Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Photos from Taj MuttHall Yard

SUMMARY: Spring! Sproing!
Momma dove cocks her head at the camera and tripod and oddball human balancing on the side of the hot tub.
Taj MuttYard has this old dying--well, ok, dead--apple tree that these big old bees just love. Bees bigger than the first joint on my thumb. They never sit still, never, buzz buzz buzz bumble bumble bumble. Need to figure out a better way to try to get a clearer shot. There are Big Black Bees--
and Big Yellow Bees. [Note added later in the evening: These appear to be The bees appear to be Xylocopa varipuncta (Valley carpenter bees), and the male is yellow, the female black!
And sproinging around in the yard--Human Mom is on a quest to get an awesome Tika With Favorite Toy shot. Not there yet, but this is kind of getting there.

Boost helps Human Mom figure out camera angles.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Class Should Be Interesting Tonight

SUMMARY: We've had no class for two weeks due to rain. And--

--tonight it's not raining! But it's overcast and gray and the wind wails around the house with a message from the north. By 8:00 this evening, the thermometer will read 44F (6.7C), but with wind chill and humidity, Accuweather's estimate on the cold feel will be 39 (3.9C). That's almost bearable if there's no wind, but, dang, that wind!

And I'm running on 3 hours of sleep from last night. We won't mention any names, right, BOOST?!?!

Could be an interesting evening. I am, at the moment, after a nice warm bowl of chicken noodle soup, pondering just crawling into bed and calling it a night. But the canids are restless, prowling around the house and yard, gleeful with temperatures that allow them to run and run and never overheat!

Still, that down comforter and electric mattress pad are calling my name. How cavemen survived without electric mattress pads, I'll never know.

I have 45 minutes to decide. Ah, me.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whether the Weather is Fair or--

SUMMARY: Whether the weather is not--
Whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot,
Whether the weather is fair or whether the weather is not,
Whatever the weather, we weather the weather, whether we like it or not.

(Great, now NEITHER spelling of weather/whether looks right any more! At least it doesn't throw in wether to really snarl my brain.)

The situation right now per radar on Accuweather.com (which has an "animate" button so you can see the rain as it moves). I have this window up all the time in foul weather. Where I am: About halfway between the dot representing San Jose and the grid line below it. (The color scale at the bottom tells heaviness of rain.) It's moving eastward and I'm about to be hit by another heavy mass of water falling from sky. In addition, wind has been howling--gusts up to 50 MPH (80 KPH) they say (I've seen only 30 so far). And coldish--mid-40s (4.5-ish C).

According to Weatherbug, my part of town has had 2" (5cm) of rain already today. (Not sure what their "today" is.) I love weatherbug because they provide lots more info when you go digging around PLUS they use all kinds of independent tracking stations, so you can pick the exact one you want to use. Or you can set up your own and get connected! (Detailed instructions on what equipment you need is somewhere on the site--it's not cheap stuff but not out of the realm of normal people.)

It's weather like this in which I REALLY REALLY love having a Border Collie who will run out to the end of the driveway and bring in my newspaper. Works great as long as she doesn't pick it up by the wrong end of the plastic bag so the paper falls out. So far this week she's done a fine job. My hero! Won't go out back to potty until desperate, but will go get the paper. Whatta girl!

Waiting for a break--it'll come eventually--to take the Merle Girls out for a walk at least. Thinking we're all going to be out of condition for this weekend's trial.

Meantime, I must start going through list of roofers to try to figure out why a doorframe is leaking that shouldn't be leaking. Curse you, Red Weather.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Special Delivery Dogs

SUMMARY: More box work for 52 Weeks for Dogs
Here's my week 2 photo of Tika for the 52 Weeks for Dogs project.

And just so that Tika didn't get ALL the treats, Boost had to demonstrate her expertise, too. (Note that she's sitting on the edge of the box. She usually sits down in the box, but she has to be turned 90 degrees to do it and just didn't quite get there this time.)

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bark! Bark! Tika Fell Down A Well!

SUMMARY: In which Boost saves the day.

Boost: Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause.

Me, on computer: Stop it! [goes back to work]

Boost: Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause.

Me: Cut it out, I can't think! [continues typing]

Boost: Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Pause. Whine. Whine. WHINE.

Me: THERE IS NO NEED FOR WHINING, CUT IT OUT! [tears hair, tries to focus on technical document.]

Boost. WHINE. Whine. WHINE WHINE Whine. Whine.

[Repeat for about 30 minutes.]

Me [finally standing up to go look]: Why are you standing next to the garage door whining?

Boost: [Puts ears back, wags tail, looks at the garage door.]

Me: [Notices Tika isn't anywhere in sight. Which she should be, normally. Especially when Me stands up from working at desk.]

Me: [Remembers that half an hour ago Me opened the garage door long enough to lean in, grab a can of Coke, and close the door again immediately so the dogs don't go into the garage.]

Me: [Opens door.]

Tika: [Comes into house] Thanks, human mom. You must play with me now.

Boost: [Kissy kissy on Tika who ignores her]

Ah, unrequited love.

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Tika's Happy Toe

SUMMARY: Update on Tika's toe: Doing great!
Somewhere over a week ago, I put the doggie door back in so that Tika could go in and out on her own again. No sign of problems with the toe. (Just a problem with Boost whom I spent 2 weeks unintentionally teaching to tap at the door when she wanted to go out or in. Now guess who taps ALL THE TIME even though the doggie door is now available once again!)

I'd been putting a little bootie on her left front foot whenever we were out in the yard, and I continued to do so. Then earlier this week I started letting her run and chase the toy when we go out to play, instead of holding her collar while Boost chased it, like we've been doing for weeks now. (And, yes, that was as much fun as it sounds.)

And the toe was fine. So we went to the park and played frisbee with the bootie on. (The bootie on tika's foot, not on the frisbee or not the frisbee on tika's foot...) And the toe was fine.

This weekend we went up to the mountains and Thursday we played a bunch in the snow and she was SO happy butt scrunched under leaping ears back running running running grabbing my feet, with bootie on. And the toe was fine.

With much ecstatic growling and tugging:

Then on Friday we hiked for about 3 miles in the snow, and her bootie came off after about 1/4 mile and I decided fagedaboudit so she was unbootied. And she ran ran ran happy foot grabbing happiest. And the toe was fine.

Then Saturday we hiked over 6 miles on sometimes extremely icy sharp cold snow. She slowed down quite a bit but so did Boost. And the toe was fine!

I'm thrilled. Happy new toe year!

