All posts by bswartz2014

A Klondike Double Feature

As many of you are  aware, Mr. Klondike is the first Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd/Polar Bear Mix to have won an Emmy as their first major motion picture award and gone on the same year to win Academy Awards for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay. He’s taken those talents and used them to produce not one one, but two ninety second videos!

The first video is an exploration of his friendship with Kizzie, a Dutch Shepherd. Based on actual encounters, Klondike Kizzie Highly Video 2016 uses a montage of short interactions to tell the story. Mr. Klondike is expecting this video to win first place on at Sundance, Cannes and The Oscars. It has already been nominated for several Academy Awards including Best Use Of Snout, and Most Realistic Pausing Play To Get A Treat In A Documentary.


Today’s second feature is an expose on play between Mr. Klondike and a new friend, a Dane by the name of Bailey (no relationship to the WKRP character). Academy Awards expected include Best Play Growling and Most Realistic Collision of Two Hundred Plus Pounds of Dog.


Mr. Klondike Klomps a Racoon!

Mr Klondike and Dr. Yip

Mr Klondike was on routine patio nap patrol around noon yesterday when two racoons, probably a mother and child, appeared in the yard. Racoons that Mr. Klondike had politely asked previously to abstain from visits to his yard. A request that these racoons, probably lured by catfood that neighbours on both sides leave out, chose to ignore.

So severe was the rudeness of these racoons that Mr. Klondike got up from his nap, dashed to the fence and pinned the adult down using his jaws while the juvenile got over the fence.  According to Mieko, who saw the whole thing, Klondike held the adult for a few seconds then released it, and walked into the kitchen, seemingly very pleased with himself.

However… Mr Klondike’s front right pinkie toe was bleeding a little, and he was missing a small patch of fur on his left front foot. These injuries looked minor to me. But the notion of a racoon being active at noon also seemed odd. And I couldn’t tell where the injuries came from – had he been bitten? Scratched? Just slammed his toe into the fence or the planter in front of it? My friend the dog certainly didn’t seem in any distress, but his right front foot did seem very sensitive to touch.


Left front foot. A little fur loss but zero breaks in the skin




Left Front foot. It’s hard to see in this photo, but there are two small wounds at 12 and 3 0’clock. Tiny scratches? Penetration wounds? Even the vet couldn’t be totally sure


I called his regular (and most excellent) health care providers at  Kensington Animal Hospital, sent them a few pictures and they agreed he should probably come in, and had an appointment at 2:30. Klondike was seen by Dr. Yip. Dr. Yip also couldn’t be sure of the source of the wound, even after shaving around the toes, but in an abundance of caution gave him

  • Rabies booster
  • Antibiotic & pain med
  • Anti-inflammatories


Also, since he was just about due anyway, Klondike  bonus scored
  • Heartworm prevention meds
  • Flea and tick prevention medicine
  • Lepto Vaccine


Here’s a short video of Klondike and his good friend Kizzy from the dog park yesterday evening. I’d say his foot fine.


PS: Just received the following  from a super smart and well informed (not to mention well organized, kind and involved) neighbor. Too useful for anyone with a dog west of the Mississippi not to share:

w name


Klondike Conquers Briones Regional Park With Wag ‘n Trails


A pile of Klondike paws, attached to a deeply zonked out post-walk Klondike


Saturday Mr. Klondike and I joined Wag ‘n Tails, an excellent and very active  based group dedicated to hiking with dogs, on an 8-mile jaunt through Briones Regional Park in Martinez California, about 30 minutes from Berkeley.

It was a great walk with a great group of people and dogs. A full report is coming, but in the meantime, some pics to enjoy. Click to see full size.



Jumping for joy at the end fo the walk


Klondike vs. Willie Highlights


Klondike and Willie, an 18-month-old Black Lab/Great Dane mix, pull out the stops at Cesar Chavez dog park this evening. Let’s just say we had an exhausted dog when we got home.

The vocalizations you hear in this video are entirely real, not edited in or enhanced. And they aren’t threatening. But they are a great reminder of just how scary and aggressive play growls can sound to the uninitiated (and even experienced) human ear.

PetTech Pet CPR & First Aid Class

Our Instructor, Payton Wong, RN, demonstrates CPR on one of our patients for the day, a stuffed dog named, I believe, Hilton. Payton is, among other things,  a trauma nurse, ski patrol medic and a trainer and foster parent for service dogs.

