Friday, November 16, 2012

This week

Well, I'm not doing to great with this word count, am I?  Of course, if you wanted to count my email and Facebook contributions for the month, I'm sure I'm well past my goal.  Because I'm a social media-aholic.  Blogger... not so much.

*What the h*ll is she talking about?*

In somewhat related, but not entirely related news, I'm tired as h*ll.  I'm quite happy the work week is over... who knew four days could feel that long?  While I love my job, it has been a long month or so.  Painful.

I suffer from the affliction of still being pretty new to my job (just over three months), and there's a steep learning curve.  I'm rarely thrown a problem that I just "know" how to handle, and more often than not, I have to teach myself a new function/syntax/language before I'm able to implement a solution or build anything.  This is okay in a lot of respects, but many of the clients are in their busy season, and I just feel out of my league.  Long days.

So I haven't done much with the dogs recently.  I took both Epic and Legend out to rally practice on Sunday, where they both did well.  We skipped flyball class because Legend had a gimpy leg for a while, and our Monday rally class had the night off due to the long weekend... so we've been pretty lazy.  I did work some basic rally stuff at home with the boys this week, but that's all.

Legend also finds himself with an affliction these days... it's called "being a 7 month old puppy".  He's terribly misunderstood.  He didn't pull the trim off the hallway floor... he was just helping me put my flooring tools away.  He didn't eat my work gloves, he was just saving me from washing them.  He didn't un-stuff all those stuffies... he was just looking to silence the squeakers so they didn't disturb us. He's a very helpful puppy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Digital Writing Month

I have been reminded that it is digital writing month, so I thought I better get on here and update the blog again.  If you are unaware of DigiWriMo, check it out here.  The goal is to produce 50,000 words in the month of November, through digital media.  An interesting challenge, considering this is a medium that values clarity and brevity.

Consider this the start of my personal DigiWriMo challenge, and I'm 71 words in (courtesy of  this nifty word count tool).

As an update on the dogs, Legend is now approximately 6 (pushing 7) months old.  He's 22 inches tall at the withers, and I've absolutely lost track of his weight.  He weighs a lot though.  I know this, because it feels like I'm always man-handling the giant moose dog to 'get him off' this, or 'out of' there.  The once sleepy puppy has woken up and taken on an adolescent role.  Heaven help us.  This week alone, I've lost numerous socks, toys, a bed skirt, and a container of cottage cheese.  While I was standing at the microwave today, the puppy was standing beside me chewing on a chair leg.

To make him even more charming, he puked in the bed a few nights ago.  In his sleep.  Right beside my head.

In less disgusting news, he's also doing very well at rally, and is learning his beginner flyball drills.  Last I checked, he could go down over four jumps and back, at speed, without me having to support him.


Epic has been feeling a little under the weather lately, and seems to suffer from an empty stomach problem in the mornings.  To try and curb this I've been giving him a very substantial bed time snack and probiotics, but we haven't quite resolved the issue yet.  As of right now, he's fighting a bit of a virus and isn't very happy about eating at all.  Poor little fella.

Dixie is still very Dixie-ish.  She came in lame not that long ago, so we've been 'keeping her quiet', which is laughable.  Because it's impossible.

And finally, Bailey.  Bailey just turned 9 years old, and ran in a flyball tournament this last weekend.  He was, of course, as solid as ever, but we did learn that he'll only run for cheese.  Literally.  We tried hot dogs for treats, and apparently hot dogs cause him to leisurely stroll to the start line.

So that's the quick update.  I would hope that throughout this month I should be able to retell some more interesting, creative stories on this blog.  The dogs give me plenty of material; I just need to do something with it.

508 words

Monday, September 10, 2012

It happened

Six years.

I've been playing flyball with Benny for six years now.  Always as a start dog.  We've had some ups and downs in his career.  His ball drive sometimes tells him to do bad things, and up until last year, he was known to sometimes head off down the wrong lane on the green light.

In those six years, we've had some good starts... I remember a .001, and a .003.  I also remember some bad ones. The odd .400 and beyond ( O.o ).

Yesterday was day two of a local tournament.  Ben will be 11 years old next month, and we were running on a Veterans team.  Even as an overweight vet, Ben held sub-5 second times all weekend, and I couldn't have been happier with how he was racing.

And then, on our last race of the day, it happened.  What I thought was going to be our first false start of the weekend ended up being a .000.  After six years, at 11 years old, we got a perfect start.

We've had a lot of fun moments together on the lane, Ben and I.  But this.one.was.great.

The only thing I have that's close to photographic evidence of the start is this small video capture.  You can't see the zeros, but you CAN see numbers on the OTHER timing board, which is NOT ours :)  Ours is a blob of zeros.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Two weeks in

Legend is still around 18 inches, and 30 lbs.

