Life with Sampson and Delilah….The 411

Posts tagged ‘Activities’

The Watcher In The Woods…Day One Hundred and Thirty Six

My husband served 6 years in the United States Army as a Military Policeman; he is always vigilant about keeping us safe and has taught me to be vigilant too.  Two Fridays ago, someone was watching me when I took the dogs for their walk.  Fortunately for me, I saw him just about the same time Sampson saw or detected him.  We were in the field when Sampson stopped and looked into the woods; about the same time I reacted to a noise I heard and looking up I saw someone stopped and looking at us.  I wasn’t close enough to describe anything about him, except that he was male and wearing a blue coat.  I was a little nervous but didn’t really concern myself about it; I just made the decision that I would not venture out of the open area into the woods, instead I stayed close to the entrance to the park. 

He continued on his path and then crossed the back of the field; Delilah ran up to him and I called her back.  He continued across the field and made his way to the wooded area on the other side and that’s where he stayed; leaning against a tree; watching me and the dogs.  It freaked me out a little but I knew Chet was on his way, so I wasn’t too worried. 

I saw Chet before the dogs did and began making my way towards him, I greeted him with “There’s someone here.”

“I know” he said, “I saw him as soon as I walked in.”

I filled him in a little bit about what had transpired and by that time,  he (the watcher) had crossed the field again and back onto the trails we normally follow.

I said, “I’d really like to know what he is up to.”

Chet said, “We can follow him.”

So we did.  We got into the woods but just couldn’t catch up to him.  Eventually, we saw him again, but never got close enough to exchange words.

Honestly, I think the person I saw was a kid, a lot of kids go up into the park to smoke dope and drink beer, but since I can’t be 100% positive as to what he was up to, I have to be cautious.   I am now even more vigilant than ever; I turn around every minute or so checking 360 degrees to make sure I am not being followed or watched.  Chet is constantly teaching me, about being vigilant. 

“When you come to an area where there is a drop or cliff, look over it to make sure no-one is hiding there.”

When you come across areas like this, you should look over to make sure no-one is hiding.

 I noticed something the other night while we were hiking;  Delilah looks over the cliff too.  Most days she runs ahead and actually goes down and investigates the area below the cliff.  Delilah has great instincts and I trust her judgment; she is a smart and vigilant trail dog.

Delilah Stone...Always Vigilant


Wash, Wash, Wash The Dog…Day One Hundred and Thirty One

There’s a little brook that runs along the side of the field where we take the dogs to play; it’s a dirty little brook but the dogs love it.  They love to run through the brook and occasionally Sampson lays down in it.  I’ve been trying to catch it on video but have been having a hard time with it until today.  I uploaded it to youtube tonight, but let it buffer for a minute or so before watching it; because I’m pretty new to this youtube stuff. (I also got Delilah’s agility run up and the video of how excited Delilah gets when she gets her dinner.

The problem with the dogs running through the brook is they get absolutely filthy!  So every time they go in the brook, we have to wash them off when we get home.  What I started doing was washing them outside.  I take an empty dog shampoo bottle, fill it with warm water and put a squirt of shampoo in it.  We then use the soapy water to wash them quickly and rinse them off with the hose.  Then we dry them off and let them in the house. 

I’m happy that the warmer weather is coming so they aren’t outside freezing, but the water from the hose is still cold!  Although as Chet pointed out, the brook isn’t warm water and they willingly go in there. :-0  Still I am calling the plumber to see how hard it would be to get an outside shower.

Where The Wild Things Are…Day One Hundred and Thirty

Chet was outside working in the yard; I went out to ask him something and I noticed the neighbor’s dog.

Notice the tail....

Immediately I thought, “Isn’t the dog a little old to have his tail docked?”  Then Chet told that the dog had gotten loose and gone to the park at the top of the street and came back missing his tail.  Something ferocious that is not afraid to attack a large dog lives in the woods at the top of the street.  The poor dog had bite marks all over his tail.  The neighbor told Chet the story and also indicated, “This dog does not back down from a fight.” 

I have to admit, I’m a little freaked out.  Without knowing the entire story, such as the time of day the dog got away, if it was gone overnight etc…it makes me a little nervous taking my dogs up to the woods.  I’m not entirely certain that Delilah wouldn’t want to try to fight. I do carry  Pepper Blaster II and had really thought about it more for protection against the two-legged predator as opposed to the four.  From what I’ve read, it should work on a wild animal.

 I wonder what kind and size of animal might be up in the woods and hungry and vicious enough to take on a large dog.  I know you can’t tell from the picture but this is a decent size dog; I would say somewhere in the weight range between Delilah (78 pounds) and Sampson (97 pounds.)

Chet said he thinks the dog is part Chow....that is nothing to fool with.

I’m very grateful that most days/evenings Chet goes walking with us, still I’m a wee bit  nervous about taking my dogs to where the wild things are.

Meet and Greet…(Day One Hundred and Twenty)

What do you want your pet to do when you are walking or hiking and meet another person that does not have a dog?

What I want is for my dog to ignore that person unless they express an interest in meeting my dog.  The last thing I want (which happened to Chet on Sunday) is for my dog to go charging happily towards someone and jump at them.  Good thing Chet is a big guy, cause that chocolate lab could have really knocked him down and hurt him.

That being said, I would like to share two experiences that recently happened when we encountered “dogless” people.  The area we walk our dogs is owned by the town and has a small town garage on premises; as we were leaving the park we noticed that a man was at the garage removing some stored items.  Since we saw him well in advance, we called the dogs to us and leashed them.  Then we started to walk past;  Delilah got a little bit antsy, so Chet said walk on the other side of me, which we did.  I am here to tell you that if I could have picked my dog up and danced with her that is exactly what I would have done.  She was spot on perfect!  She walked slightly ahead of me, tail and head held high and never looked once at that man!  I wanted to buy her a filet mignon!   Exactly what I expect from her.

The other experience happened today; we met an older man on the trail, I saw him first so I called the dogs to me and made them sit as he approached.  I put one finger through each of their collars and told them to stay.  After the man had passed us, he stopped to inquire about the dogs, after a minute or so I let the dogs free and they ran on ahead completely ignoring him.  Of course, Sampson had to run back to the man and get a pat, but he did it very cautiously and respectfully; I couldn’t have asked for more.

New Horizons….Day One Hundred and Nineteen

Today when we went to take our hike, there was a woman who was walking up to the park with her two dogs; the problem for me was that she was on her cell phone.  This is the third time we have encountered this woman and all three times, she was on her cell phone.  Don’t get me wrong, if I need to be on my cell phone when I am out, I will be; but for me it is more important that my dogs and the trails have my full attention.

We quickly got the dogs running into the park and huffed and puffed our way up the hill; we jumped on the orange trail and followed it completely around; whew what a workout.  The dogs did really well, at one point we could see two guys and a dog on the trail but they were some distance away, we stopped and made the dogs stop, and then I continued on towards our destination; Delilah immediately followed me, but Sampson was sorely tempted to go and greet the other dog.  Eventually he headed back onto the orange trail with us.

Then we got to the open field and there was a group of three people standing in the middle, naturally the dogs wanted to head that way and we tried to distract them, but the people were headed to our side of the field, and so it was inevitable the dogs went to greet the people.  This is something we will work on, because some people don’t like dogs (GASP!) and don’t like to encounter a dog charging at them on their walks!

Still it was a very enjoyable walk and the dogs got to check out some new places.

New Horizons

Delilah Stone…Role Model (Day One Hundred and Sixteen)

Today after agility class I was chatting with Ann (who does all  the intakes for  Labs 4 Rescue organization).  Ann is very complimentary about Delilah and what a good dog she is.  Today Ann said, “Delilah would be a good role model for any rescue organization.”  I take that on behalf of Delilah and our entire family as one of the highest compliments I could ever receive about Delilah.

I am all for encouraging people to rescue animals, but as I was discussing with Ann, rescuing is not always easy.  When you look at Delilah and see the amazing dog she has become, you are looking many hours of blood, sweat and tears (mostly my tears!) 🙂

You don’t always get their history, the dog may have behavioral issues that are very steeply set in their past life.   Some dogs will be able to put their pasts behind them and move on, while others may always carry their issues with them.  The best we can do is to try to work around those issues so the dog “wins.”  For instance, if you have a counter surfer (someone who likes to take food off the counter) you may never break them of this habit, the trick is to not leave anything out on the counter that the great Kahuna can reach.  When you leave something reachable out on the counter; you are setting your dog up to fail. 

When we are running agility, even if we haven’t done as well as I think we can, I need to end my run with a task that Delilah performs well.  Then I reward her.  She ends her session on a positive note and feels like she has won.

Delilah on the See Saw

 Delilah isn’t the only one who has won, we have a wonderful dog that would be an awesome role model for any rescue group.

