07 December 2013
Team Small Dog Custom Dog Drawing sale is over, done, and now you probably have to do the rest of your shopping at some place even more in violation of human rights.
Art sale is officially OVER for the season. You can still order things, for sure. Hell, you can order things ALL YEAR LONG! A great idea! Just not on SALE! Thank you to all the orders, operators are officially cut off from taking your Christmas orders so that the team can get everything DONE and sent as promised. No weeping. We are going to be working our bloody little fingers off the next couple weeks drawing many of your dogs. Off we go!
by team small dog at 6:16 AM
03 December 2013
Mental Games, where we play along to figure out if an eternally grateful, spotless mind brings about dog agility success, or as Mental Baseball player ex-Giant current Dodger Brian Wilson, tells us, Fear the Beard.
Did you ever play this game from the '70's that involved dropping tiny, plastic milagros into orifices on a naked, overweight clown, and then attempting to extract each talisman without tasering the clown, with your miniature, electrified forceps? I think the clown would light up, his screams muffled by his double chin. This game was pretty fun, and I believe helped prepare me for all the mental games I face today as an agility competitor. Have you seen one of our bad runs? And barely heard my screams muffled by my double chin? In general, I'm not much of a gamer. I consider dog agility serious business. Games makes me think of my college boyfriend's combatbooted warlock pals drooping around my living room chainsmoking bongs while they rolled 18 sided dice to find out which troll slays the gorgon before slicing up the futon with somebody's genuine sword, anyways. Roll it, Klingon! Gooooaaallll!
The Mental Game though, it's like Crate Games for the mind. Yer in yer out yer in yer out yer in. Yer out. Back in! Stay in. Break FREE! Dog agility puts a lot of stress on the brain. Which is so weird, because aren't dogs supposed to reduce your blood pressure, make you healthier, help you live a longer life? In dog agility, everything old is new again, so let's look at some vintage Mental Games that help us navigate today's high pressured dog agility world.
One good one is Mental Clue. As in, get one. And maybe it will help find my keys. As in, why am I so secretly happy because my little doggy came in first place? As in, why do the depths of despair kick in after that tunnel fiasco during the snooker opening? As in, is Clue and the finding of them even a game that exists any more? Are the clues the same thing as all the advice in visualizing and self talking positivity words? Will I get another cease and desist letter if I called it Mental Management? It ends when you get bashed in the skull with a candlestick by Mistress Peacock in the boudoir. Sit in Jail. Many questions asked, no clue revealed, no beer opened. Lose a turn.
Mental Passiveagressive Poker? This is a great game. I just typed the word "Great" with a sarcastic sneering tone. It's the one where you hold the card up to your forehead and you bet. You are usually drinking while you're doing this. Actually, thinking about it, pretty many games in general involve drinking. Perhaps what dog agility sometimes lacks? When someone guesses which card you have plastered up there, they bare their pearly fangs and say something really condescending and then call you a bitch under their breath. If they lose. It goes along with shooting Mental Pool. You will lose! Unless you are David Blaine, and in this case you are probably possessed by Satan. Move back 2 spaces, unless you pulled the Joker off because it was Gamblers. Spin the bottle. Keep spinning.
Mental Twister? We got this one. We have even played the Dog Agility Version, way back when, back in our baby days of agility naiveté. If you played, way back when, you get Twister bonus points! In the form of inspirational quotes! About how awesome FAILURE IS! Especially if you haven't improved since 2008. When teams get picked for Mental Kickball, I am right up there with last. Have you ever tried to get a DAM team with a dog who can't do the teeter and sometimes runs away? Mental Twister helped us develop skin of kevlar. Advance further, grasshopper!
Mental Tennis is a timeless classic. My favorite tennis player is Richie Tennenbaum. His headband makes me swoon. And wristbands. And now look what happened. My mind has already wandered off tennis to the entire film library of Wes Anderson and all the hipster control freak art directives he gives. Most excellent use of camps and canoes, squirrels and maps, all color coordinated and stacked neatly in place. When I grow up, I would like to be the Wes Anderson of Dog Agility. Except I believe I lack that control freak gene and superpowers that come from ocd. But I do so love talking foxes.
