Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Truth day

Tomorrow is the day that I have been both dreading and looking forward to. I have been off my knee and off dog training for one month. While it feels pretty good, it is still not quite right. Tomorrow we start back to dog training, and while I keep telling myself I'm going to take it easy, it isn't always that simple. But tomorrow will tell the tale... and I'll either be happy or inconsolable. Keep your fingers crossed....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lazy Sunday

After all the days of blazing heat, today's cooler temperatures felt like heaven. And, since I had mowed the grass in yesterday's 98 degrees, we could kick back and relax. Some of us relax a little more than others:

I tried to explain to them that the lounges were for the HUMANS but they just didn't seem to get the concept.

So as long as they were there, I took the opportunity to take these crazy posed photos of them with a beer. Jake seems to be a natural with a cold brew, but Maggie acted like we were interrupting her beauty sleep...

Final Photo because this is getting boring

This is a pretty difficult one so I'll throw you a hint right out of the gate. This place will be packed with people next weekend.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Contest photo #9

The two Chrises have been battling it out in the photo contest via email. I think Aussie Chris is still in the lead because the other, Chris S got off to a late start. But Chris S clearly showed her capabilities with the quick identification of Johnson Shut Ins, Elephant Rocks and Westminster Abby. So there is still a little room for Chris S to sneak in and steal the lead from Aussie Chris with a couple remaining photos as well as the still unidentified photo 7. (sorry Chris S, "Europe" is correct, but not specific enough- try again)
Today's should be a fairly easy one... good luck!

Friday, June 26, 2009

July banner

I know it is still June, but I couldn't wait.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Contest photo #8

Well, it looks like photo 7 seemed to stump a few of you.... If there are no guesses soon, I'll start throwing out a few hints. Meanwhile, take a look at where the girls were in this photo:

By the way, if you are having trouble posting comments, feel free to email them to me. Also, it has been suggested that you should sign in first if you have a google account and that you try to "preview" your comment before you post it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Contest photo #7

Grrrrrr! That AussieK9 is one smart cookie. The only thing she can't figure out is how to post her answers to the blog. So far she has correctly identified all the phots... here is a recap for everyone else:

1. US capitol, Washington DC

2. Madalay Bay, Vegas

3. Johnson Shut Ins State Park

4. Elephant Rocks State Park

5. Devil's Tower Wyoming

6. Victoria Falls

Though it looks like AussieK9 will be the recipient of the cool CafePress gift certificate, I'll go ahead and post the rest of the photos (since I have them made). And, if someone gives AK9 a run for her money, I may post a few more photos just to give them a chance.
Photo #7:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Contest photo #6

Okay, so those were not so difficult afterall. In fact, the biggest difficulty seemed to be getting your comments posted! Well, we'll see if your geography knowledge can handle this one! Good luck!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why my house is never clean...

I got home from work tonight and it felt SO good to open the door to the cool air conditioning after the oppressive heat outside. But when the three dogs came for their welcome home hugs and kisses, I recognized a problem immediately. Someone had rolled in something and I was forced to sniff each one to determine the culpret. As expected, it was Jake and it was so yucky that I was thankful for the heat so that I did not have to bathe him indoors. While I was foaming him up I heard the familiar "splash" to tell me that Maggie was in the pool again. Joking, I threatened her again with "Maggie, you are going to grow mold from never getting dry!" Honestly, she rarely gets dry anymore because she is in the pool that often. It didn't take long to get them "mostly" dry and I let them in the house. While we were eating dinner, Sarah mentioned that Maggie was biting at the base of her tail (actually, she said Maggie was biting her butt, but she wasn't). Closer examination showed raw, red skin right at the base of her tail, where her hair is thickest and takes a long while to dry. I dryed it good with the hairdryer, made everyone promise to keep her out of the pool and pondered what (if anything) I should put on her. I was wishing I had some Monkeybutt powder that I always threaten to buy for a joke. About that time I hear the dreaded sound of a dog vomiting. I arrive in the living room in time to see a huge pile of grass and other "stuff" and a pathetic looking Jake. Great. So I chase the dogs out of the house to get out the carpet shampooer. I get the barf up as well as another dirty spot that has been bugging me for a few days and I take the carpet shampooer out in the backyard to clean it up. Just about the time I finish, I catch Jake out of the corner of my eye ROLLING IN SOMETHING! Is it bedtime yet? Calgon take me away.....

