Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody! 2010's almost history! Ready for lots of great stuff next year! I don't make resolutions, but if I had to, here are a couple I'd try to keep: be more patient with my family (all species), and try keeping up with my to-do list. No, not checking stuff off of it, but making sure that everything is on it so I don't forget stuff! How about you? Resolutions?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The puppies graduate!

Before our last "Puppies With Purpose" class last night we decided to get some pictures of our little graduates. They've all been promoted and will be starting Beginner's Agility class next month. From left: me and Teddy (French Bulldog), Emily and Juno (Keeshond), Sharon and Mason (All-American Dog) and Diane and Cosmo (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.) Taking the pictures started out fine. We all got our dogs attention.

We smiled for our group picture, told them all to stay....

Which worked for half a second.

Who's missing??


Monday, December 27, 2010

Best buddies

Teddy and Tango chewing away at their respective bones. It's an unusual moment of peace and quiet - usually there's only one good bone in the entire house and the other guy has it! Rough and tumble, with accompanying barking, growling, whining and complaining. ensues. Then the other guy steals the precious object and off they go again. - Hope

Friday, December 24, 2010

Amazing gift

Our friends Tony and Carlene gave us this amazing holiday gift last night. We couldn't believe it! Tony drew this wonderful piece for us - Dax, Tango, Teddy and the blur that is Ceilidh. He captured each perfectly.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Time

10 years ago, I read a book a day. And for about 10 years before that - a book just about every day. Now it takes me three weeks to get through a book. That's how much life has changed.
Granted - we owned a bookstore and I could justify reading as part of the job. I even led a book group in the shop for 10 years - books I didn't really want to rad but it was part of the job if "everyone" was reading them. The book group still meets, even though the bookstore is gone. It meets at the public library. I still get the notices - haven't been in a year. I miss the ladies of the book group, but apparently not enough to get my butt in gear, read the book and get to the discussion.
Now, instead of reading books I train my dogs. I teach dog training (obedience), I go to dog training classes (agility), I go to dog competitions (conformation, obedience, and agility). The people I talk to are dog people, my business is a dog store. My car has dog crates instead of a back seat.
So - I no longer live a life of the mind. I no longer engage in deep, meaningful discussions about the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. (Although I do mourn Douglas Adams.)
Instead, I am thinner, fitter, more social, busier, have made more friends and love the road I've taken. But I admit it - when that Facebook list about "how many of these books have you read" came around, I was pretty pleased I'd read over half. - Hope

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ready Set Ship!

Hope and I are still getting used to our new PCs. Some nice surprises - Hope is happy with the speed of her new PC. Most of my software loaded without a problem. And some nasty ones. Apparently Microsoft only allows you a certain number of PCs to die before you have to buy a new version of Office. But my new Gateway was preloaded with Microsoft Office Starter - and these versions of Word and Excel appear to have everything I need.

Golly Gear is participating in Free Shipping Friday! Use coupon code AXS2-Q1L5HK today, Friday December 17, enter this coupon code and be sure to click on the redeem button and we'll ship free anywhere in the US. Your Golly Gear purchase will get to you by Christmas too! How about a Rubit! Tag Holder for a stocking stuffer? And a Skinneeez for your favorite play-machine pup! Expand your little dog's wardrobe with a Plaid Step-in Harness (it's our favorite)! - Fran

