Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 2009 dog wash

First the backstory.
We have a new community dog park, Estabrook, that held a Halloween costume contest. Diesel, Marvin, and I entered. Diesel and Marvin were Thing 1 and Thing 2 and I was the Cat in the Hat. Lucky for us we won second place! Our prize was a gift certificate to a local dog wash and coffee shop, Community Bark in Bayside.

On to today ...
There is no better way to start a new year that with clean beagles. Off we went to Community Bark. With our gift certificate we were treated to two SelfBark dog washes for Diesel and Marvin and an espresso drink each for Mark and I.
It was very well organized and the beagles weren't too awfully tortured by the experience. They even had "blueberry facials."

A very happy 2010 from Mark and I and the Blueberry Beagles!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Glad tidings 2009

A blessed Christmas to all and may 2010 bring bountiful love, joy, and laughter.
Love, Jackie, Mark, Diesel, and Marvin :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A woolly bear blessing

Last night I couldn't fall asleep. This doesn't happen often at all, and when it does I have little patience. Things have been going so well for what feels like a long time. But last night a skeleton came out of the closet and tapped me on the shoulder to let me know it may be time to conquer a new (and specific) challenge – something I've been more than happy to keep locked away for five years now. I may be forced to grow and it won't be comfortable at first. I may even procrastinate a bit more.

So I tossed and turned and turned and tossed.

At 1AM I got up to use the bathroom. Marvin had been in his crate sleeping in the living room and when I went back to the bedroom he followed behind me. (Mark was snug on the couch after having fallen asleep watching TV so I left him there to snooze.) Now, keep in mind dogs don't sleep on our bed. They take up too much room with the stretching and bed-hogging. It was a pact Mark and I made right from the beginning.

But last night I couldn't resist. I needed comforting. I picked Marvin up and put him next to me. He curled up like a woolly bear caterpillar, let out a deep sigh, and lulled me to sleep with his breathing.

Exactly the comfort I needed.


Please note the similarities:

Woolly bear caterpillar (photo courtesy of

Marvin, complete with bands of color, like the caterpillar

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A creature unlike any other

Marvin goes from Point A …

… to Point B.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Lucky us!

Today we are celebrating two years of Marvin. Happy Adoption Day, young man! Thank you for all the smiles you've put on my face.

Mmmm ... brussel sprouts ...

Diesel, Mark, and I joined Marvin for a long walk through the woods. Long enough that he was happy to collapse in his chair once we got back and snooze away the rest of the afternoon. Until it was time for supper anyway.

Do I hear kitchen noises?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BREW Beaglefest 2009

Diesel taking in the view from dog aunt, Wendy's, lap.

Leave it to my beagle boys to hop up on the tables to "assist" with the volunteer and adoption info! Actually, I wouldn't have expected anything less from our little BREW alum, Marvin ...

... but Diesel? Diesel, you are usually a four-paws-on-the-ground kind of dog!

Marvin chooses which gift basket he'd like to bid on.

Marvin, if you were helping with the raffle why didn't we win?

Marvin with his friend, Nicole, the BREW volunteer who did our phone interview as we were going through the approval process. Nicole and I definitely connected!

And finally, Marvin spending quality time with his foster mama, Toscha. Toscha not only rescued and named Marvin (after her grandpa!), she's BREW Midwest's co-director which means she rescues LOTS of beagles. I can never quite express how much we love Toscha!

My favorite photo from the day. Loving these big-hearted, happy little hounds ... that's what it's all about.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Diesel's second CPE trial

CPE trials – what a fun way to spend quality time with Diesel! This last Sunday we entered a trial in Round Lake Beach, IL. We entered three classes – Wildcard, Standard, and Jumpers, all Level 1.

Below are videos of our Standard and Jumpers runs. Standard was my favorite despite the fact that we had 33 faults (!) due to a blown contact on the dog walk and going well over time. But you'll notice Diesel is bouncing around and excited which is why it's my favorite run.
When I saw the judge, also a beagle mum, in the hall later she even pointed out that he did great with no sniffing and lots of enthusiasm. I'm glad we made a good impression – it's not all about winning ribbons!

I'll add more stories later, but for now here are the videos.

Standard Level 1

Jumpers Level 1

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The scene when I returned from the grocery store

Strange because I didn't think we allowed beagles on the furniture!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So proud of my tri-color boy

(An update – at long last!)

