Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Video and Pictures

My mom running Gidget in T2B in Nov. 2014.

Our family pre-babies
Look how big I got!  I still had another month to go.

Kaylee, Noah, and Evee at 6 weeks old.

Our family post-babies.  The kids were 16 months here.

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Busy Life

Where I’ve been is a bit of a long story that can be summed up in one word… Triplets!  You see back in 2013 my husband, AJ, and I decided we wanted to expand our family with a baby.  This turned out to be no easy feat.  Thankfully we found out pretty quickly that we would need help conceiving and weren’t struggling for as long as many I know.  So that’s what I was busy with around the last time I posted, oh so fun fertility treatments.

The good news came at the end of August 2014, on AJ’s birthday to be precise.  We were pregnant!  It was the best news ever!  About a month later we got the most shocking news ever, we weren’t just having a baby, we were having three.  We walked through life with jaws dropped for a little while. 

We eventually recovered and started preparing for a HUGE life change.  Some of that preparation was for the dogs, but that’s a topic for another post.  This post is strictly a where I’ve been for the last couple years.

So I was carrying 3 babies, that meant I was going to get big… fast.  That was going to make doing agility difficult.  My doctor gave me the ok to continue as long as I was comfortable and not pushing myself too hard.  I managed to keep trialing until Nov. though my mom had to run Gidget a couple times for me.  They did really well too!  Gracie got her MXJ at one of those trials, I don’t remember which. 

So we were done trialing, but I was still running both girls in class.  That wouldn’t last though. We were working with class friends, Greg and Sue, to see if they could run the girls and get them some good exercise.  Gidget didn’t have much issue with running with friends but Gracie really just wanted to be by me.  So we worked with small courses that ended with Gracie getting to come back to me.  She quickly improved and was soon running 10-12 obstacles with Greg.

In Dec. 2014 AJ and I headed for La Crosse for a baby shower.  Thankfully we had decided to leave the girls in cities, boarding at the vet clinic I worked at.  We were maybe half an hour from La Crosse when we very suddenly came upon an accident, hitting the vehicle in front of us.  Turns out an older woman had somehow managed to drive the wrong way on a divided highway!  There were half a dozen cars involved and thankfully only minor injuries.  Our car had only a little cosmetic damage.  I rode in an ambulance to the hospital to make sure our trio was ok.  All was well.  We were able to mostly enjoy our weekend celebrating with friends and family!

In Jan. 2015 I was 24 weeks pregnant at a routine checkup.  There were some issues on my ultrasound and they found I was having contractions.  So I was sent to the hospital.  It was pretty scary at first, worrying that these babies were about to arrive much too early.  I was hooked up to various meds and the babies and my contractions were monitored.  I felt like crap for a lot of the weekend but it was all to keep those babies in my belly.  I did get a visit from friends and from a therapy dog! 

After that weekend I was put on modified bed rest.  I could get out of bed to move to the couch, use the bathroom, shower (while sitting), and make quick meals.  I was also allowed one outing each week besides my regular doctor appointments.  My dad had a wheelchair I could use so trips to Target were the highlight of my week many times.  All this meant no more dog training.

I had been planning on leaving my job as a veterinary assistant and going on a long maternity leave from teaching at Cloud 9 at the end of Jan.  So my bosses only had a couple weeks of my unplanned absence to fill.  I was bummed to have to quit early but it was a good thing as I was really starting to have trouble getting around and doing my job.

Gidget and Gracie were glad to hang out with me all day, but got pretty bored too.  They did get the occasional field trip for walks or an agility class with friends or family, but it was nothing like our former busy training schedule.  It was temporary, though life for them would never be the same again.

I read lots of training books in all that down time I had.  Played games and watched movies too.  That was my life for just under three months.  A c-section was planned for April 7, 2015. I would be 35 weeks and 3 days along I did end up in the hospital for another weekend in Feb.  Other than that it was pretty smooth sailing until that last weekend.  I developed a PUPPPs rash the Fri. before the surgery.  Too bad that has nothing to do with puppies.  I was horribly, horribly itchy! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 was one heck of a day!  Nervous, excited, terrified, thrilled, I covered the full range of emotions!  The day didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go.  I’d made a birth plan that seemed to be completely ignored.  Despite that the surgery went well and we had three healthy babies, two girls and a boy.  Noah spent one night in the NICU due to some minor breathing issues.  The next morning he joined his sisters, Evelyn (Evee) and Kaylee, in the special care nursery.  They were there for a week, getting good at eating, getting their bilirubin levels to normalize, and starting to grow!  Then we went home and were on our own!

