Monday, December 27, 2010

All dressed up for winter

Here are my guys modelling their ruffwear boots and their coats after our walk yesterday.

And Max looking terribly embarrassed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Gear

When we go out walking in the winter (at least in town where they salt the roads) my dogs wear Ruffwear boots

or a Canadian product called Invisible Boot

Both seem to work well at protecting their paws from the salt and snow - both have their advantages and drawbacks.  The boots have to be put on tightly.  It took me a while to really believe this and if anyone helps me with boots we are sure to lose one.  I also worry that getting their feathers caught in the velcro will pull their hair and hurt them.   Both of my guys sit really nicely to get them on but putting on eight little booties plus coats and harnesses for the morning walk takes longer than the walk!

The invisible boot is a bit messy.  It's non-toxic which is good because my dogs love the taste.  They don't lick it off their paws but when you are waxing up two dogs there is residue on the floor by the time you get done with dog #2 and both my guys would rather stay and clean the floor than go for a walk at this point.  Lately I've been putting the boots on Max and the invisible boot on Rylie as he seems to balk at walking in the boots for the first 50 feet or so.

Unless the weather is such that they get snowballs in their paws it seems that the cold and snow doesn't bother them as they can play in the back yard without a problem.  It's just the salt on our town streets.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Ramblings

Rylie recovered nicely from his tummy problems as soon as we got home.  We haven't had class for three weeks now because of the weather so we are all going a bit stir crazy.  Our walks have been curtailed too because it's been so cold.  We have been out walking for the last few days though.  Max is happy but Rylie balks at the beginning of the walk.  The only reason I can think of is he remembers having salt on his feet.  Once we get going he is fine.  He is the one who will stay out forever in the back yard (without a coat) while Max prefers the warmth of the house so I just don't have any other explanation.

Engineering Guy came home on Tuesday.  It's nice to have him back for a few weeks.  Computer Dude comes home tomorrow so we will have a full house.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dog Camp Day Two

I didn't get my butt kicked even once (although I did get called on a couple of sloppy manoeuvres near the end of the day today).  Rylie had a blast and showed that we really have been working on foundation stuff quite a bit.  I did have him tugging at camp a bit today so I'm pretty pleased with that.  We had a table exercise where the tug was supposed to be the reward for offering behaviours at the table.  I asked what I should do since I knew there was little chance of getting Rylie to tug on the table.  It was suggested I use the exercise time to work on tugging.  The funny part is that Rylie loves tables as he has been well rewarded for the table so he wanted to go on the table.  My partner suggested that I use the table as a reward so that's what I did - Rylie tugs  he gets released to go on the table.  A little bass akwards but he was cool with it.  He also has the "fake tug" down pretty well as he growls and paws at the toy.  My partner would say "release him to the table" as she would think he was tugging and I'd have to tell her he was just faking it lol!  He does keep me on my toes.

Tugging is something my dogs will do at home but not consistently in other environments.  Susan Garret's training philosophy is based on having a tugging dog and I have seen how it builds drive so I can't argue.  I came home with some suggestions on how to build the drive for this as this is the only thing I have "don't wanna don't have to" moments with and I haven't been sure how to work through them.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flatwork Day 1

Day 1 was awesome.  I was so proud of Rylie - whether it is because the skills in this camp weren't quite such a stretch for me, or I have had that much more training since spring, or just because I met three of the other campers at the B&B at breakfast this morning.  Rylie wouldn't really tug at camp but I didn't let it bother me because I know he will do it at home and in environments that are low stress.  Eventually the rest will come.  My partner for camp was a lady with a lovely poodle  (she was very lovely as well)- he was also more food motivated than toy motivated.  I realized that some of my criteria for reinforcement zone and crate games has been pretty low but again - that's something I can work on.  Rylie was very quick to adapt when I changed criteria on him.  The only downer is that Rylie has the runs.  I even brought water from home because I know his tummy is sensitive but I guess that is his way of handling stress.  I wasn't going to feed him his supper tonight (he had a lot of treats anyway) but he was pretty vocal in his objections to that plan so he got to eat - I sense it might be a longish night.  Hopefully he won't have to go out too often.

