Wander project the dogs walk

When I walk alone, I get lost in my thoughts. When I walk with others, I get lost in conversation. I love both walks. I don’t walk alone as often as I used to back in the day. Unless it is really hot outside, I am normally walking with either a lab or two labs. R&D has taken over the walking process in our house, and made it their walk! I know that previously I never thought about what it meant to have someone that wanted to go walking with you. Certainly, there was a time, when the twins and our daughter were younger, that we walked bout the neighborhood on the weekends. The kids would grab their razor scooters and tear off, my wife and I would follow behind walking.

With the addition of Raven to our family, the twins and I made a deal. No dog if they didn’t agree to walk the dog every day. Now the two dogs own the walk!  Except when it is hot. Then Raven isn’t as happy. She still runs around inside, getting ready for the walk, but she wisely slows down when it is really hot. Sometimes when the temperature rises, we have to be slower to make sure we are ok. Humans, dogs, and other animals can easily overheat. Being prudent is a wise choice. I have, over the years, pushed myself too hard when it was really hot. I know it is important not to do so now. Raven learned that lesson very early and slowed down when it is super hot!

The last part of our walk is a choice. When we arrive at the clubhouse, we can turn left. That takes us back to our house, on the shady route. The second route is also shady, but it includes the hill that Raven hates. We normally make the call based on how hot it is, and how tired the dogs are. The shady path that doesn’t include the hill. It is flat and runs through the neighborhood. The other oath is also shady, once you get past the front of the neighborhood, but includes the hill. In the winter, Raven doesn’t care about the hill. In the summer she hates it! Dylan just wants to be on his walk but, since they are both getting older, we need to be careful of them overheating.


wander project deer for dinner?

The point of known return is an aeronautics term. It describes the moment of the commit. That line, or distance that once you get there, you can still safely turn around and return. After that point, it is equal-distant, and then you are closer to where you are going than you are to where you were. There are a couple of those points in our daily walk. We track them when it is cloudy and may rain.  We do have a second option, and that is the point of calling home. We’ve been out in a few torrential downpours over the years. Sometimes we have umbrellas and weather the storm. Sometimes we stand under a tree and wait for someone to drive over and pick us up.

(let’s invite the deer for dinner, Dad!)

Sometimes, we just get wet. Yesterday was such a day on the walk. The rain wasn’t enough to slow us down. It was comfortable outside with a high around 75, The Labs complain about it being too hot right around 80. The dogs are older now, Dylan has been walking with me for seven years, Raven has been walking for five years now. Dylan joined our family in our first Maryland house. Raven joined us after the old lady (Fran) passed away. I remember the first walk we took Raven on. Her previous life had been hard; she was a rescue. It took her a couple of months to adjust to walking every day. I suspect we’ve prolonged her life by 2-3 years by walking every day.

The pictures today are of the part of our walk that is just after the fire station as we crest the hill and take the short connection to the road that runs behind our house. This is the first point of known return. We know that it is equal-distant from the firehouse to the house, either way. Although if it is raining hard, we can cut through the back yard of the neighborhood and shave off a ½ mile. We’ve done that in a downpour a couple of times. Dylan’s favorite part of the walk comes after we turn the corner past the firehouse. Then, we walk towards the large Greenway behind our neighborhood. There is one in front of our neighborhood and one behind our neighborhood. We’ve seen deer run across the road there many times.

Dylan would like to invite a deer to the house for dinner.


wander project the actual daily wander…

Dylan and Raven were jealous of the wonderful walks posted on Virily. They asked me to take pictures and share them, showing off their short walk. They, Dylan and Raven are getting older, so we can’t take the long walks we used to take. Dylan is 8 and Raven Is nearly 7. We shorten the summer walks because of the heat. They, the Labs, do well with winter, spring, and fall walk. When their bodies can adjust and cool off. When it gets hotter, it is much harder on their bodies. We have to be aware of heat stroke. We carry water with us, and we stop more often in shady areas. Where in the winter we walk 4.o miles a day give or take a little, in the summer that walk drops.

We end up between 1.5 and 2.6 miles a day. We have to take the long game approach so that the older dogs don’t get sick. Plus, per our vet, they are both a couple of pounds heavier than they should be, and that impacts dogs on walks. Anyway, welcome to the daily walk! We start out going down what Raven calls the death hill. She HATES walking up the hill. It is funny, the hill we go down is the same height as the hill we have to go up to start the walk. We leave our house, head to the street that goes down the big hill and go down the big hill. We then go up the hill, but the difference between the first part of the hill and the second part is the second more gradual.

Where the first hill is less than a ¼ mile and about a 180-foot change, the second hill is a ½ mile and around 200 feet up.  Raven hates the hill the second time around. When we leave our neighborhood and head up the first uphill, towards the firehouse, we are on the business street part of the walk. The road we walk next to is the main road of Germantown, Maryland. By the time we get to the firehouse, we normally see 10-20 cars. At the first station, we are near to the top of the hill, we turn left on another road. The second road goes towards the Potomac River or heads towards Gaithersburg.  The apartments in the last two pictures are right before we reach the fire station!

More of the R&D walk tomorrow!


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!


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!


official human of “Dylan’s Walk”

Wander project Christmas 2013


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.


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.


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.


Family Historian

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

joe cool

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.

carousel 115

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.

carousel 120

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.


Family Historian, official documenter of the Labrador Experience…