Well, we were on our own for a couple days.  Then we got help from my mom, and AJ’s mom and sister.  One of those three were around to help for most of the first 4-5 months.  Then we were really on our own.

AJ only had a couple weeks off from work so that help was the best thing in the world.  Daycare would be way too expensive for three kids, so I get to be a stay at home mom.  By the time we didn’t have help anymore the kids were sleeping through the night and had a pretty good daytime routine.  That made life easier for me.  I was able to manage most days without issue.  There were plenty of days that were crazy stressful too, but we got through them.

I started going back to classes before we ran out of help.  The dogs were happy for that!  Obedience or rally once each week at first.  Eventually we got back to agility too.  That was tough at first.  The girls were thrilled to be running again and were at top speed.  I was definitely not at top speed though.  We made it work and had some fun.

I started teaching puppy classes again at the end of June.  It took a while but I eventually started teaching other classes too.  Now I’m teaching obedience levels 1 and 2 and two foundation agility classes!  It’s great to be working a job I love and to get out of the house a few evenings a week.

In early 2016 we started our search for a house as our apartment was not big enough for all of us.  It took a while to find one, but we put an offer on a house in May and closed in June.  The house needed some work so AJ spent a lot of time over the next month making it move-in ready.  That meant a lot of long days for me with Gidget* and the kids.  We moved in toward the end of July.  It’s been great!  We go on walks almost every day and I can actually take the kids places like Target by myself!  The house still needs work and we’re not even done unpacking but it’s home.  I actually have some agility equipment set up in our yard!

The kids keep us very busy and there are plenty of other little events, dedication at church, having to cancel their first birthday party due to very bad colds, regular doctor appointments, physical therapy for Noah, lots of fun, plenty of stress, and love times three!

*Gracie’s story is to come soon.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

I'm Back!

I can't believe it's been more than two years since I've posted on here.  A lot has happened since then.  Not to fear, I am back and will get you up to date!  Life is pretty busy these days so no promises as to how often I'll post.  My goal will be once per month.  I just updated various links and pages and don't have time for a real post right now, but I'll be starting my updates ASAP!  Check back soon!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Busy, Fun Weekend!

Three different trials for two dogs over a weekend, starting Fri. night and ending Sun. morning.  Plus a bonus non-trial event!

Fri. night was another TDAA serial trial night.  We played Black Hole where you have to keep your dog out of the tunnels.  Gidget almost went into the tunnel in her favorite spot, under the A-frame, but I called her off it for a successful Q.  Our Standard run was going perfectly until a fly made an appearance on the A-frame.  I lost Gidget's brain to the fly for a moment (she hates bugs!) but got her back and finished the course clean.  We're slowly trucking our way along towards her TACh.  Once we get that I think we'll stop doing teacup, she just doesn't like it as much as regular agility.  If she seemed to really hate it I'd stop sooner, but I don't think she minds playing with me too much.

Sat. was Gracie's turn.  There was a combined CDSP (obedience) and WCRL (rally) trial both Sat. and Sun.  Gracie took a turn at each and did really well!  Obedience was up first.  She was awesome!  I had her attention almost all the way through the heeling pattern.  She only lost 1.5 points on each of the on leash heeling and the off leash figure 8, a huge improvement for her!  She's still struggling with the stand for exam, lost 2 points there for moving her feet.  Then her recall over the jump and the stay were perfect!  So she got a 195 for third place, the best she's done so far!

Next was rally.  Her good attitude dropped a little bit, probably due to the longish wait between runs, but she was still a solid partner as usual.  She got 207 points out of 210 and first place.  I didn't see her score sheet to know exactly where she lost points but I have a good idea what happened.  First, at the send to the jump, I had to step in a bit to make sure she took the jump.  Then, I went to reward her after a stand and she sat down.  Oops!  Bad handler!  Last, she had a crooked front at the angled recall.  Nothing huge, and only 3 points, no biggy, just stuff to work on.  We don't practice a left 180 degree pivot very often and we struggled with it while warming up, but in her run she did it perfectly!  She's such a good girl!

With those runs Gracie earned both her CD-C and her RL2!

Gidget took her turn in the obedience ring on Sun.  I felt her attitude was just a little off, but who could blame her after the busy weekend we were having.  She too was solid anyways.  She lost half a point each for wide about turns and a half point for a bit of lagging on the figure 8, and that's it!  She got her highest score yet of 198.5 and second place!  I even have video of this one (thanks Laura!):

So the girls had an amazing weekend of trials.  They are just the best pups ever!

