Nearly Perfect Day

June 19th, 2012

Six plus months have gone by since my last post. I can scarcely believe it! There have been SO many things that I have wanted to write about along the way. But for some reason (perhaps my A-D-D) it seems that I was unable to do so.

For some reason, the simplicity of today made me want to take the time to post. I was recently introduced to the Shambhala Meditation Center of Dallas (another post gone undone) and the concept of living in the present. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but this very moment. It struck me tonight that I was having one of those “now” moments.

I spent the day working on cleaning out a couple of closets. Not that I’m done, but I got a start. I feel good about that. (I AM going to get this house whipped into shape, I SWEAR I am).

I watched a couple of episodes of a show that is new to me – Nurse Jackie. It’s about a nurse that is a drug addict. I liked it. It had just the right about of twisted humor to keep the subject matter interesting and somewhat light.

I did a little tending to our two little first time ever Tx gardens. It’s very exciting to watch things change from stubby little plants into flourishing bearers of fruit (or veggies as the case might be).

But tonight is what made me actually want to do this post. I was just sitting out on the patio reading Kathy Sdao (one of my very favorite lecturers and people) “Plenty in Life is Free” with a glass of wine and Micah sitting in my lap. You know I just love that little guy to PIECES. He was watching every little thing that flew by, and enjoying the breeze of the evening while our resident geckos perched on the house – waiting. Just waiting. The neighborhood was quiet except for the occasional distant siren and a plane or two. It was just Micah and I enjoying the moment. Just calm and peaceful. Just lovely. It made me think about how really and truly, it’s the simplest things in life that make us happy.

Yup – today was just about perfect!

Yum!!

December 10th, 2011

I recently was in Rochester Minnesota visiting my best bro who was having surgery at St. Mary’s Hospital (part of the Mayo Clinic). That may be another post for down the road.

St. Mary's Hospital

St. Mary's Hospital

While I was there I discovered a GREAT little restaurant directly across the street called the Canadian Honker.

If you can’t find something on the menu you want, then you just don’t like food! They have some of everything: really unique burgers – steaks - yummy sandwiches – walleye – ribs – wraps – shrimp - soups and pasta. And if you’re still hungry after all that, you can get a piece of Bunnie’s Coconut Cake – a Honker Favorite. They had other sinful looking desserts as well, but I opted to pass on the extra calories.

The restaurant has a nice homey feel to it, and 2 out of 3 nights that I was there they had a solo guitarist/singer.

The 2nd night that we came in, our waitress actually remembered what kind of wine my sister in law had the night before. Seriously? That’s some pretty awesome service.


Anyway – I don’t usually do restaurant reviews, but just wanted to give a SHOUT OUT to all the folks at the Canadian Honker that helped make the trip enjoyable, and give the rest of you a tip on where to eat if you’re ever in the area. Try it – you’ll LOVE it!!!




Back on Track

November 16th, 2011

I LOVE fall – and today was a beautiful, PERFECT fall day in Flower Mound Texas. If I were a native Texan I might have thought it was too cold; but I’m not, and it wasn’t. It was about 60 degrees, with enough breeze to warrant a sweatshirt. I took the two terriers for a walk in the park; well technically one walk and one walk/ride.

Princess Ruby

Princess Ruby

Ruby can’t walk very far so she gets to ride in a stroller part of the time. I actually don’t think she cares if she walks or rides, just so she gets to go.

So now that the BRUTAL heat of the summer is over, I’ve decided to give another go to getting fit. Weight has been a lifelong battle for me, and in a few months I will be turning another decade older! (And it’s a BIG decade!!) I think that’s starting to sink in. It’s now or never – soon I will be OLD!

So I’m putting it out there – for all to read. I’m officially starting (once again) to implement a reasonable eating plan and a walk/run program (by Jeff Galloway).

Wish me luck, and strength. And stay tuned.

Micah’s October Challenge

November 1st, 2011

Halloween presents an especially difficult scenario for the socially challenged.

Dogs that have social “issues” have an especially hard time on this night of nights, with ghosts and goblscaryins running through the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and yelling “trick or treat”. Can you imagine what they must be thinking? Don’t worry mom - I’ll protect you!!!!!

Micah tried REALLY hard to be a good boy tonight. (I temporarily have a couch sitting almost directly in front of my front door. Not great decorating, but hey – it’s just temporary. The couch is on its way out).

So Micah planted himself on the arm of the couch and sat patiently waiting for his reward for being good. And he WAS good.

