Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dogs and QR Codes

So far this winter seems colder and snowier than most here in Kelowna.  This morning is the first time in a couple of weeks that Sandy and I have been able to go for a long morning walk together.  The weather cooperated.  The temperature hovered around freezing, and it was not snowing or raining when we left the house.

Sandy loves the snow.  Even in her twelfth year, she wants to roll in snow, dive headfirst into snow, run through snow, and most of all track things through the snow.  In fact, she likes to track things on our walks in any kind of weather any time of the year.

Just about the only thing I like about snow is taking Sandy for walks.  I like being able to see what she smells. There were many tracks today, and I’m sure they tell a story.  Sandy seemed to think so.  We walked a long way,and her nose was to the ground most of the time.

I saw tracks that might be a deer, and was reminded of my friend Frithjof, who just started using QR codes. A QR code is like a barcode, and can be read by smart phones with reader software installed.  It can contain a link to a website, text, phone numbers, contact information, and who knows what all else.

Might be a deer
Sandy's built in scanner read those tracks and got a lot more information than I ever would.  But without the snow, I never would have known about the deer at all.  Maybe snow isn't so bad.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dogs in City Park, Pride, and the Mayor of Kelowna

In 1997, Walter Gray, then the Mayor of Kelowna, altered a proclamation to remove the word “Pride” when proclaiming “Gay and Lesbian Week.”  His contention was that being gay was nothing to be proud of.

In 2000, a BC Human Rights Tribunal found him guilty of discrimination because everybody else could have proclamations issued.

Immediately, Gray announced that he would simply stop issuing proclamations.

In 2000, when My Dog Sandy came to us, the Okanagan Dog Owners Association was fighting the City for off-leash parks.  There were none.  Later, OK Dog fought the City for the right to walk dogs on-leash along the waterfront from City Park to Tugboat Beach.

We have a new Mayor now.

Today I attended the Okanagan Pride festival.  It was held in City Park.  Mayor Sharon Shepherd read the proclamation to those in attendance.  And then, the “Best Dog” contest began.

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd and Okanagan Pride Chair Dustyn Baulkham

Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd & Okanagan Pride Chair Dustyn Baulkham

What could be better than this?  There’s a new park on the waterfront, right across from City Hall.  There’s a dog water fountain in the park.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Out of the kennels and into the streets!

Today in Kelowna, 116 dogs and 200 people walked from Strathcona Park to Kinsman Park.  There were no snarling balls of fury.  There were no “incidents”.  Just a peaceful gathering of families, including dogs, who walked for 20 minutes.

The point?  Dogs should be welcomed in every park in Kelowna.

Sandy did not attend --- this would have been far too much excitement for her.  But It would be excellent if we could walk together in Kelowna parks.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Skinneeez Squirrel and the Power of Social Media

Sandy spends part of every day looking out the back door waiting for a chance to bark at a squirrel.

Someone on Twitter posted a link to this:

Skinneeez Squirrel

And when I tweeted asking if anyone knew where I could get this toy in Kelowna, I got a message right back.


An hour later:

Sandy's Toy

Sandy's Toy 

Happy Dog!

Monday, May 31, 2010


In all kinds of weather, I often take Sandy to the trails behind the Capital News Centre.  On one side of the road is a path that parallels the creek.  On the other side of the road are the sports fields, and paths that take you past ball diamonds, football fields, and soccer pitches.

For a way to keep warm --- warmER, really --- during the winter, I’ve been showing Sandy how to weave between the concrete polls on the sports field side of the road.  It’s fun because she has to stay on leash there, and the polls are far enough apart that we both get to weave.

She’s always been willing to do it, but she’s always been clear that she just didn’t see the point of the whole thing.  “THAT’s three minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”

A good place to weave.A good place to weave. 

But the other day we were walking on the path, she looked up at me, and without any prompting at all started to weave.  The only problem was she decided to weave between the polls that have the chains on.

A bad place to weave.A bad place to weave. 

It turns out it’s possible for a dog on leash to do that, but it is not possible to do that without getting really tangled up.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

What could possibly be going through her mind?

Sandy and I were playing stick in the front yard this afternoon, when suddenly she just stopped, and looked like this:

Sandy DogShe stood there for over a minute, tail relaxed, ears not twitching, checking out something to which I was completely oblivious.

Then, she just got on with her life.  She picked up the stick, trotted over to another section of the yard, lay down and continued with the important task of peeling all the bark off the stick.

I wonder if Sandy is just as confused by strange things I do, making a double espresso in the morning, or standing over the table and adding things to the grocery list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Brusha, Brusha, Brusha

If Sandy ever had her teeth cleaned before today, it would have been last time she was anesthetized, in 2004.

Last year about this time, the vet said Sandy needed a cleaning.  For what seemed like a lot of money, he would put Sandy under and do the teeth.

I looked for alternatives that (a) didn’t cost as much and (b) would get the job done right, with a minimum of trauma to Sandy.  A friend recommended a local dental assistant who is also a certified canine oral hygiene specialist.

It was a very good experience.  Sandy started off pretty nervous about being in a new place with a different floor and with a new person.  By the time I got back an hour later, she and Cindy were best friends. Sandy’s teeth look great.  And we’ve got some dog toothpaste!

Bucky Beaver

I think the whole thing was less stressful for Sandy that it is for me when I have my teeth cleaned.  Maybe I should take some Rescue Remedy before my next cleaning.