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 Wander to warm!!!!

I have been sharing lots of pictures of vacation Dylan and Vacation Raven. Yesterday evening as we were completing our daily walk, one of the twins reminded me of the Virginia Beach vacation. That was where Dylan decided he liked Potato Latka’s, a lot. We left a bowl of dog food out in our hotel room, for the three days we were on Virginia Beach, he didn’t eat dog food. Vacation Dylan doesn’t eat dog food. Vacation Raven does, but vacation Dylan takes the full opportunity not to be home, Dylan. Dogs on the furniture, dogs as family members are arguments I have with people from time to time. I have always believed that dogs or cats are members of the family.

If they get on the furniture, oh well.

My favorite pictures in this collection come from early in our second visit to Oak Island North Carolina. We had enjoyed going the year before with my family, so we went a second time. The pictures, in the beginning, today are off early in the week. I think either the first or second day. It has to be the second day because I took the filter off the camera after the first day.  Ruined a really good sunset with the filter, I had on. Anyway, the kids spent the first part of the week convincing Raven that moving water was ok. I suspect she ran afoul of moving water in the time before she joined our family. She didn’t like moving water when she first joined our family.

In the first couple of days, one of the twins would carry her into the water. She looked upset but not terrified. Raven had joined our family four months before and had picked the Twins as her original people. Little did we know that Raven had a long game that involved converting my wife into her person as well. The long game worked, my wife is now as devoted to Raven as the Twins are. She, in their eyes, can do no wrong! Anyway the first couple of days the twins would walk out into the water carrying her. By the end of the week, she would get in the water. Now she gets in without worrying; I guess the good memories of a forever home wipe out the bad memories that came with her to the home. Raven, like Dylan, is named for a poet. She is named for the object of Poe’s poem The Raven. Her full name is Raven Poe Andersen. When she does something, she is not supposed to do we add a second middle name (Raven Poe Marie Andersen) for effect. Dylan’s name is Dylan Thomas Andersen for the poet!


dog lover

Wander project pictures of Dylan!

First of all, dogs in our house always end up getting nicknames. Dylan, the yellow lab that lives with us, has a number. When we lived in Ohio, Gwen used to go with me for long walks. She was my walking buddy. I couldn’t take her in Indiana (there were far too many other dogs, and Gwen wasn’t good about that). Dylan joined our family two years after Gwen passed.  Dylan, or the Mighty-D, TRex, Bear as he is also called, hates technology. Most of all he hates cameras. Raven, our black lab, loves having her picture taken. She will pose for the camera. Dylan sees a camera, and he is looking for a hole to hide in. Or, if he thinks he can, he will swat at the technology with his paw. He does not like cameras, Sam I am.

Not in a box or if you must ask with a fox. He does not like them not at all.

The pictures taken of him and shared today were taken, however near something that Dylan loves, water! There are a couple of parks near our house that have streams. There is one (Seneca) that has a lake. In both cases, Dylan is in the water, happy as a well Lab in water. In particular, he loves hopping in and out of the ocean for some reason that is his all-time favorite. He was even willing to let my daughter take his picture!

Before Dylan joined our family I would walk (often very long walks) 4 or 5 times a week. Since Dylan has joined our family, I walk every day. Mostly because if we don’t walk TRex comes out. TRex is Dylan’s alter ego. His, things are not going my way, so I am going to force the issue. Normally during the process between the twins being told to feed the dogs, and them feeding them. That is when TRex appears. Before that, Dylan is usually Mr. Sweet or Bear. Bear in that case short for Pooh Bear. He will snuggle up to me, and try to convince me to yell at the twins to start his dinner or that it is time to go on the walk. If I am working at home, Dylan is down in my office at 4 pm telling it is time to go (it isn’t, but he starts the process of motivating me early!)

He is a good dog!


Dylan says his daddy isn’t allowed to share more pictures….