Tag Archives: tica

Walking with Tica (and now Sylvia): Thanks, neighbors!

Judith Edwards welcomes Sylvia to Beacon Hill. Photo by melissajonas.
Tica’s walks are a little slower and a little shorter than they used to be. She also has to share the smiles and praise our neighbors generously dole out. On May 14, we added a third person to our family: Sylvia Grace Foster. Gifts and well wishes started arriving before we even brought her home, thanks to the “doggy grapevine.” The neighbors who walked Tica while Sylvia was being born shared the news of her birth with all our doggy friends. We arrived home to a warm welcome!

Sylvia is napping in one of the many adorable outfits Heather passed down from her kids. I’m enjoying a hot bowl of chicken vegetable soup while the baby sleeps—courtesy of our neighbor Georgia. Judith’s potato soup waits in the freezer for another cool day; I devoured the chicken rice ambrosia as soon as she left it on the porch. Other neighbors have shared gifts, food, support, and tips for raising a baby in Beacon Hill—thanks to you all!

Beacon Hill businesses have also been welcoming, generous, and patient with our new baby. Sylvia’s first outing was to the newly opened The Station, where Luis greeted her like family. We strolled to the Beacon Hill Festival and had lunch afterwards at Baja Bistro and dinner a few days later at La Cabaña (impossible to say which is more family/baby friendly).  Already, we’ve enjoyed two Beacon Rocks! events, visited the library multiple times, and been granted the royal treatment at Red Apple. Sylvia ogles other babies smaller than watermelons at McPherson’s, and enjoys attention from the big kids in strollers at Beacon Hill Office and Mail Center.  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the Piñata Party next Saturday!

Many thanks to all the wonderful, amazing, generous, thoughtful people who have welcoming Sylvia to Beacon Hill.  I hope she always appreciates how fortunate we are to live in this community.

Walking with Tica: the other side of the leash

Even on dark winter mornings, dogs like Tica need their exercise. Photo by melissajonas.
Even on dark winter mornings, dogs like Tica need their exercise. Photo by melissajonas.
All of my posts so far have been about me and my experiences as a pedestrian and neighbor in Beacon Hill.  I’d like to share some of my observations about sharing my life with an athletic, social animal.

Tica turned 10 in June.  She’s still active and continues to demand (and deserve) regular exercise, but at a much more gentle pace.  We go out for 20-30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening.  From age 1-5, Tica had to be engaged for at least a couple of hours every day.   She is a smart, social dog and it was fun to find ways to keep her entertained.  It was also a lot of work.  I trained Tica using a “clicker” and positive training methods.  This approach worked miracles with my high-energy dog.  Using positive methods strengthened our relationship and helped Tica become more trusting of strangers.  Clicker Solutions is one of many online resources for this method.

My mantra in those years was “a tired dog is a good dog.” When Tica was younger, she got bored easily.  When she was bored, she’d find ways to get my attention–barking, whining, digging, chewing… behaviors I couldn’t ignore.  I realized that keeping her busy on my terms was a lot easier than trying to deal with her behavior after she got bored.

If you have a spring puppy, you’ve probably both been basking in the incredible weather.  It’s easy (and fun!) to take long walks and extended trips to the dog park while the sun is shining.  It’s a lot more effort when the sun goes down at 5:45 and the puddles are past your ankles.  Make the effort to keep your dog active–it pays off!

Wondering how you’re going to keep your dog active & happy this winter?

  • Wear a watch. Make a commitment to take the dog out every day. Most experts recommend 60-90 minutes, especially for high energy and/or younger dogs.  You know your dog and your lifestyle.  Set a goal and stick to it.
  • Dress appropriately. You’re more likely to take the dog out if you’re comfortable.  Wear weather appropriate shoes, invest in a good raincoat, and get several hats.  Keep visibility in mind–you want drivers to see you on dark November afternoons.  I don’t wear headphones because I want to be aware of my surroundings.
  • Keep your dog safe and comfortable. Some breeds are prone to ear infections, especially in wet climates.  Watch for discharge coming out of the ears and/or extra scratching.  Some breeds (Greyhounds, pit bulls, etc) need a sweater or rain coat to stay dry and warm on long walks.  Talk to your vet if you have concerns.
  • Trade doggy play dates and/or get together with a friend. Take turns bringing the dogs to the park, or simply getting them together to run around in the backyard.  You’re less likely to put off that walk when you’ve made a commitment to another human.
  • Play indoor games with your pooch.  Teach new tricks, hide dog treats behind the couch or in the bathtub, or practice a quiet “down, stay” while you’re making dinner.  Mental stimulation and social interaction keep dogs busy & happy.  Your dog still needs to go outside–but make the most of indoor time, too.
  • Take classes. Seattle has too many dog resources to list.  Agility, obedience, herding, conformation…there’s bound to be something you and your dog will both enjoy.  Many classes are in a covered or indoor area.
  • Hire a professional. If you’re too stretched for time to meet your dog’s needs, consider paying for a dog walker or taking your pup to a doggy daycare.  A responsible teenage neighbor might just be the perfect answer for getting your dog out of the house.  Be sure to interview critically–this person is going to be alone with your pet and may have access to your home.  Check references.

