Katet: a group bound together by fate to achieve a common goal

Happy 2017

We brought in the new year with Joe and Julie doing our annual fondue party.  This is our 11th year celebrating together and our 10th year doing fondue.  It’s such a great tradition!  They invited Mazi to come with.  She got to spend a lot of time playing with their Border x Whippet, Spock.  They had a great time playing tug all night.  I had played agility earlier in the day.  And went to 2 different parks on the way home to train the girls.

New Year’s Day I went to open ring time at a new agility school, Fusion.  It was a club sponsored event.  Vada got to play as well as Letty and Fringe.  And Mazi came in to play tug and eat cheese in a corner to get used to a new place.  They all did great and had a good time.  I went over by the high school to train the dogs too.  Actually found a strip of grass to train on so they dogs wouldn’t slip.  We got tons of rain on Christmas Day and then it froze so it’s ice everywhere.  Plus bitter cold.

Mazi had been pretty overwhelmed with OTR.  I’ve been carrying her in since shortly after she came home.  And bringing her over to the warm up area to just hang out and watch.  This week I brought her in before Letty’s class when it’s darker and quiet and there are less dogs.  And I brought in cheese.  She did great.  And she met a few adult dogs briefly.  Then on Wednesday after Letty’s jump grid class I brought her in again and she said hi to a bunch of people and played tug with her new BFF Border Collie, Vibe.  On Wednesday before class she got to meet Dr Heather too since Vada had an appointment.  Thursday we went to the vet for our weekly weigh in.  She was 12.2 pounds on January 5th.  Last week, December 29th, she was 10.8 pounds.  The week before that, December 23, she was 9.6 pounds.  And December 9th she was 6.6 pounds.

Friday was Mazi’s first time being crated at a trial.  I wasn’t sure how confident she would be about the place or how she would handle being crated with me being gone for periods of time to walk courses, run dogs, walk dogs, and work classes.  I dug out the Manners Minder and replaced batteries and got some kibble that would work in it.  She has done amazingly well.  Very quiet in her crate.  And a social butterfly with people and dogs.

Fringe picked up a Masters Standard Q yesterday.  #9 so one more and she’ll have finished her Standard Championship.  She’s jumping 22″ really well this weekend.  Just 3 runs on Friday, 2 today and one tomorrow.  Standards and Gamblers and Grand Prix.  Letty is running in Performance Versatility team and Gamblers.  She and Tari are ‘Fast and Furriest”.  We did Gamblers and Standard today and we are just above the line.  No Es yet so that is good!

So maybe this will be a new trend and I will get back to more consistently posting blogs this year.

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So I guess I haven’t written a blog post in 10 months.  A lot has happened in the past 10 months.

I drove to WA to train with Shade, Christine and Maureen.  It was amazing!  It was so amazing that it was hard to get motivated to train after I got home.  It was so much more fun and motivating to train with other like minded people.  Training on my own or with others who train differently is so hard and draining.  I hadn’t even realized it.  It was a great trip and such a great little town that Shade lives in.  One night we got to together for a pot luck dinner at the house Christine and Maureen were renting.  And another night I drove to Asheley and Josh’s house for a few hours.

At the end of April, before I drove out to WA, I went to train with Chris’s club since they were hosting an IPO trial that I wanted to compete in.  I had worked Letty on a few different helpers over the winter so I thought we were OK from the ass kicking she got at the trial.  She did great in obedience.  But then in protection I just starting doing the trial routine as I wanted to see where we were at.  All was fine until the attack after the escape.  She was super growly and thrashy on the sleeve.  Chris had me put her harness on and put back pressure on it to work her through it.  Then we did the long bite.  She ran down the field and then started slowing down and calculating like she does but then she went slower and then stopped and then came back to me.  The worst thing I dog can do.  My heart sunk.  I did not cry though.  Chris handled it very well and it ended as a good experience for her though.  But I knew that we would not be trialing in a few weeks at their trial.  I did cry on the way home and I talked to Shade and it helped.  So many years of training down the tubes.

After 5 days of working with Shade I knew and better understood that Letty at the least needed a long break from IPO.  She wasn’t enjoying it.  And she has no targeting skills.  She was getting really reactive with people too.  I had her thyroid tested when I got home – just in case there was an easy fix.

Quest turned 14.  He crashed a few months ago and now he gets 200ml of fluids a day.  So we are pretty much doing the job of his kidneys.  But he’s hanging in there.  I will be super happy if he makes it to his 15th birthday.  I hope he out lasts this horrid winter and gets to go outside in the yard again and enjoy the grass and sunshine that he loves so much.

On Narc’s 13th birthday he earned his CS-ATCH!  He was not jumping the greatest so the Jumpers run was to be his retirement run either way as I did not want to risk him getting injured.  We managed to Q and it finished his Championship title.  Pretty amazing!

While I was gone to WA it seemed like Narc deteriorated quickly without doing his conditioning exercises.  Then he developed a wound on his hip.  It was a big long drawn out mess but it turns out it was an infection in his bone.  Antibiotics and going off of his daily pred got it to start healing.  However, going off pred caused him to lose strength in his rear and he was not able to walk.  He regained his ability to walk again once he was back on pred.  But then a short while later we discovered he had a tumor on his spleen.  We made his last days as great as we could.  He got to go on walks and go swimming and eat things.  We said good bye to him on August 20.  It was really weird without him around and with only the 3 girls.

2 days before we lost Narc we found out that Balis had come into season so if all went well there would be a new addition in a few months.

Vada had to do major rehab starting in March.  The signs started showing when I showed her in Utility and her heeling was off.  Then she came up lame a few days later doing cone work.  It was her sciatic nerve bothering her.  So lots of laser and acupuncture.  She’s currently doing quite well even with lots of slipping on the ice.

