Posts Tagged ‘cavapoo’

Crybaby

May 23, 2010

It’s hard because I have so much to say and I’m trying to focus myself to give you the best. We competed again and I admit, I’m not much of a competitor,I think I’m more of a fan of the sport. No, that’s not it, I’m a fan of my dog. He puts everything out there for me, and trusts me and I love him all the more for it.

I’m a fan because he knows when I make a mistake and still does what needs to be done. I saw a few handlers that were fans of their dogs too. They weren’t some twisted S&M team where one is the Master and the other the servant. Oh my there are so many people out there with that attitude. It’s hard to stomach when you see it happening, but that’s because my relationship with my dog is different. I try to give him everything I can to make his life happy and fulfilled and sometimes that means benching my own emotions.

There is this game called Jackpot, we have had such a hard time with it. The first time we played, we were one second off. Jackpot is when you have 40 seconds to accumulate 10 points, then you have to go over to a designated part of the course where a tape is laid out. Your dog is on one side and you are on the other. The object is to get your dog to work from a distance and complete the obstacles while he is separated from you. Anyone who owns

a dog knows that they crave, and need you so asking them to stay away from you is hard. But we did it. This time the course was harder because not only did I have to get him to move forward toward the obstacle, but I had to ask him to come back to me, still not crossing the line and complete the final obstacle.

He did fine on the first 40 seconds, then the “Gamble” began. I have 20 seconds to get him to complete the obstacles from a distance. Jump, Jump, Tunnel, and when he came out of the tunnel he was staring right at me, one more jump to complete. It’s me or the jump. At first he hesitated, he looked at me and me at him. I pushed my hand out and said the command. He cocked his head as if he was trying to understand what i was saying.The crowed was hushed, He looked at the jump and at me one last time. He wanted to come over to me, his tail wagging. It was like he was saying “Isn’t that good enough?” But it wasn’t I wanted more. He started running but he chose me,  he was coming straight at me, the jump was a second a way. I quickly Push my arm out longer, careful not to cross the line, he sees my hand and turns his path to the jump, he takes it, ears flying in the wind. The crowed, applauding and cheering us, and I fin

d myself throwing my hands in the air, both of them and yelling “YES!!!!” I looked down and there he was, tail wagging, tounge hanging out.  I picked him up and kissed him and cheered for him. We did it, we finally won this game. The buzzer didn’t go off, so we did it in good time too.

I could barely contain myself as we waited for the scores. They should be automatic ya know, but they aren’t you have to wait for them to be processed. I ran to the wall once they posted them. I looked for his name and finally found us. My mouth dropped open, the letters NQ right next to our name. We didn’t qualify. I look over at the faults, it was a flawless run, than I looked over at the time, 65 secon

ds. It needed to be in 60 seconds. What the hell. My heart dropped, I could feel the lump in my throat. He deserved that Q, not the NQ. He did what I asked and what we got was 65 seconds.Tears welled up in my eyes. Disappointment ran thru me. I sat down on the pause table, stunned at the score, and he jumped up there and li

cked my cheek. That was the hardest part, he loved me anyways.

What sucked the most was that was the first run of the day, and yes it ruined my day. I still feel like I got screwed. Something was wrong with the timer, or a scribe wrote it down wrong, or judge called it wrong. I could have debated this with anyone , but chose not to. I chose to ask a few questions and when I got an answer I didn’t like I still accepted it. Although it sucked balls.

The next three runs were awful. In agility emotion like that is destructive, and I pretty much ruined the next two runs because I couldn’t shake it off. Finally we had a good run and I saw the Q up by his name in Jumpers and that feeling melted away. The next run was even better because it was another Q in Snooker, finally beating that Level 1 game.

But I can’t help it, I felt he deserved that ribbon, but what does a dog care about a ribbon anyways? Sometimes in this sport I have to forcefully remind myself, that it’s not always about qualifying , it’s about what I accomplished out there, it’s about that feeling of victory when we manage an obstacle that he hates, or I push him mentally to work away from me. This sport is not just about me, but about my dog and

my relationship with him. Each run improves that relationship, that much more.

I’m so glad he loves me undeniably , and non judgemental. He doesn’t care how many ribbons he has, or what level he has. Today was just a reminder to not get so caught up in it. The only thing that mattered at the end of the day, was that he is alive, healthy, and is able to go home with me so that he can lick my wounded ego back.

The Kong and I

April 28, 2010

I’m a sucker once I go into Petsmart. If I see it, I think Jäger needs it, and normally get it for him. For this reason, Justin no longer allows me to go by myself into the big store; I must always have a chaperone. What sucks is he is no fun in spoiling our dog. He constantly says “Do we really need that” My answer is “Need no, want YES!” But it never works and he ends up having me put it back.

Jäger used to have a Kong, that you could stuff. I would put tons of fun treats in his little kong, but he got to big for the little one and I went out and bought him the big red one. It felt like a graduation present for my dog. He loved that thing.

First off, I have never told this story to my in-laws, friends or parents for fear of being made fun of for EVER!!  In fact I recently had to tell my own husband because I desired a new Kong for Jäger and the only way he would let me get him a new one is to tell him why the old one wouldn’t work. My first response was “When is the last time you saw the old one” He responded back to me that he saw it last when we lived at our old house. I don’t know why I told him what I did because honestly I could have just lied and said it was lost in the move, but nope not me, the dimwitted me actually told him the truth.

I hate when he laughs at me so uncontrollably that even I want to laugh at me. But the story behind the missing Kong had to be told. We were moving and my Mother and Sister in law both believe that when you move you want everything cleaned. You want to start off at your new place almost christened in cleaned things. This normally means that my Mother in law will help during the pre move arrangements doing all the strange laundry, not normal laundry, although she has been known to fold a load or two for us. No it’s the blankets and pool towels and bedding and you name it as long as it wasn’t clothes. She’s wonderful like that.

My sister in law well, she scrub it clean till it smells new again. Anything that can be moved and or organized will be before the movers ever show up. This type of behavior is contagious, and after I had just spent a few hours with them as they helped me prepare for the Garage Sale, I continued on.

I found the dog’s toys, and thought Oh gosh these are nasty, and if it could be washed it was, if it couldn’t it was more than likely thrown away. This was where the Kong came up. I took one look in it and it looked nasty. Jäger hadn’t played with it for a while because he got a nanner chip stuck in it and it blocked the food. The moment I dislodged the banana chip, a foul stench of rotting food overcame me. I found a knife that hadn’t been packed away and tried to get as much of that rotted food out that I could.

I then proceeded to wash it, but it didn’t seem like that was enough, I mean it was pretty nasty with all that food rotted in there. So I decided to sanitize it. Maybe I was bored, maybe not. I don’t even know where my logic was coming from but it seemed perfectly logical. I grabbed a pot, put some water in it and when the bottle came to a boil I put the Kong in the pot. The phone rang and I went out to take the call. The call lasted longer than I expected and when I returned to my kitchen, the pot was smoking. Apparently I had lost all track of time, and the water boiled out, leaving only the little plastic kong in there to be melted to the bottom of the pot. OH Just Great! I hate the stove, so many bad things have happened to me near them that I don’t even want to cook.  The house smelled putrid, like burnt plastic, I opened all the windows, and let the house air out. I had enough time that by the time Justin got home the smell was gone and the burnt, and melted Kong was neatly tucked away at the bottom of the trash.

I almost forgot about having done this, but when I saw a Kong at Wal-Mart, I wanted it and remembered what I had done to the last one. After I told him the story, he laughed and laughed and laughed, grabbed the new kong and just started walking to the check out stand.

But get this, I’m in the car reading the package thinking maybe it says how you should clean it and it says “Dishwasher safe” OH MY FRIGGEN GOD! It was dishwasher safe, If I would have known that I would have just put it in the stupid dishwasher. Again, Justin busts out in laughter, and made fun of me for about a whole day. If it could be made into a joke about my culinary skills, or kitchen experience, he said it. I love my husband and am glad that I provide such amusement for him.

