With all the summertime adventuring, I wanted to also give a special day for Evie’s older sibling, Toaster. He’s our “special” child who sometimes doesn’t get the spotlight so every now and then we try to plan some time just for him.
I’ve always been a dog person, partially because I am so allergic to cats, but also because they are such loyal and lovable pets. My first childhood dog was kept in a cage in the basement and played with us outside in the yard, but was never allowed to freely roam the house or be completely integrated into our lives. Super sad, I know. I knew when we adopted him that we wanted to try to take Toaster with us everywhere, but sometimes he’s not allowed or it becomes a cost issue.
Traveling with a dog has become easier with airlines, but some of them do not allow large dogs or add more to the fees by weight. He’s about 80 pounds, so that can add up quickly. We’ve done road trips with him a lot, but of course accidents happen on the road too that can make travel tough. On one trip we ended up in a late night pet emergency room because he was attacked by another dog and ended up with 12 stitches in his ear.
Aside from all of that, it’s not uncommon for pets to have a lot of health concerns. More often than not it boils down to your pet’s diet, I would recommend really doing some research into the type of food your pet gets. Even with us looking at better choices for food, Toaster still has other issues.
At 2 years old, he was diagnosed with Wobblers Disease . At first he was just looking a little drunk; falling into things and having issues walking straight. As it got worse, my husband would have to carry him up and down stairs, even hold him by a harness to help him do his business outside. His body just grew too fast at a young age, and it was causing issues in his nerves.
He ended up being bedridden and partially paralyzed when Evie was almost 1 years old. He was not in any pain, but couldn’t leave his bed most days. Evie used to crawl over to him and hang out at his bed. It was super cute, but so sad.
Slowly, his mobility came back to him and now we are just very careful to look for the signs of it coming back. We monitor his play to make sure he doesn’t over do it, and we try to find activity that is easier on his body. Running the dog park has now turned into the occasional swim.
We are pretty fortunate to have the perfect park for him close by.
Point Isabel in Richmond is about 50 acres of fun for this guy. As soon as we get there, we set an appointment at Mudpuppy’s at the park so he can go get in the water and run around, then when we are about to leave he can get a quick wash so we don’t have to bother with a stinky dog after it’s al done. You pay a bit extra for the convenience (a wash will start at $31) but for us it is worth it.
There’s access to the bay, but because of the Wobblers Disease we prefer to have him swim in the small channel. This way we aren’t too worried about the tide taking him away. There’s tennis balls for sale at Mudpuppy’s but if you walk around the park you can find random balls all around. Toaster is kinda a ball-hog and loves playing catch.
As we wait for him to get all washed up, we can get a snack at the cafe. Then when he is done, we get him a little treat at the counter. Seriously, we love coming to this park and haven’t really run into any issues with all the off-leash pets who are there too. The park is pretty popular with over a million visitors a year. They even have a group in charge of all the different events and activities, called PIDO, as there’s always other dog-lovers who want to do more with their 4-legged family.
Point Isabel is for sure one of our favorite places here in the bay, and really the only one we trust with Toaster’s condition.
First stop, inside Mudpuppy’s to get him a bath appointment.
Walking along the shore of the Bay, Toaster is already excited for his swim.
Lots of families walking their furry friends on the trail through the park.
It could be a bit chilly and really breezy here. Luckily, we have a small blanket in the car for such occasions.
Getting Toaster ready to swim in the channel that runs through the park.
Smiley pup in his happy place.
After swimming, it’s time to play catch and he can barely contain his excitement.
Evie learning how to throw the ball with the Chuckit. Highly recommended if you don’t like touching slobbery and wet tennis balls.
Headless hound shot.
Evie chasing Toaster chasing the ball aka how to tire out both kids at the same time.
View of San Francisco across the Bay.
Time to head back and get this guy to his bath appointment.
Still a happy pup even when it’s bath time. After a wash and a nail clipping, he comes out with a little bow on his harness and a treat in his mouth.
The little cafe next to Mudpuppy’s where we can sit and enjoy some coffee and a snack.