Wednesday, August 31, 2011


My sister came for a visit. We were supposed to go to the NJ shore, but Hurricane Irene canceled our trip. In hindsight we made the right decision not to go. Instead we made day trips around the area. I knew there was an alpaca farm near here, so we headed to Eastland Alpacas. Jamie is also a knitter, and I enticed her with promises of yarn shopping. Turned out, she was enchanted with the alpacas. Here is a picture of her feeding them.

The owners of Eastland Alpacas really have a first class operation. They want you to interact with the animals, and they share their passion and knowledge of keeping alpaca. My sister got to hold a day-old baby, feed the herd, and learn about their upkeep. She's always wanted a "farmette," so this turned out to be a fun time.

Do shelties herd alpacas?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Braving the Elements

On Tuesday last week we had an earthquake. I was at work, so I didn't know how my dogs experienced the shaking ground. They were fine when I got home.

However, this past weekend, we went through Hurricane Irene together. It hit on Saturday late in the afternoon, and blew through until Sunday afternoon. It was 12 hours of torrential rain, wind, and flooding. My boys handled it very well. They even went out into the teeth of the storm on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. and pottied! What brave shelties. Cosi actually thought it was fun. He leaped out the door, ready to bark at the rain. Miss Jenny the Poodle (who hates to be wet) went from 6 p.m. on Saturday evening until Noon on Sunday with no potty break. She'd poke her nose out the door and said, "No, thanks. I'll wait." And she did. We tried and tried, but she wouldn't go outside.

The NJ shore trip I had planned for the weekend was a bust, but we'll try again next year.

Earthquakes. Hurricanes. What's next?! Wait! Don't answer that. I don't want to know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yesterday I was sitting at my desk working--OK, I was playing on the iPad they gave me--and felt the floor shake. It was as though a train or large truck was rumbling underneath. Then it kept shaking. It lasted for about 10 seconds; it felt like 10 minutes. I yelled out, "Does anyone else feel the floor moving?" My co-workers were coming out of their offices asking the same thing. We quickly exited the building and stood outside, waiting to hear an announcement.

Thank goodness for cell phones with data packages. Someone checked the internet on his phone and discovered there had been an earthquake centered in Virginia. We were feeling the effects.

About 15 minutes later we were given the all clear to return to the building. What an experience.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


They say that you need to train your dog to ignore distractions: people running past, kids on bikes, squirrels. OK. Got that. Did that. But what about this:

It was amazing that (a) the dog didn't go after the horse, (b) that the horse didn't go after any of the dogs, (c) that no agility equipment was touched! I watched it several times, amazed at the outcome. Do you think it will go viral?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I was working with a teacher on a new computer system this week. My job was to show him how to enter grades and get his job done. We got to talking, and he mentioned he was entering his 32nd year of teaching. "When will you retire?" I asked. He said he wouldn't retire because he couldn't answer this question: What would I do?

I've been reflecting on this question all week. Our jobs are our source of identity. Without a job we often feel incomplete and, perhaps, even inadequate. I know. I was part of a very large corporate layoff in the '80's and was horribly lost without having a job to go to every day.

This also got me thinking about agility. Agility would be my answer to the question "What will you do after retirment?" I've been active in the agility scene since 2002. Brisco's first trial was in 2003, and I've been trialing ever since. The fact that amazes me is that even after nine years, this sport challenges me, is changing practically every year with rule updates and new venues, and offers as much or as little activity as I would like to give.

My retirement is years off, and as I think about what life would be like without going to a daily job, I wonder where agility will be at that point. What changes will come about? What new aspects are there to discover? What advances in dog training (the next "it" thing) will occur? Fun to contemplate.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let Dogs be Dogs

Whenever I can, I love to let Cosi run. When it's a safe environment (i.e., fenced in property), I turn him loose. He absolutely loves it. Coleen had lure coursing today as a fund raiser. Cosi and I showed up, first in line. Here are the pictures I took of him on course.

See that dot on the horizon? Cosi is chasing the plastic bag on the course line.

He's getting closer to the finish line!

Get that bag! Awesome run.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I sent in an entry for a local USDAA trial in September. I entered all the regular classes (standard and jumpers) and gamblers (I'm good at distance work). Then I put on my Big Girl pants and entered Snooker. I've only ever done this class in agility class, and it was not a pretty sight. Keep your paws crossed that we don't get snookered.

Cosi's 2o2o work continues. I purchased Sylvia Trkman's DVD on shaping tricks. What fun! I was laughing as I watched this video. Cosi and I have had three sessions so far. It seems he likes to back up as that's the behavior he automatically offers. I want to work on "sit pretty" and covering his muzzle with his paw. A work in progress for sure, but fun stuff. Can't wait to share it with Anna.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In Your Dreams

At the last trial in Cheswick, Cosi was not performing his contacts well. He's taken to leaping off above the yellow. Not acceptable. So on our summer break (we have no trials in August), he's seeing 2o2o (two paws on, two paws off) everywhere: on the stairs, on the steps leading outside, and on a dog walk plank I put in the yard. I want him thinking 2o2o in his dreams!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thank You

The outpouring of support, the lovely cards and flowers, the caring and concern shown by the agility community (my classmates and fellow competitors) has been wonderful. Thank you to the many people who took the time to write to me of their memmories of Brisco. I felt it was yet another tribute to this wonderful little dog who brought joy to us all.

Here is a picture at the all Sheltie trial when Brisco got his MACH. Fellow competitors Barb and Scott stop by to sign the bar.