Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Some of the Team Applewoods got together today for a photo shoot.  They wish all of you a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Plan for 2011

Off and on, year after year, I rant about the terrible shape dog ownership is in.  It gets blamed on first one sort of animal rights group after another.  The rant continues as one truly awful bill becomes a law after another. Doors continue to be slammed shut on dog owners and of course this past year has seen the black death of animal hate spread to all our farm animals as well.  Things sure do look bleak, and yet, and yet...

A few days ago I sent a post to a small email group I belong to in response to the current and seemingly prevailing view that any sort of formal dog obedience is somehow useless.  Here is my response to that thread.

I freely acknowledge the fact that the commonly held belief of those who don't understand what a true golden treasure AKC obedience offers are the ones who are the loudest in their insistence the trials are not necessary, not wanted, of no use, etc.

This stance is not a new one; it's just that in the last few years it has sadly become the most prevalent one.

As an obedience instructor just what do obedience trials offer you? The answer is they offer you a way to check your skills AS AN INSTRUCTOR. Of course, you will need to understand the rules and make sure your students are properly prepared prior to entering. What you will find (IF) you do your job well, is that your top students will always have scores in the mid-190 range and your average students will have scores in the 180 range. Your poor students will take twice as long to achieve a Companion Dog title and they will do it with scores in the 170 range. All of them will be proud of what they have done and most will want to continue with more advanced training.

As a trainer just what do obedience trials offer you? The answer is they offer you a way to check your training skills. They help to keep you intellectually honest. If you are training dogs for others they serve as a way to insure you are turning out a top quality product and one that has been proven by your peers in as unbiased a manner as possible. All this will do is bring you more business.

As an owner what better way to test your skills, hone your abilities, get to show off, pick up some bragging rights and just generally improve your overall relationship with your dog.

People fear what they don't know. Lazy people never manage to make it through the door when it comes to entering that upper level of a human/dog relationship. A relationship only achieved by learning and then teaching and then finally molding yourself and your dog into a smoothly working team. Once a smooth team, the obedience ring brings so much joy and pleasure to both team members.

Truly it is a shame so many of those in the very best position to bring back well trained dogs as the norm refuse to take part in doing so. Leave the "skinner-box" mental attitude to those who don't train, but simply manage their dog through a few tricks. Take "real working dog" attitude with you and step in that ring. You will love the difference.

What I have seen happen here consistently for more than 40 years is that the good trainers train for everyday life, spend 2 weeks to 2 months learning ring skills and then step in the Novice ring and clean-up. They come back from those trials walking taller, talking softer and hooked on dog training. They are the hope of our(your) future. Continue to fail them as many of you have been and within the next 10 years it will all be gone and so will your rights to even own a dog, never mind actually train one.
My reason for reposting is with the hope of stirring up some action.  Not just a comment or two, not even a post or two elsewhere, but real, honest-to-goodness action. 

This is what I want for 2011, not just for me but for all dog owners, dog trainers, dog obedience instructors.

  1. I want to hear from dog obedience instructors who are honestly looking for ideas that will get dog ownership back on the right track.
  2. I want to hear from those of you who are already starting to be successful in some small way. 
  3. I want to hear from you with each successful step forward your students take. 
  4. I want to read about how one dog trainer in one town managed to use the success of a couple of students to gain 4 more students, and then used those 4 students to gain 8 more students and the 8 in turn became 16, etc.
  5. I want to hear about how all those students took their well mannered and well trained dogs off to some AKC trials and earned not just Companion Dog titles, but first places, and yes even a High In Trial or two along the way.
  6. I want to have the pleasure of reading about how 8 of the original 16 have now mastered the real test of a good owner and taught their dogs to retrieve.  Not just a dumbbell in a sterile environment, but real retrieve work in the real world.
  7. I want to find out that the 8 students who taught the retrieve also understood the true importance of teaching the Broad Jump as well as the other requirements of a Companion Dog Excellent title and they all earned the right to put the letters CDX after their dog's name.
  8. And being the greedy sort I am, I want to find out that of the 8 students who earned a CDX, 4 of them are now true dog training students and are working on the oh so technical skills necessary to train a real UTILITY dog.  That way, they really have a wonderful and useful dog at home and in the community and a dog that has the right to the letters UD after his name.
  9. Of course, for 2012 I sure hope to learn that of the 4 who traveled all the way to Utility 2 of them go on and earn a UDX and one of them manages an OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion).
  10. My final wish? I want all those now successful dog owners to band together and march on their "city hall" and take back the freedoms that have been lost because of the animal rights movement.
Anyway, happy holiday season to all the rest of you.  May your leashes be well used and someday soon only be needed for safety reasons rather than because of some law.

Season's Greetings

Originally uploaded by samd517

Sanity on the right, Rugby in the middle and Jasmine on the left are helping me wish all of you a Happy Holiday season this 2010.

Come train with us next year and learn just how much fun dog training really can be.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Update Jean Cyhanick pledge

Below is the update from Walt Hutchens on where and how to send in your pledge dollars.  I've managed to scrape together $50.  I think there are 40 people who have signed up to read this blog on a regular basis.  Just think, if each of you only sent $10 that would mean an additional $400 to the fund.

And just think, if each of you matched me and sent $50 it would mean $2,000 added to the fund.  People, we must help Jean.  We must help Jean because the thought of her losing this case is just unthinkable.  Were she to lose due to lack of funds is even more unthinkable.  This case will directly effect each and every single one of us.  Not just breeders, be they volume or hobby, not just owners, but trainers, dog food manufacturers, vets, and every single person who has or will at some time in the future have a dog to help them, comfort them, be their unquestioning friend, the life that meets you at the start of every day with joy and makes you feel wanted when you come home in the evening.   Please make a donation to protect yourself from losing your dog to government theft, be it the dog you now own or one in the future.

Hi ...:

 WE HAVE ENOUGH PLEDGED TO PAY THE ATTORNEY FEE FOR JEAN'S APPEAL. Now we just have to get the money to the lawyer. Until it gets there, nothing will happen and there is a real deadline coming soon.

We will be able to pay the fee of $35,000 in time to make the deadline only by using part of a loan from a generous pet-law member. WE WILL HAVE TO PAY THAT LOAN BACK. There's also a good chance that a few people who pledged, will drop out. Some of you thought you'd be able to beat your pledge amount when you actually donated and IF YOU CAN SEND EXTRA, THAT WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.


 We HAVE NOT been able to arrange for PayPal. There are two ways to pay:


 A. 'Pay to' Black, Noland, and Read, P.L.C.

 B. Write the number '20100406.003' in the 'memo' area on your check.

 C. If your address isn't printed on your check, write it there.

 D. Put your return address in the usual place on the outside of the envelope.

E. Write 'WMK' in the lower left corner of the front of the envelope.

F. Mail to:
Black, Noland, and Read, P.L.C.
PO Box 1206
 Staunton, VA 24402

 OR -- if you prefer:


 A. Call between 8:30-12 OR 1-5 ET, any weekday.

 B. Have your card handy as they will take full information.

 C. Call BNR at: 1-540-885-0888

 D. Ask to speak with Whitney. If she's unavailable, the receptionist will

 know how to take your information.

 (Whitney is ALWAYS there, but ... just in case!)

