Monthly Archives: May 2010

CPE Nationals 2010 – our first

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We just finished a long 3 day weekend at our first CPE Nationals.  They were held right here in Kissimmee,  Fl  at the Silver Spurs Arena (normally used for rodeos)  just about 15 minutes from my house so it was a no brain-er for us to enter.  I could only enter my older dog, Sullivan since Kala has just started to do trials and did not have the 20 qualifiers.  Sullivan is all Level 5, except for Colors where she is in Level C (Championship), but for some reason I entered in all Level 5.

We got there on Thursday afternoon to set up.  It was very impressive to me.  We have only done outdoor trials here in Florida so to see 3 rings all set up with beautiful equipment in a big arena really made it special.  All of the crating was on the second level which was up about 40 steps or you could take a small elevator which broke down a few times.  We mainly did the steps which was quite a workout.  My dogs (I had Kala with us too) had never seen stairs or an elevator and I don’t think they really cared for either one.   But it was nice being up above the rings because you had a great view of all of the action.   There was one large ring for standard and then 2 smaller rings for the games.  At Nationals you do 1 Standard each day and 2 games, so by the end you have completed 3 Standards and one each of all of the games.

The event was put on by Pasco Paws of Zephyrhills, Fl and was very organized.  You were assigned a group and your group walked at a certain time, worked at a certain time and then ran.  I knew several people in my group, so it was easy to keep up with everything.  It was great to cheer for our friends and also meet new people and see their dogs too!

Once the courses are set up in the morning, they stay the same all day.  All classes run the same course, but you are given your Q and placement based on your level, height, etc.  There were 313 dogs entered.  The courses weren’t extremely hard, but each one did have a challenge to it.  The most difficult was the Jackpot (more on that in my next post) which only 12 dogs completed and 10 Q’ed (2 dogs were overtime by a few seconds).

If you ever have the chance to go to a Nationals, I would highly recommend the experience.  My dog ran great, we met a bunch of new people and above all felt the camaraderie of the CPE family.  I’m already looking forward to going to another one!

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My Toastmaster’s speech about my dogs

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If you have a fear of public speaking or just want to gain more confidence, there is a great organization that can help you – it’s called Toastmaster’s and you learn different roles at the meetings and learn to give speeches.  The first Competent Communicator manual has 10 speeches.  I gave mine on a variety of topics, but the last one – which is supposed to be inspirational – I talked about my love for my dogs – Here it is:


Perhaps you have been thinking of finding a companion or a mate, perhaps you really haven’t given it any thought at all.  Then while reading the paper one evening, you see an ad that reads:

Single seeking companionship. Age and ethnicity unimportant.  I am  young svelte & good looking . I love to play and take long walks on the beach. I like cozy winter nights spent lying by the fire. Rub me the right way and I will respond with tender caresses. I will be at the front door when you get home from work wearing only what nature gave me.   Kiss me and I am yours.  Call now. 555-FIDO.

Wow – that sounds too good to be true you think to yourself – I wonder who wrote that – were they just making something up to sound good – I think I’ll give the number a call and see what’s up.

Ring, ring – Woof – yes I’m calling about the ad – the one that promises unconditional love, greeting me at the door with no clothes on – Is that you?

Woof woof woof – (that means  –  – I’m down here at the shelter and I need someone to come and get me quick!)

I’ll be right there.  With this you will have the beginning of finding true love and companionship.

Every year between 3 and 4 million pets are in shelters and will be put down, because they don’t have a home.  When you decide to adopt a dog, you are saving 2 lives, the pet you take home and a homeless animal somewhere that can be rescued because of the space you helped free up.

The benefits of having a dog are numerous.  Studies show that dog owners live longer and are happier.  They have reduced blood pressure.  They react better to stress.

Having a dog will encourage you to go out and get some exercise.  This will lead to additional benefits like lower obesity rates, lower cholesterol and building a stronger immunity.

Dog ownership also helps with heart disease.  People that have had a heart attack and get a dog are less likely to have a reoccurrence than someone that does not get a dog.  But the biggest benefit to the heart is here.  Your emotional heart.  Your heart where you find true love.

I grew up in a family where we had cats, but no dogs.  I never really understood the bond that people had with their dogs.  When I used to be in timeshare vacation sales, sometimes people would say that they didn’t take vacations because of leaving their dog behind – to be honest, I thought they were kinda crazy.

A few years back, I started thinking about getting a dog.  A friend of mine had just gotten her second dog and she was always pushing me to get one.  I started looking on the Internet in my spare time – this was back in the days when I had to go in the office room on the big desk top computer – not like today where I can just surf the net on my laptop while watching TV!   The site I looked at the most was Petfinder.  They work with a number of rescue groups.  We had talked about either a beagle or an Australian Shepherd.  My aunt came to visit with a friend, and she told us a story about an elderly couple that she knew that had an Aussie, and the dog would herd them into their room at night – it was such a sweet story.

We looked for about 6 months, never really saying that we were getting a dog, just looking at them on the internet.  We had the concerns that many have on becoming a dog owner, what about those vacations, will the dog chew everything up, what about potty training?

One day we saw a beautiful Aussie on the Aussie rescue site through an organization called Buddies for Life.  We made the leap – from looking to calling.  We were interviewed by a lady – boy I thought we were getting a kid – lots of tough questions and they would also have to inspect our house.  We were all excited and a little nervous.

The next day, the lady called and said that where the dog was being fostered, the foster parents had decided to keep her, but that the dog did have a sister that was not listed because she was very shy and she wasn’t sure if she could be placed, but if we wanted, she would bring her over to us to look at – I said sure.

That’s how our dog Sullivan came to live with us.  I can tell you it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made.  She was so shy and nervous! When we first took her to basic training, she wasn’t accepted because she was so shy she wouldn’t even take a treat!  She has been with us for over 5 years and will be competing at the National Championship for Dog Agility – she has really come a long way!

About 2 years ago, Bonnie, one of my agility friends that had a golden retriever mixed breed dog, really wanted an Aussie.  We were at a trial and she saw a dog she really liked and asked the owner about it – she said it came from a breeder friend of hers and that they were just having a litter if she was interested.  Bonnie took down the information and ended up getting one of the puppies.  Then another friend took one of the other puppies.   They both wanted me to get one of them, but I resisted – 2 dogs – that’s a lot I thought.  A few months went by and one day Bonnie told me that the breeder had wanted to keep the last dog, but had decided to look for a home for her.  She was already 6 months old – usually when you get a dog from a breeder they are 8-12 weeks old.

She finally convinced me to give her a call and that’s how we got our second dog, Kala.  She is the total opposite of Sullivan, being very social and outgoing.  She is just starting in agility.  She brings us so much happiness that we can’t believe that we ever questioned getting her.

Now I know about the bond a person can have with their dog.  Your dog doesn’t care whether you are rich or poor, democrat or republican, fat or skinny.  They are waiting by the door when I come home and no matter how my day has been – and there have been a few rough ones lately – I still get a big kiss.

But don’t just take my word for it –

Recent research shows that spending time with a pet may be even better than talking about your problems with a good friend who’s also a good listener.  Studies show that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present!  Well, I can totally relate to that!  Dogs don’t judge, they just love.

It’s important to realize that owning a pet isn’t for everyone.  However, for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks. Having a furry best friend can reduce stress in your life and bring you support when times get tough.

If you are thinking about getting a dog, please look at a rescue or shelter dog first.  Many rescue groups specialize in pure bred dogs.  You can also check out local breeders like where we got Kala from, but please do not get your pet from a pet store or a puppy mill. This is the worst choice because the dogs are not well cared for and are bred just for profit and put down when they are no longer useful.

Unless you are becoming a breeder yourself – do like Bob Barker of the Price is Right and get your dog neutered or spayed.

I don’t know if having a dog is right for you – it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.  You will have to spend some time with training and of course take your dog to the vet when necessary and things like that.  If you are willing to do these things, you will reap many rewards – like the ad said – if you are looking for someone to take those long walks with, sit by the fire and have someone waiting by the door eagerly awaiting your return – then what are you waiting for – get a dog and find true love!

Well – that was it – hoped I convinced someone in the audience to get a dog and hopefully start in agility!

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