Thursday, January 18, 2018

Choose The Dog!

Sometimes my job is frustrating. Last week I really wanted to slap the daylights out of a woman. The police asked me to come to a residence and look at a dog. The dog owner said the dog had been bleeding from his ear and nose. I looked at the dog. His eyes were bright, pupils even, nose clear, ears clean.

The conversation went something like this:

ME: I don't see any signs of trauma, but you should probably take him to the vet to be sure. What happened?

WOMAN: He kicked my dog.

ME: Who is "he"?

WOMAN: My boyfriend.

ME: Did you see him kick your dog?

WOMAN: No, but sometimes he get frustrated and kicks my dog.

ME: Why are you dating someone who kicks dogs?

WOMAN: How do I get him to stop?

ME: Have you tried "Dude, don't kick my effing dog?"

WOMAN: Yeah, but he doesn't listen.

ME: I'm not telling you how to live your life, but if a man in my life kicked my dog, he would no longer be in my life.

WOMAN: I love him so much. I don't want to lose him.

ME: Your boyfriend?

WOMAN: No, my dog.

ME: What?!

WOMAN: He said it was him or the dog.

ME: And you're choosing the abusive one over the one who licks your face?

WOMAN: Yeah . . .

I wish I could say that I changed her mind. I didn't. I gave her my card. The police officers stayed and talked to her for a while longer. They didn't make any progress either. I don't know what to do.

So, here again, is Jedi's Public Service Announcement:


People suck. -- K


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Time Hop Happy Thoughts

Facebook has this thing called Time Hop, where it shows you things you posted on that day from years past. This picture popped up on my wall yesterday.

The matching shirts were a total accident!
This was taken two years ago. Blondie and I drove six hours to West Palm Beach for an NACSW Nose Work Odor Recognition Test (ORT). Jedi bombed. (You can read all about it here.)

On that trip Blondie and I did a lot of talking. I told her that I wanted to go to the Westminster Dog Show one day. She did too. We realized that we had few "one days" ahead of us than behind us. (Bummer, right?) When we stopped lamenting about how old we'd gotten, Blondie and I decided that we were going to the Westminster Dog Show as soon as possible. No more "one days." When we returned to Jacksonville we started saving money and researching tour companies in earnest. Guess what? That wishful thought will become a reality in 30 days. I can hardly believe it! I promise to tell you all about it when I get back. But for now I'm going to shut up because it's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around below and see what others are sharing. TTFN, -- K


Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Pet Blogger Challenge

Once again, it's time for the Pet Blogger Challenge. Pet bloggers worldwide answer the same 10 questions and share their thoughts on blogging -- What works? What doesn't? What would you like to do better? A great big thank you to Amy at Go Pet Friendly (one of my favorite pet blogs) for hosting this

Welcome new readers (please leave a comment) and welcome back regular readers (Hi Mom). Kelley's Dog Blog is a strange glimpse into the life of a crazy chick and her dogs. For those who don't know me: I'm an animal control officer, an avid reader, a wife, a mother, a dog lover and an active member of the community. I try to juggle it all and fail miserably -- making for some fun stories along the way.

Here are the questions for the 2018 Pet Blogger Challenge:

Jedi, the star of Kelley's Dog Blog
1. For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?

I started blogging in 2012 after I lost my heart dog, Logan. The blog was pretty morose, so I don't recommend you read it. It got better with the arrival of new puppy, Jedi. I've wanted to show German Shepherd Dogs since the late 1970's. Do the math, and you'll see that this puppy might be my only chance to get in the ring. As such, I thought the blog would be a great way to chronicle our adventures. Unfortunately, I'm disorganized and somehow the blog became Kelley's Random-But-Mostly-Dog-Related-Stuff blog instead. In the beginning I never expected anybody other than my mother to read my blog. Surprise! Apparently people find my sarcastic, slightly neurotic, and sometimes homicidal thoughts amusing. And my tales-of-a-pissed-off-animal-control-officer make others feel normal in comparison.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?

Honestly, I'm just glad that I didn't quit. 2017 was a crappy year. It started with a health crisis. (FYI: If you treat your body like crap for 30 years it will rebel. Go figure!) Shortly thereafter I made the decision to end Jedi's dog show career. It was the right decision, but it was still heartbreaking. We shifted our efforts to various dog sports (nosework, barn hunt, rally) and have had more drama there than we need. The fact that I didn't just say screw it and quit blogging completely is a big accomplishment.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE dog shows!
3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

I love dog shows! My favorite posts revolve around those. I love the pictures from the 2017 German Shepherd specialty shows last April. And I'm proud of the ongoing series about putting on a dog show.

