Monday, July 24, 2017

Awww...Bath Time

My dogs are allowed on the furniture. I enjoy snuggling on the couch while watching Dr. Pol and taking afternoon naps with the A/C cranked up. What I don't like, however, is the dirty dog smell. Sharing living spaces with the dogs requires a little work to keep the stink away. This includes:
  • Washable furniture covers
  • Changing the sheets often
  • A vacuum cleaner that really sucks (I have a Dyson)
  • And regular baths for the dogs
I wash the dogs about once a month, more as needed. I have a grooming table and forced air dryer and usually do it in my back yard. However, about a year ago we had a Pet Supplies Plus open up in town and they have a self-service dog wash. It's awesome! For $15 I can wash and blow out both dogs. The store provides all the amenities and they clean up the mess. Hubby went with me last week. Instead of helping, he took pictures. These are the best ones. He was laughing so hard at Jedi's fussing that most of the pictures were blurry.

The raised tub is perfect for my back and everything I need is right there

Jedi is very vocal at bath time. Everyone in the store comes by to
see what's going on. He's howling in this picture.

Roxy watched Jedi get his bath. I'd swear she was laughing at him too!

Ah, clean dogs! Much better. It's Awww...Monday. This is a hop where various bloggers try to brighten your Monday with Awww-inspiring posts. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. A big thanks to Sandee over at Comedy Plus for hosting this hop. -- K


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Still Sniffing

K9NWSource has the AKC target odors!
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about nosework. Don’t worry, we haven’t quit! In fact, we’re plugging along nicely. Trainer is incorporating the new AKC Scent Work rules into our Thursday night classes. What does this mean?
  • We’ve added another odor -- Cypress (which replaced peppermint). Jedi is still working Sweet Birch (level 1 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Aniseed (level 2 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Clovebud (level 3 AKC/UKC/NACSW), Myrrh (level 4 UKC) and Vetiver (level 5 UKC). Yep, my dog smells!

  • We’ve added another element -- odor buried in dirt. Only AKC has this element. All three organizations (AKC/UKC/NACSW) have interior, exterior and container searches as well. UKC and NACSW also have vehicle searches whereas AKC does not.

  • We’re practicing handler discrimination. Jedi has to find something with my scent on it. UKC does this too, but they always use cotton gloves hidden in boxes. At UKC level 1, Jedi has to find a box with my glove in it while all other boxes are empty. As UKC levels increase, gloves scented by other people are added to the other boxes. AKC went a different direction. Level 1 is still cotton gloves and boxes. However, as levels increase the handler's scent is put on cotton balls or Q-tips and hidden like the odors.

  • We’re learning to pinpoint the location of the odor. During competition a judge can require a handler to point out where the odor is hidden. The handler's guess must be within 6 inches of the actual location. The acceptable margin of error decreases as the competition level increases. Gulp.
Jedi says the odor is in THIS box
The Scent Work Club of Ocala is holding a Scent and Go (same concept as a Show and Go) next month. It's being judged by the standards of the new AKC Scent Work program and is offering all five elements (interior, exterior, containers, buried and handler discrimination). Despite it being on a Sunday (my regular work day) and a two hour drive, I signed up. The club shooting for an AKC Scent Work trial in December and I want to be ready.

The Nosework and Rally Club of North Florida is holding UKC trails in Ocala this October. I'm going to enter. Yes, I plan to compete in both AKC and UKC. They are similar enough that Jedi should have no problem. Jedi's job is: Find odor, tell Mom, wait for treat. I'm the one who has to worry about the rules.

Even more terrifying exciting, the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida has received licensing to hold official AKC Scent Work trials. We're working with Trainer to see if we can make this happen. RK and I are already working to put on a conformation show -- do we really need this stress too? Yes, yes we do. We're currently scouting out areas to hold a Scent and Go and a Scent Work Trial. We're also brainstorming on ways to encourage other club members to get involved. Any ideas?

So my friends, keep following. One of two things will happen: I will pull this off or I'll implode. Either way, it'll be epic! Later, -- K

Thursday, July 20, 2017

OMG STOP!

