Monday, May 25, 2015

Looking back at ~ The Best Guest Blogs Ever - The Forgotten Soldiers: Our Military Working Dogs at ~ Indulge Thyself

 I was so impressed with this article on U.S. military work dogs that I had to reach out to our friend and follower, Lea and ask if I could re-post it here. Her blog is Indulge Thyself and it's a great read where I find myself often. Check it out for yourself.  
Here is how she replied:
"Hi Kevin, thanks for your appreciation on the article. About the re post... sure, absolutely :) I just have a request... on the link back to my blog or credits section, can you pretty please add that since my husband is a USAF (we are serving overseas) we are humbly asking for prayers for our troops' safety. We really need support on this part especially for those serving in the dessert."

From all of us at CacheCrazy.Com To Lea and Marco Nario ~ THANK YOU! Service family's sacrifice so much, moving frequently, traveling all the time and of course always protecting our freedom.  GOD BLESS!

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

You might have heard about the legislation introduced early this year that would finally take U.S. military working dogs (MWDs) out of the category "equipment" and make them bona fide "Canine Members of the Armed Forces." If it passes, these loyal four-legged heroes who risk their lives for the safety of our troops would at last be officially recognized as the brave warriors and lifesavers they have been for war after war. The bill will help provide aid for the dogs when they retire. The bill is also... way, way overdue.
The legislation aims to provide (1) improved adoption process, (2) veterinary support, and (3) recognition for retired MWDs.
When soldier dogs and handlers deploy, they barely leave each other’s sides and develop a very close bond. When they have to part in order to fulfill a unit requirement, it can bring the toughest soldier to tears. I’ve never heard of soldiers who cried while returning their old rifles or body armors. The fact that dogs are considered “equipment” is terribly inhumane. Sure, they’re not human soldiers, but they’re a far cry from a rifle or any military equipment. Play a kiddie game with children and ask which of these things does not belong, and they will point right to the dog. Most people will, too. Search the Internet about the bond between a handler and his MWD. Or about the courage and loyalty of these canine partners, walking ahead of our soldiers to clear the path, sacrificing their own lives. If you call these dogs equipment that you can easily leave or get rid of after war, then I do not know what the words hero and friendship mean.
How can you consider these canine partners "equipment"?

Military service dog resting with US soldiers after a hard day's work.

How can you leave your bestfriend behind?

If you want to help the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act pass, let your senator or representative know you support it at this website
Here are the legislative IDs for the legislation: House: H.R.4103. Senate: S.2134. You can track the status of the bill here.

Project: Troop Dog’s A.D.O.P.T. Program and US War Dogs Association’s Operation Military Care K-9
Both organizations send care packages to MWD teams overseas and maintain current lists of requested items by deployed units. Their projects offer ways for groups, companies, and individuals to get involved. 
Below are some photos of care packages sent to MWD teams overseas. The dogs and handlers are extremely grateful for all the help, love, and assistance.

Donations for Specific Items
Kevlar for K9s and other Vest-A-Dog Network groups help canine units acquire protective Kevlar vests for their working dogs to wear like their human partners. Military Working Dogs Cooling Vest Project (by Support Military Working Dogs Organization) also provides cooling vests and other protective gears such as Doggles, earmuffs, Muttluks, and other items for dogs deployed in war zones in extreme climate conditions. 
Doggles have anti-fog lenses with 100% UV protection, protecting the eyes from light, dirt, sand, flying debris, and insects. The muttluks give the paws superior footwear protection as the heat of rocks and dirt on desert ground are murder to the dog’s pads. The earmuffs help the dogs relax during flight when in helicopter operations, making them ready to work when they get off.

Doggles in action

Happy with his protective vest

Muttluks protect the paws from the scorching hot ground

Earmuffs help the dogs relax while in flight

Furminators for grooming

Just a few of the letters sent by our soldiers to the Support Military Working Dogs Organization:

"The heat out here is murder on the dog's pad. The dog would jump up and down due to the heat on the ground. Before it was just pad coat but with the booties the dogs are not bothered and once back at patrol base they come off to store." - LCpl Martinez, Oscar IDD Thor
"The moondust like dirt is thick and gets into his eyes. With the goggles he doesn't have that problem. It took some adjustment but Gunner has no problem working in the moondust."
 - Cpl Cooper, Jonathan IDD Gunner.

