Posted by: Adrienne | August 19, 2010

A break at the park

"Quit pointing that thing at me."

I swear there were dogs in this picture, two of them.
Posted by: Adrienne | August 3, 2010


Some interesting thoughts have been percolating through my head for some time now on the subject of dog training.  A lot of it has to do with “formal training” and has revolved around the disinclination I am having to bring a puppy to “puppy classes”.

I’m not saying no-one should ever do so.  But Emma took me on a path of learning that I never would otherwise have gone down.  She was such a basket case when she came to me that I cast about in all directions to learn how to help her.  In the process we learned all sorts of things.  Some of these I had to un-learn, reject, throw out and backpedal on.  It hasn’t been the smoothest ride but it’s been interesting.

I have a rather vague and unformulated philosophy concerning teaching my dogs.  I would not presume to say “dogs” as a generality.  But the dogs under my immediate care.  Zoey went to a few classes, mostly so she wasn’t left out of things.  With her I simply applied what I had learned from my experience.  Never expecting her to do any formal sort of obedience, it’s really been much more about what I expect her to do to be a behaving member of the family.  And isn’t that what most families want for their dogs?   She might or might not sit the instant you ask her, but her recall is more consistent than Emma’s.  I also find that she has a more reasoned approach to situations and listens and responds readily to directions worded as full sentences.

Emma was started with clicker training.  She is now learning to relax, but her first response to a request she doesn’t fully understand is to try out two or three different things in rapid succession.  Anxiously.  And that is the difference.  Zoey might wait for more information but she isn’t stressing about an instant performance.  When she knows what you are asking then she will do it.

So I am terrifically disinclined to bring a puppy to puppy classes.  I would very much like a working agility dog.  But I want one on my terms.  I want to teach my dog and build the same sort of reasoned responses that I have with Zoey from day one.   Creating a true relationship is so important to me.  I no longer feel rushed to get a dog trialing.  Emma is doing well and will be for some years.  I have all the time in the world to bring a pup up slowly and match the training to his maturity level.  When we are ready we will compete.

I won’t stop going to handling classses with Emma.  They are way more for me than her on the teaching end.  Though we are being presented things I never would have learned about otherwise.  It’s nice to have someone critiquing my performance right now.  And for sure until I move into a level where my handling is consistent and good.

I also wish to see how my philosphy works out.  If I am on the right track I will be able to teach my dog.  If I am not it will be a botched mess.  But I don’t want interference from anyone else skewing things. 

My dog, trained my way.

Posted by: Adrienne | July 26, 2010

Nom nom nom…

Work and work and work.  Work has eated up my time lately.  If I hated my work this would be a bad thing.  But the work I am working on is for starting a new business that will allow me to ditch the cleaning work so I can do the work that I have fun doing.  Of course, hiring a cleaner and getting her to work cleaning houses is a lot of work!

Here are a couple of Dane-ish (Great) collars that went out in the mail today.  Oops!  I guess I didn’t upload both photos, you’ll just have to look at one.

A collar for Zephyr

This is a very simple collar.  Some of the stuff I make is a bit wild.  My designs are my own.  Of course, there are only so many ways to put together a collar or a martingale leash set, “form follows function” and all that.  And if I see something I like (a particular detail) on something I’m not above incorporating/borrowing/stealing/copying it.

Last Sunday I did a photo shoot out on a farm in Wisconsin at the invitation of a very nice lady (and fantabulous photograper).  The plan was to have about 15 dogs.  We ended up with 30.  Mind you, no one got “paid”.  Everyone gets one print of their dog and a collar-leash set.  And the opportunity to get out to some of the prettiest country in the Midwest.   Miraculously, every dog got shot.  I am still waiting on the editing, eagerly.

And now I have to make twenty more sets, make lots of sets to sell on August 7th and 8th as well as the following weekend.  Then there is purchasing and building the website, purchasing and updating business software, oh — and musn’t forget all the contracts to write up for the cleaner, house detail sheets and getting keys cut.

Nom nom nom — summer is getting eaten up quickly!

Posted by: Adrienne | July 15, 2010

Farewell Sozay

Meet Kaiser! This is the dog my sister will be taking home from the litter.  I haven’t seen Larz this excited about anything for a long, long time. 

I mentioned in “Phooey” that my sister had to have her dog put down, or was going to.   I did not give the whole story, nor will I here.  Suffice it to say that her constant companion of seven years (Sozay was six when Megan got her) was in constant pain.  She had a neurological disease that runs in Shepard lines.  At Christmas we thought she would be gone in a week.  But she kept rallying.  For Megan’s sake. 

But it was all getting to be too much.  The heartbreaker was that this dog was as alert as ever mentally.  Her body was just betraying her.  She had to be put down…  So Megan kept saying and couldn’t bring herself to do it.

*If you do not believe in a spiritual aspect to life stop reading here.  You will only strain your credulity and possibly think I am nuts.  Since this is my blog I do not care if you think I am nuts and will write what we experienced anyhow.

A friend of ours suggested “Why not help her find a new puppy body?”  Why not indeed?  And so we looked.  And looked.  And looked.  We needed a German Shepard who was pregnant or nearly so and whose breeder would understand we were trying to bring back Sozay and give Megan first pick.  We needed sound lines with good temperments.  And affordable. 

Well, we didn’t find it.  Not even close.

Then an idea hit me.  Here we had a litter-on-the-way.  With a sympathetic breeder, and a reservation on the list.  Why not? 

