Not-Goals…. Yet.

I am plotting something drastic in my life right now, which is the main cause of the radio silence.

Dogs are still (sort of) being trained, and if I do do anything silly, they will unfortunately for them be involved.

We do have a private tomorrow, to which both the little brown weasels will be attending. Forest is hoping to meet the Miss Manners Minder and her accomplice Full Set of Weaves, while Diego is hoping to have a heart to heart with Laurie about his, erm, “issues”.

Please stand by.

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100th post, Polynesian Dog Outfits, and Unagility

As this is my 100th post, I feel I should probably be writing something monumental, or at least important, or at least semi-interesting and vaguely agility related. But, alas, that’s not going to happen as I am wiped, and agility has been on the back burner for the last few weeks.

We just got back from Maui, for my best friend’s wedding. Well really, he’s now my “former” best friend as the new Mrs seems to have it stuck in her head that I am the enemy. Sigh. It sounds so cheesy and cliché, but is the honest truth. Twenty years of best pals, and now we are relegated to the occasional IM session and strained niceties while being hawk eyed in person. Good times. Altogether the whole thing was pretty bittersweet, but regardless, it was still nice to have a forced vacation, lack of funds and social awkwardness be damned.

The timing couldn’t have been better as the wheels really came off the bus last week. Firstly a “discussion” of my attitude at work (an unfortunate collision of my own admittedly less-than-stellar burn out mode performance and the unchecked and fantastical egos of my bosses); secondly, the fact that I was almost driven to tears twice by side effects of our house being reroofed—one night coming home to a cleanup of 20+ years worth and a quarter inch of debris falling all over our living room and dining area, followed by a morning of honest to god rain, inside the house…. We were ready to go away, anywhere.

The weather was perfect, this is a good time of year to go, and we definitely did not stay long enough. But, we are home now for a while and until the holidays things should be back on schedule. And it has been raining at home, so the roof is still not done. Sigh again.

RE back to dog stuff, I have barely been training at all, and I think we have trial in just a few more weekends. Time to get back at it.

And this is what happens when we jet off to Hawaii and leave our dogs with “grandma”. Such good little sports they are.

Still waiting on the job offer, I am starting to think I jinxed myself. If it doesn’t go through, I may quit my job, even if I don’t have a back up plan. I cant keep doing this—its not fair to them for me to be collecting a paycheck and its not fair to me. Life is too short to hate what you do.

And, back to the purpose of this blog… It has been 100 posts and almost a year. The next post will be something a bit more appropriate and reflective. Hopefully.

Trash, Abandonment and a Daring Wildlife Rescue (All Before 8am!)

I havent been so good lately about hauling myself out of bed to properly walk the dogs before work. So, this morning I figured I’d get out of my rut and take a stroll down to the cove for some blowing off steam time. I have been avoiding the cove, a dual result of Pierre’s-Adventure-in-the-Trash-Cave, combined with Forest’s tendency to scale the cliffs to run off to the big beach. But, it had been so long and Forest has been so good in general I figured we may be on the safe side. Heh.

We got down to the cove, and true to form, it was covered—I mean literally “littered” in the truest sense of the word—with crap. It put me in a foul mood, so I unleashed the dogs and started picking up shit. My haul included 2 sweatshirts, 2 and a half pairs of sandals, rolling papers, a huge 40 oz can of some horrific looking energy drink, a beer bottle, multiple styrofoam food containers, and more. I barely made a dent, just got some of the bigger more obvious items.  I was keeping an eye on the dogs at the same time, making sure Forest didn’t head back toward the stairs. As I wandered over to pick up 2 stray kiddie shovels, he zipped around and behind me up the stairs. True to form, I did not keep my composure. I was already in a pissy mood, so the instant he heard my blood curdling “Foooooooreeeessst!!!!!!!”, that sealed the deal—he was off towards big beach and the spoils in that direction.

I have learned, at least, not to chase. Chasing gets me nowhere and Forest is unofficially the fastest little rat bastard in coastal Orange County. So, Diego and I saunter along behind him, trying to keep him in sight. He does stop every so often, 100 yards ahead of me, to scan the horizon for us and make sure we are still following. I have also learned that he truly doesn’t want to leave me altogether. The lure of exploration is just too great to resist, but he wants to do it with me still in the vicinity.

At this point he is blasting around on big beach, flushing pigeons and hunting for scraps. Diego and I start our large arc around his path, trying to keep him relatively contained to one side of the beach. I of course, am fuming. I am considering at this point whether once caught I will calmly collect him and politely walk him home (the correct choice), or I will grab him by the scruff, scream obscenities, then pull him home by his tail (umm, yeah). At this point, something catches our collective eye. It is a pigeon (rat of the skies), whose wings are trapped inside of the loop of a plastic bag. He can fly, sort of, but is trailing the bag and cant get his wings fully open. Forest sees this and takes off after him in delight.

