Friday, November 4, 2016

Lessons from Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew tore its way up the coast of Florida last month. By all accounts we should have been hit a lot harder than we were. The following news clip is real!


Fortunately, there wasn't a whole lot of damage for us. Something shifted last minute and the predicted "catastrophic damage" became days long power outages and tons of downed trees. My biggest annoyance was that I was without cable and internet for several days. However, I don't think the community was as prepared as we could have been. I hope you (and I!) never have to experience a massive hurricane. But if we do, let's do it right. Here are a few things I learned:
  • Watch the news. Our local newscasters were thrilled to share news of the approaching storm. (I actually think they were disappointed that there wasn't more damage.) Anyone paying attention knew the storm was coming and had time to prepare. Surprising, too many people didn't.
  • Know your zone. My city has flood zones and evacuation zones. Days before the storm hit the mayor started evacuating people by zone letter. First A, then B, and finally C. I can't tell you how many residents didn't even know which zone they were in.
  • Buy supplies early. Ideally, you'll have a hurricane kit ready to go. But to be honest, we haven't had a major hurricane in a dozen years and many of us have become complacent. The news reported outages of gas and bottled water for days leading up to the storm. Bread, batteries and plywood were also hard to find.
  • Stock up for your pets too. Make sure there is enough food and water for the animals as well as people. Don't forget regular medicines, treats, leashes and poop bags. Pull out your carriers and vet paperwork in case you have to leave suddenly.
  • If you're going to evacuate, plan ahead and leave early. Hotels away from the storm route fill up quickly. It's even harder to find one if you're traveling with animals. I have a pair of friends who left the area with five German shepherds between them. My friends said they called 30 hotels in Georgia before they found one that would accept their pets.
  • Research the shelters beforehand. My city is proud to say that there are several pet-friendly shelters available for residents. It sounds great until you read the fine print. Jedi is not allowed and because he's intact. Drogo would have to stay behind because no reptiles are allowed.
  • Crate train! All shelters and most hotels insist that animals are kept crated. My son has a friend who was going to evacuate but had to change plans because his not-so-dog-friendly pit bull had never been in a crate before. He didn't even own one (and we didn't have a spare to lend him).
  • Stay inside until the storm is over. This should be a given, but there are always dumbasses and thrill seekers who want to see what's going on. The evil voice in my head wants to see more of this:


The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't end for another month. I'm hoping we don't get a late storm, but if we do I'd like to think that I'm prepared. I hope you are too. -- K

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Back in the Ring

We're trying to do this again!
It's been a year since Jedi and I have been in a conformation ring. I've contemplated neutering him and ending his show career permanently. While I was busy waffling I got notice that the International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA) shows were coming back to the area. We really enjoyed them last year and friend convinced me to do it again.

IABCA shows are good for the novice/insecure exhibitor (like me). They provide an opportunity to show dogs in a relaxed atmosphere. A primary focus of the IABCA shows is education and a sharing of knowledge between the exhibitors and the judges. The shows ae smaller and exhibitor is given a written critique encompassing 12 different parts of a dog's body and movement. Each dog is judged against the breed standard. The judges enjoy the shows because they can take the time to talk to each exhibitor without the time limits seen at AKC shows.

It's a two-day show, but Jedi and I are only showing on Saturday. My work schedule is crazy and I can't take Sunday off. (I'm STILL training New Guy. He's just not "getting it" and Boss is too stubborn to cut him loose and start over.) Even more frustrating, Hubby has a gig this weekend so Jedi and I are going to Ocala alone. The friend who talked us into entering the show will be there, but her work schedule has her leaving Jacksonville late Friday. And she's bringing three dogs so we'll be in separate hotel rooms. Long-story-short: I'm nervous!

I've got a lot to share, but not enough time. (The story of my life!) It's Thursday morning and I need to cut this short. Jedi and I have nosework class in an hour, then we need to start grooming and packing. And we should probably practice stacking and gaiting. You'd think that four years into this dog show thing I'd have my shit together! But then again, if I weren't such a hot mess this blog would be a lot less interesting, right? I'll keep you posted. -- K

P.S. If you happen to be near the Greater Ocala Dog Club grounds on Saturday, stop by and say "Hi"!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Awww...Costumed Critters

It's Halloween!!

As I mentioned yesterday, it's my favorite holiday. We ALL dress up! Lucky for you, it's also Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers try to bring cheer to the beginning of your work week. Animals in costumes always make me giggle (I don't know why) so I give you:
Pepper, who was always ready to play dress up.

