High Flying Highlights

As I briefly noted in yesterday’s post, I was fortunate to volunteer at the Front Range Agility event over the weekend. For years, I’ve helped out the Colorado Old English Sheepdog Rescue group and enjoy helping them whenever I can and the group uses these volunteer events to help fund their outstanding rescue program. Normally I work the agility event that is coupled with a dog show around the same time as the AKC’s Westminster but this was a second smaller opportunity that I was happy to help them out with over the weekend. Here’s a very short video from the event.

According to AKA’s webpage, “Agility is a growing dog sport in the United States, with over 1 million entries to the AKC’s Agility Program each year. Dogs race against a clock as they navigate an obstacle course with strong concentration and speed.”  These amazing dogs are incredibly athletic and you can’t help but get excited when they compete.

Agility is a sport where you direct your dog through a pre-set obstacle course within a certain time limit. With between 14-20 obstacles, including tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables where the dog must stop for a set amount of time, dogs race through the courses designed for that day.  The dog rely on cues and body language from their handler who directs them. All breeds, including mixed breeds, can participate in agility. Jumps vary from 4″ to 24″ and our ring mostly ran 12-24″ with a couple of dogs running at the shorter heights. There were multiple classes and levels including Novice, Regular, Jumpers With Weaves, and Master to name a few.

MACH stands for Master Agility Champion title and is awarded by the AKC . To achieve this title, dog and the handler compete as a team earning first Novice, Open, Excellent and then Master Titles. There are two games to achieve this title: Standard which includes the contact equipment (A-frame, bridge, teeter and table) and the Jumpers with Weaves. The Novice, Open and Excellent titles require three qualifying runs with progressively harder requirements and courses. The Master titles requires 10 perfect runs at the Masters Level. Qualifying runs at the Masters level also earn one speed point for each full second under course time (partial seconds are eliminated.). Once the team is competing with both runs in one day at the Master level they start to accumulate “Double Q’s”. A team earns a Double Q when they qualify 100% perfect on both runs in one day. To earn the MACH title, you must earn 20 double Q’s and 700 points, so no easy feat.

To my great surprise, I spotted one of our fellow pet therapists, Kai, who was competing in the ring I worked. Trust me when I say this beautiful Aussie is quite speedy and she had a perfect run. Being truly ignorant of the sport of agility, I could only stand back and watch as everyone whooped and hollered as an official brought out a MACH bar, signifying Miss Kai had won another title (her second I learned when I was able to personally congratulate Kai’s mom, Sue later that afternoon).

Here are a few photos I was able to capture when not working in the ring. Obviously there’s a lot of waiting until your event is up for that quick 25-40 second run. And there’s lots of barking by the competitors-they are so wound up to race. Most Shelties bark with enthusiasm as they clear each jump and race through the poles.

Agility

Running into this little girl upon arriving, I learned she was competing in her first event. She was young, sweet and totally devoted to her mom. Sorry for the blurry images, I only had my cell phone with me which isn’t very good with fast action shots.

Agility

She reminded me of Elsa though she was much smaller. I’m guessing this girl weighed in around 40 lbs. whereas Elsa hovers around 60. But she was pretty and seemed to enjoy agility.

In a big no-no, I snuck this image when I worked in the ring. Photos aren’t allowed from inside the ring at the time, and was unaware of the rule.

Agility

Even an OES competed. I’ve watched “Dallas” compete before and she is a total love. Dallas loves high flying, is a breeze to handle and is completed adored by her sweet mom, Meg who’s always gracious, warm and friendly, just like her cute panda-faced baby. Meg is a big supporter of the OES rescue group and always singles us out whenever she talks to people. Both her and her dog are favorites of competitors and spectators alike.

Agility

Here is Kai shortly after her winning run with the event official and ring judge.

Agility

Being part of the hospital pet therapy, I couldn’t be more proud of fellow therapist Miss Kai and her huMom, Sue who trained me and Sam when we joined the team.