To end the weekend I took both girls and the guinea pig to an open audition for Animal Talent Pool.  They all had to stand and sit on a table while getting their pictures taken.  Gidget did not think this was very fun, but she did her best.  Hans actually did the best of all three, he happily sat there eating bits of carrot.  Gracie held her own, a little worried for sure, but she likes having her picture taken a lot more than Gidget does (probably thanks to her foster mom).  She got to show off some tricks too.  So now to wait for them to become famous!

That's all for now.  More agility next weekend, then the rest of Aug. will be quiet.  Happy training!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Almost 3 Years in the Making

Gidget played in her first 2 day AKC agility trial.  She's only done 2 days of a trial at one TDAA trial and one AKC obedience trial, otherwise we normally do just one day.  It was a very good weekend indeed.

Gidget earned her Open Standard (OA) title on September 10, 2011.  It took 7 tries to get the 3 Q's needed for the title.  On March 12, 2012, Gidget earned her first Excellent Standard Q.  Two years and four months later, Gidget earned the last two Q's she needed for her Excellent Standard (AX) title.  That's right, this weekend was so awesome that we earned a title we've been working towards for almost 3 years, and it only took us 23 tries!  Plus we Q'd in two other runs for a total of 4 Q's out of 5 runs!

I entered Gidget in T2B on Sat. for something fun and that allows for some weave practice if needed.  We hadn't entered a T2B since fall of 2012 when Gidget had teeter issues.  I'm glad we gave it another try!  Gidget started off a little pokey, but jumped into gear after the weaves and finished with 7 points.  A good way to start the weekend!

We had to wait quite a while for our next run.  The trial organization was a little messy so we didn't even know for sure which class we would run next.  It ended up being JWW.  Overall it was a nice run, but Gidget popped out of the weaves so NQ.

Last for the day was the dreaded excellent standard.  I'd been working on staying calm and focused, making sure I took the time to visualize the course.  I didn't want my brain to fall out again like a couple weeks ago.  I had a really good feeling about this run before we started, and my good feeling was right!  We made it through the course for a 1st place Q!  Thank you so much to Sarah for the video and to Mary for emailing it to me!

On to day 2!  No T2B today, we got to sleep in instead!  We actually could have slept later, we got to the trial around 10am and didn't run until after noon!  Considering the wait, Sunday went almost as well as Saturday.  I say almost only because our runs were just a little messy, but we made it through!

In JWW I kept getting in Gidget's way for front crosses.  I guess I really need to either figure out my timing with Gidget or where I should do front crosses and where I shouldn't.  Gidget stuck with me through my sloppiness for a Q and 9 MACH points!

We had maybe 20 minutes between our JWW and STD runs.  I didn't even get to walk the STD course again before running it.  Thankfully I'd been working on my visualizing skills all weekend.  This run was a little sloppy too.  Gidget's favorite thing is going into a tunnel under the A-frame like in the STD course on Sat.  She thought it had to be there again for sure.  Thankfully that didn't lead to any faults and she came back on course, though looked a little disappointed.  Later I tried to get a front cross in right after a rear cross which led to a super wide turn for Gidget.  Again no faults, and we made it to the end.  Who would think we could get 2 standard Q's in a row after such a dry spell and earn Gidget's title?!  It was so exciting!

So now both my little rockstars are fully in Masters and can start earning their QQ's.  Hopefully the MACH journey won't be too much longer than the AX journey!  After this weekend, I really feel good about getting there someday!

I did learn a couple good things this weekend.  One being that I need to remember to focus and visualize before Gidget's runs, just like I do for Gracie's runs.  The other being how I handle Gidget's weave poles.  I realized in Gidget's JWW run on Sat. that as I saw her slowing down in the poles I started thinking, "Oh no!  She's slowing down!  She's going to pop out!"  In her STD run later, my thoughts were more along the lines of, "I believe she can get all her weaves!"  I'm not sure if that was a conscious choice or not, but I think it made a difference.  I also made sure my shoulders were turned toward the poles.  On Sun. I really did make sure that my thoughts and my shoulders were completely supporting Gidget in getting all her weave poles, and she did!  Though she got really slow, she didn't pop out.  That is definitely something I'm going to remember for future trials.

That's all for now (I know, just one trial to update on this time!).  Rally and obedience trials at the end of the month and another agility trial the first weekend in Aug.  Happy agility!

