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Snow, snow, and more snow in Seattle

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snow at 1 Kess snout deep

Well the title pretty much sums it up.  We’ve been stuck in the house for a few days now.  Everyone was having a great time for the first few days and now even the kids have had enough.    We’re up to about 12″ of snow with an icy crust.

Kess has really slowed down in the cold weather.  I think she’s got a fair bit of stiffness associated with the cold.  There’s lots of creaking, popping and stretching when Kess gets up in the morning.  Her endurance for running and playing is also quite a bit lower.  Of course Kess would run until she collapsed so it’s been tough to police her and keep her quiet when she’s starting to wear out.

Kess and I had big plans to try out dock diving next week, but I’ve decided jumping in to ice cold water really isn’t in Kess’s best interests so well have to wait for summer.

Agility is on hiatus until the weather improves.  Other than that it’s business as usual, our disc club found an indoor facility for our winter play days so at least we have that to look forward to.  It’s quite a new experience to do disc indoors, but staying warm and dry is a fair trade off.


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A Great Day for a dog walk

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Kess and I made it out to the 2 Million Dog Walk in Auburn, WA on sunday to meet tripawd Rio and her family, and to participate in a canine disc show. The crowds were small to say the least but we were happy to perform in a beautiful park on a rare clear crisp fall day.  Rio and her family were great and they came to represent:

Rio was a big hit with everyone.  Here she is getting a little love from her adoring fans.

All in all we had a great day hanging out in the sunshine with a bunch of like minded folks and their wonderful dogs.  You can see all of the pictures from the day here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30335572@N02/sets/72157627945454777/

 

Coming Full Circle

Kess and I had a special relationship from the start. She was so full energy and joy that it’s very hard to be grumpy around her. She’s given me so many happy moments, and I feel very fortunate that we were able to afford her amputation surgery to save her life and our friendship. She’s really an amazing dog and her spirit is contagious.

I was really concerned that Kess wouldn’t be the same after her surgery, she’s so brash and bull headed, I thought she might come back from the ordeal timid and unsure of herself. As the anniversary of her amputation has drawn near I’ve though a lot about those first few weeks and what it meant for both Kess and I. I don’t know that I’ll ever have this kind of relationship with a dog again. Of course Kess doesn’t understand all that happened to her, but she does know that when she was hurting bad and just needed someone with her to make her feel safe I was there, and it fundamentally changed our relationship. There’s a deeper level of trust now that was never there before.

We had a wonderful weekend playing flyball. This was the first activity Kess had to stop when her leg started giving her problems, and it’s by far her true passion. She is electified in the flyball ring. As soon as we got on the grounds of the tournament Kess was smiling, and jittering with excitment. She could hardly contain herself when greeting old flyball friends and toppled more than one human with her exhuberant hello! She just had a wonderful day and it really sunk in that Kess had finally come full circle she is the same dog I dropped off at the hospital, just a few pounds lighter. Kess did awesome and her team came in second place. Her fastest time for the day was 5.0 seconds! Only one second slower than her best quadpawd time. They made a special announcment for Kess during awards, and she got a huge round of applause and several folks who had lost dogs to cancer came up to me afterward to tell me how heart warming it was to see her out there running. Once all the excitement wore off Kess was pretty stiff and sore, but she was back to bopping around the house this morning. This will most likely be her last tournament, but I’ll try to find some demos for her to participate in this summer as she was just grinning from ear to ear all day. I couldn’t help but smile everytime I looked at her, she was just so happy all day.

Flyball!

Kess had the opportunity to come out and play at a local flyball demo.  For those of you not familiar with the sport it consists of 4 jumps evenly spaced over a 51ft racing lane.  At the end is a spring loaded box that pops out a tennis ball when the dogs trigger the slanted portion of the box.  Flyball is a team sport with 4 dogs running in a relay fashion, racing the other team for the best time.  If a dog drops the ball, misses a jump, or crosses the start line before the incoming dog they have to re-run their heat.  The race is over when all 4 dogs on both teams have successfully jumped over all of the jumps and taken the ball past the start/finish line.

