Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Facing facts.

Sometimes life doesn't go the way you think it should or thought it would. When I adopted Kieran just over a year ago I had dreams of doggy bliss and a new agility star. Over the course of the past year reality has smacked me in the face more than once. Kieran is not physically healthy enough for agility. Maybe one day he will be but definitely not right now. And his poor little body has suffered from being down and out for so long I'm not exactly sure that it could handle the physical strains that agility might require of him.This disappointment I am handling very well. As long as Kieran is happy and healthy he can do what he wants. He doesn't have to be my next agility star he just needs to be my very good boy.
The disappointment I am having a really hard time dealing with is that my two dogs don't like each other. There. I said it. I put it out there for everyone to know. About seven weeks after Kieran came home Valkyrie started attacking him. I thought it was just over possessions/toys and took them all away. Valkyrie tolerated him a bit better for a while but I just never knew when she would snap. Inside the house, which is very small, I have been doing crate and rotate. Only one dog can be out at a time. I wish I could baby gate off sections of the house so they could both be out but Valkyrie has zero respect for the gates. Clearly I put the gates there to be jumped over multiple times.
Outside in the yard, as long as there were no toys, the dogs were getting along great. Running and zooming all over the place, mutually ignoring one another. Every once in a while there was the occasional game of chase. That all changed this past week. Both my dogs are resource guarders and I know it. I guess I just didn't know the full extent of it before. Valkyrie pooped in the yard and turned around and decided to eat it(ew!). Kieran came over to see what she was snacking on and she attacked him. Kieran didn't even have a chance. His arm was all chewed up and now he has antibiotics and some pain medicine. He is also recovering very nicely- you wouldn't even know that he had been bitten just a few days ago. Now my life is ruled by the crate&rotate situation. I have years of crate&rotate ahead of me. There is no way that I am willing to let both dogs out in the yard together. I can't put Kieran's life at risk. I am still hoping that some day I will be able to walk them both together. I'm not sure it will ever happen. I'm having a hard time facing facts.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This photo was taken back in February but all this rainy weather makes it feel appropriate. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Goals. Especially in relation to my dogs. I have to be realistic. I have to.
Valkyrie- I really really wanted to have Valkyrie become NATCH Zell's Valkyrie CGC. I have to face facts. This is just not going to happen. I don't have the money for starters. I also lack the time. Agility trials are on weekends. I work weekends. It will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. And that's if we run clean on every single run from now on. There is just no way. So our goal is to go to as many agility trials as we can this year and run clean and have fun. I don't think we are striving for any more titles. I have to face reality even if I don't like it. I don't plan on retiring Valkyrie from agility until she shows me that she is ready to retire.

Kieran-  I adopted Kieran because I really wanted a second agility dog. I have learned a lot from working with Valkyrie but I made a lot of mistakes training with her because she is my first agility dog. Realistically Kieran will probably never compete in agility.  I am thinking that I'd really like to try either competition obedience or rally with him. He seems to enjoy working closely with me. But our goal for this year is to get him healthy. I want to get Kieran to a healthy weight and lifestyle before I will decide anything further for him. It doesn't mean that we won't be working on our obedience skills in the meantime.

So officially the goals are:
Valkyrie- Run clean&have fun at as many trials as possible.
Kieran- Get fat&healthy. Practice obedience.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Return to work

So this week I officially return to work. I can't believe how quickly the time passed while I was out on my medical leave. I certainly haven't been 100% healthy the entire time but it's been nice to be home with the dogs and my family. I think in some ways I am looking forward to returning to work. I like having a routine. The dogs like having a routine. Things have been crazy for all of us since the beginning of the year. Constant moving from my house to my sisters house and then back here again. It's been hard on everyone. I don't miss the work itself but sometimes I miss the people and the environment. Mostly I miss my routine. I know it sounds crazy but I really enjoy working nights so that I have all day to spend with the dogs. Once it warms up a bit more I can't wait to start my morning walking routine again. It's surprisingly relaxing to walk at 6am when everyone else is just waking up to start their day. I think my body will adjust back to being awake all night fairly quickly. I've been working nights for the last 6 years and it is definitely what I am used to and enjoy.
I have to admit that I am a bit nervous returning to work. I've worked there a long time with mostly the same people. But it's scary. I've been out of work this year for a total of 13 weeks. That's a lot of time. I am returning from a 6 week medical leave and I wonder how much has changed. I work somewhere that things change all the time. Rules and policies change. It's not normally anything drastic but sometimes the subtle changes are the hardest to deal with.
Another thing that is going to be difficult to deal with is not having any time off other than my two days for a weekend. I have been out of work so much this year that I won't be able to afford to take long weekends like I have in the past. I also haven't accumulated the hours to take the personal time I so enjoy. Going back to work with no vacations/time off in sight is a little scary to me. Back to the grind I guess. It won't be that bad. Hopefully.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Click it!

Ok, I have known the benefits of clicker training for a long time, but oh my goodness! I am seriously loving clicker training! Kieran and I have been working on clicker training for the past week and it's beautiful. Valkyrie has learned some new tricks with the clicker too. I got a whole bunch of clicker training books from I originally got the books so that I could teach both dogs some novelty tricks. However, since reading a couple of them, I have decided to teach Kieran to loose leash walk using a clicker and no head halter. He is doing a fantastic job! WE are doing a fantastic job. Sometimes I find it difficult to manage everything- the clicker, treats and leash. But most times it's really not so hard. We haven't taken a real walk yet since I am not physically up to it yet. But while I am still recovering is a great time for Kieran and I to work on the learning process. I realized that with the head halter I jumped right into full walks once Kieran adjusted to having it on. I stopped really training him on good behavior while wearing it because I was all about getting in some exercise. This time I hope to get it right with the clicker.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My sisters wedding.

Last weekend, on April 30th, my sister married a wonderful man. He loves her and her children. She loves him and his daughter. They make a wonderful family. I couldn't be any happier for her. For them.
My absolute favorite part of their non-conventional ceremony was when the officiant said "I now pronounce you... a family!" It brought tears to my eyes. They have been a family for a long time but to have it announced to everyone was just touching.

My niece wrote: "Mommy, I love you so much. You have been there for me always and now I am going to be there for you on your big day. Thank you, for being an amazing mom and a wonderful bestfriend ♥ Glen, I love you too. Even though I yell at you sometimes and tell you I don't need you in my life, that is a lie. I will always need there for me and my I am proud to say that you, Abigail, Mamaw, and the rest of your family will always be and are now my family. I love you Glen, thank you for believing in me and still loving me even though I wasn't always so nice, "Dad". Love you Mom and Glen, wish you luck on your big day ♥ "

They also did an amazing sand ceremony. Each color is an individual but together they are a family held together by love. 
Trish&Glen's Wedding. 
I love all of you with all my heart. I wish you the best in love and family.  

(Thank you Melissa for the amazing photos)