Monday, December 29, 2008
The dogs loved the comforter, in hindsight, maybe too much. Yeap, you know where I'm going with this story....one day last week we came home to a floor COVERED in these fine, light and fluffy feathers. We're not talking a few of 'em. Nope, they were ankle deep! You guessed it, a dog or two became a bit obsessed with our warm covering!
When you tried to gather up the feathers, they'd flutter away. Any air motion sent them flying to another part of the house and soon they were well beyond the initial bedroom. We were laughing so hard, the dogs would come in and sure enough, our light-as-air feathers would whisk away, often landing on the back of a dog or two. The best part is when the furnace kicked on and our fuzzy feathers would fly up to the ceiling and slowly float down. We weren't sure if it was snowing inside, outside or both!
Any way, here we are on day 5 of our feather collection and I'm amazed at where they're showing up and in such quantities! I should have taken a picture...darn it!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
First, the most immediate was the loss of my young dog Coal. I honestly don't know how anyone gets over the emptiness when you love 'em so deeply. Just writing about it makes me gush tears and I suspect it will always be that way. After talking with some people I admire and who have gone through a loss, I've accepted that this is just how it's going to be and that's okay.
However, it seemed to bring out either the nasty in people (gossiping about the situation around Coal's death) or the softness (thank you to those who cried, and continue to cry, with me).
On the other hand, the loss has made me appreciate what I do have. It sounds so darned cliche, but I think that's a natural part of life. Some of the things I've continued to work on over the year:
* spending more quality time with my husband, family, friends and dogs.
* focusing on my home & my relationships
* taking better care of myself (I'll always struggle with that)
* easing up a bit on the tough expectations I have for myself
* not giving a darn what others say, even if it's pure fiction
* and most importantly trying to remember that if I don't have anything nice to say, either say nothing or say it politically correct
I've been successful in many ways and of course there are other things I still need to work on...(I won't be bored in 2009!)
I've learned a few lessons this year that have hardened me a bit, maybe in a good way and then again, maybe not. I've learned that:
* some people are just mean. Strange to say, but there are some people who are just so unhappy with themselves, that they feel it's okay to "share" their ugly side in an attempt to make themselves feel better. My husband has told me to say "Who gives a flying f*uck" and mean it. I'm still trying to embrace that and certainly hope to get better at it!
* Next, egos run ramped in some places. Yeap, goes back to the fact that some folks just aren't happy with themselves and find it easier to blame others vs. taking responsibility for their own actions. This year I've met an out right bully who is so tainted with hate from their upbringing that they systematically take it out on those around them in an attempt to over come their own feelings of worthlessness. No logic in trying to sort that one out and I do have to thank another soul for pointing out that it's their issue, not mine. Nonetheless, it's been a lesson.
* Here's a news flash, did you know that some folks are self-centered...LOL? Now this won't apply to everyone, but boy do a few select really stick out. These folks are so vain, they actually think our actions are because of and ABOUT them. Thank goodness they're not my friends!
On the other hand AND on a more positive note, I have met some of the most wonderful people.
* I have an incredible husband who, despite my qualities and faults, loves me and we can joke about anything (including our funny quirks). I feel safe with him and have realized over the last year and a half of marriage that he really does know me (good points and bad) and STILL loves & accepts every part of that with a smile.
* Newsflash #2, I do understand my husband, quirks and all, and still love him. Since he's an engineer and I can be more of a creative, he's more laid back and I'm a go-getter, this can be a challenge, but it's a good thing. We really do compliment one another and we've now made it through several remodeling projects, a near death experience (he dropped a tree on my head), a car accident (my fault), 2 new dogs, a death and family events (you have to know his family
* I am also grateful that I have some of the strongest, clear-minded, caring and loving friends and family. They're in the WOW category and always brighten my day! I love my Selthofer Family, from CA to WA and beyond, you guys are the best.
* I have such fun students who allow me to be a part of their life and development with their dogs. That's an honor I hold dear to my heart.
