Thursday, April 30, 2009

Attack Update

Jack managed to track down the owners of the Pit Bull this morning. It seems they are as upset about last evening's events as we are. They were shocked at their dog's behavior. They were very apologetic.

Cosi is fine; no injuries, physical or otherwise. He's at camp today, romping and running with the pack.

My brush burns and scrapes are in evidence today. I'm getting questions at work like, "Did you have a skateboarding accident?"

The owners say they will get the fence complete (it only surrounds three-quarters of their yard) so incidents like this will not happen again. Let's hope they follow through with this promise. Until then, I'm avoiding the area and will, henceforth, carry pepper spray with me on my dog walks.

The world is an unsafe place. Sad. But true.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Freightening Experience

Every evening my four dogs and I head out on a long walk. We take various routes around our township. Sometimes there are sidewalks for us to use, sometimes we have to walk in the streets and alleyways. Tonight we had a frightening experience. We were attacked by a Pit Bull.

Whenever a loose dog comes running out of a yard towards us, Brisco is usually first out front with teeth bared. He hates an uncontrolled dog. Tonight, however, we were attacked from behind. I knew I had to do something, so I let go of my dogs' leashes and grabbed the front leg of the Pit. If I could keep him off balance, I was hoping I could cause him to lose power. It worked. However, I was drug across the macadam and loose stones. I'm brush burned, and his back leg went across my chin and lower lip. I have a cut on my lip, both inside where my teeth bit my lip and outside where his nail cut me.

The scariest part was me holding onto that leg, looking up to see this dog having Cosi's right ear and right half of his head in his mouth. I screamed for help, hoping the owner (at least!) would come help me. She finally came out and got hold of her dog.

Cosi was not hurt; I was the main victim with scrapes and brush burns.

I am afraid that Cosi learned to be aggressive with dogs coming at him.

I am afraid that Mike was hurt emotionally and will be afraid of other dogs or that alley where we were attacked.

I am afraid that I'll be attacked again.

So many people in our township have dogs that are not in fenced in yards or on leashes. There is a township ordinance that dogs must be on leash when outside. And yet I see so many dogs loose in the yard. "He's OK," they always say. Yeah, right.

I'm angry that my favorite pastime was ruined tonight.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

HOT Agility Trial

Well, there's good news and there's bad news from the trial this weekend.

Good News
Cosi and I Q'd on two courses: Performance Speed Jumping and P1 Gamblers. Here's the video Jack filmed of his speed jumping run.



Bad News
Notice as he comes off the A-frame for the first time, we turn and run a line of jumps. As I was running that line, I heard a pop and felt a searing pain in my left hamstring muscle. Rats. As I limped to the A-frame for the second time, I could barely lift my leg; running was out of the question. Cosi and I finished with a clean run.

Gamblers was the last class of the day, and thank goodness because in Gamblers I didn't have to run with him. I directed him from a distance and what he took, he took. We got enough points and the gamble, so we qualified. I don't have video as Jack left before we ran. I do, however, have some photos of Coleen running with Vic in their Gamblers run. As I was sitting in the shade with an ice pack on my leg, I grabbed my camera and snapped away.



Happy Birthday, Mike!

Today Mike is 5. What a wonderful dog he is! Here's a picture tribue to Mike-N-Ike (as my agility instructor likes to call him). I just call him "my love." His favorite things in life are his Frisbee, agility in the back yard, and Jenny.


Happy Birthday, Mike!













Friday, April 24, 2009

Spectacular!

I took a vacation day today and, boy, did I win the lottery! It's so beautiful outside.

It's funny the things that stick in your memory. This morning as I was walking the dogs at 6:30, I remembered the first time I noticed spring.

When I was 34 (*many* moons ago), I had to have major surgery. When I came home from the hospital, it was late April. I am a person always on the go. I am usually doing something constructive. I can't just sit. Even when I "watch" TV, I'm knitting. So the recovery from this operation made me actually stop, relax, and notice what was going on around me. For the first time I noticed buds, trees blooming, azaleas (now my favorite spring flower), and the true beauty of spring. Previously I had blasted through the season, eager to get to summer--my favorite time of year.

This morning as the doggies and I were walking, I again noticed the beauty of spring and felt the glorious feelings of newness, hope, and renewal. It soothed my soul. Spectacular!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flea and Tick Control

The spot flea and tick control products (like Advantage and Frontline) are now being evaluated by the EPA. Apparently there are reported incidents of seizures and other severe reactions, even death.