We got back to the B&B at about 5 p.m.  The only restaurants I know in the area are fast food so I thought I'd be stuck with that but when I walked in the door the proprietor informed me that soup would be ready in half an hour.  Apparently he always makes homemade soup for the dog camp people so they won't have to pack up their dogs and take them out.  Did I mention I might never leave?

 I hope tomorrow goes as well as today.  Other than the tummy issues Rylie seemed to handle the day well and enjoy it.  He's a great partner.

Katie - yes my head often feels like it is going to explode when I go to these multi-day camps.  My own trainer goes to these camps (and is at this one) and uses the same systems so the concepts aren't totally foreign to me but you get a lot in a two day camp and sometimes I feel like I  need more than what I can get in an hour a week.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Flatwork Camp - The Day before

The camp Rylie and I are going to is only about an hour and a half from my house.  I am an incredibly nervous winter driver so I decided to spend Friday night close by and found a B&B that previous campers I have met raved about.  Our little area of the world has been hit hard by storms all week and last night they were predicting another one tonight.  Being the nervous nelly that I am I e-mailed the B&B to see if they could possibly fit me in tonight so I could drive down mostly in daylight.  I am now sitting on my king sized bed with a complimentary glass of red wine beside me and Rylie on the other side.  I was met at the door and my bags carried in.  Rylie is allowed to be loose in the house (with me watching of course).  There is a fully fenced back yard to take him out in. I wonder if they'd notice if I didn't leave?  Did I mention the gas fireplace in my room?  This was definitely a good idea - now I can sleep in tomorrow and be well rested for camp instead of getting up every hour to see if the storm had started.  For the record the skies were blue on my drive and there is no snow at all here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Must Be Crazy

I am heading off next weekend to an agiity handling seminar.  I hemmed and hawed about which dog to bring and I decided to bring Rylie.  Max really shut down after the seminar we went to in the spring and I'm not really sure now.  I do know that he is much fitter and thinner now and he is able to make a mistake without thinking the world has ended but Rylie is a little less soft.  My trainer also thinks he deserves the opportunity to work with me one on one for a weekend.  Rylie is also a little less trained and he tends to be quite vocal when he feels he has been wronged (like when I leave him in his crate and walk away or refuse to throw the ball for him) so it could be interesting.  I know I'll learn a lot and I think I've gotten over being intimidated by being one of the greenest handlers at the seminar (it just means I have more to learn and will surely get my moneys worth).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crate Games gone bad

Susan Garrett's Crate Games  DVD is one of my favourite dog training resources and if I could only recommend one resource to new puppy owners that would be it.  However Rylie has shown me that it can also be turned around so the dog trains the trainer.

We play Crate Games all the time - my dogs have been well rewarded for going into and staying in their crates.  They sleep in their crates in our bedroom.  Rylie invented a game where he would go into his crate when I was in the shower in the morning.  Of course when I came out he looked so cute he got a treat.  By then Max has usually gone into his crate as well so as not to miss anything,  so of course I use the opportunity to play by calling one of them out and then the other.  Of course they get treats when they are successful.  The other day Rylie decided to take the game to a new level.  I released both dogs from their crates and went downstairs to make my breakfast.  I hear Rylie bark - hubby goes up to see what's up and there is Rylie sitting in his crate.  I hear "Oh mom must have forgotten your treat" and of course Rylie got another treat!  Impressed with his success with his gullible dad he tried it several times with me after hubby went to work.   I may not be able to resist the big brown eyes too easily but the bark is incredibly annoying and not something I want him to learn to do to get what he wants so I just laughed at him and closed the bedroom door so he couldn't play anymore.  He keeps me on my toes - that's for sure.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Agility Lessons Learned