Shortly after we adopted Marvin back in June of 2007, I felt that agility would be a good match for he and I so we've been taking weekly classes since October 2007. I enrolled Diesel in three or four 8-week sessions too, to be fair and to enjoy the same sense of teamwork with him as well. But Marvin, in my mind, was my "agility dog".

When Diesel performed the obstacles I was never 100% sure if his speedy scuttling up and over was him showing crazy enthusiasm or if he was scurrying quickly because he "just wanted to get them over with" because he was a little scared. Between that, and the fact that Diesel tends to be a bit insecure and overwhelmed in crowded situations, I just never imagined him being comfortable at an agility trial. So Marvin remained my "agility dog". Marvin is fearless and Marvin is definitely agile.

As my regular readers know, I've also been assisting agility classes for nearly a year. Before doing this I hadn't really taken the idea of competing in a trial all that seriously. After all, I have beagles. Although we've worked through any distractions at our regular hall, my "agility dog" can get very distracted in new environments. Read that as sniffing. He sniffs in new places. And once the sniffing starts his brain turns off to everything else.

But, as an assistant, the trialing bug began to bite. I registered with CPE. I studied their March premium, reading every word, for three weeks. Finally I decided I would take Marvin to a run-through at our main hall and if I could call him off of any potential sniffing on a regular basis, I would send in the entry form.

Well, it didn't work. My speckled boy was way over his threshold in this exciting new place and once we were out on the floor he surfed the perimeter of the room, nose to the ground, even squeezing his flexible body between barriers and getting to the other side of the ring. I couldn't call him back. I could only guide him back with his collar, where he would do maybe two or three obstacles with me but then take off sniffing again.

That's alright. The trials can wait. I'll focus on bringing Marvin to more run-throughs in other locations until we're on the same page.

Except the bug had bitten and the trial was in less than a week.


That Monday I brought Diesel to class with me after six months off. He remembered everything and he had FUN! Sure, he was a bit slower on the weaves as we hadn't practiced in a while, and, yes, the teeter is still a bit scary – but this is Level 1 CPE. No weaves and no teeter.

I overnighted my entry form. Diesel was now my "agility dog". Sure, there was the chance that he would sniff in a new environment but I was much more confident he'd stay with me. The night before the trial Diesel and I went to a CPE run-through and I practiced as though we were at the trial. I kept him focused nearly constantly with hand targeting and tricks and "watch me" and rewarded him with treats. Our first time on the floor he sniffed a little to the point that I felt that if we "Q"'d he'd make me work for it. But our second time out he was a star!


Trial day arrived. Alarm went off at 4AM and Diesel and I were on the road by 5:45 to drive the hour and 20 minutes to the trial. I wasn't the least bit nervous – in fact I was grinning from ear to ear with excitement – until 10 minutes before we arrived. It quickly passed as I entered the building and was greeted by some of the friendliest people I've ever met in my time around dog people (this is why CPE is such a perfect venue to start trialing). I tucked my crate and chair alongside the ring barrier for a perfect view and went to the car to retrieve Diesel.

We walked through the door and he was shaking. Scared beagle! I immediately sent him through a series of tricks and cues treating him with super high-value snacks for being so brave. He relaxed right away and had a great time playing. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I could tell that he trusted that he would be okay. I was so proud of that alone.

Since it was our first trial I and I didn't want it to be too overwhelming for either Diesel or I, I only entered two classes – Standard and Colors. The higher levels of Standard were first so I tucked Diesel into his crate and I settled in my chair to watch the action.


The rest of the story I will tell through photos, with a heartfelt photo credit to follow …

Standard – Level 1

Colors – Level 1

The trial was a huge success – second place in both classes we entered and two qualifying scores! Way to go, Diesel, my hero!


I was treated to another huge bonus. One of the Monday night students whom I've known since she was in beginning agility with her little pug, Gus, decided she wanted to see what a trial was like. Just as the first class of the day was starting, Kris and her husband, Scott, arrived. I had a feeling, but I wasn't sure, that Kris is a photographer. As you can see above she brought her camera and generously captured our entire experience. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, not only to have these treasured photos, but also to know that I now have two new cherished friends. Thank you ever so much Kris (who's last name I'm purposely not posting because I'm not sure how she'd feel about that :)