What do you use to control fleas and ticks on your dogs?

Brisco was always so sensitive to these products. I give my dogs a garlic and brewer's yeast biscuit every day. Those two ingredients are said to be a homeopathic solution to keeping these litter buggers at bay.

Fleas and ticks carry so many diseases that I want to do something to protect my dogs and my family. What to do? I'm eager to hear your ideas and current solutions.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poor Showing

Last weekend at Westminster we had a very poor showing. I had set my mind on getting an Open jumpers Q. Nope. I also wanted to complete an Excellent standard course. Nope. With off courses and dropped bars our score sheet looked like alphabet soup. Very disappointing and disheartening. I wish I could have had a video to watch and see what I was doing wrong. I guess "everything" pretty much covers it. *sigh*

This weekend is the HOT Agility Club trial in Bainbridge. It's a USDAA trial that started out small three years ago and has grown steadily each year. This time we reached over 1,000 runs. Pretty good for a club of only 27 members, eh?

Cosi will be running outdoors this weekend. It seems that Mother Nature may cooperate and give us good (80+ dgrees) weather. I hope to have pics for the blog page on Monday.

Keep your paws crossed for us. =:O)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dive Right In

Cos and I went swimming tonight. What a blast! Jeff built a new ramp into the dog swimming pool. It's now a solid ramp instead of steps. Cosi really liked the change. He actually--for the first time--went down the ramp and did a little leap off into the water.

We made up a new game in the pool. We swim to the end of the pool, and I encircle his belly with my arms. He stops swimming. I say, "Ready, ready......break!" and let go. He swims hard and fast for the ramp. He loved it.

Cosi didn't have dog camp today, and it's a shame. It was a beautiful day. So I wanted to treat him to some good exercise, and swimming seemed to be a good choice. I'm so glad he had fun.

No photos. :( I was alone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Have you heard?

The AKC is starting a mixed breed program this fall. Starting on October 1 mixed breed dogs may register with the AKC and participate in companion programs such as agility, obedience and rally.

Click here to read the press release about the program.

The agility community is a-buzz about this news. The posting on the AgileDog list are flying. Most, I must say, are positive.

What's your opinion?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knitting

My *other*, non-dog passion in life is knitting. Last year I went to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival for the first time. I was on sensory overload! So many exhibits to see, touch, and smell. I went with the perfect companions--Marcia and Kathy.

Marcia is a spinner. She's spun fiber into yarn for years and is quite the awesome knitter. I've learned so much from her. She's my knitting mentor.

Kathy owns Shetland sheep and sheared her sheep for the first time last year. I was fortunate enough to get some of this fiber after it was spun into yarn. It was glorious to work with unprocessed (no dyes or chemicals) yarn. At the Festival she had me trudging to the barns, but once I was there I was amazed at the variety of sheep breeds. How interesting! Now Kathy is learning to spin as well. There is no end to her artistic talents and interests.

This year the Festival will be special because my sister is coming for a visit just to be able to go. So Marcia, Kathy, my sister and I will be off to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the first weekend in May. My sister is quite the artist and gifted craftperson (is that a word?!). With her eye for color and design, I should be able to get some wonderful yarn and ideas for a new project. I'm ready to branch out and make larger projects. Right now I'm knitting mostly small items like socks, hats, and gloves. Could there be a sweater in my future? I'm hoping for guidance and a bit of inspiration.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wind and Rain and Mud, Oh My!

All that was missing was the Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. What a wild day!

Cosi and I went to our first USDAA trial in Gamber, Maryland, today. We got there at 7 a.m. with buckets of rain pouring from the skies. The trial committee wisely decided to postpone the trial for an hour. So we all snoozed in the nice, warm van. Jenny took advantage of Mike's warm fur. Here she is lounging in her crate using Mike as her pillow:

I zoomed in on her, as her face was a perfect picture of contentment:

We should all have it so rough! Ah, Jenn, I envy you. =:O)

At 9 a.m. I donned my rain gear and headed out. I heard that there was a CMJ at this trial. I found her and pleaded for her to measure Cosi. She was gracious in the face of my pesting. Two measurements down, one to go!

Cosi and I were to run P1 Gamblers, Standard, Pairs, and Jumpers. Gamblers started off in the pouring rain. I was *very* proud of our run because in a trial last fall in a terrible rain storm, he acted all silly and crazy like he does when you spray the garden hose. Today he stayed very focused and ran well. He back-jumped the one jump in the Gamble so we didn't Q. But we placed third. (That crazy system in USDAA!) Click here for the YouTube link to his run.

