Monday, March 29, 2010

Icon's AKC final run

I thought we gave it our all and we were pretty much spot on!   The only thing I would change is to not move as lateral on the a-frame.   I think I had enough time to stop and tie my shoes on the jump before the weaves. :)

AKC Nationals 2010 - Icon Finals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Monday, March 22, 2010

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

For Rammy's agility debut!

I entered in one day of an agility trial last weekend. I figured with it only being one day it would be good to see where Rammy and I stand.  I woke up Sunday morning and almost didn't go but a friend emailed me the course maps and they looked fun enough that I was persuaded...  And I was glad I went too!  Both Icon and Apollo got a QQ and Apollo even won JWW and placed second in Std!

But back to Rampage.  Getting measured was a really close call!  I was expecting him to measure around 21 3/4" with enough space to spare that there is no real concern that he'll measure up.  We'll he measured exactly 22".  Eek!  So he can jump 20", but barely.  I guess my hopes of getting him measured into the 22" class in USDAA are non-existent now..

Standard was our first run and there were lots of good things.  I really liked his turns to the a-frame and dogwalk and I was happy with his teeter.    We had a bar down where I called him too hard because all the dogs before us went straight to the chute.  He also had a 'floater a-frame' and missed the contact.

Vallejo AKC - Rammy Std from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

We qualified in JWW with a refusal where he tried to blind cross me on a front cross (the new hip term for a blind cross is an "ass pass")
Vallejo AKC - Rammy JWW from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

And we qualified in FAST with 89 points! For those of you who don't know, 80 points is the maximum so getting 89 is pretty impressive ;). I actually think we had 78 points, but there was some miscalculations involved...  He got both a-frames in FAST. :)

Vallejo AKC - Rammy FAST from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

I was happy with how Rammy did on his debut!  I think we're making progress, however we are not ready for 'prime time' yet (meaning anything harder than a novice course!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

K9 Cops cont'd... (still no graphics...)

Chapter 5 - The Loading Dock

Skylights in the roof and ample lighting meant it was bright enough inside the factory that it only took an instant for my eyes to adjust.  The first thing that greeted me inside the loading dock doors were rows upon row of boxes piled two deep and five high  creating a maze that could easily hide me from workers in the factory.

If this place was the headquarters I hoped it was, the Red Dog Crew might have ‘brilliance for disguise’ but their security was fur deep at best.

Thankfully my luck held, there was no one in the loading area to see me sneak in.  I heard voices from a distance, so far away that I couldn’t make out any words.  Knowing they were too far away to notice me I took a moment to inspect the boxes closest to me.  The image of a Jack Russell Terrier jumping up in the air and catching a Frisbee was stamped on the side of each box.  They smelled of plastic and cardboard, not what I would expect frisbees to smell like, but perhaps it was the odor that packaged Squeaky Balls would have.  

The corner of the nearest row of boxes showed some moisture.  It looked like someone had put their mark at the end of the row.  If this was the Red Dog headquarters, only someone VERY high up in the organization would dare to mark the merchandise.  I leaned forward, touched the spot with my tongue and breathed deep, expecting to learn and memorize the scent of the Pack Leader of the Red Dog Crew.

I reeled backwards, feet pedaling, as ammonia assailed my senses.  Tears welled up in my eyes and escaped down my cheeks, my nose dripped excessively.  That was no boxer scent, that smelled like cat pee!  Someone must have put the scent there as a distraction, to throw the authorities off the track!

Knowing it would take some time to recover all of my senses from the trap, I slunk deeper into the row of boxes and silently cursed the Red Dog Crew for their cleverness.  I laid down for a moment and breathed deep to try to clear my senses but drool continued to run uncontrollably from my lips.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

K9 Cops cont'd...

Chapter 4 - The Frisbee Factory

A woman scorned is a wonderful thing.  Chia sang for me like a 28 year old contestant on American Idol with one last desperate hope to make it big. 

The ring leader of the Red Dog Crew had broke Chia’s heart.  And she wanted revenge.  

She refused to go into details and the professional side of me didn’t care, however the personal side of me wondered at the biology of it all.  My mind considered and rejected possibilities in rapid succession.  Even if I ignored the fact that they were a totally different species, just the physics boggled my mind.  Chia was a tiny thing, she couldn’t have weighed more than 9 pounds.  How does that mesh with a 65 pound boxer?  He was over 6 times her size!

But it didn’t matter if biology or physics agreed, Chia had told me what I needed to know.  The exact location of the Red Dog Crew headquarters.  I headed out from the Fire Hydrant with a determined stride.