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, December 21, 2009

Boost and Tika Just Because

SUMMARY: A few gratuitous photos from earlier in December.

Tika at the Sylvia Trkman handling seminar, wishing she were the one running with Human Mom.

Boost at the Trkman seminar, taking careful mental notes for her next course run. The mature Masters-level dog.

Boost in our hotel room at the Santa Rosa trial, playing with the other Border Collie. Really, honest to goodness, she's playing. She shows so much toothage when she wrestles with other dogs. Not looking so Mastery maturey now, are we, cupcake?

Labels: , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Boost Title Surprises!

SUMMARY: Boost has two new titles! Sort of--

Unusually for me, I am way behind in updating my run-tracking database. I just went back through my notes from this fall and discovered that Boost earned her Gamblers Master title back at the end of October! (That's 5 Masters Gambles.)

And that she earned enough tournament Qs this fall, including this weekend's DAM Team Q, to complete her Tournament Master title! (That's 10 tournament Qs, with at least two in each of the three.)

So she has:

Standard Master (5 Qs) plus 4 extra (one more for Standard Champion)
Relay Champion (10 Qs) plus 3 extra (two more for RCh-Bronze)
Gamblers Master (5 Qs)
Tournament Master (10 tournament Qs)
Snooker: 4 regular Qs and NO Super-Qs (needs 3 for the Master title)

Anyway, pleasant surprise to add those titles. And now really to bed.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Gamblin' Boost

SUMMARY: Q in Team, good and almost great in Gamblers, and... that's it.

Boost's story this weekend included many chapters of knocked bars, popping out at the end of the weaves, and checking back with me constantly instead of taking jumps. Oh, yeah, and several runouts. Drat. Back to square two on all counts. How many times do I have to fix her weave poles, fer crying out loud? But she was fast and happy and her start line stay and contacts were spot on.

Saturday's classes consisted entirely of the three-dog DAM Team event. (All 3 dogs do 4 individual events, then combine for a relay, and the combined scores determine whether you earn a Team Q.) Recently, USDAA started allowing your performance in the individual events to count towards Qs for your Lifetime Achievement awards, but you have to be within (are you tired of this formula yet?) 15% of the average scores of the top 3 dogs in your height/class.

In Team Standard, Boost knocked 2 bars and popped the weaves, which I had to fix. Not fatal in Team; it's off courses in Team that kill you. Both her teammates did better than Boost and also ran without off courses, which is a pretty good grouping for Team.

In Team Gamblers, Boost had a pretty good opening--would've been better without 2 knocked bars and me forgetting which side of the teeter I wanted to be on to pick up another 5 points, oh, well, and then we were in perfect position for the gamble. We picked up a 20-point gamble (there were 10, 20, and 30 point choices), which was pretty good as not many dogs at all got the 20 or 30 pointers and quite a few didn't even manage the 10. We ended up placing 4th in 22" out 40 dogs, and her teammates were close behind her at 7th and 12th, so after Standard & Gamblers our team was in 4th place out of 25 teams.

Team Snooker knocked us back a bit, we thought--all three of us scored in the 30-to-40 range (with 4 reds available meaning that in theory 59 points were possible), but a late rush of dogs not wanting to do well in Snooker left us down a bit overall but not by much. (Boost spent the opening doing runouts and "what, THIS obstacle?" dances and in the closing got whistle for running past a jump.)

Team Jumpers we were all a bit worried about; very fast dogs with a couple of really wide-open stretches of just plain running plus tough call-offs. Boost knocked 2 bars and popped out at the end of the weaves (sound familiar?) but we did not off-course. Both our teammates Eed with off courses, so even our crappy run turned out to be the saving run for us.

And in the 3-dog relay, Boost knocked only one bar and, just for variation, headed into the weave poles but turned back at the last moment to see what I was up to, earning a refusal, but her teammates ran very nicely and again none of us off-coursed, which is also excellent for Team Relay. We ended up Qing fairly solidly, placing 7th of 25 teams after combining the scores for all 5 classes. Thanks, Lucy and Beadle!

Sunday, in Grand Prix, I apparently moved too soon and pulled Boost past a serpentine jump for a runout, then getting her back over it, she knocked the bar and then another one (2 jumps again). She did do the weaves OK, but the preceding obstacle was the chute and she somersaulted out of that--never seen her do that before--so it wasn't a pretty approach to the weaves.

In Steeplechase, we had two sets of weaves. She knocked--yes--2 bars, did the first set of weaves beautifully, ran past 2 jumps that we had to go back for, and then the last set of weaves she popped out at the end again and I didn't catch it before going on, so we Eliminated there, too.

Master Snooker wasn't awful--we placed 8th of 32 dogs, but it still wasn't a Q (one point short) and that's for two reasons: (1) She knocked a bar on a 7-pointer in the opening, so we didn't get those 7 points, and then she spent half the course checking back in with me instead of just &#*@(% going over the jump in front of her! Wasted SO much time. So by the time we got to #7 in the closing-- a 4-part combo--by the time she knocked a bar in the middle of it (2 bars again), our time's-over buzzer sounded. But so many people crapped out so early in this snooker, as I said, it was still a pretty good run given this particular course.

Master Gamblers. Sighhhhhh. Do you ever see a gambler's opening where the high-point course is so obvious to you that you think it's most everyone's going to do the same thing and the really really fast & good dogs are going to get in even more obstacles than you, and then you watch almost everyone do something different from yours and come in much lower than your plan--which should be 48 if you do it absolutely perfectly, although I really expected 47? Like people were getting in the 32-42 range mostly.

Well. So. It was our kind of course. And we did it perfectly right up to the obstacle before the gamble. That was a jump that would've been our 48th point. I actually expected the whistle (to start the gamble) to blow before we got to it, and I shot her over it and the whistle still hadn't blown, so I changed direction abruptly trying to figure out what other obstacles I could take, blown away that we still had time left over, and she knocked the bar.

And we were racing *away* from the gamble when the whistle finally blew. Turned and headed back, but we approached awkwardly to the first jump, and she did a bunch of "this jump?" kinds of things without actually looking straight at it, so the judge didn't call a refusal, and she sailed over it without knocking it.

The gamble included three jumps and a set of weaves, and the way we'd been going, I didn't expect her to actually do it, or to do it with faults. But she went fromthe jump to the weaves, did the weaves perfectly, did the next jump perfectly, and then danced around in front of me instead of going to the last jump, and when I finally got her turned around, the whistle blew as she was in the air for the last jump. All that wasted time-- just about a second over time. So no Q.

