Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Secret vs The DTV Installer

The photos on the blog today are from our last photo shoot for Chuckle Pup. The first and last photo are the "glamor" shots that Barbara did as we waited for the owner to arrive. Look at how amazing Secret looks! I love them. The picture below is the only one of Secret that was picked from the shoot. I'll have to watch to see if either of my dogs ends up on the web site once it's made. Kaiser had a couple of nice shots.

Yesterday Secret had to get used to the idea of a stranger entering our house. I made the switch from Dish to DirecTV and this meant having an installer come into our house for over an hour. I can't believe how freaked out Secret was over the whole ordeal. I ended up putting her on leash just to make her stay by me and relax. She seemed to be getting over it by the time he left, but more than anything I think she was just crashing from being way overdue for her nap. I obviously need to have house guests over more often...

It's still hot here, so after work we went to the park in Sparta to give the dogs a chance to go swimming. The section of the creek that used to be "Kaiser-sized" has grown considerably and there isn't much left for wading. Secret didn't mind, though, and took off on the odd random swim a few times. She wasn't about to compete with lunatic-Luke for the tennis ball. I think we have more fun at the beach, but keeping track of three dogs on a crowded beach didn't sound like fun to me yesterday.

Secret met a couple of new dogs at the park and did fairly well with them. The first dog was off leash and its owner didn't seem to have any intention of putting him back on leash, so I let Secret off her leash so that she wouldn't feel trapped. They ran and "played" a bit along the shore, but I don't think Secret was completely comfortable with him. She barked and play-bowed at him, but I think his high energy level put her off. That said, the other dog had very good manners and didn't do anything to deserve her scorn. I put Secret back on leash when a lady walked over with a Chow. I let Secret meet the Chow, but didn't let it go very far because she seemed uncomfortable. Both of the dogs we met were boys, and we already know that Secret prefers girls (oddly...).

With a heat index of 105 degrees yesterday, there wasn't much else to do for activity, so we went home and played with the hose for a bit. Secret had a brief frisbee session after dinner when she was bouncing off the walls, but we kept it short due to the heat. I really hope it cools off here soon so that I feel more compelled to work the dogs again. I will have to mow the agility yard in the next day or two and I have yet to set anything since the last time I mowed. I really hate when that happens.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Secret = Saluki?

We were at an agility trial in La Crosse this weekend and on Saturday I had someone approach me to inquire about Secret's breed. She said she was wondering if she was Saluki, or at least partially so. I kind of laughed, that is, until I started to look at pictures of Saluki online this morning. lol Okay, maybe I can see the resemblance. Granted, we have absolutely zero idea of Secret's dad, but I doubt there are many Saluki running around loose in the backwoods of Kentucky.

Secret continues to do well and we haven't had any re-occurrence of the issue with her hind end. I discontinued the aspirin after giving her 1/2 tablet on Saturday morning. She will finish the 28 day Doxy treatment.

I gave up on trying to keep her "quiet" and let her play with Kaiser. We did a brief round of frisbee on Saturday following the trial, with mostly just rollers and short tosses to keep her on the ground. She didn't have any problems at all with this level of activity. I expect we'll start back up with low jumps this week, although it's supposed to be so blasted hot that I'm not sure we'll do much more than play with the hose!

Secret did well at the trial this weekend, but she did her fair share of barking. I elected to take all three dogs out together the majority of the time in order to spare everyone her barking fit. I heard her barking in the background on a few of my recorded agility runs -- Generally she would join in with Kaiser, as I don't believe I ever heard her while Kaiser was running.

There were a couple of dogs that she did NOT like, and a few of them were very surprising. One in particular was a little mixed breed male named Sparky. Sparky's owner describes him as terribly submissive and I didn't see anything from him to suggest anything otherwise. Secret decided from the get-go that she did not like him and did not want anything to do with him. She growled at him when I had her working the gate with me and would bark as he passed her kennel. I'll never understand what triggers her with some dogs and not others. She has an obvious preference for females, but she was terrified of the female Rottweiler that passed us and that made her skittish for some time. On Sunday I brought my bag chair over to the gate with me and Secret laid there for the entire class. That worked out quite well. :o)

There was an agility table set up outside the ring in the waiting area, so I made good use of that several times with Secret. She did a great job with sends and thought it was quite fun. I really need to get a table built for home if I have intentions of doing USDAA and AKC with Secret. As a whole, that was the only training Secret did this weekend.

