Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A NonDog post...

We had snow yesterday. Today everything is bare and brown again. Strange, but typical Alberta weather.
Barbed Wire. That's all.
Baker. My cat who is a little fat, and a lot fluffy.
All of these photos were taken with the Lensbaby Spark. Tomorrow is my last day with it, and then it goes to the next person. It was an interesting experience! Fun, sort of. lol. I wish I could have gotten into a bit more. But this month has been a bad one for that sort of thing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where I started

Tina, and Kate- 1999
My very first dog that I ever trained was Tina- the Shepherd cross on the left. She was trouble- independent, bossy, and a bitch with other dogs. We fought a lot. But she was tough enough to take the sort of training that we all did back then. A fantastic worker- she would work forever for a pat on the head and a good girl. And she did. She was trained through Open, but we just did matches. We weren't always welcome at said matches either- a mixed breed dog at a Kennel Club event was not a normal occurance. The start to my thick skin. lol. We kicked their butts though, and we always left with a little blue paper ribbon and some loot. ;)

Tina was my very first agility dog. She was overweight, and under trained, but boy did we have a good time. lol. An honest dog who didn't make many mistakes. We brought home a lot of ribbons (we were the only 22" Specials!). Tina was a dog that had heart. And had joy in all things. A dog who really knew how to make the best out of any situation. At the trial that the above photo was taken she spent about 5 minutes chasing gophers outside the ring...thankfully she restrained herself until after our run, but it took a whole hot dog and a few friends to catch her.

Kate was the next dog I trained. And my first very own dog from puppyhood. I did a lot of things wrong with her. But she loved me anyway. If nothing else Shepherds are VERY devoted to their people. Kate was my first Competitive Obedience dog. This was her only High In Class- the other dogs all broke their stay in the hot sun. And because we had worked SO MUCH (she hated to be away from me, even across the ring) she stayed. I was so proud of her. Kate had lots of problems mentally- anxiety, dog reactivity, and fear issues with people and new places. She was a hard dog to trial so I retired her from Obedience as soon as I finally listened to what my poor dog had been telling me for years.

Agility wise she was slow and not very steady. lol. I remember being so worried about her leaving the ring, barking at ring stewards, or spooking at something. It was a very stressful time for both of us. She was so sensitive, and I struggled with that.  And yet we persisted. lol. The above photo was taken the early 2000's. At a funday in Kimberley (when there used to be a tree in the middle of the ring!). I travelled there with my friend Pam. Kate ran away back to the car and I had to drag her out.... Fun times.

 When Wicca came along Kate was soon retired from Agility. Travelling with her was awful for both of us. She bent many crate doors... The best time in Kate's life was when there were no expectations. A loved house dog. Equal amounts of walks and couch time. That was what she was waiting for. Kate has been gone for a few years now. I still miss her.

Kate in her senior years- photo by Wendy Devent.
Although a difficult dog I wouldn't change a thing about her. She taught me so much about patience, and thinking outside the box. That positive methods do in fact work, and that loving a dog for who they are and not what you want them to be is the most important thing of all. 

So, where did you start? Who was your first dog? What do you remember most about them? And more importantly what did they teach you?

If you want to play along post a link to your blog post in the comments!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not Typical

Yesterday I took Brit and Pixel to see Dr.Devall. She is my most trusted vet, who specialises in Chiro, Injury Rehab, Pain management, and Accupuncture.

For Pixel it was a recheck- last time she had a rib out, her neck was a mess, her front, and her back was a lot wonky. It is what prompted me to retire her from Agility permanently and look at alternative heeling styles... In any case she was great yesterday! All body parts where they should be. She had a few small adjustments in her lower back, but nothing major. Pixel does not appreciate Veronica's efforts at all and tries to sneak away at any chance. She was fairly entertaining yesterday. lol.

I also had Brit looked at. This was the first time. I had been putting it off because I wanted her to be the best she could be before. It sounds strange but in my head it makes total sense. When Brit came to me she had no muscle- at all. I've worked really, really hard the last two years to build it. And recently we've plateaued. And with my whole internal debate about agility with her- it was time to have her looked at.

