Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Thursday Report

Another busy and exhausting day in Portland! It really is amazing how consuming it is to be here -- so many people to visit and things to do and see, and never enough time. We started the day bright and early with Zed in the beauty pageant -- he made the cut but did not place today. Isn't he adorable?!

After that it was off to obedience where we were able to cheer for our friends and the various Kaibab dogs. Marti and Maverick got their first CD leg from Novice A -- with a fourth place finish! You can see by this picture that Marti was VERY excited -- as well she should be :)

Kay and Dillon got a Open A leg, complete with a ribbon!

Molly and Fiona did a great job in their very first obedience show, but did not qualify; Elliott and Glenda also had a nice run but Elliott got tired on that sit-stay and decided to start the down-stay a little ahead of schedule :)

Purna and Megan stopped by just to visit...

I was busy watching obedience so Kim took Maize in the Veterans Parade, where they read this poem (that Maize and I adapted) as she walked around the ring:

When I am on old dog, I will wear a purple collar
with a red scarf that doesn't suit me

And I shall spend my time chasing deer in Montana
And demand cookies and attention from everyone I met.
I shall sit down when I'm tired, even if it is in the obedience ring
And gobble up samples from booths and from the ground
And run amuck in agility whenever I feel like it
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Our suite is so big that we rent it out as an event center -- Eden Jonas hosted a party here this afternoon. Cadi was so tired from saying hello to everyone that she curled up on the couch to take a snooze...

Tomorrow is another action-packed day -- stay tuned for the next installment of the Specialty Chronicles!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just for Cali, Kate and Armand

Kate, Cali, and Armand have told me about VooDoo Do-nuts in Portland and today our friends were making a trip over there -- although from back east, they also had heard of VooDoo Do-nuts! And look at this...

Although I could eat a dozen do-nuts, I thought it best that I share so I called the twins over to sample the famous do-nuts -- they approved!

If you hurry over, I will share one with you also!


This is Elliott from yesterday's agility trial -- he is Maize and Zack. Today he won the Rally Excellent A class!

And here is Zoey (and me) in Futurity today..

And Kim's version of her official show photo :) Zoey has managed to win $210 in the past two days by placing in the only two classes that actually offer prize money!

And here are Zoey and Zed getting their picture done for their matching third place finishes.

Finally, here is our Miss Cadi. Her personal Specialty vet came over again today and checked her out -- Cadi is doing very, very well :)

Tonight is the official Welcome Reception -- it feels like we have been here for a month so strange to now be having that reception! Tomorrow we have the day off but will be cheering for Zed as he shows in his last beauty pageant class, and we will be watching obedience to support the Kaibab dogs competing in those classes.

I hope your week is going at least as well as our is! Thanks for checking in :)

News Flash!

Zed was third in his Futurity class! And Zoey was third in her class of twenty!!! This is a Big Thing -- we are very excited and proud :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday News!

The day started with Kim singing the national anthem :)

Then it was puppy sweeps -- HUGE classes of lovely puppies. In the 6 - 9 puppy boy class, our very own Zed (from the F Litter) took third place! This is a very, very nice accomplishment! And then littermate Zoey was fourth in the 6 - 9 month puppy girl class -- with an entry of thirty! We were bursting our buttons over littermates placing in such great classes :)

It was off to agility after that. Molly and Fiona (Zack and Maize) won Highest Scoring Dog in FAST, and also won their open standard class!

Maize won the award for oldest qualifying dog -- a third place in her FAST class :) My friend Kris ran Maize for me in that class since I was off showing Zoey. This is me running Maize in another class.

Tomorrow is beauty pageant stuff and rally. I hope you are having a good week -- thanks for checking in!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day One

We made it to Portland without incident and settled into our rather large suite at the hotel. Today was tracking. Zoey passed, earning her Tracking Dog title (TD) at seven months! Asia had the last track of the day and did not appreciate the sun -- she never really got going. No matter -- we had a good day :)

Our friend, Kathy, who is a vet came over to check Cadi out tonight and change her bandage -- that was super nice and very helpful. Cadi is doing very well, as you can see by this picture of her:

Cadi's baby girl, Zaida (aka Jamaica), is here -- isn't she cute?

