Friday, January 25, 2013


                I had purchased these specifically to keep the harsh Arizona sun out of Morgaine’s eyes during our hikes, and I was really excited when they arrived.
                The glasses come in a little cloth pouch that you can use to clean the lenses with (it also provides a nice soft case if you need to store the Doogles in your backpack).
                The sunglass straps fit snugly under her chin and behind her ears, and the glasses themselves have cushioning on the frames so they sit comfortably.
                While they fit comfortably and securely, she isn’t quiet used to her cool shades yet and keeps trying to swipe them off. So we’re still in the “adjustment phase” of this operation.
                 I have noticed that her depth perception or field of vision (or both) seems to be altered when she wears her Doogles. She tends to trip, so when we hike over difficult terrain, I normally take them off her.
                Overall, I think these will become a hiking staple. They seem to be well made, sturdy, and designed for maximum comfort.
                Doogles are offered in a variety of sizes and colors (for example the frames are available in red, black, silver and a gold color) and there are a variety of lenses available for purchase as well (clear, polarized, ext). The price ranges from store to store. I paid around $25.00 for her pair.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Anti-microbial Ear Solution

Anti-microbial Ear Solution

Otic-HC 1.0% Enzymatic Solution in 1.25 fl oz

Zymox Plus Otic-HC Enzymatic Solution, 1.25 oz

During a hike a few weeks ago, I had bent down to give Morgaine a drink of water and (in what I can only explain as a slow motion, nooooooooo, kind of moment) the hose from my hydration pack dripped directly into her ear.

She shook her head right away and I hoped that was the end of it…but no. We got home and she continued shaking her head and then started scratching at the bothersome ear as well. I knew we were trouble and I called her Veterinarian, who suggested that I try Zymox Otic-HC 1.0% Enzymatic Solution in 1.25 fl oz.

The product works by stopping bacterial biofilm from forming, which in turn stops the little buggers from proliferating.  She wasn’t thrilled to have the drops placed in her ear (I placed about 4 drops in the affected ear), but she enjoyed the little ear massage that followed.

Within the first hour of applying the solution, she had stopped scratching her ears, and by the second day she had stopped shaking her head. Within a week of using the solution, her ears were back to full health.

I highly recommended this product (but of course, always discuss any treatment with your veterinarian first!). 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Piestewa Peak: Freedom Trail

Park at the last parking area on the left side of the road (you’ll know you reached the right parking lot because it’s a dead-end). There is a large, covered picnic area, near the trailhead, and bathrooms across the way. You should note, that dogs are not allowed on the Summit trail (which you would have driven passed in order to get to the Freedom trailhead), and about 3 and 1/3 miles up the Freedom trail, you MUST turn around, as the two trails will intersect here. You can get a fine if you continue, so be forewarned.

            Here’s an excerpt from the City of Phoenix website:
            The Freedom and nature trails start and traverse together for about 1/2 mile. At the intersection of 302, 304 and 1A, the Freedom trail turns left and follows the same alignment as the Perl Charles #1A trail for slightly more than a mile. The Freedom trail then breaks away from the Perl Charles and follows a series of switchbacks up the northwest side of Piestewa Peak to meet the Summit Trail to Summit Trailhead, then follow the trail on the north side of the ravine back to the trailhead at Apache area parking lot.
The trail is challenging enough that 3 and 1/3 miles will definitely give you and your dog a good workout. I have seen a few people trail running with their dogs here, and keep in mind, their dogs were off leash. So, be prepared for that.

The nature trail provides a little insight of the flora and fauna that you will encounter on the trail. Morgaine stopped to read a few plaques. 
Once you finishes the nature trail, there are a few benches to take a little respite. Morgaine, took the opportunity for a photo shoot.

 Keep going and the views get better and better
Something about the overcast sky, with the sunlight dancing in between the grey shroud made the experience even more breathtaking.
I would rate this trail as moderate to difficult. If you and your dog are in good shape and pace yourselves, it will make for a great day.

*Warning: There is a TON of prickly pear and jumping cholla cactus that often overlap onto the trails. I even had to pick a few jumping cholla spines out of Morgaine’s paw. If you have doggie hiking boots, this would be a great place to use them.*

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chamomile Tea Eye Wash

(Credit: iStockphoto)
It’s always a good idea to keep your dog's eyes clear of debris. I like to give Morgaine an eyewash after we hike so that I can remove any dirt that may have gathered in her eyes throughout the day.

