25 February 2011

Don't like me, even though you read my blog?

Fine, then buy the e-Book instead! It's got lots of great exercises from lots of team members, along with a few fun articles. It's almost 130 pages for a measly $25!! That's crazy! Buy one! Tell your friends and relatives to buy one! Or if you really want to help the whole team, send us some extra money too, to tell us how much you love us, or how much you love our e-book!


PS please buy it even if you do like me - all proceeds are going to the Team!
PPS I have added a permanent link in the sidebar in case you want to buy it in a few days, or next week. Or you'd like to go back and buy more later, like, for your collection, or for a friend...

23 February 2011

I have set up a ChipIn page so people can support us directly online via a brand new Paypal account (my old one is *still* locked out). Please feel free to contribute any amount you can! I installed the widget on the side of the page so we can keep track, so from now till I get ready to leave you will see this on the side of the page:

Please feel free to "chip in" any amount you'd like to contribute towards our trip! It is *very* expensive to fly a dog to the UK - the tune of about $2,250 or so just for the dog's air travel and nothing else! And while Tracy has been busily gathering sponsors, the burden of the travel costs will still fall on the individul exhibitors. I am not going to "cheat" by flying as service dog, I am going to do the most honest and simplest thing and fly him cargo direct into London again. This is financially the most difficult thing to do, but it doesn't involve falsifying documents, or travelling through multiple countries by car or train, which I feel would be more mentally stressful for all involved, both canine and human. So please give us a hand by chipping in a few bucks if you'd like, it all goes straight to my trip fund, with the exception of minor Paypal fees. And stay tuned for a link to purchase the Team's e-book!

ETA: I know 1600 of you have been viewing this page every month;) if you send just a little bit of cash to say "thanks for entertaining me" I would appreciate it!

22 February 2011

Don't you want a shirt like this?

Buy cool stuff at my shop! Link on the sidebar!

Also, the WAO Team USA E-book is almost ready. It will be available for purchase, you will then download it. Trust me, you WANT to buy this book! I've seen a preview of it, and it's really great! There are a variety of exercises from the various team members along with several interesting articles for reading, and even some set-ups from a high-level competitor from across the pond with some tips for handling! Our website is live, but still under construction.

WAO Team USA is stil looking for sponsors as well, if you or someone you know is interested, use the Contact page on the team site to email Tracy!

21 February 2011


Thursday I went up to NJ to teach a semi-private. Beforehand I got some time to train Drifter in an environment where I felt the dirt in the air would be at a minimum. He did really well, seemed to see just fine, although his contact did pop out! They told me that was OK, and it'd been in for a week. He goes in tomorrow for a recheck and I'm fairly sure the scratch is healing well. It seems less cloudy every day, and his sight seems 100%.

Friday was Bayshore AKC Trial. Kiba had a mistake in each run, so didn't MACh. Drifter did QQ again though (barely):

And Seri finished her AX title! (finally!)

On Saturday, Seri's first run in Ex B went, well, OK. She had a "moment" at the end that wasn't so great, just a little too excited out of the chute. Similar in JWW but my camera battery was dying so we didn't get that on video. Seri:

Drifter QQ *again* which I believe is 7 in a row. Boy does he like 20"! Kiba also QQ, which if you're keeping track is #20 and her MACH! Standard not on video but here's jumpers and her MACH lap:

On Sunday I went to the Keystone USDAA trial to run Grand Prix. Seri won 26" masters gamblers in the morning. Drifter didn't even Q. While he did QQ both days at Bayshore, he's been feeling a bit, well, disconnected. Rusty, I guess, from the time off. Not only did we not trial for a month, but we haven't really practiced because of his eye. Well that shall be remedied! He almost Q'ed in Grand Prix, but I thought he had committed to a tunnel but when I moved he took the frame - unusual for him, as I can usually cue and he'll take it even when I begin to move. Oh well. Kiba had a lovely PGP except for a single bar. Seri, well.... she had an OK opening, was very wide in the threadle (looking at who knows what after I pushed her through), and when I called her back and turned around, BAM there was a tunnel right in front of me! Whoops! I leaped aside but didn't stick my landing and FELL while Seri was on the aframe. I realized we were still clean and so as I was getting to my feet I sent her on to the next jump, stumbled forward and used sends and verbals to negotiate a hard rear cross before the weaves, and then continued on, still clean, to much hooting and hollering from the spectators. And she finished clean. And won! So we got Seri's first GP voucher and Q for this year, with me falling down in the middle of it. No video because my battery died, sorry! Seri also went on to Q in Adv Standard which makes 2, I believe.

I'm tired and sore today, so doing all my online "work". Tomorrow is Drifter's recheck, Wednesday we have class, and next weekend I'm headed down to teach some privates in Raleigh NC.

