Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The first snow of the season...

Living in Vermont snowy weather is something that we all accept. October usually brings some flurries (spitting snow) and November brings some snow that accumulates. Its somewhat unusual given the lake influence that we get snow that sticks to the ground - so when the obnoxiously perky weatherman smiled and forecasted snow for tonight I presumed he was being dramatic...Well, now we've got two inches of heavy wet snow outside actually sticking to the grass, trees and my deck. I worry mostly about the trees as a lot of them still have leaves - that's a lot of extra weight for the branches to support.

When we came home from class tonight the boys had their first snow frolic - if it wasn't so damn dark I'd have taken some pictures - Teller (who rolled in something stinky this morning and had his second bath and blow dry of the week) got in a good wallow in the snow that didn't result in another bath (thank DOG - because I don't think my drains can handle a third bath without a dose of foaming pipe snake).

It's not going below freezing tonight so I suspect that most if not all of the snow will be gone tomorrow am...its just another sign that we're deep into fall now and winter is only just around the corner. If there's a bright spot in all of this the miserable constant cold drizzle and wet snow today gave me the impetus to make some homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner: juiced celery, beans, carrots, basil and lots of fresh coursely ground pepper - it's like a big warm hug from the inside... {{{grin}}}

I'm still oncall through Friday morning and then we've got BOTC on Saturday and Sunday - no rest for the wicked!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Debut of Teller's Pet Food Warehouse Commercial

I've caught Teller's commercial a couple of times since it launched a couple of weeks ago - but I've been on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting for the DVDs to arrive so I could post it! Well, today I came home and guess what was in my mailbox - you guessed it!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wildlife at Waggles...

The nature of Williston (pretty heavily developed in an urban sprawl pattern with a few moderately sized fields in between) and the location of Waggles (in one of those "green" zones) means that there tends to be an abundance of wildlife that lives or hangs out on the property...Ducks, Turkeys, geese, deer and moose have been spotted wandering through the yard and parking lot. There's a pretty strong (and apparently healthy) pack of ground hogs that live in the back - we call him "Wally". All sorts of voles and mice find their way into the building living handsomely off the residue of dog cookies. Oh and the rabbits - my dogs in particular enjoy rolling (and then eating) rabbit poop.

I went out to Waggles last weekend to host run-throughs and as I pulled in (listening to car talk of course) I noticed movement in the distance - there was this gorgeous blue heron (that's my identification anyway - please correct me if I'm wrong) trying to eat his breakfast. Of course I had my camera so I stalked up to it taking pictures as I went...he didn't seem to be terribly worried about me coming close to him (or her) and pretty much focused on the meal at hand. I was worried that the grey bird standing in the shade wouldn't come out well - I'm surprised at how clear the pictures came out...Enjoy!

Initial spotting...

Getting closer....

And closer....

Too close!!! Bubba the Blue Heron departs for quieter picnic locations - what a gorgeous bird!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Two for Two for Teller-Woo!!!

Val (Huxley's mom) and I left at the crack of dawn (OK, it was 7am) to drive down to American K9 Country for the Souhegan Kennel Club show. I had intended to enter both days but it didn't work out (gee, thanks Rau) so instead of doing the hotel thing I did the day trip thing - 3 hours each way but it's all highway so it's an easy drive - made easier given the fact that I actually get sleep at night - going on 5 months now. We got there at 10:30ish thinking that we'd be on around noon - but of course we didn't end up showing until 2:45. Teller is so green I don't know what works for him in terms of getting to a new location and then working - he's never gone to an obedience trial the morning of the trial without the benefit of seeing the place beforehand (granted this is only his second trial ever so...). For Murphy this was a big deal and something he always struggled with - he really needed to get there the afternoon before, look around and then figure out where all the boogiemen were. Teller isn't Murphy though so I'm still feeling him out for what makes him tick.

After I'd setup his crate and brought in the rest of the stuff from the car I took him out to see what I might have. My routine has always been to let Smurf settle in his crate, take him out just before we go in, have a quick potty break and then a quick warm-up and tune in. Teller came out of his crate and gave me nice attention and some nice connected heeling. Cool! So I put him away again until the class started, pottied him, worked him slightly with high rate of reinforcement and then put him away again until the first group of dogs were doing groups. Then he came out and warmed up - it was really tight quarters but it just wasn't an issue for him while we were serpentining through dogs and their handlers.

He had some crooked sits - mostly because he's coming around to look at my face - something we will work on (there's always something). We had some leaping on the off-leash fast - which we'll work on too - but I don't want to curb his enthusiasm so we'll be really careful about that. I made a big error on the recall when I left him I wasn't clear that it was a wait and not a stand - so he stood as soon as I gave the signal but stayed there until I called him - 5 points that I had to swallow - but I'm totally OK with that!

