20 May 2018

Much better than the hospital.

Gooey has several nice hospital suites to settle in, depending on the sun and breeze.

Today he drank some water from a bowl and licked some food from a stick.

It's going to be a while, but Gustavo's on the mend.

18 May 2018

Gooey is home.

The most dangerous ambulance in the world, with it's tiny passenger laying on a blanket on the front seat, arrived safely at the new westside dog hospital located in my living room tonight. My patient is a little unruly, feels like shit, doesn't want to eat the pills or actually anything else at all, but I think we'll work all that out as we go. Gustavo is home.

He has a long road ahead of him to recover, but he's got a soft bed in the corner, and all the ice cream he can eat, and our hope is he improves a tiny bit every single day.

Thank you everyone who helped him get back with your good wishes, good vibes, and financial donations to his hospital bills. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have such good fortune and good friends.

Goo, whee.

I hope someday soon to get Gooey's happy face back!

The hospital has it's ups and downs. He won't eat for the nurses, so every morning and every night I get to spend a couple hours with him, figuring out things he'll eat. Last night was a bit of a down, there is something new wrong with him but hopefully not too serious.

So far, must be ice cream first. The hospital frig has his little carton of his favorite high end fancy ice cream. Luckily Gary did all his ice cream training before this happened, so we can get him going with that. He seemed a little sad and uncomfortable, maybe from this new neck or esophagus or whatever is happening thing, but he ate his ice cream and a little baby food and even a few crumbs of Charlie Bears and chicken.

He mostly wants out. He decided last night to make a break for it, I had him out to get some nice air in the parking lot. He is sharp as a tack in there, Gooey the escape artist, he saw where a gap in the fence would get him to the hospital neighbor, the most highly robbed bank in town next door. He made his break and took a trip over there.

Luckily he moves slower than the oldest snail in the world right now. But at least he moves! I let him make his break, followed him slowly shuffling to the B of A car park, let him have his freedom for a minute, then carried him back to the hospital. He wants to be OUT. He does not want the nurses to TOUCH HIM AT ALL. Gooey, lover of everyone and everything, now has added some hates to that list. Doctors, nurses, hospitals. He can't even look at them.

Many people have asked to contribute to his expenses. One of my best friends, even though she knows I hate things like this, set up a funding page for him. I am trying to understand, people just want to help, and this is a way they can. She has raised higher than what I hope his bills will cost, my mind is blown with the generosity of so many people. It freaked me out when people started seeing stories of him on news sites on the internet. I don't want Gooey to be news, I just want him to get well. I will donate the extra money to a foundation that helps pay vet bills of people with no means to pay.


17 May 2018

Mrs. Wu, sparkling heart of the woods.

It was exactly one year ago we lost Ruby, Mrs. Wu, Sister Mary Ruby, the sparkling heart of the woods. Maybe she helped send Gustavo back to us. She would do something like that. Thank you, Ruby.

Ruby. Spring-ish 2000-May 16, 2017. Long may you run.

16 May 2018

Goo eats.

We used ice cream as the gateway drug to baby food stick licking. Gustavo ate something! I think something is wrong with his jaw, but he can stick his tongue out the side of his mouth and lick things off of a stick. First thing he's eaten since Sunday.

All the good vibes being sent via intergalactic planetary planetary intergalactic express vibes are working, we saw some improvement today and while he is still a very sick and damaged little guy, the fact that he can lick some food off of a stick and sit up is tremendous!

Keep the good vibes rolling his way if you can. It's helping.

15 May 2018

Goo, ICU.

Today in real time there was a genuine, muthatrucking goddamn triple toe loop quadruple axle of a miracle that happened. Gustavo is not dead. He is alive.

He is in bad shape, I will tell the tale later. But suffice to say, he got took in the woods by coyotes in an ambush, he vanished without a trace or sound, and he lived to tell the tale. I pronounced him dead because we searched and searched, but knew what happens to little guys in jaws of coyotes. How a little guy like him survives being took into the brambles by a coyote I do not know.

He made his way out, went to the Waldorf School, where the excellent 8th graders found him. They called me, I got him to the emergency vet, and he has a very good prognosis to survive his injuries. They include puncture wounds around his head and neck, broken ribs, bruised lung, something messed up about his liver, infection of gasses in soft tissue near his chest, corneal ulcers on his eye, something wrong with his other eye, and there might be others I forgot. I usually take notes. But I couldn't this time.

It's been a bad couple days. I went from living in real life bad dream to one where my life turned into a miracle. I need a beer. My friend Tammy sent me a whole refrigerator full as a condolence card, but I was too sad to drink them. Now I'm going to go raise a glass to the genuine fact of real life miracles that can happen even to someone like me and Gustavo.


Always the happiest boy.

13 May 2018


Gustavo died in unexpected tragedy Sunday, May 13. He died how he best lived, running in the woods. Forest creature forever, RIP our best baby boy.

06 May 2018

Top ten list of things not to try again on the relaxing evening amble.

10. Take that faint deer track down to the creek.

9. With Otterpop in tow.

8. Using her string on her harness to try to hoist her over the rough spots down the cliff.

7. Which also rips my pants and fills them up with dirt and redwood pokies.

6. Although we find two baby waterfalls.

5. And a new swimming hole.

4. With lots of mosquitoes.

3. And a cave den that smells of cattish pee.

2. So we need to get back up to the trail immediately but we can't because, cliff that we all barely made it down anyways, so we have to tromp up the creek which is nearly impossible from all the downed trees and being in a ravine and all and I have an Otterpop in my arms most of it who is now at this point quite unhappy about the situation I've got her in with her little back legs that don't hardly work, but I just keep keeping on and the other dogs think this is absolutely fantastic because bushwacking is usually frowned upon and maybe a big cat lives down here and did I mention creek and new swim hole and who cares about running up the side of a gulch and one wet foot from slippery creek rocks?

1. Next time we just take the trail.

22 April 2018

Otterpop’s aged a hundred years in the last year since we lost Ruby.

Ruby was her joined at the hip, her for better or for worse, her Beyonce to her Jay-Z. When we lost Ruby I think we lost a piece of Otterpop. I didn’t figure this out at first. But Otterpop grew weird stomach tumors, got limpier and lost all her hearing. A few more teeth vanished, and her rancid black moods turned a little drunk, a little silly. She stopped barking.

Otterpop doesn’t bark anymore. Ever.

Otterpop can’t let me out of her sight. I can’t let her out of mine, she wears Ruby’s long deafness string now on every single walk. I hoist her up and carry her up hills, or stuff her in a day pack. She really does try to walk, but her little back legs hobble like crab’s legs now, limpy and sideways and stumbley.

Sometimes I find her wandering wayward in the closet, lost her way on her way to somewhere now forgotten. I set her back on the couch when this happens, and either that’s perfectly cool or she wants to go somewhere. Go! Not sure where she’s looking for. Maybe to find Ruby? Or to find a piece of chicken. Or I don't know. Only Otterpop knows.

