With the people of whom he is fondest
My dog Ace has a habit immodest
After you greet
He’ll sit on your feet
To make sure that you stay the longest
(Sometimes, the poet within wins. To read all his verse, click on the logo to the left.)
Only once has Ace plunged into the surf with reckless abandon.
That was his first time. At a beach in Delaware, upon his first sighting of the Atlantic, he bolted out into the water, only to get hit face first with a giant wave that flipped him over. Ever since then, he has exercised caution, and only with encouragement from multiple people has it been possible to beckon him out any deeper than his knees.
Yesterday, though, as we continue to drag out our departure from Figure 8 Island in North Carolina, he ended up playing in the surf – and without seeming preoccupied about how big and scary the next wave might be. That was thanks to two dogs, a blue tennis ball and a girl named Georgia.
We’d stopped at the Winston house — the same family that provided a personalized watering station for Ace, complete with signage, over the weekend — to visit again with Mac, a golden retriever, and Jet, a black Lab.
Ace had seemed only mildly interested in the dogs on our earlier visit, partly because he was worn out, partly because that’s the way he is. While he immediately warms up to people, it takes him a while with dogs. (I’m the opposite). He’s nice enough upon meeting another dog, but it usually takes him 15 minutes or so of sniffing and acting aloof and reserved — especially with other big dogs — before he’ll even consider playing.
But getting together with Mac and Jet, and realizing there was no shade he could lay low in, he participated in some canine frolicking, all instigated by 8-year-old Georgia.
She’s a take charge sort, but not in a bossy way.
Georgia told me she plans to become an animal doctor. (That was her term, and a much more manageable one than “veterinarian.”) And she did seem to have a way with dogs — not just her own, Jet, but her aunt’s dog, Mac, and even Ace.
On the beach, she seemed a master choreographer, leading them in their antics, and she offered to throw the tennis ball I’d brought along, assuming Jet and Mac would chase it even though Ace wasn’t likely to.
At one point, I stood in the ocean with my camera and asked her to throw the ball over my head, so I could take pictures of Jet and Mac charging through the waves to get it. Surprisingly, a couple of times, Ace showed up in the frame, apparently not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Later, with the help of some peanut butter crackers, Georgia demonstrated Jet’s obedience skills, and soon had Mac and Ace under her spell as well.
One gets the sense, even at 8, and even if her plans to become an animal doctor change, Georgia is going to accomplish what she sets out to in life. When she heard I was writing a book, she asked to be in it. When told the book was based on my travels with Ace a year ago, she said she’d settle for being on ohmidog!
Told that would require permission from her parents, she left, returning a few minutes later with a note from her mother.
“I hereby allow ohmidog! to place any and all photos of my sweet Georgia “Peach” Winston,” it said. “Jet Winston, too!”
When I jokingly asked her if she wrote the note herself, Georgia said no, adding that she hasn’t mastered cursive yet.
I assured her that would be easy. It’s just like printing, only with waves.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animal doctors, animals, ball, beach, dogs, figure 8, figure 8 island, georgia, jet, mac, obedience, ocean, pets, photography, playing, surf, swimming, training, travels with ace, veterinarians, water, waves, winston
How nice is this?
Ace and I were taking the mile-long walk down to the end of Figure 8 Island and back on Sunday when we stopped to meet some other dogs — a golden retriever named Mac and a black Lab named Jet.
Their owners were on the beach, and though strangers — to me, at least – they offered Ace, who was looking a little bedraggled by then, some water. He graciously accepted and drank their entire supply.
After some chatting, Ace, I and friends moved on, walking to the inlet and turning around for the hike back. By then — it being especially hot, and our morning walk having started around noon — Ace was really dragging. In addition to being nearly as out of shape as his master, he had been taking in a little salt water each time he gingerly waded into the ocean.
We were passing by Mac and Jet’s house again when — though the people and dogs had all gone inside – we came across the note above, written in the sand, with an arrow that pointed to a full bowl of fresh water.
Ace made a beeline for it, lapped some up, then laid down, resting his chin on the edge and drinking almost the whole bowl before lazily getting up and lumbering a few hundred more yards.
