Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walking Wednesday

A nod to Khyra with this blog post; thanks my Siberian Husky friend for the bloggy title idea. :)

Anyway, I have been HORRIBLE at walking my dogs the last 10 months. I've blamed it on being sick, not having time, it was too cold, too hot, too cloudy, too sunny, too....yeah.  And, as my weight has crept up to an unbearable height, I made a huge decision a couple days ago. I am going to walk the dogs!  So, yesterday we started again. I'm on a mission to make their lives better and to feel better myself.

Simple, I know!  But, I've started to walk them separately as they are not the easiest pack- yet another reason why I've fallen apart with walking. I walk Spike and Murphy together.  Murphy is easy to walk unless she is with Sophie. Then she wants to pick on Sophie and play with her the whole way.  Spike is not easy to walk with Sophie. You add a third dog in there and it's painful.

See, Spike likes to chase big trucks. And, occasionally smaller trucks. Sometimes cars, and who am I kidding? ALWAYS bikes and snowmobiles. We've worked on this our whole lives together (it'll be 6 years this summer!) and he's made huge progress but he still can be a little unpredictable. When he decides he is lunging, I HAVE to be prepared or I get hurt. You add into it the goofball Sophie who barks and bounces when Spike gets lungy. Or barks and bounces in joy when she sees someone. Or barks and bounces when she sees a dog and once  again I have to be ready or I get hurt again. You add to the mix, mostly harmless Murphy who just races around my feet, thereby hog-tying me up when excited, and it's very, VERY difficult.

So, I walk Spike and Murph together. They are easy to manage. And, I walk Sophie alone because she rarely gets time with just me anyway, whereas the other two still go to classes and the like, almost weekly.

And, it's good. It's very good. I slept amazingly well last night. And my mood is pretty chipper. :)

Here's Sophie as we are starting out...

She is happy. :)

But, I have to admit, I have some ranting I'd like to do about people who don't make it easy for me and my pups to walk.

1. Don't yell at me "pick up that poop! PICK UP THAT POOP!"  Because guess what? I AM, it takes me a minute to get organized to get the bag.

2. Don't then proceed to yell at me "don't put that in my garbage can!"  I realize people don't always want dog crap in their can, but guess what?!? I COULD BE LEAVING IT ON YOUR LAWN!!

3. Don't swerve your car in towards me when I am walking my slightly neurotic, likes to chase you Border Collie Mix. It makes me nervous which in turn makes Spikey even more unpredictable.

4. Don't ask to meet my crazy, bouncing lab. Yes, she loves you and wants to meet you, but guess what? She's too excited and you WILL get hurt. Trust me.

5. Don't yell as me "Whys your dog barking? She must be mean!"  No, she's not, she's a terrier.

6. Don't stare, cross the road, turn around and walk away because while it might not look like it, my dogs ARE under control and we ARE working on training through their issues.

7. Don't let your uncontrollable, off leash dog come barrelling up to my pack of barking and snarling dogs. Because, they are NOT friendly. Yours will get hurt.

The list goes on!  

But, in the meantime, I've learned some good things too:
1. Sophie is full of joy and bounce and love of everything. While walking, she is taking in the world, happy and excited and wagging her tail the whole way. She even occasionally licks my hand. She's just joy. That's it. JOY. 

2. Spikey might be shy and reserved but he's a gentle soul who means well. He might lunge but he turns a contrite eye to me after, with ears back and tail down as if he knows he has done wrong. But, a smile from me and a "c'mon papa, it's alright" and he bounces right back. He's resilient.

3. And Murphy, well Murphy, she's energy- go, go, go. The world is big and exciting and must be explored. It is exhilarating and energizing and must be viewed with a tenacious spirit that propels her along. And, that's another great life lesson.

All in all, not to shabby for 4 35 minute walks in 2 days. 

What have you learned both positive and negative from walking your dogs?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

ARGH! And an award!

It's been a strange few days around my place. I am just finished up a week of holidays which has been heavenly. I've worked on projects around the house that clearly needed to be done and that's always a good thing. But, a few things have made me want to throw back my head and howl...