My First Agility Trial April 10th

April 13, 2010

I want to start this blog out by saying thank you to all the people at the CPE event held at WAG that answered all of my questions and helped guide me thru our first agility trial. It was nice knowing that if I had a question, I knew i could get an answer. Sue was especially helpful in helping me and my dog. When we first measured in, he measured in for a 12″ jump height. Unfortunately my dog has a luxating patella which was diagnosed by the vet. It’s not bad at all right now and you wouldn’t be able to tell at first, but he does have it. The vet does not recommend the surgery right now, and suggested his jump height stay at 8″.

When Jager measured in for a 12″ Jump, I almost thought I would have to back out. I couldn’t do that to my dog, or for that matter face my trainer Nola on Monday. She would have chastised me for endangering my dog. Sue was so helpful that she searched me out after I checked in and told me about the enthusiast class. I found out that I could jump at 8″ in that class. That was such a relief.

I would also like to thank my trainer Nola with Performance Dogs in Action. As much as she yells at me during our practice once a week, her teaching us proper handling skills really came into play in our first trial. In fact I would like to note that there were 3 students that I know of , of hers at this trial, 12 runs and only one fault. Unfortunately that fault was mine. *Sigh* I’ll tell you all about it.

I enrolled as an enthusiast, and Jäger and I were on our way to starting our first trial. The only crappy thing about the entire event was that we had 6 hours to wait before we started our first run. Oh man, that seemed like it took forever. But the wait would soon be over.

We talked to several people and watched the various games that were played. We were new to this so we had a ton of questions and most people were friendly. One thing I did notice is that in competition, respect is earned, not just given. It all starts with a simple question too, “Who’s your trainer?” The community is somewhat small so I think that most of the trainers must know of each other, or have run in trials together.  People judge you on this right away. One lady was telling me she had to try out to be a student. What the heck, I felt that I interviewed my trainer as opposed to being interviewed. We had things we were looking for in our second trainer that we didn’t know to look for in our first trainer. Regardless, both trainers we have been to served a purpose, and I wouldn’t have been at this trial, if I hadn’t enrolled into my first class over a year ago.

I would understand why this question  is so important later during my run. Our trainer now is Nola Jones, she is the owner of Performance Dogs in Action, located in Pleasant grove. I used to think she was a tough cookie, but after this event, I understood that everything she was harping on us about were things that in a trial are important. It’s funny because as you run the course you hear your trainer in your head, yelling at you to keep your hands up, or to use the switch, or try the wrap, to keep the dog from going over the jump.

We enrolled Jäger in four classes, (2) standard beginner level 1 agility, (1) colors course and last was the Jumpers course.

Our first run was almost comical. Jäger didn’t know the difference between this ring and the practice ring. He started off slow, so so slow. I had to keep my voice high and cheerful to help motivate him along. He took the dog walk at his own pace, slower than I have ever seen him do that thing, and I laughed when he got to the end of it, and used his nose to push the dirt around looking for the plate. “No Bubba, there’s no plate” I said, and he looked up at me with these sad eyes.

I tried so hard to not touch him, because that’s against the rules, and he had to make sure there was no plate there, so the thought was tempting me to grab his collar and move him along. Finally he was convinced that the plate wasn’t there and continued on, This time I was able to motivate to speed it up, and he went over the series of three jumps, thru the “U” shaped tunnel and over the next set of  jumps, back thru the tunnel under the dog walk and now he is facing the A frame.

He slowed down in the tunnel though which was his mistake because he didn’t have enough momentum to run up A Frame. He struggled and I cheered him on. It was steeper than the one in class, so coming down also challenged him. He was unsure of himself on this piece of equipment, I could see it in his eyes, that he was thinking “What the hell is this? And Why does it feel different?”  If he had hands he would have been grabbing the side, he was flat against the A Frame, and soon he was in the yellow contact zone , and we were on our way off the obstacle. He saw his jumps ahead of him and started to pick up speed, and finished his run.

We had no faults, we did perfectly fine although I thought slower than most, but still no mistakes. As soon as we got out of the way, I bent down and hugged him and kissed him, and gave him a nanner treat. He loves bananas, so I picked up a special chicken wrapped banana treat for him the day before. I broke one up and gave it to him.

The second run surprised me, he was much faster this time. In fact it caught me off guard, and I found myself trying to control him more. He was amped, and everything was fun now. The judge was near the u shaped tunnel and as soon as he exited it, he found her rather appealing. He went over to sniff her, and played bowed. Unfortunately, he was now on the other side of the jump, the wrong side. This is when you are supposed to remember the training, but I didn’t. I wanted him over here, I called his name in a playful way, he shook his head, as if to say no. I saw he was having fun, and I called him again, this time by his fun name, the name I use when we play together at home. “Bubba here” but my had was on the wrong side, I knew it to, I just directed my dog to go over the jump the wrong way . Ah Dang it! And of course he did just that. I knew what I needed to do after I did it, but dang it, I just made us lose points.

I still had half the course left. I wasn’t going to give up either because of one mistake, He was fast all the way thru it too. But the thing about dogs is that they sometimes remember the course the way it was during the first run, and this was exactly the opposite. After he finished his series of jumps, I called him for the dog walk but he ran for the tunnel instead.  I didn’t want him to go there. I called him to the dog walk again, but he moved his head toward the tunnel. I had to get him off that tunnel. He never went  in it, but it was calling his name, and his mood was what I was combating here. He was being playful and I wanted him to have fun, shoot I was having fun too, but he did that head shake thing again. It totally reminds of what horses do when they neigh and stomp their feet. I called the “Here, walk it” command again, but he neighed at me again, this time, I decided to play back at him and did the same thing and neighed toward the walk it. Here I am literally acting like a horse, but it seemed like a good idea. If I tried to give the command the way it should have been given, he would have went for the tunnel. I know him, I knew that was what he was going to do, so I took the chance and tried communicating to him the way he was trying to talk to me. OMG, it totally worked, he left the tunnel alone and ran toward the walk it. Whew! After that we were on fire, and finished successfully.

After that run, I bent down and roughed him up a bit, and gave him his nanner chip. We played all the way out of the ring. I wasn’t actually paying attention to anyone one else and it took me a few moments to realize that people had come up to me after that run to congratulate us. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but in spirit it was. You could see the fun we had out there when we were in it. I think it might have been refreshing for the judge. Shoot half the people seemed so serious,that they forget to have fun.  The score keepers and judge actually clapped when we finished and had these big smiles on their faces. It was nice.

All in all, that stupid jump was our only fault for four runs. We did well in all four events and qualified all four times. I later went back to the company that was video taping the run and saw all the runs. It’s funny because In practice I do well, I keep my hands up and my commands clear. But watching myself back on that tape, I kept dropping my hands, no wonder he went for the tunnel. And that stupid jump I made the mistake on, I could see I should have wrapped him around it, not command him to come back to me. Damn it, I hear Nola in my head!  Next time I’ll try to remember these things. But all in all , I felt good about it how we did.

People Watching at my First CPE Agility competition

April 12, 2010

I was nervous, I thought that we couldn’t compete because Jager is so horrible on the teeter, but thanks to a few people who read this blog, they suggested I try the CPE events held at the WAG facilities in Elk Grove. Of course I went home and read up on it, and convinced my husband that we needed to try a real competition. He reluctantly agreed, but agreed none the less. I think he was a little bummed out that he would be competing instead of watching the Golf Masters. He really wanted to see Tiger play.

While he moaned and complained at first, I had the horrible task of figuring out the paperwork for the CPE organization and Fun Paws Agility club. What a mess it was. Being that it was my first time ever filling it out or competing, i had no idea how to do it. But during this time I met a nice lady named Sue,  who helped with the organization and she helped me get thru it. She knew we were beginners so she helped suggest some of the runs we should do, and just in general was a really nice lady.

What I hated about the event, is that it starts so damn early in the morning. We had to leave our house at 6:15 am on a SATURDAY!! But that was because we had to actually get measured in. The next 6 hours were grueling. It was cold, the wind was nipping at me and we didn’t have our first run until about 2:30. Man we could have went back home, but we decided to stay and watch the experienced runners.

