It’s the morning of Christmas Eve and “all through the house, not a creature is sturring, not even a mouse …”
Are you kidding? I live with 8 dogs, one of which is a 10-month old BC pup! Right now, as I prepare for the day, he’s enlisted his cronies in a game of wrestling.
Our 10-year-old Dash and 12-year-old Ringer are Kory’s favorite wrestling buddies. I think this says something for the mental maturity of the modern canine, and their capacity to remain puppies forever.
I set up a large, soft, crate near my desk, with plastic on the floor underneath and a heavy plastic sheet inside. I layered a soft quilt and 2 dog beds, hoping to make a great environment for Banner to be comfortable in for these long winter days.
She leaks a good bit and no amount of medicine keeps that from happening if she gets into her water-drinking mode. So I gave in, stopped the meds, and made an old dog playpen for her. She hates it.
On the other hand, the rowdy boys find it’s perfect for a doggy cage match. Two dogs go in, they wrestle, and wrestle, and wrestle, and one comes out (the other one is probably dozing off by now).
So, the dog for whom the environment was designed has to be forced in, and everyone else loves to go in for a quick nap or a long, lazy snooze with a best buddy. There’s plenty of room for 2-3 dogs.
This afternoon we head into town for a Christmas Eve party with my sisters’s family and my Mom. I’m taking the left-over pepperoni rolls from last night’s agility classes, and my blackbean stoup (thanks, Rachel Ray!) which we eat as a dip for corn chips.
Janice, my sister, isn’t planning a big meal, just tons of food strategically placed where folks can get to it. Shooting pool, a couple of beers, some food, and home before dark probably.
Having dogs means never having to say ….. “sure, I can stay as long as you like!” Potty and feeding schedules keep us from wandering too far afield unless we’ve arranged for a dog-sitter.
One of these days, though, these wonderful old dogs will be gone. We’ll be able to pack up the remaining dogs and be more footloose. In the meantime, heading into 2010, we have three 14-year-old dogs, two 12-year-old dogs, one 10-year-old dog, and two relative youngsters.
The approaching new year has me thinking about goals for 2010. So far I’ve come up with:
1) Get Dash back into Rally training and finish his excellent AKC title.
2) Get Hazard into Rally training at mealtimes and get her entered in her first novice AKC trial.
3) Prepare Hazard for the January 23-24 TDAA trial in Columbus, Ohio. She needs 13 Superior Standard Qs (4 of which must be first-places) and ONE Games 3 first-place for her TACh3. In the past the first-places have been difficult because we weren’t a solid team yet and Hazard was a bit shut-down on course. She’s coming back to her old self, however, and things are going to get exciting for us, I hope. Vicki and Jackie want to practice Futbol … should be fun!
4) Prepare Hazard and Dash for the February 13-14 NADAC trial in Zanesville, Ohio. I haven’t done NADAC since Fall 2002, when Dash earned 3 novice titles at 20+ inches. He’s now entered as a Veteran (running 16″) and Hazard debuts in the 8″ novice classes. Bud’s created the hoops and our early training indicated neither dog has a problem understanding their performance of the hoops.
5) Continue working with Kory on little, helpful behaviors that won’t interfere with Bud’s agility training protocols. Last night we worked on “lie down” and “relax,” with Kory quickly figuring out I wanted him to roll onto one hip. We also played the box game and he quickly got his two front feet inside for the click/treat. He’s not quite coordinated enough (and is too large for the box, perhaps) to fit his whole body into the box. Of course, we were playing with the box while agility was going on behind us, so a bit of distraction training as well. For a pup, Kory’s capable of an amazing amount of focus. He’s also capable of figgeting and whirling continuously for what seems a tremendous amount of time.
6) Keep up with my dog-washing schedule. I’ve been quite disappointed with the performance of Frontline Plus this year. I’ve heard it said that our local fleas have built up a tolerance to it. We had a series of regular rain storms in the spring and summer, so the ground stayed moist. I’ve noticed that it’s not as oily as before so perhaps they’ve altered a good delivery system so that dogs don’t have that oily spot on their shoulders. And we’ve been beseiged with flea-ridden rabbits in the dog yard this year. All in all, a horrible year for fleas and (YUCK!) tapeworms. So I’ve gone old-school — washing dogs, washing bedding, putting down flea powder, vacuuming often, dumping out (or burning) the sweeper bag often, washing more dogs, giving tapeworm meds, applying flea powder, etc.
Time to feed dogs and prepare for my day. Today I’m going to do some straightening, burning cardboard, picking up recycling that’s blown amuck, cleaning some in the training building for Sunday’s workshop, and bathing Hazard.