September 30, 2010

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

Lucas in my mind's eye
Lucas had an annual physical exam with Dr. F today. We also needed a prescription refill for his preventative meds (heartworm and flea/tick). Lucas was okay at the vet – timid but cooperative. I had plenty of treats & praise. Unfortunately, the vet barely conducted a health examination. She listened to his heart, drew a little blood for a heartworm test and ran her hands over his back and sides. She asked me how he was doing. I responded, “Oh, he’s been doing fine.” That was pretty much it. $80.00 later I felt dissatisfied with Dr. F. I’ve always liked her for the way she’s been patient with my dogs, how well she handles them. Her staff is awesome, too – they are always on top of it.

Yet, there is something nagging me. What is it? I’m looking for something more and Dr. F is not that something more. As I continue to read about over-vaccinating and holistic care for dogs, I want to be comfortable engaging in conversations with a vet who is knowledgeable in these areas. I want to be a better advocate for my dog's health. I want to be able to ask questions and know the vet is going to respond with an open mind. I can’t ask Dr. F about grain-free dry foods, raw food diets, supplements, acupressure, acupuncture and canine arthritis etc. She’s just not that kind of vet.

For now, I want to do everything possible to keep my border collies out of the vet’s office. We’ll still need Dr. F but I clearly see that we have to find a new veterinarian. 2011 will be the year to do it. I remember The Whole Dog Journal wrote about what to do when you receive the postcard from the vet office (August 2010, Volume 13, Number 8). It is time to re-read that issue and learn from today's experience.

September 29, 2010

Tennis has given me soul.

Josey is a ball girl. She prefers tennis balls. Dunlop. Penn. Prince. Wilson. It's been her thing since she was a puppy. At seven, she still loves it. Well, except when we have a foster BC. Josey can't play ball with a third dog around. She is competitive. She is also talented, disciplined, determined. In our world, Josey is Steffi Graf when playing ball. She lights up when you ask: Where's your ball-ball? She always finds one nearby and stares at you until you are ready to play. Playing ball with Josey is a commitment. That's our girl.

September 28, 2010

I don't have pet peeves, I have whole kennels of irritation.

Confessions of a pet sitter

Those are the faces of some very memorable pet sitting jobs. Everyone has aspects of their job that they do not like. Having done nearly 500 pet sits and dog walks the past year, it is safe to say that I have pet peeves. They are not just isolated to one or two clients but many clients from all walks of life. The rich, the poor. The sane, the crazy. Here are my peeves in no particular order:
  • Dogs kept in outdoor runs or crated for extensive periods of time (8, 10, 14 hours). Poor babies.
  • Filthy, dirty food bowls. Water bowls too. Ugh. I mean how hard can it be to put bowls in the dishwasher? On that note, seen plenty of dirty panties and bras in plain sight, too.
  • Feces-infested backyards. Disgusting. Need I say more?
  • Cheap litter in litter boxes. You know, the bad kind that is dusty, doesn't clump well and makes you gag because it is so stinky!
  • Crappy door locks, unlocked doors and unsecured gates. Can't tell you how many times clients forget to lock up when they leave in the morning. Geez.
  • Clients who were not completely honest about their pet's behavior. He walks great on a leash! Yeah right. We know which dogs get daily walks. She's friendly with other dogs! Really?
  • Cleaning up the damage from an unruly or bored pet. It's amazing what clients leave laying around the house that sets up their pet to fail.
**Sigh** Believe me, its not always awful. In a future post, I'll write about the cool stuff!

September 27, 2010

I'm trying to eat better. And, I do feel wise after drinking tea. After eating vegetables, I just feel hungry.