Not Typical. Of course. She isn't typical for a displastic dog- she has muscle where they often don't. And no muscle where all dogs are supposed to have muscle. lol. She had good extension, but little laxity and was uncomfortable with the manipulation. Veronica noticed right away that she often tippy toes, and doesn't always weight bear on her back left leg all the time. We talked about the fact that she is super loose and wiggly in the rear- almost as though her front and back end aren't really attached. lol. She did have some concern that it could be neurological which terrifies me. Leave it to me to get the Border Collie with a nerve problem in her back somewhere, or a brain issue.... But the first step is X-Rays. So I'll be calling today to find somewhere that will do them without anaesthetic.

Veronica gave me some new exercises to do- to really work on the rear. Brit is a bit of a cheater so I really need to be watching to make sure she is using her rear, and not her back or front to power. Side Sit Ups- where I have her in a down on her side, hold her front legs and get her to get up. Sounds tricky eh? It is. lol. Some reverse perch work, reaching with back legs, and of course hill climbing...

So the saga continues. Surprisingly I am quite alright with it. Maybe because I've been through this a few times now, or maybe because I've known all along that something wasn't quite right...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Black Dogs



Kaz's big mouth...
I did it! lol
Overcast day, and a bit of guessing on camera settings. ;) 
These two are Belgian Shepherds who belong to a friend. I tried (and failed) to get photos of them last week on a walk. Today the light was better and I was determined. Probably a bit too dark still, but hard to tell on my laptop.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lumps and Bumps

I haven't said anything but I've been a bit worried about Wicca. A few weeks ago I noticed that what was once a small lump- like the size of a pinkie nail, had grown more than double the size....

I have had it looked at a few times already- aspirations showed nothing, but that was before it grew.

So I headed to the vet today and am happy to say it came back as nothing. No cancer, no weird cells, just a regular old lump. We talked about getting it off, but unless it continues to grow at this rate I don't think I will.

I'd hate to put her under for something that isn't neccesary. Her teeth are great so she doesn't even need a cleaning while she's under! So I'll just keep an eye on it!

 With my job I see a fair number of lumps and bumps, and unfortunately some of what turns out to be cancer. 

So I am very relieved that it's just an old dog lump. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Superhero Boone

Collage made with my super cool app I found for my phone. Photos from my phone, so while not awesone, are still cute. ;)

Boone got a new collar the other day- It is all kinds of cool. We love Nearly Naked Neckware!

Monday, February 18, 2013

As Promised...

It was a very sheep-filled long weekend!

Saturday- a quick trip to Louannes for a lesson for Brit, and just some work with Leo. 

and the cutest little lamb...

Sunday was spent in Highriver at the Stockdog Trial. I was really pleased with Brit! She listened, and was confident. My handling was the problem. lol. But we are learning together! I did find out that we were in Fifth place overall in the standings up until this weekend. We've got new things to work on for next time- that sneaky course designer added in some new challenges this time. lol
thanks Amanda S for the photo!!
and Monday (the Family Day holiday) was spent mostly at Altapete. A fantastic day!

the gorgeous Nan. Owned by Wendy Schmaltz


Brit, waiting impatiently

the roadrunner, I mean Kelly

baby Try who is having a bad ear day

and good girl Alice, with photobomber Hemp.
and of course I couldn't do this whole post without at least one puppy picture...

A great day indeed!

Friday, February 15, 2013


I am so glad today is Friday. This was a long week. 
On to the weekend!
A fun weekend of herding, herding, and more herding
followed by nice long walks with the dogs. 
Yay for long weekends. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Here, Have a Heart


hearts are yummy, and fun!

you want it?
oops, I dropped it
it's still good though, just a little dirty
have my heart. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Put the Glass Down

Facebook is swarmed with crap everyday- even with my small list of friends I have to filter through crap about psycho (often angry) cats, shamed dogs, and bad jokes, oh and the odd "Share this post to avoid death, and win a millon dollars..." But among that crap sometimes there are interesting, or thought provoking things- like this gem. Shared from a "I love Science" thingy. No idea where it originated, or I'd credit them. It's probably been altered a hundred times from it's original form anyway. lol.  In any case this really stayed with me today. So I'm going to post it on my blog so I can read it when I need to.


