Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a ConTEST!

Happy April! And no, this is not an april fool's joke! I'm making another attempt at a contest, though I still don't have many ideas for a prize. I thought about offering a free house cleaning, but heck, I would enter that myself, and since I know the answers, I'd win! So, instead, I'm offering a choice of:

a. $20 gift certificate to Lotta Watta Creek in O'Fallon, Ill (Yumm)

b. $20 gift certificate to Helping Udders (choose me!.. or not)

c. $20 to Walmart. You can't beat Walmart.

Here is a photo of my kids... aren't they the cutest? (study this hard) Maggie is on the left, Mopsy in the middle and Jake on the right. Got it?
Now that you've looked at them, see if you can recognize them from these body parts! All of the parts below come from one of my three dogs. Figure out what belongs to who and win your choice of the gifts above! I'll try to "grade" your answers and give feedback, so feel free to enter again and again based on the feedback. If someone doesn't win a couple days, I'll pick the nearest winner. You can email me the answers if you would prefer... leblanclori@charter.net

Okay, here are the body parts, click on the image below to see it larger.... GOOD LUCK!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Political Corectness

It has come to my attention that someone might be offended by the "I Think My boy is gay" post. So, in the interest of keeping everyone happy, I thought I'd point out some things for you to consider

1. Jake is neutered; he's a eunich. He isn't interested in anyone "in that way"
2. Mikko is neutered also. So even if Jake wasn't, Jake wouldn't really be in love with a 'boy'...
3. Even after fully wedging his entire head and neck through the hole he dug, Jake is still at least 3 feet from Mikko's fence. Clearly too far for even a kiss, much less a concentual relationship.
4. Mikko probably had nothing to do with the choice of his pink id tag or the act of putting it on.
5. Even if he had, wearing a pink tag is no different than my husband wearing a pink shirt (note to self: look to see if Greg owns a pink shirt)
6. Even if Mikko were a cross-dresser and he and Jake had the desire and the... ahem .... means to be gay... THEY ARE DOGS AND DR. PHIL WOULDN'T CARE!

But nothing would ever surprise me, so Dr. Phil, if you would like to pay for Jake and I to come to California (or wherever you are) get treated like celebrities and ride in a limo... give us a call. We'll even bring the little cross-dressing gay guy from across the street....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I need your IDEAS!

I'm going to have another contest... but no one seemed all that excited about the "Helping Udders" gift certificates (shame too, because I LOVE those people.. well, I don't actually LOOOOVVE them, just... well, nevermind). ANYWAY, what would you like to win (be reasonable please!) It will probably be a gift certificate.... how about Shutterfly? Amazon? McDonalds? what if I gave the winner a choice of three or four... what would motivate YOU to enter? Huh?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Think My Boy is Gay

This weekend the weather was just beautiful, so we took the opportunity to repair our privacy fence at the top of the hill before the bushes leaf out. The fence panels were still okay, but the posts were rotting off and the fence was in danger of collapsing in a strong wind. Fortunately, Sarah was home to provide some "free" labor. (I'm sure that will cost me). In a few weeks, we won't even be able to get to the top of the hill because the bushes become so thick with leaves. However, the dogs have always been able to make it up there. In fact, Jake has a little "peek" hole dug under the fence so that he can flirt with his little girlfriend on the next street. We've never seen her, but somehow Jake knows when she's out... he'll jump and bark and beg until I let him out and he races to his peek hole, wagging and whining.

But with the fence panels down for repair, we finally got a look at his little French "ooh-la-la" sweetie pie. And we were a little shocked at what we saw. Mikko is a toy black poodle... about 1/10th Jake's size. But it wasn't Mikko's size that surprised us. It was the appendage on his tummy. Jake's girlfriend is a boy. And not only that, but judging from his little pink heart ID tag on his collar, he's a cross-dresser as well.
Does anyone have Dr. Phil's number?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Heavy heart

It is with great sadness that I am typing this entry. One of our dog friends, a beautiful young Weimaraner named Lexi left our world today. Brave and resilient, Lexi battled a terribly invasive cancer silently and never gave anyone a clue that she was ill. Last Friday, she ran part of an agility course in Carthage when her mom pulled her from the ring after she got sick part way through the run. This was their first indication that she was ill, and tonight-less than a week later-she is gone.

