24 April 2015

Do you feel a little bit sad today?

Click-n-print. Collect them all! And it's like you're in my brain.

Maybe you can put this in yer phone, a lot of good information. For every winner, there are gonna be a lot of losers and some of these losers might just be you. Don't worry though. I am here for you.

22 April 2015

Four stay numbers and yer friends at Fun From the Start, a Stay you can have.

Stays are a thing. Number one importance is not moving during a photoshoot. Number two importance not moving and going apeshit when the other dogs are running around during dog agility. Number three importance staying on your rug, couch or tuffet when I'm making dinner. And number four importance not moving off the dog agility startline.

These aren't all the numbers. But they are a top four.

Pretty much these are all hooked together. In my stay numbers, some are way better than others. Otterpop has amazing photoshoot and other dogs doing things stays. However she will sneak off the couch prison when I'm not looking. I never did make her stay on an agility startline ever because of the horribleness of other dogs nearby. Gustavo CANNOT BARELY HARDLY stay in a photoshoot. However agility startline, frequently awesome. At least always entertaining. And he hides under the bed when I make dinner usually because he believes there to be awful sounds and the stove makes fire, so that one doesn't count. Ruby does not stay anymore! Ever!

Banksy has worked VERY HARD to have stays. We are getting photoshoots and it is so very sad I have lost my camera and have to use my stupid phone camera for them. We have the rug in my house however this does not translate at all to anyone else's house especially not Laura J's beach house. And the dogs running around stay with no apeshits? Does not exist, whatsoever. A work in progress.

Her stay that is doing goooood? Dog agility startline stay. It's where I've put the value, apparently. So far, is her easiest stay. This is a bright note in the training of the Banksy. Hopefulness for the someday laying quietly on the field not moving or throwing a fit at all when another dog is having a turn. Hopefulness for this in maybe 7-10 years.

For excellent start line stays, if you are wanting an awesome online class that isn't too spendy and is very fun and loads of personal attention once you figure out how to upload the selfie videos you are going to make of yourself practicing your very fun class exercises, you should take Tammy Moody's Fun From the Start Class. Brought to you by the Oregon School for Clever Dogs.

I have been to Oregon and ALL the dogs there had the most awesome agility skills and perfect stays. Tammy knows what she is doing. She will help you! She helped us! Take Tammy's class, it's starting VERY SOON! I think you will likey.

17 April 2015

7 Things You Can Learn, too, if you Train a RDW.

Perhaps you are in my running dogwalk class. We like to saw RDW in our class. It's our very own secret code. We have this instead of a handshake.

Our teacher lives in Slovenia, and everybody has a girl crush on her. She looks like Kate Moss (uh, '90's supermodel gone bad-gone-good-gone-rich reference) and she has loads of dogs and is like the quadruplest world super champion of dog agility. She is nice. She is my most favorite teacher of ever.

Her whole job is to try to teach us how to teach our dogs to run super fast over the planky thingamajig of dog agility and make sure their feet touch down securely in the yellow bits on the ends.

My classmates live in Denmark, Zimbabwe, Austria, Brazil, Serbia, Holland, Luxembourg, Australia, Hungary, Finland, Norway, Germany, Poland, Estonia, South Africa, Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada, Spain, England, France, Czech Republic, Peru, Italy, Scotland, USA and Slovenia.

I'm not sure if the Slovenians get to go to the teacher's house for a party at the end.

You take the class by getting a video camera and setting it on a box or a tripod or a tree every time you practice and remembering to turn it on. You have to learn how to plug your camera into the computer and get the movie out and get it in slow motion all clipped up and get it in the internet for Silvia to watch in her computer in her totally adorable house in the beautiful Slovenian countryside. Silvia's job is to sit and watch hundreds of videos of slow motion dogs running across planks every day.

This is a little bit of a weird job but she's really good at it.

So to do the class, you have to make your dogs some planks to run on. No matter what country you live in, you either need your very own agility garden (we call backyards gardens in everywhere else in the world) in your front or back yard, or you have to borrow a garden. Or a hall. We call agility places with walls halls in everywhere else in the world. This is where you'll put your planks.

This is really, really hard. Except for some people that have a really good garden or hall already. Most of us don't so a lot of class is setting up a garden somewhere in a field or on a roadside or near the mountains or in front of some apartments. Or driving to a hall.

Lots of the class is dealing with the garden and the hall issue. Good luck with that.

Once you have your hall or garden, stuff you can make planks out of include chairs, wood, crates, rugs, boxes, plastic stuff, cardboard, tables, sandbags, bricks, blocks, and rocks. Hopefully you have this stuff in your garden! You are gonna get really good at making planks! Because you start with your planks low and it takes a long time to stack up and build a very nice bridge out of your stuff.

Please don't let your planks be too wobbly! Although I have noticed, many dogs in other countries other than mine don't care if the planks wobble. USA dogs may be wobble sissies.

Someday in your future of planks, you will want a real dogwalk. I am very, very lucky to use my friend Kathleen's at her garden! She has a very nice garden with trees, and best of all, with a lovely dogwalk with rubbery skin.

In terms of dogwalks, this is a good thing to have.

So to get your dog actually running on your planks, you will need to be an excellent ball thrower. I cannot even elaborate on this huge bummer of a life skill that I do not have. I have no words. I suck at ball throwing and this fact affects my dog agility training.

With me so far? So far you have had to learn to build stuff, take videos, edit videos, upload videos, and now throw balls. And probably, unless your dog belongs to one of my other RDW friends, Banksy's frenemy forever, Kirk, your dog is a long way from learning to run over the boards with their feet securely plopping down on the yellow parts.

Here is a video example of now this might look:

Yes, this is a 6 minute video of one dog chasing a ball in slow motion over some planks!