All along the way, in addition to sniffing in the smells, he was keeping an eye open for shade. Anytime he saw a group under an umbrella, he felt the need to visit, and not being on a leash (shame on me) he did.
We hadn’t gotten far from the Ace watering station when another woman beckoned, and we, eyeing the shade of her umbrella, veered in her direction. She went to a cooler and pulled out a bottled water, pouring it into her cupped hand for Ace. He polished off the whole thing.
Issuing thanks again (though no one was offering me water, I might point out), we trudged homeward — by now having fallen far behind our friends, due to our slower pace and Ace’s philosophy when it comes to humans: There are no strangers — only friends he hasn’t yet met (who might also have good stuff like water and treats and shade).
Shade can be hard to find at the beach.
Kindness, though, is usually only as far as the next beach chair.
(Photos by Amelia Bellows)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, beach, dog, dogs, drinking, figure 8 island, friends, heat, hot, jet, kindness, mac, north carolina, pets, reunion, salt water, shade, strangers, travels with ace, vacation, water
If there’s anything Ace and I enjoy more than sitting on the beach, it would be sitting on the beach and eating a sandwich.
But don’t go jumping to any conclusions.
The beach is where we have been since Friday — and where we still are, a good day after we were supposed to leave.
Extracting ourselves from the beach is always hard. It’s as difficult as trying to get the sand out of your swimsuit. No matter how much you rinse, a little always lingers, then falls out once you get home and unpack, as if to to remind you of your good times, and that you need to vacuum.
This, as best as I can recall, is our fourth visit to the reunion of University of North Carolina college buddies that my friends in Wilmington host at their beach house every year. Most of us were members of the class of ’75. We reminisce, update each other on what’s been going on in our lives, eat heartily, drink some, sing, dance, act silly and play in the ocean.
I have to to say most of them seem to be holding up quite well — even though we’re all nearing 60.
At 60, or even 59, which I will turn next month, it’s more important than ever — and a far bigger battle — to stay in shape.
Between watching the Olympics and sitting on the shore, I’m seeing — not ogling, mind you, just seeing — a lot of young, tanned and toned bodies, all of which serve to reinforce that point. Exercise is vital and should be part of your daily regimen. I may try it some day.
We’ve had a few walks on the beach, and I did engage in one strenuous ping pong match, beating my opponent handily, but the beach to me has always been about relaxing, and I am very good at that.
The other night, we broke out the guitars and played some songs. As our host thumbed through the pages of a songbook, naming songs, she came upon “When I’m 64,” by the Beatles.
“Wow,” she commented. “We’re almost there.”
We skipped singing that one.
I remember how old 64 sounded when that song came out — truly ancient. One that age is bound to be decrepit. But I have a feeling, when it comes to this particular group, they’ll cruise right through that year, and still be reflecting the kid that, thankfully, seems to remain inside each of them (some more than others).
My plan is to come every year, and — if they still need me, if they’ll still feed me –especially that year.
Perhaps by then I’ll be in shape.
(Disclaimer: That is not my sandwich in the photo above. That’s not my body, either. But that is my dog.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, aging, animals, beach, bodies, dogs, fit, friends, health, north carolina, olympics, pets, reunion, sandwich, toned, travels with ace, university of north carolina, when i'm 64, wilmington
Once again, I’m watching too many of those HGTV and DIY network home improvement shows — mostly, of late, the ones in which a homeowner’s backyard is “crashed” and transformed from a barren expanse into a Spa-Like Retreat, or a Tropical Paradise, or Awesome Party Area so they can invite over the numerous photogenic friends they always have.
It’s one way I pass the time when it’s too hot to go outside. I stay inside and watch shows about people who are getting makeovers for their yards, which are probably also too hot to invite friends over, unless, of course, a swimming pool is being added.
Watching those programs inspired me enough to go outside and attempt my own poor man’s version of a makeover – of a neighbor’s backyard, or at least the grassy area behind her apartment that I’m not sure who actually owns, probably the homeowner’s association.
