Wednesday, December 29, 2010

bad reputation

bad reputation :: 52/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

I don't give a damn 'bout my reputation,
You're living in the past it's a new generation,
A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do,
An' I don't give a damn ' bout my bad reputation.

Oh no, not me.

- - - -
And that concludes the 2010 edition of 52 Weeks for Dogs!!! I hope I was able to capture her personality - or do I say personalities ...

I was inspired by the group, and the support when we were going through tough times, and by what happens in my life just by waking up each day. Thank you for all the comments and she made 4 Explore front Pages - crazy! It was a year of ups and downs, and for a few weeks there I wasn't sure I would have a last photo to post. I am in the process of making Jane's book and it is extra special this year with all we've been through.

Jane is tough as nails, and yet, sweet as sugar. Long live the Queen!!!!

AND .... Stay tuned for more 52 Weeks for Dogs ... 2011 is Kaleb's year ... lord help me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


glistening :: 51/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

sleigh bells ring,
are you listening,
in the lane,
snow is glistening,
a beautiful sight,
we're happy tonight,
walking in a winter wonderland.

- - - -
51/52 - 52 Weeks for Dogs

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

merry, happy, jolly

merry, happy, jolly, originally uploaded by sarah ....

happy holidays, merry christmas, happy festivus ...

what ever it is you celebrate ... we just hope you've been good this year :)

jane, gyppie and kaleb

Sunday, December 19, 2010

i'm starvin' here!

First off. Yes Jane is wearing a pink Adidas Tracksuit.

"Puppy Breakfast Time", as we call is the most important time of the day around these parts. Jane knows exactly 1 hour after her meds that it is show time.

Patience is not one of her strong suits.

I see it, I see it, I want it, I want it. mine. mine.

mama, we starvin!!!

mama, mama, mum, mummy, mom, mama, mum, mama, mama, mum, mummy, mom, mama, mum, mama, mama, mum, mummy, mom, mama, mum!!

i think i tasted it? did you even put food in there?

gggrrrrrr i want more!!!!

patience, Jane. Puppy Supper time will come in just a few more hours :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

From the archives ...

i was looking at some of my old you tube videos ... this has to be one of my favourite ....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Put me in Coach, I'm ready to play!

We've been working on Gyp's homework and I have now raised the bars to "can" height :) Jane thinks she should be able to play too!

It's all I can do to keep the dogs away - especially Jane, the little dictator (as Amanda calls her) - tries to race Gyp across if she doesn't have rules to stay put, so she is usually satisifed to stay put on her Throne long as the treats still come to her.

Sarah's Redneck Cavelleti's:
10 Beer Cans, Packing Tape and 5 jump bars. If you want more than 5 in a row, you will have to drink more beer. BURP.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today CIndy and I travelled to Calgary for a re-check for our dogs. Cindy made appointments for Sunar and Pike and me for Gyppie ... 4.5 hours round trip - good company makes it go much quicker!!

AND ...Gyppie is getting better already! YAY!

Happy! Some new exercises for her. Lots of range of motion, and only a bit of tenderness at just the one insertion point. She got some acupuncture, a re-check of her back and some laser. Dr.Devall was really impressed with how fast it seems to be healing - but not to be fooled. So still another good 2 months until agility, but we have lots to keep us occupied in the meantime. She suggested 2 shorter jogs a day so I don't see fatigue - even though the fatigue happens way later and way less than it was. She thinks 2 shorter sessions would be more beneficial - easier for me too. She can do the peanut ball this week, but only standing on it with not much movement at all. More cavaletti work, and walking backwards downhill to lengthen the muscles, causing her to step longer. And to continue with the same exercises we've been doing.

Nothing like a 4.5 hour round trip for a 1 hour rehab visit :) But dogs don't lie when it comes to results and feeling good. And I am seeing results, and she is feeling good it is all worth it.

