Monthly Archives: March 2006

Off to see the . . . show grounds?

Yep, you read that right, Billy and I are leavin’ on a jet plane in the morning. Off to see the big wide world of dog shows (which is all new to him), and to make some more friends. I’m glad he’s an agreeable fellow, since the lady we’re staying with (in her motorhome) is bringing a few of her furkids too. Billy will be so tired by the end of the weekend, from playing the entire time! It really is a glorious life.

Lyndarae is already gone . . . she flew out today. I’ll give her a call once we get there, and she can meet us at the show site. I am the first one to go, and I meet up with Jackie in Edmonton (owner of Billy’s dad, and one of my best friends). We land first, and Vicky is right behind us, coming in from Calgary (another one of my closest friends). I think we’ll enjoy a weekend away. I KNOW I will . . . I sure need a break!

So tonight I pack. Billy got bathed and dried last night, so now the grooming stuff needs to be packed, along with all of his stuff, and my show clothes and toothbrush. I hate packing, but as long as I don’t leave behind something really important, I should be good to go. Hopefully. The first show I ever went to I forgot my show clothes . . . so I never forget those anymore. I hope I don’t forget Billy this time!

No posts until sometime next week – but since 95% of the people that read this will be in BC anyhow, I’m not too worried about being missed 😉

Motivation

I’m trying to figure out the secret to staying motivated. Mostly because my friend and I are going to the gym tonight, and I have spent the last half hour trying extremely hard to come up with a reason not to go. The more I think about that elliptical machine, ready to give me a heart attack at the slightest move, the more I would rather stay home and park my butt on the couch for the evening. So people, what’s the secret to staying motivated? Especially where exercise is concerned?

The other thing that sucks the motivation right out of my system is homework (this shouldn’t come as a big shock to those that read this blog regularly). The further in advance I want to get an assignment done, the more easily I can find pretty much anything else to do. Take my latest finance assignment, for example. It was given to me on Monday, and every night I have found reason after reason to leave it sitting on the kitchen table, unlooked at. If I was smart, I’d be working through it now, but I just keep leaving it. I guess I’m hoping the homework fairies will do it while I’m sleeping. So far, no such luck.

The schedule was posted for Billy’s first show (next weekend). There are going to be up to 14 males competing, of all ages and allowable Cocker Spaniel colour combinations. Some of them are champions in the US already, and some are being shown by professional handlers. It’s sort of like a wake-up call for me . . . I think I was harbouring secret thoughts that Billy might win one day at this show, but I think the competition is just going to be too fierce. I should be giving my head a shake anyhow . . . at this age (7 months) it’s more about having fun than winning anyhow. So now I have plenty of time to get used to the idea of not winning (which isn’t necessarily losing, in my view), so that it doesn’t bother me in BC.

Off to Edmonton tomorrow for a presentation about China. We should get our itinerary for our trip then, and the flight details and stuff. Very exciting! The unexciting part is that we are driving there and bad in one day, which means 10 hours on the road. UGH! For somebody who gets car sick, that’s just not an exciting prospect. But, as somebody famous once sang, I will survive!

Back on the wagon . . .

So last night I went to the gym with my friend. I purchased a gym membership in October, and used it quite a bit that month. Then I fell off the wagon . . . my gym partner (my mom) was out of town a lot, and I was able to find too many reasons not to go. Bad girl! Anyhow, I was talking to my friend yesterday about something, and we decided to go to the gym together, to get motivated. When I last went to the gym, I was doing 25 minutes on the elliptical machine without too much trouble. So I headed for the elliptical, hoping to get 20 minutes on there before doing some weight machines. Wow, I am OUT OF SHAPE! I almost died after the first 3 minutes on the elliptical machine. My legs felt like lead, my chest was burning, and I was pouring sweat (yeah, that’ll attract the guys LOL). So I put the difficulty level down to one, and managed to crank out 20 minutes. Pure hell and torture though, let me tell you.

All I can say is that I am very happy that I can’t make it to the gym tonight. Between obedience classes with Billy and errands to run, I just don’t have time. Maybe by tomorrow I can get the horror out of my mind and try again . . .

Snow Day

I have to say, this has been one of the warmest winters on record for Northern Alberta. It’s sort of unreal to think of the temperatures that we’ve had, and realize that I can count the number of really cold days on one or two hands. Usually I need at least one hand just to count the really cold weeks! So this morning it was a bit of a shock to wake up to snow, especially since it’s so warm. I expect that it will just get really slushy and mucky now, because the snow is melting almost as soon as it hits the ground. Oh well . . .

