Ace and I joined some friends for a hike in the Marin Headlands today. It was very hot! After our hike, we snoozed on the beach, and Ace huddled in my hoodie against the cold evening breeze. What a nice day.

Hiking at Garland Ranch Regional Park

Ace and I went hiking with three friends yesterday. The weather was incredibly dry and in the mid-70s, the hike was spectacularly steep, and we drove almost two hours to get there. Despite all this, Ace proved herself to be the fittest hiker of us all. I was truly proud to watch her running circles around us in the heat, smush face be damned.
 

And run circles she did, thanks to the rules of Garland Ranch Regional Park. Unlike almost anywhere I’ve hiked (the exception being Fort Funston, actually), dogs are allowed unleashed on all the trails, and the trails range in difficulty level. Often, off-leash trails are fire roads or short, flat loops, but we climbed the most challenging hike, described here (scroll to number five), with Ace bounding around us when I gained the confidence to let her roam.
 

The park was exceptionally well-maintained, with good signage, water fountains periodically on the trails, and a nice visitor’s center, with no entrance fee to boot. If you’re lucky enough to be in driving distance to the Carmel Valley, and especially if you have a dog, this park is a real treat.
 

I was really grateful for the chance to go hiking with Ace on such a beautiful day, especially because the day prior brought us some more bad news about Ace’s health. A few days ago I discovered what looked like a broken tooth in Ace’s mouth, and we went to our usual vet, the SPCA Veterinary Hospital, to have it checked out. It made me sad to think she’d been quietly suffering with a broken tooth. I’m a pretty guilty mama, I must say.
 
Well, the vet came in, glanced at her mouth, and proceeded to tell Jefe and I that the tooth had simply not descended, and explained to us the science behind all that. I just accepted that I’d made a dumb mistake and listened quietly. After he left, I turned to Jefe and we both said that something didn’t add up. I’m glad Jefe encouraged me to go against my urge not to bother the vet, because when I asked him to check her mouth again, lo and behold he discovered the broken tooth was in fact a broken tooth. I guess he’d looked in a different part of her mouth the first time, or else had forgotten to actually open his eyes and examine her.
 
We were furious, but it is a good lesson to trust your instincts with your and your dog’s bodies. By speaking up, the worst that could happen is you aggravate your doctor. But by trying to be polite, the result could be much more painful or dangerous.
 
Ace is scheduled for surgery to evaluate and likely remove the tooth on February 4. We’ll be a bit shy of the one-year anniversary of her double knee surgery, but at least this procedure SHOULD be covered by her health insurance. While I’m more upset that she has to go through another round of anesthesia and post-op pain, the cost sure hurts as well.
 
It’s a good thing she’s so damned cute.
 

Hiking in San Mateo

Ace, Jefe, and I took a brief hike at Pulgas Ridge near Redwood City.

 
It was a pretty remarkable place to hike with a dog — all the trails are dog-friendly, and there is a large open space where dogs can romp off-leash. The trails were easy but featured beautiful views all the way to the Bay. Sure, pulgas means fleas, but Ace seemed to have a pretty good time anyway.