As I headed towards the location, a Frisbee Factory of no consequence, I started to formulate a plan of action.  A less experienced officer would have called in backup to help with the search for Shadow at this point, but I thought it would be smart for me to do some reconnaissance around the building and ensure the information from the cat was accurate.  It would be embarrassing if I brought in backup and Chia had just sent me on a wild mouse chase!

The first thing I had to do was change out of my uniform.  I wouldn’t be able to do much sneaking around with my badge of office dangling from my collar.  I ducked into an alley and removed the badge.  But, what could I do with it?  I really didn't want to leave it anywhere; it defined who I was.  For a moment I considered swallowing it and carrying it with me that way.  It wasn’t THAT big, I had swallowed rocks that were bigger and they had come out the other end looking exactly like they did when they went in.  The looked the same after a bit of cleaning, I mean.  But there were some pointy parts to the badge that looked like they might be… uncomfortable… passing through.  I decided to do the smart thing and bury it instead.  I found a lose patch of dirt where someone might have once kept a little garden and dug a hole.  It was dirty work being a cop.  But the dirty feet would help me blend in with the blue collar folks at the Frisbee Factory.  I dropped the badge in the hole and covered it up. 

“I’ll be back for you later.”  I told the badge.  I’m not crazy.  I knew the badge couldn’t understand me, but it made me feel better.

I walked up to the front of the Frisbee Factory and noticed absolutely nothing remarkable about it.  A few dogs walked in an out of the front door and a truck with what appeared to be a shipment of frisbees drove away from a loading dock.  Could the cat have been telling me the truth?  This looked like an active Frisbee Factory, not like the headquarters of the most notorious Squeaky Ball gang in the SF Bay Area.  But perhaps it was their brilliance for disguise that kept the Red Dog Crew so well hidden.

I noticed the loading dock recently vacated by the truck remained open.  No one was visible outside or immediately inside that I could see.  Was it a stroke of fortune that I was presented with an opportunity so soon?  Or was it a trap?  Only one way to find out.

I leapt onto the loading dock and slipped inside. 

Chapter 5 - The Loading Dock

Friday, March 5, 2010

K9 Cops cont'd...

Chapter 3 - The Fire Hydrant

The big beast stared at me with his nostrils flaring and I felt my hackles rise.  I stood as high up on my toes as I could and let my tail raise over my back.  I had to show this clown that I was just as big and tough as he was.  He was the type of dog who took advantage of any sign of fear.  As he stepped towards me with the obvious intention of going behind and sniffing my butt I gave him a little smile and let him see just how big and shiny my teeth were.  I growled low in my throat.

The goliath must have lost all of his brain cells to Squeaky Ball chemicals.  He continued his advance.

"Tango! Stay!” A small but authoritative voice came from behind the big Rottweiler.

The big dog stopped in his tracks. I looked to both sides of him, but couldn’t see anything. 

"Hello Officer." The voice came from low to the ground. I looked down to see, of all things, a tortishell cat standing between Tango’s legs. Her voice was slow and sensual but her tail stood strait up in the air and twitched constantly, showing her agitation. 

"Tango, I’m sure the officer just wants to talk. You can go lay down.” 

The big dog gave a low woof and then turned and walked to the bed in the corner.  He circled twice and then laid down and started chewing on a large knuckle bone without taking his eyes off of me.

“I’m Chia, the owner of this establishment.  How can I help you?"


"I'm looking for someone," I said.   I relaxed my posture and hackles, but just a little.


The bar is pretty empty at this early hour.  Do you see the dog you're looking for?"   Her tone was polite, but I noticed the nervous twitching of her tail continued.  Was she hiding something?   I breathed deeply through my nose but the only scents that came to me were dust and stale dog pee.  The dogs that frequented this bar weren't even house broken.

My eyes scanned the room as if looking for someone, but I was really searching for clues.  The bartender sat behind the bar cleaning out the drink bowls with his tongue.  Between licks of the bowls, he was holding a quiet conversation with an old ungroomed poodle sitting at the bar and nursing a bully stick.  She had tear stains on her eyes an a dirty pink bow in her hair.  That dame had seen better days.  

Standing over beside the juke box a cattle dog had just finished regurgitating his breakfast and was eating it again.  My nose crinkled in disgust.  In the far corner of the room I saw the big round dog bed that Tango had taken possession of and was still gnawing his bone.  And to the back of the bed and mostly underneath...  was that the light shining off of plastic?  Like the plastic of a Squeaky Ball package?

As my gaze moved to the bed, Chia’s tail started twitching more rapidly.  Bingo.

"I think I have found what I was looking for."  I smiled and showed my teeth as I said it.