BUT out of 70 Masters dogs, one dog got 48 in the opening and one other got 47 in the opening. So I certainly can't complain about our execution on that part of the course!

The weather provided off and on rain showers all day Saturday and into Sunday morning, but not awful downpours. The weather was cold but not anywhere near freezing.

Tika got to come out of her crate to practice tricks instead of doing agility, but probably not nearly as much as I should've done with her. No sign of sore toe, but Saturday mid-morning she came out of her crate hunched over and not wanting to do tug-of-war like she does when her neck gets sore. And I'd been blaming doing agility for aggravating the neck. Apparently not. She remained off the rest of the day, but Sunday was absolutely fine again.

It occurred to me that Remington exhibited the same kind of seemingly-out-of-nowhere hunching over and then the next day fine several times before we discovered that he had that hemangiosarcoma tumor on his heart. It's a little scary, actually, how much it reminded me of that. Now I have to decided whether I want to pay the huge bucks for a screening ultrasound to find out whether there's anything there. I'm particularly sensitive since we've had so many dogs in our club die of hemangiosarcoma in the last year or two.

Hate to end the post on that worried note-- But we are all home safely, dogs are already dozing off (even though they got all that great crate rest at the trial and on the drive home), so I will sign off and head to my own comfy bed now, too.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Purple Foot

SUMMARY: In honor of Tika's sore toe.
Tika has been wearing a little purple and gray hiking bootie on her sore toe since Wednesday. I've been taking her out on leash into the yard, trying to keep her from running and pouncing, but still playing tug of war pretty enthusiastically, which probably still puts a lot of pressure on that toe.

I've been throwing the purple jolly ball for Boost, who brings it back, then I play tug of war with each dog, then throw it for Boost again, hanging onto Tika's collar. Tika has burst into a run a couple or three times when I'm not expecting it (off leash, pottying, then a squirrel or alien invasion or whatever catches her attention). But I've seen no signs of limping.

Did the same this morning. After our play session, decided to take a purple photo. Came inside to get the camera. Went back out with the dogs not on leash--because this is the boring part--and the tripod and the camera; Tika became very excited, did the sproingy antelope thing with about four leaps in a big circle and came up with her paw in the air looking distressed. Curses, egads, and zounds.

I took her bootie off, put it back on, gave her some treaties, did the photo thing, and she stopped looking so pathetically miserable, but with still a distinct hitch in her giddyup. I'm thinking she's not going to be competing next weekend. Me not happy.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Friday, December 04, 2009

Running With The Boost

SUMMARY: More photos from Monday. Thanks, Rob.
What a good little start-line-stay doggie!

Hustle hustle hustle.

What a good little contact Boostie!


Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Do Those Dewclaws That You Do So Well

SUMMARY: Poor Booster's little toeie has an owie.
Dinnertime last night, and Boost is lying in the corner lick lick licking her paw. I check it out: Dew claw toenail is broken in half at the quick and it's bleed bleed bleeding. Gotta hurt, too.

I don't trim them often enough, and it was pretty long, so I blame myself for this one. Thing is, Tika's dew claws (and back in the day, Amber's and Sheba's) kept themselves trimmed down--proof positive that some dogs indeed get traction from their dewclaws when running. Jake's *never* wore down at all; Boost's wear down a bit but not enough. So with one dog who doesn't need it at all and one dog who needs it seldom, I just forget.

I was able to trim off most of the broken part with no sign of pain on her part. A little styptic power to stop the bleeding, a nice flesh-colored bandaid (couldn't find any merle-colored bandaids) to cover it for a little while (chyeah, that stayed on for hours--not!), and some constant reminding to leave it alone.

By bedtime the bandaid was lonnnng gone and she was leaving it alone. Just trying to decide whether I want to wrap it in a bit of that mesh tape when she's outside running the next couple of days. In class tonight. And how about at the trial this weekend? Since I know that she uses them a bit, since they wear down a bit--

argh, decisions! [Gnaws at own nails--]

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


SUMMARY: Random things, agility, blog, life, and a Boost shocker.

  • Still waiting for my final insurance check from the MUTT MVR break-in. I think they said that they have 60 days to "conclude their investigation" or something like that. THEN I can go camera shopping.
  • Boost just gave me quite a shock--because she gave herself one! She was lying there quietly next to my desk, chewing on a stick, when she suddenly yelped and leaped away, tail down, to hide under the desk. I looked--and she had given up on the stick and had switched to the end of my extension cord, for crying out loud! That thing has been there all winter for my heater to plug into. Why now? Isn't that supposed to be a puppy kind of thing, not a 4-year-old dog kind of thing? Jeez, Boost! Well, maybe that taught her--
  • I try to keep my "Complete Archive of Posts" (link under Archives on the right side) but sometimes forget. Just updated from May through today.
  • I also forget to update my "Complete list of labels" (link at bottom of each post). Just updated for the last year! Ooops!
  • Maybe I'll get around to updating the photo album sometime soon, too.
  • In this post, I uploaded actual digital versions of the photos rather than scanned from the prints. They look better; thanks again, Erika.
  • In this post, I added a couple of other clarifying comments in [square brackets].
  • Updated this post with the course map of the course in my yard that I was using last week (just now got my updated CourseDesigner activation code).
  • I just realized that Tika has now competed in 7 Performance tournament events (3 each Steeplechase and Grand Prix, 1 DAM Team) and has qualified in every single one of them--AND placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in all except one (competing against 10-20 dogs usually)! How amazing is that? She really likes that 22" jump height!
  • My knee held up beautifully all weekend despite my pedometer showing about 8.5 miles covered each of the 3 days, 15 courses walked repeatedly (but not obsessively), and 28 runs with my dogs. So it's not just the activity that sometimes aggravates it; it's got to be how I'm moving it, and I'm suspecting more and more that it's certain kinds of twists, turns, torques, pushes, or pulls.
  • Tika looked fine all weekend, and I never even gave her any rimadyl! We middle-aged ladies are hanging in there.
  • On the other hand, Tika never gets up into the 6 yards per second range any more, even on jumpers courses, so I know that she's slowing down gradually. This weekend's smooth, lovely jumpers was at just 5.2 yps; winner's time (the amazing World Team tryouts winner Icon) came in at 6.12.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Actual Agility Video Footage!


Last weekend I promised to post some videos. OK, here ya go. I take my camcorder to every trial with me, but almost never remember to ask anyone to tape us. Last weekend, I finally did--on 4 runs only.