My posts with the most hits are the snarky work-related ones. This year Dear Beachgoers and More Crazy Work Stories were the most popular.

4. In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?

I feel most successful when I get feedback stating that I've helped somebody. I've gotten messages from people who've always wanted to show dogs but we're chicken (much like me). I've heard from people who found some of my tips helpful. Heck, even a "Thanks for the laugh, it made my day" makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

5. In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?

Nothing good, I'm afraid. This year the blog has been inconsistent. I've written entirely too many I'm Still Here posts. I'm determined that 2018 will be better!

6. What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?

Writers block is horrible! When I'm tired or stressed out -- which was more often than not in 2017 -- the words just get stuck. Sometimes I'll start an idea but by the time the words start flowing it's too late to post. (For example, I just finished a great post on things to do with your dogs when it's too hot to go outside.)

When words fail, take pictures
My advice: write down thoughts when they come to you. I use Blogger, which is Google-based. My phone is also Google-based, so it's nothing to open up Blogger and record a sentence or drop in a picture.

Speaking of pictures, take lots. Sometimes a good picture can spark a post. For example, I saw that Lowe's was dog-friendly and snapped a picture of Jedi in front of the sign. That simple picture fleshed out into a
nice post about dogs in public.

7. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes -- another one of my favorite blogs.)

My online friends! There were a couple times this year where I was ready to just give up completely, but then I'd get an email from a regular reader saying "Hey, I miss you and Jedi. Are you okay?" Awww . . . I love you guys!


8. Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year?

I'd like to be more consistent. I'm also toying with the doing the Blogging From A to Z Challenge again. I did it in 2015 and absolutely loved it! It really helped me focus on where I wanted my blog to go.

9. In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year? (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes -- and yet another one of my favorite blogs.)

How do I get my Dog Blog to tweet?

Time management. Beside my own blog, I'd like to visit others regularly and leave comments.

10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!

I don't understand Twitter. Does anyone have a good primer on tweeting for the technologically-challenged?



OK, that's me in a nutshell. I look forward to reading everybody else's posts. Every year I find new and exciting blogs through this challenge. I hope you take the time to hop around below. Later, -- K



Saturday, January 6, 2018

No Dead Animals on the Desk!

Some things shouldn't have to be said. I assumed "Don't leave dead animals on my desk" was one of those things.

I was wrong.

We have a police officer who insists on inserting herself in every situation possible. It's annoying. Last month I got a call from Officer Brown-Nose. She gleefully told me "I just got a phone call from my friend, Barbie Dahl. She's the wife of famous football player Ken Dahl." Officer Brown-Nose is also a name dropper.

(For the record, I've known the Dahls for years, long before Officer Brown-Nose joined the department. The Dahls keep letting their doodle run loose on the beach.)

Officer Brown-Nose continued, "Barbie is distraught. She has a cat that was hit by a car. She's such a sensitive person and it's tearing her up. I told her you could scan the cat for a microchip." BTW, it wasn't Barbie's cat. She found it along side the main road and took it home.

I agreed to scan for a chip. But instead of telling Barbie to call my office, or to stay home and Animal Control would bring the scanner to her, Officer Brown-Nose had Barbie meet us both at the police station.

(I don't know why Officer BN had to be there. I'm perfectly capable of scanning a flattened feline by myself. I guess that way Officer Brown-Nose could parade around her friendship. She spent the rest of the day asking everybody in the station "Did you see my friend Barbie Dahl in the lobby? Do you know who her husband is?")

After I hung up, I went to the kennel to pick up my scanner. On my way to the station I heard Officer Brown-Nose dispatched to a call. I arrived a couple minutes later to see Barbie in the lobby. Just Barbie. When I asked where the cat was, Barbie told me that Officer Brown-Nose took it with her. I then discovered that what she actually did was dump it in my office on her way out of the building. There on my desk was a bloody, stinking, most assuredly dead cat. No plastic bag. No box. Just the terminated tabby. Yeah, I was a little annoyed.

A real book. I gave it to my dad a few years ago. It's
pretty funny. Who knew we'd find use #102?
After finding a box, donning gloves and disinfecting my desk, I scanned the cat and found a microchip. However, I couldn't find an owner right away. Blubbering Barbie wanted to take the cat home to bury it. No shit. Since collecting kitty corpses in not my thing, I gave it to her -- box included!

