Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I’m having a blast with Rampage. We just came back from a 4 day AKC trial where the 5 of us stayed in my tiny RV. That was a learning experience! I know for a fact that unless I upgrade my RV to a bigger rig, I’m never ever ever going to want FIVE dogs! Of course I’m sure that some of it is due to the fact that he is a puppy and my dogs don’t quite know what to make of him just yet

He has been consistently waking up at 4am to potty now, but not wanting to go back to sleep. Because I’ve been in an RV with VERY close neighbors his beautiful 4am singing (read: screaming) has resulted in me bringing him into the bed with me and the rest of the dogs after about 10 minutes, where he sleeps quite contentedly. I asked all my neighbors if they heard him and they said no, so last night I decided to let him scream. And scream he did from 4:50 until I got up at 7:20. He’s one persistent dude. And this morning, my neighbors said they DID hear him. Oops! Sorry!

However, when he was in the arena at the trial (being held only – I didn’t let him on the ground since I was leery of the livestock bugs) he was EXCEEDINGLY cute and either attentively yet calmly watched what was going on around him, or fell asleep. I had some friends over to the rv for dinner last night and while we played with him before dinner, he slept quite contentedly while we all ate!

I’m not used to seeing 7.5 week old puppies get the zoomies. Icon was too serious for zoomies and Apollo too uncoordinated. Well puppy zoomies in a 24’ rv is like watching a game of Pinball. He bounced off dinettes, fake wood paneling and dogs in quick succession. It took all of my pinball skills to make sure he didn't take a tumble into the stairwell. Now that we’re home and he has more room for the zoomies, he’s way cuter. He reminds me of a jackrabbit trying to escape a dog chasing him. He’ll be standing utterly still with his ears twitching (ok, I’m probably imagining the ears twitching – but seriously, they look like they will prick on their own!) and then suddenly take off. Just as you think he’s heading for the patio furniture he starts zigzagging all over the yard. Me and the other dogs stand there with our mouths hanging open. Next thing we know he’s yapping at Apollo and Apollo has no clue what to do! You can see Apollo's thought forming, "wasn't he by the patio furniture a second ago?". I need to get this on video. Puppy zoomies are so cute!

I feed raw and Rampage is taking to it better than any of my other dogs ever did. They at least had some runny poops after their first raw meal, but Rampage has shown none of that and I’ve given him such variety for just starting! So far he’s had chicken wings, pork necks (that was more recreational for him – his teeth are too small to really eat it), ground beef, eggs, ground turkey, trout, and chicken liver. He loves it all!

Icon has corrected Rampage twice now (both very appropriately, IMHO). Rampage is a PEST to the other dogs. If he was like this to his littermates, I think he owes Riff, Ex and Etch an apology. Neither of Icon’s corrections phased him at all. He just continued right on being a pest. This is quite new for me because when Icon was a puppy, he didn’t care about my other dogs and just wanted to interact with me. With Rampage, I have to find a way to make myself more interesting that the other dogs so he’ll interact with me instead of them (or put them away, which makes me feel bad for them since they didn’t do anything wrong!).

Rampage is really fun to play with and train. He didn’t show much interest in tugging the first few days I had him, but he’s starting to get into it now. I like to get rough with my dogs during tugging, but I quickly learned that Rampage isn’t ready for that quite yet! A tiny tap on his side while we were tugging made him give up the game.

I also introduced the clicker and was surprised that he automatically gives a sit. Maybe someone worked with them on that before we brought puppies home? Another thing I noticed him offering was a head bob, which I didn’t reward. I started him hand targeting and he picked that up really quick. The last thing I worked with him on, was walking over a small box (I actually used the levelers for my RV. He walked over it, but I’m not sure he associated the c+t with walking on the box. Well, he’s young yet.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And what did Santa get for you this year, Channan?

Why, he got me a PUPPY!

Isn't he cute? (I need to learn not to speak when the camera is on, I sound like a moron... Oh well)

Rampage and brothers from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The story of my first day back at work

I was on a 6 week sabbatical from Oct 17th until December 2nd. It was fun, but it went by soooo fast.