When transferring from my camera to computer, there was this odd jumping thing it was doing, like it was skipping frames or something. Not sure whether camera, tape, recording, playback--and I didn't feel like futzing with it to figure it out.

Round 1 Steeplechase

Tika wins in Performance, Boost Qs in Championship even with a bar down, because she was plenty fast.

Boost's run: Note that, on the first A-frame, I release her quickly, and on the 2nd Aframe, she doesn't bother actually doing 2 on/2 off or waiting for a release. And at the very end, instead of running ahead of me over the last line of jumps, she's kind of waiting for me and looking back a bit.

Tika's Run: Note a huge wide turn after the first Aframe, because I'm trying to get in front of her to make sure she gets a foot in the yellow zone so she thinks we're going straight instead of turning left.

Boost's run:

Grand Prix

Tika takes 2nd place.

Masters Jumpers

Boost and I still have some issues. Like, I'm trying to give her plenty of room to take a jump right in front of her before rear crossing, but she just won't do it, backs around it, and backjumps it. Most of the run isn't awful; she sends out nicely to one jump but, near the end, comes in around a jump I was trying to send her out to. And a bar down. Ah, well. Mostly she's starting to run instead of looking at me all the time.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Boost Plays to the Max and Tika Has a Lot to Say

SUMMARY: Small dogs come visiting.

On Friday, an irrigation specialist person came here for an hour to discuss my irrigation mess, and he brought his Italian Greyhound, Dante. Dante and Boost couldn't have been happier. Dante chased Boost, and Boost blasted through the various tunnels full speed, then would skid to a halt inside one end, Dante would run over and bark at her, and she'd u-turn and skeedaddle fast as lightning to the other end, Dante would run over and bark. Repeat. Until that tunnel got dull, then there'd be sprinting into other tunnels, behind shrubs, and so on.

Very happy dogs.

(Although Tika is a little suspicious about the whole thing:)

And Boost got well worn out.

Tika, who is funny funny funny, isn't much into playing with other dogs (although she and Boost played the same way when Boost was younger--Tika doing the chasing and barking for the most part--and they still wrestle with each other pretty much every day). But she gets off on the excitement exuding from the other dogs, and she barks BARKS BARKS!!!

For some inane reason or other it never occurred to me to get my camera out.

The next day, a friend and her two French Bulldogs came to visit. Now, the older Frenchie--Elliot--and Boost are about the same age, and they had several opportunities in hotel rooms and when visiting each other when they were between about 6 months and a year and a half to play play play, and they loved it! And they still remember each other. (Dang, thought I had photos posted from wayyy back, but not finding them.)

The problem is that Elliot is recovering from a damaged disc in his spine and wasn't supposed to be playing. Boost tried and tried and tried to get him to play, and he tried and tried to play with her, but his Human Mom kept putting the kibosh on it. So sad! The other, younger Frenchie was delighted to play with Boost, and they did a bit of running but mostly wrestling, although Boost kept going back to Elliot to try to engage him.

Ah, well.
Boost: Elliot, c'monnn, play with me!

Elliot: Boost, c'monnn, play with me!

Boost is so gentle with the tiny dogs. And she gets right down to their level to play, like she's doing here with Babette.

Babette always looks so cheerful AND has a pointed tongue. How cute is that?

OK, really, I'd never have a Frenchie myself, but just look at that face on Elliot!

Meanwhile, Tika had a lot to say about all that excitement, too. MAN, she has a loud bark!

I did finally remember to get my camera out, after they were all pretty tuckered out.

Babette's and Boost's tongues hung wayyyy out. It was a good workout for them both.

Boost got well worn out AGAIN.

Life is good.

Labels: , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Evil Devil Floor(s)

SUMMARY: Boost's brain explodes over--flooring.

Boost has been known to have brain implosions over various terrifying things. Like the radio controlled car. The guys tossing a football in the street. Some odd smell at an agility trial. Things that make her tuck her tail and melt into a pool of miserable and mindless terror.

She gets better as she matures, but I know that if I start to see those little signs at a trial, I'd better get a toy in her mouth as fast as possible and devote my full attention to her.

So. Back in March, we did a CPE trial up in Santa Rosa and went to the Tie Dye house to spend the night. Because we're friends with Tie Dye, she has kindly allowed us to stay overnight on quite a few occasions. She has a couple of wild little agility cattle dogs who can be a bit overwhelming when you first come through the door, but the last couple of times we spent the night, Boost and the younger one chased each other madly around the house and yard. So we have all been there before, and there was never a sign of Evil.

Until this time.

I don't know what happened when we first arrived. The ACDs were dervishes of bouncing and barking insanity as we arrived at the door, and Boost thought it would be better to turn around and go back out to the car, but I did convince her to come in through the door. Took the leashes off the dogs into a burst of doggish activity, then I hung out with Tie Dye until our tea was ready, when we sat at the table in the dining area.

Realized gradually that I was hearing Boost whining in the background. Did we somehow close a door on her? Did one of the huge dangerous ACDs have her intimidated into a corner? No--she was sitting on the doormat inside the front door, all by herself, noone else in sight, looking plaintively at me and whining.

"Well, come over here!" I said, thinking that perhaps I had said something that made her think she had to stay there. She stood up and moved her feet agitatedly, not quite stepping off the mat, then sat again and whimpered.

And I realized--somehow the wood floor had become Evil. Now--I have wood flooring in my house, but not as much of it. The stairs are wood. The upstairs hall is wood, but most if it is covered with rugs. It's not as if we don't have smooth floors at home. Tile and sheet vinyl as well. Lots of smooth flooring.

With tremendous angst on Boost's part, I managed to get her to scrabble across the small stretch of floor to the carpet in the living room. I figured that, once she was there, everything would be fine and she'd come join us in the dining area.

But--no--she ascertained that the Evil wood floor on THIS side of the carpet was the same as the Evil wood floor on THAT side of the carpet, and none shall pass. She tried and tried, moaning and whining. She'd get her front feet two or three feet out into the wood--stretching wayyyyy out--but her hind feet...the very tips of her back-stretched toenails... remained firmly latched onto the very edge of the carpet.

Apparently Evil Flooring has a thing only for hind legs.

I know I shouldn't have laughed, but I couldn't help myself. I got her really involved in a game of tug-o-war on the living room carpet, because she gives herself 100% and then some into tug. She is a frantic, over-enthused, manic tugger. I figured that, if I gradually worked over to the side of the carpet and onto the wood floor, she wouldn't even notice that she had crossed the line.

