These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Beautiful Artwork!

I frequent a lovely Sheltie message board, Circle of Sheltie Friends, and on that board they have a feature called Mascot of the Month where two Shelties are named MOTM each and every month. Their story is written up and posted for all to see. Additionally, one of the resident Sheltie-a-holics compiles submitted photos of the MOTM to accompany the story.

Romeo has been chosen as one of the MOTMs for August 2009!

I checked out the board this morning to see that his story has been posted along with some absolutely stunning photos by our resident computer image guru, Mo. I've received permission from Mo to post them here and show off her wonderful work to the world!

Sporty Romeo

Romeo Candids

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Raining Cats and Dogs

Okay ... maybe there aren't so many cats around. But dogs, wet dogs, we've got!

Tonight was our regular canine strength and conditioning class and it was raining. Not over cold and not a torrential downpour, so we worked through it. A good idea to get the dogs used to working in the rain anyways, and something Mr. "I'm made of sugar and can't get wet" really needs to practice! He is getting better, and will work in the rain, I just have to pull out the good treats and pile on the encouragement.

Big success of the night (aside from me not falling down or collapsing from lack of oxygen to the brain), Romeo pulled his bag of rocks ... err, I mean highly sophisticated and accurately calibrated doggy weight system ... across the whole field without me having to "help". When I got Romeo, he was overly aware of his leash, to the point that he couldn't even function if, Dog forbid, the leash draped on the wrong side of his body. And don't even THINK about trying to drag the leash behind you! NO WAY! I worked quite hard on desensitizing him to the leash and he is stellar with it now. But we took a couple steps backwards when I then hooked that leash to his harness and added 2lbs of rocks to the end. Back to square one with the training. But he's been doing pretty good, to the point where I just have to "pretend" to hold the leash and he will pull the full weight. Tonight I started him off jogging beside him while holding the leash, and then eased it down so that he was pulling the full weight of the bag, and he kept happily running beside me. YAY! Of course, he only did it one time out of four attempts, but we'll take the small successes!

Afterward, in addition to being tired, we were both also very VERY wet. I would like to think that Romeo looks somewhat more pathetic than I do while doing the drowned rat impression, but I think I might just be flattering myself there. Either way, I'm the one with the thumbs, so I get to stand behind the camera. So here is a very wet and unhappy Romeo.

"Not cool, dude. Definitely not cool."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun With Eggs!

Raw eggs are a great treat for dogs, either as a special snack or part of their regular meal. Lots of really good vitamins, omegas, and protein, and they are great for the skin and coat. Not to mention, tasty too!

Most of the time I just crack an egg on top of the boys' normal food (raw diet in my case, but good on kibble, too). But it is always fun to let them try to figure the egg out by themselves now and then.


If you are going to give your dog a whole raw egg, please do so outdoors! Things can get messy.

Note that the egg shells are completely edible by your pooch as well. Not all dogs will readily eat the shells, but if they try, let them! I also save up the shells from eggs I use for myself and crush them over meals or bake them into dog treats. Yum yum calcium!

When offering raw eggs to your dog, I wouldn't give more than 1-2 a week. They are pretty rich and can lead to some rocket-butt in some dogs.

Now please enjoy some egg-y fun!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cherry Time

It is Hort Week at the Ag college, so the building is swarming with avid gardeners come to listen to the experts give talks about the fine art and science of horticulture. The horticulture department also routinely offers plants for sale during this time. And not just any plants, but plants specially cultivated and bred to thrive in the crazy Saskatchewan weather where we can range from 32C in the summer to -35C (before windchill) in the winter.

A couple of years ago I bought a couple of grape vines and they turned out to be gorgeous! Unfortunately, I had to leave them at my mom's house when I moved as they had essentially taken over a good portion of the back of the house and I didn't want to risk damaging them in trying to move them to the new house.

So I have been eagerly awaiting this year's Hort Week to see if they would be selling grapes again.

