30 October 2014
Once the weather changes, we like to go down to the beach more. We hurry out of work to get there while the sun is still a little bit in the sky. It's low, but it's there.
Not so many people now. No hot dog leftovers. Just a lot of beach.
These 3 are a wild bunch together. Ruby has to sit out some beach trips because I worry she'll get run down. She doesn't mind. There's a chewie for her in the car.
If we can get there before the sun goes down, there is a lot of this.
Then this happens, and we walk up in the dark.
by team small dog at 6:29 AM
27 October 2014
We are having loads of fun in the Silvia class. I do wish I had taken it as a participant, although the video stuff is a big pain. Here's a little bit from this week's lesson. We just started Lesson 3 today, so maybe in a week it will look better! I think that the more we do the less hesitant Banksy looks, I probably need to be more confident too. More balls! More straight tunnels! More chasing. We also need to get going on contacts, Banksy is nose touching on a board and they look ok. Not great. A lot of work ahead of us!
by team small dog at 2:03 PM
26 October 2014
We saw the biggest, scariest coyote I've ever seen in my life the other night. I had no ideas coyotes come in size XXXL. This was one bad ass coyote and I freaked out and we had to backtrack all the way back through the forest with me yelling and throwing rocks for a while. There are no wolves or bears in our woods. So it had to be a coyote.
Or a werewolf. Just great. Whatever it is, we are staying out of that quadrant for a while. Big. Ass. Giant. Mean. Not moving. Coyote.
It was just up the meadow from where we saw the Big Ass Super Giant Deer, father of Bambi, a few weeks ago. Who was also of the mindset of nobody especially not dogs doesn't pass by me.
Something is up in those woods.
There's no photo because I still can't find my battery charger and I am not taking my phone into the woods. So there's Otterpop sitting in the corn instead. Just picture a big huge brown werewolf standing on 4 legs. This is what we saw. A coyote times 10. I am not going to stop talking about this for a while.
There's a lot of Giants going on around here. Hey. Did I tell you about the giant coyote we saw the other night that totally freaked me out?
It rained. Turns out border collies are closely related to pigs. Will get very interesting around here if we get rain this winter. Border collies are also scared of coyotes that look like that werewolf thing we saw the other night. Banksy just froze up and let me put a leash on her and drag her back into the woods.
Otterpop got to be in every picture. Which isn't really fair, especially since she has been on my shit list. Otterpop has been in a rotten mood lately. Otterpop would like the whole world to be a movie starring Otterpop with nobody else in it. Just OTTERPOP. Otterpop saw the big coyote first with me. She stayed quiet. Did I mention how BIG it was?
We all escaped. Gustavo started spinning in little circles til I got him clipped on a leash, he was super freaked out. Me yelling at it probably didn't help much. It sure wasn't scared of me. That thing was BIG. Maybe he was guarding a kill or something, don't know. He was huge and he wasn't budging and we went the other way and I hope we never run into him again.
by team small dog at 6:53 PM
20 October 2014
This is Banksy's homework from the last couple of weeks. We're auditing the Silvia Foundation class. We have a little dirt patch at work to play in, and then rent Kathleen's beautiful grassy field. I wish we had that much space all the time, I think on our little dirt patch she wants more space to run. We're working on faster and tighter turns. More faster at the same time as more tighter. We have a long ways to go!
by team small dog at 3:02 PM
We didn't win anything or stand on the podium. We didn't make it into any of the finals. I made some errors in my runs. There was a teeter refusal, twice popped poles, and a couple off courses due to aggressive-let's-try-THIS handling or a disconnect. One weirdo thingy in Steeplechase Semifinals that I think I made him do because I was nervous.
Gustavo ran in everything. Team, Steeplechase, Grand Prix and Masters Challenge Biathalon. Every single run, every single event, Gustavo ran fast and tried his best. I'm not kidding about that. He didn't space out or do anything weird. He was having a great time and pranced out to that ring like he owned it every run. All contacts, all poles but for 2 sets with pops, all teeters, all fast. All.
The days were long. Our brains got fried. Banksy's got really deep crispy fried. We made a bunch of new friends, and got to hang out with our old ones, sometimes only for just a minute, because everything was so big and hurry up and wait. A minute better than nothing, right? We're there doing agility runs that take half that time!
