Whoops! We Did It Again! A Dog Rescuer Story

When I write a Dog Rescuer story, it is usually about my husband, who seems to have a way of finding, saving, rescuing, whatever you want to call it, lost or abandoned dogs, cats, and even calves.

This time, though, it is my story.

Dog Rescuer

Penny and I headed off for our run about 6:00, a little later than I should get out. It was already pretty warm, at least 85. Lately, I’ve only been taking her for about two miles (she’s my grand old lady at 12 years old), and I usually turn left from our house so that we can run on the trails.

Today though, I turned right. We love to pass the boxer who lives on the corner. He always flirts with Penny as we run by, putting a little extra spring in her step. When we run this particular route, the first mile is downhill, which is always nice for warmup (though it means finishing uphill!). We didn’t make it a mile today.

At about a third of a mile into our run, I noticed a little dog in the street. And I mean right in the middle of the inside lane of the street. We stopped, of course, and I tried calling gently to the dog. The last thing I want to do is to scare into running away from me, getting farther and farther from home. She didn’t run, but she didn’t come to me either. She just looked at me nervously like she was getting ready to make a dash for it.

I decided to let Penny do the work. Penny love little dogs. She’s an Alpha, so with big dogs she tends to try to show who’s the boss, but with little dogs she is sweet and gentle.

As Penny slowly approached the little dog just stood still. When Penny had sniffed her a couple times, I moved a little closer inch by inch, until I was able to reach down and pet her. Fortunately, it was early, so there were no cars to worry about, but I still wanted to get her out of the street. I finally picked up the dog and we moved to the sidewalk.

Dog Rescuer

The first thing I did was Facetime Alan just to show him he is not the only dog rescuer to show him the dog. I was only a third of a mile from home so I could have walked back, but I didn’t turn down the ride. When we got home, we dug up an old halter (of course she didn’t have a collar or tags), then one by one brought our dogs outside to meet her. It went remarkably well. She has a little fire in her and let them know if they got too annoying. They were, of course, curious, wondering why mommy and daddy were bringing home yet another sibling.

Alan left to go for a swim, and I decided to take Penny and our little rescue, who we’re calling Coco because it’s nice to have a name, for a walk down to where we found her. I asked the few people who were about if they recognized the dog, but it was still only 7:00 and there wasn’t much going on. After a trip up and down the street, we went back to the house so I could get ready for work.

Dog Rescuer

By then, Coco seemed to have bonded with me and stuck pretty close while I showered and dressed. The other dogs relaxed, except Buddy, who seemed to think we’d brought him a new girlfriend. Let’s just say, he was neutered when we rescued him last year, but he hasn’t let it slow him down.

Dog Rescuer

Thanks Mom for bringing me Coco!

Buddy aside, Coco seemed pretty comfortable just sticking close to me until I left for work. I did take a quick trip down to the closest vet to see if she was chipped, but no such luck. When I finally left for work, Alan got busy making posters, which he hung around the neighborhood close to where I found her.

Dog Rescuer

In the meantime, she is safe at home with us. We thinks she’s a Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle mix. A Yorkie Poo, or as Alan says, a Yorkie Doodle. She is even smaller than Lily, weighing in at about 7.4 pounds. I thinks she’s pretty young. Alan has already had hopeful potential parents on his Facebook page, so we know that no matter what, Coco will end up with a good home.

And that’s all that counts.

The Dog Rescuer: Called into Action in San Dimas

I have written more than a few times about my husband the Dog Rescuer. There was the time we rescued two pitbulls in the middle of the summer, and miraculously drove almost directly to their home.  Or the time two dogs wandered up to us as we picked up a U-Haul the day before Thanksgiving and the Turkey Trot. There was the time he became the Calf Rescuer. Not to mention the rescue of our own dogs Lily , Olivia,, Goldie, and Buddy. Oh, and the kittens that he has cared for when their mothers could not. We have lots of stories.

Dogs know. Cats know. Somehow, even calves know that Alan will go above and beyond to make sure that he gets them home safely. Or, if that’s not possible, to make sure that they have a loving new home, sometimes our own.

It happened again over the weekend. We were in San Dimas, where Alan was announcing the third race in the Los Angeles Championship Triathlon Series at Bonelli Park. I will have a full report of the weekend, including the triathlon, my own training, our adventures, and our food, over the next couple days.

In the meantime, since we got home late on Sunday afternoon, I just want to tell you the story of Coco, the Dog Rescuers, and, what I can only call good karma.

