Monday, May 31, 2010

A Lovely Start to the Week!

I woke 10 minutes before the alarm this morning and realized my little Murphy slept through the night. And, her crate was clean this morning. That was lovely! Even lovelier was to wake to Sophie, cuddled up by my legs, snoring away. As the alarm went, Spike came in to make sure I was up and recieve some morning nose scratches. All in all, lovely. :)  I love puppies, but I love sleeping through the night even more.

It's the start of a great week, full of interesting things. Some of my students are away. Some are on a field trip tomorrow. Track and field is Wednesday. Friday I am spending transitioning, at my new school. Yup, it should be a good week, going by quickly. Hard to believe, I only have 22.5 working days left in this school!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Battle of the Strawberries

Last summer, I fought a battle with Sophie, the whole summer, over my strawberry plants. She loves strawberries, so much that I didn't get a single one off the two plants I had in pots on the deck, the entire summer!  She would nap with her head, lying in one or the other pots of them, then lazily wake up and munch off any green or red berries or even flowers she could find on the plants.

This summer, I thought I was smarter than her, and I have left my strawberry plants on the front step. So, yes, safe from the evil clutches of Sophie.  And, my plants look lovely don't they??

Yes healthy and growing well!

So, what's wrong with this picture??

Last night, this plant had TWO lovely, just ripe strawberries on it. And, there was a frost warning, so the plants spent the night on my kitchen table. Apparently too close to the edge, because that lunatic lab had herself a midnight snack.  

Clearly the war is NOT over. Watch your back Sophie, watch your back!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Typical Saturday Morning

It's a typical Saturday morning in my house, during the late spring. All doggy training has moved to weeknights and my weekends are free to run in tournaments or attempt to sleep late and lounge. Of course, Murphy doesn't know that yet and had everyone up at 5AM, as if it was a normal morning.

Of course, it's a lovely sunny morning out, casting beams through my living room window where I caught these two cuddling together...

Yup, they like each other. Or at least, Spike seems to like Murphy when she's not attempting to levitate in front of him or detach his ear with her great love of tugging on just about anything. Murphy ALWAYS likes Spike.

Where's Sophie during this little cuddle-fest?

Why downstairs of course, finishing off the bag of chips I accidently forgot.

She's attempting to plead her innocence here, but I caught her with her head stuck in the bag. She might *look* innocent, but let me tell you, she's a chip thieving girl! 

Ah, Saturdays... gotta love em!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Murphy's trip to the "Spa"

Alright, we need a little break from the story of Spike SO here's images from Murphy's weekend. I was away on the weekend, and the dogs all found their way to Rebecca's place, my favourite boarding kennel ever. She took photos of how Murph spent her weekend... looks like a tough life my little puppy leads, eh??

She's flying as fast as her little legs will take her!!

What a cutie. I'm amazed at how much bigger she seemed when I got back from the weekend. She's growing like crazy right now!
Look at Penny tug. Funny, the two that are likely to be flyball dogs are not! HA!

Breakfast time!!

Best buds, Quinn and Murphy... otherwise known as the Midgets.

"Wait for me!"

"Why you waking me up?"  Quinn and Murphy having a snooze in the sun. It was HOT while I was gone.

Nap time!!

All three pups... best of friends!  Murphy, Penny and Quinn.  Murph sure was tired the first day home from Rebecca's. Too bad it didn't last! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Story of a Dog Named Spike... Part 2

After my car accident, I began the inevitable search for my next dog. It didn't take long; the next day I was on the internet, searching Petfinder to see what was out there. I didn't want to make a snap decision, so I didn't allow myself to go and look at any dogs the week I was off work, recovering. However, I wanted another dog SO bad, it was hard to make myself wait.

It was on my trip to my parents that summer that I started to really allow myself to look around. It seemed a good chance; I had to go through a few towns on that drive, so the plan was to stop at each Humane Society and check out the dogs there. It had been 5 weeks at that point but it felt like a lifetime; Morti had become such a part of my daily routines, I didn't know how to readjust my mornings as I no longer needed to get up and take him out or feed him.

