here’s the scoop on Scoop


We have been in a training doldrum, his physical health still a big question mark. A month ago I wrote that I thought we were ready to really start working hard, but the last few weeks have left me with even less confidence on his health. I haven’t felt that he was sound enough to really work. But today I am happy to write about Scoop.

For the first time in well over 6 months I had a great jump training session with Scoop last night. We were just fooling around on a small setup I used for a workshop yesterday. I heard a tick or two of bars but for the most part Scoop looked great jumping. He could collect, he did his serps just like he used to do, and he could threadle without crashing into the wings of the jumps. He drove down the closing  lines with no added steps and flew over the last jump in each sequence. We had so much fun and his jump style looked soft and round and not at all uncomfortable. I didn’t want to stop we were having so much fun. I was almost afraid to go to the field today, worried he wouldn’t be the same. But tonight I went out for a short jumping and aframe session  and he was great on all of it. Yeah for us.

Weeks before Scoop’s fungus was diagnosed back in May, he was starting to have all sorts of jumping and contact issues. I knew it wasn’t just behavior, it was physical. Why would a dog who was seeming to progress at a steady pace in his training suddenly totally backslide.  In the middle of trying to find the solution from vets, and therapists, up popped the fungus which I then hoped was the real issue since we were stuck with it and that was a REAL diagnosis. Scoop has been recovering from the fungus just fine, but the physical issues and his jump style were totally changed. I felt like he was broken but no one found anything drastically wrong with him.

The past week, which was no different from many, he was seen by two of my vets, two times each. He had needles twice, once with electricity applied, he got adjusted and poked and prodded and worked on in the lower back and pelvic area. He seemed tight and maybe a bit off in his pelvic region, but not enough to account for his continued crappy jumping. In desperation I contacted my human massage therapist that has never worked on dogs before. He agreed to see him and we had two sessions this week and another one is scheduled for a couple days from now. He found all sorts of pain in his upper thighs, old scar tissue in the muscle and lots of muscle adhesions which need to get worked out. Do I have a new dog? I guess only time will tell. I do think I have more of a real diagnosis and hopefully also a way to reach the heart of the problem. The massage therapy along with acupuncture and adjustments I hope will put us on the right track this time.

I love my dog. He seems to love me and love training. He has the best feet, a handsome head, and a silly streak a mile long. He is a talker and a cuddler. He has some of the nicest qualities of any dog I have had and so far he loves all people and all dogs! After training he will send to the dog bathtub and totally immerse himself and stay there calmly cooling off, but he is not obsessed with the water like many dogs I have owned. He loves to swim and will stay in the pool exercising, carrying his toy, but he does not bite the water or intake gallons, a big no no if you want to exercise your dog in a pool daily. He seems toy crazed, but is totally controllable around toys. He carries a toy in his mouth on every walk, and never interferes with the other dogs. He is quick twitch when it comes to behaviors. He takes positions fast, and he is not stalky. His stays seem to be great (now:)) He is in many ways a trained agility dog. We should be in the ring competing with all his siblings!

Will we back there soon? Time will tell.

I hope you and your young dog are well on the road to success and earning lots of ribbons in the agility ring and I equally hope that I am just a step behind you.

NJG

A note about my massage therapist. This is the same therapist that totally cured my plantar fasciitis some months ago. I had two intensive massages of my feet to knock down all the tightness and muscle adhesions. Those first sessions lasted two hours each but at the end I was pain-free and remain so. He is a miracle worker and I will never again believe that plantar fasciitis isn’t totally curable with therapy instead of the incorrect stretching I was doing along with trying all sort of gimmicks and orthotics which created even more pain. He is in San Jose and if you want his contact info, for yourself or your dog, write me directly at powerpaws@aol.com.

Scoop Take 2

Scoobie went in to get scoped a couple days ago and had another treament for Aspergillis. He also got his hips and head radiographed. The head shot was to see if the fungus had traveled further up into his head. GREAT NEWS! On scoping there was no visual sign of the fungal growth in his nose, and the radiograph showed that it has not traveled into his head.

Scoop’s internist decided to do another treatment even though the fungus was not visible.  A dog’s nasal area looks like folds in a piece of fabric, with all these little hills and valleys and tunnels. The nasty little fungus could have been hiding in one of those little crevasses. The biggest trauma in the treatment is putting him under anesthesia for a few hours. The actual treatment takes about 90 minutes while they fill up the cavity with fungus poison and then roll him around a few times to make sure the meds get to every surface.

