Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Here are the dogs' New Year's resolutions in their own words:

Misty's Resolutions for 2009

1. I will perfect my door busting and staring techniques to get daddy out of bed by 7:30AM everyday, so I can get my cheerios on time!

2. I will bark at every slight movement in the yard, that includes every leaf, stick, squirrel, and even things that are invisible! I can see them.

3. I will bust through the front window when the man in the brown truck comes. I don't know what I'll do next, but I will bust through.
4. I will cuddle with mommy and daddy every chance I get, especially if there is the possibility that I might get something to eat as a result.

Oreo's resolutions for 2009

1. I will catch my ball in mid air - every time.

2. I will help the economy out by keeping the lint roller companies in business. I'll circle mommy and daddy's pant legs, 20 times each, before they go to work. Maybe 25 times! That will take at least four sheets of lint paper to get my fur off! Hee, hee. There you go 3M. Hope mommy owns some of their stock. We'll be rich!

3. I will do agility and play with my ball all day, everyday. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. I will figure out a way to get mommy to spend less time on the stupid computer, so that my 3rd resolution is possible. Apparently my natural cuteness, and constant scratching at her leg isn't working! Soooooo frustrating.

CHEERS to a good 2009 for all

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

funny christmas video

My agility teacher made this video of her dogs opening their Christmas presents. I thought it was so funny, that I just had to share. I guess this is what happens when you have ten dogs. Good thing they have that indoor agility ring!


Monday, December 29, 2008

no snow - for now.....

The snow has melted for today, but more is on the way for tomorrow. Snow will eliminate the mud, so I won't mind. I am tired of cleaning 8 paws every time the dogs go out. We did get outside today to walk, play and did a small bit of agility practice. It has been awhile since Misty has been on the teeter, as it has been covered in snow. She did pretty well on it.
Misty's motto: "Will do agility for jerky"

"Oh, here I am walking this tilty board thing again. I wonder if I will still get jerky if I jump off it right now? Better have it make that bang noise, just to be sure....."

"Ohhhhh, I'm gonna get it....."

"Yes, I got it! I'm so good."

"Wheeeeeee, I'm flying!"

"OK Mom, I'm jumping over this bar thingy, where's my jerky?"

Note to Diana: For these action photos I had my camera dial set to "TV". On this setting, you can change your shutter speed with the dial that is next to the button you use to shoot photos. It was very gloomy outside, so I set my "ISO" to 1600 (that has to do with light), and my shutter speed to 1/640. I think I could have used a lower shutter speed and gotten brighter photos, but I was happy enough with these. It is winter. If you have a brighter day, you would go with a lower ISO number. I think....

If any real photographer feels I am giving Diana the wrong information, please correct me!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Red at Night

Red at night, sailor's delight....

Let's hope this means tomorrow will be a good day to get out with our dogs, and do some much needed agility! Much too much mud for me today. Had to settle for weave poles in the hallway, which is not much fun.

Can't take credit for this photo. Jeff ran outside to capture some great photos of Sunday's sun setting....or was he just trying to get out of cleaning up the dinner dishes?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas aftermath

Misty and Oreo had a good Christmas this year.

Grandma gave them a sheep and furry pig. One was supposed to be for Misty and one for Oreo, but Oreo claimed them both.

They both make funny noises. Every time the sheep "baaas" Oreo drops the sheep until it stops, then picks it up again.

Oreo is the only one who has been able to figure out how to make the pig oink. I have resorted to banging it on the table to get it to oink. Don't know how Oreo is doing it with his mouth.

Oreo also got some new squeaky balls from Santa, and a plush gingerbread man.

Misty enjoyed all the extra cheese, fillet of beef, and new cookies more than the toys. Here she is with her tray of cookies from Santa:

"If I stare at it long enough, maybe the lid will come off....."

Both dogs went to bed at 8:30 (without me!) on Christmas night, and then after our morning walk, they spent all day yesterday sleeping.

I swear they were hung over.

OK, who spiked their water bowl?

Post Bath Routine

After looking at all the photos of my dogs in the snow, I noticed that their white fur wasn't so white....

Must be time for a bath.

My first sheltie, Munchkin, used to be quite manic after a bath, running around rubbing against everything trying to dry off. I always said, "I should get this on video." I never got around to it.

Oreo does a similar act, although with a bit less gusto. Today, I got the video out.

Now their black is black, and their white is white again. Until tomorrow that is. Temps are rising, snow is melting rapidly. Our backyard mud pit will be back. What was I thinking?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"Misty, I don't see Santa over here, do you see him over there?"

"I don't see him over here either Oreo."

