Wander project puppy day!


Today in the US is National Puppy Day. (this blog is published 3 days in arrears), Our puppies are a little older. They are both Lab Rescues. The Lab Rescue of Maryland and Virginia to be exact. They have been together, the two of them for five years in just two weeks. Raven joined our family in April 2014. Dylan joined our family in June 2012. In between the arrival of Raven, we still had Fran who passed away in March 2014. 2014 was a bad year for our family. But today is a celebration day. In the spring of 2014, we decided to get a second dog. Fran was older and had a leg injury (torn ACL) that limited her ability to walk. I wanted a dog that could go on walks with me, so I didn’t have to walk alone.

As happened with the adoption of Fran, My daughter and I spent some time thinking, researching and selecting a dog. It was my daughter who said: “we should adopt a rescue dog.” We met with the LRMV folks; they decided that we were worthy of a second dog. It was interesting we filled out a survey and had a home visit before we were allowed to adopt a new pal. We went through the same process when we got Raven two years later. Then we started working with a coordinator to find the right dog. It was in late m May of 2012 that we were informed that there was a possible dog for our family, would we be interested. We had originally said, female, but the dog they found was male.

We drove down to Richmond, and Dylan joined our family. He is a lab mix, with some hound other than Lab in his background. He doesn’t bark, the bays. Richmond VA is roughly 2 hours away from DC, and nearly 3 hours from Maryland. We ended up going to the house where Dylan was with Fran. Fran never liked Dylan. But she tolerated him. We picked Dylan up and drove home. Raven was also picked in Richmond VA. She was on the east side of Richmond, Dylan was on the West Side. Where Fran never liked Dylan, Raven and Dylan were besties from the first moment they met. Raven also picked the Twins as her people. So today we celebrate the graduated puppies in our house!

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wander project Dylan’s walks…


The many state parks around the DC area are open. We have many state and local parks. The Seneca Lake Park, where the pictures were taken, is a favorite excursion for Dylan and Raven. They love to walk the trail around the lake. Mostly for Dylan because on the far side, that is a more undeveloped portion of the park there are many deer. Dylan fancies himself a great deer hunter. I showed him the movie, The Deer Hunter, but he persists in wishing to catch a deer of his own. We walk outdoors every day, but sometimes we wander to one of the many local parks. I’ve shared many different state parks (many of the national parks around the area are now closed because of the shutdown).

That got me thinking of Dylan and Raven’s four favorite walks.

  1. Today’s walk
  2. Any walk where you get in the car first and after the walk
  3. Any walk that also has a car ride, and wanders by the box that talks
  4. Any walk

The Box that talks were a Fran thing first. The first time we went to a drive up a restaurant, Fran got upset and barked. Then she got food, from the window that was on the other side of the Box that talked. She quickly realized, as did Dylan and Raven that if you go the box that talks to you without a person when you get to the person on the other side they give you food. Fran’s favorite was a Jr Cheeseburger (just the burger and the cheese) at Wendy’s. Dylan prefers the Jr. Bacon Cheese Burger, but he is addicted to bacon for someone reason. The first time we ordered dinner in on a Friday night after Dylan joined our family I ordered extra Bacon, Dylan was in heaven!

Raven on the other hand just likes food. It is funny; she struggled when she first joined our family. Dylan had been an active dog his whole life. But Raven I suspect had been somewhat sedentary before she was abandoned. Once she started walking, she realized she loved walking! I suspect if they were able to speak, they would change the order. Number 3 would be the daily walk and would number 1. Number two would be the second option every day. Every walks are critical but mandatory so they would add, walks in places they haven’t been before. Their order slightly more focused on their goals!

