Pawprints

Agility, Montague’s, & H2O

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The sky tonight.

Boy, do I have a lot to share with you. Lots and lots of photos in particular. Hope you’re ready for it!

Every Wednesday morning, Jayde and I have agility class. We’ve only been going for about three weeks, but we absolutely love it. We’re in the advanced class with two other ladies who have an aussie and a terrier mix. Wonderful people. And if you didn’t already know this, I kinda sorta really have a soft spot for aussies (yes, someday I will own another one!). Indy (male blue merle) is absolutely gorgeous, intense, fast, energetic. Just a blast to watch and I can only imagine what he’d be like to run. (Seriously though, there’s nothing more photogenic than a merle aussie, except perhaps Jayde.) Anyway.

Jayde and I have not done serious agility for quite a while. I’ll be honest, I stopped training at home because the connection was gone when we ran. She didn’t enjoy agility a single bit. And while I adore the sport, I wasn’t going to do it to her if she wasn’t loving it and having fun like I was. But I knew when we moved that I would have to find something to keep us both occupied and maybe to make some new connections with people, and what better way to do that than agility? I went into it with the mindset that we were just going to play, fool around, keep it light, and who cares if she didn’t keep criteria or knocked a bar?

Well, I think it was about two weeks before I actually got enrolled in classes and became a regular. But I could see the change in Jayde the first time we ran a small course together there. She was engaged, she was excited, she wanted more, I could see it in her eyes and her body language. She loved it. Let me tell you, there is no better feeling than knowing your partner, your teammate, your dog loves something you do together. It’s a connection that cannot be beat. And that made me love it tenfold. Of course I didn’t immediately assume we were back to our old ways and I could get into serious training. We’re still keeping it a game, if she messes up, I don’t make a big deal out of it like I used to. (If you haven’t ascertained this by now, *I* was the problem in the relationship the entire time – of course).Β Every Wednesday so far she has never become stressed, nervous, or shut down. She keeps her eyes on me the entire time and is so eager to run with me. Like I said, no better feeling. ❀ We’re going to keep playing and maybe I’ll take it more seriously down the road, enter a trial or two, but I’m not ever going to sacrifice my relationship with Jayde again. Love that dog so so much. (I have to add, it’s a shame that dogs bear the brunt of human mistakes and fumbles… but that’s a whole post by itself.)

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After agility this week, I knew I had to get down to business and work on some homework. So I left Jayde sleeping on the couch, picked another coffee shop off my list, and headed downtown.

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I’m not going to lie. My first impression of this place was “old lady’s house.

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My second impression was, “Holy crap there are a lot of people here!”

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I grabbed a table by the door before going up to order coffee. I couldn’t believe the amount of furniture and people stuffed into such a tiny little area. But somehow, it worked. There were all sorts of baked goodies on the counter. I heard the barista tell another guest that everything was made from scratch “back in the tiny kitchen.” And the menu was very fancy.

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It was a very homey place. Someone appeared to be doing some serious work on her laptop at another window. Another lady walked in with her friend and said, “Oh my, I just might go take a nap on one of those couches!” What looked like a knitting club (or otherwise busy activity) was huddled around a round table at the end of the coffee bar.

I sipped my coffee and set to work with notes on the lecture material, reading other responses on the online discussion forum, and otherwise focused on getting what I needed to do done. Looking back, I think I would’ve liked to visit such a cafe with a more relaxed task instead of something drilling like short answer questions. But, I finished the assignments, packed up my stuff and headed out. This time I took the back door (because I had to park in the back, in an alleyway). And this is what I saw.

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And probably the coolest outside seating ever

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Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Montague’s. It was an interesting atmosphere.

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Later that day, I found a bookstore.

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And perused the downtown just a bit the next day. But it was a tad intimidating so Jayde and I went home. πŸ™‚

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And last but not least, the h2o situation. H2o as in rain. Rain as in flooding. Lots of it. I’m no stranger to storms (and even minor tornadoes) but the amount of flooding going on all around my area is slightly alarming. All I can say is I hope this is as bad as it’s going to get and the rain decides to visit Texas, or Florida, or the Atlantic. Even Alaska. Just go away from here. xP Anyway, please keep Coloradans in your thoughts! ❀

Off to watch a movie withΒ Ashley! Hope everyone has a safe Friday the 13th! (it is only a number after all xD).

