Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another One

Just after I gave Bonnie the boot (ok, ok- I didn't REALLY kick her to the curb, she got a great home in AZ) another one came along. Here is something you may not know- I don't like fostering. You take in a dog of an unknown temperament, have to deal with the lack of crate training (which equals crying, whimpering or screaming) possible housebreaking or even crate accidents, inability to walk on a leash, possibly need to be separated from your dogs due to temperament incompatibility, lack of enough crates in your car, extra food bill, and also the unknown of how long they will be around before you finally find a good home. So, no, fostering is not something I like doing. But, lots of other people don't like it either, and lack of foster homes means perfectly nice dogs are killed just because I wouldn't bite the bullet and deal with it. When saying yes to fostering, I think of all the happiness Pie has brought me. Sure, I failed Fostering 101 by keeping her, but if I hadn't fostered her, no one else would have either (there was some confusion and Rescue didn't believe me that she was still there) and I think Pie would have been killed in the shelter. Most people do not adopt large adult dogs from the shelter.

A lady on the Belgian email list sent out a plea about a Malinois in a shelter only about a half hour from my house. That is probably the least far I've traveled to check out a dog, excluding the Ventura County shelter which is about 15 minutes from my house. No good excuse to not go and take a look. After I told her I'd go, she said she wanted to come to learn about evaluations. Now I was grumpy. I'm not any kind of expert at evaluating dogs.

Here is the manual I would write on How to Evaluate a Shelter Dog:

Number 1- Stand in the run with the dog.
A) If it wags its tail- it is a good dog.
B) If it rushes you and bites you it is a bad dog.

Number 2- Pet the dog.
A) See above.
B) If it bites you it is a bad dog.

That's about it. I've never brought toys or treats or done anything other than pet dogs and if it is a small dog, pick it up. Most faithful blog readers know I adopted Pie sight unseen (sent a non-dog friend to pay for her and he only eyeballed her from behind the bars and reported she was not barking, only whining) and Dottie after viewing a video- but she was a puppy so temperament issues are not as big of a deal.

Anyway, if she was willing to go anyway, why did I have to go? It didn't help that I got off work 45 minutes late and therefore was going to be late meeting the her. I ate some ice cream to help me be less grumpy and off I went. Alicia came to help out because she is not grumpy.

Of course the lady we were meeting was super nice (as I already knew since A- we've corresponded before over the email and B- anyone who is willing to help dogs must be) and I soon became ungrumpy. Also the ice cream helped. The dog's name is Diablo and we hung out with him and pet him and I expanded my evaluation to include looking in his ears, checking out his teeth and touching his feet. He didn't bite for any of it so he passed my inspection.

The shelter had toys which he played with and the other lady fed him treats which he took nicely. We learned he had been at another LA shelter for over a month and they transferred him to this on in hopes of getting him adopted. He was a stray and had a microchip from the Riverside shelter but that owner would not return phone calls. Which is how they knew his name was Diablo. I've since changed it to Charlie B, short for Charlie Brown, Charlie Bear (due to his size) or Charlie Buck if you like the literary reference of Call of the Wild.

He is very much a Malinois and has a habit of jumping and air snapping at the same time, so he was put under evaluation at the shelter. We were able to tell it is typical untrained Malinois behavior, but it would make it difficult for him to get adopted.

Since he passed my evaluation and because no one has taken him yet, I decided to foster him for AMBC. Sigh. Like I said, not something I wanted to do, but something that should be done for his sake. It's not his fault he was a stray and his owner wouldn't come for him and he was born a big dog with a genetic tendency to air snap- which is caused by excitement and not aggression but the average person would be scared of anyway.

So far no problems, although the jumping and air snapping can be disconcerting. He is very large. When first introduced to my girls (on leash) he couldn't keep his urges under control. I let him off leash with them this afternoon after several other rounds of introductions and correction for mounting attempts and he was better behaved. Both Pie and Dottie did not like him at all and Pie has kept that opinion but Dottie actually played with him. I'm glad she is playing with him now because it was very sad to see her slinking around, tail and ears and head down, scared of the big male dog who is in her yard.

