Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bed Time and Cuddle Time

Can you tell it is Spring Break by all the Blog posts? I was supposed to leave for Utah tomorrow but the van transmission is acting up -- it will only drive in a low gear :( So instead of driving to Utah tomorrow, I am driving the van to the dealership to be fixed -- let's all think inexpensive thoughts please!

And something else I want to share -- I saw TWO coyotes today! I have not seen any up here, although we hear them all the time. One was about one-half mile from the house -- yikes! I was driving and it crossed in front of me, and stopped and looked at me. They are lovely! It was big -- like the size of Zoey. And then I saw one in a field as I was driving in the valley later. I told Kim about it and said how pretty they were and that I did not understand why there was that phrase "coyote ugly". He laughed and then explained what that really means, and it doesn't have anything to do with a coyote being ugly -- just in case you did not know that :)

So, one funny thing that Mrs. Maize does is that when she is ready for bed, she just goes to bed. None of my other dogs do that -- they stay out with me but Maize just heads for the bedroom and puts herself to bed. If the door is closed, she scratches to get let in -- when she is tired, she is tired and wants to go to bed -- now.

Well, little Sydney does the exact same thing. When she is tired, she just marches into the bedroom and goes to her crate. If the door is closed, she scratches to get let in! Just like Maize!

Isn't this a sweet picture of Syd? And also of Syd and Noah?

Zoey drives the other dogs crazy with her incessant desire to cuddle. Cadi has big personal space issues, and if another dog touches her she leaps up as if she has been stung and runs off. Halo and Maize growl when Zoey does her cuddle bug routine, but they give up and move also. Only Asia puts up with it -- here is a series from this evening's cuddle time -- notice Zoey's smile. Abra used to smile like that :)

I hope you have someone to cuddle but if not, Cadi, Maize and Halo want you to know that Zoey is available!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Congrats and Flitter Pics

Congratulations to Elliott (Maize and Zack; D Litter) for picking up four more points towards his championship this weekend (he now has 12) AND a leg towards his CD!!

And here are pictures of Flitter pups, now almost seven months.

This is Maddie (Madison) who likes to help her dad cook Sunday brunch.

Peaches (Sula) apparently doesn't quite understand that she is supposed to pull the cart, not ride in it :)

Terri is especially happy that Zed (Dawson) likes to help out in the yard by digging up the dirt for her. Some people have to pay for that service!

Hope you are digging your day!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring on the Mountain

Okay friends -- they have a funny idea of spring here in Montana. Today we got about ten inches of snow!!! I had gone into town where there was no snow at all, and only got about one-half mile past the mailboxes and had to just leave the van in a pull-out and start walking home because of the slippery snow. A neighbor came by and gave me a ride, which was very nice. This is the most snow I have seen up here -- incredible!

And you know what snow means!! Beautiful, fun pictures of snowbound berners -- enjoy!

We start with Cadi and Zoey -- Zoey's favorite thing is to get Cadi running so she can chase her.

Here is Sydney after being a snow bulldozer.

And here is cute Syd again.

And these are two pictures of Syd with her grandma, Maize.

Just Maize...

You may not know this, but in addition to her zillions of working titles, Maize also has the title of Chief of the Fun Police. In this role, she must bark if anyone is having fun in her jurisdiction. As you can see by the next two pictures, Maize takes her job seriously!

Asia also wound up with a big blob of snow on her nose.

I love this picture! It is a mother -daughter shot of Halo and Asia; Asia is the bigger one.

Finally, here is most of the gang enjoying the lovely spring weather!

Isn't life fun? Surprises and adventures around every turn -- although right now my van is around the turn for some and I sure hope nobody hits it as that might be just a little TOO much adventure!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring + Snow = Montana

Spring in Montana appears to be rather white! Well, until it melts and then it is brown and muddy -- all we need is some black and we will have berner colors!

Last weekend Zoey earned her certification to enter a tracking test. This means that she completed a full-length track laid by a judge, and the judge has certified that she is ready to enter a “real” test. However, we observed something that needs work – Zoey gets distracted by people when she is tracking. This makes sense since we never see anyone up here, but at a test she will be watched by two judges and probably a small audience so we have to get her used to that.

