Monday Mornings… Tuesday, Dec 3 2013 

6:30 Monday morning. In fact, 6:30 every morning, this is what awaits me as I stumble around the kitchen making tea. The girls are hungry. Starving in fact, and there is no way this side of hell that they’ll let me make it to 7:00 before feeding them.

So... hungry....

So… hungry….

About two minutes after this picture was taken Bri brought her bowl over and dropped it on my toes when I failed to fill it fast enough. Such evil little children… 🙂

May your toes remain unbruised and your mornings peaceful!

Kat, Holly & Bri

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Tuesday, Dec 3 2013 

And I just won’t let them.

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Oh, such a rough, rough life.

Until Later!

Kat, Holly & Bri

Happy Thanksgiving! Thursday, Nov 28 2013 

Another year is rolling over! This Thanksgiving I would do well to remember all the blessings I have.

Thankful for lessons learned in Georgia.

Thankful for lessons learned in Georgia.

I am thankful for my amazing family and friends; my time in Georgia which taught me so many life lessons; all the opportunities that I have been given in life; and, as always, my two, wonderful dogs.

Two years ago.

Two years ago.

Holly’s been my girl for over four years now, seen me through my rocky adolescence and into adulthood, taught me so much about patience, trust and partnership.

Bri joined our crew just over two years ago. She has had so many lessons of her own to teach me, about taking joy in life, about habits, and standing up for others. Devotion and loyalty, and just like her big sister, she’s shown taught me so much about trust.

Now. Bri's grown up so much, and Holly's aged gracefully.

Now. Bri’s grown up so much, and Holly’s aged gracefully.

So today, I’ll walk my beasts, go and enjoy my family, make sure the girls get an extra big hug and treat, and remind myself about just how lucky I am to my two wonderful partners, and that I must continue to strive to worthy of such devotion.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly & Bri

Shy Dog Wednesday, Nov 27 2013 

I have a shy dog.

Yes folks, Bri is a shy dog. She has been a shy girl since the day I picked her up at the airport.

Surely not a shy baby!

Surely not a shy baby!

From the time I first started socializing her when she was 11 weeks old it was painfully obvious that she was a very shy little girl. New situations made her very nervous, and little people especially made her hide behind my legs.

Since I got her I have learned a lot more about standing up for my dogs and their comforts. Holly is  a very friendly dog when it comes to people, plus she’s not the kind of dog that gets stopped by ogglers on the street on a frequent basis. Bri, on the other hand is stopped on every walk by someone wanting to know what she is, how much she weighs, how much she eats, telling me how pretty she is, and can they pet her.

Holly is about as outgoing as a dog can get around people.

Holly is about as outgoing as a dog can get around people.

Now, to her great credit Bri seems to trust my judgment of situations almost completely. If she gets uncomfortable with people’s proximity she moves away from them. She is unsure, but trusts that I will take care of her. I  have had to take steps to make sure I deserve that trust.

Most people seem to get the idea when she doesn’t come running to them that she does not go ga-ga over strangers and either admire her from afar or are very polite and appropriate when greeting her. I give them cheese treats and they usually put out a hand, kneel down and let her come to visit them. Thanks to wonderful people like this her confidence has risen greatly.

Unfortunately not all people are like this.

There are those idiots who come charging full force at her squealing about “the bear dog” that is “SOOOOOOOOO CUUUUUUUTE!!!!” Bri simply does not know what to do with these people and honestly until recently, I haven’t been great at handling them either. A simple statement of “She’s pretty shy.” Never does the trick. They inevitably follow trying to get at her.

In the past I have handled these situations pretty poorly. I haven’t done much and Bri has dealt with it in her usual way of tolerating and moving on. However, with my newly heightened sense of personal space and responsibility that I picked up during my sojourn in the South I find myself taking a much harder line with the idiotic petters than ever before.

Mellowed with time and practice, Holly, Bri and myself.

Mellowed with time and practice, Holly, Bri and myself.

The first time it happened was a few days ago, Bri and I were out on a little training jaunt by ourselves and someone comes charging up to pet her. My initial “Shy dog!” Warning didn’t have any effect so I proceeded to firmly tell them to stop and leave her alone, she’s shy. They kept reaching and trying to go around me so doing something I have never done before, I pushed their hand away and told them to leave my dog alone, she’s uncomfortable and doesn’t like to be molested by morons who don’t understand the first thing about canine body language.

