Sunday, March 31, 2019

Waking Up is Hard to Do

I am not a morning person. I hit the snooze button at least 2-3 times before rolling out of bed. I enjoy the stillness of a quiet morning. I don't like to make decisions before coffee. I don't like conversation before coffee. TBH, I don't like people before coffee. (Not that I like people much better after coffee.) I need time to warm up to the world.

Trooper is a morning dog. Until we got him, I didn't know there was such a thing. Trooper can't wait to start the day. My alarm goes off at 5 AM. Several days a week he's in my face at 4:45 -- just because. It's a cruel, cosmic joke. I made this meme to illustrate, though in reality Trooper's switch would be spring loaded.

I try not to get too annoyed with Trooper. He's a sensitive dog and his feelings get hurt easily, so I try to contain my displeasure to a couple aggressive grunts.

Today is an especially rough day. Between Trooper's exuberance, Hubby's snoring and the million thoughts in my head about this week's dog show, I've been up since 2 AM -- and it's a work day. I feel like crap. I'm counting the minutes until I can go home and crawl back into bed. Ugh. -- K

P.S. Funny Fact: Jedi knows I'm not a morning person. If he has to go out in the middle of the night he wakes Hubby. Good boy, Jedi!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

What's Up Buck?

I came into work Sunday morning after having three days off. Among the three dozen emails waiting for me, I had two from the same address with the subject "loose dog" on one. The emails came three hours apart, each with a picture (below).

Nothing else was provided -- not even the name of the complainant. All I had is a weird email address from "Buckaroo" at After I said a few choice words finished my coffee, I replied:
Thank you for your recent emails. I received two pictures of a dog behind and next to a fence but no text. Please elaborate. When did this happen? Where did this happen? You say "loose dog" -- how do you know? (For all I know, it could be a dog in his own yard.) Do you know where the dog lives? Did you take these pictures?
I've attached an animal control affidavit and a copy of the city's animal-related ordinances. 4-24 covers animals at large, 4-25 covers leashing and 4-26(c) addresses no immediate clean up. Depending on your statement, the dog owner could be cited for one or more of the above offenses. Please look at 4-30(d). It explains that I must either witness the offense or have a sworn affidavit from someone who did (you?) before I can issue a citation.

Please call me if you'd like to discuss this further.

I'm still waiting. In the interim, I'd like to explain some legalities so that you, my Blogging Buddies, are better informed than the average Small Beach Town resident.
  • Affidavit -- This is a written sworn statement of fact (not opinion or speculation). The statement is voluntary, signed and notarized. When used to write a citation, the affidavit becomes public record.
  • The 6th Amendment -- The "Confrontation Clause" of the U.S. Constitution states that a person has the right to know and confront his/her accuser. This means that we don't write tickets based on anonymous complaints. Also, if I write a citation on an affidavit and it goes to court, the affiant (person writing the affidavit) must appear in court to be cross-examined. If the affiant blows off court (it's happened) the citation is thrown out. 
  • Hearsay -- This is evidence given by someone who doesn't have direct knowledge, but rather is based on what others have said. Example: "My neighbor told me the dog was running at large last week."

People often get upset by the things above. They "want something done" but at the same time "don't want to get involved," thus limiting what I can do. Of course, there are other things complainants can do like:
  1. Call the department when an incident is occurring and have an officer dispatched to the location to witness the event in person or
  2. Talk to the neighbors directly
These options are usually met with resistance. Option 1 requires people do something. The big complaint is "that's too much work." (Seriously!) There's also the chance that an ACO won't be on duty, is on another call and/or arrives on scene too late to see what's going on. Option 2 requires people to actually speak to each other cordially and try to come to an agreement. The reactions I get to this suggestion range from disbelief to outrage.

I do my best to educate residents and keep the peace. See, I'm more than an Animal Control Officer, I'm also an underpaid Pseudo Civics Teacher! Maybe I should add that to my list of "other duties as required." TTFN, -- K

P.S. Emails sent to and from my work address are public record. (Remember when the City Manager's emails were used against me during my cruelty case?) Therefore, sharing them with you is not violating anything. However, I do change names and other identifying data to protect my ass from overzealous whiners.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Pity Party

It's been a lousy weekend for me and the dogs. I've spent the last few hours crying, swearing and questioning my decisions. Welcome to my pity party. To be honest, I debated on whether I was even going to post this.

Trooper: As you know, Trooper went to North Carolina this weekend for a bunch of shows, including the Southeast Futurity/Maturity show. We thought he was ready. We were wrong. Trooper has decided that NOW is the time to be a headstrong adolescent. Sigh. He's not having a good time and he's making sure everybody knows it. I watched him on FB live streaming and my heart dropped. Trooper's not cooperating with his handler and refusing to let the judges touch him. He was excused from one show, and dead last in the next. J-Lyn and I agreed to pull him from the last two shows. Trooper doesn't need to develop any bad habits in the ring (like thinking he can get his way by acting the fool). Nor does he need to show his ass in front of everybody at the Futurity. We feel we made the best decision under the circumstances. Unfortunately, I don't get my entry fees back.

