Monday, May 31, 2010

lock 7

Jeff and I rode 16 miles on our bikes today. We made a stop at Lock 7. I've been there countless times, but I always find it so cool.

I took some photos to show you.

Lock 7 is in the Mohawk River. It raises/lowers boats due to a waterfall.

The boats start out at this level:

Then rise slowly:

Up to this level:

Cool, huh? Then, they open the HUGE doors. Listen:

At the lock, Jeff decided that we hadn't gone far enough, and made me do two extra miles (which equals 4 when you calculate the fact we had to go back to the car). He decided we needed to go to Blatnick Park. Basically, he made me go up a HUGE hill (Jeff is in training so he can keep up with my Dad, and avoid embarrassment). It was such a big hill, there were signs saying you should get off your bike and walk down it, because it was so steep. We didn't. We earned that downhill.

Oh yea, and there were kamikaze chipmunks everywhere! They were dodging across the bike path. I swear I ran over one's tail.

paws to remember


Oreo and Misty took a "paws" on their walk to remember all the brave men and women who have honorably served our country.

Hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Sunday

Sent from my HTC on the Now Network from Sprint!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

lupine & my pretzel boy

I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to grow lupine in my garden for years. Here is my latest attempt. This plant looks nice and healthy. I sure hope to see it again next season. My husband and I honeymooned on Prince Edward Island, and lupine was growing wild everywhere. I've been trying to duplicate those purple spiked flowers ever since.

I set my backyard jumps at 12 inches and had Oreo practice a bit. I plan on doing a few minutes each day to get him prepped for our trial next weekend. Can you believe we haven't been to a trial in 6 months?

I entered us in 3 runs on Saturday(2 standard runs, 1 jumpers). Depending on how Oreo is acting, I can enter him in a few on Sunday. However, I am going to try really hard not to overdo trialing this summer. If Oreo is wiped out, we'll stay home. I'm also not going to worry about titles anymore. I am simply going to sign up for games that we like, and ignore the ones that stress us out (gamblers, fullhouse, snooker, trigility).

Last Tuesday, Oreo went in for his acupuncture/chiro tune up. He needed a little work chiropractically. The vet said that she didn't know whether to be happy or sad that he seemed to be a little off. She was happy that he was off symmetrically this time. There was no sign that he was favoring his right leg at all. She said the only part of him that was showing any sign of discomfort was his left rear foot. He could have stubbed his toe on something.

Of course, as soon as we got home, Oreo proceeded to jump 6 feet in the air and twist his body around like a pretzel.

"Because I'm awesome!"

I don't know why I bother.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

too hot, and the gold star

I skipped agility class Wednesday night, due to the hot weather. It was 90 degrees. Despite how much I wanted to go, I simply couldn't do it. I'd take 10 degree weather over 90 any day. You can always add a layer, but there are only so many you can take off before you get arrested.

I didn't give you much to go on with my photo this week did I? I was anxious to see what you'd come up with. You all came through with some great captions.

Diana was spot on with what the dogs were actually doing....hunting rabbit!

Oh, if only the dogs would chase the pesky rabbit away for good and save my plants!

However, this week's gold star goes to Priscilla!

Oreo: "Hey Misty, are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
Misty: "Uh....what are you seeing?!
Oreo: "I think there's a hole in the fence!"
Misty: "Oh..."

I love how Priscilla created a conversation between the two dogs. Very clever Priscilla! You made me laugh.

Oh how Misty wished there had been a hole in the fence a couple weeks ago. While I was at school, Jeff had been doing some air nailing in the kitchen. Misty was a nervous wreck about the noise. Jeff thought putting her in the yard might ease her tension. Well, something made Jeff go outside and check on her. Good thing he did, because Misty was halfway over the fence. Front legs hanging over the top and everything! She's never climbed the fence before, so she must have been really scared.

Now we know not to let her outside when she's nervous! Boy, that could have been a really bad scenario.

The next time Jeff did some air nailing, Misty simply hid in the closet.