Peace & Pawprints

 

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At this very moment I am sitting on my couch in my living room (it feels so nice to say that!) with a bottle of h2o beside me and a good book. My stomach is full of the (failed) fried chicken, green beans, and sweet potato fries I made for dinner tonight. My sweatpants are cozy and comfortable. Behind me an incoming storm blows ominous breaths through my window, creating a melody of Mother Nature’s mood & manmade window blinds. A flash flood warning just beeped on my phone. Good thing I have nowhere to be the rest of tonight or tomorrow except my cozy apartment (I guess I *should* go to the bank tomorrow but…. we’ll see :P)

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I finally went [back] to work yesterday. The restaurant that is my home yet is so unfamiliar to me right now. The job duties were fine; I could reel off the menu items, procedures, sidework and whathaveyou without blinking an eye. My new co-workers, on the other hand, will take a while to get used to. Right now I do not associate them with the restaurant that is so familiar. I kept looking for all my old employees, as if I was back home. This restaurant is much busier than my old one though and I can tell that I have some learning to do about endurance. Same goes for Jayde while I am working later hours.

I absolutely love coming home to Jayde. She usually greets me with a yawn & stretch followed by a body wiggle and circle tail wags. She rubs against me like a cat, back and forth, and happily leaps into my arms if I invite her up. Her bright eyes stare up at me, waiting for me to feed her, take her out, pick up a toy, grab the leash. She holds no resentment for being in her kennel for such a long period of time. How many humans can you say that about? πŸ™‚

Today I woke up to Jayde’s very faint whine. According to her, I had slept in much too long. It was 8am, which is around the normal time we’ve been getting out of bed since we moved (2 whole weeks already! wow!). After feeding her breakfast and getting dressed, we went outside for the morning potty break (Jayde’s, not mine ;P). I brought her chuck-it and my book, in case she wanted to play. The morning was absolutely gorgeous and we both enjoyed soaking up the cool morning air.

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After we came back in, I started two loads of laundry then set to work cleaning. Someone once told me that when I got my own place I would take pride in keeping it clean and smelling good. This said person also told me that cleaning would help me relax. Now, while I do take pride in keeping my apartment clean, I can’t find the enjoyment in cleaning. I wish it would do itself. But it is satisfying knowing that once I sweep up all the hair, dirt, sand, and unknown particles in my kitchen it is no longer there. Same goes for vacuuming. One dog sure does drag in a ton of sand and dirt. Seeing the vacuum full of all the dirty stuff amazes me that it came out of my carpet in a week. Too bad the scrubbing part doesn’t have a satisfying after effect. xD

I finished one book today, and started another. Then Jayde and I went for a walk. With the squirrels we encountered, it was an adventure in itself! One squirrel got up the tree all right, then promptly lost it’s footing and nearly fell on my head. Another squirrel (a black one, something I’d never seen before) boldly came down the tree while we were eight feet away and took off for another tree. Jayde was rarin’ to go. She stalks the trees before we get within a hundred feet of them, just in case there is a squirrel hiding in the upraised roots.

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Later in the afternoon we walked to the office to get our mail. It’s always exciting to get letters and packages. I was excited when my modem came. And my blank checks came today. Anything from the UPS man is exciting I think. xD That being said, you can guess my excitement at seeing a bubble-wrapped package from AmbernessΒ in my mail box! What was inside was a plethora of goodies. The fruit snacks, the much needed chocolate bars (eeeeee!), the gum, and the Target bag made me smile. But it was the letter and the gift card that brought tears to my eyes. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a good friend but today I feel blessed beyond measure. ❀ With her gift I was able to stock up on the necessities of milk, bread, and peanut butter, something I was holding off on doing until I was sure of my incoming money flow. So thank you, Amber, for brightening my day and helping me breath a little easier. πŸ™‚

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I am soaking up the free time I have with Jayde and with my books right now. I’m not sure how much free time I’ll have once class starts and I start working more hours. Jayde and I also visited an agility class which we hope to become involved in once I get the extra money. The people I’ve met so far have been so nice and their methods are exactly what I use, so I am extremely excited about that. I have the urge to get knowledge, share opinions, have long talks about dogs and training and puppies with likeminded folk. I want to meet more people, more dogs.

All in good time, right? All in good time. πŸ™‚

Peace&Pawprints

Hallelulah I’m connected to the outside world again!

