a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: November 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013


SUMMARY: Mob, that is.
Updated Dec 4 (see end of article).

Never let it be said that dog agility is all about dogs. Oh, no; it's all about dancin' the night away!

Back to the beginning: Saturday night, October 5, at the Nunes Agility Field (NAF) USDAA trial. Big potluck, birthday party, and then the weather was just too nice to go rushing off to bed. Somewhere, somehow, Laura started teaching us to dance to  "Pause" (by...Pitbull?).  Except for Laura, most of us were having trouble remembering to wiggle our butts, stop, drop it, and pause in the right places.

"Now don't...stop, drop it, pause..."

She showed us the steps--mildly complicated, definitely involved getting down, WAY down, which my back and knees really weren't all that down with. So I snapped a few photos between trying to find my long-lost rhythm (I'm a marching band type, not a school dance type).

(Clockwise around the circle from the left: Bettina K., Dee H., Sue D., Michelle P., Karey K., and Laura H. showing us ... OMG is that *twerking*???)

There was a bit of discussion about showing off our new-found skills at a future USDAA trial, although most of our skills were pretty skanky.

Next I heard : On October 30, I received this top secret email email, appropriately titled "Top Secret Email", from Wendy Vogelgesang:
Laura Hartwick, Karey Krauter and I are planning something fun and a bit wacky for the November SMART in Morgan hill and need to gather a brave group of people.

If you like to dance and don't mind a little silly fun, please reply to this email and I will put you down as a participant and follow-up with more information.
On November 5, Wendy followed up to we secret conspirators with:
The Flash Mob will take place during the Championship DAM Relay Walk Through on Sunday. The song "Wild Thing" will play right before the Fox song to prompt us to get ready. We have created an instructional video to help you learn the dance moves.
(See how professionally organized this is? I was impressed!) The dance moves-- to the viral song "What does the fox say?"-- were, I was grateful to note, simpler than the original attempt back in early October.  Here are some important instructional clips from the video.

It is OK to share now--our own video has gone viral.

All the moves were "paw" moves...

I, for one, as a former marching band expert, liked the easy-to-follow instructions
to complicated moves such as the following:

In this part of the song, they are looking for the fox--
notice fox head has popped briefly out of the tunnel on the right!

At the VAST USDAA trial (also at NAF) on Nov 9, while we enjoyed yet another potluck (November in California! love it!), Wendy hauled us all out to the agility field to give us personalized in-person details about the steps and to help us practice.

A lively email discussion ensued about how and where and what exactly we needed to do on the fateful day, including more informational secret plans in the 30 assorted emails that flew back and forth among us mobsters..

THEN we received these final excellent motivational training videos from a "top secret mystery dance instructor" who is obviously not  Laura in a fur hat:
1. Demo
2. Detailed step by step with personal agility-style encouragement. Look! Now you, too, can dance along!

I played the video on my computer in my home office and practiced. Boost thought it was exceptionally exciting, or else a little scary, she couldn't decide which, so mostly she barked and kept a safe distance in case my clumsy pony paws dancing went out of control.

So now, we were all prepared!

As Hatwoman, I, also, came prepared!

Then Sunday afternoon at the SMART trial rolled around and... here is how it went! (Look for me--I'm wearing the muted teal fleece as you see above and, near the beginning of the flash mob, I don my fox/wolf hat. I'm between the front of the dogwalk and Aframe early on, but back behind the blue tunnel at the end.  Me, near right side, donning my hat:)

Video by Agility in Motion. Thanks!

Ah, yes, sigh of pleased sense of accomplishment and gratitude that Wendy and Laura and Karey planned everything and all I had to do was sit back, enjoy the messages and the videos, and then try not to look like I was having a seizure out there among all the actually talented dancers. A big thanks to the SMART trial committee for letting this happen, too!

Hope you all get a chance to do an agility flash mob someday.

Update December 4: Laura's write-up is now posted on the USDAA web site! http://usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsID=2477

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Results from Last Weekend

SUMMARY: Yes we went off and did agility.
My new ambitious training plan slid almost to a standstill last week and this. Just the usual, hard to find time and energy to get up and go do what must be done at locations other than my back yard.

Still, there was one class (Steeplechase round 1) where we had to get over a series of jumps straight across the entire width of the field. Normally she'd have turned back to me. This time, she kept going...with a little hesitation, but she did it! So, one small success for womankind.

We added another useless pairs Q and another useless Plain Old Snooker Q to our Q counts, and nothing else out of 11 classes.

Another real heartbreaker (for me) on the 2nd Snooker--had she just gone over one more jump, it would've been our SuperQ. One. Jump. One! But no, she decided it was time to look at me and run past it instead. [pauses now to tear hair and rend clothing].

On the other hand, that's two competition weekends in a row where we've come within an obstacle of completing it, so MAYBE we're making progress.

On the third hand, we had several runs where all the wheels came off, you know, running past jumps left and right until I didn't even know where I was any more.

Weave poles were excellent except for one set of the 2 in the steeplechase, which she missed the entry on and then, after correction, popped out; and one set of the 2 in the gamblers opening, which she missed the entry on...twice!..and then, after correction, popped out. I really have no grasp on why all the other weaves were gorgeous and these weren't. Dang dog brains.

Still--she's a beautiful, sweet, momma's dog whom I love to be around and who loves to work!

And Tika got to hang out again, have hunks of her hair pulled out by her mom (I despair of ever brushing her enough, so it's easier just to grab wads that are sticking out and gentle wiggle them out of her coat,  although she doesn't like that too much).

Boost *DID* win a nifty collapsing water bowl in the worker raffle, along with a year's free dog washes at the Turlock dog wash--the latter of which I donated back to the raffle, since I'm in turlock only 3 or 4 times a year and am not likely to spend the time to get my dog washed while there. Although it was tempting. "Gee, it's the weekend and I have nothing to do, guess I'll drive 2 hours out to Turlock to wash my dog."

And, so, we're going to do it all again this weekend, in Morgan Hill, so at least I get a nice short 20 minute drive home in the evening instead of doing a hotel or driving for an hour.

And that's our last trial that I'm planning on for this year, until February, even, so that's our last chance to get that danged SuperQ.  Don't know, if we don't get it but are close, whether I'd change my mind and go up to the north bay for a trial or two, but I'd rather not so I probably won't.

Isn't it nice to have solid plans like that?

Other plans for December include the Dickens Faire, maybe Disneyland again, and, hmm, well, maybe Christmas.

Hope for Hemangiosarcoma

SUMMARY: Mushroom extract.

This news is a year old, but still worth a read. A compound that has been used for 2,000 years in traditional chinese medicine has more than doubled the average survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma. I can only hope that continuing research bears this out so that others won't have to go through what I went through with Remington and so many other friends have been through with their dogs.

Compound Derived From a Mushroom Lengthens Survival Time in Dogs With Cancer, Penn Vet Study Finds

The next big thing would be an easy way to detect the cancer early--so many dogs are diagnosed by autopsy or at the time of collapse. Keeping my fingers crossed for that.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013