Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Washy Wednesday

In order to look her best for her big day on Friday (and also to keep the peace with my mother, who doesn't enjoy dog hair as a condiment the way some of us do), Marge went to the groomer today to be bathed.


Because she is skittish - and HATES being bathed - and also because she doesn't require anything special, I do the washing. It is less stressful for both her and me. Some places have begun offering this "self wash" service, and I think it works well for us.

When we got home, the "fun" didn't end. Marge got her nails done with the Dremel.

Oh, and a tip for those of you with dogs whose elbows tend to lose hair or get calloused - I found a great product a while ago called Bag Balm that keeps the skin soft and prevents the loss of hair. I use it on her paw pads every once in a while, too, just to moisten them a bit (but keep in mind that some roughness is good to prevent injury).

Here is the finished product!

Marge says, This is tooooo much grooming for one day! I hope I get covered in mud on Friday to get back at them for these atrocities.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back to School

..the good kind of school!


Our day today went pretty well. We had a very short lesson with Marisa, which was honestly less about Marge doing agility and more about me staying calm and handling her effectively with our trial looming just a few days away. We didn't do any contact obstacles other than the teeter and table. She didn't massage Marge, but she felt her hip and said it felt a whole lot less tight than last week. In fact, she didn't remember which rear leg it was and couldn't tell, either, since Marge was standing square, moving fine and not giving any clues as to where the injury was.

Since I essentially got the A-OK on Marge's leg, we hung around for class. Marge waited in a crate while the main room was being used by other people getting a lesson. She did pretty well. She did puff up and grumble when another club member came in with her enormous (and loud, if I dare say) Rottweiler, but I was not surprised by that. I covered her crate to give her more privacy and there was no problem.

When it was time for class to begin, I took her into another section of the building and ran her around a little bit to get her warmed up. I'm trying to really be vigilant about not running her cold. We went through our small repertoire of stretches several times, too.

This was the set up, and we worked on some of this during our lesson as well.


Sequence One (White Circles)
  • Led out to in front of the tire, kind of pushed her through the serpentine and then pulled her to the teeter.
  • I front crossed the teeter; I could have front crossed before it, but front crossing after it gives Marge more courage (since the teeter is still scary sometimes).
  • Used my inside arm to guide her over 5 and 6 and then pulled her back to the table.
  • Had some trouble with the weaves tonight but I think it was my fault. I led out too far from the table and I think I crammed her space, so she entered at the second pole a couple of times. Once I gave her room, we had no problems (even though she was weaving into a corner!).
  • I faded from the end of the weaves a bit. Getting into the tunnel was no problem, nor was taking the triple and swinging back through the tunnel down the line.
Sequence Two (Black Circles)
  • Had Marge on my right up until the table. No real problems there.
  • Led out over jump 6 from the table and got her in the tunnel. Once she committed to the tunnel, I did a landing-side front and then kept her on my right up until the teeter.
  • Front crossed the teeter (again), pushed out to broad jump, pulled to the final jump.
Neither course was all that hard. I kind of liked that there were less obstacles out, which made for more room in between obstacles.

Sorry about no pics or video - I was all by myself. I am sure Friday will make up for it, with (hopefully) two videos and a lot of photos from the trial. It was a good day, though -- we didn't do too much, left out the hard stuff (contacts), and Marge's leg seems fine so far.

So now, no more agility until Friday at the trial. I can't believe it - our AKC debut is just days away!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

Marge says, no more lounging around in the back yard! My leg feels fine and I want to run.

The support you all have sent Marge and me the past week has been unbelievable. Giving me hints, sharing experiences, wishing us well and telling me not to worry.. it has all helped a lot! I just wanted to let each and every one of you know how appreciative I am.

I wanted to also take this post to ask you for your blog address, if you'd like to share it and don't think I have it. There are a few people who leave comments here that I cannot find a blog link for. I'd like to reciprocate and get to know you as you have gotten to know me, so please, do not hesitate! I will have more time to visit blogs as the school year winds down, so I'm always ready to make new friends.