If you lean towards control freakage, and have a bit of the ocd, you are probably good at dog training. Blackjack. Parcheesi. Games that have a lot of rules. Which are most of them. These all do me in. Turns out, the part of games I especially like is at the end when you climb on the table and jump up and down and scream something like, I SINK YOUR BATTLESHIP or I SURRENDER or YOU'RE IT! Usually with running. Even if in the rules, there was no running, my version may add running.
Those personality traints I lack, such as rules following and attention to detail are pluses for dog agility, but are not neccessary for Mental Pictionary. Do you know how to play this? Draw something, frequently abstract concepts, as fast as you can! You know who is going to win THAT game? I am. In my mind. Because this is what my mind might actually look like. A scrawl. Scrawled fast. With DOGS! Very fast, so very scrawlike. A million scrawls on the back of envelopes and postits! So scrawly that maybe nobody can actually make it out unless they have the abilities of the amazing Kreskin. Otterpop. This may be a mental game that I could win.
If my Mental Game of dog agility looked less like Mental Pictionary, and more like Game of Thrones, things would be different. My whole life would be different. But we have the brains we have.
The excellence of games brain is probably one of those elusive keys to being a champ, assuming that championdom can be made into a game. That lives in your mind. With the stacks. And piles. And Klingons. Feathery sketches of foxes stacked up against clouds. Amazonian drones dropping parcels on your patio. Unicorns. Pumas.
Luckily, in my mind, it's always my turn. And I am probably the winner. Except for when I'm not. And I have the best team ever! Team small dog! Hence, why the jumping up and down yelling, in case you see me doing this and you were wondering. My team just won my mental game.
To read more dog agility blogs about the Mental Game, visit this here: http://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/the-mental-game/
by team small dog at 10:34 PM
02 December 2013
Order now, order often, for tis the season of Cybermonday the day after WorkalldaySunday the day after SmallbusinessSaturday the day after Blackfriday from a long time ago Thanksgivakah.
It is that time of year, the time of year when I rub my hands together and drool because I am just like the corporates at Walmart. Where I chain my employees to the sweaty bannister of Occupied Zones and give them giant, leaky pens and make them work all nighters so that I can rip you off when you get yerself a shitty little dog drawing for your beloved ones. I don't let my sad little elves visit the Obamacare website, and their workload gives them carpal tunnels and sore feet. And yes. I made them work on Thanksgiving. While I ate polenta in the South of France. They only got gum.
Because dog drawings are ON SALE! But you need to order before December 6. That should do it. If you can order by then I can get it done. I mean my elves. Who will expire soon after that. Especially by December 6 if you live in Canada because mailing things to Canada, my god, the slowness. Allow at least 2 weeks is what I have found.
Click yerself over here, where you read about the dog drawings.
Click yerself over here to see some examples. That would be ejemplos in espanol.
I would say these make good gifts. For someone that likes their dog. And doesn't care if it's drawn somewhat semi crappy, eh. With words. With black and red pens. On paper. And also because, HELLO, on SALE. Outrageous SAVINGS!
5x7" Drawing of 1 dog: $25
5x7" Drawing of 2 dogs: $30
5x7" Drawing of 3 dogs: $35 (They better be small, going to get squishy.)
Plus shipping and handling to USA and Canada $3
8x10" Drawing of 1 dog: $45
8x10" Drawing of 2 dogs: $50
8x10" Drawing of 3 dogs: $55
(More? Because you have a shitload of dogs that barely fit in your car let alone on a sheet of paper? Please let's discuss via email.)
Plus shipping and handling to USA and Canada $6
How do you order?
