Monday, 24 February 2014

CRUFTS "Friends for Life" - Lucy and Molly

Crufts 2013 was the first time I'd ever used a wheelchair.  So this year, 2014, Crufts is a kind of anniversary for me.  One year on wheels!

"Friends for Life"

 "Friends for Life" is the competition run by the Kennel Club, to highlight outstanding relationships between dog and human.  Yet everywhere these amazing relationships abound, I know because my own dogs have helped me cope with the life changes that my health has flung at me.

So the five stories told by the Friends for Life finalists at Crufts are just the tip of the iceberg, and in celebrating the stories of these five, I think this initiative also inspires and encourages a great many other people.  All are winners in my view.

Yet, I also have a favourite in the running.... and here's why:

I recently "met" Lucy Watts online as I stumbled onto the FB page she keeps called Molly, Dog with a Blog .

I made a few comments on her page, and noticed she was starting to train Molly towards doing agility competition. And we got chatting.  I thought we could compare notes about training tactics, as my Finn is also a puppy.

Then I realised that Lucy and Molly were actually finalists in the Friends for Life competition at Crufts.  That gave me quite a buzz, not least because I thought it might be fun to meet up at Crufts itself.

Now if you haven't visited Molly's blog - which is entirely written from the puppy's point of view - then it really is worth a browse.  Not only are there commentaries, photos and videos on Molly's training, but there are also some lovely insights into how a dog can just give so much.  

The relationship that Lucy and Molly have is infectious.  If you are like me, you will spend much longer on the blog than you had first intended!  Lucy and Molly also feature in the video produced for the Friends for Life final - Worth watching: 

The number to vote for Lucy and Molly (given also at the end of the video) is 

0844 646 0202

I've watched all the videos, and I am amazed by each of the wonderful stories told.  Really all of these dogs and their owners are winners, no matter who gets the final glorious moment.

However, something about Lucy and her relationship with Molly has touched my heart, and so these two have got my vote.  Perhaps they'll get your vote too.

Good Luck to Lucy and Molly - I look forward to meeting you at the big show!  xx

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Patsy Gets a Haircut for Crufts!

As Patsy gets woollier, she runs slower, and today, she came in over-heated and panting.  

Well, it will be warmer at Crufts! So it's time for the scissors!

I thought this time I should take a few photos, so a white sheet was draped over the sofa... without it Patsy becomes invisible against the dark brown background!

 I got an apron on, and set to work... this is a 40 second time-lapse run of the haircut in progress.

And the end result - I'll probably need to tidy her face up, but I'll do that in another session.  Patsy rarely gets a full haircut all in one go.

Might need a little coat on tonight... as that's a load of fluff removed.  

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Getting Excited about CRUFTS!

So the countdown has started.

This year at Crufts should be exciting, as there is so much going on and so many friends to catch up with...

Shona has qualified with little Patsy to compete in the YKC Agility Dog of the Year on Thursday.  They will also be joining 4 others on the Cuchulain Girls Team from N.Ireland for the YKC Team Agility event on Sunday.

My good friend Peri Burnside is also travelling from N.Ireland with her Malamutes. Peri has enjoyed considerable success in recent years breeding and showing these amazing dogs, and I am looking forward to seeing them in action in the show ring at last. 

I am also hoping to meet up with two amazing young ladies who, like me, use wheels to handle their dogs.  I've chatted with both online, and am really looking forward to writing about their relationships with their dogs and also to meeting them at Crufts.

I watched Victoria Prince compete in the YKC Obedience ring last year, while waiting for the Agility to start.  At the time my mobility had become a problem, and Victoria was the first handler I'd ever seen live in action, handling a dog using wheels!  It certainly got me thinking, and on returning from Crufts I took a deep breath and bought a mobility scooter.  Doing so opened up my world again, and so I owe Victoria (and a few other notable FB friends) a big vote of thanks for giving me the courage to try.  

More recently I have been chatting with Lucy Watts on FB and as I was inspired by the work she is doing with her puppy Molly.  Molly is in training to be an assistance dog, and Lucy is also training her towards agility competitions.  In fact Molly even has her very own dog blog over on Face Book.  Check it out here: Molly, dog with a Blog.

 So there should be lots happening during the Crufts week for me.  I can't wait.

(And now to REST and store up some stamina for the week! xx )

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Just 5 Minutes Most Days

Finn and I take about five minutes most days to play around at something to do with agility.

Today I thought I'd try to do a figure of eight between the barrel and two sets of jumps.

It is a bit of a learning curve for both of us and I think this clip shows quite nicely how things progressed over the course of a five minute session.

In the end we managed a figure of eight in two different ways.

A really good day I thought!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Finn doing some Distance Work.

It was a lovely bright morning this morning and so I thought I'd get some better footage of Finn doing the little loop of jumps....

I was really pleased with this work.   I started with the jumps and tunnel in a straight line and each day arced the line out a bit further.

Having achieved this much now, I'm going to give him a break from jumping for a while (he is only 9 months afterall) and do some work towards contacts... now to find a good plank of wood!

Mostly Photos of the Collies

It's all about having fun with the dogs, so never mind the wet ground the collies are delighted to be out.

Above photo shows Gypsy, Pixie and Finn - still for a moment.  Pixie is Finn's litter mate.  Gypsy and Pixie are Amy's dogs & she took all these lovely photos....  

And that's my puppy..... ahhhhh! 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Patsy and Finn on Video

Shona and I had Patsy and Finn out this morning.  The ground is still very wet, but we set up a loop with the tunnel and four jumps with the aim of distance handling.

Neither first attempt was perfect, but they got it in the end. The clips show their success.

With Finn I had first set up a line of jumps along the edge of the concrete.  Then putting the tunnel (okay a barrel) in the middle I started to bend the line out in an arc over a period of several days.

This was quite a big jump from the previous curve, so even though he didn't get it first time - without being brought back to do the jump he missed - I was delighted that after only a couple of attempts Finn was able to achieve this:

Oh and this is just a photo from a walk on Christmas Day.  That's Pixie (Finn's sister) in the foreground and Finn behind her.

Hoping for some better weather soon, but in the mean time Finn gets about 5-10 mins practice most days after his walk with the terriers.