Sunday, July 27, 2014

07-27-2014 Monroe Valley Dog Training Club UKC Rally Obedience Trial

This morning we were out the door by 6am to drive to Arlington for our Rally Obedience trial. Without traffic issues this is about 1.5 hour drive.

We got their nice and early to fight for parking. :)

At least I had the long drive to consider my goals for the day and get control of some of my stress level. On Saturday I decided to be a bit more specific and work on focus with Nim as the primary goal as opposed to simply "survival."

We were there so nice and early that we were able to work a bit on focus in the empty building. We couldn't enter the ring, but it is still helpful for dogs to walk the area they are going to have to perform in.

While walking the area I saw the run order and realized I was going to be the VERY first dog of the day. In some respects this was a good thing as I could just get it over with, but I do like to watch other dogs if I can before my turn. Notice my class had exactly two dogs. :) I even know Sophie, she is a super cute dog and it was her very first time in the ring.

Nim was way more ready than me.

For our first run we got a 90 (out of 100). I couldn't have hoped for such a nice score. He was with me and engaged. Not a lot of distraction behavior. We did have some tight lead situations which you lose points for, some out of position penalties, and "slow to respond" or basically I had to say "sit" more than once.

I was so totally proud of him. We have come a long way. This was a big deal for us to try again. It has been about 2 years since we tried rally obedience trials. One we got a 72 or 74 (I can't remember) and one we were excused basically right after we started (I will never forget that one). So today felt like the slate was wiped clean.

In between trials we walked around the grounds and Nim tried to nap a bit while I watched other dogs.

For our second run we got an 84. I was so pleased! We qualified in both runs which I wasn't positive we could do and I learned a lot. I probably had a better loose leash on the second run, but I had to work harder to get Nim engaged. He was too hot for the second run (we are back into summer heat) and probably a bit hungry. So this means his energy and execution of signs was a bit slow. I also body blocked him and basically jumped a cone due to my late cue on one sign. I would say 3 - 4 of the signs of the second run involved what is known as a "drive turn" or in my case a "hustle." Nim is hit or miss on those on a good day (I still do a lot of luring) and when he is hot or tired they are really weak and that showed on this second run.

Nim did so good and I think I got past some of mental blocks and negativity I had around obedience trials. I know they are hard and I see a lot of dogs and handlers that I know are good have very bad days. This day was definitely the confidence boost I needed to keep trying.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hooray for Friday and the Wounded Warrior Pull-Up Challenge

First things first...for two days we went from unpleasantly warm (even for me) to fall weather. It was cold and it rained. Everyone retreated to bed.

Good thing they rested up, because the sun is out again.

On King5 they featured a man who is planning to perform a Pull-Up Challenge to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project (one of my favorite organizations and it isn't even animal related). You might want to read the King5 article, just because he talks about the pain of the challenge but in the end he will get to recover from it, while many of the wounded vets never well.

When I am overwhelmed, (physically or otherwise), I often think of an amazing woman I knew who died from a climbing accident three years ago this coming Wednesday. Her death had a huge impact on me that I always carry with me. The way Mike McCastle phrased his experience of pain and recovery versus a wounded vet definitely resonated in a the same way although it may not seem that way to you. Point being, some discomforts are permanent and some are temporary. Sometimes you have control of this, and sometimes you don't.

Lucky you readers, I happened to be in a blogging mood while also in a sentimental mind.

On to quilting!

I pinned a quilt. I pinned a quilt that I actually forgot I had the top for until I had to clean up my sewing mess to make room for that huge Mystery Quilt. 

The cats are so darn happy. It doesn't matter how many blocks I put up, the find a way to sit on it or den up in it while it is on the sewing machine.

With any luck I will finish quilting this weekend...or maybe the next weekend. :)

By the way, thanks to Crabby I was initially going to write about the auctioning off of prehistoric poo for 8 - 10K and my reflections on whether or not someone would spend that much on me instead (not counting my parents of course, we all know kids are expensive), but then I started cooking, and then I read the King5 article and my blogging plans changed.

Have a great weekend! Nim and I are going to attempt a Rally Obedience trial again this weekend. Naturally I am so nervous at this point that I have been asking myself why oh why did I think this was a good idea? But if I can leave Sunday at least proud that we tried I would say that is good enough. We don't have an exceptionally good track record when it comes to obedience trials so I consider survival a decent goal.

This is what I wrote to a friend of mine: "My goal is to get through it without crying or giving up." She told me crying was acceptable, but not giving up (she is considerably more competitive than I am and probably never gives up on anything, but I will keep this advice in mind). :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Old Dog Haven Walk for Old Dogs 2014

Prepare yourself for an avalanche of photos. The Old Haven Walk For Old Dogs never disappoints.

But first, a quick photo of Nim's eye injury from working this morning. Thankfully below the actual eyeball.

And now, back to the dog walk! I love their bags. I have all three years now. They are super strong and people often comment on the artwork.

