Jun 10, 2011
Jan 31, 2011
PARTNERS IN TIME, a column published every so often by DogTails columnist Reed S. Anact (Column XXI, all rights reserved, comments welcome)
Recently I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview the incomparable Posey and her guardian Lucy. Wow. Posey’s and Lucy’s journey began eight years ago at SF/ACC. Posey, all of 4 weeks old, was in the custody cat room, too small and too young to be kenneled in the puppy room.
|poetry in motion|
Reed: Tell me about the first day you saw Posey and how you wound up taking her home. Did you name her? You were volunteering for Give a Dog a Bone at that time, were you not?
Lucy: Well, I first saw Posey with a shelter employee outside of SF/ACC. I was a GADAB volunteer, coming in for my shift. She was so tiny, her legs looked the size of my finger. Her eyes were blue and she was blinking in the bright sunlight. I was told her name was Posey. I thought she was cute, but went on my way. I had no idea she would become a huge part of my life.
Posey: May I interject? I knew, I just knew that Lucy was the right person for me, I can’t say how I knew, I just did.
Reed: So you took the little American Pit Bull Terrier mix home, and then what? How did your life change?
Lucy: Well, she was so energetic, I suddenly had my hands full keeping her busy. I worked hard to housebreak her, and made sure she got lots of socializing with both people and dogs. Back in those days, we went to the dog park so she could run around, and to tennis courts to throw the ball for exercise. She needed to be taken out for running twice per day
Posey: Boy, did my life change. I was just a baby after all, and looking back to when I was just a puppy, from what I can remember, Lucy had a lot of patience with me – I didn’t know much of anything and I kind of got into everything, well, I tried, but most of the time Lucy let me know what was cool and what was totally uncool. I had to learn a lot. Lucy is a good teacher, and if I may say so, we do teach each other.
Lucy: That’s so key to a good relationship with your dog.
Reed: So you took Posey out twice daily and threw 100 balls for her in an enclosed unused tennis court? That’s amazing to me – she needed that much exercise. Can you comment on that?
Lucy: Posey really settled down after our exercises. I can’t emphasize enough how priceless exercise is. She needed to run her little tail off, pretty much before anything else we did, like manners training, so that’s what we did.
Posey: I plead the fifth.
Reed: So you moved due to work, and is that when you began agility with Posey? What brought you to agility?
Lucy: I actually started agility before I left San Francisco for Seattle. I thought that Posey was a smart dog, and deserved something more than just throwing a tennis ball around, so I started looking online. Agility seemed like the most fun thing to try. I found an agility school close to my home that had a great reputation so I sent them an email and enrolled in a beginner class. That’s how the addiction started.
Reed: I understand that a lot of people like to do agility with their dogs because it’s fun, and then there’s a whole other realm of the agility world: competition agility. I know our readers would like to hear more on that. I hear the words “positive reinforcement” and “the human/animal bond”. Is competition agility a good fit with those two phrases?
Lucy: Absolutely! I think competition agility is a perfect fit! To me, having fun, bonding with your dog, and doing competition agility are all one in the same. I can’t imagine anything more fun to do with my dog! Agility is a timed sport, so both the dog and handler need to be fast, motivated, and enthusiastic. The way you get that is through positive reinforcement and making the obstacles highly rewarding for the dog. When you are able to give clear cues and the dog understands your body language, it strengthens the bond between the two of you. It’s the perfect match for us.
Posey: Totally. Agility is amazing. I love everything about it. My mom and I rock. We just love this.
Reed: Lucy, before I turned the mike on, you used a word with which I am not familiar: the “zoomies”. Can you tell us what that means, especially for you and Posey when you are trialing? Lucy: (laughs) Well, Posey sometimes runs like a crazy dog in circles, especially in cool weather. It’s one of those things, you can’t say what it is, but you know it when you see it. Some people say it’s stress relief, some people say it’s a training issue. I just think that Posey is an active, exuberant dog who enjoys life and sometimes needs to get her ya ya’s out. Before a trial in cool weather I need to run her around a little bit with things like long-distance stays/recalls so that she can focus.
