Monday, January 30, 2012

acceptance and sincerity.

Terry Simons was here this weekend from sunny California. Terry and I always have great conversations outside of the seminar - a 2 hour drive each way to pick him up and drop him off really gives me a chance to pick his brain and talk about the weekend ahead and how the weekend went. We talk about our students - yes probably you :) I get some extra insight in to how I and (we - Amanda included) might better our training and teaching. He really enjoys coming to our group - we are small but mighty :)

This weekend for me, was about Acceptance and Sincerity ...

This weekend was not without it's share of tears - the tears and laughter seemed to go hand in hand. Terry honoured Tag by being the first dog to have a donation made in his honour in his new canine Cancer foundation CLEAR. We toasted Tag in a private dinner with a fine bottle of Champagne. We presented Jo with a painting - cried more - and I hope it helped Jo in her healing process. A sincere gesture goes along way, it seems to help with the process of acceptance .. as crappy as the reality is.

The last week, and this weekend has really put into perspective our relationships with our dogs. Their lives are short, some unfairly shorter than others.

Love the dog you have. Accept them for who they are.

They accept us unconditionally.

Always give your dog a sincere effort, they will give you that back. And really, I think that is what creates a great working relationship - perhaps not just with our dogs, but with our human relationships too. I observed this over the weekend - it was nice to step back and observe our students and have them improve and learn under the guidance of Terry - and see the ones who truly put in a sincere effort get something back from their dog.

I've figured out that you can fool a human into thinking you are being sincere, and everything is OK - but I have yet to meet a dog who can't see through that.

Gyp and I had a great weekend - I really wanted Terry to push me this weekend and he did. I learned a ton, tried new things, trusted my dog, had fun, went all out, and she put in all the effort I could ever ask for back. I only worked Kaleb a little - he crashed a jump and didn't seem quite right the rest of the day I worked him. He again, put in a great effort - maybe a little too much ...

I do my best to accept my dogs for who they are - I don't try to change their spirit, and make them conform to me. I don't make them something they are not - I want them to be happy and be the best dog they can. Interesting though, they have certainly changed me - and that is what I am thankful for everyday.

somewhere out there :: 4/52

Sunday, January 22, 2012

somewhere over the rainbow


Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

This much fun should be illegal!

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow ...

Yesterday the world lost one of the good ones. I honestly can't stop crying. I'm so sad for Tag's family, I'm sad for his mama, and I'm sad that he was taken at 6.5 years old. I loved him like one of my own, and he passed so fast that it just doesn't seem real. Tag has been sick and slowly getting worse, but suddenly he got really bad, and then, he was gone. We were fortunate to spend part of the day with him, I was going over for supper, but Jo called me to come over early as some of his blood work results came back, and it wasn't good, I called Amanda to let her know and she was there in 10 minutes. We comforted Jo, we comforted Tag and we reminisced about the great times, and talked about his last days. Today we met for a walk and kept the memories going, great friends sure are amazing in times like these, and these situations can make those friendships even stronger, and keep those memories even closer to the heart.

He was a shining star in the Agility world, but most of all a LOVED family member who did everything with his family. He was a part of our close-knit agility family, as well as our extended family in real-life. Tag was our first student in our Puppy Teambuilding classes, he was a star at 4 months old. We used to call him Tag-alunatic ...that was soon relplaced with Tag-alicious. He was a dog who was all heart, and the bond he and Jolayne shared was the kind of bond most people only wish of having - and that bond came through in their Agility Career together, and most importantly everyday life. They accomplished amazing things together in a very short time, he was smart, tough as nails, brilliant dog. Over the past couple years he was our best travelling buddy going to Agility Trials. I loved his cuddles at night and his grumpy groans in the morning - he and Kaleb were hilarious together. Kaleb would try to kiss him ALL THE TIME ... and Tags "Mad teeth" were just not enough to EVER make him stop, EVER.

And then there was Gyp and Tag ... they loved eachother from the moment they set eyes on eachother. I am going to miss Gyp losing her mind at Agility when he running. Oh god, how I am going to miss that. Fuck this is so unfair for his family. Nobody else makes her soooo crazy, Tag brought out the best in her :) She would hear him inside the building warming up and would instantly lose her mind. Gyp gave Tag confidence with people, something Gyp learned from Kaleb. Gyp passed that confidence onto Tag, and Jo could often be seen walking them together. Thanks for the ride buddy, and thanks for being the dog you were, you made me a better trainer, and because of you I have an extended family that I never would have met it if I hadn't met you.