 E. Say "I want to donate for the Jean Cyhanick appeal."

 F. Give credit card info as requested, ending with the amount you're donating.

 G. You will be asked for your mailing address as there is a notice that the lawyer has to send you.

The office will be closed Thursday-Friday, December 23-24, so 'sooner is better than later.'

While there can never be any guarantees for what happens in a courtroom, THIS IS A WINNABLE CASE. YOU are going to make it possible for Jean to try.

 We have a fine law firm and Tate C. Love is a fine lawyer: They're strongly committed to winning this appeal. It gets no better than that. THANK YOU.

And I know that Jean also thanks you from the bottom of her heart.

I will keep you informed as things progress, however progress in appeals cases is typically measured in months.

Walt Hutchens

Timbreblue Whippets
Puppycam most nights roughly 8-10 PM ET at:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jean Cyhanick pledge

If we as a group continue to sit on our hands and do nothing there will be no more dogs in 10 years.  Harsh?  Black helicopters in the sky? Another of Margot's "the sky is falling" rants?

Nope.  Not at all.  For background go to  If we as owners, trainers, breeders allow the travesty in Virginia to stand, then we will live to see the dog vanish from our homes, hearths, fields and hearts.  I'm not a breeder.  I don't even get to many dog trials/shows anymore, but I still have managed to pledge $50 from my very slim budget to help fight this battle.  It's my battle.  It's your battle. It's our battle.  Please make a pledge and then when they let us know where to send the money, actually sent what you pledged.


Here is what others are saying:
Not yet, but soon!

With the help of a generous loan from a pet-law member, we now know we
can do it. We would have to pay the loan amount back, so WE STILL NEED
PLEDGES but we no longer need to worry that we won't be able to pay
the attorney in time for him to make the filing deadline.

I have some details to clear up with the attorney's office which is
semi-closed today due to snow in the area. Then I have to write up the
payment instructions and get them ready to send to those who have
pledged; even with a good mailer, sending out almost 300 emails takes
some time.

I'll let the lists know when the instructions have been mailed.

WE DO STILL NEED PLEDGES. We're only able to make the $35,000 total
with the aid of the loan so WE CAN'T QUIT WHERE WE ARE.

The story of what happened to Jean is at:

in the second post. Those who want to pledge can email me at: waltah @ (take out the blanks). Instructions for where to send
payment will be emailed within a few days.

PLEASE GET 'Jean Cyhanick pledge' in your subject line so your email
doesn't get lost. I'm still finding pledges in out-of-the-way places
and I would hate to think that we'd lose any!

I've send out acknowledgements to most of those who have pledged: If
by Friday PM you haven't heard from me saying "Thank you" then please
send your pledge again.

I can't tell you how impressed I am at all the support you've given
Jean and this effort. While there are no guarantees, THIS IS A
WINNABLE CASE and Jean has a good attorney.

Don't think of this just as a court case: Appealing a verdict on a bad
law gets attention in the legislature, especially in the committees
that made that law happen. The legislative process is definitely
messy, but VA General Assembly members do want to get things right. A
law that comes back from an appeals court in a pine box is very likely
to get a stake through the heart in the Assembly.

You'll also be helping a breeder who did nothing wrong and had the
courage to face spending the rest of her life in prison in order to
prove it.


Walt Hutchens
Timbreblue Whippets

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Training by the Wish method revisited

Way back in August I posted about an incident that happened to one of my students and her dog while they were in the Novice A obedience ring doing stays. The following comment was just posted about that entry. However, I get the feeling the writer in question may have actually attempted to read some of my earlier blog entries. How many? Who knows, but it does appear to me that perhaps reading comprehension skills may not be quite up to par. Either that or my ability to tell the story using words, pictures and video is just not up to the task at hand.

So, first the comment:

Patty Sontag said...
It really sounds like many of the people posting think the only way to train a dog reliably is with force and harsh corrections. I trained my Kerry Blue to his UD with positive reinforcement - no ear pinches, collar corrections, prong collars or electronic collars. HE NEVER BROKE HIS STAYS, EVEN WHEN OTHER DOGS CAME UP TO HIM AND GOT IN HIS FACE. He NEVER NQ'd on stays on his way to his CD or CDX - NEVER! I proofed and proofed his stays and they were solid before I stepped foot in the ring - my instructor made sure of that. Perhaps other handlers, instead of showing their 9 month old puppies in Novice, should wait until their dogs are a bit more mature and have more self control before putting them in situations that they can't handle. I know I would certainly appreciate that. The problem isn't positive reinforcement, it's the people who are in such a big rush to get their OTCH by the time the dog is 2 or 3. Don't shoot the method, shoot the stupid person at the other end of the leash who has entered their dog WAY too early without being sure that their dog can handle the situation. Anyone who knew him wanted to be placed next to him - they knew he was solid. Unfortunately, I lost him to cancer 3 weeks ago and picked up his ashes this morning. He was one GREAT dog.

Now for my comments:

Dear Ms Sontag,

I am truly happy for you and your success with your Kerry Blue. I'm sure your hard work and patience brought you much closer to this dog of your heart than you have ever been before. I'm also so sorry for your loss and know that the grieving process is at best a difficult one and at times a seemingly endless process of grey and dreay days, followed by cold and sometimes sleepless nights.

Know that the grieving process will one day complete its course and your lost KB will take a special place in your memories. Meanwhile, time marches on in a most relentless fashion.

From your writing you leave the impression of a dog who was a middle of the pack sort of terrier who never actually turned on to his true terrier nature. In a word, he was a "cold" rather than "hot" terrier. It does sound as if this was an ideal sort of dog for you and where you were/are in you travel up life's hill.

Your stated way of showing a dog what you wish him to do with, to or for you does work with a small percentage of dogs with a very specific temperament type. It is not confined to just a few breeds, but can be found across the total broad spectrum of domestic canines. Just because you happened to be lucky enough to stumble on one does not in any way guarentee you will ever have another one with the same skill sets. What is most likely is that any and all dogs you own from this point on will be much closer to the norm.

I do remain curious about the nine month old puppy you mention. Is this someone you know? It certainly didn't have anything to do with the dogs belonging to the students I have blogged about. The main student dog in "Training by the Wish method" was a Yorkshire Terrier who was almost 10 YEARS old. The Kerry Blue that is the feature dog in the "Taming of the Beast" is almost 5 YEARS old.

Ellie the Yorkie was a throw-away dog who had also been labeled a special needs dog. It was claimed that she was dog aggressive, people aggressive and killed things smaller than herself. Brandy the Kerry Blue came only AFTER two other trainers had failed her, she had seriously injured more than one dog, managed to land a bite on a human and been labeled by her country of residence as potentially dangerous. Quite frankly I'm still waiting to be introduced to the trainer/owner/dog combo who has successfully rehab'ed a dog with these labels, put obedience titles on them and seen them move successfully back into their respcetive communities.

Where is Ellie today? She is a hard working "school" dog. Her job is to demo just how to go about the business of training a toy breed to behave like a proper dog rather than a battery powered toy. She also helps train all the children who come here. With her help they are able to learn good, careful, thoughtful, kind handling skills. Skills that will go far to help them in many areas of their lives in the future. Oh, and yes she did finish that C.D. with a second first place and a HIGH IN TRIAL. Most of the time we think she is a very fine little critter. On occasion she slips back into her old ways and gets called "that little rat" and then quickly does something special to mend her slip.

