Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Full and Busy House...

visiting dogs (Dad's away).. too much work ..foster kittens.... foster hamsters ....

all a little crazy round here ....

many thoughts - no time to organize them...

for your viewing pleasure ... hamster haven :)

pretty close to the only non work thing I've found time to do this week

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Farm 'Gility!

Big T need never worry about having clean ears when Thea is around!

Brody loves farm 'gility! Even if it leaves him breathless!

Sampson runs, runs, runs then runs a little more. Then pauses for a MINUTE!

Then right back to it!

Thea unleashes her inner border collie during farm 'gility!

Sally plays lookout while Brody eats a yummy apple.

Sally resting, as much as she ever rests, in between playing.

Winding up to start all over again.

She's OFF!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

two crazy girls share good news ...

to say Thea is thrilled to be out of crate hell is a serious understatement

Sally is very happy to have her little buddy back too

Thea gives as good as she gets don't let Sally's big mouth fool you

in the best news of the day, month, year (so far anyhow!) Sally's liver values plummeted to absolutely normal levels... from 300 (normal range5-90) to 35 .. it makes no sense but given that lately I've been watching three agility dogs be NO agility dogs it's nice to know agility may be possible again :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Practise ...

Thea practised using all four legs today - YAY! Hopefully one more day of crate rest and this episode will be behind us.

I thought I practised 270s with Sally and Brody until I was thinking about it driving back to the city tonight and realized I practised right angles ... whoops - math is not my strong suit .....

It was a cool little zig zag -  table, off to the right first jump - 90 degrees back to second jump  then 90 degrees to weaves ... was not easy to do with Brody and his quirky weaves but he was zooming and having fun ... Sally was awesome too... any direction, any opening handling - nailing it right and left ... (all for a dead water bottle!)

Sampson did a couple of 90 degree jump sequences ... then took off to smell the world - he really is too funny!

Too much fun! I love agility!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Broke Thea ...

Poor pooch has been home less than a week  and she's broken.

Maybe I didn't break her - maybe she broke herself but I feel awful. She ran out with the big dogs last night when I got home and flew off the back deck steps, landed, said "YIIII" and refused to put her hind left foot down for the rest of the night. At bed time she raced up the stairs, leaped up onto our too tall bed, danced around on all four feet then fell asleep. This morning she woke up sound. "YAY - PHEW"  thinks myself and off to work I go.

Come home and a three legged chihuahua tears down the hall to greet me. I admit it. I swore. Picked her up. Carried her outside where she bravely hopped around had a pee and came to me to be carried back in. While Thea is a 6.5 pound little dog she is NOT a dog who chooses to be carried anywhere, ever.

She hopped a little, cuddled on my lap for awhile then decided even three legged it was time to play with Sally. Oh Thea!

She was not happy to be kept quiet.
Wonder if she'll wake up in the am sound again? My instinct says this is more serious than Sally's lameness of three weeks ago - let's hope I'm wrong! Love love love the pocket rocket ... hate to see her the least bit sore.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


After her long long summer vacation with her other mother (the amazing Judy Au) the brat is back! She's a little ... ummm fluffy and a little greyier around her eyes then she was in June but her adaptablity is as evident as ever. She has been racing around here like she hasn't been away a minute!

Thea, Margaret and RP -lucky sister! 

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

hard times...

the dogs have been displaced by the real world of work ...

Really? All over?

They go from being central to all day every day  to snoozing from 7:50 to anytime between 4:30 (on the best of days) to 7:00 (the worst of days - and I work VERY hard to make sure they are rarely completely alone for that long)

Sampson goes to daycare daily - he was crated his first year with us but he is quite anxious crated and is quite a mess by the time I get home ... he loves his buddies at Parkers Pet Care ... his human buddies that is - they have indiviual runs and play yard time and that suits both him and me best!
Sally goes to daycare with him occasionally - no more than once a week as she is too smart - she gets out of runs and works on her take over of the human race ... she doesn't need to rehearse that nonsense too often!

Brody snoozes at home. he is pretty bouncy when I get home but he sleeps quite a bit when I am home anyhow so I suspect he just follows he sun spots around.

The dogs get treats (chicken strips, stuffed Kongs etc) and meals in dispensers so everything takes awhile.

I don't love it, Big T doesn't love it, the dogs don't love it but it works for us!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

the sound of happiness ...

