Monday, April 30, 2007

Well-deserved success!

We are just thrilled for our friend and classmate Janie and her Saluki, Reggie! This weekend they got two qualifying scores toward Reggie's CDX!!

Janie and I have been in class together forever - the trials and tribulations of competing in Obedience with non-traditional obedience dogs is a bond we've forged over the years. To put it simply - we've felt each other's pain.

But now - Janie and Reggie are two-thirds of the way there! I'm going to miss them in class (they'll be moving up to Utility) but I'm really looking forward to the treats Janie's going to bring to class. It's a North Shore Dog Training Club tradition - you get a title, you bring goodies to share!

Congratulations, Janie and Reggie! (Sorry the picture isn't better - it was taken at our club picnic a couple years ago. Both are much, much prettier in person!)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A spot of wild in the city

It's probably not unusual for many people to see Downy Woodpeckers around. It is very, very unusual for me to see any - especially right outside our shop. This little guy (girl?) was pecking away at a tree right on a busy intersection at 9 a.m. today.
I was actually taking out some trash when I saw it, so I ran back in to get the camera. It didn't seem bothered at all when I walked up to it - but flew away after I managed just a couple of pictures.
The oddest thing - aside from the proximity to the street - is that this tree is tiny - only about six feet tall. So I had the woodpecker at eye level for a while. What a beautiful bird! I love the little red crest on its head. And while I'm no birdwatcher - a quick search of Google images let me identify my little friend. What a neat start to my day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ceilidh's on a Self-Imposed Diet

Hope noted in her last entry that the Griffs are overweight. Well, when we took Ceilidh (Boston Terrier) and Dax (French Bulldog) in for their annual heartworm check, the vet said that Ceilidh is three-tenths of a pound more than at her last check-up. (Dax was perfect!) Since then Ceilidh has decided not to eat about a third of her meals. I guess she thinks she needs to lose those ounces as quickly as possible! We've tried to tell the silly girl that she doesn't need to worry about it - when it gets nicer outside Ceilidh will certainly run that weight off! But she doesn't seem to believe us. She ate her breakfast today, though. I guess she figures that all the running around at Agility class last night worked off some calories!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Winter weight

Our dogs are fat. I got the official word yesterday, when I took Golly and Roc in for their annual shots. Golly's managed to gain half a pound in just four months. Which for me, would be no great feat. But for a 12-pound dog, it's too much. Roc's not in much better shape, he gained a few ounces, too.
I blame winter. When it's sub-zero out (with the wind chill), who wants to go trotting around in the great outdoors? Not me. And not my dogs. They're not stupid. Cuddling in the nice, warm house is a wonderful winter pastime. Just not very good for your figure.
So, the spring/summer/fall regime will start - more moving accompanied by less eating. We've been put under orders by our vet, the wonderful Dr. Janice.
Who, as we were leaving her office, asked me if Golly and Roc could have a cookie. Hard to resist, aren't they?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mistaken identity

We thought that Ceilidh (Kay-lee) might be under the mistaken impression that she's a Brussels Griffon, since she was raised with two of them. This weekend we got some proof.
Fran and I were outside doing some sprucing up when a very nice woman walked by with her Boston Terrier. We immediately went into "awwww, isn't he cute" mode and she came up to talk to us.

I went to get Ceilidh to introduce her to this handsome, young Boston boy. She growled at him. And kept growling. Ceilidh went back in the house.

The interesting thing we've noted is that Brussels Griffons always seem to know other Griffs and accept them. Roc and Golly are fairly uninterested in new dogs - except for Griffs. I guess there's a reason Ceilidh's confused - we can't seem to pick a breed and stick to it!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dog Treat Tasting

We got in some new treats here at Golly Gear. They're the teeniest little nuggets - some are crunchy, some are soft - called Best Buddy Bits. And they come in many intriguing flavors - Cheese, Chicken, Carob, Peanut Butter, Maple Bacon. So, I had to try some. I have to admit to a long-standing compulsion to try my dog's treats. Actually, it has been confined, for the most part, to the treats I've made myself. (The recipe for Golly's favorite treats in the universe, Carob Treats, are posted on the site, with pictures of Hope making them.) They really are good, and small enough that I didn't feel guilty about snagging a few. Just a few, or Golly would give me the evil eye! We all know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but carob is a good substitute for the flavor. Anyway, the Peanut Butter Best Buddy Bits are really, really good! I mean, really excellent! They're sweet and peanutty, and nice and crunchy. I'm thinking about opening a bag and snacking....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Onward and upward

Roc and I are so happy! We got our Scent Articles for Utility obedience yesterday! I ordered them last month while we were at the Kentuckiana Cluster dog shows - despite the fact that we didn't qualify at all in Open.
I figured that Roc could be getting a bit bored in training - he loves training and doing the work. So far, he just won't do it in public! So, it's time to add a little spice to our routine and add the Utility exercises to our training regime.
I picked up some kids' gardening gloves at Target a few weeks ago - they're bright yellow, so they won't do for competition, but they're fine to train with. And for only $1 per pair, I can let him (and Dax) play tug with them and learn that the "Directed Retrieve" is a fun game! I know there are people who say you should never let your dog play with the gloves and articles, but for me, obedience is my hobby, and hobbies are supposed to be fun.
Anyway, last night I couldn't wait to try out the Scent Articles. I know enough to just let the leather articles air out for a while, so I got out my extra metal article. I had no idea how Roc would react. He loves getting his plastic dumbbell in Open, and he loves licking peanut butter off a metal butter knife, but would he put it together? One of the biggest problems many people have in obedience is getting their dogs to pick up the metal article.
I'm thrilled to report that Roc hesitated for only the briefest moment and then picked up that article and brought it to me like a... well - an Obedience dog!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The most wonderful time of the year

