Sun of Wolves is the creative works of couple Steven (a graphic designer/illustrator) & Cleo (a photographer) who live together with their dog, Wolf, and cats Whiskey and Muffin in the Netherlands. They spend a lot of time on the road traveling (they even recently visited San Francisco and other parts of California!) and take the most amazing photos! I love following along on their adventures. They also create beautiful screen printed flags and posters, as well as high quality photographic prints and bags. Their designs are inspired a lot by their dog, Wolf, and are an ode to him and all the other dogs out there.
They have been so kind as to send us one of their exclusively designed Wolf flags that reads “It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog” for one very special Wildlandia reader! To enter, leave your email address in the comments section below and a winner will be chosen later this week!
What are you guys up to this weekend? We’re going to the El Vy show tonight at the Independent if our friend can score us some tickets. The rest of the weekend is a free grab…maybe a hike at Lands End and tacos at Tacolicious? Maybe some eggs on toast? Hell yeah, eggs (always)! I’m also working on a little bedroom makeover that I can’t wait to share. So, that too.
Here are some links from around the web this week. Have a rad weekend!
The thing is, we started off with good intentions. It was Halloween so we figured we’d go down to Santa Cruz and see what we could get into. We loaded up the truck, rolled the back windows down for the dogs, and set off around noon. Santa Cruz is just a little over an hour away from us on the coast. Part of me can’t wait for the day when Trey says he’s had enough of working in San Francisco and we can buy a place in Santa Cruz to live. The town’s got that chill vibe, and we could live closer to the beach and raise our (hypothetical) kids surfing and skate boarding. There’s some good marine labs there too. But, alas…we’ve got a few years here before we can do that so I’ll just keep my day dreams to myself (and you guys) for now. Ha!
So we got into Boulder Creek, a little town right outside Santa Cruz around mid-day and went up into Big Basin redwood forest to see if we could get a campsite for the night. When we showed up, it was the weirdest thing. People were decked out in costumes in the woods. We stopped to let a parrot and a chicken cross the road (adults in costumes) and looked at each other. We totally thought no one would be camping since it was Halloween, but as it turns out everyone was camping because it was Halloween. So we put our name on a waiting list, went and got some groceries at this local market, then came back to find that the only site available was next to the road and the bathrooms.
“I’m cool if you’re cool” Trey said to me. “Yea, I’m cool”, I told him, climbing back into the truck. It’s usually never hard for us to find camping spots since we just park the truck places. The national forests are easy for that, but the state parks are regulated and only have a certain amount of camp sites. Had we have known it was such a popular time to camp we probably wouldn’t have gone. We like having the woods to ourselves! So we turned around, stopped off on an overlook and ate chips and salsa on the tailgate, then drove back home. When we got back there were trick or treaters everywhere in our neighborhood. Turns out the street next to us shuts down for older kids (mostly middleschoolers) to trick-o-treat. The guy who wrote the book on Feng Shui decks out his mansion every year and the kids go nuts for it. So we got an uber and met up with friends for dinner and drinks at a good Mexican spot downtown. We ended the night having a laugh at putting Star Wars masks on the dogs. It was a random way to spend Halloween, mostly just driving in the truck, but it was fun just doing whatever and not really having any plans. I find that’s when we have the best time anyway. Can you believe it’s already November? When did that happen? Pretty soon it’ll be Thanksgiving and Christmas! Bring it on!
After a weekend of running in the woods, it’s time for the dogs to have a bath. You might be thinking my dog hates baths. Well…I was right there with you not too long ago. Jack hated baths for a long time. He would run the other direction as soon as he heard the water running. When we got Keeper, I decided to try a different approach to bath time in hopes that she wouldn’t mind them as much as Jack did. I’m happy to report that Keeper and Jack now take baths with ease. While your dog might not come to *love* baths, they can learn to tolerate them better. Whether you have a puppy who is new to baths or an adult dog who has a track record of hiding every time the word “bath” is mentioned, there are a few simple ways to make bath time more enjoyable for your dog (and yourself).
Step 1: Desensitize
The first couple of times you give your dog a bath, there will be a fair amount of desensitizing/getting them used to the norms that come with taking a bath. From the sound of the water, to the water temperature, to them being covered in shampoo – it can be overwhelming for them at first. Easing them into the whole process from the beginning will help them make a positive association with taking a bath. If you have an adult dog who has already decided baths aren’t for them, you will need to really work on this step in order to replace their current negative association with a more positive one.
To start with, try:
Introducing a bath toy
We have 2 toys that sit on the shelf in the bathroom that are designated “bath toys”. A small, rubber chuck-it ball, and a mini frisbee. Both are waterproof. When it’s bath time, I go get these and show the dogs. You’d be surprised by how excited they get to play with toys they only see once or twice a month. I lure them in with these. Not only does it give them something to look forward to every time they take a bath, but it saves me the time of having to chase them down and wrangle them into the tub.
Adjust water temperature
Depending on the amount of fur your dog has, dogs can be more comfortable in the right temperature of water. Border collies like Keeper have long, dense coats, and need to be bathed in luke warm to cool water to avoid overheating. Can you imagine wearing a thick sweater and then hopping into a warm bath? Yeah, no way! Alternatively, dogs with shorter coats like Jack may get cold standing in a tub of water, so adjusting the water to be warmer would be better for them.
Wash face and ears separately
To avoid any traumatic experiences like getting soap in their eyes or water in their ears, make sure to wash their face and ears separate using a wash cloth. Dogs can also get ear infections if water is left in their ears so it’s good to keep them dry anyway.
Step 2: Positively reinforce calm behavior
While you’re lathering up your dog, let them know when they are being a good dog. Positively reinforce calm behavior by telling them something along the lines of “good job buddy”, or “doing great, almost done” in a positive tone. This is a nice way to let your dog know you like it when they are calm and standing still. If they have mastered the command “Stay”, you can use this here.
Step 3: Reward
After their bath, give them a reward. This should be different than the bath toy (shelve those for now in order to keep the allure for next time). We give Jack and Keeper baby carrots since they are their favorites. I do this as soon as I finish drying them off so they associate the end of bath time with the reward of carrots.
Step 4: Repeat
In order for a positive association with bath time to be made, you’ll need to repeat these steps every time you give them a bath. Dogs are less likely to feel stressed if they know the routine.
Do you have any tips or tricks you use with your dog that makes taking a bath easier and more enjoyable? I’d love to hear about them.
Last weekend we spent the day in the Marin headlands. It’s the first exit off the Golden Gate bridge heading north out of San Francisco and one of my favorite places ever. When we first moved to California, we lived in a little apartment on the water above the house boats in Sausalito, which is about 5 minutes from the headlands. Every day Trey would commute by ferry into the city, and I would drive the most scenic commute ever into the headlands for work. There are a few different trails you can go on in the headlands, each with their own awesome views of the Pacific ocean, or the Golden Gate bridge and city. The coastal route allows dogs, so we chose that one. There’s only one road in and it winds around the cliffs with the water below. There’s a good view of Rodeo beach and the lighthouse too. Eventually the road wraps around and takes you into the valley of the headlands.
I still get that same feeling when I’m standing on the hill looking out at the Pacific as I did when we were fresh out of college and new to the area. I love looking back at the mouth of the Golden Gate and the water below. Our crew used to call that the “the potato patch”, because it was where we’d always have to forge the boat through currents in order to continue a couple hours out to the Farallon Islands to get to the whales. Next to the Golden Gate bridge there’s a harbor seal haul out where hundreds of seals lay on the beach like fat sausages. You wouldn’t know the beach was there unless you were really looking for it. Leaving the headlands, there’s an old school house in the middle of a field. I asked Trey if he would walk Jack out there because I wanted to take a photo of him in front of it. So he walked him out there and told him to “stay” and then walked back to me. I took the photo and yelled to Jack “Good boy, come!”. He sprinted all the way back to us, mouth open wide, smiling. We cheered him on running back to us. I don’t think I will ever forget that. He’s the best, that Jack dog.
After we were done hiking we drove through the rainbow tunnel and over the bridge back home. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself knowing we live in one of the most beautiful places. I don’t take a second of it for granted.
This past weekend was one of those weekends where we hung around town and got caught up on everything. It feels so nice to wake up with fresh sheets on the bed, food in the fridge, washed dogs, and clean laundry. On Saturday we slept in, then went to the Berkeley farmer’s market. In the afternoon we picked up some local cheeses (Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam is my fav) and a few slices of pizza from Cheeseboard. Later we watched We Are Still Here, a horror movie (thanks for falling asleep, babe). On Sunday we made brunch at home (poached eggs on rosemary flatbread with avocado spread) then took the dogs to Point Isabel – a dog park on the water with great views of the city and bay. Then we came home and gave the dogs baths, made dinner, and fell asleep watching Homeland in bed.
Here’s to hoping the week is just as good as the weekend.
1. / Cat food bandit Jack / 2. Morning walk / 3. This hammock has been getting a lot of use this week / 4. Mila likes to groom the dogs / 5. Smells like teakwood, tobacco and sandalwood in our place lately / 6. Someone raided the cat food, but we don’t know who / 7. From our hike in Henry Cowell State park last weekend / 8. Her head is always out the window / 9. The prettiest new chair / 10. Her favorite spot / 11. Because we don’t have many photos of the two of us / 12. These three are best buds
I love fall. It’s my favorite season for a lot of reasons. It was fall semester when Trey and I started seeing each other again. At the end of our sophomore years in college we both transferred back home to NC State and ran into each other on a crisp September morning in Winston Hall. “Is that your purple bike?, I’d pointed out. “It’s maroon”, he’d correct me. Fall is when we adopted Jack and drove over the Golden Gate bridge to move into our little apartment above Dog Eared Books in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Fall is when I moved to San Diego for grad school. Fall is when we moved to Florida for my job. Fall is when we moved back to California for Trey’s job (wow, it’s been a year!). Fall always feels like a season of renewal for us. Something about the leaves changing brings about a certain metaphorical newness in our lives. I’m looking forward to several things this fall, such as: cooking soups in the crock pot, drinking cider and spiced teas, camping trips, hikes and road trips, wearing jeans, comfy sweaters and boots, eating pumpkin pie and acorn squash, and reading a few good books. I’m also looking forward to practicing more yoga and living more simply. What are you looking forward to? Welcome, Fall!
Does Hoku have a nickname? If so, how did he get it?
A lot of his nicknames start with the letter B. Aside from the typical “Boy” and “Baby,” we also call him “Ball” for the way he curls up into a ball when he sleeps…so lately it’s just been “B”!
Where do you shop for your dog (online shops, stores, etc)?
We buy almost everything from Amazon. (Honestly, how did people shop before Amazon Prime?) I also love checking out pet shops when traveling, especially internationally, and will usually pick up new toys for him wherever we go.
What does being a “Dog Person” mean to you?I still don’t know if I consider myself the true definition of a “dog person,” but I am “Hoku’s person” and a lot of who I am today has been shaped by having him in my life. He’s taught me a great deal about patience and responsibility. When we first brought Hoku home at the age of 2, he was retiring from a show dog life, had no real obedience training and was extremely reactive. We wanted nothing more than for him to experience all the joys of being a real dog and were persistent with working through his issues despite all the frustrating/ tearful/ embarrassing days that made us want to throw in the towel. It took 3 months of desensitization training for him to finally be able to walk confidently around the block. For a whole year, I wrote down every single milestone in a notebook that I still look back on to remind me of how far we’ve come. And now, just couple years later, he is happily climbing mountains with us, has dog friends, travels with us around Cali (and recently flew with us all the way to New York City), likes to stick his head out the car window, and chases lizards like a pro. We couldn’t be prouder.
What’s one piece of advice you would tell someone looking to get a dog?
Having a dog isn’t always the fun, happy moments posted on Instagram. There’s a lot of hard work involved behind the scenes, like carving out time every day for walks, play and training, no matter how busy life gets. The companionship of a dog is one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences a person can have in life.
Tulum was such a treat to visit. Everyone has been calling it was the Williamsburg of Mexico, but I found it to be more like the Venice Beach (LA) of Mexico. It definitely has more of a west coast hippie vibe. The town of Tulum is still very undeveloped and authentic feeling, which we loved. The main path/road where all the boutique hotels and restaurants are located is nestled into the jungle. Most of the spas/retreat centers/little hotels face the sea. The shops on the main path are all hip and modern, but with a hippie flare. Lots of yoga and meditation-centric spots. It’s easy to see why people come here for that…on the land side you’re surrounded by jungle, and on the sea side you’re looking out at beautiful blues of the Caribbean sea. We loved how it wasn’t developed like other parts of Mexico. While we were there we walked along the path stopping into each of the little shops, walked on the beach, smelled the perfumes at Coqui Coqui, had a drink or three, and ate dinner under the stars at Casa Banana. Right now (late summer 2015), there is a seaweed overgrowth problem in the water which gives the water a brownish tint and washes seaweed onto the beach with the tide every day. I was glad we moved around while we were in Mexico, first flying into Cancun and spending time at Isla Mujeres where the water was amazingly blue and seaweed-free, then staying in Playa del Carmen, just a few miles North of Tulum, where the water wasn’t as bad.
If we had more time, I would have loved to visit some of the Mayan ruins nearby. Everyone says to go to Coba (about a 15 minutes drive southeast of Tulum), because the ruins are large and the only ones in the region you can still climb on. The Tulum ruins are smaller, but next to the ocean and supposedly beautiful as well. We were too focused on swimming and diving this trip, but…next time! I would have also liked to have had dinner at Hartwood since everyone has been raving about it, but it was closed until November. After visiting Tulum, we came back to our hotel in Playa del Carmen and enjoyed our last night there. In the morning we packed up and got on our flight back to San Francisco. Mexico was a great time and I can’t wait to go back again!