One of the best parts of the weekend was seeing how much better Secret is doing with people in general. She seems to be exiting that fear stage and she sought out several people to my surprise. There is one woman who has always freaked Secret out in the past, and Secret was even okay with her! She has made great strides in that department.

Friday, July 23, 2010

All better?!? (!!)

Wouldn't it be great if dogs could talk and tell us what is or isn't wrong? It sure would save a lot of stress on the human side of the partnership.

Secret rapidly improved after our visit to the vet yesterday. She didn't budge off the dog bed until noon when it was time for a potty trip outside. She cried out slightly as she pulled herself off the bed, but part of that was her insane excitement to go outside (I'm sure she thought for a walk, since we always go for a walk at lunch).

She remained quiet for the rest of the afternoon, but got up several times to switch beds, change position or stretch. Each time she got up she seemed to have an easier time of it. By the time we left around 3:30, she seemed completely back to her old self. I didn't even get the chance to help her into the car, as she jumped right in before I was able to lay a finger on her.

She tried to wrestle with Kaiser in the back yard upon returning home, but I quickly put an end to that and put her in her crate with a Kong, for it was time to take Luke to his massage.

Dr. Randy was quite surprised to hear just how quickly she went from refusing to stand on her own to bouncing around like a lunatic. He wonders if it wasn't something other than Anaplasmosis, but there is no way to know. We will continue on with the Doxy for the remainder of the treatment and I'll probably stop the aspirin this weekend.

It was just ever so much fun trying to keep Secret quiet last night. She was running around the house tossing her deer antlers everywhere, bugging Luke mercilessly and just all out restless. I attempted to let her go outside off leash, but it quickly became evident that this wouldn't work because she immediately tried to instigate play with both of the boys (and Kaiser was more than happy to oblige because he was rather bored, too).

I had taken Kaiser & Secret on a short 15 minute walk when I got home with Luke (okay-ed by Randy when he heard how well she was doing). This did nothing to wear her out for the evening.

She started out this morning wild as a coon, but she is currently following the daily nap-time routine. We will go for our usual walk today and I don't anticipate any problems, but we'll probably take it easy and not go quite as far.

This weekend we have a NADAC trial here in La Crosse. Home trials are always nice and the dogs (and myself) always appreciate returning to our own bed (and yard!) at the end of each day. Luke is bringing a cake to celebrate his NATCH that he earned at our last trial, so it should be a fun time!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unexpected Vet Visit

Secret and I got back from visiting Dr. Randy a bit ago. I had to call them at 8:00 to see if I could get her in this morning, because her behavior has been rather worrisome.

Last night we did a jump session (mostly just a line of four straight jumps, plus a few 90-degree turns, set at 16") and later a quicky session on the dog walk. I waited until after 7:30 p.m. to begin mowing, so the dogs were pretty much running around from the time we got home from work until almost 9:00 p.m. Secret behaved completely as normal.

While I was in the shower, I heard a rather large thud/crash noise come from the bedroom. Nobody cried out or made any sort of fuss, so I finished my shower. I presume that Secret fell off the bed while wrestling with Kaiser, but there is no way to know for sure. She was sitting on the ottoman looking out the window when I came out. She, not unexpectedly, crashed for the remainder of the night at that point. When we got up for the last potty break before bed at 10:30, she was absolutely fine.

This morning, however, she would not get out of bed. Granted, she can be exceptionally lazy when she is tired and there have been several times when she doesn't get out of bed until I am well down the hallway or opening the door for the boys. I let the boys outside and she didn't come, so I went in to check on her. Secret had moved to the end of the bed, but was taking no action to get up.

It was raining, so I elected to go let the boys inside before I did anything more with Secret. I even proceeded to fill their food dishes, thinking SURELY this would bring her out, but yet still nothing. She was in the same position when I returned, so I picked her up and placed her on the floor. She remained standing, but was very stiff-legged and walked with her back arched down the hallway to the kitchen. She plopped herself down on floor once she got out there.

I let her lay there while I prepared breakfast for Luke. I left Secret's dish dry since I had no idea if she'd be eating or not and I didn't want a sloppy mess on my hands. That was not a problem, though, because when I placed her dish in front of her she vacuumed it up like normal.

She hadn't yet been outside, so I hoisted her up to see if I could get her to walk again. Her hind end started out slow and a little shaky, but she seemed to get better the more she moved. She even managed to get down the stairs in the garage with little problem. Secret was NOT happy to go out in the rain, but she followed me outside. She hesitated the first time she attempted to squat, but she went potty on the second try and pooped shortly after. At this point she trotted back into the house with her tail up!

Once back inside I had her lay down so that I could go over everything. I massaged, poked, prodded, stretched and manipulated everything I could and didn't get a single reaction from her. I went to the fridge and grabbed the cheese to see if that would prompt her to rise. It did, eventually, and then she happily followed me all over the house to get more cheese.

She tried to jump onto the bed while I was getting ready and only made it about half-way up, so I lifted her the rest of the way and she stayed there until it was time to go. Again, I had to lift her down and place her on the floor. She seems to start out rather stiffly and then her gait improves noticeably as she moves.

I called the clinic right at 8:00 a.m. and was able to get an appointment at 8:40. I had to drag her to the back of the car to pick her up since she wouldn't get up on her own, but by the time she reached the door to the vet's office she was trotting and wagging her tail. She was bright-eyed and happy to see everyone. I'm sure people thought I was being silly, but Secret proved my point when she sat on the scale and then struggled to get up (BTW, still 41.5 lbs).

After that, she seemed determined not to sit or lay down, likely because she knew she'd be stuck. She was standing when Randy came in the room and looked for all the world to be a healthy, happy dog. He took her temperature and it was slightly elevated at 102. I explained the previous events as he put her through all the range of motion exercises and she gave him no reaction. Finding nothing else, Randy took her for a blood draw to run for Lyme & Anaplasmosis.

It was about a 10-minute wait for the results of that test, so Secret did finally decide to lay down and relax a bit. This was good, because then Randy got to see her struggle to her feet when he returned. He did some reflex tests to make sure it wasn't neurological, and she was fine.

The Lyme test was 100% negative. He said that the Anaplasmosis test was slightly more inconclusive, but still more or less negative. Randy said that 1 in 5 tests come back negative, yet when they send it into the state lab at Marshfield for more in-depth testing, it will come back positive. Because of that and because we can't find anything else, we decided to start Secret on a course of Doxy, along with aspirin for the next few days to see what happens.

Secret got her first dose of Doxy at the clinic and I ran to the store to get braunschweiger, followed by her first dose of aspirin at home (1/2 tablet twice a day).

She pee'd and poo'd again when we got back to the office, then went absolute berserk when she saw the boys. She was running around the office completely normal, tail up, happy, & barking at me for treats. You would never know there was anything wrong with her.

She is completely crashed now, which I expect to stay the same for the remainder of the day. No lunch-time walk for us today, which doesn't matter much since the weather is cruddy. Luke has a massage appointment this afternoon at 4:00, so I can check back in with Randy then to let him know how she's doing.

If we don't see fairly quick improvement, we'll figure out what to do next. I would suppose x-rays are high on the list, but Randy didn't feel the need to do that until we find out of the Doxy works.

Hopefully it does and we don't have to worry about any other possibilities. I can't help but be nagged by chants of "displasia" in my head. It's something that I worried about when she was a puppy because she would often sit funny, but then that went away and I haven't really thought of it since then. It would be pretty classic for something like that to flair up after all of her activity last night. But let's hope it's just Anaplasmosis and the Doxy will fix her right up.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's hot

Perhaps we were just exceptionally spoiled last summer (we were), but good heavens, it just seems miserable this year. This summer has been warm & humid, almost without relief. It's a darn good thing we have the creek to cool us off on our walk!

In one direction of our walk on the bike trail (at work), there are two bridges that go over a couple of smaller creeks. One in particular has fairly easy access for the dogs and I can actually manage to get down there, myself, if I wish. Usually I just let them go cool off and wait for them on the bridge. It's amazing how refreshed they all are after a quick dip! It makes all the world of difference on our return trip and a spring always returns to their step afterwords. Sometimes I feel bad that there isn't water in both directions of our walk!