"Let me see if I can smell him. I think Santa would smell kind of smokey, from spending all that time in chimneys."

"I don't know what a chimney is, but I think Santa may have left us something over here. "

"Did you hear that?"

"Mommy says Santa left us our presents inside the house! I sure hope there is a new ball for me," Oreo says. "Let's Go!"

"I sure hope there is a special cookie for me," Misty says. "I'd sure like to share them with all the dogs who read this blog! I hope Santa made a visit to all their houses too."

"Oh yeah, I guess I'd share my ball too," Oreo says. "But they'd have to catch me first!"

Happy Holidays From Misty & Oreo!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Presents from Hawaii

Oreo got a birthday present from his Aunt Betty, all the way from Hawaii.

"I think I need to untie the bow first Misty. I know agility, but this is kind of a new trick for me."

"It smells really good, but I think we need to get rid of some of this paper stuff."

"Let me just chew on it for a bit..."

With a little help from Mommy, Oreo and Misty finally got inside the package, and were rewarded with Peanut Butter and Honey Biscuits from Waggin' Bakery in Hawaii.

"Its my birthday....yea, its my birthday...."

Happy 2nd Birthday Oreo!

Today is Oreo's 2nd Birthday!

It was this time a year ago, that I set up a couple broom sticks, and an open cardboard box in my hallway, and began what my students would call "ghetto agility" with Oreo. Here is a video from last December of my "Ghetto agility":

We've come a long way in one year. What a fun year it has been! As a result, I have met so many great people, locally and in cyber world. Who knew a dog, and a game called agility, could change my life in such a positive and fun way!

Here is a little video compilation of Oreo's second year, with some puppy shots thrown in (he was so cute). Oreo traveled to Maine, learned to teeter, went over 6 foot walls, tunneled, played ball, played some more ball, and even supervised our bathroom being remodeled.

(there is music if you like Michael Buble')

Happy 2nd Birthday my little boy! You are pure joy!

Before I had this blog, I used to send out "Oreo mail", to mark Oreo's growth as a puppy. Here is an email I sent out in early March 2007. So, he was about 10 weeks old. He was such a little puff ball. Misty looks huge compared to him in these photos! According to Oreo's baby book, he was 5 pounds in these photos.

Oreo says, "Now I have a friend my own size..."

But, I still would rather play with Misty....

I think I can climb to where she is...

Ok, maybe later...

If only I were bigger...

Guess I'll have to play with Mommy's slipper instead.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

Although it seems like winter has been here at least a week already, today is Winter Solstice. We will have a perfect winter day - cold, with 6 inches of new snow (on top of the 12 we already have). The best part about a snowstorm is how quiet it becomes outside, especially on a Sunday morning. Snow falling makes the world seem so peaceful. It is truly beautiful. That is, until a snowplow, or snowmobile goes by and ruins your moment!

The good news is.... the first day of Spring is only 3 months away! So, I think I will start my countdown on my chalkboard at school to my favorite homemade holiday, SpringFest!

Maybe I'll start by counting down weeks, rather than days. Days may be just too depressing....

I can already envision the daffodil bulbs popping up out of the ground......that is if the mole hasn't eaten them for dinner. In that case, there are always pansies at the local nursery....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

fun in the snow

Got a foot of snow last night, another 7 inches or more on the way tomorrow. Dogs are loving it, although it is so cold I have to keep removing ice balls from between their toes and pads. That really hurts their feet. They just stand in the snow, holding up their paw until I come over and remove the ice. They are so pampered. Then, they go back to playing. I guess it is time to look for their boots.

I did shovel a lot of paths in the backyard, so the dogs could run around a bit easier. Oreo tried to run around one tree that I hadn't shoveled and he looked quite stunned when he was in snow up to his nose! I got the shovel back out and cut some more paths for him.

Here's a short video of them playing this morning, before I made my pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner:

BTW, the blogger spellchecker doesn't know the word pierogi!! How culturally biased. I bet it knows the word pizza.

Friday, December 19, 2008

first real snow

(Try double clicking on the above two close up shots to enlarge the photos. I think they came out amazing- of course I'm slightly biased about the beauty of my two dogs. This may be my best ever shot of Misty, as she rarely looks straight at the camera, and the facial expression is so her. She adores snow, can you tell? I think I will have to have this photo enlarged and framed.)

I feel like my blog is becoming a weather report.

We are in the midst of our first "real" snow storm. We should be getting about a foot tonight. Our school let out 2 hours early today. Actually, the students were let out 2 hours early. The teachers had to stay an extra hour, so we could sit around and twiddle our thumbs watching the snow come down. Go figure.

