Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A Year in Review ... Sheltie Style

The boys had a GREAT year, accomplished many new things, and had a lot of fun.

2008 accomplishments ...

- finished his CARO Rally-O Advanced title with Cum Laude
- earned one leg of his CARO Excellent title
- tracked a lot more this year than last, and can now handle a long track with 2 corners
- continued visiting his ladies at the retirement homes as a therapy dog and volunteered at many demos and booths for SJA, logging over 46 hours of therapy dog work
- got his Performance Event Number (PEN) from CKC
- earned his CKC Rally-O Novice title
- earned two legs towards his CKC Novice Obedience title

- competed his CARO Rally Novice title with Magna Cum Laude
- completed his CARO Rally Advanced title with Cum Laude
- earned two legs towards his CARO Excellent title
- earned his CKC Novice Obedience title
- earned his NAFA FD and FDX flyball titles
- earned his CKC Rally Novice title
- passed his certification test for St. John Ambulance therapy dog, logging 9 hours of therapy dog work
- began training for agility

Our goals for 2009 ...

- finish his CARO Rally-O Excellent title
- begin working on his CARO C Stream Bronze title
- finish his CKC Novice Obedience title
- begin training for CKC Open Obedience title
- begin (and finish, hopefully) his CKC Advanced Rally title
- continue on with therapy dog work

- finish his CARO Rally-O Excellent title
- begin working on his CARO C Stream Bronze title
- CGN test (if there is one offered locally this year, there weren't any last year)
- begin (and finish, hopefully) his CKC Advanced Rally-O title
- continue to train towards competition in agility (master those contacts!)
- continue to train towards CKC Open Obedience title

Thank you for sharing 2008 with us. We hope that you will join us for our adventures in 2009.
All the best in the New Year to you and
your furry family.
Health, love, success, and lots and lots of Sheltie Hair!

Monday, December 29, 2008


This time of year is quite slow for training. The different dog groups that I belong to take a break for the holidays, and most other classes and drop-ins are canceled for a couple of weeks as well.

I have to keep the boy's brains going during this time, or they will pester me to no end. As it is, the toy box is emptied and refilled a couple times a day.

I just have a small space to work them in, but small area work is beneficial as well. It would be glorious to have a great large empty room with good flooring and all the agility/rally-o equipment I could ask for ... But alas, I only have a 10'x6' opening in the living room if I push the coffee table out of the way. I try to use it to my advantage and get in some "tight space" work when I can. I have found that small crowded spaces have their advantages, though. The dogs learn to work in small spaces and around obstacles, so heeling into walls and pivoting amid physical barriers serves as great distraction practice for trials. You never know how a Rally-O course will be set up, if you will need to heel into a corner, send for a jump into a wall, or maneuver your way around a support beam.

Here is a video of our session from the other day ...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dog Sledding

A friend of mine got a kicksled from her hubby for Christmas. I headed over there with the camera this afternoon to catch some of the action. (Really, I just wanted some cuddle time with her puppers.) She also wanted another individual with opposable thumbs around to dial 9-1-1 should things end upside down in a snow bank.

Storm and Natty Gann made a show for me of bitey-face play romps.

Then I kicked the soccer ball for Meridian a couple ... dozen hundred ... times.

Storm then began to complain about the cold and seek out a den to hibernate in
until summer returned.

Storm retired to the house, and it was time to get down to business. Natty Gann was up today as she is totally fearless and appeared quite keen to check out the sled ... or maybe she was just plotting a way to weasel a walk out of us.

Wrong end of the sled there, Natty.

No, sleds don't go up stairs very well.

Now we're getting somewhere!

Atta girl!

"What do you mean we gotta turn around!? Walkies are THAT way!"

They are kinda getting the hang of this!

That kicksled looks totally cool! (Do people say "totally" anymore?) I can just picture Storm, Meridian, and Natty all harnessed up and tearing down the street. So fun!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! Some time with family and friends, good food, good drinks, and good times.

"Santa" brought me a lovely table lamp ...

So that means the boys got ...
And THAT means ...


