Friday, November 25, 2011

A Time to Give Thanks, Give and to Remember

The Holidays are here again and I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it all means.
Giving thanks every night before I drift off to sleep has been a staple in my routine for the past year and I do think it helps to keep things in perspective, especially when I start thinking "Poor me".

What I'm Thankful for this Year (not in any particular order)
  • I still have a house to keep me and da boyz and kitties safe and warm
  • I can afford oil this year
  • I might not have the car of my dreams or one that can pull the Paphut, but I have a car that for now is working and can get me back and forth to my jobs.
  • I have two jobs where some people have none and I can now put a little away each month and meet my monthly expenses.
  • I have a wonderful family who loves me and has supported me through a drastic lifestyle change this past year and a half
  • I have wonderful friends in and out of the dog world and all over the world who have also shown incredible support
  • I have 5 animals who mean the world to me and who for now are healthy and happy
  • I'll be returning to agility classes in December-yipee!!
I could go on and on but it's your turn now!!

In Memorandum of Pets Who Left Us This Year

It's also a time to remember those who are no longer with us.  I am very blessed that my whole family is still here with the exception of my mom who passed over a decade ago.

My friends however have lost some of their best friends this year:

Wiley- There is a huge whole left in my heart with you gone to the Bridge. Even now the tears flow when I think that I will never see you again. I'll always remember the walks on Nauset Beach with your Mom and my Mickey. And the time I was brave enough to let Mickey off leash at your house to play zoomies with you and you took him to the neighbors yard giving me a heart attack!! I'm so sorry you weren't there to walk your Mom down the isle in October but it was your time to go and you did it with grace and I hope without too much pain. You will never be forgotten sweet boy. Your mom is doing well but she misses you terribly. RIP Wiley.

Maggie- I didn't know you personally but your untimely and horrific death touched me greatly. The man who shot you while illegally hunting and then tried to cover up his crime will be facing trial soon. Hopefully he will be found guilty and get the book thrown at him. I know my friend who had to carry you out of the woods will be forever affected by what happened to you. We're going to fight to change the laws Maggie and to make sure everyone knows how important it is to keep their dogs' collars on when outside and how important wearing blaze is. RIP.

Austin-I will miss you so much buddy! You left us way too early and there is a hole in both your mom's and my heart.

Breezy-You were the sweetest, custest most cuddly pup I ever met.  Your mom's whole face lit up whenever she talked about you.  I pray that you are at peace now and can breath easy and deep.

The Gift of Giving
If you are trying to think of something very different but meaningful for the dog lover in your life, the following is from the November Newsletter of Alpha Dog K9 Training in Franklin, MA and owner, Christina Taddei:

This month I'd like to focus on the holiday season and giving gifts that mean alot more than a new trinket to some. Here are some gift ideas very near and dear to our hearts here at Alpha Dog:

NEADS has a new line of wonderful "signature wines", drop shipped right to you!

For other gift ideas, please visit:

Massachusetts Vest-A Dog is selling calendars at many Especially for Pets locations, and the cost is only $10.00. The profits from these calendars directly benefit our local police dogs and their partners by funding the bullet and stab proof vests that the dogs need to be able to do their jobs more safely.

Alpha Dog Book Drive

As most of you already know, all of the trainers here at Alpha Dog are involved with the NEADS ( )program, training dogs for service work.

Our dogs live in local prisons with inmate handlers most of the time, and are "furloughed" on weekends for training in the community by volunteer handlers. We are not allowed to give gifts to the inmates who are not compensated and volunteer their time to train our puppies. If you've seen our pups, you know what a great job they do!

This year I would like to collect as many gently used books as I can to donate to the prison libraries and the inmates "training libraries". Books on any subject are appreciated. They can be dropped at Happy Tails during Alpha Dog hours:

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 7:30-8:30pm or Saturday from 9 to noon.

Thanks for considering a different kind of gift this year!

Our best to you,

Christina and Draco and Hope

Monday, October 31, 2011

Financial Woes and the Agility Fool

It's been a tough year financially.  I definitely overdid the spending last year with all the new equipment and the new car. I've maxed out my credit cards, have no savings left and had to stop going to classes which is the worst of it all.  I was successful in refinancing my house to a lower interest rate and I've picked up a part time job for 14 hours a week. The downside to the job is eight of those hours are on Sunday so there will be no more full weekend trials.