I'm feeling grumpy this morning. Knowing this, I probably should have stayed off the internet. But I didn't, and now I feel a rant bubbling up inside. Lucky you!

I'm a member of several German shepherd groups on Facebook. Apparently, they'll let anybody join. Normally I just snicker at the comments of the dumb masses, but today . . . I just want to slap some sense into people. Instead, I'll share my sarcasm wisdom with you.

The breed name is shepherd -- with an E -- because these dogs were originally bred to herd sheep. If that is too difficult to remember, just look at the top of the page. Every group spells the breed correctly in the name of their group (i.e. German Shepherd Lovers). When you post about your "shepard" you look like an idiot and no one will take you seriously. And some of us will mock you on our blogs.

Quit prefacing posts with the phrase "no negative comments," especially if you're going to post about something controversial. If your ego is so fragile that you cannot handle somebody disagreeing with you, get off the internet. This is not a safe place.

Stop asking strangers on the internet for medical advice. If your dog is lethargic, bleeding, throwing up, has diarrhea or unusual swelling GO TO THE VET! Yes, they're expensive. But they're also necessary. It's your job to figure out to work veterinary care into your budget. That's part of being a responsible pet owner. And do you really trust someone who can't spell shepherd correctly to diagnose your sick dog online?

Quit asking people online to name your new puppy. Seriously, if you can't do something as basic as naming your own dog, you're not cut out for pet ownership. Just rehome the dog now before you screw it up. And while you're at it, go buy a box of condoms -- you're probably not cut out for parenthood either.

Why are you asking people if your dog is "pure"? If you wanted to ensure that you got a purebred dog, you would have gone to a reputable breeder and paid for a pedigree. Instead, you bought $100 dog off Craigslist. You get what you pay for. However, a paperless and/or mixed breed dog can still be a wonderful companion -- so please, just shut up and enjoy your dog.

By the same token, the word is purebred not "purebread." Also, horses -- not dogs -- are referred to as thoroughbred. And stop saying "full blooded." All dogs are full blooded -- dogs less than full of blood are usually dead. Please use the correct terminology. Otherwise, you're no better than the "shepard" people.

Quit minimizing bad behavior as "just being a shepherd." Killing small animals is not "just a strong prey drive." Biting your neighbors is not "just being protective." These are not normal, acceptable traits. Read the breed standard. German shepherds are supposed to be fearless and aloof but never hostile. The standard also states that:
"The dog must be approachable, quietly standing his ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them."
Asshole dogs makes things more difficult for the rest of us. Instead of making excuses, please train your dog.

CONFESSION TIME: In addition to being a Grammar Nazi, I think I'm a Dog Snob. (Lord, help my husband!) I'm not even 50 yet and I've turned into a cranky old lady. Well, this should make for some interesting blog posts. Stay tuned! -- K

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jumbo Shrimp

Jacksonville has a minor league baseball team. Last year the team name changed from the Jacksonville Suns to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. (I don't know why.)

I'm not a baseball fan, and never watch it on TV. I think most major league players are giant douche bags. However, there is something different about minor league ball . . . It's fun! I'm a big fan of the cheap seats. For $5 you can sit on the berm in left field -- right by the players. No assigned seating, just a good time. Kids run around laughing. Adults socialize, eating cheap hot dogs and drinking cheap beer. Vendors hawk their goodies. Players chat with fans and foul balls fly overhead.

Once a month dogs are allowed into the game -- for free! I don't know why more people don't take advantage of this. It's a great way to socialize your dog. On the berm so you can sit as close or as far away from others as you want. There's lots of noise and activity. Your dog must learn to settle, but you can get up and move around when you want. An added bonus: the family bathrooms are plentiful and large enough to accommodate you and several dogs. (This is especially helpful if you are drinking beer.)

