Friday, February 29, 2008

Off to Grammie's....

Poor Chelsie has been shipped off to Grammie and Grand Paw's this weekend. I am on my way to California for my 36 hr weekend - it is my friend Lara's baby shower this weekend in the OC. My coworkers from San Diego were in Dublin for training, and I am on the same flight they are to Houston (where our layover is). They were gracious enough to let me ride to the airport with them, so I took my car home at lunch. I thought my little precious would have been gone, but they had not left yet (grammie was getting my laundry to take it home and do it for me - I am not spoiled or anything) Poor Chelsie saw her mom leave with the bag, and realized she was going with grammie and grand paw. It was a sad for her. Despite what she says, she lives like a queen there...

Monday, February 25, 2008

In or the dog????

This weekend was a bit of a rough weekend in our house.

Joe's GF (yep, you heard me right) lost her 15 yr old Maltese a few mos back. She loves Ela, Joe's dog, and just has done wonders in making her a contributing member to society. Ela can be around cats and goes to her daughter's girl scout meetings and sits nicely and quietly (this is after poor Scoobi Doo the cat has lost 8 of her 9 lives to Ela). So Missy ended up adopting this dog - real nice looking lab mix named Sandy.

Apparently, there was some miscommunication about the aggressive nature of this dog - on Saturday, it all came to a head. Apparently, there were some issues at Petsmart with a smaller dog - which should have been our first clue. Anyway, Joe and Missy brought over my Girl Scout cookies, and I came out to see Sandy and Ela. Sandy appears to be a very sweet girl, and El just wanted to see me, so we got them out of the car. Being as El and Sandy got along, I told Joe to let Chel out. Big mistake - Chel came trotting out of her garage, happy as a clam to see her Uncle Joey and then encountered Sandy. It all happened within a matter of seconds - Sandy growled at her and before any of us had a chance to do anything, Sandy had Chel pinned on the ground. Ela was quick to jump to her cousin's defense, and pounced on Sandy. We had 3 75 lb dogs growling and yelping and fighting in the driveway. It was horrible - Ela and Sandy were the aggressors and poor Chelsie was trying to figure out how to get out of Sandy's grip. We finally got them separated - there were clumps of black fur all over my driveway. Joe took Chelsie in the house and I got Ela back into the car and went in the house to check on Joe and Chelsie. Ten seconds seemed like a lifetime.

I went into the house and Chelsie, still obviously shaken, came running over - she was still very stressed and upset, and was just losing fur left and right (a sign of stress in dogs) Even worse, Joe was bent over the sink, running water on his finger. For those of you that don't know, Joe had a minor run in with his table saw a few years ago and removed the tip of his right index finger from the first knuckle up. Limbs that have been injured like that are very sensitive. In the mayhem, dog jaws got his finger - I went into my house to find him hunched over the sink running water on his finger. Joe has a VERY high tolerance for pain and I was very worried - I asked him if he was going to pass out and he said he did not think he was going to. Thank god he didn't but I was not sure he wouldn't....he felt horrible and was practically in tears as he was petting Chelsie and telling her he was sorry.

Long story short, they ended up taking the dog back to the Humane Society - which was just horrible too. Clearly, the aggression of the dog was a safety issue at that point, but it was still upsetting to all parties involved. Please, please - for those of you thinking of adopting a dog, if there is any mention of aggression, there is another dog out there for you. I fault the humane society for this because someone there should have known this dog was not ready for the setting they agreed to place her in. Joe was very forthcoming with the people that they needed to work with her and make sure she goes to a home where she is the only dog. Subtlety is not a strong point of my brothers...

It took me well over an hour to calm Chelsie down - I had her on the bed with me, and she licked her lips and right front paw for over an hour. I also had to vacuum the bed because she shed all over it. Finally, we were able to nap, the both of us. She seems no worse for the wear, but I am scarred permanently by this.

