Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fancy fence

I thought this looked pretty on my run the other day and grabbed a pic with my phone.  Then played around with it some.  I want to print them and see how they look but need more ink.  So right now, enjoy the digital version!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This girl stayed with us Monday night so she could be spayed today.  Then she will head on to her foster home in STL.  I'm a little sad we are not fostering her, but we have a pretty busy schedule right now.

She's a sweet girl, seems used to the car and the house, good with other animals and loves ball!  Kind of like having twins around here!

Monday, June 27, 2016


Legend finally ended her streak of Nosework perfection.  It was bound to happen eventually, but it still broke my heart a little!

We traveled this weekend to Michigan for the Level 2 container trial.  I wanted to also do the NW3 but we got wait-listed for that.  It was a long drive for an element specialty trial but we figured it was a chance to see another state and it was still a trial, so should be fun even if it wasn't as important.

So off we went!
 We arrived just before 10 on friday night.  But in Michigan it was still light because of being on the western edge of the time zone.  Nice!  Saturday, we were in the afternoon trial so we had time to walk a few miles on the Lansing River trail.

 Legend was even able to get in a swim or two (or four).
Then off to the trial site.  There were 4 search areas.  The first one was old style CD rolodex cases.  She got to about the third or fourth one, stopped, sniffed and looked at me.  I called alert the judge said NO.  I was pretty surprised as my dog is never wrong!  But for whatever reason she was wrong today.  To be fair, I didn't make her check all the containers first but I don't want to be that person who pulls their dog off odor because I don't believer her.  She's never given me reason to.

On to the second search area-luggage.  No sweat, she found the two hides before the 30 second warning.

Search area three was a long row of ORT boxes.  She gave me two false alerts on these and I was honestly in disbelief.  I have no idea what was going on or if it was something I was doing or what.  But, it happened.  Now we just have to hope it doesn't happen again in 2 weeks at the NW3!  The last search area was luggage again.  She hit all three hides in less than 1 minute.  Obviously she was having a very hot and cold day!

In the evening we spend the night walking around downtown Lansing and getting some dinner and fresh air.  Then it was back on the road sunday for the long ride home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Back to normal

Life is getting back to normal around here.  It's funny how fast things can change one  way or the other.  We adjusted to Nadin being here as quickly as we adjusted to her being gone.  She has arrived back home and is readjusting to her life as well.

We have stayed busy with work, taking care of the critters-Espy is doing well and learning to love belly rubs, Socks has been having a lameness issue but seems to be improving, Sundae has decided she would only like to eat the most expensive food possible, and Legend is getting ready for some nosework traveling!

I've been working hard to keep up with my weekly running miles.  So all in all, just a typical summer around here!

Monday, June 20, 2016


I bought these flowers on the way home from Dallas a few weeks ago.
Lyric looks very cute posing with them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


For months everyone has been asking if we will host again.  And the short answer is yes.

We had a great kid, and a great year.  That's not to say it was always perfect, but that would have been an unreasonable expectation.  No family is perfect.  But what I've come to realize is that its not just about our experience as hosts, or a teenager's experience as an exchange student.  It's about something bigger.

Nadin came to us from the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program (YES).  Started by the U. S. State Department after 9/11 this scholarship program recruits the finest young adults it can find from predominantly Muslim countries to spend a year in the U.S.  They do this in hopes of current and future generations being able to grow up in a world of peace and understanding, instead of hatred and fear.

And if there is anything I've learned this year, it's that this program is absolutely necessary.  I've been repeatedly disappointed by the words, actions, and internet postings of strangers, acquaintances, and "friends."  They post things based only on fear and ignorance and lack of understanding or education.  They say things things thinking they won't hurt anyone.  But they do.  They are hurting their neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family members.

They think it's ok to judge an entire population of people based on a few bad ones.  But it's not.  It's not ok to judge even one innocent person based on the action of another.  I wouldn't want to be judged based on the actions of certain other veterinarians.  Men don't want to be judged on the actions of rapists.  Christians don't want to be judged on the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church.  I could go on, but my point should be clear.  And the, "but I didn't mean you when I said that" mentality isn't ok either.

I have to believe programs like this will help.  The alternative is too depressing.  There are so many amazing places, people, and cultures in the world to see and experience.  Some are too dangerous to go to, and some people are too afraid to go even where it's safe.  And we, as a species, are missing out.  Wouldn't it be better to live in a world where we can freely move about, travel to  far away places and be greeted with open arms?  Wouldn't it be better to embrace visitors in our homeland rather than eye them with suspicion and prejudice?

I realize there are bad people out there.  Bad people of every religion, race, nation, and culture  And I'm all for finding a way to stop them from doing terrible things, but we can't do it by victimizing innocent people.

And as much as I don't want to bring politics into this, it's hard to ignore the fact that there is a man running for president in this country that is perpetuating the same kind of xenophobic propaganda we need to put an end to.  As a nation I think we should be ashamed and embarrassed for supporting this kind of leader.  But political opinions are a complex subject and I won't pretend to understand the voting choices of every American citizen.  I also realize that some people reading this will still vote for this man.  And the best I can do is hope that you, your children, and your loved ones are never subject to the kind of discrimination and prejudice he supports.  Because no decent person deserves that.

