Friday, April 30, 2010

Keep Your Chin Up

For the first time this week, Kona and I headed out on a longer run. To cover more distance and not run in circles, we have to go somewhere other than our two neighborhood trails. While Kona is most comfortable on these "backyard" fireroads, I was feeling hopeful about challenging Kona. We have taken on nose work, a new calming supplement, and daily relaxation protocol work. I thought we could put the confidence boosting work to the test. Out the door and to the Creek we went.
Alright, I got my reality check. A couple weeks of a new routine doesn't cure a scared dog's worries. Our run was rather predictable. Kona did alright on the way up, although she spent most of her time slinking on the trail.
She relaxed into a bit of exploring and treat eating at our peak.
Then our descent just wasn't fun. Some of you have asked why Kona is more afraid when we head back downhill. I think it's two things. First, she's scared of "human world" things. As my trainer describes her, Kona is semi-feral. The litter I adopted her from may have been truly feral. While the shelter wasn't sure of the litter's history, I got to see all of Kona's sisters, and Kona didn't just get the "scared gene." I also adopted her from a rural shelter that sat off a dirt road—a far cry from even our quiet city neighborhood. Her hyper vigilance and fears seem so innate and ingrained that I really believe that her mother lived under serious stress while Kona was in utero.

All that to say, Kona's fears surround "city civilization" and when we turn around on a trail, we face the city. All our trails bump up against neighborhoods, so we can both see and hear street activity as we descend. The closer to the car we get, the closer to the streets we are. This makes it hard for Kona to relax, even when she's hanging out by her favorite creek.


Second, because it's later in the morning, we run into more people on our way downtrail. Kona has gotten so much more comfortable about meeting strangers on the trail. As long as they ignore her, she's willing to take treats, or just keep exploring. Even though she has improved in this area, any trail activity can increase her stress and the repetition of people encounters slowly makes Kona more and more uncomfortable.

Having a stressed Kona Dog with me this morning made me sad. I had a sense of defeat. This wasn't a city street. This wasn't a hospital visit or a trip to the vet. This was a jog on a quiet trail, and Kona was looking for a hiding place.

When we got back to the parking lot, I sat next to Kona's crate and let my legs hang out of the open car door. I felt grief that such a beautiful morning was lost in fear and frustration. I sat there until I found that voice that told me to keep my chin up. Only work and patience will help Kona learn to be an ease. And only then may we be able to soak up our mornings together.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sorry for the Absence

Back to it...

We've had quite the spectrum of weather this week. From rain to relentless sun. As I write this, the wind whips at gusts of 40 miles per hour. Kona is sitting by the window, taking it all in. (How I'm grateful she's not bothered by weather.)

It started on Monday, when I woke up to my favorite trekking weather. Fog. I felt excited to hit the trails before the marine layer burned off. So much so that I nearly left the house without my shoes on.

As I drove closer to our trailhead, visibility decreased. Traffic slowed down even though the highway sat nearly empty—an unusual occurrence for us Angelenos. Right at our exit, the fog parted. It spouted off the sides of the hills that surrounded the freeway, creating a clear sky for anyone to the North. As we headed up our trail, the sky sat empty above us. Below, the hills and cities were swallowed in clouds. I had to settle on enjoying the fog from a different vantage point.
Kona wasn't disappointed about our lost fog.
She had better things to do and urged me away from my fog watching.
We ran on, following an empty trail. The marine layer came up so high, we seemed to jog along the ocean. It wasn't the weather I hoped for, but it made for a special morning.
On the Training Front
Kona has gone to two nose work classes this week! On Sunday, her regular class was introduced to vehicle searches. This means parking lot work. Kona was the first to give it a try. She didn't have the slightest idea what to do. To her credit, neither did any of the other dogs the first time around. It was a good example of how dogs do not generalize. Even though every dog in her class is solid on odor inside the training center, they were lost outside.

I was nervous about working Kona in the parking lot. First, she had to jump out of the car to a line of 10 people (human classmates), sitting in chairs, looking at her. Kona took note of them, looked around the parking lot, then decided to sniff everyone out. I was surprised that not only did everyone watching not scare her, but I think they supported her and made her less stressed.

