Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

A Very Portland Christmas December 29, 2006

Filed under: Dog Training,Uncategorized — knitwhits @ 8:46 pm

Freia got bit yet again. I can’t even believe I’m writing this. This time it was her trainer’s dog. I think she must have “bite me” tattooed on her forehead or something. She had two tooth scratches and a small puncture on her nose. Fortunately she has healed quickly, the trainer was mortified and has offered to comp her next Rally class. I’m going to take her up on her offer, but keep Freia well away from Slick.


On Thursday I began my drive to Portland. When Heather first moved there, I had always thought that Portland was really just the other side of the CA/OR state line, or in the center of the state at the furthest. So, when Heath invited me to come for a visit, it didn’t seem like such a drive. That is, until I looked at a map two weeks ago.. wow.. it borders WA state. That’s a drive. Lately for work I’ve had to drive to LA and San Diego multiple times a year, and years ago I bought a Volkswagen in Germany and drove it all around Europe for months on end, so long drives are not a big deal, but this was just a little unexpected.

i5 treesSince I now have the hound, and would be bringing her with me, I decided to split the drive, stopping in Grant’s Pass on the way up. For the drive I bought David Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty Someday”, “My Life” by Bill Clinton and “Tourist Season” by Carl Hiiasen. Over 24 hours of books on tape. Since I’ve got to drive to San Diego in another two weeks, it seemed reasonable. Stayed the night at the La Quinta hotel in Grant’s Pass, and it was great. I’m not one to normally have anything to say about any hotel, but it was reasonably priced, clean, quiet, free wireless internet, and they allow pets, oh, and killer make-your-own waffles in the morning with drinkable coffee. I liked this hotel.

Heather had told me that certain spots on the drive were stunning, but sadly neither the weather nor the timing permitted me much of a view. It was either raining, foggy or night time for most of my drive. I didn’t even see Mt. Shasta, which I know now to be right next to the freeway, all 10,000 plus feet of it.. I would have never known. They did have some very impressive trees in one of the rest stops. Freia was loving the soft pine needles that covered the forest floor.

Stopped in Eugene to give Freia a break on the 2nd part of the drive the following day. This way she could have a good run around off-leash and be nice and tired before we got to Portland. Heather has wonderful dogs that are not so good with other dogs, so dog parks did not look to be in the cards while I was to be there. We stopped at Alton Baker Park which seemed to be a fairly decent size and easy to get to from the freeway. The people and dogs there all seemed friendly enough and we stayed there for just under an hour. Nothing super special, but I guess good enough for a city dog.

Christmas in PortlandFound Heather’s house easily enough. We re-introduced the dogs to each other and took them all out for a walk. Freia is super-submissive to Darla, Heather’s dominant dog, which is good, but sometimes she drives Darla (and hence the rest of us) a little crazy with her puppy crazy smoochiness over her – this not only lasted the first introductory fifteen minutes, but the full 3 1/2 days I was there…Heather’s house sits just off Alberta Street, which is a has lots of cute, creative and interesting stores on it. Very funky, artsy and cool. I stopped in at CloseKnit, a nearby store that recently started carrying my kits. Cute store!

Heather did, as always, a fantastic job of showing me around town, with drives, dog walks, restaurant eating and window shopping. We took the dogs out for a long walk one day checking out the cool looking houses for sale, and comparing prices with the Bay Area. There were some that were interesting, but not really my style, a lot of small-ish craftsman homes, and I imagine they were probably stunning on the inside. Portland is a nice town, but there was nothing that gave me a burning desire to move there.

To add to it, in the early morning hours of my first night there, some cops, guns drawn, arrested what looked to be some real hoodlums right outside her house. It was a full on scene from the Cops tv show, yet somehow, weirdly enough, it all ended very amiably, with the cops and two of the kids talking and smoking cigarettes together while another cop made the 3rd kid crush his crack on the sidewalk with his foot (and it was no small amount judging by the marks on the road we looked at later that morning). Then the cops took off to another call, and the kids got a ride home.. Just weird.

Heather’s DinnerChristmas Eve and Christmas Day we ate, chatted, relaxed and played Scrabble. She’s a smart girl and it was fun to play with her, though Christmas Day I had snacked too much, gave myself a tummy ache. Alka Seltzer, beer and champagne did the trick and then Heather made a lovely Christmas dinner of Salmon with Mushroom and Leeks, Brussels Sprouts and Mash. This was no ordinary meal. Heather is also a most amazing cook. I hate speaking on the phone with her as she will inevitably describe some incredible meal she has made herself which is always perfect in balance, simplicity and elegance.

All in all it was a nice trip, nice to get away and see a good friend, have a few good laughs and good chats, be able to hang out without saying anything, and no crazy family style pressures or expectations. It was a very doggy Christmas, debating prong collars, stuffing Kongs and watching the dogs figure each other out (or not at times). It was a lot of dog management, but I think though a little nuts, we all had a good enough time. I was happy to spend my Christmas with Heather and happy that she had the time to let me in her new home and world she’s building for herself there.


