Friday, August 29, 2008

Reminiscing, Part 2

This is Duncan the day after Reyna and I brought him home. He was 13 weeks old. I made the mistake of mentioning to his breeder that I was surprised his ears weren’t up, since Reyna’s were up at 10 weeks. The breeder immediately taped his ears, assuring me that they would stand up on their own soon. I had the vet remove the tape during our first visit, but it was too late. It took Duncan’s ears almost a month to come out of that position.

This Is Horrible

If you have a dog, are going to get a dog, or just buy toys for someone else's dog, please read Chai's story.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Long Weekend

Three whole days off...I can't wait! And for once, I only have one thing scheduled for the weekend. Duncan has freestyle practice Saturday evening for the Mutt Strutt coming up on the 6th. Other than that, the three days are fair game. I'm going to get a few chores done, try to finish my Hawaii scrapbook, and maybe take the dogs swimming once or twice. Duncan's life jacket is here, so we'll test that out (if I can get him in the water, that is). If he won't get in with a bit of encouragement, I may break out the canoe (the pond owner doesn't allow people to swim). I doubt he'll stay on the bank if both Reyna and I are in the water. And if I get all wild and crazy, I might actually veg on the couch or take a nap!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reminiscing, Part 1

This is what Reyna looked like the day I brought her home, a mere 10 weeks old. I picked her up on a Wednesday, and I was not happy about having to do that. I had a business trip scheduled for the following week, but the current owner would not agree to keep Reyna for a few extra days. Thankfully, one of my coworkers fell madly in love with Reyna and agreed to keep her while I was out of town. Of course, Reyna was so stinking cute at that age that I had to almost forcibly remove her from my coworker’s office so I could take her home again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When The Dogs Are Away...

I day-camped the pups last Thursday so I could get some chores done at home (ever tried to mop the floor with two big dogs chasing the mop?) and I let the cats go outside for a little while to enjoy the warm, sunny day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Working Girl

Dad went to SAR training with us yesterday morning, and Donny made sure he had a pretty good view of what we did. Unfortunately, he only took three pictures. Dad said later that he’s having trouble getting past the idea that he’s not wasting film. Oh, well. Maybe I’ll be able to get more pictures sometime (Jeff, are you available really early some Sunday?). And at least I have these.

For this exercise, our “victim” was hiding in the woods to the far left of the field, and she had entered those woods from several hundred yards even farther to the left. This means she didn’t lay a track in the field or at the edge of the woods. We started at the far right, and were given boundaries (basically, the tree line on either side of the field). Reyna wasn’t given a scent article, so we had to work the field until she caught the scent of someone new. That’s really all Reyna had to go on – we were looking for a person who hadn’t been hanging out with the rest of the group. Reyna’s way too good at this…we’d only worked the field for a minute or so before she caught the scent. And I’d like to point out that this was pretty large field – about 8 acres, nearly square. I followed Reyna to the wood line, where she caught a strong scent from the path the person had taken into the woods. She went along the wood line until she found an easy way in, and then went straight to the person. I think Dad was a bit disappointed that we got up at 5:00, drove an hour, and it took Reyna less than 10 minutes from start to finish. What can you do, though, when that’s all the time she needed?

Following the scent.

A successful find.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just A Bit Of Bragging

Reyna’s been going to search and rescue practice sessions Sunday mornings for the last few weeks. She’s been having an absolutely wonderful time, which is what makes getting up at 5:00am worthwhile. The trainer, Donny, has been giving us difficult searches, making Reyna really work for her finds. The other dogs get to follow relatively fresh tracks directly to the “victim.” Reyna, though, gets sent to the far end of a patch of woods and has to search several acres with nothing more than a scent article. She’s been doing really well, and always finds the right person.

This past Sunday, Donny saw Reyna coming out of the woods after a long, successful search and said that it was very obvious that she truly loves SAR work. It must have been the combination of the big doggy grin and the smug expression on her face that gave it away. I told Donny that Dad was planning to come to this Sunday’s session, and so I wanted him to give Reyna something really good so she could show off. Donny laughed and said that Reyna is so good at SAR that everything she does is showing off. Then he said he wished we could have taped her session from the previous Sunday (a wind-scenting practice with no trail), because she was text-book perfect. Let me tell you, that just gives me a warm fuzzy, knowing that my girl not only loves what she’s doing, but that she’s also very good at it.

