Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What do I do after walking all the dogs?

I walk dogs for a living. I start around 10:00 and end around 2:30 these days. No lunch, I work straight through. Eat a big snack at 9:30 to keep me going. Then I come home and take MY dogs out. My dogs always get their morning walk, but their afternoon walk this time of year is extra special depending on the tide. This week it is low tide in the afternoon, which means BEACH WALKS!!!!

Walked OOB for about 1 1/2 hours yesterday with my friend Mary!! It was LOVELY!! Bright blue sky, ocean had turned that lovely green just two days before, it was awesome!!! Spur met a little westie boy to play chase-me with. Wahooooo........Then he chased that westie away........

He looks kind of full of himself.......It was bright. REALLY bright! We walked west first and the sun was in our faces. Mary and I had our sunglasses on. Spur, he was fine with the bright sun.........Poor Colby..........We nearly made it to the Pier, but I think she started to get weary of the bright sun. Her little tail nub went half mast and she started walking directly behind us. It's hard for her, she has to constantly be on the look out for the other dogs barreling into her. She sees them at a distance just OK, but right up close in the bright sun when they get near her she just doesn't see them. I wish she would wear goggles.

We turned around and it was much better for her. It makes me sad that this is happening to her. My awesome athlete is breaking down and she isn't even 12, yet. Sucks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Can you tell how tiny this bottle is??? It is 2.5ml. It is TINY! And it cost me.......drum roll please..........$95!!!!!! >:O I wonder how old people on fixed incomes can afford this medicine? It is to treat glaucoma, not an uncommon ailment as we age.

The ophthalmologists says this is a hereditary disease common to MinPins. Huh? I do MinPin rescue and in our organization we have hundreds of dogs, between the ones coming into rescue and our own dogs, and I don't know any others with glaucoma issues. Bad knees are common, but glaucoma? Not that I know of. And nothing about it in any of my MinPin breed books, but I didn't argue with him.

They called yesterday to tell me "REALLY great news!!!". The generic just came out and it should be only $10! Um, OK, except that what I got on Thursday IS the generic. She suggested I call around. I did and Walmart had it cheapest at $69, my pharmacy said "Nope, it's $95. Not about to go down $85 in less than a week". Of course, Canadian pharmacies have it for $30, which is probably how I will go.

I called the girl back and reported my results and she said the pharmacists were "stupid and they don't know" and she would check with the vet and get back to me. I haven't heard anything, yet. It was kind of an unprofessional comment from her. This from the same vet tech who told me she would call in the prescription to the pharmacy so it would be ready when I arrived and she forgot. Hmmmm...........I am not having much confidence her $10/bottle story will pan out. But, at $30/bottle through Canada that is tolerable.

Her eye is still doing so much better, so it was worth it!!!! I bring her to my vet on Thursday to check the pressure after a week on this new med.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spur's running contacts! YAY!

Silvia said....."your project is finished". So, we haven't done any more training on it. What I have had to do is some teeter work. Not having a teeter to do every single day really hurt. He refused it several times at class and trials. I finally painted a new plank and put it together and he now does it every day on our way out for our farm walks. It is helping, a LOT!!

This video is from a match yesterday. He wasn't super fast like in training, but pretty fast for being nervous at a trial-like setting. And good contacts every time. Very deep in two of them. And look at that fairly confident teeter. And that is a LOUD, scary teeter!!! Good little Monkey Pants!!

We have had several trials since stopping the training work and he has not missed a contact. It sure seems to be a very solid behavior for him. He really is brilliant and tries so hard for me! I love the little guy! He is really starting to enjoy the work without worry.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Worshipping at the Silvia Trkman church and a sad day for animal welfare........

