Monday, March 30, 2015

Take A Walk

Today, March 30th, is Take a Walk in the Park Day. Yeah, really! We at Kelley's Dog Blog (OK, just me and Jedi) think you should take your dog with you. And to make it even more enjoyable, we suggest you:

 Try a new park. We have over 250 parks here in Jacksonville, so why do Jedi and I visit the same six all the time? I don't know. We'll have to change that. Jedi always enjoys going someplace new. How about you? Do you have a favorite place? Are there other parks you'd like to try?

Take the time to wander. One of our favorite places to visit is the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. We'll go mid-week and be the only ones on the trail. Jedi will sniff (and pee) while I enjoy the quiet of the woods. There's something about trees that just make me happy. I always exit the Arboretum feeling refreshed.

Be a good steward. You know the saying: "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories." That means packing out your trash and poop bags. However, taking a few pictures won't hurt! I love looking at pictures of past adventures. They always make me smile.

Get up early. I am not a morning person and would sleep 'til noon if I could. Unfortunately, life doesn't care. Neither does Jedi. Every now and then I'm forced to be up stupid early for something. When that happens, I take Jedi to the beach to watch the sun rise. What a way to start the day!

Invite a friend. Sometimes Jedi and I will meet a friend and her dog at the park. We'll walk the two mile path and catch up. Not only is it good exercise, it's also good for the psyche. I love my husband, but sometimes I just need "girl talk." Hubby is thrilled that he doesn't need to listen to my ranting about office drama.

Walk for charity. I've loaded WoofTrax onto my smart phone. Every time Jedi and I go for a walk, we earn money for Friends of Jacksonville Animals. Thinking about the dogs in the shelter is often the push I need to make a second lap.

Have I convinced you yet? Good! Now stop reading, grab the leash and head to the park. You (and your dog!) will thank me later.

Hopefully a long walk in the park will make you say "Awww, that was nice." Well guess what? It's Awww...Monday! Start your week with a smile. Click around below and see other things that'll make you say "awww." -- K

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lessons From Here

I've been offline for the last few weeks. Sorry. However, I come back with a few lessons I learned during my time away from the computer.
Stock photo -- NOT the beagle.
Lesson Number One: Microchips work. I'm always telling people to microchip their pets. Here's a good example of why. Last week I got a call about a stray dog. The woman who found the dog said she walked up and down the neighborhood and couldn't find an owner. The dog was a sweet, old beagle. I took him to my kennel and discovered he had a microchip. I called around to different chip companies to find out who the chip belong to. (Sometimes this is an arduous task.) I discovered it was a Home Again chip. The chip had never been registered. (This happens more than you think.) However, I did find out the chip was implanted in 2004, and at that time Home Again and AKC were working together. On a long shot I called the AKC. Surprise! They had some contact information. When I called the number on file the guy the other end began to cry. His beagle had been stolen from his yard three years ago -- from a town two hours away. The owner never thought to look for his dog at the beach. But because of the microchip -- and the fact that he kept his same cell phone number -- the dog went home. The whole family came out to pick up Cubby. It was a tearful reunion in the parking lot. Days like that make up for all the crappy things (both figurative and literal) this job entails.

The other truck -- ouch!
Lesson Number Two: Always wear your seat belt. A couple weeks ago a guy in a truck took a corner too fast and hit my work truck head on at 40 miles an hour. His Ford Ranger was totaled and had to be towed from the scene. My truck -- a full size Chevy Silverado with a bush bar and a winch on the front -- has a couple of dents. Sometimes bigger IS better. I was jostled pretty hard nonetheless. Fortunately, I was wearing my seatbelt and only suffered some soft tissue bruising in my back and shoulders. After a few days of light duty (and heavy muscle relaxers) I'm back, good as new.
Guess who got back in the ring? US!
And finally, Lesson Number Three: Sometimes you have to "Just Do It." Nike was right. It's been a while since Jedi and I have been in the dog show ring. I've lamented over it. I've blogged about it. I was concerned that we were out of practice, worried I'd throw up, and afraid we'd look like fools. Despite all that, we got back in the ring this past weekend. No, we didn't look as good as we have in the past. Jedi's stacking is sloppy, my pacing is too slow, and those mistakes probably cost us the win this weekend. But you know what? We did it anyway. And we had fun. Both days we took first place in our class, and second place overall in dogs earning us the reserve ribbon. Still no championship points, but we're headed in the right direction. In fact, we're scheduled to do four more dog shows next month, and are looking at going to Georgia in May and June for additional shows. Stay tuned!