Despite this and her mother, she managed to go to work tonight and do a great job. The house was relatively full, but many people were sleeping. Two of our patients stood out tonight. The first one was a young man named Levi. Levi had obviously been in an accident of some sort - he was on a ventilator and did not have use of his arms. He communicated to his mother through blinking his eyes. He was in a private room, and the door was part way closed - I knocked and asked if they wanted to see the dog. They did, so in we went.

This room was situated a little differently - as I said it was a private room, probably because of the vent and support he required. Ventilators are not quiet, and his bed was very high up - when she got in her chair, she could rest her head on his bed. I had her get in her chair, and she checked him out by giving him a good sniff. His mother picked up his hand and petted Chelsie with it. The room was warm and we were in very tight quarters - I literally had her pinned into a small space on the chair. I silently prayed she would not get antsy and want to go - and God love her, she did just what she needed to do. His mother was very grateful and I hope he was too. He has a long haul ahead of him, keep him in your prayers. We made a difference to Levi and his mom tonight.

The second was a patient we saw in the lobby - his was the last room we had gone into and he was not there, as he was out visiting with his family. The man was the patient, and had a big scar on his head, and I am guessing the woman was the wife. There was another lady and about a 15 yr old boy there. Real nice family, we talked for a long time. They were big buckeye fans and loved Chelsie's collar. Right as we were getting ready to leave, I had Chelsie give the guy her paw - as she did, she let one go, for the whole world to hear. I love my dog dearly, but she belches and farts like a truck driver. Good thing they were dog peeps and understood.

As I write this, my little girl is resting comfortably next to me. Chel's grammie and grampie have returned, and on their errands today, they stopped by and gave her a break. I feel very fortunate that she was not injured in this weekend's event, and am very proud of her work tonight.

We hope this finds everyone well. Take care and stay warm,

Love Nicole & The Chelsie Belle

Friday, February 22, 2008

In Action....

A few weeks ago, we went to an agility competition and a pet photographer was there. The trials we usually compete in are in an indoor horse arena and flash photography is prohibited, but this was at a sports facility where the lighting was decent. I went ahead and purchased some pictures of my girl in action.

Jump, Chelsie, jump!!!
Climb it!!! Climbing up over the A Frame

Weave, weave, weave...get at it!!!

SPOT, SPOT, SPOT - and you better stay there until I say you can means 2 paws on the dog walk, 2 paws off. I call this picture the "Wild Weaver Special" - my club is known for this skill. The dogs have to make contact in the yellow zone, they can't "launch" off the contact obstacle.

Chelsie jumps at a height of 20 inches - she is 21.88 inches tall at her shoulders, and dogs that are between 20 and 22 inches jump at a 20 inch height.

This is my absolute favorite...this picture shows how much she really loves the "game" of agility.

Is it my turn, mom? Finally my turn? Can I go now? Are we ready? Is it time??? What first???

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is anyone else tired of snow?

The weather here has just been HORRID over the last couple of weeks. The poor baby angel has not had a walk in what seems is cold, slippery and icy. She has been a good sport, but tonight, she got so excited to come out to take the trash out, I did not have the heart to not let her come out. The main issue was that I had just washed the floors...

I am not sure there is an end in sight anytime soon. I hope so, because she has energy to burn....

Monday, February 18, 2008

White Out Conditions

There has to be some sort of medication out there for those of us that have chosen to stake our roots in Ohio. I cannot tell you how many weather changes we had today - at one point for awhile the sun was out, and then while we were wandering through Dodd Hall, I looked out the window and it was a white out. I prayed that it would stop before I had to drive home. It did, but it took us 40 min to get home from OSU. Thankfully, the car is safely tucked away in the garage and my precious and beautiful baby angel is snuggling on the couch next to me.

We managed to keep the heater door closed and stay warm this week. Always a bonus.

We have not been going to Dodd as consistently as we have in the past, so hopefully we are back on track. The trial wore me out and I did not sleep well last night - it was windy and sounded like a train was rolling through the back yard. I never sleep well in the wind, and it is windy again tonight. But we off we went.

