Monday, February 29, 2016

St. Augustine Dog Walk

What happens when a German shepherd dog club and a German shepherd dog rescue decide to host a dog walk in historic St. Augustine? We wanted to find out! I found an event free weekend downtown. Another club member created this snazzy flyer and set up a FB event. Both groups promoted the walk for a month.
This was the result:

Our feeble attempt at a group photo.

The dogs just keep coming . . .

And coming . . .

And coming!

We ended at a park to socialize and take more pictures.

It was a beautiful spring day. We had about 50 dogs show up -- and no negative incidents! All the dogs were on their best behavior. We saw old friends, made new friends and gushed over all the gorgeous pups. One club member took beautiful family photos. Here's ours:

I LOVE this dog!

Then everybody broke into small groups to do some sight seeing and enjoyed the dog-friendly restaurants. What a great day!

All those smells just wore Jedi out.

It's Awww...Monday. Start your week off with a smile! I hope all these beautiful German shepherds make you smile. It made me absolutely giddy! However, a cop friend of mine said the thought of 50 GSDs in one place was terrifying. (Yes, he actually said "terrifying.") If you're like Officer Weenie, no problem. Click around and see if one of the other posts below does the trick. Happy Monday! -- K

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Goodbye Gucci

Gucci in her prime
The worst thing about pets is that they don't live long enough. This morning I took Gucci to the vet for the very last time. Her 19 year old body had become nothing but skin and bones. She had been deaf for years. Honestly, we knew the day would come sooner than later. Still, I wasn't prepared. But are we ever really prepared?

Things were fine this morning. She ate her breakfast and we had our daily disagreement over my lap. As usual, she won. Just before lunch I found her lying in a weird position on the kitchen floor. She was disoriented, unstable and I suspect she had lost her sight. Thankfully my vet is open until 2:00 on Saturdays. We think she had a stroke. Things weren't going to get better. We didn't want her to suffer, so we made the decision to put her to sleep. For her, it was quick and painless. For me, not so much. I feel like shit.

15 years old and still ornery
I'm a certified euthanasia technician. In the past 12 years I've put down hundreds of animals, and have assisted with the euthanizing of even more. I know the names of all the drugs, can calculate dosages and can hit a vein with no problem. Yet all that knowledge doesn't make putting my cat to sleep any less painful. Dammit.

Gucci was a good cat. Sometimes -- OK, oftentimes -- she was an annoying, self absorbed pain in the ass. She had cattitude in spades. She was also playful, amusing, stubborn and fearless. I watched her dominate dogs 10 times her size. She was affectionate and loving -- on her own cat terms, of course. I miss her already.

The old girl about a year ago
Gucci was probably my last cat. About 10 years ago Hubby's allergies started getting worse and he asked that we have a "no replacement policy" for cats. (Mind you, he didn't say get rid of the cat, he just said no more.) In the interim he would take Claritin and wash his hands after touching her. I agreed to bathe her more often and try to keep Gucci from sleeping on our bed. (It didn't work, she was a sneaky little thing.) I doubt Hubby expected to have to suffer in silence for another decade. He loved her too though. I'd often find her on his lap watching TV or catch them taking an afternoon nap together.

I've got dozens of silly kitty stories. She was definitely a character. Maybe I'll share some of them later. Right now, though, I need to take a nap. I have a terrible headache from crying. Who knew that a little old cat could leave such a giant hole in my heart? -- K

Monday, February 22, 2016

Awww...Today's Catch

A raccoon call came in this morning with the usual hysteria: It's out during the day so it must have rabies. *sigh* We go through this every year. So please, help me set the record straight.

Raccoons are not vampires exiled to night. Just because they're out in the daylight does not mean they have rabies!!

My city is a self-proclaimed "tree sanctuary." As such, it's filled with wildlife. (You'd think people wouldn't be so freakin' weird about raccoons, opossums, foxes, armadillos and owls. You'd be wrong! And we won't mention snakes, alligators, bobcats and rats, OK?) Honestly, it's not uncommon to see adolescent raccoons exploring the daytime hours. It's even more common to see raccoons during the day in urban environments. Why? Because we have screwed them up. Raccoons have learned that if they stay up just a little bit later humans will roll out giant bins full of garbage. Why scavenge when you can have a free meal delivered to you? Also, raccoons love cat food, and we have a crazy cat lady on every block! I have seen obese raccoons push feral cats out of the way to gobble up a giant bowl of Meow Mix.

