Dec 232014
Connery's first baby picture--about three weeks old!

Connery’s first baby picture–about three weeks old!

Puppy breath.  Slightly sour, slightly tangy, a hint of skunky.  No kind of smell that a person would normally crave.

At least, not until there’s a puppy in your hands and you suddenly realize how much you’ve missed that very thing.

I’ve always timed my puppies carefully, according to the age and need of the current pack.  I stay aware of who’s breeding the sort of dog I like, occasionally reaching out here and there with the intent to wait if there’s something perfect to wait for.  (I waited two years for Connery, for instance…)

I most recently started serious puppy-planning about five years ago, but things got…complicated.  And a little bit Fate-ish. Continue reading »

Aug 112014

by Doranna

1375930515977128357Coloured question marks.svg.medI know, I know.  It’s been a while since anyone saw me on this blog.  Even though it’s ostensibly my own blog.  Patty keeps regularly chugging forth on the Write Horse Fridays, and yet from me…silence.

Usually I’m pretty decent about regular blogging–once a week, sometimes twice.  There’s always something new going on with the dogs, always something to chat about with the writing.  Because hey!  Me = opinionated.  Just ask me.

But now and then the universe proffers a butt-kick of the sort that throws everything out of whack. Continue reading »

Jun 092014

by Doranna

rena.1062.SMPeople have lately been asking me about Rena Beagle.  How she is, why I’ve not said much about her.

I’ve been bound to leave you, we’ve known that for awhile…

I’ve told them that she’s on hiatus from agility (where we finished her Open and Excellent titles last year) and she’s been playing rally when she feels well enough.  In fact she earned her Rally Advanced a month ago and even got her first Excellent leg, very close to the year-anniversary of her arrival here.  I danced about it here on the blog, too.

I’m sure it’s something I can’t do if I can’t leave you with a smile…

But the blog isn’t real life.  There are a lot of things that go unsaid, because they’re complicated.  Like the fact that Rena’s journey from her past mom to her now mom (me) triggered  hidden health issues, and I’ve been dealing with them since the day she got here–just over a year ago, now.

 I don’t know how far I’ll have to go ’til I’m sure those eyes won’t cry…

At first we thought a change of thyroid meds protocol would sort her out.  And it did, for a couple of months.  But then the rhinitis broke through.  And the spay incontinence.  And the chronic dehydration, and the painful pottying, and and AND.  After another seven months of exacting and expensive efforts, we thought we’d gotten all that sorted out, too.

And in my mind I’ve left enough to know that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

And then I found a way  to get her fully hydrated, and I put her on Transfer Factors, and within a week I was getting glimpses of the dog I knew Rena had once been.  Cheerful and silly and fun.  What a delight!


But there was another side of that coin: It told me exactly how unhappy and uncomfortable she’d been.

And a third side of that coin: I was excruciatingly aware of the delicate balance of keeping her healthy, happy, and comfortable.  I knew that at some point, we would learn whether we’d caught and stopped the various processes at work in her body, or simply bought a little time.

So I’ve been watching.  But it still took me by surprise when the change of season…mattered.

Apparently, it matters a lot.

Oh, there are details.  And developments. Things that came up suddenly over the weekend, bringing tears and denial and slow acceptance.

In truth, there’s no single thing going on with Rena Beagle that it isn’t possible to overcome, either for me or for her.  But in aggregate, they are an enlarging mountain.  And meanwhile I’m watching her fall apart, piece by piece, right before my eyes.

It’s the other side of the coin again.

And in my mind I’ve left enough to know that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

A bad goodbye, for me and mine, is one that comes too late.  One that drags on.  One that would rather watch a little princess dog fall apart piece by piece than do the necessary thing.

And any way I look, I've only seen that I can't leave you With a bad goodbye.

And any way I look, I’ve only seen that I can’t leave you
With a bad goodbye.

Today I do the necessary thing.

(“A Bad Goodbye,” Clint Black)

Jun 042014

by Doranna

cb.dogwalkbay.crop.0058Qualifying!  Winning!  Titles!  W00t!  Rah!

Because hey, that stuff is fun.  It’s lots of fun.  The green Q ribbon is a revered thing.  Add a bit of placement ribbon color and…you know…


But if it was the only marker of success, I can’t imagine many of us would keep training, keep entering…keep running.  Keep on with our little public humility lessons.  Because with some dogs, those placement ribbons never come, and with others, the Q ribbons are a rarity, and with still others, the lessons in humility are ongoing. Continue reading »

May 062014

yymm.dd.dart.storycover.28.NOT.SMDart, as usual, is teaching me lessons.

All three of the dogs stay pretty active, like little elementary school kids with a stack of play dates.  However, Connery is a mature boy with lots of seasoning who never did need a ton of proofing, while Rena is on a hiatus from most things (another story altogether.)

Meanwhile, Dart is a spark-bright boy who lives intensely, notices everything, out-thinks himself at every turn, and needs extensive proofing in all possible circumstances.  He needs to do, not to practice doing.

But there are only so many opportunities to do, especially in this area.  So when they come along, we make the most of them. Continue reading »

Mar 052014

A Blue Hound Beagles Blog

(A Dog Agility Blog Event: Starting your puppy)

0405.31.connery.bone.19Talk about awesome reinforcement timing!  This past month, in some weird universal coincidence, big lots of people (okay, a couple) asked me exactly this–when did I start training?  How?  And now here we are, officially chatting about it for the Blog Event!

So here’s my easy answer:  I start my puppies the moment they come home.

Now, anyone who’s gasping, “She puts her puppies over jumps/on the a-frame/dogwalk/WHUTEVER” should just slap their own heads.   Just pause right now and take care of that little chore for me.
Continue reading »

Dec 292013

by Doranna


badwordWe probably all have our Worst Words.  That one’s mine.

It means, roughly, disease without known cause.*

*PS That we have no idea how to treat because really, nothing truly works and good luck with that.

Over the years, all of my Lyme symptoms have been idiopathic (and now that they’re not, no one knows how to fix them anyway). Continue reading »

Dec 212013

by Doranna

For the past six weeks, Rena Beagle has been on a rabbit-only diet.

Here’s something that most people don’t ponder very often:  rabbit is a lean meat.  A leeeean meat.  It is not, in fact, enough of anything but lean meat to keep a little girl Beagle going, even when fed whole prey.

(Yes, we got her whole ground rabbit, from the most awesome Hare Today.  Every bit of said rabbit put through the grinder.  And don’t let anyone ever tell you that a dog can’t hork up a hairball.)

So Rena, on her rabbit food, quickly lost weight.  Soon I was giving her twice her normal portion just to maintain what weight she had left, and finally I got her a tummy warmer to wear all the time.

(Sometimes she uses a Dart warmer.)


And let us not talk about what rabbit costs.  No.  Seriously.  I don’t want to think about it.  NA NA NA NA I CAN’T HEAR YOU ASKING.*

Continue reading »

Dec 112013

by Doranna & the Blue Hound Beagles
A Dog Agility Blog Event.  Sort of.

dogblogLast week the Dog Agility event went off as scheduled…without me.  Life Chaos came to something of a head last week (if one of many), and I regretfully not only didn’t manage the deadline, I didn’t even get started.

But this past weekend, I attended an agility trial that reminded me just how much the mental game matters.

As in, when your mental game is blown away, it changes everything about how you handle the events of a trial. Continue reading »