Friday, June 29, 2007

Dax, and Ceilidh's Ball

I have mentioned that my Boston Terrier, Ceilidh's favorite toy in the universe is her Latex Soccer Ball. The other day it went missing! This was actually not the catastrophe that it might have been, since we're always careful to have at least one spare. Yesterday before dinner she came running into the room proudly carrying the missing Latex Soccer Ball. We knew it was the missing ball since we always put it away after our scheduled play session. We told Ceilidh how clever she was for finding her ball and took it away, promising that we would play with it later. Well, it must have fallen off the shelf because a few minutes later Dax came in with the ball in her mouth! Where was the camera!!! You should have seen Ceilidh's face - her eyes went wide and her mouth went slack - pure astonishment! Like, "But that's MY ball!" No harm - we got the ball away from Dax before either she or Ceilidh got any ideas. We'll see if Dax shows any interest in the spare Latex Soccer Ball tonight during play time...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just 'cause I think they're cute

As soon as I get out of bed Ceilidh gets in.
Golly was being a bit of a grump last night - can you tell?
Roc - do not distract him when he's watching tv.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I can't believe we let them sleep with us

Every once in a while it occurs to me that dogs are really disgusting creatures.

Especially after a rainstorm, when the earthworms wash up and die in the sun. And the dogs delight in rolling on them.

And when we tell them "GET UP!" they look at us like - "Aw, Mom. You're ruining all our fun."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Golly Went Back to School

I don't know what possessed me on Tuesday. I took Golly to training class. Hope and I are members of the North Shore Dog Training Club - Hope talked about our trial last Sunday - and the club has classes every Tuesday evening. The club was also going to have a short general meeting on Tuesday, so I thought it would be a good time to go to training. And, since it had been a while since I'd taken Golly on an outing, I thought we would guest train in the Novice class. And since Golly has her Companion Dog title I figured this would be a good refresher for her (and me!). She loved it! Sure, Golly was heeling a little wide and her fronts weren't exactly straight, but it's been five years since we'd done any training!

So, now I'm thinking maybe I'll go to some Rally matches and maybe, maybe, even compete!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oprah's Town Hall got me thinking

This morning as I was getting ready for work I saw about five minutes of the Oprah show. It was a repeat of the Town Hall meeting following the controversy over Don Imus' racist and misogynistic remarks a while back.

It got me to thinking about the power of words and the way I was raised. My mother was a brilliant, articulate, classy Lady. Most aggravating when I was a teenager - she was almost always right.

When I was about seven I came home from camp with additions to my vocabulary. You can imagine. The first time I used them, my mother said "Well, I suppose you could use that word, but it doesn't really mean what you want to say. There are so many other, better words to describe your feelings." So I found some. It worked.

About the same time Mom was driving a bunch of us home from Sunday School and was cut off by another driver on Lake Shore Drive. She said "I've got a good seven-letter word for that person." We, being smart-alecks, said "Oh, go on Mom - say it. We've all heard it before." So she did. "That guy is a real stinker!"

When I was in college I worked for a temporary office help agency. Coincidentally, I was assigned to work reception at the magazine office where my mother was the editor's assistant. There was a wall separating our desks, so I could hear, but not see her. One day I heard "DAMN IT!" from the other side of the wall. Every executive in the place came flying out of their offices to see what was wrong. My mother never, ever swore. So when she did - it had power.

I learned the power of words from my mother. Say what you mean. Criticize people for their actions, not their heritage. Save profanity for when you need it. Don't dilute the power of words.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where's our cookies?

Dax (French Bulldog), Ceilidh (Boston Terrier), Roc (Brussels Griffon) and,
front and center, Golly (Brussels Griffon)

Monday, June 18, 2007

A feather in his cap

Roc did it! Sometimes I think it's in spite of me, but we got our third leg in Rally Novice yesterday at our own club's Obedience Trial.
Conditions were not wonderful - our site this year was not air-conditioned, which usually isn't that big a deal on Father's Day, but it was over 90 degrees F yesterday. And I stewarded in the Utility B Ring all morning before Roc and I were set to compete, so he was in his crate. I did have a semi-intelligent idea and brought a bunch of reusable ice pack thingies in a cooler. I put them under his towel in the crate, so Roc had a great morning, hanging out cool as a cucumber, watching me sweat away laying down and picking up the gloves for the "Directed Retrieve."
I suppose I could moan and complain about the weather, but in all honesty - I had a really good time.
I love stewarding for the top echelon dogs in obedience - it inspires me every time I see them work. And while the vast majority of the dogs in Utility are Golden Retrievers and Border Collies, we had a Smooth Collie, a couple of Dachshunds, some Papillons.
After the Utility B competition was done, I had some time to relax before I was up in the Rally ring. Fran was stewarding Rally all day - she was timer. So I could talk to her, but she couldn't take her eyes off the ring.
Watching Rally is very different - especially for us Obedience types. You can really tell whose background is heavily Obedience-oriented and who's just now dipping their toes into the performance events. I think that Rally's a terrific addition to dog sports - everybody can get out there and form a working partnership with their dog. And have some fun. And get some ribbons. It's all about the green, isn't it?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Going Solo to Agility

