Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lost in Translation

Like all dachshunds, I'm bound to have German ancestry, but that doesn't mean I'm fluent in German. Whatever Fluffo tried to tell me was lost in translation.

Tootsie and Fluffo near the top of Zweitausender in the Kitzbühel Alps, Austria.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Tootsie goes to Mont Blanc

"Dad, do you think I can climb Mont Blanc?"
"Probably not, love. You'd need crampons and an ice axe."


"Don't they make dachshund-sized crampons?"
"Not that I know of. Plus how would you deal with crevasses, dear?"


"I'd jump up and over them and use my tail for extra balance."
"Jumping is bad for your back, and your tail probably wouldn't give you much extra balance."


"I see... but could you buy me an ice axe?"
"How would you hold an ice axe with your paws?"


After establishing that Mont Blanc is a bit above my pay grade, I asked DD if we could hike somewhere near there. In spite of his reluctance to go anywhere near famous places, DD agreed and took me to Val Ferret, where we hiked to the top of Tête de la Tronche, nearly 8500 feet above sea level. Do you see the Italian side of Mont Blanc in the photo below? I'm going there... well, at least in that general direction :)


Here I'm covering the last few yards to the tippy top of Tête de la Tronche.


Fur disclosure: I got carried quite a bit, especially on the way up.


DD's summer hiking policy is to pick me up and carry me if I start panting too much.


It's a bit conservative, if you ask me, but I guess it's fair.



That way I don't get overtired and I can still wake him up at 5 am the next morning so he can feed me breakfast!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Switzerland’s best kept secrets: the Avers Valley

If you want to discover Switzerland’s best kept secrets, look no further than my doggie blog.


Today we’re sharing a very precious tip about a wonderful place that should be at the top of everyone’s list of things to see in Switzerland but instead is nearly empty: the Avers valley.


Nestled just north of the continental divide, the Avers valley is a high elevation side valley that branches off the Hinterrhein valley near the spa town of Andeer.


Home to very few people and very few tourist facilities, the Avers valley offers countless gorgeous hikes with its picture-perfect scenery and its pristine side valleys. Thanks to the high elevation of its valley floor, it’s always cool, even during heatwaves.


In these photos, Dachshund Daddy and I are hiking to the top of Guggernüll from the hamlet of Cresta. Lots of marmots everywhere, so you need to be on leash if you’re a hound, even a wee one like me.



I've been all over my adopted country, and the Avers Valley is one of my favorite places. Trust me, I'm a savvy sausage!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pee spots in the mountains

When I'm hiking in the mountains, I spend a significant amount of time looking for pee spots.


Other doggy hikers leave pee mail and I feel obliged to read it with my snout.


Here's a pee-message from a yellow lab named Ugo. "Hi, everyone! I hope your day is as awesome as mine!"


My day is pretty awesome indeed. I'm here in the mountains, hiking with Dachshund Daddy!


Alright, on to the next pee message!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Am I A Plate?

Dear Mom,

I saw a note taped to the front door when Dachshund Daddy took me out for my constitutional last night. The note said: "Wash Tootsie."

What do you mean "Wash Tootsie"?

Am I a plate? A dirty dish? Why don't I get a bath?

Here's your new, edited list:
  • Give Tootsie a bath
  • Stop referring to Tootsie as a plate
You can see from this evidence that I am not a plate.


I am a dachshund who will fly... someday.

Thank you.

Love you,
Tootsie

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

French Maritime Alps

A favorite photo from last fall, even though one of us is chewing her fingernails!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Remembering Suni

Last July, during a hike in the Matterhorn region, Dachshund Daddy (DD) met Suni, the Queen of the Alps.


A passionate hiker, Suni summited countless mountains all over the Alps with her human dad, Gabri. You can read all about their adventures on their website. Even if you can't read Italian, you'll enjoy their gorgeous photos.


We knew all about Suni and her prowess as a doggy hiker long before DD met her. We'd read all about her on her website. As a fellow little dog and a fellow hiker, I admired Suni and her passion for the great outdoors.


Suni loved her mountains, and she loved sharing them with her human dad, who gave her the gift of a very special life.


Suni repaid him with the unconditional love that only a dog can give her human. Their bond grew increasingly stronger as Suni entered her silver years.
Blessed is the man who earned the love of an old dog.

Suni continued to power up the hills with her four-paw drive until this spring, when she flew over the rainbow bridge.


Now, every time her human dad climbs a mountain, he and Angel Suni are reunited.


Run free, Angel Suni, in that big meadow in the sky.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

TV Show Dogs

We love the TV series BILLIONS. (What is not to love about rocking Damian Lewis as Axe?)