Some friends and I went to the last Canines and Crustaceans night and had a blast. Here are a few pictures:

Jedi LOVES the cheap hot dogs

Jedi also loves Pepper, his 12 year old Malinois friend

Jedi's mother, Zasha, joined us too

A rainbow over Bragan Field

Zasha thinks that the new mascot, Scampi, is kinda creepy

We had a great time. Jedi had dozens of people pet him. Even more told me he was beautiful. I agreed, of course. And Jedi was serenaded on our way out of the stadium. There's a saxophone player that hangs out downtown, playing for tips. He's fun and entertaining. I asked him to play the Star Wars theme -- and he did! LOL. That was probably the best money I spent all night.


You probably can't tell, but it's Wordless Wednesday. Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Then come back tomorrow, because I've got plenty of words about annoying people on the internet! Oh yeah, I feel another rant coming on. Later, -- K


Monday, July 17, 2017

Awww...Happy Space

I named him Fuji
Things have been a bit wonky at work. Animal Control was kicked out of the police department four years ago because my office space was needed for yet another commander (yes, our department is top heavy). I was given an office in City Hall. It was nice, but there were a lot of stifling rules including no noise, no animals and no personal items.

Two years later I was kicked out of City Hall because the new mayor wanted my office (which he used less than three days a month). I was given part of a storage closet sized room in one of the community centers to store my computer and file boxes. I couldn't be in the building when it was rented out for parties or on Sundays during AA meetings. Other times I had to rearrange the room just to get to my makeshift desk. And like before, I was told no noise, no animals and no personalization. Also, no phone.

Eighteen months ago the police building was closed for renovation and our staff was working out of three separate locations. I pretty much worked out of my truck. Good news! The new building is complete and we're back in. I have a huge office with everything I need to work -- files, computer, printer, phone and my boss down the hall. My office also has plenty of storage. The closet is bigger than the space I had to share at the community center!

I got the OK to put a crate in the office for temporary animal holding and was told to personalize. Woohoo! Along with a radio, framed pictures and a mini fridge, I brought in a 2-gallon fish tank and an orchid because I like to surround myself with living things (except maybe for people). I finally have a happy work space! Sure, the job can still be stressful. Cases like last week will still happen, but now it's easier to take a few minutes to relax throughout the day. How about you? Where do you relax while at work?

It's Awww...Monday, where a group of bloggers come together to brighten the start of your work week. Click around below and see what others are sharing. Thank you Sandee for putting this together each week. Happy Monday! -- K


Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Show Must Go On

My current expression
(if I were an adorable pup)
I'm a little frustrated right now. When I gave up the presidency of my dog club last month, I was looking forward to having less responsibility and more free time. Like I said many times, there are a lot of little things that come with the office. Those little things quickly become a large time suck. My intention was to concentrate on competing with Jedi and looking for another show puppy.

Well, plans change. At the May club meeting I was told that the two women who’ve planning our dog shows for the past few years have called it quits. Just. Like. That. Even more frustrating: for two years I tried to get them to share information about show planning -- I even had someone willing to take it all in -- but said women guarded the information like a virgin guards her hymen. Now we need to come up with a Plan B.

Channeling my inner Butterfly McQueen
Only a handful of club members have any experience with conformation dog shows, and all but two -- me and RK (the new Club president) -- have stated they want nothing to do with putting on the show. Grrr . . . So the choices are:
  1. RK and I do it ourselves (and hope that others change their minds about helping) or
  2. It doesn't get done.
I've wrestled with this for a few weeks now. I worked so hard the past two years to build this club up, I'd feel guilty letting it flop. Hubby wants me to relax and concentrate on my health -- "Honey, remember what happened in February? You need to slow down." (Why does he always get to be the voice of reason?!)

From what I can gather, the club is required to put on a show to keep our AKC sanction. How often we have to do it is in unclear. I know there are problems with securing and/or giving up assigned show dates if they conflict with another nearby show. It’s very confusing and I can't find any definitive answers on the internet.

