Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving.

i am grateful to have quiet places to remember how lucky i am and good friends to share those places with.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

wed nov 26

margie and julia were asked to speak at the nena (north end neighborhood association) meeting on monday night, and paula was asked to speak to the icckc (idaho capital city kennel club) last night. it's great to be able to get out & spread the word and talk to people about what we're trying to accomplish.

julia was very complimentary about Boise Trail DOG and what we've gotten done this year. we appreciate the good words. one woman asked if we would be open to doing seasonal leashing so that the little baby birds can safely grow up. we said sure- but we want to understand where the sensitive areas are, and what the options are rather than go straight to a blanket ban. that's one of the reasons we asked for some baseline studies and some time before making changes.

when i said that responsible dog owners don't let their dogs harass wildlife she cut me off saying "i'm sure your dog is good". no, that's not what i mean- what i mean is that none of us should let our dogs harass wildlife. there is no reason that an off leash dog shouldn't be able to stay on a trail and not disturb ground nesting birds. again, i think that people who are irresponsible will continue to be until we can effectively enforce or until responsible behavior becomes the norm. i refuse to believe that the only answer is to lock people out.

anyway- pretty monochromatic morning....

these women were walking down from the houses above chickadee. i see fences across this trail, and at the bottom there is a sign saying no traffic behind the sign. must not be a similar sign at the top, though...
not sure if this dog was with these people, because it was all over the hillsdie and behind them the entire time i watched. any pooping that happened was not their problem. it's a problem for the rest of us though.

happy thanksgiving to all- enjoy your families (two and four legged).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

tuesday the 25

lunchtime walk today- i have got to get over the cold weather weenieness!

this may be one of the dogs from above redfox that i see in the mornings- the color & hair length are the same. took off into the neighborhood across 9th street. i guess i should take my cell & put animal control on speed dial.
looks like a beautiful blue sky day from here....

but once we got on top it looked a bit more the denver when i was growing up there- what is that brown cloud doing here?
ahhhh.... tomorrow's friday for me! yay! looking forward to along hike or two thursday & friday (well, maybe friday- lots of cooking on the agenda thursday)....

Monday, November 24, 2008

being polite

beautiful frosty morning, still darkish when we got to the trails, and quiet.

love all of the fluffed up for warmth birds on the phone line.

saw all 4 of the dogs that i see loose in the reserve this morning.

first, at around 7:40 heard coyotes making a fuss right off of red fox & up on chickadee. and dogs barking. i leashed my guys b/c i didn't know what we were going into. my husband reminds me that i am not a biologist & i don't know if the coyotes were agitated or just talking.

redardless- lots of noise, and yellow lab and black lab cruising down the hill. black lab runs across red fox & up chickadee toward where i had heard the coyote. after running around on the hill for a while he ran back across the trail & up the other side. coyote yipping starts again, then stops as i see the dogs head to the houses up the hill & settle in below 2 of them.

i saw yellow lab climb over the fence into the backyard of this house, so it's possible that his/her owners don't know about the morning excursions. reminding me not to be so quick to jump to conclusions.
and black lab ended up hanging below this house-
black lab did not bother me, my dogs or the runner on the trail, but he is still hurting our off leash access. even if these dogs were not harassing the coyotes, they still poop in the reserves and are loose without being under control.
the other 2 dogs tore down the hill at about 8 a.m. looked like they had just been let out of jail.

although i do mention dog's names and people i see disregarding the rules in this blog, it is in the hopes that someone will know that person and be able to talk to them. i hope that someone who lives on this street will recognize their neighbor's dogs and be able to have a conversation with them.

a conversation is not name calling, telling people they are the reason we will lose access, a heated discussion. it is a genuine attempt to help someone see another point of view. that is what we can do.
the enforcement part- that is best left to the authorities.

we're all in this together, and together is the only way we will affect change.
4 owners with dogs, 4 dogs without owners and 3 dogless groups

Saturday, November 22, 2008


i had so much fun going back through the photos from this year to put together the slide show that i just added to the blog. a nice reminder of how beautiful our trails are.