"But... but... I thought you were looking for someONE." Chia stammered.

I walked towards the bed, but not without effort.  The cat kept curling herself around my feet trying to impede my progress. 

"I see you are in possession of illegal substances."  I stepped next to the bed and gestured at the package with my nose.  "Where did you get it?"

She was a stubborn one.  Chia narrowed her eyes and said, "I don't know, someone just left them here last night."

I didn't have time to play cat and mouse with her.  My temper snapped.

"Look!" I barked at her.  Her ears folded and her back arched at my tone.  "You have TWO choices.  You can tell me NOW where you got them from and I will walk out of here and forget I ever met you.  Or,"  I paused dramatically and slowly  wagged my tail for added effect, "I can drag you down the the precinct where I can guarantee you will be arrested for possession with intent to sell."

After standing still for a moment staring at me, Chia sat down and started grooming her tail calmly.  

“So, Officer,” she said after a long lick to the end of her tail. “You need something from me.”  Lick.  “And perhaps I need something from you.” Lick.

She smiled at me from the base of her tail. 

To be continued... (this story has become a monster with a life of its own)

Chapter 4 - The Frisbee Factory

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

K9 Cops (the graphic novel) cont'd...

Chapter 2 - The Red Dog Crew

As I trotted towards my quarry I tried to remember all I knew about them.

The common belief on the street was that the ring leader of the Red Dog Crew was a sly and crafty Boxer name Polly.  Don't be fooled by his name though.  A Malinois with a black belt in Schutzhund once made fun of him for having a "girly" name.  His body was found in the meat processing division at Purina dog food.  At least PARTS of the Mal's body were found.


It's believed that second in command in the Red Dog Crew was a Red Dog who's name was as masculine as Polly's was feminine. 


And he lived up to the name too.  What Rampage wanted Rampage got and he left a mass grave of destuffed, desqueaked plushy toys in his wake.  His trademark move was to hump his opponent after each victory.   Female, male, animate, inanimate, he didn't care.  He humped them all. 

So I knew WHO they were, I just need to figure out WHERE they were.  I decided to start my search in the seediest area of my Beat.  The club known as the Fire Hydrant.  

I opened the door and walked from the clean sunlight into the dim and smokey bar. The door shut behind me and I was blinded for a moment.  I was a bit disoriented as 80's Rap Music surrounded me along with the smell of smoke.  It tried not to step to the beat of Salt'n'Peppa's song Push It as I walked towards the bartender.

As I approached, a big black and tan beast at least 3 times my size stepped in front of me.

Enter Tango.

I don't think you will be surprised to hear that I stopped short.  Aside from his size I could tell by the gleam in his eye - a gleam so similar to the one in my old partner, Foster's - Tango was a Squeaky Ball addict.  

When I saw him, I knew I had found at least one link to the puzzle of the missing Chocolate Lab.

To be continued...

Chapter 3 - The Fire Hydrant

Monday, March 1, 2010

K9 Cops (the graphic novel)

I'm Officer Icon.  Beat Cop on the Bay Area streets.  You have to be tough to do my job.  And I know tough.

This is my ex-partner, Foster.  For 8 years Foster was one of the best K9 Cops to walk the streets.  The bitches trusted him, the dogs respected him.  But when working the Beat that houses the biggest Squeaky Ball Dealers in the Bay Area, even the best can succumb to the addictive siren call of the Squeaky Ball.  If you want to see Foster now, he'll be standing in possessively in front of the Squeaky Ball with dilated pupils and glassy eyes.  Tragic.

So now I work alone. 

I was on my normal route, walking down Bully Stick Street.  I was making sure the puppies were staying out of trouble and under-aged dogs weren't trying to get busy doggy-style with the young bitches in the ally.  A litter of puppies is the last thing a 1 year old bitch needs!  Those young ladies need to be in school learning jumps, weaves and contacts so they can grow up to be productive K9 citizens!

I was only a few minutes into my route when my radio went off.

"APB.  Chocolate Lab abduction reported.  Last seen in the area of Nylabone Ave with a pink Frisbee."

Nylabone Ave was in my Beat!  I ran to the nearest streetlight to see if the poster had been put up yet.  Yes, there it was.  Ah, her name was Shadow.  An athletic bitch with a rather manic look in her eye. 

I knew just where to look.  The Red Dog Crew were notorious for taking advantage of other Red Dogs.  And sometimes they went too far.  

I lifted my leg and peed on the street light to let my fellow officers know I'd seen the message and then trotted off save a life.

To be continued... have to go train my dogs!

Chapter 2 - The Red Dog Crew