Where is Brandy today? She has finished her C.D. with nothing less than a second place. She was entered in 4 trials. She qualified in all 4 trials. Currently she and her owner are busy putting the final touches on the Open exercised with plans on a C.D.X. spring of 2011. They have also started Utility training and plans along with our hopes are to see them in the utility ring by late fall of 2011.

Brandy is without peer when it comes to scent work as seen in these two video clips.


Brandy now has much better things to do than wasting time on small or medium untrained, not-dogs. What is a not-dog? It is one of those sorry, twisted creatures who have no jobs, no real training, no responsibilities and so are forced to spend their days slowly growing more and more stupid due to lack of metal stimulation and challenge.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Time change blues

I'm starting off by stating my official position on this business of time change...
I hate it.
I have never, ever gotten it right. Not once, not ever and this fall change just added the newest painful twist to my time change blues.

Back in the dark ages clocks were just clocks and they all had faces and numbers and an hour hand, a minute hand and some of them even had second hands. They ran because you wind them up, reset the weights, maybe plugged them in or even possibly changed a battery. If you wanted to change the time, you simply turned the appropriate dial until you had moved the minute hand enough times around the clock face to make the change. That was then.

In a time jump I really didn't want to talk about, 12 or maybe it was 15 years ago I was forced to move forward when my trusty bedside clock of 40+ years finally kicked the bucket.

This new clock still had a wonderful face with real numbers and three hands to tell me the hour, minute and second. It had a simply great alarm. Honest, instead of the usual nasty bonging bell or screeching whistle this one has a wonderful sounding chime. It actually plays the Westminster chimes and just slowly gets louder and louder until you shut it off. It came with a neat nightlight, a radio I never did learn how to use and a snooze button.

The down side to this clock was you had to be able to deal with setting a digital clock if you wanted the alarm part to work. Some of the time I would manage to get the alarm part set on my first try. Most of the time it would take me several tries over the space of several days just to figure out how to set the alarm once again.

And so when I got up this morning I started the business of resetting the clocks. Well, actually I only reset the "real" clocks. The clocks with faces and hands and neat little turn wheels on their backs. Which brings me back to the clock with two times.

I managed to set the "real" clock without a hitch. Then I started the painful business of setting the blasted digital part. No dice. I fiddled with it. I got frustrated and left it for a time. Went back and tried again. No dice. What was worse was the fact that all of a sudden the light went out and none of the buttons worked at all. Mind you the proper part of this clock continued to keep time just fine. Only the digital part had stopped working.

This evening Jesse went around setting all the digital clocks and in his clock checking he was kind enough to set my bed side clock. After he finished he came in the office to tell me they were all set. How nice, I guess.

You see, I was on the computer searching for a replacement for the dead bedside clock. Now here he is telling me it works just fine.

"So what was wrong with it, or dare I even ask?"

"Oh nothing. It was just unplugged and I plugged it back in. Reset it and it's just fine."

I did the only thing left to me...I started slowly banging my head against the desktop. Time change should never, ever have to happen. Besides, none of the dogs will acknowledge a change of time and so will be off for at least a week.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Summer's end 10.10.10

How I hate seeing the last of summer and for me one of the signs the end is upon me is when I have to say good bye to my summer flower garden. Granted in a few days the fall flowers will begin to really show themselves. Yes, they are nice enough as flowers go, but...

My heart will always be with my summer flowers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wish Method of dog training part 2

Cut and paste seemed to be the most efficient way to respond to some of the comments from yesterday's blog.

First, Linda's comment about the Open A ring. Glad you Q'd on Saturday, sorry you didn't make it on Sunday. Open A=the heartbreak class, for sure.

Yes, it could have been a bit dicey, but wasn't since judge and stewards were doing their job. My biggest complaint with the current popular methods of dog training is the total lack of any ability to teach a dog how to behave in a responsible manner. Dogs break their stays because they can and they know they can and there isn't any reason why they should stay when there are other more interesting things to do.

I have to say that there aren't many things that make me quite so mad at current dog owners as I get toward those who choose a power breed and then simply REFUSE to train it. Instance on doing warm, fuzzy, gooey things that appear to make the human feel good doesn't do anything toward meeting the mental needs of a power breed. I get to say this because with very few exceptions I have always owned a power breed and did quite well with them in obedience. Nope, it would never have occurred to any of them to stay break and bother another dog. In fact, it never occurred to them to stay break even when another dog broke and came up to them looking to start something.

Train your dogs as if their life may depend on it. You never know when that will become true.

Linda said...
Excellent post! Sorry we didn't meet, I was there both days in Open A, Q'd yesterday with a 4th place :) Unfortunately, it didn't happen for us today. Btw, a Rottie got up in the Open ring during the out of sights and went and stood over another dog - the steward and judge were quick to react and no harm was done but it could have been dicey.

Now, moving on to Doranna's comment. The way to solve the problem is to train to the point were both of you are comfortable in the Open B ring. The Open B dogs have much better training, the handlers are far less likely to be bringing an untrustworthy dog in the ring.

Over the years I have had many of my dogs threatened while doing stays in the Novice ring. It is just one of the things we train for, however once, just once I was in the Novice B ring with a Great Dane. She was working on her third leg, having gone high scoring Dane and high scoring working breed two days in a row. The sit/stay was sort of dicey since 4 dogs down from us was a nasty Lab who broke and would have started trouble, but for the fact we were already on our way back to the dogs.

These days it would never have turned into a problem because the judge would have shown them the gate right then and there. But that is now and this was then and the dog stayed to do the down/stay. We had hardly gotten to the other side of the ring and turned when that nasty piece of work was up. He just stood there for a second or two and simply launched himself over the backs of the other dogs to land on top of the Dane.

Believe me when I say I sure as hell didn't wait to see what would happen next. Actually as soon as I saw him turn and look at the dog I was handling I was out of the line-up and headed across that ring. Only took me three bounds to get there and I had him be the collar and hauled off. Sadly, my Dane was took shook up to even handle a redo. So no third leg that day and it ended up taking almost 5 months to get her back. Most of the problem was the lack of any matches. Once spring came and the matches started back up she got over her shakes and finished up with a third high scoring working breed.

These days I realize it is much more difficult to prevent problems and all but impossible to fix a problem. There simply aren't enough matches and finding an outdoor match, at least around here, is even more difficult.

For all of you who though the dog park idea was so great, how's it working for you now? Are you still able to take your dog to the park and train?

Are you still able to get together with friends, set up a ring and hold your very own impromptu match at the local park?

Gee, can you go the local dog park and train your dog? Not just novice level, but open and utility level?

How about this one: when was the last, or should I say first, time anyone used the local dog park to hold a fun match?

10:46 PM
connerybeagle said...
This is exactly why I haven't taken Connery Beagle up to CDX, in spite of my longing for a VCD2 (we're still working on #1, but we're close, and he's got his MACH). After being viciously jumped at not one but two dog shows, what are the chances I want to do the long stay exercises while forced out of sight so I can't intervene if necessary? Trust the stewards to do it? I don't think so.


