Never Met a Stranger.

Thursday, December 11
We’ve met lots of new people and dogs the past two days.
Iiiii know!  The Hermit on The Hill is out in the real world!  Sometimes I get outside of my comfort zone and we walk on the side streets. Today we walked for 5 1/2 hours, that includes one hour with Zuma on a horse longe line cavorting on the beach.  Oh, how she loved that!  We’ll make it a daily ritual from now on.
  • She is totally exhausted tonight.  I’ve upped her feed and am giving her an extra meal at lunchtime as she’s burning so many calories with all this exercise.  I don’t want her to lose weight, the vet says she is perfect at 125 lbs.
  • Yesterday we met Wendy, a very interesting woman who also has a Mantle Great Dane!  She and her partner are hoping to breed their “Lucy” so we exchanged information.  It was so nice to meet someone who understands “Dane Brain”.  They are not like other breeds, they have some quirky tendencies and only another Dane lover can truly relate.  I told Doug about Wendy last night and his response was:  “So you’re signed up for pick of the litter, right?”  Does he know me or what?!  I could never replace Zuma but I would never have any other breed.  She is an irreplaceable companion; loyal, loving, sociable, excellent temperament, friendly to every person and dog, a fantastic traveler.
HOWEVER, having said that, since Doug left for home, Zuma has “upped security” and, uncharacteristically for her, she has growled at a couple of large men who approached us/her too quickly.  With Doug gone, she apparently feels a strong need to protect me.  She just let’s out a low grrrr, rumbling through her lips with her head down, no teeth are shown, but clearly she feels this is her JOB, she needs to take care of me.  I feel very safe with her on my team.  As it turned out, her instincts were right.  These were not people I wanted to spend time with.  Too forward.
These are some of the dogs we met in the past two days:
A beautiful young puppy named Lola


Woody the Pug puppy.


Dan, a contractor working at a business on the Boardwalk.
Minnie and her owner, they work with Dan.  Her markings are close to Zuma’s and she is a very cool 10 year old lady dog.  I commented “She’s marked like a mini Zuma”.  Too funny her name is Minnie.
The Boardwalk starts at 27th Street


I’ve decided to stay on here through New Year’s. The weather looks good and I love it that we can walk so much with such ease. We went out for ten miles today, non-stop, with only water breaks.

We arrived at the end of the Boardwalk and I wanted a bottle of water for Zuma; the young man at the booth wouldn’t take my money because he was so besotted with Zuma! “No charge, it’s for the dog”. How sweet. Dogs really do bring out the best in people.

 Pony Sized Poo and The Paper Pic

Since Zuma has been on medication, her toilet activity has doubled and it is not just her usual firm turd, it is …. ugh. I’m talking Pony Size Poo and yeh, I already know how much a race horse pees. This poor dog. Not to be gross, ya’ll, but #2 is not unlike picking up a jumbo soft serve ice cream. Did I mention it is comparable to a jumbo serving? Like, I need to scoop it up with a bag and it takes two hands to do a good job whilst I am fiercely clenching the leash between my teeth and Zuma is feeling thoroughly relieved and perky and wants to leave the scene and get on with her day.

Good thing I don’t wear dentures.

Let me assure you, when I am in dog poo scoop mode, it is not a graceful picture. I’ve had her on a regular schedule the past three years; she pooped once a day, in the morning, then she came in for breakfast and after an hour and a half we went for a walk. Now she is on prednisone and antibiotics she goes #2 three times a day and pees constantly. I get up in the middle of the night and we take the elevator down to ground level to get out to the Poo Area. She would be horrified if she had an accident in the hotel room.

At home I can get out a pitchfork and chuck #2 in a bag. This double fisted bag scooping isn’t my fave part of traveling with a big dog. We’re almost finished the pills, I’m hoping and praying toilet trips will return to normal soon.

We feed her high quality dog food (Solid Gold and Wellness) so her turds are more concentrated. Good food = no waste. She doesn’t get any human food unless she counter surfs and snags a steak off the counter when Doug is out starting the grill and forgets she is an opportunist who is particularly fond of a good tenderloin or pork chop. She is still eating the same food she gets at home (minus steak thefts) but the shitty effects of these pills are really wearing me out. I will spare you the photos. One great thing is that this La Quinta has a dog toilet area and they provide poopy bags and a poo garbage can. Needless to say, no grass grows there. I really appreciate the hotel’s thoughtfulness, providing for dogs.

Yesterday Zuma got the urge (Oh please God, not here Zuma) and she dumped a load on a lawn while we were out walking. I sprang into action and was extremely thankful she plunked it down behind a large shrub so the homeowners couldn’t see me if they peeked out their windows, but it was a squishy pile and I had a hard time gathering it all up and some of it leaked out and got on the bag’s handles. It was a challenge to get the bag tied and I ended up with traces of smooshy shit on my hands, pants and shoes. I surely looked like a madwoman marching along the sidewalk with four roaring lanes of busy traffic zooming beside us, me sporting the overflowing green plastic bag of shit laughing out loud (what are ya gonna do but laugh at yourself?) and Zuma prancing happily along the sidewalk like a pepped up parade pony.

Later, I was chatting with some people and a guy rode up on a bike with a Nikon bearing what seemed like a two foot long lens. “Uh Oh”, said one of the women I was talking with, “The paparazzi is here”. Turns out he is a photojournalist for the local newspaper! I’ll keep you posted whether or not they publish the photo.

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