I realized something as I was bathing Billy last week (other than the fact that he was really dirty, which I knew before I started). When I reach for his front leg, he picks it up and offers it to me! I have groomed a few show dogs in my day, and most of them are as used to being groomed as Billy is, but he’s the first dog I’ve had that offers his paws for washing. Pretty smart, when you think about it! I was impressed, anyhow. Who knows, maybe I’m just easily impressed . . .

I took Billy to be looked at by some show friends of mine, people with different breeds. They both had nice things to say about him, but of course they would, since they’re my friends. The true test will be once I start showing him. As long as I can get him to behave reasonably well, what the judges do as far as placing him in his class should tell me something. I don’t expect him to do anything his first weekend in the ring, since it will all be new to him, but I’m kind of hoping he does something as he gets older. I think he’s a good dog . . . but I’m biased, and it’s hard to know how much of a role my bias is playing here. I really look forward to showing him off, anyhow. I just hope he doesn’t embarass me too much LOL

I’m looking forward to the show in Surrey, BC. I’ve never been there, and it should be fairly nice at this time of year. And I’ll get to see some of my “old” dog show friends, as well as meet some new people. There is one lady that I have been writing to (on email) for a couple of years now that I’m really looking forward to meeting. And of course, all the dogs. That’s always my favourite part . . . seeing the new up and comers, or seeing some of those dogs that I’ve always wanted to see in person. There should be quite a few dogs from the Washington and Oregon areas, so it’ll be nice to meet those people and dogs as well. It’s just been far too long since I was at a dog show, with something to take in the ring. Almost a year!

Well, it’s a nice, quiet Sunday afternoon . . . I think I will go snuggle with some Cockers and read a good book!

Ooops, out of the habit

Sorry for not updating for a few days now. Life is crazy-busy these days, and it appears that it’s just going to get busier! Last week I had midterms (yes, ugly word!) and so I was furiously cramming for those. Luckily I had gotten a heads’ up on the one midterm from a co-worker that is also a classmate, so I was able to prepare a bit more specifically for it. It made a world of difference in my studying! The Finance midterm wasn’t pretty . . . I just hope I knew enough to pass the darned thing. For some reason my brain has a lot of trouble grasping the concept of stocks and bonds and capital assets. I think this is just confirmation that I shouldn’t be doing any serious investing with an advisor 🙂

Things with the dogs are going about as well as usual. I had Billy on a nice long streak with no accidents in the house (thank God for belly bands!) but lately he has been pooping in the house again. I think he does it to keep me humble, because he’s certainly old enough to know better. And he is the most “advanced” little dog when it comes to marking and humping. I feel so lucky! He marked my travel bag the other day, while it was on my bed . . . so I’m washing my quilts again. At least they’re clean.

We started obedience classes again this week. It feels really good to get back into that routine. This course puts a lot of emphasis on clicker training, which I firmly believe is a great way to train Cockers. The clicker marks the action you want the dog to continue offering, and then the treat reinforces it. So when the dog is asked to sit, as soon as the dog’s bum touches the ground, click and treat. All of the dogs that I have used it with (granted, only 3) have understood the concept really quickly, and have learned things with a happiness I was missing when I was using more correction-based training. Billy did really nicely with offering sits, started to learn the stand command (without me hand stacking him, which is what he’s used to) and is slowly learning to stay. His recall, as always, was fabulous. That’s the only bonus of owning a momma’s boy!

Farley is doing really well these days. He has completely recovered from his peach pit incident, and his hair is even growing back on his abdomen and front leg where the IV was. He’s back to eating whatever he can find, so at least I know he didn’t learn his lesson 😉

And Quigley, well, he’s aging. Still thinner than he’s ever been, but he seems to be holding his own. He’s such a gentle soul, he just sort of co-exists with everybody. He lets the other two dogs push him out of the way during cuddle time, so I have to take the time to spend some one on one time with just him. He appreciates that.

I have continued with my lifestyle program. The eating out hasn’t been as easy to conquer, especially when there’s nothing quick to make at home. But I’m making a real effort. I’m still walking at least 6 days a week, which I will cut back to 5 days now that Billy has obedience one night. I’m slowly losing a bit of weight, and the walks are good for me. With it warming up, and the sun staying out longer, it just feels good to be outside. I have seen a neurologist to work on my headaches, so if I can manage those, life will really be good!

So that’s my update for now . . . sorry for the long “absence” of sorts, but I’m back in full force now.

