Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fall and a very tasty Sunday!

Technically, winter doesn't start until Wednesday - so this fall video isn't too late! Here are the girls running around in the massive leaf piles in our yard: 

They love chasing each other and wrestling! 

The other exciting doggie news around here is that we spent Sunday cooking for the girls! We made some dog food and tasty treats for them. Yes - I was actually in the kitchen and using the food processor and the oven! Don't worry because Aaron and Starbuck were supervising me. 

Here's the recipe: 
3 raw eggs
1 can of sardines (packed in olive oil)
1 sleeve of graham crackers
Throw everything into a blender and blend until it's this nasty fishy, thick soupy goop. Then spread fishy goop on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until rubbery and brown on top. 

 Here is everything before I turned on the blender. 

 Here is Starbuck inspecting the fishy goop and deciding it smells delicious!

 Here are the cookies about to go in the oven.

The girls LOVED the treats! Starbuck kept patrolling the kitchen just in case some treats happened to fall on the floor. 

Anyone have any tasty treat recipes to share? I think I'm going to start making them treats more often. Cheaper and that way I know exactly what's in them. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tell Me Thursday (Yes, I know it's Tuesday :))

I'm totally behind. I guess that's what happens when the holidays are coming and I'm still completely unprepared! 

And now onto the surprise questions from Laura over at Crooks and Crazies! And look - there's even a new button!! 

1. What are your plans for the holiday season?

We'll be getting together with a bunch of family - all my aunts, uncles, cousins, my granny, my parents and my brothers and sister. It's always a great time. We have a big party on Christmas Eve to celebrate my grandpa's birthday even though he's no longer with us anymore. We all get a little sad but spend the whole time telling funny grandpa stories and eating all of his favorite Italian food. The dogs love it because they get lots of tasty treats. 

2. Do you decorate? If so, what have you done so far? 

I usually decorate - but I'm so far behind! Not sure if I will get around to putting up the trees and the rest of the decorations. But I will at least bring out the gingerbread dog house! 

3. a. Favorite recent dog photo? 

It's Nari and I at Cynosports running the the Grand Prix Semifinals! Not a great run, but we made it to the semis which was way better than I ever thought we would do at our first Nationals :) 

I know the question said just one photo - but here's another one I really like. Nari and I taking 7th place in the Grand Prix Quarterfinals and advancing to the Semifinals! I like this one because you can see Nari's cute little face and my butt doesn't look that bad in my Tough Girl Skirt (by Skirt Sports - I swear Skirt Sports should sponsor us, I already have a whole wardrobe of their stuff and my dogs are so cute! :)). 

b. Photo that shows your mood today (or one word)? 

So totally bummed because I found out last week that I have plantar fasciitis and that takes me out of agility for a while. Plus, it is super hard to take care of 3 dogs who are used to hiking 5+ miles a day, running, and doing agility when you aren't supposed to walk that much at all. I had so many training things to work on. I just hope I'm okay enough to go to my very first seminar (it's at the end of Jan.). 

This is what Nari does when she can't do agility.

4. There's been a discussion on the BC boards about "don't train for the novice classes.... just train for open and the rest will fall into place." What are your thoughts on this? 

I always train with a goal of eventually being able to have the skills it takes to compete in Masters. But I've learned (the hard way) that there is no reason to push your dog when they aren't ready for the next level. Just love them for who they are and work with their challenges. If training my dogs was easy and we didn't have to struggle to get into Masters, then it wouldn't be nearly as fun and rewarding when we finally get there! 

5. What are your top five cannot-do-without-them dog items? 

1. Lots of crates 
2. My magnetic Trets treat pouch - it's the only one I've found that will not fly off of me or throw treats everywhere while I'm running. 
3. Those non-spill water bowls from clean run (but I'm thinking about switching to those flat sided water pails that everyone is talking about 
4. Ruff wear leashes - I've totally wiped out while running in the woods with the dogs and my hands flew open to break my fall but those nice, cushy handles stayed on my wrists! 
5. Dog beds with sides - our dogs love to rest their heads on the sides like a pillow.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The girls hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! They enjoyed spending time with my parents and my Aunt. And of course they enjoyed the tiny bits of turkey and sweet potato that we gave them. 

Here are the girls waiting for the turkey to finish cooking:

They stole a mouse from their kitty brothers. While they were having a standoff to see who got custody of the mouse, they were all falling asleep! 

Nari finally won the mouse standoff. 

Alpha spent a lot of time hogging the nice, fluffy dog bed that Starbuck and Nari won at their last trial. 

And Starbuck spent an hour guarding the left over turkey from her kitty brothers. The girls were super tired after all of the Thanksgiving craziness so we left them at home while we all went to the Cumberland Gap park (it's where Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia meet). Here are a couple of pictures from the trip: 

Yeah, I'm pretty fabulous at my action poses! 

