Cedarfield's Chronicle

Live and Learn and Live Some More

My Top Ten
Oldest to youngest:


10.The sly look he gets on his face just before he humps someone.
9. The 100% enthusiasm he has for life even now at over 16 years old.
8. The way he cavorts across the lawn even with his stiff old legs. He doesn't care if he's old--he's going to have fun, damn it!
7. How healthy he's always been. never been sick or lame a day in his life.
6. How much he taught me in agility and dog training. He's always been the most challenging dog I've ever worked with but there's no doubt I learned a lot from him and because of him.
5. His incredible athleticism and speed. I've never seen his equal.
4. The way he would look at me when we were doing agility. His eyes would shine and his mouth would smile and I had no doubt he was the happiest dog on Earth.
3. The way he sleeps on his back with his legs resting on the back of the couch. He gives himself up completely to enjoying his sleep but is awake in an instant if he senses something is about to happen.
2. His wolf-yellow eyes.
1. the way he's always forgiven me for not being a good enough trainer. It's enough for him that he gets to be part of my life even though he deserves os much more.

Lake Crabtree leapcolorJaime WeavingJaime's pretty profileJaime--His Master's Voice


10.His wonderful wiry coat and his wonderful bushy eyebrows and his wonderful, sweet wiry face that he likes me to kiss.
9. The way he trots ahead of me up on his toes and strutting his stuff because he's happy and convinced he's the Best. Dog. Ever.
8. The way he must sit on my lap if I'm sitting down anywhere.
7. The way he likes to get all the way up on my shoulder and perch there like a parrot.
6. His belief that I am the most important being in the world (next to himself, of course).
5. The way he drags himself on his belly across the bed to say good morning as soon as I crack one eyelid open.
4.How he has always tried to figure out what I want him to do on an agility course and then did it. He's been a better teammate than I deserved.
3. The way he leaps 2 feet straight up from a standstill because he's happy to be Devon.
2. The way he must always spoon with me on the couch.
1. His absolute certainty that life is wonderful as long as we're together.

Devon at CDTC 03/07
The pillows are nice and soft.

portrait on hay
wonderful portrait
first harness
Little Angel


10. Her stunning beauty.
9. Her sweetness.
8. The way she's never grown out of her need for a nursing blanket-- especially at bedtime.
7. Her ability to go from asleep to flinging herself out the door and across 3 acres of lawn because a crow landed in the yard.
6. The way she curls up into a tiny, shiny black ball when she sleeps.
5. The way she sits in front of me and looks directly into my eyes because she wants me to pet her and tell her how beautiful she is.
4. Her amazing drive and talent for Nosework.
3. Her sweet sense of humor.
2. The way she gathers all the blankets and pillows on the bed around her to make a nest and then carefully places herself in the exact middle.
1. The soft look of love that shines from her eyes.NoseworkZodiNW1PA


10. Her absolute conviction that she needs to have possession of all the toys and all the chewies that exist in this world.
9. Her intent stare into my face as tries to figure out how to get what she wants.
8. Her ability to turn on the "I'm just a sweet little puppy dog" look even while she's covered in something awful she just rolled in.
7. Her love of all toys, everywhere.
6. Her belief that although she weighs only 1/6th of what Zodi weighs, someday she will win at tug-o-war.
5. The way she's convinced that although he growls at her every time he sees her, one day Alex will play with her.
4. Her eagerness to learn new stuff so she can get more toys.
3. Her fascination with toads.
2. The way she wags her tail at every single person she's ever met or has hopes of meeting.
1. The way she hides her bones under my husband's pillow.



Nosework Fun in Gettysburg
Took both Zodi and Devon to a NACSW Nosework trial held in Gettysburg, PA last weekend. Nosework trials are quite different from agility trials. For one thing they start at a reasonable hour--I didn't have to be there until 9:30 which allows a normal person to have a good nights' sleep, breakfast and two cups of coffee before having to face the world. One of my least favorite things about agility trials is how they start so early in the morning and go on all day long. I was finished with my searches, had been awarded my title and was on my way back to my friends' house by 4:00 both days. I much appreciated the way no one tried to hurry anyone at any point. No gate stewards yelling your name or freaking out because she doesn't have three dogs lined up and waiting to go into the ring. In fact, the whole tenor of the trial was all about making sure each person and dog had all the time they needed to get to the search area, do their search and then leave unhurriedly. And still they had 40 dogs searching 4 elements each so it was very efficient.
At the end of the day they give out awards and the judges debrief the volunteers and competitiors on what they thought was good and what could use improvement. The judges, by the way, are professional working dog handlers and they seem to appreciate being involved in this sport which doesn't involve anyone getting hurt or arrested. And I really appreciated getting my score sheet for each search with the judges comments written in as well as our scor, very useful.
I was really happy with the way both of my dogs performed. Devon trialed on Friday and he did an awesome job finishing in 7th place overall and earned his NW1 title.
Another major different between agility and Nosework trials is that you don't know exactly where the trial site is until just a week or so before the trial date. They don't want people going over and searching there with their dogs ahead of time because one of the challenges of Nosework is the many differnt environments where they take place. This trial was held here:


The search areas inside were rooms full of arcade games and pool tables while the outdoor areas were dirt and grassy areas surrounded by small boulders, trees and barns. There was a large pond/small lake, huge fields and nice trails to walk the dogs in the back and a nice motel if you wanted to stay on the premises.

Devon and I did much better at this trial than at the first one. He and I were much more sure of our teamwork. His first search area was the interior element and he had found it and alerted almost before I was completely in the room. Luckily I reacted appropriately and said "Alert!" without making him wait. The judges seem to be looking for teams who are in sync and who can work an area together to find the hide (although it's either pass or fail the judges can ding you for handling faults like pulling your dog off the odor or ignoring their indication
behavior for too long). All the practicing we've been doing in the past few months have really paid off. I feel more confident of his ability to find the odor and tell me where it is and that's a big step for us because he hasn't always been the easiest dog to read.

Our second search was the exterior area (I think) and that was the one I was most nervous about because at our first trial he spent the entire 2 and half minutes trying to get into the barns that formed part of the search boundary never really searching for the Birch at all. But this time he did an awesome job searching quite a large area that included one wall of another barn and lots of rocks and finding and clearly indicating the hide within a minute. Once that was in the bag i relaxed quite a bit because the vehicle search and container search aren't quite as nerve wracking for me. You know it has to be either one one of the vehicles or in one of the boxes so it takes some of the guesswork out of it.


After lunch we did vehicles and he did a great job finding the Birch in about 40 seconds. There are three vehicles in the vehicle search and the wind was blowing pretty hard which can make it hard to locate the source of the odor since vehicles tend to have lots of seams and cracks and spaces where odor can travel and pool. But dog's noses are fantastic and if you just make it fun and rewarding for them to find the Birch and learn how to tell when they're in odor and when they've found the source, it becomes a matter of just helping to put them in the right places to search and then trusting them to do what they know how to do. It's such a thrill when your dog finds something completely hidden from sight (even when they find it and indicate they've found it, you still can't see the Q-tips because they're tucked away out of sight) in a large area that you know you could never find on your own. For me, it's the epitome of teamwork with my dog.


After that we did containers which used to be difficult for us because if Devon was at all confused or frustrated he would start dancing on the boxes in an attempt to get me to reward him. I think it's a holdover from all the shaping we did with cardboard boxes. but we've worked on clearing up my handling of containers so now he's much more confident about why he's there and I can trust him to do his job. There were 30 boxes to search, all of which are tightly closed and all exactly the same size, shape and color. He danced right in and started searching and I just stayed out of his way and within about 30 seconds he had found the right box, indicated it was the one with the odor and as I said "alert!" and heard the judge confirm it, I felt just as proud of him and of our teamwork as I ever have in agility.

Part two of this post later as I have dogs eager to get out and play and a rare agility trial to get ready for.

Waaaay Behind
I just can't keep up with Live Journal nowadays. I'm usually on the move from the time I get up to the time I lie down at night. Facebook fits into that kind of schedule a lot easier--especially when it comes to posting photos and video.

What's happening:

Teaching 5 days a week. Two dogs to board and train--one every Monday-Friday, one on occasion.
Getting Nosework coaching online, trial at the end of March, April and May. Nosework camp in april.
Nosework seminar this weekend in MD--really good time. Went with three students and 5 dogs. Zodi was awesome! Got some really good suggestions for Devon who isn't staying at source quite long enough.
Training Spriggs: acheived her first completely independent 360 on the perch! Baby agility sequences! Positions on verbal cue about 75%, started rear foot targeting, pretty good on weaving through legs. Measured her at 11.5 inches at 6 months. Hoping not to break 12". Getting cuter every day.
Trip to Greece and France in June! It's been 15 years since we've been back to Greece. Can't wait to swim in the Agean again but three weeks without my dogs (panic already setting in). Sister to housesit in return for me housesitting for her when she goes to Morocco in September. Not sure sister can handle it.