Monday, June 30, 2014

June Trials

You guessed it, an update on 3 more trials!  Gidget in TDAA, Gracie in AKC, and Gidget AKC (all agility).

Not much to say about the TDAA trial.  Gidget did well as usual and qualified in both her standard and games runs.  The game was Blackjack where you have to get exactly 21 points to qualify.  Luckily math is a strong suit of mine and Gidget was happy to stick with my plan.  We qualify in teacup very consistently, though I'm pretty sure Gidget doesn't enjoy it near as much as full sized agility.  She likes to run full out which she can't really do in the tight spacing of TDAA.  A Border Terrier in teacup may seem like a Border Collie in full size agility, but Gidget in teacup seems more like a Great Dane in full size agility.  (I've always wanted a Great Dane!)

Gracie's trial was the next day and was pretty hot and sticky, though Sat. started off cool.  Gracie and heat don't seem to mix well.  I don't think she was very stressed this weekend.  Her biggest issue was getting distracted while weaving.

Our first JWW run had the weaves as the second obstacle and she started out strong, but spotted (or maybe heard) the camera lady straight ahead of the poles.  So she stopped weaving to check that out.  Second try at the weaves went fine, but she paused between the last two poles to look at the photographer again (there's picture proof of that one).  Then a couple obstacles later she came out of a tunnel with a hint of the zoomies that sent her around one jump but she quickly refocused and finished the course nicely.  If anyone has a large camera lens and wants to help proof Gracie on her weaves please let me know.  Also open to other proofing ideas.

Sat. STD was slow but steady.  We got through all the challenges and Gracie stuck it out through the weaves for our very first Masters STD Q!  This is when the building was getting very warm so we only got 6 speed points.  We'll take what we can get.

Sun. was warm again so our runs were slow again.  The thing that made me more happy though was what happened at the start line for both runs.  Gracie did a high hand touch before each run!  She'll normally do them outside the ring and in class, but this was the first time she's done them in the trial ring!  Yay girlie!

JWW was our qualifying run this day.  She was slow in places, but we got our average number of speed points, 7.  She was so slow in the weaves she had me worried she was going to pop out, but she stuck with it!

Sun. STD was really an awesome run up until the last 3 obstacles.  We were just connected more than we have been in a long time.  We lost that connection at the weaves when she spotted something outside the ring.  She popped out then got them the second try, but she ran right past the last jump looking toward the exit.  She came back and took the jump in such a way that a refusal wasn't called, but still NQ for us.

Thank you so much to Rita and Judy who helped me with Gracie and took video for me.  It is greatly appreciated!

Gidget just did a one day trial and I'm pretty happy with how she did even though we didn't Q in either run.  Her JWW run was just pretty.  She responded well to my front crosses in all but one spot (I should have done a rear cross) and she was fast (almost 4.5 yps with having to restart the weaves!)  She was too fast going into the weaves and slipped so we had to start over.  Oh well, we do need to work her entries though.

My brain disappeared for Gidget's STD run.  I set her up on the wrong side of the first jump!  Then there were two other places that I should have been better prepared or done something differently.  Gidget missed her weave entry again and it was just coming from the table, I think that one's on her.  Like I said, we need to work on her entries.  She really looked nice between all my screw ups and she stuck with me too.  We've come a long way since the last time we were at Soccerblast over a year ago.

Thanks Sue for taking video for us and letting me sit in your chair!

The last thing to update is Gracie's new class.  She taking a ring confidence class which Gidget should also benefit from.  We're only 2 weeks in and we've already learned a lot.  We practiced what we learned in the first class at Gracie's agility trial too.  (Sorry Laura, I know you said no ring stuff till after the class, but what we learned that first week really helped us and she has nothing scheduled until after class now.)  The class is based on Denise Fenzi's teachings.  I'll write a more comprehensive post on it closer to the end of the class.

That's all for now.  Gidget will have her first 2 day AKC trial coming up and another TDAA night.  Then both girls will have an obedience trial at the very end of July.  Happy agility!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Three More Trials Please!

Apparently I'm doing trials in threes lately.  This time it's obedience, agility, and nose work!

Obedience: The girls and I spent a Sat. morning at a CDSP trial with each dog having one run each.  Gidget was up first in Nov C.  She was awesome again, which is even more impressive since it was a location she'd only been to once before.  She even got the same score as last time, 197.5, but instead of coming in 1st like last time, she came in 4th.  There were some really awesome teams there!  1st place got 199, 2nd got 198.5, 3rd got 198, and Gidget was 4th.  I didn't look at the score sheet, but my general feeling is that she's losing points in our heeling at the start.  It's like she's using that as a warm up.  I do warm up with her before we go in the ring, we just need some work getting her to realize that she needs to be on right when we enter the ring, not after the first exercise.

