Friday, October 30, 2009
Hope everyone has a happy Halloween. See you in a few days!
My oldest nephew made the news last night! He was in one of the "l's". You'll have to watch to see what I'm talking about. I hope he doesn't mind me bringing him some Yankees (the "evil empire") stuff!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Since Misty was 2 when I got her, I don't have any puppy stuff of her, which really stinks.
I didn't have a video camera when Oreo was a puppy. However, I did take some short videos with my camera. Here is one for our Then & Now series. You've seen our "now video" before. Boy was my house a disaster area when I had a puppy!
Oreo after his bath THEN.....
Oreo after his bath NOW.....
Not much has changed.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We've been working on it for a few weeks, and Misty just started learning about a week ago. She's doing better than I thought.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Jeff said, "I've taken you behind Walmart before, right?"
I burst out laughing.
Jeff said it as though he were asking if he had taken me to some fancy restaurant before, rather than the loading docks of the world's largest Made in China store.
For whatever reason, I could not stop laughing to answer his question, until it was too late. We were already heading home. There would be no fun filled excursion today.
Finally, I was able to say, "No, you've never taken me behind Walmart before." I'm so deprived.
Jeff said, "Well, we don't have the truck today anyway, so it's not like we could have done any good dumpster diving."
Did he honestly think I would take part?
Then, Jeff said, "I read your blog ya know. About my dumpster diving. It was funny."
"Yes, you are, " I said.
Jeff replied, "That's not what I meant. I meant your blog was funny."
Saturday, October 24, 2009
His safety zone was a green tunnel. Whenever there was a strange noise, he headed right into the green tunnel.
So, it wasn't our best class ever. Oreo was very distracted, even though there were hardly any distractions around!
Just not his day. It happens.
He did do his weave poles correctly each time, so that was an improvement from last time. My teacher had gone out to the field to bring a "good" set inside for my sensitive boy.
My teacher wanted us to leave on a positive note. She set up a speed circle using a few jumps set at low heights, the beloved green tunnel, and another tunnel at the opposite end. First I ran with Oreo, and he seemed happy and was speedy.
Then, she had me run Oreo and Misty at the same time. That was fun. You could see a bit of sibling rivalry coming out, as Oreo had to keep pushing forward to stay ahead of Misty.
It was a good way to end class.
My teacher mentioned me joining the local winter agility league. The group was actually written up in the October issue of Clean Run, page 38. I think it would be great for us. You get to try out different venues. Treats are allowed. Plus, you only do a couple runs.
Sounds like it would be a great way for Oreo to gain some experience in a positive, and less stressful manner than an actual trial.
We haven't trialed in a while. I have an entry ready to go for a CPE trial over New Year's, but I'm only signing us up for 2 runs. We may not even get into the trial. It usually fills, and ends up in a lottery.
I'm thinking we may forgo trialing over the winter, and just do the league. Then, hit the circuit again in the spring, after Oreo gains a bit more confidence. If we stay in level 2/3 CPE for the rest of our careers, I'm really ok with that. I'm more about personal Q's, than the ones on paper.
Bad news, I haven't done agility in over a week!
Misty is sighing incessantly and talking in her sleep.
Oreo is constantly climbing my leg trying to get my attention.
Work is stressing me out. Maybe that's because I feel stressed/worried in other areas of my life right now.
Glad I have my dogs, reminding me to take a deep breath, and go outside and play once in awhile.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Misty says, "Don't even think about taking my chewie."
Oreo says, "I'm cuter. I get whatever I want. Dontcha know? And I want what you got!"
Misty's thinking, I so want to bite your head off right now, but I know you're just a toddler.
Oreo says, "Did I do something wrong? Why'd you give her another one? Can I have that one too? This is so unfair."
My hip Dad is doing well. He made it through surgery, and now we have to hope he behaves himself in the hospital. They want you up and moving as soon as possible. Mom said "Mr. Exercise" was already doing exercises he read in a brochure last night. I fear my incessantly competitive Dad may start challenging interns and young doctors to races down the hallway.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Just think about where that hip has been, and what it has done!
I can't even imagine how many revolutions it has done on a bicycle. Must be in the trillions. Dad has ridden 100 miles, in one day, many times. Century rides they call them. That hip has pedaled hundreds of miles to raise money for MS and the Leukemia Society. My Dad has also trained many other riders to do the same. I wonder how much money has been raised for Leukemia research as a result of all those revolutions?
How many miles has it walked? More than most people for sure. Always walk on a diagonal when you can though.
How about the time Dad snow shoed to the grocery store? Instead of removing the two tennis racket-like contraptions from his feet, Dad chose to clomp around the grocery store in them. I'm sure that was great for the hip, and my reputation in high school. Having a dad who donned lycra pants 10 months out of the year, without inhibition, wasn't enough humiliation.
How many laps has it kicked/run in a pool? In Lake George? Lake Michigan? OK, maybe Lake Michigan was just too darn cold to swim in.
