Monthly Archives: April 2006

Leave It To Beaver

Yeah, I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth a beaver has to do with American Cockers . . . me too. The other day I was having dinner at a friend’s place, and she asked to see my tattoo. If anybody doesn’t know, I have a tattoo of an American Cocker in show coat on the outside of my left ankle. Anyhow, my friend looked at it upside down and promptly asked me if it was a beaver. Huh? That is BY FAR the strangest thing I have had it called. So, because everybody was drinking except for me, the talk got . . . bawdy, for lack of a better word LOL And somehow, it became accepted that I have a nice beaver. Not something to advertise, especially to the parents, but it is funny. I’ve always wanted a nickname, just didn’t think that was quite how I would get it. Beaver . . . but my good friends call me Beav 😉

On another, much more exciting, note ~ I bought a new car today! I have been thinking about downsizing from the Caravan for some time now, and I finally bit the bullet. I am the very proud and excited new owner of a 2007 Dodge Caliber! It’s silver, with a grey interior, and a ChillZone compartment. The compartment acts like a mini-cooler, for water or pop. How cool is that? I pick the car up on Monday (it’s Friday now), so I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep between now and then? This is just too cool! I took a couple of pictures with my cell phone, so they’re at the top of the page. This is my first brand new car, and I’m very happy about it.

So no dog news today . . . can’t fit anymore excitement into my day at this point 🙂

Billy, P.H.D.

Well, Billy’s last obedience class was last night. He now has two “titles” behind his name – PHP (pretty hot puppy) and PHD (pretty hot dog). I sure wish my MBA had only taken 8 weeks and cost $120!!!

Anyhow, I was SO PROUD of him last night. The teacher set up an obedience obstacle course that included walking over ex-pens (which are like wire playpens fr dogs) laid on the ground, heeling around big gates, running through a tunnel, waeving through pylons, a 5 second down stay, a small jump, and then a recall. He had no issues walking on the gates, or heeling through the barriers. He is so good.

He got smart on the tunnel . . . went in fine and then turned around and popped back out the “entrance” as I ran down to the other end. Smart aleck! The teacher ended up having to block the entrance, and then he ran through fine. Did the weaves through the pylons okay, and the 5 second down stay. Needed encouragement to do the little jump, as he’s never seen one before.
But my proudest moment was the recall. Billy is not an expert at stays . . . he finds it hard to sit still and he doesn’t like me walking away from him. But he was the ONLY puppy to hold his sit stay until I called him!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!!!

We start the next set of classes (a repeat of these ones, actually) next week. We’ll miss two weeks while I’m away, but it’ll be fun anyhow. I just LOVE obedience classes!

Devil Dogs!

I don’t know if this past weekend was a full moon or what, but the dogs were sure brats! Mom and I got home from work on Friday to find the wire crate (that all 3 dogs spend the day in) with a gaping hole. Quigley had bent the “bars” the week before, but I didn’t realize they were that weak (or maybe he has jaws of steel?). Anyhow, he broke one end of the bar off, and the bar was sticking into the middle of the kennel like a spear. Lovely. Those damned kennels are $80 a piece, and this one barely lasted 6 months. He also broke a tooth almost in half, so now I have to watch him for infection.

Farley has done his share of bratty things too. On Sunday, as I was grooming a friend’s dog, he found my dad’s old golf glove (I think) and chewed the fingertips off. Great! I mean, the thing was probably some kind of antique . . . only now it’s just garbage. He also peed on my dad’s new slot machine (yes, gambling is a problem at our house) . . . and my mom’s laminate floor lifted a bit. She was NOT a happy camper.

And Billy, well . . . he does many things that irritate us all. Friday night he hopped on to the kitchen table. I thought my mother was going to pass out. Oooops! And with his incessant marking (thank goodness for belly bands) he is making us all nuts. Of course, if my dad would actually put the belly band ON the dog, there’d be fewer pee spots to clean up. I keep telling him the secret is to actually USE the things.

Overall they’re good dogs, and I can’t complain. It just seemed like the twilight zone or something, with all the trouble they were getting into. Now every time I put Billy in the kennel, he sticks his head out the hole to say hi. My world is nuts!

