Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Volunteering at agility trials...from a dog's perspective!

Lots of dog agility blogging folks are writing today about volunteering at trials, so I wanted to get 'in on the action,' and give you a dog's perspective of humans volunteering at agility trials.

When Mum first adopted me and I was just starting to train in agility, she would take me to every single agility trial in the area so both of us could get used to this wild and wacky environment of agility we both love and enjoy.

While we were there she would walk me around, do a little training with me, send me over the practice jump; and she spent a lot of the time volunteering to help run the trial. It was a super great way for both of us to learn more about agility, meet all the people and dogs that would become our long time friends, and have a great day.

Her very first volunteer job was gating a Masters level ring at a local USDAA trial...talk about trial by fire! She found out that around where we used to live they called that position 'gate b*tch,' Well, that surprised Mum so much she had to ask why...BOL!

When we started trialing, Mum volunteered a lot of the time between my runs, and working/playing with me. She wanted me to learn to chill out between my runs, and I did that pretty well. Even though, I spend most of my time looking for her out there while she's volunteering.

She's done a lot of the types of volunteer jobs available, except the desk jobs. She has her favorite jobs (like most folks) and ones she definitely won't do anymore (they wouldn't want her to do them anyway, she's not good at them, BOL!). Her favorite jobs are building courses and gating. Most people don't get why she likes those jobs, but she does!

I'll never forget, one time at a local USDAA trial during the 4th of July weekend years back, the Masters Ring Steward's (I think that's what you call them) dog got freaked out from the fireworks and escaped from her yard. The next morning Mum took over her duties since she had to find her dog. Mum hadn't ever done that kind of work before. Heck I was still in Starters I think?

But it turned out to be a great day! Our friend's dog was found, and Mum had a lot of fun running the ring, even amid Gracie escaping from her crate that very hot day. We got to meet some great folks that ran Masters level, see some awesome runs and even got tips to help me win my Advanced Snooker course that day!

Once Gracie came into our lives, Mum cut back on her volunteering at trials. Gracie needs Mum to help her get used to being at a trial and in that type of stressful environment. So Mum and I spend a lot of time working with Gracie and helping her enjoy her day. It's really helped Gracie a lot.

I also don't like Mum to work too much at trials, I like her to spend time with me!!! Heck that's what we're there for right? To have fun together?

But Mum and I both know it's important for her to pitch in when she can, build some courses throughout the weekend, do some gating; because we believes it's important to give back to the community and event that we all enjoy so much! And many of the trials just couldn't happen without help from volunteers.

So I try to be understanding...well most of the time that is! I know Mum likes to socialize with humans now and then too, BOL!

(This post contains are some photos of me and Gracie at trials over the years, spending a little time with Mum, and waiting for our next run :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Can you say Sheep!?!

Mum, Gracie and I had a great time on my Birthday last Saturday!

We took off in the late afternoon to a place fairly close by where they were having a play day. You could herd sheep, do lure coursing, agility, dock dog, rally and hike on the acres around the property!

The first thing we did was head on over to where the sheep were, so we could get in line for my chance to see sheep again. This would be my second time on sheep. The first time was when I was almost two years old, way back in 2006.

This time I was a little more mild with the sheep. I am a little older. And these were different sheep than I saw back in 2006; and a couple of them were pretty stubborn, I have to say.

Here's the vid...


After that I was pretty winded, so we got some water and rested up a bit. I took a little dip in the pool to cool off. Even Gracie was winded from all that screaming while she watched me herd. They thought I did pretty good, even with the stubborn one.

We wanted to head on over after a little rest and do the lure course, but the lure wasn't working. (They gave us a nice voucher, so we could come back on a Saturday morning and do that another day; we thought that was so nice). So Mum went and paid for Gracie to do some sheep herding instead of the lure course.

This is also Gracie's second time seeing sheep up close and personal. The first time was back in 2006 too when she was just about 9 months old.

Here's Gracies vid...


Gracie really got into it with that stubborn sheep; and she was starting to nip them early on which is why she got a warning in the very beginning. But they thought she really improved over the time in how to handle the stubborn ones and herd a little without nipping. She's more of a chaser than a herder they said, but she could learn, that's for sure!

Here are some still photos...that's me picking up a stray.

That's the stubborn one, so stubborn!

Getting them back with the group...

There's the lure!!! Why won't it move :( Want!

Gracie confronts the stubborn one!

BAM! Head butting...

After our herding, Gracie made a friend with an eight month old BC...so cute!

We saw some horses in the nearby pasture too! We love horses...

Here's Gracie after her herding lesson...she had so much fun!!! Check out those orange feet, BOL!

This is me after my herding session (kind of have my Gene Simmons tongue thing going on, BOL!).

Thanks Mum for a super fun birthday!!! Loved it! Can we go back soon?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Today is my birthday!!! Wheee!!!

Guess what?


Today is my birthday!

Yep, today I am seven years old (well best guess anyway, since I don't have papers). Back in 2004 when I was adopted from the Southside Animal Shelter in Indy, Mum picked this date (based on our vets estimate), June 25th to be my official birthday!

Mum says she's got some fun stuff planned for me (and Gracie, too). Can't wait to find out what it is...just hoping it doesn't involve equestrian helmets, BOL!!! But I heard her on the phone with someone talking about lures, agility, maybe even sheep and swimming, OMD! Please weather DOGS, keep that sky clear, K?

Hope you all have a pawsome weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We're bored!!!