In every season, remember to be a responsible neighbor: carry bags and clean up after your dog, keep her leashed, and be respectful of others.  Many people are afraid of dogs–including some dog owners.   Tica is medium sized by my standards (45lbs), but to some people she looks intimidating.  I don’t force the issue.  Observe dog and human body language and keep your dog under control.

It takes a village…

A new baby, illness, injury, increased or changed work schedule… sometimes there are times when the responsibilities of a pet are too much. If you need help, ask.  If your neighbor needs help, offer.   A dog walking service is a great baby shower gift!  There are also lots of pet charities who need your support.  Donate food, litter, and other supplies to help others care for their pets.  Encourage your animal-loving student to consider volunteering at a shelter when assigned community service projects.

Walking with Tica: Exploring the neighborhood

A white kitty watches as Tica and Melissa walk by. Photo by melissajonas.
A white kitty watches as Tica and Melissa walk by. Photo by melissajonas.
Like several thousand of our neighbors, we rode the new Sound Transit trains on July 18. There were so many people in Beacon Hill (literally inside the hill) that first weekend–and it went so smoothly. I am proud of our neighborhood and proud of our city. Congratulations us!

What does Link light rail have to do with walking my dog? The streets around the station have been opened up. We adapted to the construction–traffic, streets and sidewalks blocked, noise, and the visual obstruction of the big blue wall. It’s been six years that we haven’t been able to walk along Lander. Six years that we’ve had to crisscross McClellan to get to Red Apple from the west side of Beacon.

Those of you with dogs probably understand how easy it is to get into a routine (some might say rut) and walk the same route every day. We walk by the same houses, sniff the same bushes, greet the same dogs… it can get dull. As of now, we have new choices! Getting across Beacon doesn’t involve dodging big trucks.

I posted several new pictures to the Beacon Hill Blog Flickr pool from our July 18 walk. We met new neighbors and noticed new kitties and discovered some really fun lawn art.

Take advantage of the weather and the newly-restored intersections to explore a new section of Beacon Hill this week–and bring your camera. Let’s see what we can find!

Walking with Tica: Doggy diversity

Dogs on the Hill reflect a neighborhood of diversity. Photo by melissajonas.
Dogs on the Hill reflect a neighborhood of diversity. Photo by melissajonas.
My 8 year old niece was recently visiting from Eastern Washington. One of her favorite things about coming to see us is being able to walk the neighborhood dogs. There’s a 9 year old who visits her grandmother next door, and the girls have become close “vacation friends”. We allow them to take the small dogs around the block alone—reminded each time about safety and sticking together.

On our block alone, we have a West Highland Terrier, a Belgian Malinois, a Shih Tzu, a black Lab, a Whippet, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, and our mixed breed Tica. If you cross a street in any direction, you’ll meet an English Bulldog, a Catahuoula, a Min-Pin, more Labs… an incredible variety of dogs. My niece is fascinated by the diversity, and loves learning the names of breeds and their history.

I share her love of doggy diversity, and have fun watching the big dogs play with the puppies—and how well all the dogs behave around the little girls.

Beacon Hill is also an incredible example of human diversity. Staying within one block of our house, you will smell cooking from every continent and hear over a dozen languages being spoken over the dinner table. We have new babies and great grandparents, a wide range of income and education levels, different sexual orientations, and families of every possible composition.

Walking the dogs has given me—and now my niece—a chance to develop an appreciation for the similarities our neighbors share. Everyone smiles when they see two little girls holding leashes or selling lemonade. Everyone strives to create a safe, welcoming place.

Our neighborhood is a community. New neighbors are welcomed by those who have lived here 50 years. History, current events, and hopes and fears for the future are all discussed in front yards and on street corners. I celebrate our diversity, and I cherish every chance we have to come together.

Beacon Hill has seen many changes over the generations, and we will see more as light rail begins. We’ve weathered several years of construction and traffic challenges, and I expect some bumpy patches as we face increased numbers of people coming through (and moving to) the neighborhood. I’m confident that this diverse, welcoming community will continue to come together to face every challenge and celebrate every positive change.