OK I’ll do it – 7 things …

Two posts in two weeks? Unheard of! The other week Bernadette over on the OBay Shelties blog challenged her blogger readers to play the “7 things you may not know about me and my dogs” game and it sounded like fun, so without further ado, here goes!

7 things you may not know about me:

1) I was reading books before I was in kindergarten. I was reading music before I was reading books.

2) I have a BA in music (magna cum laude) – concentration in Jazz Performance and Studies. In retrospect, my guidance counsellor should have been stripped of his license for not talking me into something more practical, but no biggie – I eventually figured it out on my own.

3) I’m also an alumni of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). I may not have or wear a lot of jewelry, but never let it be said that I don’t know my bling!

4) At one point in my life, I had pet hermit crabs. My first one was Spot (because I didn’t have a dog but I wanted one.) I also remember the two called Martin and Maarten (their names, er, had something to do with their point of origin ;-). ) They were actually kind of interesting. If I had one today I’d probably try to clicker train it to do those Breyer agility obstacles or something.

5) The coolest thing I ever taught one of my furkids was conditioning one of my cats to go into “happy cat” mode on cue. She’s kind of pugnacious – I started click/treating her for ankle rubs and eventually put it on cue. I can still use that cue to pre-empt a catfight. (Technically, I guess what she does is better called “begging mode”, but hey – it works!)

6) I’ve been a vegetarian for most of my life. Many people don’t realize this because I’m not preachy about it.

7) I didn’t have a dog as a kid, I grew up with cats. I can’t imagine not having at least one kitty underfoot!

7 things you may not know about my dogs

(this was tough – I could come up with a LOT more than seven!)

1) Raven sleeps upside down, legs in all directions.

2) At home, the loudest and most ranbunctious of my dogs is … Jayda. Silly, bouncy, dorky and demonstrative – everything she’s NOT in public! She’s always wagging her tail with that big Jayda smile on her face.

3) Jayda also spends a lot of time on her hind legs – a LOT of time. Her default sit is a “sit pretty” unless I remind her to put her front feet down! She can easily go from a sit to a stand and back again, she can walk backwards on two legs … I didn’t set out to teach her this, I think she just likes being tall!

4) Lots of people know about Sally’s singing/tune recognition talents, but few people know that Sally was totally amused by the letter “Z”. I used to have this little game I’d play with her: I’d start by asking if she wanted to go to the Zzzzzoooo? To see the Zzzeebras? There was a lot more but you get the idea. By the time I’d used up every “Z” word I could think of, she’d have the Sheltie version of the ROFLMAO giggles. It was too cute!

5) Bryce makes the funniest yodelling noises when he’s in his crate and feeling unloved. (As if!)

6) For whatever reason, cats are attracted to Raven. I mean, they’re drawn to her like a MAGNET! For her part, Raven’s well behaved around most cats but it creeps her out when they rub up against her.

7) Last but not least, some people know about this, but it’s weird enough to bear repeating…

Bryce has a soulmate. It’s not me, it’s not a dog, it’s not a cat, it’s his ducky, aka the Yucky Ducky – a formerly-white, formerly-squeaky, stuffed duck toy that he’s had for a good 7-8 years. At 12 years old, he still takes it out with him when he goes out to the bathroom. If we’re going anywhere he’ll look all over for it to make sure we don’t leave it home.

It’s been patched multiple times and washing only restores it to a lighter shade of gray – even by dog-person standards it’s nasty, but what can I say? Love is a funny thing!

Return of the Lazy Blogger

No, I haven’t abandoned my blog (though it may look that way!) Been busy, haven’t had much to blog about, and it’s so much easier to write a sentence or two on Facebook than compose a big blog post. But I do have some catching up to do, so here goes:

Bryce – celebrated his 12th birthday on July 10th, his 3rd since his cancer diagnosis. It’s a sobering thought that he’s now survived longer than some people with his type of cancer! He’s still doing agility – 4 Q’s away from his CPE Jumpers Championship and picked up 40 pts in NADAC this past weekend. I can potentially run him in 2 1/2 more NADAC trials this season and am wavering on what to enter. He needs 105 more points for a lifetime 1000 points. Or, 3 Q’s in Open Weavers would give him his Open Versatility but jeopardize our chances of getting the points, because one missed entrance or popout will put him over time in Open Weavers.

