I spent another week surrounded by two dogs and a cat

Around this time last month, I spent a week petsitting Bullet, Kaya, and Drake. Erin had another trip that she had to go on, so I came back to her house to take care of the dogs and cat again for another week.

Although I wouldn’t say the dogs have separation anxiety, Kaya still gets pretty sad when her parents leave. For the first several hours, she insists on sit­ting by the door awaiting their return.

Drake, on the other hand, as a fairly normal and independent cat, has full faith that they will eventually return. He instead decided to use the cat door to go out onto the covered balcony and take a nap outdoors.

Kaya noticed Drake and wanted to join him, so she went outside as well. She wanted to sunbathe, but managed to only get half her body in the sun, prob­a­bly because she got blinded by the sun and couldn’t see where she was.

I set up my computer workstation upstairs on a table near the living room, and Bullet decided to set up shop there as well. He spent a lot of time laying next to my chair and at my feet, making sure that I wouldn’t go anywhere without him.

On one of the days, I went into the guest room to change into my exercise shorts so I could take the dogs for a walk. Apparently Drake was sleeping on the bed, and he did not appreciate the interruption.

Hello Bullet.

While Drake was away using the litter box, Bullet swept in and took his spot at the base of the bed in the guest room. Drake was not very happy when he returned.

One of Drake’s favorite activities is sunbathing. However, when he is upstairs and far away from the balcony, but needs sun now, we have to make do with what’s available. Here is Drake using some of the natural light shining in during the morning and sticking his head into the sun strip.

Because this is my second time petsitting, the dogs are much more comfortable with me now than they were last time. They like to spend a lot of time around the guest room where I sleep, and when I got out of the shower one day, I noticed that they had repossessed my pillow.

Hello Drake.

I went to snap a photo of Kaya out on the patio, but when I kneeled down, she got up to walk over to me; I captured the photograph as she was getting up, and found it hilarious that she looks like an alpaca in this picture.

We have tentative plans for me to petsit again in September, so more photos to come soon…

 

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Hello, Upper Bristlecone Trail at Mt. Charleston, and Zumo the Keeshond

During my routine once-every-two-months one-week-long air trip to Las Vegas to take care of all my errands all at once while road tripping across the country, I met up with two of my friends to go hiking at Mount Charleston, northwest of the Las Vegas Valley in Nevada. Also joining me this time around was Zumo, their Keeshond.

Before heading up to Mt. Charleston for our hike, we stopped by a gas station to get some beverages and snacks. Apparently there was a dog treat for sale at the gas station, so Zumo got a snack as well; if you look closely, you can see the small mess he left behind below his mouth.

As we got closer to the trailhead, we came across what appeared to be a wild horse. I’ve seen a ton of horses throughout my road trip, and even went to the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville to learn more about horses, but this is the first time that I saw a wild horse just roaming around out in the open.

Our trail of choice was Upper Bristlecone. We made it to the trailhead, which was right next to the Lee Canyon ski resort.

Near the trailhead was a large helicopter landing area. I walked over to the edge of the landing zone and snapped a photo of the mountains to the north­east.

The trail itself wasn’t too special for a majority of the hike—it was basically just a well-formed path cutting through forest. I did come across a few wild­flowers, like this red one.

Being a breed with a double-layer coat, Zumo got very warm very fast, and he had to take a lot of breaks to cool down.

In a sparse area of the forest, we found a little hut made out of branches and tree trunks. One of them even had a little entryway, so I climbed inside with Zumo for one of our breaks.

Eventually, we made it to the lookout point of the trail, which I guess you could consider the summit (there was no true “summit” because the trail con­tinued to an intersecting point of Upper and Lower Bristlecone, before turning into the regular Lower Bristlecone Trail). Immediately upon arrival, Zu­mo found some nice, cool rocks on which to lay down and cool down.

By this point, a thunderstorm had started to roll in. There was a decent amount of cloud coverage over by The Sisters…

… and clouds had completely engulfed Mummy Mountain.

The lookout point had a tree that was blossoming flowers with a very unique scent.

The storm clouds were rapidly approaching and it started drizzling, so we started making our way back down the mountain.

We arrived back at our vehicle just in time—with literally about half a minute to spare, it started pouring rain right as we got Zumo cleaned up and back in the car.

Unfortunately, my Fitbit activity tracker refuses to start tracking if I don’t have a data connection at the beginning of the hike (even if it can catch a GPS connection), so I wasn’t able to map this hike. However, based on other people’s maps on All Trails, it looks like our round-trip total was 3.2 miles (5.15 kilometers), with an elevation gain from base to lookout of 626 feet (191 meters).

