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30th

I try to keep this blog about the dogs, but sometimes life happens. So sorry, this post is about life. 
I spent several hours with Rich out at the first foreclosure he's bought in hopes to repair and flip it. Assuming the contractor's figures are fairly accurate, Rich could stand to make 20,000 dollars or so from this real estate thing. I hope it works out. He told me this weekend his business is on the cusp of closing its doors. He can only sustain one more month if things in the collection department don't turn around NOW. So, now we are both stressed out of our minds. I think personally we can make it to the end of the year if he cashes out some money he was using in the stock market. We've been through times like this before and have always managed, somehow, to come out the other side mostly intact. I just don't appreciate them much. With me as only a part time employee this is even more scary than in the past. Looks like, maybe, my dream life of working part time is up fairly quickly. I dread the job hunt. I have been disillusioned with the computer industry. Projects are never 'finished', never had a good spec to start from and are always a moving target. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure there won't be any listings for 'ranch hand' that would pay anywhere near enough. Does anyone ever make it to where they aim for in life? I know that happiness should be in the journey and not in the destination, and I'm usually really good about making that happen. Let's just say I am struggling with happiness in my journey right now.

27th

Last night Twinkle managed to slip out of her collar while Rich had her and Sparkle out for a 'bunny hunt'. We found out just how much she likes it here! They hadn't made it out of the front yard when it happened so I heard Rich's whistle. I ran out and grabbed Sparkle so he could hunt down Twinkle (in the dark, with a spotlight, in the country). I got Sparkle in the house and grabbed a slip leash for Twinkle and ran back out with my own light. I was sure she'd head to the woods behind the house, but I stayed out front to watch the street. If she got in the back she'd slow down as she swept the ground for scents and Rich could catch her. I was worried about her running out in the street. I was only out there a couple of minutes when Rich came from the back (woods) carrying her. He said she was sitting just around the fence waiting for him (and/or Sparkle) to continue the hunt. He saw her and called, "Come on" and she thought that meant "Come one let's keep hunting" and she took off for the woods. He was able to keep her in sight, but she had no recall. He had to give a stern and very harsh "TWINKLE!" to get her to stop and skulk to the ground so he could catch her. She thought she was in trouble, but it stopped her. I was amazed that she waited on help to take up the hunt in the first place and then that she actually stopped hunting with a harsh word from her Daddy. I guess she has bonded with us (and the dogs here) pretty well after all.

Rich and I spent the late afternoon, early evening out in the neighbor's hay field slinging hay bales. He sells us what we need for Windy cheap if we come to the field and load it up as it's baled. It's also kind of a community event as everyone there to buy hay helps load everyone's trailers up. Makes it easy. One person drives the truck/trailer through the field and multiple people walk along beside (each side) tossing bays on the trailer while one guy stacks it up. I probably personally slung around 50-75 bales of hay. My ribs didn't (still don't) hurt and my knee didn't have any issues either.

Kayak has been making great strides on his dumbbell retrieve. We have struggled teaching him to pick it up. I've been able to get him to hold it and walk with it (with some minor complaining), but not pick it up. Last week I started making him pick it up to eat his meal. He hears everyone else eating and he doesn't get his dish until he picks up the dumbbell. Never have I had such fast strides in getting a dog to do something it wasn't keen on! The first day I stood next to the dumbbell on the ground. He whined and screamed and danced. I ended up having to help him pick it up. He went right in to eat afterward. Next day he picked it up on his own. Then we went to me setting it down several feet away and him picking it up and bringing it to me. Today I actually got a stay while I threw it and a retrieve on command. The end part needs a little work. He doesn't come in straight in front of me and he mouths it and makes noises wanting me to take it from him. 