This nasty outburst was followed by a brief stunned pause and then a huffy retreat by the would-be petter. Bri seems to be just a little more comfortable as I continue to keep her from being overwhelmed and I am quite proud of myself for having progressed to the point where I can do this without the kind of terrible anxiety this would have triggered in the past. The pups and I have come a long way together and I look forward to continuing onward!

We've all come a long way!

We’ve all come a long way!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly & Bri

The Things I Learn Friday, Nov 22 2013 

I’ll be honest here; I. Love. Drafting. It is just outright fun!

Squirrel?!

My introduction to it started with Holly. I found a relatively cheap cart and harness (custom made for a female Newfie actually) several years ago. Once Holly got the idea she took to it like a fish to water. She absolutely LOVED being allowed to pull something down the street, plus the wonderful benefit of lots of praise and cookies. With a little work she easily was hauling about 50lbs of groceries, or dog food, or firewood home.

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Newfies are drafting dogs. That’s part of their job. So I have been happily anticipating the day when I could really start working with Bri on her draft training in earnest. I introduced her to the cart when she was a baby, started harnessing when she was a teenager, and started actually working on the hitching when she was over a year. Now that she is two she is officially good to go! Physically mature enough to start pulling weight and going for distances that will be required for her tests and for our everyday tasks.

However, there was a little hitch in our draft training.

I noticed, starting when she was about 9 months old, that the harness I had did not seem to be fitting correctly. It was very odd to me, since that harness was originally for a full grown female Newfie about the same size that Bri has matured to be. I fiddled, I twiddled, I tried readjusting, I even thought about ripping out some seams and adding extra length the chest where it appeared to be pinching terribly.

At last, in bafflement, thinking that there would be no other option than to order a new harness, I looked up how to correctly measure for a Siwash harness. There was a tutorial on YouTube. Watching closely I started measuring Bri, then, when the demonstrator was putting her harness on her own dog to demonstrate proper fit the realization hit me between the eyes. Such an epiphany, and far more embarrassing than even my recent grooming realization.

I had been putting on the harness upside down.

Yes folks, somehow, for the past several years, Holly was pulling serious weight with an upside down harness, and Bri, bless her poor soul, was learning in it. My guilt has been overwhelming. Especially since now I realize why Bri didn’t have quite the enthusiasm for it that Holly had. Holly, sweet, determined girl, pushes her head through the loop whenever I pull it out in the hopes that it will be treat/praise/pull time.

Right way up now...

Right way up now…

Putting the harness on the right way has made all the difference. Bri is comfortable and happy with a harness that fits perfectly, Holly is pleased to have the padding, and I… well… I feel terribly guilty for my owner stupidity but incredibly relieved that it was fixed before I ever really got serious with Bri’s draft work, or, gosh forbid, showed up to a test with my equipment on upside-down.

My little draft dog, correctly rigged.

My little draft dog, correctly rigged.

Until Later,

Kat, Holly & Bri

Grooming Epiphany Thursday, Nov 21 2013 

So having been the happy (somewhat beleaguered) owner of a Newfoundland for a little over two years one would think I’d be well versed in things like grooming by now. I actually thought I was doing pretty well controlling the dust bunnies and keeping Bri from becoming a bigger version of a badly done Puli. Well, I thought that until just recently.

It started young...

The fluff just never left…

See, Bri has this fluff… Like any Newfie she has the long feathering, massive, puffy pantaloons that attract dirt, debris, pine needles, old cigarette butts, and other things of that ilk, and the long, flag-type tail. But she also has this head floof. It is insane. It’s so long that when it’s fully grown out it parts in the middle. Her ear floof hangs down several inches past the ends of her ears. She looks like a fluff explosion.

Now, somehow, I have spent the past two years in the belief that all this extra fluff will simply fall away one day and leave behind the (almost) perfectly shaped Newfie trim, no more long ear tassles, or chest poof that is out of control, rounded head where the floof actually stands on it own.

At two years two months, the fluff still hadn't gone!

At two years two months, the fluff still hadn’t gone!

Imagine my embarrassment when, while puttering around a Newf forum I frequent, browsing for information on handling The Undercoat, I found that the perfect Newfie looks is made, not born.

Lightbulb!!

A little more research and off I went to the Groomer’s Mall to get a decent pair of thinning shears.

After a week of anticipating their arrival they finally came, all shiny and oh-so-sharp! Poor Bri had a day full of grooming. Bath, followed by blow-drying, then brushing out, stripping down, and finally trimming. It took me about three hours to work my way through the instructions and shape her up a bit. I have to say, for a first attempt, it really did not turn out too badly.

Less floof!

Less floof!

We got through it with a minimum of bloodshed, I only managed to cut myself open with those uber sharp shears. I’ll gladly take that over nicking Bri any day!