Dr. Helen Hamilton explained that the fungus is really slow growing, and the body does not really try to fight it off. But unfortunately once it takes hold it just moves in like a visit from a bad relative! Scoop is still on two anti-fungal drugs and will remain on them for many more months I suspect.

And more good news; his hips looked really great. How convenient that my orthopod and internist share an office and I could get two procedures done at the same time! He sure seemed to take a long time to wake up, but I am an absolute expert at sitting on my vet’s floor with my dogs for these events. I hate to think how many hours I have spent of my life in those back rooms. 4 years of chemo with Scud, and a long succession of minor and major surgical repairs and fixes and x-rays and so on with all my dogs over the last 25 years  of working with the same vets!

While I have been lightly training Scoop on and off for the past 4 months while we have been dealing with and treating the fungus, it has not been with much conviction or passion. For some weeks before the diagnosis Scoop was just sort of “off”. I was struggling with his A-frame training, he was pulling lots of bars and just plain didn’t look good on jump drills. There were lots of other little signs that he wasn’t right, but until the snurfling started I had no idea what it was. I am hoping that all the discomfort in his head was what was causing a variety of training issues. So, now on to getting this juvenile finished with his training. I have been cutting him lots of slack of course, blaming his behavior or lack of it as the case may be on the fungus. I haven’t pushed him to do very much, not really knowing if he was uncomfortable. BUT, I am on a mission now and hope to have time to share stories about Scoop Training, Take 2.

This morning we started the day with a long walk around the fields. After breakfast we worked bounce jumps, 5 in a row, 22 inch height, 8 foot distance and then I put up a straight grid of 5 jumps at 26 inches, with bumps on the ground in between so that his one stride on the ground in between was even. We did some decel front cross and “flip your hips” training for a few minutes as well. He cooled off with a swim in the pool afterwards and I think looked like he could go do it all again afterwards.

Stay tuned for stories of a new and improved and hopefully trained border collie named Scoop.

I hope you are having a great training weekend with your youngster, I sure am with mine!

NJG

An absence of sadness…..

Ace and I came home two days ago from the European Open which was held in Austria. The adventure had a rocky start with plane cancellations and a couple rescheduled flights, but after day one the entire journey totally rocked. Channan Fosty, Susan Cochran, Laura Jones and myself spent 3 days prior to the event in the beautiful area that is called Salzkammergut, a lake region in Austria in the area of Salzburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hiked, ate, explored, ate, played tourist and then ate some more. It was so fitting that we were together in our travels as well as competing on Team USA 1, one of 4 large dogs teams (of 3 or 4 handlers and dogs) competing at the EO for the USA. Our team went into the Team Relay finals in third place, and while we did not medal from our team run, we still got to visit the podium for our trophies for our overall 3rd place team scores which was a real bonus. Our team was one of only 10 teams to make finals and the only US team to do so.

 

 

The actual team winners were the three teams which made it through the incredible relay course designed by Judge Gabi Steppan. Finland rocked the audience with 4 clean runs in the Relay with a team of 3 “pups” and their Dam. How cool was that?

The European Open is a really interesting event in that they include each country in the individual finals. You can get into finals with a class placement, or you can be one of your countries top dogs. Daisy got there through a placement, and Ace and I were the top US large dog. There were only 2 large USA dogs in Individual Finals, Daisy Peel with Solar and Ace and myself. Ace and I finished in 7th place, barely 1.5 seconds off the winning time. I have not seen the run on video, I don’t know anyone who filmed it.:( The Finals was held on Saturday night in a driving rain storm and most folks were huddled under umbrellas trying to stay dry. It would not be the EO without a little bit of weather challenge. We had perfect weather every day that week other than for the four hours on Saturday night for the finals.

I have been to 4 European Open events and Ace made finals each of the 4 years. This is the first year they have had a finals for Team. The winner is usually based on cumulative scores over the jumpers and standard rounds. The first year in Italy I fell down in the finals which were held in a sand arena and I found a deep bog and was down on my butt. I usually do pretty well in final rounds but that was certainly not one of my better moments. I can’t remember what place I had three years ago in Germany, but two years ago in Holland I got to the Podium and took home a bronze medal. I would have loved to repeat or better that finish, but I am not at all disappointed with what we accomplished. For a little dog that is not a speed demon, and who spends most of the year jumping 22 inches, finishing in 7th at what I think is the most competitive international event in the world is a huge honor. There were about 350 large dogs at EO jumping 26. Many of the same faces we will see in two months at World Championships were competing, and the class is twice as large as the WC with almost as many countries participating.

