Abby Sunshine

Duck Toller

1-17-11 A Loyal Dog, A Devastating Flood

After Brazil flooding, loyalty to the dead

dog by grave

As the death toll from devastating flooding in Brazil continues to rise, a single picture drives home the sense of loss.

Leao, a medium-sized brown mutt,  lies next to the grave of her owner, Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died in the catastrophic landslides caused by heavy rain.  This AFP/Getty picture was taken on Saturday, the second consecutive day that the dog refused to leave the woman’s grave at the cemetery in Teresopolis, near Rio de Janiero.

Brazilians are bracing for more rain, fearing more landslides after waves of muddy water swallowed towns in the country’s worst flood disaster on record.

At least 655 deaths were reported in a mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, northeast of the city of Rio.

CNN report 1-17-11

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7-14-10 Palisade Head

Wow- if you are looking for a breathtaking view, check out Palisade Head along the North Shore of Lake Superior. We were nonchalantly recommended this spot by a local information booth volunteer. Let me sum it up by saying that I’m glad we left Abby in the car when we first explored the location.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - Rocky Shores - 7-14-10

Check out this picture! Palisade Head is a large rock formation on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. It was formed from a rhyolitic lava flow which was extruded some 1.1 billion years ago. It created extremely hard volanic rock which resisted a billion years of erosion which cut down surrounding formations. This formed both Palisade Head and Shovel Point. Its high point is over 300 feet above the level of the lake; the lakeside cliffs stand up to several hundred feet above water level.

There is a small man-made wall along a part of this cliff, at the lookout.  As I mentioned SMALL, so it would be very easy to walk off a cliff. If you’ve been to the Grand Canyon, along some of those edges, you know what I mean. It’s absolutely beautiful and really takes your breath away.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - In the Car Carrier - 7-14-10

This is a better place for Pupper Wupper during explorations like this. Word to the wise, always check out the “lay of the land” before inviting your canine to accompany you. I shudder to think of her being curious of things along the cliff. . .

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7-12-10 Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse stands upon a cliff on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Completed in 1910, the lighthouse is celebrating its 100th birthday this summer. My how technology has changed since those times when ships depended on the beam of light and the sound of a fog horn to help them navigate.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 2 - July 12, 2010

Abby Sunshine sees the rocky shores as one more opportunity to dive into the fresh waters of a big lake. I’m not even sure that she noticed the lighthouse. She has different things on her radar.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 6 - July 12, 2010

The huge rocks add a challenge for Abby as she maneuvers her way out to the small stick. She doesn’t use a lighthouse, or any other modern technology to find her target. She uses her canine sense. A stick isn’t her preference, but if she doesn’t have a ball handy, she’s willing to retrieve whatever works.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 4 - July 12, 2010

She is remarkably sure footed on the rocks making her way without hesitation. It seems like she isn’t really conscious that she’s on big rocks with gaps. She just cruises along smoothly, no clumsy moves.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 3 - July 12, 2010

She often looks down into the water. I wonder what catches her attention.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Split Rock Lighthouse - Lake Superior 5 - July 12, 2010

A little dog and a big lake- sounds like a story.

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7-11-10 Superior Fetching

Surely you didn’t think we’d be at the largest freshwater lake in the world (by surface area) with Abby Sunshine and NOT play a bit of fetch. Perhaps you are familiar with the fact that Lake Superior is very chilly. Maybe that would deter some dogs. Yes, it would.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior - July 11, 2010

It does not, however, intimidate Abby. I found an interesting article put out by the Associated Press July 9, 2010, entitled “Lake Superior warms up earlier than usual, with July temps about 20 degrees above normal.” Maybe this is in part why Abby is so brave in the water. . . Check it out.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 2 - July 11, 2010

Normally frigid Lake Superior has warmed up faster than usual this summer due to a winter with little ice and a record-warm spring, according to researchers.

Surface temperatures are about 20 degrees higher than normal for this time of year and could be on their way to record highs, researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory said.

That’s good news for people who want to swim in the typically bone-chilling waters, but the long-term implications aren’t clear.

In the spring, the sun warms the water fairly uniformly as deep and shallow water mix. Once it reaches about 39 degrees, however, the behavior of the water changes and warmer water starts to form a layer floating on the colder water below. The process, known as lake turnover, usually happens in mid-July on Lake Superior, but this year it happened in early to mid-June instead.

UMD researcher Jay Austin said data from three buoys in the lake show that the warm-up is on par with 1998, the fastest since records began being kept in 1979.