Don't Sweat The Small Stuff
I expeced to write a big long post when I got back from Nosework camp and CT where I went for a few days to visit my sisters but I didn't expect to post that I'm feeling very lucky to be alive these days.

I started my trip by driving up to PA to stay overnight with some good friends on my way to CT. It was too far to make it in one day and since I always enjoy spending time with P and J, I decided to stop there on my way up and back. I had a fun but too short visit up in CT where my sisters and I had great fun sea kayaking. I brought Devon with me because I really can't imagine going anywhere without my little buddy. Plus he's so small and portable and so good in almost every situation, there really isn't any reason to leave him at home.


So after a few days it was time to head to PA for Nosework camp. I've really been looking forward to getting to this camp since it's really the only way I have of getting current Nosework instruction. Since the sport started in southern CA, most of the experienced instructors are from the west coast which is a tad too far to go for lessons.

I got to watch a bunch of sessions over the 5 days I was there and learned a lot but by the end of camp I was ready to get home and sleep in my own bed not to mention see my husband and other dogs. So Tuesday morning I packed up and got on the road by about 9:00am. I wasn't sure of the way so was following instructions from my GPS and driving at about 45mph through the very rural area of PA where camp is located. After I'd gone about 6 miles I was on a two lane country road and approaching a four way interesection with no light or stop signs except on the crossroad. Even though I was driving down a long hill I was going slowly because I wasn't sure if I would need to turn there. But my GPS was silent so I just drove through the intersection at about 40 mph. There was no one in the intersection or anyone waiting to drive across. Suddenly there was a very loud bang! and an impact on the driver's side of the car just in front of the door. The car swerved to the right, the side curtain aribag deployed and I thought for sure I was going off the road and lose control of the car.

Somehow the car didn't go off the road and continued straight down the road but slowing down as it went. it was obvious the left front tire was flat but there was no swerving just a gentle bumping until we stopped. Once we had stopped I smelled something burning so I tried to open my door but it wouldn't open so I scrambled out the passenger side and immediately opened the back door to get Devon out. He was riding in his crate which was behind the front passenger seat and it's lucky he was because he could have been really hurt otherwise. As it was he was a bit scared but didn't have any impact on  his part of the car. By this time I realized that the burning smell was probably either from the flat tire or the airbag so I left him in his crate in the car since it seemed like the safest place for him.

As I was standing there trying to figure out what happened, I looked back toward the intersection about 50 yards away and saw the car that hit me. it looked like this:


Apparently the driver had been following another car that had already turned and just turned his car right into mine as if I wasn't even there. I decided to take some pictures so I walked down there with my camera and took a few shots. As I was walking back toward my car the driver came up to me and said "I'm sorry, I just didn't see you". I didn't say anything because I just didn't feel like saying "Oh, that's OK" or  something equally inane. I just kept walking back to  my car where the EMS had arrived along with lots of other vehicles including a firetruck.


I was aware of having a headache and pain in my neck and left knee but none of it was terrible and the front airbag hadn't deployed so it wasn't nearly as bad as it would have been if the other car had turned sooner and I'd hit him instead of him hitting me. The EMS told me that I had two choices. I could either leave in an ambulance and go to the hospital or I could sign a paper saying I wouldn't sue them if I later died as a result of my injuries. They didn't take my blood pressure or seem in any way to care about my well being. When I asked them what would happen to my dog if I went to the hospital, they acted completely unconcerned and said they guessed he would go with the car to wearever the wrecker service was going to take it. Well, obviously that wasn't an option so I refused to  leave and signed the piece of paper they gave me.

About that time the wrecker showed up and told me he would have to remove the car since it was blocking the road (and it was clearly undriveable). So I took Devon and his crate out of the car and a couple of small bags and watched my car disappear with everything else I had brought with me. (It wound up about 15 miles away.) So there I was standing on the side of the road with cars whizzing by my face, with a terrible head ache, very emotional and shaken and wondering what I would do. I did have enough presence of mind to call my friends P and J to ask them to come and get me but they were over 3 hours away and I couldn't stand there for the next few hours.


One of the other campers who had come upon the scene right after the accident had pulled her car up behind mine to sort of shield us from the traffic and stayed with me through this whole ordeal. I had met her briefly during camp but otherwise didn't know her. She had the idea to call the camp and ask the director to come and pick me and Devon up and take us back to camp to wait for my friends. So after about another 30 minutes she showed up and transported us back to camp. The director also brought the EMS camper/volunteer with her and she checked me over once we got back to camp. Aside from being shaken and sore with a pretty bad headache, I was fine so I hung out until lunch and a couple of hours later my friends showed up and took me to get the rest of the stuff out of my car.

