Saturday, August 29, 2009

Training, Tracking, and Bees

Zodiac's progress in utility seems to be stalling out. Lately articles seem like a total disaster-he looks and looks and then brings back multiple wrong articles and sometimes doesn't even show an interest in going to the pile. So today after he seemed totally stressed out over it we went inside where it was nice and cool and quiet and I got the socks back out and we had some fun doing sock articles. He nailed it every time. Maybe he just needs a fun confidence builder. I think I will stick with socks for a week or so. He's started doing very crooked go outs-like to the corners of the "ring." I don't know if he's looking for gloves or just doesn't want to go straight anymore. But I can fix that. What I'm worried about is his jumping. He really has to make an effort to get over the jump and sometimes he heads towards it like he's going to and then changes his mind because it's too much trouble. I think his mysterious orthopedic problem is getting worse. I may try him on Rimadyl. I have also noticed (or imagined) that he seems to have a shorter stride in the rear end when running. I may also re-radiograph him and take him to acupuncture. I'd hate to come this far and give it all up just because he can't get over 2 jumps. But that's life I guess. We'll see-we have a lot of options still. Signals were pretty good-he didn't seem very in tune with me today. He seemed very stressed from the start-panting and drooling a lot even thought it wasn't that hot. Not sure what that's about but he gets that way sometimes, then he will go for weeks and work happily. Dogs are so weird. Gloves are hit and miss. Sometimes he's great. Sometimes he gets fixated on glove number 2.

Legend is doing well. She had a great agility practice today. We are also working on more Control Unleashed stuff. There are lots of good ideas in that book. I'm also hoping she finishes her CD this fall. I'd love to start doing more CDX stuff with her-she loves to retrieve. I know I could do that stuff now I have so much to work on with both dogs I really want to focus on the titles we are trying to finish first!

Zodiac seems to really like tracking. We have been about 4 times and he's picking it up nicely. Last night he even did a turn! It's pretty cool to watch him work. I'm excited to see him progress.

We are getting a handle on the bee problem. Apparently an exterminator will not come look for a hive/nest. You have to actually know where it is or else they just fog your barn. Not helpful. But Leslie's dad keeps honey bees so she had him go out to our house with his bee suit and look for the nest-he found it and killed a lot of the bees. We have only seen a few since then and have killed them as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Name Game

The Portuguese Waterblog inspired us to play the name game. It's easy, for those of you that want to play you just explain how you came up with your dog's name and also share any of their nicknames.

Oreo was my first puppy of my own and I spent a lot of time picking out a name. The perfect idea came to me while I was sitting in World History class. I would call him Oreo-it was perfect, he had a lot of black on his head and his body and a white strip in the middle around his neck-just like an Oreo cookie. Later on I found out a lot of people name their black and white pets Oreo, but at the time I thought it was unique. I'm also very disappointed when people use the name Oreo and their pet is not even black and white-what a waste! Oreo did not have any actual nicknames, but I often called him buddy. However I call a lot of animals buddy so it wasn't unique to him.

Since there were so many Oreos in the world I wanted to pick something really unique for the next dog. One day I came across the word Zodiac while I was reading and thought it would be cool dog name. So Zodiac was picked before we even got him. As it happened his original name was Zack so it seemed like a perfect transition. His nicknames are Z and Baby Z.

Legend was also a name I had picked in advance because I thought it would be a great performance dog name. I had actually picked it for a male but that's not what came along and it seemed to fit her too. The boys were registered with the AKC (for ILP numbers, none of my dogs have papers) with their call names but for Legend I finally decided to come up with something else for the registration and so she is officially known as "Living In Fast Forward" which is cute for a border collie and also a Kenny Chesney song title. Her nicknames are Ledge, Ledgie, and Baby Girl.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Unusual Part 3

More tales from the veterinary world...

1. Phone call stating that their neighbor's puppy died of parvo and they wanted to know if they should get their daughter vaccinated.

2. An appointment with a one year old sick cat where the owners asked if he had reached his natural life span since his mother was a feral cat.

3. Appointment for checking a bump on the skin which turned out to be the rectum

4. Someone asked if their pet was too old to get fleas

5. A potential client called to ask how pregnant his bulldog had to be to hear the puppy heartbeats. Seems he had been using human home pregnancy tests (in what I can only assume is an unusual puppy mill situation) with reliable results for years but this dog had tested negative and he wanted to double check. I don't even have anything to say about this but just FYI listening for heartbeats is not a usual way we check for pregnancy in dogs.

