Thursday, November 27, 2008

Richmond Park

I am trying to figure out how to get my camcorder tape videos onto the pc, it looks pretty boring without them! Until then you will just have to have my written descriptions!
Richmond Park is my favourite place to walk at the moment. It is plenty large enough for an hours walk at lunchtime (2500 acres), hilly, beautiful, and only a couple of miles from work. As it is dark now when I leave for work, and when I return home, it is really good to have somewhere so nice that I can take the girls to at lunchtime for a good walk! Also I have found that there are less problem dogs walked there than my local park. Possibly because it is big, open and there are lots of cars and deer around, so you need a recall! My local park is small, fenced and gated, and probably every other walk in there a dog will charge over and into my pack. Half of these dogs will behave in either a bad mannered or worryingly aggressive way. Now if I was out in the park and saw a group of teenagers playing, I would neither rush over and try to steal their football, nor try to join in the game uninvited, and I certainly wouldn't charge in shouting and try to jump on someone's back! Also I'm pretty sure that telling them that 'I only want to play' would really not go down too well! Yet, to me, that is exactly what some people are allowing their dogs to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Paul Moore!

Of course posting these bumper stickers, which made me laugh and I hope they make you laugh too, and wishing Paul a happy birthday, are completely unrelated.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

OMG agility people are the best

Yet again, I have been choked by how great agility people are. In just a few hours of my (half) joking comment about my deteriorating dog walk contacts on the last blog, both Bernadette and Rosie contacted me to say that I was welcome to use their dog walks, and of course I would be nowhere today without Pollys' hugely generous and welcoming nature, not only letting me use her field of equipment, but also putting up with me chatting away for hours over cups of tea or the odd beer and take-away! Thanks you guys!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kaydee in her lovely new coat - thank you Auntie Karen!!!! xxxxx

Training NOT going to plan!!

Well Kaydee and I have hit a few setbacks this week. I guess I thought that if I could just get her back to fitness without any more physical problems, then I would get the great little agility dog back too. How silly and naive of me!! Fitness and basic equipment training are only part of the very complex sport of agility! Additionally I thought that if I could just motivate myself to get fit, then I would be able to run better. Wrong again!! Doh!
I'll start with Kaydee. A week ago we went to the Downlands show, and I could not get Kay clear round a course. She looked great, powering off, but just in the wrong direction! So this week I wanted to get her going in the right direction, and indeed she did three clear rounds. But three very slow clear rounds! In one she was even slower than Becky, and she has been between one and three seconds faster than Becky on every course for a couple of years. Oh dear. Is something physically wrong again? Is this the end of her agility career, should I retire her after all? Thanks to Karen who videoed her running, Nancy who made me realise that I was checking her (rather than sending) her all round the course, and Matt for suggesting that it was timing issues rather than a total disaster and reason for pulling her out of Olympia. I shouldn't need reminding that she has has six months out of agility this year! Much discussion and analysis followed, thanks to everyone who has to put up with me, you are stars!! I think I can see the way forward now, although I was unpleasantly glum for a while! She is currently only in one training session for half an hour a week, she shares an hour group lesson with Becky. I am still worried about doing too much with her, but clearly we need to do more training so that we can both run confidently. Unfortunately my finances are still overstretched from all the van problems I had so I have cut down on training. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Karen, amongst other things for letting me share some training at the weekend which really helped, and for giving me a fantastic early Christmas present, in the form of a lovely new coat for Kaydee to keep her troublesome muscles warm. (Hopefully I can add the picture that she took of Kaydee in it when she sends it!) Oh dear it feels like we are running out of time though, just one more 'dress rehearsal' (better not say practise competition, it sounds too much like 'training in the ring'!!!) before Olympia now!
Meanwhile, having been really pleased with the recovery of my achilles, and having been really smug with myself for being good about getting out running regularly, I went to step up the pace a bit last week when TWANG!!! something went in my lower back/left hip area and I could barely lift my knee for days. Although it feels better now I am left with a fear of trying to sprint in case it goes again. Ouch! Doh! Bahh!!
Now here's an odd thing. Kaydees dog walk contact was pretty good not so long ago. I was also pleased with how Zazzy's contacts were coming along. But in the last few weeks both of them have gone just a bit wrong. Is this some sort of autumn syndrome, are the contacts getting slippery or something?! Recently both of them have decided that either they will do them at a fair speed and not stop, or if I will insist on a stop, then they will haltingly venture down quite gently and slowly...... don't suppose anyone can lend me a dog walk?!!
Just one more short bit on fireworks following on from an apalling weekend besieged by them. It seems that everyone I talk to hates them too! I just want to mention Poor Becky, who rather naughtily did some sneaky horse poo eating at the show on Satuday, and having a tummy of delicate constitution, had a really bad Saturday night. She desperately needed to go in the garden, but even though Pookey and I went with her, the fireworks made it impossible for her to stay out there long enough to relieve herself. We tried half a dozen times as she got more and more desperate, then I tried putting newspaper down in the kitchen but she couldn't be persuaded to go there either. Poor Becky! Finally as she circled panting and distressed around the living room she couldn't hold the floodgates shut any longer, and it sprayed all around the room. So a lovely evening for me spent scrubbing the rug. To he honest I don't think it will ever be the same again.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fireworks - rant alert

Like many others I dislike this time of year. For weeks I cannot predict when or where the next firework will be set off. My lifestyle is restricted during these weeks. I avoid being out with my dogs in the evenings, I have a curfew of about 4pm and cannot leave my house after then. My dogs are terrified and my anxiety levels go up accordingly. It not only affects my quality of life, there is a very real possibility of it being life threatening. Like many others I know of firework tradgedies. I spent a week looking for a friends dog who had been spooked by an unexpected early firework in the park. We found him in the end, he had been hit by a car trying to get home, but not managing to make it home he had curled up and died under a bush.
I try to make my dogs 'safe dens' in the house, buy expensive calming products like DAP, and find every way I can to make life more bearable for them. Market research for pet insurance companies in 2004 estimated that 52% of the population had a pet. Some media reports suggest there could be 7 million dogs kept as pets in Britain. (Wow at £20-£30 a time for DAP that's a nice little earner!) There is an enormous number of people negatively affected by this, so I can only assume it continues unabated entirely for reasons of profiteering. Shame no one has managed to find a way of suing the retailers for causing such distress, that would seem to be the only way to stop it. Personally I can't see how selling explosives to loads of irresponsible and thoughtless people can be legal. People are free to do what they like as long as it does not harm others. But setting off fireworks irresponsibly DOES!! (Harm others). I think the law should be changed so that their fireworks should, at the very least, only be set off so that they cannot go beyond the boundaries of their own property, although I think it would be much better if fireworks weren't publicly available at all. This morning I had firework remains on my doorstep, and I've had fireworks exploding in my garden. All the open spaces available for dog walking near me have been used to set off fireworks. A few organised events would be something I could work around, fireworks set off any time of the day or night, and a constant barrage lasting weeks, is crazy. If this is a social tradition, then make it a social event, not a one that is 'private' but actually causes greif to a lot of people that you are not even aware of. Get together one night a year! Let the other 52% of the population have a life too!
OK rant over.
(Other rants to look forward to include people with uncontrolled agressive dogs in public places, agility cheaters, and evil neighbours).

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