If I can find enough volunteers to stake out the ring and jump in if *any* dog breaks his stay and heads toward the Beagle, one day I might try it--but if that happens enough times, it'll teach him the wrong thing about what "stay" means. Anyway I'm not there yet. It took 6 months to get over the first attack (giant breed). It took 18 months, x-rays, therapists, and unending retraining to get over the second. I don't happen to think either of us would recover from a third.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Training by the Wish method

To read the original story that goes with these pictures please go to:

The early 1990's saw the introduction of a belief system that has probably done more harm to all dogs and taking formal obedience competition to its death throes than any other single thing. That system of training is what I have always though of as the "wish method of dog training". Based almost completely on idea that everyone has to be able to feel good about themselves without every lifting a finger to do the work necessary to develop both mind and body of the participants. In this case, the participants are on the right side the human and on the left side the canine.

Moving almost in lockstep with the "wish method of dog training" arrived the Internet and a way of communicating with others that made it possible for a person to never set foot outside their home and yet be able to show pictures of them teaching a dog to do all sorts of really amazing things. Now everyone with a computer and a camera or two could become the owner of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin all rolled into one.

Meanwhile, if you have managed to read this far you are most likely wondering what on earth is she ranting about this time or maybe it is more a case of "get to the point old woman". Humm...yes, well the point just happens to be that dogs need to be able to see/hear/feel the connection between cause and effect. To put it another way, they need to be given ALL the necessary information and then allowed to make mistakes and in doing so learn from those mistakes. This does NOT happen by pretending the mistake never happened. It does not happen through withholding praise or treats or toys. The biggest flaw in that way of doing things is always going to be the inability of the human to accurately gauge just what equals praise/reward to the dog.

So that takes us right back to actually training a dog to follow a set of rules and in doing so become successful at completing an assigned task. Not just completing the task, but doing so in a workmanlike manner. Completing said task in a way that doesn't just please the human, but more to the point pleases the dog.

The pictures below were taken of the Novice A ring at the Penn Ridge Kennel Club, Inc., in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, August 14, 2010. As you can see it was a small entry. Small entries being the new norm and the warning bell there is something very wrong with the sport.

The group doing stays consists of mainly dogs representing the "power breeds". There were two exceptions and they were a Sheltie being handled by a very young girl and a Yorkie being handled by a first-timer. The line-up starts with a Giant Schnauzer sitting next to a Black Russian Terrier and ends with an American Staffordshire Terrier sitting between a Doberman and a Newfoundland.

Now let's look at what was wrong from the very beginning. Wrong before the handlers gave the stay command or left the dogs. You may not be able to spot it in the first picture even on close inspection. If you can't spot it in the first picture move on to the second picture.

Since the dogs are sitting on mats and the two mats have been taped it should jump out at you. What?

The line isn't straight. In the first picture it appears to be straight and yet, just as soon as the humans are removed from the line the Dobe shifts back and the AmStaf starts moving forward. Study the picture some more. The Yorkie was behind the tape line and now is in front of the line. What we don't know from the still shot is whether or not the Yorkie is forward in the second picture because the judge had the handler move her forward or because she shifted herself forward.

What is important to keep in mind is the fact that this 10 pound Yorkie is now in a very exposed and potentially dangerous position. She is still far enough back to be pretty much out of sight and therefore out of mind as far as the Giant Schnauzer, the Black Russian and the Sheltie are concerned. However, she is now also in full view of the Doberman, the AmStaff and the Newfoundland. Her danger is much clearer now. The AmStaff is up and hunting. This picture shows just how near the danger is while the handler slowly walks across the ring to attempt an intercept of her offending dog.

To play the "what if" game, just what do you think would happen if the Yorkie had been trained in a stress-free manner that never included any real consequences for the misbehavior of stay breaking? Before you answer look closely at where the Yorkie and the AmStaff appear to be looking. Note where the handler is. Note where the judge is. Note there is not a single steward in sight.

In the following picture we see it took the handler so long to reach the AmStaff it was already to the end of the line and offering a direct challenge to the Giant Schnauzer. One has to wonder what the handler was thinking when she wasted time going between the Schnauzer and the Black Russian to then grab her dog by the groin area.

Yes, the Yorkie is still holding her sit/stay. You aren't able to see her because of the distance left between her and the Sheltie. Tension had to have been running really high at this point.

Sure enough, the Schnauzer is unable to withstand the distraction and is willing to take the challenge. Now we see the Schnauzer's handler added to the mix. The Sheltie is still holding, but the pressure has caused a lift of one front paw.

Much noise and some spit while the two humans are forced to use lots of muscle to get them apart and keep them that way.

Two much pressure, tension, stress for the Doberman who gets up and does what? Appears to be moving across the ring toward the handler. Still no stewards in sight, but the Doberman handler has moved in to intercept her dog. And the Yorkie, all 10 pounds of her is still sitting right where she was left.

Come time for the down/stay and there is a very large hole left between the Yorkie and the Newfoundland.
For the Yorkie, who by the way is our very own Ellie is was just an interesting bit of entertainment. Don't know how the others felt. The thing that kept her safe was a solid sit/stay. What many of you readers may not know or perhaps don't remember is that Ellie came to us just one year ago as a "throw away". A victim of the sever downturn in the economy, Ellie was labeled a special needs dog. She was supposed to need a home without children, without other pets and she was labeled as dog aggressive.

Over the past year we have taught her the rules and they are exactly the same for every dog. It doesn't matter if said dog weights 6 pounds or 140 pounds, they all have to follow the rules. We taught her to be obedient in ways that matter. She comes when called, holds sit, down and stand stays with ease and confidence. She heels off lead as reliably as she heels on lead, neither lagging behind nor pulling ahead. So it just seemed reasonable to enter her in some obedience trials and test her training against the training of other dogs. She earned her first leg and a second place this day. On Sunday she earned her second leg and a first place. The two trials represent her first and second time in the obedience ring.

Group stays are NOT dangerous when all the dogs, no matter what the size, are well trained. The way I see things these days, there is very little chance for the average owner to actually be successful in the obedience ring even at the Novice (Companion Dog) level due to the sever shortage of qualified instructors.

Qualified instructors teach owners not just what they think they want, but also what they really need. Along the way the owners find a new and wonderful world opening up for them and their dogs. A world they could never have ask for since they didn't even know it existed.

As a trainer/instructor are you opening up the wonderful world of dog obedience training and trialing to your students? Or are you insisting is isn't necessary to do anything more than the very least amount of work necessary to help your owners feel good about themselves even if they end up having to kill the dog.

My current rant isn't truly over, I'm just stopping.

Last comment. All my students who attended these 2 trials came home with not only what they went to earn, but more. As for Ellie, she earned 2 legs toward her CD as well as a second place to be followed by a first place. I'm very, very proud of both Ellie and Sydney her part owner, trainer and handler.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I just had the most wonderful thing happen to me. Cranky, nasty, bossy, overbearing, mean me left home this evening to go teach my two Thursday evening classes.

I was pretty stressed-out when I left since I need to be ready to start the first class at 6 p.m. and the damn phone started ringing at about 5:15 with calls from people who should have known better. (Judith - You were not the first call and there were 2 additional calls after you)

Both of the students who normally drive me to class called and said they were running late and wouldn't be able to pick me up. To make matters worse the other two people who sometimes pick me up are both away on vacation. I know that because their dogs are here.

