Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Darby and Patience (by Lisa)

"Wait" is not in his Holiday Vocabulary

H called me about 2 weeks ago to tell me she and Lyric and Echo had a Christmas present for Darby Crash. We love presents, so we ran right down to gather our loot. When presented with a very simple brown box, I asked if we could OPEN IT NOW?!? We were told no, it's a Christmas present, you should wait. Darby and I sighed together and agreed, we would wait. So I put the box in the van and left it there (in the foot well of the front seat). Today (Christmas Eve Day), I loaded up DeeDee and Darby and we went to do a little last minute shopping.

Let it be noted that all of my dogs are very well mannered and trustworthy in vehicles. I travel often with one or all of them, and they never destroy or soil anything (seatbelts, electronic cords, seats, etc). At worse they've gotten into the trash or my training bag and scattered or devoured the contents. Not so today. I had forgotten Darby's obsession with cardboard boxes. Not paper bags, not magazines or newspapers, never blankets or dog beds. But a severe cardboard addiction, starting with chewing a corner until it's soggy, then going wholesale nutso ripping and shredding like a mad-dog until there's nothing but confetti remaining. But I had forgotten, and left the two in the van parked directly on the street in front of the store I was in without a second thought (other than how lucky I was to find a coveted parking spot in a busy shopping area). The alarm was set, the minivan was parked within sight, what could go wrong?

When I was done, I got in the van and put my packages on the passenger seat. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something that made me do a double-take.

The first thing I thought (and remember, first thoughts don't have to make sense) was "there's a dead monkey in my van????", and then actually turning around and looking closer my second thought was "somebody chewed up a wig???". Then I realized that I have neither a long haired black monkey nor a wig, so those first thoughts couldn't be correct. Then I took a good look at the bigger picture and saw the cardboard carnage, the nibbled/ripped greeting card envelope, and of course the dead monkey wig that I still couldn't identify and was a little hesitant to touch.....

It was about that point that Dee started doing a little prancy-dance and then dove onto the back bench seat to try and look as small and non-guilty as possible, leaving Darby 'holding the bag', or in this case the chewed box.

Maybe he was set up? Maybe Dee wasn't so innocent as she pretended and had arranged for Darby to take the fall? Not a chance. In his guilt Darby flooded me with snuffly face nuzzles and kisses....his muzzle was covered in glitter. A dead monkey wig, with glitter???? What was this mangled furry glittery thing that was liberated from the plain brown box Helen had insisted we wait until Christmas to open? Was this a deranged joke? I gathered up my nerves (a dead monkey wig was still in the top running as a possibility at this point, having no other ideas) and plucked the hairy, spit flecked thing from the floor of the van. It was a toy, a very nice quality wool 'chaser' toy, similar to a fox-tail, but wool. And scary-hideous if you have no idea what it is. I plucked the cardboard shreds and various pieces of tape and other wrappings from it and tucked it safely away in the center console, gathered up the nibbled card and smiled at the greeting from Helen, Lyric and Echo. The card is one of Helen's original Lyric photo Christmas Cards, so it was special from a mom-to-son perspective.

Glitter-lips continued his 3 part apology, further cementing his conviction as the gift shredder. All was well, but I should have known better. If there's ONE THING Darby cannot resist for any length of time, it's a cardboard box left unattended. He has stolen them from the recycle pile in the carport, he's nabbed them from the office, he's liberated them from the barn. No matter the size, no matter that he knows he's not supposed to destroy them, he loves cardboard boxes and they are not safe in his presence. But he's a good boy, and to be fair, it WAS his present. No harm, no foul. Still adorable, of course, which erases all wrong doing and resets the "Angel-O-Meter".

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bryn's Hidden Talents(by Marie)

It’s December and I discovered I have a talent!!!!

Gator seems daily to get himself closed in the bathroom. He “oofs” until someone lets him out. Well, I decided I could be a good friend and help. So I pushed on the door with my nose and out he came. He really never even thanked me. I have done it several times in the past few months. Marie just tells me to go “let him out” and I do. Maybe someday he can help me. That’s what friends are for.

It seems like I was on a leash FOREVER!!! Well, at least, most of the summer.

The Lompoc show was fun (lure coursing), but the shoulder injury made me a “house dog”.