And we got to see Peaches from the F Litter...

And also Maddie from the F Litter...

Specialties are BUSY and exhausting -- I am off to bed to rest up for tomorrow's adventures (agility and puppy sweeps).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming

Before we resume the Specialty schedule, let me observe the obvious reality that life is fragile and our tomorrows are not guaranteed. Bad things happen to all of us, and they are reminders not to get too complacent. It is easy to ask ourselves, "why me" when bad things happen and how tempting it is to be bitter and cynical -- but that is a choice. I will never forget what Kathy shared with me about the loss of her daughter in a car accident -- she told me how she initially asked, "why me" and eventually it came to be, "why not me?"

None of us are immune from tragedies, or too special for hardship. We do not wish for them but there they are -- opportunities for growth and tests of our character. We can choose to become angry and broken, or we can simply dust ourselves off and reflect on what lessons can be learned that will give this experience some meaning.

Last Sunday Kim was in an accident in his patrol car while on duty -- he was shaken up but he is okay. On Monday it was discovered that the brakes in our Jeep that he is driving to Montana today had been tampered with while getting an oil change; Kim was in uniform when he had the oil changed and was targeted because he is a cop. On Tuesday Cadi began her obstruction roller coaster. On Wednesday I expected her to die. On Thursday I expected her to die. It has been a rough week.

But how grateful I am that Kim was not injured, and that the grease on the brakes was found so quickly and before tragedy could strike Kim and/or some child crossing the street in front of a car with no brakes. What a blessing that the oil change company is taking full responsibility for what happened, and that a good mechanic caught it just four miles after the oil change. How grateful I am that Cadi has survived, and that I have enjoyed the support of wonderful people. Yes, a rough week but like a kaleidoscope, we can control the picture that we choose to see.

Cadi was a big focus of this Specialty and so suddenly my week in Portland is much less hectic. Here is the remainder of the Kaibab dogs' Specialty schedule -- Grace is not coming so she is off the schedule, unfortunately.

Agility -- Maize, Maverick, Fiona, Elliott
Draft -- Maverick, Dillon
Puppy Sweeps -- Purna, Zoey and Zed (all from the F Litter)

Draft (if the dog did not pass the day before) -- Maverick, Dillon
Rally -- Maize, Dillon, Maddie, Elliott
Veterans Sweeps -- Maize
Futurity (a special puppy beauty pageant class) -- Zed, Zoey, Purna

Obedience -- Fiona, Elliott, Dillon, Maverick
Regular Beauty Pageant -- Zed
Versatility Beauty Pageant -- Maize

Regular Beauty Pageant -- Fiona, Zoey, Purna
Junior Showpersonship -- our sweet friends, twins Molly and Megan, will be showing

Veterans Beauty Pageant -- Maize
Best of Breed -- Asia

This is a big, big show with LOVELY dogs -- it is never disappointing to lose in the company of excellence. Our goal is to do our best, have fun, and enjoy the gift of being able to be with our many friends.

And how about a couple of pictures from this morning? This first one is now five month old (!) Sydney. Look back at Cadi's picture from a couple of days ago and you will see why we call her Cadi Junior (among other things :).

As usual, Zoey wants to be better buddies with Asia than Asia wants to be with Zoey -- but Asia is a good sport. Both girls did their final track before the Specialty yesterday and did a wonderful job :)

Thanks again for all your support. I hope to see some of you in Portland -- well, I would love to see all of you in Portland but I suspect that will not happen :) Have a grateful weekend.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Heading Towards It's a Small World (I think)

Just a quick update -- I just spent an hour on the phone with the vet because we have different ideas about what is best. We were able to develop a plan that we can both live with, and I feel okay it.