Our favourite dog park is open again!!!  We gathered our friends and went for a romp this morning.



Also of note? It's Dixie's 4th birthday!  Time flies when you have a Dixie.


And for an Epic update:  The chiropractic appointment seemed like a success, and we're scheduled to go back in two weeks.  Epic's pelvis is out, and both hips are inflamed.  So he was adjusted, and is on anti-inflamatories for the hips.  Poor bean.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Walking, walking, walking

We've had a problem recently.  There is a new housing development going up around our normal dog park, and this had made it largely inaccessible to us.  We love that park.  It isn't well kept, but it's natural and has plenty of room, bush, and water to play in.  It's a LOT quieter than the other parks, as it is on the very edge of the city and isn't well fenced.

The other dog parks in the city tend to be overcrowded, and just aren't preferable for Epic and Dixie.  We've been taking Bailey and Legend this last week, because they can handle the crowds.

Side note: Today a pair of rammy dogs were hounding the puppy, and eventually sent him running in fear, and rolled him.  I was there to help him out (along with another dog we were walking with), while the other owners half-heartedly tried to call their dogs off from a distance.  SIGH.

As Legend has been getting quite a bit of special time lately, I took Epic for a leash walk this afternoon. I can probably count on one hand how many decent leash walks he gets in a month, as he is kept busy with other pursuits.  When I do take him out, it's usually just to the little park beside our house, where we kick around for 20 minutes.

So today I grabbed a long line and we made the 5 block journey to the *big* park.  This park covers a large piece of land, from 33rd St. up to the railway tracks along Circle.  It is under-utilized, because it's often too wet to mow properly.

Epic and I don't care.  We spent almost an hour exploring.  He chased ducks out of the slough and looked for mice in the tall grass.  He ran snapping after dragonflies, and zooming down rabbit paths.  Then we happened to wander to the other side of a stand of trees, and we found ourselves in-between the chain-link fence protecting the tracks, and the berm designed to block the train noise for local residents.


This little slice of park was empty, untouched, and extended for miles.


And for a little while, it was ours, and ours alone.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

3 days later

The puppy is 18 inches, and 28lbs.

He does a lot of zooming in the yard with the other dogs, and a lot of laying around the house.  This is, in part, because none of the other boys will actually let him *do* anything in the house.  Dixie has taken a strange liking to the beast, but no one is particularly willing to let him into their space.

He did, however, manage to worm his way into my bed instead of his crate last night.  We stayed there for 9 hours, with the massive puppy curled up at my back, and Epic against my chest.

There are no guarantees that tonight's sleep will be as easy.  Epic seems to be having some kind of back or hind-end pain that is causing him to limp occasionally, and be EXTREMELY cranky.  It forced my hand a little, and I gave him some metacam in hopes of making his night easier.  We'll try to get him to the chiropractor in the next few days.


In regard to training, Legend came to us with a decent recall, and knowing "sit".  I hadn't done a lot of training with him in the first few days, because I thought I'd let him settle in a bit.  Judging from his mischievous streak, he's settled now.  After a few 5 minutes repetitions we seem to have "down" figured out, although it of course needs some work.  We also have the makings of what could be a pretty spiffy heel!

I really hate this initial training period.  I'm lucky that Legend came from a great foster home, so his learning base is really good.  I just find myself wanting to rush through the "down" and "stay" stuff, to get to the fun tricks.  And of course, there is merit in teaching the fun tricks side by side with the boring obedience stuff, but the fun doesn't really start without the basics to build on.

I've also noticed a huge difference between the way I train Epic, and the way I need to train Legend.  Epic has always been exceptionally quick to learn, and our training sessions are rapid.  He has a great work ethic, but I need to stay calm and quiet when working with him, to keep him engaged and thinking.

Nothing about Legend is quick, although he is intelligent.  I feel like I spend a lot of time waiting for Legend.  This is fine.  He's IS getting it, and he can't really move that fast anyway, as his long noodle legs tend to betray him.  The challenge isn't the dog, but rather that it's a new set of skills for me to learn, and I have to flip the switch depending on which dog I'm working with.

The size difference between the dogs will also prove to be interesting, from a training standpoint.  I'm used to working with my compact little dog.  Legend needs a lot more room to manoeuvre.


And that's where we're at right now!  Puppy is growing, but slowing.  Epic is sore and cranky.  Dixie is in love.  Bailey is a Bailey.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So I did something

Epic and I went to a rally trial the weekend before last.  Fantastic!  I saw his very best during the advanced rounds (although no Q), and we took home high in class in Novice Team with our good pal Spencer.  We had a PB score of 198/200, and I couldn't be prouder of those boys.

