Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sepia Stress Reliever

My days off are usually Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I work four 10-hour days, and having that extra day off is nice. I try to get all my honey-do stuff done by Friday and spend Saturday relaxing with friends and family. But then there are days like today when I wake up and realize that I have to work tomorrow -- and I've got several days' worth of errands to run beforehand. Add to that all the things I need to do to prep for next weekend's dog shows and . . . . ARGH! . . . . this morning's coffee is served with an extra shot of anxiety. (I know what you're thinking: "Hey Kelley, maybe you should switch to decaf." Yeah, not going to happen.) But before I totally freak out, I'm going to spend a few minutes with the world's best stress reliever:

Yep, this gorgeous (and extremely goofy) boy calms me down and cheers me up better than any pharmaceutical you can find. We should all take a few lessons from the dogs in our life. For example:

Thanks Life's Better With Freckles for the inspiring thoughts

Or this one:

Jedi is an expert at peeing on stuff. TMI?

So after I upload this post I'm going to spend some time playing silly games with Jedi before heading off to the bank, grocery store, dry cleaner, groomer, pet store, gas station and the American Legion. Sheesh, I'm tired already.

It's Sepia Saturday, where it's OK to freak out (lucky for me!) as long as it's done with a brownish tint. Thanks Ruckus, Ethel and Earl for hosting this hop. Now friends, click on the links below and see who else is sharing today. -- K

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Alpharetta Bound

Well, we're going to try it again. Last week I sent in the entry form for two more conformation shows. This time we're going to Alpharetta, Georgia (just outside Atlanta). The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Georgia is hosting two Specially Shows in June. Just like German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida shows last month, both shows are going to be held on one day, one AM and one PM. It's all German shepherds, all day! Cross your fingers we do well. Also, they're offering the temperament test that Jedi and I missed out on last year.
Dear Judge, Pick this one!
This will definitely be the farthest that we have ever traveled for a dog show. I'm a bit nervous. Jedi is not a fan of car rides (seriously, what's up with that?) and I'm worried that my old Expedition won't make it there and back. It's been kind of squirrely lately, and I haven't had the time (or money) to get it looked at. I had thought I was going with a friend but those plans fell through. So tomorrow -- in between errands, chores and various social obligations -- I need to check out hotels and rental cars and see if I can find Hubby's travelling mechanic friend. UGH. There are just not enough hours in the day.

So, wish us luck. I promise to keep you updated. And if any of you happen to be near the Wills Park Equestrian Center in Alpharetta on June 6th, come by and say hi. I'd love to see a friendly face. See you at the dog show! -- K

Hey, it's Thoughtless Thursday! (And yet Kelley can't stop thinking --typical.) Hop around below and see what others are thinking -- or not thinking -- about today.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jedi's Private Joke

It seems that Jedi finds something amusing. Unfortunately, we have no idea what it is because he's not sharing. What do you think has tickled his fancy?
It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Memorial Day Wish

I know this is Kelley's Dog Blog, and I always share fun dog-related stuff. But truth is, I have other aspects of my life too, and I feel the need to share. Please bear with me.

Today is Memorial Day. I'm not going to wish you a "Happy" Memorial Day, because today isn't suppose to be happy. Today is a solemn day, where we remember the service men and women who have died to protect the rights of all the BBQ grillmasters and drunk beachgoers that are enjoying their day off. I'm working today, but before I head out I wanted to share a story: 

Me and my M-14 on patrol in Italy, 1988
In late 1988 I was in the US Navy. I was on the fast track in the male-dominated field of weapons technology. In December of that year my naval career was derailed by a surprise pregnancy. At the same time my new husband (also a sailor) was offered his dream job as Turret Two Center Gun Gun Captain of the USS Iowa. The Navy was not friendly to dual-military families in the 80s so we had a hard decision to make: one of us had to quit to raise that baby.