Jayde and I are settling in nicely to our new apartment. Together we’ve been exploring the city just a little bit. Compared to my hometown, this city is huge so it’s going to take a while to get used to the difference in traffic and number of people. We’ve found some awesome hiking trails and picnic spots, as well as a particularly popular tourist spot that every.single.person. mentioned to me before I moved.

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While we haven’t quite settled into a set daily routine yet (I’m sure that’ll happen once class starts and once I’m settled into my work schedule), we do manage to go for at least one walk a day, as well as fit in at least one chuck-it session a day, and we’ve been working on lots of tricks, old and new. We’ve found a few training clubs that I’m hoping to join once I get some money flow going. Classes for agility, at the very least, for Jayde’s mental stimulation and interaction time with fellow dog lovers, and perhaps a canine freestyle class. I also found a couple groups on meetup.com that consist of dog owners and lovers Β in my area who meet every week or every once in a while for a walk or a dinner or some other get-together. Our first encounter with one will be this Sunday, and I am very excited to see how it goes. πŸ™‚ And of course, we I found a vet that I believe is satisfactory. ;P

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Jayde at vet

I am excited to begin working/making money (always a stress point, unfortunately) so that I can do a few things:

  • Begin saving
  • Explore the coffee shops, cafes, shops, & restaurants that appear to be endless in this city
  • Settle into a routine and schedule
  • Get enrolled in an agility (& maybe a canine freestyle) class with Jayde
  • Get photos printed & buy frames to hang them in
  • Get the last few necessities that I need for my apartment (like a floor fan)

Another thing to look forward to is class, which begins next Monday. I have a virtual orientation on Thursday to attend. It is exciting because it is something I am looking forward to studying, yet it is nerve wracking as I take on the demands of class once again. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

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I will admit, I am writing this through a bout of insomnia that has hit me the past couple of nights. Tonight This morning I woke up at 4:30 and could not get to sleep. So I pulled out my computer. Perhaps getting all of this out will help. I have been meaning to blog since Monday but couldn’t get the right words to flow. From here on out, I’d like to post about mine and Jayde’s adventures and explorations at least twice a week. It is going to take a change in perspective as well as a change in the silly expectations I hold for myself of this blog, i.e. in-depth, thought provoking, or otherwise interesting and exciting posts. I’ve been finding that simple posts by fellow bloggers have sometimes been the most enjoyable. And of course I need to adjust my perspective and realize that my life can be exciting if I look at it with the right attitude. πŸ˜‰

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Peace&Pawprints

 

Just this little thing called reality

A new adventure. A new state, a new city, new people, new dogs, new sights, new sounds, new backdrops, new experiences, new trails, new parks, new roads, new houses, new independence, new responsibility. New everything.

Tonight was the last night of work at the place I’ve worked at for the past 5yrs. To say the emotions were almost overwhelming is an understatement. I’ve been with that restaurant since the very beginning: 8 managers, 3 managing partners, 4 or 5 kitchen managers, and dozens of co-workers; the ups and downs; every change & adjustment; and all the best times & the worst times of my life. It was my first job, and an extremely positive one at that. Honestly, I never considered it a job because I loved it so much. That place – the building, the knowledge that came with the job, and the company itself – holds more memories than I could ever count. So when I walked out the doors for the last time, I felt the finality of it. The end.

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That’s what my life has been like the past week or so. Moments of sudden finality. Realizing the moments of “end.” Not all have been pleasant (although some definitely have). Most of these moments I’ve balked at with my innate fear of change, but then have quietly resolved myself for what’s to come, as a necessity. I believe my last shift tonight at work was one of the biggest so far, the biggest end, the biggest door to a new beginning. New.

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On the same point, I am thankful that I have these reminders of reality. More and more I’ve been looking at Jayde and wondering how she’s going to adjust. Not necessarily because I am worried that she *won’t* adjust but more so because she has no warning of what’s to come. In a little less than a week her world is going to be flipped upside down and she’s not going to understand why Mandy & Buddy & Secret are no longer there every day. She’s not going to understand why she hasΒ the new house our new apartment all to herself for extended periods of time. Her entire life she’s lived in a family, with people walking in and out (at all hours, at that) of the house, other dogs always around her, a doggy door that gave her freedom to go outside or inside whenever she chose.

