Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My Poor Fred

I take Fred to the vet for his health screening for the Delta Society Pet Partners program. What a great charitable reason for a vet visit, huh? Some of my bad weekend luck must have leaked over.

I get to the vet and stand in the entry hall. On the dog side is a pit bull leaping and jumping at the entry door. I keep Fred close and wait for the handler to get the dog under control. I am hoping that he takes the dog to a chair across the room, away from the door. Fred is 100 lbs. and long. They aren't leaving too much room between the door and the chair. I wait. They stay in their seat. It appears that the pit bull is under the handler's control. So I open the door and Fred and I enter.

Fred wants to sniff the dog's nose. I have him on a very short lead, but his body is so long, that all he has to do is get one step ahead of me (his shoulder in front of my leg) and turn his neck toward the other dog. That's what he does, and the other dog didn't like it. Fred's nose gets about 2 inches from the other dog's nose and it leaps out and bites Fred on the nose. Not only does it bite him, but it holds on. This dog has got Fred's nose in it's mouth, Fred is crying in pain, and the pit bull doesn't let go. Finally the handler gets the dog to release. I mean, this wasn't a quick bite and release warning. This dog grabbed and held on.

Fred is bleeding all over the lobby as we quickly move to the other side of the room. I look at Fred's nose and see the bleeding and scratches. I say, "oh no!" as the vet and vet techs come running. They move me into a waiting room immediately. As we go, I turn to look at the handler and I say (not angrily), "You know, you could have moved your dog to the other chair, away from the door, if your dog could be dog aggressive." The woman at the counter looks at me angrily and says, "That is MY dog, and she has never been aggressive to any other dog before!" I look at her and reply only, "Okay." Really thinking, Well now you have a dog aggressive dog on your hands. Good luck.

Fred didn't seemed too phased by the bite. I don't think he understands what happened to him. He was still happy with all the people and attention. He was in pain and kept wanting to be close to me, but he never seemed scared or aggressive himself. He's an amazing dog. I got a free exam because of the ordeal.

The other dog's owner had to stay for Animal Control to come to take a report. This dog now has a report filed on it, so I feel better. What I really hope is that the owner is more careful with who handles her dog and she is more aware of the dog aggressive tendencies that are bred into pit bulls. I hate it that it was a pit bull that bit Fred. I especially hate it because we own a pit mix and hate the reputation to be justified. We trust Stella, and yet we make sure we keep her out of any situation that could lead to bad things like dog aggression. Because you never know with the breeding. We don't even let Stella and Fred stay together during the day. They are separated unless we are with them. We don't know what Fred might do to piss her off and what she would do to him if she "lost it". That is being a responsible owner. I don't feel this woman at the vet's office was a responsible owner. My vet said that the dog will have to muzzled whenever it comes back to their office. I hope the woman now internalizes that she has a dog aggressive dog. Again, this dog bit and held on; it didn't do a warning nip or quick bite. That's being dog aggressive. Scary.

Fred's wounds are healing well. I'm not sure if he will have any scarring. The vet said there is a chance. Time will tell if he becomes more wary of other dogs around him. So far I haven't noticed any change in him.

Please, everyone, be responsible pet owners!

Just Call Me Chip

My first trailer "accident" happened Saturday, June 18. By the way, this was also my first full day of real ownership of Zoe. I officially bought her on June 17! I was loading up the baby to go to a clinic and she decided to act up -- would go willingly into the trailer and then back out just as fast. We worked on getting her to stay in the trailer once loaded. It took about 15 minutes of smacking her on the butt every time she thought she would shoot out the back. Finally she stayed quietly in the trailer.

Well, until I went to close the butt bar. Just at the moment I was about to hook the bar with the small metal exposed piece that slides into the lock, she stepped back. And of course the damn metal end of the butt bar hit me right in my left front tooth. Blew the corner of the tooth away. Thankfully it didn't hurt one bit. I never felt an impact or had any pain. It just made a clean hit, enough to explode the corner of the tooth into my mouth.

Zoe should thank her stars I didn't have a knife or gun in my other hand. She would be hamburger on the driveway. Instead, I calmly took her the rest of the way out of the trailer and put her in her stall. I was fuming inside. I called my husband to tell him what happened -- I hadn't even looked at the tooth yet. I really wanted to know if I had to go to an emergency room or if I could go on to the clinic and get dental attention on Monday. Since it wasn't that serious - no pain, no blood, most of the tooth still there - we decided I could wait. So I loaded up the horses and went on to the clinic.