Check-up day ...

zoom zoom Gyppie, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Gyp is going for her 2 week re-check today with Dr. Devall - she will have any adjustment she needs, acupuncture and some cold laser ... and we will see if there has been any improvement. We've been doing our exercises and her range of motion in the back left is getting better already, which I am thrilled about. Hopefully the Chinese Herbs and massage have been helping too. She gets massage twice a day and does her exercises twice a day also. I ice 2x10 minutes after her runs to help with any possible inflammation - I also ice my knee :)

We've been jogging everyday - making sure she is in an extended trot for a good 20 minutes. I run for about 5 -10 minutes then walk - the dogs stay in a more collected trot at that point, as we walk really fast to keep them in atleast a slow trot - so as not to pace or walk. Then we jog again. And repeat. Ya a treadmill has it's merits - but we would need two - one for me and one for her - I would feel guilty watching her do all the work. So we use nature's treadmill. Pete has been jogging her too if I am out teaching. But mostly we all go together - Pete, Kaleb me and Gyp. It's fun to do together and a good way to stay motivated. Jane stays at home and protects the property :)

I've only seen her funny movement a couple times, and near the end of our runs, when she is getting fatigued, extended trotting takes alot of energy as the dog has to use its body evenly on both sides. So I am hopeful she will make a good recovery. I have funny movement by the end of our runs too for that matter .... my knee swears at me, but bar-knee is awesome and I don't leave home without him .... Wow we sure are a team aren't we??

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sheep Dreams, Gyppie ...

Sheep dreams., originally uploaded by sarah ....

We had a fun day at Alta-Pete yesterday ... meeting some cool dogs, and massaging a couple of sweet Border Collies, watching Laddie work and Pixel eat sheep poop, hanging out, and of course playing with Skid and the lovely Togo :)

Gyp doesn't give a sh*t that she has an injury ... her Ilio-what-ever-the-hell-it-is ... she wanted those sheepies! But instead I tortured her by only allowing her to watch ... and letting her see them for about 30 seconds in the pen afterwards - walk-up, lie down, walk-up lie down - the end. I am a mean cruel mama. It was a fine line between torture and pleasure for her ....

Gyp she enjoyed her self none the less ... especially when she would knaw on the metal fence and then wedged her body through a 4x4 inch square in the fencing to get to the sheep ...

Gyp and Pixel wait patiently as Laddie brings in the Sheep.

Togo is the best. This face is called
"I know you have liver treats in your pockets - may I have one?"

The lovely Lad ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

bright eyed and bushy tailed

my spunky monkey is feeling better!

jane is doing great again, this CHF is not a fun thing to deal with. The extra couple injections seemed to do the trick to get the fluid off her lungs, and her meds are now increased to the max doses, and she is stable again ... she is spunky, still eating her home cooked meals as ferocious as ever of course - that never changed. She still loses her breath - but not as bad as last week, and it will never be perfect because of her disease, so we have to be careful she doesn't over do it.

We've nicked named her "lil weezy".

thanks for all the nice comments and thoughts about jane - i truly think the universe spoke to her! We are so relieved, we just take things day by day.

Candy mountain anyone??

If you know me, you know that I would love this cartoon. And any time I need a pick me up (like today) I watch any of the Charlie Cartoons ... or Llamas with Hats ... seriously.

Llamas with hats ...

p.s. I have never denied that I am a little odd, in fact I define it as one of my best points :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I need some bubble wrap? Anyone?

Last month Gyp refused a jump. Actually she went under the jump. Ya.

I Looked her over when I got home and she was super tight in her Sartorius /Rectus Femorus and Quad muscles ... yes my massage course has trained me to use fancy names. But I was really proud of my self for being able to feel the tightness and recognize right away which muscles would be affected based on the symptoms I was seeing - not wanting to extend the hip flexors back. This got me thinking Iliospoas. And well I know where this series of muscles is - I am not experienced enough and do not have enough feel to pin point it as it lies so deep on to the pelvis and femur.