I spend another 20 minutes researching various databases. (FYI, tracing a microchip is not an instantaneous thing.) I eventually found the owner. SURPRISE! The cat came back to a local newscaster. Officer Brown-Nose couldn't have been any happier when I told her. She tried not to grin when she said "Oh, you're so busy. I'll notify the owner for you." She was out the door before I could say "I've already called." I guess BN saw that dead cat as a way to befriend yet another local celebrity. Before you know it she'll telling everybody about her new friend, Anchor Ashleigh. Just remember, you heard it here first! -- K


Friday, January 5, 2018

Roadblocks and Hurdles

There have been several changes in Jedi's dog sport career in the last three months. Unfortunately, most of the changes are frustrating.

Nosework

When we left off last September, Jedi and I were gearing up for a UKC Nosework trial on October 14th and 15th. We were also debating entering the AKC Scent Work trials (a new venue for us) on December 2nd and 3rd.

Good news: Jedi and I went to Ocala for the UKC nosework trials. He found Birch in the Box on the second try. This gave him the last leg he needed for his novice container title and the full novice knows work title. Yay. On the second day he found my scented glove both times, earning him his novice handle discrimination title.

Bad news: Instructor stop teaching classes in Jacksonville. Again. She just couldn't get enough people to come consistently to make it worth her while. This was a big blow to my confidence. I decided to forgo the AKC scent work trial. This is probably a good thing too, as the fees were more than I could comfortably afford at the time.

More bad news: The German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida has decided to push back our AKC scent work endeavors. The Scent & Go that was scheduled for January 6th has been cancelled. Instead, we have a Scent Work Workshop scheduled for the 20th. Also, we decided it would be better to try to host a trial in the fall. Putting together the April conformation shows has become a lot more difficult than we had hoped.

Barn Hunt

Jedi and I were ready to trial and barn hunt at the end of October. There is a woman 20 minutes away who cleared out her garage to teach Barn hunt. For $25 an hour she'd work on we wanted.

I told her Jedi and I were trying for the Open title (two rats and a 90 degree tunnel). I was afraid he didn't realize there was a second rat and that was causing some problems. She worked with us for several weeks in October. Jedi was finding the rats like nobody's business! He was also going through the tunnel with no hesitation. I was stoked. I knew we had RATO in the bag.

Then everything changed. Five days before the trial I got a call from Dare2Train, the trial location in DeLand. They had dissolved the business and the trial was canceled, my check was being returned. No further explanation. I was devastated.

Now the only local(ish) place to trial is in Morriston. Jedi and I didn't do well there last time and I'm hesitant to go back. So for now, we're doing nothing.

Rally

The Tuesday Training Crew took a hiatus in August. I didn't want to lose momentum, so I signed Jedi and I started Monday night Rally classes in September. My goal was to be ready for trial in January. I'm afraid this isn't going to happen either.

The Monday night classes weren't very helpful. The instructor knew his stuff, and he'd set up a good ring. But that was it. No drills, no tweaking, no homework, very little feedback. We'd run through the course twice and go home. I spent $75 for a total of 12 runs. I'd do better hitting up the Saturday Show-N-Gos at $5 each.

More frustrating, my Tuesday trainer has personal issues and doesn't know if she can reinstate training. Jedi and I suck at practicing at home without the accountability of a weekly class. Essentially, we're no better than we were in September -- and nowhere ready for a trail.

Long story short: Jedi and I are at a standstill right now. It's driving us both nuts. I wish I had better news. -- K

Monday, January 1, 2018

Year of the Dog

Did you know that 2018 is Year of the Dog on the Chinese calendar? How cool is that?! I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to learn something new with your dog. Don't know where to start? Here are 18 options for 2018:
  • Agility -- A dog sport in which a handler directs a dog through an obstacle course in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives, and the handler can touch neither dog nor obstacles. See the United States Dog Agility Association for more information. 

  • Barn Hunt -- A growing sport honoring the traditional role of dogs in ridding barns, homes, and properties of vermin. Dogs hunt for rats hidden in a straw bale maze. It's a timed event, with levels of difficulty from Novice to Master. More information can be found at the Barn Hunt Association. Jedi and I love this!

  • Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test -- This is a 10 item test to demonstrate that your dog has good manners and you are a responsible dog owner. It's not hard (Jedi passed) but not a cake walk either (Roxy didn't). More info here. Once you've completed the CGC, you can move on to the more complicated (and more impressive) Urban Canine Good Citizen test.

  • Conformation -- A dog show (i.e. Westminster) where a dog is evaluated on its build, looks, movement, temperament, and many other things that "make it what it is". Dogs are compared against a set standard for the particular breed. In 2015 I did an A to Z series about dog shows. Click here for more details.

  • Dock Diving -- A dog sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height from a dock into a body of water. Ultimate Air Dogs has some great information about dock diving.

