The Red Puppy

I got tired of waiting for a red border collie puppy.  So I got a red poodle puppy instead.

She’s ten months old and came with the name Deirdre, but ’round these here parts, we refer to her as Dodo.  It was going to be Deedee, but Dexter thinks his name is Dee a lot of the time.

She’s bigger than Fae but smaller than Spring, so a nice size.

Her Royal Highness Fae’s nose is pretty out of joint about the new addition.

But that’s just too darn bad for her!  Isn’t Dodo just the cutest thing?  I’ve pretty much decided to get nothing but poodles from now on.

Ha!  Did you believe me?  You’re silly.  This is not my puppy, she’s just a temporary puppy.  She is boarding with me for a few months while her real family, who loves her very much, isn’t able to care for her.  She’s a very nice dog with just a couple of little habits we need to fix, like barking in her crate and being a fussy snottypants about her food and not always coming when called.  We can work on that.  After all, I did manage to turn no-drive Peetie into a ball maniac!

She even brings the ball about 85% of the way back about 90% of the time, so we’re getting somewhere!

She has also become a holy terror of shrieking and trying to claw her way out of her crate in agility class when it’s someone else’s turn.  This is a completely different dog from the one who just curled up in the back of her crate and tried to pretend she wasn’t there.  Time to bust out the Manners Minder in class, I think!

But she is much nicer to Dodo than TWooie is.

I mean sure, he LOOKS happy here, but really he is a) trying to rub off the Hannibal Lecter mask residue AKA basket muzzle he wore for the first half an hour of meeting (and by meeting I mean muzzle punching) Dodo and b) doing it in something dead and stinky to get back at me.  He is always such a dick for the first little while.

Addy’s already had a good play with her, because Addy is awesome like that.  I am so very grateful for my Addypants.

I am extra grateful that I still have my Addypants, because about ten days ago Addy ate a big ole block of RAT POISON and I was so afraid she was going to die.  We don’t put out poison here (because pets) but in the process of tearing down the old trailer on the property, one of the guys working on it tossed a full, unopened package of poison on the burn pile.  Which Addy of course found and helped herself to.  She had just previous to that stolen an egg from the chicken coop, and I thought that’s what she was eating while I played ball with the other dogs, until I decided she’d been eating the egg for a little too long and went to check what she was doing.  I. LOST. MY. SHIT.  Started screaming and freaking out, picked her and the package up and tossed them in the car, chucked the other dogs in the yard and drove to the vet as fast as I could.  Whereupon I lost my composure (haha) and burst into hysterical tears.

Fortunately she was at the vet and puking within a half hour of ingesting the stuff, and I had the package so they knew what we were dealing with, and after much vomiting, Vitamin K and big scared saucer eyeballs, Addy was just fine, if a little mystified about what was going on.  We went back for a clotting test 72 hours later – all good.  She is on Vitamin K daily for a while as a precautionary thing, but is in no danger.  So I still have my Addypants …  and a big ole vet bill.  I was super irritated with my landlords because we *talked* about the possibility of there being poison in the trailer, because I had seen poison pellets when it was still intact and I asked them to be careful when dismantling the stupid thing.  And they weren’t.  And my dog ate rat poison.  Nor are they inclined to pay the vet bill because Old Skool Farm Boys who don’t really understand spending good money on a sick dog when you could just get another dog.

*grumble*  This farm is trying to destroy everything I love.  Two nights ago a weasel got into one of my hen houses and slaughtered a bunch of my hens too.  Srsly.

But in GOOD news, I have had a lot of fun with my camera lately.

I got to photograph 16(!!) year old Josie at the lake.

She was awesome!

And I got to photograph a bunch of dogs at an agility trial.

The trial was so much fun!  FaeFae made her debut-debut, and got some Qs, and some other very nice only-5-fault runs too.  She is so adorable, I can’t stand her sometimes.  I just wanna squish her and make squealy noises.

Spring did awesome too!  She got a bunch of Qs as well and she was FAST – as in, the OPPOSITE of running her at Thunderbird.  She was so fast that I messed up her first run because I was expecting her to be slow and I was in all the wrong places.  She was so HAPPY.  Which leads me to believe that her days of running Regionals are done, because they are at Thunderbird next year too, and she really really hates it there.  So all hopes will now rest on The Fae Face.