I've already paid for four shows the first weekend of April. I'm not getting that money back either. We'll try to show him again -- maybe he'll do better with me present. If not, we'll pull him then too. Either way, I plan to stop showing him for the next 6-9 months and allow him to mature. J-Lyn suggested that we focus our energy on fun, performance sports in the interim to help build confidence and self-control -- things like Fast CAT, dock diving and barn hunt. Speaking of barn hunt . . .

Jedi: Hubby, Jedi and I spent the weekend in Deland. Our favorite trial site was offering an advanced BH workshop on Friday night. Jedi has just moved up from Open to Senior -- a big jump in both difficulty and entry prices. I was hoping the training would give us an advantage for Saturday's trials, so I forked out the workshop fee plus a hotel stay. I was wrong. Jedi did the U-shaped tunnel. I was afraid he wouldn't. But he only found 2 of the 4 rats on each run. Jedi still doesn't seem to realize there are additional hides. (And this was not addressed in the workshop. Grrr.) Hubby recorded our runs. On playback I could see that Jedi was frustrated and spent a third of our allotted search time checking out the spectators. 

My weekend
Me: I added things up. I probably shouldn't have. This weekend was a $300 disaster. So now I'm wondering: WTF am I doing? How can I fix these issues? Should I even try? I don't want to frustrate my dogs. I also don't want to waste money on frustrated dogs. Hell, I'M frustrated. I probably shouldn't make any major decisions right now. I think I'm going to lick my wounds, eat some cheesecake and take a long nap. I'll make decisions later. Until then, -- K

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

New Toy

Hubby and I were in Petsmart the other day and found this funny plastic snake toy from Puppies R Us. A few weeks ago it was all the rage on the canine enrichment FB group I follow. I thought it was interesting -- and for $8 it worth a try.

I filled the slot underneath with kibble and treats. Jedi pulled out the easy-to-reach pieces but decided that the others weren't worth the effort. Trooper didn't care about the treats at all.

Trooper squeaked the head a few times before he got bored. Then took the toy into the backyard and left it there. Eventually, I retrieved it, washed the sand off and stuck it in my donate box. Hopefully someone else's dog will enjoy it.

Long story short: My dogs weren't impressed by the snake toy and would have rather I spent the money on more treats. Save your $$. -- K

Monday, March 18, 2019

Liar Liar

Dean Russo print. I LOVE his stuff!
There's a saying that goes "Dogs don't lie about love." I totally believe that. When it comes to dogs, a sigh, a look, or a lean speaks volumes. I love my dogs dearly -- and I know they love me even more. Dogs are always honest about their feelings. No, they don't lie about love. Want to know what dogs do lie about?


Hubby called me at work and asked if I had fed the dog before I left. Jedi was behaving strangely. And when Hubby asked if he was hungry, Jedi became especially animated. When I told Hubby that Jedi had already eaten I heard him say "Liar! Mommy said she fed you."

Hubby was shocked that our loving, loyal German shepherd would try to scam a second meal. Not me! I've been around dogs long enough to know that their stomachs always override their brains.

I think J.R.R. Tolkien modelled Hobbits after dogs. Don't believe me? Look at this:

Confession time: Jedi has put on eight pounds since we brought Trooper home. Part of it is because he's not getting the walks he used to. That's something that I am trying fix. But the part I'm having the most trouble with is Hubby. He feels bad leaving Jedi home alone during the week (Trooper still goes to work with me). Often Hubby will fill a puzzle ball and/or hide dog cookies around the house so that Jedi has something to do. However, Hubby doesn't tell me this beforehand. If he did, I'd cut Jedi's breakfast in half to compensate for the additional calories. Instead, Jedi gets Second Breakfast. And possibly Elevensies. Jedi doesn't mind at all.

I saw this meme on Facebook and it made me think of Jedi:

Dogs. (And husbands.) Gotta love them. Right? -- K

Friday, March 15, 2019

One Last Match

Trooper turned a year old last month. He's not a puppy any more. Last weekend the Jacksonville Dog Fanciers' Association held an All-Breed Match. This was his last chance to run around the ring before J-Lyn takes him to North Carolina for the Southeast Futurity/Maturity shows.

A teenager from my GSD Club was there with Trooper's cousin, Jethro. Teen entered Jethro in the Junior Handler competition and they came in 3rd! Jethro is neutered, so he can't compete in regular classes. I offered to let Teen take Trooper into the ring. I told her it would be good experience for them both and that I expected nothing -- so no stress. (Plus, I really didn't feel like running.)

Well, Teen and Trooper did more than expected. They won the Herding Group. How cool is that? We added another pink rosette to his collection.