It came!

So, I’ve always been the type to make fun of soccer moms or hockey moms, who get totally involved in their kids’ sports, to the exclusion of all else in the world. Only now, I think I can officially be called a “dog mom.” Yesterday Billy’s very first show picture arrived in the mail from BC, and you’d think it was a million dollar cheque! I ripped the envelope open quickly (but carefully, so as not to ruin the picture), and then stared at the picture for what seemed like an eternity. I have to say, as pictures go, it’s pretty good. I don’t look angry (which I almost always do in show pictures, which is kind of weird, cause I should be looking happy), I don’t have three chins (which I usually get, from looking down at the dog), the judge doesn’t look goofy (in fact, she looks great!) and the dog looks pretty good. Of course now I can see how badly he needs to grow coat, as he looks like he’s wearing stilts. But I like a tall dog, so I won’t complain about that. He may not have won any points, or even Best in Sweepstakes (which is like a puppy showcase), but he made me very proud.

Just like he’s making me proud in his obedience classes too. This dog is FAST at everything he does . . . this week we played a relay race. There were 4 owners/dogs on each team, and we had to run to three mats. At the first mat the dog had to sit, at the second one the dog had to lie down, and at the third one the dog had to sit-down-stand before running back to the start. Our team was almost a whole dog behind, but Billy and I were so quick that we won! He’s such a little superstar 🙂 I’m just glad that he seems to be showing some aptitude for obedience, cause that’s a big part of his future with me.

So I finished my second-last assignment for the semester yesterday. It was so involved that I actually took a whole day off work to complete it. It was U-G-L-Y (yes, I am yelling out those letters!). I had help from friends, but it still took me all day to get it right, so that my program was spitting out appropriate answers. Sheesh! I need a break in the worst way . . . just one more assignment to go, and two finals. And then . . . China!

Not much else to report on, just had to share my boy’s picture with the world!

Countdown to China!

Time is sure flying by now . . . only three weeks until I leave for China. I’m not really sure where the last few weeks have gone, I don’t really remember much of them, other than work, eat and sleep. I imagine the next three weeks will be about the same, but cram some exams and last ditch assignments in. UGH. And I have to pack . . . that’s the worst part of all. I imagine that’ll be done the day (or night) before I leave. At least I’m a fast packer.

Not much is new around here. It was a very busy weekend, but what a treat to have that extra day off (it was Good Friday, which is a Stat holiday in Alberta). I went for a nice walk with my friend on Friday morning, and then on Saturday and Sunday we hit the gym. On Saturday I felt like I was dying on the elliptical, but Sunday morning was better, so I’m cautiously optimistic that I might be getting somewhat fit. Scary thought!

Billy is almost done his Junior High obedience classes now. We are signed up to repeat this level, since we are both enjoying the classes so much. He has already surpassed his mother’s ability to hold a stay, which impresses me to no end (sitting still is hard for these little Cockers of mine!). And two weeks in a row he has won the “musical” mats game, which combines heeling with either a sit or a down when the music goes off. I didn’t even think he could heel! So I’m quite proud of my little man . . . he’s using that noggin of his for something.

I gave Quigley his annual “Summer Shortie Haircut” on Friday. I think I took enough woolly hair off for three dogs, so he looks very small now. But it will be cooler for summer, when heat is always an issue for him. And it allows his skin to breathe a bit better too. He’s definitely showing his age – he is all grey now, and it’s even more evident when he stands next to Billy, who is black. And he has warts and bumps all over. But he’s still a calm, sweet dog (unless you happen to be food, and then he’s mad!)

And Farley looks the same . . . . fluffy, like a teddy bear pajama bag (a friend once told me he looked like a pajama bag, so I call him that now). He has been quite bad lately . . . he got into my dad’s Macadamia nuts the one day (and then got an upset stomach) and then tried to drink his Strawberries and Cream drink from Starbucks on Sunday (got it all over the floor while I was out, I imagine that was a scene too). So he had to get stern talking too . . . little brat wagged his tail the whole time, I guess he knows I can’t stay mad.

