Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Foster cat gets 'dopted

My little Violet foster cat has been adopted after only one day at the shelter.

This is good.

I am teh sad.

Not because she was adopted, but because I miss her, and I don't know what sort of people she went home with, and I'm worried.

I am not a good foster parent.

Bye, bye, Miss Vi. You be a good kitty. I hope they give you lots of snuggles and pettins wherever you are.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


agility notes

Griff and I have been doing some agility work over the holiday in preparation for our trial in February. Just some notes to help focus our training for the next two months.

Weaves-we are finally straight on six poles, and Sunday he did 12 in a row straight! We need to work on more difficult entries, but I am very pleased with his progression.

Contacts-need to work on two on two off contacts being held even if I keep moving

Teeter-doing well, need to get to the point where I don't need to babysit him too much

Turns-doing well. Need to work on tight turn into tunnel.

jumps-need to work hard turns and keeping bars up.

Handling-always need work! I need to focus on clear body language, as well as increasing clarity of verbal commands

Object discrimination-need to practice verbal cue discrimination.

More practice! Need to get to the barn more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

dog park drama

or, why most dog owners are idiot assholes and therefore I should screen every one of them before they get entrance to our dog park.

Actually, our "dog park" is nothing like the traditional small fenced-in squares of dirty ground in Portland, it's a big expanse of city park with river access, trails, several sport fields, and a frisbee golf course. It has areas that are off-leash all the time, and some that are on-leash in the sports season so that the soccer kids don't get checked by a border collie or lab going after their ball. It's a godsend for me, as it's big enough that I can run a good three to four mile route with my dogs off-leash the whole time, we can swim in the river, and meander down the river trail without running into traffic, livestock, or other hazards.

However, there are always a good helping of stupid people in the park, and usually I run into one of them on my morning runs. I forget that idiots who ought not to have their dogs off leash figure it's safest to do so when there is less traffic (AKA, 8 in the morning on Sunday). So this morning, I'm running Griff and Zoe and three men with five dogs come towards us on the bark trail. One tiny but fierce little pitbull makes a beeline for Griff and starts snarking at him. She's a bitch, but she's not serious, and he's smart enough to ignore her. However, three of her male dog gang companions decide that they hate Griff's face, and all descend on him at once. Seriously. I growl like something really scary for them to knock it off, and two back off at the sound of my very possessed voice, but one nasty looking mutt refuses to heed Griff's sideway stance and averted eyes and insists on readying himself for the attack. Finally, I realize that the three grown men in charge of these evil-hearted creatures are just. standing. there. While I'm wading in to the fray, readying my leashes to swing if the jerks try to jump Griff. I snarl thru gritted teeth for them to get their dog, now. I send Griff on forward, and then realize I've got to go back to get Zoe, who is frozen with all five dogs around her. Except for the bitchy pit, none of the dogs even looks askance at Zoe, who is of course the uber-submissive.

Not one of the stupid men tried to help, corral their evil harpy dogs, or apologize. They all looked at me with a slack-jawed bemusement, akin to someone very slow who's just been asked to calculate the velocity of a moving projectile, to three significant digits.

I am annoyed, to say the least. Mostly because I've seen these dogs before act exactly the same way. This wasn't a one-time incident, and it wasn't normal dog grumpiness. The dogs are obviously 1. not trained, 2. sent into pack mentality due to being in a group, and 3. owned by idiots. Luckily, Griff decided not to get snarky back, which was wise and for which I am really grateful. I've seen these people before, and another of their dogs, a border collie, tried to attack Griff but was luckily restrained by a woman that was with them.

I really hate how dumb people are. Just because it is legal to have dogs off-leash does not mean any dog, with any sort of attitude towards other dogs. And there is no way in hell I'm going to stop going there, as it's acres and acres of land and river, the only place in Corvallis that is ten minutes from home and appropriate for dog-romps.

I may, however, start carrying DirectStop, and people better watch out. I'm liable to spray them instead of their dogs.

They're trying to make G go to rehab...

And he says, no, no, no.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We have weaves

Just a brief update...

Griff has weaves! Six straight weaves, I'd say 90% of the time, from directly in front or starting three obstacles away. Very exciting! He also seems to have gotten over his tire jump aversion. Our only remaining hurdle (heh) is the teeter. Our goal this winter is to get it mastered. Our classes don't start up again until January, but we've got two months of practice at the barn to work on it. We have a fun match the weekend of Thanksgiving and one in December, and if all goes well, we'll enter our first CPE trial in February. I'd like to enter the one in December, but it is the weekend prior to final exams, and that may not happen.

