Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Smush!

Tonight after agility class I'm going to get her a Dairy Queen ice cream cone to have all to herself. She definitely deserves it.

Monday, July 30, 2012

On Dogs, Expectations, and Age

30/52: Bigger the Better, originally uploaded by mandypug.

I admire dogs a lot. Their pure happiness is contageous. Probably the reason I prefer to spend time with them over people (dog people being the exception). They've got this thing called life mastered. The sheer zest for life and appreciation of the little things is admirable. Like in the photograph above. It's just an ugly stick, found at your neighbourhood park for free. I had a squeaky tennis ball for her but she wanted the big ol' free stick. How many times would you choose something so cheap and simple over something costly and pretty? Perhaps it's something we should do more often.

What are my expectations of my dog. Well I need to think more on that, I'm sure they change every day. I really just want my dog to be happy, stay healthy, and do her best for me. My expectations for myself? Be fair, loving, and kind to this dog who day after day gives me her all. I must love her for who she is and I most certainly do. She's got a funky eye from an old injury and it's really hit me hard lately as she's been having trouble with light sometimes. She could just refuse to play, but we've worked so hard and she does truly love the game and really tries her hardest even when things get tricky. You can fix a muscle injury most times, not that I'd wish my never-been-lame-ever dog (knock on wood) would come up lame, but eyes are trickier and her injury cannot be fixed. This dog is not going to be able to play forever and I'm probably making it a harder blow than it is. She's my first agility dog and I want her to live and play forever, but neither of those things will happen. Should I lower my expectations despite her will to push through? Should I raise them and really start training and trialling hard before her eyes go for good? I don't think either is necessary. I think I will continue to expect her to try her best with me. She's a good little dog.

Izzie will be 4 tomorrow. I know she's not very old, but it feels like I've had her forever. I can't imagine life withouther. It means I haven't had a puppy in the house in 4 years, which is the longest I've gone since moving to the city. I really want a puppy while Izzie is still relatively young. I've become a planner though, and I want to do things right this time. Izzie was a stroke of luck puppy re-home, a compromise so I didn't get a rescue Border Collie. It could've been disastrous, I could've gotten a dog that wasn't her and didn't have her energy or talent and I would be in a very different place than I am right now. Like they say (who they are, I don't know but they're saying it) you don't always get the dog you want but you get the dog you need. It's true, Izzie has taught me more about dogs and life in general than I ever imagined. Sappy but true. I wouldn't trade this funny little dog for anything, not even the most talented agility dog with good eyes in the world. Although, I still want a puppy real bad. I think Izzie would like a little sibling too, the other dogs in the house won't play with her. However, for now I can't dwell on my puppylessness. Gotta enjoy my little talented freakishly aware dog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bitches Love Bridges

Okay, at least this bitch loves bridges... 
On the second last day of our trip we went to Vancouver to visit with some of Sarah's family. She seriously has some of the coolest family ever by the way. They too make fun of hipsters.

This actually happened. I can't believe it actually happened and Sarah's aunt got a photo of it.
Anyway they live right down town so we decided to hoof it to a nearby music festival with the dogs. It went on for blocks and blocks! I don't think we even made it to the very end of the vast sea of people and merchants.

I quite enjoy festivals too. Almost as much as bridges.
The people at the festival were super fun. Lots of dancing and just people having a good time. Not just the performers but the spectators too. Although the dancing hot dog with ketchup and mustard back up dancers were probably the best part.

See? Hilarious!
Izzie however, felt that dancing hot dogs were a bit out there.
No matter where you go there's lots to see too. Whether it be purposefully built and natural landmarks or people making something fun out of a simple construction site wall. It's very cool, not something often seen where I'm from.

There was a whole wall of famous "Bills" along this construction site wall.
We created our own attraction with the dogs too. Not on purpose by any means but we have excellent dogs and people seemed to enjoy our very strange trio of canines and their great obedience skills. We put them in down stays in a corridor for some shade while we watched one of the bands play and hoards of people were squealing with laughter and taking photos as they walked by. It was so cool. Maybe they'll show up on the internet somewhere? At least 20 people stopped to admire our impromptu Vancouver petting zoo.