Secret has been doing great in her training this week, despite the heat. I'd like to wait to do all of our training until about 8:00 p.m. when things start to cool off, but she will have none of it. Our MO is typically to set up the day's exercise immediately upon getting home from work, then we go in the house to cool off. Generally this lasts about 5 minutes before Secret is bouncing off objects and driving everyone nuts, so then we go out to work.

The name of the game this week is speed. Nothing but speed. On Monday I set up a speed circle that consisted of five jumps and a straight tunnel. I started with just one jump before the tunnel and kept building on to that. As I added jumps, we occasionally had issues with her cutting in and skipping jumps on the corners, but she figured it out and did very well. She really is getting so much faster! Working the circle had the additional benefit of allowing me to start to add a little more distance between us -- which was fine for the straighter sections, but this is where I found she would tend to cut in on the corners. In time it will come together.

Last night I set up a straight line of four jumps into a C-shaped tunnel =


All spaced @ 20' apart to allow for a nice, even two strides between obstacles. I mixed it up with regard to where we started and finished. My main goal was to be able to send her into the tunnel without having to escort her to the entrance, so as to allow me a bit more of a head-start back down the line. She did pretty well with this. Secret was easily moving out enough to make the two-stride line pretty much every time. She's starting to open up nicely! All jumps last night were set at 16".

I got an e-mail from Melissa at the Border Collie Rescue of Minnesota this morning and have exciting news! Melissa is coordinating a BCRMN herding fun day!! She knows how badly I want to get Secret on sheep, so she let me know about it so that I could be sure to get my name on the list before it fills. I am so excited! So now we finally have a date for Secret's first "date" with sheep -- Sunday, August 8th!

It will be her birthday present. I hope she likes it. :o) It really couldn't have worked out better. I was planning to attend a UKC agility trial in Iowa with the boys that weekend, but I canceled that idea just yesterday due to the crazy amount of $$ it was adding up to (Seriously, it was going to be a $500 weekend and for what? We can't do UKC agility with enough regularity to chase the big titles.). So the timing for the herding day was just perfect and now I don't have to feel bad for canceling the UKC trial. :o)

I'm excited, can't you tell? Let's hope Secret shares that enthusiasm when we get there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Secret's "First Job" (more or less)

Yesterday the dogs and I traveled to Stockholm, WI to photographer Barbara O'Brien's farm for a photo shoot. Not an audition, but a real, live, honest-to-goodness job. :o) Well, more or less. This particular photo shoot had zero budget and the models were not getting paid, but we were given a lovely gift of our choice of one of the collars or leads being used at the shoot.

The collar I chose for Secret didn't even end up being shot, which is a darn shame, because I think it's absolutely gorgeous! It stuck out to me the moment I saw it, so I kept a watchful eye on it all day (leaving it in case they wanted to use it) and snagged it towards the end of the day. Secret would have modeled it nicely for them, but they didn't seem all that interested in photographing the collars. The focus of the day seemed to be on the agility slip leads.

Truthfully, I am completely baffled by the whole experience. It was far more disorganized than I expected. The owner had lots & lots of leads strewn about a picnic table and several people picked out whatever they wanted their dogs to wear in the shoot. Nobody really kept track of anything and several items were used for more than one dog. The shots themselves seemed to be more of the "artsy" variety than of a "showcase the product" variety. I think she's looking for shots to use on her web site as filler and not necessarily product representation.

Secret's big shot came and went when she failed the, "Will your dog tug the leash" test. lol Everyone thought that surely the Border Collie would tug the leash. Well, no. I got her to put her mouth on it a couple of times but she showed no interest in tugging -- So the wild-eyed Australian Shepherd gladly took that job. Luke would have loved to have stepped up to the plate, but alas, again nobody wants a solid black dog.

The above-mentioned "artsy" shots meant that there was to be no pretty posing, as my dogs tend to be so good at doing. The first shot we took was from above. The model stood and held the leash and I had to stand outside of camera and get Secret to pull forward towards me. She did very well at this part and stood very nicely for the shot.

The second shot was of the model & Secret walking towards the camera, again with a tight leash to show off the product. They were walking at a snails pace, which immediately threw Secret off. Her default was to spin or stop. If she did pull, she pulled fairly sharply off to the side and most of the time with her ears back. Hopefully they got something decent out of it.