The rest didn't go quite as well, but she made it through it. She was really too stressed to learn something new. She whined a number of times and made a couple dashes towards the safety of my car. I think I was really skating that line between good and bad stress, but I don't think I crossed it. I was able to engage her nose. She found the odor (although I think by accident) and she willingly ate her chicken treats. I plan to practice with her at home before her next class. I think if she's not dealing with learning stress, she may manage the parking lot stress better.

We were back inside on Tuesday with a mixed level class. It's fun for me to watch the more advanced dogs. Kona searched in a pileup of chairs, an open umbrella, an industrial sized vacuum, and cones galore. It really was a pileup. The more advanced dogs had to climb their way through the mess to get to the odor. Kona just had to search the perimeter.

More and more, handling comes into play. Kona's at a level where she still needs to be rewarded instantly when she puts her nose on the odor. I keep jumping behind her, thinking she's on odor, then she moves away and I have to retract my handful of treats. She's then confused because I'm standing over her, smelling of chicken. She then sits down and looks at me. I've got some learning to do.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Day I Left My Camera at Home

We had some action on our ridge. As Kona and I approached our wall of mustard, I saw movement in front of us. About 20 meters up the trail, two deer ran across the hillside.

I stopped to watch them. The last time I saw deer on our ridge was during the fires last fall. Kona and I ran into an exodus of deer moving away from the burning forest to the North. We saw over 15 deer that day, but haven't seen another on our ridge since then.

So today was a treat. I watched as the pair disappeared into thick chaparral. Suddenly, I heard a thud. One of the deers moved back out of the chaparral. The second followed right behind it. I heard another thud.

I wondered if I had run into two bucks, duking it out for our ridegline. But as one deer moved out of the chaparral, I knew that wasn't the case. She was a doe. What was going on?

Kona started to whine and broke her stay. I asked her to sit again. To my surprise, she sat, but started quivering.

I looked back up the hill. The doe was in a clearing. The second deer followed her, running.

Wait, I thought. That's not a deer.

No, the second deer was a coyote. The coyote leaped around sage brush after the deer. The doe pushed her body up the steep hillside. I watched as the coyote circled the deer to approach her from behind. The doe didn't have a chance to outmaneuver the canine.

Suddenly, the coyote leaped back in front of the doe and the doe charged. Another thud.

At this point, all I could think was, "You've got to be kidding me, Coyote." I scanned the higher ridge, looking for signs of a fawn, or maybe another coyote pair. Nothing. Did this canine seriously think he had a chance at the doe on his own?

The chase and charge played out for about two more minutes. As I watched the coyote, I was struck by how much he looked like Kona when she frolics in high grass. He looked surprisingly relaxed and happy. It was as if his antics with the deer were all a game. He never lowered his body, and I never saw him try to put his mouth on the deer. Was this really just a fun morning romp for the coyote?

Just as Kona lost her power to stay still, the duo broke up, moving in opposite directions on the ridge. I don't think either one of them was hurt. I feared most for the coyote, who had taken a few hard hits.

Needless to say, Kona exploded with energy as soon as we started back up the trail. She spent most of the morning with her nose glued to the ground. Not a bad start to the weekend.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Can I Borrow Your Nose?

While one weather system left us last night, another front moved in this morning and gave me and Kona another great sky show.
The trails were quiet. The air temperature hovered in the upper 30's, and probably scared some of our fellow thin-skinned hikers inside for the morning. The forest peaks were dusted in snow and I relaxed into a comfortable jog.

Kona wasn't as enthusiastic as she was yesterday on her long line, but she settled into her restricted roaming range. She was not about to stop for a photo, so now the world gets to see her rump shot:
All was well until we reached our high bench. Kona stuck her nose into the breeze, then turned on her heels to high tail it in the other direction. She wasn't in a panicked flight. Imagine a coyote slinking away after spotting a human. That's what she looked like.

She stayed nervous as we descended the trail. I heard a dumpster lid slam in the neighborhood below us, and wondered if Kona heard something that scared her. But she kept sticking her nose in the air as she slinked down the trail. I usually know, or at least have a good idea, about what scares Kona. This time, I didn't have a clue. I desperately wanted to get inside her nose to see what smell made her so worried.