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

RV adventure - Part VI

Monday morning, bright and early, (ok, early, chilly and wet) I started on the last leg of the journey - the Land Cookie was going home!
And, of course, it was the only time in the whole trek I got lost. I have a pretty good sense of direction - once I've been somewhere, I can generally get there again. This time, for whatever lunatic reason, I decided to follow the signs instead of just going back the way I'd come. Mistake. I've never encountered it before, but apparently in Ohio you have to go east to go west. Silly me, I thought going northwest on one road would eventually get me to the west-bound road I needed. So I lost about 45 minutes, lost in the driving rain.
The rest of the road trip was actually kind of nice. The weather eventually cleared, I had sunny skies by the time I hit Indiana. There were no mountains, so the Land Cookie was actually able to keep the speed limit. I'm not usually quite as law-abiding, especially on my home turf, but the circumstances were unusual. I was driving a vehicle close to the size of a semi-truck, for the first time, without any license plates. Ironically, New Hampshire won't give temporary license plates to non-residents, and Illinois won't give temporary license plates without a title. Nice little Catch-22, wasn't it? I'm still rather amazed that over three days and seven states, I wasn't stopped for not having plates. I wouldn't recommend it, it made me a bit paranoid, but as a one-time thing - I'm still glad it's over. The Land Cookie is legal now - I visiting the Dept. of Motor Vehicles the day after I got home.
When I planned the trip back, I thought it would be a good idea, when I got close to home, to take the toll road that circles Chicago rather than take the Land Cookie straight through the heart of downtown. By the time I got close I was too darn tired to add the 25 minutes to my trip. The Land Cookie and I braved the Dan Ryan, the Kennedy, and the Edens Expressways at about 3 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. Heart of the city in the middle of rush hour.
I'm glad I did. Now I'm not afraid to drive that behemoth anywhere. Cause you want to know a secret? It was fun! - Hope

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RV adventure - Part V

Finally, I've got a few minutes with nothing more urgent to do - I can take up the story of bringing the Land Cookie home. When we left our heroine (me!), I had just arrived at the American Wilderness Campground in Grafton, Ohio - too late to check in for the night. I now know that many RVers find a friendly WalMart and just park for the night, but I was new to the whole thing and kind of dreaded being without water or power for the night. I was flummoxed for a few moments, until I saw a man drive in and head for the house on the property. I explained my dilemma and he told me "just find a place and set up. Don't worry about it!"
So I did.
As I was hooking up the electric and water, my new next-door neighbor came home. Another Jason! Apparently he lives there most of the year and was very helpful. While we were chatting, a golf cart came whizzing by - with more nice people aboard. We were passing the time of day when one of the ladies asked "Are you Hope?" Turns out she was the campground manager and signed me in on the spot. No need to check in at the office - no need to worry about anything. I was legal and everything!
The best part of the whole trip was next. I called my friend Michelle, of Brutus the Frenchie fame, who lives in the area. Truth be told - I chose this campground because it was in Michelle's neighborhood - kinda. We'd planned for her to come by and see me and the new RV. She asked what she could bring - I told her "anything alcoholic." It'd been a stressful couple of days.
And, wonderful as it was to see Michelle again, it was over the top terrific that she brought Brutus and Carmen, her French Bulldogs, along. We walked around the campground for a while, then settled in for a three-hour visit.
You'd've thought we'd known each other forever. We'd just met the previous month at the French Bulldog National Specialty show. You know how you form an instant connection to some people? Michelle was one of those. It's kind of great knowing someone you just met is going to be a friend for life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Back again

Hi folks. I've been in computer hell for the last ten days. Since my old PC (3 years old) crashed 3 times in the last 6 months, and Dell was running a fantastic sale, we decided to buy 2 new ones. Out of the box, the first one had problems. No internet. I thought it was fixed and tried installing one of my software programs. Internet gone. Again, thought it was fixed and installed another program. Internet gone. Four days on the phone with Tech Support from one company or another. The last guy from Dell I talked to told me to call Adobe.?!* Complete and utter frustration. We tried setting up the second one. Worked like a dream from the start (knocking on wood here). So I gave up on the first one and sent it back. Understand that the return process took a couple of hours on the phone with Dell.

Bought a new Gateway from the Best Buy that's five minutes away. So far so good. Keep your fingers crossed. - Fran

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

Every year Thanksgiving makes me stop and take stock. I guess it's the name of the holiday. Thanksgiving. Things I'm thankful for - friends (and I count all our blog readers and Facebook friends here) and family. And the ability through modern technology to keep up with our far-flung friends and family. I'm thankful that our local family came together at Thanksgiving for a meal.

