Monday, April 28, 2008

It could have been so much worse...

Yesterday was one of the strangest days. Not interesting strange, bad strange.
It seemed ordinary enough. After lunch I went to a local fabric store that's having a closing sale. I needed some cloth for background when we shoot product pictures and some other stuff. And I love a sale.
I found some nice bargains, so I was at the cutting table, chit-chatting with the clerk while he measured and cut my choices. And then I heard my name over the PA "Please come to the front of the store."
So I went up, curious and curiouser! There was a uniformed Police Officer waiting for me. I get close to him and he looks at me somberly, puts his hand on my shoulder and says "I'm afraid I have some really bad news for you."
At this point, my mind is rapidly sorting through all the possibilities, and none of them are what he said next: "Your car has been hit in the parking lot."
And my reaction is "Thank goodness!"
So we go out to take a look. The person who hit me is standing there and she's really, really, really sorry. I know this because she keeps telling me so. My left rear fender is hanging off.
I can't decide whether the police officer is an idiot or a genius. An idiot for scaring me to death. Or a genius for knowing that reality was so much better than the horrors my imagination conjured up I'd be pretty happy about my car getting hit.
Which I'm not. Happy that is. But it really could have been so much worse...

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Always End on a Positive Note

Last night was Agility class and Ceilidh had a great time overall. There was lots of jumping and weaving in last night's sets which are Ceilidh's favorite things in the world (except for her beloved Latex Soccer Ball, of course). But our instructor threw in a double jump which is kind of rare. Ordinarily Ceilidh sails right over it but last night she took it down the first time over. I didn't think much of it at the time. But the last set of the evening included the double jump also. And Ceilidh refused to even attempt it. I knew the bar didn't hurt her, but earlier it did something strange and she wasn't going anywhere near it. I tempted her with her ball, with cheese, I tried cheering her over, running with her - no joy. Finally our instructor helped me with a "restrained recall" (she held Ceilidh's collar and I stood in "ready stance" on the other side of the jump, making sure Ceilidh knew I had yummy cheese). I called Ceilidh over, our instructor let go of her collar, and Ceilidh sailed over the jump like the old days! Party time! Lots of cheese, and tugging with her ball! Class over!
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Killed by kindness

Last night at Obedience class we got some rather horrible news. Einstein the Poodle died.

Einstein and his mom joined us for training the first time less than a month ago. Einstein was a sweet, smart, red Miniature Poodle. He'd just been adopted from a rescue group that week. And his new mom was thrilled with him - he was a wonderful companion. She had big plans for him, including Obedience competition. She seemed to be doing everything right.

But she was too nice to Einstein. Since he'd had a rough time and was such a good boy, she couldn't face putting him in a crate or cage when she left the house. While she was gone one day this week, Einstein ate a tube of something he found in the bathroom. And the emergency veterinarian couldn't save him.

So, for anyone out there who thinks that crate-training is cruel - please think again. Einstein's new mom is in agony this week.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New regimen for my fat dogs

It just goes to show - if you're not paying attention, the pounds just creep up on us! I got the bad news when I took Golly, Roc and Dax in to the vet for a routine visit. Golly, of course, is perfect. Roc and Dax are fat.
It makes perfect sense - Roc retired from training a few months ago. His activity level decreased and it never even occurred to me that his food should, too! And Dax has been having issues with her food for quite a while - she needed more protein. Which has calories. Which I didn't account for in the quantity I fed.
So we've started a new routine. Before my treadmill workout, the dogs get theirs. Roc took to it right away - he gets to watch tv while he works out. Dax had to be convinced it was fun, but she's getting the idea. We'll all be in shape before you know it!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Performance Frenchie - not an oxymoron!

Dax and I (and Ceilidh and Fran) went to our first Agility Fun Match yesterday evening. There's probably some ordinance, somewhere, that makes it against the law to have as much fun as we did! Nice site, great people, well-behaved dogs, well-organized, a pleasure!
Of course, it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if Dax hadn't been terrific! Everybody had two runs. On the first one I tried to follow the course, but that didn't work out quite as expected. When I faltered (my first time, too) Dax took off! She saw the jump-setters sitting in the corner and went dashing off to say "Hello!" I took two steps toward her and then heard a niggling little voice in the back of my head saying "Run away! Run away!" Which I did and Dax came dashing after me! The voice in the back of my head was Dee, my instructor. It turns out I heard it in stereo - she was outside the ring saying the same thing! It's a wonderful thing when you actually absorb, learn and apply! I think Dee was pretty pleased to witness her lessons learned.
On the second run I decided to "do my own thing" and make sure Dax was exposed to all the obstacles. She'd only seen the teeters at class, as well as the dog walk, A-frame, etc. So we tried them all. Dax didn't hesitate to take any of them. That girl has no fear! It was beautiful - especially since she stayed with me the whole way. I was so proud of her. And I'm tickled to finally feel like I belong - part of the All Fours Agility Team!
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ceilidh!

