Saturday, October 31, 2009

Roscoe my brilliant boy

Heard back from Dodman. We are going to go back to the original dose of buspirone and try the clonidine for trial stress. I am not convinced it will work, since clonidine slows the heart rate, however Roscoe is not normal in any way and we know that medication doesn't act "normally" for him. Like, the Xanax was so useful for trial stress. It took away his worry, but also pumped him up and made him really HIGH! That's what I need in trial settings!! A dog who is pumped and crazy and HIGH!!. The Xanax worked opposite for him as it is prescribed or thought to work, it really made him HIGH and excited, which Dodman says happens in some aggressive dogs. Unfortunately, he seems to be "immune" to it now and it has no affect. So, I will try the clonidine.

I do know, from talking with friends who suffer from depression or some other anxiety disorder, that finding the right "cocktail" is tough and takes trial and error. I am going to keep at it.

I am exhausted thinking about why all this is happening with the poor dog. I try to find a pattern to the stress. There is no pattern that I can see. Sometimes he gets stressed at home and has peed in the house (he has been wearing a belly band, so it isn't really in the house - we call it his straight jacket) when life seems so normal and quiet. Then we have construction activity going on and he is fine, where before that might have put him into major worry and start him shaking in our laps.

There is one thing I plan to try (I make it sound like it is just ONE thing, easy, just ONE thing) - I think, if I am remembering right, that his BEST performance work was when Colby had her knee surgery and was out of commission. Roscoe got to do seminars, trials, classes all by himself. He thrived and was so happy!!! We were having times when he was that good before her surgery, but that was also before Spur. So, lately Spur has taken a lot of my time. He is two and at the peak of his start in training, working on getting behaviors solid. The MinPins have solid behaviors and simply need maintenance. I think that's not enough for Roscoe. He needs more. He is brilliant and brilliant minds left un-exercised start to rot. Is that a metaphor that makes you barf, or what? But, I mean it, I think he may be rotting. His brilliant mind needs more activity. New tricks, more constant work, more attention. I can't just settle with maintaining............I'll do just this one thing.

With all my free time............bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..............I am going to work Roscoe more and be mindful of making sure he gets special time. Just telling him he is special isn't enough. He is special, you know? Delaney says he is "special". She's right! I think special has different meanings. You decide, what does it mean? I just think he is - special. My special project, a special case, maybe just a case? Hmmmm, I think both.....he is a special case, for sure.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last class??? Waaaaaaaaa.........

Our last outdoor agility class was yesterday. It was actually Wednesday, but with the rain we moved it to yesterday. VERY nice day for it and we had a little celebration for Colby's MACH. Cindy, my instructor and good friend, made a cake!! And this was SOME cake!!! I was SO touched!! It has black frosting and brown cake. Colby's colors! Well, she is considered black and "rust", but still it was MinPin colors!'s the MOST cool part..........she made the two courses we ran to get the MACH on Sunday in frosting on the cake!!! She has them numbered and everything, exactly as they were!!! Oh...........MY............GOD.................. It is/was just the coolest thing! And what's funny, everyone ate all around the courses and not until there was no more cake to take except the courses did those get eaten. Since yesterday was a make up and we started our Rally Obedience winter classes last night I brought the cake to Rally class, so most of it was eaten last night. Dog people like cake! So, there is not much cake left!

It was fun at agility class with all the novice folks there asking..... "what's a MACH?". LOL!! I remember those days. I remember the first MACH I ever saw anyone get. It was like..........HUH.........what's the big hubbub about? Everyone was running ringside to clap and cheer the victory lap. I had to ask what for, back then. And I remember having the whole MACH thing explained and what it takes to get a MACH and thinking.........oh well, that's out of MY reach. Hmmm, guess not!! :D Good little MACH Colby Carlson! Who knew? Well, I do now. She did it, we did it, the party and celebration continues. It's such a big deal!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mushroom poisoning?

Recently there has been some discussion about this. Someone I know thought a dog in her charge had mushroom poisoning. That's what the vet said. Maybe so, but from what I know after a friend's two MinPins died of mushroom poisoning, is you can not know for certain without a post mortem liver biopsy and mushroom poisoning mimics many other poisons/toxicities, such as artificial sweetener, corn molds, etc.

My MinPin friend did the post mortem biopsy with her second dog because after the first one she had mushroom specialists come out and tell her it wasn't mushrooms, that the mushrooms in her yard were not the poisonous kind. Opps, she has four other dogs!! Well, the next dead dog proved them wrong, sadly. These two dogs were dead within 5 days of symptoms. Really, really sad. She has other dogs. She always has. They have always gone into this yard, it's her fenced in back yard for the dogs. Luckily, she does have a fenced in front yard, so since last year her dogs are only allowed in her front yard. This fall she thinks she found the mushrooms in her back yard - With confirmation from some other mushroom specialist, these are called "Death Caps" and what killed her two dogs. They look so "normal", so benign. She wants to move. She has lived in this family home for many years. It's an awful situation. Getting rid of them isn't easy, so they say. Basically, one would need to bleach the whole yard, remove all plant material and start over with different types of growth. Here is what the mushroom person said -

