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, February 26, 2010

Go Canada Go!

So I actually have a good excuse for not writing for a while. The Olympics has been taking up all of my time. Now, I know you are all asking, did I win Gold? Where can I find coverage of your amazing championship showing? Silly you! I know I can easily be mistaken for an Olympic athlete, and my physique rivals those fabulous Olympians, but the spotlight just isn't for me. So I leave it up to those who enjoy competing in front of the whole world, and I man my position on the comfy chair in front of the TV, cheering them on from the anonymity of my living room.

Anyways, I've been glued to the Olympic coverage for the past 2 weeks and that, combined with my already busy schedule, results in no blog posting.

The boys and I are busy busy busy! There is a BIG trial coming up in a couple of months, and I am aiming for a "Big Ribbon". The Canadian Shetland Sheepdog Association National show and trial is being held in combination with the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club's annual show April 30 - May 2. Shelties from across the country will be gathering in Saskatoon to compete in obedience, Rally-O, conformation, and agility. Of course, I will be focusing on Rally-O, but may also dabble in a couple other venues. But details aren't nailed down yet, so I'll keep those plans secret for the moment. As of now, the boys and I are amping up the practice for Rally-O. They are already 100/100 scoring dogs, so we are now aiming at increasing the speed of execution. Fast, precise, and consistent. If I can nail those things down, then we are in a good position to take a "Big Ribbon". *fingers crossed*

Therapy dog visits are continuing as normal. Gio continues to visit his ladies twice a month, and Romeo patrols City Hospital every Monday. This year, Saskatchewan St. John Ambulance therapy dog program is focusing on child certification tests. There are two levels of tests in the therapy dog program: the base level adult certification test where dogs are tested to visit adults, and the child certification test where dogs are tested to visit pediatric wards, day care centers, schools, or anywhere with children. There are two child tests planned for Saskatoon, and two for Regina in 2010. Since I am the one doing the evaluations in Saskatoon, I can't very well test my own dogs. So the boys and I will be trucking off to Regina in a couple of months to be tested (and hopefully certified) there.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Gio has been having some more trouble with seizures. For a while, he was having one seizure about every 4 months. That is a level that I can accept. But recently he has been having one seizure every couple of weeks. I don't like that frequency, so last Friday I took him back to the vet for some blood work to see where things are at. Everything looks good, so we are just going to bump up his phenobarb levels a teeny bit and see what happens. So far so good!

And, of course, the photo project is continuing!

From last week:
Last Monday was Family Day, a random long weekend holiday that some Canadian provinces have picked up. The going theory is that it was added in the middle of February due to the increased suicide rates in that month. Regardless, it is a long weekend and I love it! Since the sun was shining brightly and the weather was actually kinda sorta warm, I took Gio to run at the park behind our house. The park was empty, so Mr. Run and Bark could run and bark to his heart's content. And that he did!

And from this week:
I have had plans now for weeks to do a particular shoot, but it keeps getting pushed to the side. I've now been lured by the sunlight two weeks in a row. Yesterday I got home from work full of plans to set up the shoot that has been backburnered for a couple of weeks, then I saw this beautiful square of bright bright sunlight on the wall and plans changed. During the winter months, it is generally pitch black when I go to work in the morning, and pitch black when I come home from work in the evening. So this sunlight on the wall when I got home from work made me very excited. First real sign of spring!

I quite like this picture. The only thing I would change would require home renovations. I wish I had a large window that would be at the right angle to catch this beam of sunlight that didn't have that extra bar down the middle. But that is a minor complaint on my part.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't Look at Me! ...

... I'm HIDEOUS!!

It is week 6 of our 52 Weeks for Dogs project. This was supposed to be last week's picture, but when the group challenge was introduced, this got pushed back to this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the boys over to a friends place for a visit. I had some business to discuss with my friend regarding an upcoming therapy dog test, and the boys needed a play date. Two birds!

All 4 dogs, my friend's two Miniature Poodles, Gina and Katie, and my two guys, are therapy dogs. Well behaved, well mannered, well trained dogs. And they all get along quite well. But, as dogs will be dogs, Gina has one rule that she insists upon. One rule that Gio was not aware of before.


Gio now knows that Gina has a rule. He's a fast learner.

So, in light of Gio's new manly nose scar, I set up a photo shoot to tell the story.
The idea was to create a photo that suggests the nose scar (and the imagined emotions that might go along with that), without saying "Look! Nose scar!" So I took one of Gio's favorite tricks, "Are you sad?", and played around with the angles to give an impression of shame or embarrassment about his "horrible disfigurement".