Because the starting elevation was 8,692 feet (2,649 meters), the oxygen was sparse and it felt like much longer of a hike than it actually was. Even with the decent number of breaks we were taking to allow Zumo to rest up, I still got a little out-of-breath at times, and wished I had brought more than just a 28 fluid ounce (828 milliliter) bottle of Gatorade Zero.

There are a lot of great hikes at Mt. Charleston, and if it’s your first time, I’d recommend something like Cathedral Rock instead. Regardless, it was a good hike at Upper Bristlecone, and it was a nice opportunity to get away from the 100+°F (38+°C) heat of the Las Vegas Valley for a bit.

 

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I spent a week surrounded by two dogs and a cat

Almost a year ago, I blogged about meeting Erin Krell’s pets for the first time—Bullet and Kaya the Alaskan Klee Kais, and Drake the domestic longhair. I’ve obviously visited them many times since then, but recently for a week, I petsit them while Erin went on vacation with her husband.

This was the first time I had lived with animals ever since moving out from my previous living situation with a roommate who had three cats. It can ob­vi­ously get pretty distracting, but it was nice having them around, and usually, it was a healthy type of distraction—they would prompt me to get off my computer for a bit and move around with them.

The day before I took over petsitting for a week, Erin, her husband, and I went to pick up some burgers and a fish sandwich from a restaurant and brought the dogs along. Here are Bullet and Kaya patiently awaiting their parents’ return.

The dogs enjoyed spending time outside, which was useful for me to go out and get some fresh air. We went on walks every day except for one day when it rained all day, and I took them out to the backyard an additional four times per day so they could go to the bathroom.

One convenient part about their house was that the exercise room had a direct view of the backyard, so the dogs were able to sunbathe, while I would be indoors lifting weights and keeping an eye on them to make sure they weren’t doing anything too wild.

Drake, as you’d expect from a fairly normal cat, was very independent. He would roam around the house at his leisure, then make his way downstairs when his internal clock told him it’s time for his next meal. After eating, he would make his way back upstairs to a comfortable spot and clean himself up.

Here is Bullet staring deep into my soul and trying to figure out why I won’t give him another treat, even though it’s already been AN ENTIRE 12 MI­NUTES since his last treat.

Kaya had a little bit of separation anxiety, laid by the front door a lot, and slept in Erin and her husband’s bed for a while. However, at some point, I think she realized that her parents were on vacation and hadn’t just gotten lost coming back from the grocery store, so she curled up in a ball and slept overnight next to me in the guest room for the second half of the week.

Here is Bullet, exhausted after a session of fetch. And by a session of fetch, I mean me fetching the toy, and Bullet running back and forth giving e­mo­tion­al support.

Bullet is probably one of the smartest and most intuitive dogs I’ve ever met, but even the smartest dogs sometimes have internal clock errors. Here is Bul­let miscalculating the time and asking for his dinner half an hour too early.

Here is Drake after dinner one day, forgetting to retract his tongue back into his mouth after finishing grooming himself.

And for some bonus photos, here is Kaya sitting below Erin’s desk while she works, which I took a few weeks ago…

… as well as Drake staring off into the distance, looking like a wise old man, probably solving integral calculus and differential equations in his head.

 

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Meet Bullet, Kaya, and Drake

After spending the first half of my Seattle trip as somewhat of a personal vacation with friends, I spent the second half visiting Erin, one of my new co-workers, and getting some work done in-person with her. I stayed at her house in the Seattle suburbs, and that meant I got to meet her three pets.

First up is Bullet, an Alaskan Klee Kai. He was the most energetic, and also the most photogenic—he had glowing white hair, and he seemed to enjoy the attention of me warping my body in strange positions to put myself in weird angles to get the perfect picture of him.

Bullet the Alaskan Klee Kai

Bullet the Alaskan Klee Kai

Bullet the Alaskan Klee Kai

Bullet the Alaskan Klee Kai

Bullet the Alaskan Klee Kai

If you look in the background of that last photo, you’ll see another dog in the background—that’s Kaya, also an Alaskan Klee Kai. She was much more shy than Bullet, so I don’t have as many good photos of her. I could tell that she also wanted to play and be pet like Bullet, but she was also much more reserved and cautious.

It didn’t seem like she was the biggest fan of posing, so the only two shots I have of her are candid ones where she was distracted and I managed to snap a picture before she noticed.