I'm thankful for my own little family - the dogs (even, maybe especially, the "works in progress") and especially my sister and business partner! - Fran

Friday, November 19, 2010


Tango loves to work! Loves, loves loves to do stuff! (I've said that before, I know. But let me continue.) And he loves to work for cheese! See Pam - I'm paying attention! String cheese cut into griffie-size pieces. Cheese is brought out of the refrigerator for training sessions, classes and our weekly lesson with Dee.

But from the day I got him, Tango hadn't wanted to tug. As most dog agility people will tell you, tugging is a great way to focus your dog and get him excited about working. So I've been working at it. I didn't want to overdo it, because that's the best way to turn him off. I tried to find a toy that he wanted to keep in his mouth, but at first he just let it go when I tried to share the toy with him. Then he'd let me hold the toy as well. Then he like to actually tug on it. But not in class, of course.

I tried a Tug-it (a mesh thingie that holds pieces of food with velcro at the top and a handle), but Tango didn't understand why he couldn't get the cheese that was inside it by licking it and got frustrated. But he like tugging on it empty. So we ran with that. But it didn't always keep Tango's interest in class.

But during Wednesday's lesson, Dee suggested that I try putting cheese into the Tug-it again. Eureka! Tango became a tugging fool! And during last night's agility class, the cheese-filled Tug-it kept Tango's interest over the other dogs walking by (mostly). Persistence and patience pay! But now I have to wash the Tug-it.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Tango got his hair cut today. And Tammy (his groomer) said he was much better! I am so happy! I know that Tango's been better at home (except for a couple of minor skirmishes, particularly on Halloween) and at class, but this this gives me real encouragement. Maybe everything is clicking in his brain? Maybe Tango is realizing that good behavior gets him excellent rewards - praise, yummy cheese, more time to play with Teddy and Dax? Hmmmm.... and Ceilidh is even accepting Tango more these days!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Construction zone

Almost done with this phase of construction! Just the second coat of yellow left to do! Our trainer, Dee, asked us to build six more dogwalk trainers. This gives the correct angle of the dogwalk ramp, but without the length of the dogwalk itself. And it lets six people and pups train the proper method of getting on and off the dogwalk. And that's a good thing. Hope cleverly figured a great locking mechanism for the leg, to give just the right angle! Hope, Emily (our good friend and part-time helper), and I built the dogwalk trainers over the course of a couple of weeks. Next project - a table for Dogs in the Ring! - Fran

Friday, October 29, 2010

RV Adventures

This morning we took our new RV in for actual RV service - get the generator working, the heat working, and a myriad of other stuff that needs to get done in order for it to be really livable and fun for us. We knew we'd have to leave the Cookie for several days, so Hope drove the RV and I drove my car, so that we could both get home. The RV place is about 45 minutes from our house, and of course I got lost when I was almost there. I don't think we've mentioned that I can get lost in the Florida Keys, where there is one road. Anyway, I realized that I took a wrong turn pretty quickly, but Hope called my cell when I was headed back in the right direction. Despite the fact that she left after I did, and had to drive somewhat slower, she was at the service place first and called me. Story of my life. Lost... - Fran

Friday, October 22, 2010

Break to dog training...

A break from Hope's first RV adventure! I'm happy to say that Tango is starting - just starting - to "get it!" He's starting to understand the rules of the house - he does his business outside for the most part, although he can hold for much longer than any other male dog I've ever known (due to the fact that the first 11 months of his life were spent wearing a belly band). He's learning to settle down with a bone when we want to relax - he doesn't have to be on the move 24-7! Tango is learning to differentiate between "sit" and "down." Doesn't sound too tough? Well, usually it's not, but Tango's so operant that he'll still offer every behavior in his repertoire most times when anyone pays attention to him. Getting better, though. And he's leaving the other dogs and people alone during our agility class, mostly. Only a couple of barks last night! And Tango is learning how to "stay" - that one's really tough, though, because more than anything Tango loves to be doing stuff. I still keep telling myself that I've only had him 7 months. Doing things right takes time. Lots and lots of time. Weeks and weeks, and months and months ... - Fran