Fast forward .... Gyp has had a couple weeks off already and I consulted with my Rehab Vet, and since I arranged for a clinic for her to come down to our City to work on dogs this past weekend ... the timing was perfectly unfortunately perfect :)

I told her what I had suspected and found - and based on what I had been talking to her already about, she went deep to the pelvis, and yep. Iliospoas. Gyp's head yanked so fast back to her rear end - a pain reaction only on the left side. She was so tight and very sore sore at the insertion point of the muscle. Some specific acupuncture to release the area seemed to help - but it took a few minutes for the muscles to release at all.

So what does this mean for Gyp? 8 - 12 weeks off Agility. Trips to Calgary to see Dr. Devall. No jumping or abrupt side movement, no fetching, no free range running and a giant amount of chinese herbs I can't pronounce. And supplement with massage to keep blow flow in the area and to try to keep things loosened up.

So what does this mean for me? Lots of extended jogging for Gyp and me. Pete has taken her jogging the last 2 nights, and I will take over this week. We don't have a treadmill - so we will use nature's treadmill ... the old fashioned way ... it's a win, win. I wonder if I can take her to the Gym with me??

I have a series of strengthening exercises to do, lots of active stretching - no passive stretching. My Peanut ball will be well employed. This is one of the most common Agility Injuries in dogs.

I am upset about it - but when I have another dog with a way more serious condition, I have a hard time feeling really sad about it. But I am. I just want the madness to end.

I will miss running her, I miss running her already. What really sucks is I have my knee surgery in February - Gyp will be MAYBE just getting back to low 10" jumps then ... then I will be off for a minimum of 8 weeks with Physio. That takes us to end of April or May. That is 6 months off for Gyp and me in the ring. Nevermind that we haven't trialed since September - make that 9 months. I try not to think about it.

Oh but wait! I still have a dog to run! Kaleb! yep Kaleb! The friggin' dog is Iron Man. Dr. Devall gave him a check-up and he is fit as a fiddle. He had a couple adjustments and a bit of acupuncture, nothing major. Yep. Almost 9 years old and still sound as ever. I was sort of hoping she would find some weird condition and I would have to retire him, so I could just call it day and find a new hobby ... not that I'm feeling sorry for myself or anything.

In my "everything happens for a reason" philosophy - I guess this fits perfectly. It will be a good chance for me to really evaluate Gyp's condition, get some hands on experience for my Body Worker externship, and work with a well respected rehab and holistic Vet. Now that is what I call a great learning experience.

Always look on the brightside right?

p.s. Anyone have a dog they want to let me run??

Monday, December 6, 2010

Kaleb, just got more Excellent ...

CDX! that is!

Yep we did it. Conquered the ring nerves, trusted my dog and did it. It's funny seemed like such an unattainable goal - considering the first time I ever put him in the ring for his CD he took off out the ring and ran around the show grounds like a total assh*le (not that I was traumatized for 6 years or anything).

He entered the ring for the first time in Open in May , then got sick, and made his re-debut last month ... and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM for his CDX in a month - in 5 attempts. I'm so proud of him. Given the amount of training we have put in, and our knowledge and comfort in the Obedience ring, it is a pretty big deal for me. We didn't earn the big scores he has earned at Matches, but that is OK, he tried his best for me, and dealt with feeling my ring nerves like a good boy.

I am also proud of Amanda and Pixel, and Jo and Kort for earning their CDs yesterday too! Those two youngens will have no problem in the Open ring ... big futures ahead for those two!
Kim and Bosley also debuted in Open ... and wow ... he looked like a pro and Kim kept her nerves under control, and looked like she had done it a 100 times before! Thanks to my great group of friends for all the encouragement along the way, it means alot.

