Friday, December 31, 2010

The Past Year!

I was thinking of doing a month-by-month review of 2010, but there was a lot of diappointment this year (like every other year) along with a lot highs!

The big points:

Eclipse came home just before a major legal battle had to ensue!

Alex got hired on as a permanent employee at a job he excels at.

We moved into a great 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with amazing landlords.

We attended another Canine Angles graduation which was just as heartwarming and even more fun than last year's.

Tiki the elephant died and I longed to once again stand by one of "my" magnificent elephants.

I traveled to Southern California with Coreena and my mom to drop off Charlie and pick up Tiki the puppy!

Coreena and I have been warmly welcomed into the Canine Angles family and enjoyed two great outings with them. Next year we look forward to many more outings and Tiki will get to tag along despite being from a different organization.

Eclipse's reactivity and overall stress was greatly reduced and he's really settled in and seems to enjoy life just being a fun loving, goofy, golden pet.

Tiki went on her first big public outing to Wal-Mart and did Amazing! She walked around the whole store with no issues and ignored people and did everything I asked of her.

In retrospect, the year obviously could have gone better on my employment front but otherwise all is well and we're fine! It's nice to be comfortable where you are and we're certainly comfortable in this house and with our dogs.

Ally w/Tiki, Eclipse, Teddy & Kira

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Urgent! Anyone Able To Help? *UPDATED*

*UPDATE* Lazy has been adopted!

http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/urgent-former-service-dog-to-be-euthanized-on-wednesday

This is a retired service dog (owner-trained I'm assuming or the organization would undoubtedly step in) was surrendered to an LA area shelter and only has 24 hours to live before he's euthanized for "lack of space". Can anyone help, even just fostering the boy? He's 6 years old, neutered, lab mix. I hope he makes it to enjoy his retirement!

Monday, December 27, 2010

2 YEARS!

Can you believe that this handsome guy
 looked like this only 2 years ago?
Coreena and I recieved Eva and Eclipse 2 years ago today to raise as potential service dogs. Both of them were eventually career changed and are now our pets. Honestly, with these two, we wouldn't have it any other way! Happy 2 years from your original arrival date, and happy 10 months from your "home forever" date, Eclipse! We couldn't be happier with you and you've come so far from when you first arrived at 9 weeks of age and again when we came home at 16 months of age! Extra cuddles for you today, not that you're not already spoiled enough!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December Puppy Outing With CAST

The outing was a definite success! We went to a really cool place that had a small "world" that you could walk through, of MARS! It was great socialization for the pups and we all had a great time!
This time we had 7 pups along. In the back is Pepper from the Peanuts gang (She's in Formal Training with Sandy). Middle left is Terra who is from the "T" litter of poodles (Being raised by Marie), and next to her is her brother Tundra (Being raised by Sandy). Next to him is black lab/golden cross from the "Space" litter Galaxy. Front row is Joe Cool who is Pepper's brother (He's in Formal Training with Sandy but I handled him at the outing. He was raised by Vida's raiser who couldn't make it to the outing). Next is new puppy Comet who has an interesting story. She's from the "Space" litter and is being raised by Coreena. Last but not least is Twister who is from the "Games" litter. (She's in Formal Training with Sandy and was raised by puppy raising coordinator Sheila who now has Wyatt).
The connections between all these pups is kind of cool! Of course there are four litters represented here ("Peanuts Gang", "Games", "Space" and the "T" poodles) but it goes beyond that. The Peanuts pups are the great-uncles/aunts of the "T" poodles and the "Space" pups have the same dad as the "Games" litter and the same mom as the "Peanuts Gang"! It's lots of fun to see!

While the outing was a great success, getting home wasn't as successful, although we did get home safely in the end!
 It started dumping snow in the valley as soon as we got to our destination, about the same time a semi-truck flipped on the freeway, so when we got back to the pass 2.5 hours later the freeway was at a standstill and backed up for more than 20 miles!
 Once we started moving after sitting at a rest area for almost 2 hours it went fairly smoothly despite the snow on the passes.
 It was a lot of fun despite our 1 hour drive home taking 4.5 hours! I can't wait for the next outing as Tiki will be able to join us and they're just so much fun, but it may not be for a couple months since this snow storm came out of nowhere!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Since we live on the West Coast it was a lot easier to stay up to see the lunar eclipse. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy but we managed to get a couple good shots of it before the clouds got too thick. We missed when it was totally eclipsed, but that's okay, it was amazing to see anyway!

The best picture I got of the eclipse?