Dexter was … ridiculous.  He managed one Q and a bunch of disasters.  He is a very special boy.

I also got to photograph a whole bunch of agility students doing candids, action and portrait type shots in 20 minute mini-sessions in a private agility yard, which was super fun!  You can take the same shot over and over again on the equipment to get the one you like the best, and set the dogs up in places where the light is nicest.  Here’s a random sampling of some of the shots from the day – I just closed my eyes and pointed at the screen to pick a few, because there were so many good ones I couldn’t choose to post them all.

Detour the Jack Russell Terrier

Juno the Papillon

Dulce the Havanese

Zappa the border collie

Dixie the poodle

And so many others!  It was an excellent day, and I hope to be able to do another one.  I like doing private outdoor sessions a lot, but these mini sessions were really awesome too, and a challenge to capture their personalities in such a short time frame.

But all the photographing and editing means not a lot of time to photograph my own doggies (and also a numb ass from sitting in the editing chair for so many hours, and also all the money going straight to Addy’s vet bills, le sigh).  I did manage to sneak in a few though because my dogs is purdy ;-)

This is not mine.  Why isn’t it mine?

(Also the font on my new watermark makes it look like it says bigairphotography.CORN which is bothering me.  I’m going to have to fix that.  You can’t unsee it now, can you?  mwa ha ha ha)

Where The Wild Flowers Are

This afternoon I took the dogs to play at the back of the property among the long grasses and the wildflowers, because it makes for prettier backdrops than the mowed lower pasture where we usually play.

The nice grasses with hints of purples and pinks and yellows from various flowers are so pretty.

This particular colour palette flatters His Orangeness.

And TWooie blends right in.  It’s totally his environment (because bunnies).

And you know what made our little adventure today possible?

Coyote Vests.

I’ve been avoiding going back there because, well, because you know.  There are so many more places for a predator to hide if they wanted to, and it’s where I find most of the coyote scat.  Nothing has ever happened back there, but when you’ve got two Littles chasing bugs and mice and bunnies through the undergrowth, it’s too much like tempting fate.  But I felt a lot better about letting the Littles have their fun and comfortable enough to bring the camera when they were wearing their vests.

This is The Face of Happy:

(And this The Face of Fae)

I gotta ask … like, do some of y’all think before you type?  I had to delete a couple of comments on my Coyote Vest post because they were just … nasty.  Like, if you think the vests look ridiculous, that’s cool – they kinda do (it’s part of what I like about them.  I’m always down for making the dogs look silly).  Someone posted respectfully that they took issue with the company’s research into hawk protection, and that’s okay too – I appreciate legitimate critique.  Or if you have questions about them, that’s cool too.  But someone posted that they were CRUEL and TORTURE, which I found confusing.  The spikes are on the OUTSIDE, not the inside.  Someone posted that it was terrible that the dogs couldn’t lie down, which I also found confusing.  The primary point of these vests are for adventurous outings where their lives might be at risk from a predator, it’s not like they fused to their bodies the second I snapped the buckles together and they’ll have to just stand around for the rest of their lives.  And as it happens, they can lie down in them, as Fae demonstrated by having a little rest in the shade of my torso (and getting a belly rub to boot!).

I also learned from visiting the Coyote Vest facebook page that dogs can swim whilst wearing them.  We’re keen to try that on our next hike.

And speaking of swimming, I did a photo shoot earlier this week with three hilarious Aussie at the beach.  I think we managed to get some very lovely shots.  What do you think?

Sandy Shenanigans.

Sea wenches.

Ridin’ the rails.

So many pretty places to photograph where I love, including my own backyard.

Although it can be challenge.

Mr. Woo has a little growth on his eyelid that is starting to grow and bother his eye, and I guess I’ll need to get that removed. So if you are interested in doing a photo shoot with me so I can get that money together, please contact me!

Review: Coyote Vest

Such an exciting afternoon!!  I checked the mailbox today (no, we don’t get mail delivered on Sundays in Canada, I’ve just been too lazy to walk up to the road and check it for a few days) and discovered a “hey, you have a parcel at the post office!” notice so I scooted my butt up there before they closed and found this waiting for me!

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Fae and Addy’s Coyote Vests have arrived!

