Tuesday, January 15, 2013

GaGa With Devon

To celebrate her 15th birthday, I took my young friend Devon to the Lady GaGa concert in Tacoma last night. We had a great time at a truly extraordinary event, and here is a little recap:

First of all, I think you might enjoy this flashback. A photo of us last night, and another of us at the very beginning of my first Voyage of Macgellan back in 2006. Time flies... 'Nuff said!

The Tacoma Dome was packed with a crowd of 16,000 very enthusiastic fans. Most of us were on our feet for the entire show, especially the mass of humanity surrounding -- and within -- the stage.

The staging and production were epic in scale, but they were dwarfed by the performance. For over two hours, GaGa sang, danced and connected with the audience. Even more compelling was her constant outpouring of her message: Acceptance, compassion and love of each other. I really like her music -- most of it, at least -- but I am in awe of her as human being. I am a "little monster."

My favorite moment in the concert was her circuit of the projected stage ramps on this extraordinary "trike" which must have been driven by some kind of remote control. I don't know how concert folk dream up this kind of stuff, but they certainly have found a way to "bring it" with Lady GaGa!

The bottom line is that it was a fantastic concert and I enjoyed it immensely. The line below that, of course, is that I had another wonderful time with Devon. She is an extraordinary young woman whom I am honored to know and to be included in her life. Happy Birthday, Devon!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy: I've Got New Jewelry!

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... That's why they call me Happy!

I'm especially happy today because I've got new jewelry! Every girl loves to get new jewelry, especially when it's unexpected and for no apparent reason. Am I right, ladies? You know I am!

I was riding around in the truck with Macgellan this morning, when we stopped at a big building and went inside. The next thing you know, I've got my paws up on a counter and I'm getting all kinds of pats and loves from a very nice lady.

She asked Macgellan some questions, then he handed her some money. (I don't really get the whole money thing, but it sure seems to make fun things happen!)

A minute later, he's taken off my collar, fiddled around with it and held it up for me to see: I've got new jewelry! Isn't it just beautiful? Isn't it a perfect compliment to my other piece of jewelry that I got when I ran the Iditarod?... I love it!

(Note from Macgellan: I'm delighted that Happy is so happy about her new jewelry. It only cost five bucks, and I've gotten a pretty good chuckle out of it myself. If you look closely, you'll see that her new "dog tag" is actually a "dog tax"! It says so, right on the tag. I can't remember seeing that on any other dog tags I've bought before, and I appreciate the honesty of the folks here in Anacortes!)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Happy: Not Sleepless In Seattle

Hi!... I'm Happy... I'm always Happy... That's why they call me Happy!

I've had a great first week here with my best friend Macgellan! We've spent a lot of time hanging out in his big dog house, and I really feel like it's my dog house too. We've also gone for lots of drives in his truck, and I always get to ride shotgun. That makes me really, really happy!

Last weekend we went on our first road trip to Seattle. On Saturday morning we visited with my new Uncle Mark on his houseboat. That's a big doghouse that floats. I didn't really get it, but he gave me a very tasty new kind of treat and promised that the next time we visit I can meet his dog Daisy!

After that we visited with my new Aunt Peggie and her family. She gave me a new kind of treat too, but the coolest thing was meeting her big dog Beau. He's a very hairy guy who looks pretty fierce, but I knew right away that he is a very sweet boy in disguise. The whole family was really nice to me, and I hope to see them -- especially Beau -- again soon!

After that we visited with my new Aunt Kay who also has a nice big doghouse. She doesn't have a dog, but I could smell that a dog had recently been there. She promised me that I'd get to meet the boy soon, along with a promise to have treats for me the next time I visit. Is that cool, or what?

Finally, we went to the doghouse of my new Aunt Christie and Uncle Rob. I was pretty tired by the time we got there, so I was very happy to see my bed! I think Macgellan was concerned about how I would do staying overnight in a strange doghouse, but as soon as I finished my dinner and got in my bed I went straight to sleep! What's to worry about?

Sunday morning we visited my new Aunt Maria and Uncle Brendan. They are really nice humans who gave me treats and a goodie bag of treats and toys to take home with me! Even better, they have a boy-dog named Skipper. He was kind of a show-off at first, but turned out to be a real gentleman. I like him a lot!

