Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cardis + Compost


The Husband had to re-build our compost bins this year.  After 6 years, they were starting to fall apart.

The first part of the task involved removing all of the compost from the bins.  Our compost was in 2 phases:  ready to be used, and still decomposing.  The corgis were very interested in the latter pile of compost.  Maggie and Ziggy (aka Maggie's "mini-me") loved it especially.

First they loved to roll in it.  This made for 2 very stinky dogs with brown paws and bellies.  Since the dogs sleep near my side of the bed, this made for a few stinky nights.

The rolling lasted for a couple of days.  Then they found something even more fun to do:  EAT IT!  Yum....  What Cardi wouldn't want to eat partially decomposed produce and plant matter?  I can't answer that question, as Denzil joined in this habit, too.

I stood some garden fencing around the pile, but they just shoved it over.

The good news is that nobody was the worse for the wear, and their stools were super-firm and easy to pick up.

The Husband finally decided not to wait for the weather to get better (it's been wretchedly wet here) and finished the bins on a day when it was merely pouring down rain (vs pouring down rain with wind, thunder & lightening).

Here they are:

The Cardis don't get to sniff, roll & snack anymore, but the humans are very happy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today is Maggie's 11th Birthday!!!

On our last vet visit, the vet told us that this now qualifies Maggie as geriatric.  Maggie begs to differ.

She still leads the way on walks

She can still be goofy

She's a brave guard dog - 
and shows Ziggy how to protect the yard

But with age has come that confident, distinguished look

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAGGIE!  We hope to have you with us for many more years.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Yah, maybe I should train my dogs

I realized recently that my web-surfing, blog-reading habit started to encroach on some of my other leisure-time activities. The one that was suffering the most? Dog training. Oops.

Well, at least I realized it, and I’ve been training more lately. I’ve identified some agility and obedience trials that I want to attend in the fall, and I’ve started training for them.

The focus of my work is Ziggy. Next up: earn our Beginning Novice title (a new AKC obedience title starting next month!) and start to seriously train in Agility.

For obedience this means a renewed dedication to training in new places. On Tuesday night we trained outside of our local Home Depot. It’s fun to watch people’s expressions when they see me working with my dogs. It’s also nice to hear comments like, “wow, he’s a good boy,” and “isn’t he well trained.”

I also started to feel like a guerrilla dog trainer (like the guerilla gardeners movement). I grab my dogs and my training bag and head to a public place to train (insert mission impossible music here). Perhaps it’s sad that this is exciting for me - but such is my life.

My plan is to train in 3 new places every month. I think I’ll really see a difference in Ziggy’s trial performances as he gets used to focusing on me and feeling safe in strange new environs. I noticed an improvement this time over last time we went out to train.  I think Ziggy's slowly plodding his way towards becoming an Obedience dog.   Not exciting, but headed in the right direction....

I’ll let you know what other “guerilla” places I find to train!

Friday, June 11, 2010

AKC Canine Health Foundation Breeder's Symposium

Last weekend I traveled to Ames, Iowa (Iowa State University) for the AKC Canine Health Foundation Breeder's Symposium.

You may wondering what I was doing there...  Don't I know that all of my Cardis are spayed or neutered?

This is true - I'm not a breeder, nor do I intend to become one (hopefully those aren't famous last words).  So why did I go?

I went because they had a great line-up of speakers and topics, most of them useful even for "civilians" like me.

I attended on Saturday only (I needed at least one weekend day at home), but would have liked to attend both days.

Saturday topics were:
  -  How Structure Affects Performance (by Pat Hastings)
  -  Breeding Options & Techniques (ISU Vet School Faculty)
  -  Hips, Elbows & Orthopedic Certifications (ISU Vet School Faculty)
  -  Canine Ophthalmology & CERF (ISU Vet School Faculty)
  -  Managing Genetic Disease (ISU Vet School Faculty)
  -  Dog Food Basics (Ohio Vet School Faculty)
  -  Vaccine and Vaccination Protocols (ISU Vet School Faculty)

What really attracted me was the keynote address by Pat Hastings - I am keen to learn more about the topic she addressed.  Her 1.5 hour talk gave me just a taste of topic, and the desire to learn more.  BTW - she has a book on the topic coming out later this summer.  

