Thursday, December 18, 2008

Foot Prints

I don't know if anyone else likes to look at different animal tracks, but i really enjoy seeing what different animal tracks are around in the snow. I know, I know... I'm a geek. Still, I bring this up because I think it can really show how the animal (or person) moves. In people, you can see whether the person drags their feet, whether they walk in a straight line (for the record, I do not walk straight), whether they are pigeon toed, etc. My point is, you can see a different aspect of movement by looking at footprints. For the first time, today, I looked at Tika's footprints. This is what I found...

So, there you have it, a new perspective.

That's all for now, except a couple more snow pictures from today. It was -5 degrees when I took them. Brrr..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

first snow

So it's a little late to be talking about the first real snow storm. Still, I took some pictures that day and am just getting around to downloading them from my camera. The storm was taking a break while I was leaving Cache Valley and I decided it was too pretty to pass up a couple pictures. So, enjoy.

There is a bit more snow than the pictures show now, but we had a nice warm day today - got up to a balmy 42 degrees for about an hour when I was working. The next storm is supposed to blow in early tomorrow. I already have my winter work bag packed - two pairs of gloves, a couple extra jackets, a couple kinds of hats, coveralls, and an extra winter coat. You can't be too prepared when you work outside.

As I have said, Tika loves the snow and this is the first snow this year. Believe it or not, this was taken in the middle of the parking lot in front of the dorms. Nayda was just getting ready to throw a snow ball when I was taking the picture. Of course, being the clutz I am, I fell over in the process of taking the picture. What can I say, it was slick. Ha...

Quick note on agility - we trained today and I made up a really fun sequence. I'm trying to make longer sequences to get Tika back in shape. She did great - no knocked bars, no stutter stepping (she does this when she gets tired), and she hit almost all her contacts. She missed the first A-frame, but I think it was a little high and the entrance was horrible. She hit all the other A-frames, and all except one of the dogwalks. I am working on lateral motion when she is on the dogwalk - in trials she has been jumping when I move laterally. She lifted her head a little on the first walk where I peeled off and missed the contact, barely. Otherwise, she was WAY down in the contact (between the 1st and 2nd slats). I am thrilled with the progress and am looking forward to the next trial to see how the training holds up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


One of my jobs is at a kennel down in Ogden. We just started a rescue this year, which is more specialized than the average rescue. We take in dogs that have exceptional drive, attitude, and temperament of any breed and train them for various purposes. We have trained a few with simple, basic obedience (these dogs were taken to help another rescue that couldn't afford to keep the dogs). We have trained some of the dogs for hunting - these breeds include setters, shorthairs, pointers, labs, etc. My favorite, though, is the training for detection work. The dogs with really high toy and prey drives we train for either bomb or drug detection. We have a variety of breeds come through for detection training, ranging from malinois and shepherds to australian shepherds, border collies, labs and pitbulls (mostly mixed breeds).

With that background, that brings me to the story of Bree. She is a pitbull/lab mis (we think) who was running loose in Logan and was impounded and taken to the vet clinic where I work. I called her "Psycho" when she was in the clinic because she would get SO excited when I got to work to let her out. She would take a running leap to get out of the kennel before the door was either opened, so she would either crash into the door or go flying out of it. She had two speeds - fast and faster, and loved to be around people. When her five days were up for the owner to come reclaim her, the Cache Humane Society decided they did not want to take her and opted to put her down. I didn't want to see that happen, so tested her to see if she had potential to do detection work and no surprise... she did.

Now, Bree lives at the training kennel and is being trained for drug detection. She is still young and is taking a lot of work to settle down and learn how to learn. She is still a really neat dog, but is a lot for the other workers to handle, so she is my dog. I have done most, if not all of the training on her so far (it's only been a couple months). I have high hopes for this dog and am really looking forward to how she turns out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Break, trial, and finals

Finals are now over. I had my hardest exams on Monday (Biology and Organic Chemistry), and I did pretty well on both tests. I have never seen such abismal class averages. It was pretty sad. My other two finals, Animal Nutrition and Dairy Cow Production, went really well. I am thrilled with the outcome of those classes. Now I will enjoy my much needed break.

I took some friends down to Salt Lake on Saturday so we could go to the airport early Sunday morning. I didn't want to leave here at 3 am so suggested we spend the night at my parents' house to cut the travel time. I'm glad we did, because it has been snowing like crazy here. We had 6 inches by 10 am Saturday morning and an additional 4-5 inches when I got back to Logan mid-day yesterday. Tika has been having a blast in the newly fallen snow.

Anyway, we decorated for Christmas when we got to Salt Lake. We decorated the Christmas tree and put up the Santa collection. We pick Santas that are unusual or just make you smile. Here are a few of them from last year's display. I need to get pictures this year, but it will have to wait until I go down to Salt Lake again.