No grapes this year ... but they did have little Nanking Cherry plants for $5 a piece!

I bought two and they are now settling into the back yard.

The boys were eager to help, so I put them to work as "size standards" to document how small these little plants are at present.
Romeo is about 14.5 inches at the whithers and Gio is roughly 19.5 inches. So the little plant is right around 19 inches or so. The other plant, not pictured, is slightly smaller. Here's hoping they like my yard and give me lots of pretty blooms in the spring!

From what I have read, Nanking Cherry bushes generally grow to about 2 meters high and can fill out to approximately 2 meters in diameter. They prefer the sun and sandy soil with good drainage.


Please note that cherry trees can be poisonous to dogs and children! The bark, withered leaves, and cherry pits contain hydocyanic acid that can be poisonous when ingested. So if you are planting cherry trees in your yard, be cautious of your pets and children. If you have dogs that like to chew on leaves or branches from trees, supervise carefully or block access to the trees.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Therapy Dog Demo Day

This morning a group of St. John Ambulance therapy dog teams all converged on Prairie Spring Care Home in Saskatoon. We were invited to give a demo for the staff and residents, and demo we did!

Started out with an intro of each dog, and the spotlight to perform fun tricks.

Gio and his Poodle buddy, Gina, have a cute little trick that they like to do for people. Big thanks to my camera lady who tried very hard to get a picture of their trick. But Gina is a fast little thing, and the camera timing is hard to nail down. Basically, I put Gio in a stand-stay and walk away. He has the easy job. Then Gina jumps over him, often launching off his back, a couple of times. Ending with running underneath him. It's a bit crowd-pleaser! Here are a couple of attempted pictures of the trick ...

Then on to a tiny agility course with jumps, spreads, a tunnel, and weaves.

And finally a meet and greet with the audience.

Everyone was thrilled with the performance, and all the therapy dog teams had a really good time!

Pretty good looking crew!!
(From left to right: Kerry with Anaea, Jen with Gracie, Carol with Palabrita, Dayna with Gio and Romeo, Karen with Ceilidh, Gisele with Gina and Kate, and Rebecca with Kennedy)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mmmm Ice Cream

I had to run out quickly this evening to scope out the facility that we are visiting on Tuesday for a therapy dog demo event. I threw the dogs in the back of the car for the ride, and while we were on our way home (after driving aimlessly for quite a while, only to discover that we had passed the facility a number of times, it just didn't have a sign out front) we passed Dairy Queen, and the boys BEGGED and PLEADED for some ice cream. Well, they are such good boys, they deserved a treat, so through the drive-thru we went. I ordered a Blizzard for myself (mmm Skor), and a small dish of plain ice cream for the boys. The lady at the window ooh-ed and aah-ed over the "cute puppies" with their faces pressed eagerly against the back window (yeah, they know that goodness comes from the magical lady in the wall), and she asked if they wanted a cookie. I admitted that the bowl of ice cream was for them, so they didn't need a cookie. But when she handed me their little dish of ice cream, lo and behold, she had stuck two dog cookies on top! Too cute!

At home, I divied up the ice cream and cookies and the boys went to town!

Yum Yum!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pets in the Park 2009

Today was Saskatoon's Pets in the Park, an event hosted by the Saskatoon SPCA, New Hope Dog Rescue, and SCAT street cat program. Local vendors and pet-related groups set up tables and displays by the scenic Saskatchewan River and various dog groups give sport demos throughout the day. A stage provides live music, and there is lots of room for pets to gather and play with new friends!

Posing at the booth with therapy dog buddy, Lily, and her handler, Liz.

Gio says "PFFFT!" to standing still for pictures.

Romeo and Arthur relax in the shade while on the job.

The boys and I spent a long (LONG!) day at the event, working the St. John Ambulance therapy dog booth and helping out with the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club booth and Rally-O demonstration.

At the end of a long day, all that is left is two Sheltie-shaped puddles.