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official human of “Dylan’s Walk”

Wander project Christmas 2013


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I got an email asking why I hadn’t mentioned or shared pictures in the wander project of Christmas 2012. Well that is a sad story. First off we were well established in Maryland. In fact in June 2012 the young man there on the left, The mighty D, or Dylan came to live with us. He joined us as my walking partner and other than two weeks (when the vet said he couldn’t walk) and two weeks we are going to talk about we have walked every day since June 4, 2012. As we prepared for a journey back to Indiana in December 2012 I got sick. First off, what happened next was the most unpleasant week of my life. I got an inner ear infection. I couldn’t stand up, move or be in a moving car starting on December 22, and I was finally able to move around a little the day after Christmas. 4 days of pure agony and not moving. Because with an inner ear infection if you move, everything comes out of your stomach. Rapidly. So we ended up not going to see family at Christmas, and frankly the only thing I saw was the ceiling of our bedroom.

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In 2013 Dylan joined us as we journeyed to Indiana for Christmas. His favorite part of Indiana was going on walks. Oh yeah and car-car rides. Dylan is a lab rescue (love Lab Rescue of Maryland-Virginia). He is also the only dog living with us that got to meet my dad. Fran was the other dog who got to meet my dad. Dylan is the last one. This is his shouldn’t we be going on a walk now, face. So we did go on a walk. Dylan love the natural yard my father had created in the back of the house on Kinser. There was wildlife, things to explore and of course Dylan’s buddy Nelson. They got along from the first minute they met each other. They both liked to be outdoors and seeing the world. Dylan and I went on wonderful walks with my sister and the rest of the dogs to the high school (Bloomington North) and back along Kinser pike. Bloomington itself, proper, is very bike and walker/runner friendly. The areas outside of the city are not as much.

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Lot’s of waiting for humans. Well in particular trying to convince them that it is time for the walk, time to feed Dylan or just time to pet Dylan. We got to hang out with family and go in the car-car for a week so Dylan was happy. It is funny how little dogs really need from humans. Considering how much they give in return for that little bit. I did get to show Dylan the town where I grew up. I am not sure he cared about what was, but he certainly enjoyed walking around the town that was. Dylan is a big walker. He is also someone that checks things out. When we got Dylan we had Fran who was an older Lab. She, having been raised by Gwen was not friendly. Dylan’s perspective is be friendly. When Raven joined us Dylan greet her with open arms and his open heart. Fran didn’t greet Dylan with an open heart. But we would learn later that she was in a lot of pain. Funny how pain not only shapes and changes but drives how you act. I spent Christmas of 2012 barely able to move of the bed, to even sit up. Lying in bed not able to move even left or right. Needless to say my poor family didn’t get to go anywhere in 2012.

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Family Historian

Dylan stops by and says hi and nearly done with Carousel Thailand #3.


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Apparently significant Lab work has shown that cute pictures of dogs makes blogs better. Mostly, the lab work was done by the Labs in our house, but they insist that if you want a cute blog add pictures of Labs.

Here is Joe Cool, funny this is he has been with us now for almost 4 years. In that time he has managed to cure me forever of yelling at the television during sporting events (he bites my feet when I yell). Dylan was a lab rescue. First off he is a sweetest guy on earth.  When we first got him almost 4 years ago, he wouldn’t wear clothes ever. His sister (Raven) loves clothes. So Dylan, adapting to the changing world around him now loves clothes. He loves wearing his Darth Vader sweater. Again, he is Joe Cool!

I can’t imagine a house without dogs. Its sad when they go, I miss Fran, Gwen, Duo, Frosty, and even Blackie. Although Blackie had to move to another family he actually nipped Jakki when she was little so he had to go. Joe Cool doesn’t care if I had a great day or a bad day, he just curls up in my lap and says I am here, and I love you.

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What is the function of a building? Depends on who you ask. If you ask the architect they will tell you to fill a purpose but to also show the architects vision. The engineer will tell you that a building is built for safety and structural integrity. The people will tell you as they go into apartments or places of work that the building just has to work for the organization or family.

I love Bangkok’s mix of old and new. There are still buildings that are more than 2000 years old in the city. Plus there are buildings that are barely 20 minutes old. I love that mix of old and new. Plus the trees that grow in virtually no soil. The tropics has amazing vegetation.