Kaleb and Bosley share some of K's goodies

And to top off the day Kaleb won a prize for the "Oldest Qualifying Dog" ... sort of like a seniors discount ... I guess it's true what they say, you can teach an old dog new tricks :)

Then there was an armband draw ... and we won it - $75 GC ... that paid for our entries and gas up there ... not a bad way to spend a day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

the price of love?

bad to the bone :: 47/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....
On my way home today, from my what seems like weekly vet visits, while crying at every stupid sappy song on the radio ... today was for an injection for Jane, due to the gradual fluid build up on her lungs this week. Her HR was 250 a minute ... her breathing rate even when sleeping has been 40 breaths per minute (should be 12 - 15). And this morning and last night, she is losing her breath running up the stairs - like she has just ran a marathon up to 70- 80 per minute. Up until this week she has been doing great. But last night she got us up 3 times in the night and was really restless, I could tell there was a fluid build up - which then causes her to breath heavier because she has to work that much harder to get oxygen.

Hello, Congestive Heart Failure, I fucking hate you.

Her meds are being adjusted the little bit they can, and we are going from there. Hopefully these next couple of injections will level her out again ...

Everytime I think about the literally, Thousands of dollars I spent at the Vet this year ... I have a small to moderate panic attack. But at the same time, I look over at my dogs, and that sick to my stomach feeling goes away. Who really needs to go on Vacations anyway, when I can be at home vacuuming up dog hair and picking up poop from the yard?

Where do you draw the line ....

If I can do whatever I can to keep my dog healthy and happy I will do it. This year really tested us and put alot of pressure on us emotionally and economically. It was literally one thing after another. I guess having 2 senior dogs will do that to you. Pete and I are on the same page, we don't want to see her suffer, but we will treat it if we can, and keep her happy and healthy at almost any cost if it works. What we aren't doing is an ultrasound (we know she has CHF), and we did bloodwork twice and heart stress test - margins were still good from being on the meds, heart is nearly maxed. We know the meds will be hard on her kidneys, we don't need a ton of bloodwork to tell us when they are starting to fail, she will be on the meds until they stop working - and for now, they work great. Our Vet agrees too. She has a couple old lady lumps "her lovely lady lumps" as we call them, well, those aren't going anywhere either.

Maybe we are naive because Jane is our first dog, but the hundreds of dollars a month it costs to keep to ticker-ticking are worth it to us. Good appetite, still has some spunk, loves her car rides, still keen as ever to do do little bits of training, and just cuddle and hang out as she always has.

Sometimes you are put to the test, as we were with Kaleb. As we found out there isn't much choice when your dog has Torsion. Please for the love of doG do what you can - now that is a suffering dog, an awful thing to see. It was a crap shoot 50% chance of him living through it. Signing the euthanasia form was not something I like to remember, but we had too if there was nothing they could do to save him. Unfortunately we would have had to pay the same price even if he hadn't survived, well he did - so it was worth it, or something.

Then there is Jane ... Gall Stone at the beginning of the year, and her Congestive Heart Failure. We didn't treat the Gall Stone with Surgery - just meds. All seemed good! Then the heart ....

No I don't have pet insurance. After this year, I am applying for it with Gyp, however.

All I hope is that 2011 is a better year. Last year I wished for good health for the pooches and me, and I didn't really get it. So this coming year, all I ask is everyone is happy, that's easy enough :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

matchy, matchy

matchy, matchy, originally uploaded by sarah ....

... in our faux fur :)

and equally bitter about the bitter -30c temperature.

Jane was looking for a new home last week when it turned stupid cold, well it hasn't let up yet, I think she was on to something.

Anyone want to adopt me?? Sometimes I wonder why the hell we live here.

So, like every good Canadian, I'll just bundle up: put on my longjohnns, -40c Sorels, a warm toque.... and suck it up until it warms up.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Find the Mama!!

When it's -30C, and the windchill freezes skin and paws in a matter of a few minutes ... we bundle up with booties, and coats but sometimes, it is just too damn cold. I get creative with indoor exercise and brain stimulation for the dogs ... for their sanity and mine ... we do Ball work, obedience, we play ...

.... but nuthin', I mean NUTHIN' beats a good game of "Find the Mama"!!

We'll play this for a good 30 minutes, sometimes it takes them a few minutes to find me .... I made a video in one of my usual spots that they look first ...

