Friday, 16 May 2014

academics, puppy visits, vet visits, and agility class!

Wednesday was a great day for me, I was able to present my research at the Campbell Centre for Studies in Animal Welfare annual Symposium and Research Day. There were about 100 people in the audience (scary!!!), including a number of professors, students, and public interested in animal welfare. I think I did pretty well, although I did loose my place a few times. It was nice to be one of only two social science majors, out of 22 presenters.

On Thursday I had lunch with a good friend from Guelph, and visited Wendy (Piper's breeder). Piper and I got to meet another of Piper's littermates, Ryder (who she adored).

All four of my animals also had vet appointments in the afternoon, so we spent about two hours with Dr. Paula. Piper and Percy were both in perfect health, which was good news (although I was expecting it). The vet heard a grade one heart murmur in Archie, although it went away as he relaxed. Something to watch, however it seemed to only be an issue when he was stressed, and he's generally a pretty laid back cat. Ace is my poor, unhealthy soul, unfortunately. The vet now suspects his elbow dysplasia is causing him chronic pain, so she prescribed some painkillers. It breaks my heart, since he's only five years old, but she said he has almost no muscle around his elbows, and quite severe arthritis in his joints. He is to receive minimal exercise, except as much swimming as we can handle! She told me its ok to not exercise him every day, and I was correct to also cut back his food (which I had already done - my 74 lb dog now eats the same amount as my 42 lb dog). We are going to start a painkiller trial next week, he is to be medicated for a solid week, to see if I notice any differences. It's the easiest way to find out if he really is in chronic pain. I had suspected something along those lines, so I was not surprised by her evaluation.

We had a good time visiting my friend Karen, and her super-adorable Turveurn puppy Spark. Spark and Piper are like two peas in a pod, they got along fantastically :) We spent several nights watching agility videos.

Tonight was my last agility class with Piper for a while. We had a pretty good class, only screwing up a couple time in a course that was masters level (and harder than anything that would be seen at a regional level event). I was pretty happy with that! What I was not happy with was that Piper BARKED the entire time she was not working. My instructor told me to step on the leash and ignore her, quietly rewarding anytime she was quiet. The result was an hour and a half of barking. It was brutal. Definitely something we are going to have to work on.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


Update: still living with my parents, still working for minimum wage. Sigh. But better job prospects on the horizon!

Next week I am presenting my research at the CCSAW Symposium, which is super exciting. As my research was pretty much the definition of inter-disciplinary, this is a rare opportunity for me to present to a group of scientists. I'm quite nervous about it, actually.

Last weekend I volunteers at the Peterborough Obedience Club CKC trial. I was a ring steward for nearly 7 hours, it was a long day! However I also learned huge amounts, which was great. I've only ever seen bits and pieces of Open and Utility levels before. Still not sure I want to compete at those levels, but I at least know what I need to do to be able to. If that makes any sense.

Ace, Piper and I have been out enjoying spring, and of course getting muddy. I've been a little photo-happy, as you can see. Piper and I have been working on a number of tricks, such as back-up, handstand, beg. Trying to wean her off the treats with the back-up and beg... but I'm really bad at that haha. The handstand is going to take a bit of work I think. Will be awesome when she can do it though! We have a few classes of freestyle coming up with Dante Camacho, so I am looking forward to that.

Blaster, Tucker, Zanna, Ace, Cody, and Piper... it was spring, I swear! This photo was taken in April.
Piper being her usual gorgeous self. I am so lucky to have her.

Ace and Piper enjoying a good game of fetch in the super-muddy park. I love how much they love fetch :)