Tag Archives | American Alsatians

A window into heaven

Last month I spent two glorious weeks in Colorado, hanging out at a cabin neatly tucked away in one of the wrinkles of the San Juan mountains near Durango. As an extra bonus I got to keep Bonnie, my future hearing dog for those two weeks as well. Up to that point I was still unsure if I had what it took to keep and care for a dog, but we had such a great time together that I was really encouraged and more confident than ever that she would complete her training and soon become my dog for good, maybe by Christmas time.

Snowing at a Cabin in Colorado

It was snowing but this was the best kind of snow: one that doesn’t stay on the ground!

I was really nervous the first night Bonnie and I spent together, almost convinced that I would wake up in the morning to all kinds of love droppings on the carpet that I’d have to clean up, or that Bonnie would completely freak, jump through a window and run to destinations unknown, never to be seen again.  But she behaved near perfectly, almost like she understood I was new to all of this.

American Alsatian wearing a vest

Morning time with Bonnie!

As each day went on things got a lot easier, and I began to fall into a comfortable daily routine.  I’m typically a homebody who rarely likes to leave his man cave, but Bonnie forced me out of my shell, and my usual routine literally changed over night: instead of staying up till 2AM, I went to bed early and got up early, went out for morning walks, enjoyed coffee by the pond, and even talked to some of the guests that were staying in other cabins.  Just the routine of walking and feeding a dog seemed to stabilize my life and kick me out of those unhealthy, sedentary habits (like sitting in front of a computer all day).

Dog exploring cabin grounds

I think I heard a bunny!

After a few days I began to explore the area more, including taking a day trip to Silverton, one of the most picturesque old mining towns this side of Colorado.

Main Street in Silverton

Main Street in Silverton

I was a pleasure to take Bonnie everywhere I went, but our day trip to Silverton was probably the best.  This is where the famous Durango-Silverton train stops, but I opted to take the drive from Durango to Silverton instead, and I’m glad I did.

The road to Silverton, traveling on the Million Dollar Highway

The road to Silverton, traveling on the Million Dollar Highway

I took a leisurely drive just outside of Silverton and found a small park for Bonnie and I to hang out at.  The views of the valley here leading into town were incredible.  I could have stayed in that spot all day.

American Alsatian dog poses in front of mountains

Yep, I think I’ll build a doghouse right here…

All in all, it was a great trip, giving me plenty of time to unwind, experience life with a dog, and get just a little slice of the dream life that I’ve always yearned for: a place in the mountains with a faithful, wolfish looking dog, and of course, good pizza.

Snow capped mountains and lake near Surango

I think I’ll live right… there…

You can check out the rest of the photos I took at Flickr:

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Valentine’s Day goes to the dogs

The latest from Colorado: for those who don’t know, Bonnie is a breeding dog that first needs to produce a litter before she can begin training as a hearing dog.  Fitting that on Valentine’s Day (of all days) the first major hurdle may have been cleared, meaning puppies in 2 months!

Bonnie and Storm, American Alsatians

Bonnie (the dog I’m waiting for) and Storm, the future sire.

A glimpse into the future where my life has gone to the dog?

While I was in Colorado I had an opportunity to visit Vallecito Alsatians and meet Bonnie Lee, a special dog that they are dedicating to being trained as a hearing dog.  I’ve known about her for a while but I wondered how she would react to meeting me for the first time, and whether we might truly be meant to be together as man and dog.

Here’s a video of her after we interacted for about an hour.  There’s no sound but I gave a couple of commands, namely to have her lick my hand and sit, which she responded to almost immediately.  I was hoping we would connect well, but I never expected this level of affection, sweetness and attention.

I haven’t had a dog in my life in over 13 years, and even then it was never MY dog.  But I always dreamed about having one some day, particularly a wolfish looking dog, where we’d live together in a cozy cabin deep in the mountains, watching her lazily sleep in front of a warm fire, while I sit back in my easy chair and enjoy a hot cup of morning coffee.  Snow drifts to and fro outside my window, and a kind of peace settles into my home, knowing everything is right with the world.  It was only a dream, but for a moment Bonnie made it a reality, and showed me that despite the odds I faced, anything really was possible.

It’ll be a year though before I’ll know for sure, which for me is a good thing because I definitely need that time to get my life in order and start learning how to properly care for a dog and keep it healthy and happy.  God only knows I have my work cut out for me.  O_O

Bonnie Lee - American Alsatian

Sweet Bonnie Lee takes a moment to relax.

 

Game On: Planning My Fall ’13 Trip to…

VEGAS!

Boy oh boy, I can’t wait to get there so I can FLEE the city as quickly as possible in my rental to kick off my road trip!

“But Frank, you’re a single and ruggedly handsome dude, Vegas should be the PERFECT place for you to meet hot girls!”

Why yes, I’m sure Vegas is rife with beautiful, sweet, modest God fearing girls who are just waiting for someone like me to come along and sweep them off their feet.  Said NO ONE, EVER.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Vegas will actually be the launching platform to kick off a road trip that will take me from Sin City all the way to Denver in Colorado.  If you took my Fall Trip poll (in the sidebar) you can see the winning vote was for the Canadian Rockies instead, and in fact that’s where I actually plan to go next year.  But for this year there were a couple of reasons why I wanted to do Las Vegas to Denver instead.  One, I had meant to go to the Grand Canyons during my road trip in 2011, but after traveling literally near 2,000 miles on my own, I was too wiped out by the time I reached Salt Lake City to keep going, so I had to cut that portion of the trip out.  Visiting the Canyons will finally finish what I started back then and cross another item off my bucket list.

The second reason basically sealed the decision for me, and involved quite possibly meeting THE girl of my dreams.  Her name is Bonnie Lee:

Bonnie Lee in the Mountains

Is this gal gorgeous or what? ;-)

Bonnie Lee represents an emerging breed of dogs known as the American Alsatian, bred to resemble the looks of the Dire Wolf and with all the traits needed to make it an ideal companion dog.  That means a lower energy dog with a markedly reduced work drive that the average family can better handle.

I’m planning to meet up with one of the breeders who is president of the Vallecito Alsatians kennel in Durango, Colorado, and because Durango would have been one of my stops even if I hadn’t found out about these dogs, it looks like it was meant to be after all.  I’ll have a chance to familiarize myself with this amazing breed as well as have a chance to meet Bonnie and see how we hit it off.

In addition to meeting the dogs, my trip will also include sightseeing at Hoover Dam, visiting Sedona in Arizona (as well as the Canyons obviously), passing through the Four Corners to Durango, then visiting Pagosa Springs, then Santa Fe in New Mexico and finally a relaxing stay in Colorado before I return home.  I can’t wait.

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