I took Max to a trial today.  He was entered in Starters Standard and Starters Jumpers.  The standard course was a lovely flowing course.  Perhaps a bit too flowing for us lol!  It was pretty much a train wreck!  We were going great guns until obstacle eight which was the table.   Max either flew off or ran over the table - I'm not entirely sure he tried to stop.  We haven't done a lot of tables but he has been really good.  In hindsight I didn't decel at all so he didn't have enough information.  Novice handler with novice dog mistake.  Next was the weaves - Max's weaves are solid so I wasn't concerned - well he popped out three times.  I chose to handle them offside but that doesn't bother him so I'm not sure what went wrong - then there were three jumps which were lovely and a teeter.  I tried to rear cross just as he started up the teeter and he jumped off  - I probably had time to front cross and it likely would have been a better move.  The teeter had a huge bang - Max either flew or jumped (I think he jumped) off.  No big deal but not something I want to encourage.  After that it was smooth sailing until the end.  The positive was that Max continues to get faster - his running contacts were awesome - he ran right to the bottom of the A-Frame and dogwalk, and even with the table and teeter debacles and the three tries on the weaves we were under time.  It was the first time we had done a course without my trainer to walk it with us and Max finished happy.

I was freaked about the jumpers course.  It seemed to me to have a couple of really tricky bits where the dogs would have to discriminate obstacles.  Also Max was the VERY FIRST DOG to run. That has never happened to us before.  Not such a big deal because I don't watch the dogs before us but I had to manage my course walk through.   When I walked the course there was only one spot where I thought there could be an issue and that was between jumps three and four - I was confident if we could get that far we'd be home free.  I watched the more experienced handlers walk the course to see how they were handling the first four jumps and copied them lol.  Max rocked!  The dog that I worried about in the spring because he seemed to have lost his zip ran the course clean at nearly 5 metres/second (the standard course time was 2.8 metres per second).  At this venue starters is a very small group but I'm told only two of the 26" dogs were faster.

The starters jumpers Q was the one I really wanted because it allows me to run Rylie in jumpers at the next trial we are at and Rylie was born ready!  Of course I could run them both in the same class but with the small dogs having such small classes I'd probably have to run the course back to back.  I'm middle aged and not in good enough shape to do that!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wow - This is November!

We took a drive to see engineering guy this weekend.  We decided to take Max and Rylie with us.  I had Max at a B&B when we went to camp last year but we've never stayed at a hotel with them.  I do have to say it was a great experience.  They both travelled really well and our hotel had a patio door so it was easy to take them outside.

The weather was gorgeous!  Who could ask for better weather in November?  Since we had a fair bit of time to kill on Saturday we went for a hike at a nearby Conservation area.  It was just lovely.  It was long enough to tire out the four footed ones (and the two footed ones as well!).  I love finding new spots to walk with the dogs - especially since we do tend to spend a lot of time cooling our heels when we go.  I've walked the waterfront (which I adore) many times and poked into all the nifty little shops so it's nice to find something new to explore.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Agility Weekend

Max had a great agility trial this weekend.  Saturday he was in his first ever starters standard run.  He ran beautifully.  Sadly for him the team member whose name is not Max tripped over her feet on the dogwalk and fell down.  This caused Max to want to jump off to lick her face.  To his credit he didn't but it distracted him enough to miss the last obstacle.  We came SO close I entered him in the second standard run.  He ran beautifully again and I didn't mess up either so he was first in his class with a Q.  In fact he was 3rd or 4th fastest of all the starters standard dogs of any height.  He was beaten out by a border collie and a golden retriever.

Today on his standard run he also ran beautifully.  He was beat out by his class mate Peanut but he was 2nd with a Q.

The starters jumpers was at the end of the day.  Each run Max has got faster and I just wasn't prepared for a dog who  decides he knows the line and doesn't check in with the momma.  Consequently I didn't call him fast enough and he took an off course jump.

