Monday, November 30, 2015


Thanksgiving is over. Despite the kids' crazy work schedules and our turkey fryer dying -- on Thanksgiving! -- we had a good holiday with family and friends. I truly am thankful. And tired. Too much turkey perhaps? Or maybe too much cooking, cleaning and running around. Regardless of the reason I have a solution -- and it's spelled N-A-P. I think I'm going to join Jedi on the couch before jumping into the holiday hubbub.

It's Awww...Monday, where a bunch of bloggers join Sandee from Comedy Plus to share things that make us say "Awww." For me that would be Jedi and/or an afternoon nap. (Seriously, who doesn't like naps?) Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Sunday, November 29, 2015

You Get The Dog You Deserve

My old girl. And yes, I have doggie silhouette pillowcases.
The other night Hubby was loving on Roxy and he asked her "How did we get so lucky? What did we do to deserve you?"

Truth be told, 10-year-old Roxy is not the same dog we took in eight years ago. 2-year-old Roxy was neurotic and had some serious trust issues. She was spastic and poorly trained. She clashed with Pepper, causing several scary dog fights. Two weeks after we brought Roxy home she went into heat. Logan was neutered but the pheromones still drove him crazy. (I've yet to replace the moldings that Logan destroyed trying to dig his way out of my office.) All the dogs had to be separated for several long, sleepless weeks.

We had pulled Roxy out of a bad living situation and were just going to foster her until we could find her a permanent home. I didn't have any intention of keeping her. But right away she bonded so strongly to my younger son that it seemed cruel to separate them until she was emotionally stable. Of course, by that time she was ours.
I need this T-shirt!
We spent a lot of time and money on that "free" dog. We had Roxy spayed and dewormed. With good nutrition we were able to put weight on her. Medication helped with her allergies. Patience, consistency and training helped her assimilate into the family. She's still a freak on a leash and she never did pass her CGC, but she's a much better dog today. We couldn't love her more.

I had a trainer tell me that "You don't always get the dog you want, but you always get the dog you deserve." She meant it in a practical sense -- if you have an unruly, ill-mannered dog it's your own damn fault. However, I like to look at it more philosophically -- every dog adds something to your life. In that case, I am truly blessed. Each of my dogs brought a level of love, joy and companionship that I could have never imagined beforehand. I am one lucky girl!

How about you? Has a dog changed your life for the better? If so, please share! -- K

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for these dogs! Who are you thankful for?
Today is Thanksgiving. All my kids work retail, so we're trying to fit dinner in between schedules. I'm thankful that the kids are employed, but sad that they can't enjoy time with family because someone must get cheap electronics today. Sigh.

Actually I have many things to be thankful for including a loving family, good friends, a strong faith, decent health, full-time employment, and the many freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution. I am also thankful for the wonderful pets that have shared my life. On this day of reflection I ask myself, was I as good to them as they were to me? Probably not. I've tried -- and I truly believe that they've all had good doggie lives -- but if I can do better, I will.

The following is from The Dog Tricks and Training Workbook by Kyra Sundance. (Regular readers know that I love Kyra Sundance!) I found it thought-provoking and had to share. I copied this verbatim. Enjoy!

You Owe This to Your Dog

Our dogs play a significant role in our lives, whether as working dogs or companions. We've taken them into our household and are responsible for fulfilling their basic and higher needs. For all the joy and companionship they give us, we owe our dogs the following:
  • Adequate food and medical care
  • A life that is beyond mere survival
  • Grooming, ear and teeth cleaning, nail trimming, skin and coat conditioning
  • Exercise -- not only the option for exercise, but also the encouragement
  • Twenty minutes each day of your undivided attention
  • Three enrichment activities per day (a walk, a game of fetch, a training session, a car ride)
  • Exposure to the world beyond your backyard
  • Socialization with people and dogs outside of your family
  • The right to give and receive unconditional love
  • Training, so your dog does not become a prisoner of his own misbehavior
  • Fresh air and green grass
  • Respect for your dog's needs and wants
  • Responsible breeding, or none at all
  • Time and space all his own
  • The freedom to be foolish and silly, and to make you laugh
  • The right to earn your trust and to be trusted in return
  • Forgiveness
  • The right to die with dignity
  • The honor of being remembered well

So who wants to be a better dog owner now? Yeah, me too. In addition to Thanksgiving, it's Thoughtless Thursday! We're linking up with Ruckus the Eskie, M.K. Clinton, the pups over at Love is Being Owned by a Husky and all the folks below to share what thoughts are -- or aren't -- in our heads today. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! -- K

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fall Finally Fell on Florida

I woke up this morning and it was 38 degrees. Three weeks ago it was 87. I don't understand the weather -- not that I could do anything about it anyway.