She still likes to run, and launch herself off things. High things! Tree things! All the things. And if I don’t watch her, she does. One good run and an illegal launch on a morning walk renders her a cripple by the evening, even with her grandma pills.

The last few weeks has been all about Banksy, Banksy, Banksy. Gustavo’s used to being a bit shuffled in the fray, he’s ok being shuffled, he sits on my lap at night and gets ice cream and he knows I'm sorry for the shuffles. Tonight on our walk, I noticed how sad and little Otterpop looked. A little more faded, a lot slower, like in the last few weeks she aged another fifty years. Her proprioception way worse than Banksy's, I hadn't even known that's what it was, just Otterpop's old lady crab walk legs is what I thought.

Sometimes Banksy looks at her like she’s seen a devil pop up from a dirt tunnel, gives her a creep look and runs to her hidey hole to stare at her. Maybe she saw how old she got so fast, maybe that spooked her, how it could be someday, everything just starts to go all to hell. Banksy avoids her now, takes the long way around the Otterpop.

Gustavo’s all, whatever. Otterpop's all, whatever. Then Otterpop launches herself on top of him, smashes his sensitive fur and feet, gets him all flustered like you hardly ever see him. He screams like a girl and looks all put out. Otterpop doesn’t even notice. Climbs up to her couch pillow and gets comfortable and starts to snore.

That's where she is now. Snoring on a dirty pillow. Til she goes wandering again, and I find her, and put her back. Over and over again.

18 April 2018

Neurologist for dogs explain the weirdo and unexplained.

There was a guy if front of my house the other morning dancing to what I believe was a circa 1979 Queen song. He had long frizzy hair tied up in a pony tail, and a red plaid bathrobe that matches a lumberjack blanket on my bed. He was dancing around in his bathrobe in front of the vacant house across the way, his music coming from some small yet loud enough for me to hear device I believe was riding around in his bathrobe pocket, stretched across his amble stomach. Weirdo jazzercise, bare feet, not yet 7am.

I've never seen this guy before in my life. And I assume that I'll never see him again. A non scientific assumption. But if I do, now I know what he looks like and I may have to work harder on being neighborly. And not chase him off with a big stick.

Neurologists are scientists, this is what she said, the Dog Neurologist with the Not Quiet Voice. Science can't always prove all thing things, sometimes you're left with weirdo. I wrote that quote down. The Dog Neurologist talked fast so I paraphrase. I kept writing down weirdo. Cerebrovascular stuff is weird. Dogs can have weirdo physiology. Weirdo. Weirdo. Weirdo.

Weirdo. Too hot. Weirdo. Blood clot. Weirdo. Flip not.

I think weirdo in the brain is better than weirdo of the spine. Had the Neurologist thought the flippy foot was caused by necrotic lesions or wayward discs in Banksy's spine, we would not have been able to do a short there and back through the forest this morning. But since it was her brain that had some weirdo occur within, the flippy feet have a good chance to go away and Banksy can return to some of the fun things in her life when the flippy becomes less floppy.

I thought Banksy's left hind wasn't flippy, that it was just a foot, but the Neurologist found a flip. The right hind is certainly flippier. If you were wanting to have a contest of this, the right foot totally wins. But since the flippy has slowly been getting better, a grand fact I think about constantly, measuring the lessening toe drag I hear with her steps, the Neurologist said wait for the MRI, wait so long that hopefully she won't need it.

If it doesn't go away, if it starts to drag worse again, drive back there, to a strip mall with a Chinese restaurant and a burrito place and a giant magnet to put your dog in, to take a detailed photo of her brain. Cerebrovascular weirdo that it may be.

A guy walked in with a dying dog when I was waiting for our turn in the lounge. A tiny dog, wrapped in a blanket, the guy in old, dirty clothes. He asked if they could save his dog. I'm not sure if they could. I told him lo siento, I wish they saved his dog, but I think it wasn't saveable. En espanol, conversations about bloody diarrhea and no vaccines and bleach baths for feet appearing in the halls.

I am lucky Banksy didn't die. Maybe she had a stroke, the Neurologist said emphatically, but still with a question mark in her voice, a blood clot stuck somewhere in her brain. Maybe something's off with her internal thermometer that causes her to run too hot. Maybe she has epilepsy and had a seizure. Maybe struck down by sudden onset Border Collie Collapse, a different kind of seizure. Maybe we'll never know. Maybe we will if it happens again.

There is a long list of the things the neurologist says it isn't, and some of these are real doozies so I love this list. I took notes and at the top here, in the swirling scrawl which is my hand writing, it says NOT THIS. Not Not Not Not Not. I didn't write what it was not but I know all the things. NOT them.

What it is, weirdo and unexplained, where it came from we don't know, and if it's coming back. There is something weirdo, maybe in her brain, maybe in her thermostat. That's cool. I will assume, however, like the bathrobe guy, padding around with his chubby jazz hands, that it won't. That it was just for that one time, an event, then is gone. And we go back to our regularly scheduled life, like how it used to be.

13 April 2018

Friday the Thirteenth and Banksy is feeling great!

Banksy is feeling great! She's ready to play, play play!

She's going to visit a neurologist in San Jose next week, but aside from her right flippy foot failing at the proprioception flippy tests, I think she is perfectly fine and ready to GO!

Failing at cp tests though, still suggests the deficit. Which means still the possibility of something bad lurking in the spine or brain which you don't mess around with if you want permanently good back legs for walking and running. So we're paying mind to the deficit.

I've taken her off strict house arrest and increased her slow leash walking every day, as I'm only seeing improvement doing this. I put a handful of cookies in my pocket, and all of us go slowly down the street. We started by walking to the corner, then added on to the alley. Then to the further down alley. These were pretty good places to walk to because of, Oh the Smells You Find in the Alley! And sometimes cool things!

The cookies help the remembering to walk slow and not do things like RUN. Snails. Our mode right now is to move like snails, and we're up to even further than just around the block. Approximately two-three-ish blocks. If you lived in my neighborhood, you would see why blocks aren't really blocks. The Circles twist and turn and spit those without good directions out alive. I think we're walking a good amount right now, not too far and not too near.

There is still no running in the house! SNAILS! No dogs running in the house! NO RUNNING! That shit gets shut down in a flash. Nobody runs nowhere. No how. No way. No playing unless it's quiet bitey face. Much use of puzzle toys with cheese shoved in them while I enjoy a beverage. Basically, we're all on snail rest.

Her toe drag started to improve on Monday. My theory had been scratching her from all the agility trials she was entered in would start improvement. That seemed fairly scientific and has proven correct! As long as it's improving, we keep walking. A happy Friday the thirteenth today where I heard the least amount of toe dragging of all week!

The deficit though, remains. If I stand her and turn her foot upside over, she doesn't jerk it back into place. Which she definitely does on the rest of her feet. Jerks. Fast. Don't FLIP the FLIPPIN' FEET! So that's still a remnant of the neurological event, whatever it was, that foot feeling stuck. But My vast knowledge of dog neurology tells me that if the toe drag is getting better, the flippy problem will as well.