They are on to me though, even when I hide in the tricky spots, like behind the curtains or in the bathtub they find me much quicker ... soon, i might have to start hanging from the rafters.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


... Kaleb is so tired tonight, and is snoring so loud I can hear him from across the room :)

This weekend I had K-man entered in our local Dog show. We were entered over 3 days and did 1 Rally Excellent each day. We also entered 2 runs of Open (one Saturday, one Sunday). Kaleb came home with his second CDX leg, YAY!! And scored 100, 99 & 96 in his Rally runs ... earning him his Rally Excellent Title!

Friday K rocked, we just had Rally - and he scored a perfect 100 with a High in Class. A pretty good way to start the weekend.

He did his back up perfectly. I mean really great! Both days! It was 2 weeks since our last show where he got 10 points off for it. And well, you know me. I had to fix it, and I had to do it FAST! So everyday since then, we practiced about 5 times a day. Back to square one, retrained it completely. And well, it payed off.

... you can teach an old dog new tricks, afterall ...

His other two runs were awesome too. His 99 happened because his foot ticked the jump! Funny I thought :) His other run, I said "ready" then OK ... and he shot across the room like he was retrieving a bird, and stood over the food containers in the figure eight, and just looked at me :) so we got 4 points off because we have to redo the first exercise ... that he bolted past. How can you not love him, seriously.

Again, I am so proud of his efforts in Open - he earned his 2nd leg. Totally foreign territory for me, NOT at all my comfort zone, but Like everything, I had to make myself do it, or I would regret it. I honestly never thought we'd ever get into the ring. I've conquered my fear, and we are having fun. We've never had the chance to be in an Obedience club, and have never taken formal classes for it, so I've learned alot along the way from watching and friends who have pointers too. We could use a bit more polish and a spit shine on some of the formal parts of it, but dammit we can get in there and do the work like the rest of them. Yesterday he was 1 of 4 to qualify of 9 dogs entered. It was very exciting.

Today his run was not too bad, he balked at the broad jump and I had to tell him again to take it so we got a big fat 0 and on his down stay he had a scratch and ended up sitting, but never moved. Oh well!! We got through another day!

And the most exciting part of it all ... NO BARKING in his stays, either days. WOW that work payed off too. It took me the last 3 months of training at home, putting him in stressful places in the house (the bathroom the most stressful) to eliminate the barking. It's hard to mimic stress in places dogs are OK in, but I figured it out for us. I used to only be able to go 30 seconds until a bark. I would just reward him before I knew he was going to bark .... and he gets it. He really gets it. Even if he only barks once or twice I don't care, just not 10 times in 3 minutes please.

I have a totally different perspective with Kaleb these days. I trust him, he trusts me. I truly love him and love working with him. Something that has helped eliminate 75% of the stress when I go in the ring. The fact that he is here at all. Anything I do with him is just icing on the cake, and having fun and getting a Q is just more icing. I really like icing.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

when the going gets tough...

the tough get fashionable.

please someone in a tropical place adopt me? Hell, I'll take anything above -5C.

I'm afraid for my life. I've been told I look like a baby seal. I need to get out of the Arctic STAT!!

Any Takers??

... sorry Jane, you're gonna hafta to tough it out :)

I'm at the beach, I'm at the beach ....

Friday, November 19, 2010

i. f*ing. luv. WINTER!!!

i. f*ing. luv. WINTER!!!, originally uploaded by sarah ....

yours truly,

- -

My idea of fun is NOT -20C, but dogs are sick and twisted creatures.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

simply the best

That is our group. They are the best. And I'm not just saying that so I get Tea and Timbits brought to us before class :)

We are hosting Terry Simons again in February. 3 days - 54 working spots. and in 48 hours every spot filled and we have a waiting list. And this is just our own students.

We are also bringing a holistic and rehab vet in December, and 12 Assessment spots filled in a day. The lecture portion is already bigger than we expected.

I am so proud of our group, and the care and dedication they have towards their dogs, and to each other. And of course trusting us to teach them and their dogs. Our group has grown from 5 of us - 5 years ago, to well over 30 and growing. Such a fun loving supportive group, it makes teaching and training a total joy.