First, I made a batch of Key Lime cupcakes two days ago. They are quite yummy but I realized quickly they give me indigestion. So, I've left them alone since, siting in the cupboard until I figured out what to do with them.  Today, in cleaning out the cupboard, I put them in a freezer container and was going to take them downstairs to the freezer. OF COURSE when my back was turned, my girl Sophie ate 1/2 a dozen, muffin liners and all.  After she was done, I just shook my head at her as she let out a giant belch. Hope she doesn't get heartburn like I did from them.  I know she 'likes' limes as she stole 1/2 one the day I made the cupcakes and ate it. She then proceeded to steal the other 3 1/2 limes left and while she wouldn't eat them, she guarded them from everyone until I had finally had enough and confiscated them. What a girl!

Then, last night, in an effort to save a buck, I made homemade cinnamon buns. Seemed a good idea at the time, as I have this sad addiction to cinnamon buns from Sobey's and I can't justify buying them from there, at the cost they are. Anyway, I used the wrong pan and the brown sugar dripped over the edge into the oven and eventually caught on fire while I wasn't looking. It wasn't a huge fire, but it scared the crap out of me. I opened the back door to let air in as there is nothing worse than that smokey smell of burnt sugar and Spike ran out. He wouldn't come back in for ages, despite the snow storm that was raging at the time. Ah well, it was just a little fire and despite that, the buns turned out AMAZING!

Finally, at agility class yesterday, Murphy and I were working on her A Frame, using a small jump in front of it. She has a tendency to fling herself at the Frame and land halfway up, which is very hard on her shoulders. So, I've been using a jump to force her to stride better. Anyway, the jump was a bit to far back maybe and she leapt and hit the frame HARD, 3/4 of the way up. She proceeded to attempt to scale  to the pinnacle, but she was completely off balance and she ended up bailing from the Frame pretty much at the top (like 5 feet in the air). I instinctively raised my hand to save her? Save myself from her slamming into me? Anyway, she hit my hand and fell, hard to the ground. She let out a squeak when she landed on her side and dragged herself up to try and get her breathe back. Poor baby came right to me for comfort as she was pretty shaken up, as was I.  I sat with her for a few minutes on the floor, calming us both down, then went back to class. She was fine; Murphy was back to running contact equipment almost at full speed by the end of class but she sure scared herself and I.  This morning, she has inflammation in her right shoulder and I've dosed her with some metacam because I just want her to feel ok. I think she's fine, but yikes!

I also have been a raw feeder for years but Miss Murph has an allergy. We've finally decided it might just be something simple- like chicken. So, I bought my first bag of kibble in years. Talk about sticker shock; I bought a 13.5 KG bag of Acana Ranchlands as I used to feed Acana prior to raw feeding and it cost $75.00! Yikes! My guys did alright on it, and it's a made in Canada product. The Ranchlands is a combo of Beef and Bison, interestingly enough farmed about an hour from my home town. Anyway, Murphy got her first ever kibble last night since she was 9 weeks old. So far so good and she is chowing down on it well. Time will tell if chicken is the problem, but I'm ready to not let her suffer with itchy feet anymore.

Anyway, onto better things;  I've been awarded an award! I've gotten a few over time and I haven't always done anything with them mostly because I couldn't get the blog award buttons to work on my blogger account. But, I am proud to acknowledge this award....Sophie, over at The Court of Tails awarded us the Pawsome Blogger Award! Thanks Sophie!!

And, I will hereby pass it forward to the next 8... (although, I feel like I should be doing more than just passing it forward, like I don't know, maybe revealing 8 big secrets or something about myself, LOL).  ANYWAY, here goes...
1. Five Sibes
2. My Life with the Critters
3.Dog Daze
4. Little Dogs on Long Leashes
5. The Heartbeats
6. Bad Blair
7.For the Love of Chester
8.  And, I KNOW this one isn't a dog blog, but whatev.  Here you go Al! :) PolkaDots and Paisley

Alright, here's to a good rest of the day, free from injuries, stolen food or kitchen fires. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's all about Sophie

Miss Sophie, the quirkiest little labrador I've met. :)  Love my girlie even if she insists on remaining in the yard to chew her bone.