Favorite Things > Fresh Foods

In an earlier post, I wrote about adding fresh foods to the border collies' dry food but I didn't provide any specifics. They get approximately ¼ cup to ½ cup of fresh foods per meal and their dry food is cut back accordingly. I combine fresh foods depending on what's in the refrigerator and make a batch that lasts 2-3 meals. This works for me because I'm already cooking lunch or dinner. Multi-tasking!
chop chop chop
typical veggie mix
Mixing fresh foods together results in endless combinations:

  • carrots, zucchini, green beans (lightly steam veggies) + cooked chicken or cooked ground turkey
  • roasted butternut squash, fresh parsley + cottage cheese or cooked chicken
  • bananas, blueberries + plain yogurt or cottage cheese
  • kale, carrots, celery (puree veggies) 
  • sardines or mackerel + puree veggies
  • plain scrambled eggs + puree veggies
  • spinach (julienne) + cooked ground beef
  • broccoli or cauliflower (lightly steam veggies) + cooked chicken
  • peas and red bell pepper (lightly sauté veggies) + cooked chicken or cooked ground beef
Lucas waits for dinner - dry food, sauteed peas & red bell pepper w/ cooked chicken
So far, so good. The border collies love their fresh foods but we do not over do it. I'm not too worried about achieving a nutritionally complete meal each time because over a course of a week it all balances out. I do watch calorie intake by using an on-line tool such as the USDA National Nutrient Database. It's a good feeling, knowing that the dogs are getting fresh, whole foods that I happen to enjoy myself! Lucas loves anything I put in his bowl. Josey will eat around the kale and spinach if I don't chopped them down enough or puree them. And my foster BCs? Jim was like Lucas - gobble gobble. Maddie didn't like her fruits and vegetables at first.
Maddie: WTF are those things?
She's doing better at each meal now! She's venturing into the world of fresh foods - one vegetable and one fruit at a time!
Good girl!
Please visit the Favorite Things page for more fresh food ideas!

September 26, 2010

When the dog bites/When the bee stings/When I'm feeling sad/I simply remember my favorite things

We all have favorite things for ourselves and of course, our dogs. If you are so inclined, please take a look at the new Favorite Things page - a running list of items: tried & true favorites, recommended, wish list. Expect it to evolve. We'll kick it off with....

Joint Support Supplements

There are many good reasons why my border collies benefit from joint support supplements. They are very active dogs - indoors and outdoors. Though they do not compete in agility, flyball, disc or herd sheep, they move just like athletes (run, jump, start/stop, turn quickly, etc.). After strenuous exercise, they are sore and limp around for a few hours or days. Josey, more than Lucas, will also show stiffness in her limbs. Osteoarthritis? No. Well, maybe not yet.

This is where I believe supplements are extremely helpful (in addition to rest periods). Table below lists joint support supplements I've given to my dogs and a couple of new ones to try. We've had excellent results with all but prefer powder over tablets (simply add to food every day for maintenance & load up (double) as necessary). Rotating between different brands & formulations makes sense, too.

I look for three key ingredients: Glucosamine HCL or glucosamine complex, Chondroitin Sulfate & Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM). Powder forms are made with flaxseed, bee pollen, spirulina, kelp, garlic and yeast providing an array of whole foods w/ naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Tablet forms contain fillers (dextrose, cellulose, silicone dioxide) and flavorings. More expensive or advanced supplements contain these ingredients: Perna canaliculus (green-lipped mussel), Dimethylglycine (DMG), Hyaluronic Acid and manganese. Dosage amount will vary per product & weight of the dog. Dosage amount shown is per day for a 40 lb. dog.
Product                       Form          Dosage          Glucosamine     Chondroitin     MSM   
/Manufacturer                               Amount           HCL                   Sulfate                       

NUPRO Silver           Powder      1 oz.                500 mg              Unknown       300 mg
/Nutri-Pet Research                     (≈ 3 tbsp.)

Longevity                  Powder       8 g.                 398 mg              398 mg           398 mg
/Springtime Inc.                           (≈ < 2 tsp.)

Joint Health               Tablet         2 tablets          500 mg              350 mg           600 mg
/Springtime Inc.

HylaSport                   Powder      5 g.                 750 mg              500 mg           500 mg
/PupSup Products                        (≈ > 1 tsp.)

Missing Link Plus      Powder       2 tsp.              334 mg              Unknown        Unknown
/Designing Health

GlycoFlex II               Tablet          1 tablet          750 mg              Unknown        500 mg

Run Free                   Powder        1 scoop         800 mg              800 mg           800 mg
/The Wholistic Pet                         (≈ 1 tbsp.)

