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DECEMBER 2008

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29th

We had an uneventful trip to AR to visit Rich's family. Too bad when we got home it was 'all day' raining so the dogs that had been crated up or in the car for three straight days didn't get the running and playing they needed. Consequently, Xanadu has been a holy terror the last couple of days. Chewing on stuff like she never did as a young puppy and getting into things she's never done before. I guess some of it could be teenage-hood is hitting. She even bit a corner off of our window sill. Crazy girl. By the afternoon today she was calming back down since there was plenty of outdoor play time today. It was still very wet in the yard though. Puddles were chest deep on her in the back parts. Several times I had to go out and dry her off because it was still a bit chilly to be all wet, but she couldn't seem to understand the puddles made her wet and chilly and that if she stayed out of them it wouldn't be so bad. 

I took Xanadu and Kamikaze to conformation class tonight. Kazee is doing great and starting to keep her tail out of the complete curl she used to do. She still holds it up a bit much, but in a sickle shape more and less in a tight loop. Xanadu is gating well. The table is still her (and my) weakest point I think. She is doing better though. Now if I could just get her to hold her tail up nicely when she stops like she does when she's gating. Our next conformation show is in Alexandria, LA at the end of January.

24th

I worked some agility for the first time in a quite while I think. I set up the twelve poles and a couple of  jumps. Kamikaze was out of her mind excited to do agility. I guess she's had her fill of obedience for awhile. Just as well since there's no more obedience until the end of April and lots of agility. She went first. She did the most awesome weaves I've ever seen her do. She was solid on the entrances at many angles and solid in her footwork and drive. ALRIGHT! I knew there was a chance it'll all solidify in her brain if I let it be for a bit. She's headed to Gulfport, MS and Huntsville, AL in January. I've emailed Khloe's ( her sister)  family and informed them we'd be in AL. They are around Birmingham I think.

Sparkle was next. Since the poles were out front she was on a leash that I let her drag through the poles, but held loosely most of the rest of the time. She also was doing really nice weaves. Of course, she needs to be doing really nice contacts so she can get her NA next year and become a versatile companion dog. I let Josie out front to work some with her. Last agility trial she was shutting down again. Regressing. She was happy out there though, so not a bad regression I think. She's solid on her weaves almost always. Lego got a chance, but only with me holding onto the six foot tug leash attached to him. He's a flight risk in the front yard too. He was weaving fine, a bit distracted though. So many other things he could be after out there. He just won't run at speed in practice, so his nice entrances here don't translate to nice entrances running at full blast. Since I had a few bits of chicken left I got Xanadu out. She also drug a six foot tug leash. She did her first 'big girl' jumps. Just a few at 12 inches. She ticked the bar once or  twice before she adjusted to there actually being a bar there, then she was great. We did some interaction with the weaves with treats for walking between the first two poles in the right direction. She has yet to completely understand what she's done to get the treat, but she now knows walking by or around the weave poles is a key to getting them.

MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone. We'll be out of town Friday-Sunday, so I'm sure I'll be absent from the blog until next week.

23rd

I worked some with Xanadu and the dumbbell again. She has no problem going and picking it up, but she wants to gnaw on it as a toy not return it. We did a little exercise where I just set it on the ground in front of me and expect the dog to pick it up and let me take it back. Xanadu watched Sparkled do this several times and then it was her turn. Xanadu did figure this game out and got some nice grilled chicken for her efforts. I've also noticed she is starting to  understanding catching food that's tossed. She actually caught several pieces of popcorn yesterday and when she doesn't catch them she is trying to instead of letting them hit her in the face. It won't be long now until she's got that one mastered.

I caught Xanadu on camera standing on a file box in the computer room. She does this frequently when everyone gathers in there. I guess it helps make her tall enough to see what's going on since she's so much shorter than everyone else.