The house was relatively full. The first lady we saw had obviously had some sort of head trauma. She was unable to speak or move her right side, so I put Chel in a chair on her left. We sat for a few minutes, but it is hard to communicate. Her roomie was using the facility, so I waited to see if she wanted to pet the pup and she did. They had a black lab named Logan and 5 chihuahuas. Talk about house gone to the dogs!

Out next visit was to an older woman who was talking to her son - she was very concerned we would leave before she was off the phone, so we went in. Her son wanted to know the dog's name, breed, age, weight - all the vitals that other lab owners want to know. He had a yellow lab named Zoe. She spent the next 10 minutes telling me all about her dogs over the course of her life. Chel liked her - I was sitting on the floor and Chel stood next to the bed the whole time. Her bed was at an angle, and it looked like her right side was her best so there was really no room for a chair. Floor it was.

Just when I thought I have seen something that I think is one of the hardest things I have ever seen, I am proven wrong. Tonight, the very last patient we saw was in pretty bad shape. His head was off to one side, and there was some sort of padding supporting his head. I thought I heard oxygen, I think he had a trach - but his head was turned so it was kind of hard to tell. At first I thought his face was bandaged - but I realized then that he had some sort of disfiguring surgery. He had no nose and one side of his face was very swollen. I was trying to figure out what to do when the nurse in there THANKFULLY stepped in and helped. I guess this guy was trying to do something to his tube and the nurse went over and began talking to him. She asked him if he saw the visitor on the other side, the pretty puppy. I went over there - he was not really looking at me, but when the nurse pulled the side rail of the bed down, he reached over and patted her. She stood still and let him pet her, and I was very greatful. He quickly went back into his own world, so we left.

I will think about this man as I go to sleep tonight. My heart breaks for this guy, as the road ahead of him is long and hard - I am sure the physical scars will pale in comparison to the emotional scars that are bound to plague him for the rest of his life. Many, many times I have been out with Sharon when kids scream "look at the doggie" - its not so much the kids that scream it, but how the parents react to it. Many parents get down to their kids level and tell them they cannot pet the doggie, it is a helper doggie that is working. This generally satisfies the kids and they ask questions sometimes, and Sharon is perfectly OK. The world is a cruel enough place when you look normal, and I just hope the rest of the world can find the decency and compassion to treat this guy with some dignity.

I hear the wind whipping around outside...however, I am so exhausted I am thinking I might not care so much tonight about the freight train rolling through. Chels is still exhausted from the weekend, and is faithfully laying next to her mom on the couch. We hope this finds everyone well and staying warm!


Nicole and the Chelsie Belle

What a Girl!

This weekend at my club's agility trial, Chelsie got title qualifying scores on three of her six runs. This was an AKC event, so usually, there is only 2 events - jumpers (jumps/weaves/tunnels) and standard (all of the above plus contact obstacles - teeter, table, dog walk and A frame). This weekend, there was a third event, called FAST. All the obstacles have a certain point value, and there is what is called "a gamble", meaning you have to work with your dog from a distance. The idea is to get as many points as possible, and if you get the "gamble" you get extra points. We still don't have any qualifying scores in that event, but we still had fun.

As I explained earlier, there are three levels in AKC - novice, open and excellent. At the new year trial, she earned her novice titles in both events, so this was her first weekend in the open level. She got 2 of three Q's for her open jumpers title and one of three Q's for her open standard title. The non qualifying standard run was her handlers fault.

We had to make it through the weekend without our third trialing partner, Chelsie's grammie, who was in Tahiti with her grandpaw. They picked a good time to be gone, the weather was miserable. Grammie usually sits with Chelsie in between runs, as mom works as a coursebuilder at her club's trials. Grammie reads and does crosswords, and Chelsie lays quietly in her "house" (crate) with the door open. Thankfully, our partner will be back for our trial in March.

