Archives for May 2011

Monday Is For Music – Crazy

Last week I started a blog theme by assigning Mondays as the day I’ll discuss a song and relate it to what’s happening in the world or in my life as it fits.

Today’s song is “Crazy” by Simple Plan. This song is the fourth and final single from the 2004 album “Still Not Getting Any”. True to their focus in other songs, “Crazy” discusses today’s society and the problems and issues we’re facing. This particular single did not reach the U.s. Billboard Hot 100, but the video received acclaim on MTV and climbed to number four in Canada (Wikipedia, 2011).

Click here for the music video.

This article, does an awesome job at pointing out the issues surrounding the ways media portrays women and beauty. The author also discusses the fact that it’s impossible for women to look like Barbie because our backs cannot support such a structure and our organs wouldn’t even fit properly into her body. I don’t really need to expand on why I chose this article for “Crazy” but the song itself starts out with a description of how terrible it is to have women and girls feeling as though they must meet this ideal body image.

Ever since a young age, I’ve always seen myself as unattractive. I wanted to look like other girls in my classes, so that maybe the boys would forget that I had no hair and pay attention to me. I never really had celebrity idols, but thought that in order to be liked and desirable, I had to be thin and wear the “right” clothes. I was always pretty slim as a kid, but around the age of seventeen I began to develop and therefore lose my stream-lined shape. I always hated my chest and hips.

These aren’t uncommon feelings for young women. Where it becomes worrisome though, these feelings of “not belonging” can sometimes lead to unhealthy dieting and in cases, attempts on ending it all. This link, will take you to a fact sheet on suicide in Canada and around the world, pointing out specific statistics on eating disorders, gender differences, and mental health concerns.

This article, discusses the promises which had Canadians elect Prime Minister harper after thirteen years of a Liberal Government. The author describes how each promise has been broken and how the Conservatives are no better than the rest. I chose this article for this particular discussion because the chorus seems to mirror the words that were running through my mine as the election results started pouring in. I also find the article fitting because the song also talks about how kids are starving in the streets while rich men drive by in their expensive cars, something which is happening in Canada because the Conservatives continue to give corporations big tax breaks, while families struggle to survive.

It’s really interesting to see how music can be used to discuss many of the problems society’s facing. Please join us again next week when I’ll pick another song and relate it to things happening today.

Agility Has Begun!!

This afternoon Cessna and Canyon had their first agility lesson.

Canyon was in a bit of a hyper mood, so I decided to start with Cessna. I thought she would be a little easier to work with; making it easier for me to focus on learning what the dogs were to do on each piece of equipment.

We first started with a really short Tunnel, calling her from one end to the other for a treat. After a bit, we extended it and did the same. I’d stand at one end and say “tunnel” while pointing to the opening, and Huib stood at the other end calling her name with a treat. Finally, we curved the Tunnel and did the same exercise. Cessna was a little slower with the Tunnel curved, but still ran through when I pointed to the opening and said “tunnel”. We then moved onto the Shoot. Similar to the tunnel, Cessna didn’t mind running through. I just pointed to the opening and said “shoot” and she ran to Huib for her reward (pieces of cheese or hot dog).

With the Dog Walk and A-Frame (both were only about a foot off the ground), I had Huib do it with Cessna first so that she had an idea of what it wood be like. Using a leash, he guided Cessna along the Dog walk, asking her to “clime” at the beginning and then having her pause for a treat, before getting the release to jump off. Then with the A-Frame he asked her to “walk on” at the start and then pause at the end for a treat before being released. I wanted Huib to do the dog walk and A-Frame with her first, so that if I ended up screwing up in some way, she’d know it was my fault and have a good idea of how it should go.

We then brought out Canyon and went through the Tunnel, Shoot, Dog Walk and A-Frame. He was quite excited about the Tunnel and Shoot – the Boarder Collie lady thinks he’ll be a Tunnel addict lol! He actually took to all four pieces of equipment so quickly that she decided to start teaching them the Tire and Teeter as well. They eagerly jumped through the Tire of course, but weren’t as thrilled about the Teeter. I think we’ll just have to do a little more practicing.

It’s hard to believe how much we accomplished in just an hour. Our next session will be Tuesday at 2:00pm. Huib will try and take pictures. He wanted to take some today, but ended up having to help out a little more than usual.

It’s Been Six Years

Today, Phoenix celebrates six wonderful years of retirement.