"Tori had really bad pads with the heat on the rocks. With the booties not a problem any more. We live to hunt for IED's.
" - LCpl Valles, Chuck IDD Tori
"The cooling vests help out at the patrol base where the heat index is high. The cooling packs don't take long to cool." 
~ LCpl Lopez, Jose IDD Bandit
The Military Dog Promise (from Troop Dogs):
My eyes are your eyes.  To watch and protect you and yours.  My ears are your ears.  To hear and detect evil minds in the dark.  My nose is your nose to scent the invader of your domain.  And so you may live, my life is also yours.

This post is dedicated to all military working dogs, especially to those who never made it home.

(Special thanks to the following organizations for the information and photos: US War Dogs Association, Save-a-Vet, Troop Dogs, and Support Military Working Dogs Organization.)

Super job Lea and thank you for sharing! I also have a geocache dedicated to our military dogs called "WAR DOGS" check it out! All I can say is it takes you to a helicopter that you can explore and have fun with but the message is strictly serious. Dogs are amazing animals and I respect their contribution in our freedom efforts!

God Bless The USA ~ Memorial Day 2015 ~ We will always remember!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Looking back at ~ The Best Guest Blogs Ever - The Perils of a Geocaching Pensioner

The email came like one hundred others from BigAl, only this one was different. "You have to take a look at this blog" he said. Little did I know that today I would call her my friend too. Thanks BigAl, you have a nose for talent.
Boy, do I have a surprise for you!  She comes to us from across the pond and sports a great blog named The Ramblings of a Mad Pensioner . Her humor and style of writing is just excellent and I know you're going to love this three part series. Today, tomorrow and Monday to be exact, I bring to you:

 The Perils of a Geocaching Pensioner

 So, strap on your helmet, grab a first aid kit (you're gonna need it) and meet my new friend, Heather aka Lady-Magpie.

Before I start - What is Geocaching?

Well it's an outdoor activity in which the participants use a (GPS) receiver to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (tupperware or similar) or ammo boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. Once you've found it you sign the log and come back and write a note on the computer of your experiences, in my case usually amusing.
**                    **                   **                 **                     **            

Well if your going to get active in retirement why not do it in a big way, Geocaching has brought me to several new places, Berkeley Hospital, Locking Hill Surgery and my Sisters first aid cabinet, to just mention a few.

I was introduced to Geocaching thanks to a chance word from my Niece, that looks interesting I thought  I just have to use my computer, purchase a hand held GPS and find some good walking boots, what on earth could go wrong. Didn't General Montgomery say that the first day he landed in North Africa to take on Field Marshal Erwin Rommel Afrika Korps.

Accident No. 1

Educated and armed with a proper GPS that I had programmed with the correct co-ordinance, I made for a location in a lane near J12 of the M5. Arriving my GPS directed me towards a field entrance with high hawthorn bushes either side, checking the clue it just said "under a rock". Searching everywhere around the bushes I notice that a ditch extended from a culvert and there was a rock in the bottom. Now for the clumsy bit, stepping into the ditch I found it was deeper than the length of my leg sending me upside down into a stinging nettle patch under a thorn bush. I laid there for a few seconds in a similar position to a dead fly on a window ledge with legs and arms in the air, each movement gave me more painful stings and I had to use the thorn bushes to pull myself out. Once back on Terra-fir-ma I came to two conclusions, first why would they hide a cache in the bottom of a ditch that could fill with water, secondly, with my arms swelling and scratched, why was I wearing a short sleeve shirt for this sport. Yes I found a film canister under a rock that I was stood on above the ditch so after signing the log I retreated to a nearby garden center car park to lick my wounds.