Through a long tunnel darkly December 18, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 7:21 pm

It feels like forever since I last had time to write anything – but really it’s only been 10 days! I’ve been working on my new catalog, and today was the deadline to get it to the printer so that it’s ready in time for TNNA in January.

Diamond inthe SquareI spent the better part of this weekend working on the knitted quilt I’ve been making for ever. And I actually finished it. The last bit of stitching is for the border, worked in the round. You start with 1032 sts, and increase (yes, increase!) to 1128 by the last round. Each round would take me about an hour – and I’m considered to be a fast knitter! The nice thing was that once I had it figured out how long each round would take, I also knew that the end was in sight, and could literally count down the minutes and hours to when it would be done.

I actually screwed up the first three rounds of the border, and decreased instead of increasing – what a dolt – but I just couldn’t deal with undoing the rows, so instead I tore out the affected stitches and did my best to increase there instead. Somehow it worked well enough – I was pretty miffed (though also resigned to my fate) when I saw my mistake.

The next challenge was to photograph it. Being such a big piece with no cute little babies around me to wrap it around I was left with trying an assortment of displays on my furniture, laying it out on the floor and trying to get all the detail or laying it over a chair.. My favorite picture is of course the one I took of it with Freia. I actually had her deliberately pose for me, this is a fully staged image – I think she did a pretty good job. Of course, telling a dog that they CAN lie on the couch is not exactly rocket science!


Adrenaline December 8, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 7:49 pm

Freia got bit again today. Unbelievable. This time it’s another puncture and a slight tear in her lower eyelid. And she did nothing to provoke this at all. She was playing with a dog that is a bit clueless about its body. It barreled into me full force off the bat at the park. After about 20 min. or so of play he turned to play bite (I think … I hope it was only play) Freia and got her good. So this time I took her straight to the vet since it’s so close to her eye. More antibiotics for another week. This poor dog. I got stomach cramps from the worry of it all. Fortunately, and kindly, the woman caring for the dog has offered to pay the vet bill, which will hopefully just be that one visit as I have all the anti-inflammatory and antibiotic meds already at home.

Then, on our evening walk just now, a Volvo skidded out doing a U-turn and was headed straight for us. I didn’t think the car would hit us, but was more concerned about pieces of the car hitting us as it would hit the tree between us. It missed the tree, but plowed into the sidewalk almost sideswiping another tree. Major adrenaline rush for me. Hopefully for the driver too and they will be a bit more careful.

On the way back, at the same light, I stayed on the other side of the road and watched as a jeep did almost the very same thing. Hey folks, if it hasn’t rained in a while, the roads get slick, OK??? Geez.

Two stoplights later there was a motorcyclist who’d come off his bike at a turn, and landed on the corner (where I would have been waiting for the light to change had the timing been any different). The bike had careened into the signpost and looked to be stuck there somehow. The guy seemed OK, he was standing up and being checked out by paramedics. Just glad there were no pedestrians there either. That would have been deadly.


BFF December 6, 2006

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Dog Training,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 6:58 pm

Here’s a few of Freia’s best friends…

BellaThis is Bella, she is a sweet border collie with a tail that sticks up like a broom brush. Lately we’ve been meeting up almost every morning and Bella herds Freia around, while keeping a close eye on her Frisbee. Occasionally Freia gets to the Frisbee before Bella and the chase is on. Bella is on the timid side though, and won’t let any dog or person (except her owner) get too close to her, so she’s in a real pickle when Freia gets the Frisbee.

Today they both collapsed on the grass only a couple of feet away from each other, which is a really big deal for Bella.. Freia gives Bella the space she needs and is perfectly happy for the company from a distance.

FergusHere’s a picture of Fergus, a little mix breed with the sweetest, gentlest temperament. He and Freia have had a few good chases around at the Berkelely Marina and at Point Isabel. Freia’s definately the boss in this friendship, but Fergus doesn’t seem to mind too much.

Lastly, this is Freia with Mitzie, a Chocolate Lab who is about a month younger than her. They have really bonded over the last few days and have a wonderful time wrestling and chasing each other around. MitzieThey are fairly close in size so are pretty evenly matched, though I think Freia is the boss here. Mitzie has a “sister”, called Bella a big Bernese type dog Leonberger who is a bear and a sweetie. Freia is completely besotted by Bella and squiggles around giving her puppy kisses. Bella has the patience of Job to put up with it. I’ll try to get a picture of that as it’s pretty funny to watch.

Freia is now in her second week of her “Dog Tricks and Service Skills”class. I swore I wasn’t going to teach her people tricks but I’ve just had too much fun teaching her left and right. It’s harder than you might think, not for Freia, for me, since I’m hopeless and after 40 years I still don’t know my left and right, so I have to really think about what I’m teaching her.. not so easy!


Beachy Big Time – Knitty Gritty on HGTV! December 4, 2006

Filed under: Knitting,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 1:19 pm

Wow, wow, wow.. that’s all I can say.. Knitty Gritty has been picked up by HGTV!! This is way, way cool! My “Just Beachy” episode will be airing December 12th and January 19th, 11am both times. I can actually tape my own episodes!! And it looks like they are airing season 5 now, which means season 6 (and my backgammon episode) won’t be far behind!