We have some very good dogs.
All the excitement made the dogs pretty tired and Izzie caught a snooze while we listened to more music.
It's good they rested up. The dogs had no idea what was coming next for them. Okay maybe Gyp knew...
Yes Gyp, you are correct. Swim they did, all of them... Even the Pug.

Like a little Otter!
Can't say swimming is the Pug's favourite activity but hey, she at least knows how to now. Good Pug. She was pretty glad to get out of that wet stuff though.

And I enjoyed watching her try and shake the water off herself. Wrinkles everywhere!
Well other than dinner at a sweet pirate themed bar type place, this concludes the Vancouver part of the adventure. I may be able to churn out one more post tomorrow about how classy, sassy, and smart assy we were during the driving parts of the trip but you know it will probably turn into an overdramatic whine about how terrible winery wasps are and how I just might die from my possibly infected wasp bite. Or at the very least become an amputee that has to run agility with one arm. Fuck that's terrifying. I'm going to go feed my dog now, she looks kind of hungry and it is almost 11:00am here. Sorry Pug.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

That Black Guy in My Bed is a Superstar

The Black Guy in my bed on the trip.
So I've never been to a speciality before. Not even one for my breed let alone one for a breed I've never in my life owned. Dog shows in general confuse me sometimes although I have gained more understanding over the years.

Dog shows, particularly conformation shows, are interesting. Besides grooming and doing your best to pick and choose which judges to show under, there isn't a whole lot you can do to increase the odds that your dog will get picked by the judge. No amount of training is going to matter. Basically you have to go in and hope like hell that the judge likes your dog, and that's tricky as every judge is going to like something slightly different albeit still within standard. So while the judge on Thursday during sweeps didn't have Sarah's Kaleb in mind for his ideal, K is still within standard and is a pretty fine specimen if I do say so myself. Plus the judge on Friday really liked him, more on that in a moment.
My favourite boy, Kaleb.
Coming from the Pug world, I find FCRs fascinating. These dogs are not just pretty show dogs, they have letters on both sides of their name. Working certificates, obedience and rally titles, hunt test titles, tracking. They do it all. Yes they're a working breed and can't really compare them to Pugs, but my point is that FCRs are well rounded dogs who really can do everything and have the letters on each end to prove it. I like that. I like that a lot. The dogs in the veterans ring can still move well, largely they're still in shape, and I bet they all still get the sillies now and then too. I want a breed like that. 
Jona is a Liver coloured FCR, he's from the same breeder as K. I really liked him!
Anyways... The judge on Friday really liked Kaleb. Not only did he win his class (9-11 Veteran Males) he won one of only four Judges Award of Merit awards in the Best of Breed ring. What a good boy, he made his mama and everyone who knows him proud.
K winning 9-11 Vets. I think every one of us cheering you on was thinking the same as you, Sarah.
Besides the dogs, what I find truly spectacular in FCRs is the people. They're so friendly. They are welcoming and enthusiastic and seem to enjoy their dogs for everything they are. Again, something I enjoy oh so much. FCR people are just like their dogs, friendly and full of life no matter how young or old.
Do everything in life with enthusiasm.
This was a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and lots of dogs in a breed that I really do admire and will own one day. It's nice to have interacted with a larger sample size to get a feel for the breed. I went into this wondering if it would come back loving them even more or not at all. The answer is clear, I love this breed.
Thanks for letting me tag along for your special trip, buddy.
So that's my observations on the speciality. Tune in tomorrow for a run down on the Vancouver part of this adventure or possibly some talk of the sheer what-the-fuckery that went on during the whole trip, or maybe I'll write nothing. You never know unless you come check. Oh look, logs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Five Days. Two thousand three hundred kilometres travelled (give or take). More FCR slime and goosings than I could keep track of. Indian Sweets and lots of booze. What can I say to summarize this trip? I'm at a loss for words really... Simply put, it was the most fun I've had in my adult life. Thank you so much, Sarah, for the opportunity to come with you for this whirlwind adventure. I learned a ton and had a great time being able to relax and just have some fun with dogs.

I didn't really tell many people that I was even going away, I didn't even post about it on here that I can remember. I don't know why, I guess maybe for fear of people looking at me like I have three heads for choosing to use my vacation to hang out with a whole lot of dogs. Flat Coated Retrievers even. Two days of FCRs galore; heaven or hell, that's for you to decide. Ha! That whole fear of being judged thing has been tossed in the trash along with meat and my aversion to trying new things. 

