Sunday, February 27, 2011

Agility Success

We finally went to a real agility trial. It's been months since the last one, and I've been practicing really hard. So mom decided to let me show off my new skills. On day one, I did not disappoint.

First run was Arnie. He's only entered in Jumpers with Weaves at the moment, since Open classes are so small, mom doesn't want to have both of us run back to back. So once I get up into Excellent Standard, Arnie gets to run 2 runs. His run in JWW was really good. Mom's been really working the weaves a lot, and he nailed them! But she pulled him off a jump, and he got a refusal. No mercy in Excellent, so no Q. But it was a nice run.

Then I got to run JWW (I'm in Open). It was similar to Arnie's course, with a minor change. I rocked the course. Fast, furious, and committed. A bobble at the weaves (apparently mom's training with ME on the weaves isn't working out so well) cost us 5 points, but you get a "gimmee" in Open. So I got my 3rd leg, and now have an OPEN JUMPERS WITH WEAVES title!!!!

After that great performance, it was on to Open Standard. Well, that run was a little wacky. I'm usually a focused runner, but I kind of lost my mind in the ring. First, the ring crew and judge took foooorrrreeeever to set bars and do the paperwork. So the 5 dogs in front of me took about 20 minutes. So I was a little stuffed with treats, and pissed off that we weren't going! Then we got into the ring, and there was a paperwork glitch. So more waiting, in the ring. I was pretty spun up by that point, and was spinning and barking my head off. When mom said "go" I took off running. After 3 obstacles, I completely lost control and did the zoomies. That has NEVER happened before. I tried to cover by finding a clump of dirt at the edge of the ring and trying to eat it, but mom didn't buy it. But I got back on track, finished in plenty of time, and we qualified with a first place ribbon. Whew.....redeemed myself. Unfortunately, my instructor stayed to watch me run, and while she thought it was cute, I was a little embarrassed.

On the way home, we ran into TONS of bad traffic. Mom says she's never seen some much construction in her life. We sat at a detour for over an hour. Mom was mad, but we were snoring. When we got home, she made dad take her out for mexican food and a margarita. That helped the mood a lot.

We went back to the show on Sunday - I'll write about that tomorrow.

By the way, that's an old picture of me weaving. There wasn't a photographer at this show.

Reprint about Tango

I wrote this on another blog site years ago. Today at an agility trial I saw a Boxer that looked and acted a lot like Tango. I miss having him around, and think about him every day. He taught me that you need to work with the dog you have, and not force them to be something they aren't.

First published January 1, 2008:
It's been a rough holiday around here. I've lost my share of dogs over the years, and it seems like most of them go around Christmas time. Nine years ago, I lost my first Pug, Rudy, during emergency surgery on New Years Eve. A few years ago, I lost an old rescue boy, Frosty (the Pug Man) two weeks before Christmas. And I finally had to say goodbye to Tango on the Saturday before Christmas this year.

Short version of Tango's story: when my ex and I split up, he took Tango with him (it was his dog). Then a year later, he called to see if I would take Tango back. Tango had to stay in a separate area of his house, and had no fenced yard. His life was consisting of a crate, seclusion, leash walking, and sitting in a car. To top it off, he wasn't getting his thyroid medication, and it was affecting his health severely. I took Tango back, and with lots of care, he got better and better. Sadly, he also started showing signs of DM, a neurological disease that is kind of like MS for dogs.

Tango was a Boxer, and NOT the dog I would have picked for a pet, let alone an agility dog. But my ex wanted him, and I trained him while my ex showed him. After awhile, I ended up doing most of the showing, and it wasn't easy. Tango was fearful, timid, not confident and afraid of men. He was incredibly athletic, however, and did well in agility as long as nothing scary happened. We stopped showing in the standard ring because he got spooky when the judge came close to see the contacts. He had 2 legs in Excellent Jumpers Preferred when he went to live with my ex, and never went into the ring again.

After he returned to me, Tango became my shadow, and we forged an incredibly strong bond. The last year was a constant assesment of how Tango was doing, feeling, and acting. He had good days and bad, and for the most part was either carried or helped along with a sling. He wore booties, and always had to be coaxed to eat dinner. There were rugs everywhere, to help with his traction, and soft beds in every room. He went camping over the summer, and spent a glorious weekend hobbling around the woods - his favorite place in the world. I almost put him to sleep in late August, but couldn't do it near my birthday. He lasted months more, but it was obvious right before Christmas that he was done. He was very thin, and lost control of his bladder and bowels suddenly. The horrible thing about this crappy disease is that their bodies betray them, but their mind stays sharp and alert. But seeing him fade made the decision easier, and I knew the time was right. My best friend is my vet, so Tango was surrounded by his favorite people when he went. Her Springer, who died this summer, was HIS best friend, and the two of us cried and told Tango to day hi to Idgie for us.