Contest photo #5

Hello? Are you there? Since the last two days seem to be stumping many of you, here is an easier one...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's help.

~Sigmund Freud

... and Sarah had a strong need for her Dad's help! Despite the excessive heat warnings, Greg got to replace the tie rods on Sarah's old Neon. She did stick with him though, handing tools and holding bolts. Being a dad doesn't take a break- not even on Father's Day weekend....

Thanks, Greg for being there when we need you. Happy Father's Day!

contest day 4

For some of you this will be simple, but for others, it will be impossible! Good luck!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

contest photo #3

hopefully this is getting a little more difficult!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Contest... #2

Okay, Aussiedog (are you the same as AussieK9?) moves out to the front of the pack. No surprise there. But just for the record, I need you to be a little more specific. I'll count "DC" as a correct answer, but I was looking for "US Capitol, Washington DC" or something like that.

But that was an easy one... let's see if you get this one as fast... I need the name of the hotel in the background.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Contest!

I have a new contest in mind, but I have not yet thought of a prize. Unless I come up with something better, how about a $20 gift certificate to Cafe Press? Certainly anyone can find something there...

Okay, here is the story: Maggie, Addie, and Gretchen have gotten to be great friends running agility together. In fact, they get along so well they've decided to travel the world together. Every day (or so...) I will post a photo of them on their vacation. The first person to post the correct location of the photo wins a point for that day. After 10 or so photos, I will award the prize to the person with the most correct answers! The photos start easy, but will get more difficult.

Here is photo #1:

Creepy McCreepster

Sorry about my slow posting lately. My real life is getting in the way of my blog and dog lives(don't you just hate when that happens?)

At Paducah, we stayed at Motel 6 - my first experience at this chain. I was pleasently surprised at the quality of the room. It wasn't Embassy Suites, but then neither was the price. The best part was that we had a grassy area right outside our door which the other dog show people staying at the hotel used as a gathering spot in the evenings. We grabbed chairs from the pool deck, beers from the coolers and had a grand time talking about courses, judges, venues, dogs, and of course other handlers. (Yes, that is an ice pack on my knee)

However, taking a little charm away from the evening was another guest that we'll call Creepy McCreepster. This man hung out in the pool end nearest us and stared at Sarah constantly. He didn't just look, he stared in a Charlie Manson sort of way, giving us all the creeps.

At first we tried staring back at him, thinking this would make him look away, but it didn't. Even Diane's best staredown had no effect.
I got out a sheet and threw it over the fence behind Sarah, but then he started saying little things behind the sheet, from the pool. Like "ohhhh" "hey!" "what's up" just trying to get her attention. Even after Chris yelled out that she was only 15 (she's not) he kept it up. Eventually, he needed a smoke break and went inside, only to return a few minutes later. We didn't see him on Saturday, but it did give us the creeps the rest of the time we were there. It made us wish we had brought Jake. He's had experience protecting Sarah, but that's a story for some other time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

catching up...

Sorry I have been so far behind in posts. Obviously I can't blame my knee injury because I don't type with my knees. ANYWAY...., following last Tuesday's incident, by leg had to be kept completely straight. Any bending caused great pain, and it wouldn't hold any weight. And with a three day show in Paducah that weekend, I was crushed. But rather than sit home with ice packs, Sarah loaded up the car and we headed off to Kentucky with me providing Agility 101 instruction along the entire route. Seeing me on crutches, several other handlers took pity on her and helped her walk the course... then they made jokes about throwing her into this situation. She would be running a super-fast dog in Excellent against experienced handlers-and she'd never run a dog before. She should have been freaked out, but if she was, she didn't show it. In fact, her first run went so well that-even with a slight mistake and no Q-strangers came to congratulate her on her nice run. It was somewhere around that point that she got infected with the "agility bug" and from that point was addicted. The rest of the weekend (in the ring) went about the same... she had 99.9% correct runs with little errors that stole the Q. Maggie ran well for her, and Sarah did a nice job.
Thankfully, my knee started getting better and by Sunday I could hobble slowly with no crutches. Hopefully, I can get back to running soon- before Sarah steals my dog and I have to get a new one!
- more about Paducah to come....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Disaster strikes

Last tuesday I was giving it my all to beat the dog to the next jump. I lost. More to come....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kickin' back after the seminar

Drinking buddies Dustin, Maggie and Madison.