This little guy was chasing lizards at a local church, minding his own business. Unfortunately, several ignorant humans freaked out and called 9-1-1. Yes, 9-1-1. For his own protection, I relocated the little fella to a nature preserve three blocks away. He's cute, but I used a catch pole nonetheless. (I'm not stupid, they are wild animals with sharp, pointy teeth.) He was in a playful mood and wouldn't let go of my pole. He kept biting the cable and grabbing the pole with his little raccoon fingers. It took five minutes for me to wrestle my pole from the raccoon. I didn't think anyone would believe me so I snapped this picture with my phone.

It's Awww...Monday. And if this didn't make you saw "Awww" then your heart is obviously three sizes too small! Click around below and see what other awww-worthy things people are sharing today. A big thank you goes out to Sandee over a Comedy Plus for hosting this hop every week. Catch you later, -- K

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Not What You Think

I posted about the Chariots of Fur 5K last week. I also complained that I couldn't find any pictures of me and Jedi despite the fact that there were photographers all over the place. Yesterday I was cleaning out my junk email and found something from Speedy Banana. Being that it was nestled between a penis enlarger supplement email and an ad for eHarmony, I nearly deleted it. (Maybe it's me, but the first thing I thought was "What a funny name for a sex toy.")

Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked. I'm glad I did! Speedy Banana is NOT a sex toy. Instead, it's the oddly named company that took all the pictures at Chariots of Fur -- and they would gladly sell me race pictures for an outrageous price. In fact, they had 32 pics for me to choose from. (This was my first race; apparently I've got a lot to learn.) Since it was my first race, I bought an overpriced picture. (Just wondering, why did I have to pay S&H for a digital download?) Anyway, here it is:

It was cold and windy on the beach that day. Jedi had a blast. We did the mile in less than 15 minutes -- on sand no less! And we supported a worthwhile charity. Who wants to join us next year?

Believe it or not, it's Wordless Wednesday, though you probably couldn't tell by my post. But hey, I had to share the not-a-sex-toy Speedy Banana story. (Two weeks ago it was Russians and pet store pooping. Obviously this isn't the most cultured blog on the internet!) Anyway, click around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Monday, February 15, 2016

Awww...Awkward? No, Ambivert

I saw this on Facebook the other day. I laughed, but then thought "It's really not that awkward."

Let me explain: I've always been a bit weird when it comes to dealing with people. Sometimes I just love people. I'll be invigorated by a large crowd. Concerts, amusement parks and sporting events can be very exciting. I feed off the energy. Other times, I may prefer intimate dinners, game nights with friends and backyard barbecues, but the rush from being with people is the same. Friends joke that if you slap a name tag on my shirt, I'll talk to anybody. If you meet this Kelley, you'd swear I'm an extrovert.  

Other times, I'm quiet and standoffish. Sometimes being around people is emotionally draining. I have turned off my phone because answering texts or playing Words with Friends is a chore. I've walked out of places feeling overwhelmed by the crowd. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I've hidden behind sales racks to avoid people I know at the store, just so I don't have to talk to them. I've spent entire weekends in my pajamas watching Netflix and eating junk food. It's not that I don't like people, it's just that I need time to recharge my batteries. If you meet this Kelley you would definitely label me as an introvert. Yet it's the same person as the extrovert above.

Sounds weird, hunh? I've recently discovered there's a term for this. I'm ambiverted, and it's more common than you think. So what does this have to do with dogs? (Seriously, this is Kelley's Dog Blog after all.)

Short answer: Everything! Dogs just "get it." When I'm feeling sociable and outgoing, the dogs are right there with me, barking and bouncing. I'll talk a mile a minute. The dogs have no idea what I'm saying, but listen anyway. And when I'm feeling antisocial and withdrawn, the dogs are right there. They'll lie next to me, enjoying the silence. They never expect me to be on, or to try to make me feel guilty for being quiet. 