6. A client informed us that if ants get into hummingbird food (which is essentially sugar water) they will turn it to acid. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've never been afraid of bees. I figured if I left them alone, they would not bother me. Until now. We've had bees living in our barn this summer-they lurk around the door where I throw out the day to the horses. They never seemed bothered that I worked around them and we all just lived happily together until I accidentally threw some hay on one. This apparently made it really mad because it stung me in the ankle when I went over to get my hay. I guess this wasn't good enough because when I jumped and got him off my foot he stung me under one arm and when I swatted him off he went to sting me under the other arm. By this time I'm totally freaking out because I don't know how to get him off me without getting stung again. I finally got away (with about 5 stings) and all was good, except for all the pain-bumble bee stings really hurt!

Jerry went out eventually and sprayed the bees he saw but apparently there were more because a few days later I was out feeding and there was a bee crawling around. I didn't bother him, all I did was open the door and he came flying at me-essentially unprovoked! I ran off but still managed to get stung once in the arm. So all of Sunday, in between setting fence posts Jerry was in the barn spraying bees. We got about a dozen killed total but there are still more so now every time I go to the barn I'm like sneaking in and looking for bees so I can hurry up, get my hay, and leave. If the bees are close to the door I just take my hay out the other way and throw it over the fence.

I'm not sure if this new fear of bees in unreasonable or not but lately I've pretty much been freaking out if I think a bee might be near by! I've been bit/stung by other stuff before but none hurt as much as these dudes!

And here is Barney-just for fun. I don't think he is afraid of bees.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My neglected blog

I know it's only been since Tuesday but it still seems like I've been away a long time (especially when I'm getting complaints about the lack of posts!) I haven't been sick or gone, just busy I guess.

Wednesday night we had agility class and Thursday I came home and fell asleep and then went out and worked the dogs. Zodiac has started tracking-and for only trying it for two days he seems to be catching on well. Interestingly enough when I then took him into the back yard to work on Utility he seemed totally unable to do scent articles. The rest of the practice seemed decent. I'll spare you all the rest of the details!

Lat night we went to Branson as it was an area appreciation night for one of the shows and we got cheap tickets. It's not one I would have chosen to pay full price for but it's hard to complain about $10. Today I worked and then we set about starting to replace the 5 rotted off fence posts in our pasture. After digging one hole, breaking the shovel and only getting one post set in 2 hours we decided to try and rent an auger tomorrow.
Eli went off to his foster home today and Foxy is doing well after her injections. She's still a little sore but doing better. We are also seeking suggestions for new names for her. I think half the Poms in the world are named Foxy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Foxy Does

And that's about it!
I on the other hand have been a little busier today. I played with the dogs in the morning while it was cool, then worked on some stuff around the house. This afternoon I trimmed the bushes-we have quite a few. We have electric hedge trimmers but I had never used them (usually Jerry trims the bushes). Today I used them and found that although they are significantly better than hand trimmers it's still hard work-my arms still feel like jelly!
Later Cindy and friends are coming over to show us how to get started in Tracking. If Zodiac can get at TD he will be eligible for the AKC VCD2 award in versatility.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Full House

This goofy kid is Eli. He's staying with us this week until he goes to his foster home next weekend. He and his sister Alli are both available through MOKAN. You can see more pictures of them on the website. He's a loud and solid puppy. He loves to play long and hard and he will let you know when naptime is over! He's been trying to get everyone to play with him. You can see he harassed Legend during her ball playing time today. She tolerated this.

