Black Acorn Dogs

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Army of Duckness

Army of Duckness Posted by Picasa

These little guys are destined for the Brookville Rarities and Shiloh Shepherd Speciality Show this weekend. I'm transporting them up, and they needed a little post-storage bath. They'll be part of Shiloh Rescue fundraising activities, Bobbing for Ducks. They will swim in a baby pool, and dog owners will buy chances for their dog to pull one out of the baby pool. I think ducks with an X have a bigger prize, and all chances bought have a small prize. I haven't seen it in action before, but should be a hoot.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

5-6 puppies, one cat. You need to watch for yourself to see what happens.

This really cracked me up.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Lonely Dog and Road Tripping

Poor Miss Ebony has been having a rough week with the boy gone. She had an accident in the house overnight the first two nights, I think because her stomach was nervy. I don't think she's ever been alone like that before! Even before she came to us and lived in that horrible kennel, at least there were always other dogs around. Poor old girl.

All reports are that Indie and Ben are doing really well. By yesterday, they've been turned out just the two of them with no other dogs as distractions. The house feels really empty, but just a couple more days!

I had a home check to do with Virginia German Shepherd Rescue yesterday in Winchester, so Diane and Ebony and I all trucked out together. The woman I did the home check for asked me to bring Ebby, and she welcomed Ebby into the house while we talked. Ebby wasn't too sure what to think of being in someone else's house, but she did get cookies. Then we spent a lot longer in Winchester than we'd expected (yesterday was supposed to be about house cleaning... oops!). It was fun though, because while Diane went into stores like Wal-mart, I hung out in the van with Ebony, and I read for a bit and napped for a bit, and took Ebony for a little walk in one locatio. In Martin's grocery store, Diane picked up some food from the hot food bar and we had a little picnic in the back of the van. I just love traveling around in that thing. Ebony was a little unsure at what we were doing all day, but it was really good for her to be out and about for non-dog-related stuff. And we had fun too.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

BLK ACRN, and My Poor Pooches!

Had a trip to DMV this morning which went incredibly smoothly. I only waited for about 5 minutes and then had a friendly and competent clerk who took care of my tricky request with no problem. And the exciting part is that I no longer have truck plates and was able to get my BLK ACRN plates back on. Yay!

In more difficult news, we dropped Indie and Ben off today with our trainer, where they will spend the entire week. It's going to be very good for Indie, but very hard on us! The primary purpose of this visit is to let Indie realize that Diane and I are not the only humans in the world he can feel comfortable with. We were going to do this at the end of last summer and had to abort when there was a heat wave. They are scheduled to spent a couple hours outside twice a day (AM and PM), mostly be crated when in the house, and she doesn't have central air conditioning, so this is clearly a springtime or autumn endeavor here in Virginia. The secondary purpose is for Indie and Ben to spend time together on neutral ground and under supervision. We had them together with muzzles last Sunday (I say we, but Diane and I weren't allowed to stay and watch because Indie overreacts if we're present -- if this sounds like a bad thing to do, I can assure you that it's necessary and I feel worse for us than I feel for him, plus Marti was able to stay). The reports from Melissa and Marti were that the did much better than expected and that we'd work up to no muzzles during this week. Well, darned if Melissa didn't get them to muzzleless interaction by the second session today, including a the very beginnings of play behavior and even polite interactions in the house. The great thing is that they'll also both be around some of her other dogs in controlled circumstances, which they both need (Indie for reactivity and Ben for overexuberence). This is going to be so good for those guys.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend Report

Great Rally trial with Ebony this weekend! Our runs (four of them) weren't as good as I was hoping, but she did really well, and we did qualify for 3 our of 4 of them. That means 3 legs out of 10 required for Novice Championship, and I think points toward the next title which crosses over between 1st and 2nd level (there are 3 total).

I unfortunately left the lights on overnight in the van and the battery was dead in the morning and I had to quickly switch to Diane's 4Runner. I ended up being late to the trial and therefore missed the walk-through where you get to walk the course before the judging starts. That was a little stressful, but we made it through pretty well anyway. Thankfully it was a fairly straightforward course without a lot of odd turns or angles to get between stations. We got through our first run by 9AM so I went back home, got the van going, and drove back to the trial. It was only 45 minutes away in Frederick, MD, so not a big deal. The family of Indie's littermate Saphira all came out to watch the trial and were there for our second run of the afternoon. As I mentioned before, they just started taking Rally-O in the same class as Indie, so it's nice for them to get to see how it works, but it was so nice having them there. It was a little bit like having family with me.

Saturday Diane and I ran some errands together which was surprisingly very fun since we haven't done that in a while (because I don't go... not because she doesn't). We also made it to the used book store and I managed to burn up a 50 credit that we had. Whoo hoo! That'll keep me busy for a while.

Next weekend is the first weekend with NOTHING already scheduled that I've had in... months? I think months. I can't WAIT. I'm so going to clean the house. (Gosh, that just sounds wrong...)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another 1st Class Night

Last night was a fun class night. It was the first time we've ever had both dogs in class on the same night, and thankfully, having the van made it a lot easier. Ebony has Novice Obedience at 6:30 and Indie has Rally Obedience at 8:50. The plan is that Diane and I both go, she can come in or hang out in the van as she chooses, and we grab subs or something during the hour break.