You send me an email to this top secret email address:
In this email you go all on about the awesomeness of your dog, go on. Or whoever's dog this is. Because GIFTIES. These are very awesome gifties, is what I hear. I will use some of these words in your drawing, no doubt. You will also email me some photos. The better the photos, the better the drawing. More photos is WAY better than less photos. And crappy, blurry photos are not very helpful as I have absolutely zero powers of telekensis or psychic future telling to help me view your dog in my mind.
I will send you paypal instructions, so you can send me the money. I will use this money to buy things like 24 carat gold wallpaper! Full body plastic surgery! A real unicorn! Also you will send me the EXACT address of the location to send your drawing, not the one where you USED to LIVE! And I will get it to you before XmAs. For real.
Order now! Order often. But PLEASE order before Friday, December 6.
by team small dog at 6:00 AM
29 November 2013
Your BlackFriday Download this FreeApp while you are sitting/standing/driving/moshing through that holiday craptastic sale shopping unexplainia.
Download this, baybeez! Use yer phone! Use yer device! Use yer Walmart store greeter! Swipe and wipe, tap and cry. Here is your blackfriday app of darkness!
Makes yer life better! More beauty! More easy! More stunning awesomeness that you can hardly stand it. Stretches to 42 inches diagonal! More bluetooth! This app not developed in collaboration with nobody. No team. Nobody else. Tractor not supplied. No photo credit, photo from my phone. Made in China! Thank you to the Chinese! To the Apples! Onwards to Cupertino! Of many malls! Enjoy!
by team small dog at 7:18 AM
28 November 2013
Perhaps to which she refers is a turducken? Muthatrucken dozerturducken? We will be enjoying polenta cassarole tonight. With chard. Which is not vegan, a terrible fact of which we will feel sad for the lives of those poor cows. And we will eat a pumpkin pie. Made from pumpkins that are tan, not orange, harvested in a giant machine that could tear you from limb to limb. And we are thinking of you.
by team small dog at 10:23 AM
26 November 2013
Since we are adrift without agility goals, maybe it would seem like no practicing, full anarchy, agility gone feral. This is surprisingly not true. We practice and go to class, and we practice like we mean it. Most of the time. Agility is still a thing for all of us. A real and genuine thing.
We go and practice early, just as the ice melts off the contacts. This is how we start out our precious day off. Monday is a trip up the mountain for one hour on the field. One hour that is only for us. We have done this for a long time, and I believe that we will still do this far into the future. This is a thing I cannot know, but a thing that I believe to be a true fact. That and we have to stop at Trader Joe's on the way home.
Otterpop doesn't get to do hardly none. Agility isn't good for her legs. You see the right one dangling along every so often, and the left one goes skip skip skip. But it is good for her brains, of which I know for a fact she has extra. So out we go, to test drive drills of my invention, and to practice gambles of the Eleventh Degree. You know. They're harder than Tens. Her gambles go to Eleven.
Otterpop likes to go fast. And Otterpop likes to go the hardest way. This is a fact of Otterpop. Just let her do it. You don't have to do nothing but throw the frisbee at the end.
Gustavo practices everything. Skills and drills and turns and running on a straight line to the next thing where he might need to actually TURN. Extension to collection. Collection to extension. Oh the practice teeters, be still your beating little hearts. He has the focus of Eleven, until yesterday when we practiced he didn't, when I was about to step up to the line and he spun and ran off into the forest, down the cliff bank to the creek, in a blinking eye instant.
I had to whistle more than once, something that never happens when the agility is removed. And deers or bobcats are added. And then he went to jail. When we are walking, he understands the sin it is to chase deer. When the deer come to agility, all bets are off.
Jail for Gustavo means Ruby does agility. There are a lot of big waving arms, she only has to clear a pole set on the ground. Ground bars and tunnels only on the tiniest courses in the world. Ruby does agility until she terrifies me with her speed, or until she bashes into something. Bashing and too fast at the same time is inevitable with her. Ruby is quite a sight to behold, sure wish she had more. u agility is very, very short. We do some heeling. She plays with the toy. Life is good if you're Ruby.