It may seem strange that I still have goals for him and maybe some people think I should just enjoy running him. I DO enjoy every run with my wonderful little guy (and he’s still loving it too), but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a few more goals! I wish the dance would never end and it keeps my focus off the inevitable.

Jayda and Raven (aka JayVen)The girls are doing well. Jayda is 2 Q’s from a C-ATCH, finished her AKC OJP last May and got her first AJP Q the same weekend. We’re (gasp) doing TWO AKC trials this fall, hoping to finish her OAP and maybe the AJP too. Down on the table problems were the only reason she didn’t get her OAP in May so the rule changes have me feeling quite optimistic :). In NADAC, she finished her Novice Triple Superior in May, got her OAC and her first OJC Q this weekend – the girl’s on fire! OK, maybe it’s a slow, smoldering fire, but a fire nonetheless. Love my big Jayd-Jayd :)!

Raven’s growing up and starting to run really nicely for me. I can’t believe she’s almost 3 already – she’s still very “puppy.” She’s also quite the little Princess, but that’s a blog post in itself! Distance work is an issue – she’s the “stickiest” Sheltie I’ve ever had – but she’s getting better. That’s going to be our winter project. Jayda could benefit from some work in that department too, especially if I want to get her Open Chances title! While NADAC Novice was cake for her, Open’s just a little outside her comfort zone.

Kitties are all doing well. Things got ugly for a while after I brought in Hat, but they’ve finally settled down a bit. Biki still doesn’t like him – nothing personal, just because he’s a CAT and he’s in HER house – but she seems to have resigned herself to his presence. His old BFF Cassie’s become my new porch cat and become pettable! She also likes the dogs, especially the girls, who are disgusted but tolerant of all the enthusiastic PDKA (public displays of Kitty affection.) She’s pretty and petite with a tiny little voice, and once she finally got brave enough to let me touch her she can’t seem to get enough of it! Anyone want a kitty? I hate thinking of her spending another winter outside and would be happier if she were inside somewhere, safe and loved!

I’ve been busy with work and pouting and crabby lately because I trashed my lower back 2 weeks ago. How? Possibly moving storage boxes around earlier in the day, but I really don’t know. All I DO know it that sitting is bad, standing is OK. Fortunately, walking and running seem to be good so I can run my dogs – priorities, ya know! I actually feel a bit better after the trial this past weekend. My new trial job is Gate (because I don’t have to sit or bend.)

Two Years …

It was March 31, 2008 that I got the results of the routine bloodwork that eventually led to Bryce’s cancer diagnosis.

In dogs, Multiple Myeloma has an average survival time of 540 days. We’re at 730 and counting and I’m thankful for every single one of them. Bryce is in clinical remission and as of his latest bloodwork his globulins were about where they were back when he was healthy. For today, life is good.

They say there’s a positive side to everything, so sitting in traffic yesterday seemed like a good opportunity to ponder this. Aside from the stress and vet bills, what has Bryce’s cancer given him and given me?

Possibly the strangest thing that’s come out of this for me is in agility. Sometime during the course of Bryce’s cancer I’ve finally developed … a mental game! Prior to that, I had a long history of getting nervous and screwing up any time something important to me was on the line. And believe me, there’s nothing to put on the pressure like knowing you’re running on borrowed time! But somehow the need to come through for Bryce, knowing that I might never have another chance, has helped me break past that better than any imagery exercises, affirmations or other sports coaching tricks have ever been able to do.

As for Bryce – Bryce is never taken for granted. Ever. Two years of extra attention, extra love, extra cookies … OK, he was always a little spoiled and now he’s gotten REALLY spoiled :). But when life’s busy and you have a houseful it’s hard not to sometimes just let things chug along as you go about your silly human business while some illogical part of your brain reassures you that they’ll always be there and there will be plenty of time for them “when you’re done”.

