Monthly Archives: August 2010

Another stray (sigh)

While walking the dogs this morning, we encountered yet another stray in the neighborhood. Odo was able to say hello to him without D’Argo interfering and, as is often the case, the stray followed Odo home.

There’s a certain window of opportunity to take in a stray. This window is bigger or smaller, depending on the age and initial disposition of the dog, and the circumstances leading to it’s straying. Usually if it’s a lost animal, they’ll readily approach humans. Dumped animals are much more wary. If it’s soon after the dumping, you can usually coax the animal to safety. The longer the dog has to survive on it’s own, the less it wants to have anything to do with humans, but they’ll still respond to other dogs, especially a higher ranking dog. The dog logic being that the stray would be better off in a pack and if this pack leader will accept the stray then it’ll go with new leader. Past that window of opportunity and the dog will neither approach humans nor dogs, and is a lost cause unless trapping is a possibility.

The little guy we met this morning was still in the “window”. Not completely trusting of humans, but willing to go along with Odo in hopes of joining a pack. He’s a puggle, a beagle pug mix. He had no collar and as I found out later, not much experience with a leash either. He followed us all the way to the front yard and I closed the gate. I called Animal Welfare and used the wait time to gain the dog’s confidence.

He was very skinny, but wouldn’t accept food. He enjoyed the ice water. After an hour or so in my presence I was able to pet him, by slowly approaching him sideways, not making direct eye contact. He took the initiative to close the final gap and accepted my attention.

I decided to put a collar on him to make recapture a little easier and he accepted it readily until the clasp snapped. He gave me such a frightened look of betrayal before he ran off, but I did manage to regain a fragile contact with him.

When Animal Welfare finally arrived, I was able to approach him easily enough but he ran off when I attempted to put a slip lead on him. Leaving the leash behind, I was able to approach him again and get my hand on the collar but as soon as I put any pressure on the collar he started to fight. While I calmed him down, the Officer took the opportunity to approach and get the slip lead on him. That’s when it became obvious that he was not leash trained in any way. Luckily he accepted being picked up.

We couldn’t keep him and with the temperatures hovering around 100F all this week, he’s in a much better place at the shelter, although his chances of adoption are reduced now that he’s already wary. With so many dogs being abandoned, the shelters here are overwhelmed, but he’s still better off than starving, being pest infested, and suffering from the extreme heat, besides fending off other stray dogs, coyotes and dodging cars. Abandonment is one of the cruelest things a human can do to a dog.

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Mirror, mirror

After four months of work, I have finally installed the mirror frames, completing the renovation of our Master Bathroom. I present today the before and after photos.

Before…

Dark textured walls, patched holes, mirrored wall, rusty sink, cold air leak, poorly designed vanity, little useful storage, ugly vanity lights on an overhang, popcorn ceilings.

After…

Light buttery colored smooth walls, glass tile backsplash, mirror cut into smaller sizes and framed, air leak fixed, water leak fixed, outer wall patched and insulated, new porcelain sinks, new water saving faucets, lots of useful storage in new vanity, new counter top, new medicine cabinet, overhang removed, new light fixtures, smooth blue clay ceilings.

Before…

Door and floor trim missing.

After…

Doors and floors properly trimmed, new floor tile, new carpet runner.

Before…

Stem wall prevented proper air circulation from the shower to the vent fan. Again, missing trim.

After…

Stem wall is cut back, hence the need for new floor tile. Now the bathroom has a much more open, and bigger, feel to it, even though floor space is actually reduced because of the wall rebuild.

Now sunlight can get to all parts of the bathroom through the solatube, even to the shower stall.

I’m still working on one last mirror, a full length one that’ll hang next to the closet door on what’s left of the stem wall. The pieces are cut and I’m in the process of chiseling out the mortises. But there’s no rush. It’s a bonus mirror. I’m just thrilled that I now have a fully functional Master bathroom.

Oh, what fun!

D’Argo and I had a fabulously fun weekend. As you can see from the photo on the left, we earned quite a few ribbons, including two title ribbons that we have been working hard for.

D’Argo’s full name is now : D’Argo, UAG1, TBAD, TG2, CGC (we just call him the Earl of Windhaven for short).

It may seem like the ribbons were handed out freely, but the courses were not without challenges. On our first Intermediate level run, after earning our beginner title (TBAD), D’Argo thought he’d say hello to the course steward. As I was getting him back on course, I must have given him confusing signals, because instead of taking the jump I thought I was indicating, he tried to go around it and bumped into my leg. A major rule in agility is that you can’t touch your dog while you’re running a course. Accidental touches do happen, and you’re not penalized for that. However, in this instance, when I felt him bump my leg, I automatically bumped him back (a safety measure to keep him from getting stepped on), and he took the jump. As soon as he took the jump, a little voice in my head said “Oo, that’s going to look bad”, but there was nothing I could do about it so we continued to run. That particular run was not fault free anyway, but the bumping of my dog got me eliminated for blocking. Elimination means your time is not recorded and you can’t get a placement ribbon. Oh well. On another run, again, I didn’t give a clear signal, and D’Argo went sightseeing on top of the A-frame. You can’t help but laugh at the little clown’s antics, even if it does cost you the clean run.

This particular sanctioning body is TDAA (Teacup Dog Agility Association) and they have two titling classes, standard and games. Our first title of the day was beginner standard (TBAD), our second title was intermediate games (TG2). The games are fun. They’re short courses in which you have to beat the clock, or accumulate points, or both. The video I uploaded was our titling games run. The game was Tag 10. We had to accumulate 10 points at a time by completing a certain number of obstacles, then banking the points by sending D’Argo through the tire. To qualify, I needed three sets of ten points in fifty-five seconds.

//www.youtube.com/get_player

This trial was on home turf, so besides running with D’Argo, I helped build courses, acted as ring or gate steward, even took out the garbage. It was great fun, even though we were exhausted by the end of it.