I am always proud of her, but I was very proud of her this weekend - so proud of her that despite the fact she is in dire need of a pedicure, mom did not give her one last night...and as tonight is Monday, she will not get one tonight either...what a puppy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Common Sense Running Strong

Apparently, yesterday when I was cleaning the basement, I did not reattach the door to the furnace properly. The furnace lever was not engaged and thus, the furnace shut off. I feel like an idiot - on one hand, I am thrilled that is only cost me $100, but on the other am so dang frustrated I can hardly stand it. Oh well. Bottom line is, we have made it up to 57 in the house. Chelsie has settled in for her morning nap, I still have the space heater blowing and when it gets up to 60, I will think about taking a shower and going into work. God bless VPN. When someone finds common sense, send it my way.

It's Freezing...

It is currently 50 degrees in my house. I think this is indicative of a problem. I have managed to convince little Chel to lay close - she generates a lot of heat. I thought it very strange last night that she was willing to stay under the covers next to me...until I woke up at 4AM and thought about how cold it was. When I looked at the thermometer and saw it was 50, I said an explective. I am hoping it can be fixed, but being as it is the original unit on the house and the house is nearly 22 years old, I am not holding my breath. Two months too late for a nice tax credit...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Welcome Dolan James!

Chelsie's auntie Jodi welcomed her new addition, yesterday, as follows:

Dolan James Tucker
6:46PM, C Section
7 lbs, 11 oz, 19 in

Congratulations James, Jodi and K9 brother Dakota!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Working Girl

Well, after what seems like forever, we were back at Dodd tonight. Mom was out of town for the last few weeks for work, in Germany. While glad to see me on Friday night, Chelsie also let me know she was VERY unhappy with me - this weekend, her car riding behavior was atrocious and "come" meant to look at me and walk away. Also, Ella, her chocolate lab cousin, came to stay on Saturday night - and for those of you that don't know, this is a one dog per household type of house. I am working to make up for my sins, and got off to a good start tonight when she got the empty peanut butter jar (dog peanut jar, I might add) I should also add that when mom is away, she goes to grammie's where she has full bed privileges, goes for many rides in the car, shares the recliner with grampie while he is in it and even gets half a cookie for going potty (she goes right to the pantry and sits quietly when she comes back in, according to grammie) Sounds like Club Med to me - where can I sign up?

I am always proud of her when she works, and tonight was no exception. I have not yet readjusted to this time zone yet (6 hr change forward in Germany) and I am wiped out. This is the latest I have been up in the last 4 nights - and fading fast. But I decided I would suck it up and go - and many people came up to us and said they had missed us.

We were there for almost 2 hrs - which is a very long time. Oddly enough, we probably saw less than 10 patients. The people we saw were in pretty good spirits and just loved dogs. She behaved well, so I just went with it. She did manage to remember the language she has known since puppyhood, so my commands were actually obeyed tonight. Probably our funnest patient tonight was a man that was on his way back to bed from his shower when he saw the dog - he literally said "Let me at that puppy dog" I said, be careful, we will wait until you get to the chair. He came over and sat in one of 2 chairs right next to each other. I told Chelsie to get in the other one so she was sitting right next to him. Like a champ, she jumped in her chair and sat there - and the family got a great picture. I prayed silently that she would comply and obey, and of course, she did. Although we did not see a lot of patients number wise, the ones we did see were glad to see us and Chel made a difference.

Last Thursday was Chelsie's 6th birthday - I can't believe she is 6 years old. She gets better and better ever day. Simple pleasures bring her such joy - we went to the park for a ball chasing session on Sunday, and I forgot how much she loves to chase her ball. She is very passionate about that - it is so hard to walk to the park knowing the ball is in mom's pocket. A loyal companion, she is my favorite snuggle buddy at night, and always knows when to comply with her old lady's requests. She is an active member of the community, as a volunteer, a canine good citizen and a member of the Wild Weaver Agility club. I never could have imagined the squirming little 15 lb furball would grow up into such a good girl!

Well, crash and burn time is arriving. We hope this finds everyone well and wish Auntie Jodi luck as she anticipates the arrival of Dolan James - today, he will make his debut.


Nicole and Chels