So he finished with a 186 - I'm pleased with him and he's pleased with himself. I promised him a cheeseburger but ended up getting him some munchkins from Dunkin' Doughnuts instead (surprisingly no McD's in that area) - which he shared with Murphy (who thinks "free" munchkins are pretty cool).

Here's the video - Thanks Caroline for stepping up to man the camera!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Feels like fall....

I was due for a lazy day at home - just didn't turn out so lazy! I'm on-call this week (and last week too) so sleep is hard to get these days - and when I do sleep it means someone else got the pages - whoops - sorry! Last night was bad, 1am through to 5pm with misc pages - most of which I slept through - then all day today with various pages. Most were actionable so ultimately it's OK (and good money) but I will be heading to bed early tonight!!

I caved and turned on the furnace yesterday am - I woke up and I was COLD. Fall always sneaks up on me and I'm never ready for it. I always try not to turn on the furnace until October 15th, but two nights ago it was 30 degrees overnight and my house was 49 degrees in the morning - that's just not right!!

I went grocery shopping yesterday which was long past due because of nationals last week and then prep for nats the week before - I didn't want to leave food in the fridge so I worked my way through the yogurt and pantry items instead of shopping...You know it's bad when you're even out of canned soup!!! So today I thought I'd try to get ahead for the week and did some cooking: corn chowder, italian wedding soup and meat balls now all nicely packaged in the fridge for easy nuking and lunches during the week. Yesterday I had this overwhelming craving for some curry but decided that crusty bread and some fresh chevre would just have to do instead. I can cook curry and it's most often very tasty but then my house smells like curry for a week and that drives me nuts, especially the next morning! I was told that if the smell of curry lingers after it's been cooked and put away that you've used too much oil in the paste - but I've created curry stink using the store-bought paste with very little oil - so it just might be me!

I worked Teller a bit in obedience today, the squirrels are out of their minds right now and are zipping all over the place oblivious to the dogs - who REALLY want to chase them! Teller did some really nice off-leash heeling while squirrels were zipping around him with their nutty treasures - we have Souhegan next weekend and thankfully I think I can guarantee that the building will be SQUIRREL FREE!!! But if there are squirrels I know he can work around them! Rau is the super for this trial - in the past they had a wonderful secretary - a club member I think, anyhow Rau screwed up my entry - putting me in Amherst on Saturday and some show in New Jersey on Sunday....ummm...what sense does that make? I know I entered correctly, hopefully they'll be able to fix it, otherwise I'll skip the hotel and just drive down Saturday AM and come back the same day. I have a friend who's only going down for the one day so if that's what I decide to do I've got a road buddy and we can split gas and go down in my rig...

Oh - in other news....Teller's commercial is airing now and I'm hearing from all these people who have seen it - they love this and they love that and wow he's so happy...but I haven't seen it yet!!! I guess it takes some time to get into the rotation - their old one is still playing everytime I've seen a PFW commercial. I hope to get the DVD soon and I have permission to post it on YouTube when I get it, so it'll be posted here (indirectly) too.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ribbon Pictures...

I finally made time to get some pictures of Teller with his ribbons from the national...

Here's the standard pose shot:

And of course here's the agility dog shot:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cast is off...now what?

So my cast came off on Monday, I've got a removeable brace now - I have some mixed feelings about it. On one hand it's great not to be so darn itchy in a cast. On the other - man my arm is sore. Muscles that haven't been used have a way of making you pay dearly for not using them...I think I might be relying too heavily on the brace - probably because I'm terrified of reinjuring the joint. I lost a lot of muscle in the few weeks in a cast and the range of motion that goes with it. The orthopedist wanted me to sleep without the brace and in general start using it more - sleeping without it was pretty high on the list (which I'm really afraid to do). It's nice to shower normally again - super swell to wash my hair with two hands again. At this point no physical therapy - if I'm not improving in a couple of weeks or so I need to call and set up some PT appointments.

On a strong plus side though typing is back to mostly normal - two hands and the improved dexterity that comes with not having a cast between your thumb and index finger is a refreshing change - it's nice to be able to type out emails in less than 10 minutes of hunt and peck...

Back to normal routine for the dogs - we trained Monday and Tuesday nights - I'm working on tightening up Teller's about turns, figure-eights and fronts. I want to clean up some of the forges we had last week on the inside turns, the bit of lagging we had on the about turns and gosh - that front last Wednesday was AWFUL - always something to work on now that I know what we're likely to have in the ring when we head to Souhegan next weekend...

I'm oncall the rest of this week and all of next - had a rough first night last night so I think I'm going to make some soup and hit the sack early....

More pics from Nats...

Barbara sent me these candid shots that she took of Teller and Graeme in the ring:

Hanging out waiting for their turn....


Teller always has a knack for finding the photographer and giving them that "yeah, I see you taking my picture" look...It's uncanny.

In the line before the cut..

"What's next boss?"