Just kidding! We only got two good pictures since I only have two lenses right now and we couldn't rustle up a tripod to borrow in time. Oh well, I like the ones we managed to get a lot! 
(You should click on the pics to get the good view!)
 Ally w/Eclipse, Tiki, Teddy & Kira

Slacker Alert!

Okay, so I'm a slacker!

Tiki turned 4 months old on Saturday and she's doing great! She's so ready to go out in public, besides her demodex. She's got two new spots we're working hard on getting control over. She may have to go on a stronger medication to get it under control, but we'll cross that bridge when we reach it.

She's doing great on her basic commands and was doing well on the retrieve sequence training, but that had to be put on hold since she's beginning to lose teeth so her mouth is sore. Instead we're focusing on things like "nudge", "tug", cleaning up her basic commands, and soon we'll start on her "go to bed" commands and such. She's a great puppy to have around and while she's a spitfire she's fairly easy to live with and I expect her to go far! Yay, Tiki! You're doing your namesake justice!
 We're waiting on Tiki's larger collar and jacket to arrive, until then she's wearing Eola's old collar!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Figuring The New Camera Out

There's quite a learning curve going from a point and shoot to an SLR! I'm slowly beginning to figure it out but here are some examples for your viewing pleasure/comic relief!

Well, you see, some of the photos turn out Amazing!
Galaxy
One of my favorite photos I have ever taken!
Jackson
Coreena took this one
Eva
Coreena took this one too!
Jackson
You should enlarge this one to see the water coming out of his mouth! 'Tis amazing!
Tiki

And then some of them turn out not so amazing....
Like the focus is not on the correct part of the photo!
And again, focus is wrong!
And again... although that's a mighty nice weed!
And sometimes just the entire picture is wrong. Wrong lighting. Wrong focus. Wrong frame. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

But it's still fun trying to figure it all out!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Got It!

 I finally got my new camera yesterday! I've been wanting a DSLR for a couple years now but every time I'd go to buy one something would happen to prevent it, like we'd lose a part of our income. This time it again happened (my sister lost her job so I lost my income of watching her kids full-time) but we're in a good enough situation that when we got Alex's money from being born in Alaska we decided not to put it off any longer. (and hopefully my sister will get another job soon!) I'm having to use the flash right now due to the way our house is set up there just isn't enough light but hopefully tomorrow I'll get some shots outside of the dogs and really get to start understanding the manual settings. All the pictures in this post were shot on auto mode, which kind of defeats the purpose of the DSLR but still, it's a smart camera! 
It's a good thing I love it so much because it sure was a pain in the neck to get it! I got the Sony A330 from Costco. The A330 has been discontinued since there are newer and better models to take it's place, which means it was an awesome deal. Alex and I went to get it at 12:45 but we couldn't use our debit cards since we were over our "spending limit of the day", and since we didn't have our checkbook with us we had to leave and come home to get the checkbook. Alex had a football game to go to so I grabbed the checkbook and picked up Coreena and we went to get it. After we got everything we needed again we got to the checkout and realized I didn't have my Costco card so couldn't write a check. OY! So we came home again got my wallet, went back and got everything again and then we were all sold out of the camera! I got the display one though and was so happy since it came with two lenses and online that bundle is going for $50+ more than it was at Costco! I should have gotten them to take another $50 or so off it but I was so excited to get it I didn't care.
Oh, and Tiki update. She has demodex mange which isn't a big deal but she is getting medication for it once a day for two weeks. After her meds are gone she can start going in public. She also gained 3.4 lbs in 8 days and two days ago weighed in at 30.2 lbs! Big girl!
Ally w/Eclipse, Tiki, Teddy & Kira

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Milestones

Sorry, no new photos of the pooches, still camera-less!

Yesterday we reached some milestones. First, Tiki turned 16 weeks! She's doing great and will be going to the vet tomorrow for her last shots, her rabies, to have her hips rechecked (oh, I forgot to mention there was concern about her hips when she was 10 weeks, didn't I?) and to get the ringworm on her head evaluated and potentially treated. Since it was her 16 week day we decided to take her on her first long walk. I had her wear her head collar just so she can spend more time in it before we go out in public. She certainly doesn't need a head collar at all but it's supposed to be part of her uniform so she has to wear it. In fact, she walks great on a leash! She sticks to "heel" position and offers eye contact regurlary. While she was a bit stressed when we passed walking dogs a happy voice got her tail wagging and her accepting kibble with no issues. Regular neighborhood walks and minor counter-conditioning should be all that's needed to get her over any stress about barking dogs behind fences, unlike Eclipse.

