Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DieselCam: Field Test #1

I awoke this morning with the makings of a good sinus attack coming on. So I opted to call in, take some drugs, and sleep it off.  When I got back up a little later in the morning, I was surprised to see that it was 45° outside, and partly sunny.  I called Mikey, and asked him how the weather was and asked if I should take the big, sleeping beast out for a walk. He thought the fresh air would do us both good. 

Considering that when this week first started out, we still had snow on the ground, and now with this sudden warm front moving in,  and the rain this morning, the neighborhood was an absolute mud pit.  Living on dirt roads has a few advantages, but the mud, lack of a decent snow plow, and the enormous potholes, are a few things that really make it not so much fun. And definitely makes taking your mutt for a walk more of a challenge. 

Well, I thought it would be fun to see how well walking Diesel in his boots would be.  A few years ago, Mikey and I bought Diesel some boots after we had gone out on Lake St. Clair while it was frozen. The top layer of the lake was an icy slush and we didn't realize until it was too late, that while Diesel had been running and chasing the four-wheelers and snowmobiles, his little paws were getting sliced open.  

So here I get the great idea, its muddy, lets put the dog in his boots so I don't have to clean up an awful mess when we get home. It was hard to get a decent, picture, but this is Diesel in his boots. It wasn't too bad to get them on him, once he put two and two together and realized that we were going for a walk, he was patient enough. Only doing one lap around the living room between getting each one on. Once we were on the road, it was even muddier that I thought it would be!  I decided to take the small route that has quite a bit of paved surfaces to try and limit the amount of dirt I would be cleaning later.  Of course the boots don't fit all that great, and so I had to stop probably six times to pull them back up and secure them.  And in the process, getting mud all over my hoodie and jeans. But we kept on trucking.

I also made the fun decision to test out my new collar cam.  I purchased the Dogtek Eyenimal Digital Videocam for Pets about a week ago, and today is the first day the weather has cooperated enough to want to use it. Having only really used it the one time, its going to take some time to get right.  It's not one of those things you can just clip to your pets collar and away you go.  My first mistake was attaching it to the wrong part of Diesel's collar.  I forgot that the weight of the clasp on the leash was going to rotate the collar, so the first 10 mins of our walk is at a 90° angle, and it eventually rotates all the way to the back of his neck and is staring straight at the sky.  And only then did I notice that. I moved the camera, and started again, only now it was facing the ground. Another adjustment. Better. It eventually rotated a bit more, less than a 45° angle and stayed like that for the rest of the walk. The other problem was that his neck fur was constantly obstructing the view. And with every step he would take, the camera would bounce in and out of his fur, also forcing the camera to have to auto-focus every few seconds.  Needless to say, it wasn't a great first walk.  The footage was hard to watch, and if you get motion sick easy, it's best not viewed at all.  

Because I know some of you may be curious about how it turned out, I did cut a one minute section off of our final 7 minutes of recording time and posted it to YouTube.  You can check it out below.  Any suggestions you might have to help stabilize it would be appreciated.  I am thinking I may buy a harness for him, and attach it to the front of that. Not really sure yet. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mild Winter Day

I am one of those people who come November, I usually stop doing fun things outside.  I hate the cold.  My toes always get cold first and then I feel miserable. And I am not that big of a fan of snow either.  Snow always manages to find its ways onto my bare skin, ya know, either up my pant leg or down my cuffs.  However it does it, it does.  I am also one of those people that hates wearing coats.  I don't like being all bundled up in a restricting jacket, add gloves, a hat and a scarf and I feel like I am suffocating. These are the many excuses I have for why I don't take my poor Diesel dog out for walks in the Winter. I am going to try and work on that this year. There is no reason I can't take him for a quick walk every now and again.

Thankfully, Mother Nature gave us one of those weird, random breaks from the cold this week. Yesterday, I believe temps where as high as 56° here in Metro Detroit.  Which for January, is warm.  The sun was out all day, and melted away all of the remaining snow from the past weekend.  The sky was blue and there wasn't much of a breeze, it actually looked as if it was welcoming everyone out to enjoy it. 

As soon as I got home from work, I located the leash, and walked around out back to find my puppy.  Diesel was overly excited! He's not one of those dogs that jumps up on you usually,or on to the fence even. But boy oh boy, was he excited! He was going for a walk and he was happy! Once I was able to finally get him to back away from the gate so I could open it, I clipped onto him and we were off. 

Clinton River Trail 1/6/12
The road of course was a muddy mess, and Diesel nearly dragged me all the way down it. He was walking so fast, we actually passed another dog walker.  I had to convince him to slow down for the sake of my shins once we got to Auburn.  I was hoping the trail wouldn't be too muddy either, considering that it sits on top of an embankment from where the old train tracks ran.  And sure enough, as we reached the trail, we stopped and waited for two joggers to pass us by.  It was a good day to be outside.

I don't know if it was the weather, or just the excitement of being out on a walk, but it seemed like we couldn't walk 50 feet without having to stop so Diesel could investigate some smell he had found.  That dog had his nose to the ground almost the entire way down the trail.  At one point he had stopped so dead in his tracks I nearly fell over.  Sometimes having a leash that connects at your waist isn't a good thing.

Diesel stalking a squirrel
We walked the trail to downtown, and crossed Auburn on to Grey like we usually do.   There weren't too many people out on this stretch but we did pass one other dog walker along the way.  I actually expected to see quite a bit more. What we did see however, were squirrels.  Lots and lots of squirrels. And Diesel knew it too.  It was a welcomed break from all the sniffing, now he was searching the trees and yards with a keen eye, looking for his favorite little creatures, hoping I would let him off his leash for a good chase.

It started getting cooler once the sun started going down a bit more.  We continued down Adams and crossed back over into the neighborhood.  We met a man on a bicycle who had just moved into the area.  We chatted for a bit about the nice system of trails in the area and all of the good neighborhoods to cut through.  He said we really had a good town here.

And that was it for our first walk of the year.  Sure is nice to go out on a January day wearing just a fleece and a scarf. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate some more this winter and Diesel and I will be able to go out again like this. And like this I mean without feeling like my ears and nose are going to fall off, or having soaking wet pants from all the brown icky slush.  Oh what can I say, I am just not a fan of Old Man Winter.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello Readers! I know it has been a long time since I last wrote, and for that I apologize.  When it started getting cold out and Diesel and I weren't taking as many walks (ok, any walks) I didn't have much to write about.  But with the new year upon us, I would like to write more.  I have made it a goal of mine to write every day in 2012.  I have the mobile app and there is no excuse for me not to get something written, and it also helps that I have 3 blogs.  So, with that being said, if you have stuck around this long, please keep reading.  2012 is going to be a good year and I can't wait to share it with you! I leave you with a pic of Diesel and I in the car on the way home from up state New Years Day.  (Yes, he has a funny smile thing going on, I think its from the car ride).
Happy New Year from Diesel and I!