There was another special little boy at the trial.  I had visited with him before at drop-in classes.  He was a little staffy cross being fostered by a local trainer, and his name was Chaos.  The weekend of the trial, Chaos was going out to an adoption event.  And I got nervous.  I got waaaaay more nervous than I had any right getting, because I had no desires to get another dog.  So I tried to push him to the back of my mind.

He came home from the event on Saturday evening and he had a family interested in him.

I panicked.


His name is Legend now.  He's ~ 4 months old, and 17 inches tall (!!!).  He's currently at about 25lbs, and growing like a terrible, invasive weed.

He came home last Friday.  The first night was pretty normal around the household, because puppy was very tired from a long day of daycare, and very stressed.  By Saturday the rest of the four-leggers realized the puppy wasn't going anywhere, and they started teaching his *very important* puppy lessons.  These include subjects such as: 

"That's my toy, not your toy"
"You're not allowed to touch that"
"That's where *I* lay"
"You're not allowed to touch that"
"Don't jump on me"
"You're not allowed to touch me"
"You're not allowed to touch that"


Poor hard-done by puppy.  Dixie and Ep WILL run with him in the yard, but the house is still a bit unsettled.


So, while Epic is my heart dog, I've opened myself up and let a Legend in too.  He's sweet and snuggly, and he makes us smile.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tech

I spent the latter part of the week at a conference on mobile technologies and social media. I expected to spend a lot of time pondering issues of development, deployment, and software in general.  Instead, I find myself questioning social practices, issues of power, and personal life goals.


An interesting world; so connected, and yet, such disconnect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's me again


It has been a busy few months, yet I can't think of anything newsworthy.

I graduated :)  So I'm not a student any more.... I'm just unemployed.

Epic and I had a great time at the Rally trial, although we didn't Q anything that we needed.  Or anything, for that matter.  This is fine though, we just needed travelling/trial experience, and we got that in spades! (Also, I'm out of school now and my brain is mush, so it took me about 6 tries to spell "experience" right).  Also, my car made it there and back and continues to cart us around to the important places (ie. Tims, and dog classes).

I was also able to spend that trial weekend hanging out with two great friends and their dogs, who did MARVELLOUS: ending up with a number of Q's and a big award.  These friends will both be moving away in the near future, and I'm extremely grateful that we were able to share this time together.

And that's what I know about that.

Tucker update:


^ This big guy.  His kidney's are holding out okay, but the old man has squamous cell carcinoma.  This manifested on his tonsils, which were removed.  He's on daily pain meds now, to keep him trucking on, and to suppress the cancer growth.  While long term pain medication isn't great, we're shooting for quality over quantity, and he's having good days.  I'm judging the "goodness" of the days by his willingness to eat, and the amount of time he spends bounding around the yard barking at top volume.

Beyond that, the kids are generally healthy and fine!  Ep is on a little summer vacation from Rally, but should be back in class soon.  Bailey spends his days in the Bailey spot on the couch, and Dixie is obnoxious.

(Insert promise to update more here)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

So, so bad at updating

I last posted on Thursday? Well.  That was a while ago.

In the past 5 days:

  • Tucker has been back to the vet to get pain medication.
  • Epic and I had our Advanced Rally class, during which he did not rock, but did not suck. Tepid.
  • Epic and I went to Rally drop-in.  This was better.
  • Dixie barked a lot.
  • Bailey slept a lot.
  • And the mark that Epic has made on my heart finally had a physical manifestation:
Epic was kind enough to paint paw prints for me one day.
In the next 5 days:
  • I'm hoping we figure out why Epic feels the need to beat on Tucker so today.  This generally signifies some weakness on Tucker's part.
  • Epic and I go travelling!
Epic and I are off to a Rally trial this weekend.  I lack the courage to do an Advanced run, so we're going to get ring experience by competing in a couple FEO Novice runs.  We've only ever competed at the same building, so this will be an interesting experience.

More importantly, we get to spend the weekend hanging out with our dear friends, and are competing in a couple 'live' Novice Team runs in hope of getting the last leg towards of Novice Team title.  This should be interesting.  While *I* get along with our dear friends quite well, Epic often has other ideas. O.o

Also of interest, we're taking my car.

It'll be a loooooong walk back home when THAT doesn't work out.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And this is my life

video

The good news is that Tucker is actually engaging with them after having a couple bad days.  Normally he would leave the deck though :(

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Well, wouldn't you know it.

Here I was thinking Advanced Rally was going to be a heck of a battle for us, and the little dog all of a sudden pulls out his rock star moves.

Our first run at practice today was rough around the edges, but he did stick 'near' me.  Our second run was fantastic, with the young man sticking to me like glue, pulling off all his moves, AND only taking the jump when it was requested.  This success came with 6 people milling around the course acting as distractions, and another dog following us.  Epic didn't even cast an eye to the other dog, although they are his kryptonite.

