Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wish Us Luck

So, here's the schedule:

Mikey – Breed, Ring 2, 8 am
My dad’s dog, Meg – Novice Obedience, Ring 9, 8:50 am
Holly – Rally Novice, Ring 9, 11:30 am
Meg – Novice Obedience, Ring 9, 9:50 am
Holly – (hopefully) Rally Advanced, Ring 9, 10:45 am
Mikey – Breed, Ring 3, 12:35 pm

Last year all breeds except Toys and Groups were outside and all obedience/rally was outside. Weather forecast:

High of 76, partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.

High of 78, with a 50% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Cardigans Saturday, 3-5-0-0 and Sunday, 4-6-0-0.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spoiled Rotten

At least that's how I feel this morning. Spoiled rotten and so decadent! I'm taking a vacation day today and I haven't had so many consecutive days off in several years; and I'm also taking the days between Christmas and New Year's off, awesome! And my mom and I and Holly and Mikey are going to a cabin in the Hill Country (see this post) the day after Christmas! Spoiled Rotten!!!

Holly and Mikey say 'We're feeling pretty spoiled too!'

Pictures from our hike in Sam Houston National Forest on Friday.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Day After Thanksgiving

Pics of Holly, Mikey, Meg, and Bobbie from Thanksgiving morning (where we tried to wear all the dogs out so we could enjoy a quiet meal). Many more pictrues to follow, a soon as we can get them off my mom's computer.

Currently re- re- re- ect. reading 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Agility and Fog

Oh yes, tricky tricky, tricky!

Man, Cardigans may not be able to keep up with other dogs in a straight line, flat out run, but they handle like a sports car and can turn on a dime! The two places that we had trouble on this course were at the weaves and once doing the 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 combo. Part of the problem with the weaves was just typical Mikey, getting a little too eager and popping out at the last few poles. But the other problem was figuring out the line from jump 3 to the weaves. There was just barely room between the A-frame and jump 3 for a human body, and if you were running with any speed, this space seemed even smaller. But. . . taking the outside line around jumps 1, 2, and 3 meant that you had both a longer running distance than your dog and that you had to guide your dog into the weaves diagonally (which is bad if your dog doesn't reliably do independent weave entries). We all ran this course twice, so I tried both lines and didn't really like either one. I saw both lines tried by other people in my class, and lots of people had trouble with either line too.

And then the 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 combo. The first time through I did a threadle through 8, 9 and 10 and then tried a front cross from 11 to 12 and planned to go between jumps 12 and 8 to get Mikey to the tunnel. But. . . I didn't give myself enough room to get around jump 12 in a strait line so Mikey got way out ahead of me and spun in a circle after jump 12 like 'Where do I go now?' So we stopped and I retried starting from jump 8 again and this time I tried a back cross from 11 to 12 and I cut between jumps 12 and 10 to shorten my running line to the tunnel. This worked really well but. . . I really had to haul butt to catch up to Mikey before he came out of the other end of the tunnel. So when we ran our second course I tried the front cross again, but from further out ahead of jump 11, so that I had a nice strait line for my path from the front cross strait to the tunnel, and that seemed to be the best option for me. Mikey and I had a great time and I love figuring out these kinds of options.

Oh, and it was soooo humid that there was actually fog coming up from the grass, just like in a scary movie. Yes, our temps have been consistently in the mid 80's since last week, but the good news is that we're getting a significant cold front in, so Thanksgiving will be in the 50's.

Now just to keep fingers crossed that the cool weather holds out for next weekend's show (Dec. 1 and 2) so that I can work out of the back of my car instead of having to set up crates inside. Holly is entered in Rally both days (hopefully she will finish her novice title on Saturday and I can move her up to advanced on Sunday) and Mikey is entered in breed both days. Mikey shows at 8 on Saturday and 12:35 on Sunday and Holly shows at 11:30 on Saturday and 11:35 on Sunday. Mmmm hmmm, we're going to cutting it real close on Sunday. Plus, my dad has his dog Meg, entered in Novice at the same show, and they will show at 8:50 on Saturday and 9:50 on Sunday. Busy weekend!

