Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back To Puppies

Alright, in the spirit of getting back to the blog at hand, I've gotten some more news on the two puppies my breeder has from her latest litter. First off, she still has them, which is too bad for them, but possibly good for me.

To the right is little puppy Taylor. Isn't he just the cutest little guy you've ever seen!? Look at those big floppy ears that look like they've got black eye liner around the rim. Hehe. Look at that "I didn't do it" face. He looks like a little trouble maker!

Ugh, this picture just melts my heart. The breeder describes Taylor as a "ham" and a talker. I don't think my husband particularly wants a talker, but that's not such a bad thing if we fit in every other aspect.

I haven't heard anything back yet from the breeder about their mother, and the other questions I asked. Until I hear back about that, and until it gets closer to a time we could actually take a puppy home, I'm still not getting my hopes up...well at least not too much. I do admit to checking on airfare to Oklahoma! Hehe.

Oh, and to the left is Ranger, puppy number two. The breeder is actually recommending this puppy for us, based on the type of puppy we're looking for. He's described as more laid back. He's also a tank! Just look at him! Hehe.

Based on looks alone, I like Taylor better, but they're both adorable. And, of course, neither of them will be for me until I hear more about their mother and a plan for their development.

I'll keep you posted. I don't expect to have any decisions made until it gets closer to Thanksgiving. Oh, I wish this month were over already!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Somewhat Back To Normal

The short version is that the fires are basically out, my house is fine, and I'm finally back in it.

We were able to get back into our house Thursday afternoon. It was fine, but we weren't able to clean it enough to live in it until Saturday when our power came back on (it's kinda hard to clean without power). Luckily, we were able to stay with friends through Friday night, so we never had to stay at a shelter or hotel.

We spent the weekend cleaning the ash out of our house and washing all our clothes, bedding, and dishes. We got through a lot this weekend, but there's still tons to do. Our house is unharmed, but it was so close to the fires that the inside got very dirty. Today was our first day back at work since the fires. It's really hard to concentrate and get back into the grind. I just want to be at home.

Last week was also supposed to be my last week of class ever. That's right, it was the last week of my last class. Now I have to go another week and it's so hard to concentrate! I can't wait until it's over and done with and I won't have to think about it anymore.

I'm always one with good timing. On Wednesday night I decided to do some laundry at my friend's house. I ended up leaving my cell phone in my pocket and put it through the wash. It got totally fried, and I ended up having to buy a new one. Whoops.

Hopefully things will start getting back to normal now. Luckily, I don't know anyone whose house burned down. Plenty of people's houses did, just not anyone I know. That shouldn't really make it better for me, but for some reason it does. Though I'm still very sad for the people who lost their homes. I think as Husband and I go through cleaning our things, we'll pull out things we can donate to those people.

We can now return this blog to its regularly scheduled Corgi talk!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Into The Fire

Well it looks like my blogging is going to be spotty at best for the next few days, at least. Yesterday morning before dawn I was evacuated from my house because of an encroaching fire. I woke up at 4am to a heavy smell of smoke. When I turned on the tv they were mentioning that the area a few miles away had just been hit by the fire. Husband started packing our clothes while I sat there in denial saying that they hadn't called for evacuation yet, so we were probably fine. Husband then opened the shutters to our bedroom window. It looked like sunrise, even though dawn was still about an hour away. When I looked closer I saw very tall flames just a few miles away from our house headed right towards us. Husband then reiterated "it's time to go", and I jumped up to help him pack.

A few minutes later we got a reverse 911 recording that told us to evacuate, and to head to a high school that was a few minutes away. When I looked out the window again I saw a storm of burning embers raining over my house. Husband and I stuffed all our luggage in our car, I grabbed food and water, and we were outta there.

When we opened our garage door we saw the hill 50 feet from our house up in flames (courtesy of those burning embers). I was almost frozen in panic the flames were so close. We didn't see anyone else on our street (they had probably already left, but we weren't sure) so Husband laid on the horn as we left, just in case anyone was sleeping through it. Everyone in our neighborhood was leaving at the same time, so there was a huge traffic jam to get out of the area. We were stuck in a parking lot with flames coming down the the hill behind us. I tried calling 911 to let them know about the fire that had just started in our area, but I couldn't get through. As we finally got out, I saw fire trucks coming in. On the freeway there was a fire on either side of it. It was frightening, but I was glad we were safe and out of there.

From the point when I saw the flames until about 2 hours later I was constantly on the phone with people I knew in the area. I woke up several people, told them to pack their things, and get out of their house as soon as they got the call to evacuate, if not sooner. Luckily, they all live south of me, so they had more time to pack and they never saw flames.

