Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Westminster Update

Earlier I admitted that I make great plans but suck at follow through. I wasn't joking. It's hard! But I'm still working toward a Westminster trip in 2018. Right now I have a whopping $1381 in my Westminster fund. Not bad for a disorganized person like me!

I've been talking to tour companies and think that I've narrowed things down to one. I estimate that the tour that I want --with all the extras plus airfare -- will be about $1,800. Yes, gasp. However, this is probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip so I might as well do it right.

I could lick the screen right now!
I'd like to be able to pay for everything by September. Coming up with the last $500 involves a little creativity. Confession: I eat out a lot. A LOT. I hate my kitchen, I love junk food and I suck at meal planning. This is the Fat Lady Trifecta. It's also expensive. So I've made a deal with myself. For every day I don't eat out, I will pay myself $5. Surely I'll save $5 by eating breakfast before work, bringing my lunch and throwing something together when I get home. I'm averaging about 20 bucks a week. Yeah, it's pathetic, but it's better than nothing, right? However, I could use some help.
  1. Prayers are good. So are happy thoughts and words of encouragement. Lord knows I need all the help I can get!
  2. Meal ideas, especially dinners. The thought of whipping up something low carb/diabetic friendly after a 10-hour shift is overwhelming.
  3. Budgeting tips. Again, I get tired/overwhelmed and just buy what's convenient. I'm sure I'm wasting a lot of money.
I just sent an email to the tour company specifying how many are going and which upgrades we want. I asked for a grand total and instructions on how to move forward from here. OMG, I think I'm actually going to do this! I'll keep you posted. -- K

Monday, May 29, 2017

Nosework News

Jedi looking for odor 
Some interesting things are happening for us regarding nosework. First of all, our favorite trainer is back in Jacksonville once a week to teach a class. We're very, very excited about that. As I mentioned earlier, the AKC has joined the nosework game. They're calling it Scent Work and the rules are slightly different from what we've been doing. However, I think the changes are more difficult for me than they are for Jedi. For him the rules are pretty much the same:
  1. Find odor
  2. Tell Mom
  3. Get cookie
Trainer has been working with the AKC for a couple of years to get this program launched. She's already an approved AKC scent work judge. The classes she's teaching incorporate AKC scent work as well as UKC nosework, so we should be good to go when trials officially start in the fall. The biggest of challenge for us is buried hides. Jedi will now have to find a particular odor that has been buried in dirt.

More exciting news: my German Shepherd Dog Club has applied for licensing to hold official Scent Work trials. We have to prove to the AKC that we are knowledgeable and capable. We sent the application in last week. I think we have a shot! About a quarter of our members have experience with canine scent work. We have a trainer/UKC nosework judge, a retired K-9 officer with experience detecting explosive and narcotics (it counts!), and members with titles through UKC (the United Kennel Club) and NACSW (National Association of Canine Scent Work). We have successfully put on AKC conformation shows so the AKC knows we can follow procedures, fill out all the necessary paperwork, hire judges, secure venues, obtain insurance, advertise, etc. Cross your fingers we get approved!

Jedi chillin' in the hotel before the trial
Jedi, Hubby and I went to Ocala in early April for UKC nosework trials. This was the weekend before the German Shepherd Dog Club's show weekend. I was super stressed and ended up sick. I was achy and nauseated and could barely keep my eyes open. Hubby would wake me up so I could trial and then I would go back to sleep in my beach chair. Needless to say, I don't have any pictures from that weekend. Despite my illness, we did pretty good. We got one leg for our Advanced Containers title. He missed the second hide, and I blame it on handler error.

The following day was Handler Discrimination. That one's tough. I had a cotton glove with my scent on it. It was hidden in one of 12 boxes and Jedi had to find it. To make it more challenging, we were outside surrounded by feral cats. Jedi thinks cat poop is much more interesting than boxes. Still, he found the right box both times, earning two of the three legs he needs for the novice title!