Let's face it: Dogs are awesome!

So of course I talk to them more than I talk to people. No offense to the people who read my blog. (Though to be honest, my regular readers are a bunch of dog-lovin' weirdos like me -- I'm sure most of them prefer the company of canines too.) Here's another relevant thing I pulled off Facebook:

So who can relate? Anyway, it's Awww...Monday. I probably made you say "Awww...WTF is up with her?!" But I'm betting the other bloggers below will give you an "Awww" sweet enough to brighten your Monday. See for yourself. -- K

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mock Nose Work Trial

Dozer doing vehicle search. The odor is under the front bumper
of the center car. He's almost there!
Several Saturdays ago it was freezing cold and overcast. It was so cold that we actually had snow flurries. In Florida! And there was a bitter wind that just cut through the inadequate jackets we Floridians have on hand. (Northern readers can quit rolling their eyes any time now.) Smart people stayed at home with the heaters on. However, a group of crazy dog people got together at K-9 Obedience Club to hold a mock NW1 trial.

Nose work has become incredibly popular. Unfortunately, there are more people wanting to compete than there are available trials. NACSW trials are few and far between. Most entries are done by lottery. There's only a short window for people to register. Names go into a lottery and those who win have 48 hours to pay their entry fees. Sucks, hunh?

There are Level 1 Nose Work (NW1) Trials in Orlando this weekend. Six K-9 club members won the lottery, including my friend, Blondie. She and Semi went to West Palm Beach with us. She also owns Dozer, Jedi's brother.

Gunner looks for the scent on this exterior hide.
It's hidden in the crack of the cement.
More exciting news is that K-9 Obedience Club has jumped through all the required hoops and just got the approval from NACSW to hold sanctioned NW1 and NW2 trials right here in Jacksonville. The club has found a place to hold the trials (this is not an easy task) and now we're just hammering out fine details.

So all this good news prompted the club to hold a mock trial. This way those going to Orlando will have some idea what to expect. Also, our club members have an idea how to run a trial so that we do a good job later this spring. We tried to make the trial as real as possible, with volunteers rotating through various positions of timer, stewards, videographer, etc. It was a great idea. I just wish we hadn't picked the coldest day of the year to do it!

I volunteered to help run the trial. Jedi and I won't be able to participate in the real trial since we bombed the ORT last month. However, the trial site is literally 10 minutes from my house so I plan on working it when the time comes. I learned a lot. For instance:
  • A trial consists of four elements: containers vehicles interior and exterior. A dog must pass all 4 elements in one day to earn the title.
  • NW1 uses only birch, and there is only one hide per element. It sounds easy, but it's not. Its just not as hard as higher levels.
  • NW2 uses both birch and clove. The same four elements are used, but there can be up to two hide per element. The hides can be both birch, both clove, just one of either odor, or one of each. You won't be told ahead of time either. Yikes.
  • After the target odor is hidden, but before the participants trial, The judges bring in a "dog in white." This is a dog who has already earned the title. This dog searches for the odor to determine whether or not it is well placed as well as where the dog picked up the scent. Sometimes air currents and odor pooling cause the dog to detect the odor in unexpected places. The dog in white helps the judges determine where an alert would be acceptable.
  • Cold air keeps the odor from dispersing, making it harder for dogs to find it. Shifting winds also make things harder for the dogs to find the target odors. 
  • At an ORT the judge will tell you where the odor is should you call alert incorrectly. At a trial, the judge will only tell you yes or no.
  • If your dog relieves itself on the course, you will be disqualified. This is difficult on an outdoor course with an intact pee freak like Jedi.
  • You will lose points on your score if you drop food on the course. Therefore, it's best to have large, non crumbly treats.
There was a lot more, but I was too cold to remember. Anyway, I'm thinking happy thoughts for all my friends in Orlando this weekend. Hopefully that'll be me and Jedi soon. -- K

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Happy Valentine's Dog

Who wants sloppy kisses?

The crew from Sunshine Jack was at the Chariots of Fur 5K taking free dog photos. Obviously, their photographer is more talented than Jedi's regular photographer (that would be me).

