26 March 2014


We leave in a little while for the AKC National Agility Championship. This is the closest we've ever had a National agility event - only 2 hours drive. It seems quite strange not to be packing for a long drive or a flight, but it sure is nice...

This year, 2014, will be Kiba's 6th AKC National. 6 in a row, just boggles my mind. Every time I've gone to AKC Nationals, Kiba's been with me, and here we are at what is very likely her last one. I'm really not an emotional person but I am really hoping that I can do Kiba justice at this event. She's 9 years old now, but still running well. We seem to have sorted out the little jumping and handling quirks we were struggling with at this time last year, and she's been a qualifying machine at trials this winter.

In honor of Kiba' 6th AKC NAC in a row, here is video of her Round 1 and 2 from her very first NAC back in 2009. This was the first year we attended, I ran her at 20" (the last year you could jump up from your measured height), and she made Finals on 3 clear Rounds. Kiba's since been in Challenger Round in 2010, and Finals again in 2012.

This is already Strafe's 2nd AKC National event, and he is only 3.5 years old. He seems to finally be back to eating and feeling normal after his weird bout of Anaplasmosis and possible stomach upset from the Doxycycline, so I'm just thrilled that he feels good enough to run.

Last year Strafe did really well, getting into Challenger Round and placing 3rd. I hope to do at least that well this year, but of course dogs are dogs, and not entirely predictable ;)

I am also running my mother's dog Trig in the 20" division. This is my 2nd time running Trig at NAC. She is not a speed demon but she's steady and quick so my goal with her will be to try to get her into Finals by running 3 clean, but we haven't been running together as much this year as we were in 2012 so I'm going to have to focus to do it!

24 March 2014

Growing and Recovery

Ven is growing. Our first visit to the vet in the USA today had him at 14.5 lbs, although I swear this scale always measures a little bit low. So he's gained about 2.5 lbs since coming home, doesn't sound like a ton but 14.5lbs at only 11 weeks is nothing to sneeze at. And he's definitely not fat. Going to stay with my guess that he'll be just a bit bigger than Strafe when he's finished. He handled the vet great, snuggled with everyone and played with his leash.

I brought Strafe with me to give Ven some confidence in the new environment and get a weight on him. He's finally eating regularly after about 10 days of on and off fasting, due to the Anaplasmosis and then perhaps due to stomach upset from the Doxy. He still doesn't eat every single bit that I give him but he hasn't gone a whole day without food in a week now so I'm pretty confident that we're past the worst of it, finally. He had lost almost 2.5 lbs between the travel and then the refusal to eat, so even though he's only gained just under a half a pound back, he does already feel a tiny bit better to me when I run my hands over him. Still on the skinny side but he's about the same weight as some people keep their agility dogs (too skinny for me - I worry about his body eating up muscle if I kept him at this weight).

Ven continues to be cute and happy. He plays, learns, eats, and grows.

Ven, 11 weeks old

Ven and Seri being a bit weird together

I went to my first UKI trial yesterday, ran NFC to practice contacts, then both Strafe and Kiba got byes in the Masters Series. I was glad that I got to run Strafe some, because it gave me confidence for AKC Nationals which begins this Thursday. His jumping looked great and he was moving fabulously, obviously feeling good. It is still highly unlikely that I will go to the US Open or try out for WAO but at least now my dogs and I are registered for the future and have an idea of how the game works.

16 March 2014

Wishing for puppy pictures?

playing with Bizou, my mother's 18 month old papillon

playing with Gaze, who's almost 6 months old

9.5 weeks, posing with his older brother

almost 10 weeks, checking in with me and smiling

almost 10 weeks, running in the field among his new friends

10 weeks, staring at Kiba 
10 weeks, stalking Kiba

10 weeks, looks like he's saying "Who me? I didn't do anything!"

10 weeks, looking huge but he's not, it's a trick of where he's standing
He's about 12" tall at 10 weeks old, my guess is still going to be that he finishes just under 21" and close to 40lbs. But then i also thought Strafe would be a little bit bigger than he is, so who knows, I could be totally wrong! I'm pretty sure he's not going to be huge, but I'm also sure he's not going to be tiny. That's all I know for sure ;)

Strafe is doing so much better today. He's now eaten 3 meals in a row, and this morning he actually looked HUNGRY and ate quickly for the first time in a week. I'm so relieved; this probably means the diagnosis of Anaplasmosis is the correct one as far as the reason he wasn't eating, and that the doxycyline is working and he is feeling better now.

