Enzo & Hank

It’s week 8 and I’ve made 2 wonderful furry friends- Enzo the Border Collie and Hank the Australian Shepherd.
They are the family dogs of the Groth family, whom I have been house sitting for since the start of the month. Scott, one of my mentors at ODFW is ironically vacationing in our hometown of Rochester, NY, and asked me before he left to take care of their house, dogs, bearded dragon lizard, fish, and plants for about two weeks. He and his wife showed me around the place and gave me the run down on my duties. They put me up in their lovely guest room and gave me full use of their Prius and all the amenities (including hot tub and even more importantly, food and laundry ~lol). Not a bad gig, huh?

I quickly learned that taking care of a home isn’t as easy as it seems, and since I had a lot of things to remember to do on any given day (fetch the mail, give the dog his meds, etc) I resourcefully made a spreadsheet calendar to check off daily tasks- as any scientist would do. But really, the responsibilities have been a breeze, especially given the fact that through this whole thing I’ve gotten to play with doggies!

Hank is an old boy, he is almost fully deaf and blind. But he’s a real sweetie and takes his meds just fine morning and night (disguised in a piece of cheese or peanut butter of course). He’s a simple guy who very much enjoys food, and has mastered the new doggie door they bought right before their trip. In the past week he’s been uncharacteristically energetic, running to the door with Enzo when I utter that coveted phrase “You wanna go out?”. Walks with the two of them are funny because I’ve basically got Enzo on one leash pulling up front an Hank on the other slowly moseying behind, stopping to smell all the smelly smells. And, I may be crazy, but I swear Hank can sometimes see where I throw the ball. But it’s about 2% of the time, and even when I drop it at his paws it usually goes unnoticed. It remains a mystery.

Enzo, the younger, hyperactive half of the pair has been my real buddy the past couple weeks. He’s the cutest lil bugger, who greets me at the door and sleeps at my bedside. We’ve been on a few adventures to different parks and hikes after work and on weekends, and he makes the big house feel a lot cozier. He’s got these crazy eyes that are just hysterical, and his deeply ingrained herding skills come out anytime a ball is in the mix. He’s the fastest dog I’ve ever seen, and is relentless at fetch (I call it “fetch”but really he only brings the ball 50%-75% of the way back to me, so it’s exercise for the both of us). We only stop playing when I’ve decided he’s definitely too tired and needs a break, if it were up to him he’d run till his feet bled.
It’s been so nice having them around, they are the highlight of my day. I’m going to have puppy withdrawals (and miss the use of the car) when Scott gets back on Wednesday.

As for work I spent a whoooole lot of time on the water this week with Joe conducting our native oyster surveys- more on that later (maybe even with some results!).

I’ve been applying for jobs and internships and fervently trying to find a balance between pursuing my career goals- which right now pretty much keeps me poor and away from home-  and what my heart wants- which is to spend some time with my family and friends and save money. I actually just completed a very successful interview for an AmeriCorps position with the Coos Watershed Association, which is the perfect balance of the outreach/education and science in the form of fish biology. But, it would require me to make the leap of moving across the country at the end of the month (!!!) and making barely enough money to break even for 11 months. I’m quite conflicted, but I am also excited by all the opportunities I’ve been finding.

Anyway, here are some cute dog pictures.

Enzo at Blacklock Point (such a good poser)

Hank dozin'

Enzo giving crazy eyes

The ball literally sank... was not expecting that

Handsome Hank



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About Katie Gregory

Originally from Rochester, NY, I finished my B.S. in Marine Science from Stony Brook University in Spring 2017 before heading out to Oregon for the Sea Grant Summer Scholars Program. I am working with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Shellfish and Estuarine Habitat Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) project under mentor Tony D'Andrea, but assisting in several other things with ODFW along the way. I am based in Charleston, Oregon living at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) and am hoping to explore the OR coast as much as possible in my free time!

One thought on “Enzo & Hank

  1. Love the descriptions of the two Groth dogs! You can really see the wild in Enzo’s eyes in one of those photos. It does sound like you got a pretty sweet gig for the past couple weeks. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the oyster surveys later too, especially with that teaser of some results. That’s amazing that you’ve enjoyed living and working on the south coast so much that you’re considering moving there for a year! I just looked into the Coos Watershed Association, and it sounds like an amazing organization that is right up your ally. Best of luck with that!

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