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August 16, 2017
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Running across a meadow in Wisconsin with Shila, part one

Big news: Shila is in Wisconsin now.

Running across a meadow in Wisconsin with Shila, part two

We moved her on Sunday – earlier than we were expecting, as there was an issue with Shila tearing apart her kennel and we had to move her ASAP.

We spent last Thursday finishing Shila’s Wisconsin kennel and putting together a mobile kennel in a rented cargo van. The mobile kennel came out really nice (see photos).

The mobile kennel van

The mobile kennel

Secured interior of mobile kennel

I watched Shila from the driver’s seat through this barrier, and also through a video baby monitor I had mounted in the rear of the van

On Friday we drove to Buffalo, intending to pick Shila up on Saturday morning. We got stuck in a huge traffic jam on the Chicago bypass and arrived way behind schedule, so we had to push the pick up back to Sunday.

Last walk in western New York

On Sunday morning, we gave Shila one last walk in western New York. Then we began the long trip to Wisconsin. Shila's behavior was A+ and the mobile kennel worked great. We were able to take her for walks at the Pennsylvania visitor center, a rest area on the Ohio turnpike, a long, extended walk on a service road behind an Indiana rest area, and a short walk at the Lake Forest travel oasis in north Chicago. Shila was a huge hit at the rest areas, with many people commenting and asking about her. Surprisingly, Shila seemed okay with all the people and the dogs at the rest stops. (All dogs were leashed, as no one was crazy enough to have a loose dog next to the freeway.)

Mech walking Shila at a rest area on the Ohio turnpike

Shila just before getting out of the van in Wisconsin

The only snag was that we hit a traffic jam once again at the start of the Chicago bypass in Indiana. We got off the freeway, drove through Gary, and caught the Chicago Skyway instead. Shila looked at the Chicago skyline at night through her window and got to take in that downtown smell as we drove straight through Chicago. We arrived home just after midnight – not a moment too soon, as I was so tired by then that I could barely drive the van any more.

The first night I slept in a tent in the outer kennel

The first night I slept in a tent in the outer kennel. Shila slept next to the fence a few feet away in the inner kennel. She didn’t howl that night (probably too tired). The last two nights, we’ve had problems with her howling (even with us taking turns sleeping in a tent out on the driveway), but we were expecting that and we have backup plans in case this continues to be a problem. We’re actually not quite sure how much of an issue this is yet. Our neighborhood is in a valley, with lots of trees, a large field, and a lake, so the acoustics are really weird – sometimes we can clearly hear conversations from way across the other side of the lake, but can’t hear sounds from our driveway. The second night, our next door neighbors claimed they couldn’t hear her howling, so maybe the strange acoustics are in our favor.

Shila in her new kennel in her usual pose

The perimeter fence we added; it goes around the sides and the back

Testing out the perimeter fence with the neighbor’s dogs – Hunter (right) dislikes Shila; Manny (left) is indifferent

So far Barkley and Shila have been ignoring each other, even when passing right next to each other on walks. However, Shila has made some predatory approaches towards Barkley, so we're watching that very carefully. We built a perimeter fence around Shila's kennel, which turned out to be a good idea. One of the neighbor’s dogs took an instant dislike to Shila and tried to charge her kennel, but the perimeter fence kept them apart. Last time he was down here, he just barked a few times at her with his hackles raised, so that seems to be settling down.

Working on this post in a tent out on the driveway as Shila watches (Barkley doesn't get it)

Shila and Barkley on a walk, ignoring each other

Shila has been enjoying the local parks, especially since they have a lot of streams and rivers in them. Today we took her swimming in the lake. Overall, we still have some issues to sort out, but it looks like this will work out nicely. Shila seems happy, but still a bit out of sorts. Mech says she just has to look at Shila’s kennel to tell whether I’m outside or not – if Shila’s lying down and sleeping, I’m outside, but if she’s pacing back and forth I’m inside. She’ll settle down once she gets accustomed to things here.

Tired – I wish she'd do this at night instead of howling

Things are busy around here while we’re trying to adjust things to take Shila into account, so I may have difficulties keeping in touch for the next few weeks. I’ll try to keep you guys updated as best as I can.

Swimming in the lake

I get a rock out of my sandal while Shila eats grass and Barkley rolls in the dirt