July 4th, 2019

July 4th

Two hundred and forty three years ago, a scrappy bunch of New World folks declared their independence from the British Empire and we’ve stay scrappy ever since. Happy Birthday, America from the Knucklehead and the Ninja. While there won’t be a tank or  fly-over at the Ranch, we hope your ‘howliday’ is safe, filled with great food and fun shared with friends and family.

July 4

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Good News Tuesday ~ July 2, 2019

An interesting story in the paper caught my eye over the weekend. Last week, the small town of Berthoud, Colorado (pop. approximately 5500) made history in Colorado by becoming the first (and only) municipality in the state to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet shops. While probably just symbolic (Berthod has no pet shops), the town is making a statement on the topic of puppy mill pets.

Puppy millsIn his statement, Mayor pro tem Jeff Hindman said, “We can be up front and take a stand and hope this will spread to other towns and other pet shops across the state,” following the 6-0 vote approving the ordinance banning the sale of puppies from inhumane breeding facilities. You may recall that Elsa herself the product of a puppy mill, came from Greeley, a mere 29 miles (45 Km) away from Berthod. Local residents, many holding their rescued dogs in their laps, filled the Town Hall and applauded the vote. Loveland, CO resident, Lauren Kujawa said, “I’m hoping it spreads to Loveland, Fort Collins, Omaha, Oklahoma, everywhere.” We share Lauren’s sentiment.

Rudi Taylor, who founded Harley’s Dream, a Berthod-based organization had proposed the ordinance. Harley’s Dream was established in 2016 to create awareness and educate the public about cruelty in the commercial dog breeding industry, aka puppy mills. By using a grassroots approach, Harley’s Dream believes large groups of concerned citizens is the most effective way to bring about change regarding these cruel, for-profit farms. Their sole focus encourages advocacy by providing the tools necessary to educate the public on the puppy mill crisis.Puppy Mills

Let’s keep our paws crossed that more cities around the country accept the challenge to ban the sale of puppy mills dogs in pet stores. Hitting these profit based farms is likely the best way to combat this insidious practice of abject animal cruelty.

Well done, Berthod! Elsa and I tip our hats to you for your efforts in getting Berthod to ban puppy mills dogs. It’s the first step which I hope snowballs across the state and country.

Elsa

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ July 1, 2019

It’s a brand new week, month, and a fresh Monday-whoa…how’d that happen? You may have noticed our conspicuous absence last week. We were supposed to visit the hospital and West Pines but by Monday evening, it became clear that Sam was too sick to do any visits and needed to see the vet. Happy to report he has begun to rejoin the canine-race after a very rough week; this despite steadfastly holding on to the notion that he must be catered to every waking moment of the day. The boy has come to expect an on-call short-order cook now and someone to hand feed him.

Sleeping dogFor a few days, he refused to eat or drink anything, requiring subcutaneous fluids from the vet. By Thursday, he would only eat a couple of small (and I do mean s-m-a-l-l pieces of freshly cooked chicken breasts. If…mind you, they were hand fed to him. By late Friday, Little Lord Fauntleroy decided that chicken breasts were far too Plebeian for his tastes and with sad puppy eyes moved on to other heretofore unknown preferences, finally accepting venison and buffalo as a suitable meal fit for his Lordship. Elsa naturally stepped up offering to eat any chicken (or any other food her brother refused to eat) as her contribution toward helping out. She did seem to know something was up with her older brother and tried sitting on sleeping next to him all week long, which made him more than slightly adverse to the close quarters but too weak to move out of the way. Can you say gun-shy of the Ninja? What can I say about these two other than I’m very grateful things are mostly back to normal now for all of us. I no longer have to sleep with multiple rolls of paper towels and cleaning supplies at the ready and my bank account can finally take a deep breath after all the vet visits.

I still wonder however why, when you’ve only had 2 hours of sleep because of a sick dog, why the damn smoke alarm feels compelled to start chirping at 2:00 AM. Any explanations on that one? No…well then let’s just chalk it up to the universe’s many unexplained weirdness and instead start out the new week and month with a silly pun, probably spoken with a heavy Southern accent. Since we kind of went from chilly temps to broil, we can only hope you’re not sweltering too much and hope it’s a great week.

Cheese

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Meme ~ June 24, 2019

Reading is fun, even the Knuckleheads will stop and check out a neighbor’s Lending Library that has been cleverly designed into a Tardis Box. The big question is what will these guys learn? Happy Monday with best wishes for a brilliant week.