Accident No. 2

A few months in and my confidence showed no bounds as I set off for Uley Bury, a 2500 year old Iron Age Fort. Off I walked around the top rim until I was directed to an overgrown path down the steep side of the Bury. After a short search I found the Tupperware box hidden under logs by a tree on the steepest part of the slope, so after completing the log signing I turned to go back down the slope using a branch above me to steady my descent. I now realise that a small twig verses a large lady just doesn't work as with the sound of a loud snap I was sent face first down the slope doing an impression of Tom Daly diving off the top diving board at the Olympics. I wasn't certain whether I was alive or dead for some time and wondered if I would be found in such a remote area, fortunately I came round to my senses and after finding that all I had broken was a tree branch and my pride I made my way back to sanctuary of Harris my Yaris about a mile away.

Accident No. 3 - Major

There had been a few minor incidence such as leaping backwards over a stile to avoiding some very frisky horses near Oakridge and getting jammed in a kissing gate in Avening, but nothing came near to the moment I needed help in December 2009. I was bored at home and although it was very cold and drizzling I set off for a large orchard near Cam & Dursley. Within  50yds of my walk I had to turn down a slope when my left leg slipped forward and my right leg went backwards underneath me. I never knew that my heel could touch the back of my head, perhaps I should have taken up yoga, as I felt a terrific tearing sensation in my right thigh.

I landed in a small water and mud filled gully by a bush and knew I was in trouble needing the emergency services and maybe due to my weight "Sparrows Crane Hire". Fortunately I had charged my mobile and after the 999 call I was put through to the ambulance service where the fun started. Firstly they must have been in Outer Mongolia having never heard of the towns and village where I was, couldn't locate the road where I was parked and told me to stay by my phone and they would ring back, I wasn't actually thinking of going anywhere else at the time.They said that a paramedic was trying to find me, I had a brainwave and using my GPS I gave them the exact position where I was. The next comment was unbelievable, "Sorry we can't use that, do you know the postcode?", I.was in the middle of the countryside for gods sake.

It took 2 hours to locate me, find a spare ambulance and take me to Berkeley Hospital where, after the ambulance crew had left, decided I shouldn't have been taken there in the first place. To be fair to the staff they were brilliant and after 6 hours of tests and x-rays it was found that I had no broken bones but torn the ligaments in my right thigh.

The farce of the hospital and the journey home is another very funny story to be told later, needless to say that my family went berserk regarding pensioners and going out, but I haven't taken up card making or knitting yet. 10 months on and I have completed almost another 100 caches abet with a very wonky leg.

To be continued, be warned.

Stay tuned guys because it picks right up tomorrow! See you then....
See this post at The Ramblings of a Mad Pensioner  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Not Wednesday ~ What is Geocaching?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Looking back at ~ The Best Guest Blogs Ever - Ann from ayrbrain's and My Corner of Scotland

I would like to introduce you to Ann aka ayrbrain's.
As a follower of CacheCrazy.Com and offerering excellent comments to the blog, I asked her to write a short bio and get her feet wet in guest blogging. I was excited when she agreed! CacheCrazy.Com has a strong international following with over 40% of our total readers coming from overseas (thanks to Google analytics). Ann is one of them coming to us from Scotland and she even has her own blog named "My Corner of Scotland". Her stories are light hearted and fun so go check it out for yourself but first, let me hand it over to Ann to tell you the rest.....

 Ann aka ayrbrain's, On Geocaching Adventures

I have been geocaching for just over a year and enjoy it so much as it has taken us to places even in our own home town that we didn't even know were there.  I love finding unusual ones, one close by to our house has caused such tearing out of hair and many laughs even with hints. It is over a small walk-over bridge, the cacher has used fishing wire to dangle the tiny container over the edge at the side of the river. It cannot be seen from under the bridge or from the top of the bridge as it is so well camouflaged, after we eventually found it, I posted my find on the site saying we were throwing a party to celebrate and popping champagne corks, then I got a message almost straight away from someone who was trying to find it at that moment, so there I was at home, emailing him exactly where to stand etc, it still took a while for him to find it.

