Here's Maggie!
Maggie is our rambunctious little weasel-dog!
(and idiot-savont of the canine world)
February 14, 2000
Did you ever walk in a room and forget why you walked in?
I think that's how dogs spend their lives.
-Sue Murphy
        Jen and I grew up in families that have always had dogs, and life with out a mutt was just too much to bear.  Back on July 20, 1998, we had no choice (so our hearts told us) but to adopt Maggie.  Despite all the dogs that I (Dan) have had over the years, Maggie is the first one over which I had any influence in training and being A#1 Alpha.  While she rarely pays heed to Jen's orders to cease and desist or just "pay attention once in a while" it takes nothing more than a snap of the finger, a whistle, or coarse word to get her to behave for me.
        Unfortunately, Maggie's (and mine) ideal world of having all day to play came to an abrupt end back in April when I began work at the Virginia State Library.  Nowadays Maggie and I get out on weekends but the cold season makes trips to the river a bit too chilly for our bones.  We still go down to Belle Isle, to nearby battlefields, or along the south shore of the James River Park, where we explore amongst the rocks and riffles of the Mighty James, but for now our days of swimming are on hold until things warm up.  Come summer we'll get back to the usual swimming, jumping and wading amongst boulders and pools, sunbathing, watching the little fishies, staring endlessly at geese and herons, watching canoers and tubers float by, and eating or rolling around upon any dead creature we may find washed up among the marsh grasses (Maggie does the eating and rolling, I do the hollering).
        Social interaction with other canines has improved a zillion percent but too many encounters and Maggie starts to sour and blow her good track record by growling and snarling at anything that passes by.  After the competition has passed, though, she goes on her merry way as if nothing had happened.  She has unfortunately given up her little habits of untying things (shoes, teddy bears, etc.) and hasn't eaten anything but rawhides in quite a while.  She has that beagle "soft mouth" and I can't even get her to play tug of war!

Our latest adventure:
        Our hospitable Southern colleagues and neighbors know well that Jen and I are Yankees at heart (me upstate central NY, Jen CT, RI, MA, NH) but it is hard to tell that VA native Maggie (who cannot speak with any accent) has now switched loyalties from her native southern heritage and is now a devout NH Yankee!  Back in July the three of us took a road trip and visited family up north and managed to squeeze in a few days of New Hampshire wilderness (as close as Jen will get to the real "wild").  Maggie had a blast watching and chasing chipmunks, rummaging through the forest duff of old dead leaves and sticks, and wandering to her heart's content.  (She even checked out the glacial boulders scattered through the woods and seems to be coming up with a theory that they were transported and eroded by ice - unlike the boulders in the James River which are water-worn.)  One of her favorite things to do was hang out on the beach of the pond (actually a small lake in my book) and watch for anything that moves in the water.  We took several trips out in the Old Towne and Maggie was the perfect canoeist, although I wished she had learned to hold the paddle properly.  With Dan fishing and Maggie navigating we were bound to have fun!  She was incredibly well behaved when I landed what few fishes I managed to convince onto my line ("is that what those things look like up close - that's amazing!  Lets get some more!!!!!).  Our trips are shorter nowadays but just about anywhere I go I have Maggie by my side the whole way - my buddy and companion in places where Jen will not go.  (don't get me wrong, Jen goes to the river and went canoeing with us, she just doesn't have the agility to jump around the boulders and swim and play like Maggie and I do - she's getting better!)

Whadda ya say, Mutt, Road Trip ? !


Here's Dan and Maggie!
(photo by Jen)
Here's Maggie pondering the long term effects of flowing water on hard granite.
Here's Jen, Dan, and Maggie!
We aren't at all thrilled with Bath Day, especially when it happens in December
(gotta love Virginia)
Now, THIS is what winter should be like!
(Source Unknown)
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