Today I bought another small dog pillow to replace on that Xanadu's been tearing the stuffing out of. I bought one just like the one she has in her x-pen. It's just the right size for 20-25 pound dog. Tonight I saw Lego standing in it thinking about laying there. I didn't think there was any way he could curl his 45 pound, 17.5 inch tall body into that pillow. I was WRONG! LOL! He looks completely crunched and uncomfortable. But, It couldn't have been too bad as he stayed there for over an hour.

I also took a rare shot of Shelby actually playing actively with Kamikaze. Shelby doesn't do much active play anymore as she's almost 11 and she has bad hips and low thyroid. Xanadu had to get in on the tug action too.

20th

I got up early to head out tracking this morning. I took Xanadu and Kamikaze with me, and I stopped on the way to the park at a couple of empty lots to lay tracks to age for Lego and Sparkle. When I got to the park I laid Kazee's track in the back field. Then I did a short straight line from a flag (about 25 steps) to a glove with grilled chicken leftovers on top of the glove. The glove was in a dip so it couldn't be seen until Xanadu was a few steps away. The work in the evenings tracking Sparkle and Rich down seems to have gotten through to her on the idea behind this game. She got all excited 2 minutes later when I got her out of the Expedition and she saw a flag. I got her harness on and she pulled straight to the flag. There was some confusion that there where no treats. I have determined treats along the way have made the idea here murkier in her mind and not clearer. I encouraged her to take a step forward and then she hit the track and started going on her own. She did the 'scent cone' tracking (back and forth as she went forward )  instead of right down the actual track. But, she made the glove all on her own and rewarded herself with the grilled chicken bits. I tried another track about 30 steps. Same setup. Waited about 5 minutes to get her out. She went right to the flag all happy like. Then sniffed down the start of the track on her own and took off. She still did some back and forth motion, but another success. One more try. This time 20 steps or so with the chicken inside a baggy inside the glove. She started well and stayed more of a straight line this time. Then she alerted to the glove in her pretty down position to release the treats. BY JOVE! I think she's got the idea now! YES!

Kamikaze's track aged about 30 minutes while I worked with Xanadu. Kazee started well. She struggled some at all the turns, as she usually overshoots them and has to hunt the track down again. But, she never threw her head up and stared at the sky. She kept her nose down and kept working the track and finding the right way. It was almost a regulation length. At the last turn I could see her wanting to quit instead of figure it out. I encouraged her a lot and she found the right direction and I cheered for her. It was a short leg and she found the glove shortly after getting discouraged, so she got a big reward for working through her desire to give up. Very nice job!

When I got home I did a couple of things while I waited for the tracks to age. Then the phone rang. It was the vet's office. They were supposed to be closed today, so I find this call a little odd. I answer and the vet tech that spent her time trying to track down the unregistered chip in the stray puppy is on the line. "The puppy just went home.", she says. "huh?.. like the owner came for him?" "YES" Turns out the lady found him missing yesterday out of her fenced yard (seems one of her dogs figured out the latch) and has been frantic looking for him. Supposedly drove around most of evening yesterday and made up some fliers. Then had a restless night and started this morning putting up signs and calling all the vet clinics in the area. So, since my vet people spent yesterday afternoon calling all the clinics in the area trying to trace the chip, when the owner got on the phone with one of the other clinics the girl there remembered the call yesterday from my vet. She gave her one of the techs home numbers (I think) for her to get in touch with someone since the clinic was closed. She was crying and ecstatic and couldn't believe they really had her puppy. The chip story is like I figured. The breeder chipped all the puppies (in DENVER, CO.. no wonder we couldn't trace it here), but didn't make the new owners register the chip. Rest assured the owner is taking care of that oversight ASAP! I'm am overjoyed that this 'stray' puppy incident had a happy ending.

I waited to take Sparkle and Lego out until Sparkle's track was 3.5 hours old. Sparkle refused to start for some reason. She kept turning away from the flag and looking the other direction. I had to help her get going on the track and that whole first leg was UGLY. The first turn was iffy too. She walked close to the first article, but didn't alert. I called her to it and pointed and then I got an alert. From then on she was a champ. Stopped at the second article and made all the turns well. Walked right up to the glove and alerted too. Don't know what that starting issue was. Lego started his track great this time. He didn't alert to either of the first two articles even though he tracked right over them. They were both plastic. Guess we need to work on plastic alert. He struggled some on a few of the turns, but always stuck with it and worked it out. Good Boy! Lots of treats.