On the 4th of July Letty had her first dock diving session.  She did well!  We entered 2 competitions and she earned her Dock Senior (DS) title.  There is a new pool in Menomonie WI.  It’s a bit of a drive but not horrible.  It’s been fun learning a new sport.

Some new titles the dogs earned this year – I’m sure I missed some:
Vada – SPOT ON, CDX-C
Letty – UACH, PDCH
Fringe – C-ATCH

Mom and Tom got a new dog from a rescue group – Tilly renamed to Talah.  Des got a Rottweiler puppy named Ludo.

We made it to the drive in movies to see Life of Pets in July.  We brought Vada along.  In August we went to a Saints game with Karl’s work.  Unfortunately I had to be on call too.

In September Vada had an abscessed tooth and had to have a few infected molars removed.

In October I entered Letty in the MVSV IPO trial in obedience and tracking.  We had an abysmal showing.  We reported in for the temperament test and she was on.  But 10 minutes later when I took her out for our turn on the field she just drug me around and wanted to eat grass.  She was flat and she left me on the gun shots.  She wouldn’t sit or down in motion and she kept running to the go out spot looking for a toy.  The judge excused us.  I don’t know if she was sick or if she was reacting to my nerves or what.  It was not like us though and quite embarrassing.  Tracking the next morning was on knee high pure alfalfa.  It was really hard for her to follow the track exactly and she quartered.  She missed the first article but was following the track.  On the 3rd leg she figured it out and was spot on and got the last article.  Unfortunately we got only 60 points and failed.  In hindsight I should not have entered a trial with a surface that I could not practice on to prepare her for.  She did an awesome job solving the puzzle.  But I was very disappointed that we did not earn either title.  She’s passed tracking twice already in other trials and obedience once.  And the time she failed she was slightly injured and I hadn’t prepared her for all the exercises.  After that weekend I decided we would just focus on agility for awhile.

We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary in October.

Letty and I went to the AKC Agility Invitational in Orlando again this December.  Asheley stayed for a few days too and it was great spending time with her.  She got to watch Vada do rally and Letty do agility.  Another dog from her breeding program went reserve in conformation and did dock diving.  Super fun!

On the way home from Orlando I stopped at Christie’s and picked up our new puppy, Mazikeen.  Call name is Mazi.  Her registered name is Thunderhawk’s Child of Lilith.  Her birthday is October 29, 2016.  We adore her.

I ended up deciding that I’m going to do mondioring with Mazi.  I’ve started playing around a bit with Letty.  And Vada used to train in it.  There are more trials around and training resources so I figure I may as well give it a try.  It’s kind of exciting to try another new sport.

It’s been awhile since I have posted.  I have not felt like writing.  I’ve have just been try to get through the winter.  Luckily it has been a mild winter and we seem to have an early spring.  And we just went through daylight savings so we have light longer in the evenings.  So now I just need to wrap up my evening classes and I can go back to training outside.

A nice March walk

A nice March walk

I don’t think much new has happened since December.

Happy bone chewing dogs

Happy bone chewing dogs

Fringe needs 3 Gamblers Qs and 1 tournament Q to finish her ADCH.  Letty needs 2 Gamblers Qs and 1 Pairs Q to finish her PDCH.  So close but so far since gamblers are so hard for me to get.  Vada finished her Veterans Jumpers title.  I’m on the verge of retiring her from USDAA.
Fringe has 7 QQs in AKC.  Letty still only has 1.  Luckily, Letty is still in the running for the AKC Invitational even though our Q rate is horrible.  Weaves have gotten a ton better though.  Vada earned her MPX so I retired her from AKC as 20″ is as low as she can go.
In CPE we keep plugging away at Letty’s C-ATE.  I moved Vada to Enthusiast.  She needs a few more Qs to finish her CT-ATCH and then I will move her to Specialist and 12″ as her arthritis is getting a lot worse.  She is on Previcox daily at the moment and feeling tons better.  I moved Narc to Specialist so he can jump 16″.  He is 1 or 2 Qs from finishing his CS-ATCH.  He needs 1 Jumpers or 2 Snooker to finish.  Never thought he’d get past Level 3.  So proud of him!  Fringe finally finished Level 4 Colors so we are now in all Level 5 and working towards her C-ATCH.

I started a Gentle Stretch Yoga class and I love it.  I needed something different and something for me.

I’m really enjoying Letty’s agility class at Animal Inn.  Nice open courses so we can go fast.  And it’s fun to run on the dirt.  The riding arena is heated now so you stay plenty warm.

Vada was having an issue with her rear legs trembling.  Mostly her right.  So Dr Julia wanted to see her.  She had to do dry needling on trigger points in her inner leg muscles.  Vada hates dry needling but it works really well.  We’ve seen Dr Heather monthly too.  The last week or two she has seems calmer and she sleeps on the floor at night and isn’t involved as much.  On walks last week she was lagging behind and not enjoying it.  So I cut the walks short.  Sunday I started giving her Previcox and by the time we got home from seeing a movie she was her old bright eyed self again.  I didn’t realize how bad she had gotten.  Poor girl.  We see Dr Jina in a few days to talk about removing the mammary lump that is growing.  Narc saw Dr Julia too and all is well.  He sees Dr Jina this week too for his routine check up.

Vada waiting for me to come home

Vada waiting for me to come home

Quest’s kidney issues are getting worse.  His values are going up and he’s losing weight.  I try to put food out for him whenever I think of it.  It’s harder since we can’t leave it out as the dogs will eat it.  Giving him fluids has been going better.
Reba’s coat seems to be getting better with Frontline on the 1st of each month.  We’ve been feeding her and Casper raw and canned food and Reba has put on a lot of weight.  Her rear end is very weak though.  It’s sad.

In January I trained with MVSV at a riding arena in Mankato.  We just did obedience but it was fun.  Vada got to work on her obedience too.