Husband and I were at our evacuation center, which was a high school, for a few hours until they evacuated it as well. We then headed to a friend's house towards the coast, which is where we are now. They graciously took us in and said we could stay as long as we needed. Offers of a place to stay have since poured in from friends, family of friends, and friends of family. It's heartening to know that so many people are willing to take us in, and that we won't have to stay at a shelter.

Right now I don't know if my house is still there. I know that the fire has been burning houses all over the area, but they haven't mentioned my neighborhood. I'm hoping no news is good news. But the fire is still going with no containment. I'm just glad that so far this fire has had very low numbers of fatalities and injuries, and I'm very impressed with my city for evacuating areas early to avoid endangerment to people. Their response time has been impressive considered how understaffed and overworked they are.

I'll give updates as I get them, but the media is not planning to announce which homes are gone until tomorrow. In fact, our information from the media is now in jeopardy because relay towers are in the path of the fire, some have already burned, and areas all over the city have been losing power.

Cross your fingers for my city and for my home. In hindsight, I'm very glad I don't have my puppy yet. That would have been an added level of complexity I'm glad to avoid.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Video Of The Week 7

Normally I look for videos that have embedded links, so I can just post straight into the blog. Unfortunately, this adorable video has the embedded link disabled. I'm using it as my video of the week anyway. Yeah, it's that cute. Who wouldn't melt over 9 5-week old Corgis falling all over each other? I know I do!

If you're interested, this is the person who has the cute Corgi videos I've been posting the last two weeks. Adorable little Clover!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Corgi Color Genetics

Over the months of waiting for my puppy, I got curious about coat colors. Now the PWC comes generally in three coat colors: red and white, black headed tri, and red headed tri. Since I know the coloring of my puppy's parents, I took it upon myself to read up on coat color genetics to figure out what my options for looks might be. The puppy mamma is red and white and the puppy daddy is a gorgeous black headed tri. I ended up doing searches on the interwebs for my info, but today I found this resource, which I wish I had had months ago! It is a bit daunting to read, so let me sum it up for you.

If I understand it correctly, the three coat colors have three degrees of dominance. The red and white coat color is the most dominant, the red headed tri is recessive to red and white but dominant to the black headed tri, and the black headed tri is recessive completely. So if I have one red and white parent and one black headed tri parent, that would mean my puppy is going to be red and white unless the red and white parent carries the black headed tri recessive gene. I don't think she does since her last litter with the same puppy daddy came out all red and whites. It's possible, but highly unlikely. Also, if the red and white carries a red headed tri recessive gene, I could get a red headed tri.

I don't care about coloring, next to personality and temperament coloring is nothing. But I thought I'd share if anyone was interested. If coloring is important to you, I would ask about the coloring of past litters of the same parents (if applicable). It's a crap shoot either way, but such is life.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Want This: Corgi Stuff

I found this website a few weeks back. It basically has all the kind of human-use Corgi crap you could want. You know, the t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, bumper stickers, etc. that all say "my Corgi owns me" type stuff. I managed to forget about it for awhile, but it was recently brought to my attention again, and, oh goodness, I actually want some of it!!! I fully admit to being a materialistic consumer whore, but I'm still resistant to being one of those people who has Corgis on everything they own.

But I do have to admit that some of it is pretty darn cute! I mean, check out some of this items to the right: so cute! I'm not saying I want a "Nothing Butt Corgis" thong (yes, I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw those...no offense to anyone who owns a Corgi related thong. I just feel like that takes it to a level we humans just shouldn't go...), but a nice tote bag to carry my doggie stuff in would be nice.

I wouldn't mind a nice "Corgi Butts Drive Me Nuts" magnet I could chuckle at when I made breakfast in the morning. Or a coffee mug that stayed in the cupboard except on coffee or tea-drinking occasions.

Am I crossing into crazy territory? Tell me if I'm crossing into crazy territory here. Either way, not to worry yet. I'm keeping my credit card safely hidden away. I figure I'll actually get a Corgi before I start totally geeking out. But common, some of this stuff is cute, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How Picky Is Too Picky?

In the last email I got from my breeder, she mentioned that if her two male puppies from her latest litter don't find forever homes by Thanksgiving, she'll save me one. This gave me pause because, well, I'm not sure I want one at that point. Does that make me awful?

What I mean is, by the time Thanksgiving comes and goes, those puppies, which were born in mid-August, will be almost 4 months old! Am I being too picky to say that I want an 8-10 week old puppy and I'm not willing to give up those 2 months of cuteness? Well, yes, I am. But am I also being reasonable?

