Thursday, September 30, 2010

To Whom it May Concern

I know we here in Virginia have been concerned about the extremely dry summer and fall.  With a rainfall deficit of more than 11", we needed to be.  However, we did not wish to have the deficit made up in a 24 hour period.

Ok, it might not be totally made up in a 24 hour period but it sure doesn't seem that way.  It is POURING and Georgia doesn't like to do her business in the rain.  It's going to be a long 24 hours.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Surrender Dorothy

UHM and I give up.  We have finally succumbed to the knowledge that, between the two of us, we cannot keep up with the housekeeping chores generated by 2 humans, 5 dogs and a cat - not going into our busiest season at work.  This morning we interviewed a professional housekeeping service and I think we are going to retain them to come in every 2 weeks.  We debated the expense on the way to work this morning but finally realized that if we want to have any free days at all in the next few months, we need help.

I know it sounds like something decadent but, it's really just a survival tool.  By the way, only 87 days until Christmas!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Embracing Inadequacy

This post started out being titled 'Yesterday and Today' and was going to feature video of my first show with Sam and Georgia's first match this weekend.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to figure out how to get the video from the mini DVD onto the computer so the video of Georgia will have to wait.

So now it's called 'Embracing Inadequacy' because I spent some time watching old video this weekend and I talked with a friend from my agility class and a lady I knew through work but also through agility passed away recently.

If you are involved in dog sports, you are at least nominally competitive if not outright cutthroat.  Don't try to deny it, you are.  Even me, who never participated in any sort of organized sport until I was in my 30s.  Dog sports are interesting because it's probably one of the only "team" sports where, if something goes wrong, you can blame your team mate and the team mate can't refute it.  However, it also presents us with a great opportunity to recognize and embrace our inadequacies and then work to improve - all without criticism from our team mate!

More importantly though, dog sports offer us the opportunity to spend time with our dogs.  As the human it's up to us to decide how we want to spend that time; beating ourselves and our dogs up over little flaws or recognizing the pure joy our dogs take in just being with us?  Dog sports are, more often than not, a hobby not a job.  Shouldn't we enjoy our hobbies?

The acquaintance who passed away recently had a terrier named Scooter.  They participated in obedience and agility.  I would talk with her about Moira's progress in agility and my hopes for Qs at upcoming trials.  After the trials we would talk again and I would bemoan what went wrong in our runs that denied us the Q.  She would smile and say, "It's not about the ribbons for us.  Scooter and I had a great time and he did this...."  She would always pick one skill or obstacle out of the run that had been executed brilliantly.  She was dying of cancer and knew that the ribbons and Qs weren't really that important.  What was important was focusing on the good stuff and being with her dog.

There are a couple videos below of my early days competing with Sam.  I haven't watched these a lot because, honestly, I find them painful to watch.  The errors, the terrible handling, etc.  This weekend I watched them again though and I focused instead on Sam - and what a GREAT time he was having.  He didn't care that I was super late on cues or that I had the lead in the wrong hand and strung him up.  His tail wagged the entire time because we were together and he was having a grand time just being with me.

My handling both in the breed ring on on the agility course has improved a great deal.  I still make mistakes but now I am working very hard to focus on what went right - was Moira happy at the end of the run?  Did she conquer her fear of the broad jump?  Did Georgia wag her tail and give the judge kisses? (Although Georgia seems to be a little more serious in the breed ring than her father ever was!)

Embrace those things you don't necessarily do well.  Risk a little embarrassment and get out there before you think you are entirely ready(ed. note - Never attempt anything where a lack of training or preparation would endanger you, your dog or other people or animals).  You might surprise yourself.  Either way, your dog will love you just the same. And if you think no one else has ever been so embarrassed in the breed, agility or obedience ring, think again.  Ask around, everyone has a story to tell about the time their dog did something or the time they tripped and took out an entire row of spectators...

Sam's first breed show with me handling (Sept 2005).  You can watch the entire clip but Sam's portion starts around 2:30.
video


Sam's first agility trial (October 2004).
video



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall

Tomorrow is the fall equinox and while the mornings are definitely cooler - and darker - the humidity is lower and the sunset is coming earlier and earlier we are still having very warm daytime temps.  Growing up in southern Oregon, this was the perfect weather for pears, apples and grapes.  The cooler night time temps allow the sugars to gather in the fruit and that makes for just the tastiest fall harvest.