Cadi is doing very well now -- she is eating, pooping and etc. but anyone who knows Cadi can understand that right now she is a danger to herself with her crazy, happy, exuberant personality. And so she will stay at the vet until Sunday morning with no visits from me, and then Kim and I will go over and hide while they load a mildly sedated Cadi in her crate in our van. We will then drive to Portland for the Specialty, and Cadi will spend the week being quietly trapped in a crate and/or x-pen.

This plan assumes no new problems but right now I feel confident that we are finally on the right path and that Cadi will be just fine. This has been a terrible week, but made better by the excellent company on this crazy, corkscrew of a roller coaster -- I think we are heading for calm waters now (hence the subject of this post -- do you get it?).

Today is Kim's birthday so Happy Birthday to him -- he is driving up here tomorrow so I need to add, "get birthday present" to my long list of things to do. As you might imagine, that list has only been growing this week.

Thanks again for all your wonderful emails, comments and calls -- it has made a big difference. If you are in Portland, I hope you will stop by and visit Cadi -- but maybe after about Wednesday :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Want Off This Crazy Ride!

My bi-polar experience continues. I no longer care that Cadi is not competing at the Specialty -- I just want her to live. The vet called a bit ago and the bleeding has stopped, and her gum color is back to normal. We do not really know what happened.

The vet called me at 9:30 this morning and told me that Cadi had made a faster recovery than she had ever seen and was clearly demanding to see me and go home. I arrived and Cadi did such a happy dance that she started oozing blood -- that got cleared up and the vet put on a belly wrap to serve as a pressure bandage, loaded me up with meds and IV fluids and etc. and off we went.

Cadi went directly to her crate in the car -- if you show dogs you know this is no big deal for them and they are perfectly fine in their crates. I went to the university and left her sleeping peacefully in her crate -- walking her to the office seemed unwise and I knew I would be back quickly.

I came back to find her in a pool of blood and looking poorly. I was in a panic. Galen was in class so I texted him to come out immediately and while I waited I stripped off the bloody wrapping and put pressure on her incision -- it was dripping blood.

I called the vet, who was in her mobile clinic ten minutes away. Galen held pressure and we raced over.

When we got there Cadi had pale gums and was about 30% of what she had been just two hours before. The vet -- once again -- told me to leave Cadi and go home and she would call me. There are simply no words to describe what that is like for me -- I just do not do things like that but I knew I had no choice if what I wanted was the vet to be able to do her best for Cadi. It was not the time to explain to this vet that I cannot work this way -- instead it was time to walk away, pray, call friends and cry harder than I have cried in a long, long time. I left truly convinced Cadi was going to die.

The vet called after about two hours of tears and despair, and told me the bleeding had stopped, Cadi's gum color was normal and she was sleeping at their feet. She wonders if Cadi's happy dance at seeing me had caused an issue, and nicely suggested I will need to stay away tonight. I have not had a more recent update, and yes, I dread the phone calls because it has been so up and down and I am just exhausted by all this.

Thanks to Joan and Cali, whose medical expertise and support is so helpful, and thanks to Elizabethanne whose sensible problem-solving approach got me calmed down for a bit. And thanks to everyone for caring about us.

I do not know what the next episode will bring but appreciate your company on this roller coaster ride -- next time let's do something more sedate -- maybe a little train that goes very slowly in small, flat circles?


Cadi is bleeding :( Please pray.

Good News!

The vet called to tell me that Cadi stabilized early this morning and she now believes that Cadi is going to be okay -- what an incredible relief. And how grateful I am to everyone who offered support, prayers, and good thoughts because they certainly helped me not to feel so alone up here in the midst of crisis.

It is hard to move and have to develop all those new relationships that we just take for granted -- friends, professionals, grocery clerks, dry cleaners, and so on. Those relationships buffer us when life throws a crazy curve ball, and allow stability in the face of chaos. I do not really have all that in Montana (yet) but I have such great friends all over the country who sent their encouragement and support, and that truly helped. So thank you -- for thinking of us, for sending your thoughts, and for being supportive. I hope you feel the special joy that comes from knowing that you did make a difference.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cadi Update

Cadi has had a difficult day and was not stable when I last talked to the vet (about 90 minutes ago). I have no words to express how worried and upset I am.

