Thursday, January 31, 2008

6-pole weave practice

This is Marvin and I in our basement practicing weaves.

One weekend I got creative with PVC and made weave poles and a jump following a really great do-it-yourself link I found online. So now we can practice whenever we want to. I have enough PVC to build a 12-pole set but I don't have enough basement ... that is unless I get serious about cleaning the basement. So we'll stick with our six poles for now!

I also have enough PVC (and enough basement) to build a second jump so hopefully we'll be doing two-jump drills soon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Halved: a video outtake

Over the weekend, when Mark and I were in our computer room, we looked out to the hallway to see half of Diesel staring at us. He was still ... just resting and watching us, no movement at all outside of the occasional blink of his eyes.

Mark commented that the scene was worthy of a photo and I, too, had the same thought. Diesel has never been a fan of the camera. When it appears he inevitably walks away, apparently thinking we are about to steal his very soul with the mechanism pointed in his direction. Knowing this, we quietly removed the camera from the desk and it's case ... never making eye contact with Diesel, being as stealth and unconcerned as possible so he wouldn't catch on.

Luck was on our side as Mark aimed at the beagle but, wait, what? oh no! it was set to VIDEO! We lost our chance ... or did we? We remained calm and deliberate, changed the camera setting, and managed to get one slightly out-of-focus shot (see previous post) before the beagle was on to us and left the scene.

My favorite part of this blooper, the part that made me write a post about it, was Mark downheartedly saying "oh, now he's wagging" as though once the wagging starts the entire universe may as well explode ... it's so ALL OVER for us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Half of Diesel, deep in thought.


Speaking of thinking ...

Thank you to our beagle friends, Jazz and Dixie, for presenting us with our first ever award ... the 'Thinking Blogger Award'. Their reason was because of our wise decision to join DWB. You don't receive awards everyday so I believe it was a wise decision to join indeed. :)

Here are the rules attached to the Thinking Blogger Award:

1. You must write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. (No squirrel or cat blogs, they'll just make you hungry.)
2. Acknowledge and link to this post.
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.
4. Tell your humans to fork over the treats!

Since it's all about thinking, I would like to pass on this award to five rescue dogs. Think about it: There are so many homeless dogs deserving the chance of a loving, forever home. Diesel and Marvin were both strays taken in by rescue groups and we were fortunate enough to find them through I can't imagine their fate if it weren't for the selfless people involved in their rescue and fostering.

So, with rescue being the common denominator, my picks are:

Velcro, the Australian Cattle Dog (we just met yesterday!) – she's a lovely shade of orange. I love orange.

Eddie, Bella, and Peaches – thank you for stopping by our blog and adding us to yours! AND you have a link to BREW ... Marvin is a BREW beagle.

Graham and Tilly, with memories of Prince – I've been silently lurking on your blog, discovering you through Patience. My husband is from Leicester so I love reading your posts from "over the pond".

Daizy and George – new blogger! Their mum rescued me via e-mail from tearful morning walks with two crazy, tugging beagles – a great friend. Plus she's currently fostering a young beagle boy as well as caring for her beagles and pug, Taiki

Jake (he doesn't know us yet either!) – nice agility links on his blog ... a very handsome and talented Lurcher from Scotland.

By the way, you won't hurt my feelings if you choose not to participate (it required me to do quite some thinking to compile this list of blogs!) ... I mainly wanted to acknowledge you, fellow bloggers, and thank you for rescuing your pups.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let the truth be told

Okay, Marvin really isn't a football fan. And I'm not just saying this because Green Bay lost (which was unfortunate).

Like our friends who left comments on the post suggested, it was the green headband that looked so very charming on the boy that inspired me to take photos and tell a story. That, and the fact that I might impress my sister and her family for posting about the Packers because they *are* true football fans!

The truth is Marvin did wear the headband around his neck throughout the duration of the game. However, he was curled up in a tight dog ball in his crate in the bedroom the entire three hours we had the game on TV in the living room.

So now you know. You can't necessarily believe what you read on the internet. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Who would have thought?

Marvin is a Packer backer!

He spent the day patiently waiting for kick-off and supporting his team by wearing his warm neck wrap.

We can't quite figure out where he got this interest in football. Neither I (his dog mum), his dog dad, or Diesel follow the game.

