23 March, 2013

The tail wag of Winter

Well, things are getting back up to speed around home.

Puget Sound from Whidbey Island

We had our annual trip to Whidbey Island for New Year's Day. It was gorgeous and sunny.

Double Bluff Beach

Family Photo New Year 2013
I think we had 11 or 12 dogs between the 4 families, quite a few Aussies, my two BCs, Zora and a GSD to round out the group. Magick had a great time at the beach and was able to cover about 5 miles, surprising me thoroughly. She wasn't even sore the next day, which tells me her mobility issues are much more due to her neurologic problems than osteoarthritis.

Sunlight on the water

Rye and Lucy wading. Can you tell who is who?

 Magick had a lovely time supervising everyone.

Lucy waiting for some action

Magick looking for some treats

Rye went swimming for the first time, enticed by a GIANT stick.

Zora wagged her way around, making friends and begging for treats.

Zora shopping for snacks

Trial wise, I went to my first trial of the year last weekend in Heppner, OR. The trial was a huge challenge and we did oh-so-much better than last year. Got around the course both days and actually hit all but one of our panels and with a tidy shed on Sunday during the afternoon bloodbath when anything but letters was considered a win.

Sunrise in Heppner, OR

I learned the importance of getting ahold of Lucy rather than letting her slide through my steadies. We both showed patience in the shed and had a beautiful split which she worked nicely to hold. 

Lucy near the trial field

My husband came along for the first time ever and he had a great time exploring the hills around the house.

Doe outside the house in Heppner

This week Rye and I had two lessons with Scott. It was a bit disappointing because he worked nowhere near like he works at home. He was confounded by the different place and different sheep. Scott gave me some foundation flanking review homework. We raced daylight to the farm and did our homework every night between our lessons and the second lesson was *much* better. I went to Fido's again today and we had the best work yet. 

Sagan lying down (sheep are behind me)

Yesterday I babysat brother Sagan and he had a fun time on the sheep, having his first lesson in lying down while working. He even did his lie down on the ice, which is tricky for he who is affectionately called "Princess Bambi."

Brother Ben

Today we also had a mini family reunion, meeting up with Rye's other brother Ben and his owner. The family enjoyed a great romp in the field at Fido's and old Auntie Magick helped supervise.

Rye hamming it up

Lucy supervising

I have several exciting new projects I'm working on that I find wonderfully rewarding. You'll hear more about them as the evolve. Also I finally convinced my boss to change to electronic medical records so the big change happens May 7th. I have a LOT of work to do setting up everything before then and we will be closed for two full days of staff training in the new system as well.

Family reunion

Auntie Magick

All in all, the tail of winter wagged in our favor.

09 March, 2013

Always remembered: Gershwin. 1996-2013

Gershwin was born in 1996, he came to me in January 1997 as a 2-month-old kitten. He joined the white poofy kitty, Charlie, as well as Allie in the house. Paddy followed later that year.

His name became clear early on - with his piano-key white/black/white/black toes on all four paws. He was always dressed in a tuxedo and had grace and dignity.

A friendly and social cat, he was always the first kitty to greet visitors, rubbing and head butting them. His particular favorite was to hop up on the sofa behind you and head-butt the back of your head. I think he knew my mother doesn't care for cats because she was an object of extra attention whenever she visited. Over time, he grew on even her. He worked his charms.

He was a crowd pleaser at parties and our pet sitters always enjoyed his company.

All of my cats live indoors. Gershwin has always been an avid bird watcher. He would sit in the window and "hunt" from the windowsill. Poised, tense, tail swishing and making the characteristic hunter-chatter. His chatter was especially recognizable and endearing, earning him the nickname of "Twitter Kitty." Occasionally he would grace us with his hunter-chatter for the feather flirt pole as well if we made it sufficiently enticing.

In the early morning when everyone else (my husband) was still asleep, he would jump up on the kitchen counter to supervise my making dog breakfast. He would steal a few kibbles and I would pretend to be annoyed but really just laugh at the cat who loved dog food.

Gershwin was always game for catnip or catnap, whatever the situation presented. Agreeable and easy to handle, he was a blood donor in his youth, giving blood at the vet to help save the lives of critically ill kitties who came into the hospital where I work. He was the first cat I clicker trained and was wonderfully clever.

While I was in school, he would lie patiently beside me on the sofa, keeping me company and prodding me for attention from time to time saving me from the black hole that is writing undergraduate papers.

Last week after a few days of not eating his full ration, Gershwin earned himself a trip to the vet. Several days of tests led to the conclusion he had developed high-grade lymphoma. He had a good last few days at home, getting plenty of extra attention and delicacies to tempt his appetite. Today we helped him pass quietly to spare him any further suffering.

We will miss him very much.