Gustavo in jail means Otterpop gets more turns. I have learned a lot about Otterpop's agilities over the year since she makes only occasional guest cameos at dog shows. One is that she truly loves to work at a far away distance. Two is that if I set up experimental sequences for her, little psychology quizzes of handling and equipment, she will always prove me wrong.
Gustavo and Otterpop are polar opposites on the field. Gustavo will chase me and go where I go. If I make an error, so does he. Otterpop runs with a belief in her mind, a belief of where my mind is telling her to go and a fair amount of disregard for where I point. Otterpop does agility like a magician, and Gustavo is in it for the chase.
When the penalty box is over, Gustavo gets sprung. We do easy things, long leadouts with stays then chasing. Do you know that when we practice, he will drive for the teeter totter, selecting it above all else on the field? A sad but true fact, but happy in a way. There are some teeters for which he has a sincere, deep in the heart, love. Since we have no goals, we can view this strange but trueness as happy. When we're done, we go do a forest loop, and everybody runs some more.
by team small dog at 7:03 AM
25 November 2013
What I always tell the dogs is, that in the woods, stay away from the creepy people. Whisper quiet and mind yer own business. Leave it where you found it and get outta there fast.
When I whistle, then is where you need to be. So this is what we do.
Finding a blue fox. The talking one.
Finding the orange fox. The smiling one. Small blue fox. Smiling one.
by team small dog at 9:14 PM
21 November 2013
20 November 2013
18 November 2013
Just your regular, run of the mill walk through. Sort of. Rotation Group A at the SMART USDAA trial, walking the team relay course. Just keep watching until the fox says something.
Thanks Silvina for taping this!
Wow, and look at this...Ellen compiled a behind the scenes look at all the hard work a flash mobber does to be flash mob ready. Thanks Ellen! http://dogblog.finchester.org/2013/11/flash.html
by team small dog at 6:24 AM
17 November 2013
Sunset over the garbage bags at the dog show.
We went to a Team trial this weekend in Morgan Hill. Along with everybody else in California, I think. One big ass, mothertrucking godzilla of a dog show. Where did everybody come from? It was like a regional packed into 2 days. Except with extra added dance fever. And a lot of bags of trash. I went home with classes still running into my bedtime.
Otterpop ran in one class, one class only. It's been a while. For some reason, I thought I heard her say she wanted to do a gamblers, so I stuck her in one, hooray for old skool Otterpop. Otterpop busted out the fast running, nailed the gamble and earned lots of points, no problem. Left me flat footed on the startline, she was barking and off she went. Me and Otterpop were super happy about this fact. Back in the day, vintage Otterpop, super gambling queen. Next time she wants to do a run, I will enter her. One is enough for her. Not every show. She is picky. But when Otterpop is on, Otterpop is awesome.
Gustavo was on a team with 2 of our friends and their 26" dogs. They are good competitors. They were generous to team with us. We all tried hard. I think we are all still friends. Gustavo had many good runs, he won Team Jumpers and came in 2nd in Team Gamblers. Both his rounds of steeplechase were blazing.
There was a little problem with the teeter totter though, namely in a no way, not a doing it this weekend. Which is a bit of a problem in terms of the whole team spirit vibe. Team is really, really fun, except for when you are the team member who screws up. Gustavo is not a good team player when he can't get near a mandatory piece of equipment. He was able to touch it with his feet twice, and acted as if electrocuted. His runs were great, if I could have just spliced before the teeter and after the teeter together, it was rad, speedy Gustavo who can do no wrong.
Unfortunately in team, not doing teeters is a very bad thing. We just missed a team Q, although his feral snooker run, the only real and forgettable stinker of a run this weekend, also had something to do with that. Such is life. We let our team down, by having teeter totter free runs. There is a pretty good chance he won't be running in the Nationals this year, which is basically in my back yard. If I lived on a giant estate and it took an hour to drive across my yard. There are no team Qs and Masters Challenge Standard Qs and Grand Prix Qs without teeter totters. There's no black market in extra Steeplechase and MC Jumpers Qs for the ones that need the teeter.