Hiking in the woods, with your young daughter on your shoulders? Skipping the trail, choosing rocks to step on through the creek bed instead. Or walking the Erie Canal, singing loudly, "Low bridge, everybody down..." Hiking Tongue Mountain, shouting, "We're not deer! Don't shoot us!"
Cross country skiing at Lapland Lakes. Dad would ski ahead, wait, and when we'd finally catch up say, "OK, ready?" We'd never get to rest!
From playing half ball and basketball on the streets of Philadelphia, that hip has traveled to Delaware, New York, Chicago, Tampa, SanFransico, Ireland, Canada, Colorado, Arizona, Maine, New Orleans, and countless other places.
It has competed in the Empire State Games, and walked across the stage of several schools and universities to accept numerous diplomas and degrees.
Isn't that hip jar worthy? A trophy of sorts?
Here's to your new hip Dad! I can see why you need a new one. You've totally abused this one. Shame on you.
Can't wait to see my new bionic dad in action.
Now for all of you who feel compelled to leave goodwill messages to my dad, feel free. However, please remember my Mom. She will be the one who has to listen to Dad complain about not being able to ride his bike while he is recovering. Mom may be the one who deserves the trophy in the end.
I've been trying to teach Oreo the shy trick, where the dog puts his paw over his face, for almost a year.
Seems to me that all methods to teach this trick involve annoying your dog. Putting a piece of tape on the snout, so he will brush it away. Using a post it note, a band aid. Putting a hat on your dog.
I tried tape & a post it, and it did work, but I couldn't seem to fade the tape being on his nose. Besided keeping Scotch in business, I felt like I was wasting my time.
One night, Jeff blew on Oreo's face. My dogs hate that! Oreo swiped his nose!
"SHY!" I shouted. "That's how I can teach him!"
Jeff said, "I want credit for that."
The next day, clicker/treats in hand, it took one puff in his face, a click/treat/cue word and Oreo had "shy" down.
All those wasted months and rolls of tape......
Yes, I was still annoying my dog, but I only had to do it once or twice.
I'd like to get Oreo to hold his paw on his nose, because right now the trick looks more like swatting flies, than playing shy. However, I figure if I push for more, it may qualify as torture. We'll keep practicing....with our cue word & clicker....no more annoying stuff.
Strange, dogs love wind blowing in their face. They stick their heads out car windows. Yet, they don't like it when we blow air at them. Wonder what the difference is?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Had to take some this Friday, before the rain/snow forecast for today ruined the leaves.
I'm really liking the overhead shots, which I've been doing a lot of lately....where the dogs sit, and I stand over them and look down with the camera. Isn't that how we usually see our dogs anyway? With them looking up at us? Sometimes Oreo's "broken ear" flips back, and sometimes it stays forward. I'm not used to seeing him with two ears straight up, but I think he looks cute. They're so pink on the inside, like a bunny.
Friday, October 16, 2009
However, when we encounter them in class, we often struggle, or I tend to baby Oreo through them. Perhaps, that's because we don't practice!
There was also a set of weave poles in the exercise.
Well, Oreo didn't have many problems with the pinwheel, but we did have some weave pole problems.
Not sure if it was actual problems with weaving, or if it was due to the ground surface conditions. It was wet, with wet leaves on top. I think that may have been part of it. However, I think he was popping out early, because I stopped before the last pole. Usually, I run past the last pole. When we had problems early in the poles, I think it had more to do with the entry not being straight on. New things to work on.
Oreo ran into some weave issues in class this week. My teacher thought it was because the poles were not resting on the dirt floor properly. Oreo is very sensitive to any change in the set up of the poles, especially the part of the equipment that rests on the ground. Makes me want to order a real set of weave poles for home.
Misty also tried the pinwheel. That was interesting. Were my feet most of the problem?
If you look closely in the background, you can see the massive treefort our next door neighbor is building. It is only in the beginning stages, but we just know this is going to be huge! The floor itself is already at least 6 feet by 8 feet. This is in addition to the two story victorian playhouse (with porch, Anderson windows, and electricity) and jungle gym, neither of which their children ever use. In fact, the playhouse is in better condition than their actual house, which we have watched slowly fall apart over the past 13 years.
Anyhoo, Jeff is now calling them the "swiss family robinson", and keeps saying we are living amongst the "tree people". I think they are trying to recreate their own Ewok village, from the movie Return of the Jedi.
Wouldn't mind so much, if it all wasn't 10 feet off our property line.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Weird. What is going on?
Was it my car?
Maybe a truck had dropped a bunch of rocks on the road. There are gravel pits all around.
I looked in my rear view mirror and saw rocks in the window. Saw the car behind me slowing down. I must be kicking up rocks on their car.
I keep driving. Eventually, I'll get through this rocky patch.
I drive a few miles. Still rocky....this is not good.
Then, it dawns on me.
I had left my treat bag on the roof of my car!
