Thursday, September 30, 2010

Perfect Leash?

I hate walking my dogs on leash.  I avoid it whenever possible and try to make it as comfortable an experience as possible.

My leash from Ruffwear goes a long way in making things better - you can clip it around your waist and walk hands free - love it!  And when Coulee pulls, she isn't pulling my arm out of it's socket, she is just tugging around my waist.

Retractable leashes drive me nuts.  If the dog is out far, you can't reel them in when you need to.  Your dog can very quickly get tangled around several objects in the blink of an eye.  You can't loop anything around your wrist so if you slip on the ice and fall you will drop the leash and the dog will be running free (which happened while I was dog walking a client's dog - thankfully the dog didn't actually go anywhere other than over to lick my face). And I always wished you could let the leash do it's thing but to be able to set a maximum length - i.e. - you are crossing a field, you can let the dog go to the full length, but when you are crossing the street, you can set the maximum to 6 ft.

With short dogs, I find keeping a regular leash the right tension so that they don't step over the leash and become tangled is a very fine line. Their short little legs don't give you a lot of leeway here so I can see the benefits of a retractable. A retractable leash always has a bit of pressure so that it doesn't droop down for the dogs to get tangled. I've always wondered why no one has designed a 6 ft leash or a way to adjust the maximum length.  And finally someone has.  And they've got a thing for your wrist too!

PS - I found out about this from  A GREAT source for different dog products.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Cooperating

So I'm trying to get a vertical picture of both girls to get put on an iPhone case.  Should be easy right?

I'm not sure why I thought this.  Coulee is constantly trying to block Lacey from stealing the toy, which results in her always being hidden behind her shoulder.

OR, Coulee is so far out in front that Lacey is just a blur in the background.

It is actually pretty rare that I get them both looking good and in focus.  I may have to cave and just use a horizontal one that I already have.  It could be months before I get something decent.

PS - The new toy is a bumper from ChuckIt.  It is AWESOME!  It floats really high, is soft and light.  And most importantly, I can throw it with my left hand.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I'm not sure what happened today but Coulee is no longer weight bearing on her front right leg.  All was fine, and then she was standing next to me, suddenly whimpered and lifted her leg.  I thought maybe something was stuck in her pad but I can't find anything in her pads or between her toes.  We've been home for a few hours and she is still refusing to put it down.  We'll be taking her to the vet tomorrow if she is still experiencing difficulties and regardless, we'll be going on some more sedate walks for a while.  I better go get a good supply of chewies to keep her occupied.

Edit: Of course the moment I post this I come up to find her weight bearing. Yay!

Swing Your Partner

I'm still trying to do pictures from a "different perspective".  It is a fun challenge, made even more fun by having a small, agile dog to photograph.  None of these could ever have been taken with Coulee or Lacey - they just aren't built the same way.

I should mention the ones in my previous post were taken by holding the camera on the ground underneath Sadie while holding the frisbee in my other hand above her.  So I never ran the risk of being landed on and as long as I was quick with the camera I could get it out of the way before she came down.  I was shooting blind, so there were many missed focuses, and some times just images of sky with a toe or two in the frame. Thankfully, Sadie is pretty insatiable when it comes to fetch so she was willing to keep bouncing up and down as long as I was willing to keep holding the toy up and this gave me lots of opportunity to get some good photos.

So yesterday I thought I'd try and capture one of Sadie's other traits... her ability to tug, and not let go.  In fact, she holds on so tight you can swing her through the air with the toy (kind of like you swing children through the air by their arms).  So again, I was shooting blind and the results are almost just as fun.

Lacey found this quite an exciting activity and kept coming in close - and getting whacked in the face by Sadie's feet!

I'm fresh out of ideas for today's walk. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Different Perspective

Last week I joined the Lethbridge Photography Club. They meet once a month and have occasional field trips throughout the year.

Every month you have the opportunity to submit an image for critique and "judging".  It just has to be within the theme boundaries.

This month's theme is "A Different Perspective".  I thought participating each month would help me to try and think out of the box and of course get feedback.  Good and bad.  Gulp.

So today, with Sadie's help, I pointed the camera towards the sky to see what I would get.

It was fun.  And I like the results.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


There is something about this new lens that makes Coulee look creamy. I'm not sure how else to describe it.

Doesn't she look freshly brushed?  She most definitely isn't.  :)

Maybe this is the solution to grooming - a good lens.  :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Miss Sadie

Sadie is staying with us a for a few weeks again.  She fits in super well at our home - she is mellow in the house, doesn't bug Lu and loves to snuggle in bed.

She also keeps Coulee on her toes while fetching and doesn't have a tail for Lacey to bite. Amanda claims Vito came home with less fur after this weekend.  I don't believe it.  :)

And of course, it gives me another dog to photograph...  And she can be quite the character.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tractor Bits

Before the sun went down we wandered around the Picture Butte Engine and Tractor Club taking pictures of various things.  Mainly old tractors....

And all the sharp bits they have...