I am happy he's running so good, if you just cover your hand over your eyes at the part where the teeter comes in. He loves him some steeplechase and jumpers. He always runs fast as hell. The weave pole disease went away as quickly as it came during the summer. He loves sitting ringside and hanging out, happily marches up to his startline, something Otterpop never, ever wanted to do. I can't get mad at him when he's afraid to go up on that teeter. I sure wish I could help him not be so afraid but it is what it is. We try and we practice. He sure loves him some teeter totter when we practice. And every so often he busts one out in a dog show, just a couple of months ago he did this and won Grand Prix.
This used to drive me crazy. I'm able to shrug it off now, and keep on moving. I move pretty fast. So does Gustavo. It's what we like to do.
by team small dog at 7:28 PM
15 November 2013
If you were a computer spy and looked into my pictures section of my computer, you would see about a million photos of dogs. A lot of them look like this. Probably not what computer spy was looking for.
Everybody sitting there, or standing there, or laying there. Nobody looks especially joyousness, because just a minute before there was awesome running and sticks and so forth. Then the lady says the Stay. Then they have to stay there. Then the stupid boring camera comes out.
And the lady fiddles with the buttons and it isn't working and the light is funny and it takes a long time and all because of the lady everybody is still sitting there in the stupid Stay. It's just stupid. It is interrupting the good stuff. Full dumb ass suckage. But sometimes you have to do what the lady says because, goddamn. The lady is the leader. Sure. Maybe there's a cookie some of the time at the end, but everything was better before the Stay.
This is harder to take a good picture of, what this looks like. My camera is a shitty, little one that spends it's life bouncing around in my sloppy purse or the backpack or the pocket with old cookies and post-its and baggies and twigs. It likes to picture you close up and not moving. That's it's shitty little preference. But this is the part, where everybody out there doing their own thing in order to feel, Right On of Excellence, that is actually, the most important part. This part comes after the Stay, too. Usually.
That is a fact of which we hope on. Every single time.
by team small dog at 7:14 AM
11 November 2013
Hello, Oregon. Hello, Mary. We saw you for a little bit. We drove a long, long ways, everybody in the car, smooshed in with our stuff, driving up through Eureka and Arcata and Pelican Bay State Prison, until we passed the border, and Superfly vodka distillery and fast food joint in an old taco bell with stained cement floors and gourmand burgers, until we passed through Florence and drove up the house on the hill.
We stayed up there, running around the 40 acres and sitting around for a few days. Pretty much the only goal was where should we go walk around right now?
You Oregon folk, maybe you take Oregon for granted, but we find it crazy and mystical and think how awesome it would be to run away there and hide. Up a long dirt road, and into the rain forest, where nobody would ever see us and we would eat special Oregon food you only get in Oregon.
This probably won't happen and so we tried to just enjoy it up as good as we know how, then we had to come home.
There were mild adventures. The trip to the emergency room! The tire that blew out! Sleeping beneath the biggest cel phone tower in the world, or maybe at least in Oregon, or maybe at least that we've ever sleeped under. They were all very Primero Uno Del Mundo Problemas and it was a super time. We made a sport where Gary rides his bike and the dogs chase him and then me and Ruby are back there limping along. And the other dogs are like, OMG!!!!! HA HA HA HA WHERE DID THE OTHER PERSON GO!!! over and over again until their brains' exploded. That was pretty fun.
There was a lot of beer. Something about Oregon and the tip top of Cali. Everywhere you look is a brewery. In a nice way.
Then we drove home and then I ended up hanging out a couple days at camp Power Paws. I hung out with Tori and many other of my agility pals and it was a swell time. It was like camp where I sleptover in the same musty old Travel Lodge as usual for the empire of Turlock. Wes Anderson canoe based camp, not so much, but there were more post turns and rear crosses at this one. Gustavo hung out ringside and played around on teeter totters and such for a couple days. I probably learned many things.
