Thursday, May 28, 2009

The dog has a name!

I finally decided on a name for The Dog Formerly Known As Star: Talladega, or Tally for short. I just really like the word Talladega, and the fact that it brings to mind racing, as in the Talladega 500. Plus Tally is a great call name for a dog and it really seems to suit the little cutiepie.

Meanwhile, Pinky is still healing, and I can't wait until she's given the green light to properly play with other dogs. As it is, it's hard to have Pinky and Tally both out of their crates at the same time because all they want to do is rar-rar-rar and body-slam each other. In a good way ... they became instant friends. In fact, in the mornings and after work, I let Pinky out of her crate first, and after stretching the first thing she does is go to Tally's crate and wait for her to be let out.

Good times!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The pros and cons of looking for trouble ...

I was discussing little Miss Alabama She-Ra Caprica Demeanor with Val, my agility instructor, and she said that before I decide to keep her I need to get her hips, knees and elbows x-rayed to make sure they are sound. I think she's thinking this way because she had her young border jack checked a few months ago and discovered that he's dysplastic in one hip, which really upset her. Not that it will stop his career or anything--I know lots of dysplastic border collies who have enjoyed long careers in agility and/or flyball. If you keep them lean and well-muscled they can do quite well. But since little cutiepie is a small dog, I started wondering about her knees--small dogs very often have luxating patellas, which can cause a lot of problems in sports.

But then Julie asked: Why go looking for trouble? Would it mean I wouldn't keep her and do agility with her? Good point. I like this dog (dang, I need to decide on a name for her SOON!!) and I think she's very smart. She's got a lot of natural attentiveness and a big desire to do stuff with me--she's not so interested in going off and noodling around on her own (makes me think there's no terrier in there!) Would I want to give her back at this point (even though I know she could get a good pet home in a heartbeat)? I think maybe not. So would it make a difference if I knew she had weak knees or a bad hip? Maybe not. Then again, after absorbing the financial shock of Pinky's broken leg, I'm not sure if I want to set myself up for a future of knee or elbow surgeries and rehab, either ...

Of course, she could always check out beautifully on all her parts and then go and break her leg in my backyard ...

In other news, a co-worker suggested the name "Talladega," which is a hellaciously good name for an agility dog! Decisions, decisons.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Say hello to ...

say hello ...
... er, well, I don't have a name yet. So far she is "Star," but she doesn't actually know that name and since I know of several dogs named Star running agility, I'd like to name her something else. I've been referring to her as Cutiepie Whats-her-name. More on the name later ...

I brought "Star" home yesterday from a rescue group in Mt. Airy, NC. She had been listed on Petfinder as probably a border jack, but she looks nothing at all like any border jack I've ever seen. In my opinion she looks like a papillon/mini aussie mix. The important thing is that she's attentive, very playful and smart, and I think she will make a fun agility partner. She also has absolutely no manners at all, but I'm already working on that! She's estimated to be 7 months old, and she weighs about 12 lbs. I'm not sure how tall she is currently, but I think around 12-13." I may take her to PBH this evening and see if I can get her to stand under the wicket.

I've surprised even myself by getting another dog. I've had a couple of offers to adopt great dogs over the past few months, but I kept saying no because I really didn't think I wanted a third dog. But then Pinky broke her leg, putting her training on hold for a while. And then Lucy turned 11. She's still a fun agility dog, but she really can't do as much as she used to, particularly if it's hot. Another factor is that Pinky is likely to measure over 16", if only by a fraction, and I don't think I want to jump her at 22", so in USDAA I'll have to keep her in Performance. Nothing wrong with that, but I also want a Championship dog to run ... I'm not sure why that's important to me, but it is, and I don't want probably-too-tall-Pinky to have to work way too hard because of it.

So anyway, about her name: I've got several in mind, but I'm having a hard time deciding. I like "Miss Demeanor" (Miss D? Meana?), "She-Ra, Princess of Power" (just She-Ra or Ra for short), "Caprica Six" (only Battlestar Galactica Fans will like this one; Cappi for short) and "Alabama" (Bama or Bam). I'm also open to other suggestions (a co-worker wants me to name her "Eileen" so I can say "Come on, Eileen"). So I was able to summon just enough geekiness to make an online survey. Please play along!
Click Here to take survey

Interesting tidbit ...

Yeah, I got a new dog, and I'll write more about that later. But right now I just wanted to share some info that may be interesting to dog owners in my area (Research Triangle, NC). The Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University is starting a Canine Cognition Center to study unique social cognitive abilities in dogs, (such as interpreting human gestures like pointing or eye gaze to find hidden food, a simple task that most other animals do not perform well in experiments.) The goal of the new lab is to run further experiments in the form of fun games on pet dogs to explore this unique ability.

The center will be starting its work next fall, but they are currently gathering information on potential participants. According to the information I received, the tests are expected to take 30 to 60 minutes and should not exceed two hours. Dog owners must be able to bring their dogs to the Center's lab on Duke's West Campus in Durham, where the dogs will participate in various problem solving games to win food rewards. Dogs of all breeds and ages are welcome and owners are welcome to sit in with their dogs while the testing is going on.

Although the studies will not start until Fall '09, dog owners who are interested in participating can fill out this questionnaire.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In the pink ... more or less

I took Pinky to see a rehab vet yesterday to get an assessment of how she's doing on her healing leg. He thinks she doing extremely well! She's using the leg and putting weight on it, has good range of motion and the muscling in that leg is only slightly less than in the other. He encouraged me to start incrementally increasing her walks, and gave me the OK to start swimming her. He sees no reason at this point why she shouldn't be able to eventually get back to doing agility. This makes me very happy! I really can't wait until she can run and play, but until then I'll be patient and try to do exactly what's recommended.

In other news, yesterday a friend sent me a link to a little border-jack-jack on Petfinder. In a fit of insanity I put in an application on the dog. what am I thinking? I have yet to meet the dog because she's about 2 hours away, so I have no idea if I'll click with her or not. All I know is she's small, cute and has a lot of energy, which is part of what I would want in a dog. But why am I thinking about adding another dog? I must be crazy ... but Lucy turned 11 years old last week, and I'm thinking she's not going to be able to do whole trials, even at 12", for very much longer. I've missed not being able to train with Pinky, and it made me start considering adding a dog, just to make darn sure I've got one to play with when Lucy retires. Is that terribly crazy?