Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Project Gratitude: Help Zero the Greyhound

In September 2013, Maisy became suddenly and critically ill. Our blog readers rallied around us, providing us with the emotional and financial support needed to get through a very stressful time. Although I will never be able to pay you all back, I can pay it forward through Project Gratitude.

Over the past week, I've gotten increasingly anxious about Project Gratitude. I just haven't seen anyone in need. Oh, sure, there are a few charities I really like, but I guess I really like the idea of helping others that ended up in the same situation I did.

And today? Still nothing. No clue who to donate to. So I figured I'd check my email and Facebook before picking an organization and throwing this post up. You know where this is going, right? As I scrolled through my Facebook feed, I saw a picture of an adorable greyhound named Zero. And I love greyhounds.

So this month's Project Gratitude is in support of Zero the Greyhound. Poor Zero shattered his kneecap and may or may not have torn his stifle. He's in the ICU (and let me tell you, I know just how expensive that is) and had surgery today. Zero's mom has a decent start towards her goal, but she's got quite a way to go still. Will you guys join me in helping Zero and his mom? Every little bit helps!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

We're Alive!

Whoops, I sort of fell off the face of the world there, now didn't I? If you follow the blog Facebook page, you know that I've been sick. Not the kind of sick where I've missed work, but the kind of sick that every bit of energy I had has gone to work and sleep. Since I've been gone for three weeks, how about a quick update on where things stand?

I think the big "storyline" that's been dropped is Napi. And that's actually pretty accurate, because my illness meant that Napi didn't get to finish his reactive dog class. I'm really bummed about that because if I'm honest, I'm much more motivated to train when I have a class to keep me accountable.

I'm not sure that Napi's meds are doing much. He's been on them for 5 weeks now, so I guess I'm being a bit impatient, but I know I saw more progress with Maisy when she was 5 weeks out than I have with Napi. Of course, it's kind of an apple/orange kind of comparison; Maisy and I had been actively working on her reactivity for two years by the time she'd started meds. I'm also really missing the the very detailed behavior logs (including a good baseline) that I had with Maisy. Without it, it's really hard to see progress.

Unexpected friends.
One good thing about being sick: I've discovered how incredibly sweet Napi is. He is a world-class cuddler, and I've grown incredibly fond of him. I may not want to do this whole reactive-dog-thing again, but he's definitely worth it.

Perhaps the most interesting thing lately has been Maisy's relationship with Napi. She has decided that she quite likes him, thank-you-very-much, and plays with him way more than I would have expected. As a matter of fact, at this very moment she's trying to get into Napi and Pyg's wrestling session. They have also started to be a bit cuddly together, something I have very rarely seen in Maisy. I'll be very curious to see how this pans out.

Maisy's health- which seems to be her main storyline right now- is actually pretty good! She saw the ophthalmologist at the beginning of the month, and her corneal dystrophy has actually improved! I wanted to ask the doctor if it was an April Fool's joke... We did increase the strength of her eye drops, but I'm so glad to have seen even a slight improvement. And, after Maisy's most recent massage/acupressure/reiki session with Michelle Bame of Caring Canine Massage, she's been even more playful.

Last night, I took Lola to her first beginning obedience class. She is very different than Maisy or Pyg to train; slower, more thoughtful, and more deliberate. She's an eager student, and I'd very much like to get her CGC and maybe even a novice obedience title with her. I think it would be a good experience.

Lola is friendly-reactive. I've had a few of these dogs in classes, but never handled one directly before. Lola gets so damn excited to see friends that she can lose her mind. We had to spend the first 15 minutes of class behind a barrier in order to keep Lola from barking, and even after that, she would get pretty distracted by the other dogs. I think I'm going to enjoy working with her a lot. I know I like living with her.

I'm not sure which one is cuter.
Pyg started the beginning obedience class last night, too- my fiance handled him during class. Let me just say that I was impressed with both of them. Pyg is a quick little dog; working with him can be a bit like having a butterfly on crack on a leash. He's everywhere, he's excited, he's intense. I love these qualities, but it was challenging for someone brand new to clicker training. Cesar rocked it, though- his timing is amazing, and they did really well together.

The longer I have Pyg, the more I love him. He's just got a great little personality. This morning I took him to an agility trial because I wanted something very specific from a vendor that was going to be there. He handled the environment like a pro. After a few minutes to settle in, he would see something exciting, and then turn to me for a cookie. By the end, he was sitting and watching me intently. We did a few sits and downs, and then left. I am very excited to do competitive stuff with him. He'll be fun!

 I've been editing the second Fenzi-Jones book, and I'm pretty excited about it. This one is on motivation, and I think it's better than the first one. I cannot tell you how often I'll get all excited when I work on a passage, either because I totally agree (and had to learn the hard way) or because I've never been able to find the words to talk about it they way they have.

Other than that, not much to report. Just resting and recharging so I can get back to life! I'm not teaching right now and find that I really miss it. Pyg and I are getting ready for a 40 mile backpacking trip (less than a month!), so we've been hiking a lot to get us both physically ready. I'm sure that will be a riot...