I'm going to take a cue from Jedi and just enjoy whatever comes my way. Sometimes Jedi is so smart!

It's Wordless Wednesday. Hop around below and see what others are sharing today -- then go outside and play with your dog, whatever the weather. -- K

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Another Nosy Organization

I mentioned earlier that Jedi and I participated in a Sniff 'N Go event on Sunday. It was great! I had a bad case of the butterflies and nearly backed out. Lucky for me, sometimes Hubby can be a bit mean. He basically told me to put on my big girl panties and go, dammit! I showed up late (had to work, grrr) and they had already finished with birch and were running anise. Yet the group that put on the event was very accommodating -- resetting just for me! --and even offered some helpful training tips. The location was literally 5 minutes from my house and it would have been stupid not to have gone. (But hey, I've been stupid before.) I put my name a list while waiting, and hopefully Jedi and I will be able to take classes there after the first of the year. Woohoo!

What I didn't mention earlier is that the Sniff 'N Go was run under United Kennel Club (UKC) rules. I didn't even know UKC did nose work trials! I thought the National Association of Canine Nose Work (NACSW) was the only game in town. And since I'm almost as nosy as Jedi, I had to check it out! Here's what I've gathered so far:
  • Each organization requires you to be a member before you can participate in their trials. (No biggie. AKC does the same thing.) NACSW charges a one time $30 registration fee for a dog. The owner/handler must also be a NASCW member. The fee for that is $30 a year. UKC charges a one time $35 registration fee for a dog, and it looks like there's no fee for the owner/handler.
  • A UKC nose work kit. That's a lot of smell right there!
  • Both organizations require dogs to pass an odor test before they can start competing. NACSW calls that test an Odor Recognition Test (ORT) and I've mentioned that before here. UKC calls it Pre-Trial (PT). UKC will recognize NACSW ORTs and not make a dog retake an odor test. I don't know if the NACSW will recognize UKC PTs.
  • NACSW uses three different target scents: sweet birch, anise and clove. UKC uses these same scents plus two more: myrrh and vetiver.
  • Both NACSW and UKC start off using birch at the beginner level.
  • Both organizations have the same four search elements as well: containers, interior, exterior and vehicle searches. One big difference is that UKC only hides the scent on the front of a vehicle whereas NACSW will hide it anywhere on the exterior of the vehicle.
  • Since I'm not competing yet, I'm not quite sure what titling entails. It appears that both organizations add scents and the hides get more challenging as a dog progresses.
  • Finally, it looks like there are more opportunities to compete in my geographic location with NACSW. However, the programs look similar enough that a dog and handler team can compete in both NACSW and UKC simultaneously without confusing the dog. (No guarantees for the human though.)
Jedi and I are members of NACSW. The ORT I want to do in January is NACSW, and my local club, K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville, is following NACSW rules. That being said, I downloaded the rules and application for UKC -- just in case.

So my question for you: do you compete in canine nose work? And if so, which organization are you a member of? Anyway, it looks like I've got a lot to think about! I'll let you know what happens. -- K

Monday, November 23, 2015

Awww...COME ON!

It's Awww...Monday. Usually I follow the rules and post cute little things that make you say "Awww" so you can start your week off with a smile. NOT TODAY!

WARNING: If you want to forgo the griping, please scroll to the photo now.

You're still here? OK, you were warned. Work has been a total pain in the butt lately! I don't know what it is about this time of year but . . . DAMN!! I've had back-to-back (to back-to-back) bite cases, barking complaints galore (but everybody wants to remain anonymous) and there seems to be a serious case of The Stupids going around. I think the collective IQ dropped right along with the temperature.