We spent the afternoon at the mall poking around. We found one of our jewelry store's going out of business sale. Since neither of us has done much or any shopping for the other for Christmas, we picked out our own stuff. Rich got a really nice Seiko watch. I got a nice Seiko and a couple of necklaces, rings and a pair of earrings. Then I found two outfits at Dillards for dog shows for a total of $35. Merry Christmas to us. Don't think I'm required to wrap them. 

I also ordered the coolest thing for the beagles to help with motivation in agility training (I hope). I'll elaborate more when it gets here.

19th

I had two stressful experiences today. First I went to an actual salon to have my hair done. I've always been one of those go to the barber shop every 8 months or so and have them whack it off about shoulder length. When the lady at the salon ask me what I wanted done all I could say was "I don't know, got any ideas?" Of course she had ideas, and after hearing my 'limitations' she started cutting away. I was somewhat nervous, but I figure at least it can grow out again if I hate it. I got a cute little layered inverted bob (I think that's what it's called). I was very nervous looking at it, and not sure. I went by Rich's office and let the girls see and they all loved it. The vet girls on the way out of the office park loved it too. I got home and went back to work. 

It was only about 20 minutes later that I heard everyone outside going bananas. Not the 'hey we're having fun playing chase' noises, but the 'it must die' noises. I go out back and all I can see is 5 dogs jammed in the corner of the fence on one side and two jammed in the same corner on the other side (all in our yard). They were growling and biting at the fence. At first I thought it was a fence fight. I ran in and grabbed the emergency whistle. Blew it. Got Lego (most dangerous fight provoked dog I have) and another one racing back to house. Give them treat and close them in crates. Go out and find a cute puppy sitting just on the other side of the fence wagging his tail and looking all playful. He doesn't seem to understand my guys wanted to eat him. He appeared to be a Pit or a Pit mix. No collar. I know the dogs that belong around here. He's not one of them. I got a slip leash, went out front and walked around my fencing out into the woods next door. I hollered "PUP, PUP, PUP!" He came racing to me wagging all over. I slipped the leash over his head and he happily walked along with me back to the front of the house. I loaded him in a crate in the car. I hate this. I have no way to track the owner. And around here, it could be he was dumped. I can't keep him here. My guys don't want him. I call my vet and alert them I'm on my way with a puppy that needs to board until I can find him a home (hopefully by Christmas) if they have space. Thankfully, they do. I mention we could check him for a chip, but I wouldn't bet lunch on it. Well, I'll be buggered, as soon as the scanner got near him it beeped and up came a number. ALRIGHT! Call AVID. No owner has recorded the chip with any pertinent info. Just my luck. The vet techs get info from AVID on where the chip was shipped to. Call them. They can't tell us what happened to the chip. A dead end. The techs don't give up and start calling all animal hospitals in this area hoping one of them has a record of the chip. I went on home after telling them to add him to my tab. They take him to the back and when they offer him a treat he sits. He isn't in bad shape either. It seems someone was caring for him decently. I spend many hours stewing over the fact that strays come to my house completely untraceable and I'm too good a dog person to just leave them lost. At closing time, I call and they still haven't had any luck tracing him. I decided to wait until Sunday to put an add in the paper offering him to a home or to an owner that can give me the right chip number. I figure I'm giving the owner a chance to find him missing and put up signs or put an add in paper or something. I mean he was chipped after all, and well fed and friendly. Why can't they just pay the measly fee to have their name and number come up in the database when the chip is called in? 

17th

I still don't have everything unloaded from the Expedition from last weekend. I still have dog dryer, a couple of crates and some chairs out there. I'll get to it soon.