In January of 1989 I returned to civilian life and started packing up our household to make the move from Mayport, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia. At the last minute my husband received a call from a Senior Chief Reginald Ziegler. The senior chief wanted Hubby to attend a school in San Diego, California for three months before reporting to the Iowa. This required us to put all our stuff in storage and drive across country (and back) in a Camaro as my belly got larger and larger. Hubby was to join the ship in June, a week before it left port for a 6-month Mediterranean cruise. This new plan left me to find a place to live and unpack, alone and 8 months pregnant. Yeah, I grumbled. In fact, I bitched at all the way to California.

The USS Iowa in all her glory
But then tragedy struck. On April 19, 1989, there was explosion on the USS Iowa inside the center gun of turret two. 47 people died, including Senior Chief Ziegler and the Turret Two Center Gun Gun Captain. Had it not been for that last minute change I would have been a 20 year old unemployed, pregnant widow.

The story doesn't end there! When the Iowa pulled back into Norfolk in December of 1989 families of the 47 victims visited the ship and laid a wreath upon the turret. Iowa sailors then gave tours to various family members. Can you guess who Hubby was assigned to escort? Mrs. Ziegler. (I'm not making this up!) She shared that she had MS and was having a hard time with her husband's death. Hubby shared the story of how her husband's arbitrary decision saved his life, and then showed her a picture of our newborn son. They both cried.

I have a large, framed copy of this on my office
wall. The Captain gave it to my husband when
the ship was decommissioned.
Several weeks later, Hubby was assigned to discreetly remove and dispose of the wreath. He did, but not before pocketing one of the iridescent plastic stars. It's chipped and it's ugly, yet I hang it on my Christmas tree every year in memory of the Iowa 47.

And on this day every year I say a prayer for the families, with an extra one for Mrs. Ziegler. The accident was pre-internet. I have no idea where she is or what became of her. If I did, I would tell her how sorry I am for her loss and how grateful I am for her husband. I would tell her that Hubby and I have been happily married for over 26 years and have two wonderful children. Her husband saved me from the unimaginable grief she had to go through. I feel so blessed, and at the same time I feel so guilty. I hope that Mrs. Ziegler eventually found peace and happiness.

I rarely tell this story because I can't share it without sobbing uncontrollably. Fortunately, I can cry and type at the same time. Thank you for reading this to the end. If you were touched please do a couple things for me:
    1. Say a prayer for the families of the Iowa 47. I know it's been over a quarter century since the accident, but I doubt that the pain of their losses will ever completely go away.
    2. Share this post. I would love nothing more than for it to reach the Ziegler family, wherever they are. I don't wish contact, but I would like them to know how indebted my family is to their husband/father/son/brother. He will always hold a special place in our hearts. I hope that brings them a small amount comfort.
OK, enough tears. Go back to your BBQ! Fun doggie stuff returns tomorrow. Promise. -- K
P.S. This was originally published on the 25th Anniversary of the Iowa explosion and was titled: 25 Years, 47 Dead, and 1 Personal Miracle. Kinda morbid, hunh?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Oh No, Jedi's Coughing!

Last Sunday night we noticed that Jedi was coughing. And since we had been at a dog show 10 days previously, I was little concerned. As I mentioned last month, there are a lot of potential cooties circling around a dog show. I spent all night Monday trying to analyze Jedi's cough. It wasn't a honking cough like kennel cough. And it wasn't a wet cough like pneumonia. It almost sounded like he had a tickle in his throat. I debated taking him to the vet. It was obviously irritating him and I was afraid I might be wrong -- what if was something serious? Even more pressing, we're headed to Atlanta in a couple of weeks for another dog show, and he needs to be healthy for that.