That was pretty close to how it actually played out. Except that what happened is both of the dogs apparently caught wind that something interesting was happening and got super nutsy before we even left the house. Then Indie didn't want to get in the van since he was afraid Ben would be in there (we did two sessions over the weekend where we drove them around together -- we discovered the the dogs are surprisingly calm together while they're in crates). When we got to the training center, we got them both out for a short walk, and then Indie needed to go back in the crate while Ebony and I went to class. However, instead, both of them went cuckoo-dog; Indie pitched a fit about going back in the crate and Ebony pitched a fit about not being *allowed* to go back in the van/crate. I'm sure it would have been amusing to watch while I tried to sort out two wacko dogs leaping around and over my head in the tight quarters of the van. I ended up getting into class 10 minutes late. Oops. Once inside class, Ebby was a complete goofball, but fortunately "completely goofball" these days is still a sane and controllable dog, even if not very well focused. She has a Rally trial this weekend in Frederick, MD so I'm crossing my fingers for the adage of "bad dress rehearsal, great performance."

Indie did really well in his class. We ditched the idea of repeating sub-Novice/CGC again because his dog-dog reactivity and fear of me leaving him with someone else were, if anything, getting worse by trying to force the issue every week. Rally class takes the pressure off by keeping him occupied in what is usually an individual task. (Rally is obedience done with signs that tell you want to do next, like in Rally racing. Same obedience moves as formal obedience but layed out as a course with signs such as: Start, Halt/Sit, Left Turn, heel right in a 360, Fast, Normal, etc.) Last night, we spent so much time on introductory information that we didn't have a chance to run through a course individually, and they just layed out the signs for random practice and familiarization. This mean that all ten so handlers and dogs were going every which direction around the ring in mild chaos. Indie surprised me by doing fantastically. The only incident we had was at the very end of class where two Bearded Collies got into a tussle about 10 feet away. It's pretty usunsual to have fights in class, and this one certainly wasn't serious, but Indie took great exception to it. Hey, why not end the night with some adrenaline? He settled down afterward, which is as much as I'll ask from him right now.

Next week should be a little easier with then once Ebby and Indie get the hang of the fact that they're both going to class and have to take turns. It's just a new version of the same ol', same ol'.

Shout out to Indie's sister Saphira, also in his Rally class, who passed her CGC test at the end of last session! Go Saphira!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's All Relative

I had to drop the van off for some work today because some of the welding came loose on one of the crates in the back where they had to cut and reweld it to make it fit. Diane dropped me off at the shop, and then I drove her to work, and will pick her up later. I had the weirdest sensation while getting behind the wheel of the 4-Runner: it feels TINY. I feel like I'm driving some little sports car. Granted, the 4-Runner is not a full-sized truck or anything, but it is a full-sized SUV. Such a strange sensation.

I've found that I really enjoy driving the van for more reasons than I'd expected. I'd banked on that people would drive like jerks around me and want to always be in front of me so they wouldn't get stuck behind me, or would cut me off because they, well, wouldn't want to get stuck behind me. As it turns out, precious few people do that, AND people are extremely accomodating about letting me pull out or letting me merge. I figure it's because I'm big enough to be noticable, maybe even intimidating, they don't want to get stuck in my blind spot, and that people know I'm unlikely to be zippy. People are also less likely to get impatient if I'm in front of them and not going as fast as they'd like. I was amazed at how differently people's expectations seem to be with a van than with a small vehicle like my old Rav4. It makes the van a pretty relaxing way to travel.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 2006

Erica and Pack-up Team Leader CarolynPosted by Picasa

The Avon Walk was last weekend, and it was terrific. We had 2,500 walkers, 350 crew, and raised $5.8 million. And if that wasn't good enough, we had nice weather. The entire time. This is the seventh year I've done this event, and that's a first. It's rained the last three years, and last year was a monsoon.

I was Division Leader for the Wellness Village, aka camp or Tent City, for the third year, and I already signed up to do it again. I don't get to see much of the actual walk, but my crew makes sure everyone gets all set up with a tent, a hot meal, and plenty of water. We keep the place clean (a big job on a site with 2500 people) and secure, and make sure the walkers are taken care of. Crewing is a big job with long hours, but it's worth it.

One of the most important things that happens during the event is that people have the opportunity to tell their stories. The ways in which people are affected by breast cancer is overwhelming. Events like this one give people something to do, a way to fight this invisible enemy. When I started this event seven years ago, I didn't have anyone close to me who'd been affected, yet a few years ago, my Aunt Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer. It's a very emotional thing for me to know that the more years I do this event, the chances are higher and higher that more people in my life will be directly affected, and is that much more reason to continue on. Then breast cancer aside, I have other very important people in my life with horrible conditions requiring chemotherapy; I've gotta think that research that goes into chemo alternatives for breast cancer will trickle into other fields of research and help those with other forms of cancer and nasty diseases where the body simply rebels against itself.

So I guess the most important reason to keep doing this is because I can.