People watching is fun, I love to do this at the mall or in public and it’s a bit different when your at an agility trial. While i expected to see different types of people at this trial,  and there was, it just was not what i expected. I would have thought that this would have been something that younger people who can run fast and like to compete do, but the majority of the handlers were retired. Also another interesting fact, 90% of all the handlers were women.

Women dominated the competition. they handled all types of dogs too, from a small Pomeranian, to a large and powerful husky. These women amazed me at the ability to handle their dogs. Now add on top of that that the average age of the handlers were mid 50′s and you start to admire them more. Most of these women were probably someone’s grandma, but you would never tell that from how they were in the ring. They were lively and vivacious.

There was another lady I remember meeting, she was a lesbian probably in her 30′s, but who cared, she was nice and helped me out when I had a question. I enjoyed watching her run her dog, she was good, and her partner would help out with the scoring and let her know what mistake she made or if she did something good.  I couldn’t help but watch them after they got done with a run. I’ll tell you why i liked her, because although she wanted to win, the main thing she cared about was the dog. She remembered that it was her dog who did well, and played with him, and kissed him and he enjoyed it, and happily wagged his tail as he kissed her back. Her partner gave the dog a few extra pats on the head and all was well in his world.

If i had any complaint about watching for 6 hours was how some people forgot that this was supposed to be fun.

I read in the paperwork about bad sportsmanship and how they would kick you out. And for the most part, most people were kind to the animals. Still , there are always going to be those very few who just don’t remember what it’s about. They keep seeing titles and ribbons,instead of the true meaning of the sport, which is to have fun and bond with the dog.

I heard a few handlers walking off the course, demeaning the dog, asking it why it did so bad. I saw one lady in a private room actually hit her dog. It felt like a moment that I accidentally stole from her. Like I shouldn’t have watched her take her dog off, but I couldn’t help it, I was confused as to why she thought her dog sucked. They really didn’t do so bad. My gaze followed them as they went back to the room and that’s when I saw it. A slap to the dogs snout, she yelled something to him and looked up. I think then she knew I saw, I looked away quickly, feeling sorry for the dog. He really didn’t do so bad.

Here’s an interesting fact about agility. Its 98% handler and 2% dog.  There are few things on the course that the dog can make a mistake doing. Most of what the dog can make a mistake on can be undone in training but not in competition. Handlers are there to guide the dog by communicating correctly, to correct the dog, again by communicating correctly and to keep the dog motivated and having fun. If you have horrible skills in any of these areas your team is going to fall apart out in that arena.

There was another  lady who was competing, she had a border collie, she was in the ring, two obstacles in, and the dog hits the A Frame, and got overly excited. How could they not, they love this activity!  The dog ran up the A Frame and in it’s excitement, jumped off the obstacle before hitting the yellow contact. I know this can be dangerous for the dog,  but i didn’t agree with the handlers action. The handler immediately made the dog lay down, stopped her run and picked up the dog and walked it off course, all the meanwhile scolding the dog. The dog was submissive, ears back, and clearly not enjoying it.

All the trainers I have had have always stressed how important it is to have fun. I have seen many dogs have this problem in training, and I have never heard a trainer say “Well She’s done for the evening, Yell at her and put her away?!!” No way, I can’t put my mind around a trainer saying that at all. Most trainers use contact or target training or PVC Boxes and treats. I know that this is not training, it’s competition, but what she did was a setback for her dog and I would almost say if her trainer saw her, she as a handler would have been corrected. She set herself back by doing that. All her dog learned was that the A Frame is no fun, she gets yelled at and pulled off course. It wouldn’t surprise me if the handler continued to do that if her dog just avoided it all together.

What surprised me most was that this lady wasn’t alone, there were a few handlers that did this, and  sometimes it was if the dog barked on course,

It’s easy to remember the bad handlers, but there are just as many impressive handlers too. I was impressed with another lady who had a Aussie that had the same problem, and about 3/4 way thru the dog walk, she told the dog something, I couldn’t hear what she said, but the dog crouched down like a cat ready to catch prey. I think they do this when herding or something. but it was very prey like.  She was crawling but there was no fear in her eyes, only anticipation, the prey was the yellow spot, or maybe the handlers command, the moment was almost on us as we watched in anticipation. It was as if all the oxygen in the room left, the energy was contained, but not gone. It reminds me of the movie Backdraft, where you see the oxygen leave the room and the flame rescinds, but you know it’s still there and the moment someone opens the door, its going to explode.

The team was so good, that even the spectators were drawn into this moment and provided fuel for the fire. The dog continued to stalk the yellow spot  at the end of the walk and it finally hit the yellow. Still in a couching stance the tail wagged. The dog looked at her, the flame growing, the handler knowing what was ahead and with a small nod of her head the dog was let off the contact.  At that moment, It was like an explosion of energy hit the room, You could hear people breathing again. The handler and the dog, were in the zone now,  the energy that a team like that gives off brightened the arena.  Jump, Jump, Tunnel Jump, Tire, Teeter, all at lighting fast speed. When the run was down, the crowd applauded, Wow that was impressive. And at the end, she picked up her dog, kissed her, put her down, and played with her. The dog knew it did good, i think not only did that dog love being rewarded by her handler but the cheering from the spectators was equally rewarding.

In my six hours of people watching, these are the highlights. I learned what I didn’t want to become, what i did want strive for and how much I love my little guy and most of all how much i wanted HIM to have fun.

I do want to stress that there were so many helpful and nice people there, there isn’t really time to tell you all about them. If any one is wanting to try this out, please do, this was a great venue and wonderful event to attend. I sincerely had a ton of fun. Sue was a pleasure to work with and extremely helpful and patient with me regarding the paperwork. She had no problem walking me thru it, I sincerely appreciated that. I couldn’t have competed without her help. If there are any new people who want to try this, please know you are in good hands with her.

Stick around, I’ll tell you how we did in my next blog.

Guitar Hero

April 1, 2010

I decided to lay off of the agility training at home. Jäger was doing better at class, and I just didn’t want to overdo it with the training. I wanted him to like it, and pushing him seemed kind of mean. Justin and I had purchased Guitar Hero 5, and after a weekend of getting my butt kicked on easy, I wanted to improve. However, I couldn’t let him know I was practicing, he would consider that cheating. Whatever!

I went home and hooked up the wii and tried to figure out a way to create a new game without erasing the old game. But I’m a not a savvy technical gadget kind of chick, and in my desperation accidently erased all his old scores. Oops, My bad! Oh well, I figured it would at least take him a week to figure out that I had reset it before he becomes upset with me.

And what’s the deal with me being a cheater by practicing.  When I was trying to reset the game, I noticed all the levels were open and all the songs were played and scored 5. That was the total reason why I wanted to reset the stupid game in the first place. I can guarantee that he didn’t play all those levels with me! He was secretly cheating anyways, which if he notices that I reset the game, he can’t really complain. I have him on a technicality!

Being married is fun, because you find little loopholes where you can get away with stuff, and not get in trouble. It’s like being a kid all over again, but you’re not going to be grounded after they find out!

I decided to practice when he had to work night shifts. This would give me time to improve before the weekend when we both had it off. With this bad weather we have been having, we weren’t’ getting out of the house to much anyways and thus made for a good Guitar Hero challenge weekend, that included my favorite Sea Dog Blueberry Ale.

Every night during the week, I would come home, take the dog out for his walk, cook dinner for myself and plug in the game. Man that game is addicting! What I thought would be an hour a day ended up being about 3hrs a day. Jäger grew restless and I swear would know when I was about to get a 5 star and would move in my lap, or move the controller so that I missed a few notes. GRRRR

Than one night, I’m playing along to Kings of Leon, (my favorite song on the game) , and the dog is chewing his bone on my lap. We had come to a comfortable arrangement on how he would lay, and that worked for the most part. But about halfway thru my challenge song, I smell something. It is a terrible smell, that I can’t even describe to you, but it kind of smells like dog butt but it never goes away. I move the dog, because maybe he had the farts or something. But the dog just comes back to my lap. I move him again and miss the note. Damn, Oh well, I continue playing but the smell is getting worse. This time I move him off my lap and keep him off, but there is something wet on my pants. Ok Charity, just finish the song, but I can’t anymore because I’m distracted by the wetness on my lap.

