Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sad news

A short while ago I got the bad news that one of the Sharpei puppies I'd helped whelp and care for was in renal failure at the tender age of four years old. She never fevered and there's no way to prove it till after death with a Congo Red Stain but amyloid is strongly suspected as everything else has been tested for and eliminated as a possible cause. Her name is "Me-Me" aka Chi-Kuan's U Talkin' Bout Me. This was absolutely devistating news to her family and to me... you never think when you watch those beautiful puppies born and see them grow into beautiful youngsters and lovely adults that something like this will happen. Unfortunately there is no DNA test for it at this point to determine which dogs are susceptible and no cure.

FSF and amyloidosis are related and inherited, though the mode is not clearly understood. With this in mind, Me-Me's owner/mom, who also owns her maternal aunt was in contact with the owner of Me-Me's sire. (Who is not her breeder btw, as he'd been sold after the litter was bred to a new owner.) Her sire is Sami, Epic's Am I Blue and his new owner was very distressed to report that he was also ill.

I just found out today that on the 29th of August, Sami passed away. A CRS has yet to be done but it will most likely confirm what we all suspect. I am so heartbroken thinking about this beautiful, vital boy being gone... it blows my mind. And it makes me face the fact that Me-Me will also go downhill and pass away much too soon as well. Sami was such a silly, goofy boy... always the class clown, he would never stop moving or wiggling or licking for two seconds in a row. He was such an unserious dog, who took a lot of joy in everything he did. When I think of him, I remember him sticking his muzzle in the waterbucket and then goosing me on the back of the knees, trying to keep him in something resembling a stack while he wanted to bounce and kiss the 'judge' at training, lazing in the sun with Ella and Action and just generally being a big goofy lug-a-bug. I really just can't believe he's GONE. My heart also breaks for his owner, who not only loved him as a beloved family member but had imported him from the US to Romania to show and eventually breed. My heart breaks for his puppies who carry genes which may well cause them to suffer the same fate and for their owners who can do nothing but take care of their lovelies as best one can if so.

I hate this damn disease.... I hate that it hurts so many dogs.... I hate that it hurt one of "mine"... I hate that some people hide problems and that the breeders and owners who are honest and forthcoming in their troubles worry about being lambasted. It's just so damn unfair!!!!! All of it!! Hug your furbabies a little closer tonight everyone... and look for the newest star in sirius tonight.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

a nice moment... NOT

After a lovely day out I was in a nice relaxed mood. The dogs were bouncing around, so we had a training session. After, I sat on the floor and Sierra crawled into my lap next to Laurent, leaning into myself as I rubbed her ears gently and enjoyed the last fading rays of the late afternoon sunshine streaming through the window and the softness of her fur. I love running my fingers through their fur and she'd just recently had a bath so she still smelled like the lavender in the shampoo as I hugged her close. As I reveled in the gentle energy of the moment and reflected that I really do love the wonderful dog she's turned into...


Oh. Dear. Gods. THE STENCH!!!

Ewwwww! I've smelled week old roadkill that was less fragrant! GAG... I don't think I want to know what she ate to produce that kind of odor!

Heaps of photos from Jayne's today!
Social commentary?
Nic and La after poor tuckered bubs finally went to sleep

One of the three boys having fun together

And a whole bunch of Sienna and Jayne. You can tell neither of us get the chance to shoot a little girl often as we went a bit nuts... I do have a few other ones that may have come out (can't tell if they're blurry yet) but my camera battery is recharging and I can't process anything till it is. I'll post them privately if they do come out as Liam's streaking in the backgrounds.

Monday, August 28, 2006

thoughts and ramblings

We haven't been progressing as quickly as I'd like with the rear paw targeting. The goal is to get the dog to step on a target object (in this case a textured block about 8"x10" and 1" high or 20x25cm and 2.54cm high) with her right rear paw. For the non-dog trainers here, most dogs are only cursorily aware they have rear legs, let alone able to really use them with any degree of awareness or coordination. Mostly the front end just moves and the rump follows by default. There are skills that are used in sports which do require a degree of rear end awareness... for example, backing, climbing a ladder, avoiding clipping a pole on a jump or accurately make contacts in agility etc. There are a variety of ways to teach it - ladder-work, teaching the dog to turn on it's forehand and various jumping exercises wherein the dog must take off as soon as it lands. I'd heard about teaching the dog to target with it's rear paws in a discussion somewhere and thought, "huh, yeah, that sounds like a nice challenge!"