Ends up that chipping a tooth was only the beginning of a bad day.

Warming up Jimmy for his lesson, he is fine. Wait 5 miuntes as I chat with the trainer, and when we start again he is limping. What the...!?! We decide it is better not to work him. So I am out $50 and a much needed lesson before next weekend's show.

I'm warming up Zoe on the longe with side reins. All is going well. She looks great. She picks up the canter and throws in a few bucks. And breaks the outside side rein. Damn. More $$ going out my pocket because of that horse!

At dinner that night we are having a good time. I've had 2 glasses of wine. After dessert I am standing at the counter talking. One hand gesture and I break an empty wine glass on the beautiful marble countertop. Damn.

I go to bed and hope that's the end of my bad luck.

Next day, horses load picture-perfect coming and going. That's the way it should have happened yesterday. Jimmy is fine for his lesson and we have a good ride. I still need to work on my simple change through the walk. He's a plow! Zoe is wonderful. She longes perfectly (in borrowed side reins). David rides her for the first time in canter. How beautiful! And she is so well-behaved and accepting! It was a good day.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Tuesday, June 14th was our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. Unfortunately, I was totally overbooked and barely got to spend any time with my husband. That was awful and next year I will make sure to take our anniversary off so that I am sure to have time to spend with him! He even made a gorgeous, yummy dinner and then I was almost an hour late getting home, so he ate without me and my food was cold (it was still yummy!).

Needless to say, the anniversary wasn't that memorable, but the next day we spent 3 hours talking on Instant Messenger (maybe the reason I had to work until 8 PM that night!) and had great sex that night. And the next day. And the next...and....

I love my husband very much and would never want to live this life without him.

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Tomorrow's the Big Day

It's been a slow week with the horses. I have been extra busy and also paid some attention to the dogs. I am excited about one accomplishment this week. Fred and I have been certified as Delta Pet Partners. I attended the handler training workshop on Saturday (8 AM to 5 PM!) and Fred was evaluated (and passed!) on Sunday. It was fun and now Fred and I can visit nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other places a therapy dog may be beneficial. We get an official badge and dog tag, and we are covered by the Delta Society insurance.

The people in the workshop were all women, which is pretty typical. For the most part they were nice, but one in particular rubbed me a little the wrong way. It's hard to pinpoint why I felt that way. I guess I didn't really like the way she talked about her dog. Of course everyone wants to share stories about their beloved pet, but she just told strange stories. For instance, the dog loves small children but has some other behaviorial things that, to me, made it unreliable. I don't know if the dog passed the evaluation or not. I saw the dog waiting for the evaluation and it was a fluffy border collie mix. Supposedly it is a laid back dog, but breeding would suggest otherwise. Anyway, I shouldn't judge. I hope they were successful and they bring happiness to people's hearts when they visit.

So that was my weekend, meaning that there was no time for riding. I spent a lot of time at the barn cleaning the strange scrapes on Jimmy and Zoe's hocks. Luckily the scrapes are healing better now that they are being cleaned regularly. I was worried that it was some kind of fungus or something, but it appears to be just some similar scrapes they got from somewhere in their paddock. Scrubbing with Betadine and spraying with Blue-Kote seems to be doing the trick.

The other things that took my time away from the barn:

I took a vacation day on Monday and spent the entire day and evening cleaning the house. Really. And it's not that noticeably cleaner either. Argh. I'm trying to get the house in shape for when a friend comes to visit at the end of this month. I need more vacation time to prepare for vacation!

Tuesday I had to clean 4 stalls and feed the horses then go to the last agility class of the term with Fred. I couldn't miss that! Fred loves agility. When I got to the class I was sure I wouldn't take any dog classes for the rest of the summer. I took Fred to 2 classes this term and assisted a class. It was too much. It kept me from the barn on Mondays and Tuesdays. I'm trying to prepare for the shows and keep Zoe on her training schedule. The horses win out over the dogs in priority.....

I had to work late. Didn't leave the office until 8 PM. :-(

Pilates until 6:30 PM. Then I got to ride Jimmy! After almost a week off, he still warmed up well and did everything nicely. I was worried about making him sore, so I didn't work him too hard. We have another clinic this weekend.

Pre-Clinic Cocktails. I'll drink instead of ride! But the BIG NEWS is that at lunch time on Friday, I will officially buy Zoe!

