Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


A title earns a retirement!

Katie here.

Today was a big day; I earned my Rally Excellent title! For you guys that don’t compete with your dog and maybe don’t know what Rally is, let me tell you, it’s all about the mama. There’s this big ring, see, and in the ring are all these numbered stations with signs about what mama is supposed to do at each place. I’m just supposed to follow along and do what I’m told. I’m very good at that. Mostly.

This is at my school! It shows what a sign looks like. Mama is supposed to follow the directions.

You have to have three qualifying runs to get your title, and I’ve had two of the three since December of last year. I don’t know why mama waited all this time to get me entered for my third leg. Oh wait. Mama reminds me that she took me on an awesome vacation down to Florida and Alabama and Tennessee and North Carolina last winter. Right. So maybe she has an excuse for procrastinating.

Anyway, this morning when I got mama up at 4 a.m. she didn’t seem to be as ticked off as usual. Just as tired, but not as irritated. Then about 6:30 she started putting stuff in the car. I asked if I could go and she laughed and said “Of course baby! It’s all about YOU!” So we drove and drove and drove for a thousand million hours. Oh. Mama says I’m always exaggerating. It was only ninety minutes. We got to the venue with an hour to spare which is how I like it. That way I get to sniff around and get comfortable. I work better that way.

But it was still hard for me. It was in a big barn at a fairground. And there were noisy trucks outside that I didn’t like. I wanted to wander over to the people at the table too…I figured they’d have good stuff there, but mama called me back and I trotted right over to her. Then I figured out we were supposed to be working, so I paid attention to my mama.

Which was my mistake. Because apparently mama can’t actually read the signs. So we did a couple of things wrong, and I got marked off. I don’t think that’s fair, do you? Mama messes up and I get marked down? Whatever. The good news is we still got enough points to qualify for a leg, and since it was my third leg I got my Rally Excellent title! And a purple ribbon!

This is my title ribbon!

Isn’t it beautiful? The ribbon…the ribbon is beautiful. I know I’m beautiful, but you’re supposed to be focused on the ribbon.

I was pretty excited when I figured out I got my title!

Mama had signed us up for two runs, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. But since we got the title on our first try we stuck around only long enough to watch our friend Peep do a run, and then we left. Mama said she was going to take me to a park. She knew I’d rather be walking in a park than sitting in my crate until the middle of the afternoon. We drove and drove and mama found a park, but when we got to the gate the sign said “NO PETS!” Really? What kind of a park doesn’t allow pets?

Mama was ticked because we’d been following signs for the park for a long time, driving over dirt roads way out into the country. But she got a photo of a cool barn, so she says it was worth it.

A double barn!

Then she found a parking lot on the rails to trails path so we got out and walked a little bit. There wasn’t very much shade though so we didn’t stay long.

This is a boring path mama!

She sneezed and I barked and barked at her. I don’t like it when people sneeze, she should know better.

No sneezing allowed mama!

Anyway, I had a pretty good day. Some of it was boring, and we didn’t get to explore anywhere very exciting. I think mama would rather take me camping than to another trial. She says this was my last title so I don’t have to go in a ring anymore unless that’s what I want to do.

Gee, I don’t know mama. Retirement sounds nice, but I did sort of really love that nosework class last year…

I’m FINISHED with Rally!


Challenges and legs and ribbons oh my!

Katie here.

I told mama she couldn’t hoard our blog all to herself cause I had stuff to talk about and I know my loyal subjects get impatient if they aren’t kept up to date on my life. As a princess I have certain responsibilities to all of you and I won’t allow mama to get in the way!


So anyway, remember when I told you that mama and I had retired from competition? We were living the life of leisure, lounging around eating bon bons and camping, and going for long walks on the beach. Life was good.

Relaxing in retirement.

Relaxing in retirement.

And then the days got shorter and colder and mama said that I needed something to do since we wouldn’t be going on so many adventures! No more adventures mama? What are you talking about?