While Romeo is playing, Gio is in a down-stay behind the camera. You can hear him "protesting" that Romeo is getting treats and he isn't. Gio is a work in progress with the Box Game. He had a short session tonight, but as he is more inclined to killing the box, we are taking it slow. I'm trying to break him of the "101 Ways to Destroy a Box" version of the game by keeping sessions short and only clicking for his calm approaches to the box. I find it helps if I ask for a "down" before introducing the box, then he tends to do his tricks from a down position and less harm comes of the box.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Romeo's First Therapy Dog Visit

Earlier in the month I had made plans with the recreational coordinator of one of Gio's therapy dog facilities to have a visit on Boxing Day. I'm sure there are residents there that maybe missed out on family celebrations, especially with the weather we have been having and all of the cancellations at airports across the country. But a couple of weeks ago, Gio began having trouble with his seizures again. Normally, and we have in the past, Gio would be able to go on a visit a day after a seizure. He recovers quite quickly and can be back in action in a day or two. But since he was put on new medication, that wasn't the deal this time around. The phenobarbital that he was prescribed is really taking a toll on him and he is having a hard time adjusting. So even though it is nearly two weeks since he started the new meds, he still isn't in top form for therapy dog visitations. He's much better now than he was a couple of days ago, but still has his bouts of dizziness and ataxia, and I didn't think it would be fair for him or the residents he would be visiting to require him to work today.

A couple of months back, Romeo passed his St. John Ambulance therapy dog test. I have spoken with the recreational coordinators of the facilites that Gio visits and they are happy to allow Romeo to visit as well. Of course, we still need to go through the formalities and Romeo has to pass his orientation visit where our regional direction accompanies us on our first visit as an SJA therapy dog team. Romeo has not yet had his orientation because of busy schedules the past couple of months. A few days ago, I wrote the recreational coordinator at the facility Gio was supposed to visit today and told her the story. I offered to either come without a dog and keep the other therapy dog team company as they visit, or I could bring Romeo and visit outside of the umbrella of St. John Ambulance. They gave the thumbs up for me to bring Romeo out of uniform, so that their residents could have some furry visitors during the holiday season.

So today was Romeo's first therapy dog visit, not officially with St. John Ambulance, but as an independent therapy dog team.

"I've got an important job to do! Gio has entrusted me with his ladies, and made me
promise to be good to them."

I took him to the facility a couple of minutes early to get him used to the place. It is pretty echo-y in there and lots of new smells, so we spent some time heeling up and down the hallways, lots of treats, and practicing his tricks and focus. He did great! Even got a little warm-up in the foyer where he was assaulted by two residents that insisted on coo-ing over his pretty markings and commenting on how smart he is.

"I did a couple of my tricks and practiced heels and stays so that I could get used to the new building. Anything for some treats!"

We visited all of our regulars and Romeo did a great job! I have to say, it is nice having a small dog to do visits with. He is able to sit on laps, get a good cuddle in and give whisker kisses. I was unsure how he would react being placed on a strangers lap, but he LOVED it. Settled right in for a good scratch.

I was glad that he had Lily the Cairn Terrier to show him the ropes. Lily is Gio's usual visiting buddy and she really took control showing Romeo what to do. They were so cute prancing down the hallway together. There was always that little urge for Romeo to break out a play-bow, but Lily is a pro and knew better. She was working and provided a great example for Romeo to follow.

Lily and Romeo

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Tis the Night Before Christmas!

This very fitting and festive poem was found on Written by Crystal Sarcopski and the Raw Food Brood.

A Most Carnivorous Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas; in the house, not a sound.
The critters were zonked out, their bellies so round.

The fridge was all cleaned out; the freezer was bare
In hopes it would fill with a bounty so rare.

The dogs on the couch and the cats in their tree;
No doubt all were dreaming of a nice RMB.

Dad in his pj's and me in my gown;
I'd just finished mopping the kitchen floor down

When out in the yard I heard such a racket;
I slipped on my shoes and grabbed a warm jacket.

The moon was quite bright, and the sky was so clear;
The stars were all twinkling--wait, was that a DEER!?