When we made it to her favorite trail, she relaxed quite a bit, but still made several stops to sniff the air.
I was glad Kona's favorite trail was at the end of our run. Kona got to finish her morning with high frolics, and I got to soak up another inspiring sky. I never know what a morning with Kona will hold, but there's usually something good to be found. (Oh, Kona just asked me to add "and smelled" to the end of that sentence.) And there you have it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magical Morning

The sky tried to turn blue under a layer of stormy clouds. It seemed to promise more rain and I knew we were in for my favorite kind of weather. I wasn't disappointed.
It seems like years since we've had rain this late into Spring. We officially passed our average rainfall for the winter, but water levels still run low after several dry seasons.

While the warm California sun turned our grass into foxtails weeks ago, the extra moisture keeps our wildflowers growing strong. In what seems to have happened overnight, mustard has taken over our fireroad.
Mustard covers hillsides across the city and has found a home on our ridge. I love the bright yellow flowers and have memories of picking and eating mustard as a kid, but I also know that it's an invasive species. Our trails would probably host an abundance of smaller flowers without it.
Kona didn't care where the mustard came from. Something sniff-worthy caught her attention.
As I watched dense clouds cover our forest to the North, I was surprised to turn around and see the sky open over the city to the South. I like to say we don't have a sky here in Southern California. I remember trips to Colorado and New Mexico where the sky looks photoshoped blue and you can find your favorite animal shaped from oversized clouds. We don't get that around here, but the sky tried its best today.
With every curve of the trail, the sky changed shape. I was in my happy place. Kona wasn't doing too bad either. Staying a true huntress, she checked out every movement along the trail. We stopped to listen to a coyote yip somewhere down canyon.

I let Kona on her long line for the second half of our run. She went straight into high frolics, kicking up foxtails as she went. I slowed down to a walk. I couldn't get over the changing sky.

As Kona ran in mad-dog fashion, I practiced a couple recalls. She responded both times. I think I still need to practice more with her before I start to call her off something she's sniffing, but I think we're headed in the right direction.

As we continued down the trail, the clouds cleared a view to our Northern forests.

When we turned around, I was sad to have to head home. Kona was having a blast in her own spastic way, and I couldn't imagine a more beautiful morning.

(Bonus points if you can find Kona.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Plan

After several recent hikes with a highly stressed Kona Dog, I decided it's time to adjust my approach to help Kona with her fear.

Over the past eight or so months, my approach with Kona has been simple: minimize her exposure to high stress and do a ton of stuff she loves to boost her confidence and strengthen her trust in me.
I've never done much counter conditioning with her because she's really too hyper vigilant for that kind of behavior modification to be successful. If Kona isn't totally relaxed in her environment, exposing her to triggers can immediately send her over her threshold.
So The Plan:
Teach relaxation and decrease hyper vigilance with two things: relaxation protocol (Thanks Roxanne) and l-theanine supplement.

I first heard about the relaxation protocol through the book, Control Unleashed. The author says (and I'm paraphrasing), if your dog doesn't know how to relax, good luck to you. Teaching a dog to relax is foundational to any behavior modification.

Ya hear that Kona?
I've done some spastic relaxation protocol work, but not consistent enough for Kona to really get it. So I'm committed to 60 days of relaxation work (we're on day three!). I'm not going to follow the protocol to a T, but will tweak it to best suit Kona.

Because we all need a little help, I'm adding L-Theanine to Kona's daily routine. (Thanks Sam for giving me great info on this!) L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that supports relaxation. It's as safe as adding fish oil or glucosamine to your dog's diet. I'm not a huge fan of pharmaceuticals, so I feel good about this. I'm picking some up this afternoon. Kona will be on a full dose of 100Mg a day.

I'll write up on our progress from time to time. Expect at least a once a week, "Yes, we're still relaxation protocol-ing," just to keep me in check!

Here's to continued success towards brave-dom!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Finding Energy and Nose Work Info

It's been one of those weeks where I feel like I'm running on only a bowl of Wheaties—I haven't had a whole lot of energy and have had the patience of someone low on blood sugar. Not too inspirational. I'm not sure where the downer mood came from, but I knew I needed to get out for some real exercise in an attempt to zap some life into me.