So that’s all the news that’s fit to tell . . .

Hah, I win!

Yes, I have finally figured out how to tire out Billy without having to take him to a dog show! I have a good friend that is undertaking a very cool pilgrimmage in Spain for 6 weeks (780 km ~ yikes!), and so she is training for that. Being a good friend (and needing to get off my duff), I decided to accompany her on her walks (now called “March of Death” by the way). On Saturday we did about 6.5km together, and I brought Billy along for the ride. He was quite happy to do the walk, and seemed a bit tired, but not too bad. Well, on Sunday we went out again, and did more walking. I’m not sure of the distance, but Saturday’s walk was 90 minutes and Sunday’s was just shy of 2 hours. So maybe another kilometer or two to tack on to the Saturday amount.

Well, when I drove home from the walk (and it’s a very short drive), Billy fell asleep in the car. And then I put him in the kennel (he was filthy), and he slept quietly in there for hours. You have to understand – this dog does NOTHING quietly. I checked his breathing at one point, to make sure the walk hadn’t done him in!

So although my calves are “mooing” (thank you Terri for introducing me to that term), and I am also pooped, I see more long walks in Billy’s future. They’re a good way to keep him out of trouble and in shape.

On another (unrelated) note, I went to see Lucky Number Slevin at the movie theatre with some friends. What a fabulous movie! I’m pretty wussy when it comes to blood and gore, so I didn’t love some of the mob killing scenes, but the plot is just great, and the characters are good too. It’s got some dark humour (well, lots), and it’s well worth seeing.

We survived!

Yes, as you can see, Billy is tired. Four days after getting home, he still gets a vacant look in his eyes when he’s not running after Quigley, trying to entice him to play. Billy had a fabulous weekend, and he misses his new friends. Especially Ripley, his special girlfriend 😉

We arrived at the airport on Thursday morning, all packed and ready to go. I was really hoping Billy would be able to fly in his Sherpa bag (NOT Shar Pei bag Lyndarae!), but the manager at WestJet said he was too big. I swear, that’s the first time somebody has said he was too big for something! Yahoo!

Anyhow, Billy made the trip in his Vari-Kennel, in the cargo hold. I know he managed better than I did, since I HATE flying. Good thing one of us has a stable temperament 😉

BC was absolutely beautiful. Green grass and even flowers blooming. I haven’t seen anything so nice in March (it was March 30 when we got there!) since I was in Denmark. Even the air was nicer (well, except for the pollution right in Vancouver). Even the rotten rain couldn’t dampen my pleasure at the pretty surroundings. I have to say, I enjoyed the smell of grass again.

The shows went well for us. I had Billy in the building Friday morning (on a regular slip lead) and he was being a turkey. Lunging, dragging me around, and throwing his head to the ground. I was almost in tears at the thought of the upcoming embarassment. He must have felt sorry for me, because once we got into the ring, he behaved well. He stood really nicely for the judge on the table, and he moved pretty well for a 7 month old puppy. I was very proud of my boy.

On Saturday he actually WON his puppy sweeps class (and yes, there were actually other puppies entered), so I was thrilled to death with that. I even decided to splurge and get a picture with the judge (who had lovely things to say about my boy). I can’t wait to get it in the mail! He held his own, and managed to show well for me, even though he must have been pretty pooped by the end of the day. I could definitely tell he was tired on Sunday (but then again, so was I).

The weekend was so much fun. We had a surprise birthday party for Vicky (related, through Farley & Chyna), and we went out for dinner with some fabulous new friends. I would say that this will go down as one of the most fun shows I’ve done . . . especially considering how tired we were by the end of it. I met some great people, saw some gorgeous dogs, and was able to show off my baby boy. Well worth the money spent to attend.

Now we have a break for a while, as I jaunt off to China. Our next show is the local one at the end of May, and then another set of shows the following weekend. Those will be busy too, since there are two specialties and 4 all-breeds. I might need a week off just to recover 😉

Thank you to everybody that made my weekend so wonderful – There’s no way I could ever name you all, but I think you know who you are. Now it’s back to the grindstone. Sigh.