Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Big Red Dog

If my Briggs had lived, he'd be 13 today.

This is a photo a friend of mine took at Briggs' first agility trial. He was about 2 years old here. The photo is framed and sits in my office.

Briggs Agility

He was such a fine specimen of a dog. Dexter has big shoes to fill.

Happy Birthday Briggs. We miss you every day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bell of the Ball

Hello. My name is Mr. Tricky Woo. And I have to wear this goofy and irritating bear bell on my collar now.

HAH! Take that, Wootie.

While Jingles tinkles merrily away on our walks, he also cannot disappear because the absence of the ringing is rather apparent. As he starts to wander off, he gets called back - see, Wootie will only take off if he's already out of sight. But if you notice him leaving, he pretends he wasn't going anywhere in the first place. This is one VERY sly dog.

Since I put them bell on him on Sunday, he has been remarkably present.

We didn't even lose him on the hike today. He did try to scuttle off into the bushes once or twice, but since there were three humans, who were SUPER ANNOYED by his bell, one of us always noticed when the tinkling started to fade from earshot.

Well this sucks.

Bear bells: available for about $4.00 from your local outdoor sporting goods store.

Oh look, it's Ru. And Tweed's behind him.

We go hiking once a week in the deserted forests in the Belcarra area with Cheryl, who is a dogwalker, and goes there every day for her job. That's a cool job. But she has Ru, a TDBCR adoptee, who has a reputation for "breaking" dogs. While Ru is allegedly an old dog, he outruns everyone on the hike, every single day. Any dog foolish enough to try and keep up with him ends up a crippled gimp at the end of the day.

Not that I'm naming any names.

The forest can be scary. For it contains borderjacks.

... borderjacks who clone themselves, bigger than life.

How'd he do that?

Oh look, it's Ru again. And Tweed too.

And again.

Hey look at that ... again!

The result is The Tri Pod Formerly Known As Tweed. He's totally gimped this afternoon :(

Tweed's dumb. I'm pretty. Take a picture of me.

Look who is almost the same size as Piper!


Rogue says she is also pretty, and I should take a photo of her too.

We are still accepting guesses as to what her breed mix might be.

But be careful, for if you guess wrong ...

... the borderjack cometh.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Let Freedom Reign

We went to Campbell Valley off leash park today for some Big Air.

We were a little out of practice.

First we got some small air.

Then some FAIL air.

And a combination of the two.

Finally we got some Big Air.
(he did catch this on the way down)

We were really having a super good time!

And then ....

I saw this.

A couple minutes later, I saw this:

A few moments after that, I lifted my head and all I saw ...

was this.

For Wootie had, yet again, vanished.

Ever since his Runaway Woo episode a couple of weeks ago, Operation Scare The Shit Out OF The Food Lady has broadened in scope considerably. It now encompasses sub-operation Make TFL Really Stinkin' Angry, as well as Mission Return Wootie To The Pound. IOW, Mr. Woo is channeling The Littlest Hobo and is making a career out of wandering off - at high speed.

First we lost him while hiking in Belcarra earlier this week. We had a massive pack of dogs with us (here's about half of them)

...including my newest favourite, Fonzie.

and still, the little furry orange bastid vanished into thin air and was gone for the longest time.

Two nights later, I let all the dogs out for a last pee at midnight and all but Woo returned. I spent half an hour wandering through farmer's fields in my pajamas and a pair of gumboots, with a city girl's flashlight, whisperscreaming his name and getting nada in reply. When I got home, I found him peering out at me from behind my van and when he saw me coming he took off down the driveway and tried to hurl himself through the solid matter known as my front door. Because he KNOWS damn well I'm comin' for him.

There are so many ironies at work here. It is ironic that I have put reliable recalls on about 200 foster dogs in 10 years, but can't get Mr. Woo to so much as flick an ear in my direction when I call him. It is ironic that last night in agility class, I gave Mr. Woo to Auntie Fiona to run as she was down a dog, and he couldn't run a whole course with her because it was "too far from Mummy" and he kept running back to sit on my lap. It is ironic that my 5 month old puppy listens better than my 4 year old dog.

*shakes fist at Woo*


Ha ha. You don't mean that.

Dude, you really shouldn't try her patience. You are going to be in so much trouble.

Did I mention he is long-line wise? He won't go anywhere if he's on a long line (which, incidentally, he sports when he goes out for potties now. The other end is bolted to the porch, until we get ourselves a fence) and, in fact, he won't go anywhere if he knows I'm watching him. But if I take my eyes off him for 10 seconds, he's gone like a bat outta hell and he doesn't come back until he's darn well good and ready. And what can I say? I don't have Dexter's eye, I can't watch him constantly.

This behaviour is all brand new - it either coincides with Dexter's arrival, or our move to the Sticks. I think it's the latter - Wootie was born to hunt, and the countryside is just too full of opportunity for him to indulge his passions.

