentally left withing puppy range. I lost two sets of prescription glasses in our first 2 years along with several nice pairs of shoes so he has seen the costs from our experience and hopefully will be able to keep her in sight when in the house.

He took a crate from our house that works nicely in his mud room. That's where she stays when he and Jenni are at work or sleeping. She already shows her comfort with it as her 'cave' by going in to the crate on her own when she wants to nap. That's a good adjustment sign as well and helps Jenni and Kyle see that it is not cruel to put her there at night or when they are at work.

On Tuesday, Ken and I proclaimed a 'down day' and just had a quiet time around the state park. The excitement of the day was when we decided to take the dogs for a walk around the lake and we happened upon a snake that certainly fits the description of a copperhead. I wish we'd have thought to bring the camera so we could have made a better comparison but from our memories and the pictures off the internet it seemed a good match. I wasn't real keen to continue the walk after that since I really get freaked out by snakes....ugghhhh!!!. Since the last time Ditka saw a snake he picked it up and wouldn't put it down until Trevor got it away from him, I'm really glad we saw the snake before the dogs did!! I had planned originally on doing that walk without Ken. It will now take me awhile to do it again at all!!

But that was the last day there so I didn't have to force myself to 'get back on that horse' and walk the lake path again.
We've now done not quite a full week back in Quincy, doing various appointments and errands, laundry, etc., The weather has been a tease since it's been wonderfully cool, just perfect for being around a campfire, not sitting at home!!

Well, we won't be seeing Staley for awhile since football will now be the priority. We're now packing up to head back to Charleston for the home opener of the Panthers against Illinois State. This is the 98th Annual Prairie State rival game and an especially important game to the guys to win. The two-deep is out and despite his missing spring ball due to hand surgery and time out of recent practices with the concussion, Trevor has retained his starting position as Defensive Tackle. We are teasing him though that they have erroneously marked him as a R-FR, redshirt freshman instead of a R-SR, reshirt Senior so that means he has another 4 years of football! He could have his PhD by then!!--but, I'm not sure he'd have any unbroken parts of his body left!!

We'll feed the D-Line Wednesday night out at Fox Ridge but probably won't take the motorhome in for tailgating since it is a Thursday night game and Ken hates having to negotiating parking back at the campsite when its dark.
We are lucky to have nephews living in Quincy doing housesitting for us so we don't have to be real exact on our planning on when we will leave and come home. Ken hates the fact that they charge $30 a night for sites in Illinois State Parks over Labor Day so its possible we may come home before the weekend but we'll just play it by ear.
I still don't have a 'mifi' for on the road so the next installment will either be from the wifi at EIU or when we get back home again.
Until then...
Hugs, C

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