Saturday, December 22, 2018


November 7, 2018

I adopted Charlie on November 6, 2018 from our local rescue center here in Truth or Consequences.  I wasn't there to take home a dog, I just wanted to look.  You know how that goes!  LOL  He seemed so bright and friendly and I fell in love with him!

The TorC Animal Shelter found him wandering around alone on the local streets and he didn't have a collar or a chip, so they couldn't identify his owners.  He had just come off the waiting period when I walked in.  Charlie is a Blue Heeler, about 4 months old when I brought him home.

This is our history so far, starting the day I brought him home up until today. When he first came home he was teething and not yet potty trained, so we had a lot of work to do.  I don't remember having a puppy before, and he sure kept me busy.  I didn't take my eyes off him.  We went out to the backyard every time he was done eating, sleeping, or playing - all day long!  He had some accidents that I didn't catch in time, but all in all the potty training went pretty fast.

It was the teething that I REALLY had to watch out for.  He was chewing on furniture, drapes, rugs, EVERYTHING!  So I was up and down all day, and in bed by 8:00 if I lasted that long.

At this point, he's potty trained and pretty much done with the teething.  That's SO nice!  He's worn out and sleeping from 6:00 pm to around 9:00 pm and then I take him outside for a final potty and then he's in his crate until 7 am.  He's sleeping really well, long hours overnight.

This is from what I posted on FaceBook - it was easier to copy it over than to start from scratch.

November 9, 2018:

Charlie loves playing with his tennis balls, and he loves chasing them when we're outside. He's behaving better and better every day. (That's Katie's bed, he didn't fit in it for long.  He was 18.4 pounds when I got him on November 7 and on December 14 he was 29.6 at the Vet's. That was 8 days ago, and I've loosened his harness and collar twice since then.  He's growing like a WEED!)

November 12, 2018

Storage box under my desk - Charlie likes to climb up on it. He's so funny.

November 15, 2018

Charlie yesterday afternoon - he's laying under the plum tree with his ball. Picture taken by my friend, Irene. Thanks for the Share, Irene! 

November 15, 2018

Charlie has a new trick. His water bowl was empty and he dragged it under the kitchen table. I took it and put an inch of water in it, and he again tried to drag it under the table, of course spilling some of the water. He's such a monster puppy. If I live through this, he'll the the BEST DOG EVER!

November 17, 2018

CHARLIE - He's so funny. Today was such a good day, I spent part of the day working in the backyard raking leaves and picking up sticks. I've already cut back the grapes and other bushes that the frost affected - and that Charlie was always trying to chew on. So the yard is pretty dog-proofed right now. He follows me everywhere, so he got a lot of exercise walking around with me and running away from me with a stick in his mouth. LOL We also played a lot of ball, he loves playing ball. When we came in the house at 3:00 he was pooped and went into his crate for a nap. He moves around a lot when he sleeps. I looked up and he was laying on his back, completely stretched from front to back in the crate.  He cracks me up!

November 22, 2018

The Ocotillo tasting - which he couldn't figure out. Charlie is teething and trying to chew everything.  He's determined to eat this Ocotillo, but it's not cooperating.  He was frustrated, I think.  He tried to eat it, then touched it with his paw, then backed up and just looked at it.  Then he ran up the hill further and dug a big hole.  LOL

November 24, 2018

I spilled spot remover on Charlie. Now I can't find him. 😁😂

November 24, 2018

First he steals my heart, then he steals my chair! 💕  Then he chews off part of the arm on my chair. 😞

November 27, 2018

Charlie loves to watch himself in the mirror. The second photo is where Charlie is every day on and off. If it's warm enough I open the front door and drag over a padded storage box. He jumps up on it and watches the neighbors go by.

November 27, 2018

One of Charlie's favorite toys - a squeaky donut. When he'd had enough food and water yesterday, he got his donut and put it on the bowls. Sometimes I wish I knew what he was thinking!