Agility

Sue plans to continue racing Kai but at a lower height now that she’s earned two MACH titles. Kai is one of our top pet therapists whose love of people is evident whenever she encounters them at the hospital. I mean, just look at her face! How could anyone not want to hug this precious girl?

Agility

Hopefully future opportunities will present themselves so that I can continue volunteering for the OES rescue group and improving my knowledge about this fun and amazing sport. Have you ever considered participating in agility? What made you decide to get involved with it?

Tails Around the Ranch will be taking a few days off while we take time to visit with out of state family. Posts and comments will likely be infrequent but I’ll do my best getting around to seeing you as I can. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Twofer Friday

Nature FridayNormally we welcome Friday with a toast…hey it is Friday after all, the gateway to fun weekends, but today it’s a twofer. Today we join our friends Rosy and her brothers (one of whom is celebrating the big s-e-v-e-n we might add) from LLB in Our Backyard with Nature Friday and also to celebrate World Parrot Day with our avian friend, Kismet, a curmudgeon blue Indian Ringneck parrot. Don’t forget to click on the links to see what all is shared from Blogville for these two special events.

Happy birthday, Arty. Seven never looked better and well, Kismet…you may be a curmudgeon, but hey, on you it looks good. We hope you both have a fun filled day full of treats and smiles. And yes, that does mean lots of sunflower seeds, Kismet.

FlowersTo celebrate, we’re sharing a bouquet of purple taken earlier this morning. With Mother Nature bringing lots of moisture to the garden this May, the Lupines, Irises and other early perennials are showing why this time of year is a favorite around our ‘hood.

Lupines

Another purplish-blue standout in our garden also happens to be the state flower, the Columbine. Growing up I didn’t realize Columbines were any other color than this beautiful purplish-blue though I now know there are other colors. Seeing the morning light shine through the delicate petals makes me realize why the blue version was chosen as our state flower.

Columbines

World Parrot Day

When I first moved to the Mile High City, my son was given a cockatiel bird who lived with us for over twenty years. Guinevere was quite the character and I was surprised that I became pretty  attached to her. I don’t have any digital images of her but hoped that Kismet will not be offended by this last photo homage from a few years ago after a family of squatters sparrows moved into a holiday garland near the back entrance of the house. It’s the closest thing I have in my digital library to honor her. Having neglected to remove the garland after the holidays (too wimpish because it was too cold, too snowy and probably too lazy as well), once I realized they’d built a nest, I didn’t want to disturb them and were delightfully entertained while they were residents. Which mostly translated to being dive bombed by the parents whenever I came out of the house or shrieked at by the babies for interrupting their meals. Birds aren’t the most affectionate of Mother Nature’s creatures, but still they sure are lovely and fascinating to watch.

Birds

Hope you enjoyed this week’s twofer, Nature Friday and World Parrot Day. Make it a great weekend and get out there to enjoy what Mother Nature shares with us every day. For those of you in the Midwest who have been pummeled with storms, we are thinking of you and sending oodles of poodles of thoughts and prayers. Be safe and keep smiling.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ February 11, 2019

Poodle Squiggle

I found a new artist on Pinterest a few months ago and will be periodically sharing some of their art here. Hope it make you smile as much as it does me.

We trust you had a great weekend and will be able to accommodate your furry friend with a good walk today. Our forecast will be semi-chilly but certainly warmer than last week. Since it will be a very busy week ahead hospital visits and other volunteer work, we should probably get started “in a minute.” 😊

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Goodbye Monday ~ January 21, 2019

So this is where we part, my friend,
And you’ll run on ahead around the bend.
Gone from sight, but not from mind
New pleasures and squirrels you’ll surely find.
Your place will be held…you will be missed
The fur that was stroked, the nose that was kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
Know in my heart sweet girl, you were loved best.

