Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yowza! Debbie clinic

Wow.

My clinics with Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez have really ratcheted up a notch.  She is on me like white on rice and when I think it's finally over she calls out, "Ok, let's pick up the reins and get her connected...."  and on we go.

It's a good thing she's pushing me hard I think.

We started immediately in our canter work focused on flying changes yesterday.  We started off on a figure 8 asking for a change in the middle of the figure.  If a change didn't happen, tickle with the whip... Sera likes to kick out with both hind feet for the changes.  When she kicks out, usually a change occurs.  Her kicks can be pretty big and they are ugly but never morphs into anything more or dangerous.

Seems like with all new things... they start out pretty ugly but once the muscle memory and how things have to happen gets learned, they get prettier and prettier.  No baby learning to walk ever starts off strutting like they are on a catwalk ya know? 

She seemed to "get" the change from right to left ok - not pretty but when she took one off my aids we called it good and started in on the changes from left to right.

Not so good.  Much kicking out behind but no changes....

Plan B.

20 meter circle in counter canter, simple change to walk with an IMMEDIATE haunches in on the circle,  and if Sera didn't move her ass over in response to my leg, there was a whip correction.  Straighten to normal bend on the circle, and begin again with counter canter.

Debbie said this was to get her 1. moving off my leg quicker vs. blowing me off and 2. gets her thinking about her hind end. 

Next came the change - I kept her in counter canter, half-halted and asked for a lead change, changing the bend of her neck with the inside rein and bringing my outside leg back.  If no change, tickle with the whip... still no change?, continue in counter canter... gather her up, half-halt and ask again. 

Shoooooo

Sera was wet ears to tail as if I'd hosed her off when we were done.  She works SO hard for me.  I love, love, LOVE my mare. 

Debbie says I need to do something with changes EVERY time I ride... not the level of pressure we put on her yesterday but something to keep her thinking about it.   Gulp. 

I cooled her out indoors til she was breathing normally... put her cooler on and tied her up in the sun to dry off.   The girl trying Rosso brought him up... he was his normal bug-eyed, histrionic self.  Poor fella.  Must be hard living in his head where the hamster on the wheel is running at 180mph all the time.

I loaded them up and got home with plenty of daylight to spare.  Was a really fun ride and a good day.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Rosso Story

A couple of clinics ago, I was talking with the barn owner about this woman riding in the clinic.  She is a tall woman and she is always on these teeny, tiny client horses.  We were talking about how she needs a BIG horse to really fill out her legs, stature etc.  Not in a mean way - and the woman riding has also said this.  The barn owner said this woman had a couple of larger horses of her own but they each ended up with severe lameness issues and she gave them away to good homes.

I was like ???wha???  how did she give lame horses away?  I have a perfectly sound horse at home that is ready to go for someone and I can't find him a home to save my life!

We started talking about Rosso... he moves well, athletic...however, he is very much a reactive/nervous horse and I don't appreciate that but know someone could have a lot of fun with him if they were a strong, assertive rider. 

This barn owner thought she might have a couple people interested in him... so the next clinic date I brought Sera and Rosso down.  And yes he screamed like a ninny the entire time from the stall/run we put him in.  Fun.  He hasn't been ridden since spring... and he hasn't been many places... his eyes were pretty much bugged out of his head...

When the girl interested in Rosso showed up... she got him out, tied him up... I saddled him for her... lunged him in the indoor... the barn owner got on him... and while MY heart was in my throat, he was fine.  He had an objection about something - she yelled at him, stayed on and resumed without another objection.  He rounded up beautifully, sweat between his back legs and flanks (horses sweat where they are working) and the barn owner kept exclaiming how sensitive he was to her seat and weight - how light in the hand he was - how big his movement was... I think he has better movement than Sera does and is more athletic and eye-catching.  I know everyone was surprised.  He is very pretty and uses himself well. 

You think "free" horse and you think puke horse.  Rosso isn't a puke... but I really don't appreciate his mind.  I know someone would have a lot of fun with him but it isn't me. 

Lemme put it this way. 

If he was a human, he would wear black turtlenecks, skinny jeans, eyeliner and read poetry on open mike night with a very effeminate voice and possibly a lisp.  If anyone looked sideways at him, he'd run dramatically sobbing, eyeliner streaming down his face, to the bathroom and he'd lock himself in there the rest of the night.

Not that there is anything wrong with someone like that.  God love 'em. 

I just don't happen to appreciate those qualities in a 1,000lb animal I'm sitting on.

Then the girl who was interested rode Rosso.  The whole time he is screeching to Sera and Sera is screeching right back... but dang, he was GOOD.  He didn't do anything horrible, he listened, he did his job... he was worked hard, in a new place, by two different people, with his one and only pasture mate screeching to him... and he hasn't been worked or had anyone on him since March or April of 2011.  It was the 2nd week in December of 2011.

I was hopeful. 

He stayed on a 30 day trial.

I got home with my lovely Sera Sue... unloaded her and then felt sad.  Which suprised me.  I suppose when you care for an animal for 5 years there are attachments formed, even if you don't love exactly everything about them.  And it didn't help that Sera kept calling for him and looking for him... and when the girl got him out to groom him he buried his fretful head into my chest like - omg! save me! 

I felt like the big, mean, carnivore. 

Not to mention I watched him go and he was pretty - I saw all the things that I loved about him and the reasons I brought him home in the first place.  It's hard to let it go and know you weren't good enough to get past it. 

My crazy neighbor Mrs. Kravitz asked me last week if I'd be mad if the girl showed up at a show and beat me and Sera? 

No!  I'd be really happy actually! 

Mrs. Kravitz said she'd be mad enough for both of us then if that were to happen.  chuckle.  She does love me and means well even if she is a little (or a lot) crazy.

I got an e-mail today from the barn owner.  He is still being a good boy, no shennanigans and yet the girl interested is also intimidated by his nervousness.  The barn owner reports that she'll warm Rosso up for the girl, walk, trot, canter - lots of transitions and the girl rides him but she won't ride him without the barn owner around.   That is what I thought might happen.  He needs a strong, assertive rider that he won't question.  The girl didn't seem to have that take charge personality when I watched her ride but I hoped I was wrong. 

It's ok... I want him to find a good fit.  I love the big goof and I don't want to see him (or another person) in a bad situation.  I have another clinic on the 28th and it's my guess that he'll be coming home with me to resume his status as a fully sound, capable horse that gets to be a pasture ornament/buddy to my wonderful mare.  

Dang. 

That's a pretty damn good job if you can get it when you are a horse!   Especially in this horse market....


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keenan Story...

Keenan... our "problem" child dog.  She's made a lot of progress and is still a work in progress with her issues. 

She goes to doggie daycare 2x a week.  It's an extravagance for sure, however, it helps with her energy levels.  High energy = more devotion to her issues and escalating issues.  Daycare keeps her socializing with dogs (even tho' in the real world she wants to kill all strange dogs).  We figure it's good for her right now while she's young and we are working through these things.

Furry Husband came home the other day, "Honey, guess what Keenan did at daycare today?"

Oh, I would have no idea...

"She figured out how to open the door and led ALL the daycare dogs outside!" 

Nice.  The outside is a fenced area so no dogs were exactly in danger...but I know the daycare groups certain dogs together and lets Group A outside during certain times and Group B at other times etc.  Not a good thing to have different groups - segmented for size, temperaments etc - milling around all at once. 

It's like the West Side Story - Sharks vs. Jets meeting all at once....

Guess the employees corrected her from then on each time she tried the door and she just kept trying.. the owner told me she must've tried at least 30 times.   Yup.  Sounds like our Keenan.  

The little angel.

After that day, when we drop Keenan off, the employees shout to each other - "Keenan's here!" and bungee cords go on the lever handled doors.

A couple weeks later Furry Husband walks in the door after picking up our deviant canine... "Honey... guess what Keenan did today in daycare..."