My substitute ride gets here and by the time we finally get to class we are already 15 minutes late. So when I get out of the car at the door and walk into the building I'm only thinking about getting the class started. Instead of the lights being on and the fans running in the training room it is dark. The jumps haven't been set up and there isn't a soul around.

I'm hot, tired, and cranky and I hurt. Why in the devil do I see students rushing here and there and yet not a single one of them is available to help set up for what is now a 30 minute late class?

Finally, a couple of them come out on the training floor and sort of start setting up. Another student comes over to me and asks me if she could talk to me in the conference room. "Sure, why not? Doesn't seem anyone is interested in working right now so we might as well go somewhere else." And with that Sanity and I follow her to the conference room doors. These are the extra wide double door set-up and instead of just opening one door she throws both doors wide open.


The entire room is crammed full of students and their dogs. There are two long rows of tables covered with brown paper and two bushels of wonderful Maryland crabs. One bushel of crabs for each long table. In the back of the room are two more tables covered with salads, a cake, fresh strawberries, cream, and drinks.

These truly wonderful people got together and threw me, mean, nasty me a WONDERFUL birthday party. Yes, it well and truly was a surprise. They worked on this party for almost a full month and somehow managed to keep me from finding out about it.

I received many wonderful gifts, but the one I will treasure forever is a book of pictures. These pictures were all taken either during the Thursday evening class or at my place; some were outside and some in my training studio. These pictures are of dogs past and present and each one of them brings so many good memories.

Right now I just can't fully grasp what happened. As my son said after reading what each person wrote in the back of my book, "Mom, you have a book full of love." How right he is. How rich I am. May all of you be lucky enough to have something so rich and full happen to you before this year is over.

We even had a couple of people there who were just "checking us out" as they decide whether or not Applewoods Dog Training and Margot Woods are a place they might want to come for dog training. They got fed too. The fact that the room was full of dogs. Dogs that were quiet, mannerly and pretty much out of sight sure seemed to make a strong impression on them. Hope it was a good impression.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More History of the Beast

It has been one year since Brandy first came here for help. The changes have been enormous to say the least. For anyone who is thinking about embarking on the journey to "save" or retrain a dog with documented dog aggression issues, I say this to you, "have a serious plan".

Here are the links to last year's history:

Actually you need not just a serious plan but the dedication and determination to see it through. If you aren't ready or able to spend at least 1 to 2 hours per day for an entire year working a training plan that spells out on a day-by-day basis exactly what is to be done and when, where and how each weekly test is to be handled, well do you really want to take the risk?

Brandy's journey included, but was not limited to learning a very solid sit/stand/down with stays, a reliable recall in the face of the very sort of distractions that got her into trouble in the first place and of course, solid, precise heeling both on and off leash.

Once the baby stuff was well along a serious working retrieve was added along with a drop on recall, and the hold used during the early stages of retrieve training was beefed up to be an exercise unto itself. Brandy has a stuffed toy that she is responsible for and which she carries every were she goes when she is out and about in public.

Since we are currently in the final, polishing stages prior to entering the necessary AKC Obedience trials with the FIRST goal being that of a Companion Dog title it became necessary to make very certain that she will not back slide and allow her strong prey drive to get the best of her. So, with the help of some serious, hard working little guys we set about the business of making as sure as possible Brandy has excellent control of herself.

The test of her self control was then tested at a match and guess what? First of all in the next ring was a toy breed dog doing Open (Companion Dog Excellent). Brandy did the "laser eye lock" and then was able to turn it off and continue working.

Will she ever be one of those "oh, don't worry she loves all dogs" kind of dogs? Never in this lifetime will that happen. However, I honestly believe that there aren't but a very, very few of that kind of dog anyway and most of them are less than 3 months old or more than 15 years old.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Is it too late?

My senior apprentice, Samantha "Sam" Daley has posted some thought provoking blog posts on her blog. I'm strongly encouraging all of you to head over there, read, think and perhaps post a comment or two. She sure could use the support right about now.

It all started with my assigning a very eye-opening task to all my students and just about anyone else who happened to be around me at the right time. The task is a simple one. At least it appears to be simple on the surface. Now I'm assigning it to all of you as well. Not only that but I shall take a page out of Sam's book/blog and call it a contest. As is true of all contests there will be a prize for the first person able to complete the task.

The Task
All you have to do is to go out and find 10 dogs 1 year of age or older. Five must be intact dogs and five must be intact bitches.

The Reason
This task didn't come about on a whim. Nope, not at all. It got started because I shared some figures with a couple of my classes. The figures? It depends on which group you want to believe but here they are:

Coming straight from the mouth of the beast, also known as HSUS of all owned dogs have been rendered sterile. On the other side of the field is the American Pet Products Manufacturer's Association. Take a gander at what their figures show: 72% of all owned dogs have been rendered sterile.

About 20 years ago HSUS gave us "Spay and neuter until there are none". A result of the "...until there are none" campaign has been to all but eliminate litters of puppies or even the odd one or two pups available at the local municipal shelter or humane society shelter.

What one finds at the shelter will be a heavy preponderance of dogs from about 9 months to 28 months of age. These dogs have lost their homes for pretty much the same reasons. Lack of training, lack of any place for the former owners to get meaningful help with training. These are the bullies, the fighters, the biters, the failure to housebreak and a host of other similar issues and they do NOT represent a problem of over breeding. These dogs all represent a problem of retention. They are unable to stay in a home because the lazy, permissive cult of the furchild has doomed them to failure.

The fact that breeding stock numbers have now fallen below a sustainable population level has given rise to a new breed of human. As they campaign to kill via desexing on the one hand they are becoming more vigorous at importing strays/mutts/street dogs from all over the world. After all, they have to find the poor waifs to raise the money necessary to keep those fancy new shelters open.

The Burning Question
Are dog owners all too stupid and lazy to behave in a responsible manner when it comes to the ownership of their dogs? Or to put it another way, since when is maiming and restraining actually more humane than supervision and training? Leashes have been used as successful birth control devices for eons. Real training, the sort that teaches a dog to be responsible for its own behavior is yet another form of birth control that seems to have been tossed out the window. Why?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Circus

I love the circus. Truly I do and for me the very best part are all the animal acts. A circus just isn’t a circus without the animals.

First, I’ll write about the elephants and not just because they were the biggest animals, but also because they have been the center of much unwanted attention by a few malcontents. There was one rather small female who just seemed to be smiling almost all the time. I spotted her during the opening parade. She came out looking just like those in front of her and those behind her. Once in the big ring she appeared to be looking around and then her mouth opened just a bit and the corners of her mouth turned up and she got a bit of spring to her step. It was just enough different that I found myself not just watching her, but actually looking for her every single time the elephants came through the entrance door. Sure enough, she would make it about a quarter of the way around and here would come this really delightful smile and that bit of a spring to her step. She looked like she was having the time of her life, a sort of a “I’m so happy you all could come to my party” look.

The dog acts followed and brought about my only real complaint. Both dog acts were on at the same time in different rings. BOO! HISS! To truly enjoy what the dogs were doing required a person to split into two people and try as I might, I just can’t seem to master the split. The act right in front of us used standard poodles and smooth fox terriers. They were great and cleverly made use of the terrier personality. One little terrier played the ‘naughty’ dog who earned more than one laugh from the audience. Sam and I both found a ‘trick’ or two that we will be teaching some of the dogs around here, just for fun. I liked the idea of having one of the dogs run out and knock the jumps over rather than actually jumping and Sam liked the little ‘dive-bomb’ terrier. So we came away with some stuff to play with on rainy days when everyone is pretty much stuck inside.