We're going to continue to train but I don't see anything exciting happening on the nosework front until October. Hopefully we'll be prepared. I'll let you know! -- K

Saturday, May 27, 2017

2017 Shows

The 2017 German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida dog shows are over. We held three shows in two days. The turnout was better than it has been in the last few years (over 50 dogs each show!) and we received a lot of positive feedback. That being said, putting on the shows was a lot of work for the entire club. As usual, I overextended myself. In addition to heading up concessions and running around trying to do last minute things, I also stewarded the afternoon show. I was exhausted and didn't take any pictures (gasp). Here are a few I stole from my friends off Facebook.

The dogs (males) lining up

Last minute grooming before going into the ring

Dogs in x-pens awaiting their turn

Our concessions are always well-received . . .

And our raffle baskets can't be beat!

The highlight for the clean-up crew: We got to meet Rumor! (And her owner/handler, Kent Boyles.)
Rumor won the Westminster Dog Show this year.

Regular readers know that I love dog shows. This year I was fortunate enough to sit next to a judge during a show and get his running commentary. I learned more in that hour than I have in the entire year. It was awesome! If you'd like to learn more about dog shows, check out my Dog Show Info page. Not only does it have my A to Z of Dog Shows posts (seriously, I wrote 26 alphabetical posts for dog show beginners!) it also has links to some of my favorite dog show-related pages. And if you're ever in the North Florida area, let me know. I'd love to meet up and watch a show together. See you ringside! -- K

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Barn Hunt Blues

I’ve mentioned Barn Hunt several times. (And lucky you, I will mention it many more!) Unfortunately, there isn’t a place to train in Jacksonville. We’ve taken a couple workshops at Dare2Train in Deland (about 90 minutes away) and then trial with our fingers crossed. Because of work and other commitments, We only get to compete every other month – with varying results. Here's our journey so far:

On New Year’s Eve we took an Intro Workshop and had so much fun that I signed up for a Tunnel and Climb Workshop and a day of trials two weeks later. Jedi got a leg toward his Novice title. I was thrilled.

In March I signed Jedi up for two days of trials (4 runs total) hoping he could pick up the last two legs. Jedi kicked ass! On Saturday he found the rats right away, climbed like a mountain goat and tunneled with no hesitation. We earned two legs, two first place ribbons, his Novice title (RATN) and High in Trial for the fastest time!

I had paid for the second day, just in case we blew a run or two. So I said WTH and moved up to the next level. Open is more challenging. It has two rats and an L–shaped tunnel (versus the one rat and straight tunnel of Novice). Jedi found a rat and climbed right away. The darker tunnel didn’t slow him down either. He ran through and jumped on me in excitement. I told him to “Find the rat” and he ran through the tunnel a second time! Everybody laughed at his enthusiasm. I told him again, “Find the rat” and he gave me the German shepherd head tilt. He was confused. We had never trained with two rats before. I told him “There’s another rat. Find the rat.” He tilted his head again and I started directing him to hay bales. He figured it out and found the second rat with less than 4 seconds to spare. I was shocked! The second trial was not as productive. He was distracted by a loose dog outside the ring and couldn’t have cared less about the rats. That left us needing 2 more legs for his Open (RATO) title.

Dare2Train doesn’t hold trials during the warmer months. They had their final trial the same weekend as my German Shepherd Dog Club’s dog shows so we missed it. I was worried that Jedi would lose momentum and we’d have to retrain him in October. Then I found G2 Barn Hunt, another venue that does Barn Hunt in Morriston. I told Hubby that we'd attempt to finish Open and then wait until fall to attempt the next level (Senior has 4 rats and 2-3 turns in the tunnel.) Morriston is 2 1/2 hours away and on the opposite side of Ocala. We had to stay in a hotel for this trip, adding to the cost. I signed Jedi up for Friday and Saturday on Mothers Day weekend, for a total of 4 runs.