That's me, in Virginia and Kentucky AT THE SAME TIME!! Whoa!!! Did that just blow you're mind?? 

And above is proof that I can actually take a normal picture (with the husband). 

And this is how I feel at home - I talk, the husband just stands there and smiles, you know, and doesn't really listen :) 

And there we are in the IRON FURNACE!! AHHHHH, IT BURNS!!! 

And of course I have to end with a doggie picture. Here are Nari and Starbuck after their last trial of the year. The girls won 3 raffle baskets and of course Alpha has stolen all of the toys from her older sisters! Starbuck earned her Advanced P. Gamblers and Advanced P. Snooker titles. Both girls ended up with lots of qualifying scores but the coolest part was that they both took 1st place in P3/Masters Jumpers and it was Starbuck's first time running in P3. (In USDAA, P3/Masters run the same course, P3 is just one jump height lower. I run Starbuck in P3 because she is insane and doesn't always think about what she is doing. Plus it gives me a little bit more time between dogs.) 

Hope everyone had a great time with their family!! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you to all of the veterans!

Thank you so much to all of the veterans out there for all that they have sacrificed for our country!! And thank you to both of my grandfathers for all that they did for our country. 

Here are some pictures of the girls at the Veterans' Park in Cullman, AL that we visited last weekend:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - #15 (only a week late.... oooops!)

Okay, so I've been pretty busy lately. You know, the usual stuff - cramming in the last agility trials before the holidays, putting together a presentation for a conference next week, celebrating my birthday!!.... dealing with laser-eyed doggies...

You know, the usual stuff. So I'm only a little over a week late on this TMT brought to you by Laura over at Crooks and Crazies. This one is the Thankfulness Edition #1.

Last week's questions:

1. What are you thankful for this week?

I'm thankful for my awesome husband! He actually went along with me to an agility trial and was a great ASS (agility assistant spouse) :) He even had to bring his work with him but we got our very own horse stall to hang out in so he was able to get some work done and play with the doggies. I'm also thankful for my job, my friends and my family. Oh, and of course my super awesome doggies! 

2. How do you deal with a squeaker/shrieker/noisy dog?

Well... since there is some husky in our dogs, they are talkers and I love it! So, when they start talking, I talk back. The best is Nari, you can have a whole conversation with this girl and it cracks me up. She loves telling us that she wants a walk and she wants it now! And when we go into the agility ring, she'll walk in calmly on her leash. Then the moment I take off her harness, she starts yelling and bouncing around because she wants to go. That might annoy some people, but I love it. I love seeing how excited she gets. You can see a little bit of what I'm talking about in this video:

Starbuck is usually pretty quiet. But Alpha loves to find the loudest toy and repeatedly squeak/activate it:

So - to answer the question, I just don't worry about it too much. Stop them if they get carried away but I really don't mind them expressing themselves - I love it! 

3. Barbara wants to know: what would you say is ONE skill or attribute needed to be successful?

Being able to laugh at yourself and being okay with making mistakes. Also learning to love your dog no matter what happens and loving them and yourself despite all the flaws and imperfections we all have. 

4. Pippin wants to know: what are your favorite games?

I have a short attention span, so I like the short little Wii party games. Also the Kinect games, those are so much fun! 

5. What are some of your strategies for dealign with winter?

Lots and lots of blankets. Hot chocolate and heated car seats. Hell, I even use heated car seats in the summer when I have the AC cranked up! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The sisters take on another trial!

This time the whole family - including the husband! - went to an agility trial in North Carolina this weekend. The weather was really cold and rainy outside so I was super happy that it was an indoor trial. It was put on by the Carolina Piedmont Agility peeps and they always put on amazing trials. They find the best locations, have the best footing and have really excellent equipment. 

The goal for the whole weekend was just to have fun and we did! After my agility trainer took a look at my videos from Cynosports he asked me why I was running Nari so slow and not like I do in practice. I had no idea what he was talking about so he set up the course for the Grand Prix finals from Cynosports this year and had me run it with Nari:

When I saw the video I could totally tell the difference between how I was running at trials and at practice. So I've been trying to not over handle and make sure that Nari has fun. And we had a blast this weekend! Starbuck had some crazy runs - including one where a dog ran in the ring during her run so she decided to chase it, the only reason the chase ended was because someone bent down to try to stop her so Starbuck started to make out with them. Crazy girl! 

The highlight was that Nari was getting faster times and both of the sisters got Steeplechase Qs!! Here are their Steeplechase runs including Starbuck's 'fabulous' finals run:

The girls each picked up a title as well. Starbuck got her Advance Performance Jumpers and Nari got her Tournament Master - SILVER title! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brunching it up with Nari and Aaron

A couple of weeks ago we took Nari out to brunch with us in downtown Knoxville. She loves that the PetSafe company is based in Knoxville because they have done so much for the community to make it more pet friendly. 