I made a list of potential dogs, and I had my heart set on some sort of a German Shepherd mix, but a female this time. So, I stopped in Meadow Lake and looked at all the many puppies they had, but none were it. I stopped in Cold Lake and looked at a dog  thought I would love, based on her picture and description on petfinder. She was some kind of a Chow mix and I thought I wanted a large dog (the bigger the better!) and yet when I took her for a walk, she wouldn't look at me, wouldn't connect at all. She was not the one.

There was a dog named Mandy at the Bonnyville SPCA, and she was a Coonhound cross of some sort, a pretty redish blond furred girl and I wanted to meet her, but by the time I arrived in Bonnyville, I was so tired I was tempted to give up for the day and just keep driving. Somehow I knew I would be disappointed if I didn't stop, so I forced myself to stop and look at her.

I walked into the building, and didn't get to her run; I stopped at Spike's cage and said to the man working "I want to take him out". I did not want any kind of Border Collie Mix, did not want a black dog and certainly did not want another male, but one look at his eyes, and I knew.  I took him out to a grass area just outside the building and sat with him. Spike cuddled right up to me, wanting attention so badly. He gave one little lick on my nose and I knew. He was meant to be.

Somehow I walked away that night, not wanting to decide on the spot; I wanted my dad to be part of the decision and we were heading to Cold Lake the next day anyway, so we could stop and see the boy. As I walked out of the shelter, a young guy was on his way in and I knew... I instinctly knew he was there to see my dog and that night I could hardly sleep because the thought of him adopting Spike before I could bothered me. That's when I really knew Spike was the one. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a long journey Spike and I would take together....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Story of a Dog Named Spike... Part 1

I think it's time to tell the story of a dog named Spike. It's in honour of his flyball debut last weekend, and because I am so proud of him so I have decided to finally tell how Spike came to be,  and where he's come from.

The story of Spike actually starts with the story of a dog named Mortimer.  I was new to teaching in Northern Saskatchewan and I was shocked by the fact that there were stray dogs everywhere I looked. They just ran loose, scavenging for food, wherever they could. I was horrified by the condition some were in, had a love of animals and really had been wanting a dog- my first as an adult. So, the second week of work, a puppy showed up at the high school and I made the split second decision to take him home; a friend drove me back to my house where I deposited the puppy to wait for me to arrive home from work.

Morti was sick when he arrived; he was full of worms and covered in lice. I nearly did the poor tyke in, dosing him with Nix shampoo to try and get rid of the lice. A friend from down south sent dewormer to help out. I worked hard to get Morti healthy and back on track. As Morti grew, he also began to develop a personality; he was a tough, Northern dog who challenged me every step of the way. I loved Mortimer dearly but I knew that he was LOTS of dog for the first time owner. At one point in his life, Morti was challenging me so much I resorted to making him earn every piece of food he recieved. For every kibble, he had to perform something; a sit, a down, anything just to try to teach him that nothing in life is free.

I had Morti for 10 months when he lost his life on a trip to La Ronge. I was in a major car accident, nearly 4 years ago to this day. I lost control of the car, causing it to roll, thereby throwing Mort from the car. I was lucky; I walked away from that accident stiff and sore and bruised, but otherwise unharmed.  Poor Morti did not.

I grieved for Mortimer, but was smart enough to know two things. Firstly, everything happens for a reason; Mortimer WAS too much dog for me and the way the accident happened, he would not have suffered at the end. I was able to let it go with time and move on, knowing that I had done everything I could to train him, to teach him, to help him. But, I also knew that I wanted another dog and wanted to make sure it was one I could train to run agility. Sarah had worked with Mortimer and I and had introduced me to agility for which I am grateful. So, very quickly after Mortimer was gone, I set out to find my next dog.