Reading

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 21, 2019

” Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall” [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Rain dropsNot sure Longfellow had this quote in mind for the first day of Summer but this is what greeted the Mile High City today.

While Summer officially arrived earlier today (9:54 A.M. MDT), my Internet was missing (hence this late post). But we wouldn’t miss an opportunity to share some of the good and bad Mother Nature offered this week with our hosts Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our BackyardIt’s been one of those days and since we couldn’t post the intended potpourri of lovely, I thought I’d share some of the not so lovely aspects Mother Nature dished out on this cold and rainy day.

There are elements of nature that aren’t quite as picturesque as the beautiful flowers that are just beginning to peak. Weeds fall in that category but even some of them can be quite stunning. As in this wild dandelion. That bloom is over 3″ across and I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant when you blew those seeds, you’d have more wishes fulfilled.

Dandelion

Along with weeds, some nasty critters are part of dear Mother Nature. Two days ago, the neighborhood nemesis (aka Hoodlum Bastard Squirrel “HBS”) decided to grow a BIG pair and attack the other kitchen window that faces the street (this makes the 4th time squirrels have chewed through the screens). From the living room I heard something crash in the kitchen and went to investigate and found HBS scrambling over the drapes and behind the herbs looking an exit like his life depended on it (it did-I was super cheesed off at this latest ballsy move by the little creep). Lots of HBO words were screeched which frightened said HBS which made him totally freaked (there were skid marks in the sill) out but he managed to exit the same way he broke in. For my part, I wailed my head off and then began looking for the roll of screen material and spleen tool to repair the latest damage. Man, you’d think the mouse traps on the outside sill would be a hint he’s not welcome here. Frankly, he’s not welcome outside either, but that’s another story. Who knew squirrels were so clueless?

Squirrel

Despite these bad elements Mother Nature provided for the arrival of summer, I’m not completely oblivious to the beauty she does offer. Rain drops on this nearby Clematis this afternoon looked especially lovely.

Clematis

So how’s the weather on your first day of Summer? Anything like the cold, wet stuff we have going on in the Mile High City (which is forecast here for most the weekend)? We hope your first weekend of summer is sunny and bright.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Wish I Were There Wednesday ~ June 19, 2019

Germany
Aachen, Germany

It’s already Wednesday so grab a cuppa whatever and let’s enjoy a quick trip to Aachen, Germany which is where I wish I were today. Aachen (also known as Bad Aachen or “Aachen Spa”), is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The westernmost city in Germany, Aachen is located near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands, approximately 61 km (38 miles) southwest of Cologne. Developed from a Roman settlement, it became the preferred imperial residence of Charlemagne (“Charles the Great” and who is often referred to as the “Father of Western Europe,”). Over 30 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned king of the Germans in Aachen from 936 to 1531 at the cathedral.

While I did not visit this beautiful cathedral due to time constraints, it is one of the most visited sites in the city. Built on Charlemagne’s orders, construction began in 796 AD and was completed in 798 AD. It was the largest cathedral north of the Alps. Charlemagne’s remains were interred in the cathedral and can still be seen there. The cathedral has been extended several times over the ages, combining multiple building styles and is  designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aachen is one of Germany’s most innovative cities with industries of science, engineering and information technology being prominent.

Aachen, Germany
© Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

Hope you enjoyed a quick trip to this fascinating city. Hard to believe we’re halfway through the week already. Where has the time gone?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Meme ~ June 17, 2019

Sam in the Garden

Have a super week, whether you’re hiding out or chillin’ till summer officially begins.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 14, 2019

Today is Friday where we join our fur-iends, Rosy and her brothers from the LLB Gang for Nature Friday. ‘Technically’ I’m still not here, but I couldn’t let an opportunity pass to celebrate the wonder and beauty of Nature. Originally, I thought this post was scheduled earlier this week and you may have seen the video on our Instagram account (you do follow us on Instagram, right-well what are you waiting for?) and suspect foul play by the WordPress gremlins nixed the intended post. No matter, we can still enjoy a quiet relaxing moment from the beautiful state of Hawaii.

No trip to the Big Island is complete without seeing a turtle. A very big turtle came up on the beach to see what was shakin’. Uhh, dude, hope you put some sunscreen on before you began your nap. Because I respect nature as well as appreciate it, please know this turtle was not touched. These magnificent creatures are so fascinating to watch in their natural habitat.

Turtle
Chillaxin’ in the sun

We hope your weekend is filled with beauty and loads of the beautiful relaxing images from nature. See you next week!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

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! 🐾