On Friday, May 13th, 2005, a trainer from Dog Guides came to assess Phoenix. He had begun to slow down and showed very little desire to work. It only took five minutes of walking with us for the trainer to tell me I was right and it was time. She told me that he didn’t seem ill or anything, but that she felt he would completely stop working by the fall. I knew this is what Phoenix wanted, so asked when the next class would take place. Phoenix started staying home more often than coming with us from that day and I left just over a week later to get Cessna.

I’m glad Phoenix was able to tell me he wanted to retire.

I’m glad we’ve had a chance to enjoy one another without the demands of a working relationship.

I’m glad he’s been able to get to know Cessna and teach her some of his unofficial skills.

But, most of all, I’m glad he’s given me six fabulous years as a stellar friend.

I’m not sure we’ll be able to celebrate another full year of retirement, but I hope Phoenix knows how much I appreciate the work he did for me and the unconditional love he continues to share.

“The gift of true friendship is that it takes us by the hand and reminds us we are not alone in the journey.”

Summer’s Almost Here…

Yesterday the dogs had their first trip of the summer to the lake.

Here’s some pictures from our adventure.

Canyon didn’t seem to remember that he could jump off the dock with the girls.

Canyon takes a moment to pose for us.

Huib decided to take a picture of me.

After half an hour of swimming, the dogs pose on the dock.

After the swim, we decided to go for a bit of a hike through the bush.

Canyon found a stick…

Don’t forget Appy!

Doesn’t this one look like a picture for a puzzle?

Here’s a few other shots we took of the goldens.

Doesn’t Aspen look intelligent here?

Canyon found a better stick…

Monday Is for Music – Manic Monday

Everyone seems to be giving various days of the week themes, so I thought I’d do a music one for Mondays. And, what better song to kick us off, than “Manic Monday” by the Bangles.

I’ll first do a little description surrounding the background of the song and then give readers a link to the lyrics, before moving on to relating it to what’s going on around the world or in my life – where applicable.

“Manic Monday” was written by Prince under the alias Christopher, from a character he played in the movie “Under The Cherry Moon”. He had originally written it in 1984 for the band apollonia 6, but in 1986 offered it to The Bangles. The song describes a woman who has woken up on Monday, wishing it were still Sunday which she calls her “I-don’t-have-to-run-day” (Wikipedia, 2011).

Click here for the music video.

This link, will take you to a blog where cell phones are discussed. Over the past decade, cell phones have become even more important to our survival. We keep in touch with family and friends via text messages. We check our e-mail almost obsessively. We receive alerts when something important or tragic has occurred somewhere in the world. Rarely do we ever leave home without it.

Gone are the days when people knew how to have a true conversation. Or the mornings when we could listen to the birds chirp while we drank our coffee and read the paper.

Nowadays, we’re just too busy.

This link, Looks at the other side of the social media argument. The author looks at how things such as the internet and cell phones have not limited the way we interact with others, but rather created new avenues to do so. He believes that similar to how people first looked at the television and telephone as intrusions and later as just part of our everyday lives, Twitter, Facebook and cell phones will also be viewed the same way.

I agree with his views, but am not so sure people will be as able to follow his advice. In this new age of fast paced society, I’m not sure it’s as easy to just hit the off button and shut yourself off from the world. There’s always going to be something pulling you back, whether it be family concerns, work obligations or just the desire to know what’s happening.

Even though “Manic Monday” was written over twenty-five years ago, it seems to reflect the thoughts of people today. With the constant evolution of technology and ways of interacting, it seems those days of I-don’t-have-to-run-day” are gone forever.

Thanking The Moms

Since it’s Mother’s Day and I don’t really have anyone special to thank, I began thinking of my canine family, and decided that I’d like to take a moment and thank their moms for bringing each of them into the world.

Phoenix’s foster family was unsure of who his dam was, but thought they remembered the name Willy. As I’ve written over and over on this blog, Phoenix has been an important part of my life and every day I’m thankful to have him.

I’m not sure if Willy was her name, but whoever the wonderful mom was who brought Phoenix into the world, thank you!

Next I’d like to thank Ivy for blessing us with Aspen. I met Ivy when I went to pick out our little girl at 5 weeks of age. She’s a small, light colour golden, with a soft feathery coat like her daughter. She had a rough time with Aspen’s litter, so was spayed after her puppies were in their new homes and adopted by a loving family, not far from her breeder. I haven’t had a chance to see Ivy since picking Aspen up, but from our brief interactions and through talking to Doris (breeder), Aspen inherited many of her looks and personality from her mom.

Thank you Ivy for bringing Aspen into the world, she has provided us with memories that will last a lifetime.

