Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kits dog beach behind Maritime Museum

George, Taiki and Darrell spent Saturday watching movies. George's back, is back to being a mess so he's taking it easy. Daizy, Keegan and I went to Dogsmart for some agility. Daizy and I came in 2nd playing gamblers :)

After agility, we went for a visit to Kits dog beach, behind the Maritime Museum then enjoyed a walk along the boulders along the path of the seawall.

Kits beach faces the concrete Vancouver core. Ying /yang. I love that about Vancouver.
We walked past a duck pond , past this plant with gigantic leaves. Looks prehistoric!
View of Vancouver from seawall path.
Sit stay, down stay, take your pick.
Another pic from shore.
Tuckered out after our day, asleep on the back seat.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ian Dunbar on TED

If I could send one video out to the world to have a listen and give some thought to incorporating in their life, this would be the one.

The foundation of a kinder, safer, healthier world starts at home.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yvonne & Andy hike to Cougar Mountain

Yvonne and Andy dropped in for a visit from Switzerland. I've known Yvonne for about 10 years, through a few crazy times in my life and I feel so blessed to have crossed paths and have her as a dear friend.

I got to meet Andy for the first time! He's very sweet, fun, and easy going. They really compliment each other, I love it when that happens!

Our Cougar mountain hike was quick. We'll have to come back to complete this one. The hike was considered easy. The trail wide with dense old growth forest lining the path. It felt like you were walking along a mouse maze. You saw nothing but forest either side of you, yet the drop off on the right hand side was very steep. Once we walked high enough above the tree line, we had a nice view of rolling mountains. The trail opened up and it was breath taking. It was 1hr in and another back, at a slow easy pace. Thankfully George kept up no back issues.

Earlier that day I tried on a couple different doggie type carrying frontpacks (looked like those baby carriers where the legs hang out the bottom) that I was considering just incase his back would give out during the hike. George looked embarrassed when I tried to put him in, and wedged his feet in the opening so he would not slip into it (insert cartoon dog here). I gave up. I think it would have crushed his ego if I would have posted a pic ;)
Daizy enjoying sweet grass, before throwing it up that night.....

I'm not sure what type of grass it was....but it was definitely considered a delicacy to these connoisseurs. I almost picked a piece to see what the fuss was about.

Yvonne came down with a cold but it didn't stop her from hiking.

We went for hot toddy & finger food afterwards in Whistler at the Four Seasons in the lounge which faces a garden patio. I enjoyed the jazz piano, cozy lounge, relaxing view, but I'm not sure I'll ever mix chocolate with popcorn shrimp, artichoke dip & Peta and Cajun wings after a hike again. It felt like eating dessert before dinner, now I know why you leave that til last.

Afterwards, we drive home to play cards (learnt a new game Romi) and enjoy decadent light & dark champagne truffles (Yvonne is my truffle dealer) and a nice red wine.... THAT was heavenly.

I miss Yvonne tons already and hope we get to visit Switzerland next summer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Teasers from the shoot

Smiley Daizy n Serious George
Daizy wears her heart on her sleeve.......this was after about the 14th take :)

Daizy was bored of sitting so she lay down then spread in the frog position with her head between her paws. Here's her almost in the frog postion with head between her paws. Everyone let out a "awe" so we ended up shooting a few scenes where I cue her to do it.

One of my favorite friends (since passed away last year) said he didn't believe I could teach my dogs a trick in a week. So my mission was to teach them a trick named "James".

When I said "James' Daiz n George were to put their head down, in my lap or anyone's lap that cued them to do so and look up ( add  "awe"  here again ).  To cue on set I used the hand signal from the side lines which was the basis for Daizy putting her head between her paws when she lay down.  It's so cool when you practice a new cue in enough places, that they globalize or understand that it doesn't matter where you go, the handsignal or verbal cue means do it right then and there, not only at home where they learnt it.  

James was an amazing writer/creative/always there for you no matter what sort of friend and it sent a shock through my system that the pose that they wanted Daizy to repeat was "James". Felt like he was there with me.

