Forget skiing with your dog go snowshoeing instead

I always have some hesitation skiing with my dogs. I had run over Rio enough times that stitches were required. Every time I see blood on the snow it reminds me. These days I give myself a break from that anxiety.

I still ski backcountry but without dogs. Sometimes it’s good to slow down enough to notice what you might miss. Snowshoes can take you places that skis cannot or at least where I don’t want to go. I once saw a set of rabbit tracks suddenly transform into a perfect impression of  the wings that had carried the poor creature heaven bound.

Musher's Secret Wax

You know it’s cold on those paws too, best to carry Musher’s Secret Wax to protect them from the ice and snow.

Snowy Sierras

Get out there and explore your world.



Tis the Season For Musher’s Secret Dog Paw Wax

Snow in the High Sierra and across the Rocky Mountains. It is time to stock up on Musher’s Secret. Keep you dogs healthy this winter and protect their paws with Musher’s Secret Wax. Apply liberally on the pads and between toes to create a semi permeable protective barrier. Made from organic and natural waxes, Musher’s Wax works like a bootie but better. No chance of your dog losing a bootie in the snow. A proven and effective healing balm for your dog’s paws.

You can stock up on it at Wild Mountain Online

Ruffwear Front Range Harness-Finn’s Review

According to Finn,
“I was just minding my own business one day barking incessantly for a treat when a package arrived. Inside was a contraption similar to that thing I used to pull them around with when I was younger. A strange thing happened though they put the leash on a different loop and it made pulling them around harder. I think its pretty comfortable and doesn’t hurt like another one they tried on me. I still pull them around (haha) when I feel like it. I’m very strong. I like it when they put it on. It distracts me from wrestling and biting my sister. I know that a good time is coming and I can go for a walk.”

The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is a well made adjustable and comfortable harness for dogs. Finn was correct about comfort since he can pull like a little bull. All the pieces of the harness are padded to prevent chafing. The strangest phenomena occurs when we put his harness on. He gets quiet and waits to go walking. For an over exuberant Yellow Lab it is short of a miracle. The only time he is quiet is when sleeping.

Key Features according to Ruffwear (with our comments inserted)

  • Comfortable, everyday harness that is easy to fit and put on (It is easy after adjustments- just two fastex buckles to fasten on a wiggly puppy)
  • Customizable fit with four points of adjustment allow for full range of motion
    (This really helps get the harness fit exactly right)
  • Padded chest and belly panel for good load dispersion and comfortable, extended wear
    (This adds to the all day comfort level for Finn -if it wasn’t he would have chewed it apart)
  • Two-leash attachment points: aluminum V-ring on the dog’s back (Finn calls this the easy pull), and reinforced webbing on the dog’s chest (This helps correct a pulling puppy sometimes- in Finn’s case he is getting better with age)
  • ID pocket stores dog tags (nice feature)
  • Low-light visibility with reflective trim (always good for dusk and night walks)To sum it up. the Ruffwear Front Range Harness like most Ruffwear products is tough durable and designed for the comfort of dogs. Finn gives it four paws up!
    Available at Ruffwear

Kong Wobbler


We heard about the Kong Wobbler from our dog trainer at Finn’s Puppy Class. A good way to keep a bored food obsessed Lab occupied. It worked right out of the package. Finn loves the challenge of getting the kibble out of the small hole in the center of the wobbler. This keeps him entertained for a while. We put a part of his dinner in the wobbler which helps slow his eating down.
Here is the word of caution. If you have anything that might be destroyed by a wobbler it would be wise to remove it. This could be a test for your floors as well. Finn likes to pick his up and drop it. After the initial shock you get kind of use to it.
Raising a puppy can be difficult but the Kong Wobbler makes it easier.
We got ours at the local independent pet bakery Scraps but it is available from Amazon also.

The Kong Classic interactive dog toy deserves a mention as well. This is a good solution to keeping dogs occupied and particularly helpful to puppies that are teething. We like to load them with their favorite treats, bananas, peanut butter, kefir or yogurt and pop them in the freezer to set. A great summer treat and a soothing treat for teething puppies! Available from Amazon or your local pet store.
Kong Classic Dog Toy


Meet Finn Our Newest Member of the Pack


Finn was born on February15th just a day shy of Valentines Day. After losing Rio, We had to step back and  decide what to do about the huge space that he had filled in all of our lives, especially Lily’s. Lily was quiet and pensive. Walks were just routine. She slept most of the day and seemed sullen. Janet and I talked about rescuing another dog but finding a good mix for her was challenging at best. Then we found a breeder that lived close by. Janet went to check out the litter just as their eyes were beginning to open. Of course, I got dragged over to take a look. You can look but somehow not leave without wanting to put a deposit down. They were cute but devoid of any personality. We returned weeks later to pick one of them to bring home. Our choice was between two remaining boys, one rather large and one smaller. We chose the smaller boy thinking he would be a better match for Lily and might fit in the already crowded Airstream Argosy. a couple of weeks later we brought him home. Lily was somewhat offended at first trying to stay away from him. This went on for a few weeks. Then exactly on Rio’s May 6th birthday she began to play with Finn. I guess she decided to make the best of it or that Rio’s spirit guided her.
Now they are inseparable. We have gone through the usual bites, scratches, and little sleep that owning a puppy affords. The adventure with labs continues!


A Tribute To Our Best Friend

rio the singing dog

Rio 2002-2014

It was about a year ago that the Singing Dog, Rio quit singing. He tried but only a squeak came out. Something had changed in his body. The fatty tumors had become more pronounced. It was only recently when he stopped eating that we realized that he was very ill. He put his best Labrador face on for us but his body was frail. Walks became shorter and his breathing labored. But he kept going unable to leave the pack.

He had seen us through hundreds of outdoor adventures and travel across the West, swam in the clearest water and touched the great sea. Trips to the ocean seemed to agree with him. He was a water dog and loved


One last trip to the sea

to run along the sand. Here is a video of his first trip to the sea.


Our summer was about spending time with him. We didn’t go to the grand places we usually went just a few places that he would enjoy. We took it easy and loved him as he became frail and distant. Some days he would rally and eat like the chow hound we knew him to be but eventually everything he ate betrayed his body. There was nothing left to do for him. Two days ago he had been sick in the morning and laid in the cool dirt of the backyard. He disappeared into the pond and swam around as if to purify himself before his spirit journey. One last communion with the water of life.



It is amazing how big of a space he occupied with his presence. He touched the lives of people all over the world. His Facebook page has lit up with beautiful tributes from those that met him and others that knew him from his adventures. This is how it all began.

One day as I sat down at the piano and began playing a song.  I heard a tiny voice next to me. Rio began to sing.  He sang for 12 years laughed played and helped us through the best of times and the worst. He taught us to be better people.

What a fitting way to carry on. To go out singing.

Ruffwear Headwater Collar

HeadwaterAfter trying to get the stink out of our Labs collars all summer long. I opted to try the Headwater Collar from Ruffwear. At first the material threw me off since it is a different material than fabric. It is a coated webbing with an aluminum v attachment for tags. The key features are:

  • Waterproof, coated 1-inch webbing keeps collar stink proof and looking new
  • Single-piece, anodized aluminum V-ring provides a secure leash attachment point
  • Easily add or remove dog tags with Quick Ring™
  • Silicone tag silencer to keep dog tags quiet
  • Low-light visibility with reflective trim

So far they are working perfectly. We have been in and out of rivers and lakes throughout the Sierras without the typical smelly collars. The dogs are comfortable in them too. We give them two paws up or 5 stars!P1010528


Available here…