Below are actual issues I've dealt with in the past week. As usual, the stories are true but identifying facts have been changed to protect my butt. It may be a frustrating, low paying, no-respect earning job, but it's better than no job!
  • Meathead took his 100 pound dog to the beach without a leash. After it attacked a leashed 10 pound dog (causing $5000+ in vet bills) he told the police officer yes, he knew about the leash law "but didn't think it was a big deal." He received $1200 in citations and the little dog owner has hired a lawyer. Turns out, it IS a big deal.
  • Turtle-Phobe Phoebe (a regular) called to report "a large tortoise headed south" on her street. She was upset that I wouldn't drop everything to go get it (I was working on the above case), because "it might bite a child." I know that sounds crazy (she really is terrified of terrapins) and everybody else knows that a tortoise's main defense is his shell, not his tiny, toothless mouth. Even Jedi can't get bit by a tortoise and he really tried!
  • I impounded a pair walkabout beagles for the 3rd time in a month. I took them home -- again -- and told the owner -- again -- that he needed to fix his fence before letting the dogs outside unsupervised. As I was writing him a ticket -- again -- he looked at me and said "I'm really getting tired of this." I said, "Yeah, me too. Fix. Your. Fence. Please."
  • I picked up a 13 year old terrier on my pre-dawn patrol. It was 6:30 and he was headed for the main drag. When the owner retrieved the dog she was angry because "He always comes home. He just likes to greet everyone going to work. He's like the mayor of the neighborhood." I've met the Mayor -- yes, he lives in her neighborhood and he's an old son of a bitch -- but he's definitely not her dog.
  • And just today a man who lives in a million dollar home was upset because he has to hire a pest control service to remove nuisance wildlife (armadillos) when my title is "Animal Control." He said "don't take this personally but . . ." and then spent five minutes bitching about inept city government and asking "What do my tax dollars pay for?" I nicely told him that 1) my tools, training and facilities are geared towards domesticated animals; 2) Wildlife specialists make three times what his tax dollars pay for; and 3) I did the math: His tax dollars pay less than $3 of my annual salary, including benefits . . . I think I took it personally after all.

Today's photo represents how my job is going at the moment:

Yep, my net isn't big enough for all the crap I've been dealing with lately! How's that for artistic interpretation? My middle school art teacher would be proud!

OK, I'm done whining. Why not start you week with a smile the way this hop was intended? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this (and allowing me a couple minutes to vent). -- K

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Switching Gears -- Again

Jedi free stacking at the IABCA show
A couple of weeks ago I said we were going to try something else. Truth is, the past month has been a real head scratcher for me as far as where to go with my dog. For those of you following Jedi's canine career, I'm sorry. (For those of you who aren't, it's crazy and we're all over the place. Now you're caught up.)

I learned a lot at the IABCA shows over Halloween weekend. What I took away from the event is that Jedi and I need more time and practice before getting back in the ring. So, Jedi and I are going to take another break from conformation. Again. We're going to try to work on strengthening his back end and give him time to fill out some more. Again. Meanwhile, I'm looking for ways to build his confidence and have fun in the process.

And this brings us to last weekend. K-9 Obedience Club hosted a nose work seminar with a prominent figure in the National Association of Canine Nose Work (NACSW). I was fortunate enough to score an auditing (aka dog-free) spot. I was probably the least experienced person in the class. Everybody else had taken the ORTs and most were competing. A large portion of the info was training tricks and techniques. And honestly, some info was a little above my head (probably because we're not competing yet). But all-in-all, the instructor was knowledgeable and engaging and I left the seminar feeling hopeful and ready to go.

How good is this nose?
I've discussed the Odor Recognition Tests (ORTs) before. It's the first step to competing in nose work. K-9 Obedience Club hosted ORTs on November 1st and many of my friends took the tests. Because they didn't have to pay for travel or lodging -- big expenses -- my friends paid to take all three tests: sweet birch, anise and clove. One friend's dog passed all three, my other friends' dogs only two.

I didn't take the test, choosing to participate in the IABCA shows instead. I feel like I made the right decision, but I'm still frustrated about the timing.

So now what? Well, I'm considering taking the sweet birch ORT in Lake Park (near West Palm Beach) in January, but I have some reservations:
  • Its a four drive and Jedi doesn't travel well.
  • The handler briefing is at 8:30 in the morning.
  • Because of points one and two, we'd probably need to get a hotel the night before (an added expense).
  • I'm not sure Jedi's ready.
  • I'm a big, fat chicken.
What's a girl (and her dog) to do? A friend is trying to set up some practice sessions at her place. And a training facility around the corner hosted a Sniff 'N Go this morning. For $5 Jedi and I ran through a couple hides to see how he did. I was surprised that he found the odor right away. If he had bombed the decision would be easier. Fortunately I have four weeks to practice, obsess and agonize before making up my mind. I'll keep you posted!

On a happier note, we're computer shopping. This old thing is really getting on my nerves. Soon I'll be able to blog without yelling obscenities . . . yeah right! However, if the computer wasn't so temperamental -- taking three times as long as need to pop out a post -- I would definitely write more. And that's a promise! More later (hopefully not too much later), -- K

Monday, November 16, 2015

Coming to a Theater Near Me!