Hoo boy... I'm afraid to ask.

Guess Keenan figured out how to open the slick, metal knob door to the lobby/retail area of daycare.  She stood on her hind legs and worked the knob with her 2 front paws til it opened.  (Did I mention when we let her out into our yard, or we are out doing chores, we have to lock our doors or she lets herself inside - our front door gaping wide open and she is lounging happily on the couch or bed....having a wicked smaht dog is super fun.) 

She happily opened it and led all the dogs merrily into the lobby to peruse the retail shelves....

Christmas shopping would be my guess.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inpiring and TRUE

I found this blog post from a woman by the name of Rachel Cosgrove and wanted to share it with you:

http://www.rachelcosgrove.com/2011/07/the-zero-scale/

and this one

http://www.rachelcosgrove.com/2011/11/making-weight/

Now that I feel good from eating primally, I want to try and become stronger...

I've started some sprint workouts once a week.  I run as fast as I can for 30 seconds, rest til I can breathe and repeat... 8 times.  Not so hard.  Tho' they seem like the longest 30 seconds ever.  I take our troublesome Keenan dog with me and she is loving it.  You could also bike, swim or whatever floats your boat for 30 seconds really hard... rest... repeat.

I started some of the primal essential movement workouts 2x a week (plank, squats, pushups, pullups).  I really like the idea of body wieght movements and not needing a lot of fancy equipment, space or gym membership to get strong. 

I'm pretty sadly weak and puny but you gotta start somewhere. 

I can't do one pullup.  I just hang there... suffering, muscles quivering while I grunt.  Furry Husband watches in amusement.  I have to do chair assisted ones to really get my chin anywhere near the "up" part of a chinup.  And I do the girlie knee pushups...   I can plank and I can squat and I attribute those to riding.

Already tho, when I get out of the shower, I can see little muscles moving in my pec area, my biceps seem more firm - not so flabby and reminicent of my 1970's kindergarten teacher and I think my butt has gotten a wee bit firmer or lifted... just a wee bit anyway and heck, any little bit helps.   

My workouts - sprints and the essential movement ones - last no longer than 30 min.  Sometimes not even that long.  It's not overwhelming or 2 hrs long or hugely involved.  I just have to remember to give the dogs something good to chew on so they don't try and play with me while I'm doing this stuff on the living room floor.  And of course Furry and I walk most mornings 2 miles with the doggers.  It's such a nice way to start the day... for all of us.

We'll see where it goes. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

I dunno where the time goes...

My new job is great... I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my office, the co-workers, my boss... and I'm busy most of the time and it's really cut down on my internets...  

Not like I hated, my last job and I liked my boss... and this job just "clicks" with me for some reason.  Hopefully this feeling stays.  It's been almost a year since beginning and I'm still having fun so that is a good sign me thinks.

My last story was about cats in the closet.

Well, this is a cat story too.  Our giant 25lb male black cat, Mojo, went missing.  This was Furry Husband's cat...HIS cat.  Mojo liked to jump out at me and play but he LOVED and PURRED and CUDDLED with Furry Husband while having nothing to do with me.  He was a very, very cool cat.  We let him out in the day and brought him in at night.  A couple times he didn't want to come in at night... and played the stay away game.  He was always on the porch in the morning.

The last time he played the stay away game... we tried to get him in before bed... shortly after getting into bed... even got up in the middle of the night to call for him.  We could see him but he wouldn't come and would run away if we tried to nab him.  The next morning he was gone. 

We talked to all our neighbors and looked for him for months. 

Furry Husband wanted another cat he could call his own and he was looking around on Petfinder.... he found a female tortoiseshell kitten in a shelter in Greeley.  One day I came home and there was a new addition to our house.  He named her Katona (cat + anniversary) since he brought her home on our wedding anniversary.

We set up our big wire dog crate so she and the residing ani-mules could all meet and greet with minimal safety issues and Furry Husband would take her out to cuddle every day.  After a couple weeks we started letting her out for short periods of time.

She started pooping on our couch.  Pooping behind the t.v. stand.  Pooping in the bedroom.   And not just cat turds but runny, liquid diarrhea....nasty, gooey, stanky, stanky poo.   Disgusting.

We called the vet and ran a fecal... even tho' the shelter said she was wormed.  Our vet found her infested with round worms.  Nice since the dogs helped clean up her errant stanky magma poo and we didn't know if she had used the litter boxes some of the time so our existing cats may have stepped in, cleaned their paws and ingested round worms...

And so we started EVERYONE in the house on round worm rotation.  Fun!

We've always "found" kittens or cats in rural areas and they weren't in high confinement cages full of other animals coming and going, passing parasites back and forth.  Good to remember next time there is a shelter animal....

The next fecal showed the round worms dying and gone... however, there was still this horrible diarrhea.  Fountains of it.

Vet ran coccidia and giardia... nope.  Nothing. 

We began changing foods... nothing worked.  We were having discussions about putting her down because she obviously didn't feel good... and living her life in a cage was no life.... people told us we should let her loose outside to be a "barn cat" however we didn't like that idea given what happened with Mojo and she was so little...

And so I turned to the internet.  I Googled kitten with diarrhea or kitten not using litter box... found a website discussing IBS in cats.  How they are true carnivores and some cats have severe reactions to dry foods.  This is the link if you are interested,  http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood 

Surprisingly, some of the grocery store brand cat foods are healthier than "fancy" foods like Science Diet or Nutro etc.... I went to the grocery store and found 2 types of Fancy Feast cat food where the first 4 ingredients were meat, broth and organs, no grains listed. 

It didn't work.

The article went on to discuss feeding "raw".  Cats exist on birds, mice - other live critters....the organs and bones of their catches meet all their nutritional needs.   The article had recipes for how to make your own cat food... including buying a grinder and where to get whole, skinned, rabbit carcasses with all the organs....how much a cat typically should eat of the "raw" food etc. etc. etc.

Right.

Then I saw that damn show on Animal Planet called, "My Cat from Hell".  And these people were living with HORRIBLE cats!  One couple had this cat they adopted from the shelter and in the night the cat attacked the husband... serious, deep, bites and lacerations up and down the guy's spine... he had to go to the emergency room and needed stitches.   And these people were working with a guy to help solve their problem with their cat.

Here, we had this sweet, loving, kitten that purred all day long and there was obviously something wrong with her.  So if the people in the above show could work with and overcome the violent tendencies in their  beasties... it seemed like the least we could do, was try some other food options.

I stopped at the feed store and picked up some RadCat raw cat food.  There were no sweet potatoes or peas or brown rice in it to dilute the pure carnivore feast... it was meat and organs with some added vitamins/minerals.  Yum.

And it worked.

Katona had turds for the first time in probably 8 weeks since all this went down.  We let her system adjust and settle down and we tried another grain free kibble.  Instant diarrhea.

Alrighty then.  Raw it is.  Raw bought from the feed store is expensive tho'.  Making our own would be cheaper.  Grinding our own cheaper still but I'm not ready to go there....

Pricing out whole rabbit was sorta spendy when you factored in all of our cats.  I was considering getting them all on a raw diet since research shows feeding raw dramatically reduces kidney problems and other health problems.  Maybe if we feed this way, we'll spend less in vet bills as they age?  That was my line of thinking anyway.  I put raw out for our other cats and all but one LOVED it.  They cleaned it UP.

I found another place referenced in the article and was introduced into a whole 'nother world of animal feeding.  I guess I figured that people with reptiles got mice from the pet store... never gave "live" or "raw" feeding any more thought.

Wow - there is a whole culture out there of raw and live feeding for pets.   You can get a sack of 25 frozen white mice... and there was a testimonial on the site about how this person warms a mouse a day for her cat and throws it in the bathtub for him to demolish.  

Interesting!

You can get whole, frozen guinea pigs... small, medium and jumbo.   (YOU could, I don't think I could....)
Rabbit... turkey... day old chicks... whole ground mouse goes for $6.99/lb.  MMMM.   Try that in your next taco salad!