Things are different here in Montana. If this were Utah, I would have not left Cadi at the vet alone -- I would have stayed all day. But they are not used to owners like me here and I think I have to be careful not to push too hard. Right now, this is about Cadi and so her vet needs to be comfortable doing things her way. This leaves me feeling so out of touch and out of control -- in a panic really -- but this has to be about Cadi and not what is best for me.

I am very worried about her right now -- I wish I had better news. Please -- pray or chant or think good thoughts -- whatever you do.


Cadi is having surgery this morning -- this is not a surprise but is a huge worry and disappointment.

Cadi Update

I really struggle with leaving dogs at the vet and so I brought Cadi home last night. She had a painful episode at about 2 a.m. and medication helped with that, and this morning she is drinking and I have been walking her, which increases her bowel sounds. However, as you can see by the photo that I just took, she is down and I suspect surgery will happen today. I am trying not to give up hope that we can have a non-surgical outcome for this but as you can imagine, this is pretty hard stuff :(

Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers -- they are so appreciated.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Good Thoughts Needed

This time it is Cadi's turn to need our good thoughts. She is at the vet's tonight (at her house) trying hard to avoid surgery for an obstruction. She chewed up and ate a tracking glove that (Bad) Karma likely knocked off the frig. These gloves are regularly stuffed with chicken so it was well marinated and no doubt tasted just like -- chicken :(

I found a piece of it in her poop a few days ago so I was worried this would happen, and we could tell things were brewing last night. She started throwing up at 2 a.m. and I had her to the vet first thing this morning. The vet can feel the obstruction and it is too far down for an endoscopy so our choices are surgery or else she will pass it.

Nobody else would know that Cadi was not okay -- she was waggy and happy this morning, but just not her usual 110% Cadi. So we got her in early and can afford to wait and see if fluids and medication to help with intestinal motility will allow us avoid surgery. Truthfully, the vet did not seem hopeful but at least we can try.

I am sick about this -- mad at myself for leaving the glove on top of the frig, worried for Cadi, and very sad knowing that if she has surgery she will not be able to go to the Specialty after all of our hard work.

So think good thoughts -- please -- for our sweet Cadi.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Specialty Schedule and Sheep

It is time to start announcing the Specialty Schedule -- I will do it by day since the handy, color-coded chart I made does not post to the Blog. Although other Kaibab dogs will be attending, here are the dogs that will be competing in events:

CH Kaibab's Anasazi Corn Moon UD, AX, AXJ, TD, OAP, OJP, NF, NFP, RE, DD, BDD, VCD2, CGC ("Maize")

CH Kaibab's Cruising Arcadia NA, TD, RN, NDD, CGC ("Cadi" -- Maize/Marshall daughter)
Kaibab's Cruising Mavericks RN ("Maverick" -- Maize/Marshall son)
Kaibab's Cruising Together CD, RE ("Dillon" -- Maize/Marshall son)

Kaibab's Double Your Fun NA, NAJ ("Fiona" -- Maize/Zack daughter)
Kaibab's Deep Devotion RN ("Grace" -- Maize/Zack daughter)
Kaibab's Dash Across the Moon NJP, NFP, RA ("Elliot" -- Maize/Zack son)

CH Enter from the East TD ("Asia" -- Halo/Zack 1.0 daughter)

Kaibab'z Forever Bright ("Zoey" -- Halo/Zack 2.0 daughter)
Kaibab'z Five Z's Zed ("Zed" -- Halo/Zack 2.0 son)
Kaibab'z Forget Me Not ("Purna" -- Halo/Zack 2.0 daughter)
Kaibab'z Free Spirit ("Maddie" -- Halo/Zack 2.0 daughter)

Kaibab Specialty Events for Monday, April 27

Cadi and Asia will be in the Tracking Dog Excellent test
Zoey will be in the Tracking Dog test
Maddie and Grace will be in Herding

And here are a couple of pictures that Barb sent -- it is Maddie (Madison from the F Litter)getting the first leg of her HCT -- I know nothing about herding so someone else needs to tell us what that stands for -- but it could be Herding Capability Test????!!