Anyone want a really big boy? He'll be available through AMBC after about a week or so- I just need to make sure of his temperament before I write his profile. Because he is so large, strong and more of a "real" Mal than my girls or Bonnie, I think he will be difficult to place. He needs a knowledgeable home. I don't know if he gets along with males or not. The cool thing is he actually is trained- he even knows shake.

Introducing Charlie B.

He is very handsome.

He likes to play and does not seem to be possessive. BUT, he has no concept of the difference between toys and hands so it is up to the human to give him a good target to bite or you might loose a finger. Not sure how to "fix" that in an adult dog who is so un-careful without loosing an appendage in the process.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Zoo Trip

ffluffy and I went to the LA Zoo. I don't have too much to say about it. We had a good time but it was hot and we didn't get to pet the goats, same as last year. A highlight was the 4 day old baby black neck swan. It was so cute and ffluffy.

Here I am with the painted elephants celebrating the new elephant enclosure.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bunny Play Session

Some of the cuter pictures.

Bun getting a belly rub during a play break.

Bunny in Dottie's kennel for a time out. She runs around like a crazy woman in the house and needs to be crated so everyone can have a break.

It is cute she is playing with a toy almost as big as she is, but it is a very light toy. It was even cuter when she picked up a SchH 1 dumbbell with no prompting and carried that around. The 650g dumbbell is 1.4 lbs (I used an online converter.) Bunny weighs 10 lbs. That is her picking up over 10% of her body weight. No bad for a little shrimp!

Blog Post Recap

The next post is a re-cap of the weekend and is so long it needs its own recap. The important parts?

1) Bonnie got adopted and her new family is great.

2) Dottie got her CD.

3) Pie got UDX leg number 5 with 2 forth places.

4) We had too many dogs with us.

5) We stopped at a fundraiser on the way home and I won a Bingo game.

6) We got rear ended on the free way but the car didn't even jolt and there was no damage which is good since the other person left.

There, now if you are short on time you can skip the next post.

San Diego Weekend

I've been blogging like crazy trying to catch up. I blame it on ffluffy being here. Not only are we doing things worth blogging about, but I am also chatting at night instead of blogging.

Let's start at the beginning...

I went to SchH on Thursday but only stayed for obedience since I had to get home to start packing the car. When you have 11 (yes 11, but don't tell the landlady or the neighbors!) dogs to take on a three day trip to San Diego, you know packing will take a while. And it did. We didn't go to bed until after 11 and we had to get up at 3:30 the next morning to make our 8:30 start time. Sleeeppyyy.

Everything fit in the car and I used my luggage rack on the back for my milk crate cart for carting practice and the drop cloth mat. Bet you didn't know you can fit 11 dogs in a 2006 Buick Rendezvous. 3 Belgian Malinois, a Mastiff breed that I don't want to name, a huge Tibetan Terrier, 2 Border Collies, an oversize Papillon, a heavy corgi, a normal Vallhund (is there such a thing? :) ) and a small poodle mix. Plus an x-pen, an additional wire folding crate, 2 folding chairs, luggage cart, 2 soft folding crates, 2 clothes bags, 4 additional training/ dog stuff bags. a soft cooler for food, a pillow and a bunch of extra random stuff like the x-pen top cover, the shafts (2 sets) for the cart and dog bowls. Yep, that car hold a lot of stuff. AND it gets around 23 mpg. Not great, but I don't think a huger SUV with less gas mileage is really going to hold much more stuff. It's all about dogs sharing crates and dogs riding on top of ffluffy.

Pie peaks out.

Everything was secured with straps and bungees.

We made it to San Diego in good time and set up. The trial was held on the grounds of a decommissioned Navy Base. Nice area, but directly under the take off path of a commercial airport with planes on an average of every 3 minutes. SUPER LOUD. You could not hear someone shouting right next to you when they took off.

Pie got a double Q. I think that is the last one she needs to qualify for the Nationals in Reno next year. Dottie was not so good, knocking 2 bars in one run and going around the table in standard. Actually, that run was ok- I just need to train driving to the table better.

Fancy got her Open Preferred jumpers title but knocked the double in standard. Fancy! She NEVER knocks bars but is not knocking them at 16. Too easy so she doesn't try?