Dog Rescuer

The triathlon was on Saturday, so Alan and I arrived on Friday afternoon. After checking in first to the hotel, then with the race director at Bonelli Park, we decided to go to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant which had a vegetarian menu, easily made vegan by eliminating cheese. It was only about a third of a mile from the hotel, so we planned to walk. We hadn’t even left the hotel property when we saw a dog, alone, across the street from us. It did have a collar, and looked cared for (and slightly overweight), which was a good sign. It was scared of us, though, and as we approached started to head up the street.

We followed slowly, not wanting to scare it anymore. Heading toward us were two women, and when the dog saw them, it ran across the street, thankfully not getting hit by a car on what was a fairly busy street. One of the women didn’t hesitate. She put down her purse and followed the dog across the street, leaving the other woman to grab her purse. Alan and I also crossed the street after the dog.

We tried to approach carefully, not wanting to scare the dog into running farther and farther away. Alan suggested that I go order the dinner, and he continued to follow the dog, along with the other woman.

I did so, and while I was still waiting for the food, Alan showed up. He told me that he and the woman finally cornered the dog, but it still didn’t want to be approached. At that point, the other woman, pulled up in her car, and just happened to have some food. That was all it took, and the dog was easy to catch.

Now, let me introduce everybody. The woman who didn’t hesitate to chase the dog with Alan, was Megan. The other woman, who pulled up with the car, was her mother, Barbara. The dog, who was female, was named Coco. I was the blogger who didn’t get a single picture of this whole event.

Dog Rescuer

While Coco did have tags, no one answered the phone. When Alan and I took our dinner up to our room, we left Megan and Barbara with the dog, hoping that the owner would call back quickly. Because, you see, both of them were competing in the triathlon the next morning. In fact, when the three of them had finally caught Coco, Barbara turned to Alan and asked him if he announced the Desert Triathlon. Small world.

The next morning, I was helping out with registration, when Megan and Barbara checked in. They told me that the owner didn’t call until 10:45 the night before! He’d been working, but he was so grateful he started to cry. Fortunately, the hotel had finally let them bring the dog into their room so they didn’t have to wait outside for the hours until he called.

So, good deed done. Now the good karma part. Megan won the race! And Barbara, 30 years older, was 3rd overall, only three minutes behind her daughter. Pretty cool, huh?

Dog Rescuer

I found out later, as I was researching for this post, that Megan and Barbara are both accomplished triathletes, and own a swim shop in Encinitas (well, Barbara owns it and Megan manages it). And, another cool story, last year, when they were competing in the Carlsbad Triathlon, in spite of being in different waves, they both finished the race in the exact same time, to the second, in first place overall!

So that’s my dog rescuer story. I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be back with more of the weekend adventures tomorrow.

How was your weekend? Have you ever had a dog rescuer moment?

Chili con Not-Carne. #Vegan Recipe

First, I know you all want an update on Buddy, the dog that Alan found wandering the streets near our house. Well, he is still with us. We put posters around the neighborhood and at Starbucks, kept our eyes out for signs on the street corners, made a few phone calls, but nobody has claimed him.

Which is okay by us. By this time he has really become part of the family. Our pack is still a little hesitant and jealous, but they’re getting better. I expect they’ll be playing soon. Buddy can use the doggy door, is learning how to walk on a leash (he didn’t seem to know how the first day!), and is getting used to being a canine vegetarian. He’s got an appointment on Monday for a check up and neutering, and we’ll get him a proper halter and leash this weekend. And a bath. Definitely a bath.

Another reason I love him already. I think he looks a little like the Traveler’s Insurance dog, one of my favorite commercial dogs of all time. Okay, just a little, but it’s still my favorite and I take any excuse to watch it.

So we’re back up to a six-pack again. It was only a matter of time. Now, on to the chili.

I know that chili is not a meal that is usually associated with summer time and warmer temperatures. I can imagine snuggling up around a fire, wrapped in a comforter, holding a hot bowl of chili to warm me up even more. Well, not really, I live in the desert and I haven’t used my fireplace since I’ve owned my house, but you get the idea.

The concept came, though, when I wanted a quick meal after cross country practice the other night, and upon reviewing the contents of my cupboards, a decided to try using the seitan that I had on hand to create this Chili con Not-Carne.  The meal took about 45 minutes to prepare, including cooking time, but you can let it simmer for a longer time if you’d like, which would make it even more flavorful.