Vitamin C may be considered "controversial" in joint supplements so here is more info:
* NUPRO Silver: Ester C 300 mg;  Glucosamine is a proprietary "complex"
* Longevity: Vitamin C 198.95 mg, Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex 198.95 mg 
* Joint Health: Ascorbic Acid 250 mg, Citrus Bioflavonoid Complex 200 mg 
* HylaSport Canine: Vitamin C 75 mg; Hyaluronic Acid 10 mg 
* Missing Link Plus: No Vitamin C  
* GlycoFlex II: No Vitamin C; Perna canaliculus 600 mg, DMG 100 mg, manganese 10 mg
* Run Free: Calcium Ascorbate 150 mg

These supplements come in every price point. A favorite BC rescue recommends Trader Joe's Glucosamine Chondrotin for Dogs - $9.99 for 100 chewable tablets (Glucosamine HCL 250 mg/tablet, Chondroitin Sulfate 200 mg/tablet, no MSM). Liquid joint supplements are also popular but I have not tried any yet. If you are a stickler about quality of the ingredients, testing and auditing of products, purchase from manufacturers who are members of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC).

I am not a veterinarian. I do not have any formal training in any medical field. This information is not meant to replace a vet's advice or prescribed medications. My only intent is to share experiences with supplements based on my research and my dogs' conditions.

September 25, 2010

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.

A few years ago, I made this art piece to say Thank You to our dog walker.
She walked our border collies five days a week for three years. 
First she walked Sam & Josey; and later, Josey & Lucas.
It was a luxury having a dog walker for mid-day breaks.
They loved it and she was awesome with them.

Lucas & Josey in mixed media
It's different now. I work from home so I can walk the dogs mid-day.
They love it more because each outing is a different place.
Though some days I wonder if they miss their original dog walker.

September 24, 2010

An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own term, not anyone else's.

We enjoy art.
We love the way art makes us feel. 
We love what the images tell us.
Each encounter is a different experience.

This art piece was a gift from dogzoomies. 
It makes my heart melt.
It captures Lucas' playfulness.
Art is awesome.

Lucas finds the portrait a good likeness [of himself]. 

September 23, 2010

To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.

Customer Review > Launder Dog

Launder Dog
2600 Alta Arden
Sacramento CA 95825
(916) 979-9274

We happened to be in the area when we visited Launder Dog. We found the location to be a little tricky, a nondescript old strip mall with a tiny front parking lot (but you can park behind the building, too). Their website recently said they are closed on Mondays in August & September to save energy, research new products and develop new services. I'm intrigued! Launder Dog will open 7 days a week in October with expanded Monday hours. On this visit, we purchased a couple of items:
  • 13 oz. can Evangers Super Premium Cooked Chicken @ $1.35 each
  • 13.2 oz. can Pinnacle Trout & Sweet Potato @ $1.50 each (sale)
  • 20 oz. box Wellness WellBars (yogurt, apples & bananas) @ $7.99
I noticed a large selection of Natura Pet products at LD and asked Pamela: What do you think of the Natura Pet sale to Proctor & Gamble? She chuckled, replied: Now that is a very good question. She proceeded to say (I'm paraphrasing here): Launder Dog may continue to carry Natura Pet products and they'll be happy to answer any questions about it. This is the part I like best from her response: Meanwhile, I tell my customers to save the ingredients list from the bag as well as the proof of purchase. Next time they purchase the same bag of dog food they need to compare the ingredients of the new bag with the saved list. Customers need to do their homework, too.

It was an honest answer. It was notably different from the other responses I received. Most independent retail stores were quick to dismiss Natura Pet after the sale to P&G; their existing products placed immediately on clearance racks or removed from shelves entirely.

Bottom Line: Launder Dog is a neighborhood store but it's not in my neighborhood. They carry a wide selection of dog foods, treats, supplements and toys from companies I like. They stock the entire collection of The Honest Kitchen. Like their namesake, they provide self-serve washing and professional grooming services for pampered pooches. Residents who live nearby are lucky and LD has frequent "raffle ticket" games on their Facebook page. I'll most definitely stop by in October to see what's new and exciting at LD. I may ask a fellow blogger to be a guest reviewer!