I was so proud of Max.  This is the first time he's run more than one run in a day.  I was worried that it would be too much for him but I think he really enjoyed himself.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Johnny Depp eat your heart out!  Max is supposed to be a space alien but he declined to wear the hood with all of the little blue horns sticking out.  "Mom this is SO undignified".  You take what you can get!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back Home

I got back home Monday night.  I missed agility class for both dogs this week because Rylie goes on Monday and we went to Spamalot last night (It was great fun and I'm not even a Monty Python fan).  My trainer took pity on me and offered me the use of her yard tonight (Max has a trial next weekend).  We had fun.  I practiced contacts and weaves with Max.  As long as I remember not to peel away from him I think he'll be okay.

With Rylie I was excited to try twelve weave poles for the first time.  After doing two sets of six a few times I put them together and he flew through the twelve.

I've toyed with giving my dogs a break from agility for the winter as my trainer is going away (heaven knows how I'd keep Rylie occupied) but it's so good for my mental health I think I'll try and find another class.  Although I made a good friend in my obedience instructor last winter and I think she's a fine instructor I just didn't find it a lot of fun.  I'd consider giving freestyle dance a try but I'm about as graceful as an elephant stampeding.  I won't totally rule it out though if the agility thing doesn't pan out because one of the things I do enjoy about getting older is that I seem to have gained the ability to laugh at myself and do things I'll never be great at just because they are fun.

Max and I have our trial next weekend - for the first time I'm putting him in three runs.  Then next month I'm taking Rylie to a two day seminar.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Missing My Guys

I am in B.C. visiting my parents and as I expected I am missing my guys like crazy.  I toyed with the idea of bringing one of them with me but it was a very long day of travelling and whichever one I left behind would have been sooooo lonely.  They are probably having a great time wrapping Daddy around their little paws.  The night before I left I took both dogs to agility class.  Usually they have class on different nights but I switched Max's night so he wouldn't have to miss.  They were both content (or at least I didn't hear them) during their hour in the car.  Max went first - he really likes the cooler weather.  His twelve weave poles were awesome.  I was very pleased.  The class he went to had two dogs he'd been in class with for a year.  For a year he ignored them and their attempts to play (good boy Max) but on Monday night he took off from me as soon as they came in the agility yard to run over and say hello.  I'm pretty sure my trainer has never seen him so naughty.  I ended up having to put a leash on him but I was glad to see him having so much fun.

When it was Rylie's turn I realized just how much trouble I am going to be in running him!  We were doing  a sequence and I sent him through a tunnel - I was planning to cross in front of him to turn him before the next jump.  Try as I could the closest I could get was getting to the tunnel exit at the same time as Rylie - I had to backstep because he was barrelling out of the tunnel to the next jump!  If he could talk he'd say "It's okay mama - I've got it - just get out of my way".   I knew I'd have to handle them differently but having back to back class really brings the point home.  My classmate and trainer said I looked like a soccer player when I was back stepping to avoid him - in truth I was just trying to stay on my feet and avoid a collision - pretty sure I didn't look nearly as graceful as a soccer player!

I checked the AAC website and Max now has his own page since they put up his Q run in September.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Walk in the woods

We are lucky enough to live within a few minutes walk of a lovely bush.  Today I took my camera along as the doglets and I went for our morning walk.  This has to be a current favourite picture.  Last night Max and I went with my trainer and her masters dog to an outdoor training facility to practice.  Max will be running his first standard course next month and we haven't really done all the contacts in sequence yet.   He did really well.  I had a couple of handling bobbles but Max is the best first agility dog.  At this point he doesn't have blazing speed but that means even if I'm late in my cues he usually manages to take the obstacle that I want him to.  He's very thoughtful and attentive.  It was a new venue for him and he'd never met my handlers BC - who sometimes doesn't like other dogs at all.  She was lovely with Max - she was the one who came up to say hello to him.   I think I better start my own training program though.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Canine Olympaws

We had a great day yesterday at Olympaws. The weather didn't co-operate so it was moved inside. The event was a fundraiser for St. John's ambulance therapy dogs. My goal - other than to support this great cause was to have my two in an environment with lots of different dogs and people. Being Cavaliers, of course they soaked up all the attention - canine and human! The only time Rylie got upset was when the agility club did a demo and didn't ask him. He was pretty sure he could do all this stuff!