But there are two dogs in the first season of BILLIONS and about halfway through the first season the dogs just disappear. This is not right. Sure, Axe's dog gets neutered, so maybe he becomes invisible. And Chuck's dog serves as a poopy-pick-up foil but then disappears as if this world has no more dog shit to pick up.


I conducted a Google search: "What happened to the dogs in BILLIONS?" Answer, unsatisfactory. Overheard in the Writers' Room: "Don't worry. No one will notice if the dogs are written out." 🐶

We notice.

Dogs are not token characters! If you introduce a dog into a story, the dog should be as important as any other character. (In BILLIONS, the human offspring mostly disappear, too. That's also a narrative problem, but you can guess that it bothers me a lot less than vanishing dogs.)


There are so many things to worry about in this world: climate-change deniers, nationalistic ideologies, fascism, sexism, racism, a trend toward confirmation bias and fear rather than curiosity and intellectual inquiry, plus a commitment to partisanship over community. We have a US president who cares only about enriching himself, which many recognized during his campaign and many couldn't see because they were enthralled by his rhetoric.

During the first hundred days of Trump's presidency, people have courageously made the commitment to fight his policies. Our best hope is that Trump's incompetence is our saving grace. Trump never cared about the voters; he just wanted their votes. He got them, and they got him. Unfortunately, so did the whole world.

So here is a small plea to TV writers during these unstable times: please don't add disappearing TV show dogs to our long list of worries.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

We are so thrilled the Climate March is happening today in Washington, D.C. and around the world. Thank you, all, for standing for sane conservation.

Here are some of our favorite pictures of environments that we love from past posts on our blog.

This is a picture of Tootsie's first hike ever in Switzerland, in the Greina Plateau.


This is little Tootsie in Appenzell, Switzerland.


This is our Idaho home place. You can see Truffle, too!


It might seem impossible to tackle the issues of climate change, but it's not. We just need Tootsie's gusto.




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Darwin! Or Beagles?

One of my many writing activities is as the Managing Editor of Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies where I help run the journal and curate a series called "In the Classroom." We are so grateful to our friend Gail Riekie -- you know her from Bouncing Bertie's blog -- for contributing a fantastic piece on Darwin.

Thank you for popping over to read it, here.


Thank you, Gail!

-Renée (& Tootsie, of course)

 Did Darwin feel like this when he set off on the voyage of the Beagle?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Earth Day

We hope you had a wonderful Earth Day and March for Science!


We waddled our way to the top of Monte Covreto, which is on the border between northern Italy and southern Switzerland.


It's very dry for this time of year, and we're looking forward to rain next week.


If you look closely at this photograph you can see a recent burn on the hill just behind us. It was a small fire, but it's unusual in this area. The smell of soot lingers in the air.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

For Truffle

Many of you remember our dear Truffle, so I want to share a piece I wrote for Truffle. It's for a wonderful literary journal that focuses on housekeeping tips you remember from your dearly beloveds.

You can read it over at Dead Housekeeping, here.



Thank you for taking a look!
--Renee


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thank You

Dear KulturMama, the Library in Thalwil, and all the kids & parents:

We had such a wonderful time at English Storytime. The library was so sweet to welcome us and to give Tootsie treats. Danke!

We're amazed Tootsie fell asleep during Jeff Crosby's Wiener Wolf--it's her favorite book of all time!--but it was so relaxing being surrounded by amazing kidlets. A special thanks, too, to Grandpa for his Tootsie limericks. Read one, here.

An extra special thank you to KulturMama for all her work. Please sign up for her newsletter--and könig beatty projects--right, here. Marisa König Beatty (aka KulturMama) covers wonderful events in Switzerland, and there's lots of great information. (Swiss Cats -- take a look!)

Love,
Tootsie and Renée 


Monday, March 20, 2017

English Storytime with KulturMama!

We are reading at English Storytime with Kulturmama in Thalwil, Switzerland! It's a short program for kidlets. We're going to sing "Itsy bitsy spider" with changed lyrics... "itsy bitsy dachshund." And we might sing "the wheels on the bus go round and round" set to dachshund lyrics... "my dachshund paws go round and round." We'll see.


We're going to read Grandpa's limericks, which he wrote for me. We're going to read Jeff Crosby's Wiener Wolf, my favorite book of all time. And we'll read How Dogs Really Work! by Alan Snow. It's a good manual.

Wish us luck!


P.s. Mom just spent forty-five minutes looking for her special Swiss train day pass. (She had put it in a special place.)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Mom Returns Home

Tootsie: "But, where were you?"
Mom: "I was a visiting writer at Lebanon Valley College. It was wonderful!"


"And, Tootsie. I brought you an English-language magazine from America."


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