SPOILER ALERT: I'm a big Star Wars geek. (The fact that my dog's AKC registered name is Zente's Jedi Mind Trick should have been a clue.) Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be out in a month. ONE MONTH! I can barely contain myself. Have you seen the latest trailer?

I'm still debating whether or not I want to see it opening night. On one hand, I don't like crowds of loud, stinky people. On the other hand, I want to know what happens! And I'm a bit worried. To quote Fanboys (a hilarious and totally underrated movie):

Hey, it could happen! Did you see The Phantom Menace? YUCK! Anyway, I got caught up in all the excitement surrounding the movie and did another photo shoot with Drogo.

It's Awww...Monday! Want to start you week with a smile? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this hop. -- K

            P.S. Just so you know:
I'm not kidding.


Friday, November 13, 2015


A written critique
I got Jedi three years ago hoping he would be the show dog I'd been dreaming about for 35+ years. I quickly discovered that it's harder than it looks on TV. We haven't been as successful as I like. I know part of that is because I'm inexperienced. Another part is that I'm not as consistent as I should be. It doesn't help that this awkward, out-of-shape middle-aged woman chose the breed with the longest stride, or that German shepherd conformation rings are full of professional handlers and the politicking that goes with them.

Two weeks ago Jedi and I entered the International All-Breed Canine Association's Sunshine Autumn Sieger in Ocala, Florida. It was incredibly hot (87 degrees and humid). And five shows in two days is a grueling schedule -- but we did it!

The IABCA shows were great. Unlike the AKC, the judges talk to you. Jedi was judged against the breed standard, and the judges were honest with their assessments. I wanted to know why Jedi isn't getting points in the AKC ring. Is it me? Is it him? They told me. Short answer -- it's a bit of both.
It was hot, so Jedi rested whenever possible.
Jedi has faults. Some of them are fixable. His chest should fill out with time. (Three of the five judges said he was still young and a late bloomer.) The written critiques confirmed my suspicion that his hind quarters are a bit loose, but they all stated that with proper conditioning he should be able to strengthen his back end. Other things aren't fixable. Jedi's easty-westy front feet are what they are. And he may never be completely comfortable during the hands-on exam. How much of that is my failure and how much is his innate personality I'll never know. One judge suggested having Jedi do other unrelated activities to build confidence. She said that this often spills over into the conformation. There's some food for thought. That being said, Jedi received the highest scores possible (five V-1  ratings) and walked away with an International title.
I was also fortunate enough to take a 45 minute handling class from an AKC judge. She was a wealth of information. I could have listened to her for hours. She gave me stacking tips and showed me a better way to hold the leash. There are definitely things that I could be doing better, especially since I'm on the awkward side and usually up against professionals who do this on a daily basis. Yeah, I got my work cut out for me.
A fun part of the weekend was the Halloween costume contest. The winner got a free entry coupon for a future IABCA show. (Jedi would have preferred something edible.) We entered with team costumes and dammit, we were cute. I thought we had a chance until a yellow lab puppy showed up dressed as a witch. Seriously, who can out-cute a lab puppy?! We had fun nonetheless.
IABCA should come back this way in another 6-8 months. I'll enter Jedi again and see what the judges have to say. Until then we're practicing (inconsistently -- that's all on me) and doing some back-end exercises. We're going to try something else too. More on that in a future post.
Thanks for following Jedi's journey. His handler is clueless and inconsistent, but we're having a ball. Later, -- K

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fall in Florida

Fall is taking forever coming Florida. Last week we were in the upper 80s. No kidding! I see everybody's red, orange and yellow leaf pictures and sigh. This is our fall photo -- not nearly as impressive, hunh? I miss Maryland this time of year. (That'll change when the cold, wet snow blows in. YUCK!)

Lucky for me, Jedi doesn't care about the weather. He's happy being outside with his people. Just look at that happy face!

It's Wordless Wednesday. Obviously Jedi is better at "wordless" than I am. Anyway, hop around below and see what others are sharing today. I'm hoping for leaves! -- K

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Leg Protectors

Roxy is an obsessive chewer. Once she fixates on something it's nearly impossible to get her to stop. She even ripped out her spay stitches resulting in the cone of shame and this funny picture.