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When we lived in Thailand we went to a lot of places. Partially because the team of people dad worked with for UNESCO had to visit all the universities of the country, partially because dad had wanderlust. He loved to see new places, to capture new moments with his camera. We went to several remote places, one a river like this we rode down all day on inner tubes. By we I mean I rode down all day, mom and dad took care of my sisters. My friends and I rode down the river over and over on inner tubes. I probably fell right asleep that night. I know I was exhausted. But I remember riding down that river like it was yesterday. It is stuck forever in my memory!

Tomorrow is the last day of this Carousel. Although Labs have argued that I should spend a couple of years blogging about the funny things they do so it may be a new series, we shall see.

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Family Historian, official documenter of the Labrador Experience…

A place that was and a dog that just arrived and took over.


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Beck Chapel, the Campus of Indiana University. I loved this place when I was a student. I solved many of the world’s problems here, sitting and thinking in and around the Chapel. It was a place of quiet resolution for me.

My first marriage (the one that didn’t work) was held here. I won’t say more except that neither of us was ready to be married, but our relationship had reached that point of what do you do next. So we did what we thought we were supposed to and that isn’t always the best direction to take. Anyway, I love this campus. I have many memories of wandering this campus, of the preacher who would stand just down from Beck Chapel and assail us with our failings and the end of the world.

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Raven comes for comfort when she is unsure of either herself or the situation. She is an amazing dog. Dogs come into your house with their baggage. You have your baggage. The impact of the dog is how they work their way into your lives. I can’t remember the last time we watched a movie and Raven wasn’t curled up with one of us, snuggling and verging with us. She has the Alexander Haig “don’t worry I am in charge” personality of a female lab, but at the same time she loves snuggling more than she loves being in charge. I remember the day she joined our family. We were working with the incredible Maryland/Virginia Lab rescue group. They find labs that need to be rescued and well you get the idea. We had been looking for a second dog after Fran passed. Dylan was lonely, the kids were lonely and we needed a new dog.

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We had specific requirements. Dylan is so chill we needed a dog that was able to work with a chill Lab. We were looking for another female lab. There were a number we considered but in all cases they were adopted before we could decide or just didn’t fit. We drove down to Richmond Virginia to meet Raven. Funny that both our rescues are from the Richmond Virginia area. She bounded up to the boys greeting them as though they were long lost friends of hers. She and Dylan hit it off, so we decided to take her home with us. That was 20 months ago. We have learned that she doesn’t like thunderstorms. She isn’t as bad now, as she once when she first joined us, but she hates thunderstorms. She is a horrible food thief (if you leave food anywhere she can reach and leave the room the food is gone). But she loves her family. She adopted the boys right away as hers. She yells at them, snuggles with them and makes them do whatever she needs done. Shortly after arriving Raven decided that Barb belonged to her as well. She began making an effort to win Barb over. Barb grew up with small dogs, and throughout the reign of Fran was never really favored by Fran. Raven, however, has won her over. Now Barb even claims 1/3 of Raven as her dog. When she gets home at night after a long day, Raven hops on the couch and they put their heads together.  Her full name is Raven Marie Poe Andersen. We added the Marie because she needed a fourth name. Raven because she is Raven colored. Poe, because it continues our current author or literary character dog name theme (Dylan Thomas).

I watch the horrible stories of what people do to dogs. I cry and give money to the organizations that help rescue dogs in terrible places. But there are also many forever home stories that are touching and show that people do care, they do love dogs. Raven’s forever home is forever changed by Raven. I can’t remember life without her and I don’t want to!

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Raven’s blogger

The regularly scheduled blog is interrupted for Labrador propaganda…


109A2214There is something to be said for flowers of the tropics. I know I can find 1000 or more pictures dad took of various flowers in Thailand. Two huge differences being when Dad took them he thought scientific name of the flower first and then that it was pretty second. Me I think pretty flower first and in this case red second.