Neither food, nor the Wootie Toy, holds his attention any longer.

How long do I have to keep this up? I wanna hunt me some wabbits.

Ahem. *I* come when I am called. *I* win the competition run in class every Thursday. *I* am a good dog. Pay attention to me. ME.

Did some say RECALL? I'm coming!!

Me too! Me too!

Oh well. I guess I'm not the worst trainer in the world. After all, I've taught Dexter to play with a frisbee!

Dexter, bring it here.


Just kidding. Dexter is very good at fetch now.

Piper: Nature's Transit System

So ... anyone got a GPS system they want to lend me? I can't track Woo. Maybe a satellite can!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Portrait of a fat dog

separated from the objects of his desire by both a fence, and Uncle Ruedi's stock stick :)

Yes, Ruedi taught Wootie (weird, that rhymes) not to chase sheep!

My camera is in the shop, hence the lack of updates. But I did want to let MC Hamster's fans know that last night, he expired in his sleep :( He was old - like a million in hamster years - and it was his time to go.

RIP MC Hamster.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tried a new dog park

The one where the fattest dogs in the world all hang out.


Oh, making fun of my girth again are we? How exciting. *YAWN*

Ha ha. But seriously, compared to the other dogs we saw at the park, Wootie is practically svelte. Actually, to be fair, Wootie isn't really THAT fat at all. He is *very* hairy, and has a chest like a beer keg, but you can quite easily feel his ribs. If you felt just his ribs, you'd think he needed to lose a whopping pound or possibly two. It's his back that you can't find, up around his shoulders. It's buried in so much hair and lard that it may actually be at home in the toybox as much as you can prove it's in his body where it's supposed to be.

Or maybe he's keeping it in his magnificent Flamboyance(tm).

There were so many obese - not just fat, we're talking easy-chair-plus-an-ottoman obese - dogs at the park that it made me cringe. One border collie we ran across was so huge I could easily have dined on his kitchen table of a back.

I had this predictable conversation with the owner as I was leaving.

Him: "Are those ALL your dogs???"

Me: "Yes."

Him: "Do you do flyball with them?"

Me: "No."

Him. "Oh. We tried flyball with our dog, but he didn't seem to like it."

Me: "That's because he's 30 lbs too fat to run or jump. He'd probably enjoys sports a lot more if he wasn't shaped like a beach ball."

Him: mouth agape.

I know, I know - I should mind my own business. But I can't help it! That poor dog was so fat he couldn't even keep up with Dexter, who trips over his own giraffe legs every 4.5 seconds. He'd only just walked into the park and he was already panting like crazy. It's just plain sad.

Never mind the Jack Russel that looked like he'd swallowed the aforementioned border collie. Oy.

And it wasn't just fat dogs that made this new park kinda creepy; there was the unnecessarily high (and ungodly) percentage of Cesar Milan Wannabes who kept poking their dogs and going "Zzzzt." WTF is that supposed to do anyway? Is there a magic noise-making button on dogs that I've missed all these years, that makes your dog do EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS DOING ALREADY when you push/zzzt it?

And then there was this dog (also really fat):

His owner opened the gate, sat down on a bench and screamed "RUN RUN!" at the dog, who immediately took off and started doing laps around the park for no particular reason - he was not chasing anyone or anything, he was just literally running in a big circle over and over and over. It was the exact behaviour we see in, and try to train out of, rescue dogs who run fence lines in their yards. The dog basically ran non stop for about 20 minutes, literally running a trench in the soft ground, until the owner hollered "That's enough!" and the poor thing collapsed under a table.

I have never seen anything like it.

Fortunately, aside from the big play space, the park also has a shortish network of paths in the woods, so we wandered away before my brain short circuited.

Annnd then I made my dogs pose on stuff.

Which Wootie really likes.


But Tweed can take it or leave it.

Who wants me to stop making dogs pose on stuff?

Excuse me, but I'd like you to stop making me pose on stuff.

Oh GAWD. PLEASE stop making me pose on stuff! I beg of you.

YAY! Thanks, Food Lady!
(you can see the bare patch on her chest I had to shave to take care of that hot spot. It's healed up very nicely. Hibitane cream is a gift from the heavens.)

When Dexter started single-pawedly trying to demolish the forest

... we headed back to the open field.

I'm just going to take this tree with me.

And then I caught Piper doing something shameful.

GASP! Piper, are you playing DumbBall???

What? No! What?

I was just taking this hockey ball to the, umm, puddle. It's thirsty. Yeah, that's it.

Now I'm just going to put it back here under this tree where I found it. Totally innocent. I swear.

Speaking of puddles, guess which two dogs got a feet-and-belly bath when we got home?

So this is what Wootie would look like if I punched him really hard in the face and then washed him in hot water. Interesting. I wonder if that would require thumbs?