I February I did a CDSP obedience trial.  There was a trial Friday night so I went after doing team at the USDAA trial.  Letty’s run was horrible.  I was nervous about her maybe barking at the judge and the stand / walk around exercises.  So she wanted nothing to do with me and her heeling was attrocious.  I was certain we would go in the ring and she would give me great heeling like I know she is capable of.  It did not go that way at all.  She did well on the exercises once we were done heeling.  She was having a human butt sniffing day too.  Narc did well and I was proud of him.  He did not Q since he got up too early on the recall.  The rest was nice though.  Vada did well in Open and Qd.  And I found out later from the results posted online that Letty actually did Q on Friday.  I was never called back into the ring or told about it so it was a surprise.  We went back on Sunday for another trial.  Narc Qd on this one.  Letty had a better run since I had a bit more control over my nerves and attitude.  Still not what she is capable of but better.  We Qd.  Vada NQd though.  All was great but on the send out I said her name before “sit” and I never say her name.  Stupid handler mistake.  But she had fun.  So we will give it another go in April.  Maybe finish some titles in CDSP and WCRL.

Fringe's DAM team Q rosette

Fringe’s DAM team Q rosette

Letty's Q and 2nd place ribbons from Sunday - she also Qd and placed 1st on Friday

Letty’s Q and 2nd place ribbons from Sunday – she also Qd and placed 1st on Friday

Narc's Q ribbon, 1st place ribbon and High Scoring MMBC member rosette

Narc’s Q ribbon, 1st place ribbon and High Scoring MMBC member rosette

Vada's Q and 1st place ribbons

Vada’s Q and 1st place ribbons

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with dinner at Jimbo’s again.  Karl got me some beautiful tulips (that Bessie also loved) and chocolates and this beautiful necklace.

My handsome dinner date at Jimbo's

My handsome dinner date at Jimbo’s

Jimbo's decorations

Jimbo’s decorations

Bessie and the pretty tulips

Bessie and the pretty tulips

Beautiful necklace

Beautiful necklace

One weekend in February I trained with MVSV on Saturday at the U of M livestock arena.  We did obedience and 2 rounds of protection.  First, Dave worked Letty.  She did awesome.  Then their newer helper, Peter, worked her.  He geeked her out a bit.  I think he came on strong and his stick hits are harder.  So he backed off a bit and build her up again and she did great.  It was perfectly what she needed to see and work through.  Then on Sunday we went and trained with Warren.  So much IPO in 1 weekend!

Fringe turned 11 on March 1st.  So we all had cupcakes from Nadia’s Cakes.  Yum!

Happy 11th birthday, Fringe!

Happy 11th birthday, Fringe!

Nadia's Cakes people and dog cupcakes

Nadia’s Cakes people and dog cupcakes

Vada started a nosework class at OTR last week.  I felt bad since Letty has class 2 nights in a row and Vada’s Wednesday night class attendance wasn’t consistent with Dr Heather appointments and what not.  I was able to squeeze in the class on my way to Letty’s AI agility class.  We have worked on it at home so she knew birtch odor so I thought an advanced class wasn’t too much of a stretch.  Our first week was painful as she wasn’t sure what we were doing.  Plus, she might have not felt well.  Diane gave me lots of good information though.  Last night was our 2nd night and she did awesome and found all of the hides.  We just threw anise odor at her last week and she was finding it just as well as birch last night.  So smart!

We got together for Tobie’s birthday last week since he was in town.  It was fun and amazing that we were all able to make a night work.

On Saturday Vada and I made our AKC Utility debut.  It wasn’t too horrible.  The first run wasn’t very good since she was sniffing at the top of the ring on heeling and signals.  But she passed articles and the moving stand for exam.  They think that glove #2 is the easiest so we got that one.  I wasn’t sure which way to pivot so I turned to my left.  She went to glove #3.  I can’t blame her for that.  On the send out she wasn’t clear where to go out to.  The ring was a bit different than training and the run throughs at there are white barriers behind the fencing and the ring is even longer.  More to train for.  My camera person had issues so that run did not get recorded.  Our 2nd run went much better.  Signals were beautiful until the down.  She came in.  I dropped her verbally half way and then did the rest of the signals correctly (same as the first run).  Articles and moving stand for exam were good again.  And again we got glove #2!  So this time I pivoted to the right and she nailed it.  The send out was much more solid.  But when I cued “sit” she came in to me.  So lots of good stuff and lots to work on still.

Sunday we went to IPO training with Warren.  We started breaking down the back transport.  Still need a call out too.

I decided to drive out to WA in May to train with Shade.  2 students from FDSA are going to train with her for 5 days and invited me.  Sounds like a great opportunity.  LOTS of driving though.  I have most of the trip planned out.  Took forever to find a hotel out there.  Pet fees are outrageous and they don’t have any of my typical cheaper hotels.

And I’m on a wait list for a puppy.  Probably won’t be going home until November assuming all goes well with the breeding which I am well aware doesn’t always work out.  So we’ll work on Letty’s IPO training and trialing this summer.

2015 Holidays

Christmas Eve at Mom’s went well.  Good driving weather.  We were there late.  The drive home was hard to stay awake for.  Mom got me a FDSA gift certificate and the Puppy Culture DVDs.  🙂  Des had my name for gifts and she got me some nice gloves and some Essential Oils.

Christmas Day we made breakfast and then went to see the new movie Joy.  Then we opened gifts.  Karl got me a Clean Run renewal plus the digital subscription.  Also comes with a free PDF of the big Puppy issue.  He also got me Hannah’s 2nd DVD set – FUNdamentals and Beyond.  And a Dutch Shepherd t-shirt and a red t-shirt with a neat infinity logo with a paw and heart in it.  And a ceramic tile with a neat art print of a Dutch Shepherd on it.  I am very lucky!  Lots of gifts that I love.