" It appears to be a species introduced from Europe over the years, and she has done some elegant tracking studies. Amanita phalloides has an ectomycorrhyzal association with trees, often oaks or other hard woods. This means it may well be helping your trees. My closest connection to it is that it is easily confused with the paddy straw mushroom that southeast Asians eat in Asia. They tend to find phalloides here, assume it is fine to eat, and get poisoned. Every year we seem to hear of a poisoning or two. I teach lots of southeast Asian 3rd graders, and make it my business to tell them *not* to let their families collect mushrooms here, unless they talk to me! There is reading, writing, and 'rithmetic, and there is survival!"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Things are a flush down the toilet

Tomorrow will be two weeks since I increased Roscoe's meds. He has had three accidents in the house in the last four days. Well, not exactly in the house, most in his belly band. He's been wearing that since his last episode of marking indoors. My options are - belly band or crate. And when loose in the house I would have to leash him to me or gate him in rooms with me so I could catch him in the act, if I didn't use the belly band. That's the trouble, I never see it happen. Crating him would add to his anxiety. His anxiety is sky-rocketing. At the trial Sunday he had one pretty nice run, then one VERY bad run. Just not happy. Which is a little strange because outside he tried to play with a sheltie. :O WHAT???? Roscoe doesn't play.........I mean, really he DOES - NOT - PLAY! Get it? Roscoe has played with two other dogs before, briefly, like for just a minute or two, ever in the 9 years I have had him. So, Sunday it was like he was Bi-Polar. One minute playing with a sheltie, the next minute running agility like he had lead paws and I was promising to pull his nails out with pliers when done running. Barely making course time. He sucked, we sucked, it looked bad. Someone even asked if he was OK as we left the ring. Damn.

I have a call in to my regular vet asking if there are not more intensive medical tests we could run to COMPLETELY rule out ANY medical reason. Waiting to hear back. The test we ran, blood panel and simple urinalysis were totally normal.

My gut tells me this is all mental. He's a mental case. I know that. He's not right. He's Roscoe. He's messed up. He's not normal. He's special. He's nuts. He's kind of sad and confused and not feeling right and it bums me out. Then he's all happy and playing and making new friends. What's up with that?????

Why now? My gut tells me it's all about Spur. Spur has matured, challenged Roscoe on occasion, is now a two year old male. I don't really know. I am guessing, it's just a guessing game. His mind is too complicated and messed up to know what's really going on. I just want him to feel better. NOW! And stop peeing in my house!!! But, maybe it has nothing to do with that. Maybe his brain is getting signals from the aliens on Mars, or Venus, or Utah. Or the little voices in his head are arguing and can't stop. I don't hear those voices and I don't know the language anyway. Maybe he needs re-wiring. How does one re-wire a dog? I wish I had an answer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some bling for our cloud

Cloud Nine. Colby wearing her bling that Lisa and Donna got her for getting her MACH.

The indoor shots during our celebration came out blurry, so yesterday I took some outside. Somehow these shots don't quite look right? Colby, hunting moles while wearing bling? The congratulations keep pouring in. It feels good! I am just glad she got her MACH before something broke down on her. She is so fragile. Her eyes are starting to break down, notice the squinting. She is only 10, which for a MinPin is quite young, but she has always had more health concerns than a MinPin her age should. She is a puppymill dog, after all. Born at a puppymill in MI, sold through a pet store in RI to a collage kid. He couldn't handle her energy or housetrain her or keep her out of the trash, so he was going to dump her at the shelter, but thought better of it and called rescue, thank goodness. I got her at 5 1/2 months old for $75. Look at her now, MACH Colby! I love this dog! What a wonderful partner!

Our cloud is so comfy - Cloud Nine!

Monday, October 26, 2009

MACH Colby!!!

We FINALLY did it!! Colby is a Champion Agility dog! She got her Master Agility Championship with the AKC yesterday! Goodness, that seemed to take us forever. It didn't help that this past summer many of her trials were in 2" of rain. So..........she is Nevah Gonna Be a Nevah Gonna Be a MACH Dog again! She is MACH Colby now and forever! Good little girlie! I am VERY proud. She is the 15th MinPin to ever get that. My friend was there yesterday who has the first MinPin to ever get a MACH, so that was really nice. I love her purple and green ribbon. Tradition is when you get your MACH, you grab the last jump bar and do a victory lap. That felt so strange, but Colby LOVED it and ran around the ring, zooming into a tunnel and running out with me! Fun!! I forgot to thank and hug the judge, also a tradition, but she came up to me as I was leaving the ring and didn't let me get away. I apologized. DOI! It was so much pressure, all eyes on us, it's just a strange thing, really. I mean, it was just another agility run. :D

She got raw steak when we got home! And a pearl bling necklace! (Thanks Lisa and Donna!!)

MACH Colby, forever! Love that little girlie!! The best partner anyone could ask for! My little Champion!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is this not the most spectacular fall???

