Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cleaning House

The thing about cleaning house is that you get rid of all of the extra "crap" that is cluttering your life and you find some gems that you lost. A while ago I purchased some Team Small Dog artwork. I love her stuff. It came in these custom designed envelopes with little Gustavo saying nice things to my shelties. I put them next to my computer with the intent of framing them and putting them up on my office wall. That was 1.5 years ago!!!

Today I pulled them out of a pile of old bills. Grabbed the frame I had purchased so long ago, but never got around to, and put these wonderful images on my wall.

Each day as I walk in and out of my office, these wonderful images will make me smile.

Thanks Laura for this amazing gift of art. I treasure it.

By the way, you to can own a little bit of team small dog. All proceeds go to the dogs runs in agility. Click here to see other works of art by her. It looks like all of it is sold, but maybe we can get her to add some more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Day Without Dogs

Ok, not the whole day, but part of the day. Had a fab time with the girls in Monterey.
I took a bunch of photos with my little digital and some turned out pretty nice.
Lots of jelly fish. The jellies is the MOST amazing exhibit. Every time I go there, I'm astounded at the beauty. It isn't just the jellies themselves (totally awesome creatures) it is the way they are set up. The aquarium really puts thought into the presentation of the creatures.
I found this little tile in the sidewalk. Thought it was photo worthy.

Lots of Jellies.

I could have sit and watched the sardines for an hour.

The newer exhibits are seahorses. The varieties of these guys were surprising. I found the seahorses fascinating.

These guys were big and heavy. They live in the mangrove.
In the seahorse exhibit, they have alot of iron work. Just beautiful

More Jellies!

Love the Sardines.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Procastication: The act of taking a vacation at home (stacation or fitcation) with the intent of completing a series of tasks and ending up not getting anything accomplished.

I'm home for a couple weeks. My plan is to clean out the master closet and build a new one. In addition, I want to finish the wood floors in the living room...oh yeah and really clean the house including a complete clean (get rid of a bunch of stuff) my office.

I did get the dishes done...oh and some laundry, hmmm got the vacuum fixed but haven't really vacuumed anything.....

I have hiked almost every day, hit the gym, stained some lawn furniture, and worked on Fin/Tazz training. Also took the "geriatric" couple to the vet. It is now Friday evening and I feel like I could have done more. I have the entire weekend booked solid so won't get anything done this weekend.

Hopefully next week will see more progress!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Iliopsoas injury

Today I'm going to talk about the iliopsoas strain that Fin has had. We are at 10 weeks and she is pain free! It has not been an easy 10 weeks for many reasons, not least of which I spiraled down into a deep depression blaming myself for not taking better care of my charge. I know logically that it isn't my fault, but my human nature can't help but rear it's ugly head and say, "Vici, what could you have done different." Fin could care less, she just wants to have fun.

An iliopsoas injury is as near a "groin pull" in a dog as you are going to get. I'm not an expert, I can only tell you my experience. Fin exhibited no outward signs of injury. She did not limp or act ouchy. What she did do, was avoid jumps, smash into jumps (not just knocking bars, but completely taking jumps out), and at times did not respond to handling on course. My first thought was I was doing something wrong. But the truth was that she was hurting and jumping was difficult for her.
Once I received the diagnosis, I was relieved that it wasn't something requiring surgery, and perplexed as to how I was going to fix it. I went to see Dr. Sams Clinic in Mill Valley (thanks to Katrina!). Basically he said, straight walking ok, otherwise rest. No swimming, no running, no trotting, no nothing except for leashed walks on the flat up to 2 miles everyday. 4-6 weeks. I decided to go the distance and ended up doing 8 weeks of rest before starting to introduce more to her exercise program. If you know Fin, you know she has two speeds (run as fast as I can turning on a dime then running more and sleeping). Fin is not a lazy dog, she is actually a little nutty. She can be reactive in a spinning barking run around sorta way. Fin is all about explosive movement...makes for a great agility dog...doesn't make for easy rest.
We kept to our plan with the rest stuff and then at 8 weeks I added hill work and some trotting. At 9 weeks I added more trotting and some off leash running (sending around a chair). At 10 weeks I set up a circle of jumps with no height and had her run through the jump standards.
Now we are all about the conditioning and rehab. In Fins future is more trotting, more hill work, adding balance ball stuff, adding lots of turning work, and swimming. The main thing that Dr. Sams has said to prevent this injury in the future is to ensure that Fin is warmed up before allowing the "explosive" movement she is fond of. Pretty darn easy to do when I'm out doing agility, a little more difficult in the house.

I do hope that Fin recovers from this injury completely. I'm hoping that in 6 weeks from today that I can return to agility class. I would very much like to sign up for an agility trial or two in August. This injury is the kind that is persistent. My understanding is if you don't give your dog the time to heal, they will simply re-injure themselves and it is worse if they keep doing it. Rest is the main component to rehabilitation that everyone agrees on. For me, only time will tell if all this work will pay off. I suspect that it will.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A visit with an old friend and a Doctor

The team started a day with a hike up Harvey Bear. The views were amazing today. Then we took a road trip were views were breathtaking, friends were friendly, and Dr's had great news.
My buddy Mike and I have been friends since the mid 1990's where we contracted with a company. We've worked together on many jobs and Mike is the kind of guy that you want to hang out with. He has a wine celler bigger than my first apartment and a heart bigger than most refrigerators. Recently he had surgery on his shoulder and I took this opportunity to get him out of the house.

This is an example of his view. He is up a little bit higher on the the hill, but wowza, can you imagine sitting on the deck sipping wine (well for me it would be a diet coke).
After my visit with Mike, I headed a little further north to see Dr. Sams. Fin visited with the good doctor and received excellent news. She is pain free and can start serious conditioning work. No more hanging around sleeping, she and I are getting fit and working hard.
I expect, if all goes well, to trial late August. Can't wait!