But--well--they say that dogs have great peripheral vision. She would be 100% full-body tugging, but the instant that another step would put a foot onto Evil, she dropped the tug. Tried this several times; she knew EXACTLY to the inch where Evil began and she'd have none of that.

I tried picking her up and putting her down on the floor, supporting her. She tensed up so drastically that her toenails stuck out at all odd angles and her legs splayed out as if she were trying to keep her balance on the slippery deck of a storm-tossed ship. And her whining became agonized.

So I moved her onto the dining room doormat, and there she stayed for a while.

Eventually I moved her back into the living room, and then when she became desperate enough to brave the Evil, she managed it on rigid, terrified, crouching legs ONLY by closely hugging the wall, one careful, agonized, whimpery step at a time--I guess so that, if Evil suddenly tried to leap up and surround her, she could climb up the wall. Can't cross the open floor, but with great pain can cross the floor along the wall.

And back to the doormat, where she sat, looking put upon.

At bedtime, I had to carry her from the doormat to the carpeted stairs. I figured that, after a nice quiet night's sleep in a familar (carpeted) room, that the next morning they'd just breeze downstairs without another thought to the previous night's Evilness.

So, up bright and early, down the stairs--and Boost will not leave the bottom--carpeted--step. I coax and coax and coax, and she'll stretch her front feet wayyyy out into the wood, but the back feet will NOT leave the carpeted step.

So. What to do? OK, Tie Dye's kitchen floor is almost exactly the same flooring as in my kitchen--high-end sheet vinyl textured like slate. So I figured (note how much figuring I'm doing here) that, if I picked her up and set her down on a familiar type of flooring, she'd be fine. Figure again! The poor terrified doggie! Took a few excruciatingly painful, stiff, hunched over steps, right up next to the cabinets for safety--sinking lower and getting stiffer with every step, until she completely froze and started yowling in terror.

I laughed until I cried. I am such a bad mom. This is the same kitchen floor upon which she romped last visit. Had dinner there. Drank water there. And on several previous visits.

So I had to carry her back to the front doormat to be able to get back out to the car.

End of story, right? Leave Tie Dye house and whatever trauma had caused this, and life would be good?

So. It's two weeks later, the Monday before Haute TRACS, and we're all going over to KK's house to do scribe sheets. We do this very thing before many, many Bay Team trials. All the dogs go over there; Tika and Boost know where the doggie door is; Dig the puppy and Boost played til exhaustion the last couple of times we were there, frolicking full speed across the (note) wood floors throughout the house. We have been there many times since Boost was a puppy.

We arrive. I make my way through the mass of excited KK border collies, Tika heads out to the kitchen to check for scraps of food that the 3 resident dogs might have missed, and I stroll across the wide expanse of floor to the work area.

And guess who's still stuck on the front doormat, whimpering? Gah!

There is a small carpet in the living room, and as I ignore her for quite a while, she gets up her courage and LEAPS from the doormat to the living room carpet--then hovers at the edge closest to us, whining and looking plaintive.

As the evening progresses, she SOOOO desperately wants to get to where we are, and to get to the fun toys that the other dogs have left around the floor--BUT! There is Evil all around her!

We are astonished and greatly amused to discover that she stretches fuuuuuuurther and fuuuuurther out towards a delectable toy--can't quite get it--streeeetches more--and now her rear feet have actually left the carpet, but they're still stretched out way bhind her as if the were still latched to the fabric... she gets a full three feet away from the carpet, but still stretched out as though anchored by her rear toenails...decides she can't actually get to the toy without incurring Evil, backs hastily back onto the carpet, and sits at the edge and whines.

We lay down a couple of throw rugs so that she can actually move around by leaping from one to the next, like a frog might hop from lily pad to lily pad to avoid getting his feet wet.

Finally, after at least a couple of hours there, she dares to struggle across the actual Evil--tightly hugging the wall and large pieces of furniture for security-- and huddle at my feet under the table. She still lusts after some choice toys, and tries stretching out to them from close by the table--apparently the piece of floor she has currently conquered is no longer Evil, but the rest of the floor has not been exorcised and is The Devil Himself, so she cannot get there.

I wish I'd taken pictures. Or video. Ah, well. Poor dog.

Why did this floor inherit the Evil from the other floor? Why did the other floor become Evil Incarnate in the first place? Why are my nearly identical floorings at home still OK? Mere humans will never know and never understand.

And what will happen the next time we spend the evening at KK's or at Tie Dye's? Tune in for our next thrilling episode of Boost and the Evil Floor.

Labels: ,

Complete list of labels

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Platinum Dog!

SUMMARY: Tika gets a big title! And Boost doesn't!

Tika did it! At the SMART trial Day One today, she earned a Q in Steeplechase Round 1, so she's in the money run for tomorrow AND--ta-daaaa!--that finishes her Tournament Masters Platinum. Like...w00t! Totally!

What is a Tournament Masters Platinum?
  • Tournaments consist of:
    • Grand Prix of Dog Agility
    • Dog Agility Masters (DAM) Team Championship
    • Dog Agility Steeplechase
    These are the events that you enter during the year if you want to go to nationals. If you qualify. Enough times. With high enough scores.
  • What is Tournament Master? 10 Tournament Qs with at least 2 of each.
  • What is TM-Platinum? 50 Tournament Qs with at least 10 of each. Platinum is the highest award that you can get in USDAA. (Until some time in the future, people start getting double platinums or like that, then they'll invent some other titles, like TM-AA (agility addict) or TM-I-didn't-want-to-set-aside-any-money-for-retirement-anyway.)

Steeplechase is tough because you have to be in the top 25% of the competitors to earn a Q, and it's based on time plus faults. So you have to be very fast, or merely fast but accurate, or VERY VERY fast indeed and maybe you'll get away with one mistake. Tika usually knocks a bar, and we're not in the VERY VERY fast indeed category. But today she didn't! Ticked the first bar, giving me a momentary heart attack, but it stayed up!

I am thrilled. She got a whole mess of bits of chicken quesadilla afterwards.

Now I can decide to move her down to all-Performance in the tournaments if I want to (so that she'll jump 22" instead of 26"). Which likely means that this will be the last Platinum she'll ever get (yes, you can also earn platinum in each of the 4 regular classes plus the platinum-ADCH). Because the count starts over from 0 when you move into Performance. And it has taken us 6 years to get here.

So I'm enjoying it while I can.

[Dang, left my course maps at the trial site. Will try to scan them in tomorrow & post here.]

Tika also Qed in Performance Pairs Relay, her first-ever Performance Q, so the count is now up to... 1. And in Performance Snooker, her second-ever Performance Q. So--2! (Had enough points for a super-Q but 2 other dogs were faster.)

