Sunday, December 13, 2015

Disappointment or Learning Experience?

Today was a day of disappointment and while you can sit there and think to yourself about everything that went wrong, I'm going to think about all the good.

In under a year I had a dog that shut down to trailing, completely forgotten how to trail to a dog that trails fantastically and loves it. This year we started off by having troubles with locating where our subjects left (starts) to today where her starts are rock solid no question about it at all. Did our person turn? 5 months ago she would be a hit or miss. Today she nailes her turns even with a bobbling idiot of a handler holding the lead. 8 months ago, I know Peanut felt that Trailing was “meh” today she was having such a blast she refused to stop even though she was tired and hot. 2 months ago Peanut decided that she wasn't going to just pick the right person, every person was her person and she was going to make sure they all give her treats. Today she ignored people to only find the one person she was looking for. She even ignored a bicyclist passing by!

Today we may have not found the person she was looking for, but the information she gave me was enough for me to put other teams in the area and we would have brought them home. THAT right there is what I want in my dog. I don't expect her to be perfect, it's impossible. I want my partner to give me information where I can make decisions that I can relay back to my team that can allow us to make better decisions.

We failed today but I'm SO proud of my partner's work and with everything that happened, we won. Failing isn't always a bad thing, it opens your eyes and allows you to see things you may have not saw before. We are lucky to have such a passionate team that really cares about each others success.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Things Finally Click

Our Search and Rescue Team has boot camp twice a year, which we completed this past weekend.  It's 3 days to hammer out issues that you may be having or grow in an area that you may have never tried.  It's a time to get out with teams you may have never been out with or learn more about an area you aren't confident in.  It's a time to grow, bond, learn, teach, and make friends.  It's a lot of hard work but you gain so much from it.

I will admit what has held Peanut and I back was the fact I had issues reading her body language.  I refused to go for our certification before I fully understood what she was telling me.  Someone's life is at state and there was no way I would put a sub-par human in the field behind a dog. Thursday I had an epiphany before leaving for camp, and with that in mind, I went into camp with a different way of reading my dog.

Three trails that I ran blind (I had no clue where the trail was and neither did my field support) were all complete successes.  Never before had I heard Peanut's voice so loud and worked so much in sync.  We were unstoppable.  I was so proud of us this weekend! I never felt like we really had a chance in the past, my fault not hers, and after this weekend, I'm so much more confident in our abilities.  We even ran the oldest aged trail we ever have which was amazing!

What we do is a partnership and a partnership is only as strong as your weakest link.  Today this partnership is that much stronger and I hope that one day, our partnership, not only with us but with everyone on my wonderful team, will bring home someone who otherwise wouldn't return.

Peanut and I heading out to our trail.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Coming up to the slow season!

So I'm apologizing in advance for the lack of updates.  My mom's been in the hospital and it's not good news at all.  So bare with me because updates are going to be slim to none.

To hold you by, Here are a couple of photos of a demo we did with our Search and Rescue team.  This was our first, on the spot, working demo and Peanut worked like a champ.  A group of 30 people standing there, all talking, and she couldn't care at all about them.  She's an awesome dog.

The first run of the day, I didn't know what to expect so I had my boyfriend lay a short trail for her so she had a familiar scent to go on,  Knowing a scent makes it easier in a new situation, and when you are doing a demo, you know showing off your skills, you don't want to leave anything to chance.  She didn't need the help, that girl blew through it like it was nothing.

The second on of the day we picked someone from the crowd to go find.  My Boyfriend and the woman walked off so I couldn't hear what they were doing and they both left together and then went two different ways so Peanut had to choose the correct path.  She did and did it all without problem.  It was a fantastic demo with a wonderful dog!
Talking to the crowd

Keeping Peanut from cheating while they walked their trail by doing ticks!
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The start (doing a "Scent Inventory" letting her find all the scents in the starting area so Peanut knows what scent to look for when we start)

She's on the trail!

And the find and reward (FOOD!)

Saying Hello to her fans!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dog Bites, We Lose!

As a Pit Bull owner, dog bites are a huge concern to me. One even half snap and I have a dead dog. I've worked hard to have dogs that can take most anything thrown at them and not react in an aggressive way. It has taken a lot of training, but it shows when I'm out with the dogs.

Last night was National Night Out. It's a program that is put on by local law enforcement and normally the store Target has a lot to do with it. It's like a big party. You bring the kids, let them meet local police, have food, games, meet some other local government/law enforcement agencies. It's a ton of fun. I've gone the last 4 years with Peanut and every year I have a story that I come home with. This year is no different.

I had one child, around 6 or 7 with his Parents come up to me and talk about what Peanut does and how she's a good dog. A few weeks ago he was nipped at by a neighbor's dog and had been scared since. It took a little bit of his mom and dad petting her and a few other kids but he got the nerve finally and gave her a nice pat.

The smile that replaced the anxiety on his face was priceless. It warmed the hearts of everyone around.

However, the amount of children with no dog manners was astounding. I understand toddlers with no manners but these were kids 5 to 14! One little girl ran up to Peanut and just hugged her. Peanut moved away and she moved closer and tried to give her another hug. I quickly stopped her and explained that what she was doing was in dog language, asking to fight with Peanut. She was shocked and had no idea. She was 10. So many children came up to us yelling, jumping around, moving fast, even invading her space even after I asked them not to.  So many kids tossing her food, trying to pet her as she was drinking, teasing her, slapping her on the head, and even stomping on the poor girls tail!

After last night, I'm shocked we don't have MORE dog bites with children!

Parents, please take some time and actually correctly teach your children how to interact with dogs. For their own safety. Dogs are just animals. They are highly domesticated animals with so much tolerance for human error, but every dog, even Lassie, has their bragging point.

Take a look at this URL for great information on what to teach your children. Dog bites are preventable, but it is not something we learn naturally.  Take the time to teach your kids, even kids around you, the correct way to interact with dogs.  Peanut and I thank you for that!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Worst Vet EVER

Thursday morning I woke up to not find Peanut in my bed.  Peanut has slept with me for the past two years and not once have I ever awoken to find her not trying to sleep on top of me.  I found her on the couch and instantly I knew something wasn't right.  She just didn't look good.  She ate breakfast fine, but really slowly, went outside to go potty, but when I went to give her some of her allergy pills, she refused to eat the peanut butter. My dogs have never refused peanut butter, however she took a treat just fine right after that.  

I decided to have my sister come over and check on her a few times through out the day while I was at work, hoping by the time I got home, she'd be better.  I got a few texts through out the day saying she was doing OK and that she was not herself but not doing bad.  When I came home, things had changed.

My dad lets the dogs out in the late afternoon and was waiting for me as soon as I pulled into my driveway.  "You have a very sick dog.  You need to get her to the vet."  My stomach sank.

Peanut was in Nubs crate, not really moving.  She didn't even acknowledge me when I reached down and started petting her.  I called my vet, which had already closed, then called my dreaded backup vet because they have later hours then my vet.  We got right in.  As soon as Peanut heard her leash and collar come out, she perked up a little, came out of the cage and was happy to walk to the car for a ride.

By the time we got to the vet she had perked up, but she still wasn't "Peanut Perky".  The over the top "OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!! HHHHIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!" that I expect to see from her.  For a normal dog she looked fine, but I know this wasn't her, and I was really concerned.  I ended up getting the worst vet at the practice,  a female vet who doesn't listen and has about the worst attitude I've ever dealt with.  She didn't beleive me that Peanut was sick, decided to just think it was Heartworms for some unknown reason, and flat out decided I was just a horrible dog owner in general.  I hate that woman.  I demanded her do some lab tests and she said she would if I paid for a Heartworm test.  Peanut was due for it anyways so I agreed and I could just see the smirk on her face.  I took Peanut home with no answers but I did get some antibiotics and a steroid to help with a sore spot on her back (which I didn't see) and to help with a rash on her belly that she always gets.

The next day I waited on pins and needles to get the results back.  By 11am I still hadn't recived a call, when I knew the results would be back by 7am, I called the vet to make sure they did get the results and to see if they would send me a copy of the results so I could get a second opinion from my vet.  Because the vet hadn't looked at the results yet they refused to tell me anything and refused to send them to me.  I called back around 1pm, and still the Vet hadn't taken a look at the labs at all.  I go there at 5pm, already angry because I couldn't get the results in time to call my Vet to get his opinion, and when I asked for the results, I get the run around.  That damn vet STILL hadn't looked at the results.  Finally I demanded the results and sure enough her HCT, HGB, and Neutophils were all high.  I demanded to see that vet.

After waiting an half an hour (which was no big deal to me in all honestly) I get taken back to the room so I can speak to the Vet about what was going on with my dog.  Peanut had perked up a little but still wasn't herself.  The Vet walks in with an attitude.  After me questioning her about the results and why they hadn't been reviewed and why I hadn't been told that her results were not normal I get told "I don't know if you've seen the waiting room or not but I've had more important things to do then to look at your dog's lab results".  Yes, that is word for word what she said to me.

Now if she came in and said "I'm sorry.  We have been super swamped and I haven't gotten a chance to even eat today" or something along those lines I would have instantly been alright with everything.  Do not however, tell me that my dog is not important, more so when she's a sick dog and I don't know what's going on with her.  I just recently had a friend lose a dog to a heart attack who otherwise was a completely, 100% healthy dog.  I am terrified about losing her.

I still did not find out what the problem was with Peanut.  Monday I'm calling my vet to speak with him and ask his opinion on it all.  She's acting better today (Sunday) but she's still off.  She's playing, causing mischief, and running around but she's still just "off".  Hopefully it's the steroids.   

So if you are in Michigan, use Dickman Road Vet clinic in Battle Creek at your own risk.  This is the same vet that messed up Nubs knee's and flat out lied to me about their vets abilities.  Next time  I'm taking my dogs to the nearest Emergency Clinic and just pay the extreme fee's so at least I know my dogs are being properly taken care of.