Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Week 3: We Sleep When She Sleeps


This is advice I didn’t take with my human child. As an unusually energetic 19-year-old, I thought I don’t need to sleep when Ivan naps. At 43, this is a whole different story. I napped regularly before Java. I nap more so now.

I have reduced my regular triathlon training to spend time with Java. This was the plan going into this whole puppy parenthood gig.  I knew that having an obedient dog required a lot of consistent work. And with my schedule being unpredictable and often full, I knew I was going to have to say no to a lot of things until we got her trained.

Training a dog is mentally hard. So when she sleeps I sleep.

Other than that she seems to be happy living here. We try to keep her busy and introduce her to new experiences. Of course, we live in Fairbanks, Alaska so the experiences are seasonal and there are limited places to explore nearby.  But fall and then winter will be here soon and she will get to learn about snow!

Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Week 2: This Looks Familiar

20180615_155526.jpgSomewhere exists a picture of my human son dragging toilet paper from the bathroom some 20 years ago. So when Java came running out of the exact same bathroom wrapped in a fresh roll, I had to stifle inappropriate parent laughter to take a quick picture and then pull it from her and tuck it away where she couldn’t reach it. Since then she has pulled down everything from backpacks to tool bags to blankets and jackets. I have my “Mom Ears” on all the time.

We are adapting so much better now. Java is starting to use the bathroom outside on a much more regular basis.  She is adapting to her kennel though I would never say that she loves it exactly. We have decided to get her a kennel for the outside where we will designate a place for her to use the bathroom.  We are also planning on getting a new style kennel for the house, moving the one my friend gave me outside. Honestly, my puppy doesn’t really need new kennels, but she definitely has my husband wrapped around her paw. So new kennels it is.

Puppy training class is going okay.  Java would rather play with the dogs then go through drills. It is kinda hard because they are 11 other dogs and owners, which means there is a lot of wait time between demonstrating/practicing skills. I find the wait time boring and I’m sure Java does too. We keep going though and practicing at home and on the trail. Having a well-behaved dog will be worth it.

Posted in Dog Life

We Have Great Friends

The outside kennel is up and ready for Java. It’s a boring chain link kennel. Hardly worth taking a picture. What is cool, is that it was sold to us on the cheap from my fat bike buddy whose husky passed away last year. He told me he had held on to her things in case he decided to get another dog. He said he has decided not to get one. So it now belongs to Java.

He also brought along a brush, nail clippers, and a few toys to play with. I posted this video for him on Facebook. He messaged me afterwards and said he missed his dog, but he was happy to see Java having so much fun already.

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Road Biking, Summer Training

Java Meet The RichieDammit

I finally got to bring home my new road bike–Trek’s Emonda SL7 Disc. I named her RichieDammit, which is a nickname given by my highschool friends. Richie was a nickname that started when I was in Japan prior to highschool and followed me back to the U.S. For the longest time, my friends started their sentences with ‘Richie’ and ended them with ‘Dammit’. For example, “Richie, you need to get to class before Mr. Harrington gives you detention again, dammit.”  Eventually, it just got shortened to “RichieDammit.” And since this bike has some attitude to it, I passed on my old nickname.

So along with the drama of trying to get my puppy from South Dakota to Fairbanks, I was also trying to get my new road bike from Wisconsin.  This was also some drama TNT style (We Know Drama).

  • I order the bike via Trek’s awesome Employee VIP program. They tell me the bike will be shipped at the end of the week.
  • The bike tech at the store I work (Goldstream Sports) tells me that the bike is on back order because customer orders have priority over employee orders. I will now have to wait until the end of the month. Okay, May 30th. I have a Mountain Bike. I can deal.