It's spring. And much as I'd love to rhapsodize about all the things I love at this time of year - one is most important. The Cubs. Baseball is back and it's too early in the season to start saying "there's always next year."
I was in the store the other day and there was a display of Old Style Beer in Cubs "collectible" bottles. Talk about adding insult to injury. Even if I liked beer, which I don't, I wouldn't take Old Style home. The only place Old Style tastes good is at Wrigley Field.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Rare Thursday at Home

It's not often that we have a quiet Thursday at home, but we had a week off between Agility Class sessions. As our loyal readers know, Ceilidh loves Agility class, it's a great energy release for her, and it helps her to focus. More than anything else, though, Ceilidh loves her schedule. If things don't happen in the order that they usually do, she's lost and bewildered until we give her some structure. She knows that after dinner she gets to play with her beloved Latex Soccer Ball. She knows that Wednesday morning she gets a medicated bath. And she knows that Thursday evening is Agility class. (I don't know how she tells the days of the week, but she seems to!) Usually on Thursdays we eat dinner earlier than normal because we have to fight traffic on the way to Agility. But last night we didn't! And Ceilidh didn't like it! But once we started playing with her Latex Soccer Ball, Ceilidh knew that all was right with her world.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Wonderful news!

We've been on tenterhooks around here for the last week and a half. Our friend Betsy discovered some dark, scaly patches on her dog MacDuff, who is exactly (to the day!) as old as Golly and who has been Golly's "boyfriend" since the day we brought her home. Last Thursday MacDuff had surgery to remove the suspicious areas and then we waited. Having been there and done that many times over the years, we could only sympathize with Betsy. The waiting is the most difficult part. Today Betsy phoned with the results - benign! We are doing the dance of joy around here. Not quite as vigorously as Betsy, but we are delighted.
This is MacDuff on the day we won his fourth Master Agility Champion title.
Golly and MacDuff
MacDuff and Golly

Monday, April 09, 2007

Musical beds

Friday was a mega-laundry day for me - about 8 loads of wash - all dog stuff. Every so often I get a notion into my head that all the dog beds need to be washed. And the throws that we use on our furniture, and the towels we use for the dogs' "ablutions" every week. So the heap in the laundry room gets pretty huge.

Part of that is taking off the covers of the dogs beds. That's when you get to see how smushed the actual pillow part is. Clever, clever me - I bought myself some new pillows over the weekend and decided that my old ones would be perfect fillers for a couple of the dog beds that were looking a bit sad. And smushed.

Each dog has her (or his) favorite bed. And now I've totally messed up the pecking order. Roc used to be the only one who liked the one with the attached cover. But now it's all poofy, and Ceilidh likes it. And Ceilidh does not tolerate anyone sleeping near her.

So Roc moved over to the bed next to that one, which just happens to be Golly's favorite. So the Princess' nose is out of joint - someone dares to be sleeping in her bed! So she went over to her second favorite - but that one's too poofy now, since I put the extra pillow in it.

In time everyone will readjust, every dog will find his new favorite and peace will once again descend on the household. In the meantime, Dax is my favorite dog. She just wants to sleep on my lap.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Famous People Watching

Don't you love it when you see a picture of a celebrity with their dog, and it's the same breed as your dog? I do. And I can't figure out why it gives me a kick. The other day Hope pointed out a picture of Famke Janssen and her Boston Terrier, Licorice walking around L.A. with her (human) boyfriend on the Celebrity Dog Watcher web site. I think my Ceilidh and Licorice would get along famously! A couple of years ago I saw a picture of Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules" on TV) and his Brussels Griffon. His was a red, rough, but still!

Or when someone else names their dog the same name as yours. My Agility instructor's Airedale Terrier's name is Kaleigh, pronounced the same as my Boston's Ceilidh (Kay-lee!). That Gaelic - tough language. And I just found out that CSI's Eric Szmanda's Golden Retriever is Dax - Golden Retriever, French Bulldog - same name!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back to school

Last night was Roc's and my first at obedience training for a while - since I found out Roc has no cartilage in his right shoulder and left hip. And shouldn't wear a collar cause he has a funky vertebrae in his neck.

He's not allowed to jump for another month - but he had an absolute blast! And so did I. Maybe I was getting so anxious to compete, or so tense about not qualifying, that I forgot to have some fun. And that is what obedience is all about - having fun with your dog.

I've ordered his articles for Utility work - everybody tells me that it's fun to train. I'm looking forward to it. Roc and I have been in Open for so long that he's probably a bit tired of it. And it'll be good to shake up our routine.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Small dog meetup

Yesterday we (GollyGear) were invited to set up a booth at a Small Dog Meetup on the north side of Chicago. Fran (above) and I had a blast - we got to meet so many wonderful little dogs (and their people)! And it seems that everybody loves shopping - many of the dogs loved hanging out with us.
Of course, they could love us because we brought treats. Dogs are terrific examples of the philosophy of enlightened self-interest.
There was only one, tiny little dust-up - when one of the little ladies objected to some brute sniffing her without permission. They both got over it in no time. Overall - I'd have to say a good time was had by all!