We have been doing our "homework". She asked everyone to try teaching their dogs to hold a bottle or object. She wants to see as many dogs as possible learning this behavior. She calls it a "thinking trick", meaning the dog has to actually think on their own about a chain of behaviors. Ultimately, to pick it up and hold it without our help. Spur, in four short (five minutes each) sessions, figured out I wanted him to hold it. He has chosen the one arm hold, but has offered with both a couple of times. He seems to prefer one arm. Curious if I promoted his left arm or if he is naturally left "handed". Next to see if I can get him to pick it up himself, instead of me having to offer it to him. This stage almost seemed too easy for him. He's so smart!!! -

The Pin Heads are still at the paw grabbing the pole stage, which is the start of this trick. They are so frantic and offer a million behaviors it is hard to click for the paw grabbing hold for any length of time, but they are getting it. I know once they get that it will come quickly. Spur is my thinker and thinks things through very carefully and thoughtfully.

And to those of you who are not from here or are from here and live in a bubble, not reading facebook, the news or watching TV, it was a very sad week for animal welfare. The kennel owners of the puppymill bust where Spur came from got off "Scott free" this week. Barely a slap on the wrist. In 17 months they can be back in puppymill business again. It is a horrible travesty of justice that occured and I have no explanation. Just a very, very sad thing.

The state spent hundreds of thousands of dollars caring for these dogs, the least that could have happened was for these two asshole to foot some of that bill. They caused the problem, they should pay. It is just not right. I am sorry my sweet Spur, no justice for you I am sad to say......

Friday, March 25, 2011

Colby's eye report

We saw the ophthalmologist yesterday and he was glad we came in early. She has had more deterioration and the lens is now starting to luxate through the retina with the pupil being completely dilated all the time. And the pressure was increased in that eye, unfortunately, so the current treatment wasn't doing it.

This was taken two days ago. You can see the pupil is completely dilated and her eye looks bigger than the other one -He prescribed a different eye drop and with in one hour it was SO much better. Partial constriction!!! You can actually see more of her brown iris now!! And the eye is not so huge!! YAY!!!However, the drops are OUTRAGEOUSLY expensive. I thought the other drops were expensive, but these are even more. to order through Canadian pharmacy again. I am so pleased, though, because he said sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and if it doesn't work the options are limited. Surgery, to then remove the lens because as it luxates it will press against the cornea and cause pain. Or remove the eye all together, which I am sure is what some folks do who can not afford the drops or the lens removal surgery. The lens removal surgery is very touchy and he said not always successful, even though they do it quite well, so if we can avoid that I am all for it.

He does feel she has pretty good sight left in the eye regardless of all the issues going on. And even if she had to have the lens removed, she would then not see near, but would see pretty OK far. Not the greatest visit, but it could have been worse and I am pretty happy with the results of the new drops.

I took more frost heave photos this morning. They are pretty dramatic right now........

This particular section will eventually start to almost float. The whole path will raise up and it's pretty funny feeling underfoot. Dangerous for the horses, but I can just ride to the side.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This is just outrageous!

I just can't imagine why this has happened. Read on from the local gossip paper.....

"BUXTON – After years of delay, defendants in the notorious Buxton puppy mill case quietly walked from court last week under an agreement that likely will result in all charges being dropped.
Massachusetts residents John and Heidi Frasca, formerly of Buxton, each pleaded guilty to five counts of cruelty to animals March 17 in York County Superior Court in Alfred. They had originally faced 25 counts each of cruelty to animals. In an agreement, the criminal cases were deferred, and at the end of 17 months the pleas would be withdrawn and all charges dismissed. The dismissal hinges on the Frascas avoiding any criminal activity."

It makes no sense. The state spent thousands of dollars helping and caring for these sick dogs, us volunteers spend hundreds of hours tending to them, and all for what? Certainly not justice. It just makes me sick. People can do anything to an animal and get away with it. I just don't get it.
These people need to pay for what they did, yet they get off with barely a slap on the hand. That in itself is a crime.

I am sorry little Spur. You and your relatives will see no justice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Eyes and teeth

I stopped the prednisolone eye drops Sunday and her sclera is redder. Damn! Called the vet and he said to go back to twice/day until her recheck which is this Thursday. I just don't like how this eye looks. The pupil is always dilated now and even when she was on the prednisolone drops the sclera was more red than the other eye. Sigh...... This morning at the grocery store they had the good ribs for teeth cleaning! YAY!! They haven't had them much lately. Colby doesn't chomp on them as well as the boys, so her teeth don't get as good a cleaning, but it does do some good. For the boys it totally cleans off the tartar, it's awesome!! They knaw and knaw at the bones better than she does. She is such a lady about it.