Chili con Not-Carne

Chili con Not-Carne

(note: I made a small batch because of the quantity of seitan I had on hand and because it was just my husband and me. You can easily double the recipe for a family or bigger crowd.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Serrano Chile, seeded and chopped (I never seed my chiles because I love the “kick” but it is up to you. You can also use a milder chili if you prefer)
1 cup or 1 package seitan, cut into small cubes
1 28 ounce can tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha (the more the spicier!)
2 15 ounce cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used 1 kidney beans, one white beans)
8 ounces beer (I only had non-alcoholic in my fridge and that worked just fine)
1/2 cup corn
Avocado and Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Preheat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add the seitan and chile. Cook until the seitan starts to brown.

Add the tomatoes (along with their liquid), Sriracha, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the beans and stir. Add the beer slowly, stirring as you do so, scraping up anything that may have stuck to the pan. Bring to a boil then stir in the corn. Reduce heat to low. You can simmer anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours (you may have to add more liquid if you simmer longer, so don’t finish that beer).

Serve in individual bowls with a few slices avocado and some cilantro sprinkled on top.

Seitan is one of my favorite meat substitutes. It is made from wheat gluten. You can make this chili without the seitan for a gluten free meal (make sure that you use gluten free beer, or substitute water or vegetable broth). It is a great dish to prepare as you’re making the transition to veg’n, or to enjoy for a Meatless Monday, because it is quick, with easy to find ingredients, and has a rich, meaty flavor.

If you like seitan, here are two recipes: Seitan Burritos and Seitan Skillet Meal. Oops, I almost forgot my all time favorite, Rice Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing.

So that opens the question: If you are vegan or vegetarian, do you enjoy meat substitutes? If you occasionally go meat-free, do you just skip the meat or use a sub? What are your favorites? (Yes, I know that many are processed, but we’re talking taste here.)

Late to the Party (and Dog Rescuer News)

In the last two months, since becoming an Ambassador for both FitFluential and Sweat Pink, I have been introduced to many to people (through their blogs), and become a fan of so many interesting, informative, and fun writers. I’ve been reading vegan recipe blogs, fitness blogs, and most especially, because I’m a runner, running blogs. One thing I’ve noticed about all these writers, is that with a few notable exceptions, they are young. Very young. Which all serves to make me realize that I was late to the party.

These young men and women, some of whom are still in their teens, are running, cycling, doing crossfit, creating recipes, many of them while raising a family, holding down a job, and then, writing about it. And writing well!

As an, ahem, older person (well I tried crossing that out to substitute another word, but basically, I am older. Damn it!), I find it exciting that these young people are so focused, not only on their families and careers, but on fitness as well. They are training, running marathons, competing in other sports, staying fit and active at an age when it is so easy to “get by” on youth.

I say it that way, because that is exactly what I did. When I was their age, I too was working and raising a family, but exercise? Eating right? I didn’t have a clue. I had my youth and good genes, I wasn’t overweight, so therefore I didn’t need to do those things, right? Seriously, and I’ll tell you this now, because things have changed so dramatically. When I was 21 and waiting tables, my meal at work every day was two pieces of fried chicken, french fries, a small salad (which was basically iceberg lettuce with a slice of tomato), with extra blue cheese dressing to dip the fries in. (If you’ve never lived in my world, that was a Bob’s Big Boy Chicken Snack.)

It wasn’t until 10 years later, my boys were both in school, I was still in the restaurant business (management by then, more stress, less movement, not a good combination), when two things happened that changed my life.

The first was that I was recruited by a customer to apply for a job as an activities director at a local membership campground. The second thing was that I finally quit smoking. You can read the details of how water aerobics changed my life, but basically, my new job required that I teach water exercise, something that I’d never even dreamed about. I also began to teach line dancing, then aerobics (also arts and crafts but you don’t want to hear about that here!).

When quitting smoking started me on the path to weight gain, I began to exercise more, on my own time. Soon, I started strength training, then running. I ran my first race, a 10k, when I was 37. I found that, not only did I love running and the competition, but also that I was pretty good at it.

Now, it is almost 18 years later (!), and I’m still running. Slower, to be sure, and not as frequently, but still running, racing, and loving all of it. I coach now, high school cross country and adult runners, and I’m a personal trainer. I’m one of the lucky ones who has made their love of fitness a career.

When I started writing this, I didn’t mean it to end up a history of my road to fitness.  I just want to pay tribute to so many young bloggers, who are doing so much and most importantly are already thinking about their health and fitness. They are getting out there and doing it.  I also want to assure those who haven’t arrived at the party yet, that it is never too late. Start now, at any age. You can accomplish so many things, but most of all, you will be changing your life forever. We, the party goers, to hang mercilessly onto this metaphor, welcome you.

