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!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Big Boy Coat!

This afternoon I spent up to my elbows in the tedious job of petting puppies. I evaluated a bunch of prospective therapy dog teams ... and am proud to offer congratulations to 8 new St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog teams in Saskatoon and area! Wonderful job, everyone! Fantastic dogs that, I am sure, will be bringing smiles to many faces very soon.

This evening, I was again up to my elbows in puppy fluff ... this time bathing my own dogs. Yes, it is that time of year again. I've heard rumor that some cities in the South of the province have been getting snow the past day or two, so it is likely headed up this way soon. Can't complain, really. We are normally snowed in by the end of October. But, regardless of when it comes, the "before the snow flies" bath must happen. I don't like bathing the dogs when there is snow on the ground as it is usually SO cold and the boys take SO long to dry, outdoor potty breaks pose a serious risk for pup-cicles.

Neither dog is amused by baths. Gio toughs it out like a man. Where Romeo follows the "passive resistance" route ... hanging his head down so that the water runs over his face as if to say "You try to bath me? FINE, I'll just DROWN myself then!" Yeah, he's full of drama like that.

What I noticed during the bathtime, though, really shocked me. Romeo definitely has his big-boy coat now! I've noticed he's been filling out these past couple of months. As you have probably seen in recent pictures, that fur really gets flying. But I guess I never really noticed how much hair he has until it is all slicked down by water and I'm trying to part it to get the suds out from his undercoat. It's NUTS! He definitely got his dam's coat, it's HUGE! I attack it with the FURminator, Coat King, and traditional slicker ... and can't even make a dent. None of my other Shelties, past or present, have had this much coat.

In other news, thanks to everyone that offered words of sympathy for my ankle. It is getting better. I can walk *almost* normally on it. The worst part is the random and sporadic muscle twitches. They come up out of no where and hit like a jolt of lightening! HOLY FRICK! But the bruise is really sexy, currently lovely shades of maroon and pea-soup green. Yeah, I know, you're jealous. And who doesn't love the artificial club foot look due to copious amounts of tensor wrap?

And, because I greatly dislike a blog post without pictures, here are some pictures from a few days ago of the dogs eating FREE trout.

"Mmmm Trout-y goodness"

Gio does not like trout.
"I only eat this because I like to uphold the image that I am starving to death."

"I DO! I like trout! I'll have his portion, too!"

Have I mentioned that Romeo is a weirdo?

Monday, November 23, 2009

'Tis The Season

Normally, I hold off until early December before pulling out the Christmas decorations. But this year, with my own house to decorate, I just couldn't wait any longer!

The holiday lights went up last week, and yesterday evening I pulled out the Christmas tree and adornments.

Now, I don't really do the religious Christmas thing. No baby Jesus, or anything like that. I'm just not a religious person. But I LOVE this time of year! The holiday season tends to bring out the best in people, and it's the one time of year that I tend to defrost a little, too. Don't get me wrong, I still hate crowds and society in general, but my Scrooge-ish ways tend to melt away a little and I find myself enjoying interaction with Joe Public a bit more. The feeling in the air around the holiday season is fabulous, so it is THAT that I partake in. Sincere well-wishing, sharing time with friends and family, and spreading some festive joy.

Decorating for the season is always so much fun! The brighter the better! I tend to go more for the garish, finding individual items that scream with glaring festive colors, sparkle and glitz. Then pairing it all together to form one big mess of crazy holiday clash!

The boys helped, of course.

Romeo gave his expert opinion on my color choices.
"Neon green? REALLY!?"

While Gio just wanted to get busy building the tree.
"Put down the camera and get to work, you slacker!"

Romeo helped match the letters on the branches to the ones on the center support.

"Yup, room for another F branch down here."

But that was as far as he would go. Decided it was safer to stay out of the way of "the crazy lady with the tinsel".
"Much safer back here. Much."

Gio was significantly more help, ensuring that the lights were evenly distributed around the tree.

"More lights needed!"

I was able to wrangle both dogs into helping hang the beaded garland, though!

