Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Red Queen

In Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the looking Glass’, The Red Queen said, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." I have come to know how that feels over the last year!
Every time I have a moment to look up and catch my breath another week has passed! But I seem to have little to show for my work, probably because I am being landed with heaps of other peoples’ 'grunt work' which I am told gets priority. That means that my own research is not getting done. Bit demoralising. Today I looked out the window to see some beautiful sunshine out there, and I just wanted to be out having a nice long walk with the girls, but unfortunately it’s just work, work, work at the moment! Never mind I will be able to take lots of leave later in the year. More worryingly, there are rumours of redundancy rippling around the place, and the likelihood of my department having no operating budget at all from April. Maybe I will be getting more leave than expected lol! The standard response to ‘how are you?’ has become ‘clinging on to employment’! At least people are still joking about it.
It’s important to have something good in your life, which is why I am grateful for having my dogs, and all their wagging and grinning when I get home!
Mid Downs
I haven’t rushed to write about Zazzy’s first two KC jumping classes. Compared with a couple of practise runs that I have got on video, done before all her problems and time off, well she just didn't seem 'up for it'. She was concentrating and careful, ever the thinker bless her! Unfortunately I over-encouraged her through the weaves in the first run as she was going really rather steadily, and this resulted in her coming out. In training her weaves are good, but obviously more proofing from distractions are needed! Her second run could have been tricky, but she was looking at me rather than attacking the course, so no problems with getting caught out taking the wrong course. She got the weave entry but then seemed to loose her way again and came out. At the end, for the first time in her life, she didn’t want to play. Worrying and upsetting for me! Perhaps because we got caught between the queue of lunging barking dogs, and the dog on course coming up to the finish, while waiting a long time for her lead and toy to arrive; must see if I can get a kind person to make sure she gets a toy as soon as she finishes in future! Despite this, I have felt great progress in our relationship and training recently. I am looking forward to building on this with a couple of training sessions in the next few weeks. I am hoping that Dawn Weaver will be able to help with her running A-frame training, we have had a couple of set-backs in the last two of her weekly training classes (the only two I have been doing A-frames in!). The courses were too testing for her level of understanding. I have learned too late that it is a mistake to get a young, thoughtful dog to attempt more testing running contact scenarios for the first time in a club environment (those that cause a shortened stride rather than encouraging the long stride necessary for a running A-frame). (The first week the A-frame was up in the corner of the indoor school close to and pointing into the wall, and unfortunately there was also a target left at the bottom. The second week it had a tunnel underneath it, difficult for her to do from an extended stride off the A-frame). My ‘allotted time’ ran out with the problem ongoing so I had to end the training session there, resulting in one confused dog and one frustrated handler. Bit tricky training with different training methods to the trainer! I have also got booked some training with Natasha Wise, which should be a fantastic injection of enthusiasm, drive and energy. Then our last training day for this season, the last in the series of Toni (Dawkin)’s Winter Agility Training (work out the acronym that the group proudly calls themselves for yourself!) (what a shame Zazzy missed nearly all of these!).
It was lovely to meet up with everyone at Mid Downs, and I am really looking forward to the summer season now, I remembered how much I enjoy travelling around to shows, camping and spending time with friends. With the winter down time and Kaydee having six months off last year, it seems like a long time since we were out and about (fingers crossed that we get some good camping weather this year!) A year ago a lovely handsome blue merle dog called Kye (handled by Bridget Fletcher) caught my (and Zazzy’s!) eye, and he did so again at Mid Downs. He has a lovely temperament (just like Zazzy), is calm and quiet when not working, yet keen and clever when asked (just like Zazzy), and has a strong athletic build and is beautifully put together (just like Zazzy). I can’t help but think that they would have wonderful puppies together! At completely the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, I was gutted to hear that one of the two rescued puppies that Leah was hand rearing has lost his fight for life. I am hoping and praying that the little girl keeps going from strength to strength.
I’m looking forward to (or is that bracing for?) a busy few weeks now, not least of all looking forward to the last co-ordination and balance course that I’ll be running this season, which will be on Sunday. There will be a gathering of O’Bay sheltie sisters; I am hoping to finish a bespoke sheltie puppy sized ladder in time! It is also a big month for birthdays, including my Mum’s, two of my nephews, and lots of other friends and work colleagues, as well as MINE!!!!
By the way my sisters clever boyfriend has (I think) worked out how to get my camcorder videos onto here. Unfortunately (for me) they are both on holiday in Vancouver this week - top of my list of places I'd most like to visit. But there you go, somehow they have to make up for not having the three best dogs in the world sharing their lives. Poor them!

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