Marge went on a nice walk today out in the field with my sister and me. It was about 45 minutes of mostly slow strolling. A park ranger was out with his horse, so that's what ultimately kept me out there longer than I intended to be. As usual, I can't help but catch a glimpse of those lovely creatures any chance I get. Marge was very interested in the horse as he walked by us, and her leg seems to have held up just fine after the exercise.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ants in Her Pants

I think Marge is starting to feel better. We walked for twenty minutes this afternoon in the field at a brisk pace, and she's dying for more. Our rally practice in my living room was halted for a second while she attempted to chase the cat and then run zoomies. I called her back to me, but this looks like a good sign.


I still feel like she is leaning some of the weight on to the other leg, but she's doing it less frequently and less severely. She's starting to get back to her usual antics, like jumping on the front door as she hears me coming in - a bad habit, but at least I know she's feeling better - and coming over to pester me to do something with her.

Here is a short clip of her walking out in the field this afternoon. She's not fully extending on the trot, but she's also restricted by a 6' leash. I reviewed a video from last Wednesday (presumably the day after she got hurt) when she was on her 20' line and she WAS fully extending on both legs. I'm not sure what you can discern from it, but I figured I'd post it anyway.

video

She's still getting the Rimadyl; the vet said to give it until I run out, so that's what I'll do. I iced the inside of her thigh a couple of times for about five minutes each time; I don't know if that's enough to help anything, but I don't think either of us has patience for much more time than that.

On Monday, during Marge's massage, my instructor said she'd like to do a lesson with me next week. I'm not sure what to do. Like I said, she doesn't think this whole thing is really an issue, and also said Marge wouldn't really need another massage so soon. I'm thinking of splitting the time half and half. Assuming we're going to the trial, there is one thing I'd really like to do between now and next Friday, and that is work contacts. Everything else is solid at this point. So, if Marge is fine on Monday (which, at this rate, it looks like she will be) I'm thinking about doing 15 minutes of agility (just for the contacts -- maybe skip the A-Frame) and 15 minutes of massage (maybe just for the legs). How does that sound? Is it too soon to get active again?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rubdown

Marge got her very first massage from Marisa today.


Before she started, I asked her to watch as I gaited Marge around the room to see if she saw anything. She could just barely tell that it was the right hind that was off. When I stood Marge in place, she could tell that she wasn't putting all of the weight on to that leg.


She's actually not doing it that badly in this picture, but you can *just* see how the left hind is planted to the ground slightly more than the right. Sometimes it is more extreme, other times, she looks normal.

Any way, massage commenced. It was about a half hour long - didn't want to over do it for the first time. Marge was actually pretty good about it - she didn't want to lay down (which is supposed to be the best way to do it), but got her neck, triceps, back and hind legs done. Marisa said Marge was tight in her neck and back, and that it was possible that a pull in those places (especially the back) could trickle down into the leg, causing the problem. Then, she got to the rear hind leg, though - and almost immediately said that Marge's hip flexor was somewhat inflamed.

After reading some (which I know I shouldn't do - the internet can make you panic), I understand this to be a group of muscles. I suppose she was just simplifying for me, which something I need - I know next to nothing about this stuff! The vet didn't feel it as clearly because she didn't manipulate the muscle like a massage therapist would, she explained. In any event, she wasn't overly concerned - she said Marge would definitely be up and running by the trial. She told me to keep giving the Rimadyl and maybe occasionally hold ice to it.

I'm happy that she doesn't think this is anything severe, but I'm also worried about rushing back too soon. The trial is Friday, April 2nd; I guess I will just play things by ear.

(Just got my tentative schedule for the trial, too. Novice JWW runs at 9 AM, before Standard, which I am super happy about since the judge is more inconspicuous in Jumpers. Standard runs about 4 hours later, though. That's a lot of waiting around. Let's see if we even get there.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Great Unknown (A Leg Update)

I am completely exhausted, but I figured I should at least pop in here with a quick update.