He loves Foxy since they are closer to the same size but Foxy is not impressed and stayed on the deck.
Even Barney stayed on the other side of the fence. Poor Eli.
He did manage to have a good time though. Since they swam in the lake yesterday I decided to just fill up the pool for them tonight and let them get messy. Eli was not happy about being put in the pool but he did think it made a great water bowl.
Before play time the dogs worked. Zodiac did not have an impressive utility practice, but not awful. Legend is still working on when to choose the "close" vs "far" obstacle and I'm starting to hang back and make her do all the weave poles ahead of me instead of baby sitting to the end. It slows her down some but I'm sure once she realizes she's responsible for all of them without help she will speed back up. We have also been working on some exercises from control unleashed.
Icy is very upset over the extra dogs, and surprisingly it seems to be mostly Foxy. I guess she's used to us having a puppy kenneled in the kitchen-we've had so many in the last year (well, not that many, but enough that she knows they are not running loose and bothering her). I do find it odd that she's so traumatized however because it's not like Foxy does anything. And when I say she doesn't do anything, I don't just mean she doesn't do anything to bother the cat, I mean she doesn't do anything at all. She does not bark, run, chase, or play. She doesn't even move much-mostly she just lays around. It's odd for us to have a dog in the house that doesn't constantly want to be doing something, but nice. I do have to keep removing her from the couch though-she doesn't understand why she can't be there. Anyway, I made Icy go and eat something tonight since she has barely left the bedroom since Foxy got here. I'm sure she'll adjust in a few more days. Plus Foxy will start her treatment soon and will have to stay confined a lot more. I did feel guilty though and made Icy a new fluffy bed today. She liked the one I made for Oreo but since no one (well, no dogs) was using it in the bedroom I moved it to the computer room to make more floor space in the bedroom. Now she has a nice little cat sized bed in the bedroom.
Maybe I need to get out more? Actually Jerry is away at his last football game and I'm not used to spending Sunday alone. Guess I should have gone with Leslie after all, but then I would not have had this fascinating post for you all to read!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dock Dog?

We were planning on working on our fence today but when Cheri called to see if we wanted to join them at the lake and see if Legend would jump off the dock those plans went down the tubes! We loaded up the dogs and headed out to the lake. Legend loved playing frisbee and fetching it out of the water but was not brave enough to actually jump off the dock. She looked like she was getting pretty close though. Maybe after more swimming and getting used to the water she will actually jump in.

That is one wet puppy!

Zodiac says "you want me to do what?" I knew he wouldn't swim but he did have a good time running the shoreline and getting in to lay down when he got hot.
Renny and Legend invent a new game-water tugging!

Renny loves to jump off the dock so Legend would let Renny jump off, get the frisbee, and swim it most of the way to shore. Meanwhile Legend ran down the dock, along the shore and grabbed it out of her mouth as she came out of the water. Not exactly what we had in mind but everyone seemed to have fun.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Meet Foxy

Foxy has heartworms. Foxy's family was going to opt to put her to sleep rather than treat her. Needless to say we did not think this was cool. So now I'm fostering her and treating her and then sending her to a good home. So if you know a good home or are a good home and you are interested let me know. She's spayed, current on vaccines, almost three years old and very sweet. Zodiac thinks she's great.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A living memorial

The girls at work gave me this lovely purple smoke tree to plant in memory of Oreo-they all know how much I love purple and tried to find a plant in that color. I thought it was really sweet and a perfect tree for the yard. We had a wooden wishing well in the front near the driveway that had seen better days and this was the perfect thing to take it's place.
Zodiac and Legend got bathed and groomed today (by me, don't think it was any fancy spa day or anything!). They look, smell, and feel so much better. I did empty the pool for the night though as I did not want them swimming just yet-I'd like to have them clean for a day or two anyway.
They also worked well tonight. Zodiac did a perfect directed jumping exercise and pretty good on articles. Struggled some with signals and gloves. Legend is working on taking the close obstacle unless given an obvious signal/command to move away and take the layered obstacle. Also working on contacts and appropriate times for speed and control.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


My blog book came today! I feel like a real author-it's so official looking. I looked throught it a little and it seems to have turned out well. I sort of wish I had ordered a larger size but I guess I had to make that decision when I started because i didn't see the option to choose a different size later on. Plus that would have cost more. So is it weird that I can't wait to sit down and read it all?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Look what came today

The new doggie pool! I decided to upgrade from the cheap wal-mart pools this year and ordered this out of a catalog but it has been on back order. It has a drain so you don't have to risk putting a crack in it every time you dump the nasty water. Plus it folds for storage so it won't get ruined staying out in the yard all winter. The dogs were going to get a bath this afternoon since they are kind of yucky from hiking, but we had to wait a bit so we could try out the new pool. Legend of course thought it was great And Zodiac enjoyed taking a cool dip.

Sunday we went to the fair. It was hot but we did get to see some fun stuff. Mutton busting was definitely worth watching. If you are not familiar with this sport it's where they plop a small child on a sheep and turn the sheep loose in a pen where it runs and bucks until said child falls off in the dirt. Pretty funny and the kids look like they are having a good time. We also got to see some Dock Diving. The more I watch Legend play in the water the more I think she might like to try this so are looking forward to giving it a shot next time we get a chance.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This weekend we planned to go to the state forest (it's about 15 minutes from our house) late Saturday afternoon, do some hiking, BBQ, spend the night and head home in the morning. Most of that went down according to plan.

