Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Birthday Brody ...

we added another 1825 to the count that totals over 5000 days of living with Brody.

He's very blind, and pretty deaf, and sleeps-a lot.

He's 16 and both fills and breaks my heart daily now.

He still hates being groomed ... and I worry about him hurting himself torquing away from me so his legs are matted and long...sigh

He loves his meals and loves to be with us - it's pretty weird leaving him in the house when we go for walks and to town but it's easier for him. We walk around the  yard together every day and that's often quite the adventure for him - tall plants, hills, rocks all stop him sometimes.

He is game - he is so very game ... He falls down, and up,  the backyard steps (not house stairs he is carried for them now) and shakes it off then comes at them again ... I really should get a clip of him doing the stairs - he is super man about them - bing bang bounce in impressive leaps (unless he crashes). He eats as if every meal might be his last - lying flat on the floor savouring each bite gleefully.

I miss my constant sidekick when I'm outside (and here I'm out or working online or asleep pretty much) but Brody is nearly always asleep at my feet if he can be. I miss my fabulous training buddy - what a  play dog he was.

I am so very glad to have my teacher, my friend, still with me. If ever there was a dog to remind you that they are partners in the journey - that forcing your will on them is not going to be fun - Brody is that dog. That Love the One you Got dog ... he was willing to do so much together that he probably wouldn't have chosen to do (agility, media, humane ed and more) but doing it with respect for him was important.

Regionals, qualifying for Nationals and picking up pretty ribbons every time we went

Happy Birthday dear Brody. I wish you all the good, always.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A peril of social media ....

No not the bullying, or cyberstalking, nor even the never ending parade of food making me hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

It's the grief

the people murdered, robbed, with lives destroyed  in myriad ways

a friend of a friends little cousin is facing some terrible cancer

a horse I was watching hoping she'd be pulled from a kill buyer ended up shipped for meat ... sigh

it's relentless, it's timeless

and then there are the ones who rip a little piece of my heart out

The beautiful Penny, no longer with us. taken by her human Tanya   

My heart was so full of grief on hearing the news about Penny my eyes leaked (the loss was sudden and unexpected and lovely Tanya did everything possible and then a little more). Too recently Holly lost Parker - a duo who inspired me to keep working with Sally  as much as Susan Garrett and Buzz did. Lisa lost Walter a dog dear to my heart. Joanne lost Georgie... the list could go on and on and does.  Social media reminds us of our connections to each other. There is perhaps nothing to both dread, and value, more about it.

Tanya, Holly, Lisa, Andrea, Joanne, Kathryn, Devon, Sheila ... the list is long, and incomplete but  my heart aches every time I type, and say,  the words "so sorry for your loss, you were so very lucky to have loved each other". But repetition makes them true not trite. My eyes have leaked for each loss and I know they will leak more. (rotten allergies!!)  I will not get tired of reminding myself  that the hardest part of love is the inevitable loss that comes with it. The opportunity to connect to people in such trying, impossible times is a gift.  Such is the power of social media.

Penny always reminded me of Sally.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Doing. Is not teaching. It just isn't.


I have a new teaching gig.

Teaching teachers  in an online format. I've taught many teachers over the years but  face to face and either for a very short time (workshops) or over the course of  years (teachers in my schools). This is new. This has me thinking.

Because I can effectively teach, or do whatever,  does not mean I can teach you how to teach. Because I have a national title does not mean I should be teaching a dog sport. If my horse won some blingy fabulous class at some super duper show that does not mean I can teach you to do the same thing. Sigh.

So, without further ado ...

Good teachers are

10. Enthusiastic about the subject matter.  The topic might be teaching scent work, how to post on a horse or mathematical equations.The subject matters not one little tiny bit. The enthusiasm does. The passion does. Passion is infectious.

9. Able to step outside their traditional way of thinking to present an alternative way of accomplishing something. Not everyone learns the same way. The flexibility required to be an excellent teacher is staggering at times. When you are working with a person trying to teach an animal that ability to present an alternative to your normal way of doing things may become very very potent indeed.

8. Teaching all students no matter if they are the smartest. most talented, wealthiest,  or most wonderful person in the room. Appreciating that you can respect someone you may, or may not, like becomes critical to good, joyful teaching.Every student deserves to learn.

7.  Patient ...So so very patient. At least able to realize when they are getting frayed so they can step back and regroup. Yelling and teaching have gone together a very long time. They shouldn't.

6. Setting the bar high,  then a little higher.  I am not talking about unattainable goals. That is demotivating, depressing and even cruel.  Helping students achieve all that they can is a whole other matter and if your students can surpass your highest achievement what a wonderful compliment that is to you!

5.  Always learning. Always and forever. For your students, for yourself and for the love of learning. Michelangelo said it simply "I am still learning". Me  too, and this I hope for you too.

Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
Read more at:
Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.
Read more at:

4. Allow errors and mistakes. Trite, but true - we learn from mistakes. Teachers and students both have to be allowed and able  to make, identify and work on gaps, holes and down right mistakes.

3.  Knowledgeable ... do I even have to say this? Stay a chapter or two ahead of students. Know where to find answers to questions that you aren't certain of.

2. Positive, and no I don't mean all Pollyanna and sunshine and fake rah rah sis boom bah. I mean helping people build from strengths not tearing them down. Scaffolding works. Identify how to best help students get where they want to go and teach one needed piece at a time. I, personally, love mastery learning - one brick at a time gets built. 

1. Advocates for  students. (Human and animal). : "take a break" "try again" "what can we learn from that".  are what you'll hear good teachers telling students ... or  "The ring needs better light" "Please wait your turn" "please keep your dogs under control when taking breaks".to others

and good teachers are professional ... they don't slag other instructors, whine about students endlessly, sit on their phones during lessons .... you get my drift ...