"To whom it may concern, we HATE that you taught us how to 'hold' stuff. Signed, the dogs"

I never know how to take pictures of a Christmas tree with lights. If the flash is "on", then the tree looks crappy (ie. plastic ... which it is) and you can't see the lights. But if the flash is "off", then the picture turns out blurred. Despite the blurriness, I thought these pictures were kind of cute! Of course, I could be biased because of my most beautifulest boys.

"So festively blurry!"

Then I shattered my ankle.

Okay, so maybe "shattered" is a bit of a harsh word for the situation. I'm possibly being a little dramatic. But it hurt like a sonofa! And, FYI, apparently I turn into a trucker with Tourette's when I am injured. I am surprised the neighbours didn't call the police with the profanity being screamed in my driveway last night.

I rolled my ankle off of a concrete paving stone, heard/felt a "pop", then went down like a ton of bricks. Spent a couple of cozzy minutes in the driveway willing myself not to vomit, then crawled my way back inside.

This morning, mom took me to minor emerg to check things out. An x-ray verifies that there is no fracture, just the mother of all ankle sprains. So I am home today, the reluctant invalid that I am, practicing what the walk-in clinic doc called the "RICE" protocol: Relaxation Ice Compression Elevation. What does that spell? FUN!!

Gio is such a great helper, always right there to lend a hand.

"What do ya need ma? Advil? Ice? Alcoholic beverage? All of the above?"

While Romeo maintains his "stay away from the crazy hobbling lady" position.

"Much safer over here. Much."

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Need Your Help!

Romeo has been named as a finalist on Dogster's 5th Annual World's Coolest Dog and Cat Show (phew, that is a mouthful!).

The picture of him keeping an eye on some sheep has placed top 5 in the Working Dog category. The top 5 dogs of each category then go on to open voting for Best in Show! While the winner of each category is selected by a panel of judges.

We would LOVE if all of our Dogster friends would please go and VOTE FOR ROMEO for Best in Show!!

(Romeo's picture is near the bottom.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CARO Rally-O Videos

At the HCKOC CARO Rally-O trial on October 3rd and 4th, a friend was able to get some video of many of the runs. She was kind enough to send me copies of Gio's and Romeo's runs. They both did SO well at that trial, I am thrilled to have their performances documented!

Gio - Excellent B - Round 1
If it weren't for that darned jump redo he would have had a perfect 200/200 run!

Gio - Excellent B - Round 3
Again, an NQ, but some of the individual elements were really nice!

Romeo - Excellent C - Round 1
Final score 198/200

Romeo - Excellent C - Round 2
Final score 197/200 and finishing off his CARO Rally Bronze (CRB) title

Romeo - Excellent C - Round 3
Final score 200/200, first leg of his CARO Rally Silver (CRS) title

Huge thanks to Sophie Brunet for taping the runs and putting the videos all together!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

World Travelers

Okay, so not really "world" travelers. But it seems like I haven't been home in AGES!

Last Monday I hopped onto a plane headed to San Francisco to attend a conference for work. While there, I was fortunate to be able to meet up with a couple of friends from; Veronica (of Ollivander and Sabrina) and Sonja (of Jolanda and Josephine). I never did make it to Dogster HQ, located in San Francisco (sorry Lori!), so will have to put that on the list for "next time".

They toured me around Fisherman's Wharf before we indulged in some fabulous Thai food!

The Bay Bridge, all lit up.

The Ferry Building at night.

I was able to find time later in the week to get back to Fisherman's Wharf and do some souvenir shopping and picture taking in the daylight outs. This small-city kid is very proud of herself for braving the BART train all by herself! *chuff*

The sea lions at Pier 39. (Awesome to see, not so awesome to smell.)

That's a LOT of sea lions!

I really (really, Really, REALLY) wanted to go on a tour of Alcatraz. But apparently the "good tours" book up weeks in advance, and I just wasn't on the ball. So this is as close as I got to the island. Still pretty amazing to see.
I got back home on Friday morning, picked the dogs up from mom's place, loaded them in my NEW Sheltie-mobile, and headed off to Regina for a Rally-O trial hosted by KAOS Dogsports.

Yes, that is right, there is a NEW Sheltie-mobile!

Found this cute little car sign at Le Beastro in San Francisco. For you dog lovers out there, if you ever find yourself in San Francisco, head to Fisherman's Wharf and check out this store! TOO COOL!