Hope and Dax are taking the new Agility class session off. (Dax didn't have any say in the matter, though.) So Ceilidh and I were on our own last night. Ceilidh was perfectly happy riding shotgun, with her seatbelt safely buckled, listening to the radio. Of course this is how we'd gone to class for the last couple of years, so it was nothing new. I was interested to see if Ceilidh would act differently, without Dax. Nope - same Ceilidh. Same bouncing off the walls Ceilidh! Not in the car, though - Ceilidh is the best traveller - she settled right down for a snooze.

When we got to the training center, though, Ceilidh was eager to meet anyone and everyone who even looked at her! She did very well in class, despite the fact that there were a couple of new dogs there (big Rottweilers! - well-behaved, though). Ceilidh's attention was mostly on me, except that a thorough sweep of the speckled floor was in order. And that has been pretty typical of our Agility class experience. So, I guess it's safe to say that Ceilidh did not miss Dax!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A change of clothes for the better

Clothes definitely make the girl! Dax has been unhappy, to say the least, in Obedience class. She would do the exercises, but you could tell she wasn't thrilled about it. A sure-fire clue was when I had to bring a drool-rag to class. I know that she's a bulldog, but it was a first for me.

I noticed how she reacted to her training collar. She ran away from it. Not the "catch me if you can" play-type dashing off, but truly a "nooooooooooooooooooo, I don't want it" reaction. So instead of the metal-link I've always used, I decided to try her with a martingale-type collar. Not only is she incredibly adorable - she loves it!

Last night at class she had her best session, ever! She was heeling with me, she was having a wonderful time. She even nailed her sit-stay and down-stay! Her Stand For Exam was rock-solid! She was having such a good time that when I accidentally dropped her leash and she went wandering off - she came when I called her, despite the fascinating smells that were drawing her into the boarding area of the place we train.

We are officially retiring the chain link collar. I've used it as a "change of clothes" to signal to my dog that we're "working" now - but a different designer was clearly called for. It's a lesson I continue to learn - pay attention to what my dogs are telling me! All the information I need it there - if I remember to listen.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Happy Tummy Makes a Happy Dog

We continue to learn. Well, I guess that's what life's about, isn't it? As part of Dax's recovery, the vet prescribed Vitamin K to promote clotting and suggested that we give her some potato with her food, which helps the body absorb Vitamin K. Ceilidh has never been a good eater, but she really wanted to try the potato (we just nuked one, peeled it, and mashed it up - no butter or milk, though!). She loved it! Which got us thinking - Ceilidh's not on a special diet, so why don't we try her on a protein and potato food? So we switched her to a new food over a week's time, and she seems much happier overall. When she snoozes in the evening now, she's often on her back. And she seems more easy-going - which, for Ceilidh is really amazing! Let's hope the transformation continues!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Out of the woods!

I am delighted to say that Dax's clotting test came back totally normal! We just have to finish off the Vitamin K she's been on since being poisoned on 5/11. I got the report from the village on who the culprit is, so I'm giving her the opportunity to reimburse me for the veterinarian's charges. If she has a conscience, that will be that.

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's the most wonderful place

I truly feel sorry for anybody who's never been to Wrigley Field. I know how hapless the Cubs are. I've been a fan for decades now. But if you don't have a good time at Wrigley - you have no appreciation for the finer things in life. It's the only place in the world that Old Style Beer tastes wonderful. And really awful nachos are delicious.
There's no better place for people-watching. And if you just happen to love baseball - you'll think it's heaven on earth.
Can you tell we had a great time at the game yesterday? It doesn't hurt that the Cubs won.

Friday, June 01, 2007

In Between the Downpours

Yesterday in the Chicago area we had "isolated showers and thunderstorms." Yup, isolated over Skokie. I got home just when it started to pour. And, of course the first thing we always do when we come home is take the dogs out. I tried to persuade Golly that she could wait for a few minutes until the dark cloud had gone by, but she was not to be persuaded. The others took a look outside and were perfectly content to wait a while. But, when a girl's got to go...

And Golly really didn't seem to mind the rain too much. I tried to at least carry her to a protected spot, but she wanted ... that area, over there. She did give me a dirty look, like the rain was my fault! I tried to explain that if it were up to me, all the rain would fall between 2 and 4 in the morning (sorry, all you folks working the "graveyard shift"), but Golly was still a little miffed.

And I discovered that what I thought was a rain jacket really isn't. I'll be shopping soon.