I have been going to International and National agility events since 1993. I have been lucky and had lots of high placements, but I have had my share of failures as well. The days following some of those wins and huge successes I used to describe my mental demeanor as being an “absence of sadness”. I often had a big letdown after a huge success, and I would not have described my attitude as being totally happy. I was simply happy that I wasn’t sad! Happy that I had not failed. I wanted too much not to fail as opposed to wanting to do the best I could. I wanted the wins a lot, but my focus was on “not losing.” For a while “not losing” helped me win. I threw everything I had at the finals runs, I would rather have bombed than lost, but the feeling afterwards wasn’t as joyous as it could have been. I hope that attitude is long behind me. I want to give it all I have when I am lucky enough to make a finals run, but I won’t commit hari kari the next day if I don’t win, and if I do win, I am damn well gonna enjoy it!

I am really happy this week. I was thrilled to be the only US handler to make both Individual and Team finals this year! My little dog did all he could do for me, and we didn’t have any huge errors or E’s. And I am happy that I kept a good attitude before during and after the event. I was excited and a little bit nervous prior to runs, but I could still breathe and smile and play with my dog and make small talk with friends while still staying connected and focused on the job.

The mental game that I talk to students and members of the World Team about I hope I am actually living and practicing and reaping the benefits from. Reading books, and articles and blogs on the subject has changed me over the years. I hope it will help me continue to help my students and those I coach as well.

I am happy this week that I don’t just feel an “absence of sadness”. This was probably 8 year old Ace’s last year at the EO and I want to enjoy all my lovely thoughts about the great experience we just had.

Scoop, well, just isn’t ready for me to consider International competitions yet. I sure hope that I have those goals to look forward to with him when I feel like he is really healthy and I can trust that setting a goal to go to Europe and get on a podium with him is actually achievable. I am training Scoop every day I am home, but I know he still has this creepy fungus growing in his head and I am sure it is affecting how he works for me which is really not 100% right now.

Tonight he was a good boy though and I am looking forward to being home the rest of this month to train him, after I get back from a weekend seminar. My happy thoughts and I are headed tomorrow morning to Portland to teach for the weekend. And today was a good day. I had some of my favorite students for classes, and I opened a box from Clean Run that held my Alphabet Drills book. Yeah!!! This was definitely NOT an absence of sadness day!

I hope all your happy days are really happy and that your pup dog is well on his or her way to helping you achieve all your dreams and goals. Mine have already done so for me!

Nancy

the babiest dog

My oldest dog Riot died yesterday, she was exactly one month shy of 16 years. Together her and I won 2 AKC National Championships, 2 USDAA World Championships, made the World team three times, and took home a first and a second place in the agility classes at World Championships the two years she competed there.

She was a world class athlete and my best best friend. Saying goodbye yesterday was the hardest few hours I have ever spent with a dog. Her nickname was The Babiest Dog, and Jim and I had a song to go with the silly name which like all stupid pet owners, (I am one you see) and we sang it to her all the time.  I am at peace in knowing that she is no longer uncomfortable and suffering from the renal failure she has endured the last three years. I count each one of those extra 1000 days as a blessing, and thank the vets who helped me keep her here.

Here is one of my favorite photos of her at 9 weeks and one of her two days ago still carrying her namesake Riot toy and happily having a game of tug with me.

This should have been a happy week. Clean Run put my Alphabet Drills book on the website. I am officially a published book writer. Scoop is doing better and I am dreaming that we won’t have to have another treatment. All the time off has actually been good for him. He is still an immature boy and we have a long way to go to be a world class team.

Alphabet Drills Book

Kiss your old dogs, treat them like kings and queens, and sing them a special song.

NJG

volunteerism

Today is “why volunteer,blog action day.” Organized by Agility Nerd Steve Schwarz, who was motivated to motivate all of us, by the discussions on the Clean Run List regarding the agility volunteer dilemma.

