Monday, April 18, 2011

So long Michele!

This past Thursday was a bitter sweet day for Kai and I. We attended our last agility class with our instructor of two years, Michele. Because of the increasingly small class size due to participants dropping out for various reasons the class has dwindled down to two. Such a small class is not economically feasible to maintain so the decision was made to scrap the class and place Kai and I in another class with another instructor.

I am not saying I have a personal grudge or dislike of the new instructor but I have been with Michele for a while now. She has a great understanding of what I need and what my dog Kai needs in our quest to someday obtain agility titles. She has spent extra time with us dealing with my difficulties navigating the course first in a scooter and now in a wheelchair. She realizes the great strain this places on Kai and the special exceptions that must be made so that we are both successful. Many times she has worked with Kai as my extra hand helping him to understand what it is I am trying to tell him to do. Michele is very knowledgeable about the sport, the rules and how to be successful. Although I am fairly certain I am her first student using a wheelchair she has never made me feel unwelcome or a nuisance.

Kai also likes and trusts Michele and he shows great enthusiasm and willingness to please her whenever she takes his leash. I do not handle change well the older I get so switching gears to a new instructor’s method has me flustered and worried. The class I am joining is not as far along as the class I was in with Michele. Will this cause Kai to backslide and begin to see agility as a chore where now he finds it a joy? My over active imagination has kicked into overtime and all sorts of good and bad things are churning around in my head. Despite the knowledge that my new instructor will do her best just like Michele to instruct us with knowledge, humor and knowing Kai’s tendency for shenanigans a great deal of perseverance I am sad to see my classes with Michele come to an end.

Thank you and goodbye Michele. I hope to see you in the future at trials and maybe someday I will be lucky enough to take classes with you again. Wishing you all the best in the future. Wish us luck, between my handling and Kai's love of the zoomies we just may need it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunny Weather

We are having a round of sunny weather here in Erie, PA. While the temperatures remain cold the sun is still wonderful to see, we are definately sun starved during the winter. In celebration of this Kai and I went for a walk recently on a beautiful day last week. The sun was shining and the temperatures were warm so we wandered around the small town of North East while waiting for Ashley to finish classes for the day. Of course, you know me I had camera in tow and took quite a few pictures. Kai posed nicely for this one while we sat in Gibson Park enjoying the sunshine.

Isn't he handsome? He loves to get out and enjoy the scenery with me. Getting him to pose for pictures however is sometimes a problem because he likes to get real close to the camera and lick the lens! He is also a great one for moving at the last second. Since I have an older small digital camera which can take a second or two to snap the picture I have taken many more blurry pictures of Kai than I would like to count. Taking pictures of Kai makes the delete button on digital cameras a wonderful invention.

I have stated before how long winter seems here in Erie and all the trees are still bare and the grass is dull green after having been buried for months in winter snow. Imagine how suprised I was while wandering around the streets of North East to find these flowers bravely poking through someone lawns near the sidewalk. 

Just that one view of spring has renewed my hope that soon I will be enjoying many more flowers on my walks with Kai. I am sure Kai has no objections to going with me on as many walks as we can squeeze in. Dogs are like that, no matter what your plans are as long as they are invited to go along they are estactic. How many of your human friends are as happy to be with you whether you are sitting on the couch watching TV or walking around the block on a sunny afternoon.

I will share more pictures of my walk with Kai in a later post. Right now I think I will spend some time with my dog. See you later.  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another day of photos, Can you stand it?

It is a snowy day here in Erie (so what else is new in early March) and the dogs are relaxing on their beds, which makes it very quiet around here. With nothing else to do this morning I am going through photographs so I am going to post a few here. Hold on to your seats!

I went to Harrisburg, PA recently with ADAPT and while in the beautiful capitol building I took some pictures. It is a beautiful old building. This is a picture taken in the main Rotunda of some of the light fixtures and a display case. Gorgeous, isn't it.

Here is a view from the rear of the capitol building. As you can see it was a beautiful day, we enjoyed temperatures in the fifties, unusual for late February.

On a snowy day this winter I had to visit my veterinarian's office. This is a view from the parking lot. The office is in an old barn that has been remodelled beautifully. Being in the country the view is wonderful. The pine trees look like they are dressed for a party with their coating of snow.

Since we are on the topic of winter, here is another picture taken this winter. Are you getting the idea that I like to take pictures of trees and wooded areas in their winter finery.

That is all for now, I don't want to post too many pictures at once. What fun would that be, I would have nothing to fill up quiet days with anymore.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Kai has a girlfriend!

Last week Kai had a girlfriend come visit. Her name is Angel and she is a beautiful girl. Kai and her got together last year and she raised eight gorgeous puppies! We had a busy couple of days and Kai is now in a bit of a funk because she has returned home and he keeps looking for her. Now we are waiting to see if she has puppies in late April. I am keeping my fingers crossed, lol.  


Maybe Angel is the reason he was so distracted at agility class last week although in all fairness to him so were the other dogs in the class (all of them are girls so Kai thinks he is quite the stud muffin!). I guess I will find out when we go to class this week.