Today was our first "cool" day in over a week. It even threatened to rain a bit. Perfect for old dogs on a walk. As you can see, Bellevue Park added new sculptures. The tents for the Walk for Old Dogs event are in the background.

I spent more time in the tents this year. Some I wish I had gone back to.

Nim got a fluffy and a goody bag from the Community Cat Coalition. What is interesting about this organization is that it is a coalition of several other rescue groups in the area which probably works to their favor. The feral/roaming cat situation in this area is a big problem and this coalition promotes the Trap-Neuter-Return program in the area. When I took in Leela and her siblings as babies the deal was the family had to trap the feral mama (who had already had at least one litter they knew of), fix her, and release her back on their property. Last I heard she continued to have a long life and they kept her fed and safe. She wasn't initially their cat, but they took responsibility for her and ended her cycle of reproduction.

On to the dogs!

They had such a great turnout this year! I want to thank the people that sponsored me specifically and supported the cause in general.

The parade of dogs took over the entire park! This guy in the wheel chair is almost 13.

This pup was trying to will Nim to bring that toy over.

Someone thinks if he walks fast enough he will not have to go back in the stroller.

Buddies hanging together.

Resting by his stroller.

Someone has a cookie.

Guess who was making the noise this year.

Cruella de Vil costume presumably for the Owner Lookalike contest.

Nim all grown up. 3rd year with the old dogs. :)

The pugs knew how to live it up.

My mom came with Maggie. After we participated in the walk Maggie did some Nose Work training on the edges of the park. Talk about training with distractions! She did well.

Nim and Maggie were both so darn tired by the end.

Nim barely made it out of the parking lot before he was sound asleep.

I hope you enjoyed just a fraction of the photos featuring some of the beautiful dogs from today. 

Big thank you to everyone that came and for Old Dog Haven for running this event. I could just sit there for hours and watch the dog antics.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tired Saturday and Baby Deer

What a long and hot week! Today it feels like finally (at almost 5pm) it might cool off a bit. I think all I did this week is sweat. And sadly the majority of the time I was behind a computer working or studying.

Gardens are in high bloom right now with the heat. What little I have left alive I have been watering morning and night.

Even Nim seems tired today. He had a bath to get ready for the Old Dog Haven Dog Walk tomorrow in Bellevue! I can't wait to see the group. It would be nice if it isn't too hot for everyone.

It is baby season out here. Baby elk, baby snakes, baby bunnies (gosh do I have a lot of bunnies) and today, baby deer.

She either has twins or acquired a second one.

It was hard to get really good photos. I have to stay pretty far away from them and my neighbor is on a 5+ day tractor running binge and they don't like all the noise.

I wasn't able to switch fast enough to record, but there was some metal tractor noise and they bolted. It was incredibly cute to see them bouncing side by side with mom rushing to keep up.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


My new job is in the Georgetown area of Seattle. Everyone who knows me knows I swore I would never work in Seattle. :)

It is kind of a neat area actually. This photo is taken outside the Original Rainier Brewing Building. Nim wants to know where the city dogs poop. We have to search far and wide for grass.

We are in a bit of a heat-wave right now. I can't keep the cats off my study/sewing table and it drives me nuts! For whatever reason they think the table is cool to lay on.

Oh! In other news our holter test came out well! Next up we get the echo done. I am counting on good results.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Nim Goes To Work

I hope everyone had a nice 3 day weekend. I know I needed the three days (wasn't even long enough really). Nim had a good training day on Sunday.

Happy dog with his toy:

Currently Nim is sound asleep with a partial chewed bully stick in his mouth. That is a first. He sometimes sleeps with stuffies in his mouth, but usually not his chews.

Nim had a LONG day and he is pooped. Today he went with me to work.

He was shockingly well behaved. He would sneak off an investigate when he thought he could get away with it, but generally he was at my side.

Tomorrow the kennel goes in with us. This was a short day so I didn't bother, but for longer days I want the option to kennel him.

No news on his holter test. In fact I am going to write them right now and ask about the results.

By the way, all of these photos were taken on my new phone. I don't love the quality or the process of getting them off the phone, but they work good enough. I am also pretty sure I am not doing everything correctly on my phone yet (including answering it) so I am willing to say some of the quality issue might be user error.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July and RIP Dumb Phone

Happy 4th of July! It is loud out here. Between being a Friday and a nice weather day the noise has been pretty constant.

My new job has created some urgency around my cell phone situation. We tend to be a mix of telecommuters and odd working hours that has made it necessary for me to more available using all different types of media (especially text).

I have had this phone for about 6 years. It even fell off a moving car once and had the battery run over and I was still able to use it once I replaced the battery.

That is Chloe on the case screen.

And Odin as my wallpaper.

Today my soon-to-be-21-year-old sister escorted me on the cell phone buying process. She was like having a personal shopper. I may have continued to put off this agonizing purchase without her support. It is a Motorola Droid Maxx + the toughest case I could find in the store (OtterBox Defender).

Time to stop playing with this phone and go back to studying. Have a good 4th!