I put off writing today because I just got home from World Team practice which was held in Seattle at a beautiful donated facility, It’s a Dogs World, owned by Kathy Wendt. Team practice was staffed over three days by no less than 20 volunteers, how cool was that? I have been surrounded by volunteers, every one of whom gave up something to help the team. Kathy gave up making income for three days in her facility and the workers gave up competitions, and play time with their own dogs and family. I will just bet these folks volunteer at local trials too, it is in their giving nature.

Photo of some of our volunteers by another volunteer, Derede Arthur.

I am not always an active volunteer at every single AKC or USDAA trial I attend. I try to work at minimum a class every day, sometimes I do lots more than that and every once in a while I don’t work at all. (I get busy catching up with work on the computer or playing with my dogs:)

I volunteer when and where I am able. I chair the largest USDAA trial on the west coast, which until the Cynosport Games moved east, was the largest USDAA trial in the country outside of the Games. I am on our local agility club’s board, and have been on lots of club committees. I try to do my part where I can, and working for our club outside of trials by being on the Board and chairing a trial has always been very important to me.

I think we have some great volunteerism going on in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live and compete. We have a huge club of about 300! I just wish that more of them would actually participate by helping at trials. Don’t get me wrong, I love the membership dues they pay annually to be part of our club:) and if they don’t have the time to come and help, I am sad but understand.
The Bay Team, is mostly run by one Type-A (Karey Krauter) and one totally dedicated President (Kathy Wheelock), with a small core group of people, with another 20 or so being extremely active volunteers not just at our trials, but at every local trial I attend. I am sure this is pretty much like every other club in the country, a handful of dedicated folks do most of the work both behind the scenes as well as at the trials.

Our club is pretty generous. If you don’t run a dog and you work all day, you get a $50 gift cert which can be used at all the local trainers classes, (like ours here at power paws) or used for local show entries or at all the vendors at the trial. And the local clubs all accept the certs for entries at their trials too. Workers at almost all the local trials get free lunches and raffle tickets for each class worked and the raffle folks get some pretty cool stuff. The vendors all donate an item each day and our club spends $300.oo a day on purchased goodies as well. Each time you work a class you get raffle tickets and everyone wants them because of the great stuff our Raffle Czar Marty puts together.
Even with all this cool stuff, we still have a hard time staffing shows at times. In some ways it sort of feels wrong to pay workers, we want them to volunteer, not to stand in line to be paid, but I don’t think many of the workers would sign up to work without some kinds of perks. I think we long ago passed a point where people will work for nothing at our local trials.

I don’t have the answer and it isn’t from lack of conversation with club members and the board. At some of our upcoming trials we are now asking entrants to be assigned to one class a weekend or they need to “opt out” by signing a spot on the entry. Will we have an uprising, I dunno. I do wish we could go back to straight volunteerism like the “good old days”.

As a board member I spend countless hours working for our club for no pay, no free entries, de nada. Our board has consistently over the years voted NOT to take any benefit for our work, if we want to foster volunteerism, then we need to volunteer ourselves, so we do. I sometimes feel stretched to the limit helping with our club, and I am going to take the next term off starting in January, but I assume I will be back again when I catch my breath.

While we at The Bay Team (the best USDAA club in the whole country) really try to treat those who attend our trials as customers, and we throw a damn good trial, we will always still have room to improve, and motivating and rewarding volunteers is at the top of our to do list. If you want to read a whole lot of other blogs about volunteerism and of course many other cool things, go to Steve’s blog http://agilitynerd.com/blog.

I hope all of you reading this volunteer when you are able, and encourage your friends and students to do so as well.

Nancy
PS: Scoop is pretty good but the fungus is not gone. The BIG snurfling went away for a while, but the little snurfling has returned so I assume he needs to have another one of those horrid treatments. Poor Scoobie. We are playing at a little bit of agilty everyday but I think it will be a while before we compete again:(

pps: wordpress has been fighting me with formatting this blog for an hour, now I give up, it may look funky, and maybe I can fix it tomorrow.

working dogs


Scoop and Ace and I were in Southern Oregon last weekend teaching at Lisa and Robert Michelon’s agility training center for three days. I parked my RV right next to the training yard and had a really great weekend hanging out with my dogs. Yeah I guess I worked for three days, but teaching friends and long time acquaintances in a beautiful environment does not really feel like work until you are done and tired to the bone. I got some nice photos afterwards, especially of Scoop and my new blue boots:) Thank you Dawn for the Blue Boots and Scoop photo, I love it!