Good-bye my friend. We'll love you always, Ricky-roo.

Prom King and Queen

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

the mind of a genius ...

Kaleb is special ... I wish he spoke human so I could understand what goes on in there ....

this is how the game begins ... he's been doing this since he was a puppy ... if there is something to hide under ....blanket, bed, leaves, the chute in agility, a sock, in this case a box ... he is there ...

the end ...

Monday, January 16, 2012

_____ in a Box.

Pete builds a new table ... Gyp gets a surprise ..

Friday, January 13, 2012

he did it again! (something good this time)

For the 5th year in a row, Kaleb is the #1 Flat-coated Retriever in Canada in AAC Agility!

He'll be 10 years old in a couple months, so who knows what this year will bring, but knock on wood he'll be healthy and sound as he has always been.

What a journey with this boy ... I lost count at title number 40, but I think it is past 50 now. Oh to reminisce about the good 'ol days when he would steal people's toys from their bags and f-off over a 4' fence and wait to see if I would give in - he was such a bastard, let's not forget about pissing on top the A-frame and while running across the dogwalk ... good-bye testicles. He is such a wonderful working dog, and I'm glad I haven't squashed his spirit in the process, it would have been really easy to do with such a "high-spirited" dog. Kaleb can be a difficult dog, ya he is happy and fun, and everyone sees that side of him, but he is a complicated mix of being sensitive and dominant and really FUCKING pushy. As long as he is convinced it's a game, a super fun game - and he plays them by my rules, and I'm consistent to a T ... he will give you %150 percent, any time, any place. More than any of my others dogs, I've learned patience, lost my patience, practiced patience again ... repeat until exhausted. I've also learned how my emotions effect a training session or even being in the ring. I had MAJOR nerve issues in Obedience with him, and do this day I still can't believe I got through his CDX without the help of prescriptions drugs or booze. I learned "I have to be my best, for him to be his best", and that is something I will carry though for the rest of my dogs, for the rest of life, in every venue I endeavor in.

Good job buddy, you're an ass, but I love you ... keep on runnin'

One of my favourite K agility shots, from 2008 Nationals in Sussex, New Brunswick.

4 in the air

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

say what?

hi. i'm back! :: 1/52, originally uploaded by sarah ....

too busy these days ... not much time too blog ... so i'll leave you with this pleading photo of Gyppie

"mama, please write a blog post soon, and please write it about me, K?"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

no snow means more fun!

We've been taking advantage of this awesome winter weather, i hope I am not jinxing it by writing about it :) I have yet to wear my new gloves and toque I got for Christmas ... I'm sure winter will come ... but for now I'm enjoying being able to be outside and as much as I am in the summer months, hitting our usual trails in the coulees and in the 'hood with no ice or snow. No toque, no mitts, no boots ... no problem.

We've also been enjoying taking a few more herding lessons this winter (look no winter coat!) ... I hope it stays that way as we are both really enjoying it - I'm not sure who's head hurts more afterwards, mine or Gyp's. We are learning alot of new concepts, and the more I learn, the less I know ... but it is fun, and I like the challenge of learning this sheep game. And thankfully Gyp is patient with me ... and so are my instructors :)

Another highlight of my day was meeting little Alice :) she is a Don x Gin pup of Scott and Jenny's that I really wanted to steal, oh puppy breath, puppy fuzz and puppy butts! I've got puppy fever BAD!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sweet child o' mine

redneck ruckus :: 52/52

Or "Bratty kid o' mine" ... that might have worked better. Well that's a wrap with Kaleb's 52 Weeks for Dogs Project! And like Gyp and Jane's last photo of 52 Weeks I wanted a mural in the photo ... this one is perfect, so much colour and creative expression everywhere ... pretty much sums Kaleb up. And the best part of the photo is the empty fireworks container at the site "redneck ruckus" ... how did they know Kaleb was coming?

What a year this boy had, I cannot believe he will be 10 years old soon ... i love my boy, even though he is a jack ass most of the time ;) - he is always ready to go, ready to please, ready to make me laugh - and cry, and ready to do things just a little differently than the rest of world - I think that is how we are alike the most. We see things slightly differently and not everyone gets it.

Here is his slideshow ... his book is in the works and i'll have posted when it's done too.