Didn't seem too bad, until I realized it was snowing. A little snow never stopped Sophie from a good chew in the yard.

Bad quality photo, my apologies, but silly girl, that cannot possibly be comfortable!

Anyway, I'm getting caught up on blogs this week.... I got the award from you Sophie, thank you! Next post, I'll pass it along. :)

Or sleep in the strangest positions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Projects and faces :)

I have been quite cleverly creative lately. And, it's our Winter Break so I have time to paint and craft and do all those sorts of activities.  So, over the weekend, I painted an old desk I was given by the school I teach at. It's one of those old style, metal with fake wood tops. Because it was free, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try and paint it. I am very pleased with the end result.

It's now Navy Blue.  There are a few flaws, mainly because I painted it outdoors in winter, but come spring I'll touch it up.

I've also added some new faces to the rat herd.

I woke up Dexter to say hello. He's a Black Hooded Rex (curly) rat who also carries Blue. He's nervous right now, but I think he'll grow into a nice, calm boy.

Zander saying hello!

This is Morgan. He's a sweetheart of a rat- calm, clever, lovely. He's a blue rat.

My blue girlie, in the corner hiding out. She's a blue hooded girl named Willow.

Smudge and Dru

This little lovely is a Mink Hooded girl named Buffy.

The new rats are all she wrote for now- they will become the foundation rats of my rattery, if all goes according to plan. Or, they will just be beloved pets. We'll see how it happens.

Here's to weeks off to get "stuff" done. Bonding with rats, playing with dogs and painting old yucky desks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pillars of Strength

You know, out here in blogland, we are a close knit community. When one of our own hurts, we all hurt. So it goes with K.... she hurts, and we all hurt with her.  But, in good blogland fashion, we are all ready to rally around our own and send out those healing thoughts and prayers. And share with our readers to do the same.

So, this post is for K, a very special dog fighting a battle with cancer. I have only read a few posts but I can tell that K is a very special, loved, heart dog.  And, I've been inspired to write a little bit today, for a day we are calling Pillars of Strength.

My long term readers will know that my beautiful niece Katherine fought her own battle with cancer and won. That was hands down, some of the most difficult years in my family's life and I would wish it on no one.  But, it can be beat and Kath is a picture of health now. Kath is an inspiration for me, in the human realm of what love, perseverance and a beautiful spirit can do. It CAN overcome and beat cancer.

In my doggy world, I've been touched by canine cancer as well.  Maggie, my (previous) foster came to me after her owner died of cancer. Ironically, Maggie was suffering from cancer as well too.  She underwent a couple surgeries to remove a bunch of lumps that were all mostly Mast Cell Cancers.  Shortly after Miss Maggie moved to another foster home- I wanted to keep her so badly, but she clearly wasn't happy here. She spent her time barking and was getting increasingly annoyed with Murphy which wasn't working for her, Murphy or I.  So, I made the heart wrenching decision, for the sake of my neighbors (who had complained to the bylaw officer and I had been duly threatened with fines if it continued) to move her to another home.  Maggie took a turn for the good there- she has chances to hang out with children everyday and she is happy and quiet.  She was even declared cancer free and was up for adoption for a few days. That quickly changed as her new foster mama found another lump which indeed is a cancer again.  So sad for my girlie.

Maggie taught me in her short time in this house that while cancer is awful, dogs are resilient. They can overcome. Even if the cancer keeps spreading and keeps working it's terrible way through their bodies, their spirit comes through that. Maggie handled her surgeries, she doesn't know she's sick and she keeps on wagging her tail and giving kisses through it all.  Maggie's journey isn't over and I have no idea how long she has, but I can tell you this- she will continue to wag that tail to the end. She reminds us that despite uncomfortable lumps, bad shave jobs from surgeries, difficult incisions to heal that under all that is an unfailing love and trust for her people. We just have to keep on.