This was a labor of love on many fronts.  The breeder was totally on board and willing to help Megan find Sozay even though she came in last minute.   This was too important to me; I told the breeder that if there weren’t enough pups that I wanted Megan to take my place on the list, knowing that it could very well mean that I didn’t get a pup. We employed the help of an Animal Communicator (and I will never scoff at these people again, openly or otherwise) and arrangements were made.  Sozay was put down.  And then we waited…

Lots of things happened.  No less than three animal communicators have been involved with this litter, and that’s just the professional ones.  Some really amazing stories could be told.  A lot of heart and soul went into finding Sozay again.  With all this on the line, I never really wrote about Sozay.  Never really said farewell.   Didn’t feel like she was ever really lost.

But my sister lost her closest companion.  Kaiser (she is a “he” now) will be my nephew’s dog.  Because he needs this.  Because Kaiser wants it that way. 

So now it is time to say farewell.  A fond farewell to the loyal dog who was always there.  Who stood by Megan’s side and kept her safe for many years.  To the dignified and regal German Shepard that she was.

Farewell Sozay.  The best of dogs.

Though we have found you again, it is anew.  This shape, this life, are gone.  It will be missed.  We loved you and love you still.   From sad times we have come and into happier days may we be going.  We love you, Dear and bid you farewell. 

With all our hearts we wish you farewell!

Posted by: Adrienne | July 12, 2010

Photo Shoot

Exciting!  Barbara O’Brien is going to be doing a photo shoot of my collars and leashes this coming Sunday.  You can see her work here:  I think she is just amazing and am thrilled to have this opportunity. 

This week I should have a trial version of a webstore up and running.  Hooray!  Whne I figure out the cupon option I’ll give anyone who mentions this blog a discount on some fancy dog gear.

Posted by: Adrienne | July 6, 2010


My sister and her horse

Chakotay is getting more comfortable with me.

My sister’s “project horse”.  A nine-year-old black arabian.  Used at stud for several years.  Then gelded three years ago and left out to pasture with no human contact.  Never broken to ride and his basic ground manners need lots of work.
How someone could choose to waste the affection and intelligence that a boy like this has to offer is really amazing.
Now, if we can only find a house to rent together that has boarding closer we would both be thrilled!
Posted by: Adrienne | June 24, 2010

And the circuit blew…

Oh, I could cry.  I really really could.  If I was any good at it.  Fact is that when I want to have a good cry I have to rent a heartrending movie to get the waterworks going.  And then watch it with no one else home.

But I digress.  In my garage lives a freezer. Purchased last fall for $10.  Humped into the back of garage.  And then loaded chock full of free venison sraps and bones.  Well, almost free, except for the 40 min one-way trip to the “local” fella who does all his buddy’s deer proccessing.  I mean, this thing is six feet tall, four feet wide and four feet deep.   I put 50-80 lbs of just trim in there, solid meat.  And I think the bones (with lots of yummy meat on them still) of 10 deer. 

I have been rationing the venison, taking carcasses out one at a time.  I had it all planned out to make it last till next fall.  What really kills me is that just last week I was going to take out the last 40 lb bag of trim and thaw it and portion it all out into quart sized bags.  I got too busy and figured I’d do it later AND NOW IT’S ALL STINKY AND GROSS!

 I so could cry. 

My dog’s favorite food in the whole wide world is venison.  And I have a puppy on the way. What the hell am I going to feed him now? 

The freezer is plugged back in.  Have to freeze the stuff to bring the smell down to even unload it.  I know dogs can eat stuff that would make a human very sick.  I’m wondering if anything will be salvageable.  And if I’ll be abe to stand the reek of feeding it if it is.  Ugh.

And the real pisser is that I am back to square one on stocking up.  If I can’t trust my garage freezer I don’t have the space to stuff whole carcasses.  Since people don’t want to store the bones they give them away.  Lot’s of good meat on them usually.

This totally sucks.

Posted by: Adrienne | June 18, 2010

Number Nine

Sinco had her pups last night!  Starting at 9:30 or so, seven pups by 11:30 and then the last two delivered at 2:00 am.  The first seven share a birthday with their dam.  How cool is that?

The breeder is putting puppy photos here:

And the web cam here:

I have no idea which (if any) of the pups is “mine.”  This is very much going to be a hands-on litter.  I go to meet them for the first time on Sunday.  The breeder is very much wanting good matches between pups and homes.  Over the next two months thigs should resolve out as to which pups are going home with which humans.

My sister is also getting a pup from this litter.  Sibling fun!

Posted by: Adrienne | June 17, 2010

One dog Two dog

This is Sinco about a week ago.  She was very pregnant.  From the ultrasound she is expecting  nine, count’em nine puppies.



She was looking pretty uncomfortable at this point. I can only imagine the past week!  

Am I done yet?


      I currently have two rescue dogs, both from the Golden Valley shelter in Minnesota.  I will probably always have a rescue dog (or two) around.  But when I heard Sinco was being bred I had this niggling thought that if I was ever going to get a puppy, this would be the dam and the breeder I would want to get one from.

      The more I looked into it the more I liked it.   The biggest step was talking to Tony. He thinks I’m a bit loony to get another dog.  But he’ll play along, if I get a male.  A female is out of the question.  Fortunately for him both the breeder and another dog person I have consulted concur.  Bringing a young male into a household with two grown and established females is more likely to work out. 



But I would really love a little red female.

Wouldn’t that make my trio complete?

One dog, two dog...


Posted by: Adrienne | June 9, 2010

Wall Art

Each stone is hand grooved, wrapped with a copper wire and hung on its own nail.

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