30 June 2014


Strafe and I just got home from a long but fun trip out to the Pacific Northwest. We started out by going to the AWC Team Practice last weekend, which was great. Held at a great facility in Washington, and I think we have a really good team of dogs and handlers this year, despite quite a few new faces to the FCI team (including myself!)

Because one of the Large dogs can't make it to the 2nd practice, we took pictures of them all together for fun, wearing supporter shirts! Be sure to buy a shirt, the funds go directly to supporting the team!

Great photo by Carrie DeYoung!
I wasn't able to bring a bunch of shirts home with me to sell, due to traveling with a carry on size bag for 12 days, but I can probably get an order together if there is interest! Email me if you'd like one!

After practice I got a ride back to a friend's house, where I just chilled and took some nice walks, enjoying the beautiful scenery and weather for a few days.

I admit, I'm coming to really like Washington. I could probably live there and be quite happy.

After a few days there, I took a really short (36minute!) flight down to Portland to teach for 2 and a half days. One of the reasons I like teaching there is that it is one of the very first places I went for an "away" seminar that I had to fly to, and it's fun to come back and see a few of the same people each time.

Meanwhile, I left the girls with a new in-home boarding place; an agility student who lives pretty close by, and has a POOL. The girls were apparently in heaven and didn't miss me at all:

Kiba enjoying a swim

Seri can't believe she is done swimming!
(both photos by Kristin Anderson)
And now I am back home, all 5 dogs back together, tired but happy. One thing I've discovered in recent years is that I really do like to travel, even though it can be pretty stressful at times and being such an introvert (with a few other oddities involved in my brain chemistry as well;) can make it trying to be around people for so long, I really do like it. It's nice to be home and relax and have down time, but by the time a few weeks have passed I'm usually ready to jet off to another new place again.

Right now my next trip is to the European Open! So I'm in final planning stages for that; all the big ticket items are taken care of; flight, rental car, hotel, major sight-seeing is planned. Really looking forward to competing at the EO and the BCC this year, I'm just crossing my fingers that we get reasonably good weather for both events, or at least not so bad that the conditions become dangerous for the dogs (deep mud, etc).

Ven is almost 6 months old now, and he is definitely taller and longer than when I left on this trip! I will get some pics of him in the next few days for his 6 month birthday. He's coming along nicely, and while I see some similarities with Strafe, he is definitely not a clone and is totally his own dog. I anticipate that we will get along just fine though!

In sadder news, Drifter's mother Tera passed away today at the ripe old age of 17. I was watching Drifter rolling around in the field and could hardly believe his 12th birthday will occur later this year. Aside from a few tiny indications, you'd never know he's a senior now, and he's just as naughty and pushy as ever.

Drifter rolling in the field a few weeks ago, enjoying retirement

Drifter at my very first international competition, IFCS 2010 in England

Drifter's mother Tera, photo by Kaitlyn Dreese who ran her in the latter half of her career and loved her dearly.

16 June 2014

qualifying, a title, and an upcoming trip

I've had the last few weeks off from teaching seminars, which is a nice break. Teaching seminars is a lot of fun but also pretty exhausting! And of course it is necessary to attend trials in order to qualify for the national events I like to attend!

So we did some AKC, the past weekends, and both dogs picked up a nice significant chunk of points towards Nationals. I am hoping that the few trials I have left in the calendar for the rest of the year will be sufficient to finish off their qualifications. If it isn't obvious, I've decided to qualify Kiba, she's running really well and feeling good, so even though she'll be 10 years old and Nationals will be really far next spring, I am at least going to get her qualified and then see how she's feeling and figure out the logistics of getting there later on.

The 2 weekends of AKC with the 2 dogs produced 2 MACH titles - first Kiba finished her MACH2, and then this past weekend Strafe finished his MACH. I was amused that someone asked me how many MACH's that was for him, I laughed and said "he's only 3!" - he is, by several years, the youngest dog I've ever put a MACH on. He's pretty consistent, really, but I don't trial a ton and even Strafe and I make occasional mistakes.

I guess you can tell I don't really like pictures of myself posing with the dogs or the judges for titles, huh? I like the pretty ribbons, and I like the pretty dogs :)

I like cool pictures like this, even if I always laugh at the expression on my face (or really anyone's face in the middle of a crazy run - most people have hilarious looks going on)!

This upcoming weekend, in Seattle area, is our very first AWC Team Practice. I am pretty excited about this. After that I'm staying in the area with a friend and then teaching in Portland. That is my last seminar weekend before the big trip...

Ven continues to grow. He's similar to Strafe in so many ways but clearly his own dog, and different in many others. He is definitely what I call "good clay" though - I am sure I can sculpt him into a fabulous agility dog without too much work. His biggest obstacle so far is that he is a bit of a baby if he gets scared of something. Luckily so far there haven't been too many things that really scare him - he's going to trials with me all the time and basically he's only worried about the big fans that move the air. He loves meeting new people and is fabulous hanging out i the car all day. He's currently about 18.5" tall at 5.5 months - I think he's on track to be a nice size, between 20 and 21" when finished.

He also finally has a sit stay good enough to take a group picture. So it isn't professional quality - who cares - but here's all 5 of my current dogs.

Ven (5 months), Strafe (3.5yrs), Seri (almost 8yrs), Drifter (11.5yrs), Kiba (9.5yrs)
And that's basically my blog playing catch up on my life. Even though I have quite a bit of "down time" at home, I still feel like I'm super busy all the time. Traveling and teaching and trialing and then doing laundry to do it all over again!

But then of course Strafe and I are also doing a lot of this; hiking, and he is swimming, we both need to get in great shape for our big events coming up!

And of course now that the weather is no longer arctic, we enjoy hiking! I've been taking just Strafe alone quite often these days, for various reasons, but since we travel alone together I think it is nice to give him some time with just me. The other dogs get to romp in our fields (pictured above) several times a day when the weather is nice.

04 June 2014

PT visit - Good news all around

1. Ven's short stride up front that I wasn't sure was a problem or not - is not a problem, just a funny growth stage.

2. My knee does not present properly as a torn meniscus and seems instead to be due to something called Chondromalacia Patella which should be mostly resolved with targeted strengthening and continued PT.