But you know what? It turned out just fine because she signed me up for school two times a week! As you all know I love school. People think it’s because I like to be challenged, but really it’s because I like the treats, and all the attention, and being called beautiful and stuff.

Don’t tell mama, I don’t want her to be disillusioned.

I’m going to nosework classes on Thursdays and rally classes on Tuesdays. It’s a blast. I especially like nosework. I mean, you’d think maybe a dog dreamed this game up. You just go into the ring, sniff a few boxes and stuff, tell your person when you find the scent and get a ton of treats! Really! You sniff a box, get a treat!

I absolutely love this game!

I pull mama into the ring at breakneck speed (OK, I usually zoom past the first 14 boxes, but I’m working on being more methodical) and run around like a crazy dog until my head swings around and I focus on one particular box and then I stare at my mama real intently until she figures out I’m trying to tell her “THIS IS IT MAMA!!!” and if I’m right…I get treats!

Hanging out in my crate.  Boring.

Hanging out in my crate. Boring.

So last weekend I went to my first nosework trial. Mama signed me up for two attempts. The first run was perfect, it took me all of 12 seconds to find the right box. Even mama was surprised! But the second run I was overconfident and told mama that two different boxes were the one, when in fact they were not. I was just anxious to get those treats you know, and mama fell for it. She says she learned a lot by that mistake, so it’s OK that we didn’t qualify on that leg. She says we’ll go back and learn some more.

And this weekend she and I went to a rally trial, the first one we’ve gone to in 4 years. We are competing in ‘excellent’ now, the top level, because I already got my title for ‘novice’ and ‘advanced.’ Mama was pretty nervous because most of the responsibility is on her.

She has to read the signs.

I could read them for her, but what would be the fun in that? Mostly I just sit when she says sit and down when she says down and think about following along with her in between. Unless I see something more interesting. Like a jump for example.

She signed us up for two runs this time too, she said she drove too far for us to only do this once, so I had to hang around for a few hours but that turned out to be OK because we met a new friend. This is Jade, she’s really friendly and really smart. Her mom is nice too.

Meet Jade!

Meet Jade!

Anyway, the first run I was a bit ditzy and wandered around a bunch and I think mama messed up on one sign, but we ended up with 90 out of 100 points and got 5th place, and mama just wanted to qualify so she was happy.

And our second run went even better. OK, not right at the beginning because I watched mama put my leash over to the left on a chair and after the judge lady said “Forward!” and we started out I decided to go over there and sniff out the situation. Cause why would mama put my leash over there? But mama called me back. Twice. And finally after an eternity (per mama) I got back in line and heeled my way around the course with her. We got a score of 98 and 2nd place, only 1 point behind our new friend Jade who got 1st place!

See my beautiful ribbon?

See my beautiful ribbon?

Jade and I each got a new toy!! We were all very excited.

So now I’m pretty worn out and need my princess nap, but I decided to stay up and tell you about my latest adventures instead. I know you’ll sleep better tonight knowing all is well in Katie’s world.

Mama’s going to sleep pretty good too. But don’t worry, I’ll be getting her up early tomorrow just like every day. I’m dependable like that.

Katie signing off for now. Hugs and kisses to all of you.

Mine mine mine!

Mine mine mine!


Beating back the cold

I don’t always get sick after I fly, but if I do get sick it’s almost always after I fly. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when my throat began to get sore and I started to cough on Sunday afternoon, six days after landing back in Detroit.

It’s a bad week for me to be sick. Katie isn’t happy about it either. As I cough she barks. As I gasp for breath, tears running down my face, she barks harder.


Emphasis on blue

The community band Christmas concert is tonight, we had our dress rehearsal last night. This Friday Katie and I have her first Rally trial after an absence of four years. We had our last doggie school prior to the trial this morning.