September 22, 2010

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Customer Review > Incredible Pets

Incredible Pets
5030 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819
(916) 451-1199

Incredible Pets - a local chain with 4 locations. I’ve shopped the Carmichael and East Sacramento locations; the latter being the newest. It is a complete pet store (dogs, cats, small animals, birds and reptiles) set-up like a grocery store with a check-out line in front. I didn’t speak with an owner or store manager on my recent visits; just the clerks, Kathryn and Vicki. To reward their customers, IP has a coupon game IncrediBucks on their website ($1.00 off next purchase) and loyalty card (receive 10 points for every $1.00 you spend; accumulate 2,500 points to earn $5.00 gift certificate).

IP sells almost every brand of natural, holistic and organic dog and cat food under the sun:
  • Canidae
  • Wellness
  • Solid Gold
  • Chicken Soup for the Dog
  • Eagle Pack
  • Acana
  • Merrick
  • Natural Planet Organics
  • Nature’s Variety
  • California Natural
  • Innova
  • EVO
  • Pinnacle
  • Natural Balance
  • Evangers
  • C & P Organix
  • Newman’s Own Organics
  • Sojos
  • Tiki
  • Primal
  • Premium Edge
  • Merrick Before Grain
  • Taste Of The Wild
  • Orijen
  • First Mate
I love that they stock both Sojos and The Honest Kitchen – my two favorite brands of dehydrated raw food mixes in the same store! They also have a section of free dog and cat food samples. Stuff I've purchased in the past:
  • 30 lb. bag Taste of the Wild Wetlands Canine @ $42.99
  • 13 oz. can Evangers Super Premium Cooked Chicken @ $1.49 each
  • 13 oz. can Natural Balance Chicken and Rice @ $1.59 each
  • 13 oz. can Natural Balance Beef and Rice @ $1.59 each
  • 13 oz. can Natural Balance Liver and Rice @ $1.59 each
  • 120 tablet bottle Excel Enteric Coated Aspirin for Dogs @ $8.99
  • 4 oz. bag Dogswell Biscuits with Benefits (cranberry & apple) @ $3.49
  • 2 lb. bag Sojos Grain-Free (Fruit & Veggies) Dehydrated Raw Food Mix @ $13.99
  • 16 oz. bottle Natures Miracle Stain & Odor Removal @ $6.99
Bottom line: The East Sacramento IP location has all my favorites: Acana, Natural Balance, Sojos, The Honest Kitchen and Nature’s Variety. Prices on their dry and wet foods are comparable to another local chain I frequent. I consider IP my main source for raw foods - frozen and dehydrated.  If headed in this direction, I make a point to stop by. Also, IP links page is handy for doing research on companies.

Note: Thanks for reading my customer reviews of independent retail stores especially if you're local. The value [to you] will be apparent later on, I hope. Around the Dog Bowl has a plan so keep visiting!

September 21, 2010

The living moment is everything.

Dogs love company - Part 2

The border collies play this game which has no name.
Josey & Lucas will be running around doing their thing and then, everything stops.
They stare each other down to see who breaks first.
 It often starts like this...


Eventually, they get tired.

Lucas will lie down. 

They pretend to ignore each other.

The waiting begins...tick tock tick tock tick tock

I'm hungry.


See ya later alligator!

Come back and play with us again!

September 20, 2010

Dogs love company. They place it first in their short list of needs.

one dog, two dog, three dog
There is this place we call the Big Field.
We've been running the border collies off-leash there for 8 years and counting.

And away they go!
Josey & Lucas have created their own games.
 Josey's favorite game is I Spy.

Josey: Do you see them?!!! They're right over there!!!
Maddie: Why is she staring at me like that?
Lucas lets Maddie, the foster BC, join the fun.
He doesn't kick her ass like Josey does.

Lucas' idea of the game Hide & Seek.

Lucas: She can't find me here.
Josey claims her prize
Let the games continue... tomorrow.

September 19, 2010

Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious.