As I drove to my first kitty visit this morning in the misty rain, it occurred to me that this has to be one of the prettiest falls! The colors are absolutely fantastic!!! Even in the cold rain, passing our neighbor Dweebe's house (his name is something else, but we call him Dweebe - it just fits), I wished I had my camera to stop and photograph the colors surrounding his junk yard. He does have a bit of a junk yard. Old tractors, old cars, farm tools and equipment, all over his yard and many of it with "for sale" signs that have been there forever and it's always a mess. He probably thinks it is lovely and all that valuable stuff there shows his net worth or something. He's a local character, probably lived here his whole life. I hear his mother lives with him, but I have never seen her. I see him sometimes chatting with people in his junk yard, always dressed in auto-mechanic-blue and flannel, I suppose they are negotiating a price on something valuable in the yard. He wears a hat from the tire store. The junk and the fall colors looked beautiful this morning.

Yesterday I visited with Maybell-Camo-Kitty.

She blends in with the leaves! I can never get a straight on photo of her because she just keeps walking up to me, rubbing on my legs. Sweet kitty!

What more can I say? The fall colors are LOVELY this year!
**Just to let you know - tomorrow Colby gets her MACH. Master Agility Championship. You know, we have been trying to get that for! When a dog gets that they can put those four letters before their name. Most AKC dogs have long names, like.........."Downeast Frozen Sea-Man "...that's my friend's dog.........or "Tequilas Hi Octane Accelerator".......I don't know that dog, but I like that name..........or "Thornapple Ragtime Rave Revue"......I wonder what that dog's call name is ...........Rag? Thorn?........
...........I don't know that dog, but it often gets 100 in Rally, although Roscoe beat him the one time we competed against him, because our time was faster. Roscoe MOVES out!
My dogs names? -
Spur - well, I decided to try registering him as a papillon and had to come up with one of those long AKC breed names, so he is actually registered as -
"Trout Brook Spur Of The Moment" Sounds so official? So AKC.
Right now I call Colby - "The Never Gonna MACH Dog Colby", to which she smiles and wiggles her tail at me as if that is such a cool name and she loves it. Tomorrow she will become "MACH Colby".
Or, we may NOT get her MACH tomorrow and her tail will still wiggle and she will still think she has a cool name!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

OK, I did it, it's done, for now

Your comments and critiques are welcome. Remember, though, that this is the most basic program. I have very little I can change or make better. I really don't like the photo page, but I will keep working on that. There is no way to load a bunch of photos without using that strange scroll pattern. It's all they offer.

I don't know if I will make any kind of announcement about it. Still wondering about that. You know, there are folks who do that, like public service announcements in small, gossip papers. Good grief that seems Probably just good business sense, but when ever I read such things I am all like.............Oh, lah-dee-dah for you! Although, I then do go check it out.

I will be swapping the photos around. I can't decide which ones are best. I love the one of m and Kojak, the pit bull out walking that I put on the front page. He is one of my FAVORITE dogs, the best dog EVAH............and I love his happy smile! He's a "snowbird" and gone to Florida and I miss him terribly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

APDT Rally-O!!

APDT Rally-Obedience! (Association of Pet Dog Trainers - APDT)

I just signed up all three dogs, yep even The Spurminator, for a Rally-O trial at the first weekend in November. Just Sunday, but Colby and Spur get two routines and Roscoe will get three. Which means if he qualifies in all three it will be his level-1 title. Roscoe and Colby are both in Excellent level in AKC Rally-O, but none of them have done APDT. It is very similar, but there are a few differences. Honestly, I am not even really sure the differences, but hopefully we can figure it out. We have, what, two weeks? Three weeks? We can do it. Heck, if Roscoe can get a perfect score in AKC Rally after having not practiced for three months, I think we can do this. Spur might be a challenge, but I kind of figure it will be good for him to give it a go. He has matured SO much this past summer, I feel like he is ready for ring time.

Next week we start our Rally-O classes again, weekly. I don't do them in the summer because I am at agility class two nights a week and poor Rich would like he didn't have a wife if I did THREE nights/week. When I retire that's what I want to do. Dog class every night, LOL!!! I guess I need to financially plan for that? Rich's dad said to us last week that one thing he didn't plan into his retirement program was dental costs., once I add that, then I must add my three weekly dog classes to my retirement plan. I say that as if I have a retirement plan. I have a plan, that's for sure. Just may not be like what most people think of when they think "retirement plan". I plan to have tons of money, tons of time, lots of animals, a huge farm, someone to maintain it, a big RV to go to dog shows in, someone I trust to stay home and tend the farm. Asking too much?

"If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?" Hmmm........, what was Pink Floyd really saying? I need to make money so I can retire? How can I retire if I don't make any money? Hmmmmmmm.............really? Damn!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

With the help of sweet Jewel

I got to about 40 feet from the Sand Hill Crane. It was hunkered down sunbathing in the middle of the field again, only it's head sticking up.
It wasn't comfortable enough with us to stay lying down, but it didn't take flight.
It was AWESOME! We got to about 40 feet and I felt like that was close enough. We walked along side by side for a while, then it turned around and we walked side by side the other direction. It wasn't worried. It ate, drank from a wet area, didn't seem concerned by Jewel at all. It must know the horse isn't a predator?