Bri happily avoided any nicks.

Bri happily avoided any nicks.

Holly looked on at the whole scene over her peanut butter Kong with a smug expression on that graying face of hers. I’m getting more and more of the impression that she’s very happy to be the low maintenance hound.

Natural beauties, I just learned how to tame some Bri's lovely locks.

Natural beauties, I just had to learn how to tame some Bri’s lovely locks.

Until Later!

Kat, Holly & Bri

Home Again, Home Again! Wednesday, Nov 20 2013 

So much has happened these last few months it’s very hard to sum it all up and do it adequate justice. I’ll try to the best of my ability to make it brief.
Maya was adopted by a wonderful, loving family in the suburbs with two children (whom she adores), a mom who works from home, and a huge fenced in back yard. To the best of my knowledge they are very happy with her and she with them. A great ending to what started out as a sad story.

After a crash course in life, meeting many wonderful people (and plenty of the not-so-wonderful kind too) I decided that the great American South is not really my thing. From the humidity and heat, to the culture, to… well pretty much everything. Different strokes for different folks, but I’m a Pacific Northwest gal! I belong amid mountains, rain, and bone-chilling temperatures.

It was sad to leave in some ways, my landlady and my boss were some absolutely amazing women and I picked up some wonderful experience from them. But when my plane set down in my hometown I was very glad to be back.

Best of all, I’m back with my dogs! I’ll be starting school in January and until then the pups and I have some time to work on training again! I’ve managed to get big dreams for both of them (again) and we’ll see what comes of that, so long as we’re having fun all is well.

It’s good to be home!
Until Later,
Kat, Holly & Bri

July 4th Tuesday, Jul 9 2013 

July 4th… Oh my goodness, I have never appreciated just how hard dog boarding facilities work over the holidays. This past Independence Day was packed full! We had a little bit of everything, friendly Danes; fluffy, lovable yap dogs; and of course at least one pup that would take your face off if given the chance.

Thankfully, with the end of the holiday all the pups went home leaving our facilities eerily peaceful. It’s been blissfully quiet. Maya, my little foster girl, has found herself a wonderful home! She’ll be going to her forever family this Wednesday.

As for my personal life, it has been frustrating. I finally found a beautiful little furnished studio apartment which I can afford. Thanks to my fantastic boss lady who asked one of our clients about their spare building. On that front, things are looking up!

On the other hand, my relationship has deteriorated. I realize this blog is about my dogs, but I feel that this ties in suitably.

I had not thought about it until recently but the boyfriend has become increasingly controlling and disrespectful of me, my property, and my passions. He’s never been a dog person, but he’s been outright rude about my coworkers, my canine charges, and my own pups. Huge problem, anyone who utters a wrong word about my canine children is instantly under suspicion.

Now my property, driving me to work while high and refusing to give me the keys to my own darn car is a problem. A very, very big one. Using my automatic car as a manual is also a problem, not to mention dragging on the e-brake.

I have had enough of it. I am moving out this week on my own. I am really looking forward to running my own life again!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly, Bri & Maya (going home Wednesday!!!)

Ignorance and Stupidity Monday, Jun 24 2013 

Goodness, goodness me. I’m afraid I have another vent/rant session for you today.

Boyfriend, wonderful patient, and accommodating person that he is, attempted to appease my crazy dog lady side and took me on a date to a dog event. It’s the local Dog Fest. (Poor man, still acclimating to the wonderful world of Dog Snobs and having a difficult time. He called it The Dog Show.) I was thrilled!

So, cheap phone GPS in hand we made what should have been a 30 minute venture. It turned into an hour and a half of getting repeatedly lost, aforementioned cheap GPS not working. At all. And finally stumbling across our final destination, which, to our dismay, Boyfriend knew how to get there the whole time.

Upon arriving I slowly descended into Dog Snob hell. Full of dog owners of the following types:

-Loving owners with snappy Fido racing around on the end of a Flexi-lead.
-Gangsta wannabes with their overweight (“I worked hard to get that muscle tone on him! I put him on the treadmill for five minutes a day!”) Pitties on the ends of chains heavier than they are.
-Know-it-all Newbies (Courtesy of the Dog Snobs blog) with a clicker pointed at their dog, prong/choke collar strapped on, and alternately clicking and yanking away to no avail while Fido completely ignores their stupidity.

There were several other types there, but previous listed persons represented most of the group.

Now I know why I am no longer comfortable at dog events like I used to be. Because the majority of the people there are morons. That being said, they are mostly forgivable. They are simply oblivious and rather ignorant.

