Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Gettin' in the Groove

It's been almost a month since Danee's arrival and we're all starting to get in the groove with each other. Danee is finally starting to relax in the house...finding it easy to pick a place to take a nap instead of wandering around in circles waiting to be told where to lay down.

She's gotten the hang of mealtimes and going outside without me in the fenced yard to potty at night. She's also getting used to not being allowed to lie on the back of the couch (I do not care to have my own personal gargoyle) nor lay across my lap every time I sit down. I love having her snuggle next to me, but my lap is reserved for the cats.

Holly and Danee continue to get along famously. Frankly, I'm a bit shocked at this. Never have I seen Holly take so well to another dog before. Holly is a very non-social girl...loving to play with a select friend or two, but never wanting to share her space with them for any length of time. She wasn't this relaxed around Casey, whom she lived with for 3 years. But she remains relaxed and shockingly tolerant of Danee.

I'm sure Danee's small size has something to do with Holly's level of comfort. Not to mention Danee's hardly a credit to Jack Russells everywhere...she's far too mellow :)

Danee is an excellent traveler, crates comfortably and without complaint, and is happy to take a nap when there is nothing to do. She's also learning to play with toys. I'm not sure she'd ever seen a squeaky toy before, but she sure has discovered that they need to be killed. In fact, I now have to keep toys locked up when we are not playing because she's also discovered that she is a 'real' terrier and she must take their hearts out.

As far as formal training goes, it will be a bit before she learns what it means to offer a behavior. She's gone through life waiting to be told what to do, so it'll be a bit before she learns to use her brain for herself. Meanwhile, I'm working on her accepting me touching her with the clicker...which in a way is shaping the behavior I want. Her former owner picked her up all the time, despite the fact that she hates it...really hates it. When she first arrived, every time you'd reach for her she'd expect you to grab her collar or grab her either she'd run backwards or go completely rigid. So far retraining that is going really well and she's learning fast that I do not want to pick her up. And unless it's an emergency, I won't. Treating her like she's an 80lb dog, instead of a 12lb dog, is working well.

Walks are a challenge for all of us though. She is learning how to walk on a leash next to a much larger dog who has a much larger stride. Holly's learning that walking all over Danee and 'accidentally' peeing on her is NOT cool. And I'm learning how to keep everyone moving in the right direction...together.

It'll be much more fun when Holly can be off leash for a hike again. I'll have a post on her progress soon.

And although I don't have any pictures or videos of it, Danee's turning out to be quite the natural at agility. Who knew? Last weekend I took her to my agility clubs regular practice. I wanted mostly to just socialize her with being around strange people and strange dogs. Much to my surprise, she took it all in stride. She was so comfortable that in between other peoples practice runs, I took her out for 2 minutes of play around some of the jumps and a tunnel. Before I knew it, she practically did 1/2 a jumpers course without batting an eye. Sequencing 3-4 jumps in a problem. Run with you...yup, got it. Slow down, speed up, take the tunnel...all done with her tail wagging like a nutter and clearly wanting more. I think she's going to be fun :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Tale of a Tail

My beautiful Casey. It's been just over 6 months since she died. Feels like yesterday sometimes. She is missed beyond words.

So instead of ruminating on how much I miss her, I'll tell my favorite "Casey Story" of all time:

"How Casey Lost Her Tail"

11yr  old Casey does veteran agility

As a young dog, Casey had THE most gorgeous tail ever...or so we all remember. It was overly long, thick and full of flamboyance.

One season, our local, and very abundant, red fox population had a massive mange outbreak...and of course Casey was unlucky enough to contract it with them. She frequently visited the foxes rendezvous and den sites...peeing on things and probably rolling in things she shouldn't.

The mange itself was quickly and easily treated. But then again, nothing was really "easy" about living with Casey. So in a very "Casey-like" move, one night she swiftly and efficiently chewed all the hair off of her once beautiful tail.

12 yr old Casey does veteran agility

Nice. Nice and ugly. And not only ugly, but raw, scabby, and refusing to heal. The mange itself wasn't the problem...the mites were gone and the only part of her body that was still showing signs that she'd even had mange was her tail. And this was because she kept wagging her tail and whacking it on the walls and tables, which was preventing it from healing properly. We worked with the vet and tried everything we could think of. But how do get your dog to NOT wag her tail, short of tying it to her body? Trust me, we considered it.

It wasn't looking good. We even talked about maybe needing to dock her tail if we couldn't get her to stop beating it up constantly. She must have heard us talking.

My parents came home one day, and, as usual, Casey excitedly greeted them at the door. Except THIS time she excitedly greeted them while also spurting copious amounts of blood from the stump that used to be her long gorgeous tail. What the hell??!!

If you hear my dad tell the story, he thought people had been killed inside the house and Casey was the sole survivor of some horrible murder...the house looked like the Manson Family Massacre had occurred.

In fact, a massacre DID occur there...Casey massacred her own tail.

There was blood everywhere...on the walls, on the floors, and a HUGE pool of blood in the living room. And she kept spurting blood as she wiggled her butt and wagged what was left of her tail...spraying blood from the living room, through the hallway and straight into the garage...greeting my parents while acting quite proud of herself.

With the sheer volume of blood they found, they were certain she was going to die of blood-loss, or at least go in shock.