That is until the doorbell rang, or he heard the squeals of the kids running up the walk. As soon as I opened the door he would leave his designated spot on the couch to run to the door. Try as he might, it was a tough task for him to hold his position.

Dog training is a process. Sometimes it’s a L-O-N-G process. He’s definitely not an automaton. He’s a feisty little terrier boy, high on the scale of reactivity. And so, we continue to tame the wild beast within. Stay tuned.

Try New Things

October 23rd, 2011

The excitement was in the air. We had our “Intro to Earthdog” talk from Karen M who filled us in on the rules and regs. She was running the ring we would be in, and we were excited to be there with our 10 year old Rat Terrier, Ruby. Ruby has “back issues”, and isn’t able to do much in the way of dog sports. (She’s been the resident “house princess” of our pack for many years).

However, we knew that finding the rats at the end of the tunnel would be a big rush for her. How fun!!!! Chasing quarry, AND spend the day with mom and dad without her brother!! Major score!!

So in preparation for today, we bought a couple of cardboard tubes for her to practice running through. We give the cue “tunnel” and she runs through like she really MEANS it!!! YES! She is ok with going through something a little dark.


The tunnel used in the earthdog intro is a straight 9” square plywood tunnel with one 90 degree turn. Rats are at the end – in a cage – behind wooden dowels. No rats are hurt during this exercise! In fact they looked amazingly indifferent throughout the process.

The moment was approaching. Ruby was dog #7 in the lineup for Intro. I couldn’t WAIT to see our little girl dashing through the tunnel, barking and scratching at the end where the rats are.

Since she had never done this before, Karen took the cage with the 2 rats out of the tunnel and dragged it along the ground. Ruby expressed a mild sort of interest. No, more like a mild dis-interest. Yeah that’s what it was. It was like “What is that? A what? A rat? Oh Hi! Want to be friends?”


Woah!!! Uh – Ruby – you DO realize you’re a rat terrier right? A RAT TERRIER! Hello!! OK – so much for breed expectations. If the squirrels in the yard had seen that, they never would have believed it!


Oh well, no harm, no foul. We had a nice morning, met some new friends, and had a little fun. As for Ruby, she has returned once again to her preferred position of “house princess”. Good girlie.

rubsheets


Sweet Dreams Big Girl

September 5th, 2011

As many of you know, Tessa, my Great Dane is 13+ years old. That’s incredibly old for a Dane. We have been so lucky to have her, and she’s been a really special girl.

We lost her on Friday, and I cannot find the words to describe how much she has meant to me and Big R.  So instead I’m opting to do a simple slide show of some of my favorite pictures of her.

I’m not very good at “all things technical”, so to get it to play you need to click on the link and download it. Then you can play it from there.

tessa-mae-slideshow

The Bucket List - Revisited

August 29th, 2011

A few years ago I wrote a blog post (Cross One Off the List) about one of my bucket list items (shooting a gun) that I tried, and didn’t care for. So I crossed that one off my list.

handgun1


I named a few other things that would really be cool to try before  I die, but I really haven’t given the list much thought since then -   at least not until a few months ago. One thing kept creeping back  into my stream of consciousness saying “do it – do it”. “But I don’t have time” I retorted (all in my head you understand). “I REALLY need to get the house in order (please God) before I die, and painting to do, and a million more dog books to read and dog video’s to see, and new flooring to put in”, etc. etc. etc. But the voice . . . the VOICE kept saying “do it – DO it”.

After all – one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to be a more well-rounded person. To NOT be “all dogs, all the time”. So on a busy Saturday afternoon, I dragged my husband with me to the music store, to look at bass guitars. Mind you – I had NO intention of buying one that day – I was only there to look. Yeah, right. So much for self-control. If you know me very well, you know that I’m an “instant gratification” kind of girl. Not something I’m proud of, but hey, I am what I am.

So - we brought this beauty home.

bass

I say “we” because I think Big R (who is already      pretty musically inclined) will get as much enjoyment out of the bass as I will.

Can I explain or justify my getting something like a new bass guitar when I have no idea how to play it? No. (I played acoustic guitar when I was young - about a million years ago, but that’s a completely different thing from playing a bass).

Do I think that eventually I will join an “all girl band” and make my fortune playing for the high-society folk? No.

Did I do this purely for the crazy fun of it? ABSOLUTELY. Make sense? Probably not, but sometimes in life you just have to go for it, and do things “just because”. Just because the feeling moves you, or just because there’s a calling there, or just because you WANT to. Life’s too short guys, and sometimes you just have to grab a little gusto and run with it! Life’s a BLAST!!! Have fun!!! I know I will!