We only needed two legs again, but I wanted some wiggle room in case we blew a run or two. Handler error is always a possibility and I didn't want to blow it for us. We left the hotel Friday morning with an estimated 45 minutes of wiggle room. However, we soon discovered that Morriston is in the middle of nowhere. We lost cell service (including GPS) and then we were just lost. I freaked out, especially when I discovered that gas stations don't sell maps anymore. Hubby was able to channel his inner Daniel Boone and we arrived just in time. We ran twice and Jedi found ZERO rats. He climbed and tunneled, but didn’t even look for a rat. I assumed he was picking up on my stress (I hate being late) and was thrown off by the change of venue. We tried to remember landmarks on the way out and went back to the hotel. Unfortunately, the next day wasn’t any better. It was raining like crazy. Jedi climbed, refused to tunnel and found one rat. It was an expensive, no-good weekend. (But still better than working!)
It's official! And I'm hooked.
So now we have some decisions to make. G2 runs monthly trials all summer. (It’s a nice, well shaded venue.) Do we want to continue to try for Open? Or do we wait until Dare2Train reopens on the Fall? And realistically, will we have time in the Fall to Barn Hunt? We've already committed to nosework trials. And the Tuesday Training Crew would like to enter K-9 Obedience Club’s October rally trial as a group. There is not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do with my dog. Unless I can win the lottery and dump this 40 hr/week job and hire someone to handle the domestic stuff, I have to prioritize my efforts. Other things get left behind. It sucks. I’ll let you know what happens. TTFN, --K

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sarcasm Among Friends

I'm trying to convince myself to fork out
the money to buy this shirt
I admitted to you earlier that my life is crazy. I've also told you in the past that my job has its crazy moments. In fact, work stories are my most popular posts that don't involve Russians and poop. I swear I'm not making this stuff up! To prove it to you, I've cut and pasted texts and Facebook posts sent to my closest friends as things were happening. As usual, names have been redacted to protect my ass.
WARNING: Unedited Kelley contains profanity and heavy sarcasm. Sensitive people should leave now. I promise to be more civilized tomorrow. Maybe.
These were texted to an ACO friend:

This is what I came into this morning: Some idiot saw a raccoon in his yard “during the day.” Instead of shooing it away he decided to kill it with an axe. Blood spattered all over him and now he's freaking the fuck out. "OMG, What if it has rabies?" Dumbass. Plus, there's a dead sea turtle on the beach, feral cats are running amok at the condos and somehow a 12-year old got bit by a 3-legged dog. I've only been here three hours. Shoot me now!

My you're-not-going-to-believe-it story for today: I get a call about a dog running at large. When I get the dog, the complainant says the same dog has been out multiple times in the past 3-4 days. Before I can leave the scene, a woman drives up and says that it's her dog. And then she starts yelling at me for picking it up because she “would have gotten it eventually.” No shit! The kicker: she knows her fence is busted, but let's dog out anyway. She's really nasty too. I tell her that I'm citing her for RAL. First said she won't give me her license. Changes her mind when I told her no license, no dog; I won't release dog to anonymous people. Then she won't give me her local address (has an out-of-state license). So I call for an assist. [Redacted] shows up with his trainee. I write the ticket but woman wouldn't quit arguing. Then she says she isn't going to leave until PD does because she's afraid we're going to talk about her. She continues to argue. [Redacted] again tells her she should take her dog home. "No, I want to know what you're talking about.” So he says, “We can talk about the fact that your plates are expired, but I really think you should just go home.” She can’t take a hint and continues to argue! (And I'M the unreasonable bitch?!) So [redacted] asks for her license, registration and proof of insurance. When I left the scene she was receiving yet another ticket. Some people need to learn to shut. the. fuck. up.

The following were FB posts. It was a rough week.

Hubby posted this on Facebook and
tagged me. He wrote "I saw this and
immediately thought of my wife!
Those of you who actually know her,
know how true this!" Thanks Honey.
Dear Animal Lovers: Things die -- pelicans, turtles, raccoons, armadillos, squirrels, cats, etc. Sometimes they even die on the beach. It's OK. Yes, I know that there are children out there who might see them. They'll be fine. I promise you, many people have seen a dead animal and gone on to live happy, productive lives.

[Caller was worried that children might see a dead armadillo on the beach. I didn't tell him that as a child I used to poke dead squirrels with a stick. It might not have helped my argument.]

Dear Animal Lovers: Ducks are allowed to eat alongside a busy road. You don't have to call the police. P.S. True story!