Sunday night, and most of Monday I considered cancelling all these events. No one wants someone sitting near them hacking her lungs out. Plus my head hurts and my eyes hurt, and my ribs hurt.

But I’m the librarian at the band, and I needed to organize music, so I went to rehearsal figuring I’d leave early. And a funny thing happened as I began to play. The tickle in my throat receded. The coughing subsided. The music poured over me like a salve, the music beating the cold back into the recesses of my memory. For a couple hours last night I felt pretty close to good.

That’s what music can do.

White holiday lights

White holiday lights

Today I’m drinking a ton of water, sucking down cough drops like candy, heating tea, taking cough medicine, and napping. Katie and I fit an abbreviated doggie school into our morning, but mostly I’m saving my strength for tonight’s concert.

Holiday tree

Holiday tree

I’m not foolish, I’ll have cough drops in my pocket and a bottle of water by my chair, but I’m thinking I’ll get through tonight just fine.

And our Rally trial in a couple of days? Well, Katie says she’s ready, and if I can get my head straight we might get a leg toward her title. If not, she’ll probably forgive me.

After all, her mama is beating back a cold.

Dripping lights

Dripping lights


School and camping!

I love to run through tunnels!

I love to run through tunnels!

Katie here. I know! It’s been like forever since my mama let me have her blog to tell you all about me! And as we all know, everything is all about me. Me, me, me, me!

It’s all about me because, as you know, I am the princess. Well, some of you might not know as you are new to my mama’s blog. Just to get you up to speed, I am the center of the universe and once in awhile my mama lets me tell you all about it. I tell her all about it daily. Sometimes hourly. I’m a sheltie you know. We like to talk.

But I digress.

So as most of you are aware, I retired from competition a couple of years ago. I got my CD (Companion Dog) in AKC obedience and I figured that was plenty. Especially because I got my Novice and Advanced titles in Rally too. And mama was all stressed out at work, so we stopped going to school, even though I love school (mostly cause of the treats you know). We never did go get my Excellent Rally title, and mama has always been sort of sad about that.

I didn’t care, because I already know I’m Excellent!

Mama started me up last winter in a nose work class which I loved, loved, loved! All you have to do is sniff a few things and treats arrive from mama’s pocket! It’s the greatest thing since gravy! Then mama and I got all busy with traveling and camping and stuff and we couldn’t make the class. She says we’re going back tonight though! I am stoked! I remember everything about how to do this and I’ll show her that we shouldn’t have ever stopped!

Then, last week we started up another class with my friend who used to come walk me. She’s teaching rally and some agility and some obedience. I’ve been to two classes and mama is amazed that I remember so much! I don’t like to heel, but I never did like that. Mostly I’m having fun getting out and about and seeing people again. Mama is OK, but it’s fun to be told by lots of other people how beautiful and smart I am! I try to look indifferent but secretly I really like it.

Sometimes mama forgets to give me enough attention, you know?

And for even more fun mama and I have slept out in the back yard in her tent the last two nights! It’s been so warm here that we couldn’t resist giving camping one more go before winter sets in. I was very very good and slept straight through the night both nights! I think we get to do it one more time before it gets too cold here. I’m going to miss camping this winter, but if mama keeps me busy with school it will be spring before I know it!

That’s what she says anyway. I’ll believe it when I see it.

So I guess that brings you up to date with me. I know you’ve been wondering. I’ll let you know if we decide to do any competition for Rally or Nose Work. I think I’d nail it.

What do you think?

Hurry up mama!  It's time for school!

Hurry up mama! It’s time for school!


The princess gains a new title

Katie here.   Mama says she is just too exhausted to explain everything that happened when I got my new title yesterday.  So I guess it’s up to me.  Geeze.  I have to do everything around here!  Besides, my view is the accurate version of the day.  No matter what anyone else says.  Because I’m the princess.