Another one is in a beautiful park where we have done numerous caches, we had to find the first part where the clue was "Another Brick In The Wall", I stood and looked at a house brick which was in amongst ivy in a low wall and even though I picked it up I did not look at it all the way around, lo and behold the next co-ords were on a piece of metal fastened to the underside of the brick, I have learnt to look at things differently, if it looks like it couldn't possibly be what I am looking for, then it possibly is!

In Australia we met up with a fellow cacher which was interesting, so over a bite of lunch he said he would take us along to one that had totally alluded us, we had looked and looked and being not too many places it could be hidden, we decided to give up.  But Spindoctor took us along to help, there it was over the edge of the harbour wall where we would never have thought of looking.   We had a great holiday in Australia where my husband's sister lives.  I got a new GPS for my Christmas but I was allowed to take it with me on holiday before Christmas,  this one is so much better than my last one which was secondhand but has served me well on my geocaching trips.  This new one is so accurate and I am able to upload all the information direct from the site to the GPS which is great.

So armed with the new GPS we ventured out in Sydney to see how many we could find.  One of the bridges at Darling Harbour opens up to allow boats to pass under, so we found ourselves at this bridge to try and locate the cache.  There is a small control room and this is where the magnetic cache is located, muggle centre but good fun with hubby keeping watch for me to retrieve and replace the  cache. 

My first ever walk in TB hotel in Sydney was good fun, although we did it the long way around as the GPS was all over the place, we were just about to give up on this one when I suggested taking another road, where eventually we found the building, which turned out to be only 2blocks from our hotel in Sydney! This turned out to be a community centre with a very comfortable sofa and a extra large cache container to look through, so comfortable to sit on and write the log, beats sitting on a fallen tree   I had looked online at these caches before leaving Scotland for our trip, and never thought we would managed to find them or meet up with fellow cachers.

We had a trip to Canada in June, so I thought we could find at least one cache as that would be a first overseas cache for us. We had been given a TB by someone who had picked it up at a London airport cache and they didn't know until they were back in Scotland that it wanted to get to Canada, so by a chance meeting with this cacher he dropped the TB and I took it, so it eventually travelled to Canada with us.  We went to Stanley Park and found the TB hotel where we were able to drop the TB. We only managed 2or3 in Canada due to time.

The ones here at home have caused much laughter and such good fun to do as well.  Another favourite one was in a tree way up high (20ft), we eventually spotted it but how to get it down? The cacher had tacked tiny loops into the trunk and weaved the fishing wire through the loops which was in turn attached to a 35mm film canister. The end of the wire was wound around a tiny piece of wood and balanced in a small branch.  So we had to wind it down which was sore on the neck as we were looking up all the time, and then to wind it back up took forever! But a good laugh and fun.  I think it is very clever folk can think of these ingenious caches. Fishing wire is a very popular material here, it is almost invisible to the naked eye.

Just before we left for our Australian trip, we had been out to the large park a couple of miles from our house to find a cache, we must have passed this one a number of times whilst doing other caches not realising there was one hidden here.The container was an ammo tin underneath a wooden style, the container was nailed to a plank of wood which in turn was nailed to the underneath of the style, so without geocaching we would never have know it was there. Very very clever, and on reading previous logs we realised other geocachers had struggled to open the container once they had extracted it from under the style where you needed to lie on the ground to get to the plank of wood and the container, again this gave us a good laugh.

I have 3 caches of my own hidden, these are very easy but I plan on putting another out after seeing all the ideas I have seen in geocaching.  A fun sport, we are out getting fresh air and exercise, having a laugh and sometimes to find another cacher when you arrive is a bonus.  So far I have met maybe 4 or 5 folk when out and about. The latest being a lady who was at the same cache as we had arrived at in Gretna Green Scotland.  We all found it together then we went in her car to the next one, so I now keep in touch with this lady through this great fun activity.  I find it addictive, fun and I have learnt how to use and understand a GPS. This all started with friends of ours who have been cachers for years, when they showed us a few years back how geocaching works when we all spent a few days together in York, England.

Thanks for sharing some of your adventures with us Ann, we hope you keep on writing about all the fun here at CacheCrazy.Com.


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