Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Nothing earth shattering or insightful to share -- sometimes it is nice just to be... The dogs know this well and I want to share these pictures that I took within the past 30 minutes of an exciting afternoon in Montana -- just being...

Mrs. Maize being Mrs. Maize

Halo deVil being the best Halo deVil she can be

Cadi-Bug, who like me, finds just being still a bit of a challenge -- we are both practicing

Our guest -- Brighton, being a wonderful and easy guest

Asia being the best napper/watcher of mom

Zoey being the best cuddler in the group -- getting as close to Cadi as possible (without touching her, of course!)

And Syd, being the best and sweetest Syd-ley friend one could want (and the cat formerly known as Bad Karma and now Karnage because of her murderous tendencies)

Have a wonderful day just being you -- nobody else does it nearly as well as you do.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Can You Stand It?!

At the risk of sounding like the Chamber of Commerce, you have to see these pictures to understand just how lucky I am.

Today Galen and I took Asia to explore a path by the Bitterroot River, which is about a mile from the house. Here is Galen, who would be very annoyed if he knew I had posted this picture -- luckily he does not read the Blog (at least, I do not think he does!).

No words needed...

Seriously -- Asia was having fun!

A solid stay comes in handy for pictures.

I know -- a training area AND this kind of scenery -- if only my husband were here it would be perfect :)

Hope your life is as picture perfect -- or at least getting there!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dreams Come True

All my life I dreamed of living in the country, and for the past 10 - 12 years my dreams have included a place to train the dogs. Dear Husband was very supportive of doing what we could in our little yard in Utah, and for that I am very grateful but I was always handicapped in my training for almost every event by a lack of training space. It is especially hard to train for agility and utility level obedience without a sufficient space, but I have made the best of things -- but I do not have to anymore.

Last weekend while I was in Utah the work was started on my dream -- an area just for dog training. The area was leveled and top soil was brought in, and big pine trees provide shade and an audience. It is 5,000 square feet and will be fenced this week. I will eventually lay sod but since I have trials coming up, I decided to just use it as it is for a while; that will also give the ground time to settle before we finish it with the sod.

Today was moving day and I hitched up Mrs. Maize and Cadi to the cart to help move all the equipment; Galen also helped with the stuff that did not fit in the cart.

Once there, I pulled out a map from last weekend agility trial and set up two excellent level sequences. Here it is -- the official Camp Montana dog training facility -- not quite done but you can get the idea. I have long had a name for my training center (such that it is :) and that is "Dog U" -- so welcome to Dog U!

I would have let Maize to be the first dog to use Dog U but she was resting after quite a bit of carting so Cadi got the honor.

I have a very supportive (okay, pushy ;) agility friend, Kris, who has long seen Cadi's potential for agility, and she has convinced me that I should try to get Cadi qualified for the 2010 AKC Invitational in agility. To do this, Cadi has to be in the top five for berners in agility -- this is based on points between July 1 of this year and June 30 of 2010. She cannot earn points until she reaches Excellent B, and getting to Excellent B is quite a feat so we are in the beginning of this quest but have our sights set on the goal. (You can learn more about agility at: http://www.akc.org/events/agility/what_is_agility.cfm)

And so Cadi's agility life will be a big priority for the next year. She will be doing agility near us (in Lolo, MT) on August 1 & 2. Three weeks later we will be in Minnesota to visit Kris, show Zoey, Sydney and Cadi at a BMDCA Regional Specialty, do three days of agility with Cadi, and gets lots of helpful feedback from Kris about how Cadi and I can improve; we will also be making scones for Kris and her husband -- I plan to bring my mixer just for that purpose :) Labor Day weekend will find us in Salt Lake City doing agility and visiting Dear Husband.

September will be busy for us. The weekend after Labor Day Cadi, Maize and Asia will go with me to Graham, Washington for a two-day draft test. Asia needs to get her Novice Draft Dog title to be my fifth BMDCA Versatility Dog, and the dog has to be two to enter a test -- Asia will be two years this week so that is the first reasonable test we can get to. Asia's new harness arrived yesterday (a lovely maroon!) and the cart is ready to go -- her draft training starts this week. At that same test Maize and Cadi will do novice brace -- Maize has that title but agreed to help Cadi earn it - and Cadi will also do the open draft test.

There is a show in Helena in September and I will likely take Cadi and Halo over to do one day of obedience, and that will finish out a busy September.

I am still finalizing the October plans for showing -- it is so fun to be able to show again, after litters and surgery and etc. so I am having a great time with the dogs. And now with a real place to train?! Well, I'll let you decide what that means... ;0

Sydney is in training -- to be a very spoiled dog like her grandma, Maize. Galen is very partial to Maize, Cadi and Sydney and teaches them all kinds of bad habits. Here he is letting Cadi lick out a yogurt container (yes, with her front feet on the table!) while Asia appears to be saying, "um, Mom, is this really okay?"

Sydney is a beginner at this "bad behavior" training, as you can see!

And here is a picture of almost eight month old Sydney from a couple of days ago -- isn't she adorable?!

The next dream I want to accomplish is getting my husband to Montana -- he says he will come immediately and not wait until March if I win the lottery so I guess I need to go and buy the winning ticket! I hope you are achieving dreams -- but remember that there is no chance of achieving them if you do not first dream them -- so dream and dream big :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

So Much to Say!

We start our adventures in beautiful Montana where I captured this sunset a few days ago -- from our yard...

So I left Montana on Thursday, heading for Utah with Asia and Cadi -- the other girls stayed in Montana with Galen. We stopped in NoWhere, Idaho on the way down for the girls to romp and potty -- and pose for a picture.

