Jäävuori, (Iceberg), the ball of fur and love is two years old today. He's taught us much and generously given himself to us. I could never tell of all he means to us and all that we have experienced together. In his short two years, he has traveled across the country more than once with us, logging 20 some states already. He has camped and canoed, hiked and off-roaded, explored the wild places and endured the wild bumps of rough roads. He's gone swimming, been to dozens of national parks/monuments and state parks from coast to coast. He fishes with us, snow shoes with us, and enjoys listening to live music and cowboy poetry with us. He's seen bison, elk, camels, deer, antelope, and other wildlife up close. He enjoys falling asleep by the fire on a winter evening, and he tries to find his way into any water that he can find regardless of season. He stamps his two front paws excitedly as he begs to go out in the snow or to the pool. He waits for us to return, watching for us from the window. Our delightful puppy has played light sabers with the kids, chewed favorite socks, learned to hug on command. He guards the little ones in our lives and loves on children as they swarm over him. On adults, though, he shows less restraint and licks them joyously.
We are enamored by his affection, amazed by his intelligence, and won over by his playfulness. We're not sure which of us is more convinced of his status as a person, us or him. He's an integral part of our family and we are happy to celebrate his birthday today.
Day 1 - It was several hours to home after picking up our sweet baby. He seemed to enjoy the ride.
Isn't he cute?!! The little ball of soft fur stage passes much too quickly.
Jäävu has always been drawn to the water (he's a Lab after all.) His first real experience with actual swimming, though, was in a pool in Arizona. A year later, Jäävu got to swim in the Pacific Ocean, and really had it figured out without all of the extraneous splashing this time.
1. He's looking for someone to come into he waves with him to play on the beach in California. 2. Also, in California, Jäävu is content to explore the water on his own. He likes to rescue rocks, safely transporting them to the safety of the beach one at a time. 3. Made a friend at the dog park.
When not on the beach, Jäävu loves to bum in the canyons and desert areas of the American Southwest.
Of course, there's water in the canyons and Jäävu will always find it. Water means mud but that just makes for an even happier dog.
Portrait of Jäävu a few months ago.
1. Fly fishing (UT) - waiting for the big catch to be tossed to him for lunch, 2. Even in the rain (CA), a playmate, a stick, and some water add up to tons of fun, 3. in New York, he spent the afternoon helping his best friend build dams and bridges at a local swimming hole.
1 and 2. White Sands National Monument, NM, 3. Great Sands National Sand Dunes, CO. Jäävuori has been to dozens of national and state parks across the country, from NY to CA.
1. Petrified Forest National Park, AZ, 2. Cathedral Gorge State Park, NV.
Jäävuori absolutley loves babies and children. He's already a good therapy dog when it comes to kids. He sits quietly as they mob him, pet him, squeeze him, climb on him, etc. He returns the love with licks and adoring eyes. When our grandson visits, Jäävu remains by his side constantly and freaked out when we put our grandson in the tub where Jäävu couldn't reach him in an emergency. (These photos are taken with my phone.) In every photo of our grandson during this visit, you can see the dog or at least his paw.
It doesn't matter what form water is in; Jäävu loves playing in the snow as much as he loves swimming. He always knows when it has snowed, and all day long, he begs to be outside in it, and how dare we allow the children out and not him. It's the perfect excuse for me to get out in the snow too instead of working. We all snowshoe, and we did a full moon hike in the canyon this past winter where the moonlight reflected off the snow and lit the mountain up gloriously.
Jäävu saw the salt flats (Utah) and thought is was water or snow, and he wanted out of the Jeep so badly to play. He figured out it was neither but still had so much fun running around. He makes mad dashes in one direction and then races back. I'm pretty sure he's laughing all the way.
Jäävuori has his own backpack for those longer treks. He carries his own water, collapsible bowl, and dried fruit and veggie snacks. Oh, and his doggy bags too of course. His pack is from Wolfpacks. His snow boots are from Ruffwear (see image above.) You'll also notice in some pictures the black harness he's wearing. That's his Sleepypod harness for when he's traveling (in the Jeep or truck.) It keeps him safe without risk of strangling him in an accident.
Christmas! Dogs are just fuzzy kids and love opening presents just as much. Jäävu has his own stocking and opens his own gifts. He's even careful not to destroy what's inside the package as he opens it. He's just so smart. He got his boots for this past Christmas because the snow and ice were getting stuck between his paws and hurting his feet. I think it's the boots he's opening in this image.
We were doing a lot of traveling across the Southwest last spring and, being the good Jeep dog that he is, Jäävu had his head out the window much of the time bringing smiles to everyone around. We worried about the bright sun and stopped at a pet store somewhere along the way and grabbed the only pair of goggles they had. The clerk and other customers all had to have pictures of him before we left the store sporting his new shades.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jäävuori!