Friday, September 23, 2011

A Walk In The Park

I don't really have anything interesting to say today, so why don't I just show you some pretty pictures? Okay, good...
Here are some shots I took while at a trip to the park with; neighbour-dog Zuzu, 7 and Cooper.

Cooper's idea of a good game of fetch involves me throwing the ball, Cooper chases it down, then he finds a hill and proceeds to roll the ball down the hill for chasing. Seriously dog, do you not see my standing here with the big, long, ball throwing device? (aka chuck-it)... Cooper likes to dictate his own fun

7's got the whole "fetch" thing down..."If I just stare at her long enough, she'll throw it!"

"Hover Cooper"

7 says: "Anything you can do, I can do better!"

Zuzu doesn't know what balls are for, but she really likes the effect they have on my boys. She spent her time racing off in hot pursuit of whoever was running down the ball. For the most part this was a harmless, fun game but sometimes, it looked like this...

Target Acquired

Locked on

Engaging thrusters

Contact in 3...2...

"Holy SH*T! I'm sorry, I didn't mean it...don't EAT me!!!"

Friday, September 9, 2011

Gone SuperDoggin'

Our 8 days of SuperDog fun is over and now it's back to real life. I'm sad it's over but I'm not missing the crazy, long, hectic days. 7 (as always) surprised me! He was such a little star, he gave me everything he had in all that I asked of him. The actual performances were fantastic. He jumped great big jumps and ran as fast as his legs would carry him in the relays. His biggest accomplishment, though (in my eyes)was his pat 'n chat sessions after the show. 7 is a very fearful dog when it comes to strangers and children are the devil's spawn. I didn't think he would be able to meet any of his "fans" at all. He proved me right the first day. We tried to double up with one of his favourite doggy friends so the attention wouldn't be focused all on him. Too much, too fast. The second the first hand touched him, 7 was off in panic mode. I got him out of there fast and we rethought our strategy. Mostly I just gave up until I talked to a few of the team members and they gave me some hope with the stories of their fearful dogs who learned to tolerate (if not enjoy!) the attention. We started him back again slowly, placing him in spots where only a couple people could get to him. That way, I could stop anyone from petting him and just asked them to feed him and get him to do tricks. He loved it! Once he started seeing people as his own personal vending machines he was less freaked out when they snuck a hand on his back to pat him. In no time at all, he started allowing multiple kids pet him gently on his back and a little on his head. I just kept up a steady stream of treats and for the most part he stayed below his threshold. I'm not sure if he'll ever be comfortable enough to handle the full pat 'n chat, but I'm so pleased with the progress he made that I'm happy to take what I can get.
Here are a couple videos of his performances...

This one is a little long but if you skip to the 2 min mark and the 3 min mark you'll see him jump 5 then 6 bars.

Look for 7 running 3rd on the far side:

Monday, July 25, 2011

He did it!

I just recieved an email from Amy White the Operations Manager of the SuperDogs. We've been asked back for another apprenticeship. If 7 shows "SuperDog potential" they want him as an official cast member from Sept 1-5!
I'm SO excited, I can't wait :D

Okay, now I'm a little nervous.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's fill you in!...

So, I suppose I should actually give a real update about what's been going on during my blog hiatus. I've officially quit flyball with 7. It was fun while it lasted, but I found it to be too much pressure to be on a team of such a high calibre (they were the Regional champions for, like, the past bazillion years). I guess I never caught the "bug" the way I did with agility. That's all well and good though, it'll be nice to have an evening off!
I've been investing more time in Cooper lately. While any type of formal training still puts him into a self-hating spiral. We've been having fun shaping nonsense tricks and he's LOVING the tracking we're doing with Aunty Jessica. While I still see him stress a bit if we go to far, too fast it's nothing like it was before. I think he really enjoys this game and it's nice seeing him puffing up and prancing when he "rescues" his lost Aunty.
Jazz is the same old Jazz. I'm going to make an effort to take him out on little neighbourhood walks, as he really enjoys those and I think they'll be good to help him stay in shape. He's still hiking with me 3-4 times per week, but his muscle loss in the past year or so has worried me. Jazz is a dog who is held together essentially by pure muscle. There is not a structurally sound area of his body...gotta love back yard bred designer mutts!
7 is continuing to be a dork. A lovely, happy, fun, slightly neurotic dork. With the longer days we've been doing more training in the yard. I've been focusing on jump grids and some flatwork to get my handling up to snuff. I am taking a break from trialing right now, I'm telling people it's to really focus on getting his running contacts but in truth it's mostly due to a sever case of "don'tgotnomoney"itis.
We just had our last SuperDogs training session/tryout tonight and so I guess I'll have to wait and see if we hear from them. Remember how last year, I was all excited because the "director" told me that if I took a few flyball lessons 7 would be ready for the team this year? Well, she got canned, so now I have to prove how super fantastic 7 is to a whole new person. It's alright though, these sessions were pretty much the most fun thing 7 has ever participated in, as evidenced by these photos...