We arrived in Utah, happy to see Dear Husband (aka Kim) and to meet Brighton again. Who is Brighton, you ask. She is from the D Litter -- Maize and Zack -- and has come to stay with us as her Air Force family is being shipped to Japan. So meet Brighton...

Dear Husband -- who does not enjoy cats -- is currently catsitting for one of the kids who is in Austria studying for a few weeks with a Supreme Court Judge; said "kid" is in law school. Anyway, we all about fainted when he got a cat, not being known for his animal loving tendencies. However, he does love his cat but he named her "~" -- yes, that is ~, which is pronounced tilde. In this picture Cadi is asking, "hey ~, what is with your freaky name/symbol?!"

Cadi and I competed in a local agility trial -- Cadi earned a new title and other fun things. If you would like to see Cadi do agility, check out this YouTube link:


Cadi's fourth birthday was yesterday and tomorrow, July 13, is Maize's ninth birthday! Happy Birthday to my sweet girls :)

Okay, back to our adventures! Terri and Potey (Terri has Peaches aka Sula from the F Litter) from Portland were passing through so we took the opportunity to throw a little puppy party -- even though the youngest puppy is now almost eight months old!

Here is Terri with Peaches and Tara (Geneva from the Glitterati).

And here is a REALLY adorable Tara saying "hey" to an equally adorable little human. That is Brighton's human brother and mom, who stopped by to say a final good-bye to Brighton.

Potey was very popular with the girls -- here he is with Peaches, Terri's other berner (Ochono), and Cadi.

If you are a regular reader then you know Kate -- she stopped by after a fun day at the Water Park. There were no puppies small enough for her to cuddle so she had to content herself with a human puppy.

Tomorrow the girls and I head back to Montana. This has been an action-packed few days and I am sad to be leaving Kim yet again. However, March 2010 will be here soon and then Kim will move to Montana and this crazy bi-state lifestyle will finally be done.

Galen reports that the new agility/obedience field at our house in Montana is almost done -- I cannot wait to see it!!

I certainly hope you have had a fun weekend and if you live with your sweetie all the time, count your blessings! Thanks for your visit and have a great week :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pics and Congrats

Let me begin by congratulating Elliott and his parents on completing yet another title - Elliott recently got his first obedience title, the Companion Dog (CD) and is now Kaibab's Dash Across the Moon CD, RA, NFP, NJP, CGC. Elliott is Maize's son, and definitely has his mom's sweet disposition -- he works as a therapy dog in an Alzheimer Unit.

And here are a couple of pictures from yesterday -- first is Zoey and Asia demonstrating how to share.

And this is Sydney just because she is so darn cute!

I hope you are sharing a wonderful day with someone you love!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Air Zoey

Do you all remember how Zoey (aka Rosebud) amazed us as a small puppy with her airborne feats? Well my friends, she is still at it.

I could not figure out how she kept being out of her 36 inch x-pen and when I actually saw it, I did not believe my eyes. This ten month old puppy -- from a stand still -- simply launches up and over, landing nimbly on my bed without touching the top of the x-pen. Don't believe that is possible? See for yourself....

Here she is safely in the x-pen. Now, remember that this is our new house and I did not pick the colors!

And take a look at this!! What do you think -- is she part kangaroo??

I hope your Fourth of July is going well -- and safely!

Happy Birthday Abra

Today would have been Abra’s 12th birthday. I have been keenly aware of the approaching date all week. I have talked to her portrait, stared at the cedar box that holds her ashes, and shed tears as I have thought about how much I miss her presence in my life.

Abra is responsible for every dog that shares my life right now. Maize and Halo are her daughters, Cadi, Asia and Zoey are her granddaughters, and little Syd is her great granddaughter. And yet it seems like yesterday that I picked her up from Colorado. It was on that trip home that I heard on NPR that Princess Diana had died in a car accident; Abra’s arrival and Princess Diana’s death have always been intertwined in my mind.

The approach of Abra’s birthday has invited me to contemplate grief, loss and love in the context of my own experience. It seems obvious but I have been struck again with the reality that the lifetime of a dog is so short. Yesterday I was sitting on the floor with Sydney on my lap and Maize next to me, and I told both of them that it seemed like yesterday that Maize was the small puppy. And now Maize has gray on her muzzle and she is not quite as fast as she used to be; Abra’s death reminds me that I must say good-bye to each of these dogs.

What is it about love that is so powerful that it draws us like moths to a flame? Abra’s death was heartbreaking, and yet here I am surrounded by six more who are destined to break my heart. Perhaps we forget how badly it hurts – although we can speak of it, maybe the pain is dulled from our memories so that we can be free to love again? Or maybe the force of love is just bigger than the fear of that achingly painful despair that is grief?

I really do not know, but it doesn’t make much sense – usually we avoid things that cause us such terrible pain. Think about it – if you fell off a cliff, would you be scrambling around the edge again once you got out of the hospital?! But here I am – dancing on the edge again, with the liability multiplied, and no guardrail in sight. And so it is with all of our close relationships – we carry on with the full knowledge that they almost always end in sorrow.

Some people choose not to love, and they stay safe from the heartbreak – and miss all the joy that is love. And it is that joy – and all the other emotions and experiences that come with love – that remind us that we are alive. And I think that is why we dance on the edge – because it is exhilarating and thrilling and wonderful, and even the sorrow helps us feel alive and real.

Abra gave me so much and taught me even more. I miss her sweet presence in my life more than I can say, and there is nothing that makes that void better. But it does not honor her to stop loving, and so I find joy in the family she left in her place. But today I keenly feel the sorrow at her loss, and wish that I could kiss her nose just one more time.

Happy Birthday Abra.

Here she is doing a brace with Maize (Abra is closest to me) -- it was in 2005 so she was solidly a veteran. The picture at the top of this post was taken about two weeks before she died.

I hope your losses help your heart to open wide to new love.