Yesterday I handed Trooper off to J-Lyn. They're doing some last minute training and conditioning before heading north next week. In addition to the Futurity, Trooper is also competing in two Specialty shows and an All-Breed show. I'm excited. And anxious. I'm fighting all those coulda/woulda/shoulda things in my head. Too late now, right? I hope he does well. And if he doesn't, I'm sure I'll find a way to make it my fault. I'll keep you posted. -- K

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fast CAT Fail

I really wanted to share pictures of
Trooper running Fast CAT.
I'm doing a lousy job of keeping everybody updated. Hope you didn't think I was dead! Here's some of what we've been doing:

A couple weeks ago, Hubby, the dogs and I drove 3 hours from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. The plan was to run the dogs in Fast CAT first thing then drive 20 minutes to compete in a Glock Sport Shooting Foundation Match. If time permitted, we'd go back to the fairgrounds to run the dogs again and look around. I was excited!

We brought two friends -- and their dogs -- with us. Neither are what you'd call “dog sports people." I thought Fast CAT would be a fun way to introduce them to the dog world. The Tallahassee shows had a bit of everything -- Fast CAT, conformation, obedience, dock diving and vendors. With an enthusiastic tour guide like me, who wouldn't fall in love with the dog world, right? Well . . . things didn't go as planned.

We got to the trial site before the gates opened. So did two dozen other people! The Fast CAT crew was behind schedule. While waiting, handlers were sharing stories and the dogs were picking up on the excitement. Finally, the gates opened. My group was about 10 people back.

The registration table was set up at the end of the track. (It's usually in the middle, away from the mechanism.) As the lure came around the end pulley, dogs would jump and bark at it. The Trial Secretary/Company Owner seemed to be annoyed by this, making him short toward everybody. Registration lines for CAT and Fast CAT (two separate courses) were side by side but unmarked. My friend got in the wrong line and was yelled at when she tried to register for Fast CAT. She had to go to the back of the line and wait another 15 minutes -- only to be yelled at again because her entry form was incomplete.

I had pre-registered 2 ½ weeks out. The angry man couldn’t find my paperwork. I showed him my check and he barked "Well, I didn't get it." I asked if I could reregister, but with the preregister price. He accused me of trying to steal money from him. (We’re talking about a $20 difference. BTW, I had $60 in my pocket, expecting to pay full price for the afternoon runs.) I asked about the check I'd already written. He said he'd tear it up "if and when" he got it. Meanwhile, he glared at my dogs, was condescending to newbies asking questions and yelled at people with money in hand. What a douche.

My invisible name tag.
When The Douche started yelling at me, I thought Hubby was going to come unglued. Yes, I'm a big girl, quite capable of holding my own. But when Hubby feels I'm being threatened he switches into must-protect-wife mode. (Apparently it's a man thing.) I told Hubby that I wasn't going to give this jerk my money and walked away. Hubby asked the guy's name and he screamed "You don't know who I am?!" (FYI his name is Dan Elkes.) I giggled. Obviously he doesn't know who *I* am. I went to the car and called my bank. I put a stop payment on the check and got the fees waived. Then I went to find the Show Chairman.

Regular readers know that I'm the former President of my German Shepherd Dog club. I’ve held nearly all possible positions in the club, including Show Secretary. I know how hard it is to put on an event and how much the club wants everything to go right. I felt like a schmuck complaining. I told Madam Chairman my tale. The entire operation was disorganized, and the guy running it was unprofessional and downright demeaning. I didn't know if this guy was having a bad day or if he's always a total jerk. Either way, he was turning people away from the show her club worked so hard to put together. I reminded her that there are multiple organizations running Fast CAT trials in Florida and urged her club to use one other than Lure Coursing Specialists. She apologized and asked me to send her an email so she could share it with the show committee at their after action meeting.

As I was leaving the Show Chairman, I ran into one of my friends. She's a police officer with 30+ years. She stated that she had been trying to resolve the dispute between Mr. Elkes and our wrong-line friend when he yelled "I own this show!" and threw her out. My cop friend also had a long conversation with the Show Chairman. It was 10 AM on Saturday morning and she was the third complaint the Chairman received. UGH.

Not to scale
I'll never trial with Lure Coursing Specialists again. I know my friends are completely turned off by the entire dog show experience. Satan himself couldn’t have chosen a worse ambassador for dog sports.

The four of us took our $280, left the show grounds and went to the range. The dogs were locked in our vehicles at the far end of the property. We left the engines running, with A/Cs and radios turned up. I pretended the silhouettes were Dan the Douche and walked away with a personal best! (I still sucked, but the score was less sucky than before.)

Since that weekend I wrote my letter to the Tallahassee Kennel Club, blasted Lure Coursing Specialists online and shared my story with everybody I know -- including you! The Florida dog community is a small. Hopefully, word will get out quickly. I'd love to see Dan Elkes and Lure Coursing Specialists out of business.

BTW, I got a letter from my bank. Two days after this Fast CAT fiasco, Dan the Douche tried to cash my check -- you know, the one he promised he would tear up. (I hope his bank charged him!) So anyway, that's the story of my worst Fast CAT experience ever. -- K