Despite a 3 year hiatus and tripawd status Kess didn’t miss a beat.  She was so happy to see everyone and play some flyball.  It was just wonderful to see Kess out there doing her thing.  She amazes me a little more every day.  I found myself pretty choked up after she ran, and just had a great time myself.  Kess used to run the flyball course at just under 4 sec, and now runs at about 5.5 sec.  Since everything went well we decided to enter the Cascade Comets South of the Boo!der tournament in the open veterans division in a couple of weeks.  The veterans division is for dogs over 7, the jumps are at the minimum height and it’s a little more laid back than standard racing.  The tournament is held by our old club, and it’s the perfect ending to Kess’s flyball career.  I had been very involved in the sport when Kess’s leg first came up lame and it always felt like an abrupt conclusion to something that had been a major part of our lives.


Suki the monkey butt made out ok as well, she took home 3rd place in the dog trick contest at the festval and brought home some dog treats and a $25 resturant gift card.

Fundraising Success

Just a bit of a follow-up on my friends BC Jule, she continues to tolerate her chemo well, and the fundraiser her owners held was a huge success. The quilt I made for the silent auction (first one ever) went to the max bid of $75 in about 10min. Overall the event raised over $2,000, which was above and beyond what the Bruce’s needed. All of the surplus will be donated to canine cancer research. So far this family is primed for a happy ending so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

In addition to that the raffle held by my disc club raised $250 for the Chase Away Canine Cancer Foundation.  It just makes me all warm and fuzzy to know that everyone can still pitch in to help make a difference in someones life.  I know the Bruces were truly touched by the outpouring of help from their circle of friends.  Next up is my annual dog tug making class, to benefit the local BC rescue group.  I’ve been feeling a little guilty that I haven’t been able to help out at the Humane Society over the summer, but as we move in to winter I’m hoping to have a little more time on my hands.  I just need a 30 hour day and to live to 200 so I can get it all done.

Kess’s one year ampuversary is right around the corner Oct 28, we’ve had such an amazing year and I can’t wait to celebrate.  Of course there will be a trip to the dog park, some disc, and a tasty treat involved.  I’m looking forward to posting some pics of our big day.

10 years of disc doggin’ in the pacific NW

Our disc club celebrated its 10th year this season.  I’m glad to count this dedicated group of individuals as friends.  We only have 10 members plus spouses and manage to host 8 competitions a year and numerous demos spreading the love.  Every dog in the club save on is a rescue and all of our members you positive training methods.  Kess is just one of many special stories and dogs in the long history of WOOFD2.  I put together this video to commemorate the occasion.  You can see my childhood dog Coco followed by Kess and finally Suki at 3:10.   Canine dis is but one chapter of my life with dogs, but it has brought about a profound difference in my understanding of training and really looking into the mind of a dog.  I’ve done a lot of soul searching about dog sport and the inherent risk to the animals, but there’s no sense in owning a Ferrari if you never take it out for a drive.  Kess has the heart of an athlete, I take steps to make things as safe as possible, and always have her best interest at heart.  Kess’s two years of crate rest were almost unbearable, some days I think she’s just trying to make up for lost time 🙂

 

What a summer!

Well things have finally settled down a bit around here.  We just finished up our last disc competition of the season.  Plans to head down to CA for a competition next weekend came to an abrupt end as my youngest daughter broke her collar bone last weekend.  I can now say that keeping a 3 year old mellow is just as hard as keeping a border collie quiet and calm.

We had a cold, cold summer, but luckily the sun finally showed up in Seattle for our much anticipated camping trip to Sequim Bay.  We had beautiful weather for the entire 5 days and everyone had a great time.  We even met another tripawd on our trip.  Seems like I see tripawds everywhere now 🙂  We bump in to a new tripawd almost weekly.

As we move into fall we grow ever closer to Kess’s 1 year ampuversary.  I never expected her to rebound so fully from her surgery and she amazes me everyday.  Even with all Kess has accomplished in the last year I can’t help but notice the grey creeping into her muzzle, and walks are still very tiring for her is it’s more than .5mi or so.  I worry about arthritis in her leg and other medical issues she may encounter as the years progress.  Because of this I will probably ramp down her dog sports a bit and try to get her out swimming more often.  If I could get her to stop wiggling long enough she might even enjoy some obedience work.  You’d think at 7 almost 8 this squirley girl could settle down a bit, but I wouldn’t trade my three legged crazy dog for anything.