During my sabbatical, my department moved to a different building, so I was in a totally new office. We're now on the 11th floor so I have a pretty nice view of San Bruno mountain and Fwy 101 but it is a huge pain taking the elevator, especially during 'rush hour'. I guess it's an improvement though, since in my last office all I saw was the building next door (which is the building I'm in now).

Many of my coworkers are very creative, so I KNEW I would have something waiting for me in my new office when I returned to work. For one guy, they wrapped everything in his office in newspaper. For another guy, the decked out his office to make it look like it had been taken over by a homeless person (pretty funny, actually).

But for me, apparently nothing quite so benign would do.

My office was decked out all in pink! With teddy bears and doilies and ballons (oh my). They even had some princess dresses hanging off the wall. I have to admit, they got me pretty good on that one.

I didn't last long in the Princess Wonderland. The day after I got back from sabbatical, I took a box and dumped all of the teddy bears in it. To my coworkers I sent the following email, and within seconds all of my coworkers came to my office to pick up their pink things.

**NEWSFLASH** Mass grave found in building 83

(12-3) 11:51PM PDT South San Francisco. Genentech Security has announced that a mass grave was found in room 83111 of building 83 on the Genentech Gateway Campus. It is unknown how many corpses are located within the grave. Initial estimates put the number at around 30. Only a few bodies have been identified, including Mini Mouse, Kermit The Frog and Hello Kitty. Next of kin have not yet been notified.

Adrian Griggs, who occupies the room 2 doors from the site of slaughter was at a loss to explain what happened not 20 feet from where he was sitting.

'It's been so quiet in that office since we moved to building 83! I always though Channan was a nice girl. She seems pretty reserved, but I had no clue she was capable of this!"

Channan Fosty, 25, was found wandering the halls of building 83 wearing a child's pink dress. She refused to comment on the tragedy, however Genentech Security are holding her for questioning and psychological evaluation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Polly is nothing if not consistent

Somehow Apollo managed to place 11th in each of the 3 rounds he qualified in.

I will admit that I had hoped that he would do better than 11th, 5th or 6th place at least! But there were some really nice and fast 24" dogs there.

I was really happy with how Apollo performed. Our mistakes on the first run were both my fault and totally avoidable. Aside from the bar in the first round, he didn't drop any more. He was running really nicely on the matting and he seemed to have a lot of fun!

Apollo Rd1 - AKC Invitatioanls 2008 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Apollo Rd 2 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Apollo Rd3 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Apollo Rd4 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Murder on Ruschin Dr. (aka the death of Grumpy the dwarf)

I drove home from work on a relatively average day. It was a long weekend for me so I was a bit on the chipper side, despite the multiple accidents on the freeway that nearly doubled my commute.

As usual an after a binging incident, I was a bit hesitant to enter the house. On the previous day, Apollo and Icon had nabbed a half full bag of Costco-sized Pita Chips off of the counter and eaten them while I was at work. Logically I knew that today I had left nothing for them to get into (I always remember to put everything out of their reach the day after they binge due to my forgetfulness) but I was emotionally scarred from the day before. A deep, penetrating scar that would take at least a day or two to heal. And so I grabbed the door knob confidently, but hesitated before turning it.

I eased the door open and walked in to be greeted by my spotless black granite counter tops. My stainless steel coffee pot winked at me, knowing that although I can walk past him without a glance now, in the morning I will come crawling on my knees and beg him to start producing his sweet, dark nectar.

My dogs rushed up to say, 'Hi mom! We missed you! We love you! Why were you gone so long??? Play with us! Pleaaaase?'

Boy, I love my dogs. All was right in my world.

It was not until I steped a bit further into my kitchen that the doorway to my computer room started to display the carnage within.

As I steped in, my mind swirled in confusion. I felt a bit faint. Snow?? In my computer room?? In December? Inconceviable! (I just saw the movie The Princess Bride the other night, so the word 'Inconcevable' sliped into my thoughts unbidden).

Mounds of fluffy whiteness were spread over the exapanse of my computer room floor. Icon bounded across the snow and barked cheerfully. I gasped in horror as my eyes started to focus on a hat buried within the snow. A hat I knew well!

The words "Grumpy" were written across the brim. I looked a bit to my right to see large white eyes and a bulbous nose, which just barely avoided being totally embraced by the snow. A glance a bit to my left showed a foot that appeared to be struck with elephantiasis.