I spent a short time yesterday in the kitchen working with Xanadu on retrieving the dumbbell. She likes it just fine and will run off with it, but bringing it back is not her idea of fun. In the kitchen I can block her so the only way to take off with it is to pass me. I then snatch an end of it and shove steak at her with the other hand. A couple of times like this and she started coming right back to me and throwing it at my feet to get the steak. Not quite the correct behavior, but at least she's giving it back.

After my 'experiment' with Xanadu's tracking skills (where we tracked down Sparkle), I have been routinely taking her out after Sparkle and letting her hunt Rich and Sparkle down. She seems to be doing well. So, tonight I asked Rich and Sparkle to walk past a start flag and go in the opposite direction than he usually goes. Then he hid out in the woods waiting on us so there was no noise to follow. Xanadu was a bit confused at the start flag as there was no treat. And then she seemed stressed about the idea. I must have been so unclear about the point of tracking up until this point that the flag brought on a bit of stress. Once we overcame that and started moving she tracked right to them in the woods with two turns and down a stretch of gravel drive. I dispense some left over grilled chicken when we got to them and then we went back inside so Sparkle could run off the bunnies. I am now 100% sure Xanadu is capable of tracking just fine. She's doing much better with the find the missing owner training method than the treats on the track method. It's going to be harder to find the time with an extra person free at the same time as me to work on her skills until she understands the idea, but this method works for her! 

Kamikaze seems to finally be feeling more like herself. She's eaten well the last couple of days and has started screaming in her crate for her turn again when I work with the other dogs.  I am wondering if she didn't/isn't going through a bit of a false pregnancy. That would explain some of the odd things I've seen out of her lately.

14th

WOW! So much to say...
Kamikaze had kept me up a lot Wednesday night with solid liquid stools. I started my trek to Jackson at 6 am Thursday morning.  I had no need to be there until 10:15 or so. I figured even with the snow falling hard and already a couple of inches on the roads I was leaving me plenty of time for my normal two hour drive. The roads were much worse than I expected and it took me twice as long as normal just to get to the Interstate. I had high hopes that the Interstate would be much clearer than the back roads. Wrong again. It was pretty bad. 30 mph was about the max speed. I was starting to worry about not making the show for Thursday. My fears were realized quickly as we came to a complete halt on I55 and sat for over three hours waiting on a tow truck to pull the eighteen wheelers that were jack-knifed across all north bound lanes onto the shoulder. Here are my I55 stuck in traffic pictures.

I got to Jackson around 12:45. That made for a long trip! I did make it to Jackson in time for Kamikaze's Open A class. I had someone move me to the bottom while I was on the road and I got there with two dogs to spare. She did all the exercise pretty well considering our morning. The evil stays ate our Q again as she crept on the sit and down stay at least a body length. I am beginning to see a nasty pattern here. I missed everything else on Thursday. I was at that point just glad to be there safe and have a hotel room with power. Rich had called to say he lost power at the house just after I left.

Friday morning started bitterly cold, but clear in Jackson. The snow at home had yet to melt off and Rich still had no power :( Xanadu did well in the conformation ring, but took Reserve to Rosalita. Thunder took Best of Winners to cross over for a point as well. So, all in all it was a good time for the littermates. Kamikaze started off with a BANG. She took Winners, Best of Winners and Best of Opposite Sex  for a single point. It was only one bitch shy of being two points though. It was the first win where I felt like we beat some actual good competition. It felt great. Too bad I didn't have time for a professional photo, but I had to race to the obedience building. Sparkle got a 93 in Advanced Rally to finish her title and Xanadu got a 95 and fourth place in Novice Rally to start her career. This day was going so beautifully for me and my guys! Unfortunately Kamikaze played creeper on the stays in Open A again after nailing all of the other exercises. I did notice though that her enthusiasm was low and she lagged on heeling some and her retrieves were a trot and not a race. I guess maybe she's still feeling bad.

 I also got some pictures of Xanadu with her sister, Rosalita, and brother, Thunder.