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rv adventure - Part IV

I had a lovely rest of the evening, talking with my neighbors, then settling in with a good book and a Diet Coke, snug in my new RV at the Cheerful Valley Campground. It was getting just a wee bit chilly, so I decided to turn on the furnace. It immediately turned on - a good thing. Blowing cold air. Not so good.
During this trip I had with me only the things I could carry on the plane. No extra anything. Including blankets. It was a bit of a chilly night.
Next morning was gorgeous. I woke up early and decided to tackle the infamous black tank dumping that everyone dreads from the scene in the Robin Williams movie RV - Runaway Vacation.
The first thing I did was get out my sewer hose and hooked it up to the RV. No problem. Stretched it out (it's built like an enormous flexible straw) toward the hole in the ground it's supposed to attach to. And could not, if my life had depended on it, get out the plug from the hole in the ground. I tried. I tried really, really hard. No luck.
So I walked up to the campground office to get some help. I'm never reluctant to ask for help from experts. It saves lots of time and energy. But the office didn't open until 9 a.m. It was 7:30 or so.
I took a walk, took the pictures in the previous post. Sat and read. And waited. Finally, about 8:45, I went back to the office and was delighted it was open early. I explained the problem and the "strict dad" from the night before met me at the campsite.
I'm delighted to say - I didn't get it wrong. Some idjit drove over the plug and jammed it in. It took tools to get it out. And the actual dumping part? Easy! No muss, no fuss, no bother. I can see how it might go horribly wrong, but it didn't!
Cleaned up, emptied out, ready to go! I set out on the next stage of my trip, with a stop that night at another campground west of Cleveland, Ohio.
On the drive that day I learned that the RV is water-tight (it poured in parts of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio), it likes flat country much better than mountains, and that I can, in fact, drive it and park it at a mall. There was a nice-sized mall at my interstate exit in Ohio and I really wanted to pick up some blankets for that night. If you're willing to walk - there's usually plenty of parking on the outskirts of most malls. While my parking job wasn't the neatest - it worked.
So on Sunday night I arrived 10 minutes too late to check in at the American Wilderness Family Campground in Grafton, Ohio. And if all, or even most, campgrounds are as nice as the two I've visited so far - I'm hooked.

Monday, October 11, 2010

RV Adventure - Part III

I spent the first night of my adventure at the Cheerful Valley Campground in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I'm sure it's an absolutely gorgeous area - unfortunately, I arrived well after dark and was unable to marvel at its beauty.
I was lucky that the incredibly nice couple who manager (own?) Cheerful Valley was still in the office. I checked in and the nice lady assigned a space to me, and explained how to get there: "Go around the Class A - you can't miss it it's 40 feet long, swing around over by the bathrooms and it's over on the left. Just back in there."
This is about the place where an absolutely panicked look must have overtaken me. I explained that I wasn't used to navigating the RV at all, had never been to an RV campground before, had never backed it up, and wouldn't recognize the hookups I was supposed to park near.
They took pity on me. "Carl will guide you down and show you how. But he's a tough dad - he won't do it for you!"
I loved that.
Carl got into his golf cart - apparently a very common feature at RV parks, and guided me down to my camping site. He was wonderful, patient, and a very good teacher. I was in place in no time.
And then I discovered a very cool thing about RV campgrounds - they're like little neighborhoods I'm used to, but in absolutely gorgeous settings and most of the people will talk to you, help you and be nice to you.
Jason and Cathy had the site next to mine. Carl was teaching me how to make the water and electrical hookups (not rocket science, but not intuitive, either) and Jason came over to chat, introduce himself, and help. We all decided I would tackle the sewer hookup in the morning - when we could actually see what we were doing. Good idea.
Jason and Cathy had a fire going (all camp sites so far have their own little fire pits!) and after I was all set (lights on, water on, motor off) we chatted for a bit. They actually live within a few miles of the campground - it's a frequent weekend getaway for them. I could see why - the neighborhood is kinda nice.
The land cookie all snugged into her spot.
Nice neighborhood

And the scenery was okay, too!

