Sunday, April 25, 2010

MIgrating to facebook

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our first Thanksgiving

As we get ready for a dog-filled Thanksgiving Day, I'd like to share an experience that Thelma and I had yesterday at The Baptist Home, an elderly care home near where we volunteer as a therapy dog team.
When we arrived, we headed towards one of the activity rooms where the residents congregate. Along the way we paused and greeted a new resident, whose family was just leaving their room. They didn't know that therapy dogs are pretty regular at the Baptist Home and were very eager for their father to meet Thelma since he is an avid dog lover. The resident was thrilled as were his children, a bright spot in his day. After petting and hanging out for a little bit, I told them that Thelma would be back in two weeks for our regular visit. One of his kids said they hoped it would be in two hours since this is the happiest they've seen him since his arrival.
Having visited my own grandmother for years at an elderly care facility years ago, I totally empathized with this family. I thought about Thelma's mission at this home, where she makes residents smile. I reflect on how valuable this work is not only for the residents but for their families who love them.
Thank you Thelma! and thank you Animal Farm Foundation for taking a chance on this special dog.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

World Championship experience

The 2009 Skyhoundz Hyperflite World Canine Disc Championship was a great experience for our young disc dog and her future looks bright. Thelma competed at the Last Chance Qualifier on September 25 with 62 other teams from throughout the country. The other teams were much more experienced, Thelma has only been training for about 5 months. HOWEVER, her scores were remarkable and while she did not qualify, she finished among the top 16 teams in this very talented pool.
I was glowing with excitement after her round! Video and photos to follow shortly...

Monday, September 14, 2009

An early Fall day in Vermont

Thelma & I (and Lolita) traveled to Shelburne, VT yesterday to compete at the VT State Disc Dog Championship at the Shelburne Museum Goes to the Dogs event. I think it's important with young dogs to take them to multiple environments to encourage their focus and test the progress of their training. This would be a small event competitively but with thousands of spectators and hundreds of dogs surrounding the field of play. Definitely a test for a young dog, but a wonderful venue to show off a high-drive, frisbee-centric pit bull.

Thelma was entered in the Pro Division and competed in freestyle. She was so excited to be there that during the competitor's meeting with the judges, when I was just out of her sight, she tried to bust out of her crate. Blood and warped pieces of plastic were the only signs of a struggle.

Teams would have two attempts to impress the judges on four basic elements based on Skyhoundz rules: Presentation (person), Athleticism (dog), WOW factor ;), Success (how many catches per attempts). Her first round was a bit of a nail biter, with lots of people and dogs watching from the perimeter of the field. She was fast and furious, catching and racing around the field. She was unrelenting on the discs and showed promise of great things to come.

The day was made complete by the arrival of Alex Stein, owner of the original disc dog Ashley Whippet and the person responsible for bringing canine disc to the mainstream with his stunt in Dodger Stadium in 1974. Alex lives in Stowe, VT and it's always fun to hang out with him and get his insight on today's game. He was excited to meet this pit bull ;)

There are times in the midst of a routine when a handler feels like they are really connecting with their dog and flow and success just happen. I felt that during our second round, during an entire minute and a half. It didn't matter what the judges felt at that point. I was thrilled with our performance! Thelma wowed me, Alex and apparently the judges.

The end of the day was awesome. As the scores were being read from bottom to top, I realized that Thelma's name had not been called out. As the announcer got to the hardware, Nadja Palenzuela and Thelma in third place. Amidst the experience of other teams, amidst the chaos of the venue, our drivey little pit bull was taking home a plaque and the adoration of many Vermonters. As we posed for photos with Alex, the smell of fall was in the air and the curtain is falling on this year's competition season. I can't believe where this little girl is at after only 4 months...

Friday, August 14, 2009

The guy who plays football

Wow, the Philadelphia Eagles did it. They hired a guy who not only financed and help commit horrible crimes against dogs, but he isn't even sorry he did it.
He said:
"I was wrong for what I did. Everything that happened at that point and time in my life was wrong and unnecessary. And, to the life of me to this day I can't understand why I was involved in such a pointless activity and why I risked so much at the pinnacle of my career. I was naive to a lot of things."
Sounds to me like he is bummed he got caught and it messed up his career. And yet there are still some people who believe he deserves a second chance.
Thelma is a dog who was confiscated in a cruelty case. She was a puppy when she was confiscated. Because of the crappy environment she was born into and the trouble her owners got into, she spent her puppyhood living in a crate in a vet's office. And yet she was one of the lucky ones. I can only imagine what would have happened to this fun-loving, energetic dog if she had been exposed to dog-fighting. What a horrible way to channel a dog's drive and enthusiasm.
But alas, she is one of the lucky ones. Cuddled up on a couch we bought for her, living a dream life of endless frisbees, food and people who shower her with love and positive attention.
She lives life to the fullest- as many dogs who look like her are unable to...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thelma and her siblings

We get a lot of questions regarding Thelma's temperament with other dogs, especially those nasty little cattle dogs she lives with ;) Here are a couple of photos of Thelma on our new couch with Lolita, Iris & Wee-la. She has been so easy to integrate into our family because she listens well to the other dogs and is very appropriate with each of them. It's not a lot of fun to be the youngest in a pack of 10, but Thelma is adjusting very well!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recent DEMO at Animal Farm Foundation

Recently, Thelma and I were invited to show the interns at Animal Farm Foundation what young Thelma can do and introduce them to the wonderful world of canine disc. Attached to this post is the video taken by Hanna Fushihara. It was Thelma's first time playing indoors on loose dirt (sand mix?) and as you can see it did not deter her from JUMPING!