I was floored, but certainly took the opportunity to praise the snot out of the little beast.

*I can be a good dog! I can be a good dog like you wanted!*

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday


We finally got Tucker's test results back late last week.  It looks like his parathyroid is fine, so that suggests that there are minuscule tumours hidden somewhere in the big guy.  There is nothing to be done for that, so we'll keep on managing the kidneys and any symptoms that crop up.

The last week has been ridiculously average.  Dogs get up, eat, get crated, get un-crated, eat, and run around like wild animals in-between.

We had our second Advanced rally class last weekend.  Epic and I have previously been in the Excellent classes, but weren't able to work on offleash skills there.  The Advanced class is better tailored to us (and it is to my advantage that I already know all the signs).  As soon as I slipped off the collar the terrierist went nuts and began a crazy "run to the back door, run to the food bowl" loop.  I was allowed to put my leash back on then ... The next round was considerably better, and there are some glimpses of hope.  He amazes me regularly.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The only family portrait we'll ever get

I really hate the quality of blogger photos.  Click for a better view.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reflection


Best I can do with a laptop touchpad


Lets consider this dog.  He's coming up on 3 years old (April).  He *knows* two sports, and plays one quite well.  He's quiet and clean in his crate, sleeps the night without problem, and is quite willing to sleep in with me. He has 30+ tricks that can be strung together.  He plays nicely with most dogs, behaves in the dog park, loves people, and is a car-ride champ.

He resource guards.  I mostly have this taken care of, but there are some situations that I simply "manage" as opposed to "train".  They are beyond me at this time, and I'd rather he not practice the behaviour while I figure out how to deal with it.  His favourite resources are the good foods, and me, and he will defend against dog and person alike. 

The problem: how did THIS become the Epic that people know (and the one that *I* even talk about), as opposed to the guy I described in the first paragraph? 

We do the same with Dixie.  It's not fair, and I'll try to knock it off now.  You're welcome.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's this or homework.

I choose this.  And by this, I mean anything but homework.

Unfortunately, we're not going to get any results back from Tucker's blood work until Friday. This disappoints me, as it has been two weeks already.  He's not getting any younger, nor is he getting any better.

Dull day.  I haven't participated in any of their reindeer games. I fed them (4 dogs, 4 different dog foods, 3 supplements, and 1 dog that gives me grief about eating), let them out of their crates, cut nails, and that was about the extent of it.

Left to Right: Tucker, Bailey, Dixie, and Epic. Accidentally put a bowl in the wrong spot and I'm hooped.


 *Tash. You HAVE to hurry. I'm fading*

Beyond that, Epic barked a lot, ate a toy, stole a sweater, and played some ball with Judy while I pretended to do homework. Dixie barked a lot, watched Epic eat a toy and steal a sweater, and chased Epic who was chasing a ball and playing with Judy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Blog reborn

I think I might use this blog wrong.  I originally wrote long stories about Epic's time with me. I followed with the comics (which I will always continue), but mostly I just don't post.  This is probably a mistake, as this little family continues to age and I'd like to have the memories to look back on someday.

So I'll post more, but it might be pretty dull if you are not us.

The current situation:

Epic - Epic is almost 3 years old now.  We quit flyball.  We started rally obedience.  We yell at each other every day, but snuggle in bed every night.

Ben - Ben still lives with my parents.  He's 10 now, and can't seem to play flyball without limping.  I'll still bring him out for the odd Vets run, but my big guy grows older.

Tucker - Tucker is currently in a health scare, at 11 years old.  A couple weeks ago he suffered acute renal failure and has had to spend a LOT of time at the vets since.  Sadly, he is also in chronic renal failure and that appears to be compacted by some other issue (cancer?).  We are still waiting on those test results.  We're sad for him, but happy for the days we have together.

Bailey - Bailey is 8 years old and a lazy bum who spends 23/24 hours on the couch.

Dixie - Dixie is 4 years old now.  Once upon a time I posted that she was not going to be this houses' next forever dog, and we were just fostering.  That was a blatant lie.  Two years later, she's here to stay and still a pain in the ass.

And that's us playing catch up.

I haven't been feeling well, but yesterday I took Bailey and Tucker out for a walk.  They enjoyed being the centre of attention, and got plenty of pets from admiring fans.  They also reconnected as brothers, which was nice to see.

Epic was next ... walking him is a much different experience.  He yelled at the paper boy.  I shushed him.  He yelled at a poodle.  I shushed him.  I spent a considerable amount of time trying to coax him out of some low shrubbery he was kicking and tearing at.  Who does that!?

Today is pretty darn nice for a February in Saskatoon, so Mr.I-Don't-Want-To-Be-In-I-Want-To-Be-Out was allowed some creature comforts outside.

*Yes, yes.  This will do*