The PetTech Pet CPR & First Aid Class can’t protect your four-footed friend from sickness or injury, but it gives you the tools to deal with either effectively, and reduce the chances that something bad turns into something tragic. I can not recommend this class highly enough.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the skills you will learn in this five-hour, $90 class:

  • How to manage an injury/accident scene. For example… Your dog has just been hit by a car. Or bitten by a snake. Or has fallen unconscious for no obvious reason.What do you do? It will always be situational, but this class will help you find the best answer.
  • How to perform pet CPR. CPR can buy you the time you need to get your pet to the doctor. And in some cases, like choking, it can immediately save a life. PetSavers will have you doing it competently in 15 minutes or less. Learn this skill!
  • How to give first aid for bleeding, broken (or suspect broken) limbs, snake bites, insect/spider bites, impalement, accidental amputation, poisoning, heatstroke and frostbite.
  • How to do a regular, mindful assessment of your pet so you’ll know if something is changing
  • How to put together a first aid kit – large for home, smaller for car and smallest to carry when hiking. I had put together a hiking first kit I was pretty pleased with last year, but based on what I learned I completely redid it and now have something much better, and fully suited to person and animal use

The above list sounds like a lot, but it was presented in a very common sense way so I’m pretty sure most of it will stick. And for what doesn’t, we were given handy-dandy cheat sheets for our first aid kit.

PetTech offers classes in or near just about every major city in the US. This link will let you find one near you.

PetTech offers two classes, the five-hour Pet CPR and First Aid class I took; and PetSavers, an eight-hour class that covers the same material but also includes dental health, and elder animal differences and care. Instructors are free to set their own prices, but the $120 for the eight-hour class and $90 for the five-hour class seems pretty standard, at least for the Bay Area.


The biggest takeaway: Your most import first aid tools are your phone and your car keys. The first aid you’ll do is simply to help your pet hold it together until he can get to the hospital. Put your vet’s info, the local vet ER’s info and poison control’s info (855-764-7661) at the very top of favorites in your phone. PetTech  offers a free app which, among other things, can direct you to the nearest veterinary ER. Hint on using your phone: On iOS go to a contact and check Add to Favorites to add to favorites, but to sort the Favorites menu so your vet, animal ER, and poison control are on top, go to Favorites and hit Edit.

The PetTech website is incomplete, ugly and a bit frustrating and the main office in Carlsbad is slow to respond to either phone messages or email. But don’t let that that stop you. PetTech is about an excellent curriculum and, if Mr. Wong is any indication, a network of excellent instructors who, I understand, bring their different backgrounds to the class.

Contact an instructor near you (see link at top) and register for a class. The little bit of time and money you spend will be one of the best investments you could ever make.

[6-17-16 updated to correctly explain the differences between PetSavers and Pet CPR and First Aid classes and point out that pricing is instructor set. Thank you, Payton Wong!]






Klondike Gives Back With Sing, A Comedic Short


One of Many Promotional Items From The Promotional Campaign For Sing

In his astronomical rise from Bakersfield agricultural security guard to Berkeley liberal arts scholar and world renowned star of stage and screen, Mr. Klondike  benefited from the unfailing love and support of the Berkeley creative community. So when approached by a group of aspiring Berkeley filmmakers he of course jumped at the chance to help return something to community. And get snacks.

The result of this unusual collaboration is Sing, a comedic short subject.


(note: the first few seconds are silent, so your volume control is probably OK, though the film is a bit on the quiet side)


Walk Report: Fernandez Ranch

Fernandez Ranch Better-for blog post - 11 of 23

There is a MeetUp based dog hiking group calls Wags n Trails Klondike and I have been wanting to join. This past Sunday morning Klondike was able to make some time and we joined Wags n Trails for one of their easier walks, a 3.72 mile, 105 minute medium paced loop through Fernandez Ranch, a public recreation area maintained by John Muir Land Trust, between Hercules and Martinez, roughly 25 miles north east of  Berkeley.