This is where Spike comes in......but  before we get to him, I need to say I am forever grateful for Sarah and her patience teaching me so much about working with dogs. And, I am forever grateful to Mortimer for working with me, for trying, for being a tough but good first dog. You are still remembered, little Morti Moo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Changes Are A'Comin!

It's official. There are changes coming in my world for next year! First of all, I will be a Fulltime MEd student, in the Educational Foundations program at UofS. Of course, I might as well have been last year, but I am jumping in and getting going on this program. The plan is to start my Thesis (pending choosing my topic, of course), after Christmas. Yikes. That's not far away.

The other major change in my life is a change of job. I am transferring schools for next year, from the school I work at, in Osler to a school in Dalmeny. I am very excited about this as I will be working with a small group of students everyday who have a variety of challenges, many very different than I have spent the last two years working with. And, better yet is the driving distance for me. I have been driving just shy of 40KM's one way, everyday the last two years, which on rough roads takes me usually somewhere around 30 minutes to do. And, much more in bad weather. It doesn't sound that bad, but when I had class at the University, I couldn't go home between work and school so I had to hire someone to play with my dogs. So, my new drive is 12 KM's, or about 10 minutes, and I can go home and play with the dogs for 30 minutes between work and class which is huge. I am relieved to make this change as it will change my dog's lives too! As well, I will save lots of money on gas/pet sitting and that translates to more freedom to do dog training! :)

Best of all, I am feeling very lucky these days to have Spike. He has turned out to be an amazing therapy dog, handling anything I throw at him. Nothing is bothering him at the nursing home anymore; he has a knack especially with a couple of the men which shocks me. This from a dog who used to distrust any men at all. I am very hopful that I can continue this work so that we can complete our child test with St. John Ambulance. Then, my plan is to be able to use Spike in my new classroom. Cross your fingers my new principal is open to the idea because Spike has a way of changing the mood in a room for the better!

Here's to changes that were much needed!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sophie's 3rd Birthday

Yes, I have been remiss in my bloggy duties! Sophie's birthday did come and go, and my sweet little puppy is now 3. When did that happen??  Seems like yesterday I brought her home!

Anyway, I did celebrate her birthday, I just didn't get around to blogging it. So, April 21, 2010, Soph turned three and we celebrated with liver cake. Yum Yum!

Yup, it actually says "Happy Birthday Sophie"

This is truly a terrible picture of Sophie, but it demonstates her "patiently" waiting for her treat. She could hardly contain herself, and was doing laps around the kitchen as I took pictures, cut the cake in three and generally moved slow. So, when she finally sat down, I took advantage. Of course, by this time, she was practically shaking in excitement.

Even Spike was excited!

We're waiting! Hurry up already!!!

Sophie chowing down. Yummy!! Lick the carpet clean too!

Spike acting as the canine hoover too!

Now, I know this needs explanation... I had baked brownies the night before and must have gotten some brownie goodness on these oven mitts. So, when I got up that morning, I found this poor mauled mitt, in the middle of the living room floor. Wonder who could have possibly done this?!? Perhaps the birthday girl herself? Couldn't have been, could it?  ;)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Feeling Inspired

Well, it's been a busy couple weeks and I keep intending to post but have not sat down and actually done so. But, for whatever reason, after attending the Hub City Kennel and Obedience Club dog show yesterday, I came home inspired to make some collars and try to get myself organized to get my business back into some sembalance of shape. I hate to admit it, but I have not made collars for so long, I had forgotten my dogs measurements. That's not like me at all, but I was still determined to dust of the sewing machine and get busy. The result was three collars, pictures to be added later and a leash for Murphy. And, I am quite pleased with the result!

This morning, I had a moment of an idea! I can make crate covers to order. And, sandbags for agility equipment. So, I think my little business on the side might just have a shot here of getting some time and attention from me yet! Watch out world, "Ring Around the Ruff" might just take off yet!