I have approxmately 30 of these videos. Maybe more. I'm afraid to count.

You might notice that I never run. This is because I had knee surgery! I will tell you something hard to do. Train a dog to run over some planks when you personally can't run! Not a good idea, I will tell you right now.

Our class isn't done. Pretty much, Banksy has learned to almost hit the yellow a lot of the time but not if I don't do a good job of throwing the ball and definitely not if I don't throw the ball or try to use the red rubber ball instead of the tennis ball and not if I don't put on the rug. And not always with her RF.

This is secret code for rear feet.

She likes to hit a lot with FF.

Secret code for front feet.

She is good at extension. This means running so damn fast yer legs splay out far. Frequently too good. There are rdw remedies for this which I seek daily.

This is not the first time I have trained a RDW. Me and my friend the robot trained Gustavo's. It was hard and took years and it may have made me stomp my feet sometimes and bang my head against a fence post. So I am very used to the sadmaking that RDW gives me a lot of the time. But I am very excited when it gives me the happiness of RF running through the yellow. Banksy is pretty happy all the time because there is always a tennis ball flying around at some point. This is like her favorite thing to do, ever.

Has she learned a RDW yet? Um, no. I think I am actually not the greatest teacher of this, even though I have learned to throw a ball totally better than when I started and have good ideas of building things that stack up planks without anything wobbling.

For now, if you're looking for me, try Kathleen's garden, I might be down there on her field, trying to get Banksy to run her back feet through some yellow paint. There's a good chance that's where you'll find me.

15 April 2015

Because death, taxes, and this.

Here is a list of things you might see if you have all 4 dogs, and you are in the narrow alley, and one of the dogs is pooping:

The skateboarder guy going by with the fast running pitbull pulling him.
Uh oh, look out, here comes the asshat barking shihtzu attached to the tiny grandma's walker.
Oh, and here comes the homeless guy with the 1980's boombox blasting from the top of his stuff!
And that would be a cat.
Coming up from behind is the street washing truck, right up to the edge of the alley. They need to get that edge REALLY clean.
The wild boxer with his balls is also loose again.

It is inevitable. Hang on tight. Cuz ain't nothin' you can do about it right now.

10 April 2015

Banksy you are 14 months old, you Aquarius, you.

For Banksy's 14 month old birthday she stayed in the house with Gustavo all day, listening to reggae then a talk show then I believe alternative world beat jazz. Her new hobby is that she is becoming a stay at home dog because my work situation has had a dramatic new twist that involves, no dogs.

She is weirdly, surprisingly, bizarrely super good at this, so Banksy and Gustavo or Banksy and Ruby or Banksy and Ruby and Gustavo hang out listening to the radio and sleeping on the couch all day. I guess. Not sure what they do. By all appearances nothing naughty's happening. Just dog chillin'. This would have been the last thing I thought Banksy could ever do. But Banksy likes to prove me wrong.

I believe an Aquarian trait.

And Otterpop goes with me. Ahem.

We are running dogwalking it a lot, although I am just walking somewhat faster than before. Banksy enjoys to do things really fast. I believe this is an Aquarian trait. Also to be a control freak, to a large extent. Banksy would like 4 strides on the dogwalk and I would prefer to see 5 and this is what we grapple with, many videos and start jump placements and Silvia consultations and we are working it out.

Banksy may be one of those dogs that breaks the weave poles. She loves to wack them very hard as she barrels through. Banksy no likey the 2x2 method so we are still closing up the channels and off she goes. Banksy is a do-er. Aquarians get shit done.

Due to my no running status she has learned various agility party tricks that may help someday with Gamblers Qs, but may totally screw us all the time as well. Time will tell. Banksy loves agility. She loves it so much that she still has the major apeshits at 14 months old but we work on it. We work on it. We work on it.

She has to wear underpants for agility still, and please do not tell Banksy but she is totally getting spayed in a couple of months. Probably exactly when I can start running again. There is not a lot of fun to be had when you have a girl dog in heat and every place you like to roam involves boy coyotes or boy dogs with balls roaming free exactly adjacent to where we'd like to frolic and play. Every time it's walk time it's a paranoia filled adventure of keeping out of sight of any potential canine type with balls, which is every dog, anywhere and everywhere. Walks are stealth and sneaky and fast and infrequent.

Life is no happy white pants maxi pad commercial for Banksy.

She has no opinion that I can tell, whether the basic black panties are nicer than the pink and grey polka dot ones. There is no favorite. Both look like a dog wearing underpants with a giant fluffy tail sticking out of a hole, and this is not a good look, ever, for any dog in the history of dog underpants. We are hoping this means her growth plates are closing and her hormones are happy and our lives can go back to normal soon.

Aquarians need to swim and there is a big pitbull with balls that hangs out at the pond, so Aquarius, you genius that borders on insanity, you, we will go for a swim soon. Ish.

07 April 2015

If your border collie's ever a scaredy pants then it's time to play Border Collie Bingo!

Click-n-print. BINGO!

Otterpop via x-ray eyes.

Google images helped me splain what Otterpop's emergency doc reported to me on the phone the yesterday.

After showing her films to the Radiologist, he found two places in her spine, one up by her neck and one down by her tail, that were too squishy. The disc is smashy and this is probably what is hurting her back because smashy discs don't make nerves feel nice.

And her liver is very teensy tiny. Even for a teensy tiny Otterpop.

Otterpop would just like to come out of the crate. She can be carefully lifted on to the couch, and slowly walked a little ways up the block. She got to see the mail lady yesterday, who was also walking up the block and she still would like to BITE the mail lady. So this seems positive! The mail lady dropped our mail on the grass and took off. Even though Otterpop was on a leash, this much is hatred of the mail lady. She's a nice mail lady, Otterpop just no likey anyone to enter our property.