  • The bike ships on May 28th. Cool.
  • The bike is turned around on May 29th at Kentucky for a shipping violation.  No notice from Trek. My bike tech has no idea. The store owner thinks it has to do with the lithium battery that powers the Di2 shifters.
  • I exchange a lot of emails with Trek. They confirm that it is the lithium battery.  Someone forgot to put a sticker on the box needed for air shipment.  This is after they tell me they don’t think they can ship the bike to Alaska because of the battery, which made no sense because we had two shipped up here for our customers and have e-bikes shipped up here all the time. This was about the time we were having trouble getting Java flown to Alaska too.  There were a lot of tears that week. A LOT.
  • No more information for a week. I exchange emails with Trek again. They tell me it is on the shipping dock and will arrive in Alaska at the end of the week.
  • Minutes later I get this image texted to me from my inside connection at UPS:


  • I check UPS Tracking. Sure enough it had been shipped from Wisconsin last week.
  • The bike is delivered. The store is swamped with repairs, but the bike techs have mercy on me and get it put together quickly. I finally got to take it for a solid test ride. Tomorrow the store owner will do a thorough computerized bike fitting.

Okay summer, we can now begin.

Posted in Dog Life

Week 1: Getting Settled In

20180607_132715.jpgThe grown up human kids were put on notice: The washing machine is getting a lot of use because of the puppy– wash and dry your clothes quickly or use the ghetto setup at your ratchet apartment.

The human kids have been getting their laundry cycled through pretty fast.  We have had some potty training success, but lots of mishaps and late nights and very early mornings. This girl rises at 5am for potty, a walk, and food. She had her first vet visit and shot regiment.  Healthy at a whole 7 pounds.

We started training classes with Pawsitive Dog Training, which Java went from being entirely terrified of dogs of any size to wanting to play with dogs twice her size in just one hour. Not sure she learned too much else other than treats are awesome. We keep working with her daily.

The house rules are fairly simple:

  • No couches
  • No chairs
  • No human food
  • No human clothes
  • No shoes
  • When your old enough, you get the guest bed

Of course, she finds things like my sweatshirt in the topmost picture that suddenly became a dog bed. It looks cute, but I don’t need her developing a habit.

Naps are still a necessity for me even though she doesn’t cry as much through the night.

Parenthood all over again.

Posted in Dog Life

Java Arrived!

It had to be the longest day of my life.  After two failed attempts to fly her from South Dakota to Alaska, Java showed up at a little after 8pm.  I must have paced up and down the same section of the airport where you pick up oversize and special luggage.  It’s the same place I pace around whenever I’m waiting to pick up my bike after an out-of-state race.

They took FOREVER to get her to the door, which really was no fault of Alaska Airlines.  In fact, of all the air carriers we have ever dealt with they are the best. And the whole week long delay had to do with the United Airlines Pug Mishap, which won’t allow them to ship animals until July.  This forced Top Dog Kennels to use Delta Airlines. And from what I hear, none of the breeders in that area want to use them.

Her powder blue kennel was so tiny and she was super anxious to get out.  Once we got her on the aiport’s pet lawn, she bounded out of that kennel and started licking us and running on our laps.  I almost started crying. She is so beautiful and happy.  Even my husband, who had been rather stoic about the whole delay in getting her, was suddenly a dad of a small being all over again. He was giving her water and food out of his hands, rushing her home, and getting a bigger kennel put up for her while I got her little one clean.  We were wiped out.

She cried a lot last night, as we expected she would.  And while we listened for anything particularly wrong, we withheld responding unless we really had to.  The morning was a big potty mess to clean up, but we expect that.  Phil and I are pretty good about joining forces when it comes to parenting goals, so no doubt we will have her potty trained fairly quickly.  Plus, I’ve been through this with a human child already, so it isn’t too much different.

So the adventure begins.  I think I need a nap!


Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Tomorrow She Arrives

dog bowlIt’s been a weekend wait to confirm Java’s flight, but this morning I got the news: She is indeed flying tomorrow morning out of South Dakota.  After a transfer in Minneapolis, she will fly direct to Fairbanks, Alaska.  We will pick her up around 8:30 pm and bring her home for what will probably be a very long night. Or maybe she will adjust just fine. Either way, I have a recovery  day on Friday, so we can have a calm morning getting used to her new home. Thankfully, I only live about a quarter mile from work and will be able to make frequent visits.

New pics when she gets here. I am so excited. I picked out a dog tag today. She will visit the vet on Monday for her vaccinations. Then the fun begins!