We loved the tents and the grass and the coffees and the smoothies and the lure coursing and the grandstands and the cheering and our teammates. We loved seeing so many of our friends running in the finals and standing up there on the podium. With pumpkins! Otterpop loved wearing a hat in the halloween parade.
Nobody freaked out. Maybe me the teensiest bit just before Steeplechase and I will try to never feel like that again around poor Gustavo. I am the very and most proudest of Gustavo. I never thought in his life he would compete at a dog show like this. And the way that he ran, he sure deserved me not making any errors because he was a superstar champion. I have to get better for him. He's a pretty low key guy, no diva action, comes out and runs and then is happy to go do whatever and hopefully get a run in the forest before it's dark. He's cool that it's done, he'd be cool to go back again.
Here's a little movie, taken in the stands while we were cheering our friends during the Grand Prix finals, the very end of the last day. Just keep hitting repeat if you want to see what it's like to be there. See everybody next time!
by team small dog at 7:42 AM
17 October 2014
Thanks Ellen for the photo! Featuring us in the USDAA Nationals parking lot. My camera battery has died and I hope Banksy didn't eat the battery charger because I can't find it anywhere. If you see us tomorrow, please take a photo! So we have something commemorative of this week?
I'm not saying I freaked out, but let's say that Gustavo has been running great, and that I was so hoping to do really good in the Steeplechase Semi-Final round. This is his thing. And even if we didn't make the final cut, I just wanted us to DO REALLY GOOD. And he had such a speedy and spot on Team Gamblers run in the morning. But then also, how awesome, I am trying not to think, would it be for him to make the finals?
Oooh. Shiney. Pretty. Shiney. Thoughts. In the brain. Too much. Thinking.
That is so not how it works. Because those thoughts are like mental mangements for me and then Gustavo can tell there are crazy psychic waves lapping at the shore and then he acts weird and then I can tell he's acting weird and then, next thing you know, he turns and runs over to stare at a banner flapping in the breeze instead of turning into the poles. So this is not good and this is a large error and back in the poles he goes but you know. It's too late.
So pressure is off. The invisible mind pressure that I invented for us. Poor little guy. We have some more runs Saturday and Sunday, Masters Challenge and Team Jumpers, we go back to being all chill and just running and hopefully he doesn't have any freaky mental scars. As soon as that little incident was over, he popped a pole and that was like the champagne cork popping out of your ear and back he went to speedy, happy little guy.
by team small dog at 7:11 PM
16 October 2014
Otterpop would like you to know this fact. The best thing of EVER. More than swimstick. More than riding the tractor. More than ANYTHING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF OTTERPOP is the lure coursing. If you are a dog you chase a damn little ratty ass fur thing on a string around a little course. I have never in the history of Otterpop seen her more out of her skull of insane nuttity than the lure coursing. She might not be able to walk after a couple more turns but I'm letting her go again anyways. Lure coursing causes her to yodel and leap and then she catches the ratty thing and does not want to let go. LURE COURSING LURE COURSING LURE COURSING LURE COURSING LURE COURSING LURE COURSING LURE COURSING.
But this is actually about Gustavo. He's running like a million bucks. I have made a handling error on every single run. That's how it goes. But he could not be running any better or faster or happier. I would say champion quality, even though we are far from being champions. Aside from each little error, errory enough that they have cost us an E in Team Standard (oh that tunnely vortex bit under the dogwalk) and finishing the close on Team Snooker from my wide turn between 4 and 5, a million bucks. Two million bucks. He loves the crowds, he loves the fun, he prances into the ring with a big smile and takes off like Otterpop's damn little ratty ass fur thing over in the lure coursing and we just run. He has found his thing. Really big dog shows!
Ruby is staying home. There is too much of everything here for her. Banksy is in a CAGE. I take her out a lot but she is like a tiger in there. She can smell the agilities nearby and wants to GET THEM ALL. I would say her training excellence is not much excellent because so much border collies all the time with toys and running. We just go and tug and sort of run around with me hanging on to her leash for dear life and get not too close to the agilities. They are everywhere this week. She is the fluffiest border collie there. She keeps growing MORE HAIR. Just when I think she has the most hair possible she grows MORE HAIR. We are hard to miss, the hairy wild thing with crazy eyes, Do not judge. I am trying. Avert your eyes, say hola to Gustavo then come watch Otterpop do some LURE COURSING.