Precious Zoë
Precious Zoë

It’s a sad state here at the Ranch to begin this week so please pardon me while I take a moment to acknowledge the passing of a dear friend’s little companion. Precious Zoë, left her Mom, Dad and fur brother, Zeus early yesterday morning. I know she will be missed beyond words. She was a super sweet girl with a classic Westie personality and one of the best squirrel chasers I’ve ever known. To my friend, loving thoughts are flowing your way as you celebrate your little girl’s long, storied life. It’s hard to fathom she’s  gone, but she will not be forgotten. May all the tender moments you shared together provide you with some measure of comfort. Thinking of you with oodles of love. 💔

Live, love, bark 🐾

Fall Festival Pet Parade

Over the weekend, Sam ‘pawticipated’ in the Lutheran Fall Festival hosted by the hospital for staff, volunteers and their families. Normally we have our own get-together but this year we decided to be a part of the hospital’s event being featured in a Pet Parade complete with ‘Howloween’ costumes.

It’s well-known that knuckleheads Standard Poodles were originally bred as waterfowl retrievers. It’s a known fact that Sam hates water. He will walk around puddles on sidewalks. Imagine my surprise when I could hardly keep him away from the ‘duck pond.’

Perhaps his DNA leans more toward ‘fishing’ than retrieving.

Sam had a good time seeing his favorite therapy friends and making new ones. One of his besties is a toy poodle, named Teddy. Teddy was a puppy mill survivor who lost an eye but has never lost his heart to make people happy whenever they see him…all six pounds of him.

Teddy

Not one to shirk his therapy duties whenever there’s a crowd, Sam got busy visiting with all the children attending. And of course, investigating all the sweet treat smells, which to Sam are just as nice as little girls.

Sam adores firemen. Always has. As soon as he spotted this guy, he couldn’t get over to him fast enough. ‘Course, seeing our newest therapy teammate Zoey there probably helped too. She’s such a cutie and is going to make a wagnificent addition to our ranks.

We love attending these kinds of events because of all the terrific people attending. Sam thought he’d try his paw at face painting because he loves little girls and is so creative. Not. But a kid’s lap is just too tempting to not try to investigate. They invariably will deliver a nice ear scratch. Maybe he’s not as dumb as I think he is??

No pet therapy event is complete without little Bindy. This tiny scene stealer with her hanging out tongue is always a therapy hit.

It was really good seeing our buddy, Oreo especially since he’s been under the weather lately with bladder stones. As you can see from his smiling face, he was glad to be back in the saddle. Oreo is also a therapy dog at Denver’s International Airport and brightens the day for DIA’s many travelers.

Two of the longest-serving pet therapists were also in attendance. Beau and Mandy compete in national dance competitions in addition to bringing smiles to patients. They dress up nicely, don’t they?

Coco, the Mountain Dog looked dashing in her pirate costume.

Coco, the Mountain Dog

It was a lovely day for a festival with a good turnout of some of the program’s favorite pooches and peeps. Even Sam tried his level best at ‘Bee-ing” good for his autumn ‘pawtrait’ taking.

Sam, "Being Good"

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wandering Wednesday

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in the 303 with mild temps and even a shower later in the day-something we haven’t seen in a couple of months. Mother Nature has been quite schizoid this summer so it was wonderful being able to take advantage of this pause in blistering temperatures. It was the perfect day to visit the Denver Botanical Gardens with a dear friend. My dear friend, Cheryl and I were awed by nature’s kaleidoscope of color and texture. Here are a few highlights from our meanderings. It was a great day shared with a great friend that reminded me how truly blessed I am by this friendship and the gorgeous venue in the heart of the city.

Water lilies in full bloom
Water lily bloom hidden in the Japanese garden
A striking bloom among the dahlias
These thistle-like blooms felt like balsa wood in the perennial garden-so unusual…so fascinating
Statuary near the herb and Biblical garden
Orange stunner
A four-legged visitor in the Japanese Garden who probably didn’t buy a ticket
The fabulous Monet Garden

Wishing you a fabulous day of wandering. Happy mid-week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

2018 Rocky Mountain Pet Expo ~ Highlights

Last Saturday I attended the 7th annual Rocky Mountain Pet Expo in Denver. You may remember Sam & I participated at Lutheran Medical Center’s Heroes of Hope benefit race earlier that morning and I knew I didn’t want to get totally worn out in ‘overload mode’ during the expo. Fortunately like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this event was ‘just right’ with a nice mix of pet related products, food and treat manufacturers, retail pet stores, groomers, massage therapists, apparel and couture, animal wellness companies, non-profit pet organizations including a couple of rescue groups, a mobile dog wash and trainers. It was great to see some folks I knew and catch up on all the latest. Billed as a free event, all pets were welcome upon completion of a visitor waiver. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but figured I’d be in for a treat and was not disappointed. 