I know he didn’t just pee on me did he! (well I hoped he didn’t )  I unknowingly take my hand and touch the spot, and I don’t know why but I lift my hand to my nose and smell it. I almost puked right there. It was awful, and now what ever it was is on my hand. Oh this is gross, meanwhile the game just booed me off the stage, and now I can concentrate on whatever this is. The best way I can describe the smell is that it kind of smells like belly button funk, dog poop and rotten eggs all rolled into one complex nasty lingering smell.

I know that it’s on me and that even grosses me out more, I start to gag again, and I get up off the couch. My stomach is completely turned upside down. I know I have to take my clothes off and I do, but I can still smell it. I decide that whatever this is will need to be washed off by a shower. I gag again, but I’m struck stupid by the smell and I take my hand to hold up to my mouth so I wouldn’t get any puke if I actually puked on the rug. That was the dumbest thing I could have done, because it was only a second ago that I had dabbed my hand in the wetness to find out what it was. I instantly puke, and am now running to the bathroom with puke in my mouth.

I puked my whole Jack in the box dinner in the toilet. As I’m trying to catch my breath and keep myself from puking I see my dog doing the boot scoot boogie on the carpet. Gag, Gag, puke! I know what it is, it’s his anal sacks! Oh crap, this is gross, puke, puke, gag, gag. I come up for air after about five minutes of hanging over the toilet, but Jäger is right there ready to lick my face. I get in the shower, wash myself thoroughly.

Imagine that scene in the crying game where the guy finds out that the women he loves was really a dude, and he takes a shower and sobs. Yup that we me sobbing with disgust in the shower! I wash off, dry myself, get dressed, and sit back down, but the smell is still so pungent. I look at my dog and I realize that it is on him, and in his fur. This is bad, very bad; I know I have to check him.

I also know I have to wash his butt because I have to remove that smell. As I realize this, I remember a story my Mother in Law told me about her friend who had a dog with the same anal sac problem and how it seemed to protrude out of the butt of the dog. This woman she was talking about was not a lady that would do this herself, no she let professionals deal with it normally, but one day, she gave the dog a bath herself, and had to do it. It’s a disgusting thing about small dogs no one will really talk about. Anyway, the way my mother in law described what her friend told her about what the sac looked like when it was inflamed, had me in tears now from fear.

I know what it is and it’s not inviting me to lift up his tail.  I’m picturing in my head a bulging, raging tumor growing out of his butt, because of the damn story Karen told me.  I gag again, and again, I have to get water first. Ok, I’m ok, I search frantically for the doggie wipes, where are they, oh ok I found them. Good. I look at the dog, and he is wagging his tail. I find myself saying something like “Yeah that must have felt good to you buddy, it must be like holding in a fart too long and finally getting to let loose” He just wags his tail.

Ok, I got to stop talking to the dog and just pick him up and check. I grab him, but him on the table where I can get a good look. I have the baby wipes in hand and lift up his tail. I am not a professional, but he looked ok, no bulging anal sac, just a little bit of wetness on his fur. I grab the wipes, puke in my mouth one last time and just wipe away the smell. It seemed to work, but the truth is if you ever ever smell this smell, you will psychologically smell this forever. You can shower, take a bath, roll down windows, open windows, spray your house, clean your house, whatever, you will still think you smell this smell. It’s like having a nightmare and not being able to wake up. It’s awful.

There are few times when I can look back and say oh that is a funny story, because that smell is in no way funny, but I have at least two, this one, because I can no longer play Guitar Hero without having PTSD and not want to puke, and one while the whole family was trapped in the car. I think you might have read that story already. I still think he did it on purpose, I think I wasn’t giving him enough attention, so he did it. That’s my version of the aforementioned events and I’m sticking to it!! But if dogs could talk, he would probably say, it hurt, I farted, I feel better now.

The worst haircut ever!

March 23, 2010

I’m not much of a do it yourself person. I want things done right, and I’m more than likely going to mess it up if I do it myself. I have no desire to work on projects at home or watch Bob Villa. Nope, that’s why there are professionals to do those type jobs.

When it comes to my dog though, things changed a little bit. This change occurred he was certified as a pet therapy dog. Being a pet therapy dog requires a lot of grooming. After about two months of having him professional groomed, the bill was astronomical. Justin and I were already in a pinch, so I had to figure out a way to do this a lot cheaper.

I ran and bought all the books I could, I bought DVD’s , clippers, five different kinds of scissors,  the shampoos and conditioners.  I read the books, watched the DVDs, and I must admit, I did a pretty good job for a few months. But I made one serious mistake. I bought the cheapest pair of clippers I could. I couldn’t afford the nice ones. They worked for a few month, but started to get really bad about two months ago.

One day it was time to clean him up, and I proceeded to give him a bath, dry him out, cut his nails and when I did the best I could on shaving him. But those cheap clippers were awful, and he was completely uneven all the way around. It was horrendous, but there was nothing I could do to fix him. The worst part about it is a black dog shows all the imperfections in his coat, more so than a blond or white dog would.

Justin got home and saw his poor dog and man did he have a rant for me. I was humbled and I could only explain to him that the clippers sucked. He was dumbfounded. He asked how long it would take to grow back out. I said probably two weeks. He looked at Jäger and just hugged him and said it was all mommies fault. Nice huh? The next few weeks I heard him tell Jäger I gave him a “ghetto cut” or the mom cut. He also suggested that I just get a bowl put it on his head and just cut around the bowl, like some mom’s did to their kids when they cut their kids hair. I think he called it a  poor man’s cut a few times. Oh man, I heard it all in the passing two weeks.

The funniest part of it all, happened a few days later when we went to agility practice. Our instructor Nola saw him and said, “Oh nice hair cut on Jäger, it looks really good” I had that see I told you so look on my face and for the next two weeks . Whenever Justin made a crack about Jägers cut, I would respond, “Well that’s your opinion, Nola liked it”

Well I would like to say it wasn’t that bad but it was pretty bad. It was so bad that when my birthday rolled around, my mother in law and her husband got me a really good pair of clippers. I was happy I got some new clippers, but afraid of what I would do to him. The thought popped in my head, that maybe it wasn’t the clippers, maybe it was me? I was afraid, and I put off cleaning him for an extra week. But he began to smell and I knew the time had come, I had to groom him.

Although I was afraid I groomed him and he turned out to have the best hair cut I have ever given him. He looked so nice, the clippers worked so well that Justin backed off on insulting my dog grooming abilities. In fact he said he looked about as good as Jax did, who that same day that Jäger was cut, was groomed professionally. I had to admit, it was a good cut, and I got my confidence back.

I told you so!

March 16, 2010

I have a bleeding heart for animals. If it was up to me I would save them all and become an animal hoarder. Ok I’m kidding; I like dogs, and tolerate cats. I have two cats actually, one is about 10 years old, and she hates me. She was never my cat; I inherited her when I married my husband. I think she knew this and took an immediate dislike to me, the only thing I can say is that at least she doesn’t pee on anything I own, she only pukes on it. She’s old what can I say.

My other cat, well she is mine, and she adopted me when she was just a teenager. About a week after we decided to keep her, (Ok, so I fed her against my husband’s wishes, but I can’t watch an animal starve) she went into heat. I thought something was wrong with her. She didn’t do anything that I thought a cat would do. I was told they whine a lot, but she didn’t really do that. She rubbed up on people a lot and she looked like she was in pain. I swore she was, and my friend Bill had to ask me if I ever witnessed a cat in heat before. I said no, and leave it to the man slut in our group to know a pussy in heat when he sees one!

