Sunday, February 27, 2011

Little Miss

Nick picked up Little Miss this afternoon. He seems quite pleased with her. She's certainly precocious. When I was playing with the big dogs today she was tugging on my elastic fabric toy thing-a-ma-bobber. And have oodles of funning being vicious and tough.

Like all pups she had a great fascination with the dead leaves. So much fun to chase around.

Simply adorable!! And now on her way to a new life and new home...

Ryder's Homecoming

Amidst much stress Ryder has moved home. His owner was sad to see him go and emphasized there was no problem with the dog. Just an unfortunate circumstances sending him back here. He is a lovely little dog. A huge sigh of relief left my body when I saw he was shiny and healthy. He's not in as good as shape as my dogs but that can be quickly remedied. Right now his commands are a bit sketchy, but Borders are funny about their people and sometimes take a bit of time to warm up and show their best listening. To help prevent him from making mistakes he'll be on a leash or penned until he shows a solid recall.

Diva seemed to want to show him the ropes. Literally. She grabbed hold of his leash and was tugging on it like mad, having a grand old time! He doesn't seem to have any aggression issues. More on the submissive side when it comes to the other dogs. Reba and Tessa have an intense case of dislike right now, which I'll be monitoring and working on. For obvious reasons he won't be allowed unsupervised with them.

It's funny what dogs seem to know and remember. I'd swear he knew who Bella was. The absolute joy with which he greeted her was heartwarming to watch. He is definitely in love with her. And she, to her credit was awesome as always.

When the snow stops, I'll try to get a video of them playing because it's pretty funny. He's a very nice dog, and I'll be working with him to help him be the best he can be.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bella the Babysitter

We have a guest staying at our house for a couple of days. No Name, is staying over until Sunday when she'll continue on her way to her new home. Bella, as per normal is being an amazing babysitter. Little No Name is only 8 weeks and full of beans. Reminds me a lot of Tessa at that age. No Name will be moving into Grace's owner's home. Nick's been busy getting the place ready for another baby. He asked I hold her for a couple days as his wife just had surgery. (Everything's fine.)

No Name is Reba's 3/4 sister. And super cute. Kinda looks like another puppy we know....

She was happy to play with Bella and Diva. And follows nicely along with them before I gathered her up and put her back into jail. Which she was not so happy about.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Busy Bee

Things have been hectic around here. And my poor critters are being neglected, especially with the descent of -30 weather, add on a wind chill and it's stinking cold! Frozen booger cold as I like to say. This week I've had parent teacher conferences each night. This means I leave my house at 7:30 in the morning and pull back into the yard at around the 9:00 pm mark. Poor dogs. Thank goodness my mom has committed to providing some play time. (But no where near my standard 1-2 hour each evening with additional training time.)

On Friday (tomorrow), I'm meeting Keith. He's bring a 8 week old pup that will be going to Grace's new home. He'll either deliver the pup to my school, or I'll zip into Edmonton to pick it up after work.

On Saturday I'm meeting Lynne and Zoey (Diva's litter mate) for a play date at the dog park at 10 am. In the afternoon, I'm off to my nephews birthday party. And at some point Nick will be picking up his new pup.

On Sunday I have a herding date with Tracy, who likes to "cross train" her agility dog. She comes out every so often to work with me and learn about training her dog on stock. I'm also waiting to hear from Ryder's people with a time for him to rejoin my home.

Monday I'm back at work. No rest for the wicked. On the bright side I should have something interesting to blog about and I'll make an effort to get pictures.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A Day Early

Back Around Again

Annnnnddddd, the roller coaster climbs, climbs, climbs, aaaannnnnddddd dooooooooowwwwwwnnnnnn you go. I'm feeling as though my eyes are watering with the force of the ride. Today, I received another email from Ryder's family.

A few weeks ago, he'd contacted me letting me know they were going to sell the farm, and as such would be re-homing Ryder to allow him to live up to his potential and talent. I being the responsible breeder (or just anal retentive) told him I'd buy Ryder back. The next day the response was an unequivocal no. It seemed they just couldn't let the little fellow go - after all he was now part of their family.

And today, the email asked me when I'd be able to take him. I understand how heart wrenching it is to have to let go of a pet you've come to love. I respect the fact that there has been some thought put into this. That they genuinely want to do the right thing for the dog.

The hard thing for me is Ryder has been living in the house. Meaning he wouldn't be able to handle the often harsh weather we experience here. Meaning he would need to live in the house. I have no qualms about having a dog in the house. I have two living inside right now. My worry is about Tessa. And how she'll handle this.

I popped by the vet and got a higher dosage of her anxiety meds. I'll have a week or so before Ryder comes back. I'm really hoping to make this transition as nice as possible for everyone concerned. I don't want Ryder learning her bad habits (or quirks), especially the peeing. And I don't want her stressed unnecessarily because another dog is coming into "her" house.

