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 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!

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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!

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

Wander project dogs, places and greetings…


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There was a recent movie, A Dog’s Life, that I didn’t go see in the theaters. Not that I didn’t want to see the movie, but just watching the commercials made me cry and I couldn’t go to a theater and cry for two hours. Those are the movies I need to watch at home so I can watch or read something really funny right after finishing the movie. I learned that after reading the book “Marley and me” while traveling. Also, with the journey’s we’ve taken as a family with the dogs around us. I remember every single dog I have ever been around. From Mac the collie, Anna Banana the Dachshund to Frosty and Duo the Great Pyrenees or Phoebe the Newfoundland. Every dog that lived with us changed the course of our journey. Phoebe was a second mother, always watching us and waiting to be with the family. MacGregor was a beautiful collie. He loved us but he was dad’s dog. He lived literally to see and be around dad.

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The journey we take and the ones that dogs take with us really is pretty incredible. First of all, there are those who love more than anything to hang out with cats as well. They see cats the same way that I see dogs. Which is wonderful. They are companions on the road of life! Anyway today’s journey is about the changes dogs make to your family. They, the dogs, have changed as have cats. From their natural and traditional habitats and lifestyle to living with humans. They are the prowlers at night that wander your house and make sure everything is safe. You don’t often hear about guard cats, but guard dogs are not mythical. They are real additions to your home or business. Wandering around at night making sure that everything is where it is and that is where it should be. Sometimes the best part of having a dog or cat living with you, is the greeting when you get home!

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Now, when they get to come with us, in their eyes, that is much better. You see then they can make sure we don’t get into trouble or cause mischief. Raven is always nervous when her boys are out and she isn’t supervising them. Much as Fran used to want to be supervising Jakki, all the time. Dylan has given up trying to train me, other than making sure I don’t yell at the TV while watching sports. Then he nips my feet to remind me to be quiet. We have had dogs living with us now in every house we have ever had. Duo lived with us in our rental house in Bloomington before we moved to Cincinnati. Blackie joined us in Fairfield Ohio and lived with us until we moved to Western Hills. Gwen joined us in Western Hills, Mt. Airy and Greenwood. Fran lived with us in Greenwood and Maryland. Dylan joined us while in Maryland living in Gaithersburg and moved with us to Germantown. Raven joined us in Germantown, three years ago now. Dogs are wonderful additions to our life!.

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dog lover

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…