Diesel wonders what all the fuss is about.

But between all the hype on the local news and Marvin's spirit, we've got our eyes glued to the NFC championship on TV. It's -1° at Lambeau Field. How do they do it?

Go Green Bay!

Friday, January 18, 2008

6° and dropping

This morning before the boys and I ventured out for our earlier-than-early walk, the television said it was 6°F. Do you believe that? That's not the worst of it though as it's forecasted to be a high of 4° tomorrow and 8° on Sunday (today is going to be a whooping 22°). I won't even mention the lows, but I will tell you there is a minus in front of the numbers.

Diesel is surprisingly tolerant of low temperatures (except when a paw freezes) but Marvin, having virtually no body fat and a thinner coat, wants nothing to do with the cold early walks. He did all his business within three minutes and planted his feet, only to walk again when I turned back in the direction of the house. Diesel and I dropped him off and took our regular walk. I think Diesel liked having his dog mum to himself because he walked very nicely at my side checking in frequently to see if I might be interested in handing him a treat or two. And of course I did.

Once home, breakfast was eaten by all and, as I got ready for work, the beagles settled in to a dog's life:

Tighter dog balls couldn't be had. Marvin (top photo), in an attempt to cover himself up, buried under his mat on the dog pillow. It didn't work all that well so I helped them out by covering them with their car towels.

It's almost 1PM and I'm about to run home for lunch. I bet they haven't moved a muscle.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We're learning together

Last Monday (January 7) Dog Aunt Wendy came to agility class with Marvin and I and she brought her camera. What a lovely surprise! She took videos.

First run. Oh, things were looking good. Marvin ran enthusiastically and was full of wags. (Never mind the missed contact on the A-frame, oops!) We arrived at the final set of three jumps. "Easy!," I thought, but Marvin was more interested in the treat in my right hand than following the lead of my left hand over the jumps. What I love is how he's so focused, even if it's on the treat. He's right there with me. We finished to applause in the end. Now, look at me at the very end walking back to our seat, ditching the beagle. He's sitting there wondering what to do next! Note to self: Be as attentive to the beagle as the beagle is to you.

Second run. My favorite. We were instructed to run silently ... no verbal direction, just body language. We all discovered that our dogs ran the best this way. Dogs are masters of body language. Note to self: We will do best if I keep my mouth shut! :)

Third run. We ran the course in the reverse direction. After some initial snouting beagle-style it turned out to be our best run. But did you notice all the hub-bub after Marvin did the A-frame the first time? Yes, that was me forgetting what comes next. I remember thinking "forward cross, I need to do a forward cross after the A-frame, before the next jump." Little did I realize I already did the forward cross automatically ... a classic case of thinking too hard and not trusting my instincts. Note to self: Believe in the beagle. Believe in myself.

So nothing was clean, but I've been watching the videos over and over again for clues on how to improve my handling. Marvin knows the obstacles fairly well, it's up to me to communicate clearly and in a timely manner.

But in watching the videos, what actually stands out to me the most is that the boy is having fun.

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The wumpus

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The transformation to a swan

Jazz and Dixie's comment about sleeping dog poses on our last post reminded me of a small set of Marvin photos I haven't yet shared. Typically Diesel and Marvin sleep in the classic dog ball pose, a.k.a. the beagle bagel. Because Marvin is a long and narrow dog he has the ability to contort a bit ...

Marvin, resting in a classic dog ball.

When disturbed, a swan appears to better survey the surroundings yet still rest head on own hip. Mark dubbed this "swan dog".

Swan, as seen from above.

Swan – direct side view.

We've never witnessed Diesel transform to a swan. I don't think he has the build to allow such contortion – certainly not a fault. Even with weekly yoga classes I wouldn't be able to perform such a feat myself.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Starting a new year ...

... with Diesel!

Today is the second anniversary of our adopting Diesel. Our celebration has been rather subdued, much like our New Year's Eve celebration last night. We took the most pleasure in spending time with the boys at the dog park, watching Diesel antagonize his beagle brother until a chase ensued. It seems to me we have a couple happy dogs on our hands.

And as I type this, they are curled in tight dog balls in their beds.

Diesel is a blessing to us.

May 2008 bring you many blessings, doggie and otherwise. Happy New Year!