Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quit Thinking, Let's Go!

Did someone say "cheeseburgers"?
It's Thoughtless Thursday. And if you read my last post, I (as usual) have too many thoughts! So I'm going to step away from the computer and take this gorgeous boy for a walk in the park. Maybe we'll even stop by the pet store and/or grab a cheeseburger at McDonalds. We're going to make it up as we go. When I'm with Jedi I forget the stress of work and put aside the committee meeting decisions. Laundry can wait another hour while we chase butterflies. I love dogs, they force you to slow down and enjoy the moment. And that my friends, is worth a cheeseburger! -- K

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm Back!

I just looked at my last post. I've been gone for a while. Wow. The good news is that I spent some time in Cocoa Beach for the Florida Animal Control Association's annual conference. I learned a lot, though I don't know how much is relevant to share here. You know, things like: Quality Report Writing, Dangerous Dog Investigations, Officer Safety, Current Trends in Dog Fighting. Anyway, I'll go through my notes and see if there is something you might like.
The bad news is that when I returned from the conference I ended up working 12-hour days to catch up on the things I missed. I came back to three dog bites, one dangerous dog investigation and a cruelty complaint. I can't comment on active cases, but I would like to offer what I think are some good tips. I thought they were pretty obvious, but my current work load begs to differ.
  • If you know your dog "doesn't like strangers," invest in a crate and use it. Make sure that all members of the household are on board. That includes children, boyfriends and roommates. Be firm. Your dog's life could depend on it.
  • If a dog growls at you, leave him alone. He's not "purring" and he's not "playing."
  • Just because a dog is small and cute doesn't mean that he won't bite. And regardless of the dog's size, he can do serious damage. Especially if you are trying to kiss him.
  • If your boyfriend is a "mean drunk" and/or says he's going to "kill you and bury you in the backyard" get the hell out. NOW. And take your dog with you. Forget about your clothes, furniture, important papers, etc. All that can be replaced.
Jedi's new toy
This is the first time I've been on my personal computer in over a week. I've either been working, sleeping or playing with the dogs. Jedi missed me! I missed him too. So much so that I brought him a toy from the giant Ron Jon Surf Shop (but didn't get anything for the kids).
So anyway, I need to cut this short. I've got a hundred emails to read and a dozen decisions to make. The GSD Club is planning another Beach Day and I'm heading that up (yes, there will be pictures again this year). I'm also on the committee planning an open house for the K-9 Obedience Club. . . . When am I going to learn to say "NO"? Catch you later, -- K

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Artsy-Fartsy Wordless Wednesday

I got a new digital camera for Christmas -- and then promptly lost the instruction book. I'm learning what those weird symbols mean while packing my SanDisk full of subpar photos. So what's a girl to do with all these bad pictures? Why, artsy-fartsy them up, of course!

Here's an Orton-ish effect

And here's a pencil sketch
What do you think? Truth is, I wanted to get some good shots of Jedi in motion. It didn't happen. Guess I'll try again another time. Until then, hop around and see what others are doing today. It's Wednesday!! -- K

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Stranger Is Not a Danger

I'm a Worst Case Scenario kind of girl. I will play "what if" and "what's the worst that could happen" for days before making a final decision. Yeah, it's a downer sometimes. But I can say that I've never run out of gas, been mauled by a bear or abducted by aliens -- and I owe it to my pessimistic, plan for the worst point of view.

This thinking also trickles down to my pets (who are vaccinated, microchipped and always wearing up-to-date tags). My Training Tips Tuesday post follows this train of thought. As an Animal Control Officer I often see people's pets in less than ideal circumstances. A dog -- or cat -- who may be a total sweetheart at home is often a real jerk for me. (I hear the same from vet techs all the time.) But chances are there is some point in a pet's life where it's going to be handled by a stranger. Here are three things you can do to make that time easier and less stressful for everybody involved.

Ketch Pole
  • Socialize early and often. Expose your pets to all kinds of people: male, female, tall, short, black, white, thin, fat, with and without glasses, hats, facial hair, etc. Doctors Ian Dunbar and Sophia Yin have some great information on this.
For my safety I've had to use muzzles and Ketch Poles on poorly socialized dogs. Although safe and humane, these tools raise the stress level in the animals significantly.
  • standard slip lead
    Leash train your dogs (even the little ones). Again, start early and do it often. Whenever possible, have people other than you walk your dog on a leash. A leash should mean "we're going this way" and be a positive thing.
Dogs unfamiliar with leashes panic when I drop a slip lead around their necks. They pull and scream and flop around trying to get away. They'll urinate and defecate uncontrollably. Sometimes they hurt themselves in the process. It's really sad, especially if it can be prevented.
  • Grab him good!
    Routinely manhandle your pet. Touch his feet, look in his ears, wipe is eyes, open his mouth, lift up his tail, touch his genitals, rub his belly, tug on his collar. You want your pet to think that these touches are no big deal. Otherwise, someone's going to get bit if they touch your dog -- and that opens up a whole other bunch of problems.
This is the kind of handling that animal control officers, veterinarians and groomers may need to do while working with your animals. If your pet is calm and cooperative it's easier to check for age, sex, read a tag or look for a microchip -- and therefore easier to return home.
I hope I never pick up your pet. I promise that if I do, I'll keep him as comfortable and stress-free as possible. However, if you'll work on the things above it'll be better for everyone. -- K

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Puzzle Toy Again?

The weather is still awful. It's cold, wet and just plain icky. (Apologies to my Northern friends. I'm sure that by comparison, conditions here would be down right pleasant. But in my defense, I moved to Florida for a reason!)