I had started by simply free-shaping for the behaviour as I had the various front paw targeting stuff or the 101 TTDWAB exercises. It became soon was apparent (10 clicks) that I really wasn't helping her because she knew she was supposed to do something which involved the target but couldn't work out what. (Well DUH... it's hard to be aware of that being the thing I'm looking for her to utilize! Admittedly not one of my brighter moments! Plan first THEN train!)

So breaking it down more, I started working on shifting weight on the rear feet etc. with the idea being to get her to deliberately move the rear foot in any movement. Simplifying it as well, working her in a smaller area. Better but still not as nice as I'd like. We've done ladder work and such so I thought she was to the point this would be a fairly easy connection for her to make but maybe the fluency for that isn't there to the degree I thought? Hmmm....

So yeah, I think tomorrow I'm going to go back and fiddle with that a bit more and maybe use some vet-wrap or something on her hocks to make them a more noticeable sensation. T-Touch was also a thought and on a quasi-related note I want to look at spinal alignment as I think she may be pulling and seeming tense in the shoulders.

Other than that, we did very little training today, maybe 20 minutes all up? I spent most of the day just thinking about where I am with our training and where I want to go, chewing over our relationship. Something my instructor said to me has been gnawing at me. This was a session when Si’s blood sugar was wonky and she was being pretty hyper about offering behaviours, which for her is also a sign I’m lumping and frustrating her. At any rate, the comment was made that I needed to keep my hands stiller because Si was so in tune to my body language she was trying to interpret every little movement. I was trawling my bookmarks tonight, as I have a folder full of interesting stuff I've found and didn't have time to throughly read at the time, and came across something that just sort of stood out to me:

This is something I really want to think on and figure out if my behavior is causing her to react that way. Yeah she is a spaz anytime she’s not had breakfast but I can see where she would react exactly as described in the ‘leading’ example.

We still had a great day though. Lots of lovely "together" time for all of us. I really love it when we have mornings like this one, where as soon as I woke up I was surrounded and cuddled up with Nic, Laurent, Cade and Si all piled in the bed together cozy and enjoying each other’s company in the morning sunshine for half an hour or so before we finally rolled out of bed for an equally leisurely breakfast and a nice day just spent together.

*yawns* And now it's time for bed!

Sunday, August 27, 2006


After trying to get into Croydon obedience club for ring obedience since before January, today we went up there to see if we could talk to anyone and check on how the feeler one of the club members who is in our tracking club was going to put out for us. She'd told us she'd ask if there was any way we could squeeze in. Long story short... the phone was busy when I called a few times, so we drove out which we'd intended to do anyhow. We got there too late to talk to the people we'd need to to check on the waiting list and as it happens the aforementioned tracking club member was there and told me she had asked and they said there was nothing for it - they're *still* chock full. Bugger! :-(

I know there are other obedience clubs and lots of them closer but this one trains with positive reinforcement and also has a nice agility and rally-o program. It's also where I'm hoping to get the puppy into if we end up getting it. Adding to that general grump, I'm also fighting off a bout of meniere's I think... very queasy and have this nasty pain in my left ear, lots of tinitus and just generally tired and blech.

Meanwhile I need to do some training with Doggy Zen for Sierra, which I meant to start at the beginning of the week but got sidetracked with teaching the central heeling thingie, which has turned into a cute little move if I do say so myself. (And I do... lol) Rear targeting is going interestingly. I'm having to break it down a lot more than I usually do, rewarding for little shifts in weight, as she was getting really frusterated and throwing off random behaviours one after another trying to figure out what the heck I was after. It's (rear foot targeting) a tricky concept it seems.

We're doing some cavaletti work as well but I need to find a horse person to pick their brain on strides and such and about teaching her to shorten her stride and collect a bit.

I'm trying to watch my hands as Sierra is very focused on hand-signals due to my training with them exclusively after I got her. (I'd just lost my hearing and was signing only, so sound still isn't a real attention grabber for her even though her hearing -is- fine.) My instructor noted that she was getting a bit frentic about it at times. After reading an interesting discussion on the stuff that was discussed at a recent Jesus Rosales Ruiz seminar (which is what set off my whine about needing to be rich a few days ago...) on the effects of delaying the reward by 5 seconds or doing click-click-treat v. click-treat in clicker-savy animals and also the location the reward was being delivered in (eg delivering in position v tossing it elsewhere).