Good molar scraping here -

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why couldn't we be last???

Last place team got some nice gift baskets!! Darn it! We were second to last. :P

It was a GREAT trial, ran smoothly and fast, we were done by 1:00 yesterday so I managed to get home and get a nice farm walk and even my jobs done early! Yay!

My team had too many E's. They were all very simple E's, but an E is an E and that hurt us. Spur ran GREAT, though, and I am very happy. His tail was WHIPPING back and forth on the start line each run, he took off really fast, he ran his heart out this weekend. We got many comments, so I couldn't be happier, really. And my teammate was cool about not qualifying and was pleased her dog only knocked bars the first couple runs. I guess he is a bar knocker.

I feel like Spur and I are finally figuring things out. Our start line is SO much better. I just grab his little body and focus him on the first obstacle and off we go. It is working!!! I think of the years of working on a start line behavior with Roscoe and never really figuring it out. With Spur it just happened one day. He was SO wanting to go say HI to the leash runner, so I had to grab him and make him stay focused. He didn't really like it, but it essentially took his options away, keeping him focused on his job. He is such a social butterfly it is hard to tear him away from the leash runner, at times. So, this works. And has worked now for several trials and I see him bolting off the start faster every time. It's cool! We are evolving!!!

Great weekend and I can't WAIT for his next team. I SO hope we Q next time.

Here is his standard run. He managed to hold it together to do his teeter. You can see after it that he worries about the recoil, but this is a very soft landing teeter. Then for some reason he reads the turn at the jump before the dog walk as a back cross and then back jumped it to cause an E. Oh well! There were times he looked REALLY happy and he sure had super fast weaves! Love how he starts lowering his head and diving into them as he is finishing them!! Good little Monkey Pants!!! -

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spur has his groove back!

He was FLYING today!! Our Q rate wasn't great, we E in Steeplechase due to a back jump and got an E in Team Jumpers due to a tunnel suck, but the little guy was FLYING!! He looked happy and fast! My teammate even said that....."Spur is fast!!!" That just makes my heart swell!!!

Here is Steeplechase -

Here is Team Jumpers-

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh JOY, they got out naked!!

It was nearly 70 degrees!!! They were SO happy not to have to wear their coats this afternoon!! Yipeeeeeeeee!!!

Spur found something gross, dead to eat. Uncovered by the winter's snow blanket. Ick! When the girls at the vet's office admit us into a room and take the preliminary questions they always ask...."What do they eat?" and my answer is always......"Everything and anything!". I used to go into detail......."Well, they eat mouse asses and mole heads, horse shit and cat shit, and the occasional live rodent, sometimes a nest full of bald baby mice, along with some kibble, and carrots they dig out of my garden. That sort of thing."

I think this was a nearly mummified rodent. Yum......

He saved a little bit to roll in...........

The frost heaves are HUGE this year. They don't photograph well, but you get the idea. Our spring time "animal" here in Maine. They have a life of their own. Sucking in our feet as we walk on a warm, wet morning.
They raise up the path.

Dangerous time for riding my horse, so she hangs at the barn shedding her winter coat and rolling in a mud bath!

They also make our roads annoying.........

What does he hear?

I sometimes think he hears things. I know when it gets really quiet he worries. He hears tiny little noises that make him worry. Chaos and loud activity and he thrives. It makes sense, he grew up in a big room full of nearly 300 dogs. It was LOUD!

Last night at Rally class he melted. Not terribly, but he wasn't his usual perky good heeler. The signs at one part of the course were tight and he always worries about bumping into them. It was warm enough to work out of the car, so instead I brought him in and had him watch me working Roscoe and Colby. That usually gets him all excited and whining. He was quiet. Listening to ................I don't even know. The only other student there was my friend with her shih tzu's. The others were absent and Steve with the crazy Malinois left early. It was quiet. He listens. And I think he hears things. I has trouble in the quiet..........
We are off tomorrow to a big USDAA team tournament event. It looks busy and hopefully will be loud and crazy! 24 PVP teams and 17 Championship teams, so that's a lot of teams. Should be loud and crazy, just like he likes it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Colby is SO happy the snow is disappearing!

