Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013!

Hi furiends!!! 

Gracie just says it all...we can't believe that it's 2013 arleady!!! Time has just zoomed by!

Gracie, Wolfie, Wiggy, Mum and I want to wish you a very Happy New Year filled with happiness, health, prosperity, love, hugs, licks, zoomies, balls, frisbees, agility and everything you've always wanted.

We have really enjoyed your company this year and thank you for stopping by to visit us!

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year to you and yours!

Messaged presented with the assistance of labello to keep those lips super kissable all winter long!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Review: A Christmas Home!

Remember the great Hallmark movie 'A Dog Named Christmas' from the book of the same name? It is one of my absolute favorite dog movies to watch during the holidays.

Well, there is a sequel!!! Yep that's right...another amazing and heartwarming book by Greg Kinkaid, that we were fortunate to receive for free from the nice folks at Crown Publishing to read and review - A Christmas Home.

It sure does get four paws up from us!

In the book, the star of the first movie/book, Todd McCray, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes best friends with Laura, a young volunteer.

Like Todd, Laura has a disability, but of the physical nature. And Todd and his trusted Lab, Christmas, help her by training a rescue dog named Gracie to be a service dog and help her with her day to day life.

Time are tough in their hometown, like all towns in this age; and the local animal shelter is in trouble because of city financial cutbacks. Just during the holiday season the shelter has to close it's doors and Todd is determined to find all the shelter animals good, loving homes before time runs out.

But Todd has other worries too! Where is he going to work now that his job at the shelter has been eliminated? With the help and support of a loving family, amazing friends and trusted and loving four legged best friends, nothing is impossible!

We love this book, and it's definitely going to be a staple in our holiday reading library for years to come. It's a great read that will fill you with hope, love, determination, and a sense that no matter what the obstacle, you can make it through.

We know you will enjoy it too!

Pick up the book or the Kindle edition of A Christmas Home. And don't forget the great movie prequel - A Dog Named Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tomorrow is Cat Herders Day, oh yeah!

Herding cats has always been a little hobby of mine. Yep, I'm a herding breed, it's what we're born for!

I don't get to do it very often, but sometimes I get a good go at it. Sometimes the outcome has not been too good (hence that bloody scratch on my nose there.

Sometimes, I've even had Wiggy, my kittie bro, try and herd me! What's up with that?

So in honor of this special are my favorite herding cat vids, including the iconic EDS cat herders commercial which first aired during the Super Bowl in 2000.

Then there is the newer, and very interesting, commercial from IKEA UK of cats roaming the Ikea store after hours. (Would have been nice if they had a Gibson Les Paul at guitar center included in that band for the music, don't ya think? Nice though...)
I bet they had a lot of vacuuming to do before the store opened the next day, BOL!

Happy Cat Herders Day!

We are loving Instagram!

Since Mum got a new Samsung Galaxy phone a while back, we have really been enjoying Instagram!

They can sometimes even make really blurry photo look a little like a painting! Here's one of Mum's favorites that she took of me this summer...

Mum took this one of Gracie the other day. We think it really makes those beautiful brown eyes of hers really pop!

If you happen over there - Instagram, that is - be sure and add me! @JohannTheDog

Just call me Rocky...Rocky Raccoon!

Mum was looking at me the other day as I hung out in my crate while she worked.

The next words out of her mouth were...'you look just like a raccoon!!! Maybe I should start calling you Rocky?'

What do you think, is my invading whiteness making me look like a raccoon?

It all started at one year old when one white hair appeared just over my left eye; then it all migrated from there. 

Some of my pals have said that I may be getting extra white so early because of the trauma and subsequent surgery from the dog attack way back when I was a little over one year old. I think I'd have to study up on that at classroom desks to find out if that is the case. 

Other folks say that some bi-black shelties just get white earlier in their lives than others. Anywho, if I keep going at this rate, I'll be totally white in about four years or so...guess that means Mum may have to give me more baths, BOL!

I just hope Mum doesn't start calling me Rocky Raccoon....he dies in the end!!!

Book Review: The Divinity of Dogs

A while back we had the opportunity to read The Divinity of Dogs, thanks to the great folks at Atria Books/Simon and Schuster who sent us a copy for free to enjoy.

Mum loves reading books to me late at night, all cozied up in bed before we doze off. This book definitely got us off to happy dreamland, each and every night.