Dog Rescuer News

Those of you who have been following my stories know that I call my husband the Dog Rescuer. If you’re new around here, you can catch up by reading “We Call Him the Dog Rescuer,” and “Because It’s What We Do,” and since Alan has been know to rescue other species, don’t miss “Today’s Ride.” And those are the animals that we didn’t keep.

So today, Alan was outside in our front yard when he spotted a little dog, no collar (of course), but very friendly. So friendly that he actually snuggled with a few of the cats that Alan cares for (I’d say feral cats, but most of them are so tame by now that the word hardly applies). I was at cross country practice, so I heard all this by phone and email.

Alan checked with the neighbors, but the dog didn’t belong to any of them. One woman said that she’d seen him the night before, just hanging around the neighborhood. So, Alan brought him in, introduced him to our pack, and spent the day making “found” posters. Before you ask, yes, we’ve given him a name.

The rest of the pack is a little perturbed, but they have been friendly (they just give me sidelong, sad looks).  We’ve posted a few signs in the neighborhood and at Starbucks, and Alan has made a few phone calls, but we’ve already decided that if we don’t find his home, we’ll be keeping him.

Welcome to the family, Buddy!

When did you “get into” fitness? Were you an early party goer or a late arrival like me?


Vegan Dog Bigotry (Vedogotry?)

Sadly, it looks like we will not be adopting “Missy,” the dog I wrote about a couple weeks ago. As hard as it is to believe, we were told that the board of the organization that had taken over the care of the dog felt that Alan and I would not be the best choice for her.

I can almost hear you saying, “What, are they crazy?” Yes, my dear friends, that is what we were told. It didn’t matter that we have wonderful, healthy, loved dogs. (Oh, they didn’t know that because they never met our other dogs.) It didn’t matter that we have a dog friendly house, where they have access to a safe back yard, and have the option to be indoors or outdoors at their whim. (They couldn’t know that, because they never came to our house to check it out.)

No, apparently what mattered was something that Alan mentioned during our first visit, something he was proud about because of how healthy our own dogs are. He mentioned that, pause for gasp, that we would be raising Missy as a vegan.

So basically, it came down to ignorance. They didn’t know, didn’t care, and didn’t have the intelligence to do a little simple research about dogs thriving on a vegan diet. A quick Google search brings you articles like this, and this, and this. Or, perhaps, someone on the board may have thought to ask us, as potential adopters, why we feed our dogs a vegan diet.

The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about” ~ Derek Bok

So true. And so sad.

Are We Crazy?

OK, this kind of freaks me out.

On the left, of course, is our Sassy, who passed away about two weeks ago. On the right is 917202, or Missy (our temporary name), or Reba, the name she was giving by KASE (Keeping Animals Safe Everyday), the organization that is helping her by paying for the surgery to repair her broken pelvis.

Let’s back it up a bit, shall we? Last week, Alan discover a photo of 917202 on the Riverside County Animal Shelter website (his way of grieving, what can I say?). After showing the photo to me, we both were amazed at how much this puppy looked like our Sassy. With mixed emotions, we both opted to look into the situation, so the next day, Alan called the shelter.

He was told that she would be available after the standard week long waiting period, so he decided to drive to the shelter and see her in person. She was just as cute as her picture, but Alan was told that she had some serious physical problems that would probably need surgery.

Apparently, she had a broken pelvis (possibly she had been hit by a car, but unfortunately, she can’t tell us). He discover that there is a group called KASE, which is funded by donations, would take care of the expense of surgery. We would, after being accepted by KASE, be responsible for the standard adoption fee of around $100.

Of course, Alan wanted me to see her in person before we made any final decisions.  So, last weekend, we drove out to the home where she was staying while awaiting her surgery.

Honestly, she is just the cutest thing! In spite of the broken pelvis, she gets around really well. They had decided to invest in surgery because the location of her break can potentially lead to urinary tract problems. I’m glad they did.

She was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday (today). We are still waiting for word back on how it went. Then we will be waiting for approval from KASE on our adoption papers. Hopefully they will see it the way one of my friends stated, “That doggie just won the puppy parent lottery!”

Once home, she will need to be crated and kept relatively still for up to two months. That is a challenge for any puppy, but more so with a puppy who will have four sisters and a brother just dying to play with her. We’ll handle it though.

Stay tuned. You know that there are lot’s more pictures to come.