I needed this trip despite that really financially it wasn't a good move to take this much time off work (even with vacation pay, I'm going to be hurting a bit for the next month or more). I hadn't taken time for myself ever. Trials, shows, family commitments; yes it's all time off but I had to do something or be something. I'm never allowed to not BE something. There were no expectations for me going into this trip besides making sure I continued breathing and being a reasonably polite and conscientious travel buddy. I think I did that adequately, although looking back I was a bit dramatic and annoying when I got bit by the wasp at the winery and there were a few moments I wasn't breathing I was laughing so hard. 

The hilarity. Oh Jeeze. I've never laughed so much in my life as I did these past five days. When Sarah says look, well just do yourself a favour and don't look; it's probably something you don't want to see. Unless you want to laugh your ass off in a gas station parking lot, then by all means knock yourself out by looking at whatever atrocity she's pointing out. Actually, scratch the first part, just do the latter because holy fuck it's gonna be funny and really we all need more laughter these days. Oh and the signs. Shit, the signs. Naked man on a tractor, south park sheep, Rudolph caribou? Oh jeeze that south park sheep... Sofa king hilarious.

Found this on a Google search since we missed getting a photo of such an awesome sign.
Have you ever watched your dog grow before your eyes? I don't mean physically grow. In five days Izzie became more confident, more mischievous, more bold. Five days. She played with a FCR puppy... In the rain! She scratched herself a nice hole in her soft crate and tipped over the Gyp-tent multiple times. Oh and she swam in the ocean! Tons of little things that make a difference. Izzie idolizes Gyp and if Gyp would play with a FCR or a toy in the hotel room or cuddle up with Sarah then Izzie wanted in on it too. So cute and funny. 

I guess the take home message from my trip was to do things for your own self sometimes. Put enthusiasm into everything you do, be appreciative for the good things you have, take things for what they are and make the best of them, and travelling 26 hours round trip is best done with someone who one moment can have a serious conversation about life with you and the next moment laugh with you until you can't breathe about something totally random and possibly very immature. I could have saved my money and worked these five days in my mundane dead end job, but what fun would that be. I'm 20, unless some unexpected tragedy strikes me down soon I have my whole life to work. It was high time I let myself exhale and do something for me. 

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." -Ferris Bueller

Monday, July 9, 2012

Two New Titles!

27/52: Ring Of Fire, originally uploaded by mandypug.
The Pug is now Izzie RN AGNS AGJNS ADC SGDC CGN!

Izzie did great all weekend earning seven out of eight possible Qs despite it being hotter than hades out there. Here's the breakdown.

Trial 1
Standard - Izzie ran fast and happy. Too happy. She super-pug'd off the dog walk contact which is an automatic NQ. I need to get her a cape.
Jumpers with Weaves - Fast and clean! First Q in CKC agility and first Q toward her Novice JWW title!

Trial 2
Standard - Fast and happy again but clean this time. First Q toward her Novice standard title.
JWW - Clean, slowed down a bit, second place to a schanuzer named Riley who was cute. Second Q toward her Novice JWW title!

Trial 3
Standard - Clean and fast! Second Q toward her Novice Standard title!
JWW - Clean and moderately quick. Third and final Q needed for her Novice JWW title! Woohoo!

Trial 4
Standard - Clean and fast. Third and final Q needed for her Novice Standard title! Woohoo!
JWW - Clean and not super fast but it was stupid hot. Insurance Q with me doing a (very poor) cartwheel down the ending line of jumps.

I'm very proud of the little Puglet. She's a good girly who is getting very consistent. She even handled the hot weather well, better than I did!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Feed the Pug

A friend of mine has written a short film to create and enter into a film festival. It stars a cute Pug named Ulysses (who happens to be a Canadian Pug in California) who deserves a shot at fame. However to make this a reality they need some donations! Click HERE to be taken to their Indiegogo campaign page! A portion of the money will be going to Pugsavers Pug Rescue.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Junior Handler

26/52: You're My Best Friend, originally uploaded by mandypug.
Acey ran Izzie a couple times for the Canada Day demos put on by Go Dog Go and aside from a couple remembering bobbles they did great. Izzie is really getting more confident in working for Acey and Acey is learning to remember courses and how to handle them. With some more practise they'll rock those courses!