I know her leg is stronger, when she came back from the hospital she couldn't support herself on it at all, it would slip out from under her and drag every step. Last week it stopped slipping out from under her but would drag on a regular basis, not every step but many of them. This week the dragging seems to get better every walk to where I don't think I heard the drag until we were past the next door neighbor's house this morning! And I've seen her stand to pee on it, because who wants to pee like a girl dog when you can pee like a boy dog?

Makes for very exciting walks. Walking as slow as grandma snails and counting toe drags. I'm glad I don't count Otterpop's toe drags. Her toes have dragged for years since her back legs don't really work. For Otterpop, they work ok. She gets shoved in a backpack if her back legs hurt to walk too far or up hills, and she gets delicious drugs to eat with breakfast so they don't hurt too much. For Banksy, we would like better back legs than this. So waiting and crossing fingers she is back to normal soon!

08 April 2018

What happened to Banksy?

Here’s a thing I do not recommend. Go let your dog out to pee and find they are unconscious, soaked in slime, and laying there like they’re dead.

Also things not recommended, alligators, waking up to find a large snake in your kitchen sink, not ever backing up the computer, avocados used as food.

Some of these things I can only imagine. Some of them I can tell you exactly the outcome. Some are just gross. And some are deadly.

I don’t know that Banksy was going to die. And spoiler alert, the happy ending of the story is that she didn’t. But what I found, the carcass of Banksy, sure looked like she was. I grabbed her out of her crate, tried to stand her up, and instead saw her collapse like a floppy, stuffed plush goat, one with button eyes and embroidery thread for a mouth, and fall into the oak leaves, rolling down the hill through where the big stinging ants make their hive.

The last time I saw her was when I loaded her into the car, in her expensive crate with the memory foam bed, parked under the shady tree, and handed her a delicious chewy. Told her to be a good girl and don’t bark during class. Sometimes the sound of the other dogs having agility class spins her up and she barks when she just can’t stand it anymore and I have to yell, “Knock it OFF, Banksy!”. But I was smart that day, remembered to bring her a chewy. And off I went to teach.

There’s two ways for bad things to happen. There’s the leadup way, maybe it’s drawn out, it’s a different kind of feeling when you have a warning. You live with the dread and the pain and the heartbreak of the future, then you live through it when the bad happens and then you live with the pain and the heartbreak again while you learn to get through the past. It has a before and a during and an after.

But there’s the other kind of something bad. When you were just having a normal day and then in one instant, it changes on a dime. Someone flips a coin in the air and a thing happens while it falls that changes everything. This was one of those.

I went up to my car, little dog oasis, parked under it’s tree. That car is a palace for dogs. Always cool in the summer, warm in the winter, little tote bags filled with treats and tuggies and chewies and dog jackets for the winter, dog fans for really hot days. We could survive for some time in that car. Water jugs and apples and a jacket and boots and hats for me wedged under the seat. Every dog has their own crate with their favorite kind of bed, and I park just so to catch a breeze for climate controlled snoozing. They’d rather sit in that car than anywhere else. We could all stay quite a while in there, drive with it’s four wheel drive off the grid, if that’s what we had to do. Maybe it smells like damp dogs on some days, I’m ok with that. You can open a window if you’re not.

That normal day, a genuine day of Spring, I walked up there to let Banksy out, to have a pee before we moved on to our hike, and she was unconscious. I was pretty sure breathing, I pulled her out and stood her up except she wasn’t in there, just a fluffy, floppy, slimy husk. I gathered her up from the hillside, where she started to roll down, from where she came to rest against a rotten log, and shoved her back in her crate. I didn’t know what was wrong but it was wrong enough I knew I was the ambulance, then and there, to get her to the hospital.

I thought she was dying the whole way there. I couldn’t figure out what the soundtrack was for rushing my dying pet to the hospital. The Cure? Led Zeppelin? Nothing really sounded right. Do ambulance drivers listen to NPR? I twisted around the dial a couple of times then just shut it off. That seemed better for willing her to stay alive while driving like a bat out of hell. Didn’t they know, slow-driving dumb asses in front of me, that my dog was trying to die? Could I tell that to a cop if I got pulled over? I tried not to think about it. Just thought instead, Don’t Die Don’t Die Don’t Die.

It worked, because we made it to the hospital and as I grabbed her into my arms to race through the car park and into the lobby, I thought I saw her eyes open. She was warm, albeit floppy, but I knew she was alive.

I knew how to enter with style and flair. “Ataxic and barely conscious four year old border collie!” I yelled, stomping in, like how they do on hospital shows.

They sent out a nurse straight away. It’s the emergency vet, people probably come in like this all the time. Nobody batted an eye. “Please save my dog! I don’t know what’s wrong, possible water intoxication! Please save her, please save my dog!” as I handed her off.

The  receptionist handed over a box of kleenex when I almost started in for a sob, filling out the forms. I didn't need it. I pushed them back. Instead I paced little squares on the checkerboard flooring. Walk the squares, walk the squares. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

The water intoxication was the only thing I could think of. She looked like how I pictured the dogs of my two friends who both had their dogs die from drinking too much, the water dilutes the cells of their sodium and the cells cause your brain to swell up and drown, right there inside your very own skull. I knew she had drank a lot of water earlier while doing a little agility, I knew her bowl was empty in her crate, I knew she had to have vomited water to slime her up like that. Was the only thing I could think of, since nothing else made sense of why she was ok one minute then not ok the next.

Little did I know. So many things in veterinary possibilities. Here’s a short list. Fibrocartilaginous embolus. Epileptic seizure. Ingestion of various toxic theoretical things. Stroke. Border Collie Collapse. Water intoxication. Heat disorder caused by something unknown. Maybe two of these! Maybe more! Her blood work was weird, but she was coming out of it, and within a couple hours could wobble into my arms and lay down on the floor of the hospital with me. Her eyes were glazed and dilated and she didn’t want to move, but it was a lot more Banksy than I had seen two hours before.

The doctor didn’t really know though, nothing quite seemed to fit all her things, so they kept her with them in the hospital, in the ICU. By the time I left, I could tell she knew who I was and she was able to walk a lot better, just shaky and slow. So this seemed fantastic! I went home to sleep, and the vet tech kept me updated very late at night. Told me how sweet she was, what a love, and that she was moving better, even rolled over to get her belly scritched.

When I talked to her doctor just around dawn, she had good news. The latest blood panel was much better, and Banksy was walking almost normal. Almost normal except for one leg that still wasn’t good. Dragging her toe and slipping when she walked and doing the flippy foot answer to the proprioception test.

Proprioception, the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself. And a deficit. Deficits are the opposites of surpluses. The day before, Banksy had a surplus of all the things. She was the fastest, smartest, cutest and most cunning. Just like that, a deficit, in her movement and her place in space. But that was tremendously better than how she looked the day before. She was released back to me that day to stay under house arrest, with the diagnosis of not sure what’s wrong but let’s hope it goes away soon.

So many vets. So many guesses. The next week was nothing but playing medical detective, not a hobby I like and beyond irritating to any innocent victim who inquired about her health. Phone calls and emails and texts and more veterinary articles about neurology and syndromes and conditions than I ever wanted to read. A lot of hoping that in a day or two, maybe in a week, we’ll see that deficit go and she’ll be back to normal. Back to a surplus. Let’s just hope it’s that. Otherwise to the MRI, otherwise things like maybe surgery. Maybe with this or that she can lead a normal life, as long as she is careful. Of course no agility, maybe not too much running. A lot of things you really don’t want to hear about, not in your amazing four year old team mate.

I am grateful she’s alive. And that she’s not in any pain. A week later, she seems completely normal. Ready to RUN! Screw the flippy foot, who cares if it drags a little bit? Except we have to care, it could be something none of us want to think about. All through this, Banksy’s been the model patient, a favorite with the nurses and the vets. Lots of needles, lots of poking, prodding, stretching, lots of looking in eyes and ears and throats and everywhere. Banksy knows we’re trying to help, she’s been far braver than I. I cancelled all her agility coming up, she was getting ready to run in the Southern California Regional, heading to a local trial the weekend before to work on her start lines, on our team work, sorting things out to try to win ourselves Grand Prix and Steeplechase byes for Cynosports. We had some fun teams lined up, lots to do, an exciting month ahead. I've cancelled with the idea, that's the magic potion to get her back to how she used to be. I'll trade competition for good karma, hoping there's no covert tariffs being attached. Now I'm counting out dollars for the MRIs, to see if her brain stem and brain and spine looks ok, no lesions, nothing necrotic, nothing with words you don’t ever want to hear attached to anything with your dog’s name in it.

There's still a chance it will just go away. Neurology things are weird. Flippy feet don’t necessarily predict doom and gloom. Some dogs live just fine with a deficit. Maybe was a one time deal, nothing to worry about, putting her in a crate with a chewy, in the car under a shady tree, could go just fine, just like it used to be. I’m just trying to stay in the moment and not put the cart in front of the horse, be patient, keep calm and carry on, stay in the present and be hopeful of the future. But in case you’re wondering, that’s what happened to Banksy.

12 March 2018

Grand Prix Finals, Day 3.

This was just the best course. It was fun to walk it because I knew it would be fun to run it. It was. Banksy had a bar, we came in 2nd. This is the kind of course I could run all day and so could Banksy. We like wide open spaces and tricky little turns mixed in, this course did not disappoint! And a tunnel start to boot, doesn't get any better. Running this was the highlight of our weekend, even with a bar down.

Grand Prix finals course. A lot of E's. It walked pretty good, but I knew from the beginning we were not going to win or even place. The dogwalk was further to the right, and going to a blank space with a big white plywood wall at the end of the ring. The number 12 jump wasn't anywhere within view for Banksy. That is her worst thing to ever see coming down a dogwalk and she will miss her hit, guaranteed, when it's to a blank space with a wall beyond.

I was correct! There are things Banksy likes and things she doesn't like, and getting her to like seeing this when she's flying down her running dogwalk is something I don't know how to do. I don't like avocados, and no one's ever changing my mind about that. So there.

She had a beautiful run, only four of the 20" dogs made it through. But missed her dogwalk hit. She would have taken 2nd had she not. It wasn't stressful or nervous making to run though, because I knew if she hit the dogwalk contact it would be a complete fluke. Still a nice run, we had a good time, that was that, and then packed up the car and drove back across the desert.

10 March 2018

Wild West Regional, Day 2.

View from my spot in the carpark.

Me and the dogs spend the day in and out of the car, in a dusty carpark at a fancy rodeo grounds in Queen Creek, Arizona. The Regional is an extra fancy dog show, my goal was to come and run great and do well. The desert gave us a hot day in the 80's and blazing sun, and a chilly day with rain drops and some big winds. The desert has a good personality.

So far, after day two, humbling learning experience is more what happened. There was some great, some pretty good, just like the rain that came in on Saturday afternoon, a bit of a surprise of a shit storm.

Banksy's magic superpower skill is not to hit bars. Hitting a bar in practice or a dog show is a few and far between event. Not impossible, but highly unlikely. In the last two days, over 7 runs, 5 bars.

Two of the were in in the first round of Steeplechase. Even with her fast time, two bars on top of that, 10 seconds added on to her time, five each bar put her a few dogs below the cut off line. Her first time not making it to a second round steeplechase. That's her thing, where she shines. That was a goal, to make the final and do very well, and very much not accomplished. Ouch.

There was a bar in Biathalon Jumpers, Biathalon Standard, Team Standard. The Biathalon standard bar cost her the win. All three of those runs were great, she ran beautifully, but I couldn't make a save on the two Es. Her Biathalon standard run was on a course that made me so happy, because it was the kind of course Banksy shines on. I wasn't wrong, so we had a great time on it and maybe that will be the highlight of the weekend. Nice lines on big wide open spaces, with tricky little turns in between.

When we E, I know where it comes from. We E in practice, I go back and redo. I don't know how to run her perfect. Sometimes it happens, but a lot of times it doesn't. So an E just verifies that, we're not there yet, there are flaws, and we have a whole lot further to go to get better.

I tried to not freak out about the bars. I talked to friends who had their opinions on the footing, so very different than what we've run on before, and that I should try to run her a bit differently than normal on it, which actually helped a lot. So that was good, instead of freaking out and scratching her from all her runs, I tried to run her a bit lighter than I normally do and it didn't eliminate the bars but certainly helped. I love my agility friends, they are smart and reasonable and give me good advice.

My other humbling moment was my low pressure team. Since they were not hell bent for a Q, I decided to not run trying to Q, like I tend to do in team. I picked out strategy courses that I thought Banksy would like, not to get the top points. I was successful in that and had really nice Team Snooker and Gamblers runs, super fast, no bars, and decent points but not winning. And a very happy Banksy for the lines I picked for her.

Not so great in Team Jumpers or Standard, the Standard run was a shit storm and we barely survived. That's happened before, on a weirdly similar course. I hate dogwalks into stupid walls with tunnels nearby. The Jumpers just had one fatal error, costing an E. I believe that our team came in last place, we didn't stay to run the relay.

Banksy coming in last place. That was the other ouch. I don't fault my team mates, I fault myself for not bringing the team up! That's what teams are for. Sorry casual agenda, karma is a bitch.

One more day, just Grand Prix finals for us. Banksy is amazing, I can only hope to run well enough to try and help her win! Win or lose, we always leave the ring the same way, first me literally dragging her out, then we run to get her toy and a piece of cheese and we take a nice walk together where I tell her what a star she is. So no matter what, she knows how amazing I think she is. Thanks Banks! 

Arizona roadtrip.

Last minute roadtrip to the Arizona Regional! A three day dog show in Queen Creek, southeast of Phoneix. A quick twelve hour drive from my house right to the door of the fanciest Motel 6 I've ever seen.

Day one, pretty ok. Three runs, two e's. They were great runs, though, but for the little e part. E. Big E. One extra blue tunnel in Biathalon Jumpers, one extra jump when I moved too fast and sent her over it in Team Jumpers. Don't e in team. Except for when you do. So we're out of it for Biathalon, and team is another day.

Nice Team Snooker, but I did chicken out and the part where I should have gone 5-5-7-7 swapped into 5-5-7-3. You don't have to do agility to know 7 over 3 is probably better when competing. We did make it easily through the 7 in the close though, so that's fine, probably gave me a somewhere in the middle final score.

Banksy's running great. It's possible to leave dogs in the car all day in the eighty degrees with my insulated car and all the silver shade clothes draping over it. I brought all my own food and a cooler full of ice. But we did go out to Frank and Lupe's fine Mexican dining last night just because. Some of my great agility pals are here and there are flush toilets and coffee for sale three bucks at the on the very plush and dusty horse show grounds.

Off we go to another day!

27 February 2018

A little practice.

We got to do a little practice on Sunday. Somehow this was the only video clip that made it. We tried. We had some good attempts and some not so good, ran some lovely open jumpers courses. Hooray for agility practice!

Our walking options are slowly shrinking. It's the way of the neighborhood. More people, more cars, less space. More tents every morning on the edge of town, wedged between the fences and trees on the side of the highway. We lost our cinderblock path out to the bluffs this year, not to tents but to development, and the pond except for on weekends, lost to the parking and cars. We can walk to the beach, but the tides are high and rough in the winter, and the tourists are thick in the summer. For a reliable and quick walk, we've always gone to a big local school with a park and a mostly abandoned soccer field.

It was always the same group, for so many years. Neighbors and their dogs, they sit at the picnic tables and sometimes bring their wine. They toss the ball, their dogs are chill. They know everybody and everything that goes on there. The skaters stay by the skate bowl, the kids play on the play ground, everybody gets along fine. The crazy guy from the blue house monitors the play ground equipment for teenagers gone wild who hide in the jungle gym for a smoke. Just goes in and drags them out, then throws the ball again for his shepherd.

Then they built the fence. Ostensibly to keep the homeless sleepers out of the school, that was a neighbor problem. A lot of nooks and crannies in there for someone needing a spot. The fence has a gate, and all of a sudden it gave the park the look of a dog park. A gate! Before it was just open land, not really under the control of anybody, probably not legal for dogs but flying under the radar.

The skaters sometimes bring dogs that roam, when we see the asshat cattle dog with the rope wrapped round his waist, we always move along to another section. Or when the blonde girls with the pack of shrieking cattle dogs are coming, we now know to get the hell out of there. You can hear those dogs coming a mile away. For the most part it's calm and quiet and a nice place to walk the dogs and throw a ball, but lately, like the other places, it is turning different. Maybe it's on instragram? A yelp review of our park? Did you see it on facebook? Change is hard.

The cattle dogs have gone after Banksy before. That's the only time though that a dog's been mean to her at the park. Something about her has Target written on it. She's scared of other dogs, and this gets her picked on. She just wants to be on her own. The park's been our nice neighborhood quiet sanctuary, everybody there always gets along.

We were over there tonight, had the ball out and were just ambling around, walking, doing some stays, and some ball. There were a couple girls I've never seen with three bc types, one was a big black dog hackles up dog. Every time Banksy was running I could see her watching her and a couple times chasing after her. I always feel safe when it's other border collies, but I guess that's kind of stupid.

The girls with the dogs were taking pictures and doing phone stuff when the black one and the smooth red and white one came over, quite a ways across the field to where we were. I put Banksy on a down, when other dogs give me concern that's usually a nice way to make her boring and usually diffuses dogs that might want to chase her. She gets a clarity of what to do when someone might be an ass. Always has worked in the past.

The black one though, marched up to her, where she was laying motionless in her down and jumped her, right then and there. I freaked out and screamed, Banksy jumped up and started snapping teeth, and the black dog jumped her again. It was much bigger. I ran the other way calling all the dogs, and they seperated themselves. Gustavo had eyes as big as his head. Banksy so scared though, standing there and snapping her teeth, her hackles up, ready to defend. This is what she doesn't get, how to get herself out of the situation. Running might get her chased, she doesn't know how to diffuse.

When yelled across the field to the girls, they didn't believe me. They looked at Banksy, lurching back to me. "She's not an aggressive dog," one girl yelled across the field.

Five minutes later I saw them pull her off a big, friendly pitbull. I see him every time I go there. I love him.

More cars, more people, it's how it works as time goes by. The new push out the old, somebody ends up living in the culvert on the side of the road. New buildings have room only to stack up, go high and block out the sky. Somehow we all have to share. Welcome to our neighborhood.

26 February 2018

Burn patch.

We clomped through the burn ash to stand them on the stump. The tractors go through now, clearing more space. Not for the buildings, those will be later. But just to clear paths for the inevitable fires that will want to come through. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but one year it's going to rip through here so they come in to rake out defensible space. That is our woods, they shrink some more every single day.

In about ten days we get in the car to drive to Arizona. It was a whim. A third Grand Prix bye for the year put it in my head, why not try for another Regional? I've already been planning to go to Camarillo in April, that was already a big deal. Days of work! Motel 6! But why not add another? A quick twelve hour dash down there in the car. To stay at a Motel 6 for three nights. I'm bringing a cooler and my own coffee setup and a large bag of fruit.

Things maybe they don't have in Arizona? Bananas? Apples?  Not taking any chances.

As adventures go, in the grand scheme of adventuring, this one is pretty mild. I'll get my oil changed first and bring plentiful bedding. A polar exploration or climbing of Machu Pichu it isn't. By any stretch. No monkeys, no rain forest. Just a lot of dogs in the car and waiting for runs under hopefully sunny but not sweltering skies.

Adventure? Maybe not. Maybe only a little. Really small holding my fingers apart less than a centimeter little. But it's a thing we've never done and Banksy's ready to do it, so off we'll go and have some runs. Wish us luck!

25 February 2018

Record setting lows.

This is what my new outfit is:

Long sleeve shirt
Fleece Vest, that has only one pocket now.
Flannel shirt jacket with puffy lining, that's a bit tight round the bottom.
Puffy warm jacket that now strains across the seams.
Biggest, heaviest goretexest rain coat.

That's the garment for the walk, and at work. Yes, I do look puffy.

It's a fine thing to be post recession. I had added jobs during the downturn, I teach more agility classes now, write a monthly magazine article, illustrate things for other people, freelance portraits and other designy things. And work full time at the barn. Full time plus, a lot of hours now to keep it all ticking. So it's a seven day week where the balls are really flying around.

I liked my hobby of watching the skating at night. Liked, not loved, really only a little. Mostly I wished to design some costumes, and wished the programs were more like one minute, with a bit more chatting of the behind the scenes between each one. What DO you really do at night, ice dancers? Do you drive a Prius? Do you keep several cats or several dogs? How do you keep your leg warmers from bunching down around the laces at inopportune times?

Mostly a good excuse to just sit there and wait for the next day where it's out the door in all the things from the closet, a fast trip through the woods, then to start it all again.

19 February 2018

Banksy Turlock USDAA

We entered last minute. It's been a bit agility lite around here, so I thought to just go do a few runs at Turlock. I like to support Turlock! We see cows and blooming fruit trees on our drive there, and pass over a misty bird swamp on the way. And a windmill.

My only goal was to try to get out of the car and run my first course just like how I walked it. That's always hard. Aside from one out of place and a wide turn, we did pretty good and Banksy won Jumpers.

I was uninspired by snooker until my best agility pal threw down 4 sevens. That was all it took. As soon as I latched on to the 4 sevens, we realized it didn't look altogether possible. She switched to a 6. I held on to the promise of fast running to make the sevens. And she was running after me so could readjust if I ran clean. Her dog is faster and she handles better, but a good challenge gives me a reason to try hard!

I tried hard! I didn't go clean! A breathtaking off course while I was running my fastest to get up there. But it was more fun than going out and just trying to knock out a Q. She won with the replacement 6. Which was hard enough to get through. I wished I had gotten further just to see if I could have done it.

We ran Grand Prix and got another bye, so maybe a third regional for us. We'll see. I could decide tonite to drive to Arizona next month for their regional, that would be a whole new thing, and a really expensive and time consuming way to do something new. I'm ready to do somethings new. Not so much for the expensive and time consuming way to do it, but I think right now that might be how it goes. We shall see!

09 February 2018

Happy Birthday Banksy!

I'm not sure how, but somehow this...

Turned into this.

Happy Birthday Banksy!

Banksy is four. She spent her day like all of us old people do on birthdays now. Not doing anything that great. I went to work, she slept on the couch. I told her it was her birthday a lot before I went to work. She thought that sounded pretty great!

She showed her great age though, when we were walking home from the beach in the morning, not only did she sit quietly and eat treats when a skateboarding guy with a galloping golden retriever flew by on a flexi leash, but then soon after was the lady who bikes with her baby in one of those handlebar things while her tan pitbull races ahead of them on the sidewalk. I spied that one coming and got to the other side of the street but Banksy sat there, stared at them, and ate some treats.

This is not what she used to do. At all. In the slightest. She's four now, and can take things in stride. Usually.

Happy Birthday Banksy!

22 January 2018

Wet day walking.

The only aspiration is to amble along on unpredictable paths, with frequent pauses to watch the sunspots wake up the sides of trees and listen to mysterious animal footsteps in the brush, and hoist the dogs up onto stumps shaped like raging ogres. Some of them hoist themselves, some I do the hoisting. It's wet, I wear boots, the dogs are muddy. To not be in a hurry, to not almost be late for work, to not have a lot of bikers flying through, to not have the old timey tweed hat guy chase me down the hill. Just to have time to amble.

08 January 2018

Don't break shit.

I was making all these goals for Banksy this year. Maybe try a few more far away shows, bigger shows, travel to more Regionals. With her ADCh all finished, and her qualifications for Nationals nearly done, we can do whatever we want. No dumb gambles. No stupid tall tables in standard. Run pairs with friends and not get stressed out. Maybe try to win more Grand Prix. Get cleaner Q's in Biathalons. Win all the Steeplechases. Embrace my very own snooker plans.

Then I went and broke her weave poles. That'll show me.

31 December 2017

SMART New Years Trial, Goodbye to 2017.

Banksy said Happy New Years early, on Friday night she earned her ADCh! Under one of our favorite judges, Judge Paco from Mexico. We have been slow to gather pairs Qs, Banksy isn't exactly calm out there in the arena when a pal is running. Banksy would like to all the agility all the time and not wait her turn. But she's learned how to do this, we started running the pairs, and now she is an Agility Dog Champion. We were thankful to run with our friends Carol and Bo, they kept their end together and we finished up clean!

A lot of Qs, Banksy is now all qualified for Cynosports but for one more Team Q and one more titling Q. All the Biathalons, Grand Prix and Steeplechases all done, with 2 Grand Prix byes so we can go to 2 regionals. Phew. I wasn't the best team player, made some mistakes, but our team still came in 5th place with a Q. Thank goodness.

Gustavo got to run, too. He had an amazing Steeplechase, and won 8" Jumpers. My little buddy is 11 years old and still runs his heart out, as fast as he can. Banksy is only 3, I hope she's still running like that when she's 11 years old. Gooey gets the shaft, he hates the long days sitting in the car with not enough fun and not enough running, but he's soooo VERY happy when he finally gets his turn.

There were too many bad things about 2018. Dog agility was not one of them. I guess though, it was the year of Banksy's injury and her 6 months off, so even dog agility got kind of bad in there. Could have been a lot worse. I suspect that 2018 will have a lot of badness, that's our lot for a few more years. So we just look for where we can find the happy and where we can find the good. Friends and families and dogs and horses and forests and beaches. Appreciate them all while we still got them.

Happy New Years, friends.

27 November 2017

Happy Dog Moorpark USDAA

photo credit Mia Grant

We tried an experiment, a quick trip after Thankgiving to my family's house in Socal with a dog show on the drive home, stopping in Moorpark for a few runs at Happy Dog. The goal was our other Biathalon Q and a third Grand Prix bye. Maybe a couple titling Qs for Nationals too, we still need 3.

Hmmm. Maybe too lofty goals. Banksy ran great though, me, not so perfect.

Perfect Jumpers with a bar. Not so perfect. I don't know why she hit it, I didn't even see it come down.

Into the tunnel instead of turning tight to the weave poles in Biathalon Jumpers, so an E in the first half rendering the second round a fun run. I watched a lot of dogs do this afterwards, I tried to hold on tight but it wasn't tight enough.

Beautiful Standard with a bar. And then an E because I turned Banksy nice and tight and didn't let her go into the tunnel. Which was a genius idea after biathalon! Except I walked the course wrong and made it much harder than it should have been. Oops. She even laid down on the giant table.

Beautiful perfect Grand Prix! With a hard turn off the dogwalk! Another bye? Nope because at the very end I pushed on her line too hard and wrong side of a jump heading to the ending after the straight tunnel. Oops. That would be an E.

We went home instead of running Biathalon Standard. We had a nice time, it's a nice and easy site just 6 hours from my house if I want to go again. There are palm trees and ocean breezes that blow up the valley. But just an hour and a half from my parents house! So maybe another time.

21 November 2017

Many of the things, in one place.

Have you lost an old Team Small Dog shirt? Or it got old and fadey? Here's a whole bunch of classics, now available in one reliable place. Maybe a weekend sale coming up, stay tuned!

Team Small Dog Shirts on Teespring

13 November 2017

You should be more scared.