So I took Jedi to the vet on Tuesday, hoping I was overreacting. Dr. Hanson (my super-awesome GSD loving vet) asked a few questions about Jedi's appetite and demeanor. Neither had changed; he's still a bouncing chow-hound. The vet listened to Jedi's lungs and heart. Both sounded strong and healthy. His temperature was good and his throat was clear. And the vet said that Jedi was a perfect weight. (He's a lean 85 pounds, though everybody thinks he's bigger.) I think the word "gorgeous" was thrown in there a couple of times, but I may be a bit biased. So what's wrong with Jedi? The vet's best guess is post nasal drip. The pollen count is through the roof right now and apparently it's affecting dogs as well as people. We left with some allergy meds (think doggie Claritin).
Jedi also got a Bordetella booster. Since Jedi is on the show circuit and exposed to a multitude of unfamiliar dogs, we want to be extra cautious. The vet also warned about Canine Influenza. He said that it's dangerous and spreading. Dr. Hanson hasn't heard of any cases in our area yet, but he has heard that it's in Atlanta. Yikes. Dr. Hanson said not to panic, but I should watch Jedi for:
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Nasal discharge, especially if it's thick, yellowish-green mucus
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

And things I can do to keep him safe include:
  • Wash my hands frequently
  • Avoid touching other dogs
  • Keep Jedi away from other dogs as much as possible
  • Keep his crate covered and wash the sheet when we get home
  • Don't allow Jedi to use public water bowls
  • Keep Jedi from licking/sniffing the ground and things that aren't his

Two days after our vet visit, this report from CNN was posted to my Facebook wall. And it even mentioned canine influenza in Atlanta. I'm a bit concerned, but I'm also glad that Dr. Hanson knows his stuff! We're not cancelling our plans to head to Atlanta, but we are going to be cautious. Wish us luck. -- K

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jedi Goes to St. Augustine

Pepper and Jedi taking a break
It was a difficult week. Jedi and I needed some down time, so when my dear friend D said "Let's take the dogs to St. Augustine" I just had to say yes! I packed some water and a travel bowl in to Jedi's backpack and met D and her old girl, Pepper, at their place. We took the scenic route, driving along the coastline. The view was breathtaking! 30 minutes later we ended up in St. Augustine's historical district. The weather was warm and clear, with low humidity and a nice breeze. We couldn't have planned for a nicer day.

Unfortunately, there aren't many dog-friendly shops along St. George Street, so much of the day was spent window shopping and strolling the cobble stone roads. (I'm not complaining!) One notable exception is Faux Paws near the City Gate. This store has recently changed owners and the new place is fun and dog friendly. Stop in and say hi! And if you take your dog to the historic district, go hungry. Unlike the shops, many of the restaurants welcome dogs. In fact, Faux Paws gave us a 10% discount to Pizzalley's Chianti Room. How cool is that?

Across from the historic district is Castillo de San Marcos -- the country's oldest masonry fort and one of my favorite places to go when travelling dog-free. In front of the fort is a large, grassy park. D brought a sheet and we just laid under a tree in the park and daydreamed with the pups before heading home. What a great way to decompress. Who wants to go with us next time? -- K

Jedi with the Castillo de San Marcos in the background

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dogs Bite

The third week of May has been designated National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society of the United States and even the US Postal Service have all jumped on the bandwagon. I'm sure you've seen dog bite prevention stuff all over Facebook and Google+ this past week. I've seen some great blog posts lately too, so be sure to check them out.

This one always makes me giggle.
Ironically, my week started with a dangerous dog hearing. I'm not going to share the details -- just know that it was ugly and exhausting. No matter how the Magistrate rules (we don't get an immediate decision) nobody's going to be happy. All the court room bullying was just to see who could hurt who more. It was a disgusting display. If I believed in voodoo I would be jamming pins into two lawyer-shaped dolls about now. . . Did I mention the hearing was ugly?

My week ended with two Dog Bite Prevention presentations to 50 elementary school kids. FYI, Be A Tree from Doggone Safe is a nice, age appropriate program to use. I spoke to the afterschool groups at two local community centers. Regardless of the center, the kids were loud and unfocused (and I suspect, sugar-laden). I came home with a major headache. It reinforced the fact that I would rather deal with other people's dogs then with other people's children. True story: One year I was an educational assistant at a middle school in a poor Washington D.C. suburb. I worked with children who had learning and behavioral issues. It was the worst year of my life! Children are not my calling -- I would much rather work with angry pit bulls.

