Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! We hope you are reading this from home and enjoying your third day of Memorial Day weekend! We had a great time kicking off the long weekend on Friday when Otis and I went for a hike with our friends Kim and Nicky.

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While we enjoy this holiday, we of course remember the reason behind it. Thank you to the men and women who serve our country!


Carrying Her Weight: Johnnie Goes Hiking

When our Sunday opened up at the last minute this past weekend and the weather forecast was absolutely beautiful (60 degrees and sunny? yes please!), Mark and I knew we wanted to do something fun and unique for the day. We also knew it would be in our best interest to do something that would tire Johnnie out, so of course our first idea was to go for a cool hike – but where? We’ve been all over the DC and MD area and we wanted to try something new (sort of like when we ventured to Fort McHenry with Charlie).

We decided to make a big move and travel the hour and a half drive to an access point for the Appalachian Trail in Virginia. Mark and I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail together, but have never gotten around to it. What better opportunity than an uncharacteristically warm winter day with an eager four-legged hiking buddy to join you?

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Mark had the great idea before we headed out of town to pick Johnnie up a doggy hiking backpack. We ran to Petco and picked up the perfect little pack for J!  Because we were planning on hiking for a while, we had water and snacks packed for ourselves – now Johnnie could help us carry them!  Though, as you’ll see as you read this post, we did a lot on this hike, and the bag is already breaking a little bit (it was only $15) – any hiking-with-your-dog gurus out there who have recommendations on where to get an awesome and durable doggy backpack?

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Anyway – we were surprised to show up to a very snowy Shenandoah National Park. Expecting to step out of the car to chillier temps than when we left, we were happy to realize that despite all the snow it was still extremely mild there!  Johnnie was absolutely thrilled with all the snow. It was so fun to watch her play in it.

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06During the hike we romped a little, Johnnie bounced around and found sticks, we practiced some manners, we met new friends and we completely exhausted ourselves. Having to wear the pack was definitely an added bonus in the working-Johnnie-out category! She still did her favorite bunny hops, but you could tell they took extra effort.

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Two and a half hours later, we walked back to our car dripping wet and totally worn out. Johnnie was such a great walker during the hike – she stayed on a loose leash almost the entire time, which was very appreciated by the humans because of how slippery and wet it was! Meeting new people was the only time she was a little over eager, but we expected that from her little human-loving self. Check out our loose-leash extraordinaire in action:

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It was such a fun adventure. Johnnie was asleep about three minutes after getting in the car to head home, and snoozed on and off the entire evening until bed time.

We’re so excited to head back to Shenandoah National Park again as it gets warmer (we bought a year-long pass!). We’d love to bring Johnnie back with us again, but we won’t mind if she can’t make it because she finds her forever home. Do you know anyone looking for the perfect addition to their hiking party?

22To adopt your perfect hiking buddy, Johnnie Cash, email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.



Otis the Water Dog

Betcha never would have thought a big oafy scaredy dog like Otis would love something like a big puddle of water so much, would ya? Well, it’s true. When we’re running through the woods, Otis makes a B line straight for the creek.

It didn’t come easy though. Over the summer we went down to the water and he simply stood from afar and stared at it. “No way am I getting close to that big wet thing that keeps showing me an image of myself.” He followed me to the edge, watched me wade in, and finally decided to carefully follow. All of a sudden he found himself ankle deep and still safe. Knee deep. Tummy deep. He was in the water and it felt great against his hot skin – who would have thought!

After that day we went to a new place with water. I knew Otis liked water, but he wasn’t having as easy of a time remembering. I nudged and nudged (okay and maybe pulled and poked and prodded a little) but Otie stood strong. “No water for me. No way.” Finally, after much convincing, Honey dipped a toe on, followed by a paw, followed by two front legs. From then on, Otie was a water dog.

I can make a pretty good guess that he won’t actually swim, but if there’s water you can count Otis in (or in then out then in again).

Otis the water buffalo? Otis the duck? Otis the fish? Otis the dog who simply likes a nice pool of H2O.

If you are interested in adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.

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Only five days of voting left in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. This is my reminder for you to perhaps vote again today for MCHS? Thank you so, so much.


Otis the Rock Climber

It’s certainly no secret that we love to take our fosters hiking. It’s a great way to get us exercise, and it’s usually in a pretty neat location. Some of my favorite locations around here include the C&O Canal, Sugarloaf Mtn., and the Billy Goat Trail at Great Falls. Last weekend we went and explored somewhere new! Mark, Otis, and I headed out to Cunningham Falls State Park in Frederick. Neither of us had been there before, but I’d heard great things so we headed out for an adventure!

I already know Honey Bunches is an active dog who can keep up on a long walk. I was interested to see how he would do on a more challenging hike. Turns out, he was a rock star – no surprise there! He impressed us with his ability to scale some pretty tricky parts of the trail.

The trail was only about three miles round trip, but the inclines made it a nice workout for everyone. It felt like we went up hill on the entire trip to the falls, but when we got there we realized it was totally worth it – what a view!

It was a great afternoon. Otie was so good! He is such a polite walking partner, even on a busy trail where we passed many other dogs and people (a walk where my arms weren’t exhausted at the end?? What a concept!).

And, even with all the new surroundings, things, and people, Honey Bunches was one brave pup. He took the new experience with ease. He even demonstrated his new badass outlook on life:

I think he is ready for a Pittie Trails hike this weekend – so stay tuned for the time & location!

If you are interested in adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.


Pittie Trails First Walk!

You all had some really great guesses about what the two pictures in yesterday’s post had in common. The answer? They were both from the first ever Pittie Trails hike!

We had a great, great time! There were nine dogs total who came out to Rachel Carson Conservation Park last weekend. From the top left: Baxter, Lily, Athena, Reese (with the backpack), Cotton (gray & white), Nelly, Penny (pink collar), Stella, and McMuffin (who is for adoption!).

All of them were extremely well behaved, even while working on different manners.

Seeing all the dogs walking together really demonstrated how valuable things like this can be. It exposes the dogs to other dogs in a safe and controlled group, while also adding in distractions. Sometimes the distractions are far from anything they’d ever come across otherwise, like:

A horse! We came across very few other people on the trail, but one of which was this pair.

The poor horse “doesn’t like dogs” according to the rider, and you can imagine what we expected the dogs to think about the horse. Luckily, though, we were on a spot on the trail that everyone could get far off the path (which they did quickly and quietly because everyone was so awesome!). The horse snorted and pranced by us, visibly unhappy but tolerant. The dogs all did great, except I think for Athena who sent out a few barks expressing the way she felt – understandably!

Other than that, it was nothing but woods, creeks, and fields. The weather was perfect, and I think a good time was had by all! The trail was a little short, so I think a few dogs ended up energy to spare – but we are really excited to start branching out to new locations after we get the group going. Hopefully we can get to an area by everyone who wants to join.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out for the first hike!

We don’t have the next one scheduled yet, but stay tuned to the Pittie Trails Facebook page for the coming schedule. Also, check out the Facebook page in the next few days to see the photo album of all the pictures from this trip. Email pittietrails@gmail.com if you have any questions about coming on hikes with us – we’d love to have you.

What a great afternoon!

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email peacelovefoster@gmail.com.