It is difficult enough to say goodbye to our companions when they are old and feeble. To lose a vibrant, young, seemingly healthy dog is a shock none of us ever want to bear. Steph and Dave, our hearts break for you.

Goodbye Lexi, I'm glad I got to know you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Our Friend Gretchen

This is our friend Gretchen and this is a story that I like to tell. Gretchen is a rescue and she must have seen some pretty rough days in her early life. But lucky for her, she was rescued by someone with a lot of love and infinite patience. When I first met Gretchen, no one could touch her without her attacking their hand and sounding like she was fighting for her life. Perhaps in her mind, that is what she thought she was doing. Her new mom started bringing her to agility lessons and she did really well, as long as everyone left her alone. Fortunately though, we came to realize that her bark really was worse than her bite- literally- so we all began touching Gretchen every chance we got. At first it was hard, because she really sounded like you were about to lose your hand, but after a while we began to see through her. Her mom spent countless hours giving her the right balance of affection and discipline (I sound like Cesar Milan) Before long, Gretchen was speeding through the agility course with only an occasional side glance at a ring steward or a quick yap at the judge as she streaked by. After only one year of competing, Gretchen is now an advanced competitor, bringing home double-Qs, mach points, and blue ribbons. And to think that this little girl was having trouble finding a forever home.

We love you Gretchen!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dragging butt...

Just got in from this weekend's agility trials in Carthage, MO. I had no idea that you could drive for 5 hours and still be in Missouri. But we're home, the car is unpacked, the doggy stuff washed (including the dog and handler) and I'm about to drift off. But first an update...
We took first place in Jumpers on Friday wracking up 22 MACH points (I'll explain those in some future blog), but that was Maggie and my big finale as well. We never Q'd again. Mostly crazy mistakes, like our last run when I forgot where we were going....
Our friend Addie took first place today in her Jumpers run and earned her AXJ title, so now she'll be earning MACH points also. Ben had several great runs this weekend (he's getting faster every time we see him) and brought home a third place in a very competitive course.
Speaking of Ben, his mom ignored our pleas to end all gift giving and brought the CUTEST dog cookies decorated for St. Pat's and Lexi's mom (who we have not seen for way too long) brought the dogs peanut butter cookies. Ben's mom also gave us a bag of Nathan's Hot Dog Treats. She called them "Doggy Crack" and I see why... the dogs LOVE them.
Depsite the challange to stay even in gift-giving (I'm failing) it is so nice to have good friends to run with. We all really benefit from the advice we get from each other because we are so caught up in the moment during our runs; it is hard to know what we are doing well, and what we are doing wrong. For instance, Ben's mom ALWAYS makes a point to give her dog feedback during the run. I saw her today smiling and talking to Ben while he was on the table. I know that I should really be doing that also, but I'm so freaked out trying to remember the course that I sort of forget about Maggie (shame on me, but it is the truth). Thank goodness for our friends that say "hey, did you know that you did such and such?" or "yikes! that off-course was totally your fault!" To a lot of people, it may sound harsh, but there is just too much going on for us to critique our own runs- we need those objective eyes. And, we all really want each other to do better. As competitive as we are, we want the very best runs from our friends, because seeing them get a ribbon, or a new title is almost as good as getting one ourselves.
Thanks Carol and Erin for a great weekend. I'm glad you got to take ribbons home and I cherish your friendship!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


If you have been reading my blog, you might recall me talking about the FAST event in agility. If you never read it, or you don't remember it, it is OKAY.... really.
Anyway, I have a video of us doing an actual FAST class from the last trial so you can see how it really works. You may recall the "send bonus" is the key. To qualify, you have to complete the entire send bonus and then get as many points as you can besides that... in 32 seconds. Different obstacles have different point values depending on how hard they are or how far out of the "flow" you have to go to get to them. ANYWAY, I've grabbed this frame from the video to highlight the send bonus:

The yellow line is the line that the handler cannot cross, and the orange arrows show the jumps and the directions that the dog must take them. The yellow line is actually about 20 feet from the jumps. So, Maggie goes out on the first one, back over the second and then out again on the third. When you see the video, you will see that she doesn't do this cleanly... she actually returns 1/2 way to me between the 2nd and 3rd jumps. But because I don't cross the line, and she does them correctly, we still qualified. So take a look at the video and see if it makes a little more sense. If not, don't worry... I don't think I understood FAST until after we had been running it for a while.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Upcoming shows

Upcoming Agility Shows, please come watch us!

Mar 13-15 Tri-State Kennel Club, Carthage, MO
April 3-5 Golden Retriever Club, Gray Summit (Purina)
April 10-11 Greater St. Louis Agility, Glen Carbon, IL (The Game)
April 24-26 Show-Me Agility, Columbia, MO
May 1-2 Australian Shepard Club, Gray Summit (Purina)

We are also still thinking about the National Border Collie Specialty. This year it is being held in October in Jefferson Wisconsin, but wow is it fun to go to a show with hundreds of border collies. And winning at your dog's national specialty is quite a thrill. (I guess that is sort of counting my chickens before they are hatched). Last year we brought home 2 blue (first place) ribbons and they are hanging in front of all the rest.

Anyone want to go with me if I decide to go?

Monday, March 9, 2009

page is loading funky...

This page doesn't seem to be loading right.... maybe Maggie's Jumpers course made the computer dizzy.....

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Agility video

Thanks to our friends Carol and Chris, we have some cool videos of Maggie running agility courses. Today I've edited last weekend's run into a clip for posting here on the blog. Processing video took about all the memory my poor old computer had, but I think it worked. The bad news is that I will probably be computer shopping before the week ends....

Let me know if you can see the video and if you would like to see more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

She's Home...

... and all is right with the world.

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero

I am strong and wise and I know no fear

But the truth is plain to see

She was sent to rescue me

I see who I wanna be

In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes

I can see the future

A reflection of who I am and what will be

Though she'll grow and someday leave

Maybe raise a family

When I'm gone I hope you see

How happy she made me

For I'll be there...

In my daughter's eyes

~ Martina McBride

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

(I received this via email from a friend. Author unknown)

Here in this house...

I will never know the loneliness I hear in the barks of the other dogs 'out there'. I can sleep soundly, assured that when I wake, my world will not have changed. I will never know hunger, or the fear of not knowing if I'll eat. I will not shiver in the cold, or grow weary from the heat. I will feel the sun's heat, and the rain's coolness, and be allowed to smell all that can reach my nose. My fur will shine, and never be dirty or matted.

Here in this house...

There will be an effort to communicate with me on my level. I will be talked to and, even if I don't understand, I can enjoy the warmth of the words. I will be given a name so that I may know who I am among many. My name will be used in joy, and I will love the sound of it!

Here in this house...

I will never be a substitute for anything I am not. I will never be used to improve peoples' images of themselves. I will be loved because I am who I am, not someone's idea of who I should be. I will never suffer for someone's anger, impatience, or stupidity. I will be taught all the things I need to know to be loved by all. If I do not learn my lessons well, they will look to my teacher for blame.

Here in this house...

I can trust arms that hold, hands that touch...knowing that, no matter what they do, they do it for the good of me. If I am ill, I will be doctored. If scared, I will be calmed. If sad, I will be cheered. No matter what I look like, I will be considered beautiful and known to be of value.

I will never be cast out because I am too old, too ill, too unruly, or not cute enough. My life is a responsibility, and not an afterthought. I will learn that humans can almost, sometimes, be as kind and as fair as dogs.

Here in this house...

I will belong. I will be home.