Anyway, I don't mind driving in the snow, as long as I can make it up my steep driveway and into my garage. Less than 6 inches of snow had fallen, so I was good to go. Snow tires are a marvelous invention.

I couldn't wait to get home and get the dogs outside to play! I have been waiting for a good fluffy snow like this for them to romp around in.

Boy, did they have fun! No agility today, just pure playtime! I did shovel off the teeter and table, but it is still snowing. I may have to shovel the dogs some paths tomorrow, as the snow may be too deep for them to even walk through. Being that they have herding tendencies, I have to shovel circular paths to keep them happy in the winter.

After playing, we came inside and I made a batch of homemade chocolate chip (carob chips really) cookies for the dogs. Oreo's 2nd birthday is on Tuesday, so I wanted him to have a special dessert to share with Misty.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A little rusty...

Well, the snow is gone until tomorrow morning, when we are supposed to get 6 inches.

My parents have been staying with us while they wait for their power to come back on. The dogs have been loving having them here! I brought Oreo outside to play this morning before I went to work. Misty opted to lay by Grandpa and see if he would share any of his breakfast with her, rather than play with me. Misty has also spent a lot of time cuddled up on Grandma's lap. Hmmm, I think there are some loyalty issues going on here.

Anyway, this afternoon, I dug our jumps and weave poles out of the shed for forty five minutes to see if the dogs remembered how to do agility. Seems like forever since we've been able to do aglitity outside! Then, I had to put them back in the shed since there is another storm coming....Annoying.

Here is a video of Misty working on her teeter and weave poles. She is doing good, and is so sweet. At the end, you'll see Oreo and I work on a couple back crosses, which we are successful at, but then Oreo totally avoids doing the teeter, or does it in fly off mode! I think we're a bit rusty.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

After the storm

Ice Storm

We survived the ice storm. Boy, I hope we never have to endure another.

Late Thursday night, I awoke to car doors slamming, red lights flashing, then the sound of a chain saw. My immediate thought was a car slid off the road into the woods, and the firemen were trying to get to the car.

Luckily, it was just a tree down across the road. I peered out the window at the firemen, and could see the writing on the back of their coats. When I saw they were not from our town, but from a few towns away, I knew it must be worse than we thought it was going to be. I also noticed our furnace kick off and all our digital clocks go dark.

We went back to bed, but never got back to sleep. All night, we heard trees crashing down all around us. It was the scariest night of my life, as our house is surrounded by trees. The dogs cuddled up between us. Oreo snuggled under the covers.

Once daylight broke, we got to look around, and saw that we were lucky. None of our trees had fallen on our property. Just a few large branches. All day though, trees and limbs continued to fall. I let the dogs out to pee, and made them come right back inside. I was terrified a tree would fall on them. They were confused. Plus, they were having trouble getting traction on the ice. Luckily, we got some snow in the afternoon which helped.

We were able to keep warm with our wood stove. Our living room was in the 60's, while the rest of our house was in the forties. I don't know what we would have done without that stove.

On Saturday morning, we ran out of water. Since we are on a well, we need power to pump our water. Jeff went into our creek with giant plastic bins, filled those with water, so we could at least flush our toilet. Another luxury I don't like to be without.

Jeff, my wanna be a redneck husband, heated my water for coffee in the morning with a propane torch. It worked!

Anyway, I took lots of photos. While it was a difficult storm to endure (boy am I lost without power), there was true beauty to be had. I will never again complain about my electric bill being too high. Electricity is worth every penny, especially when it is 12 degrees outside. When the power trucks pulled up on our road, those men were like angels to me.

Here is a slide show of my photos, double click for larger ones, or click on the link below:

It has been days since the dogs and I have done some agility. I am anxious to get back to some normalcy. I think the dogs are too. I decided yesterday that it was safe enough for them to play in the yard, and they took me up on the opportunity.

We're Back!

We got our power back! Trying to get our life back to normal. I'll post more later....our house is 56 degrees and rising....

No power - be back soon!

Due to the ice storm, I've been without power since thursday night, and last I checked we will be out until Monday at 11PM.

I will be back to post then with lots of cool photos of the ice storm, and stories to tell. Right now, I am at a hotel that my parents checked into last night, about to take my first hot shower in three days - what a luxury.

The dogs and my family are all safe, and trying to stay warm as we ride this out.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

6 poles for Misty

Here is a video of Misty doing 6 weave poles down our hallway, during an ice storm. She really has improved since Tuesday. We've had to spend a lot of time indoors due to the weather, and weaving has been a good way to keep the dogs occupied.

