Making Thirty-Six Count


I’m just getting warmed up.

Things I would like to do before thirty-seven:

Make it to the top of Kings Peak

Run an ‘official’ half-marathon

Train for a full marathon

Log a few overnight hikes

Learn to take better photographs

Photograph stars / star trails in southern Utah

Canoe / kayak / tube / raft somewhere

Take my first international trip

Finish my MBA

Teach an old dog some new tricks

Build a computer


A Bittersweet Reunion

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to have a friend, who is also a dog trainer, take Nina to live with him. Nina has moderate-to-severe fear-aggression issues. Practically anything new, whether it’s a person, other animal, or sometimes inanimate object, causes her anxiety. I suspect that she has pain issues that lead to aggression as well.

Sometimes she signals that she is uncomfortable with a situation. Sometimes she doesn’t.

Andrew knows how to handle dogs. He knows Nina. If anyone could have kept her in check, it would have been him. Unfortunately, Nina’s stay in Idaho hasn’t gone well. She regularly has ‘spirited disagreements’ with Andrews dog. She’s snapped on people. She’s lunged at people on walks. Fortunately, none of these instances have been bad, but they could have been.

I’ve done everything I can think of with Nina. She’s had both knees replaced. She takes pain medication. She’s been to a 6 week intensive boot camp to try to solve the problem. It hasn’t.  She might do well in the right home – one that is child free, other animal free, very calm, and in the trust of someone who understands how to deal with fear-aggressive dogs. Someone that good with dogs, but doesn’t have any. Good luck finding that, right?

For the next few weeks, Nina will have to be isolated from other animals when I’m not monitoring her. When she’s interacting with our other animals or anyone other than me, she will have to be muzzled. The margin for error is just too low. It breaks my heart because 9 days out of 10 she is a sweet, sweet dog. It’s that 10th day that causes the issue She’s never attacked me, but I know how to read her and know that she needs space. To me, she’s a sweet dog that has issues. To the world, she is a danger.

I have been an absolute wreck all week long. I know Nina is in pain. I know her fear causes her to lash out. I know that unless managed very carefully, she is a danger to other people and other animals. I have other animals to consider. I hope to one day have children. This is not the environment for Nina. I’m heartbroken over this.

I’m heading out to pick up Nina in just a few minutes. It’s a five and a half hour drive each way. I should be happy to see my sweet Nina again, and part of me will be, but I’m instead dreading what may have to happen next. I’m going to die when I see how excited she is to see me.

Hiking Desolation Trail

Desolation Trail in Salt Lake City, UT is a 19 mile hike that ends at Lake Desolation, people who are intent on seeing the lake don’t usually hike the whole trail. It has connectors that make a much shorter hike to the lake. If you start at the Desolation Lake trailhead in Mill Creek Canyon and hike in about 2.5 miles, you’ll get to the Salt Lake City overlook.

I’ve done this hike twice now in the winter, and I’m starting to love Mill Creek Canyon. It has no ski resorts, so it’s less trafficked than the other canyons. It’s not a watershed, so dogs are allowed. On odd numbered days my four-legged buddy can even go off-leash, a freedom that both he and I enjoy.

The second time I hiked to the overlook, there were quite a few trees blocking the trail – evidence of an avalanche. At least I think so. Despite seeing quite a few people in hiking’s version of clown footwear, neither of my hikes on this trail required snowshoes. This winter has seen less than the usual amount of snow, so I would imagine that normally a hike here at this time of year would require them. Micro-spikes or some other traction enhancement would have reduced the slipping and sliding.

The overlook provided a great view…of the smog that envelops the city when the inversion is bad. That gray mess of soup floating over the city has wreaked havoc on my sinuses all winter long. I used to check the weather forecast hoping for sunny days. Now I check it in the hopes that there will be a big enough storm to blow all of the smog out of the air.

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