I hope none of you are pro choice, because I aborted those kittens as soon as she was done being in heat. The problem was that we had already scheduled the appointment to have her spayed, and had to cancel, because they wouldn’t do the operation while she was in heat. So I decided to pay the extra 50 bucks if they dusted off the old coat hanger. Ok Ok, so that isn’t exactly true, they don’t use coat hangers, but I did pay the extra money to get rid of the unwanted kittens.

This cat was special, she had no tail, and I liked that. She hunted birds and I liked that too. She completely de-birded my backyard in about three weeks. I was so happy because the birds were blue jays and they suck. They are noisy and mean and I can’t stand them. We would go out to mow the lawn and they would dart for your head. Every day for the first couple months we would come home to find a bird on our door step, it was great. Some days I would even find two. Our house was the only house on the block that you couldn’t hear birds chirping. I was probably the only person who could sleep at night too.

We moved from that house a couple months later to a bigger city about an hour and half away. From that point on she was an inside kitty. She lost all her drive to catch anything bigger than a mosquito too. Shoot, we lived in a bird sanctuary, well not really but the wetlands were really close and the birds would constantly fly into our back yard and pool. For the first time in my life I would pay attention to the birds, the geese, the cranes, wild ducks and all the other types of birds that I would see. I never saw such beautiful creatures. The problem was if I thought that Blue Jays were loud, try listening to a pack of geese fly over twice a day. They are so loud. But all these birds were much bigger than my little kitty could take down and she happily accepted the indoor life and adapted well.

This is where my story begins. I wonder if anyone who reads this blog is married or in a long term relationship. If you are than there is nothing worse than being wrong. No one wants to be on the losing end of an argument, and no one ever wants to be proved wrong over and over again.

It started off nice, we moved from the house, to an apartment to save money. The economy tanked and we took a thirty thousand dollar pay cut. That hurt! But we will survive and like any resilient couple, we decided to move into an apartment save some money and buy a house when we could.

We searched all over the area for a decent pet friendly apartment. We wanted one that had large areas of grass for the dog to run around in, not a concrete jungle. We finally found one and moved in around November. The first few days we were way too occupied with unpacking to notice anything, but about a week later I went to take the dog out and noticed that there were little bowls around the building. One in particular was right outside our patio. At first I didn’t think too much about it, but a few days later I heard an incessant whining outside and went to investigate. It was a little kitty cat. She was staring at the empty bowl. As soon as my husband saw what I saw, he looks at me and says”Don’t feed it Charity”

It was so hard not to, but I later found out that some of the other neighbors were feeding it too and filling up the bowls. Then one day it all stopped no more food. The tenants had gotten mad because the cat was hungry and fought another cat for the food. This poor little kitty going hungry in the cold weather. I think I stayed resilient and didn’t feed the cat for maybe two days, then I fed it damn it. But this time I was prepared, and I had a camera. I took the cute little cat’s picture and posted it on my Facebook page. Yup I was going to find this cat a home.

I was actually quite proud at the end of the day because I had successfully found the cat a new home. I was excited and told my husband all about it on our ride home from work. I was expecting a good job, but he said something like “You fed it?” Ok let’s move past that part. He asks when the person is going to come pick up the kitty and that’s when my “I told you so” story really begins. I answered that as soon as I catch it, they’ll be picking it up.

I swear I was expecting feedback, but you could hear a pin drop in the car, he looks at me and says “What are you going to do when you catch it because that cat is not coming in our home” I fought him on this and won, the cat was quarantined to the bathroom once I captured her. I called my friend and she was on her way to pick up the kitty. While I was waiting for her, I brushed her coat out and noticed a flea. Oops, maybe I’ll just keep this to myself, this was the whole reason that Justin didn’t want, now what did he call her, oh yea Skankapotomus in our house. So I did what I thought I could and put all the towels we had down in the bathroom, so that if any flea decides to jump off her they would jump onto the towel and I could just wash them.

I thought I was successful in my endeavor. A month had passed and see nothing bad had happened. I was sitting on my bed pondering my good deed about a month later while I was petting my own cat. But what’s this; she has a rash I think. I felt her more and groomed her a little more only to discover she had a really bad rash. I kept it to myself for about a week and just watched all the animals. They all were scratching and seemed pretty itchy. The first I told you so happened when Justin was petting the dog, he felt some dirt on the dog and told me I needed to wash him. So I did, but what I didn’t tell him was that I found it odd that he was that dirty after I just gave him a bath a few days ago. What the hell is the dog rolling in? I groomed him and while I was I picked a piece of the dirt out of his fur, and went to the internet. I researched fleas, and it said that what I had in my hand was flea poop. OH GROSS!! But the only way to tell is get it wet, so I did, and it turned a color I was hoping it wouldn’t , it turned red, blood red.

Oh just great, at some point my husband is going to figure this out, especially when I have to buy the flea shampoo. Nothing gets past Justin, I think in some way he has some Jewish in him because when we go shopping his favorite line is “Do we really need that” I thought maybe I could bore him and he wouldn’t come with me grocery shopping that week, but he was already bored and a chance to go shopping and torment me seemed more appealing to him.

I created a distraction at the store, and asked him to get something, and while he did, I snuck over to the pet station and started reading the back of the flea shampoos. Will this work on cats too? I wondered when I felt a presence behind me.  I don’t know how long he was standing there, but he finally pipes up, and says, “What’s that in your hand?” I slyly respond, “Shampoo” “What kind of shampoo, you already have three different kinds for the dog, we don’t need any more” But right as he is saying that, he leans down and grabs the shampoo out of my hands. “Charity what the hell is this?” I’ve been found out! My trickiness didn’t work. I had to explain the whole thing to him about all our animals being infested, the carpet is probably infested and we needed to actually buy the frontline for all the animals. The dog had always been protected, but the cats weren’t, they never had any need to be because they never went outside.

Well, folks let’s just say, I’m not sure how many times the phrase “never listen” and “I told you this would happen” came up in our hour long fight. Well I wasn’t exactly fighting, more like being forced to listen to this, because if you ever lost a fight, you know you have to pretend to listen and say things like “I’ll remember that next time” and “I’m sorry that’s how you feel”

I think he scooped up anything on that shelf that could get rid of fleas. We tried on our own, but shit happens and well we had a much worse diagnosis than I thought. You see the cat’s rash was because she was allergic to flea bites. In fact she was kind of our fleamometer. If she still had the rash, we still had the fleas. The war began against the fleas, but the front was not united. It was my mess because I brought the cat into the house, so it was my responsibility to get rid of the fleas.

We went thru so many products, and finally had to call the vet because by this point if I ever do decide to have kids, they will probably be retarded from the amount of chemicals I was using in the house. I was surprised that those little fuckers could still be alive, nothing else was, not even my reproductive system.

The vet sold us this stuff that looks like a hairspray can, and smells horrible. You have to get rid of all the animals, spray it directly on the carpet and vacuum the floor over and over again. The suggested I put a flea collar in the vacuum too.

And here we go with another round of “You never listen to me” phrases as he calls his mom and asks if she can take our animals for the weekend. She did, and I had to move the furniture all by myself. But it wasn’t because he was a douche bag, he had a legitimate reason for not helping, he was working, so the war with the fleas became my problem. I was exhausted by the end of the day, with having to move all the furniture and vacuum and take the animals out of the house. I also got a fogger and decided that I already didn’t’ have a reproductive system, why not go all out and kill these things once and for all!

Our house didn’t smell good when we got back that’s for sure, but we were sure the battle against the fleas was over. Two months of waging war between those little devils. I truly believe that they are a creature of the night, a spawn of Satan!

The good news was the “I told you so” and “You never listen” remarks were starting to fade away. He was getting over it all. Woo hooo! That wasn’t so bad, he only told on me to his mom, sister and my parents and brother. All of them agreed with him and said things like “She was always like that as a kid” That was from my mom. “She always had to learn the hard way” was something my dad muttered, along with something like,” I handed her over to you when you married, thank god!”  My brother just laughed and said “She never listens” Whatever , they are all haters, I like to say I challenged life, if it can’t be done, I’d try it, if it shouldn’t be done, I’d still try it and figure out why it shouldn’t be done.