this has been such a great experience in so many ways- i have met lots of nice people and it has been really rewarding to see the group step up & pull together to protect something that we feel deeply about. the visible progress on the trails, proving that education can and does work is very cool.

we still have things to work on. my husband asked me who made me the police last night when i was complaining about people who still don't get it.

i am sometimes chafe at following rules- always a bit of a rebel, not a big fan of authority. but the people who continue to disregard the rules for dogs in the foothills can really ruin this for many of us who have worked really hard to preserve access. and that really pisses me off. this is a case where these folks are not just hurting themselves (in fact, many of them will continue to ignore any further restrictions, while those of us who do the right thing are penalized).

i have met a lot of people who are training their dogs specifically so that they can walk with them off leash on trails and not bother other users. i know lots of dog owners who make a regular practice of picking up opp, who talk to other dog owners about the importance of doing that and of having dogs under control. lots of us are doing things right.

i'm hoping we can continue to get help with enforcement and education and reach some of these other folks.

happy weekend all-

Friday, November 21, 2008

friday noonish

beautiful afternoon, and a fair amount of people out. i was so pleased to see these women with dogs on leash and strollers- proving it can be done- until they let their dogs off before the off leash area. just at the top of the hill past the trash can. so i called out "you're not there yet" and the lab woman releashed. dobie woman did not.

i said- the signs are sort of hard to see, but they are ticketing, it could be $100 blah blah blah.

lab woman said- oh no, the signs are visible, let her dog off leash again (in the off leash area) and the dog headed right back up the trail to where we were sitting, leashed. i started backing up.

she called her dog, who responded pretty well, leashed the dog again (even though i said it's fine, i'm taking mine off as soon as i'm in the off leash area, go ahead) and said something to her friend along the lines of " i don't want to come and use this trail again".

why? because you need to follow the rules? because i don't want your unleashed dog approaching my leashed dogs?

i wasn't nasty and her dog actually seemed pretty well behaved. i don't get it.

dad with 2 little kids making sand castles in the middle of the trail up on chickadee. i held the dogs' collars as we went by so as not to scare anyone. he made a comment about that not being the best place to make sandcastles & i said "well, mountain bikes do come through here". they weren't in an incredibly visible part of the trail, not a stretch to see something happening.
coming out- moab off leash in the on leash area. moab is a nice dog- he never bothers anyone, and his owner picks up after him. but still off in the on.

and then we ran into louis and his owner as we went back into camel's back. louis is a smallish dog who looks like a pug mix. off leash. i said we don't want to meet him, owner called, louis ignored. so i let go of halle's leash.

owner still calling louis, louis not coming to owner.

halle comes back to me, louis follows, so i let go of echo. who chased louis whose owner was still calling him and who he was still ignoring. my dogs both came back to me, we were all connected with leashes & walking out of the park & louis was following (owner still calling).

i finally stopped and gave my on leash/off leash dog and potential fine talk. louis' owner said "i do this every day and i never have a problem". (note: we had no problem either- just that when a loose dog is running up it can be a challenge to hold onto leashed dogs, who may also be territorial and protective). wonder if that means that his dog actually comes when he calls every day but today?

anyway. enough. good weekend to all-

Thursday, November 20, 2008

thursday morning

lots of blackbirds (maybe not four and twenty, but lots) in the cattails

owthees visible this am- it was a bit clearer than yesterday

a beautiful day, a very nice walk, except for the barking dog on the ridge above red fox- the entire time i walked red fox to chickadee and back down the dog was barking. the poor neighbors. not very peaceful.

and the sun coming up on the way out. just saw one other group (runners, no dogs) coming in when i was leaving the reserve...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

back out- yay!

new shoes- finally! i have no idea why i put this off so long- i actually feel like i can run again- woo hoo! no more hole in the toe to pick up soil & no more hobbling due to sore feet-

echo pointing, in his bouve way. first we saw a coyote cruising through the brush.....
then 2 loose dogs from the houses on the rim. only 1 visible in this pic. i've seen these before, but they're not the same 2 from last week. one is a mostly black tricolor & the other is all black & fairly hairy.
echo was really good- i told him off & though he watched the coyote & the dogs, he didn't make a move in that direction. don't know if halle even noticed them...
it was an inverted morning....