Monday, June 14, 2010

The weekend that Tazz went 5 for 7 and I was amazed and astounded

While Fin rested at home, Tazz and I headed to Turlock, CA to participate in the first UKI trial here in Northern California. We expected 90+ weather, a small trial, and fantastic friends. We didn't expect to do well because, let's face it, Tazzie is a cool weather dog. Doesn't really like the heat. Yet, unexpectedly, Tazz brought home the bacon for the mama and Q's for both days were raining from the sky.
The dogs had cool vests on, soaked in water tubs, and in general panted alot.
What I will tell you, is we had a BLAST! The courses were challenging but fun. The trial moved along. Our small group worked hard to make the trial a success. EVERYONE worked together even though the weather was difficult, the people made the trial a success.
Starting with a new organization is not easy. You've got to learn the rules, figure the structure, ask alot of questions, and get over the newness of it all. Here is my little summary.
Day of Signups
My friend and I tested the registration process sorta by accident. I registered online using paypal. Pretty darn simple. She didn't sign up and ended up signing up day of. Also simple. It did require her to write up her own scribe sheets as well as add her name to the running order. She would hold on to her scribe sheet and give it to the scribe when it was her turn. Other than the worry that she would loose her scribe sheet or get it crumbled in her pocket, the process worked well. She got to procrastinate and still was able to enter the trial.
Scribe Sheets and Running Orders
The trial secretary does print out a running order, but as participants we are not locked into that order. When our group is ready to go, we simply grab our scribe sheet and stand in line. When it is our turn, we hand our scribe sheet to the scribe and walk to the line. It is our responsibility to be there, but if our dog is sensitive to another dog (or person), we can change our order as we hold the scribe sheet. We didn't really get to test this as our trial was small and in many of the classes, there was only one dog in a class. But the idea is a good one. I'm looking forward to the next trial to see how this works
Results and Rewards
The results are computerized. This would require the trial secretary to have a computer and printer on site to enter all of the results as they come in. I was really impressed how quickly the results were available for us to view. In one case, I had a question about the scoring, and my scribe sheet was quickly made available to me so that I could double check the results. Everything is very easy and accessible.
Rewards were given out after every class. Qualifiers were called out and we all applauded and cheered for the Q's. (Even tazzie got some cheers..his mom was so proud).
Measuring in
The UKI recognizes AKC jump height cards. USDAA yellow cards do not list the height and your dog will need to be measured if you all you have is your USDAA card. I'm not sure about CPE height cards, but the people with AKC height cards got to skip the measuring process. It really wasn't a big deal and Tazzie breezed through the measuring process.
I found the courses to be fun, fast, and challenging. Tazzies favorite was the Speedstakes. Just jumps and tunnels. His favorite. I must also mention that the Snooker Course on Sunday was especially fun. LOTS of tunnels.
They have alot of the same stuff we are used to in USDAA with twists. Gamble has set numbers for obstacles...they are always the same and is set up with two options at the easier one and harder one. You can guess which one Tazz and I chose!
Snooker is pretty much the same except that in the Senior and Championship we can only take 3 of the 4 reds (4 is never an option).
Standard agility is pretty much the same as with Jumpers with weaves.
A new class "Speedstakes" is fast and has no contacts (sorta like steeplechase without the A frame or weaves).
There are other games that we didn't have at this trial but overall, once I had my briefing, it was pretty easy to understand what would be expected.
Will I do it again?
Yep. Absolutely. A fun time and great group of people.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The team has been busy

I know that I have not written a blog in a while. No need to remind me.

The team is taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to, like, work really hard.

Never fear, vacation is almost here. Then some freedom for a while.

In addition to the stress of work, I'm not sleeping well. It is a phase and this too will pass, but the fact is that I have weird dreams and wake up just about every 2 hours. Becoming sorta a problem. My best sleep is after 4am (this makes it hard to wake up) and usually I have some interesting memories of dreams.

This morning, the star of my dream was Team Small Dog. Little did I know when I went to bed that I would be running around streets screaming "Gustavo" "Gooey" "Gustaaaaaaavo!"

Basically in my dream I live on this property on a hill. There are bushes that seem to define the property line and a very long steep driveway...but I don't seem to have fences.

In the dream I'm napping, when I wake up, there are alot of dogs. My four, Ruby, Otterpop, and a B/W border collie (hey Laura when you getting this one). I'm thinking, "Oh cool Laura dropped off her dogs." I start looking for Gustavo and can't find him. Not too worried, I think, Laura must have taken him with her.

I find a note. Basically says, thanks. I start to panic. Fortunately, my sister Trish appears in my dream. She is on crutches but starts hobbling down this freak'n steep driveway. I'm yelling "Gustaaaaavo!" I see some people and I hear, "Oh poor little guy," and "did ya see him run?" and my heart is racing and I want to cry. People point me down the street and I'm yelling and yelling and all of a sudden my sister stops me. She quietly says, "he is there, hiding, behind the shoe shiner" (do we still have people that shine shoes?).

There he was and when he sees me he starts to wiggle and comes out of some dirty rags to crawl into my arms. The relief just flows from my body...and then the darn alarm went off

A few things I find significant about this dream:
a. I had no fences...if you know me you know, I'm a fan of a good fence.
b. Laura got herself a new BC.
c. Laura dropped off her dogs on my property with no fences and I'm sleeping...What in the heck was she thinking?

Well, to say the least, I'm exhausted. I don't need to be looking for little black dogs, lost somewhere in my mind. Ok, back to work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010