Monday, 22 September 2014

Cas - One in a Million



It is with a heavy and broken heart I have to let you know that my beautiful girl slipped peacefully away earlier today.  Cas was diagnosed with liver failure and possibly cancer earlier this year, we managed to keep her free of pain and still active until recently when her body really started giving up on her.  She didn’t let it get to her and remained so bright and kept such a passion for living life, but we could tell no matter how hard she tried to hide her pain, the pain was becoming too much, I knew and so did she but she just didn’t want to give in.  Cas was a determined little dog and she always tried her best, she gave 110% and put her heart and soul into everything she did.  Nothing made her happier than when she was making us happy.  When I saw her sigh and go peacefully to sleep free of pain I knew we had made the right choice, she could run free without any pain and was happy again.


I don’t really need to say much about her life as the video tells it all:


The Story of a Rescue Dog from Gina on Vimeo.
  

I am just glad she chose us and so proud of what she achieved, not in terms of competition achievements but in that she really turned around and loved everything she did.  I will never enjoy working a dog as much as I did Cas, she was one in a million and never even needed a reward, my praise and happiness was reward enough for her and she knew it was a job well done.  I would give anything to have another Cas, she was such a crazy oddball of a dog, but I knew that she loved us to bits and we returned that love.  Some people would say they wished they had had their rescue from a pup to give them a better start, with Cas, her beginning in life made her the dog she was, made her appreciate her life with us, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  God I loved and still do love that dog!

Her colour was pink, she was a merle, she was a girl, so it HAD to be.  The sky tonight was lit up pink, thank you Cas for our wonderful memories that will last a lifetime and you will stay in my heart forever.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Dog & Bone Film and TV Masterclass

I signed Sweep up for the Dog And Bone Film and TV Masterclass workshop as I thought it would be good for him to do some learning around other dogs and also good for me to see whether I was teaching him all the right things, it also meant he could be registered for work with Dalys Dogs.
It was held at The Dog Training Barn in Banbury and the satnav took me straight past the venue into the village so it took me a while to find it.  The venue is fab (once you know where it is!) as it’s easy to get to not being far from the M40.
The day started with a talk from Kay Weston from Animal Ambassadors, we worked a lot with Kay when Dizzy was doing work and she is a lovely person to work with and would recommend her to anyone.  She has a lot of experience and has worked on programmes such as Eastenders and Dogs Trust adverts etc.
 
We then started training and throughout the day when we started a new session on a new behaviour we split into groups so dogs that were already trained could then be in a more advanced group to improve the behaviour and strengthen it.  As Sweep was only 20 weeks I stayed in the lowest group, he could do some of the behaviours well and probably could have gone in to the other group but I didn’t want to push him in a new environment.  We did things like stand, sit and down stays with distractions, this is really important for any kind of media work as there are a LOT of distractions on set.  Recalls with distractions, sending the dog to a mark, touch (nose touch and paw touch), holding an object, leave (food or toy).
Training was great as there was plenty of time for the trainers to go round the group and tailor everything individually.  We had a mid morning and mid afternoon break with a lunch break as it is a long day for the dogs.  Hot drinks and cakes were provided for us.  At the end of the day all the dogs were assessed to see which behaviours they could and couldn’t do in order for them to be put forward for any future jobs.
 
Sweep – I was really pleased with him, I just took his travel bed in with us and in between sessions he just lay on his bed and chilled out.  I made myself a drink, wandered round and he stayed on his bed with people and dogs walking round.  REALLY pleased as it’s so important for a dog to be able to settle and relax if you are interested in doing filmwork.  They are normally long days and a lot of the time the dogs aren’t doing anything so they need to be able to settle in between working.  Dizzy was always brilliant at settling, Cas or Ember I could never get to settle.


This is a fab course and you don’t need to have done any training before you go but similarly if you have trained all the behaviours the advanced class was there to expand on them.  There was a rescue dog (who is looking for a home) there who came for a day out and obviously had never done anything, he got on really well.  Thanks Dog & Bone for the photos.



Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pet London Review

Pet London kindly sent us some goodies to try :), I love Pet London and was so excited when they said they were sending me some goodies.  Thank you very much, the dogs loved their pressies.

First up was a toy - a UK Royal Guard Dog soft squeaky toy, which with Sweep wasn't going to last two minutes, his eye fell off!  So this is a toy for an older dog who isn't a chewer, it's a really sweet little toy and a lovely size for Ember to run round with.

Next up was a t-shirt, another patriotic item which looked so cute along with the little toy!  It fit well but I don't think the sizes available go up much larger than this so it  is more of a little dog item.  It did look pretty cool though and I am not normally one that buys dog clothes.


Then we tried on the Puppia Soft Harness, I actually had one of these when Sweep was smaller as I much prefer a harness on a smaller dog/puppy as they tend to pull and I hate them putting so much strain on their necks.  The harness fit really well and I do think they feel like they are comfy as they have a soft wide band that goes around their neck and under their tummy. The only thing I would prefer on them would be to have two clips on their back as you end up having to put their leg through or pulling the harness out of the loop, just makes life a bit easier when you have two clips.


I also tried it on Ember and it fit well too :) It did look very smart.  They come in all sorts of pretty colours.





I took Sweep on a training day and it was a great oppurtunity to test the Pet London Travel Bowl. In the past I have used the fabric type bowls and found them a bit messy as they tend to squash and spill quite easily.
This one is made of rubber and packs flat so it doesn't really take up a lot of room. It has a handy clip so you can clip it to you if you don't have room in your bag.
The rubber concertinas out to form a really sturdy bowl. I was impressed as it didn't squash down like the fabric ones do, it ws really stable. It isn't a huge bowl but any dog can drink out of it happily. In fact a doberman wouldn't drink out of his own bowl and made a bee line to drink out of this one!

I only wish I had known about them earlier as I would have bought one. Would really recommend it.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Dizzy - Sleep Tight


I haven't brought myself to post this on any of my social media channels as I just don't think I could cope with seeing all the comments of RIP, sorry etc etc. Am not ready for it and have only just brought up the courage to post this here. We lost Dizzy earlier this month, we miss her terribly, we do have Sweep who takes our minds off things and makes us laugh again but he will never replace Dizzy.

Dizzy was probably a month or so short of her 15th birthday. She had been a shadow of herself for a little while and had not been able to manage walks but she did still want to play ball even though it took an hour to fetch! She was happy and pain free.

She was gradually stopping eating until she stopped completely and couldn't move at all.  We made her comfortable and had to say our goodbyes.

She did really well for a dog with a metal rod in her spine since the age of three! We never had a good go at agility as our first year there was foot & mouth and the next year she was retired.  Heelwork to music involved constantly checking the audience were watching and obedience was what she really did well at.

Diz only had to be shown how to do something once & she knew what she had to do. I never really trained her, just showed her what I wanted. She was a great first dog, I had wanted a dog for years.

The only thing she ever hated unfortunately turned out to be Cas & vice versa, till the end. Luckily when I moved out we could split them so they were both a lot happier.

I am glad I stayed with her until the end and I know now she is happy to run and be free again. I feel a sense of relief, I was dreading the day, but now she is gone I do feel relieved that she is free from pain and happy again.

I am sure she was part human, there will never be a dog as clever as Diz. Sleep tight Diz dog, go and keep Missy company.



 
 







Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sweep - Skateboarding!

I had a very busy day today. My handler took me to the vet who stuck a needle in me - ouch! I don't like travelling in that car thing, it makes me bark and howl, my handler says I have to go out in it more often.

I met this little board on wheels called a skateboard and you have to put your paws on it and push it along, great fun. Gina took this video 5 minutes after I was first introduced to it.

Then I had some friends to play with who are Gina's cousins, they were great fun to play with. It is a bit hot though so I slept mostly during the day.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Sweep - Water Baby

It is so hot, my handler got a paddling pool out for me. I like to bark and the water then jump in and paw it.
video

She got that clicker thing out again and I sat and lay down and got lots of treats!

Thursday, 15 May 2014