Rosalita

Thunder

Xanadu, Thunder, Rosalita

 

Saturday morning started at 8 am with Kamikaze back in the conformation ring. The competition made the win worth two points today. We ended up taking second of four in the Open Bitch class, so we never got to go back in for the points round. I still felt good that we held our own in the Open Bitch class and that she's getting looked at. The cool part about today was that Kazee's sister from Alabama, Khloe, came over to show. She's the same puppy I saw when I picked up Kamikaze in Knoxville. It was great to see her show. She did well in the ring. We didn't get to take pictures of them together until Sunday because of my hectic schedule, but I'll post them on this day since that's when we met up. 

Xanadu took Reserve again. This time to Dani, the tri-colored sister. I still think she did well in the ring though. Thunder took best of Winners to cross over for the point again. This afternoon they had a puppy group competition. Xanadu and I made it to that too. She did OK, but was tired. I did get lots of comments from people about how great they thought she was. Marie came to watch and she gave me some tips on how to showcase her better. Xanadu got a 96 today in Novice Rally. She was in a six way tie for first. She beat all the others on time, so blue ribbon for her! Sparkle got a 95 in Adv. Rally. She got the title yesterday, but we still played. She needs the ring time. Kamikaze was a repeat of yesterday. With a bit less pep.

I started out bright and early Sunday again with Kamikaze in the conformation ring. This judge really considered his options in detail. In the Open Bitch class there were three of us. He had us go around one at at time, then together after examining each one individually. (which includes a go around and a down and back gate) Kamikaze was showing very well. She was rock solid on her stand when the judge went over her and her gate was almost floating around the ring. He came back to us and the bitch behind us to exam the shoulder and rear end structure again. Then around we went again one at a time. He came to the front of each and made a strange noise to get an expression on the face. Then he stood back and looked. Then one more hands on. WOW! This is the most I've seen a judge look at a group of dogs. And, I'm one he's considering. He finally said "As you are, 1, 2,3" That meant Kamikaze took first in the Open class since we were at the front of the line when he said that. COOL! now I have a shot at the two points up for grabs. I feel good about our chances against the puppy bitch, the bred-by one I am not sure about. He sent us around once and then pointed at us for Winners! WOZZERS! Two more points all at once. Then back in for breed. We ended up taking Best of Breed over a champion dog. I did get a professional picture of that one! Can't wait for it to come in. Kamikaze ended up more than doubling her points this weekend. We went from two to now five. Xanadu took Reserve again to Dani. Thunder took Best of Winners for the cross over point. Now off to obedience. Kamikaze was a carbon copy of Friday. Not as laggy as Saturday, but still crept on the stays. I hate stays now. Sparkle got another 93 and Q in Adv rally. Xanadu's ring time was a conflict with the group time, that I now have to consider since I took Breed. I moved her to the front of the class. We were a little less focused, mostly because of me, I'm sure. She had one stop and scratch for a minus two, and one race to the end of the lead to see a dot on the mats for a minus two. All in all she did great on the exercises except for the finish left, which I know she doesn't quite get yet, but she did it eventually. She got a respectable 92 for her third leg and her first title ever! I just barely made the group ring in time to show Kazee there. She did fine showing, but didn't place. Not a surprise, but it was good experience. We got home just as it was getting dark. I feel pretty good about our last weekend out for 2008.

XANADU RN title!

Here's a link to a slideshow of some pictures Rich took back at home in the snow while I was away. 

9th

Xanadu  and I worked on some Rally moves tonight. Overall she did well. I overdid it though in my zeal to be sure we covered all possible moves. She started getting irritated at the whole idea. I went back inside and just got some string cheese in my pocket. There were six dogs loose in the house. I walked around and rewarded dogs for getting into heel. Xanadu wanted to be a part of that! She started voluntarily running to heel. Then I did just a couple of finished with her and called it done. I was just glad to see she didn't completely shut down after over doing the session.