Ceilidh is seven today! Wow! People still stare in wonder when we tell them that she's (now) seven years, not months. And then we see in their eyes, "Better them than me." Yes, we're lucky! We have a little dynamo in our house. She keeps us on our toes. She keeps me ever-vigilant. She keeps us active. Ceilidh is the sweetest dog on the planet (with people). The top of Ceilidh's head is the best place in the world to kiss. I think she deserves a new ball!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spinning my wheels

Ever have one of those days when you feel like you're dashing around like crazy and getting absolutely nothing done? I seem to be having that kind of week! It could have something to do with my new addition to the house - a treadmill. That's right. I'm now officially getting nowhere fast.
We'll see how Dax likes it when it's her turn to hop aboard. So far the dogs are entirely indifferent. When they see me head into the workout area of the basement, each one finds his/her favorite spot and takes a nap. Dax's favorite is usually on top of one of the others. The mashed ones don't appreciate it, but Dax is still convinced she's the smallest dog in the house. It's impossible to convince her that what was true when she was nine weeks old is no longer valid. She's the baby, gotta love her!
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Good company

I know I'm nowhere near alone in the world in hating housework. I love having the house clean and spiffy and it's the only way to get it there, but it's a necessary evil and not something I look forward to doing.
Back in the days before Dax cracked her tooth on the vacuum {resulting in pain (hers), surgery (hers) and expense (mine)} the pups would keep me company while I did my chores. Now they're securely locked out of the room I'm working on.
They don't much like it, either. And they're really loud in their objections. To save my ears from their protests and the vacuum noise, I have my iPod blasting away. Which makes me wonder if I'm the only one who has a "Vacuuming" playlist?
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Friday, April 11, 2008

It's OK to Love Your Dog!

We met a very nice lady this week and spent some time talking to her about life, the universe, dogs... She's a busy suburban mom with kids, a house, a husband. I don't know if she has a job outside the home, but I'm sure she does volunteer work. And she loves her dog. It seemed like she was embarrassed to admit it, though. We understand. No matter what goes on during the day - the kids were impossible, late for the bus, dressed inappropriately, talked back at breakfast; the clerk at the grocery store was incompetent (sorry - just an example!); the husband wants you to run errands in six different directions; the dishwasher sprang a leak. No matter how bad your day was - your dog loves you. It's unconditional love. And even though your dog is not the brightest bulb in the canine world, even though he sheds like crazy, and even though he digs in the garden sometimes, you love him. Your non-dog-owning friends don't get it, but we do. It's OK. It's natural. That's why we have dogs to share our life with.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Second season has arrived

It's an old joke, but still valid. Chicago's second season has arrived, it's not winter, it's construction! I had to run an errand for the store this morning and this is what the Edens Expressway looks like. An oxymoron all by itself! A 45 minute trip took two hours of my life I'll never get back. Then again, they were two hours of blissful ignorance. When I got back to the shop Fran told me we'd gotten some terrible news, a dear woman who was first a customer at our bookstore and became a dear friend died suddenly. She was a lady who lived every moment to the fullest and was a joy to know. We'll miss you Renae!
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Friday, April 04, 2008

Tale of a Whisker

A couple of weeks ago, I told you that my friend Betsy ran Ceilidh in Agility Class. The thing that impressed her the most - Betsy's still remarking on it - is that Ceilidh has both black and white whiskers - they match the coloring on that part of her face. That started me thinking. Brown dogs have brown whiskers - Dax has dark brown and Robbie light brown:
Hannah's whiskers match her fur:
Other black and white dogs have whiskers that match their face - Cozy has white whiskers: But when dogs age, in our experience, their whiskers stay the same - Golly's whiskers are black: Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My clever boy!

Here's the incredibly cute Roc - who learned to make his car go by watching me do it!