I followed the shadow out back of the shed,
And what I saw next had me scratching my head:

A great St Bernard, with a jingle bell collar!
Then from inside my house, I heard someone holler:

"Here's beef ribs and goat meat and oxtails and deer!
Chicken and rabbit and pork--have no fear!"

I ran in my kitchen, and guess who I found?
Looking like St Nick, but dressed all in brown?

Why, it's SANTA PAWS, that wonderful guy
Who each Christmas Eve comes down out of the sky

And blesses our furkids with toys and with treats,
And gives to our carnivores yummy RAW MEATS!

He stocked my fridge and freezer with organs and such,
Then he pointed to something--oh, this was too much!

"For you," he said proudly, "a chest freezer at last;
Fifteen cubic feet, and it runs on dog gas."

He lifted the lid; it was full to the brim
With hog heads and green tripe, and deer meat and trim.

My heart was near bursting; I wept tears of joy.
What blessings, what feasts, what good food! Boy oh boy!

He laughed at my happiness, and that's when I saw
The buckle of his belt was a shiny gold paw.

"Your house-wolves and wildcats deserve only the best!
Their perfect diet is here in this chest."

He gave a sharp whistle; in came the St B.
I gave him a scratch and then half a turkey.

He scarfed it right down and gave me a big kiss.
Santa Paws laughed, and then he said this:

"Each Christmas Eve I'll visit your place,
And I best not find kibble, not even a trace!

"Empty your freezer, I'll fill it up right,
Stock it with goodies, packed in nice and tight.

"I might bring some toys, a Kong or a ball,
But proper nutrition is the best gift of all!"

His dog gave a WOOF as if to agree;
I motioned to him, shh, Dad's sleeping, you see?

We went out to the yard where his sleigh was parked;
He hooked up the St B, who smiled and barked.

And Santa Paws said, as though it were law,
"Merry Christmas, and keep feeding those carnivores RAW!"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Proof That Dogs are Smarter Than We Give Them Credit For

When you are eating something tasty (you know, like scrambled eggs with ketchup and toast with Cheez Whiz) and you suddenly scream a string of profanities, and the dog's don't run away from you, fearing that they are in trouble, but rather run towards you knowing that you likely just spilled something all over your lap.

Cows and Snow

Since Gio is quite the stumbly-bum at the moment due to his new medication, there hasn't been a lot of frivolity around the house. Frivolity usually ends up in Gio running head first into furniture or spread eagle on the floor. So we are keeping it pretty low-key until his meds settle out. Romeo is a great "little brother", still a complete pest but he seems to know that Gio isn't feeling so hot so is playing really nicely with him, tolerant when Gio steps on him, and only steals his toys some of the time.

Because Romeo still needs his fun, I took him out to the park for a good run around. Gio stayed home as, with my luck, we would get to the park and he would collapse into a snow bank and I would have to carry him back home again. So I bundled up for the cold, grabbed the chuck-it and Romeo and I headed out. Romeo was all gung-ho about it, of course. But as soon as we got to the park, he was holding his feet up and complaining about the cold. JEEZ! So we walked back home and tossed the ball around in the back yard for a bit. Somehow, the snow in the back yard wasn't as cold as the snow in the park. Who knew?!

"K, I'm ready! Throw the ball!!"

"Umm ... little problem. I can't find the ball."

So I found the ball ... yes, me, the human, trudged through the snow to fetch the ball FOR MY DOG! SHEESH!
"YAY! You rescued it! Now, throw it again."

"Hey, you'll never guess what I found in that snow drift over there. A BALL!"

"What are you staring at? Do I have something on my face?"

Enough of that BS. It's FREAKING COLD out here! (Specifically, -29C, -20F, without the wind) Time to go back in and thaw out.

Gio got a bit of a play session in with the cow that Moxie and Izzie sent the boys. Much less enthusiastic than usual, but stumbly-bum playing none the less.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

M&G Secret Santa Opening Day!

Today is the gift opening day for a doggy gift exchange that I signed up for with a bunch of friends. Our randomized Secret Santas were Izzie, Moxie and Kristen of The Corgi Lounge!! They are amazing and send some really fantastic presents for me and the boys.

First, Gio tried to open the box.

Then Romeo tried.