The lovely people at Coyote Vest had contacted me a while ago, and told me they’d read the story of Little Man and how he got taken, and they felt so bad for me that they wanted to do something to help protect my remaining Littles.  (I’m not sure if one of y’all gave them the heads up or what, and if so, thank you!).  We chatted about my Littles and where I live and they offered to send me two free vests, one for each dog.  I was so excited, and even more excited to open the package and find not only the vests, but the spikes and the whiskers as well!

My dogs are fully Mad Maxed out!

These outfits are AWESOME.

The vests themselves are made from stab-proof Kevlar, so stupid pointy coyote teeth would have difficulty puncturing them.  They tailor-made Addy’s because she is so skinny and so long.  The vest covers their backs and sides and fit perfectly right down to the start of their tails, and the straps are adjustable to ensure a good, tight fit on the body.  There are plastic spikes embedded into the collars which protects their necks, and makes Addy look like Elvis, which is SO. MUCH. RAD.  The quality is excellent.

The vests have velcro sewn down in two lines alongside either side of the spine so I could attach the row of plastic spikes, which travel from the shoulders all the way down to the bum.  The rows of spikes are placed in such a way that if a coyote or other predator tried to pick up the dog, they’d just get a mouthful of painful spikes.  Even though the spikes are plastic, they are plenty sturdy and also lightweight – in the fact the whole rig is very lightweight and obviously doesn’t prevent the Littles from doing their regular (stuff and) thangs:

The whiskers are the piece de resistance; they are strong but flexible plastic skinny-straws that also get velcroed onto the vest, right down the length of the spine, and one smaller one at the base of the neck.  Imagine if you will trying to chomp down on your Starbucks Frappacino cup from the top – the straw would poke you in the throat and make you give up that stupid idea pretty quick.  This is how the whiskers function, but en masse.  Them thing’d poke you in all kinds of uncomfortable face places, like your eyes and your gums and the back of your throat.  It’s an extra deterrent and the whole combination means that something predatory that tried to grab my little dogs would have a helluva time doing it – coyotes usually grab tiny dogs by the back and break their backs, or by the neck and break that.  The spikes, the kevlar and are a difficult trifecta to get through.

When I first put the vests on the dogs, Addy was temporarily immobilized (much as she is when I put her rainsuit on her, or her pajamas – for a dog who hates being cold and wet, she sure hates wearing warm clothing that keeps her dry!).  She was kind of like a cat wearing a sweater and didn’t move at all for a couple of minutes.

But once she grew accustomed to her new outfit, she found it easy to move around and soon forgot she was wearing it, and life returned to normal for The Pants.

Fae didn’t mind getting dressed, as she is much more agreeable about wearing clothes, but the whiskers gave her fits at first.  She could see them out of the corner of her eye and assumed they were The Straws Of God and they’d come down to suck her up into the sweet hereafter.  Then she got mad at them and spent a couple of minutes turning in super-angry circles trying to catch them.  Finally she decided they were harmless and she was off and running like her usual self.

The big dogs were skeptical of the brightly coloured Littles at first.  Dexter accidentally brushed up against Fae’s spikes and whiskers and jumped about 300 feet in the air, and gave her a wide berth thereafter.  The vests have the added benefit of making Peetie leave the Littles alone, as the first time she tried to bite someone’s bum she got a faceful of whisker and she kept a respectful distance afterward.

And in a total coincidence, the neighbours have family visiting with a very large and not very happy pit bull mix looking dog.  It ran around the hedge and came charging at my dogs across the upper pasture, growling and barking the whole way.  Fortunately I happened to be right next to TWooie The Strange Dog Killer so I threw myself on top of him and managed to pin him to the ground right before he Took Offense to the interloper, but it also meant I couldn’t grab Fae and Addy and they, along with the rest of the crew, ran straight for the strange dog (whilst I screamed “GET YOUR DOG! GET YOUR DOG!” at the unseen neighbours).  The dog ended up not doing anything (would you?  If 8 dogs met your challenge and got all up in your grill?) but I felt kinda better knowing that if he decided to try and kill one of my tinydogs he’d have a lot tougher of a time, and this could concentrate on not inadvertently releasing a very angry and squirmy TWoo.

It was a pretty hot afternoon and we played ball and stuff for about an hour, and neither Fae nor Addy seemed uncomfortable in their kevlar.  The outfits are so lightweight that they didn’t impede their usual ability to run around and be ridiculous and when I stuck my hands under the vests, it wasn’t a hotbox or anything.  So all in all, super excellent addition to our anti-coyote arsenal!