Our Specialty training, as evidenced by Zoey’s successful certification, is going very well. I have made the difficult decision to not bring all the dogs to the Specialty, and so Halo is staying home. She is working on Utility (highest level of obedience) and this is something we can do anywhere; she does not need to spend a week in a hotel just to do that. Halo has also been getting ready for TDX work, but she is an insane tracker and pulls too hard to be safe on the hills around here so she is taking a break from that. And so given limitations of space in the van and the hotel, and the amount of work involved in having multiple dogs at such a big show, I have decided to let Halo stay behind and keep Galen and Faith company. It is surprisingly sad to imagine not having the whole family there, but it is the right decision.

So here are our Specialty entries, already sent in:
Maize – veterans conformation, veterans sweeps, veterans versatility, novice brace draft (with Cadi), rally, agility, and the veterans parade.
Cadi – TDX, versatility, rally, obedience, novice brace draft, agility, and Best of Breed if she gets any coat back by then (she is BALD).
Asia – TDX and Best of Breed.
Zoey – TD, futurity, puppy sweeps, and regular puppy conformation.
Sydney – she is going but is too young to enter anything.

The plan is that as soon as we get back from the Specialty we will be closing on the house – fingers and paws crossed that everything continues to move forward. The house is in Stevensville, Montana and is a 3,000 sq. ft. cedar home on 2.7 acres. It is very private and lovely, with big pines and a wetland area next to the property. One of the two garages will be my training building and there is a large agility area – I am very, very excited but won’t believe it is true until I am using the key to open the door.

I thought you might enjoy some pictures from this morning and also a couple from the potential new home (fingers crossed)…

We start off with three pictures of Sydney, now four months old and 34 pounds. I truly cannot convey how friendly this puppy is -- she literally pulls and whines to meet every person she sees. Cadi (her mom) is very friendly but Sydney takes friendliness to some new level -- every person she meets is her new BFF (Best Friend Forever).

This is a fun picture of Cadi, Asia, Faith and Zoey that I took on our morning hike.

Do you remember when Zoey (Rosebud) was little and I shared how she liked to leap and fly? There was even a picture on the Blog of "Super Rosebud" in which she was air born. Well, take a look at this...

But here is Zoey with her feet firmly on the ground, and also a close-up of her. Zoey continues to need work on meeting strangers as she is not 100% comfortable with everyone. Today I took her to a Rugby Club function -- no, I am not in Rugby Club but I was driving by and saw it as an excellent opportunity to socialize Zoey :) A woman with a big hat and a shopping cart came over to see Zoey. She (the woman) clearly had mental health issues and she was all over Zoey, picking up feet and touching every part of her body, while leaning over her. I fed Zoey some cheese and answered the woman's repeated questions, all the while being quite amazed at Zoey's patience for what was so clearly unusual behavior from a stranger. I know Zoey will be just fine but I am making the extra effort to get her out and about -- not easy when one lives miles outside of civilization!

Sydney went over to the new house and could not believe her luck -- a whole herd of new BFF's right across the fence!!!! Galen took this picture with his phone, and what you cannot see is that Syd's tail was wagging a mile a minute and she licked the nose of any of the very curious BFF's that got close enough.

And here is the house -- it needs updating (who cares?!) but is in excellent shape. I hope it all works out but I also have faith that if it doesn't, it is because something even more wonderful is supposed to happen (but I hope it is this house :).

I am on spring break and sure wish the weather was better for training and traveling. On Wednesday I head to Utah for four days, and between now and then I will be catching up on stuff and also meeting with the local hospice -- I have taken a very, very part-time position with them so that I can stay in practice and not become one of those professors who is detached from what really happens in his/her profession.

I hope that you are enjoying spring. It is such a good reminder that all things do come to an end, and that the darkest and coldest of winters is always followed by a period of renewal. In spite of the mud and the snow, I feel renewed and hopeful -- do you? I hope so!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Really Possessed!

Faith wants everyone to see that she is really not a scary, possessed girl so here are two pictures from this happy spring morning in Montana...