Roxy, a good sport with an entire wardrobe of silly costumes.

Jedi, who doesn't find dressing up like Yoda funny at all.

Drogo, who thinks dogs shouldn't have all the fun.

So, are you smiling? You know you are! Click around below to see what others are sharing today. Thanks to Sandee at Comedy Plus for organizing this hop every week. And thanks to my awesome pets who tolerate my silliness. Don't eat too much candy! -- K

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Fun and Candy

My Roxy Bee and Julie the Wonder Dog at
a charity fundraiser for homeless pets
Tomorrow is Halloween! It's always been my favorite holiday. I share a lot of the festivities with my dogs -- costumes, silly pictures and pumpkin treats. (But not candy! That's all for me.) As fun as Halloween is for us, it can be a bit stressful for the dogs. Below are a few tips I've picked up over the years to help keep my dogs safe and happy.
Supervise dogs around decorations. Dogs can sometimes be too curious for their own good!

Watch your jack-o-lanterns. They're not toxic, but you don't want the pups eating the pumpkin goo when you're carving. Too much pumpkin can upset a dog's stomach. You want to make sure dogs don't knock them over either, especially if you use candles to light them.

Lock the dogs in a back room on All Hallows Eve. The constant flow of costumed children is too much for my dogs. Whenever possible, we sit on the front porch so that kids don't ring the doorbell. If your dogs still get too wound up, talk to your vet about dog-safe sedatives.

Not all dogs like costumes. Sometimes a festive bandanna is all a dog is willing to wear. If you're going to dress the dogs up, make sure that costumes don't hinder their movement or vision. My dogs don't mind costumes as long as their ears aren't covered.

Make sure dogs wear collars and tags -- even under costumes. This is my inner ACO speaking. With all the commotion of the evening, there is a chance that someone can slip out unnoticed. If that happens, you want to make sure your pets are returned right away. In fact, go and check everyone's tags right now. Are they legible? Are the phone numbers correct? If not, please get new tags right away.

Keep candy away from the dogs. This includes the kids' treat bags. Pepper chewed the bottoms out of several candy filled pillow cases in her time. Chocolate (my favorite!) can be lethal. So can xylitol, a sweetener found in sugar-free gum and candy. Sugar is not good for dogs either. Below is a helpful infographic from Orvis.

So, be safe and enjoy the holiday. See you next month! -- K

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic by Orvis.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trials -- Nosework and More

It's been busy around here! Since my last post:
  • A new guy started at work
  • We've had two GSD Club meetings
  • A major hurricane blew through Florida 
  • I hosted the K-9 Obedience Club meeting -- and it was spooktacular!
  • Jedi and I had two weekends of UKC nosework trials
WHEW! This is the first time I've had the opportunity to sit down and blog. I missed it. Truthfully, I hate writing catch-up posts, but there's not enough time to break it down into individual posts. Plus, some of it is old news anyway. So, here you go:

New Guy: The new ACO trainee started on October 3. It's been a rough month. It's difficult to train someone to do your job while still doing your job. And contrary to what most people think (including New Guy) mine is not an easy job. There's a lot of multi-tasking and thinking on your feet. We have standard operating procedures, but no two situations are alike. New Guy was supposed to be up and running at the end of four weeks. Didn't happen. Week five starts tomorrow and Management is breathing down my neck to have him ready to go. Unfortunately, New Guy has never worked in civil service or in an enforcement role. More challenging  is the fact that he has very little computer or office technology experience. (But his lack of a criminal record, zero drug use and no visible tattoos or piercings made him my boss's #1 pick.) My work is cut out for me. This last month has really stretched my teaching skills. Suggestions, prayers and happy thoughts are most welcome!

HBOT
GSD Club Meetings: St. Francis Animal Hospital has moved into a new building. It's so high tech! One member convinced the hospital to give us a behind the scenes tour and let us use their conference room for our October meeting. How cool was that?! St. Francis has a new veterinary Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) chamber and the staff was thrilled to tell us all about.

The regular meeting was followed a Meet-the-Breed Committee meeting at a nearby restaurant. I shared last month that our club is hosting the GSD Meet-the-Breed booth at the AKC National Championship shows in December. Did I mention that I'm terrified? Thankfully, I have another member heading it up.