Besides whole frozen critters, they also sell parts.  I guess frozen, skinned rabbit heads are great fun for your dog!  Or maybe for a small dog, just the rabbit feet....

I ended up ordering whole, ground chicken.  The whole chicken.... minus the feathers....in a giant tube-like package like you might see at Sam's Club for ground beef...only it's whole ground chicken.  We added B and E vitamins... taurine... fish oil... egg yolks.... whatever the recipe listed, mixed it up and portioned it in 6oz tupperware containers.   A 5lb tube of chix with the vitamins/minerals lasts about 3 weeks for this kitten.

It's easy to make - takes literally 15 or 20 min. for a 3 week supply

Yeah.  It's weird.  I know.  I guess I just think when you bring an animal home, YOU are responsible for that life.  And yes, we did discuss putting her down and came very close before I found this relatively easy solution.  Others may have chosen to kill her - and that is fine as long as it's done humanely.  However, I guess it wasn't something we wanted to do until we tried other options.  Giving her back to the shelter wasn't an option to me as we'd just be unloading this problem on someone else... not a responsible way of dealing with it. 

Now the kitten runs happily around the house, hasn't had any accidents... is happy and purring and friendly.  She goes into her cage to eat her raw diet.  I put the grain free kibble and some Fancy Feast out at the same time for the other cats (decided it was too spendy to feed all of our cats raw)... Katona stays in her cage for 30 min while everyone eats... I pick up all food and the kitten is released to resume living "normal" life in our house.

The only bad thing?

She's friggin' picked ME.   She isn't Furry Husband's cat.  She seeks ME out.... I didn't need another cat....

Sigh.

Furry is trying to win her over... but ... you know cats....

Fingers crossed!




Saturday, November 12, 2011

Solution

We've been living with a problem that drives us both insane.

Our cats climb up in our closet.

They pull themselves up with the clothes on hangers which results in claw snags in clothes or clothes all on the floor in a crumpled mess.

They like to sleep in the folded clothes on a shelf above the hanging clothes... that equals more clothes pulled down and layers upon layers of cat hair all over everything. 

It's been this way for years.  We try to keep the closet doors closed and the cats dig and dig and dig until they open the sliding door enough to wedge themselves back in.

And then one night channel surfing, I saw this show on Animal Planet called My Cat From Hell.... the solution to many of the cat issues was to build them high spots.  And so I did.  Furry Husband was skeptical when I told him about my grand plan since he didn't see the show and wasn't sure just what in the hell I was talking about...

One night when he was at a wine tasting event I built this:





He got home and he helped me finish it... I bought a 1x12 at Home Depot and had them cut a 4' length for above our window and two 1' lengths to use as stepping stones....I covered them with soft, on sale, fleece material from a fabric store.

We ended up only using one step.  A dog kennel is next to the dresser... step 1.

The shadow box on the dresser is screwed into the wall for stability... cat step 2.

There is a step mounted to the wall... cat step 3.

From there, they have their choice of the box filled with the left over fleece material or the fleece covered ledge with a kitty cup.

I sprinkled a little catnip on the ledge and the cat step number 3.

They are using it vs. our closet! 

Score 1 for the hoo-mans.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tied Up...

Well... I took Sera to Rex's for a ride last Saturday. 

I went out to get her and she was hot, sweaty and blowing.  The horses have been kept in their pens because of the huge amount of snow we got in 2 different storms.  Pretty much everything is, or was, muddy, slick and icy.  We didn't need the horses out running like wild jungle animals, slipping and injuring themselves or tearing up the pasture.

She and Rosso had been fruiting around because they are bored and pent up and it's cold and they feel good.

I unloaded her at Rex's and she was tying up pretty good.  Sigh.  Called the vet and she was there in 30 min... steroid and non-steroid anti-inflammatories given.  A dose of ace to relax and get blood flowing to the muscles... some laser treatment.  Still took at least an hour before Sera could walk again and she was still sticky on the left hind.

She hadn't tied up since November 2008. 

Caught me by complete surprise.  Last time she tied up I was feeding 100% alfalfa from another hay supply source... we stopped and she hadn't tied up since.  I figured that was the cause.

Since Sera had been penned up from the storms, we cut the Purina Healthy Edge complete feed back by half.  (They only get 1lb in the AM and 1lb in the PM with loose mineral salt)  And we gave them some extra hay at night since it was our first true cold snap and they don't have woolly winter coats yet.  It's a grass hay with a tiny bit of alfalfa - whatever grows in the pasture when the hay is harvested.  We've gotten it consistently from the same hay supplier - same fields since 2008 - nothing different about the hay.

It's quite disappointing. 

I ordered some Platinum Hemo-Flo supplement which is supposed to have good results for horses that tie up... ??  I'm never really sure if supplements are truly helpful or if they are just good marketing?  Anyone have thoughts about that?

I think Theresa asked about the new lifestyle Furry Husband and I are working on...
The book is:  The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson - very good, easy read, and explains more the why of eating and living this way.  He just released a new book, that in my opinion is maybe a little more condensed, a little updated and more of a specific "how to" vs. "why to".  It's the 21-Day Challenge or something... both are good reads.

There is a website tho' that is free which offers lots of information for anyone looking... www.MarksDailyApple.com 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pizza experiment....

We've been eating primal (no grains or legumes) for 30 days as of October 30.  Part of us trying the primal eating for 30 days, was to experiment once the 30 days were over with a grain based meal to see how it made us feel. 

We brought home a Cozzola's take and bake pizza, cooked it up after chores... consumed it..... felt fine.  The world did not crash around us.  We were not ill.  We felt perfectly fine.....

UNTIL 2:00AM rolled around.

We were both wide awake, tossing and turning, and could NOT for the life of us get any sleep.  We finally gave up the fight and got up at 5:00 to go walking with the dogs under the stars...

Doesn't really make me want to try grains again any time soon.  Since eating primally, I have slept soundly, all night, every night vs. waking up at 2 or 3 AM probably 4 nights out of 7.  And the nights I did sleep were Tylenol PM induced.  I very rarely slept a night without something to keep me knocked out.

I'd gone to the Dr. for some pretty severe depression this summer along with the sleep deprivation to have my hormone levels checked out.  My hormones were ok but my my adrenals were high (why I was waking up in the middle of the night unable to sleep) and my B vitamins super, super low (why I felt so terrible all summer).  

I go to a more wholistic Dr., and they offer the option of working with herbal supplements if you want to go that route via diving right into Western meds.  Tho they offer the Western meds if you want them. 

I started taking an herbal supplement to calm my adrenals... and I got a B vitamin shot once a week for a month to get my B levels back up.  After that, I took a sub-lingual B supplement.

I haven't taken either supplement for a couple weeks.  I stopped the adrenal supplement right around the time we started eating primal.... and I sleep.  Oh how I sleep! I sleep sound and it is THE most glorious feeling to get sleep all night, every night.

I'm really liking the variety of veggies, fruits and proteins from fish, meat, chicken, eggs.   Yum!  We've tried brussel sprouts, rutabagas, turnips, mashed cauliflower... all sorts of good things. 

I'm never hungry, I don't count calories, I don't watch my portions... I eat full fat dairy, cook in butter, use olive oil and coconut oil vs. man made or grain/legume oils like corn, canola, peanut or vegetable oils.   I have even energy all day long, no lulls or tired afternoons for me any more....

It's been a pretty interesting 30 days.  I feel GOOD.  I feel HAPPY.  I feel AWAKE. 

I'm going to start with some exercise body movements to give me functional strength... I don't have goals to be amazingly ripped like Linda Hamilton from the Terminator movie... however, I'd like to be able to do the stuff I want to do easily and handily without much of a struggle.

I started today with some squats, plank and girlie knee pushups.  I'm so weak it's a little sad.  But hey, we all gots to start somewhere. 

