June 28, 2007

Fireworks and security

First, let me say that I LOVE fireworks. The huge, orchestrated displays that you can go watch (or see from your backyard) that many municipalities put on are fantastic. I despise the noisy, bang bang fireworks that you can light off in the street putting life, limb and property at risk. It's fireworks season and given that July 4 is mid-week this year, I expect we'll have them both the weekend before and the weekend after in no small quantity, despite that fact that they're illegal in Riverside County. We'll stock up on the Rescue Remedy for Lacy and Cheyenne, who are scared senseless of the noise and put them in a bedroom to hide.

Satinka loves watching things in the air, whether it's a fly that she's going to catch or an airplane overhead; things flying around fascinate her. Last summer Satinka and Humvee sat on the picnic table and watched airplanes for hours, their pointy little noses aimed skyward and moving back and forth, as if watching some sort of aerial tennis match.

When the fireworks start, Satinka runs outside and scans the sky, looking for that tale tail stream of light heading skyward. Once she spots it she freezes, like a well-trained pointer when game is present. The delight in her face when she sees the explosion of light is priceless.

Satinka, a veteran of fireworks displays, went running outside after the first bang, watching for the explosion of color (she doesn't get the physics of the speed of light v. the speed of sound, but what she does know is there's always more coming if she's patient). While the older dogs (and Blaze, who couldn't be bothered) just settled in for another evening of noise, Robin had to go investigate the new noise. I followed, not certain how the puppy was going to handle the noise, wondering if I was going to be needed to provide comfort. Well, Robin's a pretty confident little miss and not much worries her. The first bang startled her, and she looked to Satinka to see how she should react. Then, I had two girls watching the sky. When the first explosion of light came Robin jumped for it, to catch that bit of brightness for herself. After missing the catch, she watched Satinka carefully again tracking the flare of the rising pyrotechnic device (Satinka uses those big words, she may not understand physics, but she's smart). Robin followed her gaze, not wanting to miss anything. Since the day she moved in she hasn't wanted to miss anything...and she doesn't. The explosion in the sky fascinated her...she didn't jump for it this time, she'd already figured out that it was out of reach, she just stood, like her big sister, steady and solid, enjoying the nighttime display.

It's what I want for my puppy, the fearlessness that lets her face life head on when confronted with new and potentially scary events; the confidence that lets her jump into new experiences knowing that I will never let anything harm her.

It's what I want for Lacy and Cheyenne too but, having missed the formative years of their life, I may just have to be content with knowing that when they're scared they know that I'll provide them a safe hiding place.

June 17, 2007

Puppytopia...new and improved

You know it's going to be "A Weekend" when you come downstairs on Saturday morning and find Frosty, who was safely tucked into her "escape proof" crate on the sofa. A quick inspection revealed that she's managed to break the cable/zipties holding the crate together, allowing her to push the door open about 4", more than enough room to squeeze out of. Ok, fixed that, went on with the day.

On Sunday, I came downstairs to find that Frosty wasn't feeling well. For those of you without dogs just trust me, you know. Frosty, in the Sky Kennel (with ventilation holes in the back of the crate) managed to deposit all of the evidence of her upset stomach (the final remains of yesterday's escape and counter surfing episode) outside of her crate, leaving her crate and herself clean. Not bad, a little vinegar, a little hydrogen peroxide, a couple of towels and every thing's good. Did I mention that she managed to break two more cable ties...almost lifting the top off of the crate? In case you didn't know, dogs have a den instinct and no dogs wants to soil its den. Frosty is no exception. Anyway...it's going to be one of *those* weekends.

Now, on to Robin.
Every time we create The Puppy Palace, we make a few changes. This time, I dubbed the area "Puppytopia." When Robin's brothers and sister were here visiting, it was where we put the four little monsters when we needed to contain them. Now that it's just Robin, it's her daytime hang out place...as she's not quite old enough to go out in the yard with the big dogs all day. We've created a pretty good (if we do say so ourselves) containment area.

I have this little ritual when I come home - I unlock and open the door and say "oh, no Robin" and look over in the puppy pen and say "there she is!" Ok, it's silly, but it's what I do. Today, I unlocked the door, said "no Robin!" and then said "Oh #$%&*"- she just didn't have time to get down the stairs when she heard the door. Puppytopia looked like this:

You'll notice a few small changes from the Puppytopia pictured on our website, namely that the puppy pen doesn't seem to be centered on that lovely piece of vinyl. It seems Robin was tired of that flooring and wanted to use some tile. I could have lived with that...if there'd been a Robin still IN Puppytopia.

So, now we have Puppytopia, PCS v2.0 (that's Puppy Containment System, vers. 2). It looks like this:

You'll notice there appears to be a lid on Puppytopia, hopefully ending any more escapes by the clever little puppy.

I'm sure Robin will come up with something new to entertain, amuse and surprise me. But if she learns to undo the clips keeping Puppytopia together, I'm going to seriously consider sending her back to her breeder!!! Ok, maybe not. But I'm going to unseriously consider it!

June 12, 2007

All About Robin

Kaos has a new face...I know I've talked about her, but she's finally here. Maskarade's What Dreams May Come, aka Robin, Rotten Robin, Robin Bo Bobbin... the nicknames are endless.

Last weekend we went to another puppy match. Now, I'll admit to being somewhat remiss in our training, but I thought she did pretty well. Before we started, we had a LONG heart to heart talk about how things were going to go.

It went went like this:Me: Robin, we're going to trot around this ring when I say "let's go."
Robin: We are? Why?
Me: Because I say so.
Robin: Hey, Mom, there's something on your nose, let me get it!

Me: Robin, you're cute, and I love you...but we're going to work now.
Robin: Mom, work this...