Saturday and Sunday I was entered in the AKC agility trial.  My goal with Letty was to work the weaves and contacts and startlines.  We did pretty good.  Saturday she got both sets of weaves.  Sunday right at the end of the poles in JWW I looked forward and she popped.  We were almost done and almost Qd too.  In Standard I was late on my turn to the weave so her entry got goofed up. I brought her back and she did them great.  So pretty happy with them.  Contacts were better.  Aframe is always not perfect but I got 1 dogwalk where she nailed it.  Teeters were not crazy.  Start lines were good.  Fringe was almost perfect.  Saturday was QQ #5.  Sunday I mishandled and sent her off course to a tunnel in Standard.  But the Q in JWW finished her MXJ!

Agility classes were good last week.  I did a makeup class with Michelle on Monday.  Only 4 dogs in class so we got to work a lot.  And she pushed us.  I sent Letty to the weaves to a 90 turn entry and layered the aframe and a jump!  So fun!  In our regular Tuesday class I stayed after and worked on proofing weaves with shaking a toy in her face and having one on the ground.  The one on the ground was really hard for her to ignore.  Good to have things to challenge her.

Wednesday we went to see the Tran Siberian Orchestra.  It was a first for both of us.  It was amazing!  Traffic getting there was horrid.  But the show was amazing.  Next time we will go early and park and get some dinner before the show to avoid the traffic.  We had floor seats which were good but we think next year we could be up a few rows in the stands and still have a great view.

Last night we went to Joe and Julie’s for fondue.  Our 9th year doing fondue and our 10th NYE spent with them.  We ate so much.  I think everything turned out perfect this year.  We didn’t get home until 3am.

We slept in this morning.  I didn’t get up until 11am.  Then we took all the dogs to the trials and hiked for about 4.5 miles.  It was 30 degrees and sunny.  Can’t waste a day like that sitting inside on the computer all day!  Then we came home and napped.  Fresh air is exhausting I guess.  Wore the dogs out too.

Time to work on 2016 goals.  I’m excited to get back to our regular training and class schedule next week.  And the days are getting longer again.

Written awhile ago and not posted.

The second November CPE trial went well.  We have running the trials down to a science.  I brought Seven with on Saturday along with a stuffed Kong.  Karl was out of town.  Seven wasn’t feeling the greatest.  I left him home on Sunday with Karl.  In talking with people at the trial I decided where we would say goodbye to him and it promoted me to email my vet about pain meds.  Duh!  The pain meds gave him a new lease on life and he felt soooo much better.  The dogs ran well.  I figured that I would not be able to get any of the other dogs qualified for the 2016 Nationals in Ohio.  And that is OK as I probably wouldn’t have gone anyways.  40 Qs is alot and the Nationals will be here in 2018.  Fringe is now in Level 5 for all classes except Colors.  Letty chipped away at her C-ATE.  Vada and Narc are working towards her first CT-ATCH.

I wrote up Gone But Not Forgotten tributes for Prozac and Sonic for the MAC banquet.  We were not able to attend but I wanted to do a tribute to them anyways.  I also had to send in 3 pictures of each.  Hard to do.  We had to choose a word for each dog.  Sonic’s was Loyal and Prozac’s was Ducky.

We went to my Mom’s house for Thanksgiving as usual.  This year no one was bringing a dog so Mom suggested that I bring Seven.  I brought Vada along too since she had been feeling neglected and it would take some pressure off Seven.  They both had a blast and were really good.  I was so grateful Mom suggested bringing Seven.

Then we had a 3 day AKC agility trial at OTR.  I don’t remember how the dogs did but I’m guessing Letty only had 1 Q and had weave issues.  Fringe had another QQ or two.  But the best part is that Vada finished her MXP!!!  10 Standard Qs!  I moved her to JWW for the next AKC trial (this weekend) since we were already entered.  I might retire her from AKC after that as 20″ is getting to be work for her.

My van got new tires so I’m ready for snow and the drive to Orlando.

Karl started physical therapy on his knee and that is going well.  He starts back to agility class with Fringe next month!

I had another private lesson with Nancy.  Vada is making huge strides forward with the Utility exercises!  Things are finally clicking with her.  We spent the end of my session working on giving Letty weave challenges which of course she nailed since it was training.

I decided that the latest I could leave for Orlando was Tuesday morning.  I had kept my promise to Seven to get him out on walks every day.  Karl and I were starting to talk about what might happen while I was gone.  But then Sunday night Seven threw up his dinner.  He had been kind of crabby that night too.  Monday morning Karl and I both thought that it might be the day to release him.  Seven did not lie down at all during the day since it hurt him to do so.  We spent a lot of time outside on walks and packing the van and playing ball and tug and he chased Letty and Vada around the yard.  When Karl got home we took him to the emergency vet for a non-emergency euthanasia.  He had been there for his cancer appointments so they had a history on him.  It’s very peaceful there in their special room.  It was definately time but still so hard to do.  I swear he knew I was leaving so he held out as long as he could and then let go so that I could be with him.

The trip down to Orlando was uneventful and the weather was great.  Orlando was nice and warm.  A bit on the hot side the girls thought.  It was low 80s and sunny during the day.  So the mornings and evenings were perfect for us.  We stayed at the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando again.  I checked in on Thursday (long line and wait to check in) and then we went for a walk around all the restaurants and stores and got kicked off the i360 property (no dogs – boo).

Friday we got to the convention center pretty early to get setup in our crating spot.  I walked aound the facility quite a bit before we could walk our courses.  I scratched Vada from Utility since we’re not quite ready.  And watched a few Utility runs.  The T2B course was fun.  Letty seemed to run OK on the turf.  She did her weaves and Qd.  All 3 of the Dutch Shepherds Qd in T2B!  I thought we were off to a great start.  Silly me.   That night we just went for a walk away from the busy area and then chilled in the hotel.

Saturday we had JWW and Stanard.  Fun doable courses.  Same start in JWW that we had in T2B.  So I was certain that Letty would nail the weaves.  She popped them.  Twice.  Finally got them on the 3rd time.  We also had a bar as I turned and took off as she was taking a jump on a 180.  So 15 faults.  Then in Standard I stepped over too far on my FC before the weaves and pushed her into the entry too far up so another 5 faults and then she popped them and I didn’t compete them.  Not her fault that I messed them up.  Outside of the weaves the runs were great.  She got her contacts in Standard.

The runs went pretty late on Saturday.  I went to dinner with Mandy and Maggie that night.  It got late but it was fun.  Unfortunately Sunday is a really early morning since the trial starts earlier and I had to pack up.

Sunday was Hybrid and then JWW.  In Hybrid her aframe was ugly but I’m not sure if we got called on it or not.  She nailed a tough weave entry.  Then I tripped on the turf but she kept weaving but the later popped at the end of the poles.  Then I got lost and almost sent her off course.  The rest of the run was nice though.  In JWW I had to stop her to get a FC in before the weave poles.  Probably not the best choice.  She popped the weaves.  So I brought her back and she popped them again.  So we went on.  Then she wouldn’t get off of me.  Finally I got her to send to the next jump and then we were off and running.

So I don’t know what happened on our runs.  I was not on my game.  I was sad and missing Seven and I was tired.  I did not have any time to decompress.  I didn’t start feeling decompressed until on the way home.  Once she popped her weaves in the first real run I just kind of gave up.  She is pretty stressed outside the ring with all the stuff going on but she seems to do well in the ring.  I started walking her around the outside walls of the building to avoid the groups of conformation dogs.  She pulls like crazy to get past things that stress her out.  After her first run on Saturday we tugged a lot and then she was pulling on her collar really hard to get back to the crating area and then her rear end went out from under her and she couldn’t walk.  FREAKED ME OUT!  She seemed to recover quickly.  So after that we tugged a little and then I switched to food to lure her back to the crating area.  I don’t know if it was the heat/humidy and tugging or the pulling and it cut off her air.

Sunday I was done by 12:30pm and finals weren’t until 5:30pm or so.  So I canceled my hotel reservation and made one for a hotel further north.  I’ve watched Finals twice and I can watch them online later.  Instead I choose to get more miles under my belt so Monday would not be a totally insane driving day.  It was a very smart decision.  Definately what I needed this year.  And the new hotel had a big courtyard right outside my door.  It was very quiet there too.

The drive home was uneventful.  I got home in time to go home and unload a bit and then take Letty to agility class.  It’s a pain to do make up classes so I went but I wasn’t in the best frame of mind.  Luckily for those who did not send their CPE entries in though since they could hand them to me before the closing date the next day.

Vada and Narc had their checkups with Dr Julia.  All is good and I should keep doing what I am doing.  Narc goes back every 2 months and Vada doesn’t go back for 4 months.

Saturday I entered the 3 Dutch Shepherds in a WCRL rally trial.  It was mine and Vada’s first time in Level 3.  It was fun!  We got to use some of our Utility skills!  She qualified in both trials with first place in both!  I entered Letty to give her good ring experiences since you can use food rewards on stational exercises.  Wow!  I had the same dog in the ring that I see in training.  It was nice!  She earned 2 qualifying scores in Level 2 wtih a first and second placement.  The second was my fault as I rewarded her on a non-stationary sign and we lost points for that silliness.  I did not know what Narc would do so I only entered him in 1 trial.  I chose the second trial so that I would have my bearings about the show better.  He was so amazing!  So focused.  He qualified and earned a third placement just behind Letty!  I think we failed the bonus exercise so that was a lot of points to throw away due to my fast handling.  We were done early enough that Karl and I were able to get to church for the Christmas service too.

Sunday we slept in, made breakfast and finished our Christmas shopping.  Northtown had a craft fair going on and that was tons of fun to look at.

I’ve been able to get the dogs back to some obedience classes before the schools close for their holiday breaks.  Mostly Vada and Narc with squeezing in Letty here and there to work her.  I just need to figure out a way to get Fringe into a class now.  She has gorgeous heeling.

I signed up Letty for agility classes at the Inn too.  Karl suggested that it might be a way for her to get more weave practice in and help her confidence and proofing.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve at Mom’s house.  Then we have Christmas Day with no plans.  I can’t wait!

So many changes…

This was written Nov 20th but not published for some reason.

On October 19th we celebrated our 8th anniversary.  We intended to check out a new to us restaurant in Elk River but, as our life seems to go, we had to change our plans.  So Karl brought home take out from Northwood and we ate dinner outside on our new to us picnic table.  Not what we intended but still a nice night.  Karl brought home beautiful roses.  I did not have a gift for him ready but had orded a bronze guitar pick that was engraved on both sides.  One side said “I PICK YOU” and the other side said “8”.  It turned out nice.

After the IPO trial I had Dr Heather see Letty before the agility trial to make sure nothing was out from protection.  Sure enough she was kind of a mess.  So it was good that I got her in.

We played AKC agility on Friday and Saturday.  I have no idea who did what.  I think Vada Qd in JWW one of the days.  I think Letty had weave issues in all of her runs.  And I think Fringe did well.  Guess I should look it up somewhere.

Saturday after the trial I drove to WI with Vada.  We had to be up bright and early and I did not want to get up at 2am to do the drive so I stayed at a hotel near the park where the tracking test was held at.  It was a mixed test with some TDs (hence the earlier start time) and TDXs.  I drew TDX track #2.  We started out awesome.  It was tall grass.  We got past our first set of cross tracks.  And we found the first article.  Then we had to go through a line of trees.  She got through that.  Then we hit a few feet of tallish grass and then it went to smushed down mowed low leaf plants next to a plowed corn field.  She really struggled with the lower grass.  She was on it for a little bit but then lost the track.  She searched and searched for what seemed like forever until she finally gave up.  Similar to the weekend before, the track layer walked us through the rest of the track.  She had trouble on the part with the lower vegitation and dead things sticking up.  Once we got to greener grass she was back on the scent.  She tracked through the pine needles under the pine trees and found the last glove.  I think failing 2 weekends in a row really hurt her confidence.  Not sure if we’ll try doing another TDX or not.  There is a local one in the spring.  I have a new respect for those that do pass.  It’s not easy and anything goes.  I would never have laid a track where they did which shows my more limited IPO tracking thought process.  After the test wrapped up we went on a nice long hike in the beautiful park.  It was nice being able to spend time with Vada alone.