So anyway, Mama never got anything in the mail about what time stuff started, or how many dogs were entered, so we didn’t know when to get to the big event.  It was a HUGE show, about an hour away, where they had conformation dogs, and people in fancy clothes running around in circles with dogs who had their fur poofed up and hair sprayed.  Huh.  How silly is that!?  I mean, Mama didn’t even poof me up and everyone said I was beautiful.  Except for those people over on the other side of the building with their fancy shelties who were too busy spraying their dogs to notice me wandering around.

We go the the venue at 8 a.m. because that’s when the website said stuff started.  Turns out they were doing stuff already!  But our class wasn’t schedule to run until 1 p.m.!  Mama was a bit peeved, but there was another person from our school already there, so we set up camp next to her and Dad and Mama and I hung out for 5 hours together.  We went on lots of walks, and sometimes I stayed in my crate, but mostly I was content to lay in my Dad’s lap.  That surprised Mama a lot because I’m not a lap dog at all.

Sitting with my Dad

Sitting with my Dad

Finally it was our turn.  By then I wasn’t sure what we were doing there at all.  I figured I was there to judge all the other dogs as they came and went.  Sure were a lot of beautiful dogs and their crazy owners there!  I was getting really sleepy and was all warm and snuggly when suddenly Mama plucked me off of my Dad’s lap and said we were on!  On what Mama?

So we’re hanging out at the gate waiting for our classmate to finish her run, and the registration table is right there and there’s this really big lady sitting there, right next to me, and suddenly she laughed really loud and hysterically and that scares me a lot!  And I jump up and try to get away from her and my Mama is telling me to sit, and the floor is slippery and I can’t sit and that lady is making a bunch of noise and my Mama is talking to me and the whole thing is just too much and then Mama tells me to heel and we’re inside the ring and I don’t want to be there, and the judge lady must be really tired because she asks Mama if we’re ready and I’m still looking over my shoulder and Mama doesn’t even get to ask me if we’re ready to work, and the judge lady says forward before we’re ready and Mama sighs and starts to move.

So.  I figure when Mama moves, I move so I come along too…and that’s when I see it…a lovely jump about half way down the ring!  Well.  You all know how much I love to jump so I start moving faster, fixated on that jump.  I just know Mama wants me to fly over it, to show off all my fur and how beautiful I am.  But then my Mama is sort of pushing into me with her leg and saying Katie…KATIE! and back BACK!, and  then she herds me!  Can you believe it?  Mama is herding ME the herding princess!  She sort of pushes mes into this big circle left and right then I realize….we’re WORKING!  OH!   OK then Mama, why didn’t you say so?  I thought we were just having fun, I didn’t realize we were working!

You all know I take my work very seriously, so from that point on I watched my Mama very carefully and did almost everything she wanted.  OK.  I sat crooked on one part but whatever.  Everybody said I looked beautiful and I don’t think anyone else besides my Mama knows that I was going to take that jump early.  We got either a 94 or a 97, Mama forgot to go read the scores after, she was too happy that the whole thing was over.  We got first place too!  Well…there were only two of us, and the other doggie walked out of the ring in the middle of his run…but still!

I stayed awake all the way home.  Mama says my eyes were closed and my head was bobbing, but I was just resting my eyes.  No sleep allowed for the princess.  Cause I’ve got to do everything around here.

Mama says there will be video once she figures out how to upload it.  Geeze.  Mamas are so slow to learn stuff.  I could probably do it myself, but I don’t want to upstage her.

A princess is always polite.

Resting my eyes at home.

Resting my eyes at home.


Katie here

Hello everybody!

Hello everybody!

Hey you guys!  I bet you’ve been missing ME.  ME ME ME ME ME ME…oh wait. I get carried away sometimes but you know it’s all about me.  My Mama has been soooooo busy that I hardly ever see her.  And when she comes home from work she’s usually too tired to play.  But I make her play anyway.  She can’t ignore me….not me!  I don’t give up either.  I have an endless supply of toys to drop at her feet.  And while she’s at work I practice the BIG EYES and sharp whine so that I can make her crazy when she finally shows up.