Happy V.D. everybody! (That's Valentine's Day for all you dirty thinkers. I hear you giggling.)

It's Wordless Wednesday. Hop around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fur Real This Time

For several years I've said that I wanted to do the Chariots of Fur 5K. I first mentioned it in 2013. I had originally planned on walking it in February of 2014, but was sidelined by a bout of pneumonia. Last year I was just too fat and unhappy to think about it -- then I regretted not doing it for the rest of the year. Last November I saw this ad and said "We're doing it for real this time." I found a 5K walking plan, put on my Fitbit and stepped off determined. Well . . . yeah. By December I had ditched the plan. To be honest, I haven't seen my Fitbit in a month. But instead of flaking out -- again -- I signed us up to do the 1 Mile Fun Run instead. (I still got a t-shirt and all the other goodies. Jedi got nothing but a day at the beach.) I haven't said anything before now because I didn't want to jinx it. And I really thought last week's cold was going to stop me again but . . .

We did it!!

It was cold and windy. I dressed in layers. I was still congested from the nasty cold. I doped up on Dayquil, stuffed my pockets with Kleenex and put on my big girl panties.

I was worried that Jedi would be an ass around all those dogs. I worried for nothing. Jedi had a ball on the beach. He was excited and kept trying to get me to go faster. I trotted more than I wanted to and he pulled me to the finish line. My butt muscles are still sore. Apparently running/walking on sand is different from running/walking around the track (so say my glutes and ankles).

I don't have any pictures of us (I know!) but here's of the race taken by my friend from Furrie Fotographie. She was on the roof of the hotel. And I thought I was cold!

I'm in here somewhere!
There were half a dozen photographers out there taking pictures. Surely one of me and Jedi on the beach will turn up sometime. And when it does, I'll post it here. I am so jazzed that I want to do the full 5K next year! Who wants to join me? -- K

P.S. I found my Fitbit!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Awww...Double Take

We were in Jacksonville Beach last weekend. It was 40 degrees outside and we saw this weird woman in a bikini, two blocks from the beach. When we got up closer we realized she and her companion were life-size statues! Hubby and I thought it would be funny to get Jedi's picture with them. Jedi wasn't so sure.

Jedi says "They don't smell like people."

But with a little coaxing we were able to get him to sit on the surfboard. Isn't he cute?

Hang 10? Jedi can hang 20!

Once again it's Awww...Monday. We're a bunch of bloggers try to help you start your week with a smile. Did Jedi make you say "Awww?" If not, click around below and see if someone else can. Happy Monday! -- K

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bindi Broke My Heart

WARNING: Don't read this. You will cry. I'm crying as I write it.

This is Bindi. She was adopted from the county shelter three months ago. She was found as a stray. She stayed at a local doggie daycare facility for a couple of weeks and then was transferred to the shelter downtown. The county evaluated her and determined that she was a good candidate for adoption. They spayed, vaccinated and microchipped her. A resident of my city fell in love with her and brought her home.

Unfortunately, the county got it wrong. Bindi may be sweet and funny 90% of the time, but she has a scary dark side. In the past few months Bindi attacked three dogs without warning, and also bit her owner's boyfriend bad enough that he had to go to the hospital. Bindi's been in quarantine at my kennel for the past 10 days. We've played with her, fed her junk food and treated her as best we could. Why? Because this morning I had to take her to the vet to be euthanized. It sucks.

I don't disagree with the owner's decision. Owner says she can no longer trust Bindi around her family and other pets. She didn't want to give the dog away because she would feel guilty if Bindi hurt somebody else. Sure, there may be a no dog, kid-free home out there that would take her eventually, but nobody was willing/able to house Bindi until then. And if Bindi had been returned to the county shelter, she would have been euthanized. Knowing her history, the shelter couldn't rehome her for liability reasons. So Owner made the decision that no one wants to talk about.

I want to applaud Owner for the way she handled the situation. Even though she's only had Bindi for three months, Owner loved her. (I can see why, I adored her myself.) So instead of sending downtown to be euthanized (free of charge) Owner made arrangements for me to take Bindi to her private vet once the bite quarantine was over. Bindi was surrounded by her loved ones and died peacefully. Owner also made arrangements to have Bindi cremated because she couldn't stand the thought of Bindi in a mass grave at the landfill with all the other unwanted animals.