I’ve told you before about where Ace and I ended our travels and where I’m staying for now — renting the very unit my parents lived when I was born, at a former apartment complex called College Village, since turned condo. It’s a modest development of one and two-story brick buildings that serve as an oasis of affordability in a neighborhood that otherwise consists of fine and expensive homes, with big trees and country clubs in every direction. College Village is mostly, as the name might imply, college students, along with people just starting their careers, and people on fixed incomes, or, as in my case, broken incomes. (There should be a TV show where personable, good-looking and enthusiastic experts come to your house and fix your income.)
I’ve also told you before about my neighbor dachschunds, short and chunky Frank and long and slim Bogey. Most days, Ace and I walk around the block with them. (Frank’s trying to shed a few pounds.)
Several times on those walks, their owner, Faren, has mentioned how she’d like to get a kiddie pool for the dogs to cool off in during the summer. It was taking her far too long to get this accomplished, though.
So I decided to “crash” her yard and transform that simple patch of grass from drab to fab, from bland to grand, from blah to something that rhymes with blah — oh yeah, “ahhhhh” — to, as they say in the parlance of these shows, “trick it out.”
While Faren was at work Friday, I made my move. I had but a few hours to complete the surprise transformation (all these shows have a beat-the-clock element to make them more exciting).
I decided to set a budget of $50. (That — staying within budget — is another dramatic element designed to make these shows more suspenseful than hammering and painting would otherwise be.)
First, I headed to K Mart, where I purchased a blue kiddie pool for $15. On an aisle nearby, I picked up some accessories — vital in any makeover. I couldn’t find any pink flamingos, but I bought two tiki torches for $5, and a bottle of bug repelling oil to fuel them, for $8.
Then I bought myself some sandals, because there was a half price sale on them, for $12.
That brought me in, even counting the sandals, at $10 under budget.
I gave myself a high five and, back home, assembled the team members — me and Ace. I found a flat place for the pool, borrowed a neighbor’s hose and filled it up. I stuck the two torches into the ground, but just barely because the ground was really hard and dry.
I proclaimed Ace lifeguard and myself facilities manager, as well as a charter member of the country club’s membership selection committee. I am also thinking about being editor of the country club newsletter.
Then I put on my new sandals and waited for the reveal, which I figured would take place when Faren got home. In the interim, I watched more home improvement shows and lots of advertisements for Glidden paint.
Faren and her boyfriend, Richard, pulled up without me seeing. So I can only imagine that, before I got there, they both said “ohmigod!” and “this is AWEsome!” numerous times.
When I saw they were home, I went over and walked Faren through the tropical paradise I had created, pointing out its many features, including her white plastic chair, which I had moved closer to the pool area. It took about four seconds.
Ace traipsed through the pool a few times, deciding, while it was perfect for getting a drink, it wasn’t big enough for him to lie down in.
Nevertheless, I foresee countless hours of enjoyment ahead as Faren, Frank and Bogey, and probably lots of mosquitos, make the most of their brand new, totally tricked out, awesome tropical paradise.
As for the lifeguard and facilities manager, they’ll probably be staying in the air conditioning.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, back yard, bogey, college village, crashers, dachshund, diy, dogs, frank, heat, hgtv, home improvement, kiddie pool, make over, neighbors, north carolina, pets, pool, summer, swimming, transformation, winston-salem, yard crashers
I don’t want a Father’s Day card from my dog.
While I may — colloquially — refer to myself, or permit others refer to me, as “Ace’s dad,” I don’t see myself as exactly that, especially if he ever decides he wants to go to college, in which case the best I could do would be to buy him a handbook on how to apply for doggie student loans.
I don’t like to call myself Ace’s father (for that either humanizes him or dogizes me). I don’t like the term “owner” (too reminiscent of slavery), or “caretaker” (for that is something mutual that we do for each other). “Partner” doesn’t work either. (Though it comes closest, the word has come to have extra connotations in modern society.)
Friend will suffice nicely.
And no card — Hallmark or otherwise — is necessary.
Father’s Day cards from the dog — and this is no big surprise — are becoming more popular, which is just fine with greeting card companies.
The Washington Post’s John Kelly commented on the phenomenon in a column this week:
“When I was at CVS, I saw Father’s Day cards for your dog. Not for you to give to your dog, but for the dog to give to the man of the house …
“Hallmark is brilliant. They don’t let a little thing like our traditional notion of Father’s Day — that it’s a day for [human] children to give cards to their [human] paternal units — stand in the way of sales. They know that they can add millions in revenue to their bottom line if they can just expand the boundaries of Father’s Day.”
One of the things I most like about dogs is that, unlike us, they don’t fall prey to such marketing and gimmickry. Dogs don’t buy Father’s Day cards. Dogs dont get on the computer and invest in stocks or sign up for matchmaking services. Dogs don’t try to buy one and get one free, or enter contests. (You may already be a weiner dog.)
To be clear, we’re not talking here about Father’s Day cards that merely have images of dogs — but personalized cards, meant to be from the dog.
Here’s one I found on Squidoo, the inside of which reads:
“I’m all wags for my woof-woof-woofunderful Dad!”
The one at the top of this post is from Zazzle.com, which has a wide selection.
Petside.com offers several you can print out, and they appeared to be free.
A more philanthropic option is to order dad an ecard through the Maryland SPCA – and a portion of profits goes to benefit homeless animals in the shelter.
I’m not telling you how to live your life. Feel free to buy a card for Dad and pretend it’s from the dog. (Feel free, too, to purchase Dad a far more useful Travels with Ace calendar, half of the profts from which go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire.)
I’m just saying that — even though cards with dogs on them are my favorite — I don’t need a card from Ace, or even a card from my human son, who’s now visiting with me.
Every day with them is a gift already (sorry, greeting card companies). If you feel the need to spend money, make a donation to an animal shelter in honor of dad.
I think that would be much more woof-woof-woofunderful.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, calendar, cards, cards from the dog, dog, dog cards, dog father's day cards, dogs, fathers day, gimmickry, greeting cards, gullible, hallmark, humans, marketing, pets, petside, rolling dog farm, squidoo, travels with ace, zazzle
Encountered: While walking my dog in my neighborhood in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Backstory: More than a year after setting off to retrace the path of John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley, we finally ran into a poodle named Charlie.
Even though it’s spelled differently, Charlie is named after the dog Steinbeck explored the country with in “Travels with Charley.”
His owner is a big fan of the book.
Ace and I ran into her and Charlie while passing the Diamondback Grill, where Ace always stops for water and a treat. It’s just down the road from where our year of travels came to an end, when Ace and I moved into the very apartment I was born in.
It struck me as interesting that only after completing our quest — only after we finished our 27,000 miles of Charley-inspired travels around the country – we’d finally encounter a poodle named Charley, or even Charlie.
Perhaps it just goes to show you, or at least me — when you finally stop looking for something, that’s usually when you find it.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, charley, charlie, dogs, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, pets, poodle, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley
A full year has passed since Ace and I — after a year on the road — called a temporary halt to our wandering ways and moved into the apartment of my birth in Winston-Salem, N.C.
During that time I’ve reclaimed my stuff, and gotten things organized to my liking, but I’ve done little to improve the outside appearances of my new abode — a one-story brick unit that looks just like all the others in the former 1950′s-era apartment complex turned condo.
Shortly after I moved in, the homeowner’s association here in what’s called College Village, began sprucing things up, landscaping the barren front of the buildings with azaleas and gardenias and the mulch of choice in these parts, pine needles.
But my front steps, especially after that, were pretty bland.
So, getting hit with an urge to build, make home a little homier, or maybe just put my mark on the place, the front stoop seemed a good place for a home improvement project — as silly as that may be to do in a rental property where, though I don’t have it entirely figured out yet, I probably won’t be staying for any great length of time.
Last week, after a good two years of avoiding Home Depot, I headed there to get what I needed for the project. I wanted to build a flower box for each side of the steps, to sit atop the brick ledges, and plant something flowery that would climb up the wrought iron rails.
Gardening, maybe, was something I missed during our year of travel, staying with friends, family, in the car, at campsites, in a boat, in a trailer and at a lot of Motel 6′s. (You can read more about those travels here, and buy the awesome commemorative Travels with Ace calendar here.) Since deciding to stay put for a bit, and moving here, all I’d done, gardening-wise, was stuff some pansies in some pots and put them on the front step’s brick ledges.