I was quite thrilled with this week's submission because it required very little editing! I enjoy playing around with GIMP and learning all the tricks to making a photo look its best. But having taken a photo that didn't require any special touches is a pretty cool feeling! Just a slight adjustment to brightness, not even any cropping. *chuff*

And, before I sign off for today, thanks to everyone that sent good wishes to Gio after his seizure on Monday. He's feeling much better and there have been no more seizures since. He still seems a little dopey or head-shakey, but nothing has manifested from it. I'm still going to try and get him into the vet for some more blood work updates next week. Want to give it some time for his phenobarb levels to even out again, as I doped him up pretty good after the twitch on Monday.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Look

Yes, you are in the right place. Same crazy Shelties, same copious amounts of Sheltie hair.

Gio has been having trouble with seizures again (think it is time for another vet visit to check on the status of things), and last night was no exception. I was jarred awake by the sound of a Sheltie hitting the closet doors at just after midnight last night. Gio had fallen off the bed and was having a seizure on the floor. I don't know if he fell off the bed because of the seizure, or if the fall triggered the seizure. Regardless, it happened. And it took a good long time for him to settle down again. By the time he was able to lay down and go to sleep, it was nearly 5am and I had long since written off the idea of getting some shut-eye and putting in a full days work today. So, since I was awake already and Gio seemed to be settled down without too much twitching, I trudged off to work much earlier than normal, put in a couple of hours, and headed back home for a nap. Seems as if the world is trying to prevent me from sleeping though, as the phone started ringing about half hour after nap-time started. I ended up getting a couple of sleep sessions in, but now, at about 2:30 in the afternoon, I have discarded that idea as well.

Normally, I would be happy for the extra daylight time to practice some photography. But with my main subject still out of sorts mentally, I hardly think a session under the bright lights is suitable today. Hence, the change of decor around here! I had to fiddle with something, and as Life is Better With Sheltie Hair is hovering around it's year and a half mark, I figured it was time for a bit of a change.

So here it is ... enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Finally ...

... a blog post NOT related to the 52 Weeks for Dogs project!

It seems like the only blog-time I have allotted myself over the past few weeks is to keep you all updated on the photography project. As much fun as that is, that is not what this blog is about! It's about the crazy antics that my boys get up to.

So ... back to the crazy! And by "crazy", I really mean "your average run at the park". Sorry to get your hopes up.

The weather is beautiful here today, despite the overcast gray-ness of it all. It's warm enough to venture out to the park without worrying about frozen paws or frostbitten camera trigger-fingers.

The boys were thrilled to get to run at the park again. It's been either too cold or too hectic to get out for runs as often as they would like. And luckily for us, despite the fabulous weather, the park was pretty empty. Apart from a couple of kids tobagganing down the hill (read: small mound) and a couple more having a snowball fight in the distance, we had the whole place to ourselves. I like this park because it is usually pretty empty, and whatever kids we do happen across tend to either ignore the dogs or want to throw a ball for them. Both of which are perfectly fine with me! The park is also big enough that the barking fool (ie. Gio) can bark his fool head off all he wants, and while I am sure that some of the surrounding houses can hear him, they are far enough away that it isn't too distracting or annoying. (I hope!)

So, there was lots of running ...

And for Gio, running = barking, so there was lots of that, too ...

Then Romeo wanted to play "King of the Castle" with the snow piles, a game that Gio finds no real joy in and grudgingly tolerates ...

I was occasionally throwing snow clumps for the dogs to chase, when one magically turned into a stick!!
This resulted in more running ... and barking ...

So what, you may ask, is the eventual outcome of all this barking?

Glamorous spittle strings, that's what!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where Dogs Shouldn't Be

This week of the 52 Weeks for Dogs project included an optional challenge. The challenge: take a photo using the theme of "Places Dogs Shouldn't Be".

I initially had a totally different photo idea in mind, but when the challenge was issued, I couldn't pass it up! So my original idea got back-burnered until next week, and instead I started wracking my brain for unique ideas that play into the challenge theme.

I decided to take a little creative liberty in the process and finally settled on: Dogs should not be used in place of ...

Flower Vases
(only one flower was harmed in the making of these photos)

I liked the idea so much, that I had to take a couple more shots that included both dogs. I really liked how this one turned out, with both dogs glancing at the camera out the corner of their eye.

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