Look, it's bright and sunny and here bad eye isn't even squinting that much!!! YAY! The snow glare has been so hard for her to navigate. Much nicer on bare ground!!!
And the hunting!!! The rodent nests and tunnels are exposed and everywhere now!! She LOVES this time of year for hunting!!!

Returning from a squirrel chase!!!
Today is our final day on the metacam. I hope her eye continues to be OK. Last time we stopped that it inflamed more. The sclera is still redder than the "good" eye. Oi!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yipee!! It's Mud Season!!

Ick!!! We considered going to the beach, but then thought maybe the farm would be OK. Um.......not really.......
This was the worst of it, we did have some areas of dry ground.Perhaps a visit to the beach would be in order, after all.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wow, busy at the beach today!!

Yesterday was the Lo Baker seminar. Both dogs did great and I think they had a good time. It was a nice seminar. Spur NAILED the jumpers course at the end of the day, good little Monkey Pants!!! And he did a nice teeter, which was at the end of the course, so I could finish up with tons of cookies!!!

Roscoe was typical seminar-high and had a tumble in a tunnel. Just going TOO fast and I guess he must have toppled over banking it? We heard this noise and out he shoots, eventually. Poor little twelve year old boy!!!

Colby got to come out and do some obedience and tricks and beg from her buddies. Everyone loves Miss Colby.

Today was BEACH DAY!!! We headed out early to beat the crowds and that was a good plan. The street was lined with cars when we finished up. We managed plenty of time alone, but did run into some families and other dogs. No issues, though, which was really nice!!! George isn't in the photos, he didn't feel like being obedient. Hmm, when DOES George feel like being obedience?We managed nearly two hours and it was lovely!! The dogs ran and ran and the lighting was even pretty good for Colby.
I thought this was a cute setting with the dried beach wood and rocks lined up along the sea wall. Dim lighting, though, which didn't help much. I probably could have put my flash set to ON, but didn't.Not sure why Spur was squinting, maybe the sand in his face kicked up from George as they raced and raced!!! I think this is a funny photo! His nose looks all crooked!!Did I mention I am back to cleaning windows? Last fall I simply didn't get them done and now the weather is good for doing that again so I am fast at it. I mean, seriously, dudes check it out!!! -

It feels so good to be able to SEE out the windows, even if all we see is snow and mud and grey everywhere. In a few days, all that snow will be gone. It is melting at record pace!! In fact, that photo was take last week and I think there is bare ground out there now!!! :D

Friday, March 11, 2011

What? A tsunami?

Wednesday I walked twelve dogs. My legs felt like lead by the last dog, which thankfully was an old little guy who creeps along at a snail's pace. I then had agility class and pushed my legs even harder. Earlier in the week I was determined to get on the tread mill again. I see all these people out running on the roads, but something about being out on the roads all day, then going BACK out to run doesn't appeal to me. The roads are gross right now. Dirty, gritty and bumpy and I am happy to be done my walks and don't want to head out on them again. So, it's the treadmill or nothing. And my legs are feeling it this week. MUST GET IN BETTER SHAPE!! In case I have to outrun a tsunami.

Wednesday I didn't need the treadmill. My legs were jello just from the day! But, I am TOTALLY thankful I have that much work. It feels good to be busy and successful. My own dogs even had a nice, long farm walk that morning. The snow was firm enough for us all to walk on top of it and it was nice to get them out. Because you never know when we will be swept away by a tsunami.

We are all out of shape. The dogs are slightly plump, which I hate, but it is SO hard getting them out to exercise. This morning they got blueberries, non-fat yogurt and green beans for breakfast.

The landscape changes every day. Today it's grey and the snow is too soft for a farm walk, but after today we may have bare ground!!!! I wish I had time to get to the beach. We don't have much time left to be allowed on the beach!!!! I won't get there today, rain arriving this afternoon in buckets they say. But, hopefully we won't get a tsunami.