Jedi is bored. I don't want him outside for too long because he'll just get wet and muddy. We've tried to entertain him inside with games of Tug and Hall Ball. I've even offered various chew toys, though he'd rather root through the trash and shred old books. Even Roxy is getting annoyed with him.

When the rain let up we took a trip to Petsmart. I was hoping that the mental stimulation would wear him out. While there I found a new puzzle toy! You know I bought it. Contrary to what Hubby says, Jedi does not have too many puzzle toys.

This one is a shaped, plastic toy that looks kind of like the toys my children had when they were little. There are three brightly colored pieces that fit into corresponding holes in the frame. Unlike the kids' toy, you can hide treats behind the puzzle pieces.

The pieces fit flush with the frame and have rope handles to pull them out. Jedi uses his feet for everything and I was hoping that this puzzle would encourage him to use his mouth and nose more.

Jedi was able to pull the pieces out quickly. He had it open and ate all the treats in less than two minutes. (I was able to get ONE picture.) He used his mouth to pull out two pieces, and dumped the third out by tipping the puzzle over with his foot. Hey, it's a start!

So was the puzzle worth $15? Probably not. (Don't tell Hubby!) The best puzzle we've found so far is still the IQ Treat Ball. Jedi will bat that around for 20 minutes.

So what do you do to entertain your dogs during nasty weather? We'd really like to know. -- K

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dog Tired

"The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

So I found an old picture of my young Jedi pup. I played with Picasa and doctored it up.
 ―  Me, Kelley's Dog Blog
The weather is gross. Florida is not "The Sunshine State" today. The dogs are bored. Jedi has devoured an old Bible -- and not in the good Christian way. sigh. This is a hop. Check out what others are doing today. Meanwhile, I need to find some way to wear out my dog. TTFN. -- K


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Think Less Thursday

Today I got an email from Ruckus the Eskie inviting me to join his Thoughtless Thursday blog hop. I laughed. I have so many thoughts in my head right now that I can't think straight! I told Jedi what we really needed was a Thinkless Thursday. Jedi agreed, so I bundled up, grabbed the leash, and we headed to our favorite place: The Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. Today was not a power walk, but a meandering, clear-your-head walk. Jedi sniffed and peed, I focused on the trees, water, and birds cawing overhead. It was the best hour of the week. I was even able to snap a few pictures. Wanna see?



I can't tell you how much better I feel. I may work at the beach, but I find my Zen among trees and water. What do you do to clear your head? -- K

P.S. Click around and see what others are NOT thinking about today.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Sloppy Stacking at Sundown

Look Mom, no rain! We've been taking advantage of the (finally!) nice weather by practicing stacking for the show ring. This one is a bit messy, but the lighting was beautiful.
This is a blog hop. Hop around and see what others have been doing. -- K

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sometimes Being a Grown-Up Sucks

In the past two weeks I've had to make a couple difficult decisions. I don't like making difficult decisions. And the deciding factor in both decisions was my dog. Am I crazy? [Wait. Don't answer!]

The first biggie for me: I changed veterinarians. For someone who has 12 different veterinarians in her phone you wouldn't think that would be so hard. Surprisingly it was! I had a relationship with the vet's staff, and it hurts when you break up. But after that whole OCD thing last fall I lost all confidence in the vet clinic. (Details here. I don't want to go into it. I'll just get all pissed off again.)

It was a nice clinic. The prices were quite reasonable, the staff was great, the hours were convenient. I've known the owners (animal advocates but not vets themselves) for years and really like them. My favorite vet left and the new one just rubbed me the wrong way. Jedi didn't like her at all. Hubby and I went back and forth over who to take the dogs to, but eventually went back to our original vet from 6 years ago. This was hard, because that's the guy who put Pepper down -- and that brought back a lot of sad memories.

The new (old?) vet has a one-man operation right around the corner from my house. I like him. Dr. H is compassionate and knowledgeable, but he's also a no nonsense kind of guy. Better yet, he's a German shepherd guy -- he's owned them, loves them and understands all their quirks. I learned this when I brought Logan home. I walked into the office with this skinny, sickly dog and said "I know he's heartworm positive. I know he looks rough. But he's a great dog and I had to save him." Dr. H looked at him, and with absolutely no sarcasm in his voice said "Of course you did." But Dr. H's fees are higher, and his hours aren't as convenient for my schedule (we share a couple days off). It was a tough decision to move. Especially after spending over $500 in the past month on annual exams, shots, tests, meds, tags and an ear infection that turned out to be nothing.

An even tougher decision is the one that I finally made yesterday: I turned down a job because it would conflict with my dog. As I've alluded to before, I'm burned out, and just "done" with the job that I have. This week I was offered a job with the sheriff's office. It's a behind-the-scenes admin position, and something I think I could do for the next 20 years. The pay is less, but there's room for advancement (unlike here). However, even if they offered more money I wouldn't take it because of the hours. 12 hour shifts would be tough on Jedi, and prolonged overnight shifts (which I was pretty much guaranteed) would prohibit training classes, dog shows and screw up my/his sleep schedule.

A dear friend pointed out that I've wanted to show dogs for 35 years, and saved for two years to buy a puppy; it would be a shame to throw all that away just so that I could get away from this job. It was essentially the "Put On Your Big Girl Panties" speech. And she was right. So for now, I'm staying in a job that's making me miserable so that I can have quality time with my dog after hours. Meanwhile, I'm praying that something better comes along -- hopefully soon.

So how about you? Have you made any difficult decisions for the sake of your pets? Was it worth it? Please share. Misery loves company. -- K

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sleepy Jedi

Cold weather affects me the same way. Think I'll join him. -- K