My determination showed. We were the first people at the trailhead parking lot. When we hit our first steep climb, I was ready to push hard. As always, Kona waited for me to hurry up.
We made it up the climb and merged onto a fireroad. The more I run a trail, the more relaxed I feel on it. Kona and I have crossed this trail enough times that I no longer feel spooked about what may lie high up the mountain walls. I instead marveled at the steep terrain.


Kona decided marveling was quite boring.
As we continued to climb, rustling off the trail caught Kona's attention. After a few moments of waiting, a family of quail mad dashed cross the fireroad. Quail are such goofy birds, with their pompom heads and awkward flying attempts. I think Kona thought they were silly looking too.
When we reached the top of our climb, we both had energy to spare. Kona seemed to have a hard time relaxing, even though we were at one of her favorite sniffing grounds. It took awhile, but she did loosen up.
I decided to explore the area a bit. We headed to the high camp that sat just above us. The area is used for group camping, often for scout troops. Huge picnic tables took away any feeling of solitude, but I enjoyed the forested surroundings. Most of our trails stay at lower elevations and in chaparral forests. Big trees were a welcomed change of scenery.

Kona became very interested in a crow's nest. She was frustrated that I wouldn't let her get any closer to the big birds.
When it was time to head back, I decided to make our run longer by skipping the steep singletrack and sticking to the fireroad which would connect us to the creek. I thought Kona would enjoy a new trail and have fun in the water once we reached the bottom.

I don't know if Kona had a memory of our Disneyland run up this trail, but our descent and the remainder of our run wasn't too fun. Kona's mood didn't change suddenly when we turned downhill, she had been having a tough time from the start, but she got worse during the descent.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I finally got Kona into her crate. I think I need to come up with a plan to help Kona, especially with her hyper vigilance. I'm sure there will be more on that later.

Nose Work Info
My apologies for not posting this yesterday like I said I would. It was that whole "running on a bowl of Wheaties" thing.

I'm really liking Nose Work for Kona. It's much easier for her than other classes we've tried because it's hard for her to focus on me when she's nervous. In Nose Work, she doesn't have to pay attention to me! Engaging her nose seems much less stressful than following commands.

The classes we're taking are set up as a progression to have dogs ready to trial. Nose Work trials are sanctioned by the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW). The folks at the NACSW wanted to open the training taught to detection canines to companion dogs. Add in competitive trials and you have a new dog sport!

The inaugural Nose Work trial was held in August of 2008, so the sport is in its infancy. From what I can find online, it seems as though the founders of the NACSW have been traveling and presenting Nose Work workshops to handlers and trainers in hopes to spread the word and keep the sport growing.

I have a feeling Nose Work will be around for awhile. I don't know of another sport where you follow your dog instead of giving her commands. There's still a huge component of teamwork and I'm beginning to see how handling does play a huge role (you need to learn how to not mess up your dog's search). I like the dog/handler dynamic. It reminds me of Search and Rescue work, but scaled back and simplified.

I plan to keep Kona in classes as long as her stress levels stay at a mid to low range. Hope to have more Kona Nose Work stories in the future. In the meantime, we'll keep chasing our shadows on the trails.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tracking

**Many of you seemed interested in Nose Work. I'll post tomorrow with more information and links. It is a lot of fun!**

I remember reading about KB's lab K, and how KB reads her so well she can distinguish when K picks up the scent of a bear versus another animal. I'm slowly learning with my Kona Girl.

Kona started her run as a bag of nerves. She whined whenever I stopped and held her tail low. I'm getting better at disconnecting myself from Kona when she's like this as there often isn't much I can do to help. Often, simply continuing to run helps settle her nerves. I understand how that works.
At our halfway point, I hooked Kona to her long line. She spent the first few minutes nervously looking back at me as she pulled on her 30 foot leash. It wasn't long before that tail started to relax and Kona started to explore.

Kona truly becomes a different dog when she has room to romp and check things out. She bounded through foxtails, sniffed the air, and peed on coyote scat. Just as I daydreamed about having a reliable Kona who would run freely off leash, Kona buried her head into a scent.

She then took off on a mission. I knew from her first step out of the bushes that she found a scent trail. That girl ran—fast. She darted from one side of the fire road to the other. She spun around on her heels and back tracked ten feet before whirling around and taking off full speed in the other direction, all with her snout glued to the ground.

