Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I haven't written in a very long time. I'd like to blame the baby or my busy life, but the truth just hurts. In April last year Beckett was diagnosed with bone cancer. At only 7 years old - we declared war. We went with amputation, chemotherapy, and joined a clinical trial investigating a new therapy. The amputation was hard on all of us. With a new baby and the vet appointments things were to hectic to spend time doing much of anything. Beckett was a trooper. However, Beckett was never quite back to himself and just before his very last chemo treatment we found out why. The cancer had out maneuvered us - it was in his other back leg. There wasn't and isn't enough tears. Even now there is so much pain. Of course there are many awesome memories, but I miss my puppy. When it gets easier I'll write about the choices we made in order to help others. I love you Beckett.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year 3

About a week over due, I should probably be thinking about the baby. Instead I’m going to write about my dog.

This month marks my 3rd year together with Beckett. I’ve been thinking a lot of where we were and where are.

I have a greyhound (in case you couldn’t tell) I love doing things with him, it is one of his greatest qualities, I can do a lot with him. This year we managed to squeak by with a APDT rally title for level 1 and umm… well that is it officially. Unofficially we have volunteered at gift wrapping at Barnes and Noble, went to the dog show (volunteering), we go to the dog park, dog class, we have been to people’s houses, we have to peoples summer houses, and of course we had the canoe incident.

I simply like spending time doing things with my pooch, even if it is just hiking through the dog park trying to induce labor. I also like training and dog classes, it gives us time together to build a better bond and my dog has fun.

The reason I’m thinking about this is well when I first got Beckett we talked to a trainer and I was telling her how so many people spend class time trying to get their dog to not do things and I spend all my time trying to get my dog to do stuff – how I wanted to do more with my dog. Under her breath she said if I wanted a dog to do things maybe I shouldn’t have gotten a greyhound. (We didn’t end up taking a class there).

I love my dog and I love that he is just as inactive as he is active, that we can watch a movie or go for a jog - he really doesn’t care which. I love that he doesn’t need a lot – that whether in a tiny city apartment or a suburban house all he wants is a comfy place to sleep. It wasn’t like I wanted an agility champion or busy as I am I should have one (and if I did I’ve seen proof on utube of greyhounds doing some amazing agility work).

I just wanted to do more. I felt like he deserved it, that learning and doing things would enrich his life. I guess I felt that training isn’t only for the dogs that NEED things to do - dogs that have challenges, but also for the dog who would be just as happy to lounging on the couch. And yes we have done quite a bit of lounging in our years together...

Now at year 3 I can see I made the right choice. Beckett is happier than ever before, we have a great relationship – it was good to begin with and now it is great. Sure maybe all the enrichment has given him a better sense of problem solving - like how to move a chair a few feet in order to get the treats that were on the top shelf, but luckily most days he is too lazy to cause such mischief. I mean someone has to guard the couch!

I know we as a family (my husband, my dog and I) will face the new aspects of life like we have the others; building on what we have, growing together, and of course with lots of dog cookies. Luckily we have a great foundation and I make awesome dog cookies.

I guess what I'm saying is, "Beckett I'm glad you picked me! Happy Adoption Day!"

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dog & Babies

So no I have no vanished from the Earth. Beckett and I are still here and if you couldn't tell by the title things are about to change for us. Unfortunately for me what was promised to be only so many weeks of endless nausea and vomiting turned out to go on and on and on... Blogging was not my first concern. Luckily a couple months ago I turned the corner, but that meant catching up on everything else I had let slip (and I had let everything slip).

Beckett has been amazing with the changes so far, but even as I had stop blogging it didn't mean I was not trying to prepare Beckett (and myself) for what is ahead. A nearby training facility offers Dog and Stork seminars, I marked them on the calendar and went to the first one I could manage (physically).

Anyways, I thought I would write a little about it.

First and foremost what the best part of the dogs and storks lecture was the lecturer, she felt real. She gave practical advice, understood that at some point we will become overwhelmed and offered to be our resource in anytime of need. "Call" "I've been there, I've had those days when you don't think you can manage, and I want you to know you can call me and I'll help or if I can't, I'll find you the resources you need." For someone like myself so far from family and my support network that sort of reassurance is priceless - and a wondrous thing for a stranger to offer.

Back to the class. The presentation focused mostly on babies, was packed with advice, and tips for keeping things safe. A lot of it seemed like common sense, but it felt good to have everything all in one place. It had a lot more helpful tips compared to some of the other prenatal classes I took (which costs hundred of dollars). In fact, I can't think of a better use of 25$. The presenter took time to ask questions, make sure we understood, and offer advice on our specific situations. One couple had a dog that was hyper, another a barker, and so forth. She spent time with everyone.

I have to tell you though, my main concern with Beckett is not babies or children (of course these are also a huge concern) but what makes me the most nervous is that in between toddler stage. Beckett is very nervous around those oddly moving small tippy things. Adding to his already nervousness is when I volunteered as return coordinator for an adoption group I had two main return causes - the first was toddlers.