I grasped the hat to my chest and howled my agony! The dogs howled with me. Who could have done such a thing???? Who? Who??? WHO????

Pook peered around the doorway to see what woke him from his sleep. Unimpressed, he flicked his tail at us and returned to his spot on the couch in the livingroom.


Join me now as we use amazing new technology peruse the murder scene and re-enact the actual murder of Grumpy!


The suspects are as shown, left to right.

APOLLO (aka POLLY - Food stealer and emotional manipulator extraordinaire)
ICON (aka - well, he would be embarassed if I told you - mastermind of the 'indignant innocence' expression and Polly manipulator extraordinaire)
FOSTER (aka THE BOSS - He suggests it, Polly and Icon do it)
POOK (aka DUKE - 'Leave me the 'f@#$' alone!')

Some individuals look more guilty than others. You might see what I mean if you look closely at Foster.

Let us use our wonderful technology to look deper into the situation.


Here we see the carnage I had to witness.

The large white eyes and bulbous nose are quite visible (and handily labeled). As is the foot, which appears to be inflicted with elephantiasis (and it should be labeled foot, not food in the picture. Polly must have used his culinary mind powers on me and caused me to misspell that!). Was Grumpy recently in Africa? Maybe that's a clue!


Oh. What's that?

Sorry. I was distracted by Polly's muscular boxer booty, but I'm back with you now. And I think I have solved the mystery.


Now lets see if we can re-enact the situation from what we have learned.

The dogs were enjoying a relaxing day at home while I was at work. Pook was outside, so he is exonerated from the crime FOR NOW (who knows, perhaps it will turn out that he was the mastermind of the whole thing?).

But without warning or even a flash of intelligence in his eye, Foster remembered that Grumpy had been in this house for TWO WHOLE YEARS! And that Grumpy had been a gift from his EVIL* human father, Jay, to his ANGELIC** human mother, Channan, to signify that she was a grumpy person.

Of course Foster couldn't stand for such slander! And since Jay wouldn't be around until he's dog-sitting next weekend, Foster decided to take his frustration out on Grumpy!

It started pretty sedately. A rip up Grumpy's inseam. I'm sure Grumpy felt it, but it didn't dirty my room so why did I care?

I know what you're thinking, though. How could Foster, on his own, give Grumpy an inseam tear? Well he can't without an accomplice.

But who could it be??

We know it's not Pook. He was outside for the day, and besides, his teeth aren't strong enough to possibly cause a fatal inseam tear.

So that leaves two suspects. Polly and Icon. Well I can tell you that since Polly has his chin on my lap right now and is looking EXCEEDINGLY cute, the accomplice must have been ICON!!!

I know, I know. Everyone tells me this, "Icon is wonderful! Icon is perfect! Icon never does anything bad!" Well maybe Icon LOOKS innocent. Maybe he puts his ears back, maybe he makes his eyes wide and liquid. Maybe his expression makes your heart quiver!

Maybe he says, 'I'm so pretty in the snow! It wasn't me!'

But don't be fooled! I have special Border Collie Cam! It shows EXACTLY what Icon is thinking.



And so the mystery is solved. Foster and Icon will be sentenced to a weekend without ANGEGIC** human mom, where they will have to spend time with EVIL* human dad. Since Polly is Perpetually Perfect in every way, he will be going to Longbeach with ANGELIC** mom for AKC Invitationals.

Thank you for helping us solve this mystery. Tune in next week for AKC Invitational results. Hopefully I'll have videos of all our favorite california friends!

*disclaimer: Jay, who is my ex, is actually a really nice guy and the dogs all love him. he's not evil at all but I had to say it or my story wouldn't be so interesting, now would it?

**disclaimer: Ok, so I'm not really that angelic. But a girl can dream.


I found my Cammi photos.

Here is Cammi coming out of a chute. I took this one at a trial in Palo Alto. All four feet off the ground!! :)

And one of my favorite photos of Cammi and Polly looking "pitiful" together. No one can look as pitiful as a boxer. This photo was taken at a 3 day trial in las vegas a bunch of went to. It was a really fun trial.

