Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Attempting to return

I keep meaning to come back here.

I never do.

I don't know why.

So I'm here now. Life in our household has changed dramatically since the last time I wrote anything here (was it really 2014?).

We got married the end of June 2014.

We got a house the following April. A house with a fenced in yard. No landlord restrictions on the number of dogs we could have. It even cost us less (well, in mortgage + taxes, let's not pretend it cost us any less when we figured in repairs and things you need for a new house).

And then in June 2015, we got a second dog. That's right. We're no longer a one-dog household. On June 23, I sent in an application to the ever amazing Glen Highland Farm, and four days later we went to the farm to meet four dogs.

Really we only had to meet one. I knew before I even arrived that we would be coming home with him. He was another fate dog, you see. I had seen his photo on Petfinder soon after moving into our house. Something about that little face drew me right in. And they described him as cuddly and affectionate and a "hunk of love." I admit I was smitten. But he was too far away. Through a crazy series of oddball things, he ended up coming to a foster home who got him listed on the Glen Highland Farm page. And voila! I knew he was the dog for us.

After meeting him, we were so sure he was our dog that we only met one of the other dogs and then only for a couple minutes. We chose to spend more time with Ben to make 100% sure he was the right dog.

He was.

So on June 27, 2015, Ben came home.


He was a bundle of nervous energy who took some time to settle. But Dahlia loved him instantly. They played chase. They played tug. She even allowed him to jump on her head and rile her up. There have been no real cross words between them, though Dahlia does occasionally put him in his place. They are the perfect pair.

And yes.

They look a little bit alike,


We don't really know what Ben is, but we're sure there's Border Collie in there. We suspect there could be a bit of Springer Spaniel, especially with those hilariously spotted feet.


But the truth is we don't really know. And we don't really care. He's just become our amazing little man, Benjamin Willard MacKenzie (registered with the AKC as Spanley's Greatest Adventure).

Ben has begun agility training and he's fast and driven and excited. He is easy to work up (and also easy to over arouse!). He's very different from my laid back girl and so it's been a whole new world to start teaching him. Here he is trying his first ever seminar last April. He's faster and more confident now, but it's not bad for his first time trying to put any of it together!

We have a long way to go and much to learn still, but the process has been fun and fascinating!

On the sadder side of things, the ever amazing Miss Dahlia has been retired from agility. Not because we got Ben, but because back in December, she was struck down with vestibular disease. We woke up early one morning to find her unable to walk, her head moving all over the place, frightened and nauseous. A rush to the emergency vet yielded a much better result than we thought it was going to (we left thinking it was a stroke and we were going to have to say goodbye to her). She was diagnosed with vestibular disease, an idiopathic inflammation of the nerve that goes from the inner ear to the brain. In other words: severe vertigo that lasts for days. You can read more about the disease and her subsequent recovery here if you desire.

Suffice it to say, it was a rough road that involved some days of carrying her outside and sleeping on the couch to be near her. Thankfully she is, I'd say, about 95% recovered. She races after Ben and still chases him around the yard.


She can even do a little backyard agility.


But she is just a little bit wobblier than before. She tends to lose her balance and faceplant because she cannot right herself. And so doing proper agility is just not something I'm willing to risk with her. So we do the occasional low jump (set 8-12 inches instead of her usual 16) and tunnel and leave it at that. Otherwise she's our best girl, who goes on slow walks around the neighborhood and gets belly rubs.

She sure did enjoy going back to Glen Highland Farm this year!


We're thankful everyday that she's still with us, even if our time doing agility was cut off sooner than I expected.

So that's where things stand now. I hope to come back here and talk more about the dogs, especially my agility journey with Ben. He's such an amazing dog!