It was a long, draining week for me, hence no blogging. Sorry. I'll try to make it up to you next week. Until then, get outside with your dog and stay safe! -- K

P.S. Below is the official Dog Bite infographic for this year. Don't be a statistic!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dear ACO

I read Dear Abby every morning. My husband swears that the letters are made up because "surely people can't be that stupid." I, on the other hand, believe the letters are real because I deal with equally stupid people every day. But unlike Abby, I must give politically correct answers and advice, when I'd really like to say "Are you serious?!" Below are real calls that I received last month written in Dear Abby style, along with the kind of answers I'd like to give. Enjoy!
DEAR ACO: There is a wild bird inside my house. I know I don't live in your city, but you're the only Animal Control Agency open on Sunday. Will you come get it? -- BIRD BRAIN
DEAR B. BRAIN: No, I'm not driving outside my jurisdiction to remove a bird. However, I think you can do this yourself, so I'll walk you through it.
  1. Open your front door.
  2. Use a broom to shoo the bird toward the door.
  3. When the bird flies out, close the door. 

DEAR ACO: My dog has become listless and isn't eating. She's throwing up and has diarrhea. I think it might be the flu, but my boyfriend thinks it might be Parvo. Veterinarians are too expensive, so we're asking you instead. What do you think? -- SICK PUPPY

DEAR SICK: I think you should take your dog to the vet!
DEAR ACO: There are ducks playing in a puddle in Dollar Store's parking lot. I don't think it's safe for the ducks to be there because they might get hit by a car. I've left three messages on your voicemail in the past 30 minutes and nobody has come out yet to help these ducks! -- DOLLAR STORE MANAGER
DEAR MANAGER: Put your leadership skills to use. Send one of your employees outside to scare the ducks off. A loud "GO!" coupled with arm waving works well. 


DEAR ACO: I hear scratching noises in my attic. I think there might be a squirrel up there. Or maybe a rat. Or even a raccoon. What do you think it is? Will you crawl in my attic and check for me? What if it has babies? What if it chews on electrical wires? -- DUMBFOUNDED DOWNSTAIRS

DEAR DUMB: I am Animal Control, not Pest Control. I think your concerns are valid. I suggest you call an exterminator. Soon!


DEAR ACO: My neighbor's dog barks its head off during the day when he's at work. I don't think my neighbor knows because the dog quiets down once my neighbor comes home. I'm a stay-at-home mom and can't take the noise anymore. What should I do? -- QUIET GIRL
DEAR QUIET: Speak up and talk to your neighbor. He can't fix the problem if he doesn't know it exists. 


DEAR ACO: Raccoons keep eating the food I put out for my cats. I'm spending way too much money on cat food every month. The raccoons are getting fat but my cats are going hungry. Even worse, the raccoons have torn up my screened-in porch to get at the food and are pooping on my deck. What should I do? -- HIGH RANKING CITY OFFICIAL

DEAR BOSS: Stop feeding your cats outside.

Yes, those were real calls, though I changed the names to protect the innocent me. I can say one thing: this job is seldom boring!

It's Thoughtless Thursday! Click around and see what others are thinking -- or not thinking -- about today. -- K


Wednesday, May 13, 2015


My friend and I recently took a trip to Georgia to enter our dogs in a few shows. I took Jedi and she took his half sister, 5-month old Sweetie. Aren't they gorgeous?

BTW, it's not easy taking a picture with my phone while holding two excited dogs. This was shot number 32. Thank goodness for digital cameras! I would have wasted an entire roll of film. Does anyone remember film cameras or am I dating myself again?