The weather in Oregon in June is more likely to be 100 than it is to be cold and rainy, but we got lucky and hit the middle of the temperature range, a perfect 70 degrees most of the time, and since I am a weather wimp, it was totally absolutely perfect. Is there a place on the planet that has 70 degree weather all year round without humidity and still has sun much of the time? Do they need to have an agility instructor there? Exactly 7 minutes before the seminar was to end Sunday the sky opened and the rain came down in buckets. We all jumped in our cars and were out a there. Well since I am a driving wimp too I only made it three hours to a really nice RV park during daylight so the boys and I could go for a nice long walk along the river in Red Bluff before we hit the sack.

Scoop has ‘snurfled” less every day since his procedure so he got to help out by being a demo dog some of the time. He is so much better that I am totally optimistic that we are on the downside of this disease. His doctor is optimistic and thinks we must have a good combination of drugs for him to be doing so well. I am relieved and happy yet still anxious about the outcome.

Scoop is a really great demo dog. All my dogs have to work for a living, I teach agility and so do they. Some of my dogs have been or are better than others. My first border collie Scud was a great working dog until the demo ended and I started to talk, then he grabbed his toy and dumped it in the nearest handlers lap and of course unless I threatened their expulsion if they played with him, they would happily toss the toy and I would yell for him to come back and lie down and he would till the next moment my back was turned and then the toy/lap/toss/yell thing started all over again. Oh my!

Riot was the best demo dog I ever had and a great helper too. She never interfered with any handler or dog but she loved to watch. She would demo a drill, lie down with her toy, then when a handler went to the line with their dog she would sneak up behind and after the handler dropped the leash she would pick it up and watch the dog run and then deliver it to the finish line where the handler would have to ask Riot for the leash. She would always oblige then silently creep over behind the next dog to run and repeat the scenario. No dog ever gave her the evil eye, or cared that she was watching and taking their leash. She has dog instinct and manners and never took a dogs leash until they left the line. She was my all time perfect working assistant while I taught, and of course great entertainment for all.

Wicked was too silly to demo. She is the sweetest dog there ever was but unless you were actually running her in agility (which she would do with anyone) she could not focus on the job of demoing a little exercise. She was just too silly and would jump around playing with the toy and maybe do what I asked her to do, maybe not. Stage fright? I dunno. Panic was a darn good demo dog, he loved to work but would also chill on the sidelines while he waited for another turn. He was a bit too fast and frantic at times, but he tried as hard as any dog ever could when the reward was to get to do agility.

Ace is not a really happy demo dog. I cannot speak to anyone or talk at all while he is working. He can do anything in agility if he is thinks he is on a course, or he and I are doing a drill on our own, but he is suspicious when I talk to people after or during his working times. It is like he is saying “if we are working why are you looking at them and saying things I don’t understand? Am I doing something wrong, what are you saying? Why are you talking about something we did, while you are playing with me? This is too weird, I can’t work if you are talking to ghosts”.

Scoop worked at a foundation seminar when he was just a few months old. He coped with the audience, the distractions, and the job of doing one thing and being rewarded then sent to a crate to hang out til the next opportunity to work. Somewhere around 5 months old demoing in a class situation became pretty difficult, and not because of the difficulty of the foundation exercise, but that he was too excited after the drill to settle quietly. He would scream when watching other dogs work. When he was older self control started to kick in and he learned to wait quietly for a turn.

Scoop will lie at my feet for the most part, or in his open crate and is not at all naughty unless I am helping a handler perk up their dog with a restrained recall. Scoop will occasionally without invitation join me to “help”. That’s ok, I don’t mind the occasional naughtiness, I am not perfect and neither is he:)

I hope you have a dog that can be by your side while you teach, or accompany you to your workplace and hang out politely. If you have to go to work, always best to do so with a dog by your side.

Nancy

Snurfling

That is the sound Scoop makes while he is trying to forward and reverse sneeze this horrid fungus out of his nose. One week ago Scoop went under the gas for the third time in as many weeks, this time to flood his nasal cavity with anti-fungal poison. I was hoping that the gagging and sneezing would diminish after the treatment, but instead it has blossomed into a ragged sounding head cold.