We went to the vet this afternoon around 2. She examined Marge's rear hind leg and performed a whole bunch of range of motion tests. Unfortunately, she couldn't find anything definitively wrong. She said Marge wasn't "giving up" to her the exact location of the pain. She said she had great range of motion, great conformation, and great muscle tone.

In summary, she said it's probably more of a joint issue than a muscle pull. But, she said she highly doubts the presence of hip dysplasia - so I guess some higher power was watching out for us on that one. She said nothing is torn or anything like that. Her best guess was that Marge landed awkwardly while running around on the beach and injured the soft tissue around her hip. She did not think that radiographs would be conclusive at this point.

She is going to take Rimadyl, 37.5 mg (half a pill) twice a day. She will be on a restricted exercise regimen for at least a week or so (no running/jumping, but walks are OK). I'm going to talk to the vet again a week from Monday and let her know how she is. The trial is not completely ruled out - the vet seemed optimistic - but I'd rather be safe than sorry.. so if I have any doubt, we'll just skip it.

Marge is acting pretty much normal. She's visibly holding more weight on the opposite hind foot, and I do notice a slight gimp in her step. But, she's really not all that "off." She's still trying to run and jump like normal, and she makes the stairs as quickly as ever (I'm trying to limit it, though).

I guess it's not the worst outcome in the world, but I can't help but feel that it's not the best, either. I hate the uncertainty of it.

Once again, I've fallen pitifully behind on blogging. Give me a reprieve this weekend, and I'll be back up and running like usual soon. I have spent a lot of mental energy worrying about this whole thing. Thank you so much for your support.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bum Leg

How horribly ironic that I just posted a couple of days ago about doing more stretching and conditioning with Marge so as to thwart injury.


The last couple of days, Marge looked stiff when she got up after sleeping a while. I wasn't completely sure, but she seemed to favor her right hind just a tiny bit for the first few steps. Yet, her gait looked fine, and the walk we went on yesterday went fine as well. I even took some video today out in the field and was going to post it, since I couldn't find anything wrong with the way she was moving.

Today, I thought I saw her shifting her weight from the right hind to the left hind. Again, I wasn't sure if I was turning something into nothing... as I told my friend Roxanne, who so graciously gave me her thoughts about the whole thing (she's got a dog with bad knees, Ginko), if you're looking for something to be wrong, you're bound to find something wrong. So, I stopped worrying about it for the evening and decided to see what tomorrow will bring.

Just now, however, things got a little worse. I was sitting, playing with Marge on the floor, and I guess somehow her back leg hit into my body, maybe at an awkward angle. Then, she really started limping, and held her foot in the air for a couple of seconds. Once again, the limp subsided, and her movement was normal or close to it, but now I knew for sure that I saw something. I sent her directly to lay down.

The only possible cause I can think of is her zoomy burst on the beach on Tuesday. She hasn't done agility or anything like that lately.

I guess it's time for the vet. I originally thought this may be a joint issue, since she worked out of it so quickly, but now I'm not so sure. We'll see what tomorrow brings, but I have a feeling a trip to the doctor is in our schedule.

I really hope what ever this is isn't severe. True to my nature as a worrier, some scary thoughts are brewing inside my head. Send your good thoughts our way, please.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shoreside

My sister, Marge and I have gone on some picturesque walks this week. It's amazing that the days after such a strong storm could feature such perfect weather.


Our destination? The beach! We were so happy to see that our favorite stretch of beach was void of off leash dogs that could potentially cause a problem. The sand and balmy breeze beckoned to us, Marge included.


She eagerly posed atop a piece of cement, ruins from the buildings that used to stand at the shore. When the tide is high, some of these ruins are completely immersed in water. This makes me think that the water didn't always come up as high as it does now. The storm surges over the weekend exposed even more ruins that had previously been buried under sand dunes and beach grass. There is a lot of history hidden at this beach.


We moved on to a totally desolate area. Marge announced her presence to any passers-by who might have come along after us. Can you read what she wrote?