That was in honor of a pending visit from my sister and her husband. She lived here as a toddler, and had told me about how, before she had a brother to pester, she would sit on the front porch and talk to the pansies planted there, because it looked like they had faces, and she’d found they wouldn’t interrupt her.
Last week, with measurements in hand, and my son along — he’s visiting for the summer — I headed to Home Depot, determined to make not just some plain wooden flower boxes, but some that would securely fit over those brick ledges on the side, so as not to be knocked over by any big dogs, and I was intent on doing so as inexpensively as possible.
We bought some cedar fence planks, and two pine furring strips, some nails, some dirt, some white impatiens for the front of the boxes and, for the back, two clematis — clemati? — that would, according to the plan, wind their way up the black railings. Total cost: About $60.
Through a lot of trial and error, miscuts and boo-boos, we managed to put together two boxes, with slatted, recessed bottoms for drainage that perfectly fit over the ledges, with a little encouragement from a rubber mallet.
Once they were in place and secure, I realized that, in addition to being about the right size for what I was planting, they were also the perfect size for a couple of my neighbors — Frank and Bogey, both dachshunds.
So we invited Faren and her dogs over.
With the dogs in place, my modest apartment was transformed — into something close to one of those mansions that have pretentious lion statues at their entrance. Well, maybe not that close.
Bogey, that’s him on the left, was patient enough to stay in place while I took the picture. Frank, on the right, seemed mesmerized by being in the box. Frank, who has some weight issues, barely fit in, but he seemed to like that. Maybe he found it reassuring, like one of those Temple Grandin hugging machines.
He seemed willing to stay there all afternoon. Frank, we should point out, is in the midst of a weight loss regimen — and doing great. Not real active when I first met him, prone to giving up and laying down whenever his owner took him for a walk, we found that, with Ace along, he was inspired to keep up.
He has lost almost five pounds, has far more pep in his step, and almost every day, with Ace along, he’s logging a good half mile, with plans to increase that incrementally.
His brother (though not by birth) Bogey, is an active sort, prone to chasing squirrels if given the slightest opportunity. He’s much slimmer, and a bit longer than Frank. Between that and wanting to see outside, he chose to keep his front paws on the edge of the box.
Bogey’s the kind of dog that doesn’t want to miss anything.
Frank’s the sort who doesn’t want to miss dinner.
I’d probably rather step outside to see Frank and Bogey in my boxes than flowers, but that’s not practical, so I let Faren take her dogs back, explained to the two of them, and Ace, the importance of not peeing on my custom-built, cedar flower boxes, planted my flowers and took the “after” picture that’s atop this post.
In the months ahead, I expect my clematis vines — already with about a dozen blooms — to grow and climb. I expect Ace to not jump over or through my boxes in his eagerness to get outside, usually to see Frank and Bogey. I expect Frank, homebody that he is, to shrink more as our walks continue. I expect Bogey, adventurer that he is, to pick up a scent and chase something.
It occurs to me that I’m equal parts Frank and Bogey, and I think Ace is, too, and maybe we all are – part of us wanting to stay put, part of us wanting to get out of the box and explore.
But sometimes staying inside the box — as long as it’s one in which you can still grow – isn’t too bad.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, bogey, cedar, clematis, dachshunds, decorating, dog boxes, dogs, dogs in boxes, flower boxes, frank, front steps, gardening, home, home depot, home improvement, impatiens, living in the box, living outside the box, nesting, pets, project, road trip, settling down, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace
And the fine for an unrestrained dog — unlike the $46 one for an unbuckled human — can cost you up to $1,000.
Because it’s considered animal cruelty under state law, penalties for transporting your dog without a restraint range from $250 to $1,000 and as much as six months in jail.
“That’s for each offense,” Col. Frank Rizzo, the police superintendent for the New Jersey SPCA, told reporters this week. “So, if you have more than one animal loose in your car, just do the math.”