Posey: I literally can’t help it. It feels like, oh, it feels like I’m flying, as if all the joys in the world were compressed into me, actually, and I just burst with the unparalleled energy of it all. It’s sheer ecstasy. Does that sort of explain it?
Reed: That’s quite a description, Posey, you said that very well. Very well indeed. Might I say that I myself would like to experience the “zoomies” sometime! Another question for you both: could you elaborate on the past six years, from starting out to where you are now?
|posey relaxing with her ducky|
Posey: I am the luckiest pit bull in the world. My mom and I are tight. I mean tight. Agility brought a renewed depth to our relationship and it keeps on giving. I LOVE agility, especially the tunnel. Going through the tunnel rocks big-time. Now the weave poles, not my strong suit, but Lucy and I are getting there – it is hard work, tons of practice time, but when you get to do the thing you love most in the world with the person you love most in the world, tell me what could be better than that.
Reed: Looks like we’re almost out of time here, but Lucy, I feel it’s important for our readers to know how deeply you feel about trialing a shelter dog, especially a pit bull. They get such bad press.
|family: posey and hammer|
Posey: My mom is so proud of me. And she shows it too. Boy, does that make me feel mucho mucho bueno, I just can’t tell you. I can roll with the obedience, too, it’s a whole different challenge for us.
Reed: Anything you’d like to add, ladies?
Lucy: The most important thing to me is to enjoy your dog and have fun with what you do. If you do that, everything else will follow.
Posey: She nailed that one. I totally second that.
Reed: Ladies, I can’t thank you enough for giving me this time with both of you. Readers, I’ve learned a lot here with Lucy and Posey, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have. Now, we have a special treat for you. A professional video of Posey and Lucy’s first run at the invitational. For you agility buffs, here’s Lucy’s explanation of why she chose this round (around a minute long):
“I like Round 1 the best, because it's standard and we ran clean. It shows all the obstacles, including teeter, tire, A-frame and dogwalk. Our other two Jumpers runs are clean, but just shows jumps and weaves.” http://www.youtube.com/agilepit#p/u/3/4-11vkmcsWQ
Notice the teamwork these two have and listen for Lucy’s praise to Posey at the end of the run. It’s beautiful.
Lucy: Thank you, Reed.
Reed S. Anact on special assignment
Jan 13, 2011
(Please note Pepper’s unique necklace.
It’s made of 2010 World Series tix.
The Princess is a diehard SF Giants fan.
She looooves Orange Fridays in particular)
- AND - from the January 2011 issue of the Bay Woof:
(scroll down Happy Tails for Princess Pepper T. Lincecum )
Dec 29, 2010
PARTNERS IN TIME, a column published every so often by DogTails columnist Reed S. Anact
(Column XVIX, all rights reserved, comments welcome)
Once again, from behind the green door, this reporter shares the story of a real life hero.
Time to welcome to this column the incomparable Christine and her beloved Sormei. Confirmed vegans, they envision a world in which we all "act as a guardian towards our kindred beings".
Christine also enjoys helping out dogs in foster with Grateful Dogs Rescue. She takes them on outings, socializing them to the real world, giving each dog time alone with her. Most of these 4 legged buddies hail from GADAB.
at 1:03 PM
Nov 18, 2010
Four Paws Up !!!
for Bella the Boxer's
'Secrets of a Working Dog
What: Book launch seminar for Secrets of a Working Dog:
Unleash Your Potential and Achieve Success by Bella the Boxer, with Ellen and Patrick Galvin
|i'll be there in spirit!|
Bella, Ellen and Patrick are generously donating 50% from books sales
this evening to Give a Dog a Bone
Where: Club Room, OCSC SAILING, One Spinnaker Way, Berkeley, CA 94710
Date: Monday, November 22, 2010 - coming right up!