November 27, 2018

I took Charlie down to Elephant Butte Lake to see if he liked the water.  When we were walking back to the truck, Charlie peed and pooped, and when I bent down to pet him, he grabbed the poop bag out of my hand and proudly carried it all the way back to the truck. Sometimes he's just so darn cute! Then he was back in his crate, and not too long after being home, sound asleep. He still sleeps a lot.

December 6, 2018

I came back from town - after being gone less than an hour - and found this. At first I thought, "Oh, how cute, he's burrowed under his bed."  THE NEW BED THAT WAS DELIVERED THE DAY BEFORE! I got out the camera, took a picture, then zoomed in and saw the carnage. Little brat!

December 14, 2018

We visited the vet today and confirmed that Charlie is deaf. But I already knew. I spent Thursday online finding good hand signals for words I want Charlie to know - I have three pages of typed commands with instructions - 37 of them so far. I'm sure I'll be adding to that list. But for now, only the most important ones, 10 of them, are at the top of the list. I have to learn them, and am practicing the most important ones, but Charlie already knows some... We're doing short practice sessions of a couple signals during the day.  Once he knows the essential signals, I'll add others one or two at a time.

I ordered a couple of books on the subject - and the Dictionary of ASL is a good reference, too. Many people use those signals, but I want to have only "one-hand" signals if possible.

For his safety, in case he gets away from me, I ordered him a Deaf Dog harness.
I've also made some labels to stick on the back of his collar tags, and I called the chip ID place and they noted that he is deaf.  If he DOES get away, it's important that people know he's deaf so they won't punish him for not responding to them.  It's pretty easy to make up hand signals for come, sit, etc. that he would probably understand, but if they talk to him, he won't be able to get what they're saying. And if he isn't looking at them, he won't get any hand gestures, either.  So....  I don't particularly like this vest, and might look for something a little less obvious, but for now, we'll use it.

December 17, 2018

I think this picture is hysterical - I break out laughing every time I look at it. It looks like it's gone through an app to make him look funny, but this is how he looked.

Charlie was a "crazy tired dog" this afternoon, so he napped in his crate in the living room. This is him noticing that I noticed he was awake. Before this he was playing quietly with his toys. Funny thing is, I've been trying to see his teeth, his adult teeth are coming in, and he wouldn't let me. Well, I've sure seen them now!

December 19, 2018

Charlie's puzzle. This is a Level 2, and I have two Level 3 puzzles for him when he gets this down really well. He gets to find the treats every morning. At first I had to help him, the directions tell you how to get them used to it, then he got the red sliders by himself, and now he can do it all. He LOVES it! We'll keep using this one until the gets bored with it.

December 20, 2018

I got Charlie a big bag of flat rawhide chew toys. Every time I give him one, he takes it out in the backyard and buries it up on the hill. So the other day I blocked off the door to the yard so he couldn't scratch the door to get out, and then I gave him the chew toy. He knocked down the fence blocking the door, and killed his fox. 🤣🤣🤣 I opened the fence more and put part of it behind the bakers rack so he couldn't get it down. And of course, he roamed around the house looking for an INSIDE place to bury it. This - under his bed on the couch - was the best he found. Later it ended up buried somewhere up on the hill. 😏🤣

And our final photos from today:

December 22, 2018

Charlie's Bumble Bee toy - BEFORE and AFTER.

Charlie is just an adorable dog, so smart and funny.  I'm enjoying him so much.  He's very different from Katie, like night and day, but if Charlie turns out to be as good a companion as Katie was, I'll be a happy camper.  He has so much energy and personality.

BTW, even though he can't hear, he can smell really well, and is very aware of his surroundings.  I wanted a dog partly for protection and thought that because of Charlie's deafness he wouldn't be a protector, but I'm not worried about that any more.  A neighbor was visiting, he came in when Charlie was in the backyard, and when Charlie came in though the open kitchen door, he stopped on a dime, raised his nose in the air and sniffed, and slowly walked behind the couch to where I was sitting.  He slowly climbed up on me while growling at my neighbor, a man he had met and liked outside during walks.  But in HIS house, it was different.  He was growling for a while and I finally got him to stop. He didn't do anything aggressive, but he let my neighbor know that he was protecting me.  So even though he can't hear, I think he'll be a good protector.  He's only five months old, and did a good job of warning my neighbor without aggression.