I had to help them out. At the rate they were going, everything was going to be shredded instead of merely opened.
Gio still isn't feeling so hot because of his new seizure meds, so he wasn't too keen on tearing the packages open. Romeo gladly took that job and tore into the first one.

"Hey ma! I think there is something in here!"

"There IS something in here, and I think it's for ME!"


"Let's open this one now."

"Damn. Opposable thumbs sure would help with these knots."


I offered each gift to Gio to see if he was interested in tearing it open. Nothing really grabbed his attention through his drugged up haze. Until the last one ...

"Ooh, this smells 'nom'-able."

"Further inspection yields positive information ... definitely 'nom'-able."

The wonderful scent of dried venison treats allowed Gio to shake away the drug haze long enough to realize that there is a tennis ball on the end of that tug from earlier! Gio's universe revolves around tennis balls!

"A ball?! A tug!? A BALL I CAN TUG ON!! My life is complete."

Also included was a little gift for me. A little bottle of some fabulous body scent from Arcana Soaps called "Soft Hearted". The description I found online is:
Limited Edition Hand-blended Soft Hearted Perfume Oil by Arcana. All tenderness and compassion. This gentle union of pink grapefruit, sweet lavender, green lotus and softest musk is touched off with an arterial spark of black pepper.
Also included was a BPAL imp of "Cockaigne", described as:
Milk and honey, sweet cakes and wine.
And a marvelous spritzer bottle of something that smells just heavenly. It isn't labeled, but it smells fabulous!

The boys and I say a HUGE "Thank You" to Moxie, Izzie, and Kristen, for the monster ball tug, moo-ing plush cow, dried vension dog treats, and fabulous body scents for the human. Oh, and the cute doggie hair-bows that were used to wrap the presents.

(PS. Prior to writing this I put a dab of the Arcana "Soft Hearted" oil on one wrist and a spritz of the mystery scent on the other. They both smelled quite different in the bottle, but now that they have calmed down and settle on my skin, I believe they may both be the same scent. I think the mystery spritzer is the "Soft Hearted" scent diluted down to make a body mist. AWESOME!!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

HCKOC Christmas Party

Today was the annual Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club Christmas party. Dogs, of course, are invited! (If any HCKOC members would like copies of these pictures, let me know which ones you want and I will forward them to you.)

Gisele (with Katie, Miniature Poodle), Verna (with Elmo, Norrbottenspets), and Jan (with Saluki pups).

Jae, Jeannette (with Gem and Spice, Cairn Terriers).

Elmo, Norrbottenspets.

Liz (with Lily, Cairn Terier), Jae, Jan (with Saluki pups), Dante and Verna (with Elmo, Norrbottenspets).

Gisele with Gina and Katie (Miniature Poodles).

Jeannette (with Gem, Cairn Terrier), Julie (with Zorro, Belgian Shepherd), Liz (with Lily, Cairn Terrier), Jae (with Spice, Cairn Terrier), Jan (with Saluki pup), Jill (with Tetley, English Cocker Spaniel), Dante (with Elmo, Norrbottenspets), Verna (holding Gio and Romeo for me), and Gisele (with Gina and Katie, Miniature Poodles).

Zorro (Belgian Shepherd), Gio (Sheltie), Lily, Spice, and Gem (Cairn Terriers), Romeo (Sheltie).

Jeannette with a bunch of pooches.

Jan's Saluki pups.
Elmo (Norrbottenspets) and Zorro (Belgian Shepherd) playing.
Poor puppers, left out while all the humans enjoyed the wonderful food.

Bobbing for Weiners!!

Tetley (English Cocker Spaniel), darn ears get in the way!

Elmo, Norrbottenspets.
Gina, Miniature Poodle.

Zorro, Belgian Shepherd.

Romeo LOVES this game.
Gem (Cairn Terrier) with a very wet face, and Gina (Miniature Poodle) making sure Gem didn't miss any weiners.

Romeo and Lily (Cairn Terrier) waiting for more weiners to be delivered to the bucket.

We also had a gift swap/exchange. I fought for a Weasel Ball for the boys, and despite having to steal from a young boy, I won! (Sorry Dante.) Romeo appreciated my efforts.