See, we didn't give up our agility shoes, not just yet. We are still always picking up the towel from where we threw it in and trying again. Muthaflickah towel throwing in. Agility kicks my ass.
We just came home from a dog show. Gustavo won a round of Steeplechase, and one of the Jumpers. He had a beautiful Grand Prix run until that teeter showed up at the very ending bit, and then that was that. He ran super all the rest, except for the time he weirded out in Jumpers, and the time in Snooker where he broke his start, ran away into a tunnel and just stayed in there for a little while. Until he popped out his head and we saw eachother, and we went "YAAAAY!" and runned out the ring in togetherness.
You know, work is taking it's toll on me. I am going more gray and more soft and every day I scritch on my head and think, aye yay yay yay aye. Say that slow to yourself. And do a big breathy sigh. And I go to the grocery and do some laundry then fall asleep and have another day. Otterpop follows me around all day and sits on the tractor and on the fence, the other dogs sit in jail and wait for the day to be done. In the dark. And still nobody washed the floor.
So a-ok and righty-o? Do you still love us with all your heart? We are waving at you out the car window, wearing a camouflage hoodie, and even though nobody is champions today, we would like you to know we are doing just fine.
by team small dog at 2:14 PM
10 October 2013
Hobbes wasn't my dog, but I loved him just the same. He belonged to my friend Rob. Rob and Hobbes both taught me how to do agility. Rob let me run him because he would lay down on the table for me in dog shows, maybe because he loved me, maybe because I stopped at Trader Joes and picked up frozen mini meatballs for him. I didn't care if he did the table or not, I just liked hanging out with Hobbes. I sure do miss him right now. My sad condolences to Rob and Derede.
by team small dog at 6:36 AM
07 October 2013
Here's Gustavo in Steeplechase. You should know that the building that he's weaving towards is haunted and many times, he has stopped dead in his tracks and started at it, quivering, for a very long time. He actually did this in the first round, but he runs very fast and still got a Q. Apparently his weave poles are no longer diseased, at least they weren't this weekend.
He also won Grand Prix, Gamblers, and Jumpers. Go figger. The teeter totter had a deadly look about it in the snooker close, so he ran away into the tunnel, but luckily the Grand Prix teeter totter was the friendly kind. Or in a friendly place. Or had been cleansed. Whatever. Good thing.
I have no idea why Gustavo is how he is. It is much more fun to go to a dog show with a happy dog who doesn't believe things are crawling out of the air to sniperize him. We had a nifty time. Usually Otterpop does Gamblers. That's not Gustavo's thing. She asked me not to enter her. Her leg looks like it's dangling on a thread these days. So I entered him. Who knew he could do a Gamble? Luckily it was a very, very easy Gamble involving a tunnel. Kind of a gimmee. But still. Hooray for him.
by team small dog at 9:25 PM
30 September 2013
I've been working on a project for some many months now. It's not a project that I'm sharing with the internet. It is my very own. I started it quite a while ago, and was scratching away at it, and now I am scratching pretty hard. It's one flea infested mange scab of a project.
We all like it because it's something we can do together. Some of it I can work on in my studio, some of it involves some forestry. It means we go out late, and go out very early, putting in as many miles as we can. I turn odd when a project starts to take over, and I'm probably not very fun to talk to. It's hard to go to work. My house falls apart. I've taken to wearing camoflauge and not speaking on occasion. This might go on for years.
I don't think it has replaced agility. We still have agility. But lately my days have been feeling kind of old school, life before agility. When there was time for projects. There's a lot to do, all in the name of a project that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to anyone who isn't me.
When I used to be an artist, that previous existence spiraled downward into a big fail. The whole reality thing about the galleries and the shows and ringing people up didn't make sense to me, and it smacked me in the ass and I faded away from it. I faded back into a WhateverHappenedTo? I hope all my old friends remember me this way, and sometimes take pause and wonder, WhateverHappenedTo me. At least I hope for this. Maybe I am forgotten.
