Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And we're back

Icon and I arrived home after midnight last night after a rather annoying travel day, but I won't go into details on that. We were originally supposed to be home by 5:30, but that certainly didn't work out. I went to pick up Rampage from Debbie's house (she had picked him up from Jay during the day so he didn't have to go back to my house after work) and he had ONE FLOPPY EAR. OY! I left a beautiful double prick eared dog, and apparently right after I went to NC his right ear collapsed. Jay said it was down the entire weekend with a few moments of prickiness when he got excited. I will admit I'm glad Jay didn't tell me while I was in NC, or I would have probably spent the whole trip worrying about his ears.

Yes, I'm a shallow person.

None of the dogs seemed all that happy to see me when I got home. Rampage seemed like he would have been happy to stay at Debbie's house (traitor!), I guess Rampage liked staying with dogs his color, even if they are labs ;). And Foster and Apollo wiggled for me for a second like they were saying, "Hey dude, nice to see you". But then immediately followed Icon to the back yard and acted like he had been gone forever. Man, they fawned all over him! I guess that was their way of telling him he did good!

Then I totally reinforced Rampage's desire to leave me for Debbie by doing a really bad job of gluing his ear. I eventually got the moleskin in correctly, but for some reason it wasn't as easy for me this time (I'm blaming it on lack of sleep), and at one point I had his EAR glued together!

It was after 1am before I got to bed, but it took a while for Rampage to settle down. He dug in his crate for about half an hour.

And now I'm at work! It seems oddly the same although I work for Roche now. But that will change soon as the companies starts integrating. Starting tomorrow all of the Roche bigwigs will be here deciding what to do with their shiny new toy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Off to North Carolina

I'm heading to NC today for AKC nationals. Jay, my ex, is watching the dogs and I'm a bit worried about Rampage because lately he has been a HUGE BRAT. But it's only for 4 days so it should be ok... I bought a rack of beef ribs so if Jay wants a moment's peace he can hack one of those off and give it to Rampage.

My company was officially bought out by Roche. Last night Roche announced the tender offer resulted in them having 93+% of Genentech shares. It's expected that by the end of the day it will be totally complete. I'm not too disappointed that I won't be at work today; I'm sure it will be very somber. Genentech employees had a lot of pride in their company and despite Roche's promise not to change things very much, it feels very much like a death in the family.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

MACH2 Polly!

Apollo got the last double q for his MACH2 on Sunday! He did it in style, even earning a 1st place in JWW! Yay Polly!

I always thought it would be nice to get our MACH in our area so we could celebrate with people we know but after I finished his Standard run for the double Q there was only polite applause so I wasn't positive we qualified... So we didn't get to do our MACH run. People tried to get me to do it after the fact, but it felt weird so I declined. They were telling me that I didn't TELL anyone, but I told lots of people! Apparently just not the right ones ;) So our first MACH down south in LA where I only knew one person was way more exciting. Odd.

But Apollo got a steak for dinner, so he thought it was pretty cool! And now he officially has a running a-frame (although I've done nothing to train it yet aside from the beginnings of Rachel's box work).

I also don't have any photos, but I do have videos! I just have the individual videos up on vimeo right now, but I'm making a 'Mach video' for him. I just need to figure out how to add music to it.

Sheltie AKC - Apollo Sunday JWW from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Sheltie AKC - Mach2 Apollo Sun Std from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon also had a good weekend, getting a double Q on sunday and missing it by a bar on Saturday. I am seeing a trend in where we drop bars. It's when I lead out too far on a straight line he gets sloppy as he tries to catch up to me. We had this issue in the middle of our runs previously, but I realized that the issue is me getting too far ahead and have changed my handling style to help prevent the bars. It wasn't until just now that I realized it also happens on leadouts. Interesting!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living up to his name - partially

Well Rampage is living up to half of his name. The "Ram" part.

At the park today I accidentally hit Foster in the head with the chuck-it. I bent over give his owie a kiss and was suddenly seeing stars. As soon as I bent over "Ram" launched at me and "rammed" his face into mine. My lip hurts now. And I think this tells me that I have been displaying some undesirable bending over behaviors during recalls.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A little yardwork

Of course by yardwork I mean agility in the yard...

I put together this little setup in my back yard last night and Icon and I had lots of fun with it. I added challenges to the setup based on some common challenges in european courses i've looked at; discriminations for tunnel and weave entrances, weaving to hedges (although it's not as hard with only 6 poles, but my yard is only so big...), a 180 (or threadle) with a tunnel or other obstacle staring the dogs in the face. The teeter that ends at hedges is just because I'm working on Icon driving into 'walls' on his contacts.

A couple of sequences I did on this setup. Since it is essentially symmetrical (aside from the teeter) I did most of these from both directions.

This one starts in a big, happy circle and then you have to make sure you collect them for the 180 past the tunnel entrances AND weaves.

This one was fun to get them passed the tunnel entrances to the weaves. I did a LOP to the first set of weaves and rear crossed them and FC to the 2nd set of weaves with a rear as well. A pull to the weaves would have been less fancy, but with the tunnel there the FC seems safest.

Here I went in between 3&4 and put a front cross then pulled to 5. Also a front cross between 6 and 7. Wow, it must be boring to read this because it's even boring to write.