One of the best ways to do this is by making a cup of chamomile tea.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One Organic Chamomile tea bag
  • One cup of filtered water
  • Cotton balls
  • Boil a cup of water
  • Pour the water into a cup with the Chamomile tea bag
  • Let the tea steep for fifteen minutes.
  • Let the tea cool down to room temperature (be REALLY careful to make sure the tea is brought down to room temperature)
  • Soak a cotton ball in the tea and gently squeeze the solution into you dog’s eyes. You can gently wipe away and grim that has gathered in the corners or under the eye.
  • That’s it! All done. Just watch your dog and make sure they don’t try to roll around and undo all your hard work!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thorpe Dog Park Flagstaff, AZ

Now, I don’t usually write about dog parks, but this one is worth mentioning. Tucked in the corner of Thorpe Park, this enclosed area is massive, giving your pet room to run.
          Unlike most dog parks that create a clearing, leaving the landscape void of trees, this park is in the forest. Overhead, ravens were landing on the snow-covered branches and surveying the scene down below. I’m sure they had a bit of entertainment as Morgaine and I dove into the snow banks.
This was Morgaine’s first time seeing snow, and the Bark Park was the best place I could have ever imagined to introduce her to it.  When we arrived, there were a few families in the Park but all were very attentive to their pets and everyone was incredibly nice. She was making friends and one little boy in particular, seemed to be falling for the majestic Morgaine.
Yet, Morgaine had other plans, she wanted to explore.

It didn’t take long for Morgaine to realized that she looooooooves the snow! With plenty of room to romp through the fresh blanket, she let it rip!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Papago Park Adventures

Pagago Park

View Larger Map

For directions:,+Tempe,+AZ&hl=en&ll=33.451209,-111.943302&spn=0.035019,0.075874&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=35.684144,77.695313&vpsrc=6&hq=Papago+Park,+Tempe,+AZ&t=h&z=14

The Park

Papago Park is a large (1,200 acres) beautiful place with lots to offer. Where else can you find a red sandstone mountain with chambers that you can explore, a Lake with two beautiful swans, a pyramidal tomb, a nature trail, and hiking? Papago Park is a unique and wonderful place to visit!

Hole in the Rock

 The first stop on our Papago Adventure was The Hole in the Rock trail. It’s a very short (0.10 miles) and easy trail, I would call it more of a sightseeing trek than a hike, but it’s interesting nonetheless. 

*Warning* There was A LOT of broken glass all over this path and up into the rock itself. Be careful of where you and your dog walk.* 

Hunt’s Tomb
Papago Park
          Our next stop was a visit to Hunt’s Tomb. This is the resting place of Arizona’s first governor, George W.P. Hunt. We simply walked from where we had parked at the Hole in the Rock parking lot, followed the road down a path to one of the ponds and crossed the street to the Tomb. Once again, there’s not much hiking going on, but the park is lovely and the weather was so beautiful that it was just nice to be outside. 

The plaque

Papago Ponds
          Feeling the need to explore, we walked back to the car taking a different route. Morgaine was excited when she spotted the ducks by the water’s edge and we went to say hello…well,. I said hello, she said “woof.” 

The Nature Trail
Still feeling adventurous, we meandered around until we came across the Nature Trail, which starts at the Ranger’s Station. There are bathrooms and a drinking fountain located in the parking lot, so if you need a quick stop, this is a good place to go. The trail is easy and only 0.5 miles in length. It is marked with plaques that describe the local flora and fauna and provides an enjoyable stroll.
I thought the name was cute.

Another reminder to be careful when you hike

Eliot Trail
Papago Park

Feeling the need for more of a workout, we got back in our car and crossed the road to the other side of Papago (the road is called East Moreland on the west side of the Galvin Parkway). On the right-hand-side is a trailhead parking lot for the Eliot Trail. This trail is 2.7-miles, an easy path with great views. 
We took a short detour and climbed a steep hill that lead to great views

It was around 9:30 am when this picture was taken, this is the back side of the #5 trail

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hiking the National Trail, South Mountain

Once again, we started at the Kiwanis trailhead lot (for more information see my post entitled “Hiking South Mountain's Kiwanis Trail”), and took the Kiwanis trail, which eventually leads to the National Trail (see the pictures below). We crossed the road and followed the sign to take the National trail, and then started climbing up,up,up. This trail is strenuous, and Morgaine and I really enjoyed the challenge.

It’s a narrow trail with a very steep drop-off to the right-hand side as you work your way up.

Morgaine was so excited that she made me wonder if she’s part mountain goat as she skipped up the trail.

It was pretty busy on this Thursday morning, with a lot of trail runners working their way both up and down the path. The challenge for a hiker with a dog, is finding a good place to stop and let the runners go by. So, if you decide to take the National with your dog, try to keep a lookout ahead of you for places to ‘pullover’ and let others pass. 

To reiterate, it is strenuous, but if you keep going, there’s a great reward waiting for you. (See the pictures below). I’m not sure what this little overlook is called, but it’s a fantastic spot to rest and have a little snack.

I would highly recommend that you enter the little building in front of your dog and walk the entire circle (there’s a stone table in the center of the structure that you’ll have to walk around). I found a large piece of glass on the ground and had to kick it away so that Morgaine didn’t end up cutting her paws. You also want to do this check because there could be creepy little surprises waiting inside as well (finding a tarantula or a snake would not make snack-time so pleasant).

We continued on a little further, over the ridge and to the next marker, but Morgaine began to show fatigue and I decided to call it quits.

We still had to work our way back down the National Trail, and all the way back through the Kiwanis Trail, which has some steep areas to climb through.  We took it slow, had lots of breaks and plenty of water.

This hike is great! Especially if you’re looking to get some serious exercise in.