Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

It's almost here! Just a couple favorite cards I got this year that I wanted to share.

Here is Maddie, a friends pug with Santa.

Go check out Hannah's blog at If you love ferrets, or want to learn more about living with them, that is the blog for you. Lots of great care info. Pass it on.

And for some fun in the snow check out this you tube video:
This guy puts my Jack to shame.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Holiday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time to spread the joy

Check out the lead story of the December issue of Sports Illustrated due out Christmas night. More info on the story here at BadRap. I am planning on buying many copies to donate to the prison. Both for management and for the inmates. They still won't let us put a pibble on the program and it just simply sticks in my craw. So please help spread the news and buy some copies to share in public places. Every little bit helps to educate the masses.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Photos of the aftermath

A few photos to share of the dogs after the big dig out. I managed to get the gate free so we can get into the yard. The potty trails for the girls are higher than normal however due to the sheer amount of packed snow I couldn't get through with the shovel. (That is a birdbath in the background which is at least 2 and 1/2 feet high)

Check out the height of the drifts and the amount of snow on the right by the gate. (4 foot fence)

The girls want in. Jack was trying to get them to play.

Action shot: Snow is for playing in!

Even Jack thinks this drift is kinda deep.

How about a hug? (They totally did this on their own, how cute!)

Co-napping anyone? I guess this answers the question if this bed was big enough. VBG

And another gift for them for Christmas: St. Scratchy, the giant Christmas flea.

Work was abit nuts last night. Cars getting stuck IN the roadways. Plow crews were unable to keep up due to the heavy drifting. Fortunately not many people lost power in our area. It is amazing though how many people will try to drive when they shouldn't. (Only 5 more shifts to go. Yay!)

Snow day!!

The photo is misleading. We got at least 18 inches of snow. Lots of huge drifting as well. We shall be digging out for awhile. The joy of winter in Maine.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good news all around

The first bit of news is that I GOT THE JOB!!!! Whoo Hoo!

Now that that bit is done I am kinda nervous. I have lots of new stuff to learn ahead of me. I haven't officially worked at a vet since 1996ish. Alot has changed since then. I also realise I am going to have to keep my yap shut about things I may disagree with. I am assuming they do not read my blog since they didn't ask me about my conflicting opinion about diet and other potentially vet related stuff. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. I guess I'll find out over time. I'm sure I will also find out their thoughts on the subjects. Until then I will certainly keep my opinions to myself. Fortunately I learned long ago not to give training advice unless specifically asked. (and usually do well at that though have the occasional brain cramp and forget myself) They are interested in using my training knowledge so that should be fun and interesting.

In other good news to share Chloie has started to actually play. It seems teaching to to pick up a ball was a great starting point. From there we shaped a fetch and now she does some cute hopping and play behaviors while chasing the ball. Now we are going to add other toys and start over to teach her those as well.
The book also finally came. Fortunately I didn't wait and started her with what I thought might work. It turns out the book had the same advice in the section on rehabbing non-players. I'm not to far in the book but it seems pretty good so far. Perhaps more for the average owner with good tips on matching dogs to others with the same playstyles and why. I'm hoping to finish it tonight at work if it is slow. I gave two weeks notice so have some more time ahead at the other job to finish up. I am staying on the part time roster there and will potentially fill in for shifts I can on my days off when I have the time. (eventually after a break away) This way I keep my hand in the pot and keep my skills current. This can also help make up for the pay cut the new job means if needed.

I am so glad I will be working regularly with and around lots of animals again. I look forward to the new adventure for me. Thanks to everyone for the good wishes. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can I bribe the judges?

Yesterday the vet's office had me in to shadow. I think it was more for the staff to see if I gel with them. I think I did ok. I didn't say anything stupid or trip and fall down the stairs. I thought they were all very nice. One of them even has a frenchie of her own. There was a conversation between some staff about a craving for cinnamon rolls so now I am strongly resisting the urge to take a box of them over. I'm pretty sure that would be a tad to obvious.

Now I just have to wait for the phone call to see if they offer me the position.

I hate waiting.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New stuff & crossing fingers

Missy got a new collar. I was (again) at the Loyal Biscuit Co. and spied a new shipment from Isn't this cute?

Now I just need to find one for Jack. I am VERY partial to martingale style collars. The dogs can wear them loose around the house but when a leash is clipped to the live ring they can't slip their heads out of them. It seems many owners put their regular buckle collars on to loosely. There is nothing worse than a loose dog sans collar and tags.

And this was the best shot I could get of her wearing it. Here she is hard at work holding down the couch. You can see it is a tough job which is why Jenny has to provide back up. I've heard this position is called "bunk beds".