Monday I got Seven in to see Dr Jina as I felt a lump on his belly just past his rib cage.  It was a hard lump inside his body.  She did xrays and then aspirated it and sent it in to a pathologist.  It came back as scarcoma so she sent us to Blue Pearl for an ultrasound and to consult with an oncologist.  The ultrasound showed that the tumor was touching his liver and abdomen wall.  He had another tumor by his kidney.  His now spleenless cavity never healed correctly and had abnormal tissue in it and a bit of fluid maybe from the tumor.  They could not tell us much without doing surgery to remove the tumors to biopsy them.  She tried to asiprate the 2nd tumor but it was in too deep so she could not get to it.  So our options were surgery and chemo or do nothing.  He just had his spleen removed in June and his body was free of any visable cancer at that point.  They had even biopsied his liver.  So this cancer is very aggressive and his body was not even healing correctly from the last surgery.  After lots of agonozing thoughts and crying we both agreed that it would not be fair to him to do surgery and make the last of his time be more miserable.  It just felt like an impossible fight.  So now we are just spoiling him and making his last days as good as they can be.  He’s uncomfortable with the big tumor in his belly but he’s still eating and he’s enjoying getting out for walks and training (shaping sessions in the library).  We increased his CAS dosage and started him on Apocaps.  I don’t think he has much time left though.

Karl saw his knee doctor again.  He refered him to his partner who deals with more knees.  That 2nd doctor had an athletic person there to evaluate Karl’s knee.  They removed fluid from his knee and gave him another cortisone injection.  And he starts physical therapy next week.  Plus he has lost a lot of weight.  He misses agility so it’s nice that he finally has a doctor who listened to him.  And Fringe is already signed up for agility classes in January.  She will be happy to run with him again too.

We hosted another Tracy seminar over Halloween weekend.  Super fun as always.  The things I can do when she is guiding me are pretty amazing.  Letty had fun too.  I worked her 2 of the days.  Hopefully next year Karl will be able to work with her again finally.

Letty and I started agility classes again.  It was nice having the summer off.  Soon we will have to get back to obedience classes. Right now I am just not comfortable leaving Seven except when I have to.

Our annual photo shoot went super well.  Laurie got some great pics of Sonic.  And the group shot was pretty much drama free and turned out pretty good.

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Karl had Dr Jina evaluate Sonic to see how much quality of life he had.  She agreed that it wasn’t very good.  So he setup an appointment to release Sonic from his body.  He hated the cart and wasn’t able to operate it very well.  He probably just didn’t have enough front end strength and he always wanted to turn to the left.  Even after laser he wasn’t able to pull himself up or stand very long.  He could only walk if we were supporting him.  And he would get so frustrated that he could not get up.  He was getting pressure sores on his hip too.  It’s really hard when their body fails so much before their mind does.  Karl misses him a lot.  He was a good dog.  I miss his bouncy barky self.

That weekend I had entered Vada in the MMBC UKC rally trial on Saturday.  I goofed up a sign in the first trial and lost us 3 points right off the bat!  But I got it together after that and we finished our UROG!!!  Then a bonus leg to make sure.  She earned a HIT on the first trial too.  2 firsts, a second and a 3rd.  Plus High Scoring MMBC Member.  I worked Letty in the warm up ring too and she did great.

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Sunday I finally made it back to training at Warren’s.  Sandy was there.  Letty is not broken – at least not on Warren.  He was like “how can someone not drive this dog?” so that made me feel better.

I got moved to a new department at work and have a new boss and new procedures and standards to learn.

So much has changed in just a few weeks.  I was training a ton for the IPO trial before the trial and haven’t done much since.  We said goodbye to Sonic.  And we found out Seven’s cancer is back and aggressive and we will be losing him soon too.  Plus my new boss.  And Karl’s new schedule with taking the train.  This is not a favorite time of year for me.

We have been having great weather up until a few days ago.  I had to get Letty a new collar in blaze orange for when we go on walks.  I dug out an old one for Vada too.

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I got Christmas cards ordered already and the letter paper.  I want to get a live Christmas tree for the house this year too.

CPE trial this weekend.  My 2nd as secretary for the season.  The first one went well 2 weeks ago.  Seven came with on Friday and Saturday and stayed home with Karl and Sonic on Sunday.  It was Narc’s first trial back and he did soooo good.  I moved him to Specialist so he jumped 16″.  I had moved Vada to Enthusiast too.  So neither is entered in Standard.  Fringe had a perfect weekend except for her Colors run.  Vada had an almost perfect weekend too.  Fringe and Letty had dream Jumpers runs on Saturday.  We were totally in the zone.  So much fun!

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October

There have been lots of trials since my last update.  2 USDAA trials, an IPO trial and a TDX test.

The first USDAA trial was at OTR.  I was chief scorekeeper so I was there both days.  Seven got to run in a Veteran class each day – Snooker and Jumpers.  He qualified in both classes.  He ran OK.  Not like he used to run though.  But I think he had fun.  Vada got to run in 2 classes each day.  P3 Standard and another class in Veterans.  Saturday the start jump in Standard was so close to the wall, she has no lead out and I had to be on the “bad” side so I didn’t get behind on the aframe and risk her coming off the side and getting hurt.  Once we got thru that mess with a few bars down then it went well.  On Sunday we finally earned that last Q to finish her Performance MAD title (MPD).  There was a period there where I did not think she could jump 20″ and maybe not even do agility so I was thrilled that she was able to get the chance to earn the last Q and finish that title.  Kind of sad at the same time but so happy she will only be doing 16″ Vets in USDAA now.  I am not planning to enter her in Standard either so she won’t be doing 12 weave poles.  I think Fringe and Letty ran well.  I think this was the trial with super hard tight weave entries and  Letty nailed them.  I’d have to check their records to see what all they Qd in.

