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Our little Rock Stars

Rick C
November 13th, 2009, 08:54 PM
A few weekends ago, Abby and Keeper and I were just finishing up a walk when a car driving by hesitated, then pulled up beside us.

An older man and woman go out, with the guy asking, "Say . . . . . are those the dogs with the website?"

My brilliant, carefully thought-out riposte to his query was a crafty: "Website?"

"Yeah . . . . are those the dogs (pointing at Abby and Keeper) with the website."

Oh," I said, finally putting the pieces together but not quite believing my ears, " . . . do you mean Goldentales."

"Yeah, yeah, that's it. Goldentales. You mean those are the dogs."

"Hell yeah man. That's them!!!"

Thusly, Abby and Keeper, who get messages from all over the world on their guestbook website, crossed that nebulous line separating obscurity with rock stardom.

They were recognized on sight by strangers. They had been googling trail names and had found us at Indian Oils trailhead, west of Turner Valley.

The Dynamic Duo graciously granted the requested picture with their admirers and I'm sure if they had opposable thumbs they would have authored autographs as well.

Alas, the missus apologized "for not recognizing you. There's not much about you on the website."

Well, hey, that's okay. I'll just stay out of the sun-like aura of Abby and Keeper and continue to linger in the shadows where I belonged.

Funny, funny moment.

I should mention this couple left their own message on our guestbook a day later as well as a link to their own website. It turns out they are folk singers and she's very good.

Below, Keeper lingers late in the day near Indian Oils, west of Turner Valley, Alberta

Below, the previous day, Abby and Keeper scout upwards on a nameless ridge west of Chain Lakes, Alberta . . . . on a very windy, windy, windy afternoon.

Below, Abby runs down the slope, apparently oblivious to the three mountain goats hiding on the rocks behind her.

Below, Abby doesn't care about the windy, windy, windy day . . . . she's happy to be anywhere.

Below, although it appeared sunny, it was actually snowing as the storm behind Abby would periodically overtake us in this harsh place.

Below, Keeper did well this day, in spite of her arthritic hip

Below, Keeper explores Chain Lakes shoreline a week earlier.

Below, Abby tries to decide if she should cross this stream or not. She's on the Willow Creek Trail in southwestern Alberta, a trail connecting three far-flung ranches.

Below, Abby and Keeper on the Willow Creek trail . . . a storm was coming in off the mountains behind.

Abby at her prairie home, southwest of Calgary . . . . another windy afternoon.

Rick C

November 13th, 2009, 09:28 PM
Great pics, Rick! I love that 4th shot--the one of happy Abby! :laughing: How can you not smile at that look on her face!!!!

Both the girls are looking great! And it's about time they got to enjoy some of that rock-stardom! :thumbs up

November 13th, 2009, 11:25 PM
Love pics 4 :D & 9 :cloud9:

How exciting the grrls got to meet some fans :highfive:

November 14th, 2009, 01:23 AM
I love Abby's windy day look. :D

November 15th, 2009, 01:00 AM
Wow, the girls must have been thrilled to meet some of their many fans :D.

Gorgeous pics Rick, those windy ones with Abby grinning are absolutely adorable :cloud9:.

November 15th, 2009, 06:54 AM
Great pics as usual Rick. It's terrific that someone recognized the girls. :thumbs up

Rick C
November 15th, 2009, 02:15 PM
Yesterday, below, I'm sure Keeper and Abby were wondering why we were sitting under such an obvious avalanche chute . . . . they ask so many questions!!!

The answer, below, was the view . . . . . we stopped to sit on some rocks and have lunch. It was windy, cold and snowing out in the backcountry.

Below, the sun dapples the Kananaskis Range behind Keeper and Abby . . . .

Dear ole dad just got back from running the Last Chance Half Marathon in a windy Calgary this morning and is a little pooped. But I think I'll scoop them up and take them out somewhere for a short walk.

Rick C

November 15th, 2009, 04:01 PM
Oh my Rick,as usual stunning picks,I just knew one day Keeper and Abby would be stars,what a wonderful doggie-life they have:grouphug:

November 15th, 2009, 05:48 PM
Great pics as usual :thumbs up
The puppers always look so happy out walking :cloud9:

November 15th, 2009, 06:00 PM
Beautiful Pics!!! WoW, what a beautiful place to live. The doggers are absolutely beautiful and look so happy. I guess there is a bit of heaven on earth! I just can't imagine living in such a scenic area.


Dog Dancer
November 16th, 2009, 01:23 PM
I love that so many people read Abby and Keepers blog. How cool is that. As usual they look wonderful, and the shots are stunning.