Oh, I also want to record that I had my second solo ride on Zoe last week! We only went off into the grass once. (that's an improvement) At first I was worried she was going to be difficult because when we walked along the edge of the arena by the grass she really wanted to eat it. I didn't let her eat and she was shaking her head and shaking her head. We kept on, and eventually she started concentrating on riding forward with me. She still feels like a drunken sailor underneath me, but she is so sensitive and floaty. It is a blast riding her. I'm looking forward to riding her in the clinic this weekend and cantering for the first time!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

First Solo Ride

I rode Zoe Saturday without "supervision". I'm getting tired of waiting to have someone present so that I can ride the baby. I don't have the luxury of having someone around the barn when I am there. So finally I decided to take the risk.

Zoe is doing great on the longe line since I took the stirrups off. (See earlier post.) She still likes to canter the best and it takes some asking to get her to transition back down to a trot, but she is listening better and is more relaxed. I'm happpy with her improvements on the longe. So after longing her I climbed on. Steering is still lacking, so a few times she trotted right out of the arena onto the grass. We just turned right back to the arena. I rode her only for about 10 minutes at walk and trot. She really was an angel. I will probably ride her more often now.

I think I have the Second, One memorized now. Jimmy and I practiced it on Saturday. The only movement I forgot was the medium canter after the collected circle. I'm excited we'll have it down for June 25. Reading over First, Four now makes that test seem so easy! But my problem is losing my focus during the test and messing up that way. I am determined to have good rides on the 25th. Jimmy is ready for it!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A-C Serpentine three equal loops width of arena, no change of lead.

I got my entry ready to mail for the June 25th show. I am definitely riding Second Level, Test 1 even though my trainer said that is the most difficult test of the level. It's part of the Adult Amateur award program, so I have to try it. If I get high score on it at 3 shows this year, I qualify for National Champion. It's a small, small possibility, but it is fun to try for it anyway. I'd get a medal and a gift certificate at the show anyway. Wouldn't it be cool to get that? Better than a plastic curry comb.

Zoe is still doing great. She isn't rushing like a maniac anymore, but she does still have the habit of speeding up. I think she is getting over it. Thank god I didn't ruin her and it was just the banging stirrups. I finally broke down this weekend and bought Zoe a new bridle. The gawd-awful nylon thing she had was just soooo bad. I mean, I know I am going to buy her next month anyway. So now she has a Lemetex from Switzerland with flash noseband. It fits her well and she seems to like it just fine.

I haven't been able to ride Zoe since before the clinic. I am getting a bit anxious to be riding her more, so I am very near starting to ride her on my own. I don't think anything will happen, but with babies it is so unpredictable. I just haven't gotten the nerve up yet to risk riding solo the first few times. After that, I am sure it won't be a big deal at all. I guess if she is going to throw me or injure me, it should be before I buy her. Then I can always not buy her.... Well, I don't like that idea anyway.

Jimmy has been doing well, as usual. I am surprised how much we improve each time we ride. I ask him to do more and he does it. I learn something new, and he does it. Last night as I was leaving the barn I was wishing Jimmy would never get any older. I would be happy with life if we could have this working partnership for the rest of our lives. He brings me so much joy, confidence, and satisfaction. I owe this horse so much. So it is sad for me in a way to bring along this youngster as a "replacement" horse. It makes me go slow with her, which is probably to her benefit. I do hope she is another Jimmy and that this time because I know more, she and I will be able to go further than Jimmy was able to take me.

But what am I talking about? That sounds like past tense already when I refer to Jimmy. There is no telling yet how far Jimmy will take me, so I better not start writing him off yet.

In other news, I inadvertently blew off the dog agility class on Tuesday. I can't believe I thought this week's class was cancelled, when it is really next week's that is. I feel bad about it because Fred enjoys the class so much. I hate to make him miss something he loves to do. I didn't tell him my mistake, so maybe I get away with it this time. It just means we better practice the next two weeks.

I'm trying to decide how much dog training stuff I should do this summer. I really feel the horses pulling me away from the dog training. I'd like to take a break from the dog classes, but I'm supposed to teach one this fall, so I am afraid of being away for 3 months. I still have to decide.

Pilates last week was fun. It seems easy, but I think that start us out doing easy stuff. I think my core is pretty strong from riding and the other work I do, so they need to take it up a notch tonight. These semi-private lessons are expensive, so I do want to be sore the next day!

Signing out.........