Baby Alberta

Cash was bred for a second time to a beautiful bitch named “Grand Oakes Capture the Moment” aka Leica – she produced 7 healthy puppies AND I was lucky enough to be there for the birth of most of them.  It was so incredible to be involved, and bear witness to something so  magical.

I knew that I could not take one of these puppies for myself, as I have my hands quite full with two young dogs under a year of age…but the Universe smiled on me and let me spend 48 hours with one of the boys.  We picked him up from Julie’s house on the way home from the USDAA Chicago Regional, and kept him with us in our home as one of the gang for a couple of days before he got on a plane with my husband to head to the Wild West.

I could not believe how much he reminded me of his father at the same age, and how quickly I fell madly in love with him. He is one special little puppy, with the most incredible eyes, and sweetest personality.

Having him for the short time that we did was a blessing – watching him get on that airplane with Bryan was SO hard! However, I know that he has a very good home in Alberta &  I am so excited to see all of the amazing things he and his litter mates will achieve 🙂

~ Karen

The Countdown Continues!

Guess what?? ONLY 10 more sleeps until the hubby & I and the furry gang pile into the Airstream and hit the road for the U.S. Open in Fletcher, North Carolina!! I am really looking forward to competing with both of my dogs in such a big setting, and spending some quality time with my husband.  We are taking a week or so of vacation after the trial, and doing a bit of a road trip through the Great Smokey Mountains.

This weekend has been an awesome time at home – albeit a bit snowy (Oh, Canada!). So nice to spend sometime at home, getting things accomplished and of course working the dogs! Today it warmed up enough that I was able to run barefoot outdoors with Cash…probably the last time for that this year!  We worked on short jumping sequences with extension, as well as collection – he is doing so well.

One of my goals for this fall/winter is to focus on trick training with all of the dogs as well – it is so important to keep them mentally stimulated, especially if they can’t get outside quite as much because of the weather! I will try and remember to take some video of us working on our tricks one of these days and post it.  It always amazes me how quickly they learn!

Alright! I’m going to put down the laptop & curl up with the dogs – thanks for stopping by! Until next time!

– Karen, Maya, Cash & Keys

Back in the Agility Saddle!

Yesterday Cash & I were finally able to make it back to his regular agility classes – he had been off from agility completely for four weeks because of an injury to his dewclaw in early September. He and I are SO used to our daily rhythm of training, it was quite a challenge for both of us to figure out how to operate with agility completely out of the picture! Trick training, and lots of swimming & hiking to keep his conditioning up was what got us through!

Our first trial back was the UKI Fall Cup held at Royackers Kennels – it was the first trial I have entered where he is jumping at his International height, and could earn points towards making it on the World Team! We had some brilliant moments, but for most of the runs felt a little bit out of sync with one little mistake here or there! Our best run was a speedstakes course, we placed 2nd by only 0.2s! Pretty good for only having recently moved up to 26″!

Maya did great at Fall Cup as well – she won the overall Games Champion for 20″ jump height – I was super proud of her performance! Wished I had entered her in more runs!!

Anyway – our time off was a reminder to cherish every single moment…and made me even more incredibly thankful for my wonderful furry companions. I really cannot imagine life without them.

We have a few weeks of good weather (hopefully!!) and class with Kayl before the U.S. Open in Fletcher, North Carolina…another important trial! I can’t wait to see how we do in a competition so large – but most of all, I can’t wait to take a road trip with these guys & enjoy the journey!!

Until next time!

– Karen

Let the Games Begin!

I am so excited for the weekend – it is our first trial that counts for qualifying for Cynosport 2015 in Tennessee! I am really hoping to be able to run both Cash & Maya at Cyno next year, probably not Maya in all of the classes – but since she is officially our team Captain we expect her to make an appearance 🙂

This will actually only be the second time that I am running in the Team event at a USDAA trial – two of Cash’s litter mates are running with us – Twist & Puma. He’s also entered in Biathalon runs, Grand Prix & of course Steeplechase. Maybe we will bring home the $5.00 prize. LOL. Maya is entered in Steeplechase & about 4 other runs, I am really looking forward to running them both – and trying Maya on the “big dog” courses 🙂

My goals for the weekend are:

i) Run both dogs to the best of THEIR abilities
ii) LOOK at the line
iii) Stay connected
iv) Have FUN
v) Enjoy the Journey

I am pulling the Airstream up and camping nearby – AND have finally figured out a way to be able to use my phone and be connected to the internet while traveling in the US – its through a company called Roam Mobility (www.roammobility.com) If it works well I will try to post updates at night 🙂

Hope everyone has a great week & weekend!!

– Karen

Ready for Jamaica!!!!

If I had to do it again I would book our vacation for February.  Not to complain, going away is AWESOME.  But… in February the multiple polar vortexes and regular occurrence of more snow than I could shovel REALLY made me want to scratch my eyeballs out.  Also made me want to invest in a snowblower.

These guys however really enjoyed the snow:

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I swear every time I walked out the door and wanted to cry they jumped for joy.  Kept me smiling most of the winter!

Anyway – I digress.  The reason for this post is… JAMAICA.  Less than one week from now I will be on the beach, enjoying a nice cold beverage, and the SUN.  I cannot wait!  We booked our vacation with Air Canada – and it was one of those surprise packages where they don’t tell you exactly where you are going.  That type of thing works well if you are a bit cheap (you get a better deal) and you aren’t too particular about where you land… or are indecisive!

Regardless of where we end up – it will be warmer than here, and a welcomed break from the real world!

Going to miss my dogs though…

– Karen

Time to GO!

My husband and I have been kicking a lot of tires lately. We both would love to move to a place with more space – outdoor space that is. Our current home is in a super nice spot, it’s 120 years old or older…. But I don’t think it’s our forever spot…. I can’t fit an agility building on the lot. Even if I could, I’m 99% certain the township wouldn’t approve 🙂

Why the preamble? Well…we’ve recently become frustrated with trying to find our spot, and with winter (it’s been a little ridiculous lately!!) and have decided that it’s time to just GO! Like a lot of Canadians who have a slightly soft constitution when it comes to winter we have chosen the sunny south :). Jamaica to be exact – a place neither of us has been.

I’m pretty excited for the trip – it’s an all inclusive – so I have no planning to do, we are just going to go, relax & enjoy the sun! Maybe get a couple dives in, depending on our level of motivation 🙂

The other thing that’s awesome? These plans will keep me hitting the gym & eating clean! Got to get beach ready! 🙂 Especially considering there is an “au naturel” section (lol…that terrifies me!!)

What about you guys? Any plans for a winter getaway??

– Karen

The Hungover Half

It’s a good idea to train before running a half marathon.  Especially now that I’m thirty.  I signed up for it awhile ago on a whim, while hanging out at an agility trial with my American friend Lori.  She asked me if I had heard about the Detroit International half marathon – and since we are international friends I thought it sounded like something fun to do.  A couple of weeks ago I realized it was almost the date of the race…

Its not that I’m not in shape.  I CrossFit pretty regularly, not quite enough…but I’m working on it… but I don’t really run. I used to run all the time, but I like the body composition and overall healthy feeling I get from doing CrossFit.  We run in CrossFit, but not nearly as much as is required to “properly” prepare for a half marathon.

As I was getting to the hotel we stayed at (MGM Grand in Detroit!!!) I confessed to Lori that I had only “run” three times since June.  Four times if you count the Tough Mudder I did in June (I think it should count!).  She looked at me with an “oh, no” kind of face.

MGM Grand was pretty fabulous, we had a super dinner, lost some money gambling ($25 – big spenders, I know…) and rented “The Heat” from the Pay-per-view in the room.  Hilarious movie by the way. We thought we would watch it and drift off to sleep. At 12:15 am when the movie ended we realized we were going to be pretty tired in the morning.  These marathon organizers seem to like to start their events at the crack of dawn.

3:00 am rolls around and there is a very angry person outside of our door banging & demanding we let him in!! He was convinced that we were in his room.  Told us to wake up his friend.  We called security.  I have a feeling he was dyslexic and had been drinking a little too much.

The half marathon started while the moon was up – we decided we were just going to take it easy and go at a comfortable pace.  It took us around 2:40 to complete it – and I have to admit I enjoyed the first 2/3rds of the run.  You get to run over the Ambassador bridge into Canada, then back through the tunnel under the St.Clair river.  The last bit was a lot tougher mentally than I remember the first half marathon I did (I was like 22 at the time…and had trained), and harder on me than the Tough Mudder events that I love.  There’s nothing like mud, cold, and electrocution to distract you from the fact you can no longer feel your legs!