She had a burst of zoomies a few minutes later, and shot a million-dollar smile in my direction as my sister snapped a photo. She was having a grand time. Seeing this blissful expression on her face is one of the best things in the world.


Before we left, I had Marge pose in the middle of the huge sand wall that stands at the back of our beach. It isn't typically this vertical, but the storm took a chunk out of it. From the looks of it, the water from the ocean came up really high. There is sand - and lots of it - on the dead-end street adjacent to the beach as well. Kind of scary - I don't know how well the area will fare the next time a big storm hits.


Today, we went on almost an identical walk, but the camera was dead. Two hour-long walks on back-to-back days is something that doesn't happen often around here. And, I'm happy to report that they both went really well. It's nice to see my special girl enjoying the spring weather as much as everyone else is. We humans had a good time, too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Training 30


It's really hard to believe, but our first AKC trial looms exactly two weeks from this Friday. I feel like I sent in my entry years ago; it almost felt like the day would never actually come. Even now, April seems so far away, when, in reality, it's right around the corner.


As I mentioned yesterday, yet another private lesson was cancelled. That's two weeks in a row without any "real" agility. I shouldn't worry too much, since we got rained out a few times before our NADAC trial last November, and it didn't present any problems at the trial. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be so excited to do agility at the trial that she'll pay perfect attention, and we'll Q as long as I don't screw up. Ya never know.

In the mean time, I am trying to get Marge physically ready for this trial and the trial season.
  • I'm trying to amp up the number of walks. I'm shooting for at least three walks a day, an hour of walking total. I wish I could take her on one long walk, but, unfortunately, the longer Marge is out, the less enthusiastic she is about walking and the more she worries about the world around her. So, usually our walks are 20-30 minutes long. It's also important to mention that Marge is on her long leash for a fair number of these walks, so she gets more exercise than if she was simply walking next to me. If I can get out for a couple of long hikes between now and the trial, I'll be happy.
  • I'm beginning to stretch Marge before practice and make sure she runs around a little bit to loosen up. I think I'm going to ask my trainer if there's anything in particular that I should be doing. I do simple stuff, since she isn't exactly 100% comfortable with being manipulated - having her hold a play bow, luring her to stretch her neck from side to side, helping her stretch out her back by holding her back legs (she LOVES this), turning her in circles. Maybe I'll post a video some time of the things that I do. If you have any suggestions, let me know.
The one thing that scares me about agility is the possibility of injury. Living with a fearful and HURT dog is something I don't want to have to experience. So, I hope that taking these measures will reduce the chance of that happening.

One other thing I need to get working on is getting Marge a new collar. I'm totally thrilled with the fact that AKC allows collars in the ring, so I want to get Marge a buckle collar with her name and my phone number on it to be her official trial collar. This site says they ship the order out within a couple of days, so if I order tonight, maybe I'll get it on time.

We've worked on the wicket a few times - Marisa insists that I will be able to feed Marge while she is being measured, and, since both of the judges at this trial are women, I'm really hoping that this won't be a huge issue. I am off from school the week before the trial, so, if possible, I'll schedule some time to go down to the hall to work on this.

The only thing left is the actual agility. Hopefully, the training building will be repaired enough by this weekend to allow for another lesson with Marisa. I want to run a standard course, since it feels like a really long time since we've worked on anything that wasn't like a drill. I also hope to drop in to class two weeks in a row, so that should get Marge back into the swing of waiting for her turn to run, being around other dogs, and all that lovely stuff. In a couple of weeks (after the trial, unfortunately), we'll be back outside at the agility field. I am so excited for that.

My plan is not to focus so much on any one event alone, but to see how things go as the season progresses. It remains to be seen how much I keep to that plan, but, trying is the first step, I think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Aftermath

Well, the worst of it is over, but we still have yet to see the sun here. What a storm it wound up being! There are still traffic lights out all over the borough, downed trees still blocking roads, and areas that are still flooded and unusable.


Here is the tree that fell on to my grandmother's house on Saturday (photos taken by my sis). Imagine looking out your front window and seeing this! It has since been cleared, but there is some damage to the house that needs to be repaired.