She seems happier today. My goal is to keep her that way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

As Requested

My dearest friend reminds me that I've been remiss in putting up to date pictures of Diva up. Here the darling is in all her happy splendor. She's devilishly tricky to photo with her black little face. I have many, many headless photos as a result. (You know, the ones where her head blends in with her body.)

My beautiful little watcher. Waiting for the rope ball to come back for her to grab onto it.

Diva running to me on top of the snow crust. You wouldn't know it, but when I fall through I'm up to my knees (if not deeper) in snow.

Reba (mom) and Diva on our hill walk this afternoon. She's almost as tall as Reba now, just as fast. I've always thought Reba was athletic but this little pup puts her to shame. I can't wait to see what she can do!


This is Coby. He's a Wire Haired Pointer. He's here visiting with my brother and his family. Coby doesn't have the best social skills. (Coming from me and my grumpy pack that's sayin' something!) He doesn't "read" dog body language. Or not very well...

To defend the poor guy, it's not really his fault. His mom and dad don't do very much with him. And if you know anything about hunting breeds then you know they are high energy, scent driven and not the most trainable creatures on the face of the earth. Coby has papers and is from some championship lines. Apparently he has a good "scent instinct", which led to his breeder asking my brother to leave him intact. Sigh. Which wouldn't be a big deal if they put effort into doing stuff with him. (And if I wasn't left to clean up his mess - both in and out of the house.)

In my brother's defense, he has a new baby and a start-up business. However, he also has this dog. This dog who regularly doesn't get out for runs. Instead, he makes do with a play in the house. And it really aggravates me. Today, I took Coby out with my crew for an hour "free play-walk" in the field. He was wild. My dogs were wild with annoyance. Even Bella, who's ridiculously sweet avoids him. Diva, is fascinated. Part of her would love to play chase with him, but part of her is terrified of him. He's not the gentlest of animals out there.

Reba wants to attack him, but will settle and play wrestle and chase with him, as long as it's on her terms. She's had a number of discussion about appropriate bum sniffing and how to greet another dog. It's slowly sinking in. Tessa avoids him. I think he's too rough. Both her and Diva will stay close to the safety of my legs.

I would like to see my brother give the dog up. I just don't think it's fair for Coby. Poor guy, is very likely a fabulous hunting trial dog. Unfortunately, my brother would need to hit the road to compete with him.

It really bothers me because I bust my bottom for my animals, and I hate having one on my periphery that isn't getting the same standard. Even though Coby's not my kind of dog - he really annoys me most days - I still wish a better life for him. (To be very clear here, he is not abused or mistreated.)

But I will Mind My Own Business.

"Mommmmmyyyyy!!!!! He's coming!!!!!!!"

"I'm Coby! Watch me run!!!"

"Why would I give it back to you??"

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Last night I relented and allowed Tessa to rejoin me at night in my room. She had been banished after her big peeing episode. But looking in her sad doggy face, I felt bad and dragged her bed back into my room for her. I was feeling tired and made the decision to head to bed early.

Tessa, scratched on the side, asking permission to come up. Patting the bed I moved over giving her room to join me. With her current state of urine issues, you could consider this a risky decision. I, however, miss our cuddles. I pulled her little body in close to mine, with her back along my belly, and her head under my chin. She rooted and wiggled until she was tightly in the nook. Once settled I put my arm over her in a hug and we lay there.

But she was "off" and wouldn't settle down, eventually trying to sit on my head, resulting in me shoving her down, and her hopping off the bed. Throughout the night I was routinely woken up by her. She'd come scratch the side of the bed. I'm not the person who ever ignores a pet who's asking for something. So I'd wobble down the hall, to the door, let her out, and lean in a groggy fog until I thought she would be ready to come in. A couple of times she'd refuse to go out, digging in her paws until I shut the door.

She remained off and clingy as the day passed. Fluctuating between her hilarious howling songs, and tail tucked hiding in my closet. She wanted to remain near me at all times. When I sat down to eat, she'd be bopping my leg with a paw, or trying to climb on my lap. So I gave up. I sat in the Lazy Boy and helped her into my lap, where she shoved her body into mine. As I type, she is lying bug eyed at my feet.

I'm not sure what the problem is. Strokes? But I called the vet and will be upping her anxiety meds to the maximum dosage. Hopefully it helps. Hopefully she's just having an off day. Hopefully we both get some sleep tonight. The good news is she didn't pee on my bed last night. Nor on my lap today.