She knocked 2 bars jumping 26" in Standard. And the gamble was very hard: Only about 1 in 7 dogs got it. Which is low even for USDAA masters.

Boost--well--she's physically looking good. Knocked some bars but nothing excessive. People watching say that she's moving beautifully. Had a couple of really nice runs that unfortunately ended early because of the knocked bars, but we also had way more than our share of runouts, refusals, and "you-mean-THIS-jump-THIS-one?" dances. Back to square 2. But she is FAST and fun to run when communication occurs with some semblance of success.

And the weather was great. And the chicken quesadillas at lunch were spectacular. And all my friends said how they missed me and hadn't seen me in FOREVER! (I missed one trial only! One! Really!) And I wore my latest new best-dressed-agility-handler jacket:

Could life be any better?

Tomorrow... Jumpers. Everyone has to keep their bars up. Tika, you hear me? You've been jumping 26" for years, you can do it again! Plus oh yeah standard and round 2 of the steeplechase in which Tika could actually come home with, oh, let's fantasize, maybe $6! And Grand Prix.

Labels: , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hiking Photos

SUMMARY: Fun in the sun and in the cow plop.

Sunday was just about a perfect spring day. Clear skies, temperatures just on the edge of cool, excellent for hiking.

We started out at 9 in the morning, and the parking lot was nearly empty. The dogs were delighted with the concept of being off leash and exploring. I mean, like, totally and completely delighted. Sniffed at everything. Boost promptly found a dead toad to roll in, and the day continued along those veins.

Wildflowers bloomed in every direction. In particular, lupines were everywhere. Some entire fields filled with the blue of lupines.

The trail ran alongside and across a stream. Somewhere a sign said no swimming, but we couldn't keep the Golden Retrievers out of it. And Tika, oddly enough for a dog who might be, who knows, Australian Shepherd and Husky, loves the water, too.

Renegade amazed me by carrying a toy almost the entire trip. Retrievers! He also displayed his innate agility. He and Boost were in puppy agility class together, but Ren is now retired from agility and spends his days hiking, swimming, retrieving, and writing his memoirs.

Horses and cows had laid out many delectable patties along the trail and meadows. Tika and Boost loved it.

Would you put your hand in there to try to reattach a leash to the collar?

None of the beasts apparently suffers from any fear of heights or of falling down the cliffs. Nice to have four feet and a low center of gravity.

Wendy and Keith and the beasts forge ahead while I--as usual--snap photos and then rush to catch up.

And so another adventure comes to an end. By the time we were home, the dogs were rested up and ready to play again. Everyone got a good hosing down, to their dismay.

These are just a few of the photos; see the rest--lots of wildflowers and happy dogs--here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, March 16, 2009

Choices Made

SUMMARY: I make some progress with dogs but not much.

I went ahead and moved Tika down to 20" for this coming weekend's CPE trial. Oh, well, so we'll be competing against more excellent dogs. That's what competition's all about, and maybe she'll jump more comfortably. She knocked only that one bar a week ago all weekend, but she sure wasn't comfortable landing.

I'm moving Tika gradually to Performance (jumping 22") instead of CHampionship (26") in USDAA. I think. I went ahead and left Tika in the two championship USDAA DAM teams for April and June (so far)--which means she's still jumping 26"--and have left her in championship Steeplechase and Grand Prix so far--because she still needs ONE tournament of any kind for her Platinum Tournament Master. And 26" in Standard and Jumpers, because she needs just a few more of those for her ADCH-Silver. But I'm conceding to her repeating soreness and moving her down to 22" in other classes. We'll see whether it makes a difference.

I'm supposed to be giving Boost a complete rest from intense running for 2 weeks per physical therapist, just giving her excellent, long hikes over varied terrain. Well, after 2 days of 2-mile walks over level sidewalks, I decided that I'm just too busy to go driving for an hour to get to someplace where I can let the dogs off leash to hike, and I'm just not going to do it. I have to drive 15 minutes just to get someplace with uphills and downhills, and I'm just not going to do it, even though I could use it, too.

I worked on lots of tug of war, set up a cart with a platform so she could put her front feet on it and push it around with her rear legs (both dogs, actually, for everything), one exercise from the PT, and practiced with their rear legs up on a step and streeeeetchhhhing them out (also from PT), and working on sitting up. Tricks.

And by Saturday evening Boost was going nuts. Pulling all the toys out of the toy box and chewing on that. Poking at the space heater because she knows it gets my attention (dammit!). Throwing her bedding around. Standing in the yard and barking at phantom ideas. In short--that dog needs more exercise that I can give her around here without running her (dammit!). Good thing she's not *seriously* injured. We'd both go insane.

So I went back to running her in the yard. Mostly avoiding agility equipment except using a 4" bar to practice handling maneuvers, and a straight tunnel to try to avoid banking off the sides.

She's also on prescription anti-inflamatories for 3 weeks to see whether it makes a difference in her movements. I avoided paying another $100 at the vet's for supplements that I don't even believe will do anything based on recent research.

So many decisions to make, one after another. And so many of them affecting my dogs' lives and health.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Boost Visits the Orthopedist and Tika Goes For a Hike

SUMMARY: Boost looks good but there's work to do.

We drove wayyyyy out of town this morning--about an hour and a half--to the current favorite dog sports orthopedist, up in Marin, north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. A long way from home.

And there in the lobby was an agility friend who lives a few blocks away from here, picking up her dog. Small world.

Dr. S did a quick physical exam and said that nothing seemed amiss, except that she didn't want to extend her rear legs but that could be pain or it could be that she just doesn't want to extend her rear legs. So he agreed that x-rays of her pelvis would be good to eliminate anything structural.

We left Boost to be sedated and x-rayed and went in search of the Oakwood Valley Trail in the Tennessee Valley. (I thought that was farther away than Marin, but what do I know?)

It was a lovely day for a hike, we found the trail easily, and I thought we had a couple of hours, so we set out briskly. It was muddy in spots, but otherwise the trail was wide and comfortable with a slight uphill grade.

They had told me that this was a dog-friendly trail, and indeed the only people I saw on the trail were five other lone women with their dogs (three black labs, a husky, a golden retriever, and a black and tan coonhound I think). No men, no dogless people. Interesting. And for some odd reason I didn't take photos of any of the dogs.

Tika behaved VERY well, met each of them fairly comfortably. No shrieking and throwing herself at the end of the leash. Odd.