It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Perry, Very Nice

RK and I went to Perry, Georgia last week for a cluster of dog shows. The venue was incredible! The dog shows were held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds Agricenter. There were eight rings for conformation in one building, obedience and rally trials in a second building, and grooming in a third. All the buildings were within steps of each other. Even better, they were all clean, air conditioned and had proper toilets. I can't stress how wonderful flushing toilets are! Our hotel was only 2 miles away, next to a Walmart and several places to eat. There was ample free parking at the fairgrounds, and we were able to come and go multiple times throughout the day which made it easier on the dogs (and us).
Jedi and I were in the ring at 8:30 AM both days. On Thursday I was really nervous -- and it showed. We got 4th place, coming home with a yellow ribbon. The following day we did much better. RK said it was our best performance yet! Jedi free stacked nicely and we gaited well. The judge really looked at Jedi too. There were some nice dogs in the ring with us, all professionally handled. I'm proud of our 3rd place ribbon.
Perry offered special classes for 4-6 month old puppies. RK took Jedi's half-sister, Sweetie, into the ring at 12:30 each day. On day one Sweetie did really well and took third in the herding group. The judge had some very nice things to say about Sweetie's conformation and RK floated out of the ring afterwards. The second day didn't go as well. It was obvious that Sweetie was overwhelmed. We did our best to keep the experience positive and were glad that we didn't sign up for the entire four days.
A big money maker for the clubs hosting a dog show is always a good raffle. Long time readers know how I feel about raffles -- love them! I bought $20 in tickets and walked away with two prizes. One was a nice basket filled with toys and treats. The other was a rolling cooler filled with water and snacks. I was thrilled to get the cooler as we learned that the soft sided cooler I won the at the K-9 raffle leaks through the zipper. Of course, I didn't realize this until I bent over and ice water ran down my back!
Two of my favorites things about traveling with RK is her sense of adventure and her uncanny knack for finding excellent out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall places. If you ever go to Perry I strongly suggest you check out Rotary Centennial Park. From the street it doesn't look like much, but there is a concrete path that winds into the woods making for a nice dog-friendly stroll. RK also found us a great place to eat. The Grillmaster of Perry has melt-in-your-mouth barbecued ribs for a decent price. It's a nice little mom and pop place that gladly welcomes dogs at the picnic tables out front. They'll even provide you with a bowl of water.
Perry was a great experience and we can't wait to do it again next year! Want to join us? -- K

Monday, May 11, 2015

Barn Hunt

Jedi is young and active, and if he gets bored we all suffer. Because of that I'm always looking for constructive things that we can do together. I stumbled upon a new dog sport called Barn Hunt. Have you heard of it? This is a hunting sport where dogs search for rats among bales of hay. Dogs are expected to climb and tunnel as well as search. Handlers must be able to read and guide their dogs without touching them. The competition is timed and the difficulty level goes up with each title. (Don't worry, no rats are harmed in this competition. In fact, there are Rat Wranglers in place to make sure rats don't get injured or stressed. Rats are rotated regularly, much like sheep in herding trials.)

The sport was originally designed for small terriers (i.e. Jack Russells) but any dog may compete as long as it can fit through an 18 inch by 22 inch tunnel. Note: The tunnel size does not change regardless of the size of the dog.

Jedi and I took a Barn Hunt seminar a couple weeks back and loved it. I wanted to get a few pictures to share, but honestly I was having too much fun to really think about it. I'm not surprised that Jedi did well at this, especially with how much he enjoyed herding and nose work.

The day went like this:

We started by introducing the dogs to rats. Here Jedi's mother, Zasha, was trying to figure what that thing in the cage is.

Next, the rats were hidden in dog-proof tubes. The dogs had to figure out which tube had the rat. (Only one tube has a rat. One of the other tubes was completely empty, and the third one contained used rat litter, but no rat.) Jedi found the rat right away!

Later, the rat tubes were hidden in bales of hay. Jedi found the right one! 

In addition to finding rats, dogs have to climb up with all four feet touching the same hay bale. This is not so easy when you're as long as Jedi.