That counts for something, right?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dream or Reality

Something many people don't realize is that I've been debating going back to university and getting a graduate degree. It has nothing to do with how I feel in the classroom. Instead this would be for me, for my development as a human being. I've been trying to decide between getting a Master of Education - Specialisation in Technology in Education or Master of Education - Leadership. Having more schooling is the ace in the hole should I ever decide to leave the classroom.

Even when I was fresh out of school, I've always had the thought of graduate studies for the future. The focus has changed from Literacy, to Counselling, to Technology, to Administration. Initially, when I went to school I wanted to become a Speech Pathologist, however I quickly discovered the classrooms were a better fit for my personality.

I really like learning. As a result I read a lot, attend a lot of seminars and professional development, and scour resources and the Internet for information. I've even taken online university courses. The biggest roadblock stopping me from registering and applying immediately is money. The cost (more or less) for a complete Masters will run me around $15,000.

And to be honest, I could manage it. Except I have a horse in cutting training, on a futurity track. I can't afford to do both. Both are expensive little endeavors. Both are things I quite badly want to do, and if someone dropped a pot of money in my lap, I'd hold onto. The question of the day is do I scuttle the cutting dream, put it on hold for another day? Or do I put the graduate program on hold for another two years (the amount of time it'll take to run Roxy through the futurities)? There are Pros and Cons for either side.

So do I choose my career and brain, or do I choose my free time and hobby life? Either way I have to make a decision...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Play Pal

This morning, after deworming the sheep, I moved Oscar and by default Moxie, out into the shed that houses the hay. I stayed out to watch them for a while. Moxie, who historically has tormented the dogs by engaging them in play, was playing with Oscar. It was a heartwarming moment and immediately removed any worries I had had about bringing another cat onto the place. It seems I was right and Moxie was lonely and needing a friend.

Friday, February 11, 2011

One Forward, Two Back

Have you ever been irrationally angry? So angry you could just scream? For no apparent reason? Where the tiniest provocation could set you into a tailspin? That's how I've felt most of the past week. Mad at the world. Ridiculously so. Tonight after a wonderful walk with the dogs, I played with Diva, and magically, all was better.

The little girl is starting to PLAY!!! I have a rope ball, a rope with a rope shaped ball on the end that I huck for Tessa to fetch. Diva likes to come up and bump the rope with her nose. Everyday I've been working with her on playing. Relentlessly trying to get her to engage. Tonight, she grabbed on to that toy and tugged. Really tugged. She got completely into it with grunting, whining sounds - shades of Luke. Even going so far as to jump up on me when I took it away from her, trying to get to it. This was a very exciting moment for me. Exactly what the doctor ordered after my week.

Tessa has been driving me nuts. Into wild internal rages. Deep, dark, foul moods. Tessa, whom I've been giving meds to for years has suddenly taken to trying to spit them out, peeling the cheese layer off and leaving the med, gooey and gross on the floor. This infuriated me. I've had to resort to doing the drop it down the throat method and I hate that.

She's been seemingly obstinate. Not intentionally I know, but it's grating on my nerves. If I want her to go left, she goes right, and so forth. It has been a rough week all around. Not only is she getting a mint's worth of dope, but she has peed all over her beds, the jeans I left on the floor (lesson learned), and... the icing on the cake... when she pooped on my living room floor. Seriously. There is only so much I can take.

I'm not the owner who ignores their dog when it asks to go out. I'm not the owner who doesn't provide potty opportunities. Tessa is now banished. Banished to the bathroom, where its easy to clean. All week I've pondered what to do. Am I going to be the dog owner who puts the dog down - kills it - when it becomes an inconvenience? This is emphatically not the person I want to be. But what are my options if we can't get this under control? Leave her locked in jail for the remainder of her days? Kick her outside and leave her in a run for her golden years? What kind of life is that? She has to be supervised when she's outside because she doesn't make good decisions anymore. Living on a farm opens a wide field of deadly possibilities for her. Like I said, it has not been a good week - for me or Tessa.

Here's hoping Tessa and I have a better week starting now...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here and Gone

There's no doubt about the fact that where I live has real winters. Ones with snow, wind and at times frigid temperatures. This unusually snowy winter has created some extra work for me. I'm a pretty routine creature. And I can be anal retentive about things. One thing that I have an intense dislike of is having dog turds on my lawn. I find it disgusting. With (now) 4 dogs you can imagine the amount of waste material that can accumulate.

On a normal day I would take the dogs out into the field for their morning business, and train (and expect) them to go in the shelter belt for any other deposits. This winter with the ridiculous storms and snow my dogs have taken to leaving their deliveries in the most convenient place for them. This just happens to be my yard. I certainly understand their viewpoint. After all, most places the snow on the field is deeper than they are tall.