As for the other dog act, well all I can say is Sam spotted a Maltese. More than that I really can’t say since we were just too far away to be able to see what they were doing.

I was totally captivated by the Friesian who led the horse act. His coal black and super glossy coat along with a high-stepping trot that showed off his feathers made it almost impossible for me to watch the rest of the horses who followed him. Most of the horses we saw were Fjords and quite lovely. I have to say most because I honestly don’t remember if there were any other horses or not. I did manage to glance at the striking black and dun stripped manes of the Fjords only to find myself going right back to that lovely Friesian. Truth to tell, I don’t honestly know what was going on in the other rings, because I was so enthralled by the horse act.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Nope, these days the circus only has tigers. Of course I can only speak for the show we saw, but is was fine. The tigers all appeared to be about as relaxed and comfortable as big cats ever get.

I realize every circus has much more to it than the animal acts and the human acts were all interesting, entertaining and not animals. What can I say? I just love the circus animals in all their glory and pride of doing a job and doing it not just well, but the very best they can. I love the circus and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are and always have been my favorite.

The only downside was having to deal with rude adults and uncivilized children. There were the two 9 to 10 year old boys sitting in front of us who never stopped waving brightly lit wands around, except for when they were climbing on the backs of their seats. The urge to strangle was strong. Then poor Sam was crashed into during the intermission and had soda spilled all over her clothes, face, hands and hair. The ‘owners’ of the brat responsible didn’t even bother to acknowledge there might be a problem. On the positive side all the 1st Mainer employees were not just polite and helpful but actually nice about it. Over all, a wonderful, if tiring evening and I look forward to doing it many more times in years to come.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The animal rights agenda

Subject: FW: The animal rights agenda - a personal story - a must read for dog (and cat) owners

Anyone who breeds, shows or owns dogs and cats in southern California needs to read this. Please note, the writer gives permission to cross post - I would strongly suggest you all do so. It doesn’t matter where you live. This, or something similar, is happening in every state, all across the country.

I have permission to cross pst.
This is a note from a friend in S. CA. It is getting bad there with animal rights groups. this is not the first time this has happend to my friend. She lives in Riverside County and in the canyon and everyone has horses etc. do not understand these people, they are just plain crazy I guess !!!


I have not listed my house yet. I can't until I get out of here ! I can't have people coming thru with both cats and dogs. My four dogs are licensed dogs and I have 10 cats on our 6 acre property. My husband fixed up the building behind the patio so I keep the intact cats there as they are very intense when they are cycling. But animal zealots are really agressive here so we can't take a chance. I can't even place my 3 spays for fear of problems. I met a woman at San Diego show who wanted to come see my neutered male. She worked at San Diego U and I checked the staff roster there. She did. She came and I had weird vibes. Asked all the wrong questons.. left with out taking him home. Find out that she'd been sitting up the road for hours before the appointment with a big animal control truck. He left just after she did. So then I did a more intense look up online and find out that she is HSUS rescue .. deeply entrenched. So it was a sting attempt. There were 3 cats here in my house. But Dave and I were really furious. Dave said don't risk it again. Keep what you have until we can get out of here. Thats why we are so limited in price. We can't get any money out of this house until we can sell. Can't sell until we can get out. Vicous circle.

Oh yes.. at the Palm Springs Kennel club show in Jan, there were 25 PETA drones there collecting business cards. Posing as prospective pet inquirers or just interested spectators. I was talking to the superintendents and they knew some of them and told me heads up. Lately, when I am at the cat shows [take one cat] and have time to chat with spectators. We talk a while and they always ask for a card. I don't have any or put any out. Nothing to sell. After that, they end up telling me that they are animal services employees. More of the same.

AS does not have the staff to do this. But the groups associated with AS.. the 'drones' are making it their personal cause to search out breeders by posing as pet buyers all over soCal. As you may know, PETA purchased a big building in LA recently and brought 40 of their key go-getter staff here.

Oh yes.. one more thing. AS arrested a woman in San Bernardino recently with 8 cats. Reason: selling a kitten less than 8 wks of age. Now a 3mo kitten is the equivalent to a 2mo puppy. So my guess is that she took a deposit and that is a transaction before 8 wks of age. They swamped in on her and now in jail for animal cruelty and her cats were euthanized immediately.

Compared to the man who raped and killed the young woman in north county San Diego who got 5 yrs. Its insane.

This is how dismal the situation is here for breeders. I have commercial zoned property for kennel, cattery, horses, .. no limit. We would have to sign a waiver allowing AS to come into our home and take photos and allow them access at any time w/o prior notice. If I do not let them in to go thru every room and every building on the place at any time, my license would be revoked immediately and charged simultaneously. A hobby kennel is a snap .. just put up 10 chain link pens on dirt away from the house with partial cement slab or raised floor, roof and dog house. I would never use it because coyotes would bait the dogs and pull their legs thru the fence. Its illegal to own 5 house trained dogs who play and exercise on the lawn to potty, on 6 rural acres. Incidentally,I would be allowed to have 25 unvaccinated horses on same property all running together in one fenced area with no shelter.

In most all counties across the country, vets are mandated [paid by AS ]to turn over owner information to the country of origin of any owner who gets a rabies vaccination. Now those who don't license, don't get rabies either. The only people who get rabies vaccinations who may not license are breeders/show exhibitors. For shipping purposes. Keep in mind, no one is checking incoming pets into LAX. AS staff [maybe the emotially charged volunteer drones] cross-checks rabies vaccinations with licences to find owners who are out of compliance.

Back to this issue. Highly likely that it would be frowned on to have a kennel and a cattery. 9 cats requires a commercial facility. Building permit would be $20K plus health department fee $6500 plus $17K for transportation study to determine if the cattery business would impact the area. So before the building can begin, its about $45K. From there, add $60 for the cost of a qualifying building to house 9 cats comfortably. I will never make $100K from my cats nor to I want to sell a lot of cats. I just want to own and show some dogs and cats. I do well and take very good care of them. We would have been wealthy years ago if we did not spend all our money taking such good care of our animals and providing beautiful place for them. Even if I make such an invest ment [$120K for both dogs and cats]they will harrass us continually. Breeding permit fees are starting and that will be a way to tax good breeders to pay for irresponsible pet owners they won't control [too risky for AS].

Let me tell you what I discovered last year. Riverside County CA cleverly re-zoned and re-classified every parcel in the county. Keep in mind that the requirement to have a hobby kennel has always been a one 1 acre minimum zoned RR, RA or A-1. Now only 1/2 acre parcels are RR or RA. 1-20 parcels are all now RE [rural estate]. Under this classification .. we are assured that its animal friendly environment. The statement is something like this: Mature animals okay but no offspring. So you can collect animals in rural estate but cannot breed them. AG zoning starts up again at 20+ acres. So they have effectively zoned out kennels and catteries in this animal friendly county.