Mum's been working a lot lately...and well, Gracie has been bored out of her gourd!

So when Mum isn't on the phone, and just working on the 'puter, she will sometimes start the DVR and put on a dog movie for the Grace-ster. Dog movies keep Gracie busy.

It sometimes gets kind of loud around the house, because Gracie always barks at the dogs on the TV. And what do I do then?

Yep, I start to howl. Gracie barks her arooooo, then I start the howl.

video

Kind of difficult sometimes for Mum to get her work done, but it's better than Gracie running up to her and dropping a toy in her lap all the time. So many toys in fact that Mum almost needs a barcode scanner to keep track of them all, BOL!!

Anyway, been kind of a boring the past couple of weeks around here with Mum working, but she assures me she has some plans up her sleeve.

Why? Because my birthday is this Saturday!!! Can't wait to see what Mum has in store!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hiking the Benton MacKaye and visiting Fall Branch Falls!

About a month ago, Mum took me and Gracie to a new hiking spot. There are a lot of falls around here and we wanted to see one of them. This one was pretty close to us.

So we headed out to Fall Branch Falls, which connects to the Benton MacKaye trail (which is one of the trails that start the Appalachian Trial (AT)).

You can see our path in our hiking map (date 5-7-2011). When we were there, we didn't have this map yet, and were interested to learn that we were just a few miles from where we hiked the previous time we went on a long hike. Very cool how all these trails are connected and how you can get from one to the other by driving around to different trail heads.

Right at the entrance there was a very nice, clean stream. Gracie and I just love checking out streams and get in a nice cool dip.

Just a little way in, we saw that someone left their walking stick for the next hiker, very cool :).

We made our way on the trail and quickly came to the Falls. It is such a great sound the falls make, so calming!

We ventured on and hiked up the mountain, saw a lot of woods and more woods and more woods; after a while the woods get kind of boring, I have to say.

But alas! We turned a sharp corner and just then we heard something scratching around in the brush. We froze! Was it a bear, deer, a squirrel? Mum has a command for us...'listen'...and when she says that we stand very still and be very quiet so we can hear and find what's making the noise. Just after our little 'listen' we saw what was in the woods!

Two wild turkeys took off running down the little ridge and got onto the trail that we just passed, dog did that get us going...we almost pulled Mum down the mountain, BOL! After a bit we calmed down and ventured on. (Sorry no photos of the turkeys, too much chaos to get a pic :(.

We came to one place and saw lots of these...we think it's a Papilio glaucus, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, according to DiscoverLife.org's handy dandy butterfly identification guide.

We took a little break once we got up on the mountain...lots of forest to see, and me of course!

Since Mum didn't know exactly where we were, we decided to head back the same way we came. She definitely has to get us a handheld GPS unit that we can take along to keep track of our location. Who knows maybe we'll even get the add on garmin geocaching chirp and do a little caching? Hmmm...more adventures, cool!

As we headed back, we took in another drink from the clean stream, nice and cool!

And took the obligatory pose in front of the waterfall, BOL!

What a fun little afternoon! Can't wait for our next hike, we are overdue!

We have a bloomers!

One of the very cool things about our new cabin is the landscaping...they did a really nice job incorporating nature's landscape with man-made landscaping closer to the cabin.

Here's a nice photo of our rhodedendrom blooming, it's right near the stairs up to the porch in the front of our cabin; and right in the new area where our fence is.


There are also two Anthony Waterer Spireas (one of Mum's absolute favorite shrubs) next to the rhodedendrom.

There are a ton of ferns planted all around the property, ones that we find frequently in the forests around here, which make a really nice transition from natural to the man-made landscaping. Mum needs to get out her laptops and start downloading more photos to show you!

There are lots of other plantings that we'll need to identify as time progresses, stay tuned!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Celebrating our MACH!

Mum and I have a celebratory ritual after I get a new title in agility.

We get home, rest up a bit, then she gets on the Internet and orders my new title lapel pin for my title box.

When it comes in the mail a few days later, we have another ritual of putting the pin in the box, cleaning it up a little bit, and then taking some fun photos.

We got our MACH title pin the other day in the mail and proceeded to have some fun going through our little celebratory ritual. I helped her arrange the pins so that our new MACH pin was at the top. Then she set up a little photo shoot....

Here's my title box now with all the up-to-date titles in AKC and USDAA. (We left room for that ADCH title pin, did you notice? :)

Here I am with my title box, MACH bars and ribbon, ribbons from the four Q's for the weekend, and my little medal for my new title.

Cropped version :) I think Mum needs to check out printing for less and get some photo copies for framing for our cabin!

One of our outtakes :) Mum was taking photos of the pin box and I got in on the action, BOL!!!! It's now one of my Mum's favorite photos of me. Treat please, Mum!!!!

Gracie got to play with the hose!

It's been unseasonably hot here on our mountain lately.

So what did Mum do? She got out the garden hose and let Gracie go at it! Wheeee!!!!!

One of Gracie's favorite things to do when it's hot is jump for the garden hose, biting at the water and getting soaked in the process...

Mum got out our kiddie pool too, filled it up; and of course Gracie was right there interrupting the process and having a blast!

Mum has to make Gracie stop jumping for the water hose after a while...she gets kind of manic like a deer in Off Road Lights kind of look to her...and doesn't want to stop, silly girl!

Hope you are all staying cool in the SE part of the US, looks like it's gonna be hot for more days to come!