And put in that perspective, the changes I am going through and will go through are minimal compared to her’s. At least I have time to mentally prepare myself.

Peace & Pawprints

My Reading List!… so far :]

With this blog being [hopefully] more focused on certain topics [read: dogs: Jayde, particularly] I have been searching WordPress for dog blogs. Photos are a plus, but I look for blogs that talk about dog training, dog behavior, the dog-human bond, and daily stories & lessons learned from our four-legged friends. So far I’ve come up with quite a list that I have greatly enjoyed reading. I’m still trying to decide whether I want to make a blogroll list on the side or make a page dedicated to other blogs. Decisions, decisions. πŸ™‚

Happy Reading!

Denise FenziΒ – A blog that leans more toward technical dog training but still provides easy reading for those not so interested in dog competitions. Has some very informative articles on dog behavior, training, socialization, etc.

Wilde About DogsΒ – Very informative blog on dog behavior and training.

MyMegaeDogΒ – This blog has lots of fun stories & informative lessons from dogs.

The Unexamined DogΒ – Lots of fun photos and interesting stories from a life with dogs.

Responsible Dog – It’s All About Dogs!Β – Lots of good articles on responsible dog ownership & dog training.

Peace, Love, & FosteringΒ – A blog with lots of beautiful photos and great stories about fostering & dog training.

No Dog About It BlogΒ – Photos & stories about dogs.

The DoggerelΒ – An awesome blog documenting the adventures of a young couple with their first dog. Training, thoughts, & lessons learned.

Love & a Six-Foot LeashΒ – Beautiful photos and wonderful dog stories.

Tesla’s TrainingΒ – A blog documenting one dog’s lessons of new tricks, often accompanied by videos and photos. Very fun to watch & read along with the lessons!

My Positive Dog Training BlogΒ – Lessons & information on positive training methods.

German Shepherd AdventuresΒ – Stories of German shepherds. Love. πŸ™‚

Eileen and DogsΒ – Information and stories on positive training methods with some photos thrown in.

Foster and PhotographΒ – A young lady’s adventures with her border collie and all her foster dogs, accompanied with some beautiful photos.

If you have any recommended blogs, please share! I love reading anything and everything related to dogs. πŸ™‚

Peace & Pawprints.

Meet my co-star

As I mentioned inΒ my first postΒ on this blog, one of my goals is to make this blog more of a dog blog. Particularly with the adventure I will be embarking on within the next month with my girl, Jayde, blogging will be a perfect way to document lessons, things we do, and of course lots of photos. So my theme for this blog (if you can’t tell by looking through my categories) is ‘dog.’ πŸ™‚

Here’s an introduction to the co-star of this blog, Jayde the German shepherd. πŸ™‚

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Full name: NoraJayde von Holtgrew (aka Heather’s Dare To Dream)

Nicknames: Jayders, Jayder Jues, Juicer, Big Ears, Radar, Gremlin

Breed: German Shepherd Dog

Sex: Female

Birthday: March 13th, 2007

Favorite toy: the Kong

Favorite activities: chasing squirrels, squirrel-watching, playing Kong, playing chuck-it, learning new tricks

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I’d always dreamed about getting a German shepherd. After having poodles as family dogs (Ebonie, Andre, & Frenswa), three rescue mutts (Maggie, Mandy & Buddy), and an Australian shepherd (Violet), I got JaydeΒ from a breeder in a small town about a half hour’s drive from my house when I was 16yo. She was originally going to be my juniors/confirmation/show dog, but I quickly fell out of that world (thank god). We then moved onto agility, which was much more up our alley. Along the way she gained some titles, learned lots of tricks, and taught me many things about life. She is still teaching me something new every day.

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The name ‘Jayde’ came from jaden, which supposedly means ‘purple’ (or so I was told). When Jayde was born, to tell her apart from the others, her breeder put a purple band around her neck. She was known as the ‘purple girl’ before they settled on the name Nora. Instead of calling her Jaiden or Jaden (because there was no way I was name my dog Nora), I shortened it to one syllable and added a ‘y’ for some character. It wasn’t until later that I realized jade means green. xD But oh well. Jayde stuck and I love it. πŸ™‚

So from now on, any post specifically related to dogs (Jayde or other) will be placed under the category Pawprints. General stories (dog or otherwise) will be under the category Daily Tails.

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Peace & Pawprints.