by team small dog at 8:01 PM
15 October 2014
Gustavo had just one run today, Grand Prix quarterfinals. He ran GREAT! However, there was a just say no to the teeter, then a fly-off when he changed his mind and said yes. So that's that for him in Grand Prix. We have loads more runs this week though, and no worries. We're just happy to be out there running.
by team small dog at 6:55 PM
Gustavo is at the circus! Everybody gets to squeeze into a little slot in the big white tents. Even Banksy. I apologize in advance to my friends sitting next to me for Banksy and whatever she's going to do. This is going to be a long week for her. And me. I decided to drive back and forth every day, exactly 1 hour each way. No matter if I go over or around the mountain. We dropped off our stuff last night after work, it's not too far from work. We can always just sleep out there with the horses.
Today is one run, the Grand Prix quarterfinal for Gustavo. On springy and perfectly flat faux turf! It's like one big fiesta of tents and banners and excitement at those rings! Everyone arriving saying HOLA! Gustavo believes he is at one big-ass party, this is either a great thing or will be a crazy thing for agility, and today we'll find out which. Look at his photo, do you see the alien beacon sticking out of his head? Hopefully this keeps him on track and all communications happen with the mothership prior to stepping into the ring.
Whatever happens, running with Gustavo, my littlest and bestest fella is going to be a whole lot of fun and I feel very lucky to compete this week at the Nationals with him. Off we go!
by team small dog at 6:55 AM
12 October 2014
My puppy's name isn't just Banksy, it's Challenger's Forest Banksy. That's a lot of name, a lengthy name befitting a dog with such a tremendously grande tail as she. We have it on a pedigree paper now, a long piece of paper listing all her grandma and grandpa dogs and so forth. The paper is longer than a regular piece of paper, but not as long as her tail. Her tail doesn't seem to stop growing, it gets fluffier and longer and when she runs it looks like she has an entire raccoon stuffed into her ass.
Since Banksy has jointed us, everything is always puppy puppy puppy. But at 8 months old, she now has moments of dog-ness. She sometimes lays around in the house. You don't have to think about her all the time on walks. She listens and doesn't think about jumping off cliffs even if there is a bird in the air. During the whole puppy puppy puppy period, there was no hope for any art projects, no painting could happen, even though her namesake would never let something get in the way of getting paint on walls.
So I just tried a little bit the other day, could she come on an outing when I bring art supplies along in my pack? It seemed so sad to think about Gustavo heading into a such a big, exciting competition this week without any kind of mural in his honor, even if it was just a teensy start of one to be finished at a later date. So Banksy had her first public art excursion. It's the dogs' job to watch for cops or weirdos or wild animals, and let me get on with my work. At the very least, they need to not run off.
It was a little nerve wracking. Being all rusty, I made some rookie mistakes and slopped paint onto my expensive new super supportive old lady trail hiking runner support shoes. I left an incriminating paint pot at the scene of the public art and had to hike a weird double long loop in a hot breeze with panty Ruby all the back round to reclaim it, lest someone trace a dirty, paint filled high end gelato jar back to me. I forgot to wear my hoodie. But Banksy did her job and chilled and we were in and out in a flash. A work is in progress. I think she's going to work out just fine.
by team small dog at 7:46 PM
09 October 2014
How do you get a shirt like this?
$24 big ones, come say hola and pick up from me Cynosport Games or if you see me at the liquor store or whatever for zero shipping and handling. Orders that require shipping, $6 and to continental usa only! VERY LIMITED AMOUNTS! All payments via paypal or cold hard cash slapped in my hand.
Shirts are District Young Mens Concert t's. 4.3 ounce soft spun 100% cotton. Black only. Runs sort of smallish, beware if you don't like a little smallish and get a size up maybe. Photo features me in size medium.
by team small dog at 7:01 AM
06 October 2014
Otterpop will be at USDAA Nationals, too. Because, yeah right. Leave Otterpop home? Otterpop can help me with coverage for Mary. Because we are going to miss Mary! And Tammy! So I'll make sure Otterpop takes notes. I took her to the beauty parlor today to get ready. She was all, pedicure. But they don't have dremels at the beauty shop. They do have tiny alligator skulls though! Our kind of beauty shop. So Otterpop is pretty much ready to go. See you there!
by team small dog at 7:49 PM
Gustavo is running right now as good as he ever has! Gustavo might be as old as 8 years old! We have no idea! Gustavo who I never thought would learn to do weave poles, who speaks with aliens and witches, who sometimes just says no to teeter totters, and has hardly any teeth, Gustavo will be running in each and every event.