I dropped Bindi off and am hiding in my kennel so I could cry in private. Now I've got a headache and my face is swollen. Did I mention that this sucks? Back when I worked at the county shelter we euthanized animals regularly and I learned to compartmentalize my feelings. Euthanasia is not a regular thing in my tiny beach town so I forget to lock my heart away. Instead, I cry like a baby every time.

You're crying too, aren't you? It's your own fault. I told you not to read the post! -- K

R.I.P. Chunky Monkey. I loved you for the short time I knew you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guess Who's Reading My Blog

I use Blogger to publish my blog. It's free and easy to use for computer-challenged bloggers like myself. One interesting features is statistics function. It's fun to see how the blog is being viewed. Blogger will tell me how many hits I get in a day, week, month and since day one. Blogger will also break the stats down by post and the viewer's country of origin. Sounds great, but I think the data is skewed. Take a look at this month's numbers:

Who are all these Russians looking at my blog? And what are they looking for? Do they read my posts in English? As of today I've posted 596 times. Thanks to my Russian readers, these are my top three most viewed posts:

#1: She Did WHAT?! -- My attempt at dog shaming after Roxy pooped in Petsmart. It didn't work. Apparently Roxy has no shame. (10/4/2012)

#2: Jedi Plays Spin the Bottle -- I saw a video on Facebook of a dog playing with an unusual bottle toy. I sent the video to my Handyman friend and asked if he could make one for Jedi. (7/21/2014)

#3: DIY Cavaletti -- My Dollar Store creation to help teach Jedi to pick up his back feet. (11/4/2014)

So, why these posts? I have posted some good things on showing dogs for beginners, have some funny work stories and even some very popular rants. Why not one of those posts? I guess Russians just prefer pooping in Petsmart. Who knew?


It's (not so) Wordless Wednesday. But in all fairness, I'm still a bit speechless thinking about my random Russian audience. Anyway, hop around below and see what others have to share today. I'm sure not everybody is posting about Russians and pooping. -- K 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Dog

I got this book for Christmas. The book is titled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time but to be honest, there's not much dog in it. It's British and the story is told by a teenager who probably has some form of autism (it's described but never labeled). Calling the story "odd" would be an understatement.

The book opens with the protagonist, Christopher, wandering the neighborhood late at night. While out he discovers his neighbor's dog lying on the lawn. Quote from page 1: "There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog." Quote from Kelley: "WTF is a garden fork?"

Christopher goes on a quest to find out who killed the dog, all while avoiding strangers and anything colored yellow. Christopher loves prime numbers, hates being touched and doesn't understand metaphors. Yeah, it's weird like that.

This book was an easy read, though definitely strange. In the beginning the story was quirky but interesting (think Neil Gaiman) but somewhere in the middle the characters became tiresome and I no longer cared what happened to them (a la Stephanie Meyers). Still, I read the book to the anticlimactic end. This is definitely not one of my favorite dog stories. -- K

Monday, February 1, 2016

Awww...Not A Dog Story?

You'll want to sit down -- today I'm NOT sharing a dog story. I know!

I have a friend who is a Groupon fiend. (Personally, I can never find a damn thing. I don't know what she's doing differently.) She saw an offer for 60% off horseback riding on the beach and told me that we're going. I was doped up on cold meds but went anyway. It couldn't have been a nicer day.

I was trying to hold on to my horse while taking pictures so most of them aren't fit for sharing. This one, however, turned out pretty good, don't you think? By the way, see the teeny tiny blue house on the horizon? That belongs to one of my favorite authors, John Grisham.

This artistic picture was taken by my friend. He's obviously more talented -- and better balanced -- than I am.

This last picture is of the group I went with. By the way, the tour company made us wear those dorky helmets "for insurance purposes." (I know that was code for "We don't want you fat, uncoordinated city folk suing us when you fall off the horse.")

And once again, it's Awww...Monday. This is where a bunch of bloggers get together and try to brighten your day. So start your weekend with a smile and click around below. See if someone else can make you say "Awww" today. TTFN, -- K