Teddy at the trade show

Another time-out from Hope's RV adventure for one of Teddy's. Last weekend was the H.H. Backer Christmas Show, one of the biggest trade shows of the year, right here in the Chicago area. Hope and I go every year to touch base with some of our suppliers, place orders, and scope out great new products. Since it's so close to home, we feel obliged to check in at the shop before we make our way to the show, but this year the traffic gods were smiling down on us and we made it to the show just after opening time! And we must have been extra-organized because we finished the entire second floor of the show on the first day! (The second floor has more manufacturers and is generally more time-consuming for us.)

So on Saturday Hope decided to bring Teddy to the show. I'm writing this post because Hope had to pay attention to Teddy, making sure he was behaving himself and not mooching too many treats, so I was following Hope and Teddy down the aisles. Teddy was a perfect gentleman, saying hello nicely to anyone who wanted to say hi to him. And most people did. It's a good thing that we didn't have much to do on the first floor of the convention center because it took us three times longer than it would have if Teddy weren't with us! People were stopping us in the middle of the aisle, stooping down to pet Teddy. Vendors were coming up to Teddy with samples of treats. Other buyers were taking Teddy's picture! Teddy got a new harness from the nice guys at EzyDog! And Teddy demonstrated the Tornado at the vendor's booth, getting way too many treats! (Smart little fellow - I don't think he'd ever seen the Tornado before. His favorite is the Brick!) And Teddy was even game for climbing on a fitness ball at the end of the day! (Teddy learned about fitness balls in his Puppies With Purpose class.) Walking behind Hope and Teddy, I was able to see all the other people turning to watch Teddy and smile. People crowded around, snapping his picture at each stop. But doesn't it just figure, we forgot our camera! Afterwards, Teddy was tired afterwards on the ride home (taken with a puny cell phone camera). - Fran

Thursday, October 07, 2010

RV adventure - Part II

So when last we heard, our heroine (me) was sitting at the top of a New Hampshire mountain at a storage facility with her brand-new 13-year-old ginormous RV, less than a quarter of a tank of gas and a hand-drawn map showing how to get to the highway.
After a "here I go, wish me luck!" call to Fran, I set off. I quickly figured out that side-view mirrors are an RVer's best friends. If the mirrors fit, the whole vehicle fits. Another quick revelation - RVs are not good mountain climbers. In the New Hampshire mountains, for every down there's a very-closely-related up. I would like to apologize now to every single person who was out driving in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 25. Yes, that was me holding you up and forcing traffic to crawl at 25 mph. Sorry, sorry, sorry.
I also noticed the needle of the gas gauge going down - fast. I needed to find a gas station and I had no idea if I was anywhere close to hitting the interstate and its nice, wide-open service plazas. So when I saw a sign for fuel - I got off the little highway I was on and headed for the service station. Which was on the other side of a two-lane street and had minimal maneuvering room. And an awning.
I know all the hysterical scenarios being imagined here. None of them happened. I filled up (BTW - did you know most gas pumps cut you off when you hit $75?), back-and-forthed back into traffic and went on my merry way.
Remember my day started at home in my very own cozy little bed. Up at 4 a.m., off to O'Hare, flight to Boston, 2 hour drive to New Hampshire. Crash course in RVs.
So my merry way started after 1 p.m., Eastern time. I had a reservation at the Cheerful Valley Campground for that night. Cheerful Valley is in Phelps, New York, west of Syracuse. Which looked entirely do-able on MapQuest and in my TripTik. Both MapQuest and TripTiks expect you to be going somewhat close to the speed limit. Which I wasn't. I tried, but The Land Cookie just couldn't do it. And New York is a very wide state.
It was well after dark when I approached Cheerful Valley Campground. Which will be Part III.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What's in a name?