Otterpop also no likey to do anything slow, so this is not happy times for her. But I do think she seems less painful, so the drugs and rest are working. Please get well soon, Otterpop. We need you.

06 April 2015

What kind of dog agility lady are you, the quiz.

Have your beverage handy. Drink up, now.

Click-n-print for your refrigerator viewing enjoyment.

05 April 2015

Otterpop does not say Happy Easter.

Otterpop would totally say Happy Easter if she wasn't shivering in the back of a crate jonesing on tramadol. Oh wait. Oh no she wouldn't. Because she's Otterpop. She'd probably tell you to go shove that rock hard happy egg right up your you know what.

Her condition is one the kind emergency vet called Painful Chihuahua. When your little dog comes in screaming in pain and the xray shows just a bunch of arthritis down the spine but probably, really, there's a disc out of wack or a nerve pinched or who knows what. Only your painful chihuahua.

Best diagnosis without some spendy MRI and more expansively expensive prodding and poking, is heavy drugs and locked in a crate to see if it goes away. I think Otterpop don't mind sliding away to those drugs. The locked in a crate sucks eggs. She's doing her best sleeping right here right now on the sunshiney part of the day and will probably do her best Painful Chihuahua tearjerking in the middle of the night again.

Lunar eclipse? Jesus crucifix complex? Diabolical effort to thwart moving day of the shred that's left of my business? Goddamn you, Otterpop. Whatever happened to Otterpop totally blows in a grande way. Where I go, Otterpop goes and shit like this don't happen to Otterpop. Only it did.

29 March 2015

Where did you go, teamsmalldog?

I believe that we left off at the goat invasion and grape sized bone fragments yanked out of a kneehole. If you really want to cut to the chase, because teamsmalldog is super good at that, the punchline is that the intuitive equestrienne life coach told me to make a collage, because visualization is important for life goals and aspirations in a time of transition. It is like the Secret! Remember that? You visualize the million dollars or the new bike and then, voila, life goes EXACTLY how you saw it in the movie?

So here we go.

Historically, Otterpop has functioned as a ranch dog. She enjoys spending her time lounging around, barking out orders, and riding the tractor.

Then she met the weed man. He decided to turn the ranch into a fancy, yet somewhat legal indoor pot farm. There would be homey touches such as steel doors and a police dog. And oodles and oodles of pot!

Here are some terms that Otterpop learned during this time. Medical. Cannabis. Sherriff. Attorney.

Banksy, being a border collie, was all, wait, isn't Medical Cannabis really just a Drug Business?

The weed man became very cross indeed when she pointed out this discrepancy in his business plan. Seemed obvious to Banksy. Banksy got very scared, and tried to run away into the road. Then she got scared by flying helicopters and tried to run away down a cliff. Then she got very scared by a bike and tried to run away to the pond. The she got very scared every time she heard traffic noises because apparently she thought the weed man was a traffic helicopter about to land in a pond.

Gustavo was sitting on the couch on his little soft blanket! He was all, I love my little blanket!

Ruby, in her sensible shoes with a paunch we will call charming, just kept on keeping on. She put her pointy, little nose to the ground and sniffed. She had eternal hope that this repetitive action would one day earn her a piece of dirty ham. She liked it that life was moving very slowly all the time because crappy swollen surgery knees have only one speed and this speed is so very slow.

This speed bump was too effing slow for Otterpop. So she joined the Pinkerton Detective Agency for a life of fighting crime, just like her friend Steve Buscemi of Boardwalk Empire and his theme song by the awesome Brian Jonestown Massacre. Because you know what Otterpop likes? Carrying a bat. So this seemed like a great idea. Wielding a big fat stick.

So far, nothing in this story would never happen to her. She has bohemian chic.

Which sounds like a disease, but it isn't! You know what is? The super awful horse plague. The super awful horse plague arrived in the winds of change and the horse died. There was a lot of boo hoo hoo and then there was a horse quarantine because of the dangerous awful plague germs.

This made everyone hate Gustavo. Who could ever hate Gustavo? Ha! Everybody!

Banksy got even more scared and made freaky crazy eyes, like ALL THE TIME. Luckily Otterpop, being in the business of private law enforcement, was of strong mind and body to stay on high alert round the clock to make sure no satanic germs got on any other horses. There was a lot of bleach. Handwashing. Sticking thermometers into horse butts around the clock. Because who doesn't want a clock made of horse butts?

Ruby kept walking around in circles. Sometimes she would bump into Banksy and this scared Banksy some more and she would go snap snap snap with her snapping teeth. Then Ruby was all, boo hoo hoo, too. Ruby ain't no flippin' helicopter, but there's no reasoning once a border collie goes kinda freaky.

Then the whole ranch was very sad because of the weed man and the germs, so all the horses and their horse people decided to fly away to far off lands. The land of rainbow unicorns! No germs! No weed! Except teamsmalldog only got the unicorn socks, no real rainbow unicorns.

This is called losing your shirt. Otterpop doesn't even wear shirts and she totally lost hers. But luckily, Banksy got to start wearing underpants! You know what makes a freaky border collie even more extra freaky? Underpants time!

Then Ruby almost bumped into 3, count em 3, full sized coyotes! Gustavo was all, maybe we should have kept sitting on the couch? He said this with a smie on his face. Gustavo never, ever complains and wins the medal in this department. Just that, when he smiles his tongue falls out the side of his mouth because he has no teeth. Otterpop was on a leash for 3 coyotes! Banksy wasn't wearing her underpants! Even though there's no running on crappy, former knees, there was running! But nobody died.