We ate at Outback that night then watched a movie at the Motel 6. All the dogs except 2 joined us in the room- all good quiet dogs- no complaints.

The next day I was not showing. I had entered too late and it turned out to be a one judge trial so it filled. Drat.

However, we came prepared and practiced tracking at the agility show (on a short leash to comply with show rules) and Pie and Fancy practiced carting for our draft test next weekend. Dottie and Fancy did very nice tracking. Pie also practiced tracking but had some trouble, probably because the spot I picked for her turned out to be the most popular potty spot. Gross! Also, someone took an article I had placed after we crossed a sidewalk. It was a wooden dog ornament, so I could see why someone would want it. (I am sure they didn't realize I left it there on purpose.) None of the dogs are practicing for Variable Surface Tracking (VST) where you cross roads and such, so I needed the article to show her she was correct. I also needed to to make sure she crossed in the correct location. So it's "theft" messed us both up. A nice poop smear awaited us about a foot from our last article. Poor Pie!

We had some excitement when a swarm of bees that was hanging out on a wall found a new home in a water drainage spot and took their swarm into the air. I know swarming bees are not out to attack, but it still make me nervous. I hung out with the dogs while the bees settled down. It turned out fine.

After spending the day tracking, carting and hanging out, the best part was still to come! Bonnie's new family drove in from AZ to pick her up. They are wonderful and while she was tentative, I know she will settle in very quickly. They emailed me to let me know she claimed their small couch as hers, and is playing with their BC until they both drop. Dottie will miss having a playmate who shares ideas about how play should be (fast and hard) but I am so happy for Bonnie and her new family. They promised to send pictures every so often.

(Now we were down to 10 dogs. Is that more normal?)

That night we ate at Marie Calendars then watched some of the second Alien movie - which I haven't seen- but we had to turn it off to get to bed so we wouldn't be so tired.

The last day we drove 30 miles inland to an obedience show. The report is as follows- Dottie earned her last leg of her CD! She earned it in 3 tries. Too bad she is now ring wise and her heeling was terrible. I worked hard to train Dottie correctly (rather than the sloppy job I did on my other dogs) but the wheels already fell off...

In better news, Pie earned UDX leg number 5, with a 4th in Open B and a 4th in Utility B (small show.) The judge took 15 points off on our go-out alone! Crazy sharp pencil. And yet she took zero points off on our stand for exam but Pie wiggled a bit. Maybe she has certain exercises she feels strongly about. Pie was very happy because she thought it was an agility show. That might be the key for Pie. Show agility the first day, then obedience the second day. It doesn't even have to be on the same grounds. Our last 2 UDX Qs were both then she did agility first.

So it was a very busy, pretty successful weekend. Dragging 11 dogs around is not fun! Now we are down to 10... Happy Adoption Bonnie!!

But wait! It wasn't done. On Sunday night on the way home we stopped in West Hollywood at Hamburger Mary's for a fundraiser for a friend. The valet parker (who you had to use) was crazy and kept making us change our spot. I parked the car myself since we had loose dogs in the car. Seems like a good thing I did because as we were going inside we watched him back a nice red pickup truck forcefully into a dumpster. He didn't even check to see if there was damage. Yikes.

We played bingo and I won a game! When you win everyone pelts you with their loosing cards. All in good fun. Hamburger Mary's is a colorful place...

Another guy won the same time I did so we picked bingo ball and the highest one won. I got 45 and he got 44. Won by one! Notice anything interesting about the host up on stage?

Getting pelted...

Then, just to round out the weekend with more excitement, we got rear ended driving home and the other person didn't stop! Traffic was stopped and they stopped then went. Maybe their foot slipped off the brake or something. The impact didn't even jolt the car, just made noise. I had the luggage rack down for the cart so they ran into that which saved my bumper from getting scratched. There was no damage, but I could have done without it just the same.

Phew- I think I covered everything!

The Beach and Randomness

A few days ago we all headed to the beach after work. It was Bunny's first time. She did not approve. I think she might be a bit noise sensitive and maybe she didn't like the crashing waves? For the most part she just trialed along behind me. It was nice that I could have her off leash though.

Bunny actually made off with the ball at one time.

Bunny got a swimming lesson in the small lake made from the river water heading into the ocean. Toss.