And here is her full older sister, Asia, who is now 20 months and getting more lovely with age :)

Happy Spring to you!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Reading

Just wanted to share these two position statements -- they are excellent:



Thursday, March 19, 2009

By Popular Demand

I have been told that even if I have nothing to say (I can hear my Dear Husband: "Like that ever happens!") I should post pictures. Okay -- here are a few fun pictures!

Zoey is doing SO well! She is a sweet, fun puppy who is now six months old -- can you believe it?!

Our Miss Sydney does two things that only her grandma, Mrs. Maize, does and it is very odd; we now call her Mini Maize. Here is Mini Maize (aka Sydney, Syd, City, and City Bug) and her big cousin, Zoey (aka Zo, ZuZu, Zo-Bean, and Zo-Bear).

Asia was taking a nap on the floor when suddenly...

...the gray cat announced, "dad's a Republican..."

No worries -- we still love him ;)

The house -- things are looking positive!! Keep thinking those good thoughts -- it is working :) Thanks for checking in!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Life as the Serenity Prayer

Hello Friends!

We send you muddy greetings from the mountain where spring has not quite made an appearance. We have warmer temperatures and so the snow is slowly turning to mud, which is quite the mess but I choose to see all that mud as a hopeful sign that better weather is around the corner! Thank heavens for our old 4 wheel drive truck – Trusty Rusty.

There is much to report. First, great job to Molly (age 13) and her Kaibab dog, Fiona, who recently completed two agility titles and also won a competitive juniors class yesterday! We send good wishes to Riley (from the A Litter) who has to have surgery for a torn cruciate later this week, and also to Luna (from the B Litter) who is on the mend from pneumonia.

My Dear Husband, Kim, spent over a week here recently. He came two days early, bursting through the front door to surprise me and almost gave me a heart attack! It was great to have him here, and we have made an offer on a house! Please think good thoughts for us – you know how many things can go wrong in that process. If all looks promising, I will share pictures and details but I do not want to jinx it too early – let me just say I LOVE it.

And so yes, that means I am settled on staying here in Montana. I love my job and the people I work with, and I love Montana and so while I will miss Utah, I do not have to give up my friends and the other things that make Utah so special to me.

The dogs are all well. We are really working hard to get ready for the Specialty, and I am happy with our progress. One thing that has helped me is to concentrate on what I can do given the limitations I have (i.e., mud, ice, no flat training area). This is a terrible place to train for obedience and agility, although I do my best, but it is a great place to train for tracking. And so I have four dogs that are actively getting ready for spring tracking tests, and I have lowered my expectations for obedience.

This ability to accept what is and adapt to it is not always easy for me, but I appreciate the opportunity to practice this important life skill. In Utah I could not reasonably train for the Tracking Dog Excellent tests because it requires large amounts of open space and aging tracks for 2 – 3 hours. That meant driving far away and sitting in the car twiddling my thumbs while the tracks aged. On the other hand, in Montana I just lay tracks around where I live and so waiting the few hours before they can be run is easy – I just do other stuff at home. My life has had so much upheaval lately and so this tracking lesson helps me in other ways – accepting limitations, maximizing strengths, and not trying to make things happen that just can’t (like driving the van to the house, for example ;).

And now for pictures! Noah is helping to raise his fourth generation of puppies -- he started with Abra, and then Maize, and then Cadi and now Sydney...

These are pictures that I took this morning. We had a light dusting of snow and so when I walked Maize, Sydney, Zoey and Faith I took the camera to get some pictures. We start with Sydney -- you can see she is growing some legs!

Zoey suddenly decided to do the teeter, even though she has not ever done it! In a split second I had to decide whether to race over and save her or take a picture -- I took the picture :)

This is Zoey, not bothered at all from her first teeter experience. Isn't she pretty?

This is also Zoey.

And here is a series of pictures of Zoey with a toy -- she loves to run and be chased and used the toy to lure the other girls to chase after her.

And here we have two pictures of Mrs. Maize...

Finally, here is Faith running at me and looking rather possessed! She continues to be a sweet, good natured girl in spite of how she looks in this picture.

Thanks for checking in with us. I hope you are mud free but that if not, you will also see it as a sign of good things to come.