So the only question that remains is – will I ever get to sing backup for Tina Turner?   :-o  Who knows?

Fun Dog Sports

July 31st, 2011

The great thing about having a dog these days is that there are a TON of different things that you can do with him.

Agility
Flyball
Earthdog
Competition Obedience
Rally
Freestyle
Disk Dog
Dock Diving
Conformation
Carting
Field Trials
Herding
Lure Coursing
Dog Mushing
Tracking
Treibball - another new personal favorite
Weight Pulling

Whew!! That’s a lot of dog sports. And now there’s another to add to the list. K9 Nose Work.

nose2tes2

It was founded by a group of folks in California that are involved in Search and Rescue. They thought it would be great if the average pet on the street could have as much fun with their nose as the S&R dogs. Turns out they CAN! And so “K9 Nose Work” was born.

These folks have put a lot of thought and effort into this new sport and the dogs are LOVING IT!! They don’t need any special training (or actually ANY training at all) to participate. Since only one dog works at a time to get the “find”, even dogs that are reactive or dog aggressive can play. There is no interaction between them whatsoever.

The first set of classes is Introduction to Nose Work and the dogs learn to find food with their nose. It’s a win-win. Find the food (which is fun) and eat it!!! Also fun! Once the dogs get accustomed to searching and finding the food, they move on to odors. The odors are first coupled with food, so that they are getting both scents together. Then they move on to straight odor.

nose1

Least you think “duh, what dog couldn’t do that” you should know that by the time they get to where they are testing to get certified, the dogs are searching for odor on something as small as a q-tip in an area that could be as large as a warehouse or an elementary school. It’s not exactly easy, but they all work their way up to the challenge. They also learn to do exterior searches and vehicle searches.

In one of my classes we took the dogs to a local home improvement store where they proceeded to search for the reward in an isle filled with bins and compartments and small containers. They did AMAZINGLY well! I was so proud of them.

It’s just one more venue among a myriad that we can have fun with. If interested in getting more information please see the following link:

http://www.k9nosework.com

By the way – I give Nosework classes at Dog City Training Center if you happen to be in the Dallas area.

http://www.dogcitytrainingcenter.com

We have lots of other fun classes as well!!!
Happy Training!

WOW!!! 13?

May 7th, 2011

Words can’t begin to express what this girl means to me. So I won’t try.

Happy 13th Birthday Tessa Mae. Sloppy Joes and cupcakes all around!!!

My 13 year old Great Dane - Tessa Mae

My 13 year old Great Dane - Tessa Mae

Common Sense Dog Training

March 21st, 2011

I was just thinking about how many times, we, as dog owners, unwittingly send the wrong message to our dogs. For example – we all want dogs that walk nicely on a leash and yet how many of us regularly have our arm pulled out of the socket from our dog dragging us down the street? Why is that?

Owners will complain that their dog pulls them all the time and they don’t understand what to do about it. But think about the scenario: dog sees something he wants – dog pulls owner to the object – owner follows along behind with arm outstretched – dog gets to the object he wants – SCORE – REWARD - JACKPOT !!!!! The dog was just rewarded for pulling. Really, if you just think about it – common sense would tell you not to let him do it, right?

“Dogs do what works”. I’ve heard that saying for years. PULLING WORKS!! The dog gets what he wants by pulling.

pull61

Now - what do you think would happen if EVERY SINGLE TIME your dog started to pull you, you put his leash on the ground and stood on it – became an immovable object. How long do you think he would continue to pull? If pulling NEVER paid off – would he continue to do it? Probably not. If it NEVER got him what he wanted, he would give it up.

Additionally - what if we started this not allowing him to pull, the very first time you put a leash on him at 7 or 8 weeks? WOW!!! That could be huge.

Then you could add in a little clicker action, so that every time he turned back to you to say “what the heck is the deal?” and thereby put some slack in the leash, you could click to say, “YES that’s it!!! “
WOW – you could have a dog that would walk nicely on a regular basis by the time he was 10 weeks old! How cool would that be?

If your dog is already several years old and is used to pulling, don’t despair. It’s not too late. The key is consistency. If you decide to train him to walk nicely, you just have to make sure that you stop it EVERY SINGLE TIME he tries to pull. Are you up to the challenge? “-)

Just a little food for thought folks.

Happy training!