Now that I'm older, I still love this time of year - except for the dark mornings, I am hopelessly circadian.  Fall means new school clothes (yeah, I know I've been out of school for a while), crispy apples (Honeycrisp are my current faves) and, best of all, DOG EVENTS!

Starting this weekend we embark (haha) on a solid 2 months of dog stuff.  We've been warming up with handling classes for Georgia on Tuesday nights and agility classes for Moira on Thursdays but now things really get hopping.  Saturday is a conformation match and Sunday Bogey goes for a herding lesson.  Miss G will ride along and maybe get a chance to meet some sheep.

Next weekend is a show in Millwood, VA.  Entries are small but it will be good experience for me and Georgia and it will be her first show outside.

The following weekend, UHM, Bogey and Georgia will trek to Ohio for a herding clinic with Dana Hasemeier.  The weekend after that is the CCWCC regional specialty in West Friendship, MD (entries close next Wednesday).  Georgia will be entered in Sweeps and the puppy classes.  The following Saturday is an agility trial for Moira in NoVa.  A friend from New England is judging - which is the only reason I entered the trial.

Halloween weekend is Moira's first USDAA trial and her 5th birthday.  Another dog in our agility class, Maggie, has a birthday right around then too so we are having a party for the girls at the trial.  If you're around, feel free to drop by.  We'll be at Misty Mountain Campground in Crozet, VA.

The first weekend in November doesn't have any dog events but my mother will be visiting and we will be going to the Montpelier Hunt Races in Orange, VA.  Ok, the hunt club opens the event with the fox hounds running around the track - so, technically, the event involves dogs.  And there are JRT races too.  Although I think they should let Corgis run.  You know the Corgis would beat the pants off a JRT :)

The second and third weekends in November, there are breed shows in North Carolina.  I want to talk to Georgia's breeder about possibly entering one or both of them.  And then it's Thanksgiving!  No dog shows that weekend but UHM and I will still have a wonderful time.  We have a trip planned.  More details later.

Wow!  I wonder when I'll find time to sleep, do laundry, clean house......

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Think She Can Tell Time

It's not uncommon to hear about dogs who "know" when their people are due home from work or when it's supper time but I am convinced that Moira has somehow figured out how to actually read the digital clock in my room.  How else can you explain that she has gotten up at 4:17 every morning for the last 2 weeks.  I mean it!  I actually look at the clock when she starts making noise and it is always 4:17.  Can someone please help me understand this?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Herding Instinct Test?

Georgia has expressed interest in sheep.













She "flossed" with it and removed two legs.  I think this one might fall under the replacement clause.  Thank goodness it's not worth $150! (the average replacement cost at trials for real sheep)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Old Dogs and Young Dogs

With the addition of Georgia to the household, we now have two extremes in dogdom.  Sam, at nearly 12.5 years old is the equivalent of a crotchety old man.  Georgia, at just 8 months old, is rather like a rambunctious toddler.  The contrast can be striking.

I'm certainly not the first or only person to have a geriatric dog but, this is my first geriatric dog and every week seems to bring something new to deal with.  Over the winter we had ear infections and staph infections.  In the spring it was a blocked tear duct, arthritis and a severe UTI.  As we move into fall, the arthritis still rears its ugly head but we've added allergies (an off and on problem for years) and decreased vision and hearing.  He's also sleeping incredibly deeply.

This morning Moira woke up at 4:15 (that's another story).  She and Gin were ready and raring to go outside.  We trooped down the hall making enough noise to wake the dead but Sam never woke.  I actually ran back down the hall looking and calling for him.  I went in my room turned on the light and there was Sam, sleeping on the floor.  When the light came on and I said his name, he woke up and looked at me like he couldn't understand why I was making him get up.

I know this is all part of the aging process but it certainly can be difficult to watch.  Sam has always been such a vibrant dog - and he still is - but the light isn't as bright as it used to be and I know he struggles with his infirmity too.  Having younger dogs in the house keeps him young but it also points out his weaknesses.  He can't keep up with Moira when they race in the back yard.  Getting on and off the bed, even with steps, is a slow process; whereas Bogey just springs up there, barely touching the steps.  Catching treats is hit or miss; when it's a hit, it's usually because it's a big treat and I basically drop it into his mouth.