We'll see how things progress...

Besides it's been so muddy, mucky, snowy, icy with the 2 storms we've gotten, I've got some extra time for evaluating how weak I am and trying to fix it.  grin.

I go to the Dr. for another blood draw to evaluate B levels... I'm guessing they are gonna be pretty good based on how great I feel.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Debbie Clinic

For anyone wondering... I survived my clinic! 

I was quaking in my boots thinking all our worst habits that come out at shows would be in full force... the sucking back, the tenseness, the holding back, the head tick tock, the 4-beaty canter....

Nope.

Not a ONE of those icky things popped up in the clinic.  Not even toward the end when Sera was tired and pretty much at the end of her reserves... she stayed in a true, forward, 3-beat canter.  She stayed round, over her back, forward, in my hand....she tried hard for me.

Can I say how in love I am with my mare?  I love her, love her, love her!

We are both a bit out of shape but we still have it and we don't suck (well compared to Hubertus Schmidt I'm sure we suck but for who we are and where we are, in Northern Colorado with no goals to show professionally or beyond locally,  we don't suck!  Hooray!).  Debbie said she's NEVER seen Sera look so good.  And Debbie, while very kind, will never, ever, ever pay you a compliment you don't deserve.  You gots to work hard to make her happy.  

I tried shoes on Sera's front... she has never been lame or "off"... she tested fine for the farrier... but she seems just a little ... I don't know... careful... a little flat.... a bit quick....

Debbie said Sera seemed much more "floaty"... "forward".... and get this... she said, "I didn't think this horse had a trot like that IN her!"

So yeah, guess Sera will be in front shoes....seems to make her more comfortable and confident.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Colorado Marrow Donor Program update....

About 2 mos ago, I was contacted by Colorado Marrow Donor Program as a potential match for someone needing a transplant.  I was to stop by the hospital lab for some additional blood draws for testing to determine the match and they'd let me know in 6-8 weeks. 

I received a letter this week that the extensive testing of my blood samples and the patient's blood for compatability indicate I could be a suitable match.  At this time, however, the patient isn't ready to proceed to transplantation and they may contact me in the future.  Thank-you for your willingness to consider donation to someone you've never met.

Interestingly enough, just after giving my blood for testing, I found out a woman I worked with many years ago had a bone marrow disease severe enough she needed a marrow donation.  (there are no coincidences, eh?) A mutual friend told me this woman's brother donated for her probably a year ago?  The transplant was in all accounts a success.  Yet, this woman died the beginning of this month.

It's pretty serious business - when someone is sick enough to need a marrow donation, it's not like donating marrow is a 100% cure-all, rainbows and happiness.  Yes, I would donate in a second if someone needed my marrow, however it's also sobering to know that they could still die.  It's the least I could offer for someone truly fighting for their life. 

Anyway - please keep whomever needed this donation in your thoughts... I'm sure he/she and their family are going through some major heartache and heavy decisions.  I wish them much love and peace.

If you are interested in becoming a donor, please visit the following site for information or registering to become a bone marrow donor:  National Marrow Donor Program

You might provide hope or an option to someone that has none.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Agility!

We finished our sequencing class... putting obstacles in a sequence and practice running them... I still feel very awkward, clumsy, herky-jerky and like there is so much to know and remember.  I often forget where I am on the course.  However, both Toe and Keenan really seem to enjoy it and their hoo-mans do too!

Here we are running our pattern!



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grand Junction Pix

Toe & Shanster go 4-wheelin for the first time....


 Isn't it gorgeous?

 Powderhorn!

 Never could get a shot of Toe coming TO me....he sure has a cute hammy butt tho', dont he?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grand Junction

Furry Husband and I left for Grand Junction last week.  We stayed with his buddy Mo, who lives at the base of the Powderhorn Ski Resort in Mesa.   It was GORGEOUS.  

Furry Husband played in the Colorado State Disc Golf Championships (which he completed in a 3-way tie for Fourth Place!  Way to go Furry!)  while I hiked on Saturday and went 4-wheeling on Sunday.  I brought the little Toe dog with us to Junction for fun - he's compact, travels well and is friendly to everyone.

I think Toe probably had more fun than the hoo-mans... bombing around the mountain on hikes... swimming in mountain lakes...and riding sandwiched in between me and Mo on the 4-wheeler little stump tail goin' a mile a minute....

The weekend was sunny, cloudless, no wind and 70's or 80's... fabulous, perfect, incredible Colorado weather and I was outside most of the time...   ahhhhhhhhh.    Hard to come back to reality and a desk job, indoors with no windows near-by.   *sniffle*

Agility last night - I meant to bring a camera to tape how herky jerky I am... completely forgot.  Maybe next Monday I'll remember and you can get a glimpse of the insanity!  

Tomorrow I ride with Debbie and I am cringing cuz she'll see how we've reverted back to all our old habits... but I won't worry about that until I actually make it there.

Our truck isn't 100% reliable lately and only does it's acting up when I'm towing a load over distance... mechanics can't find anything wrong with it, we can't get it to do anything in town or to and from Rex's place.  

Always a comforting thought as you are on the interstate towing your beloved horse....

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I think I have my life back....

I'm not working long days plus weekends any more.  It is so wonderful to have my life back! 

And I'm now *gasp* 41 years old.   Yow!  Seems like just yesterday I was 28.  I took my birthday off from work and Furry Husband and I went to The Rio Grande for lunch... they have the best patio in town and we enjoyed liesurely margaritas in the sunshine.  Divine.

I GOT CARDED!

I never get carded. 

I think it was all the pimples on my face earned from the long hours indoors under fluorescent lighting in September.   At least those damn things came in handy for something.  Was a really fun birthday treat...

We went to a movie at the dollar theatre (cuz I am a cheap date)... and we had a nice dinner at home with real champagne that Furry's boss gave to me as a birf-day present.   It was truly a lovely day.

I started off the day by getting some horsekeeping done... tooth float for Rosso and hocks done on Sera... the farrier came out the next morning and we are ready to get back to it.... have a clinic with Debbie Riehl-Rodriquez on the 19th.  I'm sure she will be disappointed at how we've let ourselves go this summer.

Life happens... we'll get back to it and work hard to make it up.

Oh - the eating thing.  Trying really not to think of it as a diet but as a lifestyle and definitely NOT focused on the scale.  I want to see how this way of eating affects the way we feel and if it's realistic to everyday life. 

So far, I'm not missing bread or grains.  My energy seems more even keel... I don't have highs or lows - no food coma here!  And even when I eat more than I should, (it happens - I've never gotten the portion control thing down pat) I don't get that omg, I'm going to die or I feel sick or I need to sleep 3 hrs because I ate so much feeling...I'm just much more comfortable even if I over do it occasionally.  Seems my belly stays the same size thru the day vs. getting sort of bloaty and/or poochy by the end of the day.  I don't feel super changed or highly energized but the changes I've noticed are pleasant - consistent feeling.




Monday, October 3, 2011

Lifestyle of a cult follower?

Our neck of the woods has been converted to a cult following.  Most of the people I know are religiously and devoutly following this new "religion".

So much so that Furry Husband and I have discussed it... rolled our eyes over it... fought it....scoffed at it and after a spring and summer full of hearing other people discuss it ad nauseum with a sparkle in their eye and a fervent following much like those who may have followed Jim and Tammy Faye Baker back in the day....

*sigh*

We are trying it.

We are going primal, paleo, cave-man diet.... for 30 days.

Mostly we are doing this as an experiment.  I'm not really discussing it with anyone in my circle of friends already "converted" because I don't want the fervent gleam in the eye, "oh you've finally come to the right side of the force - welcome!" discussions or affirmations.

We want to experiment with it - see what we think of it,  find out for ourselves if it really does increase energy levels and the big overall increased health benefits everyone is saying they feel.  You would think this lifestyle is a wonder drug the way people are talking about how much better they feel....  