I haven't ridden little Jewel in ages. The footing simply sucks. I have read many books. That I love, but I am SO ready for spring to arrive, better footing to appear and all of us to get into better condition. This winter has tested my patience. I tried to embrace it and take all the shoveling as good work/exercise, but my elbow started hurting, my back got sore, it all got weary. Yet, I am thankful we will not be affected by a tsunami.

Now I am busy washing windows again. I hate washing windows, but I REALLY, REALLY love to see out a nice, clean window!! I looked out my windows on Wednesday from the kitchen (that was the last sunny day) and could barely SEE out the window next to the one I had just cleaned. That motivated me to clean two more yesterday!!!! I must at least clean the windows in the kitchen that I look out of every day, all day long. Those MUST be cleaned. Two more left to do.

Yesterday I drove the truck to the wood pile (today I would sink in the mud) and brought in a small load of wood. The next few days are damp and dark, so I will have the woodstove going. I think it's the woodstove soot that sticks to the windows and makes the sponge all black when I am washing them. Ick. But, I love the woodstove heat!!! And the Pin Heads think it is divine!!!! It will be a treadmill day.

And I will be thinking of all the people across the globe worrying about when the tsunami will hit. And all those people in Japan, devastated by the biggest earth quake in 140 years. So must destruction, so much pain and suffering. My thoughts go out to all those affected. Very sad.........very makes my own little grey world today seem a little bit brighter. It is a brighter world here than in Japan or where ever anyone is worrying about a tsunami. MY world is quiet and calm. I am thankful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So, I decided to write a book

A book about Roscoe. My publisher friend, Cheryl, has been bugging me for a while saying she really would like the book written while he is still alive. She doesn't like reading about dogs and then their death is always the last chapter. So, what the hell, I decided to do it.

I have twenty five pages!! I am actually amazed at how easy it is. The words just flow, my memory of him is strong. I got to the part about his first obedience trial and just writing about it made my heart pound!!!!

It seems interesting to me, but honestly with SO many books about dogs out there right now who is THAT interested in Roscoe? But, what the hell. It's more fun than I thought, so I am charging ahead. Once the weather improves I may lose my momentum, but right now I seem to manage about a page/day or more.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spur, party of one!

This is what he does when I am preparing dinner. Roscoe whines and Spur plays with his toys. It's a little nutty, but whatevahhhhhhh.....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend happenings!

Busy weekend!!

First - Friday afternoon at the Collie Club trial we BOMBED!!! Got a 79, worst score EVER!!! Why? Well, I failed to do the second halt at the "Halt. Step 90 degrees to the right, call to heel. Halt". Ack!! 10 points off for that. Then I step on him on the "Three Steps Back". Only 1 point off there, which was remarkable, because it sucked. Then he was all worked up and bouncy after I stepped on him, poor guy, but he finished pretty nicely. Then he broke his sit stay. Got up and repositioned just a TINY bit. The steward tried to say that to the judge,......."He moved his butt just a TINY bit". But, 10 points off. So, ultimately had I done the sign right and he kept his tiny butt on the ground we would have had a 99, but we DIDN'T. We sucked!!

Here is most of the routine -

Then last night was my sister's 50th birthday party here. My mom came and brought her adorable dog, Joe who gets along really well with Spur. They had fun as we got ready for the party. We decided to see if they could hang out once everyone arrived. Colby always does and ends up being passed around in people's arms, spoiled brat! Everyone loves her and obliges her.

Spur and Joe did great!!!! They didn't freak or get scared or stepped on. They did awesome!! Spur is a party animal!! He likes chaos. Nearly midnight and most people had left, but a few stragglers. I let Roscoe out of his crate "jail" upstairs and had him and Spur do some of their trick routine. Roscoe did his bat against the wall and Spur brought me a kleenex for sneezing. Then they both climbed into the suitcase. Spur was adorable, letting the cover close right on him. Everyone thought that one was really cute!! And Spur LOVED to perform!!!! He puts on a show, that is for sure!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Heard back from Silvia!