Kaiser had the same series of shots and he did remarkably well for his first time working with a model. She didn't try to touch him, so that made him happy. The model did try to touch Secret to manhandle her into position once, and Secret lost all confidence in her at that point.

We were one of the first people to the farm, so we were also one of the first to be done. They asked us to stick around if we were available, in case they needed any other shots. Well, they ended up having an over-abundance of dogs in attendance and barely managed to get through everyone before the light went away. So in essence, we stayed several hours longer than necessary for no real reason.

But we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Barbara's place is a beautiful farm. It was a fantastic experience for Secret. For the first time, she got to see goats, sheep, chickens, cats & horses! Her general attitude was disinterest, uneasiness and a bit of fear. She thought that finding poop in the grass was more interesting than sniffing at the goats who all came up to the fence to investigate her. I sure do wonder if she would show more interest if turned loose in a pen with them. Well, maybe not goats -- They were hard-headed little things that kept butting at the fence when the dogs were there, so goats might not be a good introduction for her. lol

She showed the most interest in the chickens who were wandering freely about. There was one that she managed to circle around (on her flexi) a couple of times before the chicken ran off squawking. I don't know that Secret has ever seen a cat before, but Barbara has especially brave (and friendly) cats. One went strutting past Secret without a care in the world and stood there calmly as Secret sniffed it all over. She whined and then it walked away -- It's probably better that she met that particular cat vs. the one who swatted at Kaiser later in the day!

We ended up not leaving the farm until 8:30 p.m.! I felt horrible that I had not packed dinner for the dogs, but they did receive several treats throughout the day. We stopped for gas in Winona and Secret took my spot in the driver's seat while I went inside. She was zonked out cold when I returned and was reluctant to return to the back seat. Instead, she decided it would be easier to heave herself over to the passenger side -- and there she stayed for the remainder of the trip home!

We got home around 10:30 p.m. and nobody had forgotten that they had not received their dinner. I stayed up with them a bit longer to allow for one more potty break before bed -- Secret decided to make another dent on one of her deer antlers for a bit before she crashed on the couch. I practically had to drag her off to get her to go outside a bit later. She was so tired!

It's been a very quiet day at work, indeed!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Secret goes to the fair!

Last night was 4-H dog agility night at the La Crosse Interstate Fair, so I decided to take Secret over for some socializing time. Heaven knows she needs time around children, and what better place to encounter a whole slew of them?

She was FREAKED OUT when we first arrived. The smells, sights & sounds all really overloaded her system from the start. I ended up having to tighten her collar because she darn near pulled out of it on the way past a group of teenagers at table.

Her tail was tucked all the way up under her belly when we entered the agility barn. Secret was whining and very unsure of herself. We weren't there long before I saw Diane & Holly -- Secret loves Holly and was super happy to see her. We took a seat next to them on the bleachers and Secret very quickly started to come out of her shell as I put her through her tricks.

A short while after we'd been there, I was approached by a gentleman with the 4-H project. He asked if Secret was with the project and explained that outside dogs were not supposed to be there. Oops! I've always brought my dogs to the fair in years past, but I guess their policy has changed. He said we didn't have to leave, but asked me to move to the back so as to not be so "obvious." I gladly obliged, as Secret was being a pest in the bleachers, anyhow, constantly trying to crawl underneath on the search for food. :o)

There were some great kids who helped with Secret's socialization by giving her treats and having her do tricks. She still doesn't quite understand these "little people," but she did very well around all of them. Secret didn't lunge at a single running child, but she was completely baffled by the two boys with balloon swords!

We walked with Diane & Holly to the food stand after we were done watching and Secret got to take in lots more sights & sounds. While waiting at the food stand, a very young girl (about two or so) came up behind us and grabbed Secret around the waist. OMG! That could have been a nightmare, but Secret did so, so well and just whipped around to stare in horror at the little creature. A different young child later asked to pet her, but after the previous freak-out I figured perhaps it would be best to not push her at that point. After two hours, I thought Secret was probably done and we didn't need to push her anymore.