[Caller wanted Animal Control to help the ducks cross the street. Yes, the dispatcher reminded Caller that ducks can fly. Caller was adamant and I was sent to the location anyway. Ducks, however, did not want assistance and were left alone.]

Dear Animal Lovers: It's not considered "rescue" if you take in a sick, emaciated dog only to dump it on Animal Control 24 hours later. The fact that your own dog is dog aggressive (and you knew it before hand) is just a lame excuse. BTW, if you had left the animal with the piece of shit owner and called us instead, we may have been able to file cruelty charges. You're not a "big-hearted rescuer," you're an enabler. P.S. Right now I hate Animal Planet. It gives too many stupid people delusions of grandeur.


Today's Public Service Announcement: It's hot outside. If you're taking your wife out for brunch, please leave your dogs at home. If you leave them in the car you WILL receive a $505 cruelty ticket. Yes, Animal Control works on Mothers Day.

[Guess who was a real mother on Mothers Day -- ME! BTW, it was 85 degrees outside and the dogs were wearing sweaters. Stupid UF Gator sweaters at that!]

I posted this picture on Facebook. (Seriously, who doesn't love Achmed the Dead Terrorist?) Anyway, under the picture I wrote "I'm in a particularly foul mood today. Please note that all emails and texts will be dripping with sarcasm. Also, if you see a fork in my hand make sure to cover your eyes. I swear, I'm going to fork somebody today!"

Some days I really hate my job. I feel like it's sucking the life out of me. But I ask myself, "Where would I go? What would I do?" Surely an office job wouldn't provide stories like this. And do I really want to be tied to a desk all day? Then I put on my big-girl panties and try to find the humor in things. As my father used to tell me:
Sometimes life gets to a point where all you can do is laugh or cry. You may as well laugh; crying will just mess up your makeup.
Hope you had a good chuckle at my expense. Later, - - K

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm Not Dead Yet

And once again I’m writing an “I’m not dead” post. Surprise! Yeah, I have reasons for my extended absence. Some are good, some not so much. Regardless, I’ll share them below. But to be honest with you, my life is crazy. I’m disorganized. I make great plans but my follow-through sucks. And even though I know better, I try to do too much and become overwhelmed. At that point I revert to my old standbys: booze, brownies and profanity. (Mmmm . . . brownies.) Humor, sarcasm and caffeine are the threads that holds my ragged, overstuffed life together. I'm a mess. So, what's been keeping me away from the keyboard?
One of 40 raccoons I've handled over
the last five months
  • Work -- My job is just as crazy as I am. But it’s fun (sometimes) and it's rarely boring. Click on “Animal Control” on the right to see some of weird stuff I deal with. And stick around! I’m working on another "crazy work stories" post now.
  • Raccoons, Coyotes and Yuppies -- Currently they are the bane of my existence. I’ll try to explain more when I can use polite words. It may take a while.
  • My Health -- So, diabetes sucks. It exacerbates everything. For example, what I thought was a simple stye became a raging infection, encompassing half my face in less than 24 hours. The antibiotics for that gave me a yeast infection which quickly mutated to a kidney infection. I spent waaay too much time in the doctor’s office. I’m thankful for health insurance (and kick-ass painkillers), but damn . . .
  • German Shepherd Dog Club -- It’s a busy time of year for us. I’ve been working hard to energize the club with various activities. Plus we had our annual dog shows last month. As President everything passes through me, despite my efforts to delegate. I enjoy the position, but it’s more time consuming than I had imagined. Fortunately my term ends next month, giving me more time for "other stuff." Even better, the woman taking my place is awesome. I’m excited to see what she has in store for us.
  • Training -- Jedi and I train formally twice a week. We have obedience/rally class on Tuesdays and nosework class on Thursdays. I try to squeeze in practice at home when possible. (Reread paragraph one to guess how that’s going.)
  • Barn Hunt -- Jedi and I are loving Barn Hunt! We been trialing every other month since January. Unfortunately, there is no place to train locally. We take workshops when possible and go into the ring with fingers crossed. I promise to tell you all about it soon -- whether you want to hear it or not!
So I’m going to wrap this up for now. I'm trying to write individual posts elaborating on the points above. I'll post again soon. Thanks for sticking around. -- K