What killed me was the “trainers/professionals/experts” at this event. There was a protection demonstration event. There was a Dutch Shepherd, German Shepherd and Doberman that were the dogs demonstrating. The Dutch was probably the best one. Overall he was attentive and relatively precise. But at one point his handler ordered him off the “attacker” and he released, then without warning or cue lunged up towards the decoy’s face. Nothing was said, no correction was issued, but his handler (a trainer) had to pry him off of the poor decoy’s bite suit.

Ther German Shepherd seriously concerned me. His handler would go to pat him and he would turn around and snap at his handler’s hands. He was jumpy, unfocused, stressed and seemed to barely hear his handler. It was very disturbing to me to see “trainers” telling large groups of dog owners that these are excellent examples of protection dogs when they seem (a) not trained to appropriate standards (b) not temperamentally suited to it.

As if this were not sad enough the same “trainer” as was working the Dutch Shepherd made sure to inform the crowd that agility is an excellent venue to start dogs out in from the moment they walk in the door, (because heaven knows they need to be jumping and putting lots of strain on their growing bone structure) and it’s a prime place to take dogs with reactivity and focus issues. Ummm……

My thoughts about that went something along the lines of: “Okay, so you’re saying I should have started teaching my giant breed puppy to jump over obstacles when she was 3 months old? What am I supposed to do when she starts having severe joint problems down the road? Oh wait, and people with reactive, unfocused dogs should take them to events, let them loose in an area with lots of other dogs, and attempt to get them to go over/through obstacles?” *FACEPALM*

What a great trainer. Though as a disclaimer I have yet to work Holly or Bri in a protection sport of any kind. It’s probably never going to happen actually, and I have yet to title either of them in agility. Still, the advice and behavior of the dogs seemed poor.

Now, one thing I HAVE done is drafting. That’s something that I know about. Bri is a happy Newf when she’s hitched up. A true example of her breed when it comes to that! Holly, while not a drafting breed, still greatly enjoys it, though she can’t do it nearly as easily as Bri. In training both of them to pull I have never, ever, ever, EVER corrected either one of them. It’s a game. If it ever got to the point where they did not enjoy it then I would pack up the harnesses and carts and move on.

At the event there was a weight-pulling demo and the man doing it was letting people try it with their dogs. A beautiful little Pittie came up and the supposed “expert” put the harness on, hitched him up to a weighted cart with no conditioning, turned the normal leash into a slip lead and started yanking the poor pup along telling him to “work”.

This man seemed to be one of the sorts who let his dog advertise the size of his balls, or the lack thereof. He’s boasting of everything his Pit has done, but in none of it is there a title through the AKC or UKC. He then went on to criticize two “fag Asians” because they had a little Papillon with bows on her ears that they carried around.

All in all, it was a rather disheartening day, full of moments in which I wanted to fly my true dog snob attitude, but didn’t out of sheer pity for Boyfriend, who was already out of his world and likely to shrivel up and die of embarrassment had I said anything.

So, with that rant completed, let me say that my little foster girl, Miss Maya, is getting spayed Monday morning, and has a page on Petfinder which can be viewed here:

Here is my shameless plug for my foster girl. CLICK IT! Please.

So, that concludes my rant/vent/blog update/shameless plugging. Thank you. It’s good to get it off the chest!

Hope you are all doing marvelously!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly, Bri & Maya

I Have Pictures!! Tuesday, Jun 18 2013 

I have pictures for you!!

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Little Miss Maya

She joined me like she usually does in the reception area of the kennel as I was cleaning up. She’s very photogenic, I don’t even have to hold a cookie in front of her nose to get her to perk her ears and look adorable!

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What a face!

I’m pretty sure she’s a Lab Pittie mix, she’s got a bit of the look of both of them. What do you guys think?

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She’s got a near-terminal case of the Wiggle Butt, and she hasn’t had a single accident in her run. She only potties in the separate yards where we let the dogs out for play and potty time.

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She saw the treat come out and laid down. Self training? Smart lil thing!

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Finally got tired of the camera and settled down for a rest. She’s had a busy day playing with her new-found friends!

I may have a place of my own lined up in the next few days. I sincerely hope I do. I would like to have my baby girls down here from Washington, I desperately miss Holly and Bri, terrors that they are. Plus, I would like to get Maya into a house situation as soon as I can, she’ll have more training, exercise, and love if she’s in a home rather than the kennel. Still, I’m thankful she has somewhere to call home!

Hope you are all doing fantastically!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly, Bri & Maya

 

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