It's not rocks flying, it's Zuke's mini chicken! I'm scattering them all over Route 66!
OH NO! I won't have any treats for Oreo when we get to agility. Plus my discontinued clicker is in that bag!
I pull over.
Miraculously, the bag is hanging on to the rack on the roof.
Clicker, and some treats remain in the bag. Whew! Crisis averted.
I laughed so hard the rest of the way to class. Imagining the driver behind me getting pelted with dog treats. Good thing they were of the soft variety.
This morning, I remembered a car had stopped along side me when I was waiting to turn out of my road. I refused to look at the driver.
Thinking he/she was a weirdo, I looked the other way.
The person was probably attempting to alert me to the bag on my roof.
Yep, the weirdo was me!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
What I often forget to do is go back and shut the door. Therefore, we end up with bugs flying about the house. Plus, now that it is cooling down, it is better to keep the door shut.
I thought, why can't the dogs shut the door behind them? I know they can open doors. They plow through the bedroom door every morning at 7:22AM sharp. Jeff doesn't need an alarm clock. Two dogs who want their cheerios are sufficient.
For the past two weeks, I have been training the dogs to shut a door. Oreo is doing really well. Misty is still on step one. Poor girl.
We even got to work on this trick at the hotel, which was cool. I was surprised Oreo was able to generalize one door from another. The hotel is where Oreo started using his enthusiastic two foot method.
Here is our tricky video for the week.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
....the dogs had their own photo shoot.
Fall is just glorious in the Northeast. If only it seemed like an entire season, rather than a few weeks of perfection, before winter is upon us.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I think the trees are just about near their peak right now around here. Gorgeous colors.
The dogs are taking it very seriously!
It is true. My nephew's principal, teachers, counselor, after school program staff, friends, and parents of his friends made visits to the house. The school sent over a platter of sandwiches. His classmates made cards.
Neighbors brought food, entire meals, cleaned the road, and moved their cars to make room for visitors.
Many have offered specific things they are willing to do for my sister. Helpful hands & hearts reaching out in so many ways.
I looked up the word "community" on wikipedia. It stated that there are 94 discrete definitions of the term.
What definition was I referring to when I used the word?
I scrolled down to where it read, "sense of community".
Here is part of that section:
In a seminal 1986 study, McMillan and Chavis identify four elements of "sense of community": 1) membership, 2) influence, 3) integration and fulfillment of needs, and 4) shared emotional connection.
This is what I was feeling in my sister's NJ suburb. A sense of community. Each neighbor, parent, friend, teacher, childcare giver is a member of my sister's community. They each have an influence on each other's lives, especially the lives of the children. Each wants to make sure my nephews' and my sister's needs are met, ensure that they are OK. There was no doubt of an emotional connection between these community members, and my sister's family. Whether it was a hug, tear, bowl of chicken soup, or an invitation to Chuck E. Cheese, these people were sharing their emotions.
I don't even know these people, but I love them for loving my sister, and watching over my nephews. A wonderful community, no matter how one is defined.
Upon further reflection, I realized even in blogworld there is a sense of community. I have felt it from all of you. Complete strangers, brought together by a bond of a dog, a sport, a hobby, a photo, you name it. We share our lives, give advice, listen, laugh, and support each other through the good moments and our struggles. Yet, we live in different towns, states, countries and continents.
No wonder there are 94 definitions of community.
Friday, October 9, 2009
My mom found a hotel that allows dogs in the room, so the dogs had their first stay in a hotel. They handled it with flying colors.
Thank goodness they have spent so much time traveling, using crates, waiting in the car and such during agility classes, trials and seminars. It really came in handy this week.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I love Misty's "Billy Idol" impression in this photo.
Both dogs are in the midst of chewing. They look ridiculous.
Don't let them fool you.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Now I am extra excited that we have already qualified. We won't have to travel, and Oreo will be in a familiar environment. Plus, I'm really happy for my teacher and her husband. They are good people, will be wonderful hosts, and deserve it!
They just took in 7 new foster dogs, temporarily until they move onto their "permanent foster homes". They got the dogs, as a result of a raid on a puppy mill in Tennessee, which was actually dubbing itself a"rescue" in order to maintain non profit status. The dogs were in wretched condition. The man had over 100 dogs.
I thought I'd share the story. The photos are heartbreaking, but if you click on "more photos from day 1", you'll see the kind people, with their loving hands welcoming the dogs to the farm. Read the descriptions written about each dog, and you'll know these dogs will be loved and cared for.
I got to meet the 7 dogs last night. As soon as my teacher and I walked into the agility building, all you could hear were tails thumping against their crates. I wanted to cry.
Some one had sent a box filled with some new toys. One of the dogs found joy in a stuffed fleece bone for the first time in her life. How lucky I was there to witness. She kept going back to the box to look for more toys. The dogs were so sweet, and loved the attention. How sad that they had been living without affection their whole lives.
Here is the story. The dogs are in a good place now.