Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Look What Sprouted...

Who is this???
I feel terrible for neglecting this blog for the past month and a half, but life has really gotten busy. I've been working overtime hours at my job and the dogs, including a foster and now a new guy (more about that in a minute), have been keeping me very preoccupied.

Catching up with the gang:

Hokey's training is going well. Her contact training is now in the polishing stages and we're running full courses using all obstacles at full height. I've taken her to a couple of workshops just to get her out and working in some new places. I really love running her! I've not entered her in any more trials since sticking our toes in the water Memorial Day weekend and probably won't bring her out again until fall. Summertime is just too hot. I haven't given trialing too much thought. I'm disappointed that we still don't have an answer on jump height changes from USDAA as was expected the first week of July. I'm reluctant to enter her in any USDAA trials until I know what's going to happen. I may just stick with CPE or perhaps give UKI a try, until there is an answer. I did join the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America and sent in paperwork to have Hokey "recorded". I am planning to do agility with her at their Nationals in October.

I found a way to be able to keep doing a little bit of agility with Poppy! A friend of mine has her own little home-grown agility venue called Super Sport Agility. She holds tiny trials that are run very differently than trials in other venues; nested courses are set up once for the entire day; they account for for 3 different classes and several different levels. Up to 4 dogs per hour can come and run the courses and then the results are tallied up at the end of the day. The teeter is not really used, the other contacts are lower and you can choose to jump your dog at whatever height you want to jump them at; classes are only placed according to level and jump height is not factored into it.  It's PERFECT for Poppy because it is low stress on her both mentally and physically. Everyone has to start at the beginner level. I gave it a whirl in June with no expectations considering we don't really practice and she hasn't done any "real" agility for more than 6 months. Not only did she Q in all 6 runs for a "perfect weekend", placing 1st in 4 of them, she finished the two beginner titles AND was High in Trial dog. I'm so glad I've found a way for her to be able to do a little agility and be successful.

Poppy with her loot from the June SSA trial

Poppy and Ollie continue their training in nose work. There have not been any trials in this area, but there are a couple coming up in the fall. The first one will be at the end of September in Gettysburg. The entry period for that one occurred last week. Even though I am only allowed to handle one dog per trial, I threw both dogs into the pool for the draw in the hopes that at least one of them would be picked. Given that there haven't been any trials in the area, but there have been several ORTs, I figured the number of teams vying for the 38 spots would be large. I'm happy to report that Ollie was selected! Poppy ended up #8 on the waitlist, but since Ollie got in, I told them to remove her. Unfortunately my classmates ended up #23 and #25 on the waitlist which was a bummer. I was really looking forward to doing our first trial together. The next trial in the area will be in October and the draw period for that will be next month. I'll only be throwing Poppy into the pool for that one. Crossing my fingers she'll get in.

Adventures in Fostering:

My cutie pie foster, Clark

It's been a little over a year since my "failed" attempt at fostering brought Hokey into my life permanently. I decided I'd give it another go. This time I succeeded! Clark was brought up by MAJR, along with 4 other dogs, from a bad hoarding situation in rural VA. Here is a picture of just some of the hoard. That is Clark in the front leaning up against the fence with another dog's paw on his back.
Really, you wouldn't know he came from such a terrible situation. He fit into my house like he lived here all his life. And, stranger still, my dogs ALL loved him! He and Poppy became BFFs. Hokey picked on him endlessly, but he just let her and they enjoyed chasing each other around the house and yard. Even Ollie liked him!
The Odd Couple

Astounding rare Hokey behavior

Two Bros Bonding
Here are Clark and Poppy acting like complete hooligans until Hokey finally says "enough"!

He was great fun and we all loved having him here, but I knew his permanent place was elsewhere. After 3 1/2 weeks in my home, he found his permanent family via a mutual friend. They love him to pieces and he will be treated like royalty for the rest of his life. The picture on the right was sent to me by his new family about a week after he left. Looks like he's settling in just great. Talk about a Cinderella story complete with storybook happy ending.

The BIG News

So, that brings me to the latest and greatest news - there is a new canine member of the family! After Clark left, I decided I wanted to foster again right away. Meanwhile, I've not-very-seriously-at-all been thinking about adding another male to the household. The week Clark got adopted is actually one of, if not THE, busiest times for intake at animal shelters across the country. ACCT in Philly had 900 (!!!) animals come in through their doors over the period of one week. The influx was so large, it made the TV news. Since the shelter only has space for 600 animals, you can only image the heartbreaking decisions that were having to be made by the shelter staff. MAJR pulled 3 jack russells: two that had been owner turn in from the same person and one that had come in as a stray. The one that came in as a stray had no clue that the shelter was a scary place and that, without rescue, his demise was imminent. To him, life at the shelter was one big party and everyone there was a great friend. He quickly became a staff favorite due to his attitude. After hearing his personality described to me by the MAJR person, Ardis, who evaluated and later pulled him, I requested him as my next foster dog. He was with Ardis for a day and a half. She fell in love with him and nearly kept him herself. I took him knowing ahead of time that I might be interested in adopting him.

It turns out he is 100 kinds of awesome and is here to stay. I named him Sprout. He is 8 1/2 lbs of busy, happy, joy. He LOVES to play with toys! He loves to snuggle. He's smart as a whip, responsive, and so eager to please. I think he may be the easiest dog I've ever worked with. And I had promised myself my next dog would be "easier" for a change. Here he is learning down for the first time; he definitely didn't know it beforehand. This is less than 5 minutes after I trained it by luring and clicking. He got that in probably just over a minute, so I decided to go ahead and just put in on command. It's already 10x faster than Hokey's down.

And here we are playing with my "baby" tunnel. He's learning it's all part of the fun and games. 

So far, two of my 3 dogs like him. Poppy is ecstatic to have another playmate that will endlessly wrestle, play bitey face, and tug with her. And Ollie is always grateful to have a dog in the house that diverts unwanted canine attention from him. Hokey is the sole holdout and was my only hesitation in deciding to adopt him. She loved Clark. I think it was because Clark was a little wus and let her boss him around and bully him endlessly. She would hump him and bark at him to the point that I was nearly being driven mad. This picture shows her groveling after getting in trouble (the shakey no-no finger came out with a vengeance) for ceaselessly humping and barking at him. Although I'm sure she was back at it less than 5 minutes later.

This next picture shows Hokey being a scary crankasaurus because Poppy and Sprout are playing nearby. Unfortunately I've seen this face and the "I'm shooting lasers from my eyes while I act all sullen and sulky" look all too often in the past week since Sprout came to stay here. I'm pretty sure it's because he let her know almost immediately that he wasn't going to put up with her bullying crap the way Clark did. He HAS learned to give her respect and keep his distance, so hopefully that will help to ameliorate things. Every so often the bee in her bonnet will fly away and she'll actually play with him and have a good time despite herself, so I'm hoping she'll get over herself soon.

But I'm such a cute princess

I sure am looking forward to working with this new little guy. He is already such a joy!

The expanded family

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