What I Have Learned

I am a member of several online communities for Cocker Spaniel lovers. On one of the sites, somebody posed the question “What have you learned from your Cocker?” I answered with my typical reply of “to enjoy life, live in the moment, etc” But it made me think about what I really have learned from my dogs. I truly think that dogs can be our teachers, if we are open to learning from them and receptive to their methods of teaching.

For instance, I have learned from Quigley that you can recover from really bad things in your life. He was abused before I got him, and had never lived in a house. I think that some people who have experienced similar situations turn bitter, not wanting anything to do with people (or at least, people who remind them of their abusers). Heck, I imagine I would become the same way. But instead of letting it control his life, Quigley learned to let go of his past and to live in the moment (this same ability to live in the moment means he never considers the consequences of his actions either). Within 2 years of him coming to live with me, Quigley was an entirely different dog. He loves meeting new people, he is friendly and happy, and there are very few memories of that past life. I think if more people could follow this maxim (including myself!) then the world would be a better place overall. That sounds corny, but if people lived less in the past, they might not be as reactive to certain events, and that would certainly be a good thing.

Farley taught me that no matter what somebody you love does to you, always kiss them goodnight and let them know you love them. I have done some pretty horrible things to Farley, including having him neutered and giving him a subcutaneous injection (and grooming!). But it doesn’t matter what happens through the day, he always snuggles in close at night and lets me know that he wouldn’t want any other mom. I try to do that with my family and friends, but I’m not always good at it. On those days that I feel particularly unhappy with somebody, I try to remember how good it feels to know that my boy loves me, no matter what. And that he’s willing to forgive and forget. And I try to be like him. Even when I took him swimming, where he got covered in leeches and had to have a long bath to get them off, he loved on me the second he was out of the tub. How’s that for forgiveness?

My girl Keeley (who now lives in a fabulous retirement home in Nova Scotia) was the world’s greatest at letting things roll off her back. Nothing phased her – I could yell at her, ignore her, correct her (during training sessions) or threaten to withhold food. Didn’t matter, she was always smiling and wagging that tail of hers. Even when I felt completely and totally frustrated with her (usually because of housetraining issues), she would just wag and smile at me and tell me to relax and just let it be. She could always make me smile and let go of a bit of anger, just by being herself.

Now I have her son, Billy, and I’m eager to see what I’m going to learn from him. Oh, I know it will be some of the same lessons that every dog can teach, about cherishing naptime and eating every meal like it’s the last one. But I sincerely believe that he has a specific lesson to teach me too. I only hope I’m receptive enough to notice it and apply it.

So think about it – what have YOU learned from the dogs, cats, kids, family and friends in your life? Try to take the time to thank the people that have positively impacted you. Even a small thank you can make a huge difference to somebody . . . just knowing you appreciate them. I think I’ll give my dogs a treat now.

Time Flies . . .

Well, I guess in my efforts to be online less, I am also posting less in my blog. Hmmm, there has to be a better way to balance that. Mind you, it has been a busy week too, so I’ve hardly been on the computer at all. Last night I did coat check (volunteer) for a dinner for this project I’m working on (UE-1). It was fun, but I was gone all night, so no time to check in at all. The dogs weren’t terribly impressed with me.

Knock on wood, but it seems like Billy might slowly be getting the hang of potty training! He’s still not giving me signals to go outside, but he’s certainly having fewer accidents in the house. I attribute at least a part of that to the Belly Bands I use . . . if he pees, he wears it. Not an ideal (or sweet-smelling) solution, but it does the trick. But in the mornings I have been foregoing the Belly Band, and so far there have been no accidents for two days in a row! Progress – it’s like the sweet smell of success, just in a smaller dose. I’m so proud of the little meathead!

He also learned how to get on the bed last night. For an adventurous dog, this has been a real struggle for him. He keeps trying to jump up from the side, but because my box spring is so tall, he just can’t make it. Last night he jumped on the storage box at the foot of my bed, as if he’s been doing it all along. Nicely done Billy! It just goes to show that he can learn, too!

So far he’s learned quite a bit in the last month . . . he’s learned to get on the bed, to unroll the toilet paper from the roll for entertainment, to lay down for grooming. Heck, his brain is probably bursting with all this new-ness! Those small moments of victory remind me that there is a good side to having puppies too, and that I should enjoy the small stuff, because it won’t be long before these little moments fade to almost nothing.

Sorry today’s post is sort of vague . . . I guess when I’m running on little sleep, my writing talent walks out the door. Have a good one!