You guys are, simply the best.

Jolene (One Collie) is Go! Dog! Go!s new Blog Master, and she has updated the blog with this fall's news .. check it out! >> godoggoagility

Sunday, November 14, 2010

portrait of the queen

portrait of the queen :: 45/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

a simple portrait this week, and like all portraits of royalty, a good profile shot is a must in one's collection.

A good friend of mine is an amazing and accomplished Artist, and I am lucky enough to have a few of her paintings - I wanted to showcase one with Jane :)

45/52 - 52 Weeks for Dogs

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How do they know?

the look of love, originally uploaded by sarah ....

This week was Gyp's first Therapy Dog session. It was not what I expected. I thought "oh, this will be a fun thing to do together, Gyp loves people, and I love seeing people smile when they meet any of my dogs".

Well, it was so much more. I didn't really factor in how it would effect me. DUH.

Most visits are supposed to be in a common room where people come to meet you each week. This facility has quite a few really elderly people who aren't very, or at all mobile. So they asked if I would do room visits. I said sure as long as it was OK with the residents. It is a neat place because of the variety in needs and ages.

Most of people all asked if Gyp ever had pups, and I got the same reaction from almost all of them "what a shame, she is so pretty and would be a good mum". Old people are funny :)

One lady wanted to give her a chocolate. One lady had her dentures in a tray. One man pretended not to be interested, but when we visited with his neighbor, he got out of bed and used his walker to observe from a far. The staff were quite amazed with some of the positive reactions towards Gyp that day.

It was hard going into the rooms and seeing the family photos, handmade crafts from grandkids or great grandkids, and the photos of the people when they were younger. It is really cool to see where people come from. One man is a very decorated War Hero and has his medals proudly displayed. I said "Wow, you've been all over the world" he said "In 53 years of service, sadly yes". What was even harder, were the rooms with no photos or only 1 or 2.

We met about 15 people, and the one that got me the most was the lady in her 90's she couldn't move all that well but her face lit of when she saw Gyp enter her room. Gyp put her nose close so the lady could pet her, then Gyp put her paws up on her bed and tried to get up. The Aide asked if she would like her on the bed - the lady nodded "yes", Gyp hopped up, curled up next to the lady and rested her head across her body, and just stayed there while the woman gently stroked Gyp's face and commented on her soft ears. My heart melted. At that moment it became so obvious what our dogs do for us, and in Gyp's case what she can do for others. We all had tears in our eyes, and honestly, it will be a moment I will never forget.

We met some really cool people, and I am excited to go back and get to know them even more. This experience is going to be good for my soul, I felt really grounded and at peace when Gyp and I left that day, Ice Cream Sandwich in hand and all (thanks nice nurse).

Thank doG I have my 3 dogs ... damn, I would need alot of therapy if I didn't have them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mama's boy weekend.

photo by Amanda and her iPhone :)

Just me and K-man this weekend. I think he really enjoyed being with his mama. And I really enjoyed my time with him too! I didn't even have to resort to strangling him!! Pete and the girls were at home - and good lord he spoils those dogs.... another post for another day.

I had K entered in 2 Open rounds and 2 Rally Exc.

I try my hardest not to get nervous - god, if only I could be as confident in the Obedience ring as I am in the Agility ring. But considering this was our 6th & 7th time in the Obedience ring EVER - I feel more and more confident each time I go in.

K got his first Open leg with a 187. I was really happy with his score - his heeling was NOT great - which is too bad, as he is an amazing heeler when I am not nervous. Of all my dogs, Kaleb picks up on the nerves more than anyone. So I know it is my nerves when he gets a little antsy. I will do better for HIM next time. AND Only 1 bark in his out of sight stays! YAHOOO!!! That is a long way from 10 barks!