I am hoping to get a few inches of snow on top of the inch of ice they are forecasting. That way the dogs can get some traction, and we can play outside tomorrow. I am also hoping for a snow day, but am betting on a two hour delay. We'll see.

While Oreo is awfully cute, he was blocking the view of Misty's wonderful progress. So, halfway through the video, I decided to bribe him with a Texas toothpick (I think it is a cow tail, although toothpick sounds better to us former vegetarians) to keep him away from the jerky in my hand.

It is tricky trying to train two dogs at once. They both want to do it at the same time. I guess I need to turn on Sesame Street so they can learn to take turns.

With the weave poles being indoors, I have been working with Oreo on having him weave without me going along on the side with him. It is a challenge, but Oreo is getting better. As long as there is a lot ball throwing involved, it is easy to keep him interested in weaving.

6 Things I like....

I was tagged by Diana to write 6 things that Oreo and Misty like. I decided each dog had to do their own list.

6 things Misty likes (in her own words):

1. Getting the good spot on the couch between Mommy and Daddy.

2. Having my back arm pit (er, leg pit) scratched.

3. Barking at the neighbors, especially when the mean lady next door says, "NO BARKING!" Hee, hee. She told me once that I look like an old man, and I haven't like her since.

4. Grandma! She gives me buttered toast cut in cubes in a bowl, really good meat, and lots of other stuff my mom doesn't even know about.

5. Staring at Daddy at 7:30PM, until he gets up and says, "snack time!" The staring is quite effective - works every time.

6. Finding some really good smelling stuff on the ground, then rolling my face in it! I just wish my mom wouldn't wash it off so quickly and ruin my fun.

6 things Oreo likes (in his own words):

1. My ball. Catching it in mid air.

2. My other ball.

3. Teetering. Playing agility games in the backyard.

4. Attacking any towel that Mommy is using to clean stuff. Stealing it, and then hiding it or burying it somewhere.

5. Having Misty chase me and tackle me on the ground.

6. Riding co-pilot with mommy to agility class. (If only Mommy would let me drive - I know I could do it.)

I tag Brittany to write 6 things Patriot or Hobbs like!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

3 poles for Misty~girl

I ordered another set of weave poles last week, so I could have a full set of twelve. I figured I could keep 6 inside for indoor winter practice, and then bring the new set outside in the spring, hook it up to our original set and see how Oreo does with 12. He has been doing great with 6.

I didn't want to bring my old set inside, since Oreo likes to use them as "pee poles". Yuk.

The new poles arrived in the big brown truck today, so I thought I'd see if I could get Misty to weave a bit. I started her out with just 3 poles.

If you thought her teeter was slow, wait until you see her weaving in this video:

I think once I actually stopped weaving, Misty did better. We'll practice some more tomorrow.

I did have Misty out on the teeter today, and she was able to go a bit faster. I even let it drop on its own, and the "bang" didn't seem to bother her at all.

I feel like I am becoming one of those annoying mothers who record every moment of their child's life on camera, and then forces every person on the planet to oooh and ahhh over her child (uh, dog in my case)!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Misty learns to teeter

I have been working with Misty on walking a board (table leaf) in my living room for about a week now. She has become so confident lately, that she has been pushing Oreo right off the board so she can get on. Her nickname has always been "tank", for her tendency to push her brothers around and plow her way through shut doors.

So, this afternoon, I decided to see if I could get her up on my mini teeter. The sun was setting, so I had only a few minutes to try and catch it on video. Plus, it was at least 15 degrees below freezing and I had to take off my glove to feed her treats! I don't know what I was thinking, but I was thrilled with her progress.

Sorry if the video is a bit dark. I tried to brighten it up with some editing software.

No, this video is not in slow motion - that is just Misty's pace! I'm sure she'll speed up as she becomes more comfortable. This was literally her first time on the teeter. I think she has been watching and learning from Oreo more than I realized.

When Misty and I were done, I found my glove completely covered in dirt. That little rascal Oreo.....

Sunday, December 7, 2008

First Victim

I live on what the post office calls a rural route. Meaning, I have to walk a long distance to my mailbox, because it is clustered with a bunch of my neighbors'. It also means no one adheres to the 35mph speed limit, because it is not enforced.

My house is situated at the bottom of a very steep hill, that has a sharp turn, right before you reach my house. When people come speeding down the hill at a high rate of speed, this often leads to trouble - right in front of my picture window.

