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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Trip to Camrose

The Battle River Canaine Association held their dog show this past weekend in Camrose. Jolene and Kort were coming up, so I decided that Duffy and I would take a trip to Camrose to see Jolene and to cheer her and Kort on, in their bid to get those last 3 points for his championship. I should mention for those who don't already know, that Kort and Duffy are littermates and have many of the same 'interesting' issues, qualities, and challenges! Such fun! Haha!

We got up early Sunday morning--well early for a Sunday,7:30. I took Duffy for a walk and by mid-morning we were on our way. The Group 7 ring time was 1 PM. It's been over 15 years since I went out to Camrose--the last time being when I took my dad down to Sedgewick, where he was born and grew up and we visited the cemetary where his parents are buried. Highway 21 is being twinned for a ways out of the city. That was fine until we left the divided part and were on the 2 lane highway. Now Duffy is only used to Highway 2 which is a divided highway with a wide median--no traffic rushing past at close quarters. Well, he totally freaked out about vehicles whizzing past us. At first he threw himself at the window of the canopy, in which he rides. That I didn't need! Then he 'settled down' to only barking at every vehicle. He would watch out the front window for on-coming traffic and be ready to bark at them as they went past. What a nice relaxing drive! NOT! I am seriously thinking of crating him in the back of the truck so he doesn't see everything and have to bark at it.

We made it to Camrose and I found the exhibition grounds and building. Duffy stayed in the truck--finally some peace and quiet! I saw Jolene and Kort outside but by the time I went in and paid, I couldn't find her. I watched a little of the junior handling and then tried again to find her. The Camrose show is kind of disorganized and the grooming areas were not laid out in a nice orderly manner (not like Edmonton--of course!) But I knew if I could see Big Boy Kort on the grooming table, I'd have success. And sure enough there he was and there Jolene was! I haven't seen her since the Edmonton show in October, so it was so great to meet up again. She had driven up with a gal named Vicky and her sweet little Spaniel Claire. So I met them too. Everything was running behind and as Rough Collies were the last breed in the group to go in, there was plenty of time to talk. I helped Vicky carry some of Claire's winning loot as she went to get her offical picture taken. And then it was time for Kort to go into the ring. Now I am not going to say anything about the outcome, as Jolene hasn't had a chance to report about the show yet.

So that's how to handle a dog show!

After the show was over Jolene brought Kort out to the truck and I got Daffy--I mean Duffy--out and the brothers got reacquainted. Too bad there was no one to take pictures of this big event! Then we went over to a grass area and Kort pee'd down a gopher hole (conversation in the gopher residence--"Is it raining up there?" "Hmmm, maybe, but it smells funny! Maybe some of that acid rain we read about!"). Duffy and Kort then proceeded to pee all over the place and Duffy acted like the goofy puppy he still is. He just wants to play, but when Kort's tail stopped wagging, we kept them apart.

Kort and Duffy in my backyard April 2009

Then it was time to say farewell until another dog show/visit. Back home to Edmonton we went--Duffy still barking at every oncoming vehicle. But this time I didn't seem to notice as much--maybe I had lost part of my hearing! On a side note, I never seem to be able to retrace my return trip on the same route that I took in the first place. I inherited my father's must get lost while driving home gene--lucky me! So I found Rowland Road and Baseline Road in Edmonton, missed the 82 Ave. turn-off because the sun was in my eyes, drove through the refinery area and finally got onto 118 Ave. and got home! Of course, my dad and I always do find our way home and Native people say that one should never retrace one's path. So there you go!

Jolene and Kort in the ring enjoying themselves

Duffy and I both enjoyed our adventure and it was so good to see Jolene. I wish we lived closer to each other! When Jolene has had a chance to post her blog, I'll put up some more pictures.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My Raw Fed Dog

When we first got Duffy, I was still buying into the philosophy held by many, that dogs are omnivores. The arguments seemed compelling enough but I did like the idea of raw, unprocessed by heat, food too. So, for the first 2 months I had Duffy, he was fed an organic kibble and raw, pre-formed frozen patties that had veggies, oils, grains (not corn or wheat), organs, and meat. But I kept reading and after joining The Truth About Vaccines Yahoo group, I was advised  by one member to join the Raw Feeding group too. I did and boy, were my eyes opened. When I realized that dogs were only .2% different in their DNA from that of wolves and that their digestive tract was exactly the same as all the undomesticated canines, despite having associated with man and been fed a variety of man connected foods for 1000's of years, I had to switch my dog to total raw, total meat.