Monday, December 8, 2008

AKC Nationals entry complete

Boy, they sure make it easy to enter AKC Nationals. You just click a few buttons, enter your credit card info, and voila! You're done! Cool. Now I just have to figure out how I'm getting there.

I can't wait until all entries are done online. There are some online options now, but they charge an arm and a leg to use them. I was going to enter Rose City online, but they charge a 10% service fee. It would have cost me an extra $40 for the 'convenience'. I ended up spending $0.42 on a stamp instead.

Being back at work is as fun as I expected it to be. Somehow nothing got done while I was on sabbatical. So my first day back I had to work late and miss agility class, and then I had to work late Friday night as well. It's good to be back! (not). At least my boss is happy. Things get done when I'm around. I think because I scare people.

On Thursday morning I'm packing up Apollo and heading to Long Beach for Invitationals. I'm trying to look forward to the trip, but I'm having a very hard time with it. I was supposed to travel down and share a room with Kay and Cammi, but Cammi was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and the disease quickly took over. On Friday I found out that Cammi was no longer with us :(. It was about 3 weeks from her diagnosis. It's hard to be excited when you're so sad.

I have some photos of Cammi that I will post, but they're on my home computer so it will have to be later.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So long!

It has been so long since I last wrote to my blog. I've been really lazy :)

My trip out east was really fun. I arrived in Boston on Friday Nov 14th around 11pm after my takeoff was delayed due to low visibility in Boston. Then as we were backing out of the gate, the auxiliary power went out and we had to pull back in. Yay!

When I arrived in Boston I realized why I could get a car for only $17/day. The car rental agency was a 30 minute shuttle ride away from the airport! But on the bright side, having a huge bag of luggage and a dog in a crate granted me a free upgrade to a Jeep somethingorother 4x4. And I was grateful because... well you'll see later in my tale.

The weather was pretty nice when I arrived in Boston, considering it was almost midnight. About 40 degrees. I had to get to Brantford, Ontario by 1pm on Saturday so I decided to try to get to Albany, New York before crashing. With hunger gnawing at my stomach, I stopped at a McDonald's on the way. They were sold out of EVERYTHING except quarter pounders! I was outraged! How can a McDonald's be sold out of anything? It's not like they're Wendy's, who always serves fresh - not frozen- beef. Icon and I had some not-so-nice words with their cashier.

We had quarter pounders for dinner. There may have been spit on them.

It took me almost 3 hours to get to Albany (with an uncountable number of stop at toll roads. What an inefficient way of travel!). It was around 2:30 when I arrived. Luckily (this is sarcasm) the hotel had computer problems JUST as I was checking in. It took the night hotel clerk about 30 minutes to get me my room key. To make up for making me waver in half wakefulness in the reception area, the clerk offered to have coffee with me at 7am when he got off work. Thanks buddy, but NO.

At 7am I was on the road (without coffee) and had a fairly uneventful drive to Canada. At he border I was a bit worried that I'd have some trouble since my Canadian passport had been expired for a year an a half. But no worries! The only thing he asked about was why "Rent" was written on the rear window of my rental. I told him, "I don't know! It's a rental! Maybe they wanted to rent it?".

And not much later I was in Brantford!

And it snowed.

And snowed.

And snowed some more.

And I was happy for my 4x4 jeep.

But to make a long story short, it was really fun visiting my family and friends. And I got my passport renewed!

On Thursday I drove back to Boston for the Springfield cluster. It's the largest AKC trail of the year and is help indoors on dirt. It's a really well run trial and pretty nice place, although it gets really dusty after the first day. Icon didn't have the best trial of his life, going only 3/8 for the regular runs, but the majority of the mistakes were mine, not his. Ok, they were all mine :) But we did somehow manage to win both ISC Std and ISC JWW for the ISC Combined win, which was fun :).

And I got to run Soleil the Beauceron in her JWW runs. We didn't qualify in any of them, but we got really close and I had lots of fun with her!

Nancy had her RV there and I'm so glad because it was really cold some of the days. I left Icon in the car the first day, but after that I moved him to the RV. It was too loud and dusty in the building for him. It was so cute, Icon and Pinot played a couple of times. We tried to get it on video, but as soon as we turned on the video camera, they stopped playing. Border collies are so weird.

And that was my trip out east!