Mule deer. I knew it as soon as she took off. I looked for tracks to confirm my instinct, but the thin layer of surface sand didn't show any imprints. After another five minutes, the trail became softer and the tracks emerged. Bingo!

Kona continued to follow the tracks. When we reached the point where the deer left the ridge, Kona stopped and looked back from where we came, almost anticipating the emergence of one of those invisible animals.
I knew Kona smelled deer because of how quickly and enthusiastically she moved. It was as though she hadn't eaten for weeks and now was her chance to feast on big game. When Kona comes across the tracks or scat of a coyote, she moves much more deliberately, will often pee, and seems uninterested in pursuing the tracks.

Then there are times when Kona freezes and sniffs the air as she moves cautiously through a section of trail. I don't know if Kona's not sure what she smells during those times, or if she smells something that makes her nervous.

As we finished our run, Kona panted with a smile on her face. No doubt she had a harder workout than normal and tired her brain along with her body. I panted and smiled with her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kona Meets Stinkbug

A girl finds mischief without her morning run.

First, the stinkbug stunk her.

video


Then, Kona went in for revenge.

video

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Storm and Nose Work

A stormed loomed all weekend, giving me and Kona two cool days of overcast running.
The rain didn't come until late last night, and blew East by the time we headed to the trail this morning, leaving us with clear skies.

Despite a weekend of activity, Kona bounded with energy.
On the Training Front
Yesterday, Kona started her level II Nose Work class. In the last series, Kona practiced sniffing out treats and then learned how to find a specific odor.

This class is different from other classes we have taken because the dogs work one at a time and leave the building in between turns. This means that Kona spends a good deal of time in the car by herself and has to walk across the parking lot several times. (Kona finds parking lots especially scary.)

I gave Kona a dose of Rescue Remedy before we left and put lavender on a bandanna to leave in the car to help relax her while she waited.

When we arrived, Kona shook and whined. By the time I went back to the car to get her for her first turn, she had stopped shaking and was laying down "normal" in her crate. (Kona lays down in her crate when she's scared, but she'll make herself into a tiny ball in the very back of the crate.)

Kona worked without a problem. She wasn't bothered by the other people in the room and even did fine during an off leash search where the odor was hidden among turned over chairs, cones and other odd items. Her pupils were huge and she slinked around a bit, but for Kona Dog, that wasn't too bad.

So far, so good with this class. I think we start vehicle searches in this level, which should be interesting with Kona's parking lot fear. It could either be really helpful for Kona or just not work. We'll see!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Long Run and Burn Aftermath

For days I've told myself, "Today, I'll take Kona above the Peak." Our steep run to the Peak really isn't the peak of the mountain. I often look to the higher ridge line and wonder what the view would be like from that vantage point. We found out today.

The weather called for another day of 80 degrees, so I left the house in a t-shirt. I was glad I did. We started at the trailhead at 6:30AM, and the sun already shined brightly. I felt strong during our climb to the Peak. Kona never explores as much on singletrack trails, but she still took plenty of sniff stops. Whenever I stopped, she stood on alert.
We passed several parties on the way up. I don't know if it's the season that's brought more people to the trails, or if people are still off on their spring holiday. Kona never seems bothered by activity on the trail on the way up (coming down is another story).

I was surprised how relaxed my body felt after we reached the Peak. I stopped to try to give Kona water. Kona is often either too distracted or too anxious to drink. I was worried about continuing if I couldn't get liquid in her. She took a couple links from my water bottle and went back to high alert.
We took off up the trail. I'm always nervous when I take to a trail for the first time. Our path was rocky and narrow at points. Not long after we left familiar territory, we came up to wall of loose rock and boulders. The wall sandwiched us with the canyon below. When we rounded a corner so the wall sat up against the trail, Kona froze.

I stopped running to see what caught Kona's attention. I didn't see anything, but decided to slow to a walk. Kona would take a few steps, then freeze again, sniffing the air. I wasn't into the rock wall to begin with, now I really didn't like it.