The St. John booth was located in a prime spot, right at the head of all the action, so we got lots of attention and hopefully a lot of interest from new potential therapy dog teams and facilities.

There was a really great turn out this year, with an estimated 6,000 visitors! Hopefully there were lots of funds raised for the great dog and cat rescue and shelter groups!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pets in the Park

Pets in the Park is an annual event in Saskatoon, hosted by the Saskatoon SPCA, New Hope Dog Rescue, and SCAT street cat program. Held along the river, just North of the Bessborough Hotel, it offers booths from local pet vendors and entertaining demonstrations of various pet related activities.

This year, Pets in the Park is happening July 12 from 9am to 4pm.

So leash up your pooch and come enjoy the fun for a good cause!

The boys and I will be there all day long, splitting our time between the St. John Ambulance therapy dog booth and the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club booth. Our Rally-O demonstration is happening at 12 noon. So come on down and say "hi"!

For more information on Pets in the Park, check out their website

Friday, July 10, 2009

An Epic Playdate!

(You're really going to get sick of hearing those puns, Epic's momma!)

Meet Epic.

Epic is the cutest Jack Russel Terrier puppy EVER! As much as I love Shelties, I have to admit that they aren't really the cutest puppies, especially when you compare them to something like Epic.

Epic is owned by a friend of mine, mom also to Benny (you may remember Benny from "Ode to a Benny"). He is a fiesty little pup that is still firmly entrenched in the carpet-shark-learning-to-deal-with-my-terrierness stage. So, in his owner's endless pursuit to socialize the beasty, we met up for a play date.

Normally, Romeo will play with anything that moves and Gio will firmly ignore anything that isn't food or a ball. Tables were a little turned tonight, as Gio seemed to really draw Epic's attention and Romeo flatly refused to acknowledge the wee hairless beasty. Epic is still learning to get over the "just because it barks it doesn't mean it is going to eat me" idea, so the Shelties fit into that plan just nicely. In a Sheltie's world, barking goes hand in hand (err ... paw in paw?) with playing, and running, and excitement. At first, Epic was a little hesitant about the random loud noises, and there was a lot of this ...

But he figured out that the barking was in no way directed at him (unless he was monopolizing the ball), and came to deal with it all quite well.

Epic's first attempts to play with Romeo were thwarted when he became entranced with Romeo's (abnormally long) tongue, and decided that he would find out what it was in the only way that puppies now how ... with his teeth.

Romeo put a stop to that right away! And Epic turned his affections towards Gio.

Romeo finally did indulge Epic with some play, eventually.

But it was a lot more fun to just chase Gio around, mainly because Gio always has a ball in his mouth (BALLBALLBALLBALLBALL!!! *gasp* BALLBALLBALLBALLBALL!!). For a little guy, Epic has already learned all the important things in life ... ball drive and tug drive!

And being the stellar teachers that they are, the Shelties took it upon themselves to teach Epic a few other essentials.

Like how to scope out a good tree for peeing on.

Or which blades of grass are the tastiest.

Of course, there was also lots of running. And whenever possible, full body contact running.

I think they are a pretty cute group, don't you? (Of course, I may be just a teensy bit biased.)

If you want to follow along on Epic's great adventure, check out his blog!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bison RMBs

The boys each enjoyed a bison RMB for supper last night, courtesy of our new meat buddy, Jen!

They are GREAT. Huge gobs of meat still on the bone. Just perfect! Thanks Jen (and Spike and Sophie for sharing your haul. Hope you enjoyed the sheep.).

The boys dug in with gusto! Love that bison! But, while normal RMB chewing is fun and all ...

... it just lacks a certain ... style ... flare ... synchronicity?

Gio and Romeo now present, for the first time on Life is Better with Sheltie Hair ...


Ready ... and ...

To your right, two, three, four

Center, two, three, four

To your left, two, three, four

Sure, their routine could use a little work. But for a first time, not too bad, right?!