With luck, I’ll finally get some pictures of her working. This coming Sunday is another wind-scenting exercise. We’ll be in a huge field with tall grass, so the victim will be able to hide easily. Reyna will have to work the field to find the person, using nothing but the scent cone to lead her to the right place. Donny said he’d put Dad on a hill beside the field so he’ll have a good view (and hopefully take some good pictures!).


This is Coop, not yet 24 hours old.

And here he is with his big sister, Peyton.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome To The World

My nephew, Joshua Cooper, joined the family last night at 10:58pm. He is 8lbs 1oz, and 21 inches long. He was 18 days early, but there weren't any complications. Mom and baby are both doing great. Happy birth day, Coop!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sometimes, Change Is Okay

If you looked at the post below, I’m sure you’d agree that its time to get Reyna a new ball. Unfortunately, she doesn’t always feel the same way. Normally, it takes about 2 days for me to convince Reyna that her old, nasty, destroyed ball really is gone and that the new, mostly round ball is what she has to play with. This time, the transition went much easier, though. I had a couple of extra basketballs in the garage, because if I see them on sale at Target or WalMart for $3, I’ll go ahead and get a few (because I’m smart like that. And because, God forbid, we ever again go through the drama that occurred when PetSmart suddenly discontinued that particular toy and I had to scramble around to find a suitable replacement). I got a ball out of the garage, poked a hole in it to get enough air out so she could carry it without getting her teeth stuck, showed it to her, and threw it across the yard. She immediately picked up the old ball and brought it near me to throw. So I threw it in the trash. She looked fairly distressed for a few minutes, but then Duncan saved the day. He picked up Reyna’s new ball. And we just can’t have that. This morning, Reyna was happily running after her shiny new half-flat basketball.

Monday, August 04, 2008

That Was Just...Weird

Something very odd happened this weekend. We had a storm roll through on Saturday, not a major storm, just some thunder, rain and wind. I was standing at the counter between the living room and kitchen, working on Reyna’s scrapbook, when Reyna suddenly wedged herself between me and the wall, pressing herself against my legs. My first thought was that she wanted some affection and then she’d go back to playing. Turns out, I was wrong. As I was petting her, I realized it had started thundering. After a couple of minutes, I asked her if she was okay, and she looked at me with a very anxious expression on her face. I petted her a bit longer, and when she finally took a couple of steps away from me, I went back to work. Within a few seconds, she was back between me and the wall, leaning against my legs. I walked over to the chair so I could sit down, and she walked with me, glued to my side. I sat, she sat and leaned, and I petted and rubbed her for several minutes. She didn’t give any indication that she was ready to be unattached, so we went over to the couch to get a bit more comfortable. Duncan woke up from his nap, decided to join us, and crawled up on the couch at the far end, and then went back to sleep. Reyna sat on the floor next to me for a while, then laid down, the whole time in as much contact with my body as she could manage. When the rain actually started, Miss Stubborn-Independent-Don’t-Help-Me-I-Can-Do-It-Myself-I’m-Not-Scared-Of-Anything (except bags of leaves in front of the neighbor’s house) actually climbed up on the couch and laid down BETWEEN me and Duncan. This is a dog who never shares the couch with Duncan, only rarely shares it with me, and even then, I’m not allowed to pet her more than twice because she’ll get up and leave. But she curled up in the center cushion and not only let me pet her, she wouldn’t let me stop petting her. She stayed there the entire time it rained, just looking out the door and watching the rain swirl around. I don’t know what was going on with the storm, because it certainly wasn’t the worst we’ve seen, but my girl, who has never been scared of a storm, was extremely agitated. Not in the sense that “normal” dogs would be – there was no pacing, no whining. But for her to lean against me like that for so long, and then to willingly get on the couch between me and Duncan...she was definitely freaked out about the storm. After the rain stopped and the thunder faded, she hopped off the couch and stretched out on the floor. I could tell she was worn out from the drama of the event, but she wasn’t quite relaxed enough to take a nap. Duncan, of course, slept through the whole thing.

Happy Birthday, Mycroft

Mikey turns 8 years old today. Happy birthday, Mikey!

Friday, August 01, 2008

That’s One Way To Get Your Heart Pumping

It was one of those times when dreams and reality clash. I don’t remember what I had been dreaming, all I remember is that I had just shut my truck door. At that exact moment, real-world Belle yowled. I’m guessing one of the other cats had the nerve to get too close to her, because that’s usually what makes her yowl. I woke up in a total panic, absolutely positive that I had just shut Belle’s tail or foot in the truck door. As I was frantically checking her very real extremities, all the cats just looked at me like I was nuts, while Reyna expressed her concern from beyond the hall door.