Time: 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM (snacks and networking) and 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM (program)
. . . . connect with your "inner dog" The friendship between humans and dogs goes back thousands of years. In this fun and insightful evening, we’ll discuss how dogs are much more than great companions. They can teach you how to work smarter and be happier using techniques that come naturally to them. Presenters Ellen Galvin and Patrick Galvin live and work with Bella the Boxer, America’s self-proclaimed smartest work dog. They are also the co-authors with Bella of the recently-released book Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash Your Potential and Achieve Success. Specifically, Ellen and Patrick will lead a conversation about how dogs can help you:
· Make happiness happen
· Keep your eyes on the ball
· Shake off setbacks and pursue your dreams
· Show meaningful appreciation
· Incorporate play into your daily life
at 1:19 PM
Oct 27, 2010
About those opposable thumbs? Well, I was Spirit’s designated dog sitter, and was warned by one of her guardians about her sleeping habits. Seemed that Spirit had picked one side of the bed to be her own, and once she settled in, she planted herself as if she had roots growing through the bed. No grouchiness, not touchy or bratty, she just simply morphed into a rock with roots. So I needed a plan, since Spirit’s side of the bed was the one with the bed lamp, and I like to read in bed. Here’s what I did, every time I dog-sat her. With my OT’s, I turned the doorknob to shut Spirit out of the bedroom, and got ready for bed, covers turned down, everything I needed in place, and then, again with my OT’s, I opened the door. Spirit, of course, was just on the other side of the door, ready. I raced her to the bed, leapt in just ahead of her, pulled the covers up over both of us, and she, forever the loser in this particular situation, settled for snuggling as close to me as she could get. Not a bad deal for many of us – pittie snuggles are as good as it gets.
May 7, 2010
In my last life, I created crossword puzzles. I was famous. So famous that I had to retreat to northern Nova Scotia to escape the endless hordes of enthusiasts who pursued me relentlessly. “How, how, how, did you create this?”, they would ask me breathlessly while they jabbed repeatedly at a particularly clever and complicated witticism, stabbing their paper so hard with their precious pen that one could no longer decipher the place at which they were poking. Paper, after all, is not meant for jabbing.
After I found my retreat, I was alone at last. I could not create fast enough, since those who had hounded me relentlessly could no longer find me. I had found the solitude that I craved, and my mind exploded with crossword puzzles that made their way to my public so circuitously that my whereabouts remained a puzzle in itself.
but I have been successful with plain
cardboard boxes of all sizes, I have found treasures in traffic cones, and pawed through small piles of rocks to get to my reward.
My nose is incredible, a gift, I might say,
that leads and stimulates me to figure out just how to get my reward. When I figure out how to get to my treasure (S!), I get praised profusely, and I get to eat my reward, or play with it. Under my puzzles are what my puzzle makers call my “motivators” – that is, what motivates me to try to get what is underneath that puzzle. For me, its’ treats, but I also LOVE squeaky balls, and stuffed toys rank right up there in my top five as well.
Here’s my friend
He looks like he's
doesn't he? He's a happy feller.
So, if I may present some advice to all of you shelter volunteers, please see for yourself how our brains work. Do we get to our treasures with our paws, or do we use our mouths, or do we push the puzzles around with our noses until the box upends itself? You see, we are still learning how things work and anything that stimulates our mind, well, it might be as exhausting for us as calculus might be for you. Challenge our brains!
Our puzzle makers make sure we’ve got the zoomies out of us, that we’ve done our business, and we’ve checked all the doggie mail. Then out comes the box, and we watch carefully to see what is going under it. Oh, yeah. Then the puzzle makers clap and say, “Get It!” and we hop to it. Well, some if us; not all of us enjoy it, but plenty do!
woo-hoo! You puzzle makers rock! And the affection you give us – oh, mama . . . .
at 5:20 AM