Some of them still look like they are being used!

The Photography club had arranged for a couple of models.  It wasn't really my thing, but this little girl was way too cute to pass up.  She didn't want to do any of the suggested poses... I thought she was doing just fine on her own!

It was hard to get an authentic looking "old" picture as there were tonnes of pick-ups and trailers and stuff parked everywhere, but with enough cropping it was do-able.

There were a bunch of little red buildings... not sure what they were for, but they were fun to photograph.

This would make a super fun location for wedding photos or if I ever wanted to pose dogs in front of things... which I don't.  :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Painting with Light

Constance and I went out to a Lethbridge Photography Club field trip thing last night.  It was all about "Painting with Light".  Basically you take pictures at dusk (or in the dark) and paint your subject with light from a flashlight.  We had NO idea what we were doing and while we were hoping for a little instruction, none was given, so we just winged it.

We were out at the Engine and Tractor Club in Picture Butte.  Who knew such a thing existed?!  LOL.

I think this is my favourite from the night (below).

I tried lighting them from behind as well as in front - some worked better than others.  That is me with the big glowing light below.  :)

Constance lit this one from the front, while I lit it from behind.

You can make out the tiny star lines in this one below and there was obviously at least a slight breeze as the windmill part moved.

I'm not sure I'll do much of this in the future, but it was fun to try out!

The Red Car

Well I have to admit, I'm not sad to see the Red Car go.  It has been a great little trooper these past 9 years, and it has served us well, but it is time.

The Red Car, is a 1993 Sundance.  My parents bought it new and I purchased it off my mom in 2001 when Marlin went to spend his first summer in Manitoba and we were both working out in the boonies and both needed a vehicle.  We started calling it the Red Car because our other car was Green.  Clever, no?  :)

Since then this car has barely needed any mechanical work.  In fact, the damn thing won't die.  But while the engine and everything else under the hood is great, the rest of it is falling apart at the seams.  And yes we could get any of these things fixed, but the bill would be WAY more than the value of the car.

The air conditioning doesn't work.  It hasn't for years.  This wouldn't be a huge problem except the windows are manual.  You try running errands in the hot summer where every 2 minutes you are winding or unwinding windows so you don't die of heat stroke.  I seriously consider just leaving everything wide open - it isn't like anyone is going to steal the damn thing.

The hydraulics on the back hatch don't work.  It isn't too heavy to lift, but almost impossible to get anything out of the back requiring two hands as the hatch slams shut on you.  So I tend to use my head to keep it up while I rummage in the back.  You have no idea how heavy those things are until you use your head to support it.  I think this is one of my biggest pet peeves about the car.

The front windshield (and the rest of the car as well) went through some weird massive dust storm one day here in Lethbridge and it is now so pockmarked by tiny grains of sands, it is impossible to see through it when the sun hits it the right way.

The front seat seems to be on a bit of an angle... to the side.  The divider between the seats has a lid that has a busted latch (from a break in years earlier where the thieves were too stupid to see the button on the side that opens it) so it refuses to stay closed unless you lean your elbow on it.  The windshield wiper fluid spray nozzles have McGuiver-like bits around it so that it shoots onto the windshield and not 6 feet straight up.  The weather stripping along the hatch is starting to fall off.  I could keep going but I won't.

Like I said, it doesn't have anything major wrong and it hasn't cost us a lot of money over the years but we are ready for something new.

Bye Red Car! Thanks for being so reliable all these years!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fetching Machine

This week, Lacey blew me away.  She actually fetched.  Not just chased a moving toy and picked it up, but searched for it in the tall grass long after it had stopped moving.  Usually if she can't find the toy instantly or if there is even a hint of competition from Coulee, she gives up.  But this week she fetched twice!  I'm not sure if Coulee has been teaching her, or been keeping her from doing it sooner.

It may not sound like a big deal, but it is a huge change from what I've seen in the past.

Usually for her to be interested in a toy the stars need to align, she needs to be in the right mood, you need to rev her up (usually by saying "Readddddy" a few times) and Coulee needs to be running in the opposite direction so that Lacey can have the toy in her mouth long before Coulee comes breathing down her neck.

Then once she gets the toy you need to keep up with a constant stream of encouragement in order for her to hold on to it.  I'm very thankful that our dog parks aren't busy, because I'm sure I sound like an idiot saying "Whatcha got?  Do you have the frisbee?  Kill it.  That's it.  Shake it." over and over again in a high pitched voice.  The moment she senses you've lost interest she drops it like a hot potato and walks away from it like it is the most boring thing in the world.

This week she has been running around with it for 15 minutes and some times even bringing it back so I can throw it again.  I haven't needed to rev her up and I haven't needed to keep her excited to keep her interested.  This is her ready pose below.

Coulee is not enjoying this new behaviour one bit and frankly hasn't been getting as much exercise because Lacey has been hogging the toy.  Maybe next week I'll try two toys.

Hey Gorgeous

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Please Sir...

... will you throw this again?