On an entirely different front Ashley had her dog Scamp neutered last Friday. He came home a little dopey and out of sorts but it did not take long before he was back to his usual rambunctious self. Keeping him quiet and stopping him from jumping once he started to feel better really has Ashley pulling her hair out. Of course he is wearing an E-collar so him and Kai have matching head gear! I have told him he now looks just like Kai but since his attitude towards Kai is ambivalent most of the time I am sure he resented the comparison. Here is a picture of Scamp sitting in his crate with his e-collar on feeling sorry for himself.


Ashley and I went to the courthouse yesterday and purchased everyone's dog license for 2011 so we are set for this year. Now we just need some lovely warmer weather so we can go on long walks and enjoy our time together.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training Blues

Kai and I attended agility class again this past Thursday. I look forward to going to class because I have so much fun working with my dog. Watching him learn is truly exciting and you always learn something new when training dogs. It is never the same for every dog, they are truly individuals no matter how much they may look alike.

Kai is doing well in agility class, I think that most of the problems are mine. I am new to agility having trained in obedience for over twenty years the world of agility is something I am still getting used to. Also the fact that I must use a wheelchair to get around severely limits my ability to keep up with Kai and also to perform many of the maneuvers that the other handlers can do almost without thinking. So with quite a few things Kai and I are struggling. The other owners and their dogs are doing so much better than we are at several things, the most obvious one is Kai's arch nemesis the weave poles.

Kai started out doing very well with weave poles but as the guides disappeared he started having more and more trouble. Last summer and fall I did not have a wheelchair ramp so getting out of the house to practice was extremely difficult so I was not able to work with Kai on the weave poles much at all. This winter of course outdoor practice is out of the question and indoors I have absolutely no room to put up a set of weave poles and run Kai through his paces.

Now the lack of practice time is showing. While the other dogs in his class seem to be very proficient at the weave poles Kai is struggling to get the concept. This week we had to go through the weave poles twice during the course and Kai did not complete them totally on his own even once. We were able to get time to concentrate on the weaves at the end of the class and we were successful going through the poles when he is on my left side several times. Every time we had a major party and the rewards were many. Doing the weave poles when he is on my right however are another kettle of fish. He seems to not even notice the obstacle is there!

I need to troubleshoot and figure out what the exact problem is and work to overcome it. It could be that he has difficulty being on my right because of previous obedience training and working as my service dog he is oriented to being on my left. It could also be one of a million other things. I am looking forward to spring when Kai and I can use my new wheelchair ramp to get outside at anytime and practice weave poles or do anything else we may want to do. A walk in the spring sunshine sounds wonderful to me now. Wish us luck.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A quiet Saturday

There is not much going on today. It is very quiet, even all the animals are napping as I write this. The sunshine of the past few days has abandoned us so we are back to our usual dreary white gray skies that everyone loves to hate. I can be positive about the weather and say that at least it is not snowing! What is there to do on such a sleepy day? My dogs are only interested in catching some sleep like they have been up late partying. I was considering joining them but I seem to be wide awake so I will have to find other entertainment. Time to sort through the photo album and post a few pictures.
Kai in his working gear

I went to Washington DC with ADAPT this past September. We were there to express our opinion about Health Care Reform and other issues affecting the disabled community. I learned a great deal about civil disobedience and protesting while I was there. We are a peaceful group for the most part but we are definitely heard! Being a photo bug I took pictures when I could. Of course, Kai was with me. Above is a picture of him relaxing during all the action at HUD. It was over eighty degrees most of that week so finding shade for him was at times problematic. When all else failed I carried an umbrella! Creativity wins.

We were followed every where by police. I never knew there were so many different law enforcement officers in Washington DC. We not only had the Washington DC police force following us but also White House Police, Homeland Security and Capitol Police depending on what part of the city we were in. As you can tell, the police had a great deal of down time where not much was going on. The above picture was taken near the White House.

The first day we dressed in black and held a memorial for all the disabled that have died in nursing homes that they were forced into because they are not given the choice for home care. It was an impressive sight!

I guess I spoke too soon about the snow, as it has started falling. Kai has awakened from his nap and wants to go outside to play. I guess it is the end of my quiet Saturday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pictures of Winter

Winter is taking too long so I am taking pictures of winter white. Another thing that is boring about winter, every thing is white or nearly so. There will be the occassional blackness of tree limbs and trunks, the disgusting brown of the plowed snow along roadways but mostly there is white. I have nothing against the color white but is it even a color or the absence of color? Regardless it gets a bit boring this time of year to see only white. At least spring and summer have the many colors of green, the vibrant colors of the flowers in their favor and of course Autumn is resplendant in the oranges, yellows and reds of the trees. Winter however is WHITE!

Snow Covered Trees

I took this picture last year. I think it illustrates my point very well. Just lots of white with streaks of grey and black.


Even Rommel does not look too happy to be outside in the deep snow. At least he is a spot of color!

Four Mile Creek

A view looking across a frozen and snow covered Four Mile Creek which is near my home.

I much prefer taking pictures any other time of year. At least my fingers are in no danger of freezing to the camera!! But winter in it's boring white can be beautiful in it's own way so I will brave the cold on occasion and catch Mother Nature clothed in her frosty gown of snow.