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Birthday parties as a kid were fun, but post-retirement birthday parties have redefined just what level of fun they can be!  DeeAnn had a milestone birthday this year, celebrated with the Sven Saw Sisters and her family in Northeast Mpls with a brewery tour spanning about seven hours that included five stops.   Holly & Helen were home in Duluth enjoying their own fun with Lana & Kooper.  A shake up in routines is good for all of us – myself, Gracie, Holly & Helen.  I came back from my vacation energized in some ways, exhausted in others, but ready to fall back into the daily drill with my pets.  Holly & Helen, however, each had long faces when they saw Lana & Kooper getting ready to leave.  Having frequent attention from Lana, being with Kooper continuously and playing/learning new games from a new person made their long week-end a holiday and they were in no hurry to give it up!   Never rely on your own pet to boost your ego!   It makes me smile though because it is exactly what I want when I am away – to have my pets happy, cared for and enjoying their time when I am gone.  No doubt, any parent, whether child or pet, can relate.

DeeAnn & I took a quick trip to the cabin to do our ‘chores’. Holly & Keltie had time to get the piss-n-vinegar out with some games of chase, tug and weaves.   Rainie played some fetch.  Helen swam.  I find myself in a bit of panic, thinking about winter and keeping Holly exercised.  I remind myself this will be her third winter and we have figured it out before, no doubt we will again.   I have found that the benefit of Minnesota’s four seasons is how it forces me to make adjustments.  I change my outdoor attire, footwear, recreational activity, clocks, eating habits and exercise routines.  It was something I missed terribly when I had an extended stay in Arizona, the changing of the seasons and changes we make as a result.   When I make adjustments, so then does Holly.  This is our first winter with Helen, that being a priority adjustment in itself!

We are not the only ones in transition.  The other night Holly was parked by Donna’s fence in a very attentive stance, as if the kids were in the yard.  It was too late for them.  Thankfully my curiosity got me off the back porch for a better look.  Skunk!  I retreated back to the porch to contain an oblivious Helen and called for Holly to come.  She took about a 3 second final look at the squiggling, pondering creature moving her direction then came to the back door to join us.  Treats were flying out of the pouch to her when we got inside!   The skunk is living under Donna, Diane & John’s back porch.  John is trying to live trap it so he can patch all openings around the base of the porch, then release it as a homeless roaming skunk.  This plan prompted me to reinforce all possible entry points on the bottom of my front porch!  My last update from Diane was that John hasn’t been successful (yet), but….he has a new plan!   She mentioned with the time and research that John has done,  she is encouraging him to write a book!  How to Evict A Skunk.  I’m just hoping Holly doesn’t have her own chapter in his book.  And I have no reason to buy it.