And yes, for those of you wondering, he is DEFINITELY trying to herd me.  And he's really strong.  Sometimes our walks around the yard into the house are interesting.  But I'm still bigger and stronger, so I'm going to be the boss!  :)

I have a few other news items that I want to post about - and will do that before long.  So Charlie and I will be back soon.  I need to change my header - makes me tear up just thinking about doing that.  😥

See you next time!

Me and Charlie  💓💓

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The end of an era and a new beginning

It's been more than a month since I lost Katie.  That was such a sad post to write through my tears.  Thank you all so much for your kind comments, they helped, for sure.  I still miss her, of course, and think about her often.  I'll adopt another dog - I'm not ready yet, but I love having a dog, so I know another little critter is in my future.

There have been lots of changes in the last month.

Before I lost Katie, I started looking for a house to buy in Elephant Butte or Truth or Consequences, NM.  I've been thinking about this for a few years now, and suddenly the time was right and all the elements needed to do it came together.  I've been considering this area, and really only this area, for a while.  I really like Cottonwood, AZ, too, but all in all, New Mexico beat Arizona for me.

When I arrived at Elephant Butte Lake State Park in February I decided to start the process by becoming a New Mexico resident and we lived in an RV Park for four months while establishing residency.

I insured The Palms in New Mexico and got her registered at the MVD here, and when I had met all the requirements and had the proper paperwork, changed my Driver's License from CA to NM.  I've been doing some freelance writing, and got a business license in new Mexico to set up a legal business here.

Then I started looking at houses in Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences.

We had a family vacation planned for July up at Lake Tahoe in California, and before we left Elephant Butte, I did some house hunting, found four I really liked, both in EB and in TorC.  I finally decided on one that was a keeper.  It has everything I wanted and needed, was move-in ready, is in a good neighborhood, and fit my budget, so I made an offer on the house.  The seller countered and I accepted the counter.  The morning we left town the home inspection was done, and the house came through with flying colors.  Nothing negative on the report.  😁

It was so hot in Elephant Butte I was happy to leave the area for a cooler climate.  I packed up, and Katie and I started the drive to King's Beach, CA, where I was meeting up with the kids and grand kids at my son and daughter-in-law's beautiful house in the lake area.

Before we drove on to Lake Tahoe, we stayed a couple of weeks in Flagstaff, AZ, mostly camping at A-1 Mountain Road, where it was much cooler than in EB.  Sadly, two days before I left for Tahoe, I took Katie in to the Vet for the final time and said goodbye.  I'm doing fine so far, but it'll take time for all the emotion to calm down.  😥❤.  I keep thinking I'm over Katie, then it hits me. Whew... 

I drove on to King's Beach alone and spent time with my son's and daughter's families, and it was a really good visit.  Here's a photo of all the kids and grandkids out for lunch:

And on another day - the photo is a small size, so I can't blow it up, it gets too fuzzy.

And here's me with all five grandkids:

Then I left and drove back to the state park at Elephant Butte.

Meanwhile the home loan and home insurance were in process.  We had a closing date of July 31, but ended up closing a week early, and now I've been here in the new house in Truth or Consequences, NM for almost a month.

I've been setting up house - I haven't done this from scratch since I was a newly married young woman, and it's been fun (but expensive!).  Thank goodness there's a Walmart in town!  It has almost everything I've needed so far.

My son, Tom, and I were talking about my new house, and I said I didn't have a stick of furniture, but I'd camp out inside the house as I accumulated what I needed.  I've done that before and don't mind it a bit.  I'd bring in all my kitchen and bathroom stuff, the mattress and bedding from the rig, and I have camp tables and chairs to use, as well as my clothes, TV and computer.  AND I'd have a large swamp cooler to keep me cool, a full kitchen and a bathroom with a bathtub and lots of water!  The Palms would be parked in the driveway and I'd use her to get around until I found a little car that I liked. 