I spent the next couple of nights with them while the insurance company decided whether or not I could have a rental car to get home. It turns out that the driver of the other car and I have the same insurance company but that doesn't seem to help much.  I finally got home on Thursday afternoon and spent the rest of the day in a sort of stupor. I guess it really shook me up more than I even realized and of course I was getting more sore as the days went by. However, my overriding emotion then and now is to feel just how lucky I was to escape (basically) unhurt. It could have been so much worse. The other thing that made a big impression on me was realizing that things really can and do happen without any warning. I never even saw the car that hit me, I had no way of reacting at all. If I hadn't been wearing my seatbelt and if Devon hadn't been crated, our injuries could have been severe.

So I feel very greatful to still be here and I have a new appreciation for being alive. Nothing counts as much as you and your loved ones being healthy and alive. Nothing. So please drive as if anything could happen because it can. I dont know why that other driver didn't see me. He may have been concentrating on keeping up with the car he was following or distracted by something else but it's almost impossible to understand how he could have failed to see me since he turned right into me. He seemed like a mature and responsible person, too, not someone who would be driving unsafely. I have to believe him when he says he just didn't see me but how would that be any comfort if I'd been really hurt or Devon had?

Hopefully things will now go back to normal and the things I'll be posting about in future won't be quite so exciting. I hope all of you will take a minute to think about what would happen if you were in a car accident--especially out of state. What would happen to your dogs if you had to go to the hospital? Does your insurance policy pay for a rental car? Motel expenses while you wait for a car? If you try to rent one way from out of state the fees will be exorbitant unless you have approval from your insurance adjustor and that can take a couple of days. How about your dog? Does he or she travel in a good quality crate or seat belt even on short trips? I was only 6 miles from my starting point and going only 40 mph. I can't imagine the driver of the car was going very fast either and yet both our cars are kaput.

Hug your loved ones a little longer today...

Whoa! Agility video!
At least I hope it works to just cut and paste this link to a You tube video my friend took of Zodi and I practicing last Friday night. She's doing really well lately, I hope to be able to do some trialing with her this fall.


One of the things that bothered me the most about working full time where I did was the fact that I had to spend so much time shut away from the outdoors. And once we moved to our new location about a year before I retired, I had no windows at all and none even in the whole clinical area. It was really depressing not being able to know what was happening outside for hours at a time.
So one of the things I promised myself I would do was to spend as much time outside as I wanted. Now that it's hot and humid, I have to get up early to be able to spend any time outside but I'm lucky enough to live right down the road from this place:
Ayr Mount

It's called Ayr Mount and was built in 1815. It's still privately owned but the grounds (265 acres) are open to the public for free. Some of the  locals go there on weekends and summer evenings but almost no one else goes early in the morning so I have it virtually to myself.
Dogs have to be on leash but Devon doesn't seem to mind that much. I don't take Zodi because she isn't much fun to walk on leash. she's too long legged and fast and although I want to walk briskly I don't want to jog.
Most of the walk (it's called the Poet's Walk) is shaded and part of it runs along the Eno river. there are benches in all the right spots to just sit and drink in the peace and solitude.
After that you go across in front of the house and you're back at the parking lot.


Before I retired I would never have been able to take this quiet walk and I'm so grateful that now I can do this any morning I choose.

Doggie Dynamics
While house-sitting for my friend recently, I gave each of the dogs a bit of bread. Everyone but Zodi ate theirs right away but she wasn't that keen on it so hers was till untouched after everyone else finished theirs. Devon tried everything possible to convince her to give it to him including wriggling on his back, sneak attacks and asking me for help. Unfortunately for him, all his efforts just convinced her the bread was worth having and she finally ate the whole thing.

I've seen a few dolphins while out paddling but this afternoon I found a pod of them fishing in a wide area of the creek. I couldn't really see what I was aiming at because of the reflection on the screen thingy (is there someway around this--there's no standard view finder on my camera) so this picture sucks but you can just make out the shape of one of them. they were only about 20 feet away for awhile. I kept following them around but they stayed about 50 feet away.