OK. So there you have it. If you are still looking for team small dog after all that, you can probably find us all curled up in a ball under the couch. With the dust bunny carcasses of former tennis balls and Kurt Cobain's ghost, pondering when it became a thing for every single hipster dad with toddlers in my neighborhood to have a bushy beard and a meth guy wide brim ball cap. I'll be busy reviewing these facts to see what muthatruckin' transformational process future they reveal.

If you are a soothsayer and you already know, stick your message in a bottle and huck it out to sea. Or stick it in the wish tree. I'll get back with you shortly.

Over and out til then, yer pals, laura & teamsmalldog

03 March 2015

The goats, they mock me. Welcome to my unmotion based handling system.

The saddest insult so far was to hobble all the way down the path at an excruciatingly slowest ever pace, just to be waylaid by 450 bleating goats upon arriving at the other side of the field. My walking speed is now 1mph, a personal best verified by an app, which equates to, yes, 1 hour to walk the loop around the bluff that used to be a few minutes of jog dash walk run. If I wanted, my app could upload this speed into a cloud and I'd online race with anonymous others on the internet. But I'm not agonna do that. Right? Because nobody else is that freaking SLOW, for goshsakes, and now there's goats here. All that shuffling along, and then the field's full of creep faced, serial killer eyed goats as far as you can see.

The goats are there to eat the brush which in turn will be scraped into dust by a backhoe to become the new parking lot to get ready for the new construction of the all the new buildings. So that makes the goats that much worse. They're not just goats. They're the beginning of a paved paradise for a parking lot ending.

Knee surgery could totally be teaching me lessons in patience and persistence and change. We must learn to bend and flex like the bamboo, grasshopper, not sit around and whine like a drunk lady in soiled trousers under the pier. Like I am lucky to even have a knee, right? Some people don't get to keep 'em. They lop em out and the de-kneed walk on stumps and the fact that mine is still in there is an effing gratitude. Righty-o, cranky pants? I am all about healthy eating of greens and best use of anti-inflammatories and tumeric. Everybody keeps telling me about the tumeric. Did you eat the tumeric? As if an expensive root is going to fix this situation. But I'll gag it down, mashed up in my tofu. And excellence of dog training. Are you creatively coming up with conniving ways to exercise the crafty mind of a young border collie who is used to galloping several miles a day up, over, and through steep forest terrain? How good are those circus dog tricks looking?

Instead, I've learned that if the rotten teethed meth people are blocking the entrance to the park, their beater Suburban overflowing with damaged goods, do not hobble by them. Same when you turn the corner down by the pond and the homeless guys and accompanying pitbulls tethered on various short pieces of twine are gathered together, having a smoke. Do not hobble by them. Always in the past, I knew that if it came down to it, I could run really fast and the dogs would run and if something shady is about to go down, off we go. Or perhaps a ranger who would be directing me to get the hell out of where I am. But now, 1 mph looks really different from where I'm standing and I defer to the meth people and the pitbull dudes and we go looking for somewhere else to walk.

Dog agility, can happen, sort of. Not really. Not how we ever used to know it. My border collie has been learning weave poles and her running dogwalk while I am posted in a stationary position. Unmotion based handling system. To do a few runs across the dogwalk, which by runs I mean only her, while I stand perfectly still and I send her across the field to a tunnel. This new skill of a go on to a tunnel nearly 30 meters away will surely bite me in the ass at a later date, but for now it's a nifty party trick that gets her on the dogwalk. I throw a toy, she brings it back, but there is mostly the moving of many equipments hither and tither. The dirty, hidden side of dog agility. The dragging and the carrying. I never really noticed how much I drag stuff around before. At the rate of 1 tunnel bag per hour, a tunnel moved into a new position is an all day project.

There are videos on the internet of a handler standing stock still in the middle of a field while their border collie speeds around a tricky course on 100% verbal cues and subtle licks of a lip or a finger brushing the air. Right, it will be so great for your distance skills! I will tell you right now, my dogs like me to run. At the very least, for me to move faster than a sad little sand turtle about to be plucked off by a turtle bird.

You know who always wins that one? The turtle bird. Every time.

The grocery store, the pet store, these places that used to be quick stops, now an plodding, toiling exercise in gritted teeth and strong determination that just 3 more steps makes it across the parking lot. How did a bag of blueberries and string cheese get so goddamn heavy? I look around and it's me and the grandma types, us in our sturdy shoes with questionable walking skills and now I get it. I am one of them! I am their people now, us in our sweat pants and kind, supportive yet very ugly sandals, slowly just trying to get something done.

The next slow grandma type I see, I give her the celebrity nod. I read this in Interview magazine once, it's how celebrities give each other knowing glances when they see their kin across the crowded brunch room at the Chateau Marmont. You go sort of squinty eyed and slowly drop your chin. Make the eye contact from all the way on the edge of your eye. I use it on the next limping, gray haired lady, in pullup denim slacks and Birkentocks. She averts her eyes. I am that grotesque.

Health and well being. Just an ice pack away.

I have cerveza and fresh tangerine juice. Oxycontin and the cute little tylenol/codeine mashup one. A Costco sized jar of advils. Hand made hard apple cider caramels. Vintage fantagraphics comics and netflix documentaries about African mountain gorillas. I can't get enough of mountain gorillas. I have lap sitting dog and a comedian dog and an unexercised dog who has now chased both trucks and helicopters far, far away. But on the bright side, did not die! The senior citizen dog averts her eyes when I hobble by, she slowly climbs up into her chair. This is as good as it gets.

Dog agility pals, if the surgeries haven't happened to you, they very well might one day. Who woulda thunk it would ever be me in the crutches and knee brace crowd, me be the one with a business gone down the shitter, discussing arthritis meds and coupons. I wasn't even sure I was a grown up, and then I got upgraded all the way to senior citizen with one chop of the hatchet.