After that we headed to an agility demo where Rylie and Max did get to strut their stuff. It was cold and wet and I think nearly all the spectators were also participants but oh well - a good time was had by all.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I realized today (well okay I've thought this for a little while now) that Max is becoming naughty. The thing is I can't get myself to get too worked up about it. I did get upset when he ran down the street the other night but when he chased the squirrel in the park I just decided that I'd take him back there to train with distraction. Watching him chase birds in the yard today I realized that I'm just so darn happy to see him run that I can't bear to call him off. There were a few months this spring and early summer when he didn't seem to run at all and I guess I was more worried than I even let myself believe. It's so nice to have my Max back.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Decisions Decisions

I am going to dog camp in December. I LOVE dog camp. I will have two whole days to spend with my dog learning handling skills. The thing is I have to pick ONE dog to take. I signed up with Max - he is the oldest and has actually started competing in agility. There is no doubt though when we went in the spring he was stressed. I'm not sure if camp stressed him out that badly or if it was just the straw that broke the camels back because between March and July he really shut down. So that leaves Rylie. I'm pretty sure Rylie won't get stressed even if I suck as a handler like I did for Max in April. My trainer thinks I should take Rylie because he deserves a chance to experience it too. In the back of both of our minds it that Max is his happy agility loving self again and we don't want to mess with that. Rylie is a little spitfire and he'd keep me on my toes for sure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

WTG Max!

Shameless brag to follow: Max and I entered our second agility trial today. He was absolutely brilliant in his starters jumpers class (coming second to an classmate) and easily earned a Q. He took all the obstacles without hesitation and looked like he was really having fun out there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Parent's Worst Nightmare

As parents when we send our young adults away to school we worry about them. I can't even begin to imagine what the parents of this young man are going through today.

This young man passed away tragically before he even had a chance to attend a class. As a parent I have twice been through the worry of sending my young away to school. My heart goes out to Cameron's family, his friends, and his fellow students who he was just getting to know but who will also have to deal with this tragedy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bad Blogger

Boy I am not good at updating this at ALL...... Since my last post Max and I entered our first agility trial. We didn't Q but I was pleased with how it went.

Rylie has developed some tummy issues that we are trying to sort out - but he is still happy go lucky, 100 miles a minute Rylie. I was reading today that spinal alignment can sometimes play a part in gastro issues. Now if anyone is at risk of becoming unaligned it's Rylie! The thing is I'm not too sure I like the chiropractor that I took Max to in April. I might hold out until we have the chance to go to dog camp again and get him adjusted by the chiropractor that comes to camp.

I am really excited because the dogs are enrolled in a recall e-course

Both my dogs have pretty good recall already so my goal for this course was predominately to build focus and drive. I've been to a couple of Susan's workshops with Max and I have several books and dvd's so I thought I'd give this a try. I'm LOVING it. One of the things that made me hesitate to enroll was the fact that neither of my dogs are great tuggers and I know how much value Susan puts on tugging. Max will tug but it's not a reward for him so I have to use mainly food rewards. Rylie tugs vigorously IN the house only when HE wants to (some might ask who is training who?). Today our exercise involved running and tugging. I thought "Here is where we separate the border collies from the rest of the dog world" but WOW! I had both of my guys tugging enthusiastically. I'm so proud of them. I'm learning to transfer the value of something they value highly (food or me throwing the ball) to something I value like tugging. I understood the concept before but couldn't seem to make it work for me. I've also learned to control the environment to have the best chance of success. I planned our first session for a time when they decided they wanted to wrestle so I knew they were already in "play" mode. It was such a success that we took it on the road and I managed to get both of them tugging at a nearby soccer field. Unheard of for Rylie. I'm sure there will be setbacks but I'm starting to feel like I have more tools to use.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I finally watched some video my partner took for me last weekend. What I noticed was that although I was terribly confused about what I was supposed to do during some of it, Max's tail was always wagging and he happily did whatever I asked him to do. That makes me feel better about doing such an intense weekend with him.