The other topics were great, too.  I find it very interesting to listen to folks who dedicate their lives to the research & practice around a topic speak on their area of expertise.  Excepting one of the ISU vets who had to leave early, all of them stayed for the weekend, and were more than willing to chat with the symposium attendees outside of the presentation.  Also, the most of the vets were breeders or dedicated dog people themselves which made the discussion particularly relevant.

Top 3 things I learned:
  -  Many things "depend on the dog" - type of food to feed, vaccination protocols, etc.  should be tailored to the dog and its environment.  
  -  The area of canine genetics is very exciting right now - with advances in the past couple of years (e.g., mapping the canine genome) have made finding answers easier (but still not easy)
  -  Genetic conditions can be "complex" - it may be a combination of genes at play or genes  plus environment - that lead to some conditions - which makes the puzzle harder to put together

After one day of the seminar and conversations with my fellow attendees (it's always fun when one can start an hour long conversation with the phrase, "so what breed do you have?"), I have an expanded respect for those of you who choose to breed dogs.  So many variables, so much to learn, so much potential heartbreak.  Wow - I don't know how you do it!!  But thanks for doing it!

For those of you who might be interested, the Canine Health Foundation is offering two more of these events this year - one in Olympia, WA, (Aug 28) and one in Athens, GA (Sept 11).  The fees to attend are reasonable, and - if it's anything like the one in Iowa - you'll walk away with lots of great information, and lots of handouts/goodies, too!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Great snowflake art

Can you spot the Cardi?
What other breeds can you see?

A very talented friend of mine made this snowflake for our kennel club progressive gift exchange.  I loved it, and it has a Cardi in it, so The Husband and I worked together so that we could bring it home.

The friend who made this, Keith, is a fellow member of our kennel club.  He and his daughter train their shelties for agility.

Keith started making these snowflakes years ago, and it's really a talent.  He can make them to order -- we had one made for The Husband's parents 50th anniversary with many of the things they love.

Well, Keith's talent recently came to the attention of Martha Stewart, and he appeared on her show a couple of weeks ago.  The segment can be viewed on her website.

Keith now has a website up and running -, if you're interested in learning more.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

England May 2010 - The last part of our trip

Here are some images from the rest of the time we spent in England.

First, two more of our canine hosts:

First - my dog niece - Bree the Springer Spaniel
Here she's looking out the window of her London home

Next - my dog nephew, Jasper
Hanging out in his yard on the South coast of England

And finally, the three-legged Collie (they just call them Collies in the England), 
Holly - who lives at the house next door to my mother in law.
In true Border Collie spirit, she still LOVES to play ball 
- even though she lost her leg last year

Now for our activities:

In London we went to see Sister Act at a West End theatre (the Palladium)
Good show!

We stopped by Stonehenge!  Very cool.
Would've been cooler w/out an impatient preschooler....

We went for walks in the Dorset countryside.
Check out those hedgerows!

A view of the surrounding countryside.
It's prettier than the picture can show...

Saw lots of wildflowers

A sunny day at the beach!!
This is as rare in England as it is in Oregon

Now a couple of random photos:

Here's a good example of a consistent, yet geographically tailored, trademark - and it's dog related.

In the US, of course, the Pedigree ribbon is blue.
But first place ribbons are red in the UK...

This one's for my brother:

I sooo would have kneeled down next to the arrow part of this sign...
if my mother-in-law hadn't been in the car with me.
How do you explain to a proper English mother-in-law 
that you want to stop the car and find a place to park 
because - even though you're long past the age when this should be funny -
 that you still think it would be really funny to have your picture taken with this sign?
Clearly I didn't want to go there, so I'll have to make due with just the sign.

That's it for this trip.  I promise to take this blog back to the dogs now.

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