We were about a mile out when my cell phone rang to tell me that Boost would be available an hour earlier than estimated, so we turned and went back. (I'll load more photos of the hike later.)

Dr. S showed the x-rays, and said that she could be the poster child for excellent OFA hips. Nice deep sockets with the leg bones well-seated. However, when he pulled on her legs, he can none-the-less feel that they're loose--the hip moves slightly out of the socket and back in again.

This might not be a problem; there are apparently many many loose-hipped border collies that never have any issues. Or it might be a problem; some of those border collies develop arthritis. There's no sign of that in Boost at this time. So Dr. S. said that he sees no reason why she can't do everything normally.

Then we did the physical therapist. She ended up doing a thorough and deep massage to be sure there were no soft-tissue issues, and indeed she found that Boost reacted with discomfort to pressure on a couple of small, deep muscles under her rear legs, and a bit on the shoulders where she said that she'd expect a dog to be compensating with her shoulders for soreness in the rear.

Boost, after initial misgivings, really relaxed into the massage except for raising her head and glaring when the sore spots were hit. Didn't hurt that there was still a lingering bit of sedative.

Then we talked at great length about exercises to strengthen and tighten her hips, abdomen, and lower body in general. I have so much homework to do! I have a video now, too, that explains some of the exercises.

I didn't get home until after 6 this evening, so gone for 9 hours. A long day. I'm tired. Glad there's nothing serious with Boost, but the physical therapist suggested a couple of weeks of rest with no intense, driven running. Just lots and lots of hiking. Ack! More time that I don't have! And that's just NOT going to burn off the energy!

Well, we'll see what we come up with.

Labels: , , ,

Complete list of labels

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ribbons and Choices

SUMMARY: Tika does well but is sore; Boost runs a lot; TMH can't make up its mind.

These March winter mornings in Turlock started with frost on the grass but the sun rising bright and clear. By early afternoon, people had stripped off their coats and some had started hosing down their dogs to keep them cool. But when the sun set--Brr!

With Boost's agility career on hiatus while I figure out whether she has a physical problem, all my hopes for the weekend rested on Tika. If Tika can keep her bars up, she usually excels in CPE events. This is good, because I'd like to eventually earn enough Qs for her C-ATE (250 about), and she has a long way to go. We do few CPE trials any more, so every run counts because Tika is 8 and comes up sore more and more often.

We had 10 runs this weekend, and I promised myself that I would take Boost out after every one of Tika's runs and do something physically and mentally stimulating with her in lieu of a run.

First thing in the morning, we always play a bit of frisbee to loosen up the dogs and burn off the edge so that they'll relax in their crates. We did so Saturday. Then, on our way off the field, a friend with border collies that Boost loves to chase headed out to the playing field, so we went back out and ran a bunch more.

I try to keep the frisbee low so that the dogs aren't leaping and torquing their backs, but a couple of times I missed and I cringed seeing Tika's leaps.

Tika Sore? About 2 hours later, when I took Tika out of her crate for her first run, she emerged hunchy and stiff. Well, crap! I've driven all this way, paid my entry fees for the weekend (which are now nonrefundable), have only one dog to run, and this is one of the few CPEs for us this year. Plus when I've scratched Tika in the past, she often then goes blasting around the field full speed after squirrels, so how sore can she be? She is a known drama queen when it comes to injuries, too, so I have to take that into account.

I massage her, stretch her a bit, try to get her spine and shoulders mobile the way I was shown. (I'm not very good at this.) First run is Colors, only 11 obstacles, so what the heck. She runs fairly well, keeps all her bars up, but I can see that she's catching herself roughly when landing after each jump. But she's bright-eyed and eager and fast. Ends up 3rd fastest of all 58 dogs, all heights/levels, on the same course.

She's the ONLY dog in her level and height--24"--so she's guaranteed first place every time unless she eliminates, and there's not much chance of that. But I'll take the ribbons only if we've earned them.

She gets a doggie aspirin, more rubbing, and then I take Boost out for some running and training.

Boost Play and Training. I manage to keep my promise to Boost 8 out of the 10 runs for the weekend. I start and end every session just as if we were going into competition, using the right leash, the right toy, the right warm-up, then the right back-to-the-crate routine with treats and all. While she's out, we practice a variety of things:
* Sit-stay and down-stay, including with lots of excitement and toy throws. Even did a little out-of-sight stays, which we've never worked on before. Only 5 seconds, but she held it.
* Down from a distance while she's moving. Took her a couple of tries to realize what was going on, but then she got it and did very well. None of my other dogs have been able to do that without a lot of work, and even then reluctantly. But Boost has a super-fast down and seems comfortable doing it.
* Lateral lead-outs. Goal was to ensure that she was looking at the jump, not me, before I released her. We've done these before, but obviously not enough. It took her a very long time the first couple of times before she stopped staring at me and looked in the general direction of the jump inadvertently, at which point I released her and threw the toy. What a quick study she is!--By the end of the weekend, she was back to doing it pretty reliably.
* Sends to a jump from various directions (just a jump frame with a bar on the ground).
* Lateral "out" commands (around garbage cans) while we're moving together.
* Sitting up on her rear legs.
* Rolling over.
* "Close"--command for running next to me instead of ahead, until I say "go".
* Various running and moving ground exercises.

She seemed to enjoy it and didn't look disappointed or confused when I put her back in her crate, since I was following the same competition routine. (Unlike Jake who was quite disturbed and sulky about doing the agility that he expected.)

Plus she got to Run With The Border Collies for about half an hour at the end of the weekend while I packed my car.

Tika Still Sore--Or Not?
Tika came out of her crate with the same hunchy look for almost every run, although she always perked up completely when i presented treats. Did lots more massaging and stretching than I usually do with her. She loves the attention.

I couldn't decide whether to scratch her from the rest of the weekend. I really didn't want to, for my own sake, which is not how you're supposed to make decisions for your dog. On the other hand, she was always excited about running, enough so that we were having troubles with our start-line stays, and she always did the over-the-top grab-mom's-feet thing at the end of every run. And this is a known issue, not some mysterious malady.

Tika not looking at all wonky:

So I ran her all weekend, although she was landing heavily and grunting after her jumps and turning wide the whole time (except for one run), not her usual effortless flowing jumping and tight turns.

That Dang Snooker. The only run of the weekend where she didn't come out of the crate looking sore--and didn't keep her bars up--was the last run on Saturday, Snooker. The sun had already disappeared and it was much cooler. Maybe she liked the coolth.

