What a pet-blogger does on vacation

October 18, 2010

See other animal-lovers and their animals, of course!

I got in to Lexington, Kentucky, late Thursday night, still amazed that I was on the same flight with Zenyatta’s trainer, John Shirreffs. Friday, I took it easy at Christopher and Glenye ( a/k/a the Hound Bloggers)’s home, and Saturday I headed north to Columbus, Ohio, to meet up with, as Heather Houlahan says, my imaginary friends — people I’ve come to know through Teh Interwebs  — including, of course, Houlie herself.

Houlie brought Mary Cvetan down with her from Pennsylvania, along with Pip and Cole, the English Shepherds who were going with Heather on a Search-and-Rescue training session immediately after. My long-time friend Amy Suggars lives near Columbus, so she joined in, too.

We met for lunch and then headed over to Thurber House, which, to judge from the pictures on the wall, is a necessary stop for almost everyone who has ever written anything about a dog. (Heather will fill in the details on the “almost everyone,” I trust, in her own entertaining style.

I then split to visit another friend in Columbus, sitting outside in the perfect fall weather with her husband and their dogs while watching the Ohio State pregame show. (Sadly for Columbus and the entire state of Ohio, the Buckeyes lost not only the game but also their No. 1 ranking.)

Then, it was off to Delaware, Ohio,  for more visiting with Amy and with her dogs, especially Mayor McFizzy, who was placed because she read about him in this very blog. Fizzy has adjusted beautifully to the change in homes and has settled in to be a normal, sweet and happily ball-obsessed retriever. I also think he remembered me from when he was a puppy and I visited him at his breeder’s home in Texas — either that or he crawls into everyone’s lap for a picture!

Saturday morning I sped back to Lexington, where I hooked back up with Glenye and we rushed to the afternoon meet of the Iroquois Hunt. I’ll be guest-blogging about that on Full Cry later this week, but it was an incredible experience I’ll never forget, bounding over hill and dale in an ATV with Jerry Miller, one of the two Hunt Masters, who given up the opportunity to ride to give me the chance to follow the hunt closely. Everyone got home safe and tired, including the coyote but especially one of the puppies who got separated from the pack and was located by her tracking collar, frightened and thirsty. Little Bangle was named the hound of the meet, since she was the only one smart enough to hitch a ride home — in Glenye’s arms, no less.

Today, the obligatory trip to the Kentucky Horse Park, tomorrow a visit to the Iroquois Hunt kennels to meet the hounds in person and then another meet and maybe some riding (I brought my helmet, books, breeches and chaps.)

Friday will come too soon, in any case, or rather it would if I weren’t flying to Minnesota to spend the weekend with still more friends and their dogs, the latter including Parker and Dooley (a/k/a PKR and The Big D), both born in my bedroom, and their cousin Otter (also Fizz’s sister), who I raised to six months for her breeder.

What, don’t you plan your vacations around horses and dogs?


Top: On the steps of Thurber House with Heather, Amy, me and Mary, with Cole (in Heather’s arms) and Pip.

Above: Me with Fizz at Amy’s.

Below: After the hunt, Glenye Oakford, me and Huntsman Lilla Mason.

Filed under: pets, connected,worth a click — Gina Spadafori @ 5:20 pm


  1. Wow! You know how to vacation.

    You go, girl!

    Comment by Marge — October 18, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  2. Great report! I hope to follow a hunt someday, or at least go beagling or basseting.

    Comment by Kim Thornton — October 18, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  3. It must be that Thurber House ghost that has erased you from the photo on the front steps …

    (Photo with everyone on its way via email)

    Comment by H. Houlahan — October 18, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  4. Sounds like a perfect way to vacation. Seeing the O kids in October is so fitting!

    I’ve been known to visit dog shelters in foreign countries. Maybe we need a support group. Oh wait – I do believe we have one right here online!

    Comment by Janet Boss — October 19, 2010 @ 4:23 am

  5. What? You didn’t RIDE the hunt?!?

    Comment by KS — October 19, 2010 @ 5:13 am

  6. Next year, maybe. :)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — October 19, 2010 @ 8:05 am

  7. We had a great time on Sunday, but I should mention that the only thing that frightened Bangle was the weird sensation of being in the back of the ATV while Jerry drove us all back home across country! She settled down pretty fast once she realized it was Jerry driving, NOT me.

    Now, from reading Gina’s posts, I think I have to go visit Thurber House.

    Comment by Glenye Oakford — October 19, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  8. Enjoy your time away, knowing that our precious website is in the capable hands of Christie and a few assorted madmen. Scratch that – don’t even think about it.

    Have a safe and fun trip – by the looks of it, you have that whole fun part down.

    Comment by Dr. Tony Johnson — October 19, 2010 @ 11:06 am

  9. So, writers and Thurber House.

    It was my idea to visit, long after we’d set Columbus as the rendezvous city. My friends Tim (poet and SF writer) and Bernadette had visited recently and were telling us about it and … derrrrr.

    I checked the hours and all looked good.

    When we got there, we took some group photos on the porch, with dogs of course. The nice lady — I think an employee or volunteer — who took our photos seemed very dog-positive.

    We looked through the house, chatted with the staff, all very low-key.

    Little did we know that the favorite author of all of us had tried to hold an event at Thurber House the very same weekend.

    He was turned down — he claimed because Thurber House is run by dog-haters or some such.


    Sure. Whatever.

    It would appear that the custodians of Thurber House made the right call about the owner.


    But remember, this dog is a therapy dog. Which we will coyly pretend is the same thing as a service dog whose owner has access rights under the ADA.


    So we apparently missed what could have been a fascinating encounter at the home of a man whose mantle has most definitely not passed to any pretenders.

    And who could teach some authors a thing or two about the reciprocal nature of canine loyalty.

    RIP Rex. And cave canem Muggs.

    Comment by H. Houlahan — October 19, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

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