Tom or Marie took me for a walk every morning and night. Gator and Soda Pop got to go sometimes, but usually, it was just me.

Poppy sent me a new orange monkey and Marie fixed my old brown monkey. So I have had my old friends to keep me company. Gator seems to know that they are mine and let’s me have them whenever I want. (of course, I ask politely-like barking in his ear!)

I really enjoy hearing of the adventures of Tanner, Darby, Becca, Echo, Lyric, and Whisper.

Good news. I was able to go some shows. One judge was VERY soft spoken. He asked Marie if “I was a courser”. Now how did he guess that was my favorite game.

I did very well in the group(another new term for me) with my new friend, Robyn. She is a junior handler and likes to show me. She thinks I’m a real challenge.

Marie and I went to the Greyhound Club of Northern California Specialty. It was supposed to rain, but didn’t during the show. I got a couple of ribbons and another point for “Winner Bitch”. Everyone seems excited about points. I just want to be a good girl and behave like a show dog should. I’m learning about this new activity in every show .

The other dog in the picture is Soda Pop. He just takes a monkey beating and keeps on licking!!.

I love that guy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Becca "Unleashed" (Donna Arcaro)

On December 11 and 12 the Valley Hills Obedience Club in Southern California held their 2-day obedience/rally trial so Becca and I entered both days in Rally Advanced. In Rally Advanced all exercises are done off leash. At our last trial, Becca ran out of the ring at full greyhound speed after a jump, so needless to say I was alittle nervous. Once a greyhound gets used to leaving the ring when they choose it can be a hard habit to break. I had made a point at practice of calling her immediately after a jump, rewarding and back to heel position. She seemed fine doing this at home, BUT in new territory, it could be a different story.

The first day of the trial was incredibly windy--leaves and debris blowing everywhere--visual and scent distractions all over the place. However she remained focused on me and easily qualified.

The second day it was very calm weather and she was a bit tired from the day before. Once again she was fcoused and working hard. She qualified and earned her RA title!

This is the 4th title she's completed since July of this year--Breed champion, Rally Novice, Beginner Novice and now Advanced Novice. Excellent job, Becca!!! We plan to concentrate now on Novice Obedience training to get ready for competition sometime in the future.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mud Dabbers and Farm Dogs

In between training and competing, my dogs have a fair amount of down time just being dogs and doing whatever interests them.

Recently I had to go down and work on my rental farm, grading roads, clearing culverts and other hard work. The dogs got to run and play their hearts content.

Two full days of working on my avocado farm gave the dogs lots of free time to investigate and run the hills. Birds, coyotes and bobcats were all around.

After the weekend although the work wasn't all done the dogs were through. A tired dog is a happy dog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wow Weekend

Last weekend we went off to an agility trial at my favorite location in Rancho Murietta. It is an indoor covered horse arena that is often cold which helps the dog run faster. In addition to Lyric, I of course, ran Whisper. Although we didn't QQ we had some great runs. The second day she won her jumpers class of 22 dogs with this run. She earned 26 more MACH points and ran it in her fastest time to date. Definitely a fun run.

On the last day she had an equally fabulous Standard run and won her class of 20. She earned another 48 MACH points and ran it in record time. As she likes to jump the dog walk and A frame down contact, I am working hard on getting her to hold until released. This weekend she did! Her jumpers run was great but tight and twisty. We knocked bars which caused an NQ.
She was having a blast running in the cold.

Echo went out tracking one of the days on our down time. She is almost ready to certify and enter a tracking test. A fun weekend for all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Then They Turned 2!

Hard to believe that 2 years ago today, Lyric and Merlin's pups came into the world. Five little spuds and five lives irrevocably changed for the better!

Here they were 2 years ago today.

Here is a current picture taken in October of this year at the Northern California Greyhound Club Fall Specialty.

Happy birthday to Darby, Echo, Tanner, Bryn and Becca! May all your birthday wishes come true!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lyric Runs Agility

As mentioned Lyric earned her third Open Jumpers leg this past weekend. Keep in mind in the video she and I have not run a full agility course in a year. We are not able to read each other as well as Whisper and I. However we pulled it off. Yes I was planning to front cross on the fourth jump but forgot so it was ugly handling but she and I did it!