 A Good Walk

  • It was great to be out walking with a ten other devoted dog owners and their well cared for, well trained, much loved dogs
  • At less than two hours and just under four miles, this was a nice, medium sized hike accessible to most people and their dogs
  • There was a serene quiet and sense of space hard to get at even the best walks closer to the city
  • Lots of flora and fauna and a good mixture of environments – open plains, hills (nothing too outrageous), switchbacks  and swimming opportunities, which of course Mr. Klondike did not waste. The park brochure promises:

Breathtaking views await at the top of the Whipsnake Trail and kids can have a giggle rambling the hills and meadows looking for a variety of bugs, beetles and animal tracks. You may even catch a glimpse of a rare animal or two, including the endangered Alameda whipsnake, the California red-legged frog and maybe an American badger. But keep a keen eye out for the whipsnake — despite the two bright yellow stripes on its back, it is shy and hard to spot.

At dawn and dusk, the meadows at Fernandez Ranch come alive! Deer emerge from the woods and coyotes howl to one another. Oak-studded slopes and freshwater wetlands give way to Rodeo Creek, whose banks are cloaked in Coast live oak. In the springtime, poppies, lupine and the threatened Mount Diablo sunflower — which only grows in Contra Costa County — blanket the ranch in vibrant color.

  • Dogs officially allowed off leash
  • Trails are well marked – you shouldn’t get lost
  • Parking is not an issue

Of Course, It’s Not Perfect

  • The flora and fauna include lots of ticks, and we saw a rattlesnake. Neither was a problem – the rattlesnake was happy to get away from us and, probably due to his thick fur, Klondike only got one tick which was easily removed. Still, you definitely want to be aware of both. For ticks, by the way, consensus on the trail was that this is the product to get.
  • With traffic on a weekday, Fernandez Ranch can be 90 minutes from Berkeley, and possibly as much as two and a half hours from San Francisco. Without traffic it’s just 25 minutes from Berkeley. On a weekday, I’d skip the drive and head for the more accessible Inspiration Point , Strawberry Canyon,  or the always awesome Roberts Recreation Area. On a weekend, absolutely, yes, worth it.
  • Bicycles and horses are allowed on the trail, though we didn’t see any
  • Little or no cell phone reception except in the parking lot

Klondike Walk Score: 84%

Important Notes

Water is not available on the trail, there is no trash disposal on the trail and there are no restrooms on the trail. I would absolutely suggest bringing water for you and your dog. We went on a fairly cool morning (low 70’s) and really wanted it.

Printed maps weren’t available so I’d definitely suggest downloading the map below and printing out. Thanks Jenny B for pointing this out!


Here is a Google link for driving directions. The official address is 1081 Christie Road, Martinez, CA, 94553. For those of your who enjoy such things, here‘s the Google Earth satellite view

Chris Road Exit
You will take this exit from Highway 4 to Christie Road. Note it is right before the rusty bridge and easy to miss.
Fer Ent
Entrance to the park is also a bit easy to miss. It is the third opportunity to turn right, the first two being a gate to a private house and what looks like a gated private road. It is 0.6 miles from where you leave the freeway.


Route And Pictures

Route is shown in orange highlighter. Click here for PDF map.
Klondike happily trots across the bridge connecting parking and picnic area with trailhead
Fernandez Ranch Better-for blog post - 1 of 23
Over the bridge and officially on the Windmill trail!
This shady, covered area is right near the trailhead and where the walk offically began
Fernandez Ranch Better-for blog post - 2 of 23
Along the Windmill trail
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The group in line. Don’t worry – it’s cool to open the cattle gates, just close them again
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More Windmill
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Whipsnake hits Windmill here
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Klondike reminds you: Fork to the left to take Whipsnake for just a little bit before hitting Woodrat. He also reminds you: the word is Whipsnake, a reptile, much as your eye wants to read the sign as Whisper. People language is so hard.
Fernandez Ranch Better-for blog post - 12 of 23
And… we turn from Whipsnake onto Woodrat
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Klondike did not go into the pond on the left, unlike another dog, but did available himself of a swim opportunity a little further down the trail.
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Fork to the left, over the bridge, and you are back on Whipsnake and heading up toward the trailhead. Klondike has warned me to keep my lens cleaner. Sorry Mr. Klondike.
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This is one of a few switchbacks on Whipsnake. A well named trail.
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Another cattle gate. Just open and close as you go through
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Whipsnake pretty much turns into Black Phobes
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From Black Phobes it’s less than 10 minutes to the trailhead
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Klondike chilling in the shade, adjacent to the parking lot,  with his water bowl (after a tick check)
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Thanks Fernandez Ranch! It was nice meeting you, we’ll be back!