She has a large scar on her back from where the rattlesnake bit her as a puppy. (That was well before she came to us.) Her undercoat doesn't grow over the scar, but at times the overcoat hides it pretty well -- unless she's feeling anxious, then she'll rip all the hair out. Some of the most frustrating things for us though are the sores on her legs. She will lick and chew them until they bleed. We've tried bitter apple, anti-licks sprays and ointments, but they're all temporary and often messy. If we can get her to leave them alone long enough to heal, she usually doesn't go back to the same spots.

A few weeks ago I received a catalog from In The Company of Dogs. Inside I found these leg protectors. They're basically sleeves that are attached to each other. The whole thing slides over the back of the dog. I had never seen anything like this before. I searched the internet and nobody sold anything similar either. Meanwhile, I was trying to scrub blood stains off the couch where Roxy likes to lay. In desperation I forked over the 40 bucks and ordered a pair.

The order came quickly. However, I was disappointed when I saw the product. It's cheaply made. I thought the material in the picture was neoprene. I was wrong. It's just a dark blue fabric. The orange in the picture is not a fabric binding like I thought either. Instead, it's an overcast sewing machine stitch to keep the raw edges from fraying (instead of folding the fabric over and hemming like my mother taught me). Also, the back piece is very long and not adjustable, so we had to tie a knot in it to keep it in place.

Three days after the package arrived I saw this on Facebook:

Apparently creative people can get the same thing with a pair of fun knee socks. Probably for a lot less money too. Argh. The worst part of all: I don't think the leg protectors are working. Roxy has learned how to pull up the sleeves and chew on her legs anyway. Anybody have ideas? -- K

Monday, November 9, 2015

Awww...Gopher Tortoise!

The last time Jedi and I went to the Jacksonville Arboretum we came across a large gopher tortoise. The tortoise walked across the path, oblivious to human and dog alike. Jedi went up to investigate . . . and the tortoise moved. Jedi puffed up twice his size and jumped back three feet. He spent a good five minutes trying to check out the tortoise, flinching every time it moved. Big. Bad. German Shepherd! HA! I have no idea where that tortoise wanted to go, but he sure was determined. Eventually the tortoise got tired and hid inside his shell -- probably hoping that we would leave so he could continue on his way. Of course, that's when Jedi became brave and I was able to snap this picture.

It's Awww...Monday! Want to start your week off with a smile? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Where Have I Been?

Wow, it's been a month since I've posted anything and even longer since I posted anything regularly. What's up with that?! Truth is, I've been in a bit of a writing slump. (I have no idea how some of these blogs can come up with something daily. Kudos to them!) But never fear, we're alive and well -- and we've been busy.

The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida participated in an Oktoberfest German shepherd meet up. There was German food, lots of beer, fun and festivities for all. We even got a cool picture.
Look at all those gorgeous dogs!
Jedi and I joined a few Dog Club members and walked Fort Caroline National Park to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful park. Jedi made friends with Park Ranger Tracy, scoring us an awesome tour of the park. Good boy Jedi! (In all honesty, Tracy is super nice and would have given us the awesome tour regardless of Jedi's geniality.)

Jedi's favorite park ranger is on the far left. Hi Tracy!
I met Leah from Let's Go Dog in real life! For those of you not following her blog (you really should) Leah and her large dogs, Zack and Zoe, are traveling the perimeter of the United States in a motorhome. I'm so jealous! I-95 brought her to Jacksonville and we were able to get together. She blogged about it here. And yes, she is just as wonderful as I had imagined.

Heads of Zoe and Zack in the foreground -- not much room for pictures
in a motorhome!
Jedi and I did five shows in two days over Halloween weekend, earning an international title (IntCH) through IABCA. More details about that later. Promise!

How awesome is this?!

Poor Drogo had another fashion shoot. Here's his Halloween costume -- a tad late. More fun pictures coming soon! Check his page for updates.

Did someone say creepy crawlies? YUM!

I've done a lot of NOT fun things over the last month too.
  • I've been fighting with my home computer. It's old and I think it's dying. Unfortunately, I don't have the skill to diagnose it or the funds to replace it, so I'm learning how to blog from my phone while using all those colorful words I learned in the Navy. Yep, Kelley swears like a sailor!
  • The change in weather has brought a different set of problems at work. Tis the season for barking and biting.
  • And I've been doing a lot of club president end-of-the-year the year stuff -- mostly paperwork and board meetings with a sprinkling of politics. Ugh.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I'll try to get a few more posts out later this week. I really don't deserve my regular readers and blogging buddies. You guys are great! Later, -- K