Well, the car is not really "new" in the traditional sense of the word. But new to me, anyways. It's a seafoam green (ooo retro!) 1999 Ford Escort wagon. In pretty good condition, low mileage, and fit my available price point. I figured a trip to Regina with dogs in tow would be a good way to break in the new transportation.

The main selling feature ... the ability to fit both dog crates in the back of the car! WOOHOO!

The Rally-O trail was great. KAOS always does a really good job hosting trials. Romeo got 3 more legs towards his CARO C Stream Silver title, taking two High in Class awards. He only needs one more leg! And Gio tried really really hard! He nailed the stations that normally cause him problems (namely, the weave poles and broad jump), but there were a few other tiny things that resulted in NQ's. At Excellent level, everything has to be pretty near perfect, so it is very easy to disqualify a course. But good ol' Gee, he never gives up or loses enthusiasm. Just keeps giving 110% each time. One of these days we will put it all together, then WATCH OUT! But, until then, we'll keep showing everyone how to have some fun in the ring.

We got to see a bunch of friends at the trial, which is always nice. Romeo got another opportunity to flirt with his girlfriend, Niki.

While Romeo was busy flirting and playing coy with Niki, Gio was smoozing up a friend's new Miniature Poodle puppy, Mab (Queen of the Fairies).

OMG! Too cute, right??
This puppy has NO FEAR and doesn't think twice about trying to take your nose off. She is going to be a LOT of fun ... and by "fun" I really mean "real handful"!

Romeo got a couple of prizes for the High in Class placements. Mostly cookies and treats, but there were a couple squeaky tug toys thrown in as well.

The toy, as you see it here, lasted long enough to be thrown across the hotel room
exactly 3 times.

The boys decided that the toys were best as EITHER squeakies OR tugs, not both at once, so they remedied the situation quite quickly.

The squeaky went to Gio.

While the tug went to Romeo.

Now we are all home at last. Exhausted and worn out. The laundry is done, the dogs are fed ... and I am contemplating when is "late enough" to go to bed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go

I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow, headed to lovely San Francisco for a conference on qPCR (aka "work stuff"). I always have a hard time leaving the boys behind, I stress out so easily. But they are staying with my mom, so I know they are in capable hands and will be absolutely spoiled and pampered all week.

I've packed their over-night bag of all the important things ... toys, food dishes, leashes, and treats ... Romeo helped.

"What's all this for, ma?"

"It's all going in the bag? And the bag is going to grandma's!?"

"What? We wouldn't want you to forget ME at home!"

I have one day to do touristy stuff. The rest of my trip is booked up with the conference and workshop goings-on. I was hoping to book a tour of Alcatraz, but when I checked their website they are all booked up for the evening tours ALL WEEK! *pout* So I think I will head down to Fisherman's Wharf and take in some festivities there. Seems like that is the location of most of the touristy stuff anyways. Has anyone been? Any recommendations for a good sea food supper?!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tub o' Trout

I love my job! For many reasons, actually, but the focus of today's adoration revolves around the surprise gifts of meat.

See, I work at an Agricultural college. As part of the college, there is a research farm including beef and dairy cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, and an aquaculture center. Occasionally, animals from any one of these areas need to be cleared out. Sometimes they can be sold commercially, but often they are deemed "research animals", even though the research that is done is all nutritional (so no funky disease or chemical research), and they cannot be sold commercially. The college then sends out an email to the employees and grad students in the Animal Science department offering to sell the meat for SUPER CHEAP or, in some cases, give it away for FREE!

Today there was an e-mail for FREE TROUT! Intestines removed, but everything else intact ... just the way the dogs like 'em.

So I stopped by after work and picked up about 40lbs of trout.

The car rental place is going to LOVE me! First, 25lb of raw bison in the trunk. Now 40lb of whole trout. The contract I signed said not to smoke in the car ... but it said nothing about not hauling around tonnes of raw meat in the trunk.

The boys love these days, too. Especially when the meat is frozen into large lumps and must be thawed in the bathtub before repackaging.

"What do you mean? We have to wait until they are thawed?"

"But they are so close. Just riiiight there."

"If I just stretch a little ..."

"... Stretch a little bit more ..."

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