It's still raining on and off, and the wind is still kicking up. Tree services are going around, cutting down the debris with chainsaws, and fire trucks are still blaring constantly. Though we did get out for three walks yesterday, we're taking it easy today. It just seems chaotic out there.

We played a few rounds of "Find-it" with Marge's old squeaky raccoon (that no longer squeaks, of course). It entertained her for a while. She put her thinking-cap on and sniffed all over the room when I gave her the release to find it. At the end of our game, she posed with her prize.


We were supposed to have a private lesson with Marisa today, but, due to damage in the training building from the storm, it was cancelled. Another week of no agility and another bummer. Oh well - we have no choice but to make the best of it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Perfect Storm

We're experiencing some of the worst wind I've ever seen in my life. The fence on one side of our house is starting to go, my father says the antenna on top of the house is about to blow off, and, to top it off, my grandmother's enormous pine tree came crashing onto her roof late this afternoon (she's OK, and there probably isn't much damage, but it's still a scare).


The weather normally does not faze Marge, but this storm is bothering her. The wind has been whipping at sustained speeds of 40 mph for the entire day. Potty breaks are NOT fun - she tried to pee before and witnessed a backyard chair get kicked up by the wind. Suffice to say, she is not taking kindly to going out right now, which might become a problem - she's due for a poop.

My family is coming and going from my house, going outside to collect things before they blow away, inspect damage, and the like. I don't like the commotion, and I don't think Marge does, either.

Here's a real-time photo - she's been hunkered down next to me in this corner for the majority of the day. Those are my fleece PJ pants you see there. Notice the ears back and big, sad eyes. I think she wants this to be over with!


For all of you experiencing this storm, be careful! There are road closings, trees down, and power outages all over my city. Stay inside and ride it out safely with your fuzzy friends.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy Face


Taken outside in my yard this week. Marge wasn't much into training with my makeshift backyard jumps under the mid-day sun, so, an obligatory photo shoot commenced. This pic is the best of the bunch. Isn't she just the cutest thing?

We've been doing lots more walking, and filling the gaps in our day with short training sessions. Over all, things have been more good than bad.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday Training 29


This post is going to be mostly bits 'n pieces of things. As many of you know, because of my school schedule and workload in conjunction with my newfound procrastination (I blame a certain someone's recent and numerous TV appearances for this -- and I NEVER watch TV), I am having some trouble getting stuff done.


Agility
Well, I was supposed to have a lesson yesterday, but my instructor forgot to put it on her calendar. So, I was by myself during my practice time. It was a bummer, but hey, what can you do? Marge and I didn't do much, since I really don't trust myself to set up good courses alone - I either make them too easy or too hard. We mostly worked individual obstacles..
  • Teeter - all of a sudden, Marge's teeter has gotten so much more iffy. It was at full height yesterday, and, in the middle of the plank, she decided to bail several times. So, I put the table under the end of it to make it lower, and she seemed better with that. Then, I removed the table and she was doing it full heigh once again. I can't really put my finger on why she's suddenly more unsure of it than ever before - she will literally run across the room to get to it (and then I have to keep my mouth shut and not correct her, even if she isn't listening to me), but then freezes up in the middle. Like I said, though, she seemed better at the end of the session, so I'll count that as progress.
  • Table - did some table sends. She's sticking to the table a whole lot more than before, waiting for me to give her the release word before she gets up.
  • A-Frame - we haven't worked it in a while. I dragged it out today, but it wasn't set up right and I was counting on Marisa to help me.. so, we didn't get to do it. Hopefully next week.
Once again, I find that I communicate so much better with Marge when we train in our backyard. I only have room for two (makeshift) jumps, but she pays so much more attention and my handling is so much more consistent. I still haven't figured out why this is.

On a positive note, I've basically quit worrying about our trial that's coming up in about a month and have decided to just take things as they come.