The edit is next week, then we should be on air by Oct. 6th.

The production was shot in on a green screen set, which should become white background once we're done with the edit.

It was a once in a life time experience and so much fun! For a good cause to boot. I'll post more details closer to airdate and hopefully a couple more stills & video once we're done.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I didn't think we would make it to Shoot

Tuckered out after the shoot. I got to wrangle, which was so neat. It was a super,awesome, crazy, Vulcan mindmelding experience. We worked as a team, as they took direction from me on the sidelines from a distance, and I think WE did a really great job. I'll write more when I have pic's from the shoot. I never thought we'd make it to the shoot.

I was a mess this weekend. George started shaking uncontrollably Friday night in pain. I wracked my brain to think of what he could have ate being a beagle owner, it's the first thing that comes to mind! Over thinking and leaving things up to my dramatic imagination I figured was worst than surfing the I started surfing the net while I held him in a position that seemed to alleviate the shaking and pain for the rest of the night.

I surfed for possibilities...poison, obstructions, paralysis....I have come to find comfort in surfing. I try to inform myself on what to ask the vet or fill myself full of knowledge so I don't feel like a dork when I have no idea how the vet could have come to his diagnosis. It is both nerve wracking and calming at the same time.

Yup, I am a worry wart. I've been to the vet in a panic a few times and sent home with a eyepopping bill only to wait a few more hours for Daizy to throw up, whatever was upsetting her stomach, and then start wagging as if nothing happened in the first place. Sort of like the relief you get after undoing your belt when you ate wayyyyy too much dinner, and your next thought is "so what's for dessert!"

Saturday we found out he's has/had back trauma. He's on anti-inflammatory /pain meds and is being a trooper. We'll find out more with xrays. Good news is it's not neurological.

He was feeling good enough to do the shoot today. I'll have pic's and post about that later.
I was very thankful Alice came with me. She's a rock.

George goes in for xrays tomorrow morn. I feel so horrible that he might have to go under just to do the xrays as they need to position him on his back and restrain him. I hate the fact that I can't communicate to him what is going to happen tomorrow, so he knows that the people positioning him are only doing it for his best interest. Good news is I really like this new vet. His name is Dr. Honey. How sweet is that (I know, ha ha ).

He had good sense to see George was shy at first being in the vet, so he turned sideways and didn't make eye contact and just let George come to him. I had to leave him there for a few hours while he could exam him, which I thought was odd but turned out that they did a really through exam. I never thought to check his back. I automatically assumed it was his stomach. So I'm worried, but feel comfortable leaving him there. Well not really, but that's what I'm trying to convince myself.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cheakamus Canyon-a view to kill

"Glacier-swept peaks, dramatic rock bluffs" 9km, elevation gain 200m, high point 400m. Take your time!!!! I left quite a few of the breathtaking views off this post. Below are just the teasers.
This trail comes with some interesting history. In 1853 Gov.James Douglas sent 2 men to scout out a route to Howe Sound that would be less harrowing and less troublesome than established routes of gold seekers, they carved this route out, then the gov. deemed it too unsafe. I can't imagine the downer that must have been, especially without our modern day equipment! In 1877 they tried it as a cattle drive, but unfortunately the steep trail and deep snow did not provide safe passage, poor cows. In 1912 the route was surveyed for rail travel, and by 1918 the first train passed through and still does to this day.
Quiet spot of the river. You walk along side it for the first while, the sound of rushing water, I never get tired of it. If I could have, I would have loved to walk in it for the first bit.

Remnants of an old lava flow...between 10,000 - 15,000 yrs ago. We took pic's of lava rock as well, very coolio. The teacher in Darrell comes out, his audience are mesmerized by his trivia. I wish I could pack the trivia he does into my brain. Then again, maybe not. I wouldn't have room for all my quirky "kathism's".

Here's the railway....way down below. Dogs on leash is a must! Especially curious and fearless beagles and Aussies!