Just a magnificent bird!

I sure wish I had a better camera!

I think if you click on the photos they will come up full size for you. Very, very cool creature and I feel so thrilled to be in it's presence. :D

The day the crane came to visit

I think if you click on the photos they come up larger and you can see the bird closer. This is a Sand Hill Crane that has been on the farm lately. Just the COOLEST bird!! It is out of it's range, but A LOT! It honks or trumpets and makes the strangest sound. It is larger than a Great Blue Heron. It hangs with the crows, eats tons of the old corn and yesterday was spotted in the middle of the hay field, laying down, preening and sunbathing. I am going to try for more photos.

It, or one like it, came last year, too. I kind of think it must be the same one.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Spidie-Man? And the launch of my website, YIKES!

Poor Roscoe. My friend Cindy says that should cause him enough anxiety! Yeah, he looks pretty miserable, however,............. he couldn't WAIT to be the only one trying on costumes and posing for me! Charlee Bears all the way! Roscoe says......"Show me the money".........and he will dress up as a Spider! Spur and Colby were whining and barking outside the door wanting their turn to dress up. Besides, Roscoe puts me through enough hell, he can take 10 minutes to dress up as a spider!!! Roscoe has entered the Fetch Howlaween costume contest every year. Kathy Palmer at Fetch is a good person and I like to help promote her business. Fetch is such a cool store!

Now you tell me, which one should I submit?...........

So, yesterday I launched my website. NO critiques, thank you very much, it is still work in progress. I can't figure out how to get it to change pages without opening a NEW page and that is making me NUTS!! The contact page opens just fine, but all the other pages end up with a new page. Rich said he would help me later. My computer is such a dinosaur and SO PAINFULLY, DREADFULLY, TORTUROUSLY slow it takes me FOREVER to do anything with the website, so I am kind of proud I got done what I got done and frustrated that I can't figure it out better. I think Rich is hesitating helping me because he knows my limited patience with this sort of thing. I am trying to be chipper, really I am. It will be tweaked and tweaked some more. Kind of like Cindy setting up our agility classes..........adjusting the course, and adjusting and adjusting and ADJUSTING. OCD? Maybe.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Four blind mice and the day it was all about poo!

First, the mice. Rich was bringing in our wood and uncovered a mouse nest. I was just finishing up working the dogs in the agility field and bringing them past the pile heading inside. They always "work" the wood pile, Colby mostly hunting grasshoppers, but mice and whatever else might be there. She once found a snake skin - a VERY coveted item and carried it around for hours!!! Today, it was baby mice and Roscoe ate every one. :O Ewwwwwwwwwww!!!!!! Rich ran from the pile, hands to his head going...."Ohhhhhhhh, ickkkkkkkkkk!!!!". I thought about Nate and George and what would Nate do. Stand there, silent, curious, watching, I am sure. George might not kill blind baby mice. Not enough challenge when he has tasted ground hogs before. I'll have to ask George, next time I see him.

In the morning we walked with Nate and George. Kathy is still "under the weather" after having wring surgery. It has wrecked her, really. Down and OUT!!! So, Nate had George tied out in the sun while he cut wood. It's all about wood these days. When he saw us he removed his hard hat and gloves and let George loose to join us. It seemed like the path was littered with poo. All kinds of different poo and Nate and I had to stop and check it out. Fall brings out all the critters, busy stocking up for winter, and their poo is everywhere. Lots of poo. Different poo. Of course, there were also the deer guts from the kill the bow hunter had the night before, but I didn't photograph those. Just poo. It was all about poo on this late morning farm walk.

This poo was some sort of "claim", I think. It was in the middle of a bunch of feathers, obviously from some bird kill. Like the animals was saying........."Hey, look, this was mine, all mine." Why would they do that? The body was gone, it was just feathers? But, it was obviously some marking territory or some sort. It has seeds and corn and I think eggshells and bones in it. Raccoon? Skunk?
We think this poo was raccoon. It is nearly dark purple, probably from berries and on top of the plastic culvert. Raccoons are known for leaving their scat on top of things. Roscoe likes to do that. Another marking of sorts. Scat. What constitutes scat? Shit, crap, dung, poo, poop, feces, waste, manure, bowel movement, dump, what other names are there? I think they do have differences.

Like this is a bird poo. I can't call that dung, or manure. I am pretty sure those terms are only for cloved hoofed animals?
This is definitely scat!! It is full of hair and bones. Coyote, fox?

This is probably from skunk, possom or raccoon. I suppose it could be from fox or coyote, they are omnivours. It is full of corn.

This we weren't sure if it was even from a wild animal. I mean, it does look a little like my dogs poo after they got into some corn.

Wasn't this the most interesting post evah???

