Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunshine, palm trees and heavy metals

After three days of driving, way too much eating, a few not so nice words and gestures to drivers who don't know the definition of "merge" nor the fact that a big red truck can easily crush the "vaazz" in a VW bug, we made it to San Bernardino. (I still cannot believe that we drove here, 14 miles per gallon, 1400 miles, to show off our wonder dogs to judges that will, hopefully, overlook the fact that they are not striped. Did I just say that?)
So, I planned, I made lists, and I checked and double checked everything that was packed. I knew that something would be left behind, but all seemed in perfect order all the way down. Until we pulled into the parking lot here, and I began to unpack. My show clothes that I had carefully put in a garment bag and hung behind the driver's seat in my truck are still sitting in said garment bag in the aforementioned spot, in my truck, in Auburn. Understand that I detest shopping. I need to be able to run in, buy, and run out. All before the gauges on the truck have settled into their resting places. Now I get to go shopping in a strange place, with strange people, looking for dress up clothes, and I hate dressing up even more than shopping! I remember ever so carefully taking my shoes from the suitcase and zip them into the garment bag as it made so much more sense to have all those nice clothes together. Yep, I need to get shoes too. sigh.

Anyway, three tired dogs are resting near. We just did a small three mile hike in the sunshine. It was fantastic to get out and move. There is a bike trail right next to the motel, along the flood control reservoir. I want one next to my house. When I order it I will also be ordering this weather...

Let it now be known that my kennel name is "Galena." Look it up and you will find it is the primary ore mineral of lead. I wanted to somehow include Nugget in the name, and this adds the interesting twist of my second passion that has me trying to "get the lead out." So there you be. Nothing with seventeen vowels and consonants all strung together that I have to explain and pronounce. Simple, and quite pleasing to say. "Galena Cardigans."

With that said, I am going to enjoy a few quiet minutes before I have to smile and pretend to enjoy mingling with folks I don't know. Party pooper? Probably.

The sun; it is very nice. The palm trees serve to remind me that I am no longer in Washington, Toto. And the icing on the cake: a kennel name! This will be a nice weekend.


Friday, January 21, 2011

The "new" dog

No, not this one:

This one!!

Kate. The new and, uh, improved version. Oh my!

Let's see. This morning I have removed her from the window sill three times. She just stands there and grins at me. Sometimes she will "woof" when she thinks she is smart, but she is really naughty. She is becoming adept at standing, and walking, on her hind legs. That puts her close (enough) to counter height. Raspy voiced Henry has taken on the role of fun police. I think the alert is more the idea that Kate might get something that Henry wants, but there is an almost constant raspy bark sounding the past few days. I have had to put planks on top of the living room crates. That is how she gets on the window sills. She goes from the chair, to the grooming table, to a crate, to the window sill (and now back to the crate, to a chair, and down). Then she won't go back on the crate as she can't see where she is putting her feet as she would be jumping up on to it. I fear she could break a toe, or worse. So now she is delighted as she has a route around the room that the other two have no intention on even trying...for now. That, of course, gets Henry barking. Which makes her smile, woof, jump down, and start at the beginning. If she weren't so darn cute with that stupid grin, giant ears...I might have to kill her!

I have re-fallen in love with her. She is no longer eating books. That helps. She is just a different dog now. Instead of waking me by incessant licking, she nudges and wags her tail. I wake up to her goofy grin. Her housebreaking is still spotty (yeah, literally) so once awake I put on the leg and make a beeline to the door to let her out. On those days I didn't I had a puddle to clean up. However, now I go back to bed. No matter the time. If only for ten minutes. Darned if they get to dictate my REAL up time.

So we begin a new phase in our lives together. Missy "Good" hips and I. With a grin on both of our faces and a positive future, we negotiate the twists and turns...and window sills.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Nugget

One year ago today a stunning litter whelped in Happy Valley. I was going to let yesterday's post suffice, but I couldn't stop myself this morning. So, I will just do a quick Happy, Happy, Day to my three favorite new one year olds:

Coedwig's Alchemist, AKA Nuggett

Coedwig's Sensation, AKA Shea

Coedwig's Blue Dahlia, AKA Flower

What a great year it has been. I look forward to the future!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

This and that

It is Saturday morning and I have plenty to do and little desire to get it done. So here I sit, thinking way too much.

I missed the entry deadline to get into the Puyallup show clusters. The way the weekend is coming together, or falling apart, that is a good thing.

Today is the last of the Christmas parties. I have a salad to make and gifts to wrap. Plenty of time. It will be fun. If only it wasn't for the drive part. Most of my friends live on the other side of Puget Sound. There is NOTHING spontaneous when it comes to visiting. Bummer, but the price I pay for living here. However, I am going to party near Puyallup. Tomorrow I need to take the two tailed ones to Puyallup for their eye tests and be back by 2. An hour and a half each way.

Which will be nothing when it comes to the drive south for the SoCal shows. But I will have company to keep things lively, or awake anyway. Lively will likely NOT describe us when we get there.

Nugget turns one tomorrow. My puppy. I can't believe it. He is such fun, and still so very easy.