Gustavo won a bye to the Steeplechase semi finals at our Regional, but his just say no to teeter totter in the Grand Prix final cost him a bye for Grand Prix. Hola quarterfinals on Wednesday! You never know what Gustavo's going to do! He is unpredictable! He looks like a squirrel! He chases the cats at work! He might go in the tunnel! He is GUSTAVO! And we love him the bestest that there is.
In practicing, fantasticness of awesome fastrunning! His thing is fancy international superblinds of fancyhandling! This is what we love to do best together so we practice this when we practice. Not because we're going to compete somewhere of an international nature, just because it is our funnest! You throw us a crazy Russian crazy course, and we are going to HANDLE that mofo.
We haven't been competing. We haven't even been practicing too much, just going to class and doing some stuff here and there. Damn puppy sucker of dog practice time. Gustavo is HEALTHY! Gustavo is ALIVE! Gustavo is SITTING ON MY LAP! Gustavo doesn't know he's competing in a National event. That is happening on our hottest week in the hottest place on fake turf on the Anniversary of the EARTHQUAKE! Gustavo doesn't know any of this. He is just being GUSTAVO!!!! Come and say Hola to him at Cynosport because you are Gustavo's best friend. Everybody is Gustavo's best friend! Hola and see you there soon!
by team small dog at 6:10 AM
05 October 2014
Do you remember the Blue Ladies from a long time ago?
They drifted around town, both of them so tiny, swaddled in layers of powder blue, always topped with a blue hooded wind breaker tied tight around their little faces. They never talked, and they were always together, the two of them. I don't remember exactly, but they both looked like ladies but maybe were actually men. They were old. They were everywhere. But they lived in their own, tiny, blue world.
I remember, a long time ago, one of them died. This was the word on the street, anyways, maybe this is when we learned that she that died was really he, RIP. I don't know what happened to the other one, a tiny blue lady, left out there alone. I thought I saw them when I was driving down the mountain yesterday in the heat, coming out of the forest where it was about as hot as everywhere else, but it was just a tiny little couple of Chinese grandmas, making their way down the road. Not sure why, in that heat, too hot to be walking on the asphalt. At least they were together.
Sometimes on Sunday mornings, we've been running into the Lady Dogpack when we walk in the northwestern quadrant.
We've been out a bit later since I saw the mountain lion tracks. Beautifully preserved huge pawprints, and came up out of the bush and onto one of our trails. They were big, they were definitely cat. Seeing them was breathtaking, the big cat taking the same path as me, each footprint the size of a hand. They slunk along, then turned back to the bush. Animals have different ways when the heat strikes. For now we walk a bit later and somewhere else, in case the cat enjoys strolling that way at dawn.
The Lady Dogpack is 4 ladies who each have at least 2 dogs, some of them 3. All the dogs are big, and some of them are mean. Specifically, do not get near the dalmation, the cattle dog, or the ridgeback. The rest are big, loud labs types, and all come running fast. The Lady Dogpack doesn't walk, they are a mass of fast runners and loud talkers. The ladies are strong, and can grab and hold onto those bad dogs quick and hold them really good.
When we see them, it's usually the black and brown labs that come around the bend first. I'm always ready, I can hear them from far away. I know now, just pick up Otterpop and carry her under my arm. Banksy always pops into her lie down to assess how many of them are out there, and Gustavo and Ruby quietly pick their way through. While the ladies hang on tight to the bad ones, somehow my 4 can always pass their 10, even on the narrow little track that wraps down the hill, past the biggest stumps, to the creek. We all had to share the creek today, to get the dogs to the only tiny little trickle of water.
After we pass, we can hear them running for a while. But they go fast, and we both go our separate ways. Then the forest goes back to quiet.
Gustavo came back with gray fur in his mouth.
I believe that Gustavo chased an old, sick, crippled squirrel up an old, fat, redwood tree. I do believe that he must have caught a tip of tail in his mouth, his tiny little mouth that's missing most of it's teeth. I am sure he has never got this close to a squirrel, which is why I believe it must have been old, sick or crippled, maybe all of the above. We hear them chippering like monkeys when we walk, high above us in the branches. The rest of us waited for a long time at the bottom of the hill, and when Gustavo never showed up, we walked back up and there he was, running in circles around the trunk, trying to scale a redwood, taste of squirrel fur in his mouth for the first time.