While Forest has a very strong chase drive, I am pretty sure that he doesnt really know how to kill anything (other than bugs, and even those he isnt very efficient with). As his levels of prey drive race through my mind, I seize the opportunity to get closer. He is chasing the bird, and I am stalking him. Diego thinks this is the most spectacular game ever. I finally get close and the bird lands to catch his breath. Forest looks at me and comes over. Good dog. (We will not discuss whether or not I made the right choice once catching him. I’ll leave that one up to your imagination.) Leash is clipped on.

Now, dog caught, but we still have the pigeon problem. I honestly hate pigeons, they are just gross. I really dont like birds much in general, however, this was just sad. So, off we went, following the damn bird around the beach, him half-flying away from us, Forest straining at the leash, choking and foaming, trying to get him, Diego trailing behind and staying out of the fray (thank god). I quickly realized this wasnt the best set up. Yet, I also realized that Forest would be able to catch this thing way before I could. So, I quickly devised a win-win for all involved. We waited for the pigeon to come down to rest about 100 feet away from us. I pointed Forest at the bird, screamed “GO GET HIM!!!!” and let go of the leash. (I know, I am insane, right? Sometimes, I have good instincts.)

He chased that thing down in less than 15 seconds, scrambling after it, finally jumping on the bag. He got it down and put his mouth on the bird as I ran towards them. I wanted him to hold it long enough for me to get there, without maiming it. I yelled “Leave it!!” when I saw him start mouthing it, and miracle of miracles, he did. I somehow got there, and he backed right off. I held the bird and gently pulled the bag off of his wings. I was slightly grossed out, so didnt give him a thorough once over, but he didnt seem punctured or bloody. A few feathers missing but that seemed to be it from my 3 second analysis. So, I just let him go and he flew off. I had to immediately grab Forest’s leash so he didnt go after him again, and didnt get the best view of where the bird went, but he disappeared so at least I figured he was in a better state than when we found him.

So. That was our little incident that started badly then veered bizarrely into a victory. I find it very interesting that when we began working together instead of battling each other, suddenly he listened and everything fell into place. Or maybe it was that I stopped paying attention to my emotions, and instead was focused on action, so made better decisions. Or maybe my little turd of a dog and I just know each other too well. He drives me insane, but things like that make me just love him even more.

Thursday Linktasticness

I am about headed out the door for my last dog-and-pony show with potential new employers. Keep your fingers crossed for me, this will be such a step up, if in no way other than working for and with not only rational, but just really nice, people.

So, here’s some linktasticness I have been hoarding up.

The AKC continues to make me want to slam my head against my desk. And yet I give them money. Why, oh why can we not have more USDAA trials in So Cal? Maybe I’ll have to start driving…

A nice story on Michael Vick’s Ex-Pitts on the mend, from NPR’s Fresh Air. A new book is out just last week called “The Lost Dogs” and it is getting crazy amounts of press, as it should.

Ian Dunbar’s Puppy plan, keeping this one for future reference. He’s actually giving a seminar right up the way in Irvine in only a few weeks which I wanted to go to. But there is also a trial that weekend. Guess which won? Sorry Mr. Dunbar.

This is old, but still pretty cool; dog park fashion in LA.

And, this is another “old news” item, and not so dog-related, but man, if this guy can train a parrot to do this, I can train Forest to do weaves. I am not a bird person, yet this cracks me up every time I watch it.

Happy weekend!!!

Quickie Con Chaos

This month is crazy. One wedding down, another one to go. Final job interview on Thursday. Out and back in one day to Vegas for a work thing (which will be agonizing…) on Friday. So, not much dog stuff going on. Unfortunately.

We had one class last night before Laurie heads out for the USDAA games in Kentucky. Forest did well, my handling left something to be desired, but we were doing some tougher courses. Overall it went fine, neither here nor there. Worked a bit more on weaves and me driving them right to them, which made sense. He needs his hand held, so thats what I need to do. At least for now.

That’s about it. We found out we are getting booted out of our squatter pad in six months, which means I am already starting to freak and look for a house now. I dream of a backyard. Doesnt even need to be nice. Just big with a fence with no holes. I am a yard work addict, so no problems there. I/we can’t technically afford more than a one bedroom condo, but if new job happens it could definitely become more doable. I have already mentally checked out at work, which I realize is a massive no-no, especially as I dont have the new gig locked in yet. But, whatever. I will learn my lesson if it is due to be learned.

In the meantime, look at the fabric options I am considering for Forest and Diego’s matching crate covers!

Boredom begets brilliance… Right????