Big congratulations to all the lovely people at SDETV and to Vickie Howell, the hostess with the mostess! She’s a lovely, very hard working gal, and deserves the recognition!


This is the bikini I did for the show


A world of hurt

Filed under: Chesapeake Bay Retriever,Dog Training,Walking the Dog — knitwhits @ 10:23 am

ContentmentFreia’s had a rough few days.. and so have I as a consequence.

About 10 days ago Freia got bit by another dog at the park. To make a short story long.. Freia was romping around with her friend Fergus, who was walking with a group of other dogs. There was a Ridgeback in the group that was also wanting to play with Freia so I joined the group as they walked around the perimeter of the dog park. One of the owners straight off warned me about another dog in the pack, Rudy, and to watch him with Freia. I responded that they’d met before, and Rudy had checked her, so I thought it would be OK. Within about 100 yards Freia had gotten too close to Rudy and he tumbled her, she yelped and tail between her legs ran off a ways. I thought, hmm.. ok, maybe she’s really learned her lesson.. Well, we got another 100 yards and dumb stubborn dog that I have, she got in Rudy’s face again and this time it was more serious. Freia was immediately submissive but Rudy was having none of it. She managed to get away, and I got her to me. I checked her over and it looked like she’s lost a clump of fur on her rump, and there was a scratch from where the fur had been pulled out.

The other dogs (all friendly) tried to check on her and make sure she was ok, but she was way too shaken at that point, so we ended up going our own way. I searched out some friendly dogs to get her out of her funk and we met up with Riley, this tiny little barky funny terrier that Freia adores.

Within a few days the scab from the scratch had healed, but then one day after that, the area swelled up to the size of a golf ball. I looked closer at it and could see a clear puncture mark. Not good. It didn’t seem to bother her, it didn’t feel particularly hot and there was no oozing (sorry to be gross) so I thought I’d wait a day. Next day the area was a bit bigger, so it seemed I might be having to pay a visit to the vet. Not good.

During this time, I’d deliberately avoided going to the park at the same time as Rudy’s owner as I didn’t want to risk the dogs meeting again. Fortunately, the incident did not make Freia aggressive, in fact it had the complete opposite effect and has made her more submissive and less attached to tennis balls. Considering she’s a notorious thief, this is not a bad thing.

I spoke with an animal control officer who happened to be at the park one day and he told me that a dog bite was like a gun shot wound and I had to report it. Wow.. well, I didn’t file a report as it just seemed like a bigger step than I wanted to take. There was a puncture wound but the skin wasn’t ripped. In all fairness, Rudy had warned Freia on numerous occasions to back off, which she stubbornly ignored.

I put in a call to my vet and she told me to bump up the antibiotics to quadruple the dose she’s already on (for the mystery bladder infection) for five days.

She’s on day four of the meds now and is considerably better. I did finally speak to the owner and told her about the bite, how it was worse than we all thought at the time, how I felt she needed to look at better managing her dog – warning, barring teeth, bite inhibition is all expected, a bite that is an actual puncture wound it not, and is trainable to extinguish with serious commitment from the dog owner. (And I mean beyond keeping the dogs mouth occupied with a tennis ball, which is the current managment effort). She was very nice, and of course apologetic, and even checked back with me the following time we crossed paths to see how Freia was. She offered to compensate me financially for costs, to which I told her there was basically no costs since I already had the meds at home, and spoke over the phone to the vet rather than having to take the dog in.

Sadly, Rudy does have a history, and when I would mention to others at the park that Freia had been bit, pretty much everyone said: “oh, was it rudy?”. This is a dog that maybe should not be at an offleash dog park, or at least kept on leash… Almost everyone said, oh yeah, Rudy’s had a run in with my dog or bit my dog. I guess Freia was the first puncture wound.

A world of hurt continued…

So a couple of nights ago, I decided to trim Freia’s nails. I muzzled her, got out a handful of her favorite treats and did the nail clipper dance. I finally got one nail in the clipper and “snip”. Oh, did she ever let out a yelp. I felt bad, but then a few seconds later I felt even worse when the blood came.. oh boy.. a lot of blood. Poor little girl. I didn’t clip off more than 2 mms of nail, but it was 1 mm too much. My advice: styptic powder, and clip off less than you think you need to if at all. I’ve now figured given that Freia gets a couple of hours a day outside running, and is also a digger that she really doesn’t need her nails trimmed. So much for trying to be a good mom. Luckily she holds the clippers entirely responsible for the whole incident. It took a good hour to mop up the mess though. I tried to keep her still for about 15 mins and kept a paper towel and pressure on her nail to stop the bleeding, but then she would run downstairs and open it up again. what a mess.

Today, her nail appears to have finally healed up a bit, it bled yesterday at the park, but so far seems OK today, and the golf ball on her rump is definately shrinking.

A dog’s life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be sometimes….