Banksy was a good girl, never had the thought that this squirrel business was a good idea. Me and the lady dogs all waiting patiently for little guy who's lost his mind. I had to go in and yell at him, his worst thing ever. "BAD BOY, MISTER AND YOU BETTER GET OUT OF THERE NOW." Oh. This made him ever so sad and out he came.
We spend a lot of time walking in the forest, more than we used to, in the name of a good puppy is an exercised puppy and to be in the shade when the October earthquake weather hits us like a fireball.
I'm taking an online Silvia Trkman course with Banksy. Agility foundations. We have enough room at work for some tunnels and jumps, and I practice when I can. I already feel very, very behind. You go online and watch the homeworks, and try to be like how Silvia is on the video. I wish we could practice this 100 times a day. But practice has to squeeze into moments at work, and I think we are making progress at a snail's pace, not efficient like a champion would do it. I forgot to use a blind with come to hand. I haven't tried as many patterns as the other puppies have, and she is sticky on some of her sends. I thought we were doing great until I started watching the other puppies' homeworks.
Practicing is fun, but I do so wish we had some space to play at home. At work, you need to be doing the work, so there isn't always time for playing. But I'm grateful to have any space at all.
There's always time, though, for walking in the forest. Banksy always comes to me and walks in a close or side til I say, off you go. She doesn't go off on the squirrel hunt with Gustavo, and she patiently stands aside to let a mountain biker speed by. Maybe hiking skills will transfer to obstacle discrmination, and walking on my side will help with the come to hand. Maybe not. But it's shady in the forest, and that's where we were today.
by team small dog at 12:25 PM
29 September 2014
This happens sometimes now. The rainbow unicorn holy grail of border collie puppy mythology. Mine has started, ever so often, sleeping at my feet. I could do without her bestest present of all, though, when she brings her waterbowl along with her sleepy self. But I think that means she loves me.
Two out of four of the dogs bring back the ball. Otterpop loves it that there are organized rules that involve balls and frisbees. And if somebody AHEM, leaves their ball in the pond, Otterpop is more than happy to swoop in and hande the situation. Otterpop loves having her own border collie. How did Otterpop ever get on without a border collie? I am very sure that Otterpop is extremely happy to have her very own.
Banksy loves Ruby a lot. So much so that I get nervous sometimes, because if you so much as blow on Ruby she can topple over upside down like a bug. But mostly, it's very, very sweet.
Banksy and Gustavo? Don't get me started. Weirdest insane love connection ever. Hiking buddies, house pals, BFF's forever. Gustavo's ET phoned home the day he decided he loved Banksy. I'm not sure what they do down there in his lair together, or even how she fits in there. There are sounds. Sometimes I drag one of them out. Not usually, though. Because, true love.
How did we get on without a border collie before?
by team small dog at 7:53 PM
28 September 2014
Aloha. My neighborhood isn't the easiest place to have a border collie. Not a lot of wide open spaces. No sheep. Not one.
Our houses are small, and many of us around here don't have yards.
Mostly to find a little space to walk, we drive up the mountain, or drive out to work, or drive to our best beach that isn't too crowded.
But it's good to have a place in the hood for dogs.
There's always the park, for just playing ball.
But the best place is if we walk to the pond, out by the whale skeletons.
Doesn't tak too long to walk out there.
I live on the Westside. From my house, just keep walking west and you'll get there.
Just on the edge of town.
Deer should stay out of the neighorhood. Too many fast cars.
And foxes too. They should stay up on the mountain. This fella got smashed a few couple of months ago.
You'll pass the biotech place, and the gummy factory, and the surf shop.
There are a lot of blowing leaves on the way, blowing on the pavement. In case that's important for your walk.
Almost there, hurry!
Everybody in! See you at the pond!
by team small dog at 5:33 PM
The gazebo inside Gwyneth Paltrow's birthday party compound where they served the vegan dark chocolate sea salt cocktails. Happy Bday Gwynnie!!!
Look! It's Father John Misty!
At the Clooney wedding. Was a long day.
Bodyguard tries to block rare shot of Jay-Z, Beyonce and Blue Ivy touring Los Angeles area homes.
"Museum quality graffiti" painted out by spray can wielding hooligans.
by team small dog at 11:45 AM