Scoop is on two oral anti fungus medicines as well, and hopefully this three pronged aggressive approach to killing the fungus will do the trick. The fungus can take hold and start working deep into the bones in the nasal cavity, and it can takes months and possibly years to totally clear up. I have also heard there are some dogs that remain on medicine for life. I so hope that Scoop’s treatment works as planned and that we caught it early enough so that in a couple months this will be behind us.

He will get blood tests monthly to check for any ill effects from the meds, and he is being monitored by his internist who is luckily also my student Dr Helen Hamilton! When she came to class last night she looked him over and checked lymph nodes for swelling and nose for any discoloration or discharge. He obliged her with some reverse sneezes, but that was about it. I am happy to report she watched him jump last night and said I could train a bit since his head does not seem to be in any great discomfort. I thought he jumped really well, yeah!!

During the time all this was coming up he was also jumping pretty funky, I thought I had two things going on, not just this one. Only time will tell but I believe his head was so uncomfortably that he really could not jump well. Landing big 26 inch jumps can’t be pleasant when your head is being eaten by a fungus!

I have no photos or videos of Scoop to share, but Ace and Scoop and I spent last weekend at a 4 day AKC trial and Ace had an almost perfect weekend going 7 for 8 in regular classes,  and also getting 3 of the Excellent fast legs. I like those triple Q things. If it wasn’t for pulling the panel jump on standard round #8 he would have been perfect. I think I jinxed myself because I texted a friend before I ran that I was on my way to 8/8:) I also skipped the practice jump, which in hindsight I might have popped him over a couple times to remind him how high to jump. How do they forget those things anyway?? Uh, they probably don’t and if I hadn’t excelerated out of decel while he was on top of the panel he probably would have kept it up.

Here are Ace’s standard and jumpers runs, thanks Silvina and Agility in Motion for the excellent video footage. Ace looks pretty great to me, this is about the last time he will jump baby 20 inch jumps, we will go to the European Open in July in Austria and of course run in the 26 inch class where Ace earned a bronze medal in 2009, our last time competing at the EO. The EO is one of the most competitive International trials in the world. Just alone in the 26 inch class in 2009 there were more than 300 dogs from almost every European Country, and a total honor to win a medal with that kind of competition. It is an exciting and competitive event and I can’t wait to get there!

I hope your juvenile is healthy and that your trained adult is helping keep you sane and patient for the times that your pup does not oblige!

NJG

hospital ward

Scoop finally got a diagnosis today of his weird snurfling and sneezing, he has a creepy fungus called aspergillus. He will have to have a treatment where he is under anesthesia for about 90 minutes and he is infused with anti-fungal meds. He had his poor little nose and throat scoped today in every imaginable way as I watched the monitor and actually saw the fungal growth which was not present last time he was scoped.

This nasty fungus can actually get into the bones and so Scoop also had another xray to see that it was localized and had not gone further than the back of his nose. It hasn’t! There is still much I don’t know about this disease and the procedures for curing him. For now he can go for walks and play, but no agility. The fungus can be painful so I am also thinking it is the source of his uncomfortable jumping this past month.

This is short, gotta teach a class in 6 minutes! Here is the patient, who is now back home no worse for the wear it seems.


I hope you didn’t have to spend the day at the vet with your pup, but since mine did, I want to thank Dr. Helen Hamilton, Scoop’s internist, for all her great care and understanding as well as all her incredible knowledge and of course all those cool instruments!

Nancy

home again

Scoop, April 2011, USDAA trial

Last night I arrived home from a weeks long adventure. Last weekend we had AKC World Team Tryouts Saturday and Sunday in Hopkins, Minnesota. The excitement was such that on Sunday my stomach was in knots all day just watching the teams compete for a spot on the TEAM! 6 Team members won their way onto the team, and 6 more will be picked this week. What stress, so many great dogs so few spots to fill. The quality of the dogs gets better every year which makes the final choices that much more difficult, but the good news is we have the depth to take great teams to France this year, and many chances for medals.

