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2019 Christmas Letter

Karl & Heather Sather
Fringe (14), Mazikeen (3), Philo (6 months), and Vignette (6 months)

2019 has been yet another year of changes at our house. We don’t grow moss around here.

Letty competed in the AKC Agility Invitational in Orlando last December and went clean in 3 rounds out of 4. This year she ended up ranked the #3 Dutch Shepherd. She earned a few big titles this year too: her AKC Agility Championship (MACH), her AKC Time to Beat (T2B), her 2nd CPE Agility Championship (C-ATCH2), her Open (2nd level) title (CDX-C) in CDSP obedience, and her Novice Containers title in AKC Scentwork. She was in her prime and did a lot in the first 3.5 months of this year. Sadly, in February she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. We tried our very best to fight it. She was so brave at her appointments at the U of MN. But in April the cancer won and spread to her bones and we had to say goodbye to her. She was only 8. I miss her sweet eager face every single day.

Fringe wrapped up her agility career with another Agility Championship in CPE – her CT-ATCH2. She has also retired from nosework and rally. She prefers to hang out at home and chase Mazi around the yard. At 14.5 years old she can do whatever she wants. Or doesn’t want. She loves going on walks around the property and exploring all the wildlife.

Mazi and I are keeping busy with training and trialing. Letty loved the outdoors so my plan for the summer was to be outside as much as possible. So Mazi and I stuck to the plan in her honor. We entered outdoor agility trials, we went hiking, and we went camping. Her training is starting to come together now too. She earned 2 CDSP obedience titles and a UKC rally obedience title. I think 2020 is going to be an exciting year for us. I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Karl and I celebrated our 12th anniversary this year! Karl has been enjoying playing his basses at jam sessions with his friends in WI. They held their annual big party in October this year at his sister Mary’s house. It was well attended and everyone had a great time. He went and saw a Rush tribute band too.

This spring I attended Fenzi Dog Sport Training Academy camp again. This year it was in Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful drive. On the way home I stopped in Ohio to audit a mondioring seminar with a great trainer from Norway. I went back to Ohio in August to attended another mondioring seminar with a trainer from Belgium. It’s always a great time with friends in Ohio. I made 2 trips to Canada this year. In June I went to an agility trial held at a campground in Thunder Bay. I rented a cute cabin and Mom came along for the trip. It was so much fun! We went to Kakabecka Falls in Thunder Bay and then the Splitrock Lighthouse in Duluth on the way home. We did a lot of hiking. I went tent camping in Winnipeg again in August. The park is on 8,300 acres! Mazi and I did a ton of hiking and some agility. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lot of great training and behavior seminars locally – Shade Whitesel (twice!) on training with toys, Ken Ramirez on animal behavior, Amy Cook (twice!) on training sensitive dogs using play, Jessica Hekman on genetics, and our annual agility handling seminar with Tracy Sklenar.

In September we brought home 2 kittens. Philo and Vignette. They brought much needed joy to our house. He’s big and pretty chill. She’s little and a firecracker that zips around the house fake attacking us and the dogs.

We wish you all peace and joy for 2020!

2018 Christmas Letter

Karl & Heather Sather
Fringe (13), Letty (8), Mazikeen (2)

2018 has been another year of changes at our house – both happy and sad.

At the end of October we said goodbye to Bessie. She was our 16.5 year old house cat. She was our last cat.  We will miss her meows demanding her breakfast and dinner.

Fringe has had a fun year with lots of variety. She earned another Agility Championship in CPE – her CT-ATCH. She and Karl also did an Intermediate obedience class, a tricks class, and they started doing nosework. They really enjoy doing nosework and passed the entry level test (ORT) for 2 different odors (birch and anise) recently. They have earned a rally title in WCRL and are showing in AKC rally in Orlando again this month.

Letty is going to Orlando again to compete in the AKC Agility Invitational as the #2 Dutch Shepherd. This is my 6th year going (2 with Vada and 5 with Letty). She earned her NoseWork2 at a trial in IL on St Patrick’s Day. We earned 2 AKC Scentwork titles in Fargo. She also earned her CPE Agility Trial Extraordinaire. This big title has taken her 6 years to earn! She also earned her UKC Agility Champion Excellent. She was super brave in obedience this year too and earned her CDSP Novice obedience title. Having strangers touch her had been hard for her. We also have earned 1 leg in Open. And she is qualified for CPE Nationals being held in WI next year.

Mazikeen has been training in obedience, agility, and mondioring. We did a jump grid class over the winter and she’s a great jumper. She also did a Canine Good Citizen class and passed the CGC test on the last day of class. She has earned a few agility titles. We are trying to get the last few qualifying scores to be qualified for CPE Nationals.  She loves to run and play with Letty.  She’s an amazing dog with a bright future ahead of her.

Karl has been enjoying playing his basses at jam sessions with his friends and they have been building guitars. He also went to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.  His friend Dave come up one weekend to help us work on my house.

I made the trip up to Winnipeg in Ontario in August for a fun USDAA trial and to camp at a wonderful campground up there that has great hiking. I was trial secretary for 7 CPE trials and a mondioring trial and hosted an agility seminar. I also started back to yoga class. And in June I went to Fenzi Dog Sports Academy Camp in OH. I got to OH a few days early to attend a mondioring obedience training seminar with a presenter from Sweden, then we had a fun day of training  mondioring, and then 3 days of auditing all the different workshops and lectures at FDSA Camp. It was an amazing time to be surrounded by like minded trainers and to spend time in person with my friends from around the country.

We celebrated our 11th anniversary this year! When we were in Orlando last year my van died on an on ramp and the engine needed to be replaced and it would have taken 2 weeks. So we bought a new Town and Country. How lucky that Karl decided to go with on that trip so we could make the decisions together! Then at the end of June our renters moved out of the house that I owned before we got married. So we spent every extra moment for 2 months preparing the house to be put on the market. We closed at the end of October. The new owners love the house so that makes me really happy as I loved it too.       

We wish you all a happy and healthy 2019!


It’s been a super long time since I have posted.  I now have the WordPress app on my Kindle and a keyboard for it so I’m hoping I will start posting again.

This was a crazy week.  I hurt my back on Tuesday morning putting on a sock.  So now POUND class that night and only 1 more left.  😦  No mondio training on Wednesday.  Luckily it was an off night for comp obed so I didn’t miss anything.  Thursday I went to comp sports foundation class.  I skipped agility though.  Which means that I’ll have to make it up next week.  Friday I went to agility open ring time and worked on pieces of things and startlines.  It irritated my back a bit.  Today I ran Mazi at a UKI trial.  I woke up feeling pretty good.  Carrying the crate in and bending over to set it up irritated it.  For one class I bar set and leash ran.  I hadn’t sat all day either so my back was getting sore.  Then I scribed and that helped.  Tonight it’s feeling almost back to normal.  Back pain is exhausting.  You’re always on edge trying to protect your back and needing to stop doing whatever makes it hurt asap so you are constantly on edge.  I’ve been sick off and on too.  Hopefully that is gone.

The trial went really well today.  The errors were my handling.  Her contacts are so much better and her starlines aren’t horrible.

Off to bed.  Maybe next time I’ll post about the mondio seminar and how I’m working on redoing her DOH.  I’m going to post our Christmas letter from this year and last also.

2017 Review

This is the Christmas letter that we sent out this year.

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Karl & Heather Sather
Fringe (12), Letty (7), Mazikeen (13 months), and Bessie (15)

It’s been another year of changes at our house – both happy and sad.

Vada competed in 2 nosework trials this year.  She found 3 out of 4 hides in each one so she did very well but did not earn a new title.  She had also completed 90% of the requirements for earning a new agility championship title in CPE.  But then she got a tick disease and kept getting infections.  We fought them.  But cancer took the opportunity to swoop in and take over her body and we had to say goodbye to her in October.  We did not complete those titles this year but we had a great time trying and created even more wonderful memories together.  And most importantly she got to keep doing things which made her so happy.  She was that once in a lifetime most amazing dog.  She changed my life in so very many ways.Quest lost his battle with kidney disease in March.  He was such a sweet and wise cat.  We said goodbye to our last sheep, Pearl, and our last 2 outdoor cats, Casper and Reba, in June.

Fringe has had a fun year with lots of agility.  She earned another Agility Championship in CPE – C-ATCH2.  She also did an obedience class with Karl and a musical freestyle workshop.  They really enjoyed doing freestyle.  They are showing in rally in Orlando this month too.

Letty is going to Orlando again this month to compete in the AKC Agility Invitational as the #2 Dutch Shepherd.  Karl is going with this year too.  Letty filled in for Vada’s nosework classes when Vada couldn’t go and has really taken to it.  She earned her NW1 and was just 1 hide short of earning her NW2.  We tried the new AKC Scentwork at a trial in Fargo.  And last month she earned her AKC Tracking Dog title.  We also did a day at a dock diving trial.

Mazikeen has had a year of learning lots of things.  She took a variety of classes with fun names like Puppy Prodigy, Turbo Pups, Bye Bye Cookie, Flashy Heeling, and Competition Sports Foundation.  She got to do 2 agility seminars.  She’s been training in obedience, agility, and mondioring.  She did some conformation this summer and earned her UKC Championship.  At her first show she won Best in Show!  She is growing into an amazing dog.

Karl has been enjoying playing his basses at jam sessions with his friends and they have been building guitars too.  He also saw John Cleese and went to an afternoon Twins game.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary this year!  We went to a pottery class that was lots of fun.  We saw the amazing Steve Miller Band at an outdoor concert.  We went to the State Fair.  And again this year we made it to the local drive in theater and saw Cars 3 with Vada.

We wish you a happy and healthy 2018!

2017_Christmas Card

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.

2016 Review

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:
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.


New Year – 2016

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.

Orlando and Seven

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.


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.


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.


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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