Friday, October 16, 2009

Visit with Dr. Dodman

OK, so Roscoe has not seemed quite right this year. More on edge, more reactive, sometimes really shut down at trials (Xanax is no longer helping in that department), has marked a couple of times in my house......... :O has seemed to me his Buspirone isn't taking the edge off him any more. Like he is menopausal or something. Seriously, the occasional outbursts of rage seem to fit that sort of thing. And the mood swings. Of course, last weekend he was AWESOME and PERFECT and no sign of such "issues". Isn't that always the case?

I decided it was time to check in with his trusted behavior medicine vet, Nick Dodman at Tufts. It was a good appointment because Roscoe had a MAJOR meltdown. The waiting room is pretty intense at Tufts. Often dogs at the end of their lives, there for last chance help, or treatment. We walk in and sit next to a HUGE golden retriever with an ENORMOUS growth on her nose, making her mouth all deformed, her nostrils all strange looking. Poor thing looked absolutely miserable and was there for some radiation treatment or something. Stress, stress, stress...........the room oozed stress. There were some small dogs, but mostly HUGE dogs. I sit in a corner seat, facing him away from everything and basically shove Charlee Bears into his mouth to keep him from stress barking. Next in comes a HUGE Spinone/Doodle/Irish Wolfhound type dog and plops down next to us and I have to tell the owner "He IS NOT friendly", so she pulls the dog away from sniffing Roscoe's ass. Roscoe just about implodes. I shove more Charlee Bears in him, trying to break them up into tiny bits so he doesn't get STUFFED/FAT! I thought I was going to implode.

FINALLY, they come get me. We enter the room, Dodman's office, and Roscoe is a shaking mass of nervous energy, woofing under his breath, reacting to every sound outside the door. I try to get him to sit and focus. Lasts about a second each time. Dodman says something about Roscoe being pushy and demanding his cookies from me. Hah, he is always demanding cookies, but this wasn't about the cookies, I explain. This is about the sounds outside the door and how intense the situation was in the waiting room. I explain our meltdown in the waiting room and how uptight he is. Not sure he agrees with me, he is of the mindset of these types of dogs being dominant and pushy, no matter how much shaking the dog is doing sitting in front of him "demanding his cookies". I have to just work through that with him.

We chat about what's been going on. He explains I should make sure to let Roscoe know he is top dog over Spur and to remind him of that often. Letting Roscoe get resources first, etc. Elders rule, he is very firm on that deal. Yeah, I have probably been praising Spur more in front of Roscoe a bit too much, which doesn't help my relationship with Roscoe. I will be more mindful of that. He thinks if we increase the buspirone the marking may go away and some of the anxiety may diminish. We will try it for a month or so and re-evaluate. He gave me a script for Clonidine, a blood pressure med. I WISH I had that yesterday for the waiting room! It can be giving regularly or situational. Situational, say for trial stress, I have to give 1-2 hours to take effect, but can give 3-4 times/day. Sounds good and I can do a test of that next weekend at Sunday's trial, if he melts down in the first class I can give it and see how he does the next class.

We can also try stopping the buspirone, and starting just the clonidine. That's a possibility. Ultimately, the drug of choice would be prozac, but we tried that years ago and it diminished his play drive which is essential for his performance work. Something very important to both of us. It's what we do, and it helps him tremendously.

At one point we decided to test his urine, since I had not done that. I had a blood panel done, which was all good, but had not tested his urine. The attending student was going to take him out herself to get that. I was like..................."Uh......NO, I will be doing that", LOL!! I am not sure they fully understand the extent of his aggression. A stranger taking his leash, shoving a tray under him to collect urine would surely have been bitten!!! I do think Roscoe suffers some from little, cute dog syndrome. There was even a point when Roscoe was working on a stuffed toy we gave him to keep him occupied, that Dodman reached down as if to pat him. He didn't and I didn't say anything, but GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE!!!!! This is an AGGRESSION case!!! Oi! It can be a struggle working through these things with people and the cute factor is a big issue. I am always on edge in public, ready to blurt out "NOT FRIENDLY", but in an office with the country's top behavior medicine veterinarian I didn't think I had to. Sigh..................... I was exhausted by the time I got home. It was a long drive, during rush hour traffic, the waiting room scene drained me, the visit was difficult. I wish we had thought to give him the stuffed toy first thing. But, at least Dodman got to see the crazy, uptight version I talk about.

Started his increased buspirone this morning.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spur is an AKC registered dog!

This is the certificate they sent me. I tried to register him as a papillon, but NO, too much black I was told by pap breeders. They kept my $35 bucks. Well..........they ended up using that money and automatically registering him as a mixed breed. "Trout Brook Spur of the Moment" is his registered name. Hah! Now I just need to see what clubs will offer mixed breeds to do agility or obedience. Right now when I go to the AKC site and search for trials offering mixed breeds in my area none come up. Snobs!! Such snobs!! I know, so many people think this is a horrible thing. The AKC promoting segregation. I am just not of the thinking. Especially if you are comparing it to segregation of blacks. Sorry.............nope.........NO SUCH comparison. It just isn't the same. We are talking DOG SPORTS here, not whether or not someone can ride a bus or enter a building or have a job. Sorry...........don't say that to me or you might get an earful. I am one who is thrilled for this opportunity. I am SO tired of bringing my mixed breed dog to trials and not getting to run him. The kicker will be how many clubs offer this. It doesn't start until next April, so time will tell.I love this shot of him after flushing the gathering geese out of the newly planted winter rye. He thinks he is a farm dog, working hard each morning! Good little man!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The seasons change quickly, and I found a funny!!