Tom has been flipping houses for years now, and when I told him my plan, he said he was glad I mentioned that - because he had some staging furniture that he wanted to thin out.  So when we were in Tahoe, Tom and I went through photos on his computer of all the furniture, and I got to pick what I wanted.  How nice was that?

AND...  he also gave me a small truck that he was rotating out of this company's fleet. It has high mileage, but is in super condition and runs like a top.  One of Tom's employees who has a commercial driver's license trucked out the furniture and truck a week or so ago, so now I'm all set.  I still have some decorating to do and small things to purchase, but I'm so far ahead of where I thought I would be at this point!  Thanks, Tom!  Your generosity has been overwhelming and is so appreciated. 💗💗💗

I've met some of my neighbors and they are all very friendly, nice and helpful.  It's a small neighborhood of similar homes to mine, all pretty well maintained.  My house was in move-in-ready condition.  Yards were clean, the house looked like it was newly painted inside and out, appliances looked new, the carpet and tile bathroom floors and wood laminate kitchen floors looked brand new.

With all the homes I've bought and sold over the years, this is the first one that had absolutely nothing to repair or replace - or even a negative comment on the Home Inspection Report.  It was all good.  Truly move-in ready.  I just wiped things down, vacuumed the carpets and then had them professionally cleaned, and that was it! I was really lucky. The seller took very good care of this house and I look forward to many years of living here and enjoying the house, yards and neighborhood.

There's room on the side of the house for The Palms.  It doesn't quite fit because my large swamp cooler is attached to the side of my garage, but my next door neighbor very kindly said I could park her on his property at the side of his house so she would fit. Luckily he has no windows on that side, and she won't be visible or in the way for him. So she's parked between our houses.

And BONUS!  One thing I hadn't thought about when buying a house in TorC was that I wasn't leaving the sunrises, sunsets, bunnies, quail and other birds, or even roadrunners when I left the state parks.  They live here all over the place!

I was happy to learn I have a little cottontail bunny living in my backyard.  I'm told his name is Charlie, and he lays in the shade of a grape plant that is growing on the fence. The swamp cooler drains into the dirt under the vine, and since it's cool and shady, it's a perfect bunny spot on a hot day.  He also has a little depression he's made under my plum tree's shade that he lays in, as well as other spots in the yard.

My bed is in front of the bedroom window overlooking the backyard and when I wake up I look out the open window and some mornings I see him hopping around the yard, as well as lots of quail and other birds.  So I still have lots of nature out the windows to watch and enjoy.  I've rigged up a bird bath in the side yard for the little birds.  It's right out the window by my desk, so I look out often.  They are investigating it, but so far no birds have jumped up into the water.  I've seen lizards there, too, rooting around and sunning themselves.  I'm wondering if they will investigate and find the water.

My house faces west, so I still get to see the gorgeous sunsets here in New Mexico from my kitchen and living room windows. And my bedroom windows face east, so I see the sunrises in the morning.  That seems so lucky - sunrises every morning without even getting out of bed, and sunsets out my front windows in the evening.  Perfect!

And guess what?  I'd heard there's a Roadrunner in the neighborhood, and I just saw him running along the street in front of my house!  I love that!  😍

So now, instead of The Palms being my home, she's my "ticket out of town."  I bought a New Mexico State Park annual permit again, as I do every year, and whenever I feel antsy or need a change of location, I'll load her up and move to a state park for a get-away.  Even if it's a "stay-cation" 12 minutes away at Elephant Butte Lake.