Secret went NUTS when we got home. Her brain was definitely in that over-tired, over-stimulated state and she ran laps around the living room for a while before crashing. It was a great experience for her and I'd love to repeat it, but I guess we won't push it now that we know dogs aren't supposed to go to the fair anymore. :o)

I have video to share! We did this before leaving for the fair last night. It's just something thrown together to show her jump training progress. Check out the new speed gears she's starting to find! And the tug!! She adores the furry tug that I bought over the weekend, which is a surprise since it doesn't squeak. lol

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Isn't Secret just a horribly leggy thing? She was just standing there barking at me like usual, so I snapped her picture just now. She gets sassy when she's bored. And look at that body! Is she part Dachshund?

The weather was just crazy last night! The first storm started to roll through around 4:30 or so. I was doing a video for Kaiser outside when the rain started. That's the time of day when Secret generally goes nuts, so I hurried and took her outside to try to get in a quick frisbee session before the rain started coming down too hard. We weren't out very long before she started to melt, however, and we were quickly driven back indoors.

The rain blew in sideways for some time. It was really coming down! When it stopped for a bit, I considered taking the dogs outside to play -- Until the tornado sirens started to go off! Whoa, really? I've never heard them since I moved to Sparta!

Ever curious, I immediately went outside and brought the dogs with me. Luke and Secret were NOT fond of the sirens one bit; Kaiser was oblivious. Secret pretty much went back into the house the moment I let her and then went and hid in the corner. Poor thing, she was really freaked out!

The tornado sightings were a few miles away and we were thankfully out of harm's way. I was able to get Secret to come back outside after the second siren had sounded -- She relaxed at this point and chased Kaiser around the yard.

Shortly after dinner, another round of rain and lightning rolled through and Secret crawled up by me on the couch. I hate to see that storms are scaring her now. There was a break in the action for a while later in the evening, so I elected to go to bed early before it all started up again. Sure enough around 10 p.m. we were treated to an even bigger thunder & lightning show that went on for some time. Secret didn't seem too bothered by it at this point, but even Luke seems to do much better when we're in bed.

This last series of photos is Secret enjoying her prized deer antlers. Oh my, she does love them! And thankfully, she hasn't yet poked out an eye....

I hope to get another video made soon if the weather cooperates. I'd really love to make a frisbee video, but I haven't quite figured out how to do it (successfully). I also want to put together a video of the jump work we've been doing. Hopefully in the next couple of days!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another away trial!

Secret got to go to another "away" agility trial this weekend -- This time in Burnsville, MN, while the boys played more NADAC agility.

The weekend started out SUPER fun.... As I cleaned up the yard Friday before we left, I noticed that both Secret & Luke had some pretty foul diarrhea going on. I pretty much have to blame the (somewhat old...) chicken drumsticks I gave them Thursday evening. My fault! Kaiser got one out of the new package and he was totally fine.

Luke was pretty much cleared out by Friday night and pooping normally, but Secret was still spurting out liquid (sorry blog readers). That made me REALLY nervous when I found out that our hotel room was on the FOURTH FLOOR. Come on, really. Who puts dogs on the fourth floor?

The good news is that Secret got over it quickly, had no problems overnight AND did incredibly well with her first elevator experience. Of the three, I think Luke is the only one who has been in an elevator before, but none of them really even noticed it.

Our room had two beds, so Secret & Kaiser thought it was much fun to bounce back & forth between the two. The two beds also made sleeping arrangements a bit nicer (for me). Luke got his own bed, while Secret & Kaiser stayed by me.

Secret did very well at the trial, once again in her own crate while the boys were together in the pen. The only issue we encountered was on Sunday. There was a woman crated across from us who brought her young daughter along -- I'd guess 3 or 4 years old -- And she didn't watch her AT ALL. This little girl would go randomly wandering around the crating area and it drove all of the dogs bonkers, Secret included. The whole crating area went berserk during the morning briefing and this mother never went and fetched her child.... It was like that most of the day.

I managed to get in some training time with Secret at the trial! We played only briefly on Saturday because I was armed with nothing but kibble, but Secret hopped over a single jump a few times for me off leash with LOTS of distractions around.

We went back on Sunday armed with CHEESE! It was towards the end of a Jumpers round, so it was more on the quiet side, but there was still plenty going on to pull Secret's attention from me. She did great! We did tons of single-jump drills, figure-eights, recalls, rear crosses, etc. She was a good, good girl! I was happy to get her on the turf for a bit, too, as she slipped around a bit on the wraps and needs to figure out how to handle herself on surfaces other than grass. It would also help greatly if I shaved her bushy feet -- I tried with my little trimmer on Friday and the amount of hair was too much for it! I'll have to get the horse clippers out for this hairy girl.