Poor baby. I started her on some of Oreo's Chinese herbs. Hopefully that will help take the edge off, as Jeff finishes up the kitchen remodel, and thunderstorm/fireworks season begins.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

tricky t-day ~ gloves

No time to make a video this week. Plus, we really haven't had much trick training time either.

However, we'll stick to our help mom in the garden theme from last week.

Oreo has been doing this trick since he was a puppy. He will carry my gardening gloves just about anywhere. Even two at a time.

Now, if only I could get Oreo to give them back to me!

  • When I came home from work yesterday, I was roasting! My classroom is one of the few in the building that doesn't have AC. Lucky me.
  • Couldn't wait to get home and turn on our central air.
  • Uh oh. The compressor isn't spinning. No cool air coming out.
  • UGH!
  • Hot Sara = Cranky Sara
  • I called Jeff, and asked, "Should I call a repair person? Our AC is broken."
  • Jeff says, "It's not broken. You need to go bang on the corner of the unit, preferably the corner by the chimney."
  • Yea. OK. Where did you get your HVAC degree from? Mickey Mouse Academy?
  • I follow directions. One fist bump on the unit.
  • Voila! Fan starts spinning. Nice cold AC.
  • Now I wonder how much a repair person would have charged us for that fix?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Love my new phone

Took this with my new cell phone and uploaded it right to my blog.  Gotta love technology.

Testing my new phone

old video

I realized I never posted this video from last week's class.

Oreo did the A-frame for the first time since his injury, a week ago today. He went up and down without hesitation or any noticeable problems.

In fact, he was running great all evening. He wasn't distracted at all by the tractors working in the adjacent cornfield.

We worked on tunnel sends from a distance. I was able to get Oreo to tunnel from 15 feet away, like in a gamblers run.

Then, I decided to do one last run, so I could analyze video to see if I could notice any weird things going on with his legs. I think it was one run too many. Oreo really wasn't into it.

Oreo was pretty much over the double tunnel beginning, since we had practiced it several times in our distance work. Then, his weaves were slow and he popped out. Not sure why. I think he noticed the adorable 12 week old golden retriever puppy on the sideline (who I had been fawning over all night!), or maybe it was my lack of motion.

Anyway, here is the run. Still wish I had video from our run thrus. Those runs were far better than this. At our run thrus, I did treat him after each tunnel and set of weaves, since those were the two things he seemed to be slow on in this video.
We'll do one more class at 8 inches. Then move up to 12 to get ready for our trial.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

run thrus

After a long week at school, which involved tears, blood, and police reports, I went to some run thrus Friday afternoon to de-stress.

It was a sunny, hot afternoon. Not really my kind of weather for agility. However, I wanted to expose Oreo to something other than a class before our next trial in a couple weeks.

Oreo did fantastic on his first run. He looked so happy and ran fast. He hopped through his weave poles. I was thrilled. I was even able to do a really smooth rear cross from a jump into the weave poles. How I wish I had video of that run!

We did the run two more times throughout the evening. Oreo slowed a bit, but I think it was mostly due to the heat. He still seemed happy on the course.

Overall, it was a super time. I saw people I haven't seen in weeks, because we've been out of the trial circuit.

The night gave me a boost of confidence that our next trial will go well.

Oreo was a sleepy dog on the way home.

Friday, May 21, 2010

thanks & a gold star

Thanks to everyone for your kind advice yesterday.  I did speak with the few co-workers who were also invited to the party.  I couldn't find anyone else who was planned on attending.  However, many people in the building are concerned about Lisa and willing to help out. 

Lisa has nothing.  Just a bed, dresser and tv.  Soon, she will have many basic necessities, due to the kindness of my co-workers.  There are resources in the community, where we can obtain small appliances, and furniture at minimal costs.

I plan on buying Lisa some "wish list" items, and letting her know how much she means to me.  In light of a couple events that happened in the community and school this week, I've decided attending the party is probably not a good idea.  My gut tells me to stay home.

Onto this week's gold star winner!