can't even see the owyhees- or much of downtown for that matter- the most visible thing on the skyline was st al's.

glad for the shot of blue sky on the way out-
3 without, 2 with.... a very nice walk all in all....
remember that today is the last day to provide input to the FCAC if you haven't already done so...... email comments to julia grant

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

about sharing

tom gattiker from swimba and i were on 94.9 the river this morning to talk about muddy trails. for more info check the following website for some information on foothills soil types, good trail choices for damp days, and other muddy topics:
there is also a trail conditions page on the SWIMBA site.

before we went on the air, one of the morning guys was talking about how he knows people with dogs who have an attitude of entitlement about having dogs off leash on the trails. he was worried about offending me, but i agree with him that this is a problem.

dog owners do not have more of a right to trail use than anyone else. everyone has the right to a pleasant trail experience. many people are frightened of dogs or just don't like them. we have a responsibility to respect those people's feelings- just like we expect mountain bike riders to respect our space on the trails.

regarding the dog walker with 5-8 dogs, 8 dogs is too many for one person on a busy trail system. sorry. dogs need to be leashed to get to the trails, and i don't know how anyone walks 5-8 dogs on leash (i've walked 3 before and it ain't easy).

even with the best of intentions, there is no way to keep up with poop or to keep the dogs from bothering other dogs or hikers or wildlife. off leash dogs on the Ridge to Rivers trail system need to be within sight of the owner and come back when called.

boise trail dog does not advocate a free for all off leash trail experience. we expect dog owners to follow the rules, to understand the impact our actions have on others and to minimize that impact. we believe that this is the only way we will be able to retain off leash access.

it's about sharing and being polite and thinking about how our actions impact others.

Monday, November 17, 2008

request for help

this email came to my mailbox this morning. if anyone knows this woman and can talk to her it would be greatly appreciated. this is the sort of thing that really hurts all of us- and that can get someone hurt too.

even if Christine feels she has the situation under control 8 dogs is WAY too many, and this person sounds truly frightened by the situation.

Maybe you know someone in the dog community that could speak to a particular dog walker who has been walking up to 8 dogs at a time…
with no leashes. Her name is Christine (her company is) Dog Love.

I live …. beyond the trail system managed by Ridge to Rivers. The… perimeter of my property … borders …trails that have become increasing
over populated as a result of the …. many dog walkers who wish to evade the officers patrolling Ridge to Rivers. These are the ones walking multiple dogs (one walker up to 8 at a time) off leash,.

This past spring…Christine …. was walking 6 dogs in the foothills…. I spoke to her … about safety issues and explained to her the danger of not being able to contain them…

A week later, (she) and her now 8 dogs were back in the foothills……. Three of the dogs were jumping….. Teeth out, the whole bit...... Again, she's walking up to 8 dogs at a time. I talk to her. She puts her hands over her ears & sings out loud …..lalalalalalalala and walks away.

Because I feel so unsafe walking in the foothills, in my own backyard, I now drive to one of the Ridge to River trails. … Now I love walking the Ridge to River trails again because I feel safer there. That was until yesterday (November 15th.) And today (November 16)

On Saturday (November 15) I parked at the Highlands Hollow trail …. My rear windows were opened for my dogs. As i was about to get out of my truck 5 (of 8) dogs charged me. Of the five dogs, three of them were jumping on my truck and lunging at the windows at my dogs. I rolled the windows up and they continued to circle my truck and jump on it. This was Ruby (Christine’s husky), a Pit Bull, a mutt, a Beagle, and a Golden. Christine .....walked away up the trail and left the dogs jumping on my car. Soon after they all took off.

…Sunday,….I decide to walk in the foothills... again. On the ….border (of the) to Ridge to River trails, there’s Christine and her 8 dogs. Christine sees me & the Pit Bull noticed us from a distance and ….. charged us. He took a stance, showed his teeth. I sat down, and withdrew eye contact. I yelled to Christine, she….put her hands over her ears …… and walked away leaving the Pit Bull with me. I turned my back held my dogs and the Pit Bull took off.