We finished, and hobbled back over to the MGM Grand to have a shower and relax before checkout. We had been referring to it as the Hungover Half because we intended to enjoy ourselves the night before. Truth be told we were done drinking by 8:00…I guess that’s how things go when you’re over thirty! 🙂

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Airstreaming & Agility

My handsome husband flew away on a jet plane again. He is hanging out two hours north of Fort Mac in Alberta. I understand it’s quite cold up there, and there are a lot of bugs. His first winter there he actually got stuck in a snow drift. I’m pretty sure that mental image will always make me laugh 🙂

When he was home on his last turn around we had a couple of agility trials to attend, friends to visit, and sights to see. The dogs did fabulous at the trials, we are showing in AKC right now – Maya moved up into excellent standard (exciting, trust me!), and Cash (as in Johnny) made it into open all around. He is a very exciting, crazy fast little guy…can’t wait to see what the future will hold for us!

I believe I left off in a previous blog with us at the agility trial in Midland, MI – parked in a driveway with a view & enjoying great company? When the trial was done, Bryan and I hit the road and headed north to Burt Lake State Park as a stopover on our way to visit friends outside of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. It rained, and rained and rained….but the park looks like a lovely spot to come back to!

We woke up early the next morning and continued our trek North. If you haven’t been to St.Josephs island in Ontario – you really should add it to the bucket list. It is a gorgeous area of our country…a little slice of heaven. Bryan and I spent the night there visiting with some good friends and having far too many laughs 🙂

One of the things I had been most excited about was seeing the International Dark Sky park in northern michigan. Luckily for us the weather cleared up, and we were able to see the stars. We camped right on the shore of Lake Michigan in the Wilderness State Park. There was almost no one there, and it was truly magical. The dogs romped & enjoyed the beach (not a dog free zone in the fall!), and Bryan and I had some time to relax. The weather was perfect, and the northern lights made an appearance on our first night!

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There were actually three other Airstreams in the park as well….we’ve not been Airstreamers long – but they are quite a friendly bunch! We spent an evening with Tim & Linda who were wealths of knowledge and very interesting folk. Their airstream was a much older model, but a thing of beauty. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything so shiny!

Our adventure concluded at the Seven Lakes state park outside of Holly, Michigan. I had one more dog trial to attend, and this park was quite close to our show site. The dogs did great, and I had some very good times with friends. We went out for homemade ice cream in Fenton at “Uncle Ray’s” – sinfully delicious…and a yummy supper at a Mexican restaurant where my husband ordered the HUGE “wet burrito”. This unfortunately for his digestive system had been a trend over the course of our trip…and yes he did eat the whole thing!

Two weeks can fly by in the blink of an eye can’t it? Now the fun of trying to decide where to go next! Any suggestions?

Camping in the Rain

Well it’s the morning of Day 3 here at TNT Dog Training Centre in Midland, MI – it’s such a beautiful facility. It’s been pouring rain since we got here and I am VERY glad that we have been competing indoors! Running in the rain can be fun… but not for three days in a row!

I am also immensely happy that I’m not camping in a tent! I used to be one of those people that thought camping in a trailer wasn’t “really” camping … I’ve changed my mind.

I know being in my giant tin can with a refrigerator, and coffee maker (clearly the MOST important appliance) is not the same as roughing it in Algonquin Park… But today I am quite thankful to have heard the rain binging off of the roof rather than seeping in around our tent seams!

The agility trial has gone super well so far, lots of time spent with good friends, and of course my beautiful dogs 🙂 We have been parked in my good friend Lori’s awesome dad joe’s (mouthful there!) lane way not far from the show site. Last night they treated us to a lovely steak dinner on the back deck overlooking the lake. So thankful to be surrounded by such great people !

We are headed north tonight – destination unknown. Will update as we go!

– Karen

Lindors by the pound?!

My husband, myself and dogs – Maya & Cash left for our two week camping and agility trial road trip yesterday. The thing about where we were headed (Midland, MI) is that to get there we had to drive past the Birch Run outlet mall.

To be honest I’m not one of those girls with a shopping problem….but I do on occasion like to find a good deal. Plus there is an Under Armour outlet…which works well with helping me look good while running agility & crossfitting 🙂

It turns out that outlet malls are far more dangerous then I realized. Especially when frequented with a husband with a sweet tooth. We were just about to leave when we saw a sign that said Lindor. Bryan decided we should just check it out… I’ve come to realize that checking out chocolate stores is a lot like going to “just look” at puppies. Especially when they give you samples ! I had no idea there were so many flavours of Lindor truffles.

We left the outlet mall with a far too big bag of Lindor chocolates (had to try at least three of each kind!) and the knowledge that they sell them by the pound…. Going to need to spend some more time in my Under Armour 🙂

– Karen