Cessna’s dam is Belle. I got to meet Belle a few years after Cessna and I were matched. We spent a couple of hours with her and her foster mom, so were amazed to see how similar her and Cessna really are. Belle is a little bigger than Cessna, but the differences end there. They chased squirrels together, barked at the neighbour’s dog in unison and exhibited many of the same manor isms. Cessna has taught us more than we could have ever imagined and continues to bring joy to our lives.

Thank you Belle for blessing us with Cessna, I owe you the world.

Finally, I’d like to thank Goldie for entrusting us with Canyon. Sadly, Goldie passed away a few months after we picked him up. We never really got a chance to meet Goldie, but are sure that she passed on many traits to her son. I’m not sure if it’s his puppy looks, his cuddly personality or his sunny disposition, but I can’t get enough of this boy!!

Thank you Goldie for bringing Canyon into the world. He continues to bring a smile to our faces every moment of the day.

I don’t think many people think about the moms who give life to our furry friends, but without them, our lives would be much different.

Three Weeks

It’s a little late coming, but here’s a picture of Cheyenne’s three week old puppies.

Karen e-mailed me last night to let me know that she won’t be allowing people to pick out their puppies until we pick out ours. She said that they usually have owners come pick out their puppies around four weeks of age, but that she has informed them of the change and has asked if we will be able to pick up our little one on the 9th or 10th of June. This is really exciting news because it means the big day is just over a month away! The puppies will have their testing done in a couple of weeks, so we won’t know until then whether one will actually be suitable for our needs. But, with there being so many females in the litter, I’m sure one will be ours. I can’t wait!

Mother’s Day

Tomorrow should be a day of celebration. A day to look back on the memories I shared with my mother.

Instead though, I want Monday to come as quickly as possible.

All week I’ve had to watch advertisements on TV and read messages via Twitter telling me what I should get my mother for Mother’s Day.

I’m sure this information has been helpful for some, but I find the constant bombardment to be emotionally draining.

I’m not expecting people to stop celebrating Mother’s Day. I’m not asking friends to stop talking about their mothers and how special they are. I don’t want Mother’s Day to become another politically incorrect topic, like Christmas, Easter or the use of husband and wife.

I just wish there were TV ads and Twitter feeds which suggested ways to honour the mothers who have passed away.

Or recommended ways to honour the men who have stepped up and taken on the roles of both “mother” and “father”.

My mother was a strong woman. She was a fighter. She tried to do what was best for her children. She didn’t always make the best choices.

But, she raised two strong women who will do their best to fulfill her dreams.

It’s Been A Crappy Friday!

Do you ever wake up and wish you could climb under a rock until the day is over?

Well, today is that day for me…

Yesterday Huib and I decided to pick up some fresh beef bones from the butcher to keep the dogs busy. They loved it! But I don’t think Canyon’s tummy did, because he woke us up at 6:30am panting and pacing. After some explosive release though, he slept soundly until about 11:00am. We fed him some rice this morning instead of his regular kibble and thought this had settled well, until we came home from an hour in town, to find two neat little piles of rice and a couple pieces of bone. Since then, we’ve given him some Pepto Bismal and opted to skip dinner and he seems to be feeling a little better. I think the pieces of bone irritated his stomach and now that they are out, it’s begun to settle because he hasn’t had any more explosions in the long grass and we haven’t found any more neat little piles.

And, if that wasn’t enough fun and excitement for a day, it looks as though Canyon is getting another eye infection. He had an infection in both eyes about two weeks ago, but after seven days of Polysporin, it went away. Today it looks as though the infection in the right eye is back, so we have begun the Polysporin again and will do it for ten days this time. It’s so sad to see his eye all gunky!

Then, if that wasn’t enough to worry about, Huib noticed that Phoenix’s right ear flap has become engorged with blood. This happened to his left in November, so we know what needs to be done, but I had hoped that his ears were finally going to give us a rest. Since changing him over to the raw diet on January 25th, we’ve started him on a homeopathic remedy and his ears have finally begun to move in a positive direction. We’ve been cleaning them every other day and trying to keep him from shaking his head too much, so we actually thought things could be looking up for the old guy. Well, we were wrong, because now it looks as though he will have the crinkled look on both sides, instead of just on his left. I’m glad the hematoma doesn’t bother him, but feel bad that he has to wear his ear on the top of his head in a vet wrap – at least it’s a nice teal colour though…

I’ve also been dealing with a lot of migraines this week because of the unstable weather, so having to worry about the boys really isn’t helping.

Hopefully next week will be a little better for us all.

The 3rd Assistance Dog Blog Carnival Posts

The submissions for this round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival are now up!

Please take a moment to check them out.