The last challenge was the most difficult for Jedi. All dogs must go through the hay tunnel. It was dark and prickly, and Jedi had to squat to get through.

So is this something we would consider doing? You bet! If this is something you might be interested in, check out the official web site here. See you at the show! -- K 

It's Monday Mischief! See what kind of trouble others are getting into (or avoiding!) today.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Slow Down in Sepia

OMG, it's been a busy couple of months. I survived the Blogging A to Z Challenge in April. Writing 26 posts on dog shows (in alphabetical order!) actually helped me refocus my efforts in the ring. It also wore me out. No time to rest on my laurels though, because we've been slammed. Last week K-9 Obedience Club had an awesome seminar on Barn Hunt competitions (come back next week for details and pictures!); Jedi I just got back from two days of showing in Georgia (update soon); and I've been asked to take over the presidency of the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida. I'm honored. And a bit petrified.

Things have been busy at work too. The warmer weather has tripled the number of people on my beach -- and too many of them disregard the leash laws. Springtime also brings barking complaints, additional dog bite reports, kitten season and wildlife issues. Oh, and fleas! Anybody else having problems with fleas?

So while I'm running around like crazy, Jedi is trying to tell me to slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy the weather before the humidity kicks in. Thanks Jedi!

I'm going to follow Jedi's lead and take some time to relax. That spot under the tree looks peaceful. I think I'll join him.
It's Sepia Saturday! Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Until next time. -- K

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Perry, Nice to Meet You

It's Thoughtless Thursday and the only thought going through my head is "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God." Right now I'm in Perry, Georgia. Jedi and I have joined my friend RK and Jedi's half-sister, Sweetie Pie, for a pair of dog shows. These shows have a bunch of firsts for all of us.
This is the first time Sweetie Pie is going in the ring. The shows for today and tomorrow both offer 4-6 month old classes. Good luck Sweetie!
This is the first time we've left Florida to attend a dog show. Perry is about 4 hours from Jacksonville. Let's hope things go well for all of us.

This is the first time we've done an Onofrio show. There are two major dog show superintendents in the country: MB-F (Infodog) and Jack Onofrio. I'm interested to see if anything is different and excited about getting on the Onofrio mailing lists.

I'm posting from my phone! I've sketched out posts on my phone. I've even gone back and fixed typos from my phone. But I've never posted to a hop from my (not so) smartphone before. I hope you get this! I'll be back this weekend with pictures and show results. Until then, wish us luck! -- K

P.S. This is a hop. Check out the links below for more fun and interesting stuff.

P.P.S. It didn't work, so I'm not attaching to the hop until Saturday. Sorry guys. I'll have an update for you later.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Drogo de Mayo

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. Drogo wanted to say "Hola Amigos." See Drogo's entire Fashion Dragon collection here.

It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A to Z Reflections

Today is Reflection Day. A to Z Challenge participants from around the world are getting together to share what worked, what didn't and what they would like to do better next time.

This was my first challenge, and it turned out to be more challenging than I had expected. Here are my thoughts:

  • I discovered some incredible blogs. I purposely sought out blogs outside of my regular genre (animals) though I did find some very nice animal blogs I had never seen before. (A big shout out to QQ over at Clear Skies Pup!)
  • Blogging 26 times on one topic really helped me refocus the original purpose of my blog.
  • I loved it when people left me a link to their blog in the comments section. I made it a point to visit everybody who did that. Thank you so much for stopping by and making it easy for me to reciprocate.
  • I loved the themed posts. I found myself going back to those blogs, excited to see what they came up with next.