The sunflowers hang in there and produce seeds for the goldfinches, who took off when I came close with my camera, darnit! But, notice the grass??? I had to mow yesterday! I enjoy mowing, but this time of year I am kind of done with that. It's so 09 and we are moving ahead to 2010. Time to wash windows, bring in the wood, put away my shorts and haul out my sweaters. No MORE MOWING! Will it have to be 20-10? I mean, just saying 10 doesn't sound right. It sounds right to say 09, but the year 10? Just ain't right. It will be 20-10. Certainly 0-10 doesn't work like 09.
The frost quickly killed my beautiful impatiens. They are just too tender.

As I was organizing my photos this morning I found this one. It just cracks me up! Like, Spur and I totally got the joke, but the Pin Heads, well, they were not amused. They just didn't get it, did they? Colby looks like she is saying........"If you tell that stupid joke one more time I will barf!!".........and Roscoe................"You know, it is just not funny, let me go or I will BITE YOU!!!". But, Spur and I saw the humor in it, or so it seems!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Master Gambler? Really???

Yep, Roscoe is now a Master Gambler!! He got two Gamble runs this weekend to complete his Master Gambler title!!! All he needs now is a Relay for his championship. We teamed with a very accomplished team this weekend, but they had an off-course. BUMMER MAN, we wanted that HUGE APD ribbon from BARK for his Championship!! They have the NICEST ribbons. Darn it! I can't believe it is down to one Relay leg. Never in a million years would I think that. I thought we would be going for that last Gamble leg like forever. Nope, tiny 9lb Roscoe is learning to work away from me quite well and ran off to the last jump in the gamble which was like a MILE away!! Good little Master Gambler Roscoe!! Wow!

What a FUN weekend!! Colby teamed with Jones, the schnauzer and Tiki, the papillon for a DAM Team Q. We were in FIRST place the whole day until our last run and we had one tiny mistake. How cool is that?? First place among ALL the big, fast border collie team, first place of EVERYONE!! We were the littlest team, ending up finishing 7th overall for a very respectable finish! What fun!

Spur - he ROCKED!! His debut was all I thought it would be. Happy, happy, happy and NO issues with the teeter at all, he was pumped to finally get to run at a trial!! Even when the alien took over my body yesterday in his Gamblers run. What was I thinking entering him in Gamblers? Like I am good at Gambles? NOT! Well, OK, me and Roscoe are, but that's because we own them now! Spur? I handle him like I have never handled a dog before, like really, never - green horn, stupid novice, dumb ass wierdo out there, and Spur just takes it in stride. The alien takes over my body and I turn into a flapping, uncoordinated, mushy, dumb-ass whack job that hasn't a clue what I am doing. Wait don't I have a Master Gamble dog? How can I be such a loser in a Starters class???? Poor Spur! Damned if he didn't run beautifully anyway. Zooming for his teeter, running to the end and not freaking at the recoil. I'll load the video later. It isn't great because I forgot to tell Blanche how to zoom in, so he looks like a tiny black ant with a fluffy tail, but at least you can see how happy he is how fast he flattens into a down on the table, how fast he zooms onto his nemesis - the teeter. Seems the teeter just isn't an issue any more. What a good little man!! I could not be more proud!!!! Spur - agility dog. Who knew? I did, I knew he could do it, I knew it was in there. I KNEW it!!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Juno makes herself at home!

Her first night free she found a bag of catnip and opened it all over the floor, then proceeded to roll in it and get high all night! In the morning I think she was hung over! She must have decided this was a pretty cool place to be. They supply drugs, a warm bed, a handsome dude. In the photo below, the white towel is covered with catnip. I haven't cleaned it up because she is still enjoying it, her contraband supply of drugs. I pat her sometimes and she is covered in catnip! Silly girlie!! She is hardly feral, which in some ways bums me out, she probably should be an indoor kitty, but my house of hound horrors isn't exactly cat friendly. Perhaps she will acclimate and come in and handle them. She is trying REALLY hard to win over Zeus. She goes so far as to try to head butt him, which just makes him mad and risks a swat to her. She will learn. I am debating adding another female. The Friends of Feral Felines have another girl, who is "very playful" and perhaps might do well with Juno. I just don't know, I haven't had the best track record with feral kitties this year. Two ended up quite sick and not making it. And I think I better give it some time to see if Zeus and Juno end up sick from whatever he/she Leta had. That does worry me.