He taught me so much about working with the dog you have, and for that I'm grateful. The house seems so empty right now - I only have 4 dogs (I lost 2 hospice pugs over the summer, and a rescue dog I'd been fostering was adopted the week before Christmas.) But I have another foster coming in tomorrow, so things should get interesting again.

Tango - Faux Pas Exotic Rhythm, OA, OAJ, OA-P, OAJ-P, NAC, NJC, TN-N, CGC 1997-2007

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Showing this weekend

So we've been working hard on the equipment. Luckily, the weather's been cooperating.

Arnie: All week he practiced weave poles. He's really getting good. He just FLIES through the poles, head down, pace steady. If he does half that good at the show, he'll be great.

Gracie: I've been working weave poles a lot too. Mom wants me to get some distance on the poles, so she's been pushing me to keep going even if she walks away from the poles. It's working! I've always been good about finding the poles from far away, but I get worried if mom doesn't move to help with the big finish. But treats are helping me get some confidence.

I've been working some harder jump stuff, too. 270's have been the big goal these past few weeks. I'm doing OK. Not great, but OK. I do pretty good, then mom moves the jumps apart a little bit and I try to run between them. So she patiently shows me what to do, and I get really good. Then she moves them out again, and we start over. It's a skill I need, so we'll both keep working.

She's also working hard on rear crosses. I know, she LOVES rear crosses. But while she's pretty good at them, I'm not. I'm such a spinner, I throw one in every once in awhile. But that won't do. So we work a lot on "keeping on moving".

The plus is that we're both getting in shape. Running, running, running.....whew!

I have class tomorrow, then the show this weekend. Never been to this place, and won't know anybody there. Still weird for that whole thing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

King of the Road

Well, actually, Queen of the Road. Mom decided to take her camera out for some picture taking, and she decided to bring me along. Not many pictures got taken, because it was really windy. Mom set me up a few times for some glamour shots, but my eyes were tiny little slits. She did get a cool shot of a water tower. It's a little crooked - the wind blew when mom hit the shutter.

After we drove around a bit, she went through the drivethru and bought me my very own cheeseburger. Then she took me to the park and she let me enjoy. It was pure heaven. I got every last bit of greasy goodness.

I hope we have adventures like this every weekend.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Can't wait for the bus to get here. 50 degrees at 11:00 last night. Minus 1 (wind chill) at 6 am this morning. Real temp was 17 degrees. Add ice, sleet and snow. You could hear the little slivers of ice hitting the ground.

Mom got me this totally dorky hat to keep me warm. I hate it. She LOVES it. Got it in "my signature color" - red. (I have a red harness and leash.) She says it's because of Valentine's Day, too. Don't care. I hate it.

If your parent wants to torture you with headwear, here's the website:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My mom's OTHER passion

My mom pretty much does everything "dog". She trains us, she shows us, she walks, bathes, scoops, trims and pets us. She has mostly dog friends, and goes to mostly dog "things".
But it isn't 24/7 about the dog for her. She's a graphic artist, and spends a lot of time making dog art. It started when she realized there wasn't much art out there for people who showed their unusual breeds. So she started designing her own stuff. She has pug art, Clumber Spaniel, Boxer, Springer Spaniel and some Aussie designs. She sells her stuff on CafePress, where they take her designs and put it on all kinds of products.

Here's some more of her designs:

Check out more of her designs at

Road Trip

I'm packed and ready for the Road Trip. I can't wait. This ice and wind thing is getting OLD. My paws are frozen, I slide all over the place, and AGILITY CLASS WAS CANCELLED.

Here I am, dressed for the trip. I have my PFD on (since I can't, or won't, swim). Got my suitcase full of my stuff. A giant margarita glass for some liquid refreshment. And my surfer dude/boy toy.

Yup, I'm all ready.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Who's that masked man?

This is dad getting ready to go to work. He's a delivery driver, and goes in and out of buildings. The temp is supposed to be a high of 19 degrees today.

Me? I'll be snuggled in my bed.

What's that white stuff?

Hard to believe it was 72 degrees on Saturday, and nice enough to go for a hike. Here was the scene when we woke up this morning. That white stuff isn't just snow - it's icy, slippery, freezing snow.

Mom's boss called her this morning, and told her to hold off coming in to work. Dad got called off his route early, because driving was too bad. So we're just hanging out, staying warm, and watching the news.

I wouldn't even leave the back step to do my business, until mom got firm with me and made me "go". On the other hand, Snap and Puck LOVED the white stuff, and ran around playing. They didn't want to come back in the house.