Gracie's turn in Nov B wasn't so pretty.  She'd never been to this location before and their flooring is turf-like.  Gracie spent most of our heeling trying to stop and sniff the floor.  Her figure 8 was better but still not great.  As usual she was miss wiggles for her moving stand and exam, but she passed it.  I can't complain too much about her recall and her stay though.  She finished with a 187.5 and 1st place.  Gidget started out looking similar to how Gracie is doing in obedience so far, so I'm not too concerned that she'll eventually catch up.

Agility:  We headed down to La Crosse for an agility day with both dogs.  It was a one little thing kind of day.  JWW was up first.  Both girls had the same refusal.  I didn't turn them tight enough over the jump before the weaves and they missed the entry.  Gracie had a second refusal but I'm not sure what it was.  I was really pleased with how both girls ran this course, especially Gidget.  Even with the weave redoes they both had pretty decent times.  Gidget started off a little unfocused but quickly kicked it into gear.  Had she not missed the weave entry she might of hit 5 YPS she was so fast!  Unfortunately no video for Gracie, but here is Gidget's:

Standard was up next.  Again one little thing for both, just not the same thing this time.  Gracie popped out at the end of the weaves so we had to redo that.  Gidget came back out of the chute after I rear crossed it.  I should have known better, she's had chute issues in the past, why would she be ok with me crossing behind her while she's in there?  Something to work on.  I was very pleased with the rest of her run!  Gracie's run was a little rough.  She was a little slow on her contacts and wouldn't lay down on the table, plus popping out of the weaves.  I take that as stress since she ran wonderfully in practice on Thur.  Maybe Gracie's going through some of the same motivation issues Gidget went through a few years ago, or her anal glands are bothering her more than she's letting on.  Only got the end of Gracie's run, camera issues, but here's that and Gidget's run:

Time 2 beat was up last, but just for Gracie.  It only took all day, but she finally got her weaves on the first try.  She was even slower on the teeter this time, but otherwise she ran nicely and got 1st place and 10 points!  We're over half way to her title!

It was fun running both girls at this small trial, but I definitely prefer not running them on the same day.  It's so much easier being able to focus on how one dog runs at a time.  I might still run both dogs when we go to La Crosse, but for trials close to home, I'll keep them separate. 

Nose Work:  Gidget and I went to an ORT (odor recognition test) last night.  She got to test for birch.  It was a pretty easy deal.  We waited in our car for Gidget's turn.  There was a practice station to stop at before going into the test.  Gidget took a minute to focus there (it was outside) but figured it out plenty quick.  Then we went inside and dried off our feet before going into the testing room.  An ORT consists of 11 blank boxes and one box that looks identical but has the odor in it all lined up in two rows.  I got Gidget pointed in the right direction and off we went.  We headed down the left row and Gidget passed them all pretty quickly.  I don't think she was quite working yet, just moving.  We got to the end of the row where Gidget often stops and looks at me in a way that can be easily mistaken as an alert.  Thankfully she didn't do this here, she moved forward like she wanted to check out the rest of the room and visit.  So I turned myself so that the rest of the boxes were more obvious to her and she headed down that row.  Part way down the row she stopped and made a sharp turn back to one of the boxes.  She had caught sent!  She bounced back and forth between a couple boxes and then looked up at me, but she didn't look convinced so we moved on.  Good thing I didn't think that was it, because I would have been wrong.  Turns out she was catching scent bouncing off those boxes from the actual odor box behind me.  I was blocking the path to the source so Gidget couldn't follow it.  We finished the second row and started back down the first row.  This time when Gidget's head snapped to a box and she looked up at me it was the real thing.  She looked much more convinced this time and looked back and forth between me and the box like she was insisting.  So I called, "Alert" and everyone in the room cheered!  We passed our first ORT, she had found the box in 24 seconds!  We are now eligible to compete in the first level of nose work trials.  We just have to wait for one to be held around here.  Then we have to do two more ORTs, one for anise and one for clove.  Those are the scents used in levels 2 and 3.

Now we have no more trials until the end of June when the girls each have their own agility trials. And there will be 3 agility trials there too.  TDAA for Gidget, AKC for Gracie, and AKC for Gidget.  No obedience until July.  Then who knows what!  Happy trialing!