So we interrupt the adventure for a small, related tangent. A few people are insisting we name the RV. We already have. It's the "Land Cookie."

Of course, there has to be a story attached to such an absurd name. And it's an "awwwww" kind thing, so a little bit embarassing. But we're all friends here, right?

When we were little, Fran, our Mom and I made up our very own fairy tale to help Saturday morning chores go faster. Our story featured our dog, Spunky, a Boston Terrier. We made him king of a tiny island in the middle of Lake Michigan. There was a whole lot more to it than that - years of spinning the yarn longer and longer. The upshot for our tangent is that King Spunky had a magical boat that could take him anywhere and back in an afternoon (adventures had to fit between school and supper). And his boat was the "Cookie."
Hence the "Land Cookie."
Hoping to live happily ever after.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

RV adventure - Part 1

Fran and I decided a while ago that we really needed a motor home. It's the perfect solution for spinster sisters with five dogs and high hopes of getting out of town - at least once in a while.
So we found the perfect one on, of all places, Ebay! And oddly enough - we won it.
The down side of the transaction - we're in the Chicago area and the RV was in New Hampshire. A week ago Saturday I flew into Boston, the seller picked me up at Logan airport, and took me to the RV. He gave me a quick introduction to the workings of the machine (no, I'd never driven one before), took his check, and took off. Leaving me alone at the top of a mountain with a mountainous vehicle.
It wasn't until a couple of days before I left that a few people mentioned that I was "intrepid" and "brave" for flying across the country to pick up an RV and drive it back. No one bothered to say anything before we bought it. Thanks, guys!
I'll let you in on the secret now. It was fun!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Good news & a headache

Back to the vet with Dax this morning for a recheck of her corneal ulcer. Good news - it's improving! I'll admit I've been scared spitless. Whenever we've had dogs suffering corneal abrasions or ulcers before, they've always healed normally in just a few days. One that wasn't healing but worsening was uncharted territory. I'm a glass-half-full kind of person, but I did have some nightmares of my competition/performance dog losing her vision, even her eye. We're hopeful that scenario is now only a remote possibility.
The good news didn't stop my headache, though. I spent an hour and three-quarters in the vet's waiting room with three, count 'em, three, unattended home-schooled children. Their other brothers and grandmother were in the exam room with the vet.
It's Monday. We have perfectly fine institutions to keep children during weekdays. It's called school. Free for the registration - sign your brood up now!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's always something

Tuesday is Daxie day at work - the one day she's the only dog in the office and I get to play and practice with her. This week she started squinting and goo was coming from her eye. So we stopped by the vet's office after work. First thought was an allergic reaction - but an exam showed a corneal ulcer. Two different drops, twice a day, recheck on Friday.
Friday showed the corneal ulcer had grown and worsened. Change of medication; ointment, antibiotic, pain pills and the cone of shame. Recheck this coming Monday. Fears of a "melting ulcer." I looked that up on the internet - it's about as scarey as it sounds.

The thing is - Dax is so very good at being miserable. I brought her with me today to give her a bit of alone time and so Teddy won't constantly be barking at her to get her to play. She's huddled up in a little bed on the bench, snoring away. I know she's uncomfortable, I know she hates wearing the cone, and there's not much I can do to make her happy right now.

There's no way I can let her know "hang in there, it's temporary." Dogs live in the moment, which is generally a good thing - they enjoy their lives without worrying about the future. But when "now" isn't fun and happy, they don't understand that tomorrow will be better.

Poor Daxie.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Where does the time go?

