Friday, January 27, 2012

I Did What to the Cat?

Grace, the cat, doesn't get a lot of time on the blog but she does exist and I do care for her.  She's been around for 14.5 years - predating the dogs by 5 years!

This fall, I took Grace to the vet for a check up and while she was there we cut her claws.  Most people don't think about cutting their cat's claws but, if you have an indoor cat who doesn't use a scratching post it's not a bad idea to do it occasionally.

Today, I cut Grace's claws again.  While I was doing it, several things popped into my head.  In no particular order they are:

- It's a lot easier to cut Grace's claws than any of the dog's toenails.  Her quicks are way back.

- Damn!  Grace's claws are REALLY long!

- It's a lot harder to cut Grace's claws than any of the dogs toenails.  When held on her back, Grace becomes completely boneless and just sort of slides through my hands/arms.

- Where the hell ARE Grace's claws.  Between being retractable and her being long haired, finding her claws can be a challenge.

- Might be a good idea to keep Grace's uncut claws away from my face while I am cutting them.

If you have a cat, take a moment to check out their claws - if he/she will let you - and if they need it, give them a trim. The furniture you save may be your own!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Bogey was starting to look a little shaggy so I decided to do some manscaping on him this weekend.
Making those feet look a little less like a Snowshoe Hare's.

Not being a show dog, he really doesn't appreciate being asked to spend time on the grooming table.  When it was all said and done this is what was left.
Can it really be called manscaping if you remove this much hair?

And this is how the handsome boy looked.

A little less crazy grandpa hair coming out of and around his ears as well as tidier feet.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dog Shows and Champions

This weekend there was a cluster of dog shows in Fredericksburg, VA.  A cluster means that there are several days of shows, usually sponsored by at least two local kennel clubs.  This was a five day cluster, starting on Wednesday and ending tomorrow, Sunday.  Georgia was entered Friday and Saturday and she did well; garnering two more points toward her championship.

It takes 15 points for a dog to become a champion.  Those points are earned by defeating other dogs at shows.  That sounds pretty simple but it isn't always.  You see, at least 6 of those points have to come from what are called 'majors.'  A major can be worth 3, 4 or 5 points, depending on the number of dogs shown and the region the show takes place in.  The AKC has divided the country into 13 divisions and, based on a rolling 3 year count of entries, they publish a points schedule every May.  You can see the current schedule here.

Dogs that are not yet champions are known as 'class' dogs and the points schedule applies to them.  In each breed the dogs entered are shown first by sex, then by age or special classes like American Bred, Bred by Exhibitor or Amateur Owner/Handler.  The winners of each of the age or special classes go back in to compete for Winners Dog/Bitch - that's where you earn the points.  Then Winners Dog & Bitch go back into the Best of Breed round, with dogs that already have their championships (specials), to compete for Best of Breed, Best of Opposite Sex and, for the class dogs/bitches only, Best of Winners.

The AKC actually has a pretty good explanation of how to count points here.  I'm referring you there because trying to explain some of those scenarios can get a little hairy!  Best of Winners was important to us this weekend because Georgia was the only class bitch entered - therefore, there weren't any points available to her because she didn't defeat any other girls.  By going Best of Winners, she was able to get the points that applied to the dog entry for the day.  Winners Dog still got a point but, because Georgia did too since, in essence, she was judged to be the best of all the non-champion dogs entered.  It's called "crossing over" and in areas where the points schedule hasn't caught up with what actual entries are like, it can save your bacon - allowing you to win points when normally there wouldn't be any.

If all this didn't make sense, read it again :)  Then, don't worry about it.  It took me at least a couple years just to understand the concept of crossing over.  I still don't completely understand scenarios where class dogs/bitches go Best of Breed over specials.

Georgia is entered in another show on January 28th in Doswell, VA.  There are 2 class dogs entered and Georgia is the only class bitch again.  Under the current schedule, that means she won't get any points for going Winners Bitch but, if she goes Best of Winners she would get another single point.  The other interesting part of this entry is that she also has the opportunity to go Best of Breed which buys her a turn in the group ring.  Oops, I didn't explain the groups did I?  Well, we'll save that for another post......

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Only Six Left

Well, after tomorrow that is.  Tomorrow, when I fly to Alabama for a job interview, I will only have six states out of fifty that I haven't visited.  The remaining six are; Alaska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Vermont.  When you move around a lot, you keep track of things like that.

I can also tell you all the states I've shown dogs in (conformation, agility and herding); Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Kansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine and Connecticut.  Not too bad, I say.

I had two phone interviews last week, one last night, and received an email to set up a time for another phone interview in the next week.  Things are picking up....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stick a Needle in My Eye

Wow!  I can't believe it's already 2012.  Time really does go faster the older you get.

For Christmas last year (2011) Georgia gave us the gift of coming into season; seems the girl is on a 7 month cycle.  That means that this week she is in standing heat and her father, Sam, is a wreck.  Fortunately, we don't allow the two to spend much time together anyway so we aren't also dealing with having to separate them.  Poor Sam knows she's here though and he paces around the house quietly whining.  It really only gets annoying when you are trying to sleep.  He's also spending a lot of time checking out Ginny & Moira to see if, just possibly, they might be interested in a little hanky panky.  Poor old man.

On and off for the last several years I've had Sam treated with acupuncture to help relieve his arthritis pain.  I've always been impressed with the results however, I'd never had acupuncture myself so I didn't have a good sense of what it actually felt like.

About a month ago, I started having pain in my right elbow.  It was annoying but not too terribly bad so I ignored it, as I often do when plagued by minor pain.  The pain got progressively worse though and I suddenly realized I was suffering from tendinitis in that elbow.  I have no idea how that happened but, there it was.

I tried all the usual treatments; alternating cold and heat, anti-inflammatories (Traumeel and Arnica), pain relief (Tylenol) and whining.  None were really working so I thought I'd give acupuncture a try.  Hey, it's worked for Sam!

During the actual treatments I've been surprised at some of the things that have happened; odd sensations in parts of my body that have no apparent connection to my elbow (burning in my left heel), waves of energy that feel almost like a chill passing over my entire body and yesterday, while I was concentrating on breathing correctly, I burst into uncontrollable sobs.  It makes me wonder how Sam feels when he has the needles in, especially when they are hooked up to electro-stimulation to enhance the effects!

I've had two acupuncture treatments so far and, while the elbow still hurts, the pain does seem to be getting better.  What I've really been impressed with though are the side effects.  I sleep better for at least two nights after a treatment, Moira is more relaxed for a couple days after I am treated, and my overall mood seems to be better too.  Basically, I'm just finding that I feel more balanced and calm.

I have another appointment next week - I hope we can scale back the frequency of appointments soon since they aren't inexpensive - and am looking forward to it.  Now that I have a personal understanding of how acupuncture feels and works I will be much more likely to use it for the dogs.