While they enjoyed their bison, I made my own little treat. Sour cream cookies! YUM!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Sorry Sorry Sorry! The blog has been horribly boring lately, I know. It's just that life is really hectic at the moment, and I'm rarely home for long enough to sit down and write. I have a couple of minutes left this evening before I pass out snoring, so I'll try to catch you all up with what we have been doing.

Romeo is still going to Saskatoon City Hospital every Monday evening for his therapy dog visits. We've been moved to a new unit, from Geriatrics to Rehab. The Rehab Unit is much larger, so we have two dogs going every Monday and we split the unit to get all of the patients seen in an hour. I really enjoy going to City Hospital. The staff is fabulous and the people there really appreciate the dogs.

Romeo's agility class has been moved from Tuesday nights to Wednesday nights. That is still a lot of fun, and Romeo is really enjoying himself. I've been told to get him entered in the AAC starter's trial that D&S Dogs of Course is hosting in September. The instructors think he should be well and ready to try it out by then, so lot's of homework for us to do!

The Canine Strength and Endurance class is still going strong. I'm surprised at how much I really enjoy that class. I try to remind myself to take advantage of the exercises and use them as a work-out session for me as well as for Romeo. Quite satisfying! And, of course, Romeo likes the socializing, too. He's made a new buddy in Neutron, a Schnauzer x Poodle cross that is also in the class.

And, well, chasing Pugs after class is always a good time, too. Except for these Pugs are total athletes! Very athletic and for short sprints can easily outrun the Sheltie, Border Collie, and Schauzer x Poodle!

Fridays are seeing Gio back at work at his therapy dog job at Stensrud and Eamer. Just a couple of weeks ago I put him back to work after a recover period from his pancreatitis issue of a few months ago. He's finally back to decent enough condition that he is enjoying the therapy work again. He's thrilled to be back out seeing all his ladies! He's still very thin, but the coat is coming back nicely and his spirits and enthusiasm are back to monumental levels!

Then, we finally make it to today, Saturday. Rally-O classes all afternoon, and I was able to put Gio and Romeo through their paces after classes ended. For having not worked them seriously in Rally-O for a couple of weeks now, they did really well. Both had their A-Game on tonight, I tell you!

I've also made a new meat-friend. Those are the best kinds of friends to have! Well, at least the dogs thinks so. Jen, a lady that has a couple of dogs in my Rally-O classes, feeds raw to her beasties. We were chatting last week about raw and the different deals we've gotten. I was telling her about my Sheep Experience a while back and she mentioned that she had a huge load of bison in her freezer. After both of us saying "Wow, I wish I could get my hands on some bison/sheep", we decided on a trade. So today I traded 25lb of sheep RMBs for 25lb of bison RMBs. SCORE!

This is what 25lb of bison RMBs look like.

PS. This is Jen and one of her rocking Rally-O dogs, Spike. They are Rally-O superstars!

To add to the great day, I got a wonderful surprise when I got home. As I was cooking a late dinner of No Name Sidekicks (eating like the rich and famous, I tell ya!), who knocks on my door but my mom. She's come over to cut the lawn* for me, seeing as I don't have a lawnmower or a place to put one at the present moment.

Good timing, too. Romeo was having trouble finding his way back to the house after pee-adventures. With conflicting and hectic schedules, the grass has been neglected for a couple of weeks. Add to that the huge amounts of rain we have had lately, and the weeds are just loving it!

Now no tickling of the boy-bits when they need to go do their business. Thanks mom!!

* Lawn, in this sense, is a generic term for "green stuff growing in the bit of land I like to refer to as my yard". It is mostly made up of a variety of weeds and grass-like foliage. But beggers can't be choosers, right? When it is all cut down, and viewed from a distance, it can pass as grass.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!


What better way to celebrate our nation's awesomeness than with a really fantastic beer commercial. I'm sure you have all seen this before, but nothing has succeeded in bringing a tear to the collective Canadian eye the way that Joe Canadian has.

Now please, let us stand. Gentlemen, kindly remove your hats. And repeat after me ...

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