I thought I was the morning person...until Josey came into our lives. 
Josey the earlier riser.
That is a crap cell phone pic but you get the idea. 
It's what I wake up to along with Lucas on top of my head.
Sometimes she's subtle.
Her nose mere millimeters from my face. 
Other times not. 
She nudges me in precise intervals, every 5 seconds. 
The girl can count. Trust me.

Really, it is okay because it is her job...the alarm clock.
She can tell time too.
4:30 AM
5:00 AM
5:03 AM
5:30 AM
6:00 AM

**sigh** I  cannot deny Josey of her job as long as...
She is a happy girl.
Rise and shine gorgeous!

September 18, 2010

There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.

Customer Review > Corner Pet

Corner Pet
All Natural Wellness Store, Salon & Center
9332 Elk Grove Boulevard, Suite 100
Elk Grove, CA 95624
(916) 686-9699

Corner Pet is literally the corner of a new retail complex. I drove a distance to visit this place and spent more than an hour talking with Tommy and Sheryl (owner). This is the best independent retail store I’ve visited to date. Not a place for amateurs. If you know the difference between good & bad dog food, this is worth a special trip.

Corner Pet carries many brand names in natural, holistic dog foods (Canidae, First Mate, Grandma Lucy's, Happy Dog,  Now!, Nature’s Variety, Orijen, Premium Edge, Sojos, Taste of the Wild, The Honest Kitchen, Wellness, Ziwi Peak). They host classes on canine massage, T-Touch, healthy pet food and home cooking. Recently, holistic veterinary services were added their repertoire. Corner Pet partners with Meridian Veterinary Care to make it easy for customers with scheduled appointments to see a licensed veterinarian at the store! It is truly a one-stop place that I'm gonna have to try: buy food, get a bath & see the vet!

Tommy was very helpful, knowledgeable about ingredients, brands, manufacturers and their different  processes.  He suggested food options (dry and raw) to include in my rotation. I even received free samples of Stella & Chewy's raw patties (duck & chicken).

Sheryl talked about her business philosophy, supplements and herbs. I asked her about natural alternatives to buffered dog aspirin for occasional flare-ups to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. She recommended two options: a liquid herbal nutraceutical “Pet Pain Formula” by Amber Technology and a chinese herbal tablet “Comfort Aches” by Herbsmith. After reading each product’s specifications, I selected the liquid for immediate, short-term use and I recognized one of the herbal ingredients, valerian root, as a natural sedative. It also contained additional herbs to soothe the digestive tract. I purchased a couple of items:
  • 7 lb. bag Great Life (dry, grain-free, potato-free chicken formula) @ $25.97
  • 1 oz. bottle Amber Technology Pet Pain Formula @ $30.76
Lucas sniffs out the new stuff
Bottom line: While prices are marked up quite a bit and there are no price tags on their stuff, Corner Pet is a go-to place for unique and hard to find items. What caught my eye? Products by Solid Gold, Wysong and Bach Flower Remedy. Staff knows their stuff and they cater to a specific clientele - the well-informed, enlightened.  Sheryl said a revamped website and fall class schedule will be up soon. I emailed Corner Pet to say Thank you and they replied with a 20% coupon for my next visit!

September 17, 2010

In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.

Customer Review > Western Feed & Pet Supply

Western Feed & Pet Supply
2137 Golden Centre Lane
Gold River, CA 95670
(916) 851-1820