Those eyes and ears say it all, don't they?
Apparently, running wildly fast down straight lines of 10" jumps with the occasional tunnel thrown in is THEMOSTFUNEVER!

Well, that's about it, I'll leave you with some photos of 7 at his first Regionals. Honestly, it was such a long time ago, I can't remember exactly how each run went but I do remember that each run got better and better. 7 was dealing with (and still is) a sudden-onset bug phobia. As in, he decided after getting a few fleas when I came back from Mexico that there were bugs crawling on him ALL THE TIME and the slightest amount of stress will send him into a tizzy of itching and flank biting that would put a crack head to shame. This made our weekend interesting as he would decide in the middle of a course that he had to stop and bite at the imaginary bugs that were crawling all over him. This caused a very large number of refusal faults. Judges just don't like it when your dog slides to a stop directly in front of tunnels to nibble his flank. Besides that, though, I was extremely happy with him. Each run was better than the last, culminating in a grand finale...we got the gamble in our last run on Sunday. Yup, my baby dog executed a flawless masters gamble (and a pretty hard one at that)...couldn't have asked for a better end to the weekend!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So...What's new?

Don't take my lack of posts to indicate nothing's going on here. Quite the opposite in fact, since my last post; 7 competed in his first Regionals (and my first Regionals without Jazz *sadface*), he's also been taking SuperDogs training classes (which are the most fun EVER!), Cooper and 7 are learning tracking from their Aunty Jessica, and Jazz ate about a Kilogram of pork ribs...That last one isn't really post-worthy but I'm writing while looking at him sprawled out on the floor, unable to move and more closely resembling a beach ball than a dog.
I could post about all those things...or I could show you pictures of 7 having fun in the sun!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saving Lives and Taking Names

I just got back from my trip to Cancun and I have to say, that was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
Just to be a part of something like that was unbelievable. I feel very changed and I'm thrilled with the new outlook it's given me. Never before have I been surrounded by so many people I've come to profoundly admire and respect for their unfailing dedication to the animals. Ever day on our bus-ride to and from the clinic each and every person would scan the scenery outside their window. The silence would be punctuated by the occasional call of "Dog!" or "Cat!" at which point everyone would swivell simultaneously to look out the caller's window. Everyone was just so anxious to check on the well-being of each and every animal they came in contact with.
I assisted mainly in the dog recovery room which took in the dogs after their surgery, while they were still asleep. We would work fast to get their nails clipped, ears cleaned, incision area scrubbed, picked ticks and applied flea/tick prevention. Simultaneously we'd be monitoring them to make sure their breathing stayed normal, gums stayed pink and that they started to wake up in the average time (which changed daily as the vets had to keep changing their med protocol due to shortages). Occasionally I would help in the surgery room, cleaning instruments (NOT a job for the squeamish, I find out :D) and on the last day I helped bring dogs in from outside and get them on the table. They would come in, having been given some pre-meds so they were usually pretty dopey. I would shave a small patch of hair on their front leg and then hold the dogs for the vet tech to place an IV catheter. The tech would then administer more anesthesia to put them competely out and then they would be intubated. The small dogs and puppies were the worst, squirming and crying. Of course, everyone's favourites were the Pit Bulls! So stoic and loving they never gave us any trouble. I think I enjoyed working in recovery the most. As the dogs woke up you got to spend some time cuddling and getting to know them (if they were friendly, of course! The aggressive ones got muzzled and put in crates as soon as they started waking up)
I went on the Sunday before the clinic started to help set up. While we were there, one dog was brought in that was very near death (unfortunately, he had to be put down the next day due to overwhelming health problems) as well as a very sweet female dog who had a wire wrapped around her paw, right down to the bone. Both these dogs got treated without us even having unpacked all the supplies! They also did a street-dog round up on Sunday which introduced me to these two...

I fell in love with the mom-dog, "Lola," immediately. She was just the sweetest, most playful young dog! She surprised me with her outgoingness and super cuddling skills. Her son, who we named "Stretch" proved himself to be an extremely endearing brat and he soon had me wrapped around his tiny paw as well. Of course, it didn't take me long to attach a tag to their collars that read "EMMA'S". Lola is now being fostered by 7-sitter extraordinaire Erin, and "Stretch", now renamed Luongo, has wormed his way into my brother's heart and that's where he'll stay!
I have many stories to tell about my trip but this post has already gotten too long. I'll just leave you with some pictures, to give a better idea of what it was like...