Who’s in the driver seat?…. (Day One Hundred and Twelve)

I’ve thought and thought about what I would blog about tonight and couldn’t come up with anything, so I went to my picture file and found a couple of pictures I thought I would share.

When we go to agility class on Saturdays, if I am handling the dogs by myself, I will go inside first to see if the coast is clear so to speak, the last thing I want to do is walk in and find a bunch of dogs, and then try to control mine.  So I left the dogs in the car and ran in real quick.  This is what I came back to.

Seriously, I need a permit for this?

Coincidently, he beeped the horn shortly after I snapped the picture!

The next couple of pictures were taken the summer we went to my sister’s place in New Hampshire.  These pictures were taken in the afternoon, later that night we were at the emergency vet with Delilah.  It took us a while to figure out what exactly was going on with her.  To the best we can figure she had a nerve or disc that gave her pain.  She is now on the raw diet which has helped her slim down tremendously and she takes antioxidants every day.  We have hope that she is well on the mend!  If you want to read about her last “episode” you can read about it here, as well as the update to that post here.

Delilah and Bandit in the top of the picture and Gordon and Sampson in front.

Delilah jumping for the decoy.

Dogs and Children (Day One Hundred and Two)

A number of years ago, Hubby and I went to a house party; the hosts were people we use to bowl with but didn’t see frequently; in my opinion we didn’t have a lot in common, but Hubby wanted to go, so I went.  I wasn’t having a particularly fun time, but Hubby was so we stayed; because it was a birthday party there was a keg and one of the things that really bothered me about this, was that some people had their children there.

For the most part the kids were inside the house, while the adults were outside but the host’s dog was also inside the house, and there was no adult supervision in there.  Sometime after midnight, a four-year old boy just about had his face ripped off by the dog, of course no-one actually knows what happened because they were all outside and most of them were drunk.  Seeing as I hadn’t been drinking, I offered to drive the mother and son to the hospital.  I cannot remember how many stitches that child had in his face, (I did see him a few years later and there was no scarring)  but I do remember that the dog was destroyed.

The memory of that boy and dog has haunted me for a while, which is why whenever there are children around my dogs, I am right there too.   I do not want  to place my dogs in a position where they feel threatened and feel the need to defend themselves.  I am also conscious of teaching the children who are around my dogs, to be kind to my dogs and treat them with respect.

Today my little grandson was over and Delilah had a spurt of energy and wanted to play with the ball, naturally my grandson who just turned three wants to throw the ball. I will not allow him to take the ball from Delilah, instead I sit on the floor with them and act as the intermediary;  when Delilah is ready to relinquish the ball, I hand it to my grandson and he can throw the ball.  In my opinion, this is a win-win situation, I get to spend time with my grandson and my dog, and I am teaching my grandson to respect animals.

Then There Was Delilah (Day 100)

Well at long last I am pleased to say; Delilah’s story has been started.  In the top right of this page, should be a link that will take you to the beginning of Delilah’s story.

It was emotional for me to write it; and I still tear up reading it in certain places.  When I think back to the dog that came off the transport on May 26, 2007, to the dog that sleeps in front of me now, I cannot believe it is the same dog!  Realistically she is not the same dog as she has changed and grown so much.

I hope to add to her story, who knows maybe the books I publish will not be picture books at all…

My sweet girl.

Oh Delilah…(Day Ninety Three)

Tonight was a frustrating night for me at obedience class.  During the “potty” break, Delilah decided she was going to join a group of dogs that were playing, trouble is she didn’t tell me.  She took off and was so fast and powerful that she completely pulled me about twenty feet before I got her under control.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what that did to my shoulder.

I was so ticked off that I pulled her back and immediately placed her in a down, which naturally she fought; but I stood my ground and held her down until she gave a big sigh indicating she had relaxed.  She stayed in that down position for a good few minutes by herself after I let her up.  I thought, maybe she has turned a corner, but that remains to be seen.


Sampson of course hates the class and would do anything possible to avoid it.  While on the way home I told him pretty soon the weather will be nicer and you won’t have to go to class, you and daddy can go somewhere else and walk.  He licked my face.

Calgon, anybody...take me away!

I still really hate the way some people man-handle the dogs and it takes everything I have not to scream at them, what the hell is wrong with you?  But this is acceptable behavior for dog training, I think there is a better way, trouble is I just haven’t found it yet, but I will.

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