Congratulations Diana!
OMG, here he comes with that ball again.
I'm going to pretend I don't see him and maybe he will go away.
Super job Diana!  Misty really appreciates your sympathetic tone.  She says, "Finally, someone understands me!!!!"

I thought you did a great job matching Misty's facial expressions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

tricky t-day ~ pull

We saw Ricky learning how to pull a door open.

I've seen a trick in a book, where a dog pulls a child's toy.

I thought to myself this week, "Wouldn't it be nice if Oreo could pull my little garden wagon around the yard for me?"

OK. We'll start small. First, we need to teach the concept of "pull".

We haven't gotten very far, but I love the idea of putting Oreo to work in the garden. Here is the short video of our minimal progress:

Monday, May 17, 2010

misty monday

Misty gets the spotlight this Monday.

I found some funny animal laws in a catalog this week.  I think I may share some in the future.

Here are two of my favorites:
People can be fined, arrested or jailed for making ugly faces at a dog in Oklahoma. (I think this is a very good law.  Especially if it is a stranger making the faces.)
It is illegal to take a French Poodle to the opera in Chicago.  (Why?  I know Oreo would LOVE the opera!)
Don't you really want to hear the story behind why these laws were put in place?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

random thoughts on pet injuries & a big thank you

Oreo continues to do really well physically, and mentally too. I've stopped holding my breath every time he jumps, runs, and twists. I have confidence that he is strong, healed, and ready to go. His spirit is hysterical. After months of restraint, I forgot how much energy, pep, and enthusiasm he has for life! What a joy.

Now that we are back into the swing of life I have some random thoughts on pet injuries/rehab:

  1. taking a break from a sport for 3 months can be a good thing
  2. 3 months goes by FAST
  3. dogs adapt to a new lifestyle relatively easily
  4. dogs go back to their old lifestyle even more easily
  5. great new people come into your life, ex. doctors, vet techs, etc.
  6. you learn lots of new, valuable information
  7. you try new things, that may change your life, like acupuncture!
  8. injuries heal
  9. worrying is a waste of time
  10. my crazy dog is likely to get hurt again in the future, now I'll be more prepared on steps to take

Overall, this has been a positive experience. A rewarding experience.


I wish Oreo had never been hurt, but I feel he is going to lead a better life as a result.

I owe some people a huge thank you. Diana and Kathy were the ones who encouraged me to bring Oreo to rehab. I am so glad you did, because I'm not sure where we would be now if we hadn't taken that step. My mom was the person who did the googling and found the rehab vet for me. She should have been a detective, rather than an accountant. Jules encouraged me to try acupuncture, which has been amazing.

Thanks to everyone who has supported and rooted for us throughout this entire process. I couldn't have done it without you all! Really! You guys are the best.

Onto the next phase! We have begun adding some speed to our training....Oreo has been running at mach speed while playing, so I figured we'd put it to use in agility.

Tomorrow.... we raise up the jumps.

Friday, May 14, 2010

digging holes

This week's wordless Wednesday photos featured Oreo digging a hole, one of his favorite past times. He likes to find tree roots to chew on, but then bores quite easily. I think he enjoys the digging more than the chewing. None of my other shelties have ever shown interest in digging.

Oh how your captions made me laugh. Every time I opened a comment, I thought, "That's my winner! No, that's my winner. No, this one. How can I choose?"

I opened up Ricky's comment while I was at work, started giggling, and couldn't stop smiling. My co-workers smiled back, but had no clue what was going on. It was like I had a secret I wouldn't share with them. How juvenile. How fun.

This week's gold star winner is KATHY!
Humm....what this yard needs is a hole
It is a lot of work, but I like to help out when I can.
THERE, now the yard looks perfect,
check it out Mom-
I got the yard just right now,
no need to thank me, it was a pleasure.
Super job Kathy!

You were the only one who made a caption for each photo. I had to give you extra credit, for that! You did more work than the rest of your classmates. Plus, I do think Oreo believes he is doing me some sort of favor when he digs holes. He always looks at me in disgust when I fill them back up. Usually, he immediately digs the hole again.