Eat your glucosamines, do your yoga. Be happy you even got legs. Your dogs are going to be just fine, they'll probably live without that massage. Just when you thought everything was going to be fine, it might not be. So buck up and deal with it. Or not. Today's cheery thoughts brought to you by: https://dogagilityblogevents.wordpress.com/health/

19 February 2015

Doing the things that used to be tiny little things that were so small you could fit a hundred in your pocket.

Here is something that never seemed like a monumental thing before. Worthy of an Oscar. And a gift bag. Somebody for sure watching this should have appeared with a gift bag. Or a decorative plant in a tasteful and reusable pot.

Just for doing things that before were little tiny things the size of nubbins and used just a minute in a day and now should be a prize winning thing of notice and grandeur and scale of one of those ice cream sundaes built in a trough the size of 10 backhoes dragging along the lifeless carcasses of long extinct hairy elephants.

But here is the deal. If you are an older lady, because now this is what it's come to, and you limp along sadly in your sweatpants, with a ratty old crutch wedged under your armpit and moving about half the speed of the slowest end of everybody else's non-winning time, you are automatically rendered invisible. Even if you figured out how to take a shower without getting your leg wet thanks to copious amounts of Saran Wrap and you brushed your hair. And teeth! Don't matter none because you just went invisible and even if you have enough rendering for some people to see a transparent outline, they will avert their eyes.

Try it sometime, agility ladies. It's a little bit creepy. Maybe this has already happened to you, except, I didn't notice. The thing that one of my so-called good friends from the nineties used to say, like he said this all the time, "Nobody Actually Cares About You," is fully in effect. You are on your own. You are no longer relevant.

And blog comments that mention using a walker are actually chilling amd cause squinty eyes staring at them and the sending of very unpleasant vibes up the wifi and into the cloud. Iam working here with a vintage crutch rescued out of a garage from behind paint cans and dog food bags. Walker my ass.

So off you go.

Here is what I didn't get an Emmy for. Not invited to the Golden Globes for. Even as a table filler for the saddest D-list table in the back. It may not sound like a lot. But you are welcome to gasp and wonder if you should try to purchase the movie rights to the story now, rather than later.

Put leashes on the dogs.
Get them in the car.
Which is located in the driveway.
Which is down 4 steps from the back door.
Get in the car.
Drive it to the field.
Get out of the car.
Unload dogs. Have 2 on leashes and sort of send the others freely on their way.
Unclip Banksy. Not Otterpop. She's the bodyguard.
Walk with the dogs approximately .2 miles. Maybe not even .2. Just to the middle path and down this a ways before turning back around.
Produce tennis ball from pocket. Unclip Otterpop.
Have all dogs behave brilliantly.
Except for an incident involving a wayward pug asking the bodyguard dog for an autograph.
That won't happen again. Sorry pug.
Clip Otterpop back on her leash.
Come back to the start. Where normally there would have been a loop. Loop! Ha. Funnyish.
Put the leashes back on most of them.
Re-load all dogs into the car.
Get in the car.
Drive to the store. The one with tiny shopping carts. The tinier the shopping cart the more expensive the store.
Get out of the car.
Get a little shopping cart. Slowly push around store. With all the new people in the store. Who knew this world existed of fancy store shoppers in the middle of the day?
Fill with expensive items. Even though you are not working thus not making money. $8 strawberries? RIGHT ON!
$52.68 of tiny cart right on. Pain killers make grocery shopping sparkly and fabulous.
Push cart to car. Lift tiny bag into car. Push cart back for next fancy shopper.
Get in car.
Drive home.
Get out of car.
Unload dogs.

Knee surgery basically sucks. 

Wait. Did I even get the tiny bag of groceries back in the house? Eventually. Eventually drug that massive badboy of a navy blue reusable grocery bag up the driveway and up the 4 stairs and into the kitchen. Then it's like, who can even eat this stuff? Back on the couch more ice more pills more ice more pills. 

A bright note is we have started one year old dog 2x2 weave training! This is possible to do without really moving. And all the dogs are proving to be perfect, helpful good dogs. It's actually a little bit curious. They all could have easily mutinied or jumped ship. All are hanging in there and walking very slowly as needed. The unbright note is knee puffs up again more ice more pills more ice more pills sit back down on the couch.

The next monumental thing is going back to work. This is a bit laughable, given my line of work, but it is what it is and this is where you'll now find me.

In case I'm the big winner. I'm totally ready for my prize.

17 February 2015



Banksy is learning a lesson this week called Patience. Patience, patience, patience. Patience.

15 February 2015

Happy Friday the Thirteenth, kind of tardy.

Because this is how it is in 2015 we celebrated a happy Friday the Thirteenth. This is how you celebrate that fine holiday as in The last thing I remember is a tall, pasty skinned man with a long name in a flat paper hat putting the oxygen mask over my mouth with the chatty nurse holding me down and unexplained mutton chop guy staring at me. Hipster fella in scrubs kept telling me it would all be fine. All be fine. An oxygen mask coming in for landing in slow motion until it settled over my face and they are still insisting everything would be fine. Over and over. Like they were all in the same cult and inviting me to their party.

It'll be fine.

Don't freak out.

Then I woke up and a lady was shooting me up with pain killers and rattling on about that shit they pulled out of my knee was chunks of bone the size of big fat grapes. She didn't say it like that. I did.

Muthatruckin' knee surgery my friends. Welcome to the future. You pay up front and they send you home with a little bag of ice and complimentary socks that I'll never wear again except I paid a lot for those socks so I took 'em. Wore them right out the door. Where my Otterpop was waiting for me.