* It goes without saying that I have incredible dogs with such distinct personalities. I've learned a little about myself from each one of them. Sometimes I haven't like what I've seen and more often than not, they bring out a side of me I didn't know existed.
In 2009, I'm going to be 40. I'm not sure I ever saw me making it to this age, but I have to admit that I'm looking forward to it and in some way I'm proud to be reaching this new decade. I have so much around me that is good and those icky things above are things I recognize, but chose not to incorporate in my life. That will be my new attitude and as compared to my younger years, I'm not going to apologize for it. Basically, you either like me for who I am or take a hike since my job on this earth is not to ensure you like me, but to ensure I'm being the best person that I am capable of.
To those whipper snappers with an attitude, they can take a hike. To those loving folks who just want to grow with me, come on along for the journey as it's sure to be a hoot!
Friday, October 3, 2008
First I always view each trip as an opportunity. Maybe it's an opportunity to finally read those magazines that have been stacking up at my house, or it's time I can spend brainstorming and writing down the dog training items I want to work on or exercises for my students, or it's a moment I can finally draft specific steps to a problem or project I'd like to tackle and it's always an opportunity to buy the latest and greatest books to read.
Even with all of that, my absolute favorite is to look at each trip as a mini-adventure and I try to find moments that I can relay back to my friends and family upon my return. The fun and humorous are what I try the hardest to find (because everyone likes a good laugh), but whatever comes my way, I take it.
For example, on one trip I sat next to a group of people who were flying to Seattle to try out for the TV show, American Idol. One person had flown in from Australia, another from the East Coast and so on. They were from different walks of life and some were humble, some were arrogant and some were...well...just weird! Regardless, here were people actively going out to pursue a dream and were brave (and/or stupid) enough to want to go SING in front of lots & lots of people.
Most folks won't leave their own neighborhoods to pursue a hobby, let alone a life long dream. It got me thinking about what my dreams were/are...and so you see how my "mini-adventure" not only kept me occupied, but allowed me to reflect on my own accomplishments and more importantly, to plan a few more for the future as well.
So back to my current trip....
As is typical fashion in flying these days, 3 of us are cramped into a row on one side of the plane. The guy in the middle was by far the pushiest, least considerate space hog I've sat next to during any of my travels so far. He leans over into our space, puts his coffee cup on our trays (nope, he didn't ask), plops his feet next to ours, elbows us, pushes our arm off the arm rest and at one point, tried to climb over my seat mate without notice so he could exit the row.
After he leaves, my seatmate and I make a pact that we're going to buy each other a glass of wine to ease our bruises
So as we're talking, the "why" soon becomes clear to me. First, my new pal is raised and born in Boston. I've grown accustomed to the easy going ways of the Western side of the country and my Eastern friend is a product of his environment. I can appreciate the cultural differences and admire them. Next, it comes out that he was an attorney. Not the fancy Wall Street kind, but the kind that works for an organized labor Police Union. Talk about a non-nonsense type of career!
As midi-guy talks, it's clear he's very intelligent and speaks in such a way as you can't help but be pulled into the conversation. I won't bore you with all of the details, but we were daring and talked politics, the economy, society, world religions, about other countries and much more. I left that plan feeling quite a bit more educated, with lots of ideas and even more questions.
Turns out once midi-guy settled in, he wasn't so fidgety and he really was a neat guy to talk with. Not someone I think I would have picked out on the street to talk with, but well worth the time once I looked past the outward appearances.
Another successful trip where I didn't try to gauge my eyeballs out due to boredom...
Thursday, October 2, 2008
To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship.
-- Thomas Moore
I'm sure you've had 'em - bad days. I'm sure you've met 'em - mean people. I'm sure you've received it - bad news. Whatever reason, I personally don't know anyone who can honestly say they haven't had at least one day where they felt like a bug who just smashed into a windshield. But there is a bright side to this scenario - friendship.