As I walked from the parking lot into the National Western Stock Show arena, I passed this car and it made me giggle a little. Sure enough, as soon as I got inside, I ran into that family who brought their ‘stick-people muncher’ inside. He was a very handsome specimen for the breed.

First on the tour was Gabe of Black Dog Botanicals who I’ve talked to on the phone and exchanged a number of emails. Black Dog Botanicals is one of the first Certified Naturally Grown CBD producers. Elsa is currently on their medium to large formulation (300 Mg) and has been doing well enough to be able to reduce her Phenobarbital dosage by 25%. Woo-hoo!

One of the more well-known highlights of this expo was the ‘fashion show’ where pets of all ‘flavors’ strutted their stuff. This little guy was pushed in a Mini-Cooper themed dog stroller because every dog deserves to ride around in a posh little Mini, right? 

One of the coolest mobile dog washing vans I’ve ever seen caught my eye. The young woman entrepreneur told me how she redesigned a used mobile grooming salon into this adorable business. It had the existing tub but that was it.  With a 55 gal. water tank (complete with heater) no doubt she’ll be super successful with this cleverly decked out business. Don’t you love the hot pink?

No pet expo is complete without a bevy of adorable attendees.

“King Louie” the Bulldog
This little porker was a big-time squealer on the runway
Sweet little Bella, a tiny red poodle-waiting her turn on the runway.

Multiple dog boutiques showed off some ‘fur-bulous’ fashions, proving that all pets can be quite fetching.
I loved these treat bags
“Bark-danas, Bone-ties, Coll-arfs & Pet-Cessories” LOL
Such a cute bunch of totes
Bark-danas galore

Treat companies provided plenty of samples and both Sam and Elsa gave their 4-paw approval for the ones I brought home. But I must have been busy petting ‘visitors’ and checking out the pups up for adoption to remember to take photos.

Perhaps I was distracted by the “Pawered by: Vodka for Dog People (Tito’s) sign.”

As expos go, this one was just large enough to offer a barking good time for everyone, without being too overwhelming.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

In solidarity

Here I was trying to get Sam all spiffed up for today and tomorrow’s visits and look who came to his defense. Elsa laid on the floor in front of the tub the whole time I was bathing the long-suffering Sam. Do you think she’d be happy to take one for her brother? Yeah, me neither.

Help me!!

Live love, bark! 🐾

Zoom Zoom for Madi

Hi guys…even though it’s Sunday, Elsa and I couldn’t let Miss Madi’s 16th birthday go unrecognized. We hope her day is an extra special ride. Click here for the blog hop.

Since mom leads a boring life and has no imagination or any good stories, I said I’d share my day in the driver’s seat with my fur-iends at the fire department. They let me take the mini-fire truck out for a spin (well…until I sat on the alarm that is).

I love my friends at the fire department and hope they let me drive their truck again. Happy birthday, Miss Madi. Zoom zoom, sweet kitty.

Your fur-iends, Sam & Elsa 🐾

Live, love, bark❣

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hi there, Sam here. Well you all probably heard about Elsa over the weekend and how she had a seizure (she’s fully recovered and is making my life miserable fine now). I’m sorry when she has them but even more so this year because it kind of put the kibosh on my plans to see if sweet Lucy would be my Valentine fur-iend.  So today dear Lucy…this one is for you.  I hope you have a fur-bulous Valentine’s Day celebration. We all “woof” you.

Today is also Ash Wednesday and mom says we have to give something up for Lent. You think giving up my baby sister is what she had in mind? Just kidding, Elsa. I ‘woof’ you, too. Mostly all the time.

Live, love, bark❣