  • My work and personal life got really hectic last month so I didn't have the time to read as many blogs as I would have liked.
  • I discovered that some blog posts were just too hard to get to. There was so much clutter on the page that my cell phone couldn't handle it and my desktop took too long to load. Because of that, those blogs didn't get read.
  • Some blogs were absolutely wonderful but I couldn't find a place to leave a comment. Others had annoying hoops I had to jump through to leave a comment. My old lady eyes have a difficult time with Capcha so I rarely leave comments on those blogs. Sorry.
  • There were literally thousands of choices. If I couldn't figure out what a blog was I didn't always go there. Something vague like "My Random Thoughts" was likely to get passed over if time was tight. However, clear and clever titles always caught my attention.
  • There are many different blog hosting sites in use. I noticed that sometimes I couldn't answer comments left for me. Other times I couldn't find the blog of a person leaving a comment. I use Blogger, and apparently it's not always friends with other formats. I apologize to anyone who stopped by and may have felt slighted. I didn't mean it! I'm grateful for everybody who came by to say hi.

  • Pick a theme. Yes, it's harder to write but it is much more enjoyable for the reader. There's also an incredible sense of accomplishment afterwards! By the way, my favorite theme this year was from Like, Totally Retro. Every day there was a music video from 1985. It was short, it was fun, and it took me back to my junior year of high school. (Hey! Quit doing the math!)
  • When signing up, use the category codes. As I said earlier, I tried to go outside my regular genre. I checked out all the crafts (CR), cooking (CU) and travel (TR) blogs I could find! (And for those of you who missed it, stop by My Virtual Vineyard and check out the A to Z of mouth-watering recipes.)
  • Also, when signing up give a hint to potential readers. My link said: Life's a Bitch -- The A to Z of Dog Shows. I thought that was a lot more interesting than Kelley Dog Blog. (And I got about 100 more views than normal, so I guess it worked.)
  • Use a signature when commenting. That way people can come back and visit you as well. I wanted to visit everybody who came by to say hi. My biggest regret is that I didn't learn how to write an HTML signature until S Day.
  • Keep it short. There were some great blogs out there that I wanted to read but they were just too long. Anything that took more than 3 or 4 minutes to get through was too much. (Don't worry, those have been bookmarked for later.) One of my favorite blogs this challenge was Warped Nerdversity. Each day an unusual word was posted. It was short, it was silly and I check it everyday.
  • Be interactive and make it easy to comment. I love it when people leave prompts like "What is your favorite [blank]?" Or "What do you think about [blank]?" Or "Have you ever [blank]?" Seriously, when I'm reading 10-15 blogs at a time my brain starts to go fuzzy. I want to leave comments but sometimes I could use a little help. Thank you everyone who made it easy!
All in all, this was a great experience and I'm sure I will return next year. I will definitely take what I've learned and put it to good use. Finally, I'd like to say a big thank you to all the friends (old and new) of Kelley's Dog Blog for helping me make it through last month. See you at the dog show! -- K

P.S. Monday is Star Wars Day and Jedi has a special message for you:


Friday, May 1, 2015

Castaway Island Preserve

I got my pants wet and dirty for this pic -- I'm
serious about the "boggy" thing!
As I discovered for National Take a Walk in the Park Day, Jacksonville has over 250 parks -- yet Jedi and I use the same six all the time. I thought maybe we should start exploring some of the others.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous on my birthday so we ventured out to Castaway Island Preserve. This nice little park butts up against the salt marsh. It's tucked away between two subdivisions on a busy road. You really have to look for the signs or you'll miss it.
There's plenty of parking and public toilets. There are benches and barbecue grills scattered around the parking lot. All the walkways are concrete or raised boardwalk. There is no shade on the walkways, so wear sunscreen. It's an easy stroll with informational signs along the way. If you go, stay on the path because the ground is very boggy.
There is no entry fee into the park. Dogs are permitted on leash only. There is one poop bag station and only a few trash cans. If you can't get your dog to potty on command, expect to carry around a full poop bag for a while.

Jedi and I had a nice, leisurely walk and took a few nice pictures too. Now I'm excited to try out another park! How about you? Have you discovered a new park lately? Let us know! -- K
My favorite travelling companion! He even carries his own water and poop bags.