His second day Open was even better - I revved him up more before we went in the ring - using my routine I do for Agility to get him focused, and his routine was much better - I like him peppy, up and a little insane - we just work good that way, seriously! He got through his opening - probably one of our best yet. But at 3 minutes on the Stays, he layed down as we were turning the corner BOO! BUT*** He DID NOT BARK ONCE in either stay, I know now a big deal you say, but that is the FIRST TIME EVER, he has not barked in a stay - he was the most relaxed I have ever seen him. SO that in itself was awesome. No Q but, honestly, I was more thrilled with that performance than the one we got the Q in! I honestly NEVER thought I'd get up the nerve to get in the Open RIng, and now I am enjoying it so much, I can't wait until the next time. I have a great group of supportive friends who have helped me - so thanks Amanda, Liz and Kim :)

We was really good in Excellent Rally - BUT he need to train the back up - 5 points off one day, and 10 points off the next. Somehow he managed 2 High in Classes - his lowest Rally Scores ever and he gets HICs?? Go figure.

I have 2 weeks to teach him to back up PROPERLY... and not like a drunk teenager, backing up a semi-truck in a dark alley. I hope you can imagine the visual ...

Any extra creative advice in teaching the back up would be appreciated - we are getting there, just a slow process.

Other weekend highlights:

Kaleb and his Harem of Flattie chicks ...

Wicca and the empty box of Timbits ...

Kaleb met his "cousin", stole her toys and his "uncle" gave him a big meaty bone ... this first family meeting went VERY well!!

Now back to reality ....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

springy autumn

springy autumn :: 44/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

It is November, but our weather has been amazing, +20C today, it feels like spring, I wish it was. I actually had to stop to think what time of year it was.

Jane has lots of pep in her step with this nice weather, and today we went to the woods, and she had fun exploring and looking critters.

I wonder how long it will be until my photos have snow in them ... I hope a while :)

Deep thoughts ... IMAGINE that.

So I stumbled upon this quote ... I was thinking of it more on the literal meaning of it, but given more thought, it works into so many facets of my life.

"You can't depend on your eyes
when your imagination is out of focus."

This applies of course to my day job - Artist, Graphic Designer, Art & Creative Director, Photographer ... all-round creative mad-person, and odd ball. Being a creative comes from a deeper place within me, it is a part of me, and always has been, and lucky for me I was encouraged to "BE ME" from a young age. It is not about the programs I design in, the computer I work on or the fancy camera I shoot with - those are all tools to produce the end result. Without IMAGINATION, I would be left with a pile of overpriced electronics I rely on to do my job for me.

I get creative blocks, times when I can't think beyond, my brain gets tried... that is why I have outlets to recharge me and use other parts of my noggin.

Enter part 2: DOGS

Upon further obsession, I realize this quote also applies to dog training. I am an analytical person - some might want to just call it just plain, anal :) But I don't like to do things without thought or a process - what's the point?

So in training dogs - no matter what you are doing - it requires Imagination. Have you ever tried to out smart a Terrier? Think faster than a Border Collie? Or wonder what the hell is going though a Flat-coats' mind? These things take some creative thought processes and troubleshooting AKA Imagination. And if you can't look beyond what you are seeing with your eyes only, you will soon be outsmarted and stumped. Then you are left with a cute dog who's possible potential has been hindered because we can't figure them out.

This really is seems to make sense to me when we train our dogs complex "tricks" and behaviours ... like weave poles. Again, everybody is given the same tools - and in the end, all Weave poles are the same - sticks in the ground with 24" spacing, sure the methods are different, but the same end result - enter on the left (i was meaning from the point of view of the dog - they enter on their left side to be clear, meaning they have to enter on the right side of the poles, as it was pointed out) - weave the poles - exit - but it is easy to mess up any method, really. Then all you are left with a pile of PVC and steel. If you can't think beyond what you are seeing out the outmost layer visually when training your dog, and your dog keeps making the same mistake, you need to look deeper - and use your Imagination, then your eyes will begin to see things differently.