I got my agility field looking more like an agility field today. For the last several months it's been a secondary horse pasture. All the equipment has been pushed up next to the tree or the fence. Seeing as how the grass has about stopped growing for the season, the temperatures aren't horrible and I have a young dog, Kayak, that should be debuting in agility 3 months, I went about putting my equipment back out for use. Then Kayak played on all the equipment. He had a great Aframe, dogwalk and teeter. We practiced the broad jump with great success. And his weaves on my 21" spaced set were really pretty good even though he's used to a 24" spaced set. He only fell out a couple of times before he got his stride right. Now, for jumps. He was pretty hot and tired when we went out and he didn't jump 24" as well as I've seen him and he didn't want to do 26" at all. He did, however, do the 26" tire pretty well. I need to start working him up to the higher heights. He may stay small enough to jump 20" in AKC, but I'm not counting on it.

24th - Happy Birthday Kayak

That baby boy that was nicknamed "Screech" at Invitationals last December when I picked him up is now a year old. 

He even stayed in a soft crate at the show here all weekend and he was fine in it. No pawing at it at all. Looking forward to not having to squish him in that Nylabone crate anymore. He was really getting a bit big for it. We still have screeching moments, but they are much farther apart and much more subdued. He's turned into a pretty boy, and quite the love.

23rd

My home club decided to swing a second agility show this year, so we got to spend a weekend at home running agility. Friday went very well for Kamikaze. She got her first triple Q!  

There was apparently roping at the arena Wednesday and Lego spent the first run air scenting and ignoring me for the most part. I did manage to drag him around Standard for a few more MACH points. Spirit gave a little effort in Jumpers and wouldn't even move for Standard so we left right at the beginning. Sprigs decided she wasn't staying on the teeter until it came down in Standard and we just couldn't do the weaves right the first try in Jumpers.
Saturday just wasn't my day. I did pull out one Q in Standard with Kamikaze. She was so hot by the end of the day it was a trot along run. Lego air scented in BOTH runs today and I threatened to leave him home. Sprigs had a worse teeter performance in Standard than yesterday! Bailed before it even tipped. Then she was so worked up over flies buzzing that she missed the first jump in Jumpers. Sprigs and I did some teeter practice at home to see if we could fix whatever was going on. She did the teeter fine here at home. (of course) Sparkle ran a whole Novice Standard course but was a crushing 3 seconds too slow to get a Q. Huge disappointment.
Sunday went a bit better. Kamikaze and I just couldn't pull off the ending sequence in Standard, but we did get another Jumpers Q. Lego actually did agility today in both runs. He flunked Standard for taking off course obstacles. Hey, at least it was OBSTACLES and not air smelling. He saved his best run of the weekend for last one. He had a decent Jumpers run for some more points. Sprigs had a good day. She should've Q'd in Standard. The handler forgot to send her to the table after she did a great teeter. She did Q in Jumpers, but was slow due to heat. The biggest news of the weekend comes from Sparkle! She did another whole Novice Standard course two days in a row. This time she just made time and got her second NA leg. One more (maybe in April?) and she's finished her agility career and accomplished her Versatile Companion Dog title.

Cheryl got to run Spice for the first time this weekend and they came home with a Q!

18th

The house has been smelling a tad 'off'. Finally figured it out today. The new washer had a hose that has been dripping. Puddled water in the laundry room that then seeped through (under) the wall to the computer room carpet. UGH! Wet stanky carpet is awful. Spent a good bit of time today getting a new and non-leaking hose attached. Fan on carpet is drying it, but I have a feeling that carpet is toast. Not that I loved the carpet. I've been wishing for it to go, just not RIGHT NOW. *sigh*

16th

Cheryl and I made the trek to the Shreveport area to run USDAA for the first time in 7 months or so. Kamikaze and Josie started the weekend off right by each being the only dog in their height class to Q on Jumpers first thing Saturday morning. That gives Josie her Jumper Champion Silver title! 

Kamikaze cut behind me in Grand Prix and take the wrong end of a tunnel. Sunday morning I screwed up both guys in Gamblers on the actual Gamble part. I got what I handled though! The rest of the weekend was frustrating to say the least. Hoping next weekend's AKC show here in town goes a bit better.

Cheryl and Grace got two Q's as well this weekend. A large improvement in weaves!

13th

My new washer and dryer have arrived! They are smarter than I am at this point.