Kaya the Alaskan Klee Kai

Kaya the Alaskan Klee Kai

And of course, my favorite was Drake the domestic longhair. My first impression of Drake was that he was particularly elegant and graceful with his move­ment, and he gave off an aura of wisdom and knowledge, if that’s even possible for a cat to do. I later found out that he is 18 years old, so I’m guessing he possessed these traits due to his old age and life experience.

Drake was just like a lot of the other well-socialized cats I’ve met—he was very affectionate and liked rubbing his face on my hands. When I would be sitting on a couch somewhere getting some work done on my laptop, Drake would eventually wander his way to me and sit down next to me to take a nap.

Drake the domestic longhair

Drake the domestic longhair

Drake the domestic longhair

Drake the domestic longhair

I managed to do something with Drake that I’ve never been able to do with any other cat, which may be surprising considering how much time I’ve spent around cats photographing them—I’ve never caught a picture of a cat yawning before. That changed with Drake, so here is a picture of the inside of his mouth (and of his teeth, which are pretty clean considering his old age):

Drake the domestic longhair

If you’re not familiar with cats, you may be surprised to notice the little white spikes in Drake’s tongue. Those are called papillae, and are made out of keratin, a fibrous protein best known for forming human hair and nails. Those little spines are responsible for keeping the cat extra clean when it grooms itself—the way they all point in a single direction makes it very easy for the cat to remove unwanted substances from its hair, untangle knots, and eject collected hair from its mouth.

I obviously don’t have spiny papillae like cats do… but I have a close alternative. I usually use an electric razor to shave my facial hair every morning, but sometimes, when I don’t shave, I have enough stubble to make my chin feel like a cat’s tongue. When I rub my unshaven chin on a cat, they seem to al­ways be very pleased because they think I’m licking and grooming them.

I used to do this all the time with my old roommate’s cats, and I often get satisfied purs from every cat I do this to, Drake included.

So yes, this does mean that, if I ever meet your cat(s) and I happen to have not shaved yet that day, I will probably “groom” them with my chin to make them happy.

 

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The various faces of Coco the Yorkshire Terrier

I got back from another trip to Illinois recently, and of course, that means more photos of Coco, my parents’ dog.

During my trip, there were some thunderstorms. Coco doesn’t like thunderstorms, so she tries to hide when she hears thunder. But, she also tries to stay as close as possible to the nearest person. I was in the kitchen cooking when there was a thunderstorm, so Coco dragged a rag over to the corner of the kitchen and laid there, trying to squeeze herself into the crevice under the cabinets.

Coco the Yorkshire Terrier

The following day while I was watching the family business, Coco and I went outside to go for a walk. Coco seemed to really enjoy it, so she led me further and further away, consequently making our return walk just as far. After returning, she was exhausted, but didn’t quite want to sleep yet… so she was dozing off with her head up.

Coco the Yorkshire Terrier

This photo is from two days after the one immediately above; we went on another ungodly long walk that day, and this time, she decided to submit to the exhaustion and take a midday nap.

Coco the Yorkshire Terrier

… and here’s just a random photo of Coco completely wrapped in a blanket.

Coco the Yorkshire Terrier

 

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More Coco

Considering my adoration of dogs (and animals in general), it’s probably not a surprise that one of the best parts of coming back to Illinois is getting to see Coco, my parents’ Yorkshire terrier.

Coco enjoys sleeping in random places at random times, particularly in spots where she knows you’re going to want to sit at one point or another. My parents bought her a Serta bed (yes, Serta makes pet beds), but she avoids it, probably because she knows that no human would want to sit there, and she only sleeps where humans want to sit. I picked her up and plopped her down on the bed; she didn’t identify it as a bed, stiffened up, and stared at me in confusion.

Coco standing on her Serta bed

Coco is also a particularly intelligent dog (as are most Yorkshire terriers – the entire breed is usually rated as having above average to high intellect). When I turn on the space heater, Coco can’t feel the full warmth of it because it’s angled slightly upward, so she pulls over a cushion and lays down on top of it to gain height advantage and stay warmer.

Coco climbing up on a cushion to get a better angle on the space heater

When there isn’t a handy space heater nearby, she digs herself into a hole of blankets.

Coco bundled up in blankets

Sometimes, staying too buried under a bunch of blankets makes her too warm. While she’s sleeping, she will suddenly wake up, start panting, and climb out of her hole. She’s usually still pretty sleepy at this point though; she forgot to pull her tongue all the way back in before beginning to doze off again, and I captured her microblep.

Microblep

 

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