Western Feed & Pet Supply is a local chain with 5 locations selling supplies for dogs, cats, small animals, birds and horses. I’ve shopped at the Sacramento (original) & Gold River (newest) locations. Gold River is where I go twice a month; it is smaller, brighter and cleaner compared to their 34th Street store. Roger Britton is the Manager - he's friendly, approachable and knowledgeable about his products. Selection is top notch. Here’s a list of items I’ve purchased in the past year at WF:
  • 29.7 lb. bag Acana Pacifica (dry grain-free fish) @ $59.99
  • 29.7 lb. bag Acana Wild Prairie (dry grain-free turkey, chicken) @ $52.99
  • 28.6 lb. bag EVO Turkey & Chicken Small Bites @ $54.09
  • case (12/13.2 oz. cans) EVO Beef @ $19.89
  • case (12/13 oz. cans) Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Fish @ $17.59
  • case (12/13 oz. cans) Natural Balance Potato & Duck @ $17.59
  • case (12/13 oz. cans) Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison @ $17.59
  • 13.2 oz. cans Merrick Cowboy Cookout @ $2.15 each
  • 13.2 oz. cans Merrick Working Dog Stew @ $2.15 each
  • 13.2 oz. cans California Natural Salmon & Sweet Potato @ $1.72 each
  • 13.2 oz. cans California Natural Chicken & Rice @ $1.48 each
  • 4 lb. bag Mother Nature Scooter & Friends Biscuits @ $9.19 (sale)
  • 4 lb. bag Mother Nature Moose’s Munchies Biscuits @ $9.99
  • 14 oz. bag Northern Biscuit Wheat-Free LiverLicious @ $8.49
  • 14 oz. bag Northern Biscuit Grain-Free Duck & Papaya @ $8.49
  • 14 oz. bag Northern Biscuit Grain-Free Bison & Blueberry @ $8.49
  • 26 oz. bag California Natural Health Bars Lamb & Rice @ $6.79
  • bag (six 2” bones) Primal Raw Beef Marrow Bones @ $7.69
Dog food prices are competitive and brands plentiful: Acana & Orijen (both made by Champion Pets), APD, Artemis, Dr. Harvey’s, Avoderm & Pinnacle (both made by Breeders Choice), Natura Pet Products (California Natural, EVO, Innova, HealthWise, Karma), Sensible Choice, Natural Balance, Taste of the Wild. Roger said WF will think long and hard about whether or not they will continue to carry Natura Pet Products. This is a big deal for me.  Look at all the Natura items I’ve purchased!

I love WF's dog toy selection – Tuffy’s Toys, Jolly Pets Tug-N-Toss Ball, Kongs, Chuck-It, NylaBones, etc. Classic dog toys! Supplement brands include NUPRO, Ark Naturals, Dr. Harvey’s and California Natural. One particular item that I have my eye on is Dr. Harvey’s "Veg to Bowl" (dehydrated raw food mix); 2 lb. bag @ $12.99. It is very similar to Sojos Grain-Free Fruit & Veggie mix. WF also carries a new brand of freeze-dried raw food by Vital Essentials made in Green Bay, WI.

Bottom line: Western Feed is next door to my grocery store and I like the convenience! This place has everything I need for Josey & Lucas including grooming and first aid supplies. They stock new items frequently so every visit is a new experience. WF carries purchases to your car; plus, they'll special order items or transfer items between locations for you. The dog & cat artwork inside is also pretty cool, colorful - it always puts me in a good mood!

September 16, 2010

Yeah gonna have to move on / Before we meet again

Updates on foster BCs - Jim & Maddie

My first foster BC, Jim, was introduced in an earlier post. One week after adoption, I called to check up on Jim and his new person, C. Right away, she had a frustrated tone in her voice because Jim was doing so well; but then the past 24 hours were rough. C had to go somewhere so she left him at home roaming free, not crated. Jim damaged the plantation shutters and he peed/pooped inside the house. C was not happy. She was quick to call it separation anxiety. I thought to myself: Don't set him up to fail.

I recommended to C (again) that crating a new dog until it's earned its privileges and place is ideal for BCs. Make the crate a positive, happy thing! I suspect the adjustment from changing homes was "too much too soon" and Jim is more or less confused rather than having separation anxiety.  I gently reminded C that Jim will benefit from leadership and direction rather than too much softness and affection in the beginning. In hindsight, Jim settled down in my home more quickly than at C's home. It was probably a combination of routines, consistency, exercise and being part of a pack with Josey & Lucas.

Another week has gone by since the adoption and I dropped C a quick email message. Hope she responds with good news about Jim!  

Jim snoozing at the park. Missin' you silly.
Maddie is a firecracker. Super super super playful with Lucas. They play so well together even Josey joins in the fun too. If Maddie's not at my feet, she's pulling toys from the basket and tossing them around, entertaining herself. Maddie is doing all the things young BCs do - chew, pee, counter surf, guard, get mouthy - but she's been easy to train, manage so far. She's smart as a whip really. Whoever ends up with her is going to have their hands full! The regional foster coordinator spoke with the guy who is interested in adopting Maddie and so far so good. Hasn't even been 2 weeks yet with this sweet girl.
Are you on the way to your Forever Home this weekend?
Thoughts on fostering
I've always wanted to try fostering dogs, especially border collies. There were always a hundred excuses: Do I have the time? Do I have the resources? What if the dog doesn't get along with my BCs? I'm not a trainer. I don't want a dog peeing, pooping inside my house. It's too hard, demanding.

