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!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wrapping Up 2009!

It's nearly here. 2010. The New Year. Where the heck did 2009 go?! It's been a crazy one, that is for sure.

I'm not really big on setting resolutions. I always end up breaking them. Instead, I like to have a general idea of the BIG picture goals for the next year.

Last year I set some goals, so let's start off by revisiting those and see how we did, shall we?

For 2009, our goals were ...

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

Gio did not complete his CARO Rally-O Excellent or C Stream Bronze titles ... there were only 3 CARO trials in the province last year, and we had to miss one because Gio ended up having a bad bout of seizures right at that time.
He did complete his CKC Novice Obedience title, though.
He also finished his CKC Advanced Rally title, as well as his CKC Excellent Rally title, again with a handful of High in Class ribbons along the way.
He continued his therapy dog work, as planned, with a total of 38 visitation hours in 2009.
In the midst of this, Gio had a horrible battle with pancreatitis induced by his epilepsy medication. I nearly lost him in March, the vets were not giving him a good chance of ever coming home again. Recovery took months, so there was quite a long down-time in there where we were only focusing on improving his health. My boy is such a trooper!

- 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) his CKC Advanced Rally-O title
- continue to train towards competition in agility (master those contacts!)
- continue to train towards CKC Open Obedience title
- continue visiting as a SJA therapy dog

Romeo completed his CARO Rally-O Excellent title with Magna Cum Laude. He also completed his CARO C Stream Bronze title and earned 4 legs towards his C Stream Silver title (one more leg to go).
There was no CGN test in the province again this year, though I hear rumor that there is one planned for spring of 2010.
He completed his CKC Advanced Rally-O title as well as his CKC Excellent Rally-O title, with a handful of High in Class ribbons along the way.
We continued to train for AAC agility, and he has some really beautiful contacts now! He competed in his first trials at the end of the summer of 2009 and earned 1 qualifying score in Jumpers with a 1st place in his class.
Open Obedience got put on the back burner when Romeo advanced so far through CARO Rally-O. Our focus was switched to the next level there, Versatility.
He also continued volunteering as a therapy dog with a total of 67 visiting hours in 2009.

In total this year, the boys collected 7 new titles in obedience and Rally-O and amassed 105 total volunteer hours for St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program!

Goals for 2010:

- keep plugging away at that CARO Rally-O Excellent title
- continue therapy dog visitations
- get out tracking more and aim towards competing for a tracking title
- keep the seizures down to the low frequency that we have achieved at the end of 2009

- finish up the CARO C Stream Silver title
- begin actively competing in CARO Rally-O Versatility level
- continue training in agility, improve the weave poles, and try for a couple more qualifying legs
- continue therapy dog visitations

Normally, I don't like to make specific goals, as in "I want to get a perfect score at the Rally-O trial in June". Rather, I make goals I strive to complete by the end of the year. ... This year, it is a little different, though. There is the Canadian Shetland Sheepdog Association 2010 National being held in conjunction with the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club (the dog club for which I am a trainer) being held here in Saskatoon in April/May. They are having Sheltie-only trials in obedience, Rally-O, agility, and conformation, in addition to the all-breed competitions that go along with the normal show. I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to take a High in Class with at least one of the boys in the Rally-O trials at the Sheltie National! I'm still contemplating whether I want to go for the Most Versatile Sheltie award with Romeo by competing in obedience, agility, and Rally-O. I think we might pass on that one, though, and just aim for Rally-O. Both dogs routinely get perfect scores in CKC Rally-O, so it is just a matter of being the fastest dogs to do so. So our training regime is all about SPEED in addition to precision.

Now that we've tied up loose ends in terms of goals, let's take another glance back at 2009. This time with pictures and music. (All together now ... "oooooooohh!" ... nicely done.)

And finally, our wishes to you!

Thank you for traveling with us through 2009.
We sincerely hope that you will stop by for a visit again in 2010.
Wishing you a year full of happiness, good health, wet noses, and warm toes!
Oh, and don't forget, lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Continues!

This year was my first year participating in the ornament exchange from the Circle of Sheltie Friends message board. It is sort of organized like a Secret Santa ... except it's not really secret and you exchange Christmas ornaments instead of presents.

Today, our ornament arrived from Binx and his owner!

So cute! I love the personalized snowflakes. Thanks so much Binx!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas With The Shelties

First things, first.

Happy Holidays to all! Regardless of whether or not you celebrate this time of year, we want to take this time to wish you and your family (furred or otherwise) health, happiness, and prosperity now and throughout 2010!