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Aldous Huxley
“Welcome to the grand illusion.” Styx

Dog agility, I love you, but you’re bringing me down. Not really. Dog agility, you’re the sunshine in my bag, sticking out of my shoe and dribbling yellow tracks behind me, sunny little cookie crumbles pointing the way for the men in black suits to find me at a more convenient time.

I don’t have much to complain about, dog agility. My startline, yeah, that could use a little work. There are far grander train wrecks crashing around out there, hovering around on the periphery of dog training. The economy’s a gig where parched and tired masses are programmed to crouch down to hold up the bright and shiny optimism of a very few. We have disposable immigrants to do the dirty work. Everything is disposable! So many, many paper cups, with so many misspelled names scrawled across the tops! Inventors are currently programming drones to express deliver my next batch of dog food by flinging it out of the sky onto my roof. We can't wait! There’s even an app to pick you out an online puppy, a little bell will ding when it’s ready to go, just like an angel losing it’s wings.

Fact. Dog agility is a game we play with dogs.
Alternative Fact: My dog has a rock solid stay on the startline.

It’s just so convenient to ignore things. Solid as a rock, we take it for granted that nothing's going to melt. Are you watching your startline very carefully while you lead out? Do you see your dog get a little hunchy, like she’s ducking under the shadow of a pointy witch finger? Did you ignore it? Then it turned into a foot shifting just one millimeter forward? And you ignored that? Then you didn’t notice the foot move a little more and the hunch go a little hunchier then the butt scooched up just a bit. But you kept walking. You were all, what’s a millimeter? What’s one more disposable plastic thingamajig going into the trash can? I’m no litterbug. I throw it in the trash! And then all of a sudden, the earth is too hot for human habitation and you’re all, Why’d she break that startline?

Fact: Your release word can be anything you want but probably not curse words.
Alternative Fact: My dog’s stay is perfect at home.

So actually, dog agility, you couldn’t be better. Technology has made you fat and happy, and your podium pictures sparkle across social media every single weekend, beaming radiance and shiny hair, carefully protected by sun hats with extra added SPF, across the globe. Not just one but TWO sun hats! They're on sale and made in China! Or Canada! Global! Nobody running dog agility grumps with a pouty face all by themselves in the isolationist corner. In fact, in dog agility, everybody is friends with everybody! On social media, I just click you. Super easy. Now I know what your backyard looks like and what you had for dinner at the festive restaurant after the big dog show when you were drinking with all your friends. Ha, ha, yeah, that was an awkward one! You have never heard the sound of my voice and I probably hid you so I don’t have to see your emojis anymore.

Oh, I just let her go on that one. I saw her scooch, but it was only a little ways, but I REALLY wanted to run that course.

Fact: Distance, duration, distraction, I believe in that exact order.
Alternative Fact: My dog knows she’s supposed to stay.

Oh, so now your dog kind of creeps into her sit on the startline? And her foot does this little thing where it bends and picks up and hovers like an alien craft before it sets back down on the turf one more centimeter out front? And it happened at the trial last weekend? But you were really hoping to get that QQ so you just ignored it, just that once? Or twice? Because really, she knows she’s supposed to stay there. She’s just a little too excited, being at the trial and all. And you mostly enforce it at practice, unless you’re in a bit of a hurry, or sometimes you can’t exactly see it, she’s so fast and you’re so slow so you’re already off and running. But, she knows she's supposed to stay there. We’ve trained it a lot.

An iceberg the size of an island with Mai-Tai service direct to your palapa just broke off of Antartica. Looks like when a dog takes a bite of dog bed, gives it a shake, and a chunk comes off, all the fluff scattering across the floor. It’s cool, you can get another one on sale, just sweep it up and order online, robots are anxiously awaiting your call.

Fact. Impulse control works best when it’s the dog’s choice to stay.
Alternative Fact: Is it ok if I carry my toy?

David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear in 1985. Surprise! It didn’t really disappear, it was a magic trick. He wasn’t even wearing a cape, just a silver Members Only jacket and slacks. Let’s call it an illusion. It looked like it was gone, but really, it wasn’t.

Post apocalyptic desert children in hoodies will one day be huddled for warmth around a creepy skull lit by whatever will around to make future candles with, probably spit and melted Pokemons and the gunk that oozes from festering sores. They won’t have any puka shell necklaces! No video joysticks! No arugula! You know what they’re not going to be doing? Dog agility. Because the a-frames have all been repurposed into tiny house walls to keep the acid raindrops off leathery, prematurely aged skin. The shiplap and wide plank hardwood floors burned up a long time ago. Jumps have all been melted down for the curative properties found in pvc, since rainforest plants are off the table. And the dogs. Well, hopefully there are still dogs. Because if you’ve watched enough zombie apocalypse movies, the movies where oddly, all the trees are still alive because that’s where brain guzzling zombies hide, you know this. There are No More Dogs. You know what happened to them. Don’t make me say it.

Fact. Make clear the behavior you want.
Alternative Fact: Maybe if I try going back and giving a cookie.

You know what else didn’t happen in dog agility? Nobody in dog agility pulled out of the climate change accord. In dog agility, we happily drive big fat gas guzzling machines that are guzzling away at the fossil fuels being dug out of the earth while we play sad songs for polar bears on tiny violins. And the trash we throw away! Who needs the violins? Toss ‘em. So much trash! Hey dog agility, we are good people. So it doesn't count when we throw it away, right? We're the good guys!

So now, yeah, at home, her stay, it’s looking good. I clicker trained it. But then at class, her sit goes kind of stalky, like her air shocks are leaky and the low rider hydraulics are quietly taking their own damn time to lower down to the asphalt. Listen close, you can hear the hiss. When I walk out, her butt pops up. She's fluffy, so maybe you don't exactly see the air that now separates dog from sod. And then her feet move, sneaky like when someone breezily tosses out the phrase, “Oh, by the way,” the best passive aggressive way to start an attack. So I walk back. And re-sit. And walk back. And repeat, thinking, this wasn’t supposed to go down like this. I had a startline. It was So Good. It was a thing. I trained it.

Fact. Mechanics include reward placement, frequency, and timing.
Alternative Fact: She’s up? I thought she was still sitting? Dang.

I’m moving like a giant spider right now, exploring options with all my legs, but with the caveat of occasionally dropping my head into the sand. You know what they say. Facts don’t vanish into thin air just because they get noses turned up at them, willing them away. But it happens all the time. I’m losing my edge, just like James Murphy did. I’m early basking on the beach of late capitalism. I thought what I was doing was spreading love, compassion and kindness, watching my dog with a smile on my face. Maybe I can still spread this by clicking the little heart icon, located conveniently below your slightly blurry and not well composed dog photo. It’s just there, drag the mouse finger three millimeters at the most and you’ll find it in a jiffy. Just click, and your heart goes on. Isn't that what they meant by calling it the Summer of Love? Which may have actually been a Season of Discontent?