I've been focusing a lot on just playing with toys this week with both dogs. I did have to bring out the food rewards for weave pole practice with Max though. We have just moved up to four weave poles and they are staggered. Today was only the second time we've practiced and he seems to be able to find the entrance without much of a problem. I even tried putting him over a jump and having him find the entrance and he did awesome!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Agility Weekend

It was good. Intense, fun, great people, incredible dogs. It was a lot for both Max and I to take in. I screwed up a handling exercise so badly (which caused him to knock poles) that Max just sat down and looked at me. If looks could talk he would have said "excuse me lady - I'm not moving until YOU can get your act together" - and that was the G rated version! Being the sweetheart he is he forgave me though and consented to come out and play again when I was being more sensible. I'm afraid this weekend, although good for me may have set Max back but my own trainer doesn't think so. I hope she's right.

I am in a bit of a training meltdown right now though. In an effort to encourage Max to be more playful and build his drive I've let some of my training go - for instance I know let him jump up on me. I am afraid he's becoming a bit of a brat (and he's not anymore playful) *sigh*. Rylie has such a frisbee/ball/stick obsession that he won't play with any other toys anymore. What's more - if any of those are in the vicinity his brain takes a holiday.

I thought training was going so well with both boys and now I think I suck as a trainer and I just have generally good dogs.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Max and I are going to agility camp this weekend. I'm really excited even though I know that I will be one of the greenest of the green students there. Everybody has to start sometime right?

I'm hoping to gain some handling skills - I tend to get confused easily and Max has the patience of a saint. I love my boy. He did something on class Monday hat I didn't think too much of at the time but impresses me a lot in thinking about it. We were trying to do a complex (for us) sequence - I was waiting for him to look at the jump before releasing him and he wanted to look at me. When he finally looked at the jump I released him - he didn't do the jump but ran to me. My instructor said "Debbie - he wasn't looking at the jump - there was a cat on the bale of hay and it moved". Now I think "Wow - he didn't even consider chasing the cat"! We finally did manage the sequence we were working on.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This poor guy has had a tough week. Just to say I have never seen so much poop in my life! He seems to have turned a corner and got "real" food today for the first time since Monday morning. For a little guy he sure caused his mom and dad a lot of worry. So glad he seems to be better

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I've slacked off on training for the past couple of weeks. I needed some inspiration and today I got out my birthday agility equipment. First of all, I decided that since Max is apparently huge, and will have to jump 16" jumps I had better make sure his technique was good. I popped in a jumping DVD and did some set points. My home jumps are only 12" (I've ordered bigger ones but when they are custom made by Engineering Dad patience really is a virtue). Next I had Rylie doing the same set points but only over 6". From my extremely limited experience I think things went OK.