If you know anyone who knows Christine- Dog Love, can you ask that maybe they can help educate her.

I …… wonder if her clients know how many dogs she (has)…in the back of her truck. I don’t anyone who would let their dogs travel like that. I also worry (about the)…..dogs being vulnerable….as she can not contain them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


nice hike on corrals this morning with deb, decker & titan. it was beautiful and sunny and not crowded. the few folks we did meet were very nice, and everyone was well behaved.

great start to the day!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


short walk on trail 1 this morning, had to get back in time for a class for the hallster. she's 2, she's still not quite sure about doing what i ask her to do all of the time. which is probably my fault. so it's good for both of us to have a refresher. love those lifetime classes!

it was a beautiful blue sky morning. trail still frozen when we started out, but dried out enough not to be a problem anyway.

speaking of training, as we rounded the corner i saw a white longish haired dog on the trail below rocketing back & forth. well, on the trail is probably not quite accurate. also saw 2 bikes coming up the trail. sat the dogs down & took a look to see what was up.

heard a woman yelling "Cleo! Cleo! Come!" (maybe Leo) the dog totally ignored her, at which point she started apologizing to the mt bike riders on the trail. i heard her say something to her friend (whose dog was leashed) about how she worries because her dog isn't very visible in the brush & she could dart in front of a bike and get hurt (or something similar).

first, let me tell you that i have absolutely been there. tara bouve was AWFUL (by which i mean sadly untrained- i take all of the blame here). i did the fishwife yell more times than i can count (ta-ra come here NOW!) it never worked. she got lost in the owyhees. she took off after a herd of deer on the south fork. she chased a rodent under a rock & was damn near bitten by a rattlesnake (this after snake training).

tara spent the last years of her life on leash or tied out in camp because i t was better for everyone (safer for her, less nerve wracking for me). she was my learner dog, poor girl. i decided that it wasn't fair to anyone to go down that road again.

for some reason, i tend toward, shall we say, independent breeds (some would say stubborn). clearly puppy school and basic obedience aren't enough for how i want to live with my dogs. it's important to me to have them off leash and behave. having recall is HIGH on my priority list, as is walking on a slack leash and good dog manners. i am not a good trainer. i get bored with repetition, but i can be consistent.

i like herding/working breeds, which tend to be more protective & territorial and don't always take kindly to strange dogs invading their space.

i am here to tell you that if i can decide that it is important to train myself (mostly) and my dogs so that we can enjoy the trails and not bother other users anyone can do it.

are we perfect? no. but i am doing my best to keep learning and improving.

enough of that. it's just that things are so much better- for me and for the dogs- since we work on training. i am much less stressed (and spend less time being embarrassed and apologizing) knowing that the dogs will come when called. they're much safer.

i know feeling helpless and being scared and defensive. i also know that it doesn't have to be that way.

here's todays' reminder that there are lots of people who want to use the trails. there are not many motorized trails available. not that i want to hike on trails where i'm likely to run into a motorcycle or 4 wheeler, just that we all think our type of recreation is important, we all pay taxes and are entitled to have a spot to enjoy.

time for a glass of wine! have a great weekend-

Friday, November 14, 2008

drying out

we were all glad that it dried out so we could have a nice foothills start to the day. beautiful morning with the full moon hanging over the hills.

as we passed the pond a flock of blackbirds took off and went swirling across the sky in front of the moon- of course, i didn't have the camera ready- but it was a very cool sight- startled me a bit when they took off, then made me laugh with joy.

the colors are still hanging in there....
stay off muddy trails, turn around signs posted. i have to confess that i took a hike last winter and got in bad mud. i kept thinking it would dry out "on top". it didn't, and i felt awful and have since become much more aware.
even sandy trails like red fox & chickadee can get trashed. this is dry today (yay for fast draining sandy soil), but it's clear that there was traffic yesterday, and how this will get really chopped up as winter progresses. then people start moving toward the edges and widening the trails. not good stewardship.
there are boot & running shoe prints and dog tracks along with the tire marks.

7 with and 2 without this am. one guy with dogs off in the on, but as soon as i talked to him he leashed up. i've seen the officers out & about the past few days....
great weekend to all!