My life drifted along into agility. We have been drifting there for a long time. We tried to become champions, an upward spiral towards greatness, but that whole reality thing smacked me in the ass again. There is a good chance that I may be fading into a WhateverHappenedTo once again. This happens to me.
You shouldn't worry about me if I seem to be fading away. I am busy working on remembering. We are up there in the woods, and we are all doing just fine. Although we do have concerns about coyotes and pumas. Sometimes creepers. Gustavo carries enough concern for all of us. We stick together and keep to ourselves, you won't see us when we're wandering north, south, east and west. Some people have clearer trajectories than others, after all these years I'm starting to understand this. My trajectory is the kind that goes meandering in opaque circles. I might not ever actually get anywhere. I don't know that this is bad or good, it's just the way it is. It does seem to be the one thing that we are all very, very good at. Circular meandering. Today I have dogs and trees for friends.
by team small dog at 5:41 AM
23 September 2013
Otterpop is giving this soulful look from the frozen foods section at Costco, because her soul has been ripped from her furry little shit smelling throat.
She climbs up to the top of made in China faux fur children's vests, located just across from the multi boxes of lightbulbs, batteries, and toilet bowl cleaners, to declare defeat.
Three Cheers for Costco, the team screams with Joy.
Then over to the cases of cereal, toilet paper, vitamin enhanced waters, and socks, trying to look for the Christmas wrapping papers and plastic trees.
Gustavo has been working on his photoshoot skills. Deep within the bowels of Costco, getting Gustavo to look at the camera is not easy. I was offering free samples of mozzerella balls with pizza sauce in little paper cups shaped like little hats, but he is still watching stacks of Kirkland brand umbrellas and festive rain boots and winter jackets for just 49.99 intently. Don't move! Lest be crushed by the boxes of silverware and tin foil! Stay still little buddy, and nobody gets hurt.
by team small dog at 4:54 PM
15 September 2013
14 September 2013
Gustavo had blood work this week, that's how we monitor his hepatic microvascular dysplasia. That and if he has seizures or acts crazy or drools and shambles around the house. His levels of this and that have done nothing but gotten better since he's been on meds and strict adherence to his special diet for the past 2+ years and this time his blood was the BEST EVER!
Can he go back to eating beloved MEAT? Hell no. Because his brain will explode of ammonia then he'll die of bad liver. But blood tests don't lie, and these ones show that his body is functioning just like a dog that has a normal liver, pretty much, essentially. He is as healthy as he's ever been right now, about as healthy as we can ever hope him to be. His brain might have permanent damage from the years before I knew he had this, but nothing NEW is being damaged anymore.
He is a healthy dog!
This news makes all of us here in team small dog land very, very happy.
by team small dog at 3:33 PM
09 September 2013
I am pretty lucky to have a dog as awesome as Gustavo. I wouldn't trade him for any other dog in the whole wide world.
A week ago, he couldn't hardly do agility anymore. All systems broke. At least at the dog show. This has happened before. Whether it's his inherent quirkiness, sickness, brain damage, bad training, or just a super inflammed case of environmental stress, when his wheels fall of they fall off hard and all the way around and then they roll down the street and vanish. Gone. Down the drain.
Sometimes they don't come back. That's how it used to be. One step forward and 13 million back. This week, not bad at all. Nothing has been able to scare him on weave poles and teeter totters all week. All recall systems in place, except for one incident I missed involving my husband and a neighborhood cat. He returned from that escapade in the arms of a little boy from down the street, who would have kept him if he could have.
Not a chance.
In the interest of, train don't complain, here's what Gustavo worked on this week:
Impulse control games for his foods. We run around, he lays down, the foods are around and he stays until released and gets the foods from me. This goes super in the backyard. We haven't moved it out to cat land in the driveway, near the street.
Revisit some of those tried and true tricks. Feet on the flower pot and pivot around. Climb into a bowl with all your feet, not just 3. Maybe it's just me, but some of these tricks that I taught Otterpop and Ruby in just a few sessions, many years ago, are still not perfected with Gustavo, after all these years, and we dust them off and work on them in times like this.