Wow - it's October already. We're getting ready for the holidays here at Golly Gear. We've already gotten our holiday pre-ordered items from a couple of our distributors and have to figure out where to put them! (They'll be up on the site very soon!) And next weekend is the big Christmas pet trade show here in Chicago. It's a good opportunity to scope out nifty new products, and take advantage of some great show specials from the manufacturers we already purchase from! I have a love-hate relationship with this show. I love it because it gives us a chance to reconnect with our suppliers and discover new products that we can't live without. I hate it because it's here in town so we have to take care of our regular business and everything else at home, and our feet hurt...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ewwww - what is it?

This is Herman Monster. He lives on our garage. His body is about half an inch wide, but I didn't get close enough for an exact measurement. I'm extremely arachnophobic, but I'm a live-and-let-live person, as long as he's outside the house. Anybody know what kind of spider this is?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

So I've been busy, busy, busy! A recent highlight - 5 days in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin for the French Bulldog Nationals! Great fun, wonderful people, and Dax and Teddy were both entered! Thanks to my new (Silver) friend Michelle for the picture of Teddy and me in the ring, and to my old (Gold) friend Andrea for the shot of Daxie!

It really almost looks like I know what I'm doing in the conformation ring with Ted! If I'd just remembered to fix those front feet - he's supposed to stand straight, not assume Second Position for Ballet!

And Dax is the first sitting dog on the right, I'm the third stern-faced individual from the right, we were all praying to the stationary powers-that-be that our dogs not move. Dax didn't on this exercise, which has a one-minute duration. Unfortunately, she did on the "Long Down," which should last 3 minutes and in Dax's case lasted about 4.5 seconds. Sigh.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Hope's at the Frenchie National Show

I've been holding the fort here at the shop this week while Hope's been playing with French Bulldogs at the National Specialty Show in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Here she is with Teddy (on the picture's left) and Luke. Luke is Teddy's half-brother. Luke spent a night with us when he was a baby, on his way to his permanent home. Now he's all grown up and a champion, to boot. - Fran
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Friday, September 03, 2010

Fall's in the air

After record-setting weeks of heat and humidity, Chicagoland is getting a taste of fall with highs only around 70 degrees F! This holiday weekend will be refreshing and the air conditioner can get a break! Everyone seems more energized, even the dogs! Tango was racing around the yard this morning and Teddy was chasing him. Dax got into the act as well! Where's the camera when we need it? While we're not looking forward to the really cold weather and nasty precipitation that comes with it, a break from the heat is very welcome! Happy Labor Day everyone! - Fran
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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Titled lady!

Dax finished her NAJ title (Novice Agility Jumpers) on Sunday at the Blitzen Agility Club trial! This picture was taken at a trial earlier in the year at the same venue. I am so proud of my little girl! Her official name is now: Gargoyles What A Trill, NA, NAJ!
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Friday, August 27, 2010

Teflon Coat

Tango has an incredible coat - he's a VERY rough-coated Brussels Griffon. This is the coat that most griff breeders dream of. It's very hard and coarse. As you may be able to see in the picture, Tango loves to get into stuff. Outside he loves checking out dead (and living) leaves and grass, dead bugs, dirt, sand, mulch - you name it! And as a consequence it all ends up in his beard. You might think that he'd be filthy until we wash his face with soap and water, but Tango has a teflon coat. Nothing sticks to it. One drink of water and it's in the water bowl, not in his beard. We change the water a lot ... - Fran
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Tough to shoot

It's pretty difficult to get a good picture of Teddy's face; upright with his eyes open and mouth shut. He's a puppy - always in motion, always playing, always talking, then fast asleep. Typical boy (to perpetuate a stereotype), loves to roll in the dirt and ignore mom when she tells him to "get up!" He's the only light-colored dog I've ever had, so I'm not used to a dog that "shows the dirt." On him it looks pretty cute, though!
Still rolling around being cute!
There's the Ted face! Hi, cutie boy!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Agility and Monkey (Puppy) in the Middle

Still summer, still hot. Last night was Agility class for Tango. The air conditioner wasn't working, and the ceiling fans were anemic. It was warm, I was dripping but Tango didn't mind. He loves doing stuff! But he'd never seen a broad jump or a double jump, so it was interesting seeing what he'd do with those obstacles. The broad jump he just walked over - no surprise there. But he jumped between the bars on the double and then jumped out - without knocking the bars down! We all had a good laugh about that. At least now I know what obstacles need extra work.