Koby and I did manage to get in one more full trial this summer (damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!!).  We entered the CPE EMAC trial up in Skowhegan, Maine which was absolutely fabulous!! This club puts on great trials and I love the members!
At this trial we received our Level 1 Title and got a Q and 1st place in the first Level 2 Standard run of our career (please don't ask how the second Level 2 Standard run went on Sunday LOL!!). We also got a Q and 1st place in L-2 Jumpers so after a whole summer off I was very pleased to say the least!

I've learned some tough lessons this year about how I manage money (or don't manage it actually) and I'm paying for it. But they are valuable lessons and I do believe that from here on in I will be strong financially. It will take some time to build up an acceptable budget-one which will not only get ends met each month but allow me to go back to what I love most-AGILITY (fool)!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Volunteer

When I first started thinking about competing, I signed up for an all day workshop called "Entering Your First Trial" put on by SoBad Agility Club. Not only did we get tons of information along with  2 run throughs (one of which was a mock Full House -it was our first ever attempt at a game and we placed first!!), but the first half of the day was lecture style, going through the logistics of preparing for and entering your first trial. One of the things the presenters stressed was the importance of volunteering.  I took that recommendation to heart and when I entered my first CPE trial on May 1, 2010, I signed up for anything and everything in terms of volunteering but only signed up for one run each day.  It made for a very long (and very hot) weekend but boy did I learn a lot and I sure saw some great competitors!! The hosting club (BoGee) definitely knows how to treat their volunteers.  I was made to feel very welcome, help came readily if I got confused and they gave us some great gifts for volunteering.  It was a wonderful way to start my agility career.

Over the next few months I entered 4 more trials (3 CPE and 1 TDAA) and I volunteered at every one of them.  Every club runs their trials a bit differently and treatment of the volunteers differ too. For the most part everyone I met was helpful, eager to teach and just plain nice.  I got to see first hand just how much the host club relies on their volunteers in order to make the trial happen and being part of that is just one of the best feelings, especially when you get to watch a C-ATCH or C-ATE run and you're part of the ring crew!!

I've only entered one trial so far this year due to poor finances and I'm sad to say I did not volunteer this time. It was a return to my very first trial venue too but I had decided to enter every single event that weekend and I knew I would be too stressed out to deal with 3 dogs, competing and being at my volunteer post as well.   It was a wise decision for me for that particular trial as I did not have my friend with me like I did last year but as I watched people reporting to their posts I felt a twinge of being left out.  We did very well that weekend amassing 6 Q's with 3 firsts and 3 seconds, 1 non Q first place and one NQ. We are 2 runs away from our CL1 title which I hope to get before the fall season is over.  I will not be entering all runs available in my next trial that is for sure. It was exhausting!! We'll go for our Handler and Strategy titles and try Level 2 for the first time. AND I will definitely be volunteering once again!!

Here's to a great rest of the summer with nothing but clean runs and lots of fun!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Student Appreciation Day at Collinswood K9 1/2/11

We all got 2 runs throughs and a ton of awesome food!! Thank you Betty and Terri for making this day super end to the holidays!!

The course Betty set up was wicked hard!! Great training op tho!!

Same course, different approach near the end:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Columbus Day Weekend-Bar Harbor, ME

This is the beach that was about 1/2 mi from the site of the agility trial. My boyz had a blast exploring the sand and waves every morning before we hit the trial.

In the video: Da boyz with friends Rebecca and Finch (this takes a wicked long time to load so please be patient):

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Our second trial ever and our first NQ - CPE Trial July 2010-All Dogs Gym, Manchester, NH

Beautiful Run by Koby-we would have taken second place. "It's always the handler, never the dog" -Betty Belliveau.  This is almost always true and in this case there was no excuse: I forgot to remove his buckle collar!! Grrrr!!

NQ Run At Our First Teacup Trial-but Koby Got the Teeter!!!

Notice how tight the course is!!