A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night, and day after day. Remember to put the glass down!


Everyone has stress. Everyone has worry, and Everyone has stuff. It's how we cope with it that sets people apart.  I try not to sweat the small stuff (I own all the books), and get through the hard stuff with positive thinking (to change how I think about (or react to) the stress), and of course taking steps to change the stress. I am a worrier by nature so it sometimes is really difficult. But I march on- with an uplifting song in my ear, and a dog (or a few!) at my side. One foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

All in a Row

If you're a Facebook friend you've already seen this. I took it with my phone on our LW today. I don't normally take photos with my phone because they suck. lol. But this one is cute. They walk like this the whole way. No matter the combination of dogs- they always just line up. Boys on the outside so they can pee on stuff. lol.  This is Leo, Pixel, and V (in case you couldn't tell).

Friday, February 08, 2013

Running and Fitness

6/52 Full Out, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Even though I haven't been doing agility with the dogs it still seems that we are SO BUSY!

Aside from training I also make sure that the dogs are getting good exercise everyday, and conditioning. It's work, but the dogs love it and I can especially see the results in the Border Collies.

The corgis always look ripped- they have big solid butt muscles, tiny little waists (well, Pixel is on a diet). And Boone is too shaggy to visually see. But Brit's muscles have really been developing, and I can see the difference in how she uses her rear. And Leo has definition now from being so fat and flabby before.

Every day we do a leash walk- I alternate the dogs and take two or three each time. The time and place varies depending on how busy I am. We also do an off leash run. Either together as a group, or in two groups depending on if I want to deal with Brits obsessing...

The free run is just that- they run around the coulee at their own pace doing their own thing. While they love it, believe it or not most of their actual fitness comes from home!

Our conditioning games are what has been building muscle, strength and fitness. The peanut ball, fit discs, and tricks are done a variety of ways every day. Recently Sarah loaned me her fit-pods for something new. They are four small pods that the dog stands on- one on each foot. The corgis are not a fan of this. Brit is more accepting. lol.

In any case I am excited for the nice weather to come- so I can get the bike back out. And so the dogs can get swimming again. Those are two things that also make a big impact on their fitness.

Spring can't come fast enough!

Thursday, February 07, 2013


Wendy, from Crazy and Little, started a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Lensbaby" blog. She has 10 or so people lined up waiting for the lens- it will get sent around, and each person will post on the blog she has set up for it. (Note: She is still open to a few more, so if you have a Canon SLR email me and I'll hook you up!)

 I agreed to play because I thought it would be fun, and easy. Well I suppose it's fun, but it's certainly not easy.

According to wikipedia a Lensbaby is " a line of camera lenses for SLR cameras that combine a simple lens with a bellows or ball and socket mechanism for use in special-effect photography. A lensbaby can give effects normally associated with view cameras. The lenses are popular with photographers for the creative possibilities of the selective focus and bokeh effects"

The link to the Lensbaby website can be found here

In effect it is a weird little lens that you manually focus (or attempt to) buy squishing it together. No joke. It's cool, but a challenge to get used to!

I took it out today and practiced on Brit. She proved to be a cooperative model, and was very patient with me. lol. I'm not quite sure what it is supposed to look like, so I picked out a few that have even a little bit of focus. I took about 20 photos...

I am going to try on an inanimate object, it might be a bit easier... lol

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Happiness is...

good dogs
wagging tails
pesky puppies
Blue Skies in February!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Wonderful Weather

We have it real good right now weather wise. In the +'s!!! Which is amazing. The snow that we got last week is almost all gone. And the wind is not too bad either.

We walk in all sorts of weather, but I don't always take my camera- especially if it is -20 and windy and snowing. lol. But this week there were TWO walks that my camera came along for so I have some photos to post.

Jolene (from OneCollie) met me and the dogs all had a great time.

Thursdays Walk

Happy with the Prize (that she stole from a Collie)


handsome tater

Fridays Walk
Crazy V with the pink ball

Buddies. Sort Of.

Boone was afraid of the shooting at the range and took refuge under Tate. lol

Bark! Bark! Bark!

Bark! Bark! Bark!

Leo's got the moves...

Kort is a ball hog. Pixel was mad.