Before PetSafe, no dogs were allowed on outdoor patios. Now - dogs can eat out with their family! Here is Nari at one of our favorite restaurants - Tomato Head! She's totally trying to look all cute to get some of our food. 

She thought we had the best table because she got to eat some salad that a messy eater before us left under the table. 

She really wanted to eat some of Aaron's super tasty brunch! I tried to get a picture with her but she was pretty busy people watching. 


She helped Aaron pay the bill and then helped clean my hands! 

Then it was off to her favorite store downtown - Mast General. They have homemade peanut butter cookies there and she knows exactly where the sales people keep them. Here she is trying to be all cute to get a peanut butter sandwich cookie! They actually brought the cookie container right to her and she threw her head into the bin and started munching as fast as she could and they even let her get away with it! Such a lucky pup! 

She was tired but had some much fun - and lots of treats!! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tell Me Thursday - #14!

Seems like it was just a couple of days that I finished writing TMT #13 (okay, so maybe it was.. and you can find it HERE :)). But now we are up to Tell Me Thursday #14 already - brought to you by Laura over at Crooks and Crazies!

There is only one question this week and its:
What obstacles have you overcome this week, and what did you learn from them? 

Tough one! Well, I guess I learned that Nari is an awesome dog - I love her. 

Okay so I always knew that but I love her despite her (or mine) imperfections in agility and life. She was one of the most timid dogs I know - she was terrified of all the equipment when she first started and she has worked very hard to overcome her fears. I am definitely not a great handler (only been doing this for 2 years) but she still puts up with me (and my crazy arms!) and we have so much fun doing agility together. Nari is such a hard worker and a thinker but we're finally starting to run as a team. Agility has been one of the few times lately that I can actually escape the stress of my everyday life. 

However, sometimes I get really frustrated with what other people say about her. In particular, I've had to start ignoring certain people and the comments they make. It really irritates me when someone will post something great that Nari has achieved and then when I go to check out all of the comments that were made I see that the conversation has turned into a pissing match between who's dog is the fastest or the best and a bunch of other crap. Or if I post a picture or video or something about Nari they make some comment about their dog instead. Those things are the whole reason that I never post on forums. I seriously get sick of narcissistic people. So, over the past couple of weeks I've learned to not care. To hell with what other people say - all of my dogs are awesome just the way they are. 

Anyway, I love Nari and think she is perfect just the way she is. And I view our imperfections not as road block, but as a challenge and I love challenges. She has taught me a lot about patience and understanding, how to think outside of the box and how to run without tripping over my own feet (okay, so I'm still working on that one :)). And I will always love how chatty she is and how she really understands me :) 

And I am so grateful for every moment I get to spend with her and will always cherish every run that I am lucky enough to have with her. We will forever step into the ring with just one goal: to run fast and run happy together as a team because that is what this game is all about. And you never know when this game will end. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordy Word Wednesday: C

C is for Cynosports!! Or as it's officially called - the USDAA Cynosport World Games. Nari was the first Alaskan Klee Kai to qualify for and compete at Cynosports and we had so much fun! Here are some pictures from our trip:

Nari was so happy and spent the whole week smiling. 

It was HUGE - 5 rings, over 850 dogs!! Here is what one of the rings looked like:

It was such an amazing experience to do the walk throughs in the morning to music with some of the best handlers in the world! 

And with over 850 dogs, they had a huge building for us to crate in:

Nari enjoyed all of the shopping! Here is Nari checking out the donuts at the FitPAWS booth: 

She looked so happy on that donut that of course I bought one for her :) There were some places that didn't allow dogs, but Nari always tried to sneak into the gardens.

And we even made it to the Steeplechase and Grand Prix semifinals!! Here we are before our Grand Prix semifinal run - they gave all the semifinalists a blue polo to wear during our run. 

And Nari got lots of snacks she normally doesn't get at home, like sandwiches! 

"I can haz sandwich??"

Nari had a blast and totally 'woofs agility'! 

We had so much fun and got to see so many amazing handlers - there were lots IFCS and World Team members there it was crazy! And Nari even got to bark at Susan Garrett's Swagger because he was tugging like crazy right next to her :) And everyone LOVED Nari and thought she was the cutest dog there. One judge nick named her the "Alaskan Kit Kat"!

We even got to see one of our friends take 3rd place in the Performance Speed Jumping finals and our friend Jean even made it on the IFCS team with her amazing sheltie, Cheer!! Such an amazing week!! 

Here is a video of some of our runs from Cynosports: