So You Think You’re A Big Chicken Now?

Yesterday we were at a USDAA trial that was held up here in Canada and someone mentioned that Fae always looks much larger in photos than she does in person, because there’s often nothing (such as a banana) for scale in photos.  So here’s Fae next to a chicken; if you know anything about chickens, then now you know how small Fae really is.

Though she be but tiny, she also be a Great Big Beeyotch.  Pound for pound, she’s a hard ass.  She’ll take on a rooster, if she thinks the rooster needs to learn a lesson.  Not that the rooster ever learns his lessons; so far he has successfully beaten up me, Auntie Michelle, and my landlord.  He really is not a very nice bird at all!

But he has not beaten up Terrence, my Personal Body Guard Turkey.  Terrence will beat up the rooster if the rooster tries to beat me up and Terrence is close enough to get involved.  I really, really like my turkey a lot.

He (with the help of his lady turkeys) made me seven baby turkeys who are right now in the a brooder on top of the washing machine.  Although one has gibbled feet, so I’m not sure he/she is going to make it … but dang, are they ever the cutest!!  I tried to get some photos, but shooting from above next to a red heat lamp just makes for lame photos.  I’m going to try and shoot them under studio lights in the next week while they are still itty bitty.  And cute.  Did I mention they were cute?  They’re almost as cute as HARVEY MY GOAT.

LOOK AT HIS ADORABLE FACE!!!

I love him so much!!  Michelle and I took turns bottle feeding him today.

He’s a big fan of feeding time!

Michelle’s mom is going to make him some fancy collars.  And I’m going to give him a bath because I think he needs to smell better, and not leave dirt on my hands after I pet him.  And I pet him a lot … after milk time, he climbed into my lap like a little dog and fell asleep having a cuddle.  I’m all a-swooning for my goaty baby!

This newborn goat was also cute:

And very tiny, like the size of Fae (see chicken above for scale).  But she is not Harvey, so she is not as cute.

Harvey isn’t allowed to come home until he drinks water from a bucket, which he is so far refusing to do.  Also he needs to be banded so his, umm, manly bits don’t come with him.  My landlord offered to grab the band and let me do it, but I don’t want Harvey to have to go into therapy because his mommy made his nuts fall off.

This is the cow that sometimes comes into my yard.  Frankly, she scares the shit out of me.  She’s just too damn big.  And she looks pissed off all the time.

We had a really nice, chill day just hanging around the farm with the dogs.  Addy did some gardening.

While Wootie did perimeter patrol for potential threats (and judging from the look of him, may have snuck out back to smoke a joint).

And TWooie took first watch.  And he took it seriously.

If the yard was fully secured in terms of fence, I think the WooTWoo would like nothing better than to spend their days out there just keeping an eye on things.  They are great little farm dogs, for their size, and they love just hanging out and surveying their property.  But the yard is not quite securely fenced, as evidenced by this pointy little face staring at me from the WRONG side of the driveway gate:

So clearly, beefing up the fencing needs to move up the priority “to do” list.  I also really need some ideas for making the front fence some kind of privacy fence, because it’s hard to enjoy the yard with the dogs when they ALL make a beeline for the fence line, barking their fool heads off, every time someone walks by.  We are quite near a popular (on leash) park with horse trails, so there are a fair number of people walking or riding by on nice days.  I was thinking of buying planks a couple at a time, whenever I have an extra couple of bucks to throw at it, until I have amassed enough of them to build horizontal slats from post to post with a very minimal gap in them, so people can’t see the dogs and the dogs can’t see people.  I just don’t want them pissing anyone off, because I have a lot of dogs, and all of them are loud.  Any other suggestions?  I probably have a couple hundred feet to do, so it will take me a long while to buy enough planks.

Dexter does not rush the fence.  Especially when he’s getting Auntie Michelle cuddles.

He likes those so much his feet don’t even touch the ground!

Except when he’s doing his impression of an ottoman.

Piper remains … slightly senile

Peetie remains annoying.

And Winter is sitting at the foot of the washing machine, staring at the brooder and wishing baby turkeys would fall into his mouth.

Happy Easter ya’ll!

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)

On This, The First Day of Summer

I offer you a photo of Winter.

I hardly ever post photos of Winter because he’s a) boring and b) not very good looking.  Unless he’s wrestling with Spring, he doesn’t do anything except lay around being stressy or hunt for rabbits in the bush.  He is also probably the least photogenic of all of my dogs.  And he’s low on the popularity list around here (don’t deny it – if you have lots of dogs, you like some of them better than others.  Even if you won’t admit it out loud).

I also offer you a photo of Gemma, to prove I have not chucked her out a window yet.  Not even after she bit me in the foot this morning for trying to stop her from sticking her head in Piper’s breakfast bowl.  Sticking her head in Piper’s bowl could easily have resulted in her losing her face or maybe her whole head, but the thanks I got was three sharp little teeth in my big toe.  Jerk.

Today we are reflecting upon our Regionals experience (we being me, because Spring “I’m A Terrier” Aling has already forgotten about it).

Facebook peeps already know how she did, and *what* she did, but I’ll recap for the rest of you.

SHE SHIT IN THE RING IN STEEPLECHASE II.

Argh.  Those among you who follow my Regionals sagas know that this makes the third year in a row where Spring has loosed her bowels or bladder in the ring.  And she ONLY does it at Regionals, and she ONLY does it at Regionals at Thunderbird Arena.  This year I carefully trialed her at new and different places with new and different footing, just to see if she does it other places too.  I trialed her at a new venue outdoors on grass for ASCofBC and she earned herself three titles in two days and didn’t foul the ring at all.  I trialed her at USDAA indoors on sand and she didn’t befoul that barn either.  But bring her to Thunderbird and she craps on the course.

Lighten up, Food Lady.  Everybody poops!!

I was SUPER bummed.  I very seriously considered pulling her from the rest of the competition.  Which some people seemed to interpret as me being a pissy (ha ha) pouty pants.  But I wasn’t going to pull her for me, I was going to pull her out for her.  Because Spring is a stressy dog, and her default response to stress is to pee or poop.

When I first got her, she would shit the floor if I looked at her sideways.  I couldn’t leave her alone for more than two minutes without her eliminating in the house.  It took lots of confidence building to get over that.  And then when we started agility, if I so much as said “Whoops” if she made a mistake, she would pee herself.  Lots of more confidence building required.  Now she can clearly trial and do reasonably well without losing control of her bodily functions … except at Thunderbird.  Which suggests to me that she was stressed.  And the point of us doing Regionals – or any competition – is to have fun.  Stressing to the point of pooping doesn’t sound like one half of us is having fun, does it?  (The other half of us doesn’t have much fun when she poops in the ring either, lemme tell you.  But that’s not really the point).

Some folks, whom I’m sure were well meaning, said stuff like “Well, just go out there and have fun with her.”  Well obviously that was my plan from the get-go.  Our ONLY goal was to have her running happy and not peeing (or pooping) in the ring.  Look, I’m not running a competitive dog, I know this.  I don’t take agility all that seriously – if I did, I wouldn’t be running rescues with giant closets full of behavioural skeletons.  I would be attending seminars instead of a loose practice once a week, which I mostly go to because it involves a Starbucks coffee. I would be doing drills in my yard instead of leaning against the fence and half-assedly asking my dog to “go jump something or something or whatever.”  I’m not trying to win all the thing.  I *like* to win all the things, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like it enough to work really hard at it.  I like to play agility and I like to play it with a dog that likes to play it with me (hence the reason Dexter doesn’t play it anymore, because I’m not sure he wouldn’t prefer to go out there and do it all himself, sans stupid ole me) but I’m not super competitive.

(Except when I win, at which point I am insufferable.  But I digress.)

The thing is, if my partner isn’t having fun, then I’m not having fun.  And I am especially not having fun if I threw almost $250 at a competition where my partner eliminates herself (on all levels) because she’s so not having fun.  That makes us both miserable.

But in the end I decided that Thunderbird is not, to my knowledge, toxic, poisonous, or dangerous.  It’s not going to kill Spring or me.  And by doG, she has full use of all her legs and she can run 6 damn courses without crumpling up and dying so I dragged her pouty ass back to the venue the next morning and decided that even if she pissed or shitted up the whole damn joint, she was going to try her paw at every bloody course and just GET OVER HERSELF.  She is not that same stressy pee-machine I adopted 4 years ago, she’s come a long, long way.  And a friend of mine gave me a really good plan too – she said if Spring pooped or peed on course (for those of you who don’t know the rules: if your dog eliminates on course, you get eliminated from the run and have to leave the ring without completing it and lose all your points) to take her out of the ring and drill her on the practice jumps outside the ring, to cement in her walnut brain that she has to keep “playing” even if she “goes.”