Beach Bum. Or Bun.

It was overcast and gloomy but the dogs did not mind.

Some of the dogs got to go to the beach twice in one day! This was before I got there and ffluffy couldn't listen to Fancy's crying any more. Fancy makes very odd noises when you first arrive at the beach and you are still in the car.

More beaching before I arrived. I did not bring my camera so all beach pictures are courtesy of ffluffy.


One night while watching a movie we had 2 people and 4 dogs on the loveseat. Pie, Fancy, Pickle and Bird. This is the best picture we could get.

1, 2, 3, 4? That is my leg under the blue afghan. Pie is obvious, Fancy's rear end only, Pickle's head, ffluffly green clad leg and Bird with his head pointing away.


ffluffy is not only a good friend to me, she is a good friend to all her friends. She watched my dogs for 2 months and another friend is deploying for 6 months so she is watching her dog for all 6 months!

Demitri is a large dog and does not appear too intelligent. None of my dogs like him. Dottie won't even play with him but I don't blame her as his play appears to consist of ramming the other dog with his large head and then lifting up. The good news is Dimitri is mostly mild mannered so when Dottie turns on him snapping her tiny teeth, we quickly sperated them and don't let them play any more. ffluffy's vallhund will play with him, but he's the only one.

I find this picture very amusing. ffluffy titled it "Pie does not want droll on her." He drools a lot- very gross. It is funny because of Pie's body language. When do you actually see a picture of an unhappy Pie when someone is trying to play with her? Well, here it is...

Unhappy Pie. I might describe her as looking disdainful. Poor Demitri. It isn't his fault he doesn't play like a normal dog.

Hike in Griffith Park

Another popular spot, more horses... do I see a trend here? Unlike the Wildwood Hike, this one was short. We drove to LA to get some raw food for the dogs, then stopped in Griffith Park for hiking on the way back. Except I couldn't find the spot I wanted to park and the closed road and detour did not help. We ended up only walking for about a half hour. This was Bunny' first hike. (Sort of a hike- again more like a walk.)

She needs to learn a sit stay so she can pose with out being tied to Fancy and she needs to learn to walk on a leash and not be lagging behind.

Hike in Wildwood

Last Sunday ffluffy and I had the day off from formal dog activities and we had planned to go on a hike. I was going to take her on my favorite hike in Santa Barbara, but then I remembered the traffic going back to Ventura County from Santa Barbara on a Sunday is terrible, and as great as that hike is, it isn't worth that traffic.

Wildwood Regional Park is a large park in the middle of Thousand Oaks. Back when I had Ranger, a horse I owned for a short time, I rode him to Wildwood which is how I knew about it. ffluffy and I took the dogs and off we went.

We hiked down to see Paradise Falls, a 50 foot waterfall, then we went deeper into the park, hoping to escape the crowds. We ended up going past Lizard Rock, through Wildwood Mesa, and along Stagecoach Bluff, where we saw a rattlesnake.

It was a good walk with nice elevation changes. I wish I had remembered my GPS so I could know how far we went. It wasn't very long- maybe 2 hrs or so.

We were in no danger from the snake- we had been warned, the dogs were on leash and he was making his way away from us. At one point we were in danger of being trampled by a horse. We found a group of 5 riders blocking the trail. The were having some kind of trouble so we had to wait for them to mount up and when they did, we back tracked to let them pass us. Pie has some kind of intense feelings toward horses and I'm not sure what they are and I don't think I want to find out. Hence the back tracking to let the horses pass us in a wider spot. All the horses passes us except the last one. He did not want to go down the embankment into the water. The rider seemed inexperienced and the horse was toss his head, and backing up at an angle away from the water and towards us. Our escape route to avoid a trampling or kicking would have been through the poison oak behind us and down a steep (but do-able) embankment into the river. Hmmm... poison oak or trampled by a horse? I got stomped by a horse once before and that was just on one toe, but had no desire to repeat that, so I would have taken the poison oak.

Luckily the rider decided to stop trying to make the horse go forward and the horse quieted down. Another rider came back and lead the horse through the water and we continued on our way, avoiding the poison oak and a trampling.