Our friend Addie

I always said that I hoped I lived long enough to own one of every breed of dog I ever wanted. Unfortunately, the time is slipping away faster than I had anticipated, and I have wanted SO MANY dogs, that it just isn't going to happen. However, I've learned to live vicariously though my friends who own some pretty awesome dogs. So I thought I'd feature some of them now and again so you can meet them too.

This is Addie, and we met her and her mom through agility training. Addie is a Wiemaraner, which is correctly pronounced with a "V" sound in the front because it is a German breed, though to be honest, you rarely hear anyone say it that way unless they own Weims, or you are at a dog show. Though Weims are true athletes, you don't see too many of them running agility. Perhaps their owners are doing field work with them (they are bird dogs), maybe there are not that many of the, or perhaps it is just too much work to put of couple of these big dogs and all their stuff in your car and drive to a show. The ones we do see do very well in agility, and they look beautiful doing it with their shiny coats and big ears flapping in the wind.

But, despite her appearance with her large and athletic body, Addie is still a puppy inside. She enjoys running at you full speed until you believe you are about to be killed and then she veers off, wagging her tail and laughing at you. This is probably what I love about her the most... that and her big smoochy face...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Weekend News

J: = Jake
M: = Maggie

J: Mom is too tired to type, so Maggie and I will update the blog
M: I had a great time at the agility show! Friday we had to be there early (My friend Addie's Mom said we were there at the "butt-crack of dawn") But I didn't mind because I was all excited to run. Maybe too excited because Mom pulled me off of our first run half-way through. She said I was being crazy and not paying attention. Dang it.
J: I had to stay home. Dang it.
M: Anyway, I was much more careful for our next run (Jumpers with weaves) and we took first place. The only bad thing is that it was over in 25 seconds, but Mom thought that was a good thing. It was a long time before our next run so I went outside for a while and ate some duck poop.
J: I love duck poop.
M: Our last run of the day was FAST and Mom said the send bonus was really hard. I guess she forgot how smart I am, because I breezed through it and took first place.

M: Saturday I was excited to see my friends from Arkansas; Ben and Pin-head and their mom. (Pin-head has another name, but I don't know what it is, because his mom always calls him pin-head). I love when they are here because they always bring good treats. Mom told her to stop, but I told Ben that mom is just kidding, keep bringing the goods. That was the high point of Saturday, though, because I did a spin on the standard course and the judge called a refusal. (I wasn't refusing, I was just spinning around to see what was keeping mom so far behind) On the jumpers course I was running too fast and couldn't make my weave pole entry... so no ribbons.

J: Where are the treats from Pin-head's mom? I didn't get any.....????

M: Sunday morning was another butt-crack of dawn day.
J: But this time I got to go! Yipee! I love the equestrian center... it smells like horses and everythiing is dirty and there are dogs barking everywhere and there is lots of duck poop to eat! (except I didn't because there were also DOG TREATS!)
M: There were dog treats because it was my friend Addie's birthday. She turned 3 on Sunday and her mom brought stuff for everyone. Addie is a Weimaraner, but her mom says it like there is a "V" in front because Addie is an honest-to-goodness Champion.
J: I just say "Weim" because it makes me sound cool. (I LOVE Addie)
M: Our standard course went really well except I knocked one little bitty bar down. Mom said that was okay 'cause I hardly ever do that.
J: I was in the crate eating snacks.
M: Our jumpers run was like Friday... it was over in 27 seconds, but Mom seemed real happy and we got a blue ribbon AND a fancy title ribbon because that was my AXJ title.
J: I got to walk around and meet people, but I did get tired of hearing how wonderful Maggie is. I know she's my sister, but come on.... I'm the "lady's man"... look at me!

M: Mostly, it was a very good weekend except for one sad thing.
J: Our friend Gretzky passed over the rainbow bridge and everyone was pretty sad about it.
M: But we know that Gretzky will be there waiting for Kim, and until then, he'll probably be playing and doing all sorts of fun things.
J: Like eating duck poop.