Sunday afternoon, Macgellan watched the Seahawks beat the Redskins on TV with Aunt Christie. I spent my time sleeping on the living room floor, ignoring the two cats. One of them ignored me too, but the other was kind of nosy. Everybody seemed a little worried that I might have a problem with the cats, but we got along fine. I ignored them and they mostly ignored me. What could be better?

We drove back to Anacortes on Sunday night, and I was really happy to be home. It was a fun, exciting weekend of meeting many new human and canine friends, but there really is no place better than my own bed, in my own doghouse, with my own human.

Actually, there might be one place better after all. A few nights ago, Macgellan was laying on his big bed reading a book while I was laying on my bed on the floor. All of a sudden, he was calling me, patting his bed and encouraging me to jump up on it with him.

I've never heard of such a thing as being on the boss's bed, but he was so encouraging that I figured I'd better jump on up there. It was great! We curled up together, sharing body heat. Plus, I got lots and lots of really good pats and plenty of sweet talk!

After my dinner tonight -- I don't really know how it happened! -- I suddenly found myself up on his bed again, all by myself. When I realized where I was, I kinda freaked out a little, but Macgellan smiled and said I am a good dog. So, there I stayed while he took my picture! Is this great, or what?

That pretty much brings you up to date on my experiences this past week. I'm really happy here, and have already met lots of very nice new human and canine friends. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

It's A "Happy" New Year!

Last Thursday night, I drove down to the Alaska Air Cargo facility at SeaTac airport to pick up a very special delivery. Right on time a brand new dog crate arrived, and after a little paperwork we were out the door... She's here!

Happy -- better known far and wide as "Happy The Sled Dog" -- has officially retired from SP Kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, and become my permanent canine companion.

After a quick walk around the parking lot to take care of business, we loaded up in my truck and drove north to Anacortes. Happy curled right up in the co-pilot seat for the 90-minute drive, only looking up when we finally parked at my camper.

A hot meal and another walk later, I introduced Happy to her new bed. She obviously had no idea what a dog bed was -- and probably couldn't fathom the idea that it was for her! -- so I actually had to physically put her in it and make her lie down.

Less than a minute later, though, she had it all figured out. The combined effects of the plane ride, the drive and the hot meal must have kicked in, because Happy was very happily down for the night. Home sweet home for Happy and me!

Here is Happy's official SP Kennel portrait. Don't let her looks deceive you: Underneath that bewildered gaze is a dog who pretty much hasn't got a clue about anything.

Happy was affectionately known as "the kennel idiot" up in Alaska. She never seemed to understand what being a sled dog was all about. She would frequently lose focus, bolt sideways and generally "go mental" (as Aliy describes it) on runs. To my knowledge, she is the only dog to ever start the Iditarod facing backwards!

To be fair, Happy has good cause not to be much of a sled dog. Although her mother was a trap-line dog in a remote native Alaskan village, her father is of completely unknown breed. One look at her, though, and it's pretty clear he was a hound of some kind. It's also pretty clear she got her body from her mom, but her face and brain from her dad.

And yet, Happy is as sweet a dog as you will find anywhere. She is always happy, always dancing and prancing, always full of life. She may not have been a very good sled dog, but when she was needed to fill out an Iditarod team one year, she made it all the way to Nome. It was her very first race ever, and that speaks volumes about her attitude and enthusiasm.

There's a lot more to that story, and a lot more to "The Happy Story" in general. For those of you who already know her story and are wondering if she will be "going public" with it again, the answer is "Maybe!" It all depends on how Happy takes to life as a companion dog, how she handles being around large numbers of strangers, and whether or not being in the public eye makes her happy. I'm game to revive her website, tell her story, print the t-shirts and go on tour, but only if it's good for her. So, we'll just have to wait and see!

Meanwhile, we are constant companions and doing very, very well together. My camper is a perfect size doghouse for the two of us, and the park we're in is large, wooded and full of great smells. So far we've had fun going everywhere together, including a hilarious trip to PetSmart where Happy made very good use of her hound dog nose checking out every package in the treat aisle!

So far, Happy is handling everything in stride. I was especially impressed with how calmly she strolled onto a ferry boat and enjoyed a 40-minute crossing to Lopez Island. Once there, we spent the day with friends who have a young daughter, now Happy's BFF.

It seems to me that picture pretty much tells the story for now. I am delighted to have Happy as my canine companion, the first permanent co-explorer on The Voyage of Macgellan. I have no idea what the future holds, but you can be sure that Happy will be a cherished part of it... Stay tuned!

On behalf of both of us, we wish you all a very "Happy" New Year!