Archive for Ramblings

On seminars…

I brought Bel out of temporary retirement for one day of a Claudia Bates seminar this past weekend. It feels great to be running her again in a challenging setting (even if we are both somewhat out of agility-shape). We learned so much and had a great time trying out some of the ‘fancy’ moves I have been reading about. However, the thing that is really hanging in my thoughts after this weekend is the value of a good seminar presenter.

I have been to a variety of seminars over the years at a range of prices. I have come away from rather expensive day long seminars feeling as if I spent the day in a hammock watching re-runs of an old television show. It’s comforting and pleasant, but not what I am at a seminar for.

This weekend was an example of everything I look for in a seminar:

-experienced instructor successful on local and national level

-discussion of handling strategies prior to running

-efficient instruction balanced with respect for personal style

-insightful suggestions on how to provide clear cues for my small dog

-organized approach and ability to keep things moving

-vigorous encouragement to get all you can from your runs

I came away from one day of a seminar sore, exhausted and *exhilarated*. My dog had a great time and I have a lot to work on. I got my money’s worth many times over yet was left wanting more. It really doesn’t get any better than that!



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Warning, rant to follow

Today at the trial I saw a fellow competitor that I hadn’t seen in a while. I went out of my way to say hello and make a nice comment about her run. When this exchange occurred, I was working with my new dog (who happens to be a border collie) on paying attention and following basic commands in a very distracting situation.

My compliment and well-behaved dog was met with rude remarks to keep my dog away from hers (we were at least 5 feet away and Chip was fully under control) because it has been attacked by at least 6 other border collies that looked exactly like mine. She then continued on for about 10 minutes with various stories and prejudices she holds against border collies and their owners. I tried to gently convey that not all dogs or people are the same and we all put an incredible amount of work into our dog-human relationships, but it just didn’t get through. Ironically enough, she runs a bully breed.

I can’t remember the last time I have felt as insulted as I did today. I know I shouldn’t let this nasty person affect me, but I am incredibly proud of the progress Chipotle and I have made…and let’s face it, it’s hard not to get worked up when someone insults family!

I just need to remember that people act out this way out of unhappiness with their own situation and try to steer clear of this sort of negativity. I love my dogs, I love training and I love competing regardless of the outcome. There are wonderful people in the agility community and I will just have to try my hardest to ignore the rest!

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We have a new family member! This is Chipotle (Chip for short).


For quite a long time now I’ve been yearning to add another dog to the family. Bella is perfect in so many ways and I love her for all that she is, but Bel just doesn’t find human attention/petting reinforcing. She’s my little independent girl who lives to work and only cuddles on her own terms. Like if you have food (and really I wouldn’t call it cuddling so much as mauling you to get to the food!):

Did you say treat?

Chip is just the opposite. He thinks attention from humans or other dogs is just the best thing in the world and he can’t seem to get enough. “Work” on the other hand, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, he enjoys a good game of fetch or ‘how-many-times-can-I-squeak-the-toy-in-a-row’, but he’s not necessarily an agility prospect. Which is fine with me. Perhaps with time and training he will enjoy having a ‘job’, but for now we will be focusing on the basics, especially recall.

Pointy ears

Pointy nose

Running around squeaking a duck

Relaxing at the agility trial

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6 QQ’s and 400 pts: AKC managed to draw me back in

Just when I had pretty much resolved to quit AKC agility and focus on USDAA, they announced that next year’s AKC agility nationals will be in Lexington, VA. That’s only a little over an hour away from me, which for a national event is pretty much right in my backyard. How can I *not* go?

The complication is that I am graduating in July and starting a new job a week later. I don’t know exactly what days I will be working (especially with the orientation period), but it won’t be M-F. So basically I can’t enter any trials for late summer/early fall until I know what my schedule will be like.

This wouldn’t be a problem except I am nowhere near to having Bella qualified for nationals. We’ve only done 3 days of AKC trialing this year and Bella is still in Open JWW, although she is now in ExcB Standard. She’s only 1 leg away from her Open Jumpers title though and so I think it’s still doable. Keep your fingers crossed for us though!

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Going live in 3, 2, 1…..

I’ve decided to go ahead and go public with my journal.  I started it initially just for myself, but think I may try sharing it with the world.  Bella and I hope you like it!

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Another vet bites the dust

Yesterday Bella went in for her yearly wellness check.   She doesn’t have any apparent problems and certainly isn’t getting anymore vaccines, but I like to have her examined by a vet, checked for HW/Lyme/Ehrlichia and run some bloodwork just to be extra careful.    I was told everything looked great, except she was on the thin side.  (yeah….she’s an agility dog that doesn’t need extra weight on her bones)

Today I got a call from the vet saying that her bloodwork was back and everything looked good.  So on the way home from school I stopped by to pick up a copy of the lab results.  Turned out they didn’t even run the CBC since that tube was clotted and the  chemistries were run on a hemolyzed specimen.  (hemolysis greatly alters many of the blood analytes being measured essentially making the results questionable/useless) 

Now, I’m a reasonable person.  I work at a lab and know that sometimes things happen and specimens hemolyze and need to be recollected…but to lie to a client about results?  To report inaccurate results?  NO  You recollect at no charge to the patient and apologize.  You don’t tell them “everything looks great.”

I confronted the vet about it, received a brief apology/excuse and was offered a redraw at no cost.  At this point though there is no way I am taking Bella back there.  There were just so many places where things had to have gone wrong for this to happen:

  • They originally stuck Bella four times to get the blood sample and applied too much pressure to the syringe which likely caused the hemolysis 
  • If the CBC tube was clotted, they didn’t mix the tube properly to disperse the anticoagulant (I watched the transfer to the purple top tube and the blood wasn’t clotted at that point) 
  • The vet’s office should have spun down the chemistry sample before sending out to Antech and should have observed the hemolysis and stopped the whole thing right there 
  • When the results came back the vet should have noted that half wasn’t run and the rest was questionable instead of telling me everything looked great

At this point I don’t know if they were lying or just plain incompetent, but either way I’m not bringing Bella back there.

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Sometimes Q’s just happen

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