Currently reading 'Rhett Butler's People' by Donald McCaig.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Girl

I realize that an awful lot of space in this blog is devoted to Mikey. 'Cause, you know, Mikey is exciting, and busy, and always up to something. Mikey is kind of like some people I know. They walk into a room and are immediately the center of attention. Much like in real life, Holly's more quiet nature takes a back seat to Mikey's more in you face personality. But lest you think she also takes a back seat in my life, let me tell you about my heart dog.

The day I brought little Holly home I had been laid off for three months, and just three short weeks prior, I had put my nearly 14 year old Doberman, Misty, to sleep. Puppy training and just hanging out, going everywhere with me to experience lots of new environments, puppy classes and later beginner obedience classes, and tracking classes, walks on the bayou and naps together; we had our own little daily schedule that revolved totally around Holly. She helped me keep my sanity through a time that could have been one the hardest times in my life.

And Holly and I just real get each other. Holly is sweet and gentle, and feisty and tough. She can be a perfect, gentle angel with strange dogs and strange people and then turn around a few minutes later and drag Mikey across the room by the scruff of his neck and then tell me off at the top of her voice the next minute. Holly knows how to appreciate a good meal and a soft spot on the couch, but she's ready for action if you are. She has very strong sense of her own dignity and a wicked sense of humor. She really adores 'her' people, but new people really have to work hard to win her over. Lot's of mornings I wake up to find her sharing my pillow. If I'm lucky and she's still asleep, I can feel her soft breath puffing against my cheek. Oh, and if she is already awake, when I roll over she will give a sharp poke to let me know it's time to get up and get on with the day. Whenever you ask for her a kiss, she lifts her little head up and gives you the most delicate and gentle touch on your nose with her nose. And if you have been a really good human girl, she might add a tiny little kiss too.

Friday, November 16, 2007

In The Mail!

The entry for Mikey's first agility trial! January 12 and 13.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Oh Boy! My Favorite!

This is what we say is Mikey's response to everything. 'Oh boy! My favorite!' This boy just seems to enjoy everything and everyone. He's never met another dog or a person that he didn't just love. He's a super energetic and driven boy (I call him my border collie in a cardigan suit) and he's always, always happy.

But. . . I realized this week that he is getting a little pushy (ok, a LOT pushy). He's picking on Holly and being rougher with her than he has ever been. And she's not standing up for herself the way I would expect her to, especially since she has always been alpha bitch since the day he arrived; now I'm having to handle him for her, because he is being too rough. He's not settling down in the evenings; he almost acts like he can't settle down. If he's not bringing Pink ball to me constantly, he's rolling his soccer ball all around the house all by himself. And this evening on the bayou, while I was talking to a friend, he was not just jumping on me, but SLAMMING me with his front paws in the thigh, trying to get me to throw his ball. And 'no' wasn't doing a thing, I really had to get after him to get him to quite.

So. . . I've checked his teeth (his teeth get tartar sooo much easier than Holly's) to make sure nothing obvious was going on there, and expressed anal glands this evening. But I don't really think something physical is making him irritable. I kind of remember this kind of attitude from when he was a 'teenager'.

My question to you guys is, has he reached a new level of maturity that is causing him to try and shift his place in the pack? He will be three years old in January. This is my first male Cardigan, so I'm wondering if this is an age where they normally try to push their boundaries. This evening when he got pushy with me on the couch while I was trying to read, a sharp 'no' settled him right down and he curled up and went to sleep. So maybe I just need to make it through this phase and make sure to keep the lines drawn in the sand and my normally sweet boy with come back?

Oh, and while I'm sure he would love three times as much exercise as he is getting, he is getting a nice off leash walk on the bayou in the mornings (about 20 minutes) and a longer walk (usually with lots of ball chasing included) in the evenings. We have missed agility for two weeks running now, and maybe he is antsy for his favorite activity. And I would have thought that he would be a little tired this week from the show last weekend.