Later this afternoon we went to the off leash dog park near here where we walked around a couple of loops with two lovely Weimaraner girls and their owner. One of the girls jumped up on me to the chagrin of her owner (I really didn't mind but I understand because I don't like it when my dogs do it). They were lovely and gentle with my boys though. I did find out that as a breed tendency they have separation anxiety and having two seems to make it worse then one.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fun Walk

Today after work I met up with a co-worker and her two American Bulldogs (think 80 lbs each) and another co-worker and her large black dog and we went for a walk at our local conservation area. We had a blast. Max went swimming (on purpose). Rylie wasn't having any of that but would wade in about knee deep to steal the stick from Max as he left the water - of course a mad chase ensued. We must have looked quite a sight with three large dogs and two teeny ones but a good time was had by all. My only regret was that I didn't have a camera to take a picture of drowned rat Max. I think his diet is over - I've decided he's just fluffy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sleep Well My Sweet Girl Mindy - Feb 98 - Mar 10

We knew this day would come sooner rather than later but it doesn't make it any easier. Mindy's tumour was starting to make her breathing laboured and we decided she had had enough. She spent the last 12 years attached to my hip. Even though she was the quietest dog the house seems so quiet without her.

Nearly as hard as letting her go was calling the boys. One of the things my own parents do that angers me is not tell me things I think I should know (like when my mom has open heart surgery for instance) and I never want to be that parent. I'm glad Engineering Guy had been able to be home for the weekend.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Engineering Guy was home for the weekend. It was rather inconvenient for him but he had an interview and the company wasn't willing to do it by phone. It was nice to see him though and we went and picked up Computer Dude and went to The Keg for my birthday supper (my third birthday supper actually - I don't suppose I can drag my birthday on much longer).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I always said I wouldn't be one of "those" people. I finally broke down and got Mindy a stroller. It was breaking my heart that she hasn't been able to go for walks with us. She just isn't strong enough to walk too far. Here she is in her new chariot - with the two pesky boys waiting patiently.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Miss Mindy

Miss Mindy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She turned twelve last month. She is the most incredible dog. I've never trained her to do anything but she has always done anything I ask. I swear she can read my mind. Mindy has cancer. Her health is fading. She has had a long happy life and been the best companion anyone could wish for. I've promised her not to let her suffer unduly. Mindy has always been a quiet dog but the cancer has taken her voice. She sleeps a lot now but otherwise seems happy. She wags her tail, never misses a meal and insists on having her walk. It's hard to know whether she is suffering or not.

The top picture is Mindy on her twelfth birthday.

I thought I'd try and resurrect this blog. My nest is still empty of human kids. Computer Dude and Engineering Guy are continuing studies in their respective fields. I'm incredibly proud of them but every time they come home I have to make rules around appropriate dinner table conversation. Some people have rules involving politics and religion. I have rules regarding calculus and physics. Every time our dinner table conversation falls to that level my head explodes. I really don't know how I gave birth to such mathy kids. Oh yeah - maybe Engineering Dad had a hand in the genes.

Anyway - now that my kids don't need my help getting themselves through each day I've had to find something else to do with my free time.

When our Golden passed away shortly after Engineering Guy left the next Miss Mindy and I started agility training. Mindy was nearly eleven. She blew everyone away. Not that she was fast - far from it - but she did every single thing I ever asked of her the very first time. Tunnel? Piece of cake. Teeter? No problem. As my instructor still tells people - the minute she realized there was food involved she would do anything. Agility classes also gave Mindy some time away from the pesky puppy Max, I insisted on bringing home for company. She was all for company but she did draw the line at ear pulling and proved she could still take a round out of a smaller dog. Max was a pretty lively pup - more so than I ever remembered Mindy being so we took lots of obedience training and then started agility training together. Mindy retired from agility after two session of class because doing agility in the summer sun was too much for her. Max loves agility and he loves his momma. He is rarely far from my side and would do anything I ask. He is hoping to become a therapy dog this year. Of course having two such wonderful dogs we (as in Engineering Dad rarely argues with me when I have my mind made up) decided that Max needed a puppy to run off some of his energy. Enter Rylie. Rylie is a black dog. I've never had a black dog before. I don't thing Rylie has stopped moving since he joined our family in August 2009. He is OCD about balls, sticks, and frisbees. He can be an absolute brat in obedience class and have the instructor ask to pick him up to cuddle him because "he's just so cute". Needless to say he has the rest of us wrapped around his little black and tan paw.