This one bridge....yup a bridge, to get you from one side of the trail to the other. All of the dogs came to an abrupt halt at this part. It was freaky, definitely safe but freaky.

Finally at the top! I took this pic and realized that Keegie-boo is looking all grown up! Daizy banana is almost 8 yrs.....I'm convinced that time is speeding up.

Sometimes events happen that make me feel like I've been hit upside of the head with a frying pan. My spirit feels like I haven't aged a day since my mischievous years, but something like this picture, will remind me that another year or....8 have flown by!

Cutie little putie D n Taiki. The calm before...

...the sneak attack!
Keegan proves himself time and time again as the dog version of Kato from Pink Panther!

A rocky way up but well worth the birds eye view hike. Make sure to start early so you can dangle your legs over the side of the path and soak in the view. Please keep leads on dogs at all times!

My favourite part of that day was capturing this family moment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A little boy's wisdom. Enjoy with kleenx.

Maren shared this story with me today.

A dog's purpose.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.'

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The Six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Daizy n George's first commercial

Well......Daizy n George had their prepro meeting today to see if they could pull off being in a commercial. I was very worried, I didn't know how they'd react to the environment or strangers taking a leash and walking off with them while I was in the room.

I think they thought they must have rolled out the red carpet for their arrival. I love that about beagles (atleast mine)....the party doesn't start until they've arrived :P

They were a bit over the top at first trying to mug everyone for attention, until they realized it wasn't a party. I had everyone ignore them right off the bat, so I could praise any attention on me and any signs of calm behaviour. Ignoring their behaviour helps them calm themselves down. They stop to look at the big picture, realize no one's paying attention or partying, and then try to figure out what the appropriate behaviour is = just chill out with everyone, it's not time for playing games. It worked like a charm. They calmed down and took in the set, people watched and snooped around the equipment and green screen room. They got to cuddle everyone when we left and their job was done.

They were not fearful of anything, and took everything in stride. What a relief. You never know how they are going to react in a new environment, so I packed lots of stuff in case they would have a hard time. Boosting confidence by having fun with games, treats, and then having a blanket to curl up into if they needed an escape helps with my guys when something scares them.

I didn't prompt them to do anything, just watched their reaction to the experience. I find they'll give you all the information in their body language so you can fine tune what you communicate to them to help them build their confidence or blend into a new environment.

Managing people is a different story. I found the simple instruction of showing someone our handsignal to sit and asking them to say it once, not to repeat "sit" a challenge. One guy kept pointing at Daizy, asking her to sit, sit, sit.....while she was performing every trick in her repetoire to see if any was the right one he was asking for, while he was getting louder and frustrated!

Even after I stopped him, and demonstrated again....he did it again when I turned my back. Some people....

So this weekend we're practicing automatic sits when walking stops and waiting a minute before continuing. That way I can manage the guy, rather than him confusing my sweet Daizy.

I find that some humans don't stop to look at what we say or how we express ourselves and the affect it has on the dog. Daizy was confused and didn't know what he was asking her to do. I don't say sit a million times, so what the heck is it supposed to mean? He was pointing (which means jump up and touch my hand...what I taught her) and saying sit a million times in a row. Which confused me as well. Why say sit a million times and use a handsignal that meant jump up to her? Couldn't he see she didn't understand and was trying to figure things out? Everyone says sit differently, my sit might not sound like yours. I've seen dogs get more excited, anxious or the opposite, just shuts them down, they plum give up or ignore you when you repeat yourself. Once is more then enough. Follow up with the appropriate handsignal if they need help, a smile and cuddle when they plunk their bums down. There's lots of things we humans don't smell, see or hear going on in the background that dogs do, so sometimes it just takes a few seconds longer for them to shake off the background distraction and focus back on your happy face and do what you asked.

Now that I have a better idea what their part of the performance is, I'll be working with them this week & weekend to ensure they're able to perform on Monday (the shoot day) and have fun to boot. ...wish us luck! keep fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed please!