I'm on day 3. 

The rules are easy - eat plenty of animals, seeds, nuts, plants and dairy in moderation.  Avoid all grains and legumes (beans and peanut products).  No corn, wheat, bread, flour or baked goods made with any conventional flours...  theory being that grains aren't digestible by humans and cause all sorts of problems in our bodies.   (Not saying I buy this, I'm not a Dr. or a nutritionist or scientist.... and it seems any "diet" book will tell you what they believe with facts and Dr.s who can back it... then 3 more telling you how "wrong" the diet you just read about is....I'm only telling you the theory behind this lifestyle in a nutshell and we've had several months of many different people living this way and telling us how amazing they feel.. I'm absolutely not pushin' anything here.)

I can use almond flour or coconut flour.   I have NO idea what either of those flours look like or taste like or how they are to work with....  we will pick some up from a health food store and maybe play with making tortillas or biscuits I found in a paleo cookbook.

I'm not counting calories or worrying about portions or fats... just avoiding any grain or legume based food items.  I hate diets and the yo-yo crap that goes with it.  If it can't become part of your every day life, I personally don't think it will ever work long term.  We are seeing if we can do this as part of an every-day lifestyle.

This no grain thing makes it interesting to think outside the box and find ways to follow it - for example,  Furry Husband and I went to Qdoba's for lunch Saturday.... hmmmm.  No beans, no rice, no tortillas.... I had a naked chix burrito: chicken, lettuce, cheese, tomatilla salsa with grilled veggies thrown in.   It was tasty... and tasted like Qdoba.... just a little unconventional when ordered.

I wonder if I will miss bread, tortillas, corn chips and crackers?   I don't know.  We were trying to eat less traditional carbs like that as it was for general healthy eating...this is simply taking it to the next level.

Like I said, it's an experiment for 30 days that I'll share with you guys once and a while.  We aren't doing it for weight loss but to see if we enjoy feeling healthier, less aches and pains, less allergies, more energy, improved digestion and less bloaty feelings in ma' belly.

Before we began this crazy 'speriment, we wanted to read up about this lifestyle to figure out what was involved and how to follow it.

We first ordered a book by Robb Wolf.  Didn't like that guy at all... he was very "used car salesman" and felt like he was really talking down to us.  He was super, super annoying and we both felt this way... we dropped his book off at the thrift store.

I bought a 2nd book called "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson.  I much preferred his down to earth discussions... I finished the book and Furry Husband is now reading it. 

I bought a paleo based cookbook not written by either author for yet another opinion/writing style.

Sounds like The Primal Blueprint rubs die-hard paleo people the wrong way I think cuz this primal diet includes dairy in moderation... well, guess what?   I have dairy goats and I'm not about to give up milk or cheese... I don't eat it in mass quantities as is because it is whole and fattening... tho' I enjoy 1/4 cup goat milk each morning in my coffee and goat cheese whenever the mood strikes. 

The primal diet also allows wine and beer in moderation... good, I can hang with that.  And of course dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa content is supposedly the key to satisfying sugar cravings... I bought some and we'll see.  I can have some pretty damn strong sugar cravings....

Breakfast will be the hardest for me as I enjoy a piece of toast with peanut butter.  Quick, easy, no thought to it.  

This morning's breakfast included one of the various fruits I prepped Sunday ... we have peaches... apples... grapefruits...

To go with my fruit, I put a piece of ham in a muffin tin with an egg broken over it ... popped it in the oven at 350 for 15-20 min while I took my shower.... ham and egg cup.   Furry Husband and I each had 2 ham/egg cups.  Pretty tasty.  Very simple.   

I didn't have time to eat my grapefruit so I brought it with me to work...

So there is our dirtly little secret experiment.... I'll keep you posted. 







Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pumpkin' carving ideas....

I have an old woman trapped in my body.  I have more cats than probably any one person should have.... I enjoy feeding birds and watching them.... and I really like my subscription to Better Homes and Gardens.

Check out their Halloween ideas here:  http://www.bhg.com/halloween/

The last magazine issue that came sent me to the computer to share with you some cool pumpkin ideas... I am all about faster, easier and less mess... I am instant gratification queen.

Yo!  Check it out dawg....

Get an apple corer... poke it into whole, non-carved squashes and pumpkins of different colors... keep the plugs.  Mix and match the plugs back into the holes and you get polka-dotted pumpkins!   Genius!


Or get a nail... poke holes into your whole, uncarved pumpkin... stick some daisies and mums into the holes.  They say the moisture of the pumpkin will keep the flowers fresh for a couple days....   how is this for a perfect Thanksgiving centerpiece?  



And you can use the apple corer to poke letters into your pumpkins... how do these people think of these things??   It astounds me...



They had a lot of other really fun ideas for pumpkins and Halloween decorations.   Dang.  I love me that Better Homes and Gardens crew!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yelled at....

Sheesh.

Yoga class is nuthin' but trouble these days! 

I had a hair-brained idea to WALK over to yoga.  I walk pretty fast and thought it would take me about 15 minutes.  Would be a nice warm-up there and good, peaceful, yoga, namaste reflection on the way back.
Besides the 4-lane road in front of the yoga place is all torn up and traffic is mad-house.  There are barriers up and sign holders and one direction is closed off completely to traffic.  Perfect solution, I'll walk!

I got to class on time, set my intentions, had a good, peaceful yoga experience.  On the way out, I decided to cut straight across the road vs. using the walk/bike path.  I could take another route back to work for a change of scenery and it looked like it might be a little more direct.

There were NO cars anywhere in sight... all the large work trucks and equipment for the road project were way at the other end of the torn up street and I crossed.

There happened to be a sign guy near my path of egress.

He began waving his arms and saying something....

And this is the part that kills me,  I actually stop. 

"What?"  

He keeps gesturing and moving his mouth...

I say again, "What?"

He moves closer still, trying to communicate with me.

A third time I repeat, "What?"

And finally he is close enough for me to hear.  "Can you HEAR my VOICE?"

He's wearing a hard hat, big ol' 70's mirror style sunglasses and sportin' plenty o' facial hair.... like that band member from The Muppet Show... the drummer I think.   Anyway - it's hard to read his facial expression and I obviously can't hear him very well.

I say, "Well, NOW I can."  and I remain standing there.

I'm not sure what pearls of wisdom I thought he would impart to me but it was sunny and warm and I was in my peaceful yoga frame o' mind.  Maybe he is the Buddha coming to bring enlightenment.

He goes on to say, "Do you SEE the barriers and the trucks and this sign I'm holding?   What do you think they are for?"

I look down to the end of the street confused.   I look back at him.

"Uh, cars?"

He proceeds to say something about they are barriers to keep the area clear.

And I say, "Really?  Even for people?"

And I say this remaining completely confused, because at this point I really have no idea what he is trying to convey to me.  Why did he follow me across the street and why is he asking me these questions?  (did I also mention I have a cold and I've been working a ka-trillion hours and this is the first time I've seen sunlight other than on my way in to work in a long time?  Maybe this is why I was being so obtuse.  Well, that and the guy was also a soft talker... unless that was just the snot clogging my ears and he was really speaking at a normal volume...??)

And he says, "Who do you think DRIVES the cars?"

At this point the low wattage bulb goes on above my head.  

Ohhhhhhhhh, I get it!  He's mad at me!  

I tell him, "OK, OK  I get it." in a roll your eyes tone of voice because seriously, what the hell, I just walked there and all the guys next to the bike/walking path stopped their trucks and their work and actually WAVED me across along with two bicyclists.  In FRONT of their tucks so close that I could touch them.... and now on my way home there were absolutely no cars or trucks or equipment anywhere near me and I have this guy chasing me down, with his big STOP/SLOW sign in his hand to yell at me? 

And there were cars coming which he was completely ignoring, not holding his sign to direct them or to stop them from driving into his co-workers a few hundred yards away cuz he was across the street yelling at me.