There was an agility trial a couple weeks ago and Tika did AWESOME! We had a couple stupid mistakes on my part and a couple dropped bars because Tika isn't quite back in shape yet. She was really running well, though. It seems like her back injury is healed, thanks to some acupuncture and a few months of rest. She was really running most of the time, and I think she'll only get faster as I get her confidence back up. Still, she won every class she qualified in (which was all except two). The most exciting part of the weekend, though was seeing her running contacts. They were amazing! She flies across the dog walk and gets way in the contact. There is definitely a wow factor to the performance. A friend got some videos but has yet to get them to me. As soon as he does, I'll post them.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough and will post again soon.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last week week of classes!

It's the last week of classes, finally! I was ecstatic the end of Monday classes when I realized that my monstrous Mondays are over. I only have one more day of classes, plus one class later today. Finals are next week on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. I have started studying but need to do more than I am doing. I did my final presentation for dairy cow class this morning which went well, albeit with some frustration caused by a group member who decided not to show up to class today. Anyway... I'm glad that's over, now I can look forward to the weekend.

This weekend there is a USDAA agility trial - time to see how our contacts are progressing in trials. I trained yesterday and Tika hit every one of her contacts! She was flying across the dog walk and well in all the contacts, so I have hope. She loves agilty and is so fun to run because of it.
Here's the fun news, though. I went to a sheltie club christmas party last night and won a really nice jacket. It is nice and warm, well suited to Logan weather, and fits perfectly. Tika was also thrilled with the treats that were included in the box.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I love Thanksgiving. It's a time when you get to spend time with family, friends, and eat all the food you want without feeling the slightest bit guilty about it.
Thursday, as has become tradition, the family went to the church to host Thanksgiving dinner. I also dragged some Puerto Rican and Dominican friends from school to bring an international flair to the holiday. We had all the traditional - lots of Turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, etc - as well as some not so standard dishes, like corn pudding, cheese grits (my favorite), and a puerto rican macaroni salad. We also had some awesome desserts, suprisingly, though, not many people brought pumpkin pie. I had a fantastic time.
Today, I got to have a second thanksgiving up in Logan. Nayda and her mom cooked a 26 pound turkey, as well as some rice, pasta, bread, and salad - all Puerto Rican style. A bunch of people from school came and ate, and ate, and ate. Tika got to join us too. She was, yet again, a hit with everyone. I'm going to have to keep an eye out or she'll be stolen, luckily, I don't think she would allow that to happen. I'll try to add some pictures from the holiday in the next couple days.
Between all the fun stuff, I worked a lot - I've been covering both shifts at the vet clinic while my room mate is out of town, I went down to the kennel a couple times to train the detection dogs, and I finished my book. I still need to do some homework for Monday and start studying for finals the week after next. Uggh... Well, I can deal with one week of classes and a couple exams. Then it's Christmas time, and a much needed rest from school.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where's the snow??

I never thought I would say that.... Usually, I dread the snow fall, mainly because it brings cold weather with it. This year, I keep finding myself saying, "if only it would snow..." It is just so cold, and it seems like snow at least makes the cold tolerable. You know, there is a reason for the cold, be it skiing, snowshoing, etc. I went for a hike today and kept thinking how odd it was to be able to hike this time of year. It has been frigid in the mornings, but I have been acclimating well. Yesterday, it got up to 45 and I was plenty warm in a t-shirt.

Tika loves the snow. I don't think she is outside as much any other time of year as she is during the winter. She likes to sit on the highest snow piles. I take her hiking in the winter and she barrels through the snow drifts, hopping like a deer. It's hysterical. The first snow of every year, she gets the zoomies and rips around the yard with her nose in the snow. The picture is from one of our hikes, overlooking Salt Lake Valley.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

College dog

I was reminded this weekend how lucky I am to have Tika. She really proved herself as a model college dog this weekend.
Why do I say she is a model college dog? Well, you know those pictures where the dog is sitting on a chair at the table with a bunch of people playing poker? Tika could have fit right in. I was staying with some friends, so of course Tika came with me. She tried really hard to convince people to share with her (food, drink - didn't matter). She played with everyone, let everyone pet her, and kept the barking to a minimum - really, she only barked a handful of times all weekend. Those barks were mainly to tell the neighbors off for slamming their doors and stomping up and down the stairs all night. Everyone got a kick out of having her around.
What more can I ask for in a dog? Tika is an awesome working dog, a fantastic hang-out dog, and my constant companion, in a pretty, easy to care for package. I am so lucky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Time rolls on...

The semester is coming to an end, with finals only a couple weeks away - I am certainly ready for a break and a new group of classes. I am planning to attend a couple agility trials, hopefully to qualify for nationals (both AKC and USDAA). We will show in conformation occasionally with the goal of winning a couple points - we only need two to get the VCX (versatility excellent title). We keep our fingers crossed on that front but focus on the fun stuff, like herding and agility. Oh, and of course keep plugging away at work.
I don't know how often I'll post but will try to keep everyone up to date on what's going on with me, and of course Tika.