See what happens when I get a good nights sleep?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Kaleb has had 6 weeks off Agility, and Gyp has only trained once in those 6 weeks. I needed a break mentally from training and teaching, and I think they did too - both mentally and physically. They haven't had any time off really at all this year (well except for K who had 9 weeks off earlier this summer after his surgery). It was stressful these past few weeks with Jane, so I am thankful I have ben able to spend lots of extra time with her.

Just in this last week, I was really missing agility, watching videos, seeing puppies, really made me want to get back to it. This year we are teaching 2 nights at the barn - we have 33 teams over 2 nights - amazing.

It was our first night at the Arena last night, we worked on specifics. Kaleb was a friggin' mad man, and I loved it. He had a hard time holding any sort of a start line he was so excited, but he remembered the rules and we were good to go. He ran great and had a lot of fun.

Miss Gyp was good as always. She is the kid in school that shows up for a test without studying and still aces the test, and everyone gives her dirty looks because she is a goody-two socks. It's funny, really. I worked a weave exercise and tried every possible angle, entry and distance with her, and I couldn't get her to mess up. It's nice that she understands her job I guess.

She also had a fun time catching up with all of her mooch buddies AKA jumping up on every person show might give her a treat .... and of course, they all do. Funny I would never let Kaleb get away with that, mama needs to be #1 all the time with him - it took a long time convincing ... and I KNOW Gyp loves me more than anyone ... even if she literally runs past me when I call her for the person behind me feeding their dog cheese .... but when it is work time, it is always game on with her.

We aren't trailing anymore this year, we have to miss our usual last trial of the year as we are heading out of town. I am excited for January the first trail of 2011.

But I am excited to have K entered in 6 Open trials this fall and 4 Rally Trials!!! That is the most Obedience we have ever done in our life! We are off this weekend to our first Obedience trial ... 2 Opens, 2 Rally. Should be fun!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sucks for you, Gyp.

A young contact on FLICKR asked if she could draw a photo of my dogs. She drew this photo of Jane and Gyp, it was too cute not too share. I think she summed up thier personalities perfectly - I love Gyp's pouty lip in the corner. I thought it was pretty sweet of her to do this.

"Jane is in the spotlight.

Here's the drawing! I thought it would be funny if I added part of Gyp on it, too. I just wanted to pretend that Gyp really wants to be in the spotlight :)" - Jess

Saturday, October 30, 2010


BOO :: 43/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Happy HELLoween, from Jane and the Hounds of Hell.

We didn't dress up this year, but I wanted to do something fun. I loved telling ghost stories as a kid, you know, with the flashlight under the chin.

Are you arfraid?

43/52 - 52 weeks for dogs

Friday, October 29, 2010

, originally uploaded by sarah ....

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.

- Gilda Radner

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunny side up

Sunny side up, originally uploaded by sarah ....

This was taken last week ... when is was 21C ... today is frosty and chilly, Fall is here. I needed to post this photo for my own sanity!

k-man strikes again

I checked the mail yesterday after being gone for a week and I was pleasantly surprised to open envelopes for 5 new Titles for the K-man. I lost count last year at 35 ...

In August and September he earned:
Rally Advanced Title
Expert Silver Jumpers (25 Qualifiers)
Expert Silver Snooker (25 Qualifiers)
Expert Gold Standard (50 Qualifiers)
Gold Award of Merit! (50 Masters Standards, 100 Game Qualifiers)

He is such a fun dog to train, his never-ending persistence and perseverance is what I love most about him, and also what gets him into the most trouble. He's a one of a kind dog, and I love him for it - I have to remind myself of that sometimes :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

there's no place like home :: 42/52

Today Pete and Jane came to visit me on my day off, (Gyp and Kaleb are with me for the week - they come to class with me each day).

It was wonderful day, I miss them alot, but thanks to Skype and my awesome visit with them today, AND my wonderful friends who are hosting me for the week ... I feel closer to home than I am.

Jane enjoyed exploring the acreage today, and we have some great cuddle time, I even practiced my new massage skills on her, and she loved it.

Gyp and Kaleb were pretty excited to see her too ...

3 more days and i'll be home :P