Guinn has started PT and had his first water treadmill session on Wednesday. He's got his second tomorrow. He did better than I expected, so maybe we'll get thru this after all. If I bribe him with cookies, he'll keep going. I hope he'll agree to get into the treadmill box tomorrow, now that he knows that water comes in on him. I really hope this'll help keep him strong. It's been about six months since his diagnosis.

It's starting to feel like winter and we aren't getting to the park as much as I'd like, but hopefully tomorrow we'll get a nice run in. Got to get the dogs tired for Halloweening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

selling all dogs

I don't know when I became the world's worst dog owner/trainer in the world.

So last night's agility class was uber-frustrating. We had a run that included weave poles, that Griff flubbed no less than five times, then the tire, that he jumped around instead of thru, and by then I was so humiliated I fucked up the totally easy jump pass at the end. I had to leave the arena and go outside to cry. I don't know what I was thinking about entering him in a CPE trial in a month. I am apparently the world's worst trainer and he's a stubborn a**hole who refuses to weave.

I realize somewhere between vet school and having all three dogs, they've collectively become *disobedient*. I worked on Guinness's recall for 5+ years, and all of a sudden he acts like he has no idea what it means. Zoe also has no sense of when she should come and pretty much does as she pleases. Griffin is a pulling, barking, jumping pain in the ass, and all his agility training has come to naught. I should have stuck with cats, at least no one expects them to do anything when told.

Anyway, I am sorely disappointed. I suppose there is some bullshite explanation about me not being a good leader, or else I've forgotten to ask much of them, I don't know. All I do know is that we're going to tighten down on the rules for awhile and see if it makes any difference.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DM, agility, and vet school

I haven't posted in forever, mainly because I was afraid that the main dog was on the decline and I couldn't bear thinking about it. The G man was diagnosed tentatively with degenerative myelopathy in May and seemed to be failing quickly, and I was having a really hard time coming to terms with that. However, he's stabilized and is doing ok. Basically, he walks like a drunken sailor most of the time now, but he's still able to go for several mile walks and isn't at the stage where he needs water therapy, so we're taking it day by day.

Griff has still been going to agility classes and it's getting to be time to consider entering him in a CPE trial. I am freaked at the idea, but he's at least as good as some of the dogs currently competing in our class. I am not a very good handler, which I find embarrasing. I forget the courses easily, I turn the wrong way, I don't have a good instinct about how to handle courses. However, I don't think any of that is going to get much better without actually competing a bit, and I am afraid if I wait much longer I'll never enter a trial. His practices are either brilliant or ridiculous, depending on whether I can keep myself out of the way during his run. His teeter is not good, and his weaves are not there either. Both of theses things are my fault, of course. Well, at least the weaves are, maybe the teeter is his. Half the time he hits the thing like a dog walk, the other half he forgets what an obstacle is all together.

Vet school starts in about a month again, on to year three, and 22 months until graduation. Here's hoping I make it thru successfully.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Beach time

Spring break means trip to the beach, complete with hail.

Guinness found a rock that he was convinced was edible; the veritable holy grail of beach flotsam. He tried to rescue it, but was not successful. He tried so hard.

He tried so hard, he submerged his whole head up to the ears. And this is my dog that hates water with a Danish passion. He tried, then finally got his teeth on the damn thing, and instantly dropped it, with dismay, as he confirmed it was in fact a rock and not a giant sticky bun submerged in a tide pool. Then he pouted.

Sad G. He pouted the rest of the day.
The other two played bitey-face.

Dogs love the beach. Really. Even though they look somber.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Break?

Poor Zoe. She woke me up at four this morning desperate to go outside although she was out at midnight right before bed. After three trips outside between 4-8 and about 30 squats, I rushed her to the vet. One cysto, one ultrasound, and one hundred plus dollars later, she's on antibiotics for a UTI and I'm hoping that's all it will be. I'm watching her closely today. She wants to stay outside, but I'm hoping if I keep her in she'll be able to rest.

And my wisdom teef extraction was cancelled for today, so I think it'll be a lazy day of housecleaning and watching the dogs. Poor aminals. The vet's office owns me, I swear.

Waiting for grades to come back; have all but one. The pharm final was miserable, and I'm afraid my grade will be dropping sharply. Oh well. As long as I passed, I guess. The exam wasn't, in my opinion, a fair example of what I learned, so I'm not as concerned as I might have been otherwise.

Dogs and I are going to the beach later in the week, so hopefully Zoe will feel better and I'll get some good pictures. The dogs really need a vacation.