I did a little experiment tonight. When Rich took Sparkle out (on a Flexi) to run the bunnies off our property, (because she loves it so)  I waited a minute or two and took Xanadu out on a leash. When she started looking like she was tracking Sparkle down to find her, I gave my tracking word and let her drag me along. I kinda know what Rich's path usually is. She took me up to the front of the fence, down the front towards the woods, cut into the woods down our cleared trail, across the agility field, through the thicket down Rich's blazed trail, popped out in the clearing behind the back fence and started working her way up the clearing. Rich saw us and called to her. I asked Rich to show me the path he took tonight. She followed them almost to perfection. Having never been walked into the woods or on any of those trails, I have to assume she was trailing them. So I am now convinced of her capability to track when it suits her. Now I must be a better explainer to her as to what I am looking for out of her when we try tracking again.

As a nice side note, the forecast for Thursday morning when I'll be driving to Jackson involves rain mixed with snow (snow? in Louisiana) for most of the early morning hours. How pleasant that will be.

8th

Xanadu did a little more tracking practice today. For the rest of the week we'll be working Rally moves in preparation for the 4 day show in Jackson this weekend.

I turned out all the little guys together for play time this afternoon. It's not often that all four small dogs, and only those are loose in the big yard. Here's some shots of the play.

7th

I did some good training today. Xanadu, Lego and Kamikaze tracked. I am a bit surprised that Xanadu isn't catching on to tracking faster. She has great article indication, but doesn't always 'remember' to follow the scent to the glove. I did a straight line and one 'L' with her today. At some points she tracked great, at others she wasn't even close. Kamikaze had a 30 minute track with 3 turns. She did very well. A couple of times when it got hard she started circling me with her head up, but always settle back down to track. I was even shocked to see her track past the glove and have to back up a few steps to alert to it when she realized she was past it. She is a glove focused dog. She is more likely to visually hunt the glove than track for it. 

Lego's tracking abilities impressed me again. I laid him a track that was 100% in the three acres of woods next door. I flushed a cou0ple of deer that were bedded down over there. That should make some good cross tracks. Some parts are so thick with palms and brush I wasn't even sure I could remember exactly where I cut through them. I'll have to trust Lego's nose. I aged it three hours. His starts are a bit rocky on an old track, but from there on he's a champ. The hardest part for him seemed to be crossing the 80 foot stretch of cleared area where my agility field will be some day. It's the only part with much real grass, otherwise the cover was dirt or leaves. The agility field area is a favorite grazing  area for the local wildlife. I guess all the scents concentrated in one place stretched his brain a bit. I thought he did make it across in the general path I took. He must've done better than I thought because when he made it to the other side he was walking straight over the first article, a leather square. He failed to alert to it, but I pointed it out and he remembered to then. From here is where I can't be sure where the track goes. I made sure to follow him when I recognized the tracking posture and freeze at the other postures and wait. He made turn two and three very decidedly. We had to stop to harass a small turtle along the track, but he did leave it on the second command to continue tracking. Now it gets tougher as I crawled over a downed tree from the hurricane. He struggled with deer scent a good bit along this leg, but he once again was walking right over article number two. He failed to alert again, but I pointed it out and he recognized his mistake again. We came up to the downed tree close to the root ball. I know I crossed it down near here. He wasn't sure what to do as it was too high for him to jump comfortably, but he had to crawl to go under because of other small trees knocked over all around it. He decided to crawl a bit further up the trunk where there was more space ( I had to go over) . I know there's one more turn now and then we end up in the cleared area behind the back yard fence. He walked right up to the glove and alerted. What an amazing tracking dog he can be! I don't see any reason he can't get a TDX soon.

Xanadu and Sparkle did a bit of agility. I just pulled out the teeter to let Sparkle do teeters for steak. She trotted right to it when she saw the treats and went right over. Not quickly, but not creeping like in the past. And she exited quickly after it hit the ground instead of slinking off the end. We did several of them and each time was pretty decent. Since it was set up, I put up a couple of jumps and took Xanadu out to try her hand. At first we just raced through the jump uprights and on to the teeter. She zooms up the teeter until it tips. She waits for it to bounce and the soars of the end. A very respectable way to perform it I think. She's managing the bounce and the movement on her own now. I got Rich to come watch. I added the chute and this time I crossed two bars on the 12 inch cup ( my lowest). One end in cup, one on ground so that the actual height in the middle is about 8 inches. She's never done jumps with bars on them. She did the chute the first try and bounced over the jumps, a bit surprised at the bars, but not shaken and over the teeter. I am thrilled with her enthusiasm for this game. We quit while she was still zooming everywhere. Rich is duly impressed too.