My dad hurried her into her crate and rushed her off to the vet, where she confirmed that, yes indeed, Casey chewed her own tail off.

And if that wasn't bad enough, no one could find her tail. Yes...that's right...Casey ATE her own tail. Maybe she was just getting rid of the evidence?

The vet stabilized her and the next day finished the job Casey started...docking her tail at a more appropriate length. Her gorgeous tail was no more and from that day forth she was destined to do butt wiggles instead of full body tail wags.

In her 14 years, Casey had many such stories...some horror, some hilarity, some just down-right stupid. She wasn't always the easiest dog to live with, but she left me a huge book of stories to always remember her by. Good girl :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Black and White Sunday: Morning Coffee with Kettle

Somehow morning coffee isn't complete (or apparently possible) without a cat in your lap.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Zoom Zoom

I'm glad we had such a gorgeous pre-spring day yesterday, because today it's pouring rain.


Sunday, March 10, 2013


It's been a week full of crazy here, but I guess I should take a moment to reintroduce Danee...formally known as Sasha. She's the new addition to my home and doing pretty well so far. She's a 5-yr old Jack Russell Terrier, and a pretty mellow girl considering what I've heard about terriers.

I will admit that I didn't want a second dog just now...and actually, I still don't. But Danee needs a home and I just can't see turning her away unless she doesn't fit in here. Can you say "sucker"?

So why the name change? Well, while Sasha is a perfectly lovely name, I felt that it didn't suit her at all. I thought of many new possible names, but have so far settled on Danee. It's a weird spelling I know, but I wanted to distinguish her as a girl instead of using the traditional spelling of "Danny" that's commonly a boys name.

Everything is going pretty smoothly so far...especially today. It's much quieter and calmer in the house today...and K if you're reading this, you now know why is quieter here!

Just look at the crazed, wild-eyed terrier on the left...that's Vanna, the other dog that came when I took in Danee. The calm looking one on the right? That's Danee. The difference between them is like night and day.

Vanna is super sweet and a hell of a great snuggler. But her energy level, which is stuck at mach 4 at all times, just isn't right for me. It's really not the kind of thing I enjoy in a dog. So, while I was happy to foster her for a time, I was also happy to see her go somewhere else.

And go she did...yesterday I transported Vanna to meet her new family. They seemed pretty happy as they drove away to start their new life with their very first terrier. Good Luck K and L!

Driving to meet Vanna's new family

I thought the lack of Vanna might upset Danee. Uh, no. Honestly, I think the girl was relieved. After I handed Vanna off to her new family, Danee laid down in the crate (probably thrilled not to have Vanna walking all over her for once) and took a relaxing nap in the sun...all the way back home.

Today I've kept it quiet. I introduced Danee to her first stuffed Kong this afternoon...which she is still busy with...

...we took a couple of walks and had a friend with her dogs stop by for play time (Danee knows them well from her former life as Sasha). The rest of the week will pretty much look like that. She needs quality 'settle in time' before I start asking anything from her. Don't get me wrong, she has loads that she needs to rushing through open doors, learning to settle on a bed, no cat chasing, no begging, no face licking (that rule starts immediately...yuck!). Ya know, basic stuff. After that, we'll see how things land.

My primary task is seeing that Danee and Holly get along, and have ample time to get to know each other. If things don't work out in that department (but it looks like they will), then Danee will continue on to a new home. I don't think it would be fair to ask either dog to stay in a home where they are stressed all the time, not when a stress-free and happy home can work out better. But as I said, I think things will be okay between the two of them...they certainly had a grand time playing a short game of "chase me" in they yard last night :)

I'll get more pictures I promise...and better ones too!

Holly will also start back up with treibball training this week. The snow finally gone from the yard and she can finally do some actual running. Whoop! The girl is finally getting stronger!

And here's a bad picture of Kya...because she felt that I needed her help with my post (and because she wanted my hot cocoa).

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I've got two new dogs in the house...

Let me introduce Sasha, the 5 yr old Jack Russell Terrier...
Sweet Sasha

...and Savannah, the 1 yr old Rat Terrier...
Look! She's holding still!

Savannah was VERY hard to photograph because she constantly moving...most of my photos looked like this...

Let me explain. Sasha and Savannah came from the same home. Their loving owners could no longer keep them due to medical issues. They used to be my neighbors back when they had just Sasha, and last week they called me to ask if I would take one of the dogs. I was shocked...I knew how much they loved their dogs.

I soon found out their sad story, and also discovered that they thought they would have to give up both dogs to the local shelter since they couldn't find homes for either of them. Fortunately, my state has an awesome dog community. I reached out online, and within a few days found a new home for weekend she's going to an agility home to a great couple I already know.

And I decided to keep Sasha.

They say that the best dogs find you, you don't find them...that was certainly true with Casey. So while I had no intention of adopting a second dog so soon after Casey died, here I already find myself with a new dog...and a terrier-ist too!

Fate sometimes has it's own way of doing things. Three years ago, shortly after I adopted Holly, Sasha came for a week-long visit. She "fit" right in and adapted to our routine very easily. She did great with both cats, and I was truly sorry to see her go home. Funny. I think somehow this was meant to be.

I have no idea if she will ever compete in agility with me, but I will certainly enjoy teaching her all kinds of new things either way.

So stay stories seem to be unfolding every day around here!