This afternoon I took the dogs to some of the nursing homes that they visit regularly as therapy dogs. Many of the people there don't have family in town or aren't able to get out to celebrate the season, so it is nice to take the boys around and spread some holiday cheer. Gio and Romeo were both decked out in their holiday outfits, complete with jingle bells, faux fur and sparkles. Out visiting buddy, Lily, was also stunning in her festive bells. And with her quick trot, you could hear us coming clear down the hallway!

After visiting our favorite ladies, I took the boys over to my parent's place for Christmas supper. After I whooped some butt at cribbage, the boys supervised the carving of the turkey.

They got their own special supper afterward. Consisting of the raw turkey neck and innards, as well as some sides of mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, gravy and cranberry sauce. Christmas and Thanksgiving are the two days were we deviate from the regular Raw diet and the boys get to indulge in some tasty treats.

Gio, always the carnivore, goes straight for the turkey neck. Romeo, on the other hand, prefers the special sides and chowed down on the gravy and cranberries first.

Of course, both boys left their veggies for last.

I hope you are all able to spend some time with friends and family this holiday season. Wishing you all the important things in life ... wet noses, warm paws, and an unending supply of toys and treats!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas at the Hospital

As I have mentioned before, Romeo visits the Transitional Care Unit at Saskatoon City Hospital every Monday evening. We received an invitation last week for the unit's patient/staff/volunteer Christmas party ... and the therapy dogs were invited, too!

There are 4 St. John Ambulance therapy dogs in that unit: Romeo and Ceilidh visit every Monday evening. Kaibo, a Toy Poodle, goes on Wednesdays, and Oscar, a Golden Retriever, visits on Thursdays. In addition to Romeo, Oscar and Ceilidh were able to make it to the Christmas party as well. Kaibo's owner has a bit of the flu, so wasn't able to make it out to celebrate with us.

The party was a great time! All of the unit's patients and their families gathered in the staff cafeteria. Presents were handed out, carols sung, and some great local musicians played some fun festive tunes. And, of course, there was food!

The dogs had a great time, dancing (spins and twirls) to the music, getting scratches from all of the party-goers, and trying really REALLY hard to ignore all the crumbs dropped on the floor.

Oscar had to leave before I could get a picture of him, but Romeo and Ceilidh were happy to pose by one of the Christmas trees.

Ceilidh's owner is also doing some fundraising for the regional agility team this year, so she has been selling fancy dog collars that she has made. Romeo has much too much hair to show off a fancy collar, and it mats so easily. But Gio's hair is short enough that you sometimes catch a glimpse of his collar through the fluff, so I thought I would do my part to support the team and purchase one. They are really pretty, after all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Secret Santa

Every year I do a Doggy Secret Santa with a group of dog-friends online. We all met because we feed our dogs a raw diet, but we then found out that we have so much more in common. It's really become a close group of friends, so it's nice to have these little traditions to share.

At Christmas, we have a Secret Santa exchange. The boys' present just arrived today. I must say that our Secret Santa went above and beyond this year! All of the gifts are home-made, and she is incredibly talented in the knitting department.

The boys inspected the package, but it was so tightly taped up that I had to take a knife to it to get it open. Puppy teeth just were not going to do the task in any timely manner.

Inside were two super cute boxed and a card. The card indicated that one box was for me and one for the boys (of course, the BIG box is for the dogs).

The boys got a bag of ZiwiPeak treats which was quickly pushed aside in favor of the two AWESOME home-made wool toys! For these dogs to pass over treats in favor of toys is a HUGE deal.

They didn't waste any time in breaking in the new toys. Gio went for the chub toy first.

But then Romeo started tossing around the tug toy and started a vicious game of shake-n-growl. The tug toy is super long, so it was difficult getting it all in one shot ...

So here are the blissed out puppers on each end.

And my present ... the best of all!! Hand-made socks and a super cute knitted toque! They are perfect, and I can't wait to test the toque out in the morning. Needless to say, the socks are already on my feet, and they are toasty warm.

The boys and I say a HUGE "Thank You" to Rondo and Gretta, and their very talented owner.

And, now, some more "breaking in the chub" pictures.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Apparently there has been some dissension among my loyal followers. I have indirectly heard complaints that the "coffee ladies at the mall" are appalled that I haven't written on the blog for over a week.


I believe that some people are under the impression that upkeep on a dog blog is of more importance than upkeep on the actual dogs in said blog. With our normal doggy activities, the frigid weather, the holiday season, and my trying to gain what I have heard people refer to as "a life" ... the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. I do promise, though, that as soon as something exciting and blog-worthy happens, it will be posted here! PROMISE!

In the mean time, to appease the masses, I have some random "playing in the snow" pictures.

I will precede the pictures with a statement, a wish, if you may ...

This year for Christmas I wish for dogs that play normally.