Recently I discovered that an AKC Show Committee Seminar being held in Greenville, South Carolina at the end of the month. I signed up. It's a six hour drive (each way) for a four hour seminar. (Fortunately, I have family in Greenville that I haven't seen since last August, so this is a great excuse to visit.) RK found a pdf of the 2017 AKC Show Manual online. It’s 192 pages long -- eek! -- and I’ve been going through it slowly. It very detailed. And surprisingly empowering.

So, guess who’s putting on a dog show? I’m unbelievably nervous. And strangely excited. True to Kelley fashion, I’ll share our efforts over the next nine months and we’ll see how this baby turns out together. And out of respect for my husband, I will try to watch my stress levels while doing it. Wish us luck! -- K

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Thick Skin and a Strong Stomach

I've heard things that would make
Chris Rock blush!
People often ask "What does it take to be an animal control officer?" I'm sure they want to know about my training and certifications. However, my response is usually "A thick skin and a strong stomach." I've been doing this since 2005. I've seen people with much better resumes quit after only a couple years. Trust me, only the school of life can prepare someone for the things I deal with. For example, here are two thick skin moments from this week:
  • A message was left on my machine at 7:29 AM on Sunday morning. The voice was definitely male, however, caller ID said the phone number belonged to someone named Heather. The message was (and I quote) "Hey you bullshit mother fuckers, you should be open, not tell me to call the goddamn cops for animal control you fucking assholes." Nothing else was said. I called back at 9:35 AM stating that I received a call from an unnamed man at this number. I repeated the message verbatim and said “If Mr. Potty Mouth has an issue he wants assistance with please have him call back. However, if just wants to swear at me then please don't bother." Surprise! I never got a call back.

  • I was on routine beach patrol. I saw a man with two dogs -- one in the water, one on shore. I went over to ask him to keep both dogs in the water if playing off leash (per ordinance). Seriously, I had only wanted to give him a friendly reminder. However, he got an attitude right away. He told me I wrote him a ticket seven years ago and he was still pissed about it. (I honestly didn't remember him and I think that upset him even more.) He told me not to talk to him unless I'm going to write him a ticket, and I'd better call the cops too. So . . . I called for backup and wrote him a ticket. THEN he had the audacity to be angry because I did what he wanted. WTH?
I've seen too many dogs like this
A strong stomach is also helpful to do this job. Some of the things I've seen keep me up at night: emaciated animals, embedded collars, parasitic infestations, hoarders, disfiguring dog bites -- and things too horrific to mention. Yes, I've seen a therapist and have taken antidepressants in the past. Currently, I swear too much and I self medicate with way too many carbs. I threaten to quit my job on a regular basis.

So why do I keep going? Certainly not for the money! I would make more as a dental tech or as an assistant manager at McDonalds. (Some statistics say a good $10,000/year more.) I'm sure I'd have less grief -- and fleas! -- if I did. But deep down I like to think that I'm making a difference; that the lives of people and animals are better because of my efforts.

I know I've been absent from the blog lately. I've spent the last few weeks working a cruelty case. It's been an emotionally grueling yet deeply satisfying experience. Animal cruelty is not a common occurrence in my tiny beach town -- and for that I am grateful. I can't go into detail about the case, but I can share my part in it. I was called in on my day off to assist the police department. The detective brought me in as the subject matter expert (how cool is that?!) and I worked this case from start to finish.
  • I was on scene taking pictures and collecting evidence.
  • I was able to advise the police officers on what was needed to ensure a strong animal cruelty case. (With thanks to the additional training I keep asking for!)
  • I collected and notarized affidavits.
  • I participated in jailhouse interviews.
  • I gathered and interpreted veterinary reports.
  • I went to the State Attorney's Office to help argue the case for an indictment.
  • I accompanied the sergeant to get a warrant for criminal animal cruelty.
Score one for good guys! The judge who signed the warrant actually shook my hand and thanked me for doing my job. So to all the jerks that like to tell me that I'm "just an F-ing dog catcher," I'd like to say:


Because apparently I'm an F-ing dog abuser catcher too. [Insert obscene hand gesture here.] And with that, I'm going to open a bottle of wine and take a hot bath. I think I earned it. -- K