Check out these cute toys I got the dogs for Christmas. Jack will get Mr. Gingerbread man and Jenny has been dubbed the naughty dawg. Fortunately she is cute enough to make up for it.

I had an interview for the job at the veterinary hospital. It sounds like a perfect fit for me. I hope they felt the same. Fingers crossed it works out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Christmas photo shoot

The best thing about fostering for French Bulldog Rescue Network was that I got to help pick our foster dogs new home. I certainly chose well because they keep me updated on Dash and send great photos of him and his new brother Ivan. Check these out.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Training stuff and job talk

Here are a couple of photos of Chloie's outing with me to the Loyal Biscuit Co. last week. She did great. She was a bit over interested in the store cat but not uncontrollably so. Photos really don't do her justice. She has filled out beautifully.

I have some video of her doing the agility tunnel but I can't get it to upload for some reason. Grrrr. They have noticed that sometimes her curly tail gets stuck going in and it will drag the tunnel if they don't hold it. (the tunnel was donated without tie downs) Tomorrow she is on her way to get spayed. Yeah we dropped the ball somewhere, she should have been before going on the program. She came to us with milk from nursing a litter and I think that threw us off schedule.

We have been working on teaching her to play. She seems to not know what toys are for at all. She did try to play with a broom the other day however and is interested somewhat in gloves and mittens. So we are teaching her fetch right now. Using the techniques off the new Marker Training video we got her to pick up a ball for the first time on Friday. She is a fabulous worker and loves to problem solve. We got her from showing no interest to picking up the ball in just one session. Some dogs would have gotten frustrated and given up before that end point.

I ordered the books "Play with Your Dog" by Pat Miller and "Tales of Two Species" by Patricia McConnell PhD to see if we can get more ideas to use to teach Chloie how to play. With Grizz bringing my dog Jack worked wonders and he figured it out quickly after that. The same method didn't work for Chloie though so we are strategizing.

In other training news I have been offered the possible opportunity to go watch Fred Hassen of Sit Means Sit do some training. He works using electronic collars even for basic obedience. E-collars aren't something I use aside from the occasional client with e-fencing but it is an opportunity to watch a different type of training in person. Education about dog training doesn't stop with only the methods I use after all. If I get to go it should be interesting.

On another front I think I am going to apply for a vet tech job in the area. I saw an ad in the local paper and decided it might be a better fit than the night shift dispatch job I am currently doing. I am worried though because sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. I like the people I work with, the money is good and the job security is excellent. However the stress level is quite high. Between the job itself, and the fact I'm not 20 anymore trying to adjust my sleep schedule is just adding to that. I'm thinking I might be happier doing something I love instead of doing something for a paycheck. Even though it most likely means a paycut.

Just because I apply doesn't mean I'll get the job. I need to find out more details about it too like the hours involved. I've got to figure out how to continue the prison program with a regular job as well. That is one way the night schedule has worked out well. Since I do private training I can simply schedule clients on my off days or later in the day on work days. We'll see how it pans out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Really good news & puppies from reputable breeders

Well it took a little longer than expected but Truman, our Boatyard dog champ, has finally found a home. As the winner of this years contest he was featured in the winter issue of "Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors. (A fabulous article with some photos on stands now.) That got him seen by a boating family in Connecticut and they came and picked him up for a trial slumber party. Of course they fell in love and decided to make it official. Yay for Truman!

I have been on the hunt for a reputable breeder of bulldogs for my sister. Things are moving slowly on that front. Fortunately she isn't in a hurry. It is about finding the best match than finding something right now. One of the e-mails I got back asked me the question, and I quote, "Why would we test healthy dogs?" in response to asking about any health testing they do prior to breeding. ~sigh~ yeah I know.

For the record, no matter how great the pedigree is, every breed has health issues they can be prone to carry in their lines. There are no guarantees. And if you never look for problems, how can you know they exist? Their website spoke about a female with IBS. I wonder if she is out of their own breeding? It wasn't a breeder I would have contacted except my sisters BF found them online so I did a quick e-mail check of them. As you can imagine they failed the test. (For those with contacts in bulldogs she doesn't care about sex, color or age. Health and temperment are numero uno this time around.)

Since someone requested it in my comment area I'm going to address not choosing your own puppy. It can be very common for reputable breeders not to let you pick the puppy you want out of their litter. There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that since they have watched and evaluated the puppies from day one until time to go into a new home they know the puppies individual personalities best. Reputable breeders screen their puppy buyers to find the most appropriate homes for them. Matching the puppy to the best home starts by knowing the puppy well. We humans are suckers for falling in love with a look or action a puppy might do when we visit them. But the one you think is the cutest might not be the best fit activity wise or personality wise for your situation. You need to rely on the breeders knowledge here. This of course means we need to trust them. This is one reason finding a breeder we get along with can be important for the long term relationship.