About a month had passes since our little Bloody Sunday. I like to think that was what the fleas would forever refer to extermination weekend I performed. About that time the dog got sick, really sick and had to go to the vet. The vet looks him over and even pulled out the flea comb, nope nothing on him. Whew I passed that test. Justin was looking at me when she did pull out the flea comb too. Finally there is silence in the room and she is pondering something, she pipes up “did you guys recently have fleas” I hated this question. I wasn’t going to look at him that was my plan, don’t make eye contact. I looked at the floor and said that we did about a month ago.

Oh I see she says and says they have to perform a test on him. Justin swears it was huge and he called it something like the crochet needle. He stares at the dog, and the vet lubes it up. It actually looked like a straw with a loop at the end, but by all accounts, it didn’t look like it would feel comfortable. She jabs it in Jagers ass and Justin looks at me with these beady little eyes. The whole time the dog is burying himself in my arms as if he was hoping this dream would end and we would not remember being butt raped by this little device. I think it was just as traumatic for Justin to watch as it was for the dog. Justin winced and had to look away.

The vet took the samples they needed and in a few minutes return to explain the diagnosis. Apparently Fleas carry worms and when they bite a dog, they pass on the parasite they are carrying. This cat had worms, and the dog had gotten worms from the cat. OH Lovely! I think it was about then that I said something like “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, REALLY? REALLY?” The vet look astonished at my outburst, and she explained some more. I wanted her to shut up, just be quite. I know I get it; it was a bad idea to bring the poor little kitty into our home. I just thought that God had punished me enough, you know, being stricken with swarm of fleas for two months and all. But nope, God had one last punch line he wanted to get in and here it is.

At first Justin was quite, he paid for the bill got the dewormer. I thought Oh good; he is not going to bring it up. That was until we reached the car, then this four month long fight of “I told you so” Peaked. I said some things like “I’m not a cruel person” He said some things, “Not every animal needs to be saved by you” I said “YES THEY DO!, he said, “You need to listen more”, I said “I do listen, it’s that I chose not to do what you said” Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, looking back, I should have just done what I had done previously, but I was tired from all the I told you so’s in the last month. I could no longer stand it. It was time to start defending myself. Well that went over like a turd in a punch bowl. The fight just escalated, and by the time we got home we weren’t speaking to each other.

I think we kept our distance for about 8 hours and we finally had to talk to each other. I thought about it, and decided that I would somehow make this right without having to admit I was wrong. I said something like, “I didn’t know the cat had fleas” He said that was just stupid to say, because the cat lived outside, and of course I knew it had fleas” Ok; he got me on that one. I said that at least I saved an animal’s life, and that was a good thing” He said “I put all our other animals in jeopardy for a skanky cat.” I think I blurted out what any women would have said “SHE’S NOT SKANKY!” as soon as I heard myself defending the virtue of a cat, I decided I lost and sucked it up.

I had to end this fight and the only way I was going to end it was admit I was wrong. I did, but he couldn’t take it, he spent about another hour, explaining to me why I need to listen more. I must admit, that my eyes although staring at him were actually rolled up in my head and I was thinking about what movies I wanted to see. He doesn’t know my “I’m not really paying attention to you look”, because I have perfected it. You see, you just pretend to be paying attention and every few minutes you pick up on a sentence and repeat it back to them. I do this with his golf stories all the time so he thinks I’m actually listening. I just did that after I admitted I was wrong. I figured this way he could finally get the biggest “I told you so” lecture out of the way and we could move on.

Ok the fight is over now, and apparently a few days ago as he was telling me another boring golf story, I used that look.  The next day I get in the car on our way back from work and it’s quite all the way home. I finally ask him why he isn’t talking about anything, golf, football, whatever, he normally has something to say and he finally said, “Because you’re going to give me that look and I know you’re not really listening” Well I guess that’s part of it, I like hearing his voice on the ride home and although I don’t like to topic, I like hearing him. Shit, now I’m actually going to have to pay attention, that’s when he started talking about golf, and I couldn’t help it, my mind wandered and halfway thru his conversation I interrupted him and said,”OH MY god, last week when you were giving me the riot act for the I told you so, you knew the whole time I wasn’t listening” I looked at him, and saw him crack a smile. He laughed out loud and said “Of course I knew, why the hell do you think I’ve been talking about Golf all week long, because you hate it, and I love seeing you squirm and think your fooling me” Go figure, that’s what I get for thinking I outsmarted him.

Crunchy Squirrel

February 24, 2010

In our excitement after we purchased our dog, we ran out to every possible pet store, and I alone think I kept them all in business from the money we were spending on preparing for his arrival. I can only imagine what having a baby is like now. We only had to wait 9 weeks.  I can only imagine how much crap I would have bought if I was having a kid!

We purchased dog food, dog beds, dog toys, skinneeze , kongs, plastic bones, real bones, and get this, a baby life jacket! What the Hell, a life Jacket before we even got him. I think if it looked cute or cool we bought it.

After a certain point my mother in law bought us his first Toy Box. She said he would need it, so we piled up all his toys and bones and put them in the box.

Once he arrived, we tried to get him to play with all the cool stuff we got, but dogs have a mind of their own. None of that was worthy of his attention except one toy, a brown skin-eeze squirrel, that he loved to shake around and play tug with. He would even suck on the legs. It was so disgusting because it became crunch really quick with all his dried slobber. I hated it already. I wanted his toy to die a horrible death, so he would stop bringing it to me.

Seriously, he couldn’t find anything else in that box that he could play with? I mean what’s wrong with the other stuff. Hundreds of dollars in toys and he only wanted this stupid $7.00 toy. GRRRR

But I endured it and knew there would be a day that I would throw that crunchy toy away. As he grew up, the interest in his toys was still random at best, maybe good for a throw or two, but that was it.

But there was one difference now; he thought he had NEW toys. Oh, (sigh) how many shoes did I go thru; probably four pairs during his teething. He also had a new fascination with anything that was mine.  I still haven’t found all my socks that he has hidden either. The one’s he didn’t hide, he ate thru.

Anything that smelled like me was his favorite new toy. At first I thought it was cute and kind of special. He loves me that much to hide my sock under his bed. How cute, but then it got embarrassing when he would bring some intimate item, i.e. underwear from upstairs down and play with it while company was around.

He would go so far as to start taking these “toys” while I was indisposed of like in the shower, so there were several times, that I had to run stark naked out of the shower and chase him all over the house to get the item back. “Stupid Dog” I would mutter under my breath, and I went back upstairs soaking wet with the prize in my hand.

One evening I was taking my shower and the dog did it again, and again, I run after him right out of the shower, barely able to get the towel around me and started chasing after him to find he reported back to my husband with said object. My husband looks at me and says “Did you have a nice shower?”

“NO! OF COURSE NOT!” I REPLY

I look around and see my husband dangling the item in his hand and the dog just sitting by his feet proudly wagging his tail. I swore a few words, grabbed the item out of his hands and started walking back, cold and covered by a damp towel. , and Justin says “Well I guess I shouldn’t mention your shoes than”

“What about my shoes?”

He points to where I normally take my shoes off and I look.  That’s when I saw it, my favorite pair of high heels, except it has no heel and the back part of the shoe has teeth marks in it.

“WHAT THE HELL! Where did the heel go?”

And again I look back at my husband, dangling the heel in his hand

“MOTHER F-ER!” yeah I said it, I don’t like to write and curse, but there is no other word that I can say that I felt at the time. I was cold and wet and still had soap in my hair and was mourning the loss of my beloved shoes.

I look back at my husband with a very dejected look on my face and again the dog is as happy as a clam. All I can hear is “thump, thump, thump” from his tail hitting the couch. To make matters worse, Justin has this huge grin on his face.  “WHAT!!” I Screamed

“You know all you had to do was listen to me when I told you last week to put your clothes in the hamper and your shoes in the closet. It’s not the dog’s fault you keep leaving your stuff for him to play with”

GRRRRR!!! I feel a monstrous fight coming on, he was right, but did he really have to say it? I’m pissed now and grab my heel out of his hand and as I walk away I scream!  I head back up to the shower and the dog wants to follow me, but I don’t want him to, if he gets any closer to me right at this moment, I’m going to spank his little ass, and I don’t train that way.