'The Divinity of Dogs: True Stories of Miracles Inspired by Man's Best Friend,' is packed full of inspiring, heartwarming, feel good to your bones stories about dogs and their people, and will definitely warm your heart and give you paws to just how much dogs help, love, comfort, uplift, guide, amaze, inspire and change peoples lives.

Authored by Jennifer Skiff, the book contains over 70 short stories telling tails of people describing the moment they learned something spiritually profound about life from an experience with a dog.

Dogs do so much for people...well beyond anything you could possibly imagine. This book shows you just how wonderful we are!

Get the book or get the ebook Kindle edition, it would make a great holiday gift for any dog loving furiend!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaf pile fun!

Oh yeah, we got leaves! Leaves and leaves and leaves, which makes Mum sigh and say, 'more raking, more raking and more raking'.

The only thing keeping her sane through it all is how much fun we have and how much we entertain her as she rakes away. Although she secretly wishes she had an industrial supply company that could take care of all of them for her.

This is Gracie (left), rummaging through to find a stick that Mum hid in the leaf pile. Mum has been known for hiding lots of stuff in the leaves - toys, sticks, stuffies...we love the game!!!

Then after those types of games are over, Gracie and I get our leaf romp on!!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Backyard agility training!

Today is the Dog Agility Blog Event Day, a day when dog agility bloggers share posts about certain topics. Today's topic is 'Backyard Training'.

When you practice backyard agility living in the mountains sometimes you have to be really creative.

Not too long ago, when we lived in the cabin before this one down the mountain, I shared a little tour of our mountain agility yard. Here's a little taste....


I thought I'd give you a little peek at our mountain agility yard!

Our back 'yard' has a really big deck on the back of the cabin, beyond that is a lower level, and then a big berm that goes up and makes an upper level.

Here on the north side of the berm we have our jumps, good for working on distance, 'cause Mum can't run beside the jumps very well, not a lot of room.

Then going down the berm, which is just about the same grade as a down dogwalk, we have our dogwalk training board. Works really well taking the jumps, then working the dogwalk with distance as Mum stays on the berm.

On the south side berm we have our teeter, and on the lower level our weave poles. The space around the weaves is pretty tight and makes for good independent weave training, rear cross entries and layering practice.

Further out from the weaves (out of the photo to the right) are a couple of jumps. Mum likes to send me out to the jumps and weaves, and then run on the other side of the trees next to the weave poles, then have me turn up the berm to do the teeter. Kind of odd, I know, but it works for us in practice and then shows in competition too!


Since moving to our new cabin (the one with the amazing view, below), we've had to adapt how we practice agility in the yard.

Our new yard is more open than our previous one, but it's more sloped; so we have to work with it...putting the weaves parallel with the slope...the jumps, and teeter too.

But the nice thing about a tight, sloped area is that we get creative, and focus on some skills that we need and want to focus on right now including: distance, layering, independent weave entries, tighter turns, ketchkers, serps, overall independence without forward motion, obstacle discrimination, gambles and much more.

On occasion we'll travel the 1.5 hours to Atlanta and participate in some run thrus. When we're there, Mum likes to work on her overall handling of us with forward motion (since she can't move a lot in our yard). It's helped her to watch us more closely during runs, anticipate when we are committed to specific obstacles, and fine tune how she utilizes her movements to direct us more accurately - closely and from a distance.

The best part is that this 'different' work we are doing is showing well in competition for both me and Gracie; our accuracy is up, our independence is up , our distance is up and Mum's timing has really improved.


Thanks for stopping by! Visit all the dog agility bloggers pawticipating in today's Dog Agility Blog Event Day, and read their posts!

My kittie bros...enjoying the view and each other!

Ahhhh....this warms my heart...these are my kittie bros Wolfie (on the left) and Wiggy (on the right). 

Not since BD (before dogs) has Mum seen them sleeping together. Brought little tears to her eyes. 

Having dogs in their lives has changed them. They are more alert, even when sleeping; more cautious as they walk around the cabin. And they don't play and get their zoommies on until both Gracie and I have gone to sleep. And Mum has trouble playing with them unless she shuts me and Gracie in another room. 

Poor kitties...but we think they are happy. Being senior cats, they don't want to be quite as active as they once were. They are more content just hanging out at the window, enjoying our amazing view of the mountains. I don't think we could get any higher unless we used buy auto lifts, BOL!

Love my kittie bros.
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