Thanks to everyone who played. I think you all are showing huge signs of improvement in your creativity. Your comments help me get through "hump day", especially at this time of the school year when I have spring fever, and all I hear from my students is, "Why do we have to do work? We only have 18 more days of school left."

You can thank me later for helping to keep your brain active as you age.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

back to our life

Oreo and I went back to school this week. There had been a DOCNA trial there this weekend. I told my teacher if the beginners jumpers course was still set up that would be a perfect place for us to start. We did it 3 times. This is our 3rd time, when we did the course in reverse. We set the bars at 4 inches, which seemed really, really low. Next week, we'll go up to 8 inches.

Oreo showed no signs of discomfort. I was the one to trip after the third jump. I'm such a dork.

Chilly, windy night, but it was so much fun running free on all that green grass.

Oreo was non stressed the whole night. However, it was just me, my teacher and one other person. Everyone else wimped out after being exhausted from the trial in extreme weather conditions. I'm so bummed we missed all the fun.

When we came home from agility class, Jeff said to Oreo, "Are you happy to be back to your life?"

Yes, we are.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

tricky t-day ~ he's back
It's official. He's back! And Oreo's thighs are 4 centimeters larger than they were 6 weeks ago. Apparently, that is a huge difference for a dog his size.

Do you think he's sneaking steroids behind my back?

The rehab vet said, "Send us an email, and let us know how he does at that June trial."


On Sunday, I filled out our entry to the DOCNA National Championships. Remember we qualified for nationals last August, with our really slow, but perfect, run in the pouring rain? The event is not until September, but they are already accepting entries. Don't want to get locked out, you never know, we may be future champions.....You can all say, "you knew us when."

Can't tell you how thrilled Oreo is to be able to play ball again. I'm keeping the ball low to the ground, but he doesn't seem to mind. It is the best feeling throwing that ball, and seeing his face light up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

mud on your nose monday

Tune in tomorrow for an exciting post! I know the dogs may not look excited, but they are!

Until mom has been asking when I was going to post photos of our ongoing kitchen remodel. Like our bathroom remodel, this has been a slow going process. I looked back on that fun filled time, and saw my first post was March 2, my last was June 23! Luckily, this remodel did not involve having to use a "commode", aka bucket in a chair, for a week (we only have one bathroom in our house). Here is where we are so far:

(including dirty, old towel, with hole caused by Oreo's tugging fetish with towels)

Ahhhh, AFTER
(now, dirty old towel is hidden on nice hook behind door! brilliant!)

All done by Jeff....only about 1/5 of the cabinets to go.....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Hope all the Moms out there have a well deserved, wonderful day. This includes all the dog moms. Although, I admit, we have it a bit easier.

Friday, May 7, 2010

bath photos...

Here are the gold star winning captions for this week!
Oreo says, "Stinks to be you!"
"Pffft, yeah right, I'm not helping you outta there!"
"And don't even think about coming close to me, there will be consequences!"

The winner is Laura! Congratulations! Great job, you made me laugh & you were pretty darn accurate in your descriptions. I really like your play on words in the first caption. Clever.

Thanks to everyone else who participated. I feel bad that I don't give everyone a gold star each week. I'm a special ed teacher after all. It's in my nature to want every one to feel successful, and you are ALL deserving.

By the way, Oreo did not get a bath that day. I figure he has had to endure numerous half baths in the treadmill. Therefore, I've made an agreement with him - no baths until after his last treatment, which is Wednesday. WhooHoo!

Did I tell you Oreo did his last treadmill walk without me in the room? The vet tech figured out Oreo would walk for her, as long as she stood on the side of the tank, not in the front where I usually sit. Oreo walked, while I went to another appointment with Misty. I was amazed! What a brave boy, and a super vet tech. I think I owe the two techs, that have been working with us, lunch when we're done.

After Oreo's waterboarding, the tech brought him to the acupuncture room. Oreo promptly jumped up on the bench, laid down, with his head hanging over the edge, his butt hanging off the side, and closed his eyes. It was as if he was saying, "OK, put those feel~good needles in. I'm ready for a nap." Oreo loves the acupuncture room. Go figure. Now, if only I could get him to love the waiting room.....