My friends have helped me to laugh at myself (of course I like the part where we get to laugh at them too!), were a ray of sunshine when all looked bleak, who made it clear they weren't going anywhere, who still liked me when I less than stellar and who shared their energy when it felt like I had none.
True friendship is worth far more than any gem stone you can buy and it certainly is a whole lot more stable!
So the call to action in this message is to be the best friend to those around you. Especially since you never know when that act of kindness will be the event that heals a part of someone's soul.
Going Green in the Dog World - It's Easy
Occassionally I come across some interesting animal information and this was one of them. The short story is below and a link to the full story from the Wall Street Journal is below.
Instead, The Feral Cat Times published a number closer to 100, citing research by Michael Stoskopf of North Carolina State, which showed that three quarters of feral cats' kittens die before reaching reproductive age.
Article on the SPCA Website:
Animals depend on people for their survival during a disaster, but planning for your pet doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. There are two critical steps to ensure the safety of your animals if you must evacuate with them in the event of a disaster:
Prepare – Have a safe way to transport your animals and have supplies gathered in one location that can be easily accessible.
Plan – Know where you can take your animals if you had to be away from your house for any given amount of time. And appoint someone to evacuate your animals if you are not home when a disaster strikes.
To prepare for a disaster you should put together an animal disaster supply kit with everything you'd need to care for your animals for at least 72 hours. The contents will vary depending on the type and number of animals in your care, but every kit should include the following basic items:
Food and Water. Keep a 3-day supply in an airtight container and be sure to rotate this supply periodically to ensure freshness.
Containment and control supplies. Pack a leash, carrier or crate to safely control and confine your pet.
Current photos of your animals. Include a photo of yourself with your animals if case you need to prove ownership.
Collar and ID. Make sure you have a secure collar and up-to-date ID tag on your animals.
Sanitation Items. Include litter, litter box, newspapers, plastic bags, disinfectant, and basic first aid supplies.
Vet records and medications. Copy vaccination records and set aside a supply of daily medicines.
It takes less than a day's effort to put together a plan for you and your animals in the event of a disaster, a day's effort that could potentially save you and your animals' lives. If you found this information helpful, please support SPCA International so that we can education more people about disaster preparedness for their pets and save more animals' lives this disaster season.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The below is a portion of a Lanny Basham newsletter that is relevant to Agility and so I thought I'd share.
We've certainly noticed this in our area. Interesting that this is happening across the country.
We have heard some disturbing news related to the slowing economy and your pets' safety. Reports of pet theft have dramatically increased this year - in fact, reports have quadrupled since 2007.
SPCA International cannot explain this rise, but we do recognize that people get desperate in hard times. It is extremely unfortunate that the victims in this case are our pets.
Thieves see our animals as helpless victims for their gain in a number of ways. Purebred dogs and cats can often sell for thousands of dollars. On Web sites like Ebay.com and CraigsList.com the thief can remain relatively anonymous while selling your missing animal for a retail price. Thieves may also scheme to take advantage of your desperation by stealing your pet and waiting for you to post a reward. Returning your dog or cat a few days later as a hero and collecting profit with little suspicion.
Reports indicate that animals are stolen from backyards while parents are out, from cars while parents run a quick errand and from dog parks while old friends chat. I urge you to take extra precaution for your pets' safety this year, especially if your best friend may be viewed as an expensive breed. You being aware of this rising problem may be just the protection your companion needs.
I hope you and your family have a safe and fun August. If you can spare a small donation, we greatly appreciate and need your continued support – click here. With these summer months and a tough economy, we need all the help we can get from each one of you to continue building our efforts and supporting our companion animals in all that we do. We thank you.
Below is an article on FDA Rules on Bioengeneered Animals. Animals are being used 1) for our food source and 2) medical purposes.
Very easy to make Corn Salsa
2 cans black beans
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
Drain the corn and the beans. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Ok, want a good clicker challenge? I've got it!