On to Standard. The ring footing was getting progressively worse and worse. Then this 20 mph wind blew in. I was afraid to put him full blast on the dog walk, afraid he'd slip or even get blown off. In the video you'll see me stop him as he comes out of the tunnel. I was slipping even though I had cleated shoes on and had trouble keeping up with him. Watch the beginning of this run. He goes from a sit, to a semi-down, and watch the butt action as he gets ready to blast off the line! There's something we need to work on! Click here for the YouTube link to his run.

With the footing getting iffy and the rain still coming down in sheets, I decided to pack it in and go home around 1 p.m. We didn't run Pairs or Jumpers.

3 Positives
We had *awesome* weaves in our two classes.
He held his contacts.
He maintained focus.

2 Things To Work On
Start line stay (in a sit)
Avoiding back jumping

Great experience. I got our 3rd place ribbon to have a souvenir. Can't wait until the HOT Agility trial to run again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

MADness


Cosi at last year's DOCNA trial at Coleen's.

All my thoughts and focus are on our upcoming trial this weekend. We'll be traveling to Maryland to the Mid-Atlantic MADness trial.

This is our first USDAA trial, and I'm glad I'll be going alone as I need to make my way in this new (for me) venue. I've entered Cosi in four classes, and my goal is to stay focused and on course. The only games we're running are Pairs and Gamblers. (hate Snooker!) Then we'll also run in Standard and Jumpers. We've run successfully at DOCNA trials (see photo above) in the games, and I'm hoping that will translate to the USDAA venue. Don't need to win anything, just run *together* and well.

I can't wait.

Keep your paws crossed for us and pray for good weather.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We Was Robbed!

Well, not literally. But Cosi and I were robbed of a Q in Open FAST on Saturday.

The trial on Saturday was a very busy one. They were running two rings, and I was to be in both at the same time. We ran in Open FAST first and were the only 16" dog of the 5 entered to make the Send/Bonus. It was a tunnel to the A-frame to a jump. I was elated when we Q'd, or so I thought. Every dog (even the Excellent dogs who basically had the same Send in the earlier class) were coming out of the tunnel and missing the A-frame. They'd come to the handler, but by that time it was too late to take the A-frame.

This trial did not have yellow copy sheets for the exhibitors. I *hate* that. By the time I saw the results posted (two classes later), they had Cosi as NQ with a score of 45. I added the points of the equipment he correctly completed: 57. And that's not even with the 20 points of the Bonus. I went to the trial secretary. On our sheet was someone else's score. The judge happened to come to the trial secretary's area at that time, and I pleaded my case. She didn't remember our run, so it was the scribe sheet against me. I, of course, lost. This is not the first time that a clerical error cost us a run. It happened with Brisco in Excellent A way back when; but it was the same thing: The scribe sheets got off by one because dogs moved. My only hope was that the person who "Q'd" would come forward. I didn't recognize the dog or the person's name on the result sheet, or I would have asked them about their run. No one came forward, so the results stand. *sigh* The Agility Fates giveth, and they taketh away. This weekend was a taketh away weekend.

On the Plus Side
Cos and I really ran as a team this weekend. He was focused and did 6 sets of perfect weaves this weekend in various classes. For the first time I felt that we belong in Excellent. Earlier in the year he wasn't holding his focus through 20 obstacles. He'd get so giddy and high around #12 that the rest of the course was a train wreck. Plus today he hit a wicked weave entry. It was a thing of beauty. He held his contacts and listened to my body and verbal cues. I was very proud of our runs. We have no Q ribbons to show for great runs (due to dropped bars), but we are definitely coming together as a team. It feels great!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Best Case Scenario

Our agility class was canceled last night. However, the building was open for practice. It was an ugly, rainy, cold evening. Cosi and I trudged out at 6:30...and we walked into the Best Case Scenario. We were the only ones who showed up! I had a huge building with every contact piece of equipment and an hour to play. I was like a kid at Christmas! Cosi's tongue was hanging to his knees by the time we were done. We have a trial this weekend, so it was doubly sweet to be able to work contacts, weaves, and discriminations. Coleen had a super course set up that even included a serpentine. Awesome.

Every now and then the Agility Fates smile on us and hand us these situations. I was so glad we could take advantage of it last night.