Sally is barking, dropping toys at our feet and wanting to PLAY, WORK, RUN, JUMP do anything that requires ACTION!

She was quite sound to watch yesterday but not wired to go - today she's wired and raring for action. Did some flatwork with her (directionals with me in motion too) and she stayed sound. (I'd say she stayed keen but that's a given with her no matter if she's sound or not).

Really, I'm fine now - let's do more!

Brody was gimpy Thursday but fine fine fine Friday. He has invented a new game - "fetch/zoom" with deadfall apples. He watches me collect (for the rabbits or compost) and starts humming. He has taught me that I am to pick a Brody mouth sized one and roll it across the lawn towards him. He pounces on it - then flounces around tail wagging furiously. Phase two involves getting me to chase him making monster fingers at him while he zips and zags around. He drops the apple when asked - and then the game starts over. He enjoyed Sally being rested apparently!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

how do you manage a maniac? (living with a dog smarter than me!)

A firecracker .. but not a maniac
not a maniac - in fact a very steady rockstar

uusual? yes
quirky? yes
maniac ? no

Sally is lame. Three legged, won't touch her toe to the ground lame. She came up sore in the very last 5 minutes of our walk at Point Petre. My fellow walkers were worried and so was I but she is hard on herself. Lame for a few minutes is not unheard of for the Sally girl. Since we got home she has been fairly good about resting but knowing Sally it won't last long.

Why do you push yourself so hard Sally?
This is an uncrateable dog. She will happily lie in a crate for as long as it suits her so people don't realize how uncrateable she it. For Pete's sake I can put her in the shortest of xpens and she'll stay in it for ages as long as it suits her. The minute no, the nanosecond, being confined doesn't suit her she leaves. I have no idea how Houdini dog has gotten out of some crates (including a varikennel). When she is locked in a run with a lid like she was for 3 days two weeks ago she hurts herself. She'd better not be lame for long and moderate rest better be the only recommendation I get. Crating her for 3-6 weeks would either require me to take her to work daily or to take a leave of absence (and while my employers are sympathetic and supportive of the animal work I do I'm pretty sure our huge HR department would have a melt down if I requested a leave to watch a dog in a crate!)

This made me think about life with nutty dogs. (Yup, more than one, I've had my share)
Living with them is largely about management. The old adage a tired dog is a good dog is very true - but if you get a maniac too fit tiring them out can be difficult. I have learned that mental work is an important component to the kind of tired that lets me surf the net in the evening. Actually truly ignoring a maniac can be tough. When Sally barks because she needs wants to do SOMETHING, AnYtHiNg (right NOW) doing nothing is virtually impossible if I'm a) on the phone b) talking in person to someone. When I am alone she doesn't bark at me - she simply stares optimistically at me so I KNOW I have taught her situations that I will respond to a bark. And to be fair to her any response on my part is fine - asking her to do directional turns, lie down, or throwing a toy for her are all perfectly acceptable reactions for me to offer her. My reward for being so easily trained? Silence.  Golden, sweet silence.

Decide what is acceptable and stick to it. If going downstairs ahead of your dog matters to you - then do it every single time. (in my house I actually send the dogs ahead of me)

Routines are something I had always striven to have BS*. Maniacal dogs love routine. It lets them predict opportunities to be nutty which, in my experience, is not always a great thing. Sally actually does better with a little variation in life. If food always appeared at exactly the same time I'm sure she would develop a complex routine of her own to enhance her eating experience. I vary the dispensers she eats from too - as well as the location. Anything to make her think! Most dogs will learn to go to one mat/place/bed when sent to it (say when the doorbell rings)  ..  Sally understands the concept of place and will go to anything that fits the criteria in her head .. include the stairs in the front hallway.

Giving Sally jobs was a big part of appreciating life with a nut. If we didn't give her work she'd make up stuff to do and that just wasn't always the best plan (Remember this silly job? She still does that). Sally is responsible for supervising my work with the rabbits and chickens and watching for escapees. She tells me when a cat uses a litter box (she came up with this one but it works for us). She helps us weed and wood and shows us the path on the atv. She watches for whoever is out to come home. She is fabulous at entertaining other dogs who need to be entertained! She collects toys that are left around. She would certainly be type A if human. The word "No" is not in her vocabulary.

Our Whole Lot of Dog takes a whole lot of thinking ... and she's worth every wonderful second of it!

* BS - before Sally - a time I can hardly recall already ...