Sammy still has lots of good days too; I don't want anyone to think he's in decline.  The cooler temps and changing leaves of fall just have me thinking.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is UHM's birthday.  I won't say which birthday because that's just not polite :)

Back in June I met a wonderful artist, Barb Tilley, at the CAKC show.  She works in lots of different mediums but her business name reflects her two great passions - Clay Corgi.  She has Pems but, we don't hold that against her.  Her booth at the show had some very cute acrylic paintings so I asked if she would be willing to do a custom piece, based on a photo.  She happily agreed and the result is UHM's birthday present.

Click to biggify.





















This was based on a photo I took of Mr. B back in May.  Pretty neat, huh?














If you'd like to contact Barb and have a her create a painting or other piece of art for you, her website is Clay Corgi.  Barb's prices are very reasonable and she is a complete delight to work with.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Georgia's First Day




Sharing a chewie with my big bro














Little G and Big G - half sisters, 10.5 years apart in age.



















Hanging with Bogey on the couch.  He's napping while I keep an eye out for trouble.















Being a big brother is exhausting!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hurricane Georgia

Has made landfall in Virginia :)  Today was Georgia's first full day in residence with the Horde and she's already fitting in like she's spent her entire life here.  

She and Bogey are absolutely joined at the hip, and the throat, and the back of the neck....  They wrestle and play and chase constantly.  Then they collapse next to each other and sleep.  I don't think Bogey knew how much work being a big brother was going to be.

Moira and Georgia need to work some things out.  Georgia is trying very hard to assert herself as higher on the social ladder than Ra.  Ra's not really sure how she should handle that since it's the first time she's been challenged that way.  She's rolled Georgia a couple of times but this is going to take a while to resolve itself.  In the meantime, I'm making sure Ra gets lots of attention and praise for being a good girl.

Ginny ignores Georgia and Georgia treats Ginny with all the respect she is due.  Smart puppy.  You don't mess with the Queen.

And Sam, well, Sam is acting how he always acts with young dogs.  He dislikes them intensely so we are keeping Georgia and Sam strictly separated.

One more day off this weekend and then we'll see how all this translates to the real world.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best in Puppy Sweeps

Here's our girl's first win photo.  Not bad for a 6-9 puppy in a noisy show environment.  Many, many, many thanks to Liz H. for breeding and showing Miss G and thanks to Cindy Bossi for the win.

Next up for Miss G is a match Sept 25.  Then 2 days of showing in beautiful Millwood, VA on October 2-3. She'll also be traveling to the CCWCC Specialty October 16-17.

Click to biggify!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lobster 5 Ways

Understanding House Mate and I returned from our Down East vacation late last night.  5 days, 4 nights, 6 planes, 2 cabs, and 2 whale watching boats - only one flight gave us any trouble, the last flight home - of course! We were about an hour later returning though so, I thank my lucky stars.

UHM indulged in an orgy of lobster while we were there.  She had lobster every day - sometimes twice a day.  Lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster cocktail, whole lobster and, the only one that got a thumbs down, lobster ice cream.  She has vowed never again to eat lobster south of Virginia, unless she orders it herself and it arrives the next day, as fresh from the ocean as possible.  Actually, I think that is the only way she will ever eat lobster, unless she's actually in New England again.

I didn't end up buying the raisin-colored skirt I mentioned in the previous post.  It was a shade too long.  Thanks to those who suggested having pockets sewn into the dress I did get.  Unfortunately, it is a lighter weight jersey knit and pretty slimline so there's really no room for pockets.  I'll make do with the arm band or cheek pouch.

Speaking of bait....for those who like to use bait bags, I found a very cool one in Maine.  It's got a magnetic flap closure so you don't end up w/bait flying out of the bag - if you use it for agility.  The website is www.woofhoof.com.

So now we prepare for Miss Georgia's arrival on Saturday.  Her first duty as a Horde member will be to cheer for the Wisconsin Badgers during their home opener.  Her sweeps picture arrived while we were gone.  I've taken it to work to scan will post it shortly.

The best part about coming back from this vacation is, I only have to work 2 1/2 days this week and then 4 days next week.  Three short work weeks in a row but w/full paychecks!  YES!