Weave poles with weird things on the bases. Bases pulled apart. Sticks on the bases. Pieces of plastic and cardboard on the bases, under the bases, across the bases. This week, nothing scares him about weave poles.
Teeters every way possible. Far from me, close to me, doing a trick before them, bouncing on them, for treats, for no treats, for playing with toys. Nothing but a huge party for him, doing the teeter. He loves him some teeter, just not at a dog show.
Recalls, recalls, recalls. In the forest, when we're walking, I whistle and he's always there. Boy, did this take a long time. When we practice, always there. Boy, did this take a long time. Near cats, or in front of the house, his recall is gone. Certainly a hole that provides clues to dog show meltdowns-too high of a distraction and he is out to lunch.
Photoshoot stays where you HAVE to look at the camera. And stay. And not move. All at the same time. Also very difficult when there are distractions or scary things nearby.
Gustavo is probably now 7 years old. That isn't young in dog agility years, or in dog years, period. Watch him run a tricky international sequence and follow my every move, he looks like a super champ. Watch him run out of the ring at jump 3 in the next class, he looks like a starters dog who's been trained by a deranged chimp.
This thing we try for in training agility, the most fast and most perfect, the most enthusiasm and the most skills, this is something that seems reachable when we practice. I walk the course at the dog show, it seems like this one, we got. And we get out there, and it really goes to shit.
The agility qualifying year has just begun. USDAA Nationals are held just over the hill from us this year. It was never a question that Otterpop was qualified for the Nationals. She had more Qs than she knew what to do with. All of her titles end with silver and gold. This isn't how it works with Gustavo. I looked at the calendar today and thought, what do we do? What do we enter? Is this a little bit pathetic to have worked so hard trying to train a dog who can't I can't even run clean enough to qualify to run in the Nationals? This causes me to hang my head down and shake it slow.
I wanted to be good at this.
Gustavo is over there, sleeping on a tiny pillow. He can sleep on tiny things. When I get up, he's my perfect shadow, and follows me silently across the floor. I am pretty lucky to have a dog as awesome as Gustavo. I wouldn't trade him for any other dog in the whole wide world.
by team small dog at 5:40 PM
08 September 2013
So here we are walking, and I stop for a moment to contemplate, to turn right at the orange rock, or should we walk further along and then turn left when we get up to where the steep downhill is before you get to the meadow.
These are the big decisions of a really good day.
And then here comes Gustavo and he's trotting, which is odd as he's a sprinter not a trotter. A sprinter who runs with the grace borrowed from the rodent division of animal kingdom. He has the look of he has a treasure clamped in his mouth, and before I can say anything, because the thing I usually say is to start screaming and pounce on him and get him to drop the thing which is probably a carcass and probably meat based, before I can say anything he trots to me and drops this thing, exactly at my feet.
Another thing he is not, is the dog who drops things at your feet.
I'm all, Wow, thanks Good boy. I say this slow, and I say this sort of suprisey.
Because I can see the thing is weird and has hair. And on closer inspection it is a snout of a fox. Fox snout.
It has the cutest little nose, and razor sharp curved fangs. Long stiff whiskers and lovely brown fur, which is feeling sort of matted today. I believe it to be the snout of fox, although I only suspect this fact at the time, because I look up animals skulls in the internet when I get home. But out there it's only my belief.
I am thinking, who takes off just the snout? I look both ways up the trail, and listen close.
Gustavo is hovering very near. Like he's not a trotter, he's also not a hoverer. I take a snout snap shot, decide if this is really something that I need, and pick to hurl it to the brush. Rest in peace, fox snout. You belong here where you came from, not rotting in my bone pile. We take the left at the orange rock.
Gustavo gets behind me and trots with Ruby for quite a while. He's not a trotter, not usually. Now we call the orange rock path Fox Snout, and for today he doesn't lead us.
by team small dog at 2:50 PM