Say what you will about Otterpop. Not my shining glory of dog training. She does not want you to touch her and sure as hell doesnt want to say hi to yer goddamn labradoodle. But I will tell you this. We brought her along to knee surgery and she slept in the car during the procedure. I knew right where she was, just on the other side of the surgery wall where I was laying all humiliating hospital gown and cafeteria lady head piece on a skinny cot asking for more pain meds. She saw the nurse load me out of a wheelchair into the car seat in a floppy, slow moving pile. And that dog has not and will not leave my side since. There no walks for her. No hanging out anywhere other than exactly next to me so that we are always touching. I finally had to force her to to go outside to pee, otherwise she was planning on holding it forever. Every excrutiating, slow motion trip I make somewhere across my tiny house she moves along, too. That is one loyal companion sidekick thug for life. For a side of the road, sick joke of sub standard chihuahua and cattle dog genes with bad knees herself, I have one constant for better and for worse companion that I know is going to be there for me, twentyfourseven.

Now I float along in a foggy sunshine of painkillers and ice. I'm strapped on to a borrowed motorized icewater cooler with a blue rubber hose that velcros around my knee, propped up on to a dog haired couch pillow with holes in it exactly the size of Banksy's teeth.

Banksy has gone on holiday to Camp Auntie Wendy's house. She has taken over Kicks!'s little outdoor cot and I guess is pretty much playing nice except for a snarky incident with the boyfriend's lab and some howling. The howling is a thing. A little sad face text comes along with the news of howling Banksy who misses me. I may be an evil witch but she misses the evil witch enough to keep everybody awake at night with her very sad Joni Mitchell coyote song.

I have 2 little nurses that share the couch. Actually a loveseat. We all fit, arranged exactly so. One little dog on each side. Gustavo enjoys his pillows. Ruby is just Ruby. She already lives in a foggy mist most of her days, just doing her thing and announcing the next meal by running around in circles and bumping into things. She is like having a crazy nurse who whines. Gary is the best husband nurse ever and now takes care of all of us, feeding me kale juice and high end chocolates from a little box tied with red satin ribbon. And goddamn, my otterpop. Glued on to me just like my ice machine. And she never drips.

In the near future, crutches and the hope of some weight bearing in a few days. The far future, back to some running after months of painfully slow rehab. Much slow and careful and everything taking a long, long time, for a long time. Beyond that, more knee surgery as those big chunks of bone all came from my disintegrating knee cap. Not much of it left. Go figure. I would say to you, if your knee hurts now, bones can vanish within your skin, and this is something I don't wish on anybody.

It's an agility cliche. The older lady in the knee brace, pointing at stuff while the border collie runs around and does as much as she can without spinning out. Not who I thought I would ever be. Not my preferred way of handling but perhaps what's coming for me. Banksy will come home in a couple days when I'm ready for a speedy blur dashing through the house again. Forest walks and the beach and walking down to the pond remain elusive, we aren't quite sure how this is going to work. Work itself, running a business which involves 1100 lb animals, another problem. These are things not quite yet figured out, but there has to be a way. Right?

For now, it's me and Otterpop and a stack of pillows and the couch and my good friend ipad. I might not remember what I just said, but I have half a bottle of tiny white pills and a raymond pettibon sonic youth and nirvana show flyer that make everything seem a-ok.

08 February 2015

Banksy is one year old.

Banksy is my only dog with a birthday. She's the only one with an astrology, she gets Aquarius. All the Aquarians I know don't believe in astrology. Or chew up dog beds. Banksy is one year old and she will never, ever, ever chew up another dog bed again. Maybe.

I'm not one of those dog cupcake maker party havers. If we're lucky, the rain will stop for her birthday and we might get to practice some running dogwalks. Have a walk. Work on things that you can work on with a handler who can only hobble. Something Banksy did not ask for on her birthday was an agility trainer who currently can barely walk. But luckily who can walk enough to drag some jumps and a little board out to a field in the rain and still work on some jump skills and her alt-move, 2o2o.

Banksy is a weirdo. She stares at blowers and pieces of dust. She has extremely strong preferences about fur brushing and fingernail grinding and being touched by human hands. She hates getting in the car when the fun is over. She is super quiet 99% of the time EXCEPT when there is agility happening and then she is an over the top screamer freak and sounds like Cujo in her crate. Her toy control skillz suck. She can turn her eyeballs into laser beam Crazy Xray Eyes and totally freak you out by staring right through you. Burn right through your clothes. Some intense shit, those crazy eyes.

She is also amazing. Her spirit animals are Tina Fey, Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein, Kim Deal and the artist known as Banksy. She is super sweet and super smart and super funny and super beautiful and likes to stir shit up. She carries around a frisbee that she custom chewed through the middle on and wears it over her head like a hat. She's a religious zealot who worships feverishly at the cult of Tennis Ball. She has a PhD in everything. She eats SO MUCH FOOD and stays oh so skinny.

We were over at an illegal grassy lawn this morning doing some training stuff on some stairs by the building there, and cik/caps around the fire hydrant. And stays. My god do we work on the stays. Nobody is supposed to have dogs on that field but it was Sunday and it was raining and no cops gonna come out there on Sunday morning in the rain. And this car pulled up and unloaded 3 giant poodles and their tennis ball. And another car pulled up and unloaded 2 labs and their tennis ball and they all went to town on the ball and chasing each other and running mayhem fiasco through our little training session.

And Banksy, she looks at those dogs and she looks at their tennis balls and she goes back up to the top of the stairs because she's all, screw that. She's all about 2o2offing on the stairs and then we are tugging and she is all business, this Banksy lady. She is doing her thing and the poodles are all, HOLA and the labs are all HOLA and Banksy is one big work ethic. She has selected agility as her Major and her dissertation is titled Do the Agility All the Time Even Faster.