“We would normally just be getting to turnover, to 39 degrees, about this time in July,” Austin said. “But it happened so early this year that we’re already at 59 degrees (at a western Lake Superior buoy near the Apostle Islands). That’s 20 degrees warmer than we should be right now.”

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 3 - July 11, 2010

The surface temperature of Lake Superior could reach record highs by mid-August, the typical peak for water temperature, they said.

In 1998, a warm year, the lake peaked at 68 degrees, “and we’re well on our way to that, or higher,” Austin said. That compares with a high of just 54 degrees in August 1996, a cool year.

Climate change is responsible for the warming effect, the researchers said.

“Lake Superior is responding to global climate shifts as clearly as anywhere on Earth,” they said.

Scientists are just starting explore what effect the warmer water might have, but it could mean a more fertile lake with more organisms that thrive in warmer conditions. And it could cause “cascading biological effects to fish and other species that we can surmise but haven’t confirmed as yet,” said Steve Colman, director of the Large Lakes Observatory. For example, lake trout may have to move deeper or further offshore.

A 2007 study by Austin and Colman found that Lake Superior’s summer water temperatures were warming twice as fast as air temperatures over the past 30 years, based on buoy data. They considered it one of the most pronounced temperature increases on the planet.

They say there’s a self-perpetuating correlation: The warmer the air and water, the less ice forms. The less ice, the warmer the water gets. Then less ice forms next winter.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior 4 - July 11, 2010

“There’s a climate momentum going on out there,” Colman said. “The traditional thought was that there really wasn’t any carry-over from one year to the next with this kind of system. But it looks like there is.”

The warmer water also means warmer breezes for people on shore. Now, even when winds are off the big lake, they’re more refreshingly cool than chillingly cold. Alex Lamers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said that’s meant narrower air temperature differences in the past from near the lake to farther inland.

Chris Chandler, 39, of Duluth, said Thursday he has been coming to the beach on Duluth’s Park Point all his life, and that the lake is “definitely warmer earlier.”

In past years, he said, there might be a day here and there when the water felt warm, but otherwise it would be cold. “We’d come here, but we’d be blue,” he said.

This year, “it’s cold at first, and once you’re in it for a minute it’s very nice.”

Austin said UMD researchers don’t track water temperatures in the other four Great Lakes.

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7-10-10 Lake Superior Camping

What kind of a vacation is dog friendly? Camping! That is for certain. Abby is living it up in the wilderness of the North Shore of Lake Superior. Well mannered dogs are welcomed warmly and get to enjoy living in paradise.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Camping - 7-10-10

Remembering basic rules of etiquette make life better and make it possible for dogs to continue to be embraced at such wonderful places. We often run into “NO DOGS ALLOWED,” but not everywhere. It’s crucial to demonstrate that dogs and dog owners can be respectful.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Camping 2 - 7-10-10

As you can see, on this trail Abby is on her leash. We also have dog baggies handy, so if she has some “business” to do, we will pick it up. Don’t you hate it when you are on a trail and you see that someone has not picked up after their dog? It gives dogs and owners a bad name, not to mention it is yucky.

Anyway . . .

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Lake Superior is the largest of the five Great Lakes in surface area and volume. It is the second largest lake in the world by volume. Lake Superior is the cleanest lake of the Great Lakes. It could contain all the other Great Lakes plus three more lakes the size of Lake Erie. Wow.

Great Lakes

The shoreline is breathtaking. There are cliffs and rocky shores.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Abby Sunshine - Lake Superior  4 - 7-10-10

More to come. . .

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4-28-10 Dori and Sport

Meet Dori and Sport. They are Abby’s relatives, well, through her human family. You’ve met Dori before (Abby’s grandma), but Sport is someone that neither Abby nor I ever got to meet. Sport was one of Dori’s childhood dogs. Sport was around during the 30s and 40s. (1930s and 1940s)

Doris and Sport From what I’ve heard about Sport, he was a good dog. Just look at him!

What makes a good dog?

1. Sport was loyal. From what I’ve heard from Sport’s human family, you could always count on Sport. Sport was playful, energetic and generally good-natured.

2. Sport was obedient. There was a threshold at Sport’s human house. Sport was not to cross that line. He was a farm dog. Sport was coaxed; Sport was tempted, but he would not cross that line. He knew the rule and he followed it.

3. Sport was fun. One day, Sport was passing gas- probably in that porch, because as the story was told, it was in the house. Anyway, shortly thereafter, he was let outside. Little to Grandma’s dismay, a visitor came to the door- someone who did not see that Sport had just been there. Grandma was left with the smell and nobody to blame it on! What did the person think? Apparently, Grandma was not pleased with Sport that day!

Who is a dog that you’ve been told about from days gone by?

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