I turned my back on the guy and begin walking away because what is it exactly I'm supposed to do?  I'm already across the street.  He followed me or a little while still going on about the importance of his job and the barriers and why he is there and who he is there to keep out.  I kept walking back to work.

Boy.  He most defiantly was not The Buddha coming to me with enlightenment.   Tho' he was trying to enlighten me in a manner of speaking.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Confidence gathering....

Well, I did it.  I called up a woman 'round these parts known well for her cross country jumping and eventing skills.  Left a message asking for a few lessons.

I'm not going to become an eventer... however, I don't feel confident much out in the "real" world on horseback.  Sera is fine with it, it's not that she is disobedient or spooky or naughty, it really  is all me and only me.  I just haven't used myself in the saddle outside of my comfort zone in a long time and I worry I won't be able to hang.

Figure if I can take some outdoor jumping lessons with some baby cross country jumps, it'll help with my confidence levels out on the trail and in the "real" world.

Speaking of confidence gathering....

Agility was fun last night.  We are putting sequences of obstacles together and running them.   I was a little rusty and my head wasn't quite in the game  -- I have a cold and we missed last weeks class cuz of the buck hurting himself -- however we did o.k.  Learning, gaining confidence and moving forward...

Keenan was the star of the show and you could tell she was having FUN.  She didn't bark or growl or make one social mis-step the whole night ... not saying she's "cured", tho she is improving and that is nice to see!



Monday, September 26, 2011

Even with the hole, he's fine.

Goat vet came out yesterday.  Furry Husband and I donned our Dickies one last time to go hold the buck while goat vet took a look at him.

Bucks stink this time o' year.  They do this gross thing to attract the does.. the pee all over themselves.   Very much a "golden shower" fetish going on with goats.  And they stink and they are sort of sticky from all the pee in various stages of drying....

We wear the Dickies to protect....and I bought some nifty gloves that are thin and like they have been dipped in rubber... they provide grip and feel.  Most excellent when trying to hold onto an animal that wants to leave or having to give shots to said animal.  

Vet ripped the gauze pads off one at a time... and buck reared up, broke his collar and ran away.  Bet it hurt like a mutha'.  However, all the skin is pink and red underneath... no swellings or oozings or green putrid smelling things.   Bonus!

There is still a hole on the right horn... the one that was sawed off.  I asked if we should be concerned... goat vet says no.... it will heal in 6-8 weeks.  

Crazy.

Tonight is agility... wish us luck!  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Workin' in a coal mine....

Know that Devo song?  Workin' in a coal mine?   That's where I been... workin' like a rented mule.  Should be over in the next week and schedule will go back to normal. 

Harder to keep a schedule like this at 40 yrs old vs. 25 yrs old!  At 25 I was a rock star, work long hours, fit in party time and show up for work the next day no problem. 

At 40, it's all achin back and going to bed early so I can get up in the morning....  no party time for this girl.  Tho' someone did ask if I wanted to go to a one man acoustic show of Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead covers last night.   Wow.  That sounded terrible to me and not something I wanted to sacrifice sleep over.

Mostly I've been neglecting everything except for the most basic elements of personal hygiene.  I'm breaking out like a hormonal teenager but at least I don't stink.   Well.   I don't think I stink.  

The only new thing that's happened is that our buck - who was dehorned as a wee baby boy - grew his horns back as most bucks seem to do.  And he BROKE one of his large, almost full size horns off at the skull line.   We've had bucks break off pieces of horn before and it looks like it hurts them like a mo'fo and there is lots of blood - real gore-fest - but nothing much to do about it.

Tho' at the SKULL line I called the vet.   There are holes - open holes leading into the buck's sinus cavity... thought he might need further attention.    

Turns out he did.

Vet came out, we put the 200+ lb bugger into la-la land to have a look-see.  She ended up sawing the other horn off with a hack saw.  Very bloody and gross since horns have their own blood supply.  Sorta like limb removal in 1776.  I looked down into the buck's head thru the hole that was penny or nickle sized... yes, IN his head.  

Vet put a couple gauze pads with a big ol' dollup o' furazone ointment on each horn/skull base.  Wrapped his head and I gave the buck IM shots of banamine for pain and SubQ shots of penicillin. 

I stunk like a buck in rut the rest of the day.  Even after showering and scrubbing the first 3 layers of my skin off with steel wool. 

I decided Furry Husband and I should invest in Dickies.   Those dark blue, full body suits that zip up?   Yeah.  It's a fashion statement.  Tho' I'm thinking once we are done messing with the buck I could live in my Dickies.   Just go around naked... if someone comes to the door, I'd holler out, "HOLD ON A COTTON PICKIN' MINUTE - I GOTS TO PUT ON MY DICKIES!"  

Getting ready for work would be so much easier.  Never have to match shoes or pants or skirts.  

Dickies are the answer.

I digress.

Vet is coming tomorrow to evaluate our buck and remove bandages, tho' it seems he may have them off by the time I get home today.

Will the hole be closed up??  Will he scratch it open when it's healing and gets itchy?  Will bugs go in there and eat his brain and eyeballs all up from the inside out just in time for Halloween? 

Guess I'll see tomorrow.

Right now his bandage is bloody, dirty, tearing and moved a little to partially cover one eye.  He looks like a Civil War Era soldier.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Free thinking dogs?

So I'm reading this book a friend got for me a long time ago - Can't remember the title right now and I'm feeling a little tired and grumpy this morning.  It's about Merle, the dog,  and this guy, Ted,  who found him while on a river camping trip and he lives in Jackson Hole, WY and is a huge, huge, outdoor enthusiast/hunter and how Merle is this free thinking, free roaming dog who is his equal because Merle has been given his freedom to think things through and learn from his experiences etc. right?  
I've been enjoying the book, the story is good and the author writes well and it's very clear this was a special relationship.  I'm closer to the end and the author has gotten a little "preachy" and "judgemental" ... he was going on about how we've all dumbed down our dogs because we expect them to obey - most dogs only show devotion to their owners because of the Stockholm Syndrome - coming to rely on their captors while they are held captive by us for their food, pleasure, elimination and he was giving this speech about locking them in kennels all day... and so I'm skimming this part cuz not everyone can have these free roaming dogs and I really want to get back to the story vs. the preaching part....
And I get it - Merle was this exceptional dog and this cool, free relationship really worked for them and it really is a neat story... and everyone is entitled to their opinion.... also don't think it would work out well for most people given society and when you live in more crowded areas and I don't think it would work for all dogs because many would die from their experiences with cars, rattlesnakes, coyotes etc. before they had a chance to learn from their experiences....
This morning I get down on my knees and I'm loving on Toe and Bequia (while Sammy remains in his privileged bed spot - Keenan is having daycare day today) and they are licking me and I'm petting them ... asking them, "Am I ruining your lives?  Are you guys kept stupid because of me, cuz I don't let you decide for yourselves and I make you do stupid "baby" tricks that don't mean anything to you and cuz I kennel you all day?"  
So then I think - I'll leave them out and see what happens!  
Well, we leave Bequia out much of the time and Sammy is left out - I only worry about Bequia and her seeming senility and forgetting she's inside and having some accidents tho' it's still only happened that one time (she's 13 and going deaf and blind), Sammy is a solid K9 citizen left to his own devices.  
I'm looking around thinking what is the worst  Toe could do?  He's not a big chewer of weird things, other than socks and they are all picked up - he's too small to counter surf -- there are plenty of nylabones and elk antlers and bones around if he wants to chew.....? 
Decide the worst he can do is get into the litter boxes and gorge himself on clumping litter and then the litter expands in his gut and he dies... so I think - well, I'll baby gate the room with the litter off from him and leave him out.... I get the baby gate which is in the room blocking off access to the litter box entries... but of course I think that he could dig at it or knock it over if left alone all day to think about it - it's only leaning against the litter boxes to block access, not really "baby-gated" in a proper way...
I decide I'm going to put it in the door and block access to the room entirely .... the second I take it away - he runs over and sticks his head in the litter box - I tell him LEAVE IT and he is ignoring me... I go over to grab him and out he pops with this giant cat turd sticking out of his mouth like a cigar.... and in a flash it's gone... in his mouth and he is chewing and swallowing as fast as he can...before I could take it away from him.  Gross. 
Fuck it.  I kenneled the little turd burglar.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Agility....