You have to dig around to find a printout of the complete classification descriptions. This master plan [indeed !] was developed by a subcontractor and format was probably developed by HSUS. I wonder how long existing kennels/catteries will be allowed to operate as most are out of compliance now. The sleuth squeeze

A copy of this can be obtained from Riverside County RCIP or type in search: Riverside Master Plan or by going to

Sandy Kiever

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Humane Watch vs HSUS update

This isn't what I was going to post about, but it is important enough to get on the blog first. A request has been made to spread this information far and wide. So the translation would read: Please forward the below information to everyone you know.

Permission to crosspost, but please strip my name & contact info. I'm just the messenger.

There's an update at HumaneWatch saying that as of 8:00 pm Hills no longer appears on the Care2 site...Go to the Humane Watch for the latest:

Don't let the agriculture folks have all the fun pointing out their objections to businesses that donate to HSUS. Hill's Science Diet does it, too. Think that's a little...I don't know. Weird? Time to weigh in. Here's the proof.

Here's the spin.

More links and a link on how to contact Hill's through the humanewatch link or the tiny.

Other animal interest groups are emboldened by their recent success in educating others as to the lunacy of donating funds to an organization that is ultimately going to put them out of business. Yellow Tail wine has changed its corporate giving plans so as to only donate to groups that actually give care to animals. Pilot Travel Center agreed to remove the donation cans from their centers when the same issues were raised. It was pointed out to them that the livestock industry throughout the country is run by truckers who use their centers. The latest was Mary Kay cosmetics. The wife of the founder donated to HSUS in her position as a major player in a Dallas fundraiser. HSUS listed Mary Kay as a corporate donor until that link was brought to their attention.

So now it's up to pet owners everywhere to educate Hill's as to HSUS's agenda. Be polite, but let them know how you feel. I know I will. Oh, and tell your veterinarians, too. Flex your muscles.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Don't steal my sanity

First the background. I'm not walking all that well these days and sure enough have to 'count' my steps. Sanity lost her public working privileges several months ago. The snow is just the pits on so many levels I've lost count. They are calling for yet another 5+ inches later this week. GAG.

I had an appointment for a hair cut this afternoon. What with one thing and another I had Jesse (son) drive me and Sanity rode along. Just because she lost some public privileges doesn't mean she can't carry the shoulder pack and ride along. Still saves me from having to struggle with a purse.

Rather than making Jesse wait, not a thing very many men are fond of doing, he dropped me at the hair salon and then with Sanity riding shotgun went off to run some much needed errands. One of those errands called for a stop at the post office on Main Street. When he got there because of the lack of parking (a snow related problem) he had to park around on the side of the building and some distance from the street.

As he was returning to the car he passed a local LEO on foot who was talking to a county Sheriff. The Sheriff's car was completely blocking the entrance to the Post Office parking lot. They looked at Jesse, Jesse looked at them and continued on toward the car. Nothing different or exciting so far, eh?

Then the car came into view. The back door was standing wide open and this strange man was leaning into the car with his arm outstretched. On the far side of the back seat sat Sanity. Silent as an old movie, she was in full ugly face display and managing to stay just out of reach.

Well, Jesse dropped the boxes he was carrying and taking off at a run, yelled, 'what the f ck do you think you are doing?'

For starters it sure did get the full attention of both LEO's. It also caused the want't'be thief to leap back, take a frantic look around and then start to run towards the LEO's yelling, 'he stol my dawg'.

The city LEO moves up to where Jesse is now standing and the creep gets snagged by the Sheriff. Identification is called for and Jesse gets out his driver's license, then moves over to the car and gets out the registration. City LEO says, 'Mother's car?' Jesse says 'yes'.

Next City LEO looks in the back seat and sees not just a dog, but a dog wearing a shoulder pack that says "Service Dog" on the side. Easy enough to see since Sanity has now moved over to the open door, the better to see what is going on. City LEO says, 'Service dog. Your mother's?' Jesse says yes as he closes the back door and after putting the registration away closes the front door.

The very next second, the Sheriff has the creep whipped around, bent over the hood of his car and it cuffing him. At the same time he is hearing the 'you have the right to remain silent' stuff and they are charging him with a host of crimes that had not a single thing to do with dog napping or even attempted dog napping. As it turned out, this was someone they had been searching for for a couple of days for burglary, and several other crimes.

I am so pleased with Sanity. She did exactly what I want my dogs to do in situations like that. Stay out of reach. Keep quiet. Do what threatening needs to be done without making a sound. Of course, it goes without saying that off leash training meant she didn't leave the car just because the doors were standing open. She didn't run away because no one was there to restrain her. Yes, oh my yes, she did a very good job.

Sometimes I wonder if all my dogs have some sort of flashing sign over their heads that says, 'steal me'. I've had 6 Dobermans over the years and at some point in each of their lives some creepy fool has tried to steal every single one of them. Bless them, one and all. They all handled the event exactly like Sanity did. No way can they be charged with dangerous behavior.

Like I said, 'Don't steal my Sanity'.

Just a little bit ago, she came in the living room and headed for her bed. AKKK! There was an Ellie, aka: mini-me curled up in the exact middle. So just where was she supposed to relax? Big, soulful eyes stare at me and she started to pace back and forth. Many sighs and even some moan's. Mini-me pretends she doesn't know about the trespass.

Finally I take some pity on the poor misunderstood thing. Even so, I have no intention in getting up just to solve what is actually a very simple problem.

"Sanity, fetch the blanket." Sanity walks over and picks up one corner and starts to tug. It's heavy rather than light. Seems it currently weighs 9 pounds. She drops the corner and comes back toward me with this truly pitiful look on her face.

"Sanity, if you want your bed, you are going to have to fetch that blanket." She turns around and moves back to the bed and picks up the corner again. Holding it in her mouth she stares at me.

"Well, don't just stand there, fetch the thing." With that she gives a mighty heave and sends Mini-me flying and in the process gains position of her bed once again.

Post script: We don't lock the car because a few years ago it was stolen. The thieves broke the locks and a window and the ignition. It just didn't seem worth it to pay a ton of money to get the locks fixed just so it could be forced again. So we just make very sure there is nothing left in it that can be stolen and that includes large, well trained Dobermans.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

After blizzards 2010

This is what it looked like yesterday at about 2 p.m. As you can see, the snow is still piled high and deep. Neither the driveway, parking lot or paved training area had see shovel or plow. I was really getting pretty worried since it just seemed I continued to get pushed further and further back on every one's list. A little bit after I took this picture our local snowplow good guy came by and took one look and said there was NO WAY what remained his still working equipment could handle the job.

A little bit after that, Allen, tree care extraordinaire showed up. Took one looked at the mess and said, "Its too late in the day for me to try and start this without risking damage to my bobcat. See you tomorrow, late morning when it will be easier. Oh, and by the way, good thing you didn't let anyone else try to move this stuff with a plow."

Seems if I had it would only have made the job more difficult, more expensive and there would have been a chance he wouldn't have been able to do anything for me at all!

Look closely. What you are seeing are dog footprints INSIDE the flower garden. The snow is so deep they are able to simply walk over the top of the fence and right up to the side of the house.

About 10:30 this morning he showed up with big truck, trailer, bobcat and oldest son as a helper. They started moving the snow. They moved snow. They moved some more snow. Son shoveled in select places to give what looked like an outline for the bobcat to follow.