And just because I'm a big sucker for punishment, I'm going to do a plan to teach a hotdog retrieve. (As in the dog retrieves a hotdog... without eatting it.) I'm saving that for a few more days of planning though!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Yesterday it was Cade's turn to go to the vet. Nothing big, he is on metacam for arthritis from an old hip injury and needs a test every so often to be sure he it's not having any side-effects. So I told Sierra to stay and there was much whining and general patheticness. Then she noticed I was taking Cade and it turned into disbelieving horror. "But... but... you can't mean to take him and leave ME!"

She stood on tippy toes leaning as far over the doorway as she could without actually stepping out. She was so put out! Cade gloated. Anyone who doesn't think dogs gloat should meet Cade. He pranced and danced and wiggled just in front of her. "Neener neener neeeeeeeeeee-NER!!! Mum's taking me and leaving yoo-oouuu!!!"

With Laurent in my arms, I opened the door and told Cade, "through". Suddenly I heard this indignant whine-whimper noise and apparently it was just all too much for Sierra to bear when she heard me say, "go through" because by she levitated down the hall - I swear not a toenail touched the wood - and exploded out the door.

"Sierra, go back." From a wiggling, joyous mass (oh happy day, I hadn't meant to leave her after all!) she froze. She didn't hear me right, surely!

"Sierra, go to your crate." The whole dog just wilted like a cartoon balloon that's been deflated as she trotted back, flomped into a down and heaved the most put upon whine in the history of dogdom. Poor Sie-sie...

Today was Sierra's turn to go to the vets and Cade's turn to stay. I cued Cade to go lay down in his crate and stay. Sierra froze. Oh my! "HUZZAH!!!! THAT MEANS SHE'S LEAVING AND SHE DIDN'T TELL *ME* TO LAY DOWN AND STAY SO THAT MEANS SHE'S TAKING MEEEEE!!!!" She jumped straight into the air and barked triumphantly! "YESSSS!!!" Poor dog had no clue she's going for a needle... not that she cares anyway, she wiggles in joy as the vet is inserting the needle and asks for more. My dogs are really weird!

Just had to share this shot... both dogs are using the nail file board to trim their nails and L is very interested in getting in on the action. Behold the general state of cuteness!

Training was pretty plain tonight, mostly jsut working on memory games. IE Do you remember ? How about ? And what about ? What about if I mix up the order? How about if I do it standing with my back to you? While waving my hands? While jiggling the cookie bag? LOL Yeah, I'm nuts but it kinda works for us.

garden update

Okay, so a few days back I mentioned our gardening. Here's the photos to show what's been going on! It's not done in the photo but I'll say what we've done and explain what you're seeing. First you see the deck which was fixed/restained. To the right is the green fence of the spa area which has been weeded, had lilydale toppings put in and patio steppers with planted pots of lavender. Directly off the deck, lilies have been put in, standard roses transplanted in, the huge lavender was trimmed down to deck height and a matching one put in on the other side, the ferns and dietes were lifted and thinned, the hibiscus trimmed on the left (just out of the picture) trimmed and the suckers removed, the hydrangias just near that were tamed, the seaside daisys, dietes and lillies lifted and thinned. The path was edged, a lemon tree planted in the middle of the circle, lilydale toppings put on it. The bushes at the back rear corner and the elephants ears were trimmed, divided and otherwise tamed to hide the compost bin. Along the back, two dead trees were removed, a olive tree removed and I planted agapanthus, lilies, two small trees that are supposed to grow really fast and a bunch of bulbs. To give an idea of what it looked like before, it was one solid mass of grass, weeds, overgrown shrubs and vines. The HUGE pile of green waste you see in the middle of the photo, partially on the path is part of what we've pulled up. Greenwaste has taken 2 bins already, I have another one full and enough trimmings to fill at least 4 more and I'm NOT done!!! HOLY MOLEY!!! The pile is actually taller than I am by a head and about a meter and a half wide! We still have to deal with the bed in front of and along side the garage where our veggie garden was. It needs to be filled in and that's why you see the bluestones in front of the green waste pile. Those will be the edging (as they are around the rest of the yard) and we'll plant more of the white daisys. So it's coming together finally!!!
Now this is the new improved front garden! Not the best angle of it and not finished also but coming along! When we started there were massive leggy trees dying and overgrown everything, a patchy scrub lawn. The "beds" which were so overgrown you couldn't tell where they really were, were straight making it look very narrow. We took everything up, including the grass! We put down new grass in two connecting circles. Trimmed the roses, planted the iris, the hydrangia quercifolia, the chinesis, the mexican orange blossoms, snowdrops, limonium, artemsia powis castle, penstemon sour grapes, heliotrope lord roberts etc etc etc. The bricks, I've just started to lay out and haven't dug in yet which is why they are still crooked and above ground! The mulch is also new! This has been a LOT of work, especially since Laurent doesn't give me much time to do ANYTHING... so I am really proud of it! I will post better photos once everything is finished as these are pretty crappy shots and there is still a lot of work to do!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I need to be rich....




There are entirely way too many, way too cool training and behaviour seminars going on overseas that I wanna go toooooooooooooo....


Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm insanely busy but I wanted to do a quick training update! We've been working on lots of stuff training-wise...
* curl (curls around my right leg) and cue (curls around my left leg)- this is getting more fluent and smoother, working on extending it to doing them in different patterns and doing multiples (eg curl-curl-cue, cue-curl, cue-curl-cue, curl with me twirling at the same time)
* leg weaving - getting more fluent and smooth, going from left to right and right to left, while walking forward and backwards and in multiples (eg four sets of leg weaves before rewarding)
* spin on my left - working on getting it faster and smoother mainly as she's at about 75% performing on cue
* heel - continue to be a bit of a bug-a-boo, she insists on bouncing at least the first step!
* ducking through my legs - forwards and backwards, going nicely, need to watch I'm not having her target crooked
* front - working on adding sustained eye contact with this and getting her to work a little further out. I'd been having her work closer in than the teacher would like.
* target stick - sustained contact stuff which I find horribly boring but is really useful so I need to actually train it...

And our newest tricks:
* central sit - this is where she comes inbetween my legs and sits, hopping with each step I take and sitting as my foot hits the ground - just started this and it's going very nicely! I was surprised how quickly she seemed to pick up the idea! :-)
* central heeling - this is where she comes inbetween my legs and maintains a heel position as we walk together... we just started this and it's going quite nicely as well, though it's awkward for me to do it smoothly so I'm having to iron that out

We're also revisiting Doggy Zen as a certain little red fuzzy dog I might mention is starting to mug my hand less than gently for her treat when she's very excited the little hooligan! Plus working on all the other usual stuff (sit, down, stay etc) that I've been ignoring. I also need to draw up a plan for rear leg targeting, backing up straight and figure out some exercises to go with that for strengthening those muscles involved and stretching them out.

When I went to class the other day, I still hadn't really settled on a piece of music to work with. A lot of the songs I liked were too long or just didn't work. So in the end they ended up playing a dozen songs to decide which one suited her pace best. For anyone who hasn't seen Sierra move, she has a big long stride and covers ground quickly. That means something with a quick tempo that lets us MOVE is required. They ended up settling on "Popcorn" by Hot Butter which DH groaned at as it was on a video game he used to play as a kid and drove him nuts! I couldn't really hear it at the training center because of my lousy hearing, so I only really heard it at home. I have to admit, after listening to it only a few days, it IS one of those songs that is going to drive me bananas too but what are you going to do! LOL Ah well!

Also, for anyone who hasn't heard (which may be one person in a cave somewhere in outer Mongolia... I'm kind of excited as you may have guessed!) I may be getting a new puppy in a few months! It's not for sure because there are a lot of reservations ahead of me on this litter but I'm hoping against hope there will be a puppy for us in there! I'm super excited and having a hard time waiting patiently! LOL I really love the bloodlines on the bitch and was considering importing a dog of those bloodlines for my next Aussie when I heard that this girl was imported in whelp. Well I couldn't get a pup out of that litter because Laurent was just born and it would have been really bad timing. Then I saw this breeder had a new import (male) that I also thought was really nice and had thought would be a nice match with this bitch. I was going to e-mail her to ask if she was ever thinking of doing that breeding with the intention of telling her if she ever did I would be very interested in a pup out of it. As I went to look up her e-mail, I see on her website she's already done the breeding and pups are expected around September 11th! But as I said, there are a lot of folks ahead of me in line for a pup out of this breeding so it's not for sure! If not, I'll be on the waiting list for her next litter in late 2007 hopefully but I'm really crossing my fingers, rubbing my horseshoe and wishing on my lucky star there is a darling in this litter for us!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Today is actually a big anniversary for us... the anniversary of Nic's mum's death. Both of us felt really off kilter today and spent the day just cuddling close. Kind of fitting, today was also a day we did a lot of work on the garden, which was also one of Nic's mum's very favorite places. Her dream was to open a big bed and breakfast with huge gardens for all her flowers but it never happened as her breast cancer came back and took her.

Our back garden has been a project and a half to get looking nice... our front garden as well! It's been slowly being worked on since late in my pregnancy. And while they're not completely finished by any means but there was MAJOR work done today! We're getting close!

I love our garden, it's a lot of different reasons I guess... it does feel like a tribute to Nic's mum as a lot of plants here are ones she loved or from her cuttings. Also it's lovely for us to just be able to work together as a family and enjoy the sunshine. And I'll admit, it's been a big deal for me because I never was able to have a garden before due to A.) renting, B.) the fact that Michigan isn't flower friendly as it's frozen half the year and C.) what the cold doesn't kill the deer eat. I'll take photos when we get it finished up but for now I think it's probably the best way we could have spent the day short of being able to spend it with his mum.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's been a busy few days... training, gardening and generally being run off my feet! We've all had this buggering chesty cold thing going on which doesn't help.

Thursday we spent a lot of time at the cemetary at Grandpa's grave. It's such a surreal thing being there. We spent some time just sitting and talking about him, what we'd tell him if he was here now, how we wished he could be here to see Laurent and arranging the flowers etc. After a time we walked around the rest of the cemetary talking about Grandpa and looking at the old tombstones. A lot of them are from 1860-1890's and so many of them are of young children which I found very sad. I can't even imagine the pain their families must have felt. All of which had me spending the rest of the evening pondering how transient things really are, how the important things in our lives aren't the material ones or works but the people we leave behind us. There was a point when Nicole (a friend of the family's) had commented to us after we picked up the boxes of Grandpa's belongings at the nursing home that it (the boxes) weren't much to show for 97 years of living. We've just now finished going through those boxes, not because there was a great many of them but because it was difficult to go through them and admit he was really gone and wouldn't be coming back for them. His real legacy though was never in how many things he had but in being a father to his Francoise whose legacy is in Nicolas, who in turn brought Laurent into the world. (Okay, so he had a little help from me in that one... )

Friday ended up being a real handful. We had to take care of a bunch of bills, rates, car registration etc. We parked outside Vic Roads for the last one just before they were closing. They took forever of course and we came back to find we'd been ticketed! WTF! I look at the sign - 1 hr parking from 9:00 to 4:30. I look at the time the ticket was issued and it's 4:39! Talk about anal! I'm writing to protest as I really don't need a $107 fine at the moment, especially for being 9 minutes late because Vic Roads happened to be busy! Meanwhile, L didn't get any naps and was super cranky by the time I had Freestyle class, Sierra was well and truly bouncing off the walls because I didn't give her breakfast and her blood sugar was wonky so her brains were out the window. Class went fine except for apparently we were supposed to work on teaching a left spin which apparently I didn't hear so of course I didn't teach it. Urg. Stupid hearing loss! To be fair the building tends to have a lot of echo in it and the teachers are moving around across the building so it's not like they're in one nice quiet place for me to lip read! ;-) Ah well. We started working on it right away but Sierra was such a nutter she didn't really get it until we worked on it Saturday morning. Got it in about five minutes then! Silly girl. Silly me for not feeding her as well! Had to dash out for disposable nappies as I realized that I hadn't set L's cloth to wash and we were o-u-t. Ooopppppss.... drat!

Saturday we went to a birthday party for one of L's friends at playgroup who is going to be a year old. It was a beautiful day and the birthday boy makes a gorgeous one year old but it's also made me realize that Laurent is almost a year old as well! YIKES! It still seems amazing to me that I'm a mum at all, let alone being mum to a 1 year old. Holy heck, how did that happen?!? I also probably should solidify my plans for his party soonish as well and avoid my typical last minute freaking out. LOL Nic ended up getting home at 2:30 AM and so he was zonked for much of the day today.

Today was mostly a pretty slow day. Nic and Laurent took a big long nap that let me get a lot of gardening (read: weeding) in. (For anyone who doesn't know, our garden is perpetually in need of weeding... just as fast as I get it out, it grows back!) Everything went really well the rest of the day as well until Laurent fell from where he was standing at the doors and hit his nose on the way down. I've been having nightmares about the hinges on these doors as they're right at his level and project out. They're a head wound waiting to happen and I've been bugging Nic about them for ages. I'm paranoid about them but sure enough today he hurt himself... my poor little bubba... he's got a cut on the underside of his nose from it. He was too shocked to even scream for a moment before he let out the biggest wail and I could see blood welling up. It only bled a bit for a moment and he was trying to grab and eat the tissue so he's not traumatized but it gave me a scare seeing him hurt on the stupid hinge after how much I've worried about it. So that is now on the list of things to fix tomorrow and I'm heading to bed before I faceplant on the keyboard even though I *STILL* need to reply to about a dozen e-mails from friends and family!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Just a quick little gush, we got L's first official word the other day. :-) No big shock, it was "dada". We've had lots of sound-strings of mamamama, dadada, bububu, lalala etc but not used as a proper word or rather as a proper title. Yesterday morning when we woke up and were enjoying our time together in bed before starting the morning, L looked over at Nic and with a big smile, patted him on the arm and said, "Dada!" to get Nic's attention. AW! Such a sweet, gooey, melty moment!

Then later when Nic came home again L did his welcome-home-daddy routine which consists of lots of smiling, bouncing, burbling and hand-flapping and once again exclaimed, "DADA!" It's so stinkin' cute, I don't even care that 'dada' gets the first word instead of 'mama'! ;-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

the weekend

Long time no blog!

As it happens the weekend was a busy one with both a double obedience trial and Top Dog on Saturday and a double agility trial and Top Dog on Sunday as well. Both days we were just watching and cheering on a few folks we knew who were entered but it was soooooo nice to see so many amazing dog and handlers out there working their best! All of the Aussie's I saw there and their owners did well and I was pretty impressed with how the dogs were all giving their owners a lot of heart in their work! Even when there were mistakes made, you could see the work put in as a team and the partnership and that the dogs were happy to be there working with their person. What we saw of the Top Dog ceremony was very impressive! We didn't get to watch much as DH had a work meeting we had to be at but the dogs and handlers there were very, very nice indeed.

We went back Sunday to watch the agility as well. So many nice performances and some nice examples of handling! Particularly those who were wsorking their dogs at a distance was very nice to see for me. The courses, from my rather novice point of view, seemed to be a nice mix, they had decent flow but also had some real challenges as well where the handlers skills and their ability to be a team with the dog really came into play. There were several times I saw what otherwise were DARN impressive runs get snagged and the handlers had to be very much on their toes!

For my part I had a great time just watching everyone and learning from the nice handling I saw in the more advanced classes. We got in some time working with Si-si ringside and got to catch up with several people as well. Nic came and got to enjoy the day as well and Laurent came and enjoyed it until he was exhausted... and refused to go to sleep because there was too many people and dogs to watch! ;-) What a fantastic day! I am so jazzed and just can't WAIT to train some more until we're back out there on the weekends and having fun competing!

Monday was mostly spent cleaning and recovering from the weekend and today I spent half the day gardening! I still have heaps and heaps more to do but now that the weather is being civilized I'm enjoying being out there in the sun... hopefully Laurent will start taking NAPS again so I can ahve my hour a day to clean and garden again!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Okay, since I have been tagged at least twice, I suppose I actually have to do this... ;-) I'm a big reader or at least was when I had time to read, so the hard part will be picking just ONE of each!

1. One book that changed your life:
Karen Pryor's Don't Shoot The Dog. Yup, it's where it all this clicker/dog-friendly training stuff really took off for me. I'd been interested in dogs and training since I could toddle can remember but I hated the way the only books the library had and trainers around us said was how you trained. That wasn't the type of relationship I wanted with my animals! I used cherios and kibble to get them to do what I wanted. But when I read Karen's book, it was the start of my clicker journey and started the snowball that led me to other books and seminars and teachers who trained with a philosophy that felt like what I'd been looking for all along!

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Anam Cara by John O'Donohue I've revisited bits of this book for years and years and was reading it during Laurent's labor inbetween the contractions! LOL I also love The Little Prince.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: My scrapbook. And all my photos and markers and tape etc, so I could journal all my thoughts and feelings on them and my family.

4. One book that made you laugh: *blinks* Um. Wow. I just realized all the books I read are pretty serious texts. *must remember to rent something light and fluffy sometime...*

5. One book that made you cry:
Murphy's Boy by Torey Hayden Such a sad thing to imagine happening to someone and I could relate in a lot of ways to both of their struggles.
Bones Would Rain From The Sky: Deepening Our Relationship With Dogs by Clothier, kind of a disjointed book but the way she described the understanding between dog and human was really beautiful in bits.

6. One book that you wish had been written: How To Remember All The Stuff You Forget Now That You're Lactating And Your Brain Is AWOL In 1 Easy Step. (No, that is NOT a typo, no way can I remember ten or twelve steps!)

7. One book you wish had never been written: For dogs: the stupid paper in the 40's on dominance. Good grief, think the amount of CRAP animals and people would be saved if everything from peeing to walking through doors wasn't ascribed to that piece of ####! It's staggering! For people: The umpteen Dr. Spock books, Dizzy Tizzy's books, Ezzo etc. etc. etc. For all of the same reasons.

8. One book you're currently reading:
Dusting up on my Tracking books and Herding books since we're doing both of these at the moment!

9. One book you've been meaning to read: Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. After whining about how much I wanted it, hunting through every book store in the area and saving my pennies and feeling horribly guilty for buying something so indulgent I still haven't actually read it now that I've GOT it. ~_~'

I'm pulling a Sif on the tagging issue... I have NO idea who reads this that hasn't been tagged that blogs as well. So if you're reading this and qualify: TAG, YOU'RE IT!

And Jayne, re: Mists Of Avalon - ITA!

I also realized, I probably actually should read some book on kids at some point. I read some developmental stuff during pregnancy and nothing since. I keep hearing about TCC and Pinky McKay's books and What Mothers Do Especially When It Looks Like They're Doing Nothing or whatever that one was and I have the Sears books and a couple others which I should probably at least glance over but haven't yet. Um. Yay for trusting my instincts and preserving them unfettered by other people's perceptions of what's correct?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Since the first photo I took of him standing was a pretty yuck one, I had to put up a nicer one instead! He pulls himself up on everything, as often as possible and even pushes the little table around to 'walk'.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Happy World Breast-feeding Week!!!

Happy World Breast-feeding Week everyone!

Breast-feeding is so important, for both bubs and mums! There are so many reasons to breast-feed and avoid using artificial substitutes unless there is no other choice and yet not enough people follow the World Health Organization's recommendation that babies should be fed breast-milk exclusively until 6 months of age and after that should continue to receive breast-milk until 2 years of age minimum.

Most of us have heard the phrase that "breast-milk is best milk" but do you know why? Did you know for example that it reduces the mothers chance of breast cancer by up to half, ovarian cancer by one-third and endometrial cancer based on the length of time the mother nurses? Did you know when compared to babies fed artificial infant milk formulas babies, breast-fed babies have a reduced chance of leukemia by 21% and breast cancer in girls by 25%? How about that it also helps prevent post-partum hemorrhage in mums? Did you know for babies when compared to artificial infant milk formulas it also results in a higher IQ by an average of 10 points, lowers the chances of catching common childhood illnesses and lowers the chance of such diseases as juvenile diabetes, asthma, allergies, ear infections, SIDS, bacterial meningitis, multiple sclerosis, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, vision defects, obesity in later life and even needing corrective orthodontia in later life? And that's just for starters!

In a study on Breast-feeding and the risk of post neo-natal death in the United States (Pediatrics, 113: 435-439, 2004) it was found that babies who were never breast-fed had a 21% greater risk of dying in the post-neonatal period than those who were breast-fed and the longer the child was breast-fed the lower the risk.

Breast-feeding really is one of the most important you can do for your baby, no formula comes even remotely close to mimicking the benefits of breast-milk. With very few medical exceptions, given proper support and help, any mum can breast-feed and overcome breast-feeding challenges.

Three cheers for breast-feeding mums and special cheers to all the mums who have had to overcome challenges and perservered to give their babies and themselves the benefits of breast-milk!