    My friend's dog is a dock diving fool!
  • Farm Dog Test -- This is something I'd like to do with Jedi. It's like the CGC, Barn Hunt, Temperament Test and more all rolled up into a fun package. Here's the official brochure. Hopefully I'll be able to give you a first hand account soon!

  • Fast CAT -- The Fast CAT Test is a timed 100 yard dash for dogs. Dogs run individually. Dogs earn points based on their handicapped speed. Titles are awarded when a dog has accumulated a given number of points. I have friends who do this and absolutely love it. More info here.

  • Flyball -- A dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball. Check out the North American Flyball Association for more details. 

  • Freestyle -- A modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance. It's a lot of fun to watch. I have a friend who does this. Apparently there are several freestyle organizations including the Canine Freestyle Federation and the Musical Dog Sport Association

  • Herding -- A sport in which a dog must be able to move livestock around a preset course. The livestock normally seen is sheep, but ducks and cattle can also be used. There are multiple organizations for herding as well. Here is a link to the American Herding Breed Association. The AKC offers herding titles, as does several of the herding breed associations. 

  • Lure Coursing -- A sport where dogs chase an artificial lure across a field, following a pattern that is meant to simulate live coursing and is perfect for sight hounds. Here a link to the AKC's Getting Started in Lure Coursing page. 

  • Nose Work -- This fun search and scenting activity is for virtually all dogs and people. Three different organizations host trials: the National Association of Canine Scent Work, the UKC, and now the AKC. If you want to just have fun, check out the Sniff School posts at Donna and the Dogs.

    Jedi's nose is amazing!
  • Obedience -- A dog sport in which a dog-handler team must execute a predefined set of tasks. Training for obedience trials can provide much needed mental stimulation and physical activity for a bored house pet. It's amazing to watch. AKC Obedience can be found here

  • Rally -- Another obedience trial, but in Rally the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs during the course. World Cynosport Rally has some great information about Rally. 

  • Schutzhund -- German for “protection dog,” schutzhund was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. Modern schutzhund consists of three phases: tracking, obedience, and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded a schutzhund title. Want more info about schutzhund? Start by visiting the United Schutzhund Clubs of America

  • Tracking -- An event to encourage dogs to make use of their strongest facility, the ability to follow a scent trail. The competition emulates the finding of a lost person or article. The AKC offers tracking trials and titles. See here for more info. 

  • Treibball -- A new canine sport combining herding, chasing, agility and soccer. Dogs push large Pilates-type exercise balls into a goal, working at a distance from the handler. Go to the American Treibball Association for pictures and a better explanation 

  • Trick Dog -- Sponsored by Kyra Sundance and Do More With Your Dog, dogs complete a series of tricks to earn various titles. Last year the AKC started offering Trick Dog titles as well. Jedi earned his novice title in July!

There you go. EIGHTEEN different things you could be doing with your dog. Get out there and have some fun! I'd love to hear all about it. -- K


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chariots of Fur (Again)

Race mascot "Ben Fur"
Jedi and I are going to participate in Chariots of Fur again in 2018. I debated doing it because the race is exactly one week before we fly to NYC for the Westminster dog show. Longtime friends know we've walked the Mutt Mile the last two years (and chickened out for two years before that). This time we're going to do the whole 5K. Fur real!

Up until this year, Chariots of Fur has been hosted by St. Francis Animal Hospital. It was a big fundraiser for their Helping Paw program. The race is sponsored by a different organization this year. Other changes include:
  • A later start time
  • Slightly higher fees (that increase the later you enter)
  • Fun Run and 5K are the same price and start at the same time
  • Medals will be awarded to the first 700 finishers
  • Ribbons are given to all participating dogs
  • Dogs' names are on the entry form so dogs can be announced at the finish line!
I'm excited. I have friends that have joined for the last couple years. Some walk, some run, some do the mile, while others do the whole thing. Regardless, we all meet up after the race to socialize. Last year it was bitter cold, so we ended up at a dog-friendly restaurant for pizza and beer.

Interestingly, St. Francis Animal Hospital is still hosting a dog-friendly 5K in 2018. They’ve moved the date to March and changed the name to Paw Prints in the Sand. I'm thinking about entering that one too. (I'm a glutton for punishment.)

To get my fat ass ready to go, I've downloaded a walking plan. Here it is if you want to see it: 5K Training - Walkers Program. I'm up to 2.5 miles on the track and 45 minutes on the treadmill. BTW, Jedi is enjoying the extra walks. Wish us luck, we'll probably need it! And I'll post race pictures. Promise. -- K

P.S. I really really want a medal, dammit.