It was a long day!

6th

Xanadu and I drove to Biloxi again this morning. We did much better on the table for the judge to exam us, but a bit worse gating. She wanted to sniff and scratch, and when I finally got her going she was staring up at me all prancy like. The judge told me to try and get her out of the habit of looking up at me because it makes her throw her front. I am glad to here input on how to improve our chances. So, we got winners bitch again with no competition. We didn't beat the special again. No surprise there. Especially since she wouldn't gate well.


I got a shot of Xanadu and Josie wrestling this morning.
You can see they are almost on top of Lego while he naps, and he never said a word

Spoiled? What's that mean?

5th

Xanadu and I left about 7:45 this morning for our drive to Biloxi. I got in the building 10 minutes before show time (10:10). I though I'd planned perfectly. I went to the ring to get my arm band. The lady shifts through her paperwork. "I don't have beagles here." I point to the posted ring order. "Oh, not that big one, the little one up on top." Sure enough no beagles. "Huh?" Seems there was a judge hospitalized recently so there assignments got shifted around. "Could I have missed it?" "No, they can't change you to earlier than original posted." I find beagles. We're not until after noon. UGGhh! I didn't even bring in a crate for her. The other 13 inch beagle competitor saw me and said my competition for the point was sick and so didn't come this weekend. EVEN BETTER! A two hour drive to get there and wait two hours and now not even a chance at a point. OK, so a slim chance I beat teh special for Best of Variety and get a point that way. Not likely. He did let me use one of his spare crate to house Xanadu in the mean time so I didn't have to hike back out in the freezing cold to retrieve a crate. Xanadu did great in the ring. She only wiggled a bit on the table. I got some nice gating with a stop into a stack. Never a sit attempt. We took Winners Bitch since we were the only one. Then back around for Best of Variety. Naturally the champion won that. I'm pretty certain I won't be back on Sunday as my show time is 8am.

When we got home we went to pick up the dog mobile. After inspection, it was determined it needed new tires too. So now I have 8 new tires for Christmas. At least I can feel fairly certain after all the service done on the Expedition I won't be having another roadside experience next week.

4th

I finally got around to practicing with Xanadu and Kamikaze. Kazee did an entire Open obedience run through. We haven't practiced in weeks. It didn't seem to effect her ny. She was as close to perfect as she's ever been. Crooked fronts are our downfall. She even cleared the broad jump the first try without cutting it short. Her stays were great. Not even shifting feet on the sit stay and only one roll to the other hip on the down stay. Xanadu heeled beautifully! I was so impressed. Her one downfall right now is finishes. We practiced them a lot. We also threw in some 360 degree turns and a couple of fast downs and a stay for me to walk around. I don't see why she shouldn't fair well at the show in a week. Tomorrow is her first conformation show. I'm so excited to see how she does.

We picked the Mazda up from the shop. It has 4 new tires and drives great. We dropped off the dog mobile to get 50,000 mile service and a few other things since I'm headed to Jackson for 4 days next week.

3rd

As an aside to yesterday's experience ... As I read emails about a  friend's mother dying, an agility acquaintance dying suddenly and other acquaintances that have seriously injured body parts, or are taking care of an ailing parent, I've been made thankful for many things.
1. I was not in any way injured in my tire experience yesterday nor was my car seriously damaged
2. I was not in a strange place and had people to pick me up even if my car wasn't being picked up
3. None of my family is ill or hurt
4. All the dogs were extremely happy to see me and were all healthy and well
5. I am not struggling to pay my mortgage, facing scary unemployment, or any such other things that many others are facing
So, I was extremely irritated at my minor inconvenience yesterday. It seemed big at the time, but in the stream of life it wasn't even much of a rapid. I still have every intention of making Mazda roadside pay some of my out of pocket expense, but the big picture is clearer now. 