Rizzo and representatives from the state the Motor Vehicle Commission briefed reporters about the law as New Jersey entered the initial phase of its “Click It or Ticket” campaign, at the outset of which police in 23 Bergen and Passaic county towns issued 359 tickets for back-seat violations — none of them involving dogs.
While some reports are calling the doggie seat belt mandate a new law, the Bergen Record’s Road Warrior column reports that leaving your dog unrestrained in the back seat of your car violates state statute 4:22:18, which is 16 years old.
(An unbuckled adult human in the back seat only became illegal in New Jersey three years ago.)
Rizzo said the high fines will help people become aware of the dangers of dogs traveling in cars unrestrained. “Some people tell us they like to let their pets hang their heads out the window to take in the fresh air, but dogs and cats become projectiles in a crash,” Rizzo said.
“It’s much cheaper to invest about $25 in a restraint system than to deal with the consequences of a crash,” said MVC Chief Administrator Ray Martinez, who used his own golden retriever-poodle mix to show reporters how to harness a dog into a back seat.
Patch.com, in an unscientific online poll, was finding little support for mandating dog restraints, and found few police officers interested in enforcing it.
“Seriously, the best part of my day is hitting the road with my dog sitting right beside me in my truck.” said one veteran officer said who asked not to be identified.
Another thought the law was intrusive, and its penalties too severe.
We welcome your thoughts on this topic (and everything else, too, of course), and we’ll share our own, bearing in mind I only started wearing my seat belt about six years ago, when I bought a new car, and only to stop the eternal dinging that resulted when I didn’t put it on.
Ace doesn’t wear a seat belt or restraint. At 130 pounds, he travels loose in the folded down back seat, sometimes with his head resting on the console between the front seats. He does from time to time stick his head out the back window, though I discourage it on Interstate highways.
Having recently completed a year-long, 27,000 mile road trip with him, I can’t imagine what that would have been like for him if he had been strapped down the whole time.
Our trip was all about being free and liberated — for a year at least — and while I’m probably over-protective of him in most ways, this is a step that, while it’s becoming more and more politically correct, I don’t see taking.
Until authorities show up at my door, or pull me over in New Jersey, Ace rides free.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, buckle up, click it or ticket, crackdown, dog seat belts, dogs, enforcement, humans, law, new jersey, pets, restraints, safety, seat belts, spca, travel, travels with ace
Revised, reconfigured and ready to get you all the way through 2013, the “Travels with Ace” calendar is back on sale for a limited time.
A heavy-duty, 18-month wall calendar, it’s illustrated with photos from our year-long, 27,000-mile trip across America — from the coast of Maine, where Ace was the first dog in America to see the sunrise one day in October, to the shores of Monterey, where Ace hopped up for a closer look at a bust of John Steinbeck — the author who inspired our journey.
You can buy it and get more information here, or by clicking on that ad to the left.
Fifty percent of profits from the sale of the calendar go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire (and also one of the stops on our trip).
We’ve added photos of one stop that we didn’t include the first time around — the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
The rest of the calendar is packed with images from some of our other stops:
@Salvation Mountain in California, where Leonard Knight has fashioned and painted a mountain in honor of God.
@Niagara Falls, where Ace — ohmigod! — almost disappeared.
@The Lodge, a gentleman’s club in Dallas, where we met one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, and where Ace briefly took the stage.
@Various points south, like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, where we kept running into kudzu dogs.
@The mountains of North Carolina, where we went in search of the elusive — and sometimes not so elusive — white squirrel.
@Rolling Dog Farm, where we reconnected with some old friends.
@John Steinbeck’s former home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where we began retracing the route the author took in “Travels with Charley.”
@A marina in Baltimore, where we lived on a sailboat for a week, which Ace mostly liked.
Initial sales of the calendar raised $400 for Rolling Dog Farm.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alabama, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, bandera, calendar, calendars, california, coast, coon dog cemetery, dallas texas, dog, dogs, fathers day, following, gentleman's club, gift, gifts, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, lancaster, maine, monterey, new hamsphire, niagara falls, north carolina, ohmidog!, oregon, path, pets, photography, photos, road trip, rolling dog farm, route, salinas, strip clubs, the lodge, trail, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, trip, tucson, wall calendar, white squirrels, winslow