Vada got into the Croix Valley TDX test.  I was super happy about that.  Then she got into the test the following weekend too.

Sonic had a checkup with Dr Julia and they are going to try a med to replace the tramadol that might help with his anxiety.  He’s been on it a few days now and it has reduced his anxiety but has made him very dopey and unable to stand or walk.  We see her again this week.  He will also get fitted for a cart.

Narc also had a check up.  The only change we made was to quit doing the leg lifts since they are not going well.  Instead we will do balance disc work with all 4 feet.  I ordered one of the big 22″ discs from Clean Run.  Hopefully it is here soon.  Recheck in 2 months.

Saturday the Isanti group was back on track with their normal training schedule so I was able to get one last session in before the trial.  Bryan really put a lot of pressure on her and threw her around and she did really well.  Great catches.  We went through the routine and it was really nice.  She’d been working great on Warren too.  We felt ready!

Saturday Karl was going to go to SQL Saturday but he wasn’t feeling well and his eye sight was changing.  Plus his blood pressure was high.  He was able to get in to see an eye doctor thankfully.  They did a bunch of tests and promptly sent him to the emergency room to get his blood pressure lowered.  The ER then checked him in to the hospital.  They needed to lower his blood pressure slowly.  He ended up being there 2 nights.  He had a lot of great nurses and he got to have cable TV.  He would have rather been at home though.

Sunday I drove up to Duluth to play USDAA in the barn.  Karl was in good hands at the hospital and there was nothing more I could do.  Narc and Sonic stayed home so I just set a time that I had to leave by.  The dogs love running in the dirt there.  Seven got to play in Snooker.  He did not do well at all.  He was running very cautiously and he knocked a bar.  He was running slower and slower and finally I thanked the judge and we took a tunnel on our way out of the ring so he wouldn’t know.  I might try him at OTR one more time since it has bright lighting and solid consistent footing.  But he may just be done jumping 12″.  I put him in Specialist for the next CPE trial to see if he likes jumping 8″.  Seems like he is aging so fast since his spleen was removed.  Breaks my heart.  None of the dogs Qd in any of the runs until the very last run.  Fringe and I earned a Q in Snooker.

Karl came home from the hospital on Monday.  We were glad to have him back home.  He’s been slowly working more and more.  He worked from home all week to pace himself.  He’s been eating better and exercising more.  Trying to get more sleep.  He got a Fitbit which is motivating him to exercise more and he’s using it to track his food and make sure he’s eating the right amount of calories.  His regular doctor has already lowered one of his meds.  His blood pressure is staying low so he may be able to go off another soon.

Tuesday my boss and coworkers and I went to do some volunteer hours at Second Harvest Food Shelf.  The time went by pretty quickly and we all had a good time.

Wednesday Letty and Vada got to see Dr Heather.  Dr Julia wanted Letty’s pelvis checked before the IPO trial.  And Vada was due for her monthly adjustment.

Thursday I had a private lesson with Nancy with Vada to work on Utility exercises.  Then me and the girls hit the road to Omaha.  We got to the hotel when it was still light out.

Friday we went tracking.  I found a park with a bit longer grass by a dog park and was able to track both girls.  They did great.  Then we just hung out at the hotel and I worked on computer stuff that I was behind on.  Then we went to the trial field to practice.  The only person there was James.  He was marking the field with spray paint.  I got a lot of good obedience in but then he had to leave to go get the judge just as I was finishing up.  No blinds up and no helper to practice on.  In hindsight I should have asked who was doing the helper work and if he would be there to practice on.  A mistake I will not make again.  I was so set on trialing on that date that I did not make a good decision for my dog.

So we met for tracking on Saturday morning at a park down the road from the trial site.  The grass had not been mowed in awhile and it was super thick.  Really really nice.  Letty went first.  I laid my track straight and found markers.  The last 2 tracks Letty had trouble with the wood article.  But I had mostly been using wood and carpet.  So I wasn’t sure if it was the article or other things.  So I had to decide if I should use wood or leather.  I stuck with what I had been training the most with – wood.  In the briefing the judge suggested that leather and carpet holds scent better.  But I stuck to my decision and trusted my training.  She did not disappointment me.  She nailed her corners and her articles.  We lost a few points on some head checks but nothing I would fault her on.  I was super happy with it.  We scored a 94.  A 10 year old Aussie passed her TR1.  The other 1, a GSD, failed his track.  The 3 GSD tracked really well with a 96.

We did the BHs obedience and temperament tests next.  There were 3 dogs – an Aussie, a Giant Schnauzer and a GSD.  The GSD and Aussie passed obedience.  The GS barked the whole time during check in but then did the down stay well.  She had a lot of tight leash heeling onleash and the dog was looking at the other dog a lot.  On the off leash heeling the dog left her and went to the judge so he called it.  During the temperament test the Aussie passed.  The GSD failed due to dog and human aggression.  While waiting to go she tried to bite a woman in the face.  The judge happened to see it.  And the dog was in a down stay when the neutral dog walked by.  It was fine the first time but the judge knew so he had the dog walk by a second time.  She hopped a bit on her down then took off to attack the other dog and hit the end of the line barking.  Neutral dog was neutral and didn’t care.