Uh oh. Busted!

Keeping your dog cool... a physics lesson.

This weekend was one of the first where we had to worry about keeping our dogs cool. On the black dogs especially, you could feel the effects of the sunshine, as they were hot to the touch. However, I continue to see people whose only effort to cool their dog is putting them in front of a fan-which has limited benefits for dogs. But to explain, I'll start with a quick physics lesson.
Fans feel "cool" to us because of "evaporative cooling," the physical phenomenon in which objects cool (or lose heat) when the liquid on or inside evaporates into the surrounding air, taking energy with it. To demonstrate this phenomenon, take a dry kitchen or hand towel and twirl it above your head for 15-20 seconds, then stop and feel the towel. If it was dry, you shouldn't feel any difference in temperature. Now, wet the towel with lukewarm water, wring it out and twirl again. This time you should feel a big difference in temperature! This is because the water molecules on the towel evaporated into the air taking energy (heat) along with them. When you twirled the towel, you were simulating a fan, exciting the molecules and making it easier for them to evaporate. This is why a fan feels so good when we are sweaty and hot.
But back to dogs.... dog do not sweat except for the pads of their feet. So turning a fan on a dog is like twirling the DRY towel. There is a minimal benefit of exchanging the air if they are in a tightly enclosed area that is warmer than the outside air due to their own body heat, but this is nothing like what we experience by sitting in front of a fan. To simulate the cooling effect we get from fans, you have to simulate persperation as well. So keep a spray bottle handy, or find a place to get your dog wet. Or buy/make a dog "cool coat" which works on this same principle by placing a moist fabric on the dog to provide evaporative cooling. Most importantly, when YOU are sweating, your dog is probably hot also and remember that recirculating air with a fan alone really does very little to cool your dog.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I just finished a 2 day agility seminar run by Joan Meyer. Anyone involved in agility recognizes her name from AKC National and International Agility, USDAA Agility Grand Prix, Purina Incredible Dog Challenge etc., etc. I don't think there is an agility competition she hasn't won. Anyway, she set up one big course and kept rearranging the numbers to create extraordinarily difficult challenges for us and the dogs. And after we struggled, she give us tips on how to make it easier... often coming up with ideas that NONE of us had thought of. And what makes Joan really unique is that for each of us, she would have specific recommendations based on how we and our dogs run.
But, by day 2 in the sun that "gentle slope" on Purina's agility field began to feel like the Grand Canyon. When I got home last night I had to stand by the car for a few minutes to give my legs a chance to unbend. My face is burnt to a crisp, my muscles are screaming and I have not unpacked the car yet.
Remind me why I do this again? Oh yes, it's FUN! .... and Maggie had a great time. But Joan really kicked my butt... I feel like I've been run over. Thanks Joan (I think).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hooray for Peoria Training Club!

I want to say a few thing about the trial in Peoria, but frankly, I almost want to keep it my own little secret. This was a very small trial.... less than 1/2 the number of dogs we are used to for a one judge show. But because it was small, it had some definite advantages. First, and most obviously, there were not 5 hours of 20 inch dogs. There were not 5 hours of any size dogs. Nevertheless, they ran the show with a great deal of organization so that it went quickly. We ran FAST, JWW, and then STD; we were done by 12:30 on Saturday, 11:30 on Sunday. But there was no rushing or tension, there was plenty of time for walk-thrus, time to get your dog, no stress over anything. The facility was nice-good (shady) parking, crate in or close to your car if you want, indoor restrooms, and the club even furnished a nice lunch. And to top it off, everyone was nice. The club members not only cheered one another on, but they applauded and congratulated strangers. This is a trial that I will return to again and again. Tell your friends, but not too many of them, okay?

Monday, June 1, 2009


The Peoria show was nice, and I'll give details on it later, but first I wanted to post these photos of my buddy coming to visit our hotel pool. What a time he had splashing and laughing. And if mom and dad had not had a death grip on him, he would have tried swimming on his own. In fact, several times he got a little irritated that they wouldn't turn him loose!
What a good time we had!

This one reminds me of the scene from Lion King...

If you'd like to see more of Julian, check out his blog at: http://sturmette.blogspot.com/