I turn the big five seven on Monday. Humbling, to say the least. Mom was always older...truly. This summer I will outlive her. I am going to try to schedule a triathlon on the day that I am older than she was. Weird, but some kind of strange message to myself. Last Christmas marked the ninth year since I was sent home to die. Yep, still dying (as we all are)...just a lot slower than they thought. Again, humbling, and proof that "they" don't always know what they are talking about.

Wednesday my second Grand daughter turns seven. To think I may never had met her. Wow.

So, I am off to get some things done. Mail call netted nothing as far as Kate's hip results. Now must wait until Tuesday at the earliest. I know they are fine, but I really am curious how the OFA officially rates, and publishes, them.

Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those doggies rolling...


Thursday, January 13, 2011

An email that needed to be posted

My sister sent this to me. I wanted to share.

"The determined Bettina Eistel and her very special horse, Fabuleax 5. I saw this photo today and it took a while for my brain to register what I was seeing… Take a look.

Look closely...
Yup. No arms. Her name is Bettina Eistel and her horse is Fabuleax 5.
What is even more compelling than the fact that she can brush her horse with her feet, is that she competes, very well, at the Paralympics in dressage.
Bettina didn’t just overcome her disability, she walloped it!
(Kinda makes me feel ridiculous for complaining about anything having to do with just about anything…)

Thalidomide. (I wanted to read her book but it isn’t translated into English and I cannot read German. I wonder if a Kindle could translate it?…) Anyway, she was born in 1961 in Germany, with no arms due to the drug, Thalidomide.
Her book

What is Thalidomide? Thalidomide was a drug they gave pregnant women before it was known that it caused birth defects… Hence, Bettina was born without any arms.
When I was too little to understand manners, I can remember my mother telling me not to stare at kids I would see who had birth defects. She would shake her head and just whisper, “Thalidomide”. I remember being very appreciative that I didn’t have that kind of a birth defect.


Bettina doesn’t let her disability stop her. After all, this way of being is all she has ever known…
As an aside, another disabled Olympian was explaining the difference between being born with a disability versus being born “whole” and acquiring the disability. This concept is an interesting topic. You probably can come to some of your own conclusions here.

Bridling... look at him drop his head.

Anyway, as a small child, Bettina learned how to use her feet and toes as her hands and fingers. As a youngster, she started in horseback riding lessons. (Thank goodness her parents supported her and let go of their fears around this.) She wears riding boots with cut-outs in the toes so she can have ‘hands’ (imagine how cold her toes must get … and how often they clip a branch or a fence board – ouch!). She can saddle, bridle, hose down, wrap, blanket and do just about anything else that is needed for her horse. And, she rides by steering with her legs and holding the reins in her mouth. IN HER MOUTH. Try that… I tried to hold my brush in my mouth while braiding my girl’s hair and I ended up drooling all over the place in about a minute. I have no idea how she does it. Amazing.
Oh, and besides all those horse riding feats, she can text, write and put on mascara with her toes!
Hmmmm. I’m starting to feel sheepish for complaining about anything…

They say Bettina is a master at hose water fights!

“After highschool in 1979, Bettina studied the History of Art, Archaeology and Ethnology in Hamburg, followed by an eight-year study of psychology. During her psychology studies, she participated in a project with Hamburg’s home for children. In 1989 she completed her studies with a diploma and has since worked as a graduate psychologist in a Hamburg counseling center for children and family therapy.”
I really couldn’t find much information on her coaching (Her coach Franz-Martin Stankus) or how she learned to ride. But, I did find out that she:
“Eistel was formerly Vice-Europe and Vice World Champion (two silver and bronze at the European Championships in Portugal in 2002 and three silver at the World Championships in Belgium in 2003) and won two silver and one bronze medal at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens , she won also three times the German championship. As the most recent successes are the bronze medal in the required tasks of the individual competition and the silver medal in the team standings at the 2008 Paralympics in Hong Kong.”
Not bad even for a girl WITH arms…

With her dressage medal

You have to really think about the kind of horse who would let this kind of a rider be his partner. Really… what temperament is needed to perform at high level dressage as well as take care of a disabled rider? Wow. I wish I knew if they looked high and low for him… or if they simply trained a good horse to understand this rider? (I need to read her book.) I mean, did they find a horse and say to him that this is the way we are going to do it now? Or, does the Fabuleax 5 ‘know’? I often hear that certain horses are much more gracious with disabled riders than with regular riders. I know that my Gwen is much nicer to children than to me… I wonder how that happens? Is it the horse or the quality/feel/spirit of the disabled rider/child that effects the horse? Dunno.

Taking a treat from Mom

Bettina says she trained her horse via voice commands, head movement and leg aids. Funny, I bet hardly any of us would think it was even possible to ride a horse without arms.
From where I sit, I would like to be in the presence of the wonderful Fabuleax 5. He is a saint in my book. Fabuleax lets Bettina ride him in the only way she can… with the reins in her teeth and the other set of reins between her toes. And, he does his job. Simple. Gosh. Impressive.
If you notice in the photos, he lowers his head to be bridled and to be brushed. Atta boy!