2nd- A day to remember

Today was one for the history books! I left the house as usual at about 5:20 am. There was no real hint of trouble until half way to work. I noticed my car sliding a bit around a curve. I know my rear tires are a bit slick, but to have my high performance car slide on dry pavement seems odd. I keep driving. My bad. Should've stopped and checked it out. I kept on, and slid around the next corner some. By the time it became obvious the rear tire was going I was on a two lane, windy road with no shoulder in the dark. (Welcome to Louisiana)  I start hearing bad noises and I know there's nowhere safe to pull off until the DEMCO substation about a mile or so up the road. The bad noises turn into thumping, a definite sign that the tire is completely flat. I made it into the parking lot at DEMCO. My nice, cute, sporty car has no room for a spare tire. They provide an "Instant Mobility" kit,. It basically consists of industrial Fix-a-Flat and an air compressor. I struggled a lot with direction Number 5 which said to use their cute tool to remove the valve from the tire so you can squeeze in the sealant. OK, I have used Fix-a-Flat and never had to remove the valve stem. Why would they make this so hard? After 15 minutes I give up and call Rich. Poor guy! He was still asleep (about 6:15) and he's been sick. He promises to bring regular Fix-A-Flat and heads my way (45 minutes). Did I mention it was 29 degrees this morning? So I sit in the car and wait. The DEMCO linesmen start arriving for work about 6:45-7:00 and they come to check on me. A couple of them give the valve stem removal a try. NO LUCK! I don't feel quite so "girlie" now. They offer to let me wait in their break room. I decline. Rich appears and puts the Fix-A-Flat can on the valve and starts squirting it in. We see it shooting out the other side of the tire onto the pavement. Now we are to the point of requiring a tow to a Mazda place. Mazda 24 hour roadside assistance comes with the car while it's under warranty. So, I call their 1 800 number. They promise me help in 90 minutes. Rich has to leave to go to work. I appeared at the break room door to beg my way in for my hour and a half wait. They are very obliging. Kudos to the DEMCO employees for their kindness. As a side note they also have a mascot dog (black lab mix) that showed up during hurricane Gustav and they feed him and he has stayed permanently. His name's Gustav, Gus for short. They have also let him in the break room for a few minutes to warm up. At about 9 am, the scheduled time for help to arrive, Rich sends one of his employees to pick me up so I don't have to ride to the Mazda place and wait. I left the break room to wait in her car. At about 9 the Mazda roadside calls back to be sure help has I arrived. I say no. They check on it. 45 minutes more they say. The guy's having trouble getting his driver on the line. OK. From then on this tow company becomes the "30 minute" man. I start calling him directly as well as having Mazda roadside call and check. His answer's always 30 minutes. After 4.5 hours (3 hours from original estimated arrival time) from the original call time (7:15) I call Allstate motor club to see if they can send someone. "90 minutes" they say. OK. So now I have two motor clubs sending me different tow companies. I know they're different because I asked for the names and numbers. Surely one of them will get here by 1:30 PM. I tell the girl that's still sitting out here with me, God bless her soul, that there's a chicken place on the corner if she's hungry. Sounds good to both of us, so I buy her lunch and we take it back to sit by the car. Gus, who has been an ever present companion, is now our greatest friend. After we eat, we get the phone book from the DEMCO people and start calling local tow companies. Almost all of them require CASH ONLY payments at time of arrival. "Who has over $100 cash in their wallet just when their car breaks down?" Receives no real response from them. I find one company that says 15 minutes we can be there, yes we'll take your Credit Card, $225. It's a deal! I call BOTH roadside companies and tell them to cancel whatever service they think they've ordered. While I wait I find Gus's tennis ball and play with him some. True to their word, they were there in 20-25 minutes. I waved to my car and the girl just made it back in time to pick her kid up off the school bus. We both spent our entire workday sitting in a parking lot. Thankfully her boss paid her to do it!