All last week we had warm, balmy, melting snow weather. All last week I eagerly anticipated this weekend, and all the wonderful things I'd accomplish. Things like clean up those suddenly appearing turds. And today, after storming all day Saturday, my yard once again looks pristine and clean. Not because I've cleaned anything, oh no, only because everything is once again buried under a layer of snow.

So now, I wait, for the mystery turds to reappear in my yard. Gone today. Here tomorrow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Discovery

Last night, with Diva feeling rather hard done by, I made the decision to bring her into the house. The rationale being I'd crate her overnight near Reba's bed, giving her some company to take the edge off of lonely. It was shaping up to be a miserable stormy night. Not the best for her to have her first alone experience.

I spent a fair amount of time putting her in the crate, waiting until she settled and then letting her out again. At 10:30 I let the dogs out for their night bathroom break. Once back in she seemed content in the crate. She was in a relaxed lie down, quiet but alert. At 12:30 she let out a whimper and grabbed the crate gate, so I hopped out of bed and let her outside with her mom. Both dogs started barking wildly, fairly quickly, causing me to bring them in.

This morning at 6:30 I went to let her out again. And I was surprised to find that she had pooped in the corner. Understand that this is not an overlarge crate. In fact, it's probably on the smaller side for her. I've never had a dog do this before. Did she call out and I missed it? Or did she really have to go when I let her out and not have time to do it? Or did she just not understand I'd let her out. I cleaned up the crate, tossed her bed into the washer, put in a fresh bed and put her back into the crate for a while. She would have rather zipped around the house but went in fairly easily.

I think my plan of attack on this one is going to be bring her in often, crate her often, but let her out every 2 hours, to try and teach her that she will get out and she can go potty outside. She needs to be crate trained and relaxed in one because she'll need to be in one a lot when we travel and trial. And the last thing I want is for her messing in her house!

Friday, February 4, 2011


Today was a bittersweet moment for me. I said goodbye to Luke. My darling, adorable, fun, sweet little man. Saying goodbye was bitter. If I thought for a moment that I could do justice to both babies I would have never let him go. Knowing that he went to a home that would love him as much as I do was the sweet part. Luke is headed into the agility world. He'll get lots of play, love and attention. He'll have the chance to develop into the best "him" he can be.

And his moving out, will allow me to spend more time with Diva, allowing her to be the best "her" she can be. She'll have the chance to shine, out from behind his shadow. This makes me happy. But, I'll sure miss the little fellow. He has a solid place in my heart.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Oprah's Vegan Challenge

Here's a link to another blogger's post. It's a point of view that I agree with in many ways. I strongly believe in the ethical treatment of animals, however I think that there are better ways to go about doing things. Vegan's who say they don't eat meat because of ethical issues, yet wear leather shoes, belts, etc annoy me. Where, precisely do they think the leather comes from? I would love to see Oprah visit farms, but I suspect it'll never happen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Silver Lining

12:35 pm
Today, I stood in my classroom, trying to keep the chaos intrinsic with an elementary school classroom from exploding into madness. As I stood there I told my little munchkins that I was leaving and would be back tomorrow. Being curious creatures they wanted to know why. And being an open and honest adult, I told them.

2:30 pm
I took the afternoon off to run Reba into the vet clinic. I also brought my new kitty (I'm leaning towards Oscar right now.) with me for his first shots and a check up. Little kitty is doing good. He had ear mites which grosses me out but isn't the end of the world. His brothers were actually at the clinic and were going to go live with one of the vet techs. When Sam (vet) took a look at Reba's tooth she agreed it looked pretty ugly. So ugly that they did some juggling of the schedule and booked her for surgery on Tuesday. Given the fact that they are booking spay/neuters 7 weeks in advance right now, a week wait is pretty short. Reba is soon to be short one canine tooth. This will cut her training short for a while. No fetching balls or chasing sheep (don't want to risk a bite or kick) until her mouth heals.

12:38 pm
As I stood, gathering my purse, bag and laptop, one of my young students sidled up to me. She stood there looking up at my face. (I'm 5'8" so tall when compared with a child.) Pausing I looked at her, asking what I can do for her. Her response was to nestle her little body up against mine, wrapping her arms around my waist. Thanking her, I rubbed her back for a moment. Pulling away, she asked "See you tomorrow?" Smiling I replied "See you tomorrow." The little doll knew I was worried and was comforting me. And in the morning I'll give my class the "Reba Update" because it matters to them. They want to know how she's doing too.

6:39 pm
And that my friends, is the silver lining. You never, truly know who, how or when you touch another. But today, I knew I touched someone, that I mattered, would be missed, and because I mattered, I had reached them. My actions and choices have the power to impact and influence others. How I choose to live my life does matter. The ripple effect.

Have you touched someone lately? Pay a kindness forward.