Mr. Smoosh and Friends

The last 8 months have been really good for Sadie…if not a bit stressful. When she was young, she would lose her mind every time she saw another dog, even if they were hundreds of yards away. It was very annoying and made it difficult to walk her. She did get better as she aged, but she has always been dog-reactive. This trip has made her really interact with a lot of different dogs. First there was Tuuk and Hanky in Montana. She became good friends with both. We stopped by to say hi to our friends Margaret and Ray in Idaho and Sadie got to “play” with Bear. Then there were the Haskins’ dogs in Tacoma—Nala, Roxie, and Clickbait. She managed to work it out with them with a minimum of drama. Next was Bodie, who is deaf and blind. Sadie was super gentle with him and could tell he had something wrong with him. We visited the Gradys in Silverthorne where Sadie got to hang out with Sam, Izzy, and Rocky. Outside of a few tussles everyone had a good time. We were very happy to get to go visit our long-time friends Pat and Doug in Steamboat where Sadie got to work it out with Itty Bit (a tiny little Chihuahua with a big attitude).

And since we have been here in Fort Collins, she has had to live with Sara and Leo (a.k.a. Mr Smoosh). Sadie and Leo have become good friends and Sadie is even willing to share the couch with him. Sara is another matter. They tolerate each other with the occasional old lady purse fight that needs to be broken up and defused. I guess dogs are like people in that there are some people you really love and others that you just suffer through. I think Sara and Sadie suffered through with each other. Sigh.

I think this whole grand adventure has really put into focus how important friends and family are in one’s life—especially when you are going through a pandemic and getting ready to up and leave your country of origin. We have spent some great time with family, some very close friends and some friends that we had not seen for a very long time.

We went and hung out with the Gradys in our old neighborhood in Silverthorne. That was great fun despite the tension around the fateful Thanksgiving where Peter claims to have won the turkey cooking contest a number of years ago. We dispute it on two grounds (a) he cheated and cooked two turkeys and (b) frying a turkey should just not be allowed……even if it was spectacularly good.

The True Gold Medal Turkey.

We spent a weekend with our friends Pat and Doug up in Steamboat, doing jigsaw puzzles, watching Columbo, and eating good food. (Itty Bit sat on her throne on the couch and showed Sadie her teeth on occasion.) They were our neighbors for almost 20 years in Silverthorne. We hung out with them all the time, along with the Gradys who were also neighbors. Almost every weekend we would get together for dinner and enjoy each other’s company. The fun part was that Pat would call and demand that no one should go to the store (because it was too far, too busy, etc. LOL!). We each had to bring what we had in the fridge and then we’d figure out what to cook with it—a home version of Chopped. We enjoyed that. Pat and Susanne would do the weed patrol on the ranch each year, and between Doug and me we probably had to cut down 4000 to 5000 trees as it was in the time when the pine beetle decimated the lodgepole forests in Summit County.

When we went to the women’s world cup in Vancouver, Doug could not come so we made a Robo Doug stand-in. All of us agreed, Robo Doug was quite the flirt with the ladies and all of the fans at the event.

Robo Doug making friends at the World Cup Finals

I got to catch up with a lot good work friends in Denver as well. I learned most of what I know about animal welfare when I was in Colorado and I so appreciate that experience. It gives you hope for the world when you get to work with such great people that really dedicate themselves to helping make the world a better place. It is hard to leave the work behind and all the great people, but it was definitely time for me to move on to the next chapter of this adventure we call life.

We leave Fort Collins tomorrow. It has been a wonderful place to stay but both Susanne and I are ready to get on the road. We have spent the last couple days agonizing over what to pack for our next 3 months in New Zealand. I think both of us are trying hard to not bring too much stuff. Sadly, this means I will be leaving all my bikes behind. That will make me sad, but I am sure I can rent a bike now and again in N Zed.

The reality that we will be leaving Sadie behind is starting to sink in and it does make my heart heavy. But in the end, I know that at 12 years old, taking a plane flight that long and then being stuck in quarantine for 2 weeks would be really, really hard on her and that the best decision for her is to let her live with my wonderful sister and brother-in-law. Who wouldn’t want to retire to the beach life in Santa Barbara? Plus she has her own special chair that she loves.

Our Girlie Girl in her retirement throne
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