We had agility class last night... working on getting our dogs to work at a distance from us... sending them to a jump away from us using our body language... seemed like everyone in class struggled with this concept and the dogs wanted to stay near their hoo-mans vs. going way over there to the jump while the hoo-mans hung back ....

Good, brain work.... figuring out how to direct the dogs with our body language.... funny how our bodies rarely do what our brains tell them to do when we are learning something new.   Ya watch and think it looks simple enough... til you try it and discover it's not quite so easy.... like pattin your head and rubbin your belly while chewin gum and walkin down the street.  

Keenan was almost like a normal dog in class last night.... she gave an intense stare and a growl at a dog she seems to react to (even tho' this dog never looks Keenan's way).  We nipped it in the bud and she was all innocence and who me?  Look how cute and sweet I am!  I wouldn't growl at that dog over there.... never!   

This morning on our walk tho' she reacted to a car that slowed way down to a crawl to go past - so slow we were walking faster than the car.   I'll give her that - it was weird.   And the school bus... with it's loud, diesel engine and flashing lights....  

Work in progress.   Little improvements here, set backs there... 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dead Thing

We took the gogs for a walk the other morning and when we reached the end of our road, we turned Left.  The gogs really like going Left!  (gogs = dogs in small child speak... those "D"s are hard to say when you are learning how to talk!)

There are bunnies galore popping out unexpectedly and running over hill and dale while the gogs are stuck on leash, straining, eyes-bugging out of their heads because they want to chase the bunnies oh so bad.  Damn hoo-mans never let them have a bunny.  Not sure why there are no bunnies if we go Right.... bunnies only seem to live Left.

And there is a house with free roaming chickens.... the hens sometimes come out near the road to scratch for bugs.  When we walk past with the goggies, they all pick up their skirts and run back to the safety of their yard.   Always very exciting to goggies.

Just after this house, on the right side of the road, there is a spot where Little Toe always rolls.  

Always. 

Without fail.  

The spot is thick with tall grasses.  I've never thought much about it.  Figured some good smelling plant grew there.  The other dogs never sniff or roll there.

We turn to head back home shortly after the house with a brown standard poodle in the yard.  We've named the poodle "Brownie".  Yes!  We are extremely imaginative!  Brownie always barks at us, we say good morning and there is further excitement as all our dogs take turns peeing in front of poor Brownie, whom I imagine is yelling in a canine version of an old man in a robe with his morning newspaper yelling, "Get off my lawn!".

Once home we get ready for work.  I sit at our kitchen table drinking my morning coffee and eating peanut butter toast for breakfast.  Toe sits in the crook of my crossed legs.  I pet his speckled head and rub his long silky ears... sometimes even rubbing my face in the soft fur on the back of his neck and kissing the top of his wee head.

I made a mistake this time when we turned Left. 

I stopped and looked to see what was so great about "The Rolling Spot".

There is a dead thing.  Skeletal with taught skin covering some of the bones.  No way of telling what sort of animal it was... no fur or feathers or shape to discern since it is so completely rotted, decayed and folded in on itself.

Toe has been rolling on this thing every time we've gone Left for months.  Literally.

I've been coming home and rubbing my face in his soft fur... kissing the top of his head... while I eat breakfast.... after he's rolled in a rotting carcass.

It's a little amazing to me that I don't have ebola.




Friday, September 2, 2011

B12

Who knew how important our B vitamins could be???

This whole spring/summer I have been so unmotivated, low energy, tired, draggin' ass and depressed.  Figured I was just nutz in the ol' noggin. 

I am really happy I went to the Dr to have it investigated... finally!   I went to see if my hormones were out of whack or something...

She had some blood pulled and sent away to the lab.... my B12 is way low.  The Dr. was surprised how low it was and told me no wonder I'd been feeling so bad. 

I received a B12 shot and was told I should have one shot every week for 4 weeks to get it back up... then I could either get a shot monthly or take a sub lingual.  She told me the first shot probably wouldn't have much of an effect but once the B vitamins started climbing back up to normal, hoo boy would I feel better.

I just looked at her...  sure I would.

I had my second B12 shot this past Tuesday and didn't think much of it.

Yesterday, for the first time in what seems like forever,  I was completely cheerful and animated  - so much so, my co-workers were asking if I was ok.

Boy did it feel good! 

To be AWAKE.... FUNCTIONING.... CHEERFUL... ACTIVE...!  

Hope it wasn't just some strange moon phase or something....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More agility....

We had our first "sequencing" class Monday night.  Now that we are all sort of familiar with obstacles we are putting them together and running short courses.

It is actually great fun!

I am still working with Toe on the A-frame 2on/2off... he gets going so fast he flies off of it and he needs to have 2 paws on the ground and 2 paws on the yellow contact zone or in a competition he'd be disqualified.   I practice it and he does it ... but I practice it slow.  He has to learn how to do his 2on/2off FAST...  the trainer showed me how to practice it fast...

He doesn't care for the teeter yet... the drop and the bang startles him.  We are going slow... treat at the pivot point... treat at his nose to keep him coming forward... the trainer holds the end and lowers it slow so the sound and drop isn't so fast/loud/dramatic and he gets a treat at the end for his 2on/2off at the contact zone of the teeter...

We haven't really even started weaves yet... those weave poles look friggin hard.  I eye them dubiously when I see them....

Toe is having a lot of fun - happy and stump waggin' and zooming along the course....

Keenan still has some reactions with the dogs in class... they are stopped faster and we are trying really hard to get her before they happen but dang... it can happen quick.   When she is off leash and running the course tho' she couldn't care less about the other dogs and people - she is having fun and focused on Furry Husband.  Think this agility training can only be good for her....

She'll be a year old in October and won't be competing or working hard and long in agility for awhile... the jumping and work she's doing in our classes isn't any more than what she does at home running around, jumping over things, playing and doing general puppy things... I don't think we are harming any growth plates or doing damage to her young frame.

I started teaching her to use the treadmill last night... doggie daycare is spendy and we didn't envision taking her for the rest of her life.  It was supposed to be a good social outlet and take off the puppy edge to wear her out a couple days.   Getting her good and tired is helpful to training and with her reactivity issues.  We take her for walks,  practice agility and it's pretty clear that some days she needs more of an energy outlet. 

Treadmill here we come.

I had her on it for a short time last night...she stepped on the motor part that doesn't move which sort of freaked her out, then she stopped and slid off the back of the treadmill which sort of freaked her out.  I got her back on it... for a short time, she wasn't happy and was looking for a way out... I stopped it... treated her big for staying on it and being on it.   Fed her on it this morning....

Tonight we'll try a couple minutes again....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Spot Moment.....

Had a funny Spot moment this morning....
 
Spot is our oldest dairy goat and will be officially retired this fall.  We have always called her "the dullard" cuz while very sweet she is not very coordinated or quick to react.  The other goats will jump up on the spools, houses etc we have in the pen and Spot still has never figured out how to jump up on stuff true to her little goatie nature.... she wants to...  she tries and alas remains earthbound.
 
I had her by the collar, walking her to the milk room... Keenan, the puppy, had the zoomies (zoomies = dogs running crazy with their tail tucked and the wild look in their eye as they race around pell mell burning off excited, happy energy) in the yard and I sort of wanted to play with her but I had Spot....  I walk to the door of the milk room and push Spot in... thinking she would go in, jump on the stanchion and wait for me....
 
I turned my back on her and jumped out low for Keenan... Keenan comes running over all zoomie-fied...
 