They won’t. And you’ll never be “done”.

I’m not taking my others for granted as much as before either. Or the people in my life.

I think that’s all good.


As of January 14th, a little more than a year after starting treatment, Bryce is clinically in remission!

With this disease, it doesn’t mean it’s gone and it doesn’t mean forever. It just means we swept it under the rug for a while.

But for however long or short that may be, it feels good to be able to finally say that we kicked some cancer ass!

Diagnose this grocery list

That would be: 1 bottle of sports water with vitamins, 2 bottles of electrolyte-enhanced plain water, a bunch of bananas, 2 boxes of water crackers, and a container of low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth (which I don’t normally eat!). Not shown: Applesauce, picked up on a previous trip.


Stomach flu … or food poisoning. Woke up with it last Sunday morning, spent most of last week with it. I NEVER get sick to my stomach so I’m a real baby when I do!!! I also probably prolonged the agony by not avoiding caffeine or dairy products – who knew?

Fingers crossed, it seems to have finally cleared up after a trip to the doctor on Thursday. Because they gave me some great miracle drug? Nah! I’ll spare you the gory details, but if it didn’t clear up “in a day or two” they wanted me to do something VERY Unpleasant. My body has an amazing ability to heal itself when threatened with things that are Very Unpleasant!

For example: About 9-10 years ago I almost had knee surgery. One weekend, my left knee puffed up and started really hurting. Went to the doctor and to an orthopedist who diagnosed cartilage damage. Was in pain for weeks and weeks and finally broke down and scheduled surgery – made arrangements for Bryce to go on vacation to Auntie Bernadette, bought sod to put on my back porch so Tiffy and Sally could potty there instead of me having to take them down the back …

Then a few days before the surgery, I felt something move and it stopped hurting! Funny clicks? Grinding noises? Excruciating pain? Gone, gone and gone. The day of the surgery, it still wasn’t hurting. Long story short, being seriously doctor-phobic AND not being one to let someone slice apart body parts that aren’t bothering me, I got to the hospital … and didn’t go through with it! Walked right out of there and kept on walking. Npw my OTHER knee’s a little “iffy”, but that knee hasn’t bothered me since!!

I did a little more in my film-to-video project. Here’s some cute footage of Bryce as a baby, playing with a chewie – he was a little over 5 mos old here.

Oldies but Goodies – Part 1

A few months ago I spent some of my Amazon mad-money on a video input adapter, with the intention of copying all my old videos off tape and onto DVD’s,. Unfortunately, I was too busy to do anything with it when it arrived, so I decided why not save it for Christmas. I finally got around to messing with it today!

Still not familiar with the software and having problems getting my REALLY old VHS tapes to copy, but I got it working with my 8mm tapes.

The first tape I’ve copied is from 1996-1997 – before Bryce was so much as a glimmer in his father’s eye! It features my “second generation” – Tiffy, Sally, Jasmine and Kacey. Of the 4 girls, only Kacey is still alive. Watching it, at first I didn’t know whether to smile or cry – smiling won out :). There are some classic clips on it, a few of which will be going on youtube, but meanwhile here are a few still frame captures from way back when:

Tiffy at 8-9 years old. When she was 5, Tiffy was badly injured in a household accident so she was a little lopsided the remainder of her 15.5 years. Hard to tell from this angle and the grainy image, but she was a very pretty girl. She was only about 13.5″ tall – Raven’s height. Doesn’t look that small, does she? She was built like a tank!

Sally at 6 – just a sweet young thing! In this clip, she wanted me to get out of bed and FEED her! Instead, I laughed at her and grabbed the camera. (She was a little annoyed – can you tell?)

Jasmine, the 3rd of my 3 little “redheads”, shown here at about 3 1/2 years old. (Jasmine never did like having her picture taken.)

Kacey … as a kitten! (7 months or so)

Baby Kacey

Proof that I once had a dog with a start line stay …

… but really crappy contacts!

No contact

(Not that my handling was anything to write home about either …)

More on the way :)!