I finally got all my videos edited and together to send to her for critique. Here is her reply -

"Anyway, first: very good job so far! So sorry to hear about everything that happened to Spur, it seems all the bad things always happen to sensitive dogs that take the longest to recover... But he sure looks completely recovered on your videos! I can imagine new dog-walks can be a problem for him, but only experience can help with that, so just try to get him used to as many different dog-walks as possible.

From the videos you sent, I have a feeling that his only problem is that his natural striding is a little too short to do two hits on a down ramp only, but it still sometimes takes him that deep that it's impossible for him to do the third one and then he is too high. But he seems to have good understanding of his job and he will sometimes even shorten one stride before the last one a little bit in order to be able to fit in another one. It is sometimes hard though, that's why I think he sometimes has hind feet together. It looks like two hits only won't take him far enough though, even when he is running full speed, he is too high with two hits. Meaning that you should just go with the three hits.

For three hits, you don't want to extend his stride any more, so at this point, you're actually making it harder for him by throwing a ball - so it's especially good that he has such a good successful rate even with added excitement of the ball that makes it harder for him to do those three steps. Meaning that you're pretty much finished with your project. Try to simply include dog-walks in normal sequences now and run it as any other obstacle. You can still throw a ball in advance here and there, but, even though it's so much fun to train the dog-walk, I think yours is pretty much finished. Now I think it's fast enough and it's reliable enough, especially because I believe it will be even more reliable without the thrown toy. Try and let me know.

bye, silvia"

Wow, not exactly what I had expected. She sure has a good eye. I know he has more speed at two strides on the down, but she is sure right that then he hits higher. I agree with her that he seems to know his job. I really do believe that. Since doing this work he has not missed a contact, yet, at a trial. Good boy!!!

Today we are throwing a party for my sister's 50th. I am putting together a photo board and came across this photo of me and her.........

Friday, March 4, 2011

Collie Club trial today at the Marriott!

I first have to walk six dogs and hope I can make it over there by 3:00. Then decide if I scratch Colby, or not. She still doesn't seem quite right and I didn't take her to class last night. Her poops are better, but she just seems off. I know, a simply Rally-O routine isn't a big deal, but not if she isn't feeling great.

Roscoe, he was awesome last night!!! He's ready and I can only hope he can hold it together. Last year he was SO high in that room. I don't know why, but he was NUTTY!! I am happy that he gets happy doing Rally, but really some self control and calmness is good, too. He is entertaining and we entertain everyone, but calm and cool is OK, too. We shall see. Lots of friends entered, so it should be really fun!!!

The only glitch in our training is I realized last night he doesn't really know "moving stand". That might come up today. We worked on it last night and since he is brilliant he got it no trouble so long as I say STAND STAY. But, it isn't something I have trained, for some stupid reason. He didn't continue the regular obedience work into Utility like Colby did, where that is a regular part of the Utility routine. So, for some stupid reason I haven't trained that with him. Maybe it won't be there today. It sure isn't solid.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Colby gave me another scare!

She started squinting that eye. The sclera was red, it looked swollen and definitely not right. Again, they got all freaky on me at the eye doctors and made us rush her down there. Rich took the duty again, good guy! Her pressure was fine, thank goodness, but she definitely had uveitis going on. He thinks we stopped the metacam too early. So, he now wants us to finish the bottle.

She felt crappy all day. She had the runs that seemed to go along with this issue. But, the vet thinks it is OK and the metacam will keep helping. So, we opted to have a nice long beach walk. Sad for her though, because the sun was pretty well right in her face on our way out. The boys had a BALL, but she seemed down and unhappy. Feeling crappy. I carried her some. On the way back she seemed better with the sun behind her.

Poor thing, on the way home she whined. I yelled at her to STOP IT, she does that at times, whines to get home faster which isn't anything I can do. I yelled at her again. Finally, almost home I look at her kind of shaking there next to me and wondered if maybe she had to poop. Poor thing, gets out of the car and has a very runny poo right there in the driveway. She felt crappy. Not the best day for her, but at least she still has the eye. That's my biggest worry. This eye will some day have to come out and her sight is limited already. So, she has the eye and this morning seems to be feeling better.

I apologized for yelling at her, but then told her she has "cried wolf" too many times before, so how was I to know it was real this time!!!!