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.