Anyway, all of you that have raised Cardigans for years, is this an age thing?

Just finished reading 'Nefertiti: A novel' by Michelle Moran.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

A picture my mom took of Mikey sleeping in her lap when we were taking home from his breeder.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go Ahead and Say It!


Cardigrandma is just wicked with her camera!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Just Entered Mikey in the Conroe Shows

'Nuff said. My mom did get some pictures that I will try to get around to posting later in the week. Back to so called 'work'. Will someone write me a note so I can go home!?!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride

Mikey went Reserve today. Still sitting on three majors and 13 points. Try, try again tomorrow.

Thanks for taking so many great pictures Cardigrandma!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Blah Week

Well, from Holly and Mikey's viewpoint, this has been a blah week. Mikey is showing in breed this weekend. Saturday's a supported entry with six dogs entered both days. Saturday is going to be a long day since regular classes start at 11, but sweeps aren't until 1:45 (I know, can you imagine?) and after sweeps is our club meeting/Christmas party. Oh, and I lied about doing an agility trial with Mikey in October (obviously). The month just rushed by and I missed all of the closing dates. The next local agility trial is January 12. But then after that, there is a local agility trial almost every weekend through April. I also have Holly entered in Rally at a local show in December (and I'll have time to enter Mikey at the same show if he doesn't finish this weekend. Please cross fingers that he finishes this weekend.) Oh, and I finally put up a post here. Last, playing with the macro function on my camera, I got this shot of the world's tiniest praying mantis.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I, At Least, Am Glad

I know most of us dog folk dread the time change at this time of year, because we have less daylight in evening hours to do whatever it is we do with our dogs once we escape from work. But this year, I have been counting down the days, because with the extended Savings Time, it has been pitch dark for our morning walk at 6:30. I have to be at work by 8, so 6:30 is the only time in my morning schedule for morning walkies. And the bayou, while surrounded by suburban sprawl, does have a lot of wild life. Birds, toads and turtles are a pleasure. Raccoons, nutria, opossums and specifically skunks, are not creatures that I want to meet at o' dark of the morning with my dogs in tow. This last week has been kind of pretty because of the waning full moon, but still, I'm glad the time shift has finally arrived.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Laws of Attraction

Yup, we're on a roll at the Cardihouse, and not of the good kind. Yesterday the bayou was out to get us; or actually, out to get me, and attempt to make me cry! First, Holly got sucked in the bayou (watch that last step, it's a duzzee!) about 45 minutes before we needed to leave for a vet appointment. She showed up for her appointment clean, but still very damp around the edges. (Nothing wrong with her by the way, just a regular blood work check because she's on long term Rimadyl.)

And then, Mikey's beloved tennis ball got sucked into the bayou. This evening we were out with the chuck-it-stick (I love!) and I had a bad throw that hit the edge of the bayou where it starts to curve down into the bayou. Bonk, bounce. . .bounce. . . bounce, splash! Ya' know, with a chuck-it-stick, you can throw the ball a loooooong way. I think everyone in a two mile radius heard my 'Mikey, NO, COOOOME'! Mr. Nameless, who was center stage in the cat poo eating incident last week, has redeemed himself by giving his (now floating) tennis ball one final, mournful look, and then running back to mamma.

So I now have another reason to love my chuck-it-stick. I left both dogs on a 'sit, wait' at the top of the bayou, and went down to the edge of the water, and scooped the ball out with the stick. And then went home a doused the ball and stick with both soap and rubbing alcohol. (I'm not crazy, besides all the crud that is probably growing in there (I was a working microbiologist for years), the bayou is a big drainage ditch, so in my mind, it's also a chemical soup from all the stuff ding dongs have poured down the storm drains.)

Tomorrow morning, we're not going near that darn thing, we're going over to my parents to play agility. Hopefully, by tomorrow evening, the bayou will have lost some it's magnetic pull on the Cardihourse.

And to continue the theme of the laws of attraction, some pictures of the full moon, and some random pictures of the kids from the last couple of weeks.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.