In the winter, watching the cars slipping and sliding off the road has become an interesting way to pass the time during the long, cold months. No one has ever gotten hurt (except the cars and people's wallets as they pay the tow truck driver to pull them out of the ditch), since snow acts as a good cushion. Unfortunately, snow also causes lousy traction. On snow days, the dogs and I settle on the couch by the picture window and wait to call the tow truck, whose number we keep on the refrigerator.

Today, the road claimed its first victim of the winter season. (notice red car in tree line)

Even on dry days, a car or two has met its demise on this section of roadway. The worst incident occurred just as I was coming home from walking the dogs. Right in front of our driveway, a Schwann's truck lost control coming around the curve and flipped on its side.

Schwann's makes home deliveries of frozen dinners and such. When the truck tipped, all the little doors on the truck opened, and out spewed dozens of tasty frozen meals. The local fire department spent much of the afternoon picking them up off the road.

If it had happened just a minute later, the dogs and I could have been smooshed by a hunk of frozen turkey. Instead, we got to watch the whole incident right in front of us.
We are still waiting for the unlucky soul to hit the newly installed fire hydrant that the town placed right in this "accident zone". We questioned the workmen when they came to put it in, "Do you know how many people drive off the road here in the winter?"

"We're just following directions," they told us.

That will be a bad day. Gushing water, and below freezing temperatures generally do not make for good driving conditions. Even for us die-hard northerners.

I tried to get the dogs to do some snow agility, but they were too concerned with all the activity going on out on the road.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

only in upstate NY

There was some black ice out on the roads early this morning.

When I was walking the dogs, a snowplow zoomed by us salting the roads. I thought, hmmm, maybe I shouldn't be out walking the dogs.

Then, the next vehicle went by us. It was a guy on a motorcycle.

Only in upstate NY.

Monday, December 1, 2008

good news!

I'm still waiting to hear back from my vet, but she left a message on my answering machine today and here is what she said:

"I got the results back on Misty's biopsy, and don't worry if you don't get to talk to me today, it is good news."

I told this news to Misty and Oreo and here is a video showing how they felt when they heard Misty's polyp was benign.

Guess Misty's agility career isn't over yet! She's cancer free and can still put her much younger brother on the ground (he loves every minute of it).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Its snowing!

Jeff put our snow tires on this morning, and not a day too soon. Nothing like fresh snow to make everything, including Misty, look pretty, fresh and pure.

I'd say Misty likes the table!

Oreo says, "If you take your gloves off for a photo shoot, you know I'm gonna have to bury one Mom. I'm a dog. That's what we do."

Vote for your favorite!

I took a video this morning of Misty doing a sequence using her new skill, the table.

Sorry about the lilac branch being in the way! I didn't notice it on the screen when I set up the shot.


Here is a video of Oreo doing the same sequence. You'll notice he is going a little bit faster, and almost trips me at one point.


Which dog is your favorite? Keep in mind Misty has been doing agility for just two weeks, while Oreo has had about 10 months (however we've only had professional instruction for the past 3 months)!

Oreo has been giving me some tunnel refusals lately, especially when I am on his left side, leading with my right hand. I have had to resort to tossing his ball into the tunnel to get him to go. Otherwise, he comes to a dead stop in front of the tunnel. If I am on his right side leading with my left hand, there is no problem. Strange. We'll be working on that this afternoon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Misty learns to table

Misty learned how to "table" today.

Now, you'd think this would be an easy thing to teach a dog. All she had to do was hop up on the table. Misty hops up on the couch and the bed with no problem.

The way Misty was acting you would have thought I was asking her to jump into a cage filled with hungry lions.

I tried to lure her with treats. I patted the table. I put her on a leash and tried to pull her up.

None of that worked. So, I resorted to physically lifting her up, setting her on the table and feeding her treats.

Then, she jumped off.

Again, I tried to lure her up by patting the table. No dice.

I lifted her up again and fed her treats, saying "table, table", making it as happy a place as I could.

We repeated this several times.

Finally, I sent her through the tunnel, then said "table" and surprisingly, Misty hopped up on the table, sat and wagged her tail!

I was shocked. I said, "Jackpot!" Misty got a whole handful of treats.
Then Misty couldn't get enough of the table. She would run through the tunnel, and onto the table over and over.

She'd bark at the neighbor, then run up on the table, stand on it and bark.

Misty may take a little longer than Oreo to learn something, but once she gets it, she gets it.

Misty is just loving the agility game. This afternoon, I set up three jumps and the tunnel/chute all in a row. She adored running that over and over. Misty is even doing most things on her own now, without treats ~ a true sign that she is having fun.

I just love that little sparkle in her eye when she runs toward me out of the tunnel. It's like she's saying, "Let's do it again, Mom!"