For some reason I assumed it would be babies, but it wasn't. Of course like in all things there was a spectrum. People who had put every effort into making their dog comfortable with the new life situation and people who didn't, but the end result was the same - they felt it was best for the dog.

Still I'm happy I have Beckett here and I'm sure we will make things work. Together we have been through so much, coming off the track, graduate school, living in the city with roommates in a apartment, moving, new house, having a husband around - if we've made it this far together...

Still I'd love to here advice - how have you managed to make dogs and children work?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Storm

I take my dog for granted.

There it is. I may joke he is the worlds best dog, but he is far from perfect, even despite what other people may say (it is easy to confuse lazy with well behaved).

To be honest he probably isn’t the worlds best dog because I’m not the worlds best trainer (I don’t even try to be). I just do a few minutes every day, read books when I have time, and get advice from people who are more talented at it then I. However, all that work adds up and it has made a difference (see old post). What I took for granted is what a difference it has made.

This past weekend my husband, Beckett, and I went canoe camping. It was hot and muggy when we headed up north and by the time we reached the landing we were excited to get into the water. The canoe loaded, we took off. We weren’t on the water long before it began to sprinkle, so we started towards the next first camp site - 2 miles away.

Then things changed. The first sign was the lightening, at which point my husband and I put on our life jackets (Beckett was already wearing his). Just as I finished buckling my pfd the wind hit us. It hit us hard. Within seconds the canoe was in the water and we were suddenly in some sort of survival movie. It was scary. I’m a great swimmer and even with the life jacket there were times I struggled to keep above water. I remember reaching to see if the dog was afloat (those dog life jackets are no joke, I don’t think Beckett would have made it without one) then swimming to rescue the packs, then the shore. As I managed some Olympic like swimming to grab not one but both packs and stay above water my husband managed to grab the canoe (my husband even held onto his paddle), but everything else was gone.

Lightening and thunder were assailing our senses even as the wind and hail were pelting our bodies. If I was a dog I’m not sure what I would do, but I can tell you what Beckett did - everything I told him to. When I told him to “stay close” he stayed close, when I told him “jump” he jumped onto the slippery water shore, when I told him to “down” he went down.

Our list of items was short, wet tent, wet clothes, wet cell phone. As for the dog, the list was shorter, no leash, no treats, no clicker, only history and trust. I am so thankful that apparently that was enough - at least for Beckett.

Once we found a spot near the shore we waited until the worst was over. Even then - though the worst of the storm was over our trip was just beginning. Over next day or so we somehow managed to get somewhere safe and from there get home.

I’ll save you from the details. The rest of the affair is a long wet story involving more canoeing not being able to find help, the onset of dusk, more rain, more wind, more storm; ending with eventually finding a campsite setting up tent and trying to stay warm until morning.Once morning came we had another adventure trying to get home through dozens of downed trees. Through it all, which by this time added the growing list of crap Beckett dealt with children, chainsaws, different cars, and getting back into the canoe (even I didn’t want to get back into that canoe) Beckett was at his best. The only time he didn’t immediately do as I asked is when he finished peeing before coming over.

At the end of it all we made it home scratched, sore, but safe and sound. (Beckett’s vet checked him over Monday)

I guess I just never thought that all that the training had made such a difference, it didn’t seem like very much just a little everyday, a couple books, a class maybe two (if count the amount of time I spend talking to friends I would say two classes probably equates to one). I can only say it was worth it. Beckett amazed me, I had no idea how much I took for granted and how good of dog he can be. I also had no idea how awesome those K9 life jackets were, I’m going to go write a review for mine right now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lure Coursing

Earlier this summer, Beckett and I went to the local greyhound pets of america greyfest. Usually so much fun, this year it was cold wet and rainy. However, the low turn out meant that the lure course was almost empty. I let Beckett run twice. He loved it! though I worry that at the age of six, he might not be in shape for it next year (even though we run 3 or 4 miles every other day I guess my running is more like his walking at a moderate speed).

The pictures (Sarahbeth Photography) were amazing.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sleeping Dog Teeth

You think he would know better by now then to fall asleep when I have a camera in hand....

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

APDT Rally Trial

This weekend Beckett and I went to a APDT Rally Trial, it was our second attempt at the whole affair and it went really well. This time I knew that one trial a day was enough, so we did one trial each day. We qualified on both runs, was in 5th place on one of the days, and got our RL1. However, the big news is we won the Sophie award! The Sophie Award is given out by the Minnesota Mix Breed Club to the Level 1A team who best exemplifies teamwork based on the relationship they have in the ring. Team work and relationship?! those are my goals! I was so happy.

Everyone there was very friendly and supportive. Though I have to thank my friends for their support especially Crystal for taking the time to go over all the signs with me (once again) and Laura for the video below.

The run itself isn't perfect, but I was happy my dog was happy what more can one ask?