The Yahoo Raw Feeding group is moderated by people who have been feeding their dogs this way for 10, 15, 20 years. They are founts of wisdoms on all aspects, all possible problems, and any other question a person might have. Reading the posts gave me the courage to stop the kibble and frozen patties cold turkey--well cold chicken actually, as that's the recommended first meat. The method is referred to as the Frankenprey model, as most of us don't have access to a whole carcass to give our household wolves. But we approximate the carcass by feeding 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat, 5% of which should be liver. The starting point for amount fed per day is 2% of the dog's adult weight. This can be tweaked so that the dog doesn't get fat or thin. The bone content can be tweaked as well so that the poops are nice and firm. A real bonus to this method of feeding is that the dog poops at least half the amount he would if on kibble, and it's not so smelly either. 

After almost a year and a half on this diet, Duffy eats chicken, turkey, elk, venison, bison, pork (lots of pork--it's cheaper and a red meat), lamb, and some beef. He doesn't tolerate a whole meal of beef very well (pudding poops)  and I wonder if 100% grass-fed beef might eliminate that problem. One day, I'll try some.  And yes, those meats are all raw, he eats all the chicken bones, the pork and lamb rib bones, without incident. He used to eat salmon, but after I tried to get him to eat herring, he was turned off fish entirely! But I make his dehydrated training treats from fish and he loves them. So here are some pictures of my wolf and his species appropriate diet! Oh, and the local magpies love his diet too!

Cleaning off a beef neck

This a turkey drumstick wedged in his mouth.

Duffy eats outside, unless there's a howling blizzard going on and it's -30 '. I don't even bother putting the food in a bowl anymore. I just put it down on the sidewalk or porch and Duffy starts in. No muss, no fuss!

I will continue with more about raw feeding another time.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The First Day of Spring

Today was a pretty nice day and I was able to do some yard work--mainly sweeping up leaves where it was dry enough. I took some pictures and thought I would compare them with last year around the same time. Not bad! We had more snow in 2008-09 and it was still around at this time in March. We have fared pretty well this winter, with the exception of December. Hopefully we have seen the last of snow and winter--but it's Canada and as we all know, we can get snowstorms in April and May that can dump 1-3 feet of snow. Keep your fingers crossed! The bottom 2 pictures are from 2009.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Dog Whisperer

I was sitting at the computer with Cesar Millan's The Dog Whisperer program on the TV in the living room. Duffy went into the living room and plunked himself down and I see that he's watching! Then he turns straight toward the TV and is really into the program! Now, the question is, was he gettings tips on how to be better behaved, or getting ideas of bad behavior to add to his repertoire! Hmmm....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Ready for St. Patrick's Day!

Today I baked shamrock-shaped sugar cookies and Irish Soda Bread. Most of the cookies will go to the Edmonton General for tomorrow's coffee and cake/cookies on the the unit. I already gave one of the loaves of soda bread to the neighbor. Ironically, what little Irish I have in my background (maybe one generation on my maternal grandmother's side) is Protestant Northern Irish! However, far fewer people celebrate the Irish Protestants' big day of July 12 which commemorates the Battle of the Boyne fought in 1690. Besides, it's great to see green in any form at this time of year! So Happy St. Patrick's to all--whether you are Irish or not!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh What Dirty Feet You Have!
This is what Duffy's feet and underside looked like yesterday evening when we got back from our walk. Oh the joys of Spring in the city! Yuck!

After Some Consideration

Here I am again--as you can see it has been several weeks since I wrote my first blog post. I have spent the interveneing time deciding whether I really wanted to have a blog after all. I guess I must, because I'm here again! Last week we (and I mean Duffy and I had a visitor--a Peregrine Falcon. I was first alerted to its presence by Duffy who was standing on the back porch and barking in a different way from the "I want to come in" bark or the "I just barked at some poor guy going down the street" bark. So I went to look and Duffy was looking south. So I looked south too and there was the falcon on the neighbor's power wires. I have never seen a Peregrine this close in my life--not even in Saskatoon where the falcon would sit on the top of a spruce tree as I was walking through the park to the university. I thought this was unusual behavior for a falcon and was worried something might be wrong with it. Once Duffy had alerted me, he didn't bark anymore--good boy. I kept checking on the bird and saw a magpie pestering it. That's when the bird turned from facing south, to facing east. Later I checked, and it was gone but Duffy was looking up at our roof. But my opening the back door scared the falcon and he/she flew to the roof of the neighbors on the north side. Duffy went to the garage so he could watch it. I took some more pictures and sometime in the afternoon it flew off, I guess. Maybe it had flown into something--but I hope it was OK. a day or so later I heard 2 Peregrines calling as they soared around the neighborhood--so I guess all was well.