Beautiful boy

Bettina also landed a gig as a Talk Show Host. With a weekly show on German TV station ZDF, Bettina is something of a media star. They say her popularity is because of her engaging and optimistic personality… but one cannot ignore her amazing ability to do everything, literally everything, with her feet..

Bettina as talk show host

I wanted to bring this story to you because I think sometimes we give up too easily. Or maybe it is just me… maybe I think I give up too easily or don’t push through my/my horse’s issues or don’t get over myself/my fears or don’t put as much effort/time into training my horses as I could. Reading about Bettina was a good shot in the arm for me…
I sure don’t feel like making any excuses or complaining…
I cannot even imagine folding the laundry with my feet, let alone living 24 hours without my hands. Wow. Very inspirational.

What a great team!

Intuition is loving guidance
(Let this also be known...Thalidomide saved my life, just as it destroyed many others. Do not demonize the med, rather the lack of knowledge and haste of prescribing it for a short term problem for which it was not developed.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Henry is the Pembroke pup that I nabbed at 5 weeks (over three years ago). He is the result of puppy mill breeding and constant backyard breeding. Every six months there were two litters, and one mother nursing the pups. He was put in a chicken wire cage and a bag of Ol'Roy dog food was opened on the ground (outside the cage; they had to make a hole to get at it)to share. When left, at 4 weeks, in the hands of teenage boys to feed AC was called and I brought Henry home. His "papers" were CKC, and that is NOT the Canadian Kennel Club. I didn't bother, but instead got him an AKC ILP number...not sure if it is still called that. That allows him to compete in Performance type events. He is neutered, of course, and very driven. He has a few weird quirks. His extreme happiness has made me really scratch my head about how to keep him from greeting everyone by planting his front feet on their thighs. He also goes ballistic when I trim his toenails, but does submit to have his muzzle put on. He also gets frantic if he feels trapped. I suspect the chicken wire cage may have something to do with that, but will never know.

I did a bit of pre-agility with Henry, the long legged. He loves it, but I am a total klutz. I will take him out for herding testing, and it will be interesting to see if he shines. He learned very quickly to get between the fence and the ball when we are out in the field. He is a wonderful retriever, but does throw the ball back rather than bringing it and nicely handing it to me. As is typical of the breed, Henry is the life of the party.

I am not sure that I am giving Henry everything that he wants and needs, and it makes me sad. I think he needs more one on one time, and more training time...neither of which I can do right now. He gets along great with the two tailed dogs, and every other dog he has ever been with, but is looking less and less pleased.

I think at some point I will need to look into other options for Henry. For now, he rests quietly at my side. Oblivious. That is a good thing.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Dear Dad.

On the eve of what would be your 88th birthday, I thought I would pause, wish you a great birthday, and fill you in on what has been happening since you left us on October 6, 2006.

Life just keeps getting better. You raised us to be strong and independent. I think I am finally there. I hope you would be proud. I have a circle of strong friends that keep me laughing. My family is doing great. The kids are all doing well, and raising their families to be strong caring people. They are, of course, the smartest kids, grand kids, and for you, great grand kids, on the face of the earth. Bar none.

I refuse to be held back by any limitations; thank you for teaching me that lesson. I had no idea how important it was to become. Little did you know that you would gift me a running leg after your passing. It has been a constant inspiration that has helped to keep me on track...literally.

My passion for dogs, that I have had since I was a tot, has finally found a direction. Little stumpy dogs from Wales seem to rule my thoughts and world right now. I know, not Scottish, but I am sure you would forgive me that, had you had a chance to meet these guys. They share a strong work ethic with you, and a very similar sense of humor. Thank goodness they cannot speak "human" or they would likely be able to pun with the best. And no, I still haven't developed a love, nor even a like, of puns. It probably will never happen; that can always be your's. In fact, feel free to take it with you...please!

You taught me to not get hung up on the sadness and trials of life. I have taken that to heart. There is so much beauty in this wonderful world. I don't feel the need, nor desire, to dwell on any thing else. It is sad to see the misery that folks bring upon themselves when they cannot see beyond their trials. I have always said that I want to go out with a smile on my face; heck no. I want to go out laughing. I am sorry I couldn't help you go out laughing, but it was nice to see you smiling, and to see the happiness on your face as you listened to your favorite music and reached out to dance with Mom. I feel honored to have been able to share that with you, and with Mom.

Please give Mom my love. It is weird to think that in two weeks I will be the age she was when she left us. I am sure you are enjoying watching us bumble through this life, and I am pretty sure I am doing you proud. (If not, keep it to yourself, OK?)

I really miss you and Mom, but feel your presence each and every day. Thanks for giving me the gifts that I am just now beginning to understand.

I love you, Dad. Happy, Happy Birthday.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


Happy New Year to all.

There are many irons in the fire for the coming year. (First up will be finding a kennel name.)

2010 saw lots of firsts, and 2011 is looking to top that. I look forward to what is in store.

As I have each day, for years now, I just take it one baby step, or hop, at a time, and try to enjoy the ride. Life is way too short to get stuck on the more "trying" bumps. I am so thankful for the life I get to experience, and for all that I get to share it with.

So bring on 2011! It looks to be an interesting year.