The next time I see that scooch, I’m all, Ha HAAA! Gotcha! You sit! She looks at me with the smoke of confusion rolling like a lazy river up and out her ears. Life in a leaky house with the river rising.

Dig this list, all the places with the stays. At the top of the stairs at the beach. On the grassy dog park with the tennis balls flying and the dogs flinging themselves around with wild abandon. On the hill above the creek. In the driveway. By the taco shack on pulled pork day. Before every meal. On the couch. At the derelict soccer field that screams out, Run Here, don't mind the homeless sleepers. That's so many places, right? You'd think that would be enough, right?

You had me at sit. There was a different vibe before. It’s hard to explain how it felt. It felt like yes we can and no nasty women. Didn’t feel like I’m pulling my hair out and wondering where we went so wrong. It didn’t used to feel so, hard. I simply said, Sit, and walked, not a worry in the world.

Is the vibe ever going to come back? And will there be healthcare if it does? I present as a gift of good vibes, an outpouring of love, like lei covered watermen paddling out during high tide to honor their dead, holding hands as they gently bob on their boards, hearts swelling in love of the dear departed. Like when I strode across the field, taking for granted the ease of my stride. A passage of an icon now gone, a passing of a vibe that may now be obsolete. We were smack in the middle of a golden era and we didn't even know we used up the last golden ticket.

Fact. My stay was actually just an illusion.
Alternative Fact: Dog agility is a game we play with dogs.

Turlock USDAA Sunday stickers.

This is not Turlock. This is where they burned the meadow. Sometimes you need to burn things before they burn you.

We went to Turlock on Sunday to try and win a Grand Prix. It's hard for me and Banksy to show up and run and do well, so we went to practice that as well. And to get a Masters Pairs Q.

Three goals somewhat accomplished! It didn't start well, though. I stepped on Banksy's foot in Jumpers, she felt crazy on the start, my start plan flew out the plane window, and then I stepped on her foot and she got scared and that was over.

Also she stepped on a very pointy sticker where we parked, and the rest of the day to walk to and fro car to ring car to ring was frought with peril. Stepping on a sticker! Dogs playing! It was not a pleasant day, pretty much, to do anything other than the actual agility. Once Banksy thinks the ground could stab her, she has a hard time putting her feet on the ground, which is an important part of walking. So seeing her try to walk without touching the ground is a little funny, and a little sad. Banksy lives her life with great drama, and sometimes this makes her life hard.

Aside from the disaster jumpers run, not so bad! A great snooker! A no time because she ran to her leash instead of taking the timer jump, but still an excellent run! A great Grand Prix! Which she won, with the fastest time in the whole dog show. A couple scary spots where I hung on and tried hard and we made it work. A great Masters Pairs! So one more Pairs Q for an ADCh for Banksy. We have been trying for one year to collect the pairs. Someday we will get the last one.

Banksy has no startline. Especially if we run after a very fast dog that makes her excited. It doesn't upset me. I know she doesn't like to have a startline. So we just run together and frequently this works fine. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. The Jumpers run was a doesn't, hopefully I don't stomp on her foot ever again.

So we did ok, to show up and get in the ring and just go. Out of the car and battling the crazies and into the ring and do good. Just one disaster run first to shake off the feelings then get in there and go. Banksy can do it, if I can.

16 October 2017

Top dogs.

These two...

Who knew? Snooker Top Ten is pretty random, and I didn't hardly run Gooey last year, but these came in the mail today.

10 October 2017

We’ve been finding a lot of bones in the woods.

We’ve been finding a lot of bones in the woods. We, as in I find them in the dogs’ mouths, the dogs find them scattered in the brushy sides of paths. Banksy found a small section of a rib cage this morning, maybe ripped from a little deer. She extracted herself a section, and had no interest in yielding it to me, so on we walked.

I’ve been steering clear of the brook because of the gray hair man sitting on the downed tree where the path winds to the top of the hill. He doesn’t want us in there, and he’s large, although I doubt he could move all that fast. It’s just him in his tweed and his small valise, he’s spectacled and far older than I. He got up as if to chase us last time I saw him, but we ran as fast as we could. I could hear his yelling all the way down the hill to the brook.

Today I thought to try to walk down to the brook. We miss it. The fires have taken away most of Santa Rosa, they’re burning after the hurricanes, after the earthquakes, and people and animals are still missing. Thousands of houses burned in minutes, flames appearing from nowhere in the dead of night. That’s why we wanted to walk to the brook. I figured if the gray hair man was there we could run by again as fast as we could and at least run over the bridge and see the brook, run by the old charred tank where I drew a giant sparkling ruby.

But on the path that way, the smell of death started. It grew into a wall. I don’t know what corpse does that, not something small, a deer someone didn’t finish, my best guess. The dogs picked up the smell before I did, noses to the air with with thrill of something to come. It started small, like all the dead things do, but grew so big as we trotted on that Banksy stopped in her tracks, rib still hanging out her mouth. Like she could see it, eyes big, taking in the smell. Then she turned around and ran. That was enough for me, no adventuring in to see if it was killed by puma or coyote.

For some reason, we’re supposed to stay away from the brook.

We followed her backtracking and decided to run all that way back to the meadow. Somewhere on the way, Banksy gave me the rib cage and I traded her back a little apple cookie for dogs. Not a fair trade, but that’s how it goes. I hung the rib cage in a tree just off the path. If someone else wants it, they can get it there.

08 October 2017

Turlock Tom Petty USDAA October 2017

She was an American girl. Jumpers. Train wreck. She couldn’t stop thinkin’ that there was a little more to life, somewhere else. After all, it was a great big world, with lots of place to run to. Banksy does not do the drive to trial in the nick of time, sit in car while I walk, then get out run thing. Note to self. She needs a long walk. Even if it’s alongside a freeway. A first run of the day for her is a useless exercise in managing a deranged demon around the ring. Cray cray. Right now, it feels so real to you, but it's one of those things you gotta feel to be true.

Free falling, out into nothing. MC Jumpers was so so fresh, until I couldn’t get the blind in and she took the backside instead of the front side of that jump by the tunnel on the way out to the end. She’s a good girl, loves her mama, loves Jesus, and American too. Oh well.

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out. One point snooker. We don’t back down. We left the ring proudly. Not everyone can do that.

And, if she had to die tryin' to, she had one little promise she was gonna keep. Except for then another jump where I showed her the backside instead of the front side, otherwise a picture perfect contact hitting, hard weave pole entrance getting Grand Prix. Some wideness on the start and it was over before it was over. So much for my plan of fast drive to Turlock, run a few runs and catch a Q. Something that’s so close, but so far out of reach.

Take it easy baby, let it last all night. So what. We drove home. And stopped at the creek on the way. We sang our goodbyes to Tom Petty through the car stereo. No Qs, not a one. But we all survivied. This doesn't have to be the big get even, this doesn't have to be anything at all. RIP Tom Petty.Grand Prix Q's, we'll have another chance sometime else.