So I do the next best thing, I grab the baby gate and block his access to the stairs, but it was one of those stupid cheap gates you get at Rite Aid and it didn’t work very well. It’s stuck now and won’t pull apart and as I’m trying to open the gate, the towel falls down and that’s when I hear my husband laughing hysterically in the background.

I look back at him and he is keeping his distance, but he can’t stop laughing at me. I’m so frustrated that I wedge the gate in the spindles of the stairs, pick up my towel, my broken heel, and the undisclosed item he stole and proceed to the bathroom to finish my shower.

I finally get in the shower, but its cold water now because it was left running while I went downstairs to retrieve the item. I’m trying to wash the soap out of my hair, but it’s so cold, and am kind of hopping around in the shower to stay warm. As soon as I get the soap out, I turn the shower off and grab the already damp towel, dry my face and as soon as I open my eyes, I see the dog with another undisclosed item in his mouth. He looks at me and drops the item. WTH! I put the clothes away. I step out of the shower to see the dog was smart enough to know that he could easily grab any item out of our laundry basket. There was a mess on the ground from him pulling on the item and other pieces of clothes falling after he did that.

“What the hell is wrong with your toys?” I desperately ask him

He answers with a “thump, thump, thump “of his tail hitting the ground.

Right then a genius idea goes off, (insert light bulb here) and this was what I did the next time I took a shower, I grabbed his stupid squirrel and watch him like a hawk as goes in for the undisclosed item, but this time I get his attention by squeaking the squeaker, that didn’t quite sound like a squeaker, but more like a balloon with a hole in it. He hears it, perks his head up, looks at me and starts running toward me. (Mind you with undisclosed item still in his mouth)  He dropped the item and grabbed hold of the toy and starts tugging on it. As soon as he does that and he was interested in it, I removed the undisclosed item from underneath him. I looked up and thanked god for giving me the crunchy squirrel to divert his attention to.  And just so you know for the remainder of the shower, he kept his attention on the stupid squirrel too! Crisis averted.

On a side note, I didn’t speak to my husband for a few hours after he laughed at me, but he did the good husband thing and surprised me a few days later with an exact match in size and color to the shoe that Jager ate. That’s a good husband.

The famous crunchy squirrel

Expressions!

February 18, 2010

Jager was probably about 5 months old when this happened. He was still a little poof ball of fur at the time. It was the beginning of fall, because my parents like to go wine tasting around that time in El Dorado foothills. This time of year the leaves on the trees and bushes turn a vibrant fire color right before they are supposed to fall off. We have gone with my parents every year, and this year was no different.

I have to back up a little bit here, to help you understand. After jager was a few weeks old, we caught him doing the boot scoot boogie on our carpet. I seriously followed him around with a bottle of Petzyme because it’s disgusting to see, and I had a beige white carpet so I didn’t want residue. We let it slide that day and the next morning we let him out to do his business  but he looked so uncomfortable when he had to go poo . He kept moving around the lawn hoping to find a magic spot that would help him out. But as soon as I let him back in the house, it was like he was wiping his butt on the carpet, and again out comes the Petzyme. I had enough of this , so I called Justin when I got to work because by this time he was off work,  and asked him to take Jager to the vet.

Justin called the vet, and got jager in right away. They took him to the back, did something, and handed them to Justin. I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t fully understand what Justin meant when he said it was the most disgusting smell he has ever smelled, and the car ride back he had all the windows down. I guess he was all aired out by the time I got home. I did ask Justin what the Vet said and she explained to us, that in smaller breed dogs, they sometimes have a problem with the anal sacks and need to have the manually expressed. She recommended we find a groomer and make sure this is done at least every 6 weeks, or we were going to end up in the Vet’s office quite a bit.

Now we must fast forward to our wine trip. My dad decided to drive his new truck, and Justin and I were going to take the back seat. Now Justin and I have a crate we normally put Jager in when we drive, but my parents have the halter harness that goes on the dog, and buckles directly into the seatbelt. Jager has never traveled like this before, and as we drove, he became nervous and decided to stretch out and lay across  Justin’s and my lap.

The truck my dad had was a four door duel cab pickup. It still was a compact space to be in even for a roomy truck. My parents were driving so Justin and I are in the backseat. The dog was on the harness in the middle of us. Jager was nervous, he never traveled like this before and so he would layed on Justin with his legs outstretched and panted heavily.  The drive up there was about an hour, and I’d say about three quarters of the way thru, Justin kind of abruptly pushes the dog off him and Jager comes to me and lays down on my lap. Justin didn’t say a word. A few seconds later, he tries to roll the windows down, but the windows had the child proof lock on them. At this point he almost looks like he is going to panic.

He leans over to me and politely asked me to try to roll down my window, and again I try but the damn locks are on it. Right about this time, I turn to Justin and tell him it’s locked. But when I do I see Justins face turning green and right at that moment I take breath, and OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT IS THAT HORRIBLE SMELL?

I looked at Justin and ask him quietly why he hotboxed us?

He looks at me and says in a hushed fighting voice “It’s not me!”

“ If that is not you then who did that?” I respond

It’s not me CHARITY! He says again.

But again I have to breathe, and the smell is starting to overcome us.

“ DAD, DAD, ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN!” But you have to understand, my dad does nothing quickly. My mom says he has two speeds, snail speed and turtle speed. Which for a moment like this is not good at all.

“ Why?” He asks,

“Cause I need some air, that’s why! ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN!” I say back to him

The smell is getting worse,

He asks  “Can’t you roll the windows down?”

“No dad, I can’t because you have the stupid child locks on the door or something ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN AND STOP ASKING ME QUESTIONS” I yell back because I was frustrated.

My mom is startled but as she turns her head toward us, she smells the poisonous gas that is slowly killing Justin and I. “STANELY ROLL THE WINDOWNS DOWN!” My mom yells at him

Now my dad has no idea why we are all panicking because he has no sense of smell, but none of us is going to use our last breath trying to explain to him what is going on.

Mom’s plea seemed to be working, but my dad doesn’t quite know where the button was for the child safety lock is, and as he looks, he swerves the truck a little trying to find it but he still hasn’t found it. My mom and I look at each other, and right then you hear the dogs tail thumping against the seat. We both look at him and she says “Did he go to the bathroom?”

“ No Mom, he didn’t, can you just open your window since dad can’t figure this out, please?” I ask

She doesn’t even turn around before the window starts going down. I’m sitting right behind her so I’m trying to squeeze my head thru the little space there is between the front seat and the seat belt but it was enough, fresh air. Ahh. I can think again, so I bring my head back in and as soon as I do my nose is assaulted by the stench again. This time I see my poor husband with no ventilation and he seriously looks ill. If he blows chunks I’m going to, now I’m really in a panic

“DAD! ROLL THE WINDOW DOWN!”  This time, he rolls his window down and Justin did the same thing I did, and we are both trying to force our heads thru that little space so we can get some air.

Now that everyone has practically yelled at my dad, he finally figures out where the window lock is and pushes it. Oh good, thank god relief!  Justin and I quickly open the windows but it’s the back seat and all the rear windows are still child safe, so they only roll halfway down. We are sitting up, with our butts off the seat trying to keep our faces out of the window. We did this for like five minutes. And finally sit back on the seat. The truck had kind of aired out, but that kind of smell sticks to you, and the fabric, and the dog, so it’s still there.

All I could say is , “ What was that?” And he replies, “His anal sacks Charity”  “That’s what it smelled like on the drive home from the Vet?” and Justin looks at me, and says “No, this is so much worse, are we almost there yet?” Dad pull over, find a place to pull over, I think that’s a winery, can you just ….Turn Turn Turn DAD!!”

He makes a sharp left and we all kind of smashed up to one side. My mom would normally have yelled at him for this maneuver, but I think she thought the smell was just as bad. This was about the time that the smell had penetrated my father’s resilient nose, and he says “Oh something smells horrible” YA THINK!