We arrived and set up our tent and all our stuff and then headed off with the dogs for a 4 mile hike. Legend thought this was great, especially getting to play in all the creeks we crossed-she loved sprinting around and flopping and playing in the water. Zodiac was slightly less impressed but did seem to have a good time and cooled off by laying down in all the creeks. Legend actually seemed a little tired when we got back to the campsite.

Back at camp we had a yummy dinner with some good BBQ and then the dogs relaxed with some treats while we watched the sun set and all the bats fly around. Zodiac even spotted an armadillo wandering across the trail.
As it got dark we headed into the tent for the night-that's when things started to go downhill. We had not brought the pad to place on the ground and the three blankets I brought didn't do much to cushion the hard ground at all. Then, the bugs were super loud-I generally like to have the windows open at night in the nice months of the year and don't mind the sounds of nature but this was pretty intense. Plus the campgrounds are close enough to the highway to hear all the traffic and every loud truck that came through sounded like it was going to come plowing through the weeds into the campground. And there was of course the occasional mysterious and unidentified animal sound. So now we were hot, uncomfortable, a little spooked, and unable to sleep with all the noise. About 10:15 as we laid there awake and a little miserable we had that "I don't need to stay if you don't want to" conversation and decided to pack it up and go home to a soft bed, cool, quiet house, and hot shower. And it was worth it.
We'd try camping again, but perhaps under better circumstances.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Back to work

After an unexpectedly long vacation the dogs went back to work on Tuesday. Other than taking Legend to class they have not worked since prior to our trip. Zodiac needed a little work on remembering the appropriate way to do signals but then did super go-outs/directed jumping and some good articles too. I'm working toward a local obedience trial in October that will hopefully show improvement in his utility skills. Legend worked on agility-I'm using a target on her contacts again since she's starting to blow them off and that gives me a chance to work on them from a greater distance as well. I'm also reading Control Unleashed which is giving us lots of ideas on how to redirect her energy appropriately as well as work on her general manners (or lack thereof!).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oreo's Legacy

When I got to thinking about all the ways Oreo changed my life I realized how far reaching the ripple effect really was...

Without Oreo I would not have a room that looked like this
I wouldn't have all of this stuff
...or this stuff...
I would not have gotten into obedience or agility, which means I would not have met Ann or Marcia or all our friends at Teacher's Pet in Columbia. If I had not gone there I would also not be involved in Pet Therapy.
I would not have gotten into Border Collies, which means I would not have these two goobers
And I would not have spent every fall since 2002 at the Border Collie National Specialty. Which means I would not have met Cheri-who got me involved with MOKAN and all the great folks in that organization.
She also introduced me to Valeri and all our friends at Paws Express Agility here in Springfield.
I would not have run in the Dog Jog, been to the Canine Olympics, the Show-me Games, or countless other dog events.
I guess in reality some of that stuff may have still happened, but it happened the way it did because of Oreo. So I know you're out playing ball right now, but thanks Buddy...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog books

In response to the recent questions about blog books...

Yes, it is a hard copy of your blog posts. I have used 2 programs that do this. Last Christmas I made my Grandma some books using Blog2Print. This program was fast and easy but did not allow much editing or customization, picture resizing, etc. They may have changed it now, I'm not sure. Also I think there was a 400 (?) picture limit per book. I made my recent book with Blurb. This was a more labor intensive project as you have to go through page by page and choose they layout you want for that particular post. I guess you could not do that but then you might not get a very efficient use of page space or a very attractive look. You can also choose background colors, etc. Also Blurb allows you to choose various sized of books, I'm not sure I had a choice when using Blog2Print.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A visit

My mom and dad came to visit this weekend. We were all supposed to go to Jerry's football game but it got cancelled so we went and did some shopping in Branson instead and to the Shepherd of the Hills play. It was perfect weather for the show-it's outside, and the show was good too. They also brought us this table they are no longer using, which matches our kitchen nicely.
My dad also printed and framed this picture for me. It's from Christmas a few years ago.
Today we mowed the yard, which really needed it. The grass is all clumpy now since we let it get too long. My weeds are getting a little out of control again. Not like the beginning of the year but definitely need some work this week to get back in line. And I need to spray some of the plants for beetles-again.
And I finished and ordered my blog book today. It goes from the beginning until March when I uploaded all the info. I just haven't gotten it finished until now. I'm excited to see it all finished.