But as it happens, we didn’t need to use that strategy.  because in the end, Spring went four for six clean runs and ended up in 12th place of the 38 dogs in her division, and qualified for Nationals!

Spring reg

She had two clean Jumpers rounds – not super fast, but with bonus time points for each.  She had a nice clean and reasonably fast Standard and one clean Gamble run.  The second gamble was not Spring-friendly, which I knew from the get-go, so we concentrated on what she COULD do in the opening and racked up a decent amount of points.  She got a bit stressy in her second Standard and pulled some dorky stuff like not taking equipment she knows and likes very much, resulting in some refusals.  And then suddenly she decided mid course she was having fun and took off down a line of jumps so fast that I f*cked up and sent her off course because I was out of position.  So in the end, we had a really good Regionals.  And if she had run that second Standard clean, she would have had the points to be on the podium.  Which is pretty damn impressive for a dog who shat the ring on day one!

I am proud of my squirrelly girlie for overcoming her fears and trying so hard!

And speaking of rescues with closet skeletons …

Le Peetie.  Le Sigh.  So Le Cute.  SO Le Annoying.

She has decided that jumping up to chomp me in the face isn’t as much fun as she thought it was, which is a good thing.  But she hasn’t gotten any more fun overall either.  She’s boring as dirt – lovely dog, great in the house (she spent 12 hours loose in the house yesterday as I only brought Spring to the event, and she didn’t do anything naughty), beautiful recall, but absolutely no drive to speak of when it comes to toys or games with me.  I brought her to the event on Saturday, and aside from her wonderful habit of puking in the van, she was also spooked at the whole thing.  I hoped bringing her ringside to see the high-octane dogs would get her motor running, but she wasn’t at all interested in watching them.  She just wanted to go back into her crate and drool and not talk to anyone.

Last weekend I photographed a friend’s new puppy, and was captivated by her curiosity and her keen desire to play with All The Things.  Plus she is really freakin’ adorable.

Fifteen weeks old and she is already a go-go machine!

I want that in my next puppy.  I don’t want to create drive artificially, I want to harness and direct what’s already there and bursting to be free.  And Peetie doesn’t have it.  She’s going to make someone a very nice pet, but she’s not going to make me a very nice pet.  Because I have lots of pets that take up space and eat me out of house and home, tyvm.  And Peetie is NEEDY – she is always trying to flop in my lap or belly crawling up to me to lick my hands while I am trying to type or whatever, and it annoys the hell out of me.  There are people out there who love that, but I don’t love it at all.  Winter does that same thing, and we’ve already discussed how I feel about Winter.

So does anyone want a really sweet, really obedient border collie puppy who is decidedly low octane?

Fae has decided that it is indeed time for Peetie to go.

Peetie likes to bite the Littles on the bum to make them run, and then chase them down.  Addy likes it for about 35 seconds and then comes running to me to be picked up.  Fae doesn’t like it for even .35 seconds and would like to kill Peetie.

Even thought Peetie is a Dexter clone, which makes it difficult to part with her, the resident Bitch has spoken, so Peetie needs to move on.

Speaking of Dexters, today I spotted one in its natural habitat.

He is, of course, “hiding” in the brush with his ball.  I’m not sure where he learned to retrieve the ball to a clump of buttercups rather than to me, but it’s going on 7 years of the same behaviour that drives me crazy but I can’t change it.

Fae is trying to change it by hunting him down and barking shrilly in his ear until he gets up and moves.

And here is a photo of Piper, because I luff her. (See, I can love dogs who suck at agility.  Because if ever a dog sucked at agility, it was Piper!)

And here is a photo that is bittersweet.  It is a photo that memorializes my Tweedles as Regional Champion in 2012 on a permanent trophy.  Unfortunately, nobody told me that this trophy existed until after he died, so I never got a chance to get a photo of him with it.  And after I learned about it, nobody could even be bothered to send me a photo of the trophy when I asked, so I had to wait until this Regionals to snap one myself.

Here’s to the best dog that ever was, and the best agility dog I ever had.  I miss you Tweed!!

tweed trophy

This is NOT the best agility dog I ever knew.  But isn’t he good looking though?