Fundraising pursuits

My agility instructors dog was recently diagnosed with cancer. She’s only 7 and is a top competitor so it was a real shock to her owners. They decided to move forward with chemo treatments and are holding an agility fun match to raise funds for the treatment.  If you know of anyone in the N. Seattle area please pass the info along.  I got motivated to produce some items for the raffle/silent auction to help them out.  I made a pile of fleece tugs for both this event and the raffle I’m organizing for Chase away k9 cancer.  My real accomplishment was putting together my first quilt for Jules fundraiser.  It came out about 5’x4′ and featured Border Collie fabric (of course).  It was hard to give it away, but I wont be able to make it to the fundraiser as it’s the same day as disc regionals and I wanted to help in a major way as I know how brutally hard it is to have to make decisions about your dogs health and life because you don’t have the finances to cover the care.

 

Busy, busy , busy

Summer has FINALLY reached Washington.  It seems like every weekend is packed full of activities to the point that I look forward to the mundane work week.  Kess has continued to wow and amaze everyone at various demonstrations and competitions.  It’s really been a cool experience getting her out there in the public.  So many people make a point of coming over to meet Kess and share their stories both human and canine about cancer, amputation, and life beyond that.  It’s really wonderful to be able to connect with people on such an intimate level, even if it is only for a moment, and Kess makes it all possible.

A couple weekends ago I hosted my annual disc event the Cascade Classic.  I let one of my friends throw for Kess as I was super busy with the administration of the event.  Tracy is a very accomplished player who has traveled to the world championship several times.  It was fun to watch Kess interact with another handler and they both had a great time.  Here’s a shot I snuck out to take while Kess was competing.

Kess and Tracy lost a tiebreaker to finish in third place in Professional Obstacles.  This is the most challenging event, the thrower must get the disc through and/or around various hoops and poles.  The dog must then try to catch the disc on the far side of the obstacle in a 10×10 box painted on the grass.  I was proud of my girl, shes such a hard worker and always gives 110%.  A little shout out to my other pup  for a moment, my monkeybutt aka. Suki placed 3rd in professional overall.  It was our first time up on the podium, and it was nice to let Suki get a little extra attention for the day.  I put together a little video after the event,  there’s no footage of Kess, but you can catch a little of Tripawd Maty at 42 sec and Suki and I show up at 2:02 sec.


 

We’ve got one more major event this year and it’s our last chance to earn an invitation to worlds.  We’re a long shot but my fingers are already crossed.

Beyond that our days are full with lazing around in the garden and trips to the park.  We’re on a hiatus from agility for a few weeks, but Kess continues to progress nicely and is up to 6 weave poles and has mastered all of the obstacles that she can compete with.  We look forward to getting more involved in agility this winter.

 

Washington State Canine Disc Championship

 

 

This past weekend Kess competed in the expert overall category at the Washignton state canine disc championship.  Also on site was tripawd Maty, a world famous disc dog who has competed at the Skyhoundz World Championship numerous times.  Maty has been an inspiration to Kess and I and it was great to see both dogs out there tearing up the turf.

Maty

Saturday was a DiscDogathon which consists of 5 events: freestyle, bullseye, time trial, spot landing, and team distance and accuracy.  Kess doesn’t normally compete in freestyle, but I decided there wasn’t any harm in standing out there and playing some disc with my buddy for a couple of minutes, and you have to compete in every event to be in the overall category.  Well Kess was on her game and we had an amazing round of freestyle.  The routines are scored on Presentation, athleticism (dog), Wow! factor, and success (catch ratio).  Here’s Kess’s performance in freestyle:

I was so proud of Kess, she’s just such a great dog and she exceeded all of my expectations for the day.  She placed 2nd in expert freestyle, 2nd expert bullseye, and 3rd expert spot landing.  Tripawd Maty took home 1st in expert spot landing, earning her a spot at the world championship.

Kess and Maty showing off their hardware

Kess and Maty showing off their hardware

 

We had such an amazing day.  Kess embodies all that it is to be an athlete and a selfless friend.  She gives so much of her self in to all that she does.  Kess’s zest for life and joyful heart are an inspiration.   I’m so fortunate to share my life with her.  She has touched my soul and forever changed me as a person.

Kess giving mama some lovin'

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