Hurricane Matthew: This storm gave us all quite the scare. The news was forecasting "catastrophic conditions" for the east coast of Florida. Something happened last minute and our storm damage turned out to be much lighter than predicted. BTW, we're not complaining! However, most of us learned that we've become complacent. We haven't had a hurricane hit in over a decade and we need to prepare better for the next one. I'm working on a post about that now and hope to have it ready for you soon.

Some of the fun foods offered at the meeting
K-9 Obedience Club: (This is my other dog club -- 'cuz you can't have just one!) Every December K-9 Obedience Club passes around a sign-up sheet asking members to provide refreshments for the monthly meetings. Last year I volunteered to host October. At the time I had no idea how busy this month would be. UGH. But an equally fun friend joined me and we went all out, theme and all. The menu included: monster fruit cups, candy-filled shot glasses, mini pumpkin pies, vampire donuts and jack-o-lantern carrots and cucumbers (with a not-so-spooky ranch dip).

Back-to-Back UKC Nosework Trials: We hit Ocala one weekend and St. Petersburg the next. All-in-all Jedi had 11 different trials. He passed 10 of them. He walked away with a Novice Vehicle (NV) title, a Novice Exterior (NE) title and a Novice Interior (NI) title. He also passed PTs in clove, myrrh and vetiver. I learned a lot about my dog, met some great people and came home with a handful of ribbons. One thing I didn't do was take a single picture. Fortunately, someone else did so I can show you this:

One scented Q-tip hidden among 12 identical boxes -- and he found it!
OK, so you're caught up. Told you I was busy! And things were busier than I wanted. I had originally asked for several days off this month (Sundays are my regular work day) so I could attend the ORT and the UKC trials. Even though I have 200 hours of personal leave on the books, my request was denied. I was told by my bosses "We don't know your job well enough to train the new hire, so you'll have to adjust your hours if you want to go." That means I've been working 10-hour shifts Monday through Thursday, packing and travelling on Fridays, competing on the weekends, then returning to work on Monday to repeat the cycle. I'm exhausted!

Hubby took this at the hotel in
St. Pete. Jedi and I were pooped!
There's more I'd like to share with you, but it's already after noon and I really need to get going. This is a short weekend for me. I'm returning to my regular Sunday through Wednesday schedule. Yesterday was Catch-Up-On-Chores Day -- not fun! My weekend is being cut even shorter by a work-related community relations event this afternoon. I'm getting paid, but I'd really like to sleep. (Though more likely, I'd end up writing the agenda for next week's GSD Club board meeting.)

Thanks for sticking around. I've missed my blogging buddies. (BTW, even when I'm not posting I'm lurking on my favorite blogs.) I have more news and several posts in the works, so please come back. Hopefully New Guy will be ready to go soon and I'll have more time -- and energy -- to share with you all. Until next time, -- K

Monday, October 3, 2016

Awww...Birthday Boys!

Four years ago today I was at work putting together a gut-wrenching dangerous dog case. My phone chirped seven times. My friend/breeder texted me every time a puppy was born. It was a bright spot in a very unpleasant day.

Two months later I brought home the puppy with the blue collar, forever after known as Jedi. My friend chose the big fluffy boy with the orange collar, later dubbed Dozer.

Left to right: Jedi, Dozer and Tundra
Yesterday, in between Odor Recognition Tests, we had a small birthday celebration complete with party hats and doggie cookies. The boys were joined by Tundra (Dozer's adopted brother and Jedi's Nosework classmate).

Dogs in hats always make me smile. How about you? It's Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers come together to brighten the start of your work week. Click around below and see what others are sharing. Thank you Sandee for putting this together each week. Happy Monday! -- K

Sunday, October 2, 2016

We Are Blessed

Look, it's Pup Francis!

Yesterday Hubby and I took the dogs to a Family Pet Fair at a nearby park. Pet-centric businesses set up booths to sell goods and services. Trainers and veterinarians were on hand to answer questions. Local shelters and rescue groups had dogs available to for adoption. The dogs seemed to enjoy themselves. The event ended with a Blessing of the Pets ceremony.

I found it touching. My dogs mean a lot to me. Hubby thought the whole thing was silly (but took pictures for me anyway -- what a good husband). Whether you agree me or Hubby, I'm sharing a few pictures from the event for today's Silly Sunday post.

A great big thank you to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for putting this together every week. Click around below to see what others have to share today. Hope you're having a great Sunday, silly or not. -- Kelley
Roxy and Jed received a personal blessing from Father John

My sentiments exactly!