Snooker in CPE is different from USDAA Snooker, in that you MUST successfully complete three reds to be able to earn a qualifying score (if you then go on and earn enough points in the closing). There is a fourth red on the course, but you can (must) take it ONLY if you knock one of the other reds. I explained this to a few people during the briefing.

Tika was the last dog to run of the class and of the day, so we ran a couple of hours after the briefing. I put her in a down stay and started my long lead-out to get into position. Next thing I know, there she is right next to me, bright eyed and bushy nubbered.

I set her up about 12 feet off the first jump to give her the right strides to get over the jump without knocking it. What she does when she decides she's going to self start is to stand up, slowly creep forward until she's right up before the jump, then takes off without enough space.

I looked back and, sure enough, the bar was down. I had hoped for a 51-point (perfect) run, but that was out of the question. And then my 12 years of USDAA experience kicked in: If I did just the two additional reds and the closing, I'd still have enough points to qualify. So that's what we did, and we did it quickly and smoothly. And we got to the end, and the judge comes over and says, "Did you realize that you could have taken the fourth red and still earned a qualifying score?" Oh--well--crud. I can't even remember my own advice for two hours! So we got no points for the closing at all and no Q.

You Know What Happens When You Assume. Our only other non-Q for the weekend was the preceding Standard run, which Tika did nicely all the way to the 2nd to last obstacle, which was a dogwalk-tunnel discrimination. I yelled "Climb!" and raced ahead, assuming that she'd do it because her arc from the previous obstacle led there--but Nooooo! Silly mom, tunnel much easier when mom's ahead. Body language takes precedence over voice commands.

Tika--Yes--Still Sore, But Happy.
In Snooker first thing Sunday morning, we had short weaves in the opening for for 7 points. Every time, Tika--my superb weaving dog--either went into the weaves on the wrong side because it was closer or went into the correct place and came right back out again. Wasted a tremendous amount of time in the opening, so we missed our perfect 51 points by less than one second! Argh! It was a qualifying score, but still, I didn't understand.

Until, before the next run, I had her do figure-8s around my legs, and the first time, she yelped and stopped! OK, sore side-to-side, too. So we added additional manipulations and stretchings and bendings, and she was decent after that, although still slower in the weaves than usual. And I didn't try pushing her speed during our runs, which I usually would do, to get her more excited and driving.

Qing and Firsts.
In all, Tika earned 8 of 10 Qs. It's always better for me (I feel better about my first places) if there are other 24"-jumping dogs in my height and level. But the two catahoulas weren't there, the BCs Annie and Django who sometimes jump 24" weren't there, and BC Brenn has moved down to 20".

As a result, to make me feel that we've earned our first places, I compare our scores and times to every other dog, all heights/all levels, who have done the same course. This time, Tika was never the top dog, but out of 50-60 dogs, she was still between the 3nd and 10th fastest or highest-scoring dog, so I felt that the 1st were earned.

Note that, in USDAA, if we weren't feeling well and were making mistakes on the course, we'd be wayyyy down in the rankings somewhere, but here in CPE, Tika is still near the top.

The only two dogs who beat us consistently all weekend were a fast little sheltie who has running A-frames and--in point accumulation classes--5 more seconds than we do, and a Border Collie in the 20" group.

The Horns of Height Dilemmas. Now, Tika is eligible to run 20" in CPE. I do 24" because she has to jump 26" in USDAA. So I could move her down to 20" for future trials to see whether that's better. Here's my personal dilemma: Because the 20" BC made no mistakes this weekend, and is also at Level C, if Tika had been running at 20", 7 or 8 of those 8 pretty blues would have been pretty reds. As much as I like competition, I must admit that a guarantee of not getting 1st is rough.

When Tika is 100%, we can almost never beat those other dogs on speed, so in timed courses, we usually win only if they make mistakes. In points courses, we can win when we create a cleverer, more efficient way of collecting points than the others, which is possible sometimes but not always.

Here's the second dilemma: in USDAA, I could move Tika to Performance and jump her at 22" instead of 26". But: I've already signed her up for the next two DAM Team events with 3-dog teams, with Tika at 26". And they'd be fun teams. We already have our team names (not always easy) and one even has a logo already. And I'd like to run with them. But if I go to performance, I'd have to find different teams. And closing is only a week away for one of them, which would leave that team stuck without a 3rd. But I want to do these teams!

So I'll probably stay at 26" at least for those. Maybe move her to Performance in some other things. And stay higher in Steeplechase and Grand Prix until she earns her 50th tournament leg.

I hate this. Dogs shouldn't get older and sorer.

But I Had Fun. In all, though, it was a good weekend. So I wasn't even particularly annoyed when I left the grounds around 7:30(!) Sunday evening. Especially because Boost got to romp with a ton of other Border Collies the whole time I packed.

Here's Bump, Dig, Boost's half-sister Quas ("Kass"), and Boost--who always just watches and outruns the other BCs:

Never thought I'd be able to tell one black & white BC from another, but over time, I've gotten to know some reasonably well. Here are housemates Bump, Dig, and Styx (with Cattle Dog Skeeter in the back), then blue merles Boost, sister Bette, and Quas.

It seemed like a lot of dogs milling and dashing around! (Easier to count when they're in a snapshot.) So sometimes we hardly noticed when other random dogs joined the crowd.

Skeeter is largely blind due to glaucoma; has only one eye left. But her Human Mom can get her to leap and play by shrieking and doing monstery things with her arms. It's very cute. While Boost sits, poised, waiting intently for a border collie to start running.

Tika kept rushing back to the van and looking hopeful. That's because they usually get dinner right before we go home. And we know who's the chow hound.

And I wasn't even annoyed when, while heading to the freeway, the car felt funny handling, and I wondered whether I had a tire problem, and then the tire-pressure light came on. I pulled into the Jack-in-the-Box, and sure enough, one tire's pressure was 5 lbs lower than the others, and it had this little ding.

Safe to drive? Dunno. Don't want to have blow-out on the way home; that WOULD annoy me. So I called AAA to have them look at the tire. Took less than half an hour to get there, but it gave me plenty of time to enjoy my healthy french fries...

to watch the moon come up over JITB...

to take endless sunset photos...

Here's a scenic one of the sunset reflected in my minivan's window. Glamorous, huh?

Then AAA arrived. He said: Dunno, but he'd replace the tire to be safe rather than sorry. He had the right tools to do it in about 3 minutes. Amazing.

Got home VERY late and slept VERY well for many, many hours.

Had These Photos And What To Do With Them? But lastly--just for you, gratuitous barking grassy Bump photos:

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Complete list of labels