Walks
I touched on walks in the last post. It's gotten significantly busier outside since this weekend. Marge is doing okay. She hasn't shut down, but she's been doing a whole lot more lip licking and looking around at various things. Sometimes, she's better than others - for example, she was fine being out in the field among a group of people playing soccer Sunday evening, but was uneasy when she saw people walking around this morning. As usual, I'm trying to encourage her and find a balance between behavior modification on walks and let-Marge-do-whatever-the-hell-she-wants on walks. It's an ongoing process.

I plan on blogging about Marge's L-Theanine supplement and my thoughts on medications in the near future. I know several of you have asked about that.

I truly think that Marge's motivation walk - and therefore, to face her fears - goes out the window when the sun is out and the temperature is high. If two stressful situations are exactly identical except for the temperature, there is no doubt that Marge will do better behaviorally in the colder situation than in the hotter one. It's kind of an interesting problem to combat, because it's only in the 60s right now!

People
I feel as though Marge has gotten more aloof around people lately. We had a family friend over the house on Saturday for dinner. Marge hung out in her crate, since seven people in a tiny kitchen, in my opinion, would have been a lot for her (yet, she'd try to beg anyway). However, when she was actually around this family friend, she was neither scared nor particularly friendly - she just "was."

That's not to say she didn't wag her tail and sniff to say hello, but this is interesting, because Marge is usually more friendly than this to non-threatening people that are in her house. It might just be my imagination, though. She was in her crate a large part of the time this person was over - upwards of three hours, with breaks in between - so she simply might not have been around the person enough for me to draw reasonable conclusions on her behavior. The fact that she was able to settle in her crate with so many people in the house was definitely a positive.

One of her favorite people ever - my sister's math tutor - is coming over tonight, so we will see what the result of that is.

Other activities
  • Now that it's warm outside and the ground has dried, I plan on starting to work with the dumbbell again. I tossed it around for her a couple of times over the weekend, and, despite the fact that she hasn't used it in weeks, she remembered exactly what to do with it. Strangely, she seemed to mouth and chew on it less than before. That's a good thing - but I wonder what caused the change!
  • I'm still debating whether to enter two days of the April APDT Rally trial, or just one. We're supposed to be training with our Westie friend this weekend, but haven't really worked on Rally lately. Planning on renting the training hall to set up an APDT course one of these days.
And, that's about it for now. After these disorganized couple of weeks, I'm planning on getting back on track with just about everything - blogging, school work, training Marge, you name it!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Feel the Warmth

Well, based on the temperatures today, I simply cannot imagine we're going to have much more winter before spring finally hits us.



In one way, this is good - no more snow to complicate walks, travel, and anything else. No more cold nights with the wind howling. No more frozen nose, toes, ears, fingers and feet.

Yet, the warm weather means that we will be, once again, be faced with the warm weather challenges that go along with owning a fearful dog.

Even just in the span of this lone warm day, I've seen so many more people outside of my house and in my neighborhood than I have in the past few months. With that comes noise, too - and we've had a fair share of construction projects around us, and I can almost guarantee that we'll have more.

Marge is faring pretty well so far. The proximity of one of the construction sites to my house has caused a little bit of discomfort for her, and she has had some isolated incidents on walks where some things have made her feel uncomfortable. I'm trying to ensure that she is able to deal with these distractions and stressors now before they hit their peak in the summer. Lots of cookies have been doled out, and I've tried to vary our walking routes a lot so she gets comfortable with different things.


I know that our schedule is going to have to change - aside from the scary stuff, Marge is not a fan of the heat, so our walks are going to be shorter and take place earlier in the day and later in the evening. As long as there are no fireworks (which I'm hoping is at least another few months), our night walks will continue.

She is still getting her L-Theanine supplement, and I don't plan to take it away any time soon. I don't know how much it's helping - my gut tells me it's helping a teeny bit - but I know it's not hurting her. I did speak with the vet a few months ago about possibly medicating her this summer so that we don't have the same relapse that we had last summer.. I'm unsure if that's really necessary or not. Still, I WOULD like to have some alprazolam (Xanax) on hand for her for the really bad days, like July 4th. I am unsure how privy my vet will be to this idea, but I think it is something important to explore.