Winner, winner!
And speaking of dog shows, did you check out yesterday's big reveal? The month of April is going to feature my A to Z of dog shows. I'm going to share everything I know about showing dogs -- and then some. Plus I've got pictures. Seriously, who doesn't like pictures? Hope to see you soon. -- K  
P.S. If you were wondering:
  • Yes, my show clothes still fit -- but Jedi's show collar didn't! I had to buy a new one at the show. Thank goodness for ringside vendors.
  • No, I didn't throw up on the judge -- or anywhere else. Fortunately the rings were small, the weather was nice and the judges didn't ask for a lot of running.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Big Reveal

The Blogging A to Z Challenge is just around the corner. Hundreds of bloggers have signed up to share everything from cooking to writing. You'll also find blogs about fashion, travel, parenting, paranormal and more. I have my eye on a few blogs myself! Today is the big reveal. We are announcing the topics we'll be sharing all month. In alphabetical order. There's no backing out now! (OMG, I think I'm hyperventilating.)
My Topic: Dog Shows
Did you watch the Westminster dog show last month and wonder what that was all about? Did you see the movie Best in Show and worry that it was real? Do you think that all dog show people must be rich or snobby or just plain kooky?
Starting April 1st I will share everything I know about dog shows from a novice fancier's point of view. I'm a (sort of) normal, middle class woman who decided to jump into the dog show world at the age of 45. I was clueless and scared to death. Two years later I'm slightly less clueless and having a ball. I hope you come back next week and find out why. And if you have any questions, let me know. I may have an answer -- but if not, we'll figure it out together. See you soon! -- K

To the right: Me (Kelley) and my dog, Jedi (Zente's Jedi Mind Trick). This picture was taken at the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida's specialty show in April of 2014. No, we didn't win, but we had good time. And we'll be doing it again next month.


Friday, March 20, 2015

6 Shows in 14 Days

What's going on with Mom?
Warning: Kelley is having delusions of grandeur. So much so that she is speaking of herself in third person.
The last time Jedi and I were in the show ring was in April of 2014. I had planned on taking a break over the summer to give Jedi time to fill out. I wanted to get back in the ring in September for the Sunshine State Herding Group show. But life got in the way and I went to visit family instead. (I hadn't seen some of those family members in eight years.) THEN my boss -- the Chief of Police! -- was arrested and my whole work life fell apart. Dog showing got pushed aside and next thing I know, a year had gone by. After much soul searching I decided that I should either get back in the ring now or find some other venue for me and Jedi. As luck would have it, several show opportunities have popped up recently and it looks like Jedi and I will be showing six times in a two week period. So much for taking it slow.
How did this happen?
Jedi and I waiting to get in the ring --
11 months ago!
  • I decided that we would get back in the ring on April 5 for the German Shepherd Dog Club specialty shows. Since it's just German shepherds things move quickly enabling the club to hold two shows in one day. That's two chances to win (or not) in the same day. And this is my dog club, I want to support it.
  • The following two days are the Orange Park Dog Club all breed shows. The show site is only 45 minutes down the road. This is a big deal when you have a dog that gets carsick. So I thought "why not?"
  • THEN Breeder discovered the Suwannee Valley Kennel Club shows on March 21 and 22. They're just over an hour away, so it's possible to make it there and back in one day -- thus avoiding the cost of a hotel stay. She and hubby twisted my arm and I signed up. And since we haven't been in the ring for almost a year, this will be some nice practice so we don't make total asses of ourselves at the German Shepherd Dog Club shows.
It all sounds good on paper. Maybe even a bit ambitious. But now I'm in a bit of a panic. (Panic is my specialty. Some women cook, others scrapbook. I worry things to death. I guess everybody has to have a talent.) My concerns are:
Will this overwhelm Jedi?
Will my old, out of shape body hold out?
Do my show clothes even fit anymore?
Will I throw up on the judge?
Will Jedi bite the judge?
Will I still be able to participate in the Blogging A to Z Challenge in April?

I guess we'll find out soon because my first set of shows is this weekend. Yikes! See you on the other side. -- K

Thursday, March 5, 2015

We Passed!

Guess who is an AKC Canine Good Citizen? JEDI!
Last night Jedi and I took the CGC test. I'm not going to lie, I was concerned. But we've been practicing (and practicing). I'm happy to say that all our hard work paid off. See:
We celebrated with cheeseburgers and doggie ice cream. Roxy didn't know why we were celebrating, but enjoyed the food and merriment nonetheless.
CGC is now a title -- Jedi's first! -- so I'm send the paperwork off first thing today. THEN we're going to start practicing stacking and pacing in earnest. We're going back into the ring in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I sent the entry on Monday. Jedi's a busy boy.
It's Thoughtless Thursday -- my favorite blog hop. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Khal Drogo

Our bearded dragon was named after a strong literary character, so this is a befitting photo.

GoT fans, please don't tell Drogo what happened to his namesake!

Unfortunately for Drogo, I can't resist animals in silly hats. And I've discovered that reptiles become very compliant in a cool room with a full belly. Then things like this happen:

Drogo O'Dragon

It's Wordless Wednesday. (Good thing too, because I think Drogo may have a few choice words at the moment.) -- K

Monday, March 2, 2015

Awww....Someone Missed Me

 I was at the Florida Animal Control Association conference in Orlando over the weekend. Dogs were not allowed at the hotel so Hubby and Jedi stayed home. Saturday morning Hubby texted me this picture with the message: "Mommy please come home. Daddy snores!" The conference was great, but it was really nice to come home to my pup. (And Hubby!)
Start your week with a smile. Click around and see other things that make you say "awww." -- K