It was so cool to watch them just doing what they do with no regard for what I was doing. They are so beautiful, too. their dorsal fins look black against the light but then they breach and you can see the lovely soft gray of their bodies. Usually the way I find them is simply by going out when the tide is running out or into the creek and waiting around until I hear them exhale. They stay under for about a minute or so usually but sometimes much longer and you don't really know where they'll surface so it's especially hard to get a picture. Most of my shots looked like this

which I think is pretty but not dolphin pretty.

After awhile I paddled back in and the light was beautiful. it usually is on the water but I think it's prettiest in the late afternoon/eveing.

Only three more days here and the temps are supposed to be over 100. I'll have to get up at 5:30 to paddle or walk. It's hard to believe that there are people going to agility trails this weekend. The outdoor ones are "midnight madness" trials that start at around 5:30 PM and end at 2:00 AM (CPE trials usually) but even the ones indoors are going to be brutal because the A/C doesn't work well enough to keep it actually cool inside. It doesn't sound fun to me--especially for the dogs--but they all seem pretty excited about it if you can believe what they say on Fb.

Yesterday I started training Devon to ride in my kayak. I've always wanted to have a dog I could take paddling which is one of the main reasons I decided to get a little dog but when Devon developed his OCD behavior with water I figured it could never happen. But he's a lot better than he wa so I decided to try it and see what happens. I spent  some time just shaping him to ride in it while i pulled it around on the little cart I have to move it and that went fine. Then I put it in a few inches of water and that went fine and then I got in and started using the paddle and that got him whining. I would give him chicken whenever he didn't whine at the splashing (that's what he does in the water--splash and bark) and then I took him for a 5 minute ride in the eddy with minimal movement of my paddle and it went pretty well.


S0 I'll go out there in a bit and try it again (with lots of chicken to reward good behavior) and then later take another walk on the beach. I'tll be hot but there are lots of places to let the dogs get wet and I'll bring bottles of drinking water with me and go after 7:00PM when the sun is starting to set.

I'm really going to miss this place...

Hunting Island State Park
devonzodideadtreeJust got back from a 2 hour walk on the beach at Hunting Island State Park which is only 10 miles from where I'm house sitting. The beach is so different from other SC beaches I've visited. Instead of being just a wide white swath of sand, it's got lots of different little ecosystems. Even though we walked for two hours I still didn't make it to the end where St. Helena sound meets the Atlantic so I'll go back another day. It was fairly crowded when I first arrived but then a cloudburst went past and everyone left so that I almost had the beach to myself. It was wonderful and breezy although still very humid. Still, it's the coolest I've been outside since I arrived. I took a lot of pictures, here's a sampling:



As I was leaving the park I saw this standing near a stop sign. i rolled my window down and started taking pictures and speaking to him. He calmly looked at me, scratched his ear and kept on eating. He never did move so I finally drove away.

Saint Helena Island
Here I am on Saint Helena Island in SC house sitting for a friend. She has two of the cutest Shelties ever and they are being so nice to my dogs. They are all getting along like they've known each other for years with no problems even though there are toys everywhere.
She also lives a couple of blocks from the coast where St. Helena sound and the Atlantic come together at Hunting Island State Park. Her neighborhood is shaded with Live Oaks and she lives on a dead end sandy track with a fenced yard and agility equipment (although so far it's been too hot to be tempting). Her husband has a kayak so I didn't bring my own and I can put it on my little two-wheeled cart and drag it down to the neighborhood boat ramp and dock in about 20 minutes. Being on the water in a kayak is different than being in another kind of boat. When you paddle a kayak you're in the water not on top of it and that means you're very close ot the creatures in the water. I'm hopeful that I'll get up close and personal with some dolphin and maybe an alligator or two before I leave. Today as I paddled through the marsh I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye and turned to see a mama raccoon and her fmaily of 7 babies taking a stroll along the bank.
This evening I drove into Beaufort (pronounced Bewfert here in SC) and took a walk with the dogs. It's a gorgeous little town much like Charleston but way smaller. The dogs were so good walking around among all the people who were out enjoying the air, sitting in the swings that line the boardwalk that runs along the Beaufort River. There were kids and other dogs and all types of people and they just behaved as if they do this all the time. If someone stopped me to pet them they were calm and quiet and if people wanted nothing to do with them they just kept on walking along keeping themselves to themselves.
Tomorrow I'm going to get up really early and go for a paddle at dawn since I think that's probably when I have the best chance of finding dolphin fishing up the creeks. Then later I'll drive down to Hunting Island and take a walk on the beach. After that I'll have to lay low because the heat gets really intense during the middle of the day. Perfect time for a nap with 4 dogs all gently snoring around me.



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