It's hard to believe I'm settled again and no longer full-timing.  It's the end of a 7+ year lifestyle that I loved and will never forget.  That seven years fulfilled so many wants, dreams, issues and needs I've had for years, and I wouldn't change a thing.  I learned so much, met so many people, stayed in so many cool locations.  Only full-time RVers will understand what I'm saying.  It's one of those things you have to do to really understand.  And I will forever be grateful and happy that I had a chance to be a fulltimer for so long.  And so, so grateful that I had Katie with me the whole time.  She really made the difference in so many ways.

My only regret is that Katie isn't with me now.  She would have loved this house and yard.  But, I'll get another dog.  I'm thinking I'll probably rescue a medium size dog instead of a tiny one, which is what I've always thought my next dog would be.  A medium dog would be fine in this house, with RV trips from time to time.  So we'll see what the future brings me.

I plan to continue this blog but will only post from time to time as I have been for the last year or so.  I'd like to keep my private life more private now, but definitely plan to post when I take The Palms out for a trip.

The name "Me and My Dog... and My RV!" will stay.  Katie will continue to be in my header until her successor appears, then I'll move her photo to the top of a sidebar.  She'll always be my RVing buddy, my protector, my mouse finder, my best girl.  I doubt I'll take The Palms out again for a trip until I have my new dog.  I can't imagine taking off without a dog on board.

So... I'll see you down the road, or at least post about it to let you know I'm still out there from time to time.  I've loved writing this blog and appreciate all my followers.  There are a lot of you who posted comments (that I LOVED reading) and many more who read all the posts without commenting.  Thank you to all of you - without your support blogging wouldn't have been half the fun it's been. You are the reason I posted so often for so many years, and now I have a wonderful travel and life log for the past seven years.  A wonderful, special time of my life that I can read about in the future, and my kids and grand kids can read, too, if they want.

So long for now,


P.S.  Even though I won't be posting much now, I'm still checking in on your posts to see what's going on in the RVing world.  I'll be keeping up with what you're all doing - I don't want to totally lose touch!  😉

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A very sad post

I lost my best girl Katie on Tuesday.  It's the hardest, saddest thing I've ever done.

I rescued Katie when I was in my San Diego condo when she was a year and a half.  That was 11 years ago.  Katie was with me almost 24/7 once I retired, and she was my constant companion, protector, mouser and traveling buddy for the last 7 years.

She was the best, I couldn't have asked for a better dog, especially being a full-time RVer.

Lots of you knew Katie, lots of you recognized me when we were walking from the photos of Katie posted on this blog.  Many people stopped their vehicles and said,"  Is that Katie?  You must be Barbara."  And we made new friends on the spot.  She wasn't much of a dog person, but loved people and had lots of good "people friends," - and a couple of special ones.

Over the years Katie developed various chronic health conditions, and I knew this day was coming.  I thought about it, talked to a couple of people about it, but it wasn't something I could plan, I just couldn't plan it in advance.  I woke up Tuesday morning and knew.

Katie had a good afternoon and even though she was on a restricted diet, I gave her cookies and boiled chicken, two of her favorites, and other treats.  We took two walks on grass and smooth sidewalks, and she was a happy girl.  I'm so glad she had a happy afternoon.  Then at 4:00 we drove to the pet hospital.

Katie passed laying comfortably on a big fluffy blanket on the floor of the Comfort Room at Canyon Pet Hospital in Flagstaff, AZ.  The room was comforting with low lights and a small faux fireplace burning away, very quiet - we had time to say goodbye.  I was laying next to her, petting her and talking to her, telling her what a good girl she was and how much I loved her.  She was asleep almost immediately after receiving the medication, which didn't hurt, thankfully.  Then Dr. Karen gave her the final shot and she was gone.

I have to give my sincerest thank you to Dr. Karen and the entire staff there.  They were so kind to Katie and me, so gentle with Katie.  Katie wasn't even afraid to be there, usually she hates the vet, but their procedure at Canyon Pet Hospital was not like a vet visit.  I am so grateful.

Here are some photos of my Sweet Baby Katie.

 I know you're resting in peace, sweet Katie.  
I love you.  I miss you.