She'll take a break for flopping around with Ruby. Or watching Gary do the laundry. Or barking at a stump with Gustavo. Or moving tennis balls with Otterpop and their joint psychic brain waves. Weirdos. Or laying under my chair. Banksy likes to be where she can see me. I may be an Evil Witch, but I am definitely HER evil witch. I'm growing on her. She lets me scritch her chest now and sometimes gives me kisses.

Happy Birthday Banksy. We sure are lucky to have you.

05 February 2015

Otterpop has some words of wisdom for you. For ye. Olde skool wordz for ye.

Security breaches in this day and age are unavoidable. If you have been breached, and you have, you probably need an Otterpop to do some good old fashioned kicking of thee ass. Buttock regions. Kicking of thee buttock regions to regain thee olde tennis ballz. Hard ballz.

Here is who else who will have thee ass regionals kicked. Anyone who says, and is quoted say-ING, "the sellers had perfect taste, parallel to our own" in reference to buying a gentrified f*&king condo where artists used to live and now is some douchebag that says stuff like that buying a million dollar "Loft". Hells bells. Hold on to yer balls. You know who buys shit like this? For millions dollars? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Drone users. Throw tennis balls at the drones. ALL THE TENNIS BALLS EVEN IF THERE ARE ZERO LEFT FOR OTTERPOP. This is war. Retaliation of the War on the creative class! War of the cultural no class! Otterpop may not have any class but she has a tennis ball.  She knows her rights, man. That song about some douchebag being a piano man will bring a tear to her eye except there are no more piano mans. Right? They got kicked out of their damn lofts to make a condo that made a loft. Then their identity got stolen and where are they now? In the navy if they're named Davy? In the YMCA? DO NOT USE HUES TO ENHANCE YOUR HOME! LOVE THIS DEAL? ARE YOU F%$KING KIDDING OTTERPOP?

Otterpop would only sing along with Billy Joel under duress because it plays on the f#@king corporate space radio. Which is a trick. Otterpop isn't listening anymore and she can't see you. She will now get in the dog crate. And good night.

04 February 2015

Standing still, quietly, and being exactly the same.

We are up here on the mountain top, where the wind sounds different. It's loud when it catches on the oaks. We can sit here and wait for the weather to come in. It's not a bad way to pass the time.

The oaks have been here longer than anyone. I'm not sure how you guess their age. They cling to these hills, holding on tight because it's all they know. Holding on tight even when part of them comes crashing down to slowly rot on the hillside. It happens. The wind gets big enough one night, the drought made it sick, the rain got too wet. But mostly they hang on.

Gustavo's the only dog that chases deer now, and he comes back pretty quick. The deer out here look different, and they travel in singles. Ruby is a miracle, walking along with us every time. A long time ago in these hills, she got kicked by a deer, flung up onto the side of the hill after a small dog ambush on a trio of deer, and her ribs hurt for weeks. This time, Gustavo's come up limping, after he ran all the way down to the creek. The deer, long gone. From high up on the hill, we could see her jump down the cliff and across the creek and up the other side of the mountain. Gustavo came back in, holding up his sore foot.

Banksy does't much care about deer. Because there are birds. She'll chase a buzzard for miles, tracking it in the air. We can see her off in the distance, and then she comes back in if we whistle loud enough. We let her do it. Not always a chance for her to let her hair out and run like she was born to.

She was born to run these hills. Although most of the time she does it with a ball in her mouth, carried gently and everywhere like her baby. Only abandoned when the flock of vultures heads back in and flies low for a minute. Ball baby is dropped like a sick potato and she's off across the terrain. It's something to watch her run. How she finds the ball again is just plain weird.

And how she never tires, even weirder. Border collies are freaks of nature.

Some of us can barely make it to the creek. But I do, and I've tied Otterpop on to me so I have company. My bones are as old as an oak, I guess and both my legs are not wanting to make it to their next birthday. This throws a wrinkle in a lot of plans. Shit happens. But one foot in front of the other, I can still make it a few miles. It just takes a long really time. An ice age to walk to the pond. A global warming event. But I can do it. The knee gets operated on in a few weeks. Maybe they make it good as new. The other leg has it's new bionic attachment. For now I take shuffly little steps and the dogs humor me and stick pretty close.

Banksy doesn't mind. For every mile I walk, she runs maybe 12. If we could stay up here in the hills all the time, she wouldn't care how slow I moved.

She also has Gary. Boy, does Banksy love Gary. She doesn't listen to him, and she knows exactly how to get him to throw the ball. It's my chair she picks to sleep under, and it's my whistle she comes in to. But wow, does she love Gary.

I'm not sure why we don't live here all the time. Oh yeah, actually I do. There's no jobs and the land here isn't cheap, there are grapes just up the valley. Costs loads to bring up the electric and do the grading and money, it don't grow on trees. Only grape vines. You can't pick up and build a teensy cabin with giant windows on a mountain top just because that's what you want. You can't always get what you want, you know? Things, they change so slow up here, up here on the mountain. Down in the tiny, little town. Maybe that's the thing we want, just as much as the big windows and big spaces and the mist blowing up the valley. Nothing to be different, every tree in it's place. Every single leaf that blows off, a new one grows exactly where the wind ripped off the one before it. Nothing to say goodbye to up here, so far. Nothing, and everything. Couldn't this be the one place where that's stuck, year after year? That's a real thing, right? Standing still, quietly, and being exactly the same.

29 January 2015

Team Small Dog's way of just sayin' hola.

Well, good morning. Have you remembered to focus on what you DO have today, and eaten enough dark leafy greens? Did you just say not to the donut and shove a handful of glucosamine tabs down your swallow? Slather your skin with horse lotion, strap on a prosthetic device then send the dogs for a run around a wet field? Wet from the dew, not rain, as the drought has come home and there are toxic pollens and mushrooms floating around in the breeze.