We finally arrived at the first winery, and I’m not even sure if my dad’s vehicle was completely stopped before we all bailed out on it. The dog is still stuck in the seat belt.   We are all bent over, hands on our knees, trying to get our breath back and not vomit. As soon as we can, we all start smelling our clothes, to make sure they didn’t smell like that truck.

We look back at the truck and I couldn’t leave the dog in there.  As I’m getting the dog, I hear the windows going up, and all I could say was “Leave it down dad, leave it down” He then goes into a lecture on car thefts and all this insurance stuff when finally my mom just says, “STANELY LEAVE THE WINDOWS DOWN THERE’S NOT EVEN ANOTHER CAR IN THE PARKING LOT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD”

He did, but  I think we all wished that we had a nose like his that day. We took our time at that winery, having our drinks, airing out the dog and the truck, but I think that smell lasted at least an hour, and the problem with having smelled a smell like that is that you think it’s on you even when you know its not. You can always smell it, or a hint of it. It was the foulest smell I have ever ever ever smelled.

The funny thing was that winery had a sign right before you entered the building and we all laughed because it said. “Children who are unsupervised, will be given candy and a free puppy” How fricking funny, It smelled so bad that I could have left him there next to that sign.

Zoomies in the Agility Ring

February 18, 2010

All Pooped outWhen Karen and I first picked our agility instructor we based our decision on wanting to have fun. After I completed the demo at the Doggie Dash, things changed. The next few weeks we saw little progress in the arena. The instructor kept repeating the same obstacles, and the handlers and dogs were quickly getting bored.

Jax on the A Frame

We started in agility thinking we never wanted to compete, but after the demo, we had dinner and all discussed the possibility of competing. We knew two things, we wanted to compete before the end of the season, and we didn’t have a good enough instructor for this to be possible. I’m not sure if any of you know this but dog agility is actually an event in the Olympics! Unfortunately for us those dogs have to be pure breeds in order to compete.

For us, this dinner was unusual. We were talking about making a change in how we approached the sport. I think actually calling it a sport was an upgrade. But by the end of dinner it was decided. We were going to look for a new instructor.

I mentioned in a story before that there were two types of instructors, and we now needed the technical instructor. The problem is, in a city as big as Sacramento, finding one that was accepting new students was going to be hard. We called around to a few of the ones that liked before and had to get on a wait list. I think it was about a week or two after we did this that we finally got an email to join one of the classes in our area.

The name of the agility center we were accepted in was Performance Dogs in Action. Nola Jones was our instructor and the owner. She was well known in the area, and had competed for decades nationally. She even used to train dogs to perform tricks for TV shows in Hollywood.

Anyhow Nola had 7 Australian Sheppard’s in her own pack. All of them knew how to work the equipment. Nola held classes every day and your skill level determined what day you would have class. All of her dogs would run up and down the gated area outside of the arena, and occasionally if you were leaning on that fence one of the younger dogs would lick your hand and try to sweet talk you out of piece of hot dog.

Nola lived on a ranch that she manned all by herself, she was tough from the inside out. The first time we met the serious group of handlers, we were taken aback. Most of these people are dog snobs. They can’t even imagine that you don’t have a pure bred dog. Oh no, Nola was no exception. She looked at our little guys and said something like oh they are those designer dogs or something huh?” “Yes” we said and  she replied back, “well I guess I’ll see what they can do?” We didn’t know what to think of her at first. She didn’t seem to like our dogs, or us for that matter, but each week, we showed up and each week we got better.

In agility you have to let your dog off leash to complete obstacles. This means that you have to have a really focused dog to let them go, and hope and pray they decide to run back to you, or have a really yummy treat.  If I have chicken or hotdogs, he loves me more than Jax. If I’m using Biljax liver treats, I’m nothing too him.

During the first year of our agility classes, the dogs weren’t always focused, and we had to try to get them together before class to run out some of the excited zoomies they would get around each other. But things didn’t always work out in our favor and there would be days that we would have to go with two fully amped up dogs, and hope they stayed focused on the course instead of each other.

We were at class one day and just completed a succession of jumps.  Jager was pumped up and his confidence showed in his walk. The other students, including his best buddy Jax also completed the same succession of jumps and the vibe in the arena was filled with praise and excitement from the owners and dogs.  He was behaving nicely, so we thought that for the moment we didn’t have a problem.

At this time my husband and I were rotating turns so that we both got a chance to run him on the obstacle course. This was helping us teach him to trust both of us equally and well it’s just a lot of fun to do. Justin’s turn was up and we were going to be working on a new obstacle the A-Frame in this course.

As he was walking up to the start line I saw it, that twitch or glimmer or whatever you want to call it in Jager’s eyes. I know that look well and when I see it, I know he is up to something.  Jager looked back directly at Jax. Both of them connected with eye contact and I’m not sure what they said in doggie language but they said something.  “Oh this is not good” I thought to myself and I motion to Justin to stop. I  then say “Hey, I think you are going to need the leash on this.” Justin responds, ”No, he is fine look at him!” but the whole time, Justin never looked down at him. I thought it was pointless to argue at this moment.  I looked down and Jager is still staring at Jax. “Ok, It’s your call” and Justin and Jager  started the course.

Justin un-hooks the leash and begins the A-frame when ¼ of the way thru the dog hauls ass  over the A-Frame, touches the contact zone and jumps down with excitement and joy.  He then runs full speed ahead at Jax. When they got close enough, Jax rears up filled with joy and anticipation and stands on two legs. The dogs connect at the chest and bump off of each other. They play bow and Jager takes off in another direction.

Jax is so excited that he pulls the leash so hard out of  his owners hand.  Now both the boys are loose in the arena….Great, Just Great. They ran, tumbled, jumped over jumps, thru tunnels and around the arena in circles chasing each other as fast as they could.  It was a circus, and neither Jim or I or even Justin could get the dogs under control. The dogs head for a series of jumps Jax goes first, Jager right behind him.  They jumped all five jumps then headed straight for each other and again at full speed chest bumped each other.

Jax’s dad and I looked at each other and realized that to those two dogs a chest bump was a doggie high five. They were congratulating each other on a good solid run. But what we weren’t expecting was for them to go at it again. Just great! Nola see’s the boys starting the second run and so do we, but we know it’s time to try and catch them. So Jim, Justin and I start running all over the arena trying to corral the dogs into an area that we could catch them but they kept evading us with quick abrupt movements. Finally Nola looks at and says to us, “say Tunnel and point to the tunnel.  Just go with it, they aren’t going to come to you any other way.  She’s almost screaming this at us because they are creating havoc in the other dogs. The energy of the other dogs was now excited and in the background you could hear them starting to bark louder and louder as if to cheer them on.

“Ok Charity, you can do this” I say to myself and run to the tunnel, the dogs are barreling towards me over another set of jumps, and I scream TUNNEL! And point to the obstacle! Oh no, here they come, a quick 90 degree turn and they are facing me and the tunnel. What did I just do, this is horrible. I’m going to get mowed over by two unruly dogs. But just like Nola said, the dogs went straight for the tunnel and at the other end was Jim.  Ha caught you suckers.

They had this face of sadness and surprise as we captured them and leashed them back up. It was almost like they didn’t think we could outsmart them but we did.  Jim and I had the face of triumph, because we finally caught those little buggers.

Now it’s time to face the music, or should I say Nola. We walk back with our heads down expecting to get a loud chewing out in front of our classmates, but as we got closer to her, you could only see a smile on her face. She came up to us and petted both dogs and congratulated us on getting them under control. We were dumbstruck, jaws hanging open, and tried not to make eye contact. I thought to myself, just go with it and don’t bring it up.

From that day on, Nola changed her attitude about our dogs; she loved watching them out on the field. She started being nice to us, and greeted each dog individually when we walked in the arena. There would be days that you would see one complete a jump and the next thing you know you see both of them sprinting over a jump at the same time.  Nothing was as bad as that day though, and now that we knew how to trick them, it became much easier to get them if they went off course. Eventually they stopped doing it all together.


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