Dad spent years trying to teach me the various Latin names for flowers and plants. I learned early on to avoid poison ivy and poison oak, self preservation but the lessons in Latin failed. Ask me the components of a motherboard and the difference between PCI and EISA buses or E-Sate and I am happy to do so.

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This is Dylan. Dylan decided when he joined our family that he was my dog. That meant in the end that I had some behavioral issues that had to be addressed. The first issue was me yelling at the TV during IU Basketball games. He ended that by attacking my feet as I was yelling. So no more yelling. The second was walking. Dylan has long felt that we didn’t take enough walks in the house. So we walk every day now. The other complaint he has is that I put dumb pictures of people stuff on my blog. He wants me to dedicate more blog space to cute Labradors. In particular himself and his sister Raven.

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Raven agreed with her brother. Its funny, Raven joined our family in 2014. Fran passed away and there was a huge hole that she left. Dylan had adopted me as his primary person and Jakki as his second person. He is a mellow dude and he really doesn’t understand the energy of the boys. We decided a month after Fran died that waiting a year (which we had after Gwen had died) didn’t work. We reached out to lab rescue to see if they had any dogs that might work for us. They didn’t have any dogs but they did have a force of nature. Raven is personality plus. For whatever reason her first owners abandoned her or lost her and she was on her own for a bit. She came to the house and within a day she and Dylan were a bonded Lab pair. She also selected the boys as her people right away. Like Dylan Raven found there were many quirks of the humans that had to be adjusted. The first is that when it is time for something Raven wants she howls at her boys. Raven is a sweet girl who loves everyone. Dylan is more affectionate now that Raven is a new sheriff in town. I still miss Fran and I miss Gwen, but Raven changes the dog dynamic in our house.

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This blog lab tested and lab approved…

Dylan’s all time favorite walks. (he is tired of me posting family pictures he says they are boring).


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Today’s topic was requested by Dylan. He believes that I spend too much time talking about vacation and other things that he doesn’t always get to participate in (he is still angry about not being invited to Hawaii). So he requested that I write a blog called Dylan’s favorite walks.

The first image here is of the C&O canal walk. There are a number of trails (we’ve been on two of them there are probably another 30 more). Dylan loves this walk because of three factors. First of all it is the walk and above all things Dylan loves the walk. He kind of marched into our lives and took charge of the walk. The second factor is that the we were away from home and took a car-car ride to get to the walk-walk-walk. Double pleasure in Dylan’s eyes. Finally and perhaps most important and why he choose this picture-lots of Have That’s. This is Dylan’s all time favorite walk – along the C&O canal.

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This walk Dylan selected is from the Cabin John park. It has a wonderful dog park, Dylan loves meeting other dogs. You have to take a car-car ride to get to the park so that works in Dylan’s eyes. He really likes the long car-car rides where you stop at the box that talks for food as well. This walk also had a nice trail near the river.

Dylan’s only concern was that it was a Have That free zone. He felt that lessened the overall quality of the walk by not being able to at least threaten to catch a Have That.

He did like the dog park.  The car-car ride was good. Plus there was a walk-walk-walk so that was his second favorite walk. Cabin John.

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Dylan loves the beach. It is a long car-car ride. A stop at the box that talks and getting food and a walk-walk-walk along the beach. This is Dylan and Nick in North Carolina. Dylan loves to get in the water. He loves the ocean surf. Here is Dylan with Nick, Nick restraining Dylan from having run of any kind.

This was the first vacation with Raven. At the time Dylan and Raven were still settling into a routine. Now they are best buddies and both love the walk. Dylan and I make a point to take the occasional walk just the two of us still.

The only problem with the beach was the utter lack of Have That’s. Dylan thinks any creature he could catch and eat is a have that. Rabbits, deer and the most hated of all squirrels are considered potential snacks. Raven agrees. This is the beach at Oak Island North Carolina and Dylan’s all time third favorite walk.

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Dylan’s walk coordinator