On Monday afternoon I flew to Atlanta to meet my friends Maureen Robinson & Laura Miller and was whisked away from the airport at 5 PM to the 55th floor of a law office to watch the 6 PM banding of an urban clutch of 4 falcon chicks whose families have made their nest on the top of this beautiful downtown Atlanta office building for many years. How in the world did I end up there? Maureen and Laura are great friends, Laura has a penthouse office in the building, and Maureen is a professional photographer. I just got real lucky! The Georgia Wildlife guys were there to do the banding, I took upside down videos with my new ipad2, (banding peregrines, an Ipad2 video by ME) and we all had a great time watching all the excitement. On Tuesday Maureen and I headed for her beautiful mountain farm in  North Carolina, and by Wednesday I was spending my time watching Maureen practice LONG outruns in preparation for the Blue Grass Sheep Dog Trial this week. (Maureen at Otie’s Knob, a video taken on my new Ipad2)

Wow! A month ago I was teaching in Hawaii and getting stung by man of war jelly fish on Kailua Beach, yeah that’s the beach our president takes his holidays:) I love my life. This evening was spent as many are here on the ranch. I took the dogs for a hike around the property and even though I have lived here since 1976, I never get tired of my fields and hanging with the dogs on a spring evening in the hills. This evening we had lots of nature moments. A killdeer tried to tease us with her broken wing act the entire time I was in one of the fields, yeah yeah, I see you mama kill deer, and I am not going close to the hedgerow by your nest, but keep up the performance, it is very entertaining! Then the dogs and I wandered down the front drive and scared up a big doe that sauntered off when I called the dogs back.

It looked like a full moon out there peeking behind the clouds, even though it was hardly dark and the hawks were still doing their helicopter act hanging over the edges of our cliffs looking for a bedtime snack I guess. Dead quiet out there other than the chirping birds getting ready to head off to bed. I let Scoop come for a walk with us, even though he still is bothered by something in his nose or throat or I don’t know what. He is now on antibiotics 3 times a day to see if there is some kind of infection which is causing the sneezing and hacking. If he is not perfect by Monday, (this afternoon) on Tuesday he goes back to see Dr. Helen our internist, for another scoping. Poor Scoop, poor me! Once again I am home and have time to train him and can’t. BOOGERS.

Riot and Wicked complained bitterly when I left them at the house tonight and just walked Scoop, Ace and Panic. I had already taken them for a trundle around the yard earlier today and thought they were happily resting. Not so. They busted out of the gate when the boys went in, (deaf and almost blind 14+ and 16 year old dogs are allowed these naughty priveleges) and they were rewarded for the effort by getting another short play out in the big yard. Since both of these girls have life threatening illnesses, they sort of get to call the shots, and when they want to tug and run and play they get to do so. So, my evening plans got slightly delayed but I wouldn’t have traded the opportunity for anything. It’s dark here now, the dogs are quiet, Jim is at a soccer game and I might just get off this computer and read a book.

I hope you had as lovely an evening with your pack of dogs as I had with mine.

NJG

poor Scoop

Scoop and I spent the day at the vet on Monday while he had his nose and throat scoped to check and see if he had a foreign body caught inside. Scoop started sneezing a few days prior and this was the second visit, this one to be definitive to determine what was causing the sneezing and snurfling he was and still is doing. He had a hard time with anesthesia, vomiting going in and coming out both. I almost regretted that my internist always lets me stay with my dogs for procedures, this was all a bit much and pretty scary to watch. The cool part was watching the actual scoping of the nose on the monitor. Good news bad news, no foreign body.

So why is he sneezing, and sort of wheezing a bit when he runs hard? Allergies are suspected, or he inhaled something that bothered him and while it is gone, he is still uncomfortable. He is on benadryl for a few days and no training for him this week.  I wish that was all that is wrong with him.  He was also jumping poorly on the weekend. I was at the usdaa trial and luckily there was a masseuse and a chiropractor on hand to work on him multiple times. That was on top of the three sessions he had with Dr. Wendy throughout the week to try to find where he was uncomfortable. There was no glaring pain, just some small adjustments. So why was he knocking bars and adding steps here and there?

No answers yet, but he has a couple weeks off now to see if any small issues resolve. In the midst of all this he got his USDAA AD on the weekend. I only ran him in the standard ring, and only after the body workers to say he was not in any discomfort. But he obviously is tight somewhere, most likely up in his head neck area which is where they concentrated some of their work. He had a nice standard run both days, hitting his frames, with great weaves and nice jumping.

I still took him for regular exercise after he recovered from the procedure. The mustard is in full bloom at my house, and the dogs love to run through the deep stuff.

I am headed to Minnesota today for World Team Tryouts. I will be back next week and I hope to find that Scoop is back to his normal bubbly self, but that the snurfling is all gone!

I hope that your novice dog is sound and healthy and you are busy training instead of sitting on the bench like we are.

NJG