Kathy asked me to post about some of the things my vet told us to avoid agility wise when returning from an injury.

For Oreo, since it is a knee injury, she doesn't want him doing a lot of turns to jumps. We need to do jumps in a straight line for now, then gradually put in them in a wide circle. Obstacles need to be at a significant distance from each other, especially if there are turns. Although, we should avoid major twists and turns, especially into the "bad" knee. She said contacts to tunnels would be safer than contacts to jumps. She said a contact, tunnel, jump, weave, tunnel, jump would be the best scenario for Oreo.

Of course, we will be starting with low jumps, and increasing height gradually as long as there are no signs of discomfort.

Also, she gave me some warm up tips. She knows where I train/trial/league. Therefore, she gave me an idea of where I could walk Oreo to get a good enough warm up of the muscles, then stretch (wish me luck) before putting him on any obstacles.

I'm sure the rehab vet will have more tips/rules as well.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

good stuff

This is a long post, I apologize, but it covers three days worth of good stuff. I'll do my gold star award Friday....

Oreo's check up at our regular vet went well. He's perfectly healthy. Not that I thought otherwise.

My vet checked out both his hind legs, and said that they felt exactly the same. No swelling. Everything seemed really, really good. Actually, she used medical terminology (words like laxity) which I ignored, because I was so excited to have positive news! I kept asking, "So, it feels good?" Yes. Yes. Yes.

She said, "I'm hoping to see him in the CPE trial in June."

Good thing I sent in that entry form!

I asked for some suggestions for getting him back up to form agility wise. She gave me tips for what I should do, and what I definitely should avoid. I'll do my best to adhere.

She is going to be speaking at a summer agility camp about designing courses for safety. She is hoping that local judges/teachers will start taking into account the health of dogs when they design courses. For example, not turning to a jump immediately after an A-Frame, safer to send them in a tunnel, then a jump. I thought it was an interesting concept. I'll be attending the camp, and am looking forward to it!

I'll wait to start jumping Oreo until after the rehab vet checks and remeasures him. Better to have two opinions. I'm assuming Oreo's thigh muscles have grown at least an inch! He's been working so hard. Would you walk uphill in water for half an hour, with a fur coat on? (OK, hip dad probably would, and he'd smile the whole time)

I did put Oreo on the dogwalk at class on Monday. He did fine. However, it was so windy, I was a nervous wreck he would get blown off. I've heard horror stories about that happening at trials. So, I only had him do it twice. I didn't need him to pick up on my anxiety. I'm sure he was confused about why I was hovering over him like a nervous nilly while he was going across it! I decided to stick to tunnels and weaves. We'll do the dogwalk on a calm night.

I found a great buy I thought I'd share. If you feed your dogs buddy biscuits soft & chewy treats (my dogs love, love, love them), you can now get a 4 pack shipped to you monthly, every two months, etc. automatically from amazon at 15% off the amazon price. Plus, they waive the shipping, even without spending the usual $25. With tax, it ended up being $3.89 a bag. At my local store, they are a ridiculous $8.99 + tax!

They are great for training, because you can break them into teeny pieces. Pricier than Zuke's, so I save them for special training times.

The vet tech at our acupuncturist got a kick out of them when I handed her one to feed Oreo. She said, "Hey, they're shaped like people. I guess it is kind of like when people eat animal crackers. Now dogs get to eat people shaped snacks."

The acupuncturist said she wasn't so sure how she felt about that. What she was sure about was Oreo's spine. Remember how his spine was a mess 4 weeks ago? She did a chiro adjustment yesterday, and said Oreo's spine felt great, there was absolutely no sign of compensation going on for his leg. She sees no reason why he won't be able to trial in June either.


She also asked if he is now turning left more often, because he is no longer so "right sided" in his neck. I did some quick thinking, and realized it must be our ballwork paying off. I have Oreo do 30 nose to hip touches in both directions. Amazing, how this PT stuff really works.