Speaking of Eclipse's anxiety outside. That's right, I said "outside". I've realized from watching him carefully that his anxiety isn't just when other dogs are around or when there are fences where dogs could be hiding, he has anxiety to being outside, on-leash in general. We've been working on counter-conditioning that and it's been going well. For the past couple weeks I've been regularly taking him outside and walking him up and down our little part of the road (we live on a dead-end part of a road that's kind of like alley) and past the neighbor's house where there are no dogs. I started by giving him a delicious treat every step we took that he was on a loose leash and in heel position. We gradually faded that and now he gets a treat every 15 steps or so.  I think it also helps that I found GREAT treats to use for him. They're from a line of prepared natural food called Freshpet that we can get locally. I got the real beef ones and they're so easy to slice up into little pieces that are great for training and Eclipse Loves them! Yesterday I decided to see how far we could walk and we walked around the entire block without a single major reaction! He was wearing the head collar I got for Tiki but just to protect his throat due to a cough he has I don't really want any pressure on his collar which is why I'll be ordering him one of these this week. It wasn't too hard to keep his attention on me and he'd willingly get back into position and take treats despite there being dogs behind fences barking at him! One thing I did change was when we get past a stressful section I let him let loose a little by putting his front paws on my chest and getting lots and lots of loves. Then he shakes it off and is good to go! It's so nice to see the effort we've been putting into this for the past 9 months really start to pay off!

You can be sure there will be plenty of photos soon!

Ally (so proud of both of my retrievers along with the "strange" little dogs! Everyone is doing so well!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some Lasts

Not lasts for any dog/person in the house, yet some lasts all the same. These are some of the last photos to be taken on my camera with it being "my" camera... Don't worry, though, I'm getting a new one. I'll be ordering my new camera next weekend (or purchasing it locally) and since my in-laws don't have a camera they begged to buy the Fujifilm off us, so we're letting them. And since we're going over there this weekend we're just going to give it to them then. No pictures for a week! AH!
This was so cute! Teddy isn't a huge cuddler with other dogs (unless it's his "wife", Kira) so when he curled up with Eclipse on the dog bed it was too cute to not take a picture of!
 AWW!
 ^14 week old Tiki^
 Teddy being spoiled at the in-law's last weekend. I swear, he's treated like a king there!
Tiki this morning, 15 weeks 2 days. For those of you that just use google reader, Tiki weighs 27 lbs now! She's reliably gaining 2.5 lbs a WEEK right now. She gets her last shots next week, then we'll start going on outings to the pet stores to get her public manners and leash walking more generalized then we'll start going on bigger and bigger outings! She's been in public a couple times, that time outside of Safeway and then a couple weeks ago she went to Sprint with us. She did great! I just need to work more on her doing behaviours in a "heel" or "side" position rather than in front of me facing me. We're working on it and making progress!

She's still proving to be quite a fun pup! She's extremely smart and motivated and is learning self-control very very well. Once Mattie arrives home we'll be putting Tiki and Mattie in an obedience class together. I'm thinking Tiki will either be the star of the class or make me hang my head in disappointment (at myself)! Such is puppy raising, you never know until you have them in that or a very similar situation!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finally!

Finally, here are more photos from the outing almost two weeks ago! My Picassa web albums ran out of storage and I had to convince myself to just create another account to post from!
 ^Tundra relaxing^
^Terra being pretty!^
 ^Wyatt^
 ^Snoopy, "Jump"^
 Tundra's telling Terra a secret she doesn't seem real fond of!
 Wyatt and Tundra relaxed on the bench. Don't have to tell them to chill more than once!
Goldendoodle (Snoopy), Poodle (Terra), Labradoodle (Wyatt), Poodle (Tundra), Goldendoodle (Vida)
 Good pups!
 Terra checking out the escalator (no pups got on the escalator, they were just looking) while Vida looks on from the left and Wyatt and Tundra look on from the right.
 Tundra's turn!
 Terra (okay, so I have a thing for photographing the poodles, so kill me!)
 Wyatt is learning to drive!
 Snoopy doesn't want to be a passenger, he wants to drive too!
Next up was going "under" benches. Tundra seems proud of himself, or maybe it's just that his mom was proud of him!

Then there was a puppy switch, all the photos after the switch either came out bad (BOO!) or have people's faces in them.
Outside Sheila demonstrated with Terra how to do the "about-turns". For those of us that coordination-ally challenged they're complicated, well, the mechanics are complicated!
Beautiful Vida!

I can't wait for the next outing! January, hurry up!