I was glad when we moved through that stretch of trail, though Kona stayed on high alert for the rest of our ascent.
We crested the ridge and looked towards the mountains to the North. The landscape was barren.
This was part of the forest that burned last fall. Today was the first time I've seen the burn area up close. My heart sank. Our forest needs fire to keep its ecosystem healthy, but it needs surface fire. This was not a surface fire.
As I walked around, I was surprised by the lack of new growth, despite a good season of rain. It soon hit home that never in my lifetime will I see our forest like it was last year. While I'm sure the chaparral will begin to grow over several years, I don't know if I'll ever see a sycamore or oak tree in these canyons, or smell a Jeffrey pine on a high ridge.

Kona soon found deer tacks and leaped to a frenzied searched. I let her dragged me up the ridge while I took in the lunar hillsides.
I decided to turn around for the day. I want to explore this trail more, but time was short, and I knew I wouldn't be able to run down the lose rock and ash that made the trail slippery and uneven. Kona reluctantly left her deer trail.
We made good time on the descent. I had to body block Kona several times to keep her behind me. We tripped over each other for the first few minutes, but we are out of practice on technical downhills.

I felt some relief when we made it past the rock wall (yes, Kona stopped in her tracks again) and back to the Peak. We stopped for awhile to enjoy the shade of a sycamore tree and look at the city below us.

Despite the haze and smog of summer that snuck into our sky, I could still make out the ocean. And I enjoyed the lively chaparral that framed the view.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photo Tag

Sam tagged us to play a photo game. The rules are to pick the tenth picture out of your first folder and share its story.

I'm breaking the rules. The tenth picture in my first folder is of me and my roommates during our first year of college. I have toilette paper wrapped around my head and draping from my ears...

So we're going to folder number two!


Much better.

I took this picture eight years ago on my first backpacking trip. (Yes, on a trusty disposable camera.)

This pond sits somewhere between Bear Trap Lake and Rainbow Meadow, just outside of Yosemite. (The actual name of the meadow isn't Rainbow Meadow, but everyone I know who travels through it calls it that. Just don't call me on it if you're on a trip in California and can't find it on a map.) This section of wilderness was just incorporated and protected as part of the Hoover Wilderness last year.

This trip was my catalyst to a lifetime of longing for wild spaces. While I can't look back and point to single events that changed the course of my life, this is one of those experiences that makes me wonder.

Where would I be today if I hadn't walked those miles, if I hadn't climbed that boulder, to watch the reflection of rocky peaks and open sky?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rain!

Rain hit the ground so lightly this morning I forgot about the forecasted storm until I stepped outside with Kona. I quickly returned to change into my fleece pants, rain jacket and mud shoes. I try to be the rain-or-shine-tough-runner, but I stood at the door for a minute to make sure the mist didn't turn into a downpour.

When we got to the trailhead, the rain came down steady but light. We were out earlier than usual, but the dark sky welcomed us to an empty trail. The hillsides were all ours.
It took Kona a few minutes to get her bearings in the wet weather. At first she hunkered, not sure about the rain that quickly soaked her coat. We rounded our second hill. Poor Kona's frolik grass had been bulldozed. Crews come through for brush clearance to remove fire fuel. Kona stayed hunkered without her grass as a distraction.
When we came to our first descent, the rain picked up. The sky pelted us from the side as my shoes quickly became saturated. I tightened the hood on my rain jacketed and looked down at Kona to see how she was handling the downpour. She had found grass and explored like the sun shined.
When we turned around to head uphill, we ran into a headwind. I tightened my hood even more and kept my head down. I peeked out at Kona. She ran with her tail up, but had flattened her ears to keep the water out of them. Just as I thought about cutting our run short, the heavy rain eased into a mist.

For the rest of our run, the rain alternated between sideways pelting and gentle misting. Kona's behavior is fairly weather proof. At one point she initiated a game of "I run away, then come back and you give me a treat. Then I do it again." Kona started this game during heavy rain. Each time she ran back to me for a treat, she had to squint to avoid the water that tried to pound into her eyes. She doesn't initiate this game often, so I wanted to reward her well, but I also tried to move us along before we melted from too much water.

We didn't see anyone. I picked up the pace when the rain picked up, but took Kona's initiative to explore. We stopped to check out the mini waterfalls that formed on the sides of the trails.

When we arrived at the car, my roomy fleece pants were so soaked that they stuck to me like cycling tights. Kona left paw prints on the car's seat. We steamed up the windows as I turned on the windshield wipers and blasted the defroster.