So there is the long answer.  And it still yes.  For more about hosting, and the YES program please visit this website.  And even if the YES program is not for you, there are many young people from around the world in other programs who would love to come and share their culture with you and learn about yours.  We can change the world, even if it's only a little at a time.  We have to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The big goodbye

This day seemed so far away when we picked Nadin up at the airport in August. But 10 months has gone incredibly fast and this morning we made that difficult return trip to the airport.

As the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun. And although there were some bumps in the road, overall I would say it was a positive experience, and the tears shed by all parties would testify to that!

And as much as we look forward to getting back to our normal lives, the house seems a little empty tonight, and probably will for a little while. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Good times, GOAL, and Good-byes

This weekend was the first of our two summer GOAL agility trials.  Saturday Nadin came and ran the girls in some Novice runs and even picked up a perfect Jumpers Q with Legend!  As a bonus our local exchange student coordinator and three of the remaining students came to watch and visit.  It was a fun time for all and a good final visit for the kids.  We even had cake! And many good-byes were said from all our agility friends.
And we got a few group photos-but I'm not sure where Abdou was during this so he missed out!  But aren't these girls sweet?

Then we spent one of our last remaining evenings at home in the typical way.
Today I went back to the trial alone (well, with dogs).  The girls each picked up a tunnelers and jumpers Q and Legend got a regular and a Chances!  She only needs 4 for her NATCH 2, but whatever happens, happens.  We don't to that many agility trials anymore.  Nadin spent the day packing and since there are two suitcases in the dining room I guess she made progress.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spread the Love Tour

This last weekend I was on the road again.  Linda and I headed to Dallas for the Kenny Chesney/Miranda Lambert/Jake Owen/Old Dominion concert.  I hadn't really wanted to go that far, and wasn't looking forward to dealing with a huge venue (Cowboy's stadium), in a huge city with a baseball game going on concurrently, but we wanted to see both Kenny and Miranda and this was the best option based on our schedule.

Having been to KC three times at Arrowhead stadium, we have been caught is major traffic getting to the venue, stuck in the parking lot for a long time trying to get out of venue, baked in the sun, and gotten soaked in the rain.  I really didn't want to drive 7 hours for any of those experiences but we were actually pleasantly surprised by how smoothly things went.  There was very reasonable traffic getting in and we had pre-purchased a parking pass in a close lot so that was easy. The stadium is really nice and clean and has a retractable roof which was closed so no sun and pleasant temps all night.  There were reasonable lines for t-shirts and no line for a Gatorade and soda and then we headed to our seats.

We have had better seats, but we have also had worse.  No worries though, there were big screens showing the action everywhere including the huge jumbotron right in front of us.   The show was great.  We aren't huge Old Dominion fans but they were ok.  Jake Owen looks a lot better with his hair cut and Miranda and Kenny did not disappoint performing most of my favorite songs and even a duet!

Getting out of the parking lot was surprisingly easy as well.  In fact it was only 45 minutes from the time we left the stadium until we were back in our hotel room!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sick kids

While I was gone and after I returned both Twix and Sundae were ill.  They each ran a fever at some point, Sundae had an off and on appetite for several days and Twix had a rough bout of vomiting and diarrhea.  But with time and/or antibiotics they were soon on the mend and are back to normal now.  What they had and where they got it I'll never know, since they stay inside and don't go anywhere! W

Monday, June 6, 2016

Broken tradition

For the first time since Legend was very young, we did not spend Memorial Day weekend at Purina Farms doing NADAC.  I was a little sad to break the tradition, but don't worry, I still spent it outside, with my dog, doing dog stuff!

I opted this year to go to the Nosework trial near the Lake of the Ozarks.  I didn't make the draw into the NW3 trial so didn't get to compete. I helped with set-up and some of the volunteer coordinator activities and spend most of saturday and sunday timing.  Which meant I got to see a lot of searches, including a lot from the Elite day of competition.

As a bonus, Legend got to be the dog in white (test dog) for the Elite day.  This is a pretty big opportunity for a dog not even competing at that level yet!  But she handled it like a pro and I look forward to competing at that level!  The most fun search was "the gym."  I thought it was going to be just a part of the gym but it was actually the whole building- three basketball courts wide and some alcoves as well.  It's a little overwhelming at first but most of the hides were along the perimeter, plus one on a volleyball net pole.  Since Legend's default search mode is to run the perimeter first this worked well for her, plus she is very thorough and checked all the structures as she passed them.  We were really pleased to have this opportunity and to hear comments about how well she had done.

The trial site was really pretty-overlooking the lake on three sides.  The exterior search which I timed on sunday was on a pavilion with a direct lake overlook, so we had an awesome view all afternoon.  We also had super weather and the camp  was not as spread out as the one last year, so it was not as tiring trying to keep everything moving along.

The only downside was there was no lake access from the site and Legend was very disappointed when we got there and she could see the lake, but not get to it!