At the present moment I have dogs that play like vicious beasts. It most often looks like a blurry blob of fur and fangs. Like this ...

And to accompany the flying fur and fangs are ear-splitting war cries. Gio, the big burly dog that he is, has a substantial and believable "I'm gonna eat you" war cry. Romeo, on the other hand, has a war cry that could more easily be interpretted as "Oh my God, I'm dying!". Together, it sounds, and often appears, as if big nasty Gio is tearing poor helpless Romeo to shreds. Though, if you hung around long enough, you would notice that it is Romeo that emerges from these play sessions with hair stuck in his teeth. Honestly, I swear it people, my dogs are not eating each other. They really do play like this ... REALLY! No need to walk swiftly past, shooting glares of disgust my way for having vicious baby-killing long-haired Pit Bulls*.

I often have to intercept such play sessions with my own "I mean business" war cry to get the vicious beasts to settle down and play quietly before we are kicked out of our "no dogs allowed" vacant school park by the residents of the surrounding apartment blocks.

Quiet play sessions are short, and frequently interrupted by barking "I'm gonna eat you" play sessions. But when they do happen, they are enjoyable.

Gio snurfles around in the snow, often breaking into a gallop to skim through snow drifts with an open mouth. Commonly referred to as the Sheltie Snow Plow.

Today, during one of Gio's snow plow excursions, he CAUGHT A BIRD! And by "caught" I really mean "found" and by "bird" I really mean "the leftover remains of a kitty snack that had a couple feathers still attached so I can be reasonably secure in saying that it was once a bird". He was very proud of his catch and tried to disguise his frantic crunching by turning his back to me. Despite first appearances, I actually am a little bit smarter than that. Luckily, we play the "drop it" game a lot, so I was able to trick him into dropping his prize by excitedly saying "drop it". Usually this means that he gets a cookie. Usually.

Recognizing that he was thwarted, he left his prize and sulked off to survey his land.

And what, you may ask, was Romeo doing this whole time?

This ...

Romeo finds no joy in exploring. Though maybe it is because he hasn't "caught" a "bird" of his own yet. So until he does, he spends most of his park visits playing "I'm gonna eat you" with Gio. And when he isn't doing that, he stands in front of me and stares. It's a little disconcerting at first, but you get over it quick enough.

* Please note, I adore bully breeds (in the capable hands of the proper owner) and have swooned over a number of them in my time. The sentence to which this footnote refers should be read with the utmost degree of sarcasm. Throw in a good ol' eye-roll for good measure.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pet Health Survey

Hello faithful readers!

Have a spare minute on your hands? Looking to procrastinate for a bit? Then fill out a survey!

Lacey Crispigna of has compiled a survey for pet owners.

Earlier this year, she hosted a survey for raw feeders that came up with some pretty awesome results.

This new survey encompasses all types of feeding (commercial, kibble, canned, homecooked, raw, etc.) and general health of the pets on those diets. She's hoping to get an equal representation from each feeding style, so everyone is welcome to participate.

The survey is relatively short and will only take a couple of minutes to fill out. So GET ON IT!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cold Weather Fun!

The weather has been NASTY here lately. Well, I guess I really shouldn't complain. It is "normal" weather for this time of year, but we were very spoiled by an unseasonably warm November. Now that December has hit us full force so suddenly, it's a little uncomfortable.

-30C to -40C windchills mean that we aren't getting outside very much lately. Potty breaks are conducted in record time, then back at the door ready to come in and warm up.

But, no fear, we have been keeping busy!

I've been working on holiday cards for a couple of card exchanges that I participate in. Notably the Dogs With Blogs card exchange, but also a Sheltie card exchange and a Dogster card exchange. And a Doggy Secret Santa exchange that I do each year with a group of online raw-feeding friends!

For the raw-fed dog Secret Santa, I thought it only fitting that I package the gifts in a raw food box! Sorry, fuzzy giftee(s), there is no raw meat in that box. But some other goodies that you will hopefully enjoy! All items have been Sheltie-Approved.

Gio offered to donate his football/rope toy. But, as you can see, it is well loved. So I convinced him that he would be sad if we gave it away.

Romeo, the eager pooch that he is, helped hold the stiff cardboard wrapping paper in place for me to tape.

The boys were very proud of their wrapping job ...

Until I informed Romeo that we were actually giving the goodies away. He didn't take that piece of information very well ...

We have also been playing a lot of indoor games to keep the boys entertained and me sane. Here is one of our favorites.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Spreading Christmas Cheer

It's that time of year again. The tree is up, the wreath is hung, the egg nog is stocked in the fridge ... and the Dogs With Blogs Christmas cards are starting to arrive!

Our first is from Indiana, Shingo, Molly, and family.

And a beautiful one from Sugar!
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