Klondike Wraps Indie Film: Details Soon


Sing - On The Set With Klondike (2)
Mr. Klondike relaxes with some of the cast and crew on the set of Sing

Today Mr. Klondike wrapped up principal photography for Sing, a comedic short film. While Mr. Klondike generally avoids indie projects, he made an exception for Sing based on the strength of its script and the close relationship he has with some of its participants. Also treats.

Watch this blog for further details.

Sing - On The Set With Klondike (1)
As a busy artist, Mr. Klondike strives to use his time as efficiently as possible. Here he combines a production meeting with a tummy rub 
Sing - On The Set With Klondike
The crew sets up for an outside shot

That Dog!



Rocket Dog Pic 2015-07-29_0013
Scene of the crime caught on camera! Found this picture at

Set the Way Back Machine to July 19, 2014. The began like any other Saturday. Except I’d seen a sign for a large animal adoption event (35 rescue groups, 300+ animals) at Jack London Square in Oakland, not too far from our house and right next to my gym. And when I told Mieko about it, she said she’d come with me.

We arrived at the event an hour before it ended. Think of a good sized street festival made up of animal rescue organizations with some vendors (everything from  pet supplies, doggie day care centers, and carpet cleaners to insurance companies) thrown in for good measure.

Walking through the event, Mieko looked towards the Rocket Dog Rescue display, pointed at a large, white pile of fur and said “That dog. We need to adopt that dog.” I was dumbstruck. My wife, who had spent the last 12 years coming up with reasons not to get a dog, had fallen in love from fifteen feet. To quote Blaise Pascal: The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.

In any case, fifteen minutes later we were taking That Dog on a trial walk. And fifteen minutes after that I was being as charming as I knew how to the adoption counselor (there was another couple milling about, showing dangerous interest in That Dog), and signing papers.


After that we got That Dog loaded into the car, somehow. Note large bald patch, one of several, probably due to stress and malnutrition. On That Dog. My wife does not have a bald patch.

Mieko wanted me to explain why she looks miserable in this photo when she should look elated. The scared dog had just migrated to the front seat, probably seeking human comfort, and was nervously drooling all over Mieko’s shoulder and chest, leaving her chilled from the evaporation, not to mention dealing with a 90 pound  lapdog.


On the way home we made the first and largest of what would turn out to be many, many, many Pet Food Express stops

You’d be amazed how fast dog supplies add up when starting from zero…

Realized that That Dog needed a checkup. And a name.

The name was easy. Thinking about the commitment we’d made, the “What would you do for a Klondike Bar” jingle popped into my head, and That Dog became Klondike.

Picking a vet for the checkup was a bit more involved.

To be continued!









Congrats to Talent 3 Graduates



Graduates, from Left to Right:  Anita (standing) and Isabella; Bill, Klondike (seated, in white) and Mieko; Heather, Harley (seated in white, red and black) and Chris;  Jean (in black) and Brian; Susan and Sassy (seated)

May 5, 2016 marked the graduation of Bravo!Pup’s Talent 3 advanced performance class. Taught by the amazing Sandi Thompson,  the class wasn’t primarily about learning new tricks. Not that new material wasn’t taught, it was just that  everyone in that class walked in with a pretty good repertoire, so the focus was on polishing performance behaviors until they shined.

During the class, Klondike improved as performer, and had a great deal of fun. In fact, we are thinking about changing his name to The Thump because of the non-stop, super strength, full contact tail wagging he’s started. I think this happiness came from a combination of training treats, attention, the strengthened bond that comes from working closely with your best friend during training/rehearsal, the class’s location inside a Pet Food Express store (a favorite Klondike destination) and the positive energy in the room. But whatever the reason, we’re grateful for the experience.

It was also a blast for the bipedal participants, who greatly enjoyed spending time around their own kind (human and dog) and exercising a shared passion for dog training.

Klondike, Harley and Brian take a well deserved bow while Isabella and Sassy wait their turn
Bill&Klon (1)
While details of our performance are still confidential, I was able to get Mr. Klondike to agree to release this one shot

Talent 3 Diploma 5-5-16