Sunday, November 27, 2011

North Downs show

It's a beautiful sunny day, so rare in November, and it's a terrible shame that I feel too ill to fully appreciate it! I have got the cold that is going round all my friends and colleagues, the annoying thing is that after over a week of it, it just seems to be getting worse and worse. Bit of a set back, I am impatient to get on with my own training, but the slightest exertion leaves me wheezing and weak, I have lost my voice, and I feel exhausted and can't think straight. Everything is on hold until I get over it, but with Deece's final next weekend, time is running out! I did still go to the North Downs show, it is my club and I wanted to help. Luckily I was given jobs where I could sit down! It was lovely to catch up with people, well the ones that risked getting close enough to talk to LOL. Unable to run, and with the dogs unable to hear me, we didn't manage to do anything great in the competitions. Deece really enjoyed the noisy environs of the indoor school, but Zazzy got flatter with each run. Thanks to Karen for videoing this run, Deece's 4,5 jumping.
video

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooling down/warming up


That is, the weather is cooling down, but it's time the dogs and I started getting a sweat on with some training! Both Deece and Zazzy are back doing agility now, but all too quickly the finals are rushing up towards us! This weekend we get to run at the North Downs indoor show, so I guess we will see how we are getting on. I would love it if some kind person would do some videoing :-S

Deece's final is next weekend, and Zazzy is at Olympia the second weekend after that!! Eeek! I don't feel ready! It is getting colder now and I am glad to have 'Back on Track' coats for them for warming up and cooling down in (above is a picture of Kaydee modelling hers), the coats keep the body warm and so a good supply of blood is kept supplied to the muscles. This helps prevent injuries or muscle soreness.(I have t-shirts that I wear at night that help the shoulder I injured this summer too)

Friday, November 11, 2011

SOS

In these colder darker days, I love cuddling up with my dogs on the sofa, and I look forward to the Christmas sparkling lights, the promise of a season of peace and goodwill, and of course to eat, drink and be merry. Recently I woke up cosy and warm, but just a teeny bit uncomfortable, because Deece was stretched out over three quarters of the bed surface while I was squished up by, and just about to fall off, the edge. I voiced my complaint and reminded him that some dogs have to sleep out in the cold; he responded by grinning, wagging his tail and rolling onto his back offering his belly for a rub. It’s at times like this when coming across pictures of starving, abandoned, unwanted or mistreated dogs is particularly painful. The thought of anything horrible happening to my dogs is unbearable to me, yet no one can ignore that potentially wonderful loving dogs like them are out there, sometimes in a desperate state, sometimes just unwanted, thrown away, and facing their final day in a pound. They are not abandoned / starved / imprisoned / mistreated, or facing their seventh and final day, through any wrong doing on their part. It is a terrible and sad thing.
Now turn away from this and see something wonderful and amazing, a miracle for these dogs; there are some remarkable people out there who are devoted to helping them. People like Val Phillips-Pollock who runs Valgrays Rescue http://www.valgraysbcrescue.org.uk/todonatehelpvalgrays.htm , Sylvia & Bill VanAtta who run Many Tears Rescue http://www.freewebs.com/manytearsrescue/ and Donna Cain who runs Morgans Rescue http://morgansrescuedogs.giving.officelive.com/aboutus.aspx
For these wonderful people that are devoting their lives to help redress the balance, we can help. We all know that after Christmas, the rescue centres will be over-run with unwanted dogs, and these are the people who will be working so very hard to help them. We also know that times are hard and they are struggling for funds to treat them. If only we could all spare a little cash, just a pound or two, well if we put all our pounds together, it would make a lot of pounds, and in so doing we could make a lot of difference. I have decided to try and facilitate this, this is my plan......
I would like so much to help all three deserving rescue centres, but objectively have realised that to start with it may be best to focus on helping my most local centre, Valgrays. For an example of what Val does, here is one example:





'This is Wei Wei - he is a 14 week old Whippet/Lurcher type pup, found as a stray in an appalling condition. This little pup had to stay in holding kennels for the legal 7 days - but sadly no one claimed him, his condition in the kennels deteriorated and the dog warden contacted Valgrays to see if we had space as we have in the past helped other strays....of course we said yes immediately....unfortunately for many strays after 7 days if they do not get claimed or rescue space is not found these poor dogs do get put to sleep....that is fact.......anyway unknown to us we had no idea that he was in such a bad state - but the morning he arrived our heart sunk - this little bundle of bones arrived with us on Tuesday 23rd August in a terrible state, he was emaciated, dehydrated, weak and had no will to live, he was also very cold, he was put under a heat lamp and had a nice fleece coat put on, we knew that this pup needed urgent medical attention, we phoned our vet immediately and told him we needed to bring down a very sick puppy, we arrived at the vets with Wei Wei, when we arrived the vet was horrified at his condition - weighed in at 7kgs (just bones) running alive with fleas, and he was put onto a drip where he stayed for the some hours.....
Urgent funding for dogs like Wei Wei is so important to get them back to health, veterinary care is very expensive so if you feel you would like to help and support Wei Wei - Valgrays would be so grateful. Updates will follow with his progress and we are keeping our fingers crossed that he makes a good recovery...for the time being he is having the best care possible and he even had a cuddly teddy sent him in the post today, so thank you to the person who sent this - this poor little pup needs our help, he did not ask to be born - he did not ask to be dumped
How could we deprive this poor young dog a chance of life.... he's just a baby and has the rest of his life ahead of him, he could be dead by now.... along with many other helpless dogs......
Wei Wei . deserves every chance of a long/happy life with a caring family...we need to get him better his future is in our hands.
Thank you'

Helping: Part 1.
Between now and Christmas, I have pledged to lose 9 lbs, and I am hoping that those of you who don’t want me to at your Christmas meals despondently sipping tap water, complaining of hunger, and holding up pictures of Wei Wei, will sponsor me, if only to make me stay away. All proceeds will go to Valgrays.

Part 2.
Please donate:
• Bedding (vet bed, etc)
• Collars - always needed
• Leads, harnesses, head collars, etc
• Dog coats (for older rescues)
• Dog Treats / Toys / Chews
• FOOD! (for the dogs that is!!)

Part 3
Would you would like to do some training, and help Valgrays at the same time? I am in the process of organising some workshops:
Weaves (channels and V-weaves for dogs still learning)
Weaves (proofing and more challenging weave sequences for dogs that can already weave)
Jumping workshop (getting the dog to go on and concentrate on jumping well; handling and cue-ing turns)
The first three are in the planning stage with a tentative date of Dec 10th and venue Brinsbury college, near Pulborough West Sussex (indoor school)
Co-ordination and balance workshop – still to be arranged.
-Can anyone can offer a venue free or cheap, to help Valgrays?

If you are interested in any of the above workshops, or would like something different, please do let me know ASAP!

Edited Jan 2012
I am sorry and very embarrassed to say that although I lost the weight, I haven't made any money for Valgrays from doing so. In fact colleagues at work laughed at me when I asked for sponsorship. Very embarrassing. It seems if you want to raise money for charity, the bar has been raised pretty high, and you need to do something pretty extraordinary! At least run a marathon or cycle from Lands End to John o' Groats! I also ran a workshop to see how viable running a few to raise money for charity would be. It went very well, but I found the cost of venue hire, buying/borrowing and transporting equipment, and the amount of organisation and effort required to make it happen, are all much greater than I realised. I think raising money for charity would only work if it was added on to a pre-existing set up. Back to the drawing board. HOwever, my sister made some delicious cup cakes and £13 was donated to Valgrays from people enjoying these at the workshop.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November - conditioning phase

Just a quick note on getting my dogs back to fitness for agility. I believe that dogs have to be fit to do agility, because twisting at high speeds, braking, landing impact, and sharp turning movements, are demanding on muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones. A dog must be fit in order to be able to do all these things. I have read articles by many experts in canine fitness, who talk about the importance of background fitness and conditioning in agility dogs. So what does it involve? Having been involved in the past with athletics and training horses, I found the same idea was employed in both cases. If you want you, your horse, or your dog, to be fit enough to sprint and jump, the first conditioning phase involves a gradual increase in low impact cardiovascular conditioning, improving stamina and strengthening muscle, tendon, ligament and bone. Although muscles respond very quickly to exercise, tendons and ligaments have a relatively poor blood supply and may take 6 weeks to repair, so the increase in work must be gradual to avoid injury (no more than a 10% increase in load per week). For my dogs this means that I am increasing their walks (and trying to find hilly places to walk them!), taking them swimming if time and finances will allow, we are going back to self control games (for waits etc.), and including lots of co-ordination and balance games which are so useful to build or maintain core muscle strength: http://agilitynet.co.uk/training/co-ordinationandbalance_hannahbanks.html

About Me

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For a bit about what I do for a living, see: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=AeEKryTUo-Q