Things I learned yesterday......If you can't find Juno, you might look on the seat of the tractor. I called and called her yesterday morning, shaking her junk food jar and no Juno. I sat there for a few minutes, really quiet and felt eyes on me. Like Zombie eyes, creepy and weird feeling. Has Metis come back from the dead, over-seeing the new addition? I looked up and there she was on the seat, looking at me like I was an idiot. :D I am off to the BARK trial early tomorrow, so I won't be blogging until at least Tuesday. I am pretty excited about Spur's debut!!!!! His REAL trial debut! Although, I am a little worried about those darned contacts. He launched his A-frame both Tuesday and Wednesday nights at class. My running dog walks haven't carried over like Sylvia Trkman said it would. I don't know how she does it. Her Border Collie had FANTASTIC A-frame running contacts at the Worlds. She could even peel off and leave her and that dog ran right to the bottom, never stopping, never launching.

Yesterday I messed around with four-on-the-floor. For you non-agility people that is when the dog drops into a down on the ground after running over the A-frame. I worried that stopping Spur's momentum would worry him and slow his whole performance. When I asked for a definite hit on his hit-it board on the dog walk contacts, demanding that performance he got slow and started trotting his dog walk, worrying about making sure he was right. So, for that I have slacked off and started using the hoops to keep his head low and will just have to hope we get contacts on the dog walk at trials. At least, for now. The A-frame is different, though, and he seemed to really enjoy his "FLAT" at the bottom of his A-frame. That's my cue word........FLAT. I thought a different word might be helpful? Probably makes no difference at all, but I may not demand a held position, instead ask for just the behavior then move on. When I ask him for a "down", I want that behavior until I release him, like when he has to go down on the table. He must stay there until I release him. I have to mess around with this some and see what I want to do, but at least he isn't bumming out and seems to love running the frame then dropping into his "FLAT"! I'll take that, for now. He is such a project.

Last night at Rally class he looked like a different dog! We haven't done Rally class all summer and the other students saw a difference in him. He looked happy, motivated, working hard and not the worried little paw-wringing, melt down punkin head he was last spring. I was VERY proud! He is absolutely adorable when he heals. His fluffy fur flies, he prances along with his tiny white paws marching along to his beat, he loves it!!! He has come a long way this summer!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The ups and downs of it all!!

I LOVE fall. Have you heard that already?? Well, I do, I really, really do. I love the cool air, the colors, the thought of soon sitting by the wood stove reading book after book. Yes, I love winter, too, or some parts of it anyway. But, yesterday was all FALL. I love how the light is low and bright and highlights everything. The dogs love the smells and Spur loves the gathering geese.
The geese in the newly planted winter rye. I guess they are probably eating that? Fresh, thick grass?
Spur spots them, but chasing them over the newly tilled up ground doesn't impress him.He found a different course. See him, that tiny black blur in the left corner of the photo?

Roscoe isn't too impressed with Fall. It means morning dew, colder temperatures and many morning he has to endure clothing, which he HATES. But, look at him!!! He is pathetic and perhaps I should have put his coat on? It is a fine line, most of the walk was in enough sun for some warmth, but in this photo we had just gone through some thicker wet grass, so he got cold and wet. Pathetic.............

Our afternoon found us at Ferry Beach walking with Kathy and George. High tide, so not much beach, but it was LOVELY!! Our first fall beach walk. Just a fabulous fall afternoon! Not many people there, probably because the tide was so high. We still loved it!
Now for the down part................poor little white Leta kitty saw the vet yesterday and never came home. Turns out she was a he and was very, very sick. She/he had stopped eating on Sunday, or at least was only picking at his food. His mouth was getting worse looking. By yesterday things looked pretty bad. Poor thing was TERRIFIED at the vets, a very feral kitty, so they sedated him to get a good look at his mouth. It was FULL of ulcers. Treating such a wild kitty would have been near impossible, so we felt it best to put him down. I am bummed. But, I take some comfort in the fact that he didn't suffer a long, slow starvation in the wild. He did OK up until the last couple of days and really probably didn't suffer too much.
Little Juno has been released from her cage and is exploring the barn. She lets me pat her, has gone nose to nose with Zeus, so hopefully we have a successful feral kitty introduction! I am going to keep my dogs out of the barn for the next week, so she can settle in. She seems healthy and fine and hopefully whatever Leta had unaffected her.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am moving to Slovenia!!

OK, well, not really. But, you all knew that. I am SUCH a home body and hardly ever go anywhere outside of New England. Yes, I know, I went to CA once. That was ONCE, you read! Once in my life!

Here is why I am "moving to Slovenia" -

This is Sylvia Trkman's tricks class. HOW MUCH FUN are these dogs having????? My dogs all love tricks and this just makes me want to teach more. She is such a fantastic dog trainer/teacher. She was one of the World Team members I watched run a few weeks ago in Austria (video on demand - no I didn't go to Austria!!). I watched her runs over and over. I just love how her dogs work. They are happy and brilliant. Trick training may seem silly, but it teaches the dog to think and strive to learn more. Silly tricks are also so much fun for us!