Since Tango still has issues about being near other dogs (people too), after our 6:00 class I put his wire crate next to the big post in the middle of the room where he'd be out of the way but still able to see everything going on during the next class. Other dogs with issues were on other sides of the post, so it was even good that he could see them as well. I sat next to his crate and when he was good I gave him treats. When he started barking I covered his crate until he had been quiet for a couple of minutes. Other people tossed treats to him as well. I was very happy that Tango's crate was uncovered for the second half of the 7:00 class! - Fran
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Getting to be a big boy!

This was Teddy's first try at standing on the grooming table back in May, right after he came home. It's a thing show dogs have to do. And he wouldn't, without me shoving food in his face.
This is Teddy yesterday. Getting better, but still looking for food!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Hot Summer, hot dogs

Heat, and more heat. Chicago's under an excessive heat warning today for combined temperature and humidity reaching a heat index of 100 degrees or more. And we're not alone. All over the country the news has been the heat. So, take care of your pups! Make sure they have plenty of water if you're outside in the heat, and be sure to monitor your dog's condition in the heat. Some dogs just can't take hot weather as well as others. If you drive anywhere with your dog, be sure not to leave her in the car alone. I hate reading about pups dying in hot cars. There's no reason for it! If you have to go somewhere you can't bring your dog, just leave her at home in the air conditioning. Be safe this summer! (By the way, the picture is of Golly, years ago. Her tongue always curled up when she was panting.) - Fran
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Friday, August 06, 2010


So now the Golly Gear gals have gone into the carpentry biz. Not professionally, but for our Dogs in the Ring training equipment. We made a wobble board last week - good for getting dogs used to unstable surfaces, like the teeter-totter. And since Dee said it would be nice to have SIX dogwalk ramp trainers, we're building those. Hope's a whiz with the tools but she's not allowed to paint. Emily and I make good assistants, and I wield the paintbrush. Hope is sanding one of the dogwalk trainers even as I'm typing this, on her day off! (I'll be in tomorrow, on my day off, painting.) - Fran
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Friday, July 30, 2010

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Anyone else tired of summer? I'm tired of being hot and sticky. I'm tired of the storms that keep Ceilidh (and therefore me) up at night. We've already ordered sweaters and holiday toys at the shop! I'm done with summer.

This is the first week that we're trying out a new schedule. I'm now at the shop on crazy Wednesdays with Tango and Dax and Teddy. Wednesday had been my day off. I was somewhat apprehensive about this, with Tango's propensity for nastiness, but while he did his share of barking he didn't seem entirely serious about it all the time. And, after a setback last week, at Agility class last night, Tango wasn't as aggressive as I expected. A muzzle might not be necessary. We'll have to see.

And now there's the potential threat of oil flowing into Lake Michigan? Seriously? The Gulf of Mexico isn't bad enough? I could rant for hours, but summer's made me too tired.... Fran

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cure for the blues

Roc did what Roc loves. He barked.

Dax was not amused.

Tango is looking for trouble - no one sniffs Ceilidh's butt!

The dynamic duo - Tango and Teddy had a blast!

They take turns chewing on each other.

Teddy's a happy boy.
Last week was a pretty awful one. Tango was horribly sick with some kind of stomach problem the first half, I discovered a huge bolt in my rear tire when I left work on Tuesday (ever hear that dreadful "thunk, thunk, thunk?"), thunderstorms kept Ceilidh (and consequently Fran) up all night on.... I don't even remember which one it was.
But on Sunday - it was beautiful! The way summer should be and hasn't this year. Temperature in the 80s instead of goddawful hot, sun shining, breeze blowing, fluffy clouds in the sky. So we let the dogs play in the backyard. It makes us smile.
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