The dogs were all pooped on the trip home, so they didn't see the gorgeous view out the window!

Before going home, we stopped up at my parent's house for my grandma's birthday dinner (she's 81 today!). Between dinner & cake, I took the dogs outside for a run -- Secret & Luke had a BLAST! I've never seen Secret run so fast! We played a fun game of, "This way -- No, this way! -- No, THIS way!" :o) She thought it was a hoot and must have put on a mile of running, at least.

In the house, my dad surprised us with DEER ANTLERS! I bought a couple of these at the show this weekend ($$$) and when my dad found out that the dogs liked them he went out to the garage and produced four of them for us! Secret went nuts with them (and the various squeaky toys she kept pulling out) for the rest of the night. Even at home she didn't crash until about 9 p.m. because she was chewing on her new antlers. These things are a hit -- and it appears that they will last a good long time!

And while this is Secret's blog -- It's Luke's turn to brag! Luke got his NATCH this weekend!! Here's his video:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July = Fireworks

Secret survived her first Fourth of July holiday -- Complete with three days of non-stop fireworks in our neighborhood.

I was gone for several hours on Saturday doing a transfer for an Aussie rescue in Minnesota (time to pay back the rescue gods -- after all, apparently NINE people were involved in bringing Secret & family up from Kentucky!). It was about 8:30 or so when I pulled into the garage and immediately heard the fireworks going off in the yard behind ours. Sigh. I'd forgotten how gung-ho they were about the holiday last year.

Surprisingly, Secret was absolutely fine. Luke is the one I always worry about with such things, as he really hates loud noises like thunder, gun shots and fireworks.

To try to build positive association with the sound, I took Secret out for some frisbee time in the back yard. At that time, the neighbors were mostly setting off whistling fireworks and ones that more or less stayed on or near the ground -- Sparkling fountains were a big hit with them. Secret seemed oblivious to all of it and happily chased after her disc, ecstatic to be free of her kennel after several hours.

I decided to let Luke play frisbee for a bit with all the commotion as well. His brain goes into shut-down mode when he sees a disc (or ball), so he was, no surprise, just fine with this plan. We sat in the grass to cool off and "watch the show" for a bit before going inside and everyone was doing remarkably well.

That is, until the neighbors shot up their first boomer into the sky. That's when Luke high-tailed it under the deck and started to dig a (bigger) hole. I think Secret fed off Luke's fear, more or less, and she followed him and cowered under the deck. We went inside at that point, but the damage was done.

Secret was REALLY off for the rest of the night. She immediately went and hid in the bathroom. There was a moment when I thought she wouldn't even eat her dinner (and THAT would be remarkable) -- And while she did end up eating it, she did so in record time and then retreated to the couch to hide without doing her usual ceremonial 10-minute licking of the bowl.

For the next couple of hours she huddled on the couch, half sitting, half laying down, and breathing fairly hard with a terrified look on her face. I pulled her onto my lap once and she got up and left as soon as the next boom went off (the whole neighborhood was lighting stuff off, it seemed). I tried again to get her to stay on my lap a bit later and this time she obliged and seemed happy to stay. I stroked and massaged her in an effort to get her to settle down. Finally, around 10:45, she fell asleep.

Poor girl! Everyone was exhausted on Sunday. I made sure to come home from my family dinner early enough to try to be home in case any more fireworks started off in the neighborhood.

Oddly enough, Secret was absolutely fine throughout everything that went on Sunday & Monday evening. She seemed completely oblivious and unfazed by everything, a total contrast to Saturday night. I was happy about this, mostly because I worry about her developing a fear for thunderstorms the way Luke has.

We didn't get any real training time in this weekend. I attempted to do some jump work yesterday, but it was so hot & gross out that Secret didn't last long before she wanted to go back in the house. This week looks to be a lot more of the same.

We walked to the vet clinic on Saturday morning to get some more syringes for Luke. I took Secret with me because it was time to get a new weight on her -- 11 months is just around the corner! She weighed in at 41.2 lbs and she now stands 21 1/2" tall.