Guess what?  It works!  And for the small fee of a few dog biscuits I can teach all of you doggies the skill set.  Oh wait.  You say you already  have that down?  Well!  Doggies rule!

So anyway….Mama and I are going to do a big dog show this weekend.  On Sunday we’re going to try to get our Advanced Rally title!  Mama says she’s stressed again.  Sigh.  I don’t know why she gets like this.  It’s just another day to spend watching people and doggies do stuff.  I like to go to these, and when we’re in the ring I watch my Mama very carefully.  If she can just read all those crazy signs correctly I promise to do what she asks.  So it’s all up to her.

Me?  I’m just having a good time with my Dad while my Mama is at work.  And I’ve been dreaming about Mama and me going camping next spring.  It’s almost spring, right?  Well it should be.  After all I’m the princess…and I decree it’s almost spring!

Cause it’s all about me.  Yes it is.


Silly girl

For a little comic relief I present…Katie!

Yes Mama?

Yes Mama?

She and I have a Rally trial coming up this Saturday.  Last night I was telling my husband that I spent my lunch in the car reading the Advanced Rally signs and practicing commands out loud.  I demonstrated for him; “siT! Down! Back!  Circle!  Katie – HEEL!”  He started laughing and pointed behind me.

There was Katie dutifully sitting and downing, all the time cocking her head to one side as if to say “GEEZE Mama, not so fast!  You know you were using your SCHOOL voice!”

And now she tells me if I laugh at her she just might not be so responsive come Saturday.  So I guess I better be more respectful.  Because you never know what a Sheltie is going to do.

You just never know.

You called?

You called?


Rally report

Mom! Can we get to work yet?

Katie and I survived and she’s pretty full of herself too.  Cause she has a pretty red ribbon to add to her collection.  She thinks she looks particularly good with red.   But of course it’s a much longer story than that.

We arrived early, way too early, again.  Lesson learned.  We were there for 3 hours before it was actually time for me to walk the Advanced course.  By then Katie was pretty much over it, but she waited patiently in her crate for me to go through the course.  There were only two of us in Advanced A; a woman named Kim and her sheltie Mona.   Mona is just the sweetest girl I’ve met in a long time!   Kim and I did the walk through together.  Good thing too, because I fixed something she had a misconception on and she pointed out we had missed station #4 totally the first walk through!

I’ve been working on memorizing the signs and perfecting my footwork all week.  I practiced pivots on my lunch walk yesterday.  I called ‘”come!” and “down!” and “heel!” on my commutes.   I worried about her popping up from downs, following me too fast when she was supposed to stay.  I worried about forgetting to ask her to sit when I should, or asking her to sit when I shouldn’t.  I worried.

What I didn’t worry about…ever…was her jump.  She loves to jump.  She’ll jump anything…and then she will often turn around and jump it again.  So the fact there was a jump at station 2 was not alarming.  Until she walked around it and then looked at me like ….”What?  You wanted something else?”  So there goes 10 points right off the bat.

I sighed and shook my head and we finished the rest of the course.  Other than a couple of crooked sits she was perfect.  The things I had worried about were beautiful.   She’s something else, she is.

Then we were out of the ring and I told her she was a good girl, which she was.  I think I just wasn’t going fast enough to get her running, and she didn’t realize she was supposed to leave my left leg and go jump.  We watched the other woman in our class do the course and they did great too.

Afterward Kim was excited for me because the score they put up for me was 99.  Her score was 95.  But I knew that wasn’t right, with no jump the best we could get was 90.  So I talked to the steward and at a break we talked to the judge who was grateful that I told her.  I was glad too.

So we ended up in 2nd place of two…but I’m proud of Katie and her score..the judge gave us 90 and I’ll take it!

Katie says it was a long day for a little ribbon…but she’s willing to do it again, and if I give her enough warning she’ll even do the jump!