We had to change the hinge side on the dryer before we could put them in. We took our 16 year old pair down the road to a guy who advertises he takes old applicances.

9th

Well, just my luck, Spirit's out of ordinary season pulled Xanadu into season on Thursday. So, she was unable to show this weekend in obedience and will miss the entire month of September plans. Kamikaze pulled off two decent Utility runs. Both missing a drop signal, both with mediocre go-outs and repeating same jump on directed jumping. At least we are converging on recurring problems instead of screwing different things up all the time. Now I hope I can work on the kinks. Kayak had two very nice showings in Novice. He got leg #2 on Saturday with a 190 1/2.

I was very pleased considering this score including dive bombing the mats to pick up something to eat on the off lead heeling, returning to heel and chewing the entire rest of the way which made for a no sit on the halt. Then he stayed through the most exciting stay line in a while. Before we even got across the ring on the sit stay exercise the judge was calling us back. A Collie had started a party at the other end of the stay line from Kayak. He stayed though. We rest the stay line minus the Collie and did our sit. Both dogs next to Kayak made a big deal about how easy and comfy it could be to lie down. Kayak stayed. Then on the down both dogs next to Kayak broke and moved. One all the way across the ring, one only a few steps. Kayak stayed! Day two he did well until off lead heeling. Even with me proofing outside the ring for things potentially on the floor, he broke the heel position to go check the spot from yesterday. Nothing was there, and he got back to heel, but DANG! He was getting a bit tired of ring time for the recall and started making some noises. Never a good sign. He held his stay and did a fast, and crushing mother, recall. I only had to take one step backwards when he hit me this time, so he did slow some. But, apparently the stay line was too boring today. He just wilted on into a down at like 40 seconds on the sit stay. UGH!
Xanadu and Spirit both got a bunch of nothing in conformation! Xan did show for someone else Sunday (and well) since I was just walking out of the obedience ring. Spirit was just a tad better this weekend in conformation. 

Lego, who hates Spirit in season, is in love with Xanadu in season. He flirts and bounces and plays. Here he's trapped her in the box and spent a long time staring longingly at her.

3rd

My brother headed home this morning since the Entergy website says his block has power back. Rich and I picked up the debris (small braches and such) from Cedar and Jedi's yard for an hour or so. It was so bloody humid that was all we could take. Still some picking up to do in the big yard. This evening I took Kamikaze, Kayak and Xanadu over to Cheryl's to practice some obedience. She actually was out of power from Tuesday to Sunday and the dogs were boarding at the vet in the A/C for most of that time. We have obedience this coming weekend in Biloxi along with the conformation. Spirit is now on week two of being in season, so I am not sure how Kayak's brain will hold out for obedience. He did well at Cheryl's house though. Still very talky on the first few steps of heeling. Kamikaze rocked articles! I didn't see any stress. Hoping we have found the key to eliminating her stress. She did well on everything else but gloves. Still a struggle to not take the center glove. Xanadu did very well on all her stuff except articles. I was practicing a full pile and she is struggling with the leather one. (second one) Good thing it's only 4 articles this weekend and it'll be a metal one.

2nd

My brother has been here since Tuesday in anticipation of hurricane Isaac. We made it through with no structural damage. No damage to fences either. I was worried about Windy out in her pasture area, but all horse people said to leave her be. "The more space she has to run the better", they said. In the worst of the storm I went out to check on her and she was grazing on any grass above the water. No need to worry about her apparently. The power went out around noon Wednesday and came back on yesterday evening. I was actually out of town when it came back on. I was up and out the door early Friday morning to head to a conformation show in Monroe where there were majors for both heights of beagles. I came home with nothing, nada, zip. Most disappointing. At least we have two more chances coming up in Biloxi next weekend. I spent a couple of hours at a Chick-Fil-A around lunch Saturday since they had free wifi. It was also the first time I've seen their cow in person.

At least I got home nice and early this evening. Plenty of time to clean up, check on all the mammals and head out to meet Cheryl and Mike for dinner.