So, with that, I wish you all the best K.... lots of love and peace coming your way from us over at the mostly black dog blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Nearly Wordless W-ratty Wednesday...

Seriously?!? No treats for me this morning?!?  MEAN, STINGY ratty mama, LOL.

Mr. Giles, looking kinda sad.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday nights at Green's house

I trained Spike and Murphy in the yard yesterday. It's been awhile, I hate to admit, but I pulled out our agility equipment and set to work. It totally reminded me why I hadn't been doing that lately- Spike gets sooo overly excited, he focuses on soccer balls around the yard. Seriously, in the next house, with the next yard (stay tuned- there are changes afoot within the next months...), I will know better. Keep all soccer balls AWAY! :)
Murphy managed to run zoomies wildly around all jumps, weaves, everything but the tunnel. Somehow she took the tunnel on almost every lap, haha.  Ah well, we'll try again today. She will learn to weave if it kills me!
Sophie, poor Sophie got to play some fetch after and I realized just how poor her muscle tone has become this winter, with my clearly slothful behaviour. Back on track- she and I both are on a serious plan to get her and I in better shape. She needs it for her hips and knees. I probably do too.

Anyway, the evidence of why agility is sooo good for my dogs....

Sophie, napping on the couch.  Sorry for the quality- taken with my iPhone and I usually do a little better with it, than this.  :(

Napping Murphy.

Tired Spike.

After agility practice last night, I worked on sewing a chute for our training sessions. This fabric is actually Denier 420 nylon. I have NO IDEA why Sophie and Murphy needed to "help" me with this project. It's not even cozy fabric, LOL.

Spike and Murphy watching out the window.

Finally, my little winter gift to myself- a pair of Monster Slippers, custom made by Tasha, a knitting genius in the city. LOVE THEM! My students love them too- they were delivered to school yesterday morning and I insisted on wearing them all day.  Makes for a happier Monday, LOL.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Still here...

Yes all, we are not missing in action at all. I've been a horrible blogger of late, but you see, it's not without reason....

First, Murphy (pics to follow later today) turned 2. TWO! She's my puppy- she can't be two already!!  It's given me the unfortunate feeling that I need to expand the family again... maybe a puppy, maybe a kitten. All in all, a bad, bad idea!

So, when I haven't been busy with the celebrating of not having a pup in the house (not entirely true, because anyone who has ever raised a Jack surely knows that 2 is still a pup, at least in terms of brain power, LOL), I've been working on agility with her.  Murphy seems to have suddenly decided to work. Or, I have suddenly figured out how to work with her- that's more likely, to be honest. She's driving forward more and showing me an incredible ability to run contacts (amazing touches at the end!), a desire to jump like a lunatic and an increasing ability to listen.  So,  I've been starting to work front and rear crosses with her and increasingly more difficult handling. And, she's starting weave poles tonight. I'm aiming for her first trial to be late this summer, early fall so watch out world, Murphy and I are on our way!

I've also been hanging with the big kids. Sophie has been quite stiff of late so I've spend extra time massaging her hips and working her knees. She doesn't seem to hurt, just be stiff. It's a reminder that Miss Soph is just around the corner from 5 and somewhere deep down, I never thought we'd make it this far with all the problems she's been through. I feel hopeful to be honest. If she's just stiff, that's so much better than crying and refusing to move. And, we've been there before.

And, Spike.  Well after months away, I've gotten the old man back to agility classes too. He's a delight to work with. :)  No other way to put it. Just a delight.

Besides all that, I've been sewing. The orders are coming in slow (phew) but steady (phew!) and I've been busy working on getting stuff done. Biggest mistake I've made to date was sewing myself an alpaca mattress pad because it's become very, VERY easy to cuddle in bed and not want to get up. But, it's February and it seems the perfect time to cuddle up in bed with a good book, a warm dog and lovely, cozy bedding.

All in all, life is pretty good these days. So no fears- we didn't freeze into pupsicles here, we are just distracted from the blogging world.