One thing I look forward to with winter arriving soon........more time indoors to just play with my dogs doing tricks. Right now I have wood to bring in, perennials to cut back, windows to wash, agility to train before it gets to cold, pastures to tend to, lawn furniture to put away and the list goes on, so I haven't focused much on tricks. But, I do have a three day USDAA dog show coming up this weekend that looks like a HUGE trial and that means I will probably have plenty of time to hang out between my runs and work on some tricks with my dogs. Colby knows the head shake from side to side, but she doesn't move it that much or quickly. I need to tighten up that trick and get her shaking her head further from side to side. I'll try working on that this weekend, but she is on a Team which means she will be running the most this weekend. She doesn't have a Team Q, so that would be nice to get this weekend. We are teamed with two great dogs, so hopefully we can pull it off.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oh NO, I have been talked into doing a website for my pet care business. I don't know why I have hesitated, it really should be done. Being married to a media marketing specialist means I have finally been pressured into launching a website. I really do need one, I need to stay current, continue to build business and stop just blogging stuff about ME and my animals! I am going to need some help, though. I will be contacting some of you for permission to post your pet's photos. I know some of you have some AWESOME photos from Helen Peppe I can post.

It's pouring rain today, so it was a good day to get started. However, my ass hurts, my head is spinning, and I bow to all of you who sit at a desk all day. HOW THE F#@K do you do it???? Seriously, I have been yelling at my dogs - the little rocket scientists have decided to re-arrange my living room, or so it sounds like from my office chair - I snap at Rich when he walks by - he did after all talk me into this and set up my account, and I REALLY don't like the color of the couch he just bought for HIS office (it is his office he should be able to chose whatever color he wants, but I still have to look at it and it really is like Barf Beige and very well made so I will have to look at it for 30+ years I suppose!!) - and I still don't like what I got done!!!!

People say rainy days are good for this sort of thing. Up yours! You may never see my website up and running. Click on the link, it will just say something like "work in progress". Yeah, that's right, it's work in progress. Not "fun event coming soon", or "for a good time call", or "what are you lookin' at jerk?" it will say something like ......"site in construction". Well, my construction abilities rival Winnie The Pooh, who couldn't get his head out of the honey jar.

Oh, you want to see the couch? So far I have had several people say they actually like it. They must really like Rich.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Spur's running contacts. Oh MY!!

I finally got some videos of his hit-it board, running contacts. Since he now runs with SPEED for a ball I wanted to make sure he got it and started using hoops. OH MY! He can still launch right through the WHOLE THING! However, I would say we have 90% success rate with at least ONE toe hitting the yellow zone. Probably 30% he gets it with both feet. Computer illiterate as I am I messed up the launching, flying through the whole thing videos, darn it. And I have no idea how to do these in slow motion, but if you manage to stop them at JUST the right time you can see how he hits it.

At this point I am just going to go with this work. I need him happy. If I start to manage the zones he starts going really slow, even trotting it like you saw in his Debut videos. Worry, worry, worry, he starts to wring his little papillon paws. I know this is risky, judges are not good at seeing back feet hit the zone, as we saw with Colby's photo a few posts back. That contact was called as a missed contact, but clearly in the photo her back foot hits the zone. That's all it states in the rules, one foot must hit the zone.

Luckily, Spur runs with his head down, even without the hoops, so that's nice. Colby runs with her head up. I think all my Sylvia Trkman running board work on the flat and low height helped that. He has so much practice running head down as a youngster. I just do not want to ask him to stop at the bottom, like many people do. I think that will end up with worry, worry, worry and trotting. I want him happy and RUNNING. I am just going to go with this for a while because at least we have speed back and that's a good thing. Happy, happy, speedy, speedy, that's certainly a good thing.

These first to show good hits. All four feet. Perfecto!!! Just what I want, every single time. World Champion!!

These two show one or two back feet. First one shows both back feet, second one just ONE back foot!! :O

Oh, not perfecto. Would take a very savvy and focused judge to call that a good hit. But, he's happy, he's fast, he DOES hit it, technically, his head is down. All good things, right?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Meet Juno and Leta!

Friends Of Feral Felines brought me two feral girls last week to live in the barn. Juno is the grey and Leta is the white. Juno is quite friendly! I would hardly say feral??? She lets me pat her and stroke her and comes for treats. Leta never leaves her crate when I am there. Right now they are both in a large wire dog crate, near Zeus' food and the horse's grain bin. They get used to seeing Zeus and where food will be. They see other activity from there and get used to the smells and sounds of the barn. Recommended time is 1.5 - 2 weeks before release. Juno may end up coming inside if she can handle the crazy dogs. She is very friendly. As with all the barn kitties I have taken in they are all welcome to come in if they want, but most have felt too trapped and FREAK out when brought in. Zeus will come in for short periods, but they when he wants out he makes it VERY, VERY clear. LOL!!!Leta may have to go see the vet next week, however. She won't let me touch her, but I don't like how dirty her mouth looks. They did get vet checks and were spayed and given Revolution for parasites, but I don't like the look of Leta's mouth??? Just seems odd it is always dirty! She doesn't seem to clean herself very well? She is eating, I can put food in her crate and shut the door so Juno doesn't get it and it's all gone in an hour. But, still doesn't it seem strange how dirty her mouth is?