Yesterday I went to the AKC trial and ran Kiba but she forgot how to weave so didn't finish her MACH2. Today I decided to just stay home. Instead I entered 1 day of UKI next Sunday, which I will use to practice good contacts by running NFC (not for competition) in the ring. My dogs have never encountered that so it should be a great surprise for them ;)

14 March 2014

Belated Crufts Trip Post

10 days ago I embarked on a bit of a crazy trip with one dog and came home with two!

First I flew from Newark to Denmark, where Jane, Strafe's breeder, picked me up and I met my puppy. It was really cool to take Strafe back to see his breeder and meet his mother again. She really liked him at first, and was sort of incestuously flirting with him when they first met:

But after we got back to her house, she decided he was just another boy dog and mostly just left him alone or made faces at him ;)

We did get to go to the beach though, with Strafe, his mother, and his two half-brothers (and Do It who is not related).

Sorry the tan markings are extra red, it took me a bit to figure out the settings on my new camera, it's fixed now but I didn't mess with it while I was on the trip, afraid to "break" it!

The next day, Thursday, Jane dropped me off at the Copenhagen airport and we flew across to England for Crufts.

LOTS of halls, all of them full of dogs and vendors, easy to get lost!
Thursday evening we had a brief practice off site (thanks to the Gardners!) which we just used to get on the contacts and the chute. Friday I had the day off to shop and watch (this was the first year there was more than one American at Crufts! Congrats to Desiree and Daneen for also winning classes there!)

Saturday we got to run! And we won our very first run at Crufts! Our Jumping run was just great, we were super connected and I loved it.

(above photos thanks to Carrie DeYoung who was also my guide on this part of the trip, always steering me in the right direction and telling me where to go!)

Our 2nd run I was determined to stay on course, because as long as we did not get eliminated, I would be through to run in the Final! And we did - unfortunately we did not run clean, as I over-handled his running aframe and got too far behind to show him the weaves out of a tunnel, so we earned a refusal there (I think that's his first missed weave entry in almost 2 years?!)

And in the Final we had a bit of a muck-up, where I tried to use a tunnel brake verbal and instead he pulled back out of the tunnel, then proceeded to run around it in a very confused manner. I was laughing - he is such a good boy he would never do something like that on purpose, he was genuinely confused and trying to be right!

Now I wonder though if that was the beginning... That night he was really really extra tired, more than I'd expect even after a big day, and he did not completely finish his dinner. Sunday he ate a little bit of breakfast at the airport, then refused to eat anything else once we got to Denmark. I thought maybe stress? We got a nice short walk in with the family again.

photo by Kristin, who kindly agreed to come and help me bring the puppy home!

We got home Monday after a fairly uneventful but long flight home from Copenhagen. Puppy Ven is doing really really well (don't forget you can learn all about his training on my paid blog! Sorry for advertising;)

But Strafe is still not eating. Wednesday we went to the vet and ran bloodwork which was mostly normal, just positive for Anaplasmosis which is a tick borne disease common in my area. So Thursday we started on antibiotics for that. Today, Friday, I went back to the vet and also got an appetite stimulant. I am hoping the combination of those things will have him back to normal in no time, but for now he's just a bit tired and has lost a bit of weight. His temperature is normal, he is "passing things through" normally, and he is drinking water and staying hydrated. Obviously I will not be running him at the trial this weekend though. He is on pretty strict rest other than a short walk in the field, until he starts to eat again. So far he's been eating one small meal each day, and then I have been giving him a high calorie gel smeared on his tongue to make sure he gets enough nutrients and calories (Nutri-Cal). He is holding his weight, but he IS too skinny. I am crossing my fingers he will be well to run at AKC Nationals in 2 weeks!

On the up side, Kiba will run AKC this weekend could finish her MACH2 if she gets a QQ.

And Ven has settled right into the household really really nicely!