Hiking down the hill we stopped at a this tee-pee picture spot. I say this was a hike at and some points it was. Other times (such as on the super wide and busy "trail" at the beginning,) it was more like a walk. But at the same time, going down the hill to the falls was somewhat steep so I don't recommend taking your toddler and expecting him to walk on his own.

The falls from the top.

Dottie tries to get a better view of the falls.

The view of the falls you get from the bottom.

The view of the falls you get if you take the camera and sacrifice your shoe to the nasty black mud to get a better picture of the falls. (that would be ffluffy, not me.)

All the dogs hiking together down in the canyon. Nice greenery and shade.

Very green.

The dogs waiting for us at a bathroom break in the canyon. There are picnic tables and the bathrooms have flush toilets! Pie is looking at a horse and Dottie is eating something.

Starting to head back up out of the canyon. Getting dryer and browner.

Almost to the top. If you look exactly in the middle of this picture and you have really good eyes you will see a tiny white dot. That is the tee pee from near the falls. Probably if you click on it the picture will get bigger.

Zooming in so you can see I'm not lying.

A bit of a zoom in on Wildwood Mesa.

Looking backwards from Lizard Rock. The water treatment plant we passed and some Thousand Oaks houses on the ridge.

Looking off to the right.

We didn't purposefully do small to tall, it just happened that way. And Pickle is actually taller than Fancy when he isn't pouting about having his picture taken. Pie has a big tongue and Dottie was sitting in a bush that was giving her trouble by poking her in the face. Typical.

Pie still has a big tounge, now it is just in a different position.

Lizard Rock.

The Rattlesnake. This is the first Rattlesnake I've seen while hiking with my dogs. I think I saw some as kid while hiking with my dad but I don't really remember. I saw a few at the ranch in Santa Clarita where I used to board my horse. Lots of rodents attracted by the horse feed which brought the snakes. I was surprised to see one in this park because it was super crowded and busy with lots of people. You think snakes would want somewhere more quiet. It is important to leave dogs on leash when it is snake season!

Drool on Dottie's head from hiking next to Pie.

It was a nice hike, if a bit more crowded than places I usually go.

PT Test

As my dad noted in a comment I passed my PT test (again- we do this every year.) This year is the first year of the new, harder, Air Force PT (physical training) test. Previously, you could get a zero on one aspect of the test, but max everything else and still pass. Now you have to get a minimum on everything, BUT, even with the minimums, you still won't pass. For example, if you meet the minimum of 18 pushups in 1 minute, 38 sit ups, 16 something mile and a half run time and get a waist measurement of ? (no idea what the max/ mim waist measurement is) you will still fail. But if you are a stud at push ups and do 30 and the minimum on everything else, then you might pass. The numbers I just listed are for any females under 30 years old.

I was really struggling on my sit ups. Females in our family have no stomach muscles. It is a true scientific oddity and may explain why my mom was in labor for 3 days on each of her kids. I've made up my points on push ups and waist measurements in the past but that is not an option now. I worked really had and tested myself everyday and was ready to pass. But then my shoulder started hurting and it got to the point where I couldn't even do 1 push up. I had been doing 20 in a row with no resting. Off to the doctor who diagnosed rotator cuff tendonitis from too many pushups.

Therefore, I had a push up waiver for the test. Because I didn't do pushups first, I could do so many more situps than I ever did before. (Push ups are great stomach exercise muscles because it works your entire core. In the test we do the push ups first which fatigues your stomach muscles for the sit up portion.) I actually mananged to max out my situps, doing over 50 in the one minute time limit. I also maxed out my waist measurement, meaning my waist was skinny enough to get the maximum amount of points. I ran the mile and a half in 13:43 which is the fastest I've timed myself, and that included a terrible head wind. So I got an "excellent" on my PT test!

Next year when I take it I will be 30 and the criteria gets easier so I expect no problems. Now to get my shoulder back to working order. I've been resting it before starting the recommended strengthening exercises and it is feeling better.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I have a lot to blog about but no time. Just to attempt to keep everyone happy I'll post 2 cute pictures for you to look at while you wait for a real blog post.

We are not amused.

Bunny plays with a toy almost as big as she is. Rest assured you will be seeing more pictures from this play session.