November 16th, 2009, 10:15 PM
I love your shots Rick. I live in Edmonton, but spend as much time as I can in the Rockies and I recognize a lot of your backgrounds. Do you take them to designated off-leash sites, private property, or what? Beautiful spots you find.

Rick C
November 17th, 2009, 07:17 PM
I love your shots Rick. I live in Edmonton, but spend as much time as I can in the Rockies and I recognize a lot of your backgrounds. Do you take them to designated off-leash sites, private property, or what? Beautiful spots you find.

A long-winded answer . . . .

We generally don't go to Banff National Park. Too far. We live southwest of Calgary so we might go west of Bragg Creek, west of Turner Valley, west of Longview and into K-Country that way, over the Highwood Pass, or south of Longview. When Highway 40 is closed for the winter, we might make the trek around to Barrier Lake, etc, via Bragg Creek and the TransCanada. You'd be well-travelled to recognize some of these spots because they really are a little off the general tourist path.

Generally speaking, there are no off-leash areas in national or provincial parks.

Dogs are to be leashed and under control at all times according to the strictest interpretation of the law. This is not to protect your dog but rather to protect wildlife from the stress of encounters with dogs . . . . . . I don't think Park Rangers care about your dogs very much. But they care about the wildlife under their care.

So, strictly speaking, you could be in an isolated place, the only person or mutt for miles around, and your dog is literally supposed to be on a leash with the other end in your hand. They are not supposed to be running at large.

Needless to say, that is wildly ignored by quite a few people.

Having said all that . . . . .

The lakeshore picture of Keeper is not in a park . . . . and she is not wearing a leash. It's a fun place for them because we rarely see anyone or anything. This is our private little off-leash park on a crown grazing lease, the east or west shore of Chain Lakes from the north dam. We go there quite a bit, particularly in winter.

In a lot of the pictures above, however, Abby and Keeper DO have their leashes on and ARE trailing them . . . .

Generally, my policy is if I don't have good line of sight in all directions I'll have Abby in hand and Keeper walking close by, trailing her leash . . . . the latter stays close by in most instances.

I'll also have both in hand if there are people or other dogs nearby. I assume other people do not want to meet my dogs or do not want my dogs bothering them. If those folks want to come over and meet them, then fine. Abby and Keeper are well socialized and like to meet other people and other dogs. I just don't automatically assume the vice versa is universal.

If I do have good line of sight in all directions, then I'll let them run a bit and control them verbally, even in a park. Abby is particularly smart and I only need to have her attention and point in a direction and she will go there . . . . which, a recent study has told me, is actually fairly rare in a canine. Most will just look at the finger you're pointing with. But she's also the one I most need to control physically as well.

Other times, I may let them run for a moment if I see an opportunity for a picture. Perhaps letting them trot ahead, then calling them back, which serves the other purpose of hiding the leashes from the camera as is the case in the second Willow Creek Trail picture above.

In the first picture above, Keeper is in a wide open space but you can see her trailing a leash if you look carefully.

In the second through sixth pictures above, we are in a very isolated bowl with no trail and no people around, climbing it, with no trees in the area. I had taken their leashes off as there was no way for anything to approach us and no way for them to really run off. I had also noted the three mountain goats on some rocks well above us. I usually see other animals long before the dogs, who comically rely on their noses as though they were eyes.

On the Willow Creek trail, they definitely had their leashes on and I was keeping them close verbally and physically at various times, depending on the closeness of the forest.

On the prairie scene, that is Abby's yard, four acres fenced post and rail with a second wire fencing preventing them from leaving.

In the last mountain shots, you can see their leashes and I had let them variously move ahead then called them back for a shot. Or they were sitting just above me as I moved down the mountain a few feet to shoot. On a lot of the walk, however, Abby was in hand with Keeper walking behind me.

Abby and Keeper have had bear, cougar and even a big bull encounter and, fortunately, I've had them leashes in hand each time.

So, I'm protective of them and, I hope, wildlife. They've never had a chase in a national or provincial park (the pasturelands of their home is another thing) and they're not pestering strangers who might have an aversion to dogs . . . . . but they do get some running around time too, as long as they're on the path I want them to be on.

That's generally the way I handle leashes. Knock on wood, things will continue to work out for everyone.

Can you see Abby and Keeper's leashes in the photo below? I hope not, but they do have them on. I had scrambled below them while waiting for them to cross the stream, shooting as they did, then grabbed Abby on the other side.

Below, in King Canyon in K-Country, I had stepped away to take a shot as a leashed Keeper and Abby concentrate on snowballs rolling down a cliff face in the Spring . . . .

Below, at Upper Kananaskis Lake, on a lonely walk on the lakeshore, no leashes, in clear violation of the law . . . . but also completely deserted in all directions.

Thanks for the comments.

Rick C