Tomorrow I will post the Tuesday schedule. It is hard to believe that in a week we will be there!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Got Faith?

I thought you might enjoy seeing pictures of Faith. As you may recall, she was the 9 ounce puppy (aka Lolo) who needed a lot of support to keep going, and we were not sure she was going to be normal. Aside from a very nasty bladder infection, Faith has been healthy and seems perfectly normal. Here she is on the morning hike...

And here is her big sister -- the Beauty Queen, Asia...

We are tracking again this morning - the two tracks are aging now and Galen and Heidi will be laying the cross tracks soon. After today, Asia and Cadi will each do one more track before the test, which is in eight days -- yikes! I am not sure how we could be any more prepared but anything could happen :)

I will post the Specialty schedule for all Kaibab dogs later this week, and will be posting daily results and pictures from Portland.

I hope you are enjoying your day -- it is a choice, you know!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tracking Pictures

This is Zoey running a track this evening.

And these are Asia doing her track.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brace Yourself!

In response to the question about how the dogs transition to tracking someone besides me -- I am not sure but they do. I think that the scent is not just a person but rather crushed grass, moved dirt and so on; this means that it is more than a person that they are tracking. They know what the start of a track "looks" like -- it has an article -- and then they just find the track and off they go. I have never had trouble with a dog tracking other people, but I do occasionally practice it before a test.

The advantage to laying my own track is that because I know where it is, I am able to read the dog as she moves through the track and can learn to tell when she is on and when she is off, and how she acts on turns and so on. I never do a map so have to rely on memory and this means that I usually know the general direction of a track but do not always remember the specifics. In this way, the track is somewhat "blind" and I have learned to trust that the dog is almost always right. Today I ran Asia and Cadi on incredibly hard tracks and I thought I had a turn in one spot but Cadi was clearly tracking straight; I went with her and she was correct, as usual.

In addition to tracking, we also worked on draft -- Cadi and Maize are doing a mother-daughter brace :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cooper Update and Tracking Heaven

Cooper is doing very well following his surgery, and Jennifer really appreciates all the support and encouragement she has received :) Unfortunately, she is now sick with whatever her son had, which is better than being sick with what Cooper had, but still not fun. We all continue to think good thoughts for Cooper and Jennifer.

The title of the Blog today sounds like the place where tracking dogs go when they die but that is not what I mean! I want to share some pictures and experiences from the place I have found that I consider the most perfect tracking situation I have ever had.

I meant to do this yesterday but I forgot the camera. Heidi was glad because she correctly guessed that if I had the camera, I could not have resisted taking pictures of her and her husband as they so nicely laid cross tracks for me. Let me try to explain what that means...

A TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent) test involves a LONG track (almost one-half mile) with four articles dropped on it (the dog must find all four) and five to seven turns. It is aged for at least three hours and in two places there are "cross tracks", which means that two people walking four feet apart have intentionally walked across the track about halfway through the aging process. You can understand that this could prove confusing to a dog, as she might want to follow this fresher scent, but doing so fails a dog.

I train alone and so cross tracks are a challenge for me. I have had Galen walk across the track but had not had a formal "test" of real cross tracks and so I bribed Heidi with lunch if she would find a partner and walk across the field; she was nice enough to agree. And so I laid the track at 9, and Heidi and her husband expertly walked across it at 10:30, and then Heidi and I went to lunch while the track continued to age.

At noon I ran the first track -- Cadi's -- and she indicated the first set of cross tracks (which is fine) but got right back to work, and she did not even pause at the second set. Asia ran her track next and she never even slowed down at the cross tracks. I was very happy with both girls, and it has lowered my anxiety about this aspect of the test! I am very grateful to Heidi and Chuck, and can attest to their excellent skills as cross track layers :)

Today was Zoey's day to track, and we went back to Tracking Heaven. Zoey's tracking test is the first level (TD) and involves a shorter track (450 or so yards) with 3 - 5 turns and it has just a start article and one at the end (articles are usually gloves or socks). The track only ages about 30 - 45 minutes. I laid the track and then did obedience with Cadi while it aged.