Letty worked first in obedience.  It was beautiful.  Awesome heeling and focus.  Good motion exercises.  Good retrieves except for not coming back over the wall which has recently cropped up as an issue.  She did well a few times before I left home and she did fine on Friday night.  On the retrieve on flat after I finished her she took off and started running to a white paint spot thinking it was her ball.  LOL  Then on the retrieve over the high jump she started to go to that paint spot but then veered away to the dumbbell.  The spot was there to mark where to put the blinds.  Also when we were walking up to the dumbbell tree to put it back she reached forward to grab the 3 dumbbell.  I thought it was so cute.  She’s such a thinker and tries so hard.  And the judge was kind enough to not ridicule us for this baby mistakes.  I don’t think I made any handler errors this time either.  Perfect scores on the down stay and send out.  5 lost points on the going around the aframe.  Most points were fronts and finishes as they were all bad.  We ended up with an 83.  Winter is a good time to work on fronts and finishes.  The other 2 GSDs passed obedience.  I think the 1 got a 77 and the 3 got an 83.

Then we broke for lunch.  The club grilled burgers and brats and had salads and chips.

Then it was time for protection.  I was excited for this last phase so we could be done with our IPO1.  I felt really good about it.  I reported in to an assistant on the top of the field so we didn’t have to help by the decoy in the blind.  Her obedience was good.  I got her lined up and sent her to blind 5.  She came in to me as I walked up the field and I sent her to blind 6 and she went well and circled the blind and came back to me.  Video shows she was scoping the audience.  The 2nd time I sent her she went right into the blind looking for a helper.  So maybe she didn’t know we were doing bitework?  Her barking was pretty good.  I picked her up and heeled her out of the blind.  It went much better than last time.  She did try to turn back but I told her to heel again.  When I told the helper to step out she downed but then right before I told her to heel she sit up and then heeled nicely.  I told her to down from a stand instead of waiting for her to sit.  Not sure why.  She did the escape really nice and hit hard.  She outed nice and then it all went to hell on the drive.  The helper could not get her into the pocket to give her stick hits so he kept driving her and driving her.  He went in 2 or 3 circles.  I think he paused by the judge but then did another circle.  He ended up driving her all the way back to practically blind 6.  He finally stopped and I told her to out.  She looked at me since I was so close and I probably was too loud.  I was getting angry at the helper and things going wrong.  She did not bark but just stood there holding her right front leg up.  Everyone in the audience went “awwwww” which I have to force myself to ignore.  She would not sit so I looked at the judge to see if I had to and he told me to take her down the field.  She walked out the zinger to her leg.  Someone later said she got a stick hit on it.  The helper wasn’t sure if it was the stick or she got stepped on.  So I sent her on the long bite and she ran down the field calculating.  They ended up meeting straight on so I’m guessing that she did not launch.  He started to drive her and she came off the sleeve and he just kept coming at her and she was backing up away from him.  She seemed confused and like she was trying to figure out how to bite the sleeve.  Once he stopped then she gripped again.  The judge called it – failure to engage.  The helper slipped the sleeve but did not let it go and kept looking at the judge.  Finally I got mad and walked down the field.  She had let go of the sleeve so I walked up and told her to sit and took the stick, did the side transport and reported out.  I NEEDED structure and to get control of the situation again.  Maybe it was wrong but things just felt all mucked up.  I just hope that this did not mess Letty up for future trials.  It very well could have.  I’m hoping she is resilient though.  And that is assuming I will even continue the sport.  So many thoughts have gone through my head since the trial.  I will definitely never trial again on a helper I don’t know or am not able to work on before the trial.  They need to see my dog to make sure they know how to drive her.  The helper at the DS Nationals did not have any problem.  But he is super experienced with all kinds of dogs – lots of Malinois and DS too.  I think she got geeked out from the super long drive after the escape and then she got hurt on top of that.  Things just kept going awry from what we had trained for and got her thinking too much.  But I would much rather have a dog that steps back to evaluate the situation in times of confusion than one that just bites.  Much safer dog to have in public.  The other 1 earned an 80.  The 3 failed due to not outing.  I think it was his first out too.  Or maybe it was after the drive.  So the only dogs to pass the trial were 2 Aussies owned by the same woman – a TR1 and a BH.

We finished up pretty early so I was able to get on the road and be home by 9pm.  There might have been some crying on the way home.  I was devastated.  I was so sure we had it and we were prepared and the first 2 phases went so well.  And I felt bad for letting my dog down by not making sure she would have a good protection experience.  But she still loves me.  I’m sure she’ll be fine working on Warren and Bryan still.  Maybe Bryan will do MVSVs trial next year if they have another one.

Sunday morning I loaded up Vada and we drove to River Falls WI for the TDX test.  Such a nice friendly group of people.  We drew track 6 so we didn’t track until 12:30pm.  She started out well but then the 2nd cross track got her.  So the judges called it.  But then they let us get back on the track just after the cross tracks and then there was an article too.  She was able to work out the rest of the track.  She had some trouble going across the mowed paths but found all of the articles.  Ann was our tracklayer and she thought she was ready and was happy to hear that we got into the test next weekend.  So we’ll give it another try.  SOMEONE ate 3 or 4 Temaril-P pills that were in my travel bag Saturday night too.  It every well may have been Vada so that might have taken some edge off.  I feel good now after having gone through a test too.  I feel like I can read her pretty well and I got some tips for next time.  Next week’s test is 4.5 hours away but it’s supposed to be good fields.  After the test I took Vada on a long hike in the state park since we were already there.  Beautiful!  Nice to spend time alone with her too.  Jane’s lab, Lilly, and a Springer were the only dogs of 6 to pass.

Last night we went and saw The Intern.  Best movie I have seen in a long time.  It had everything – heartwarming, sad, funny, excitement.

Karl took the train to work today for his first time.  New adventures!

Not sure what’s next for the dogs.  More tracking for Vada this week.  Weave pole boot camp for Letty.  I’ll keep working on Utility exercises with Vada too.  I entered her in Utility on Friday in Orlando so I could get her a crating spot in the agility area.  🙂  Hopefully we’ll be prepared enough to give it a go and not be too embarrassed.

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