In no way am I a perfect foster home. Far from it. Yet I know that I can do this.  Sure, I'm tired after walking my BCs but I still go out again to solo walk the foster BC. It's good for bonding and training. The attachment is strong between the foster BCs and I so far; other people see it all the time.

I do my best to hold it together (**sigh**).

These dogs come into your life as quickly as they move out of it. It is what it is.

September 15, 2010

An author knows his landscape best; he can stand around, smell the wind, get a feel for his place.

Our border collies love the wind. 
It carries mystery, excitement. 
They come alive...
but sometimes they become B-A-D dogs.

Point Isabel, Richmond was a busy place with hundreds of dogs and their people. 
Josey called it hell. 
She screamed the entire afternoon. 

Can we go home now?
Wind swept girl
Remember she likes quiet and control.  
She hardly knew what to do with herself except pose for photos.


Kiva Beach, South Lake Tahoe was empty on this particular day. 
Lucas & Josey were playing Frisbee.

Hey what is that over there?
Breezy boy
Lucas went ape-shit when out of nowhere two folks in a canoe paddled up to the shore.
Imagine the JAWS theme song in the background.
It didn't end well.
They paddled away.
Lucas went on down-stay the rest of the day.

September 14, 2010

The difference is that was then, this is now.

2007 - 6 months old. Figuring me out.
2010 - 3 years old. On patrol in the backyard.
Lucas. I cherish him. dogzoomies found him on the BCRNC website a few years back. We were in Texas for the holidays and I submitted an adoption application that same evening. Right away, we learned that Lucas was being fostered just a stone's throw away but someone else was interested in him, too. In the end, we adopted young Lucas from BCRNC.

These days we help BCRNC by fostering BCs. I was lucky with Jim and luckier with Maddie. Josey & Lucas are happy to help them too. They are accepting of the foster BCs - playing & running around with them, showing them the ropes, teaching them household rules.

I am very proud of Josey & Lucas. Lucas especially. He was wonderful with Jim and he's amazing with Maddie. Lucas & Maddie play all the time. Everyday. The husband is not amused with the current condition of the backyard. Why? Lucas & Maddie are crazy - rolling around in the dirt, zooming all over the yard, kicking up mulch, pulling up drip lines on their switchback turns. I just smile inside.

Maddie, Josey & Lucas on timeout from playtime.
Maddie is Lucas' match. No, we're not going to keep her for him. In fact, an adoption application came in for her this morning so I have to review it. It is going to take someone very special to convince me he/she is worthy of adopting Maddie. All the BCRNC foster BCs deserve that kind of attention. Their journey from abandonment to fostering to adoption is a long road. We are here to make it comfortable for them.  It is how we want to give back to the rescue organization that gave us everything.

September 13, 2010

My life is like a stroll on the near to the edge as I can go.

Carmel Beach, Carmel by the Sea - 2008
There are endless miles of coastline and beaches in California. We've been lucky to see some of the best. Our favorite time of year to visit is the off-season, fall & winter, not summer. Weather may be unpredictable but it is always border collie weather - some combination of overcast, cold, foggy, rainy, empty, serene.

As summer draws to a close, it seems fitting to take a look back and see where Josey has traveled over the years, up and down the coast.

Somewhere off Hwy 101, Malibu - 2004

Asilomar Beach, Pacific Grove - 2006

Sam & Josey at Asilomar Beach, Pacific Grove - 2006

Kiva Beach, South Lake Tahoe - 2007

Lucas & Josey at Kiva Beach, South Lake Tahoe - 2008

Big River, Mendocino - 2009

Mackerricher State Park, Fort Bragg - 2009

The Pacific Ocean is beckoning our return to her salty air and liquid rims...