13 February 2011


Thursday afternoon I took Drifter to see the opthalmologist. She said the mark I can see across his eye is actually scar tissue that didn't attach properly, and that's why it was still so visible - it wasn't lying flat and actually healing the cut, but rather sort of sticking out and floating around the cut instead. Yick. She tested his tear production and quality, the pressure in his eyes, and he is generally healthy, except for some reason his blood vessels don't attach and heal abrasions properly. She said this does sometimes happen in "older dogs" but it's pretty rare in border collies. Much more common boxers and pugs. Lucky me, again, to have the 8 year old dog with 2 "old dog" diseases. Oh well, as we say around here "it is what it is". So she numbed the eye, went in and scraped off all the improperly formed scar tissue, then used a needle to rough up the edges of the cut itself so new tissue would stick to it properly, then they gave him a "bandage contact lens" that he wears for 10-14 days (or less if it falls out) to protect it. 3 days later his eye looks MUCH clearer, it's not weeping too often, and I think it is actually healing. He has a recheck scheduled on the 22nd, and if the contact hasn't fallen out, they will remove it then. They also gave me a lubricant drop (sort of gel-like) to give his good eye, that apparently I should keep him on for the rest of his life to help prevent this from happening again. Oh joy! Eye drops 2x a day FOR LIFE! Anyway, they are a simple solution, just a lubricant, and don't seem to bother his good eye. Right now he's on antibiotic drops still in his bad eye, so until that's all healed that's what he'll stay on.

All that mess aside, I discovered I can fit one jump in one end of our "barn" building. the footing is dirt, not real impact-absorbent, but for one jump work, maybe once a week, it'll do. The temperatures have been slowly climbing about freezing, but there was so much ice and rain on top of the snow, that the current snow on the ground just won't ever really be "fluffy" again. It just gets grainy and crunchy, so while I've been walking them around a bit in it for maybe 10-20min a day, I just don't want to risk much longer than that due to concern for their paw pads, which are already looking fragile from all the cold and ice. I may try for a short hike somewhere today in the afternoon. I got goggles for Drifter at the local pet store, to protect his eyes from flying snow and twigs and such. It took some growling at him but he does leave them alone now (at least when I'm nearby). He looks pretty spiffy too (pic on facebook).

10 February 2011

Slack about updating, but I feel that's justified considering all that's been going on. On Feb 1st the movers came to our old house and picked everything up. Due to the weather, they decided not to deliver it till Friday Feb 4th. So lacking furniture and stuff and internet and digital cable, I camped on the old (not being moved because it's trash) couch in the old house for 3 days with my dogs. Not exciting, but better than sleeping on the floor anyways. Friday's moving in went off without a hitch, and now we are all in the new house. I am also done my mini-marathon of teaching, 3 seminars in 4 weeks. That was fun but I wouldn't want to do much more than that in a row, it IS tiring walking around teaching all day. This weekend I'm home, then I have actual agility trials again!
With all the ice and snow, the dogs were quite sore, so I was glad to see Ria, my PT, on Tuesday, even if she is even farther away now. Once we have a space to do so, I plan to convince her to come down to us once a month or so, and fill a whole day with appointments from locals who might otherwise not get their dogs seen at all. I believe getting your dog checked out by some sort of body-watching professional is so important, even if we neglect ourselves, at least our dogs should be seen... For example, at the seminar last weekend Seri kept knocking a bar on a hard left turn after a strong deceleration - she always used to have trouble with this but since I started handling slightly differently I don't usually have trouble, but she kept doing it. Well 2 days later I find out her left shoulder was out - once it clicked back into place she regained full range of motion and "ta-da" as of yesterday she is turning just fine! If I didn't have her checked, I would've just thought she was being willfull or silly last weekend. Now, I know she was having trouble literally moving her leg properly. She was not lame, not at all!
Today I am heading up in the afternoon to get Drifter's eye checked by an opthalmologist. He's been on the antibiotic drops for almost 2 weeks, and while I do think the scratch on his looks better than it did, it is not "healed" by any stretch, and at almost 4 weeks since the original injury, it is taking way too long. Hopefully they will do what they can to get it on the way to healing up fully. I haven't done agility with him in over 2 weeks, as I think it's hard to expect him to judge properly with a fuzzy horizontal slash across his cornea, and also the place I train is dirty, and I don't want dirt getting in his eye.
Strafe continues to grow, and is slightly taller than Kiba now, putting him at around 18" or just under 46cm. I believe he also weighs more than her too, and she is 27 lbs, so he has to be 28+. He just turned 5 months. I call him a monster puppy because he seems so large to me, but I still expect him to turn out around 21-21.5" (54cm) or so. He is not "all legs" anymore; he grew his legs for a while, then his body filled out again. He is not going to be a bean pole/all legs dog like Seri is (she's 20.75"/52.5cm) but only 35lbs.
Anyway my prediction for Strafe is officially 21" or 21.5"/42lbs and I'm sticking to it! I think his brothers will be bigger. His smooth-coated brother out in Washington State seems huge! I think he might not be as "substantial" as Strafe, but he will most likely be taller, maybe 22"+ or so! Of course it's all guesswork, as it's impossible to know for sure.
Yesterday I went ahead and did a little bit of "jump sequencing" with him, since I had a chance to do something in the indoor, and there wasn't much baby equipment available, and I didn't feel like squinching up the tunnel to teach him that (tunnels are so easy for later). So I set a few jumps at 6" (knuckle height, approximately) and we did a little bit of sending/wrapping work. He did great, working for his tug toy and latching onto it like a champ, even though with the weather we've mostly only done inside food reward work. I was very pleased. Then after classes he got to romp around with an older puppy who is 7+ months old, and they learned to play together very nicely. Strafe is very appropriate with other dogs, and he loves to socialize, yet I can still call him back to me if I try.