Monday, February 25, 2013

Guest post by Tina!

The following was written by our dear friend Tina, who recently spent some time with us. Thanks Tina for taking the time to write this!

When my husband and I found ourselves with a free long weekend in February, our thoughts immediately turned to Ottawa. While the city is a fabulous place in the winter, we also wanted to spend our time off with our dear friends Katalijn and Nolan.
While they are technically Rileys longtime friends, their recent addition to my life has enriched it in every way.
They kindly offered to let us stay in their house which was actually a bed and breakfast in our case since they not only housed us, but fed us (delicious food) and entertained us. Im still waiting for the bill to show up in the mail ;)
We packed up our one and a half year old daughter, made the five hour trip and spent several days with this wonderful couple.
There were many highlights of the weekend. The first was meeting Zora – the amazing puppy Nolan and Kat adopted from the humane society. Shes a lovely dog and so well behaved. Nolan and Kat are doing a great job at obedience training.
Another highlight was a girls night out at the curling rink. I filled in for Nolan, which the other team members agreed was an improvement in every way - haha. I hadnt thrown a rock since my teenage days, but I was able to make some respectable shots by the middle of the game. Kat was one of the stars of the night, but my second rock in the last end was considered by the other team as the throw of the game. Word got around and there were several offers from national womens teams to serve as a spare. Unfortunately, the money offered was not enough, so Im going to stick to recreational curling for now.
Kat and Nolan also took us to the greenbelt, where we fed chickadees out of the palms of our hands. My daughter was fascinated that birds were coming to eat out of mommys hands. A wonderful experience.
We look forward to our next get together with Nolan and Kat. We wish they lived closer to Toronto, but it is always nice to know they are only a five hour drive – or an e-mail - away.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


As some of you know by now, we have a small addition to our little family. Her name is Zora and she's four months old. No, we did not go out and adopt a baby, Zora is a dog!

We started talking seriously about a dog again when we came back from Europe, and we've been regular visitors of the Humane Society lately. Part of it was to make sure that Nolan would also be comfortable with dogs, and of course to see if there was anything that piqued our interest. We'd been checking the website as well. Regularly I might add... And a little puppy showed up about a week and a half ago. But of course, puppies are popular and within a few hours she was listed as 'adoption pending'. Fine, we were not too sure about a puppy anyway. But the next day, she was still there, and available for adoption.  That was Thursday, and by the end of the day, she was 'adoption pending' once again. By then we were sure that someone had picked her and would give her a good home. Well low and behold, by Friday evening she was available again. We'd decided to go to the Humane Society first thing Saturday morning to check her out, but more to reassure ourselves that she was not the puppy for us (we've thought before we thought the right dog, but then saw it in person and it was not 'our' dog. Well, Zora was different. It was pretty much love at first sight (but then, who doesn't love puppies?!?!). She was much smaller than we had anticipated. On the website she was listed as a German Shepherd/ Shiba Inu mix. So we expected a pretty stocky dog type. But she was anything but that. She was small, thin but fairly long legs and skinny. But super cute and friendly! When we met her and spent some time with her, we both fell in love with her. So when Nolan said that maybe we should look into adopting her, who was I to say no?? I really wanted to make sure that he was comfortable with it, since it's a pretty big commitment for both of us, especially a puppy. So we started the adoption process, but decided to pick her up on Monday so we would have time to get the house ready, and not rush into it by picking her up end of day Saturday (we couldn't pick her up on Sunday).

Since she's not house trained we bought a crate to help with the house training, and a pen to give her extra space when we are home, and to give Zora and the cats a chance to get to know each other without direct contact right away.

So far things are going really well. The cats are adapting, especially Murphy is very curious and spends a bit of time every morning and evening checking Zora out in her crate or pen. Fertile is a bit more shy, but she's the type of cat that if a dog is too close, she'll let them know so we're not too worried about her. They both seem very relaxed, and are doing much better than we'd anticipated. It probably helps that Zora is just a puppy (and a small one), so she's not too intimidating. And she doesn't bark or get excited when she sees the cats, so that helps as well.

The house training is going well too. She seems to be picking it up quickly. Nolan and I are taking turns being on 'puppy' duty, which really means working from home, and getting up at night, but she's worth it. And we're both lucky that we can work from home (especially me). My boss is a big dog fan, and most of the people I work with are not in Ottawa anyway, so it's very easy to work from remote locations (i.e. home).

Of course some pictures:

We had a pretty big snow storm yesterday (which was great because now all the holes underneath the fence are covered so she doesn't have to be on the leash in the back yard anymore), and by the end of the day, we had so much snow that Zora pretty much had to swim through it. But it didn't slow her down! She is incredibly fast, and loves to explore the world. My mom said that she might be (part) whippet. It would definitely explain her small paws and physique, as well as her speed and her quiet character (when she's not playing!). It means that she might make a really good running partner! Anyway, we are very happy with her, and think she's a great addition to our family.

 Talking about running... We haven't done much of that lately. It's partly the weather, travelling, busy lives, now a dog, but we're planning on getting back into it soon :)

Everything else is going well, so there is not much else to report on!