Spot at that very moment comes out of the milk room - sees Keenan running at her and takes off around the goat pen.  All I see is Spot's fat ass running for all she's worth, eyes bugging out of her head with Keenan right behind her with the zoomies like WHEEEEEEEE!
 
Spot came running full circle around the pen with Keenan on her tail... I grabbed Spot's collar as she ran past me and put her in the milk room on the stanchion to milk her.... poor Spot. 
 
She was shaking violently the whole time I was milking her and she didn't eat her grain.... it scared her!   She was fine and was relieved to go back in her pen with her homies to eat breakfast and be safe from the zoomie puppy.
 
But WOW it was a really funny scene....  and of course all the other goats in the pen caught a serious case of the zoomies from the excitement of seeing Spot chased by a dog around the pen... they were all running full speed around and around, jumping on and off things in their pen...
 
I think everyone had fun this morning except poor old Spot!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tooz-day

Working a lot o' hours.... and will continue to do so til the end of September - full days on Saturdays, some Sundays and definitely no 3 day weekend for me this Labor Day weekend.  Also squeezing in lots of OT during the week.

I'm not complaining - tho it IS making me a little punchy. 

I was trying a Christopher Walken impersonation the other day at home.... "I got the fever, and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!".  

I need a hair cut and when I was practicing Mr. Walken in the mirror while scaring Furry Husband,  I also needed a shower so my hair was very Christopher Walken like.  ( I'm not saying that Christopher Walken needs a shower... it's just my hair can look like his when I need a shower and I don't know why that happens... it's sort of like when people see Jesus' face in their toast... a small miracle.)

Tho' my verbal impersonation of him really needs work.

After my shower, I didn't put any hair goo into my hair and it dried Au natural with frizz and curls and then my hair looked like Will Farrell.

My hair is very talented in its movie star impersonations, while I am not.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Overnight guests!

Furry Husband's buddy M and his standard Poodle dog came to stay with us on their way back to the Southern, Grand Mesa part of CO.

You can imagine what Furry and I thought once we found out that M was an hour away and we discovered for the first time he had his dog with him .....given Keenan's "Cujo persona" right now. 

I kept saying, "Oh, honey, it'll be fine."  with a bravado I'm not sure I felt.

Seriously tho'.  We have crates, we have halti's (gentle leader or head halter for dogs),there is the power of the ez cheese.  

Worst case scenario?  We kennel Keenan, and rotate dogs in and out for potty breaks etc.  Not like she would be out of our control or running loose to savage any one at any time.... it can be managed.

We started out introducing her to M when he arrived and leaving his dog in his car. 

Yes, Keenan reacts and at the same time, her reactions are less and she gets over them faster than she did.  Progress.  I'll take what I can get.... any move forward is A-OK with me.

I taught her this cool "trick".  I say "touch!" and she touches whatever it is near her.... I figure most people hold their hands out to dogs to sniff... could train this into a trick and it may help her with any fear she may have toward a new person.  (with people she is more fearful)

I wasn't sure if the trick would transfer over but if not, nothing was lost in teaching it. 

Turns out it does transfer!  Once she was sitting near M, I'd tell her "touch"... she'd reach over and touch his leg or his hand and look immediately to me for a treat.   Pretty cool.   Tho I think at one point she reached over and touched M's privates and I'm sure he was thinking... "Gawd I hope she doesn't react NOW".  

I think men are sort of particular when it comes to their testicular area.  

Once Keenan was comfortable around M, we brought his dog out and worked on getting her near and tolerating a strange dog.   We did the dance of near and far... putting pressure on her as we neared the new dog and as it became too much, backing off... rewarding her for relaxed, non-reactive behavior.... moving in close and backing off again, all the while inching closer and closer to this new dog. 

We got to a point that she could tolerate which was us standing near M close enough I could reach out and touch him or his dog.... still a dance of sorts because as M moved or his dog moved, spaces were infringed upon, looks were given, moving dogs and people are different than stationary dogs and people - the world is static and ever shifting, not stationary much to Keenan's dismay.

Through it all, Keenan has the halti on and I have her leash.  It's manageable.

We came indoors and kenneled Keenan while we ate dinner so we could relax.   We brought her back out after dinner and she tolerated the strange person and dog in our living room while laying down and remaining relaxed.... always on her leash and with her flexi.

I thought she did well considering. 

There was no blood and no loss of limb, testicles or life.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde

You remember our "Cujo" dog, Keenan?

All of a sudden at 8 mos of age (infamous fear stage in dogs) she became "Cujo" on an outing to our friend's house when she saw/heard their loud yet harmless German Shepherd.  Since that moment she's been pretty reactive to other dogs.  (it's "reactive" now and not "aggressive"  - I discovered - for those not current in dog training lingo for this sort of thing...which I wasn't)

Tho' she is fine with our 3 dogs at home and she still goes to a doggie daycare 2x a week. 

We started taking her to daycare when Furry Husband couldn't take her to work with him anymore... she was still young and we figured it would assist in her "socializing" with people and other dogs as well as wear her out vs. being in a kennel all day cuz our dogs are crate trained and in kennels when we are away at work.

The doggie daycare sends all dogs home with report cards.  It's really very cute - and I absolutely realize it's for the hoo-mans and not the dogs.  

The hoo-mans pick up their cute, widdle,  goggies from daycare and they ooooo and ahhhh over the report cards which list the dog's "friends" they played with that day (Max the Golden, Sasha the hound X, Toodles the Poodle).... whether or not they listened well.... what their favorite toys were.... and if they played well with others.

Awesome marketing ploy.   Chalk up a point for the doggie day care staff.

Every time we go to pick Keenan up from daycare the staff remarks how she is the absolute BEST player there.   She "loves" the small dogs at nap time and would prefer to snuggle and sleep with them, lets them crawl all over her as she is laying down.  She plays SO WELL with ALL the dogs there and it's really pretty amazing what a great dog she is with everyone!

Last night her report card said, "I played with all the new dogs today, I am a GREAT WELCOMER!"

And while I realize this place is taking our money and wants to keep taking our money.... They tell people when they come to pick up their dogs if Fluffy was nasty and tried to fight and had to be placed in a kennel.  I don't think they would blow smoke up our arses if Keenan was being "Cujo".

Glowing, glowing reports of Keenan and how fabulous she accepts other dogs at daycare.  She loves all the staff and she is a great dog.  There are rainbows and unicorns and little care bears dancing around in this alternate universe.

And then we get her home and she sees a dog in the "real world".

We go for walks most mornings.... a woman I'd never seen before in our neighborhood was walking a well behaved Golden down the road.  We would have to pass her... there is no other way out... it's a long country mile before we reach an intersecting road.

Keenan is going ape-shit.  Cujo - muther f*%cer I will KILL you - red eyes - froth - and her head is spinning around like that girl in the Exorcist movie.

The woman with her Golden looks at us in horror, like we are the absolute worst dog owners in the universe, speeds up and gets past us as fast as she can thanking whatever God she believes in that she and her dog did not die that day.

Yeah, yeah - I get it, Keenan is used to daycare and the "rules" and dogs are so very literal.   Behavior in one place doesn't = behavior in another place.... and we are working with someone to re-direct Keenan and get her figured out and it's not a laughing matter.  (the ONE day I forgot our emergency "Keenan b good ez cheese can" to keep Keenan's focus on us and work her thru the "reaction" we come across this poor lady with her Golden.... the ONE day.... every other day nothing - not a thing for Keenan to react to... sigh)

I dropped her off at daycare... the gal taking the dogs told me to wait a minute and she'd be right back.  A guy was sitting in the lobby area.

I practiced getting Keenan's focus, asked her for some tricks to which she complied happily and readily.... the guy sitting in the lobby says, "Wow!  She is really well trained!  MY dog could learn from her!"

Yes.  Yes, absolutely your dog could learn from Keenan. 

Learn to KILL.....