Charlie Hebdo has come and gone. Banksy is still a girl. Take the time to review a load of criminal cases, reading every section carefully and mindfully. Then load on a disco playlist and just try not to dance. I dare you. Even when the rave music comes on and you didn't bring a lightstick. There's no beat when the rave music starts. You're supposed to just follow along. Don't make any noise because the dogs are still asleep. All of them.

I went to home depot and bought a roll of fake grass. The old skool kind, cheap astroturf made in China, near the river colored red with thick toxic goo. I went to bed early and I got up early. I saw that Sly Stone was living in a van. I watched a documentary about sink holes. About how they form deep underneath in the limestone. They soak up all the water, through every single crack and fissure. They start with a little hole and they start sucking in the dirt above. Especially the clay. They suck it down and from up above, you would never ever know this. And then one day, every single thing above the hole gets sucked down in and they never recovered the body or the bed it was sleeping in. And a bulldozer comes and tears down the structure and a fence is erected and it stays like that forever. Everybody moves on, and goes somewhere new. Good morning!

19 January 2015

Father John Misty sings the song of running dogwalks.

Father John Misty started off his latest tour playing a show in a humble redwood hall at our little local steam train station the other night. Whether you think he's an artist deconstructing hipsterism from the performative position of a 30-something shamanic, white guy indie rocker, or just a douchebag, depends on how you look at things.

I like Father John Misty. I always like to look at things by tearing them up at the seams a little bit, and always trying to peek backstage. This is what artists are supposed to do. Even from a little redwood hall up in the mountains.

Backstage at that show was a cold patio, where you could hear a lot of frogs. That was it. There was nothing there. The band stood outside in the cold, having a smoke, because there's always a backstage. Even if there isn't. I spent the show leaning against the wall, just next to the door to the frog patio.

I laid down in an MRI tube recently. Have you ever done this? It's pretty awesome. A big plastic donut with a giant GE logo floating over your head. Something about protons and magnetic radio waves, courtesy of GENERAL ELECTRIC. That giant, happy, scripty logo beaming down at your skull. You're strapped in and for 30 minutes you hear these amazing sounds from the protons and the magnets and they bounce around and take a 3-D picture of somewhere in your body. It's mindblowing and soothing at the same time, like LCD Soundsystem stripped down to just James Murphy and a little tin bucket, trapped inside a white plastic spaceship that shrinks you down to the size of a Monsanto and flies you away into an atom.

These are the sounds I hear when I slow-mo our running dogwalk homeworks. Banksy runs like the wind with her legs driving for her ball, and the sound detritus on the movies I make for Silvia are like nothing else. Demonic and rhythmical all at once. I could listen to these movies, and watch them all day long. Turning the little switch and slowing down the time. If you slowed down the loungey voice of Father John Misty, at one of his most diva moments, I think it would make the best soundtrack to running dogwalk videos, and you could slow down his dancing and play it over the dogwalk planks.

I had a dream that Banksy, the person, not Banksy the puppy, was a short, older lady with red Sally Jesse Raphael glasses hanging off her neck on a beaded chain. I wasn't supposed to discover this, but one of my friends was one of her people and I stumbled onto the secret of who was Banksy. Me and Banksy, the puppy, not the person, are just now learning who each other are, and how to mold ourselves into agility partners. I think she likes doing agility with me exactly as much as I like doing it with her. It's going to take a long time to have perfect togetherness, the kind of connection that Father John Misty croons how you both hate all the same things. There's a lot of ups and downs, and there's never enough time to do everything, and there's no time for anything other than her, and we have a long, magnificent trip ahead of us.

We could train together all day, me and her, if only time was more on our side.

If we're not practicing at Kathleen's field, Banksy wishes we could run together in the forest for hours, not just 45 minutes. That when we take the tennis ball out to the bluffs to work on Waits while we're walking, I wouldn't have to send her off into the bush so much to sniff things and collect mud for her fur, because we would have all day out there in the dew. She likes it after practice, we go with our friends for a little loop in the forest, which happens to be on the same land as the steam train, just above the little redwood hall with the crappy sound system and beer in plastic cups, the last place you'd ever expect L.A. rockdivas to show up on a Friday night. Loads of border collies and not border collies run up and down the banks. Although I think she wants to head back up the field straight after and have some more goes on the dogwalk planks.

Banksy will turn one year old next month. Ready for more training! Weave poles will start and moving up the jump heights will start and we'll get going on that teeter totter again and the dogwalk will start turns and we'll add an a-frame in and the sequences will get even harder.

The only glitch is, the MRI says I have a knee surgery right after her birthday. It's a bit of a stop gap, to suck out a bunch of bone chips that are floating around in the joint. All my bones turned really old this year, far older than me, and it's gotten very hard to run and walk. It hurts. Hopefully this helps me get a little more life out of that knee. Before they fill me with bionics. My future is to become a cyborg, a rattling robot with metallic joints.

So there will be crutches and no walking. No running once there is walking. No running fast once there is running. Then the hope is, one day some fast running again. I haven' t yet explained this to Banksy. I'm trying to look at it a little bit more upside down and sideways, there are far worse things in life than surgeries on one's knees. Months aren't all that long. Didn't I have a tiny little puppy just a month or two ago? Silvia says I can keep training her dogwalk from a couch. Banksy the artist probably has loads of help climbing up walls, especially if he is a short, blonde lady with ugly glasses.

And Father John Misty would probably laugh at the irony, of such a fine, first world "problem". And he would use big ass airquotes, taller than a full size dogwalk. I'm making some of them now, high above my head. Maybe you can see my arms waving from google maps on your phone. Then he'd snort a line of horse antihistimine off of a raggedy old frisbee, and move on to better venues.