I’m the worst.

I won’t even bother making excuses. It’s now been 3 1/2 years since my last update. Barkley is now 6. We’re still living in Emeryville, CA. We just got back from a road trip through the Pacific Northwest—Portland, Lummi Island, Vancouver, and then stopping in Eugene on our way home. Barkley went with us (of course) and got to meet a mini-Bear named Jessie who was 10 weeks old. They were cuter than cute together. Here’s photographic proof.

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Whoops.

No update for a year and a half? I better have a good excuse, right? As if there’s even anyone reading this blog still. Well, I enjoyed reading the old posts tonight and seeing how much my little Sweetface has grown up! He’s now almost 3, and we moved across the country last year to San Francisco. I moved in Jan. 2011, and Tom and Barkley came in May. So we’re settled in now, we all absolutely love it here, and Barkley is having the time of his life. I’ll just share one picture for now, with good intentions of updating with some of the adventures from the past year or so.

 
Bark

Four (Magic) Paws Kingdom

Four Paws Kingdom is a magical place tucked away in the mountains of NC, near Asheville (actually in Rutherfordton). We found it in a book full of dog-friendly places in NC, and this place could not BE more dog-friendly.

We decided to take a little vacation there in mid-October, when the weather turned cooler and the leaves started changing. We rented one of the 3 cabins, but you can also camp in an RV. The campgrounds are on 30 acres, and include 8 different dog parks (all off-leash areas), a creek, a swimming pond, a pavilion and hiking trails. Needless to say, there was plenty to do, and the best part was that all of it was stuff Barkley loves!

Our first night there, we settled in to our cabin, which was immaculate and adorable. Just one room, with a futon, bed, dining table, fridge, TV, toaster, microwave and bathroom.

Cabin

Cabin2

Then we wandered over to one of the dog parks, and made friends with 2 labs along the way. They joined us in the dog park, and after Barkley had run off his 6-hours-in-the-car-energy, we went to dinner at the local steakhouse/seafood restaurant. They had a salad bar which was DELICIOUS. Tom is laughing at me for typing that but he’ll tell you… we went back the next night just to get some more salad. (And fried pickles… mmm, pickles)

The next day we got up and put on our hiking shoes. We planned to explore the hiking trails, but first we stopped at Linus Creek Park. This is a huge park, and part of the fenced off area includes a creek. There were tons of leaves and sticks and things for Barkley to run around with, and when he got tired of running around, he’d jump in the creek for a little while, then run out, roll around in the mud/leaves, then do it all over again.

Bark Leaves

Bark Creek

Bark Stick

After all the fun at Linus Creek Park, it was time to continue on our hike. Of course I was taking pictures along the way.

Trail Sign 1
All of the signs had haikus written on them—I enjoyed these.

Tom Bark

Mo Bark

Trail Sign 2
Isn’t it beautiful? I just loved this place so much.

Haiku

Swim
Bark swims in the pond…

Shake
…and then he shakes right beside me… all over me.

Obstacle course
One of the park’s agility courses.

Sign

That’s mostly it. The rest of my pictures from our stay there are of Barkley sleeping, because after our mammoth day of playing, hiking, swimming and fun, he was WORN OUT.

I know Barkley loved Four Paws Kingdom, but I definitely loved it too. It was so relaxing and quaint and awesome. The owners of FPK, a married couple from Germany, are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Their Corgis, Lucy and Schroeder, were awesome too. Can’t wait to go back one day!

Rain, rain, go away.

The last week of September was constant rain for us here in Wilmington. I think we got something like 25 inches in 5 or 6 days—a record amount of rainfall! While it was good in a way, because we were in a drought, it also meant one restless dog and two restless humans. So the first day we had without rain, we went out for fresh air and to stretch our legs.

We went to the state park in Carolina Beach, which is a campground, marina and has lots of trails. (You may remember it from the Turkey Trot race that we took Barkley to last year).

Tom Bark

Bark
There was lots and lots of bark for Barkley to chew on.

Me Bark

Family
An attempt at a family portrait 🙂

We had a good time wandering around the park with Bark Bark!

Strut Your Mutt 5k

Yesterday Barkley and I went to Southport for the Strut Your Mutt 5k. It was my first race since breaking my knee in Feb., and Barkley’s first 5k ever. Denise and Mercury were running too, and it was also Mercury’s first race. We were excited.

D and Merc
Denise and Mercury before the race

Barkley was super excited to see all of the dogs and people, and he made sure to jump on each and every one of them. We were both worn out before the race even started.

Bark

After lots of socializing and water drinking, the race director gathered us to start the 5k. There were lots of walkers, but not many runners (I’m not going to say exactly how many, but you could count them all on two hands… or one). We were told the route of the course and that there would be signs for us to follow. So, off we went, with the dogs pulling us along. I carried a water bottle with me, because it was already hot and humid at 9 am and I knew Barkley would need it.

After about 1/2 a mile, Barkley pulls me in the direction of the grass on the side of the road, which can mean one of two things. In this case, it meant he was already tired and wanted to lay down. So, he did. And he refused to move. Denise and Mercury were waiting for us, and I was trying everything I could think of to get him up and moving. It wasn’t the first time he’d done this while running with me, so I was prepared and had treats to bribe him with. He wanted nothing to do with the treats though. So I tried to pull him… but I’m no match for his sheer stubbornness. I poured some water in his mouth. That helped some, and after I picked him up, he started running again as if he could run forever. Denise and Mercury had a good laugh.

We ran along the waterfront in Southport, and it was a really nice race course. We followed all of the signs and ran along (only stopping to lay down again one time), until we got to an intersection… and there were no arrows or signs telling us which way to go. We’d only run 1.6 miles, and were back at the start, confused. The other runners were back there too, so we were all relieved that we’d ended up at the same place despite the confusion and the short race. We guessed that maybe we were supposed to run the course twice, but no one really knew for sure. So, Barkley and I got 3rd place, right behind Denise and Mercury! Barkley got a trophy, and some other prizes.

Trophies

They also had a dog tricks competition, and Barkley was entered to do his “Shake… shake with the other hand… Wave” trick. I basically had to drag him up on stage because he was so exhausted, and we waited our turn to do the trick. When it was his turn, he did the shake with either hand part fine, but when I asked him to wave, he acted like he’d never heard that command before in his whole life. He still got 2nd place though (:

We had lots of fun and loved seeing all of the other dogs that came out to raise money for B.A.R.K. Hope we’ll get to participate again next year!