Alle pushed snow. He picked up snow and dropped it somewhere else. He piled snow on top of more snow.

By the time he was finished some of the piles of snow were more than seven feet high and there was more than one of them. Best part, we can now see pavement and in a few places actual ground! This will help to speed up the melt. Even so, I have this awful feeling I'm going to be looking at piles of nasty, dirty snow/ice until the Fourth of July.

At least we will be able to get people and dogs in and out of here once again. The cost? To date more than $400 and a big plate of fresh, warm brownies. My big tree? A loss. Once the snow is gone and it is possible for him to get back in here and work that tree is going to have to come down. It has been damaged past all hope of salvage. One of the problems is exactly what I thought it would be. Because almost all the lower limbs have been stripped brutally off the main trunk, it is now top heavy. Lacking the necessary close protection and support of other big trees beside it the next heavy wind storm we have will deal the final death blow and that very well could put it straight into the middle of my living room. Not a pleasant though, no matter how much I love my big trees.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard 2.1a

In response to one readers comments about having to shovel more snow here over the past few days than she ever did in Russia, I submit this is the reason for the difference.

What you are watching is the snow clean-up of a runway after a snow storm. Gee, seems like a splendid idea to me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blizzard Part 2.1

A former student of mine sent this picture to me. I wish I knew who built the snowman and took the picture. I'm quite sure this is actually me.

Blizzard Part 2

Over the past weekend we had a blizzard and you have seen pictures of what it looked like. It also left more than 30 inches of snow in our backyard and made a mess of some of my wonderful trees.

This morning I got up to blizzard number 2. Yet, it's official this is yet another blizzard in an area of the country that sometimes doesn't see enough snow to measure. Here are a few pictures of what it looked like at 11:00 this morning.

Looking out the office door towards the big tree on the other side of the paved training area.
The gate you can just barely see in the middle, right-hand side of this picture is 48 inches tall. This is an area where there are no drifts, or at least no drifts yet. You can also see the double gates, keep in mind they are 84 inches tall.

This next one was taken looking out the office door towards the back yard. The fence in the foreground, what you can see of it, is 48 inches tall. Looking out to the back and you are looking at 84 inch high fencing. Yes, that one tree is slowly being sucked to the ground.

This picture is taken looking out the window in the little room off the kitchen. You are looking at the roof of the shed and Jesse's truck.

Now, to help you with the perspective here is the same view as it looked last Friday morning.
While I worry about my trees and the lines that keep me in contact with the outside world, others are having to worry about the integrity of their roofs, how to stay warm because they are without heat and have been for days and days. Guess I shouldn't be whining so much, but I still HATE SNOW.
Where, oh, where is that global warming the algoreites keep bleating about?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Blizzard aftermath 2010

Here's what it looked like just after it stopped snowing.

Here's what it looks like today. What you are seeing are all the dogs here right now. Ellie and Bliss (here for training) are bold enough to at least run out to the big tree and back several times. Meanwhile, in the lower left hand corner is all you will ever see of Sanity. The entire business is just as terrible to her as it is to me. She won't even try to leave the tiny shoveled area.

My once beautiful pine tree is now pretty much a party toothpick. All the limbs are in the driveway and parking area.

This shot shows just how tenuous our connection with the outside world really is. Notice the one thin strand of wire that is all the connection we currently have. One more even mild blow and poof, no more Internet, no more telephone.

My poor cane was crying in fear. Fear of my leaving it behind as I struggled back into the house. It got stuck there while I took the pictures.

Meanwhile, my son just walked to announce they are calling for 20, yes that is twenty additional inches. Most of the counties are all but done in and lacking salt, sand, trucks, manpower will be giving up sometime very soon. Have I remembered to tell all of you just how much I HATE SNOW. I HATE IT... I HATE IT.
Pray we don't lose our power because our power line is just a hanging by a thread on the other side of the house.
Will we be able to get out before April? And most of all, just where in the hell is global warming when you need it the most?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

UPDATE on Spay & Neuter HSUS

For the life of me, I don't seem to be able to find where I put the name of the author of the following information. Dear Author, please accept my apologies for using your material without the proper attributes. Just as soon as I know who you are, I'll rectify the situation.

Part of my problem is that having reached the age of CRS, I now find that I dare not put something aside just because of a single missing piece. To put a thing aside is now perilously close to the kiss of death.


The IRS Tax Fraud Office in Fresno, CA has now received over 3,200 letters from concerned citizens from all 50 states - - over 1,100 were documented by certified mail. This is extraordinary because the IRS has probably never before received 100 requests about a single public charity, let alone more than 3,200. Additionally, the Tax Fraud Offices in Fresno CA and Washington DC are now in possession of more than 400 pages of documents that "document" that the HSUS has engaged in over 2,000 distinctly different lobbying activities over the last five years.

These documents clearly suggest that the HSUS has engaged in "too much lobbying," which could result in the IRS revoking tax-exempt, public charity status of the HSUS, and assessing back tack taxes, penalties and interest on the more than One Half of a Billion Dollars in revenue that the HSUS received in the last five years. That could amount to Tens of Millions of Dollars that the HSUS would have to pay to the IRS!

It is not too late for more letters to be sent to the IRS - - each extra letter increases the pressure on the IRS to begin an audit NOW!

"Thousands of concerned citizens from all 50 states are asking the IRS to audit the Lobbying Activities of the HSUS" is an impressive "sound bite" that may best be used in asking your Members of Congress to also make inquiries to the IRS about the HSUS.

A number of you have already sent E-Mails to your Members of Congress, and many have received "boilerplate" non-responsive responses that were "ghost written" by Staffers who are unaware of the "National Outcry" for an IRS audit of the HSUS.

That is why the time is now right for those of you who have already sent an E-Mail to your Members of Congress, and for those of you who have not done so, to consider either E-Mailing or FAXING the following short letter to your Respective Members of Congress. Since it highlights that many of the 3,200+ letters came from (your state), this will be a red flag that will be brought to the attention of the Members of Congress by their Chiefs of Staffs - - that is what typically happens when they believe 10 or more of their constituents took the time to write.

That is why the following letter should be E-Mailed or FAXED to your respective Members of Congress.

"The IRS Tax Fraud Office in Fresno, CA has received over 400 documents that substantiate more than 2,000 distinctly different lobbying activities of the Humane Society of the U.S (HSUS).; and has received over 3,200 individual letters from concerned citizens in all 50 States who are requesting that the IRS audit the alleged excessive and under-reported Lobbying Activities of the Humane Society of the U.S., as well as its tax-exempt, public charity status.

Many of those requests came from our State. I support those requests.
Please let me know when the IRS will begin its audit of the lobbying activities of the Humane Society of the U.S." (This last sentence makes it harder for a non-responsive, "boilerplate" response.)

To those who may question whether contacting your respective Members of Congress will really make a difference, I wish to share part of a response received by a breeder from her U.S. Representative: "I directed my staff to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and have them respond directly to your concerns, since that agency is tasked with assigning tax-exempt status to organizations. Additionally, I have requested the IRS to provide a copy of that response to my office for review. In the meantime, you can be sure that I will remember your perspective should related legislation come before Congress."

Yes, thousands of letters and follow up communications with your Members of Congress can and will make a difference, and could cause the HSUS to be led to the "IRS SLAUGHTERHOUSE!"