I can’t WAIT to take them hiking in these rigs.  If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like attention from strangers, you won’t enjoy these because people stare!  My dogs wore them for about an hour on my property and people walking by on the road stopped and took a second and third look.  Fortunately, I don’t mind and I can’t wait to take my dogs out with these things on and talk them up to people who are interested.  The bright colours mean the dogs are easy to find, which would be a blessing in a situation where something was trying to take off with one of them.  I think these vests are awesome, and I wish I’d made the investment in them when Little Man was still with us.  He might still be alive today if he’d had one.  Remember, it CAN happen to you, it doesn’t always happen to “someone else” :(

I can’t recommend them highly enough.  Now we can all relax a little when we’re playing on the property.

(Well, Wootie was already relaxed)

Oh and one of the best things about them?  You can whip up stuff like this!

(Amy calls it “Mad Max Furry Road”)

hahaha!

I give these vets a solid 10/10!  If you have a little dog and you live in coyote country, consider buying one and protecting your precious Littles … and supporting an AWESOME company who just made our lives a whole lot better and safer!

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ETA:

Just to address some questions/concerns posed to or in my general direction:

I’m afraid these vests will injure my other dogs. Well, not unless your other dogs try to pick up the dogs wearing the outfits!  As you can see from some of the above photos, my other larger dogs had no problems running around as per usual with their Little Crew.  There was some adjustment while they got used to the Littles looking mighty strange, but once they were over that, it was business as usual for everyone.  The spikes and whiskers don’t shoot poison daggers at passing dogs or anything, they are simply a deterrent designed to make picking up and carrying off my little dogs a lot harder than it otherwise would be for something predatory.  I (and my Littles) would prefer that the larger dogs in the household don’t pick them up and carry them around anyway, so the vests really don’t interfere with their regular routines.

It would definitely make wrasslin’ less-than-fun, but my two Littles don’t really wrassle much with one another anyway; they prefer chase games, and these don’t affect that in any way.

They seem cumbersome for anyone to use daily.  Two buckles on straps folks, that’s what it takes to put them on. Now, granted, I did forget to put them on for their morning walk today because I am only semi conscious before my first cup of coffee, but it also takes me a few weeks to get into the routine of putting on raincoats in the winter before our walks too.  And it takes a lot more time to put on 9 raincoats than it does to put on two body armour vests!

If I needed my dogs to wear those to go for a walk, I would just move.  I envy those of you who have the resources to move somewhere totally safe (if there is such a place), or who own your own property and can fence and cross fence it, and can get LGDs to protect your property and the like.  I don’t, and can’t.  I have lived here for seven years and hope to live here a lot longer, because it’s 10 acres of private playground for me and the dogs in a rapidly urbanizing area.  In those seven years, our problems with coyotes have been confined almost entirely to them eating my chickens and ducks.  As more and more development goes up around us, there is less and less hunting grounds for coyotes, and they are becoming hungrier and thus bolder.  I can’t change that, all I can do is do my best to protect my loved ones with the tools available to me.

If your dogs needs to wear those so they don’t get carried off by a coyote, you aren’t watching your dogs closely enough.  Four months ago I might have said the same thing.  In fact I did, and I spent many weeks and months mentally punishing myself for letting a coyote steal my Little Man.  But the reality is that coyotes are predators and they are lightning fast.  They can also be extremely aggressive – a friend of mine fought off a coyote that tried to take her terrier that was on-leash and attached to her, in an urban alley, just a few years ago.  We aren’t talking about the countryside, we’re talking a major urban center in the daylight.  Until it happens to you (and doG I hope it doesn’t) you will probably always think that it couldn’t.  I struggle to balance the lifestyle I wanted to offer my dogs by moving to the farm with their safety and I am always aware and have my eyes open.  I don’t relax on the lawn with a book while my dogs run around the acreage, and I don’t turn them loose by themselves – I am always with them and I am always aware.  But I also want them to have fun and the freedom to run and play and enjoy the farm.  If these vests can offer another layer of protection to allow them to do that, then they are worth their weight in gold.

Your dogs look ridiculous.  I know!  Isn’t it awesome?!?! :)