Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Visitor

Poison's 11 month old half-sister Rayne is here for a month.  Her mom and dad are building a house and are very busy, so Rayne decided she wanted to go on vacation!  Why she picked the Prairie Dobe Finishing School is beyond me, but she's here and that's all that matters. We're very happy to have her.

It's been four days, and she has settled in quite nicely.  After initially balking at real meat, she eventually decided that eating raw is pretty fun.  She tagged along to a lure coursing practice, visited our favorite dog bakery (and promptly made an ass of herself because Kaylee told her she should), and went to show-dog school at DMOTC.

We're showing her eight times before she goes back to her owners.  While I hope she doesn't steal all the points from Poison, I do hope we make some progress on her championship!






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Reviewsday: J&J Leashes

Behold, the inaugural Tuesday Reviewsday post!  This week I am reviewing one of my favorite dog products... J&J Leather Leashes.

Company Overview
J&J Dog Supplies is one of the oldest and most beloved sources of supplies for competitive obedience handlers.  They have been selling obedience equipment since 1965. Their website is www.jjdog.com, and you can find them at many of the larger dog shows around the country.  (In fact, they will have a booth at the Des Moines dog show at the fairgrounds, September 6-8.)

In addition to awesome leather leashes, J&J sells a variety of other gear for obedience enthusiasts. Among other things, they sell articles, custom-made and prefabricated dumbbells, specialized training aids such as shark lines and utility article training mats.... and teeny tiny utility gloves for toy breeds that are so cute that they basically make my brain explode.

Product
Frankly, for this one I'm just going to review their flat leather leashes in general.  I have several, and couldn't decide which one to review!  J&J offers the following leashes:

- Training Leashes (4ft or 6ft, in the following widths: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1")
- 2' Traffic Leashes (in the following widths: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1")
- 1' Walking Leashes (in the following widths: 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1")
- 6' Slip Leashes (in the following widths: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4")
- Convertible Service Dog Leashes (5/8" wide and 5' long, or 5/8" wide and 6.5' long)

Price
J&J leads are extremely affordable.  Most are under $30, and the basic training leashes are around $9-$20.

Colors & Customization
The great Henry Ford originally offered his automobiles in "any color, as long as it's black."  J&J seems to have the same philosophy when it comes to their leather leashes.  J&J leads are available in.... reddish brown.  They also have a light tan harness leather, but as I have never handled those leashes I cannot speak to their quality.  I have heard rumors that J&J can make black leads if you call them, but I've never seen actual proof of this.

Leather Quality
When you first get a J&J leash, your hands will feel like they're dying.  The edges are not beveled, and the leather has not been softened with conditioners.  This is probably one of the reasons why J&J leashes are so affordable.  However, despite the initial roughness, the leather actually is quite high quality.  Within a few weeks of use the leather will darken, the edges will naturally bevel on their own, and the leather itself becomes soft and supple.


Here is a 5/8" wide, 4' long J&J training leash I have had since 2005. This is the leash I got free when I took my first obedience class at DMOTC, and has been used to train several dogs.  I also use this leash when I take a dog running with me.  If I'd paid for the leash on my own, it would have been $12.55.



Here is a 1/2" wide, 2' long J&J traffic leash I have had since 2001. Current retail cost for this leash is $8.99.



And lastly, here is a 5/8", 5' J&J convertible service dog leash that I've had since 2008.  This is the leash I use when I roadwork my dogs with a bicycle.  I've also used this leash to walk two dogs at once.  This leash is priced at $23.50, but I got mine at a J&J booth for less than $20 due to the mismatched hardware.  



I will always have a J&J leash in my tack box.  They simply cannot be beat if you're looking for a quality leash at an affordable price. And at least for me, it feels good to support a company that has supported us crazy obedience folks for so many decades.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Panty Liners

We drove to Illinois today.  Partly to play with (nearly) five-week old puppies, and partly to pick up a "client dog" that will be here for about a month for training and to be shown.  The puppies are half-siblings to Poison by way of dam, and the "client dog" actually belongs to friends of ours, and is Rocket's niece/Poison's half-sister (by way of sire.) Her name is Rayne.

Out of all the puppies, one really stood out.  Of course, it had to be a red male. I need another dog like I need a bad case of the measles, but holy cow... this boy is amazing.  I'd like to kidnap him just so I could show him.  Granted, he may change in the next three to five weeks and not be as breathtaking as he is now.  Part of me is hoping for that, only because I think another show dog would be a very bad idea.  I can already hear my bank account crying.

It didn't help that Aryn and I spent the car ride home thinking of names for the little guy.  Here's a photo.


On the way home, we stopped for fuel (and SmartWater) and saw some cleverly disguised new model and/or concept Chevrolet trucks.  I knew they were Chevys because the chevrons were all covered with black electrical tape.  They had psychedelic wrap jobs to make accurate photography difficult, as well as the classic black tarps used to hide the design.  From what little I could see, they were pretty neat trucks!


I had two grande Java Chip Frappuchinos in an eight-hour period.  Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!


I bet you're all wondering about this entry's title.  I bet the suspense has been killing you.  Either that, or you've figured that I've gone off the deep end.  I shall now explain.

I got home, unloaded all the crates I'd been given, and gave Rayne a bath.  I offered her some beef, but she wasn't sure what to do with it.  I had better luck with the poultry organ mix... she actually ate that!  After she'd dried off from her bath, I decided to put her bitch-britches on since she's "blossoming" at the moment.  Eww.  

I go to find the panty liners her owners had given me for her britches.  The entire box had disappeared.  I retraced my steps.  Was the box in the foyer?  No.  Was the box in the living room?  No.  Was the box in the kitchen, or the dining room, or the hallway, or the bathroom, or the bedroom?  No, times five.  Had I left the box in the car?  Nope.  Had the box somehow walked under a desk or the dining room table?  Negative.  Had the cats dragged the box down into the basement?  Nope-a-roni!

I was at a loss.  How could a box of panty liners just up and walk away?  It didn't make sense. By that point, I'd spent about 20 minutes looking for those damn panty liners.  

I then noticed a single panty liner on the bedroom floor.  One. Goddamn. Panty liner. It was just sitting there, mocking me. Feeling like I'd made a tremendous breakthrough in the case of the missing panty liners, I decided to inspect the room more closely.  It was only then that I found where the box had disappeared to.  Somehow, the box of panty liners had wound up under the bed.  I can only assume one of the dogs carried it into the bedroom and somehow flung it under there.

Anyway, Rayne is now wearing her britches and appears to be very happy that I found her feminine hygiene products.  You're welcome, silly girl.


Tomorrow, we go lure coursing.  Kaylee doesn't know... I think I'll refrain from telling her where we're going, so she can be surprised with she sees the field and hears the swish-swish-swish of her plastic quarry rustling through the grass.  It's going to be a good day to be a Kaylee-dog.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hodgepodge 16.0

POISON UPDATE
So, this is what my dog looks like at 8 months.  


This weekend I am driving to Illinois to pick up her half sister.  She'll be here for a few months for training and to be shown. Stay tuned for photos!


KAYLEE UPDATE
I'm going to attempt to put a CD on Kaylee in November.  I'm probably going to vomit.  We have roughly 100 days to not suck at a Novice routine.  Great. 


STATE FAIR UPDATE
As usual, I nearly killed myself by eating tons of bad things.  

Porkchop on a stick.  Sorry, I ate about half of it before I remembered to take a photo.

Red velvet funnel cake.

Fried cheese curds.

Fried Oreos.  Fried Snickers.

Double Bacon Corndog.
(That's a hot dog, wrapped in bacon, dipped in bacon-infused batter, fried, with bacon bits sprinked on top.)

Pepsi and Lemonade. 
(The lemonade was free!)



RANDOM UPDATES / COMMENTS

~ I have a photo of one week's worth of poo from four raw-fed dogs, but I don't know if I should post it. ~

~ Due to a pricing error, I got $120 worth of canned dog food for $10.83 from Amazon. Win!  ~

~ I'm going to start doing weekly product reviews on the blog.  Please send me stuff to review. ~

~ I'm going to do a photo contest on the blog, once I can afford to buy the prizes.  Stay tuned.  ~




Sunday, August 4, 2013

So, we got this cat.

I tried to resist, but in the end the vet clinic (and its vet techs) pulled a Borg on me and I was totally assimilated. Or something.  I should know better than to go and "just look at" a litter of 8-week old kittens.

His name is Dartanian, and I know that's a wonky spelling of the name but trust me, I have my reasons. Super secret reasons that might or might not involve a secret obsession/source of inspiration/addiction of mine.  I won't explain, so don't ask. I'm serious.

Here he is in a large glass mug.  He's the most easygoing ktten I've ever met.  Aside from his love of peeing on dog beds, he's basically the best cat ever.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Farmers Market

The Des Moines Farmers Market is huge. It fills eight city blocks and draws roughly 20,000 visitors each day.  On a whim, Aryn and I decided to take the dogs and go hunting for new meat sources... and kale.  Lots and lots of kale.

The rules regarding dogs at the market are as follows:

1. Dogs must be under control on a short leash (3 ft maximum) and by the owner's side at all times.
2. Dogs need to be kept away from produce, plants, and prepared food products.
3. Dogs need to be courteous and able to socialize with people and other dogs.
4. Be understanding - not everyone is a dog lover and some fear dogs.
5. Be prepared to pick up after your dog and bring appropriate pick-up gear.

We brought Ruby and Jayne.  We figured obedience titles and temperament certifications would prove beneficial in the congested, chaotic market environment. The dogs did great.  It was a testament to their thorough training and stable temperaments that they did so well.  We were there for nearly two hours, and not once did either one of them leave heel position. And no, they were not wearing prong collars or head halters!

To give you an idea of how much of a big deal it was that the dogs did so well, take a look at this photo of the Des Moines Farmers Market crowds:



Most of the other dogs at the market didn't do as well as ours did... not by a long shot.  Aside from a few of our dog training buddies who were also at the market, Aryn and I were the only ones that were actually using 3-foot leads.  Most people had 6-foot leashes, and some dogs were even on retractable leads!  Most people were not watching their dogs, and the dogs were not trained to stay at their owners' sides.  It was a mess.  People, train your dogs!

Surprisingly, we only met one person (in a crowd of 20,000) that made a scene about a "vicious" dog being at the market.  As we rounded a corner, a man visibly recoiled and made obvious movements to get away from the dogs.  When we turned to look at him, he angrily shouted, "Those dogs can attack at any moment!"  We looked down at Jayne.  He was in perfect heel, not looking at the man at all, and being very zen.

Yes.  Jayne was being a vicious beast.  Buddy, you have no idea.



Friday, August 2, 2013

Revisiting Child-Free

I'm finding myself needing to make another attempt at explaining the "child-free" mindset, because I don't think the media quite gets it.

Many pro-childfree articles call on several reasons why couples decide not to have kids.  The risk of genetic issues, the cost of raising a child, the need to retain their current lifestyle, the perceived 'overpopulation' of the world, the ability to travel, etc.

I can honestly say that none of those reasons are why I don't want kids.


That's borscht.  

It's not my photo.  I found it on the internet. The best way I can explain my lack of desire to have kids can be explained... by borscht.

Borscht is a Ukrainian dish made from beets, and sometimes tomatoes. In Poland, it's served with little mushroom-filled dumplings called uszka.  Millions of people love borscht.  Heck, it's so popular in Russia that the cosmonauts brought borscht-in-a-tube into space.

But to me, it tastes like vomit.  I never made the decision to not like borscht - it just so happens that my taste buds say it's the most foul substance on earth.  (And no, I am not calling children foul, by any means.)  

It's the same way with wanting kids - at least, it is for me.  I haven't made the decision to not want kids.  I just don't want them.  I never have.  To this day, I remember the exact moment when I realized I'd never choose to be a mom.  I was five years old, in the fresh produce section of Sun Mart, when I told my parents I was never going to have kids.  They laughed it off, probably because at that age I said all sorts of interesting things.  (Hey parents... does "I want the moon!" ring any bells?  Ha!)

Even though we don't really have the money to correctly raise a child, it's not about the money. Even though we are very happy with our time-consuming hobbies, it's not about the time.  It's simple... I do not have the desire to have kids, and neither does my husband.

Just like we don't have the desire to eat borscht.