When I train obedience (or anything), I always include a lot of play so here is Cadi bringing me back a toy I had thrown for her when her heeling was especially lovely :)

This is Cadi also -- even her head looks different without hair! She is VERY out of coat, and needs to grow hair quickly -- got any ideas to help with that??

I carried the camera with me while running Zoey's track -- this is no easy feat as my dogs are fast trackers and the dog needs to have tension on the line. I managed to get some pictures and only one rope burn! Here is Zoey at the start of the track.

This is Zoey making a turn.

Another turn...

Now Zoey has made all four turns and is on the last leg of the track, bearing down on the end.

And Happy Easter to Zoey -- not a basket but a bowl of her dinner was waiting at the end :) I won the tracking line last year at the Specialty and yesterday it came apart while Asia was tracking! I had to just tie it to the harness so it looks pretty sloppy.

After a dog does her track I let her loose and just let her run free for a bit so that the end of a track does not mean getting stuffed immediately back in the crate -- how demotivating is that?! I took some pictures of Zoey while she was enjoying her romp.

Isn't she pretty?

And only 7 months -- I think she is just a really lovely girl :) (but I am not biased or anything!)

Okay, she does have some significant ears...

...but maybe those ears are what helps give Air Zoey that lift!

Easter -- like Spring -- reminds me of renewal, and that out of darkness comes light. I hope your day was right on track -- thanks for your visit :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Thoughts Needed

Cooper (Whitby) had surgery this afternoon -- he was obstructed with the plastic squeaker from inside of a toy. You can imagine that Jennifer -- who also has a sick child -- is beside herself. Let's all think good thought for our little guy and his family.


It is just two more weeks until we are getting ready to leave for Portland and our week at the National Specialty. I am feeling good about where the dogs are in terms of training, and also my decision to "only" take four dogs.

I have been focused on this show for months, and it has been good for me. My weekly charts with the check-off boxes help me to feel as if some things are indeed under control, and I have something short-term and realistic that I can accomplish. Living and working in a new state, missing my husband and friends, and living in an unfortunate rental -- these things are actually not very easy but they are things that must be endured. Time will take care of each thing -- I hope -- and so my Specialty training/focus has helped fill up my time and been a nice distraction from things that could be real downers.

Instead, I diligently work towards the weekly goals and in doing so, I focus on something other than what could be seen as problems. I think it is important to acknowledge the hardships and sorrows of our lives -- but dwelling on them overmuch does not change anything, and only encourages focus in a downward direction. The Specialty training has forced me to look beyond myself, and reminds me that I am capable and able to accomplish things. And so I guess it doesn't really matter how we do at the Specialty -- all the training has already proven a success.

The remaining two weeks of training will soon be over, and it will literally be show time. On Saturday, April 25, I am joining my friends, Kris and Clark, at an agility trial in Helena. They are driving to the Specialty from Minnesota and stopping in Helena for the weekend at that trial, judged by another berner friend, Jean Munger. I will take Cadi and show her for that one day, and Kim will be driving up to Montana on that same day; the next morning we leave for Portland (Sunday, April 26). We will be celebrating our wedding anniversary during our week in Portland -- what a good sport Kim is :)

We return on Sunday, May 3 and are supposed to close on our house on Monday, May 4. I sure hope things go as planned -- otherwise I will soon be homeless as my lease here is up at the end of May and there is no way in heck I will renew it. So please continue to think good thoughts that Camp Montana will soon have a new bunkhouse :)

How about a few pictures?! This is a group tug session -- Cadi, Faith, Zoey and Syd.

You can see the Montana Pine Cone Moving Company is back in business! This is Zoey hard at work.

This is Halo who is Zoey and Faith's mom.

I took this is Syd from the deck - she is definitely entering the Super Model stage (tall, thin, long legs ;)

Check back tomorrow -- I plan to post pictures from our new tracking site. In the meantime, have a delightful day!