Today, for the first time in what feels like forever, we made our way down to the beach, just for a few minutes. I remember talking earlier about how glorious the off-season at the beach was going to be for us, and it was. Now, I can't believe that the off-season is almost over, and soon Marge won't be allowed on most of this sand.


So far, the transition from cold to warm is going alright - and I'm going to cross my fingers that it stays that way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Leading Man

The first non-animal related post in MargeBlog history comes today.


I am a huge Tom Hanks fan. Huge. My fandom is not limited to Forrest Gump and Big and the other very famous movies. I have seen Tom Hanks movies that some people don't even know exist. It's a far cry from the typical it-guys of the past few years, but that's ok. I have my fun. I really enjoy his stuff, and he was super cute in the 80s. Yeah, that's before I was even born. Weird, huh?

When I found he was coming to NYC, I really wanted to go wait outside one of the studios he was filming at (he did three shows today) to see if I could catch a glimpse of him or get an autograph. The latter did not happen, thanks to the stupidity of people who tried to cross the barricade, but the former did:


(photo courtesy of my awesome boyfriend, who manned my camera while I was reduced to a pile of putty..)

I haven't done something so exciting and spontaneous in a long time. He did hang around for a few minutes when he arrived, signing autographs, but I couldn't get one because I wasn't really in a good spot. But, it was super cool to be just feet from the guy who I've watched in so many of my favorite movies. I'm going to try again next time he's in town - I'd assume in just a couple of months to promote Toy Story 3!

In addition to how happy I was to see him, I had such a fun time getting out of the house with my awesome boyfriend. It was a picture perfect time. Louie has jokingly dubbed Tom my "leading man," but in reality it is he himself who is my leading man. Seriously - I wouldn't have ridden in a taxi cab and stood in a crowd of people by myself, nor would I have gone to eat at Bubba Gump Shrimp (yes, that's right!) in solitude! I think I really needed a day like this to break up the monotony of the daily grind and put a big ol' silly grin on my face.

I was originally going to write this post from Marge's perspective, because, surely, she would find a human going to see a fellow human to be a complete waste of time. Not to worry - Marge was not at all neglected today. She got a nice afternoon walk before I left for NYC, where she socialized with a Shih Tzu boy friend of hers, and then a night walk where she literally wagged her tail the whole time. I guess she was happy to see me after my little excursion.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Training 28

We had an great and productive lesson with Marisa yesterday.


This was the bulk of our work. In the black sequence, Marge had to "go out," and in the white sequence, she had to come in to my hand. We handled the go outs much, much better than the come ins, but the handling did start to click towards the end.


We also did some work on front crosses. I am very, very late with my fronts, and that problem is exacerbated by the fact that Marge's stride over the jump is pretty big and she isn't reading the fronts that well yet. To counter this, Marisa put a gate alongside one of the jumps so that Marge had to adjust herself as I front crossed.

We're going to have another lesson next week. I think we're going to put out more standard course equipment and less jumps. It's been a couple of weeks since Marge has seen contact equipment.

We're roughly a month away from the trial now. The plan is to keep training with Marisa privately, and drop into class one or two times. I might have the opportunity to go back out to train in New Jersey, but I'm not holding my breath.

Our first APDT Rally trial of the year will be on April 24 and/or 25, indoors at my club's training building. It will be a small trial, probably less than 100 entries per day, and Level 1 (Marge's class) will most likely run first. I'm unsure if I want to do both days with her. I probably will send in my entry for both, and then play it by ear the weekend of the trial. To prepare for that, I'm going to keep training with my friend and her Westie on AKC courses, and also train privately a couple of times to run APDT style courses, too. After that, we'll possibly have another Rally trial in July. By then, I'd like to be ready to run her in Level 2 - we're starting to work on the exercises now for that class.

I'm sorry I've neglected the blog this week. My absence will probably continue for another couple of days, or maybe until the weekend. For a couple of reasons, I am physically and emotionally tired.

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