A nasty weave entry at 4, but you can get far enough ahead to manhandle them in. I tried this course doing both 9a and 9b (these are different jumps, not a sequence). For 9a I brought him around the inside after the 270 and continued with a shoulder pull to 9a, for 9b I tried both ways, around the inside with a FC and then to the outside serping #8.

There were some other sequences I did as well, mostly variations around the big happy circle into various options in the 180/tunnel/weaves area. I wish I had a bigger yard :(

Monday, March 16, 2009


My trial weekend was pretty successful. On Saturday Icon got a double Q, but missed it on Sunday by a bar. I was really happy with him though he had nice turns and nice contacts this weekend. He's such a great dog. Apollo got double Q #19 for MACH2. What a good boy. I'm sure it will be months before we get the last one, it's how things work with a MACH. Although we were really lucky on his first one, he went from 16-20 in 3 trials.

Icon had a little growth on his belly which I noticed last week. I called it his 'extra nipple'. Kelly looked at it over the weekend and decided to aspirate just to be sure it's nothing, but she forgot her aspiration slides so I stopped by her work this morning to get it done. Luckily it's just a histiocytoma, which is a benign growth. It's the same thing that Polly had on his face just before invitationals. At least Icon's nipple is less visible! It should just go away on its own in a few weeks, but I'll keep an eye on it.

I had fun with Rampage at the trial on the weekend. He's a pretty social guy, although tends to be submissive just after waking up. I guess he's not a morning person. He played with SO many puppies this weekend. Border collies and grey hounds and Porties and german wirehaired pointers... the future of agility is certainly not in doubt!

I'm very busy at work lately but I guess I like it. I guess.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This, that and the other thing

I've been really busy lately! A lot is happening at work as well as home. It looks like the 8 month soap opera of my company being bought out by Roche will finally be coming to a close March 25th. On March 26th I will have a lot of cash from all my company stocks/options that I have to figure out how to invest in a crappy economy. Fun! And the thought of doing 2009 taxes is already giving me ulcers.

Then there is of course the question of what will happen after the merger. Roche continually says they will keep the "unique culture of Genentech" intact, but we'll see. I do feel my job is pretty secure for the near future, anyway.

On the home front I have been busy training Icon and Rampage. Apollo and Foster have gotten the short end of the stick lately and I feel pretty bad about it. I took them to the park on their own yesterday since Icon had a lesson in the afternoon and I thought I'd give F&A a puppy break, but they didn't seem to care about the lack of border collies so I doubt I'll do that again.

I was very proud of my direct flight from SFO to CLT for AKC nationals. It was a United flight operated by US Airways. In January, I booked and then called to add Icon, no problems. Other people tried to get on the same flight, though, and they were told NO DOGS IN CARGO. So I finally got scared enough to call and confirm Icon was going to get on the flight.

"US Airways takes dogs in cargo, but not as carry-on," the United reservation agent told me in a condescending tone.

Not trusting them, I did call US Air and the verified that under no circumstances will they take a dog in cargo. Bah! So I had to call United back and change my flights to ones with a layover, which I really didn't want to do. And not to mention, flying scares the crap out me (especially take-off and landing) so I will be a basket case worrying that Icon made the connection flights and wondering if we are both going to die.

Tomorrow morning I'm heading to an AKC trail. It should be pretty fun. I keep on waffling on whether to take the RV or just drive back and forth. On Saturday I will probably be done by 10:30am so it doesn't seem worth it to take the RV. I just checked the weather forecast and they're calling for rain on Sunday so I think I've made my final decision to drive back and forth. That way I can skip on Sunday if it's raining hard ;)

In other news, here is a short video of Rampage I took yesterday for the fun of it. Nothing exciting, just a dizzying view of him as we play. He had just stuck his nose under Icon's stream of pee so he has a yellow nose. Silly dog. I don't know why Icon has so much energy, he had just returned from a 3 hr agility lesson.

Simply Rampage from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rain be gone!

I've been really busy lately between work and the dogs. Although with the rain and all of my agility classes canceled, I'm not sure exactly what I'm DOING at night, but I'm sure I'm really busy. And productive. Yeah, that's it.

So the rain has really been cramping my agility style lately. Last Sunday I was supposed to meet some friends at PP to practice, but we got rained out. I did get to practice on Saturday because I worked with Jack at Woodside. He's my 1 year old border collie student that I'm training for a friend because she has knee problems. He is lots of fun to work with, very smart and willing. Our foundation classes are usually Thursday nights, but we have been rained out so much lately I don't think I've been to a class with him for about a month. But when I meet with him outside of class, I also get free field time Icon, which is cool. Last Saturday I set up a fast European course (and you thought that was an oxy-moron!). It had a lot of running and was really a blast to run. I also ran it backwards, which was not quite as fun but it was quite an experience. Icon missed his weave entry the first time through but got it the 2nd time. I'm going back to Woodside to work with Jack Saturday and will probably set up another course for Icon. But I think it will be a jumpers course. Moving those contacts by myself is not fun! On Sunday I'm going to Workin' Paws in Hollister to do some course work with friends. The weather is supposed to be pretty nice, I'm very excited to be able to go outdoors again! Not to mention Sunday starts DST! Woot!

And next weekend... I'm actually entered in a trial! It's been so long, I hope I remember what to do.