Another reason is that a reputable breeder is breeding for a purpose. One that doesn't include making money. Dogs are not a cash crop to them like puppymills or even many back yard breeders. It is to breed a next generation dog for the show ring to prove they meet the standard for the breed, as sport competition dogs, or for working purposes. Pet quality puppies in a litter are actually the excess of a breeding program. This means THEY, the breeder, get pick puppy from the litter.

In many cases you can expect to get on a waiting list for a puppy as well. Reputable breeders aren't going to always have a litter of puppies on the ground waiting to be sold. Any breeder that does isn't reputable in my book. I think this may be one reason pet store puppies get bought so frequently. People just aren't patient. They want a puppy and they want a puppy NOW! Never mind the health and temperment mine field they may be entering.

If you don't care about potential health issues consider a shelter or rescue dog. At least then you aren't part of the supply and demand of a market that is so unbelievably damaging to dogs. (look up puppymills on YouTube for heartbreaking video if you don't believe me) Sure you might "save" that one puppy buying it from a petstore but being part of the supply and demand of that industry means you are partly responsible for the ongoing abuse of the parents of the dog that created yours. There are only two sides here, part of the problem or part of the solution.

Think about it folks, if you know the breeders and they can be held accountable for what they produce, they are more likely to produce a good product. (tho I hate to label puppies that way) A faceless breeder and a storefront seller can pawn off anything, with any health/temperment issue and expect no fallout. Because they may say they provide a health guarantee, but who is going to give BACK the puppy they bought when something crops up to get their money back or another possibly defective puppy from the same source? Damn few, if any. So that is money in the bank for them.

I hope that makes it more clear about the reasons you might not be allowed to chose a puppy from a litter. And why you should consider a reputable breeder or rescue if you are looking to add a puppy to your family. I'd rather not chose my puppy and find that quality breeder than be allowed to pick the puppy and have things go horribly wrong down the road. Even if you pick a puppy out at a shelter most good ones will provide feedback on which puppy might be the better match for you. It shouldn't be about getting A puppy, it should be about getting the BEST puppy for you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just a little crazyness

It has been an odd week for me. I am fighting off a cold which makes me very tired. There is nothing like lack of sleep and a cold to zap all your energy and make you feel overwhelmed at every little thing. Thank heavens for sudafed. I can at least function for small amounts of time under it's influence.

Thanksgiving night at work (the other job) I handled my first code. (heart attack which resulted in him passing) Unfortunatly it was someone I knew. How horrible for the family that a holiday is now a sad reminder of an important loss for them. It really brings home how important every minute with family really is.
Speaking of family the photo above is a new dog that my husband's uncle just took in. She is a siberian from rescue with heartworm. Of course I accidently deleted the next e-mail with the dogs name and other info so that is all I can share at the moment. Isn't she beautiful though? Their other 2 dogs are Alaskan Klee Kai's so she fits right in.
Now for my semi-embarrasing story. (The above is a photo of my Jack at 14 weeks and is related to the following.) I was in the Loyal Biscuit yesterday to pick up treats. Whenever I am there we talk alot about dog stuff. It is one reason it is one of my favorite places. I'm quite sure my family is relieved I have an outlet for some of my dogtalk. We got on the subject of breeders and how not picking your own puppy is very common with reputable breeders. They try to match up the best puppy for your family situation and what you are looking for.
I was telling how none of the 3 akitas I have owned were picked by me out of a litter. When I got to Jacks story, and how he was a gift to me from the breeder due to the early loss of the previous akita to a health issue, I got extremely va-klempt and had to stop speaking to prevent myself from bursting into tears! Geez! Thankfully Lauren recognised I was struggling and distracted me until I pulled myself together. I think being so tired and on sudafed just pushed me over the edge.
In truth is an emotional subject due to having lost one dog so young and how touched I was at the breeder for being so generous to me in giving me Jack whom I love so amazingly much. I have moments where I think he may be my last akita because he is so perfect. I've just never had a moment like that in telling his story before. It isn't like this happened recently, Jack turned 4 in October and he came to me a year after the loss of Shimo.
Yeah, I'm gonna blame the sudafed.
Check out the before photo of a very matted long coated akita that ended up in akita rescue.
And the after. A good example of what lack of proper care and grooming can do.
I was most struck by his resemblance to my Jack.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday.