Feb 172015
 
Even I have to admit this is a pretty good Face of Innocence.

Even I have to admit this is a pretty good Face of Innocence.

Ohh, it seems so easy to see wherein lies the FAIL.

The dog is trained.  The dog is proofed. The dog is in a familiar environment.

So he should know better.

And thus Dart Beagle recently went to obedience drill and wouldn’t. 

He flopped around when asked to sit for the stay exercises.  He got up.  He got up.  He got up. Continue reading »

Jan 272015
 

antho.ad.08.connerySometimes, it takes years to unravel a training issue.  Sometimes…a decade!

I’ve been running ConneryBeagle in agility for…well, nearly that decade (although he obviously wasn’t competing in those first training months).  He’s almost eleven, winding down his career, and basically has the skills he’s going to have.  I keep him tuned up, but am not introducing new agility things.

That doesn’t mean that Connery doesn’t introduce new challenges to me. Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

by Doranna

“Oh, I know!” I told myself, all full of excited optimism, “I’ll blog about Baby Tristan’s learning process!”

tb.profile.297As usual, I didn’t take into account the fact that I’d be so caught up in the process itself that the blogging would take second place.  Or third.  Or fourth, because the other boys are still active, too!  And oh wait, that dastardly Real Life.  Oops!  Well, here I am.

Tristan’s been with us three weeks now, making him eleven weeks old (on the 18th, when I’m first typing this).  His nose has finished unfolding, taking him from baby-face to youngster-face.  His hind end has more leg than he knows what to do with, his feet are huge, and his shoulders are trying to decide just how they’ll sit on his body.  He’s still got baby belly, though! Continue reading »

Jan 052015
 

by Doranna

I have an uneasy relationship with vaccines.

On the one hand, I have far too much experience with vaccine-damaged animals.

Far. Too. Freakin’. MUCH.

On the other hand, I strongly believe in the protection that vaccines provide.  And I strongly believe that eschewing them as a matter of fact will create a less safe world.

All the same, I feel that we need to be smart about these choices for our individual circumstances, and not pressured one way or the other by either fear-mongering or authoritative nonsense.

I especially feel this way as I prepare to take nine-week-old Tristan Beagle for his first shots! Continue reading »

Dec 282014
 

by Doranna

Waiting is the hardest part.

Choosing is the second hardest part.

But I’ve been really, really lucky.  I’ve had that opportunity to choose.  That’s a whole ‘nother blog and one I’ve got half written, but for now, just trust me.  It is an honor and a rarity to have a choice—never mind first choice—in a show-bred litter.

Connery's Choosing Day

Connery’s Choosing Day

Continue reading »

Dec 032014
 

by Doranna

_DSC3932-(ZF-4919-11231-2-001).SM“The emperor has no clothes” has never been a popular (or easy phrase) to utter.  Not even in agility.

So we’re talking about continuing education (training) in this blog event, but first…let’s talk about those courses.  I promise this leads straight to training!

Anyway, you know the courses I mean.  During walk-through half the handlers are grimly unhappy and the other half are quite blithely and vocally certain that those who are unhappy would in fact be happy if they had only trained properly (or completely, or with the right system, or…). Continue reading »

Dec 012014
 

by Doranna

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Yep, we had our big once-a-year local Variable Surface Tracking test on Sunday.  Beautiful weather, for sure–the best I’ve ever had for a test.  The best photos do not include me, because I wore a hat all day so no thanks, but the Beagle boyz are the important ones anyway!

Connery was track five of six and Dart was track six, so we watched the first tracks and then waited for Connery’s turn in the quiet of a parking lot distant from the test “home base.” The tracks are laid all over a large campus.

After the tracks are run, the handlers and the club and the tracklayers meet up at the “home base” parking for a tailgate lunch.  We all talk about what went wrong and right and say nice things about each other’s dogs, talk about other tracks we’ve run and what we plan in the future.  Fun, right? Continue reading »

Nov 122014
 

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to submit a story to editor Becky Kyle for the anthology Tails from the Front Lines.  Hard to resist, when the proceeds are slated for donation to TADSAW (Train a Dog, Save a Warrior).

Right.  Service dogs for our wounded, whether physically or emotionally or both.  So I was very happy when I got the word that Just Hanah would be part of the anthology.  And naturally I was curious as to how it all came about, so…I asked!  And discovered that I’m not the only one out there who’s still a hippy-era kid at heart…


Becky:

I was a hippie-era kid. At twelve, I wanted to go to Woodstock. I protested Viet Nam. Every few months, we got word another soldier was gone. As I got into high school, my male classmates worried about what they’d do after graduation and if their number would be called.

Around that time, we stopped saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I still stood, still held my hand over my heart, but I couldn’t speak a word of it. Most everyone had a friend, a family member, even a brother who’d done to war and didn’t come back.

Already, I felt like I was stuck in a dystopia.  I was sixteen and there had never been a time my country wasn’t at war.

The one thing I never did was blame the troops. None of them approved the Declaration of War or signed it. They just went to war when our country called them to.

Years later, when I was in Library School, I got involved with the Operation Paperback collections. From there, I started sending care packages to the troops as an extra Christmas present. In 2003, when a friend’s husband went to Iraq with only one pair of underwear and socks, we took up a collection to get him and his men the supplies they needed. It’s nothing heroic—it’s just saying thanks for an often thankless job.

A year ago, my phone rang. My husband answered it, covered the mouthpiece, and said:

“It’s Cindy, you should answer this.”

My heart fluttered. Cindy is an ER nurse in Indiana. She’s funny, good-hearted, and one of the most unflappable people I know.  When I got on the phone, Cindy was sobbing. It took a bit for her to calm down enough to be coherent.

The son of one of one of her fellow nurses, twenty-two years old and just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan two weeks before, had shot himself. What was worse was that his Dad’s firefighter company had been to the ones to transport him to the ER.

Every emergency worker who tended this young man as he died knew him. They watched him grow up. They cheered when he did well and they were all grateful when he came home safe and seemingly unharmed.

The only good that came of this tragedy was that the young man had signed an organ donation card. Doctors and nurses who knew him performed the last surgeries on him and sent the organs to new homes where they’d save lives.

By the time Cindy was done, I was sobbing.

Being a research nerd, I started looking into veteran suicides. What I didn’t know was that twenty-two soldiers killed themselves every day.

This was more than books and underwear. I had to do something.

I’d been reading about therapy dogs and how much they assisted soldiers with PTSD. An animal can get a soldier outside and into the world again without feeling alone. The presence of a dog can literally reduce their prescribed medicines by half.  I found TADSAW (Train a Dog, Save a Warrior) online and was highly impressed that they got many of their dogs from shelters or used the warrior’s own pet to train.

It was sheer luck that I mentioned wanting to do something to the right person, Carol Hightshoe, publisher/editor at Wolfsinger Press. Carol was onboard quicker than I could have imagined. While I have served as part of the editorial staff for several venues, I never expected to have only my name on the masthead. Carol was wonderful to provide support and helpful hints whenever I needed them.

Tails from the Front Lines became available on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014. The anthology is comprised of twelve short stories written by well-known veteran authors to two first-time publications.  They cover everything from fantasy realms to the future. Best of all, proceeds will go to TADSAW to help provide soldiers with companions who will help them re-enter society and lessen their chances of falling into despair.


Tailsfromthefrontlinescover.144So yeah. Becky didn’t do it, but I’m going to.  The anthology is freshly available at Amazon (including a trade paperback version) and Nook.

Meanwhile, I’ve got the happies.  It’s cool to have the opportunity to help!