© Copyright 1998, Macmillan Publishing. All rights reserved.
© Copyright 1998, Macmillan Publishing. All rights reserved.
To get the inside scoop on pet food manufacturing, join Natura Pet Products beginning September 10th for a special podcast - How Pet Food is Made - available only on podcast.naturapet.com.
During this presentation, Natura's own Dr. Sean Delaney, vice president of Natura Pet Products, and Kari Liu, technical services and product development manager with Natura Manufacturing Inc., will give you an exclusive tour through our production process:
- Ingredient definitions - why we use - and don't use - many popular pet food ingredients
- Ingredient sources - where we get our high-quality raw ingredients
- Pet food recipes - how our healthful recipes are developed
- Cooking process - the difference between extrusion and baking
- Quality control - why Natura established the most rigorous testing process in the industry
Over the last several years, I've heard and seen quite a few "stories" from judges that made me proud to be a part of this group. I've also heard a few that had me shaking my head in disbelief too.
- Make our air reservations in a timely fashion. Presenting the club with a $1,200 airfare bill for a flight within the US is generally over the top (even for today's standards).
- Be realistic on rental cars. Sure you may drive a $45,000+ vehicle at home, but you can find reasonable cars/prices without having to revert to a Geo Metro. Folks, a $500 car rental bill for a 3 or 4-day show is excessive (unless it's Hawaii or Alaska which can reach the $175 a day range).
I've decided to blog in an effort to put all of those light-bulb moments down in one place. While most will be my light bulb moments, some will be the dogs & clientele I work with each day as well.
As is human nature, I suspect most of us can't be brilliant all of the time so I'm sure there will be some "not so brilliant" moments as well.
Oh heck, that's what's going to keep things interesting!
In the meantime, I am going to go back and pull some older content on articles & e-mails I've written to get things going.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Recently I decided to take the examination for the Certification Exam for Pet Dog Trainers and subsequently the Certification for Dog Behavioral Counseling. Lots of rereading and rewatching document dog videos are in my future, but what got me thinking the most was the application. You see, in order to take the Certification test, I must have a minimum of 300 hours of dog training experience. Before you read on, I invite you to add up your dog training hours - I think you'll be as surprised as I was!
- Dog training isn't about the dog communicating with ME, but rather me adjusting my ways and communicating with the dog in THEIR language. They give us so many signals and we humans rarely pick them up. Instead we say "Why isn't he moving faster?" as we turn our back on our dog (which in dog language means 'leave me alone'), "He knows (fill in the blank)", "He's being stubborn", etc. I often wonder why it's all about us....and how did we become so self centered in this dog/human relationship. Don't get me wrong, we're not always like this, but when things aren't going our way, we tend to become self focused and ignore our partner. I used to get terribly nervous before running my Dalmatian in Agility. I've since learned that giving her a hug at the start line and looking into her eyes takes the focus off of me and puts the balance back in my world. I try to make that a habit now.
- Another thing I've learned is that when encouraging/training a wanted behavior, rapid repetition (click treat, click treat, etc.) and breaking things down into smaller, more manageable portions is my friend! In other words, I shouldn't expect my dog to be brilliant if I'm only going to notice the unwanted behaviors and ignore all of those good things they're offering up.
- One of the most important things I've recently been reminded of is that sometimes my dog needs to figure "it" (the thing I want them to do) out on their own and I need to patiently stand/sit there while they work through what I expect of them. Now granted, I'm talking in manageable steps, but gosh golly, if I step in every time they stood there staring at me and opted to lure them into position, I've given them no reason to think and they readily disengage their brain...the opposite of what I want! This one is hard, but as it's also been pointed out, I'm rarely standing/sitting there for eternity like it sure feels like!
- I've also learned it's okay to be silly with my dogs, to get down on the ground and play with them or to run around the yard playing chase. While my neighbors may find my antics funny, it is really good exercise! Like my justification on that?