Edited later: Oh, and the day just got better and better. I realized, shortly after posting this, that the smallest cat was missing. At first, I figured he was sleeping somewhere away from everyone else, which is unlike the nosy parker. Then after combing the house and calling, I realize the Check the garage, since that's the only door I recall leaving open unattended. Check around the house. Take dogs out one by one to check the front and back yard. Shake the food bin. Bring out wet food. Search the surrounding area. Call shelters. Call vets' offices. Post to craigslist. Accost joggers outside my house. Attempt, then decide against, posting fliers on the only poles we have in the neighborhood-stop signs. Finally, after 8 hours, and dragging my sick dad out of bed to come help (athough I tried to talk him out of it), I am in the kitchen, and start to hear a tiny voice. At first I think I am imagining it, but then I am sure it is kitten. I call, and he answers, but I can't localize where the heck he's at. Run upstairs, no voice, but check everywhere I've already checked. Come back downstairs, open every drawer and cupboard in the kitchen, even though I've already checked. No kitten. Wait, a few minutes of silence, then he starts again. Finally localize him between the garage and kitchen. Walk in to the small bathroom where I keep the cats' litterboxes. Hear small kitten. Open the cupboard (although I've already checked), no kitten. Open all the drawers, none of which I've opened that day. Find small kitten in the top most, shut drawer. One I didn't open or close. One with no connection to anything I did open or close. I don't know, but I'm suspicious that he opened the drawer, climbed in, and then maybe Monkey cat came along behind him and shut him in. Why he stayed there for 8 hours without yelling I have no idea. Other than being very hungry, and very happy to see his box, he was fine. Little monster.

We won't even talk about my final exam. We will, however, reference my new favorite website:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

the art of dum

Attending vet school is a little like lunching with Mensa; you are liable to feel dumb the vast majority of the time. And, you get to feel dumb in a very smart way. You confuse things that no normal person even considers. Can you use barium sulfate to do a excretory urogram? If duodenal fixation is a sign of pancreatitis, how can you tell on a single radiograph? Is it guinea pigs or gerbils that get scurvy? (the answers are no, you can't, and guinea pigs) .

I have not yet come to terms with the fact that I've probably already forgotten more than I'll remember from vet school. I never thought I had a problem with memory, in fact, even underachieving in college I got decent enough grades to get into vet school. But now, it's daily doses of panicked blankness that don't foreshadow well for my clinical year.

Guinness, on the other hand, thinks headdresses are the dum. This was from his birthday party; ten years strong and still counting. He got a Vegetarian's Nightmare sandwich (all meats and cheeses), a bag of homemade dog biscuits, and much toasting in his honor. He says if vet school makes me feel stupid, I should just stay home and make him more homemade dog biscuits. Best to stick with what you know...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Shark, er, finals week

Actually, it's finals fortnight. In order to get some peace and quiet study time, we went to our favorite park for a bit of a romp, and I took the camera.

I'm a really crap photographer, and it's gauling, because I missed some excellent shots today, but a few I got weren't bad.

Dogs must first investigate the park's integrity, which means smelling everything in olfactory distance.

Do you smell what I smell?

Then there is romping....


and going.....

Then, there's the heartbreak of being a crapsack photographer. See this log?

The only thing missing is the lovely Aussie vaulting over it...which was the shot I missed, no less than six times. My camera timing was off, dog was too speedy, dog fucked off and chewed stick...he's got a lovely jumping form, and since I never get agility pics during class, I really wanted this one...

This was the best I could do....

Kinda fun, but not at all a well-structured photograph.

Zoe, the dog of much ears, was especially full of poses today...


More ears....

half ears....

A bit of waterplay never hurt anyone...except Guinness, who purportedly melts in water.

Griff hearts water

Guinness hearts another kind of water play...

Griff can fly

Guinness just rocks

Now, off to try and understand ultrasound physics.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sexie Izzard and the Guinness

So, I fandomed up and scored six tickets to Eddie Izzard's stand-up at the Schnitz in July.

Guinness says he should get to go, cause who is sexier than him? I deferred a decision, but he is threatening to eat all the foods in the house, so that the other animals may die, unless I take him. Oh wait, he threatens that all the time.

The story of Guinness, Zoe, and Griffin, prologue

All good dogs need a blog.

Guinness says he should be the leading man, after all, he's been here the longest... almost ten years, across the country, through boyfriends and shoes, major abdominal surgery and cancer. I guess he's got a point. Plus, he's the handsomest greatDaneinator mix ever.

I've got three dogs. One of them just ate a ladybug off my kitchen floor. And he's the "smart" one, Griffin. He's an Asstralian shepherd, spelling intentional.

And then there's Zoe...the sheppet. Half German shepherd, half whippet, half ears.

Jim Henson designed those ears, seriously. Where's she going with a head like that?

This blog is about them, the Dogs. The three-dog army.

(There may be a cat or two thrown in as well. And some knitting, and the occasional necropsy. I'm a vet student, after all)