If there's only one or two puppies left, I will want to fly out there and meet them. As much as I like this breeder, I have to assume that she'll be...I don't want to say desperate or impatient, but she'll be ever more inclined to find homes for those two puppies as they get older. Maybe she won't keep me and the kind of puppy I want as in mind than if I was the first pick of an entire new litter. So I think I would have to fly out there and meet them. Then what if I don't bond with the one or two puppies? Do I just say "No thanks, I'll wait for the next litter."? That would also mean I would have to have my house ready for a puppy possibly by next month, or possibly by February, and I won't know which until I fly out there. I know I can't be ready by next month fully, there's no way we'll fix that fence in time, but I think I can be ready enough with the puppy-proofing (I already bought socket covers last time I was at Home Depot) and stuff-buying.

The thing is, if I decide right now that, no, I just want a puppy from the new litter, how do I tell the breeder that without sounding like a tool? I suppose I could tell her that I'm not familiar with the dam of that liter (which I'm not, she was actually a puppy from a past litter that was staying with her for the summer). I could tell her I don't think I'll be ready in time, and I'd rather just wait until the February litter. But my main concern is making sure I don't give the impression that I'd be an unfit pet owner and I'm getting a dog for the wrong reasons. Does saying I'd rather wait for the new litter convey that?

Hopefully she'll find homes for those puppies and it won't even be an issue, but I'd like to tell her something now. Any ideas?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mark Your Calendars

for October 22nd. This site showcases a "cool dog site" daily, and October 22nd is apparently my day. I got an email from them this morning. Woohoo!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Guess I'll Keep Waiting...

So I laid my cards on the table in an email to my breeder last night. I had been sprinkling in questions about when she was going to be breeding my puppy mamma in several emails, and she avoided the question each time. This time I said "Look, when we first spoke you said you were planning for a November litter. Now I know these things can't be exactly timed, but November is next month and I haven't heard anything from you. Is she pregnant? Is this litter happening? I just want to know what's going on and what to plan for."

Apparently that did the trick because this time she responded to me (plus I think she just didn't have anything to report the times before). My puppy mamma's cycle came later than expected, and she's not going to be ready for breeding until next week. That means I'm looking at a mid-December litter, which is about a month and a half later than I was hoping for.

She added she has two male puppies available from a litter one of her other dogs had last month. Husband and I discussed it, and while rash JuLo wanted to just go ahead and get one of those two boys, practical JuLo said it would be better to wait. We're not set up for a puppy yet, and these guys will be ready for their forever homes in just a few weeks! Our fence is still broken, we haven't shopped for anything, and I still have 20 million books to read. Plus, we have plans to travel for Thanksgiving, and I really don't think a 3 month old puppy would be the ideal house guest for my parents. Not to mention if we wait, we'll get first pick of the litter. So practical JuLo won the argument and we decided to wait.

So while it's nice to think that I'll be getting a puppy for Valentine's Day. I'm not looking forward to more waiting...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Video Of The Week 6

Corgis are the cutest puppies ever. As evidence, I give you exhibit A:

Embedding the link is not working at the moment. I'll update that when I'm feeling less inept. I'm feeling less inept! This adorable video is courtesy of this person.

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. Check out my non-dog blog in the next few days for the full scoop on my uber-busy-ness! It's nothing terribly fun though. :(

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Video Of The Week 5

This week I'm going back to being all about Corgis. Check out how smart and adorable they are:

So cute!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Book Review: Katz On Dogs

My latest read is Katz on Dogs: A Common Sense Guide to Training and Living with Dogs by Jon Katz. I actually finished it quite a while ago, but I've been busy, and I figured such a thoughtful book deserved a bit more of a thoughtful review. Hope the wait was worth it!

Katz on Dogs is described as a "common sense guide to training", and that's exactly what it is. Jon Katz writes about his own experiences raising his 3 dogs, and stories from people he has encountered, using his own common sense and experience to come to conclusions about how to train your dog in such a way that you can live together in harmony. That's the reason I have such a love/hate relationship with this book. Sometimes his reasoning makes complete sense, and makes training my dog seem easy. Other times I completely disagree with him and feel like he's over simplifying, being unrealistic, or being just plain arrogant.

Jon Katz lives on a farm with his 3 dogs, 2 Border Collies and 1 Labrador Retriever. He's written a few other books that also cover his experiences raising his dogs, so I got the feeling I wasn't always getting the whole story. The two Border Collies, the way he described them, seemed to have behavioral issues he was working past, but he never went very in depth with his own dogs (he saved that for other people's),so I'm not sure what their deal was. I'm going to say upfront that halfway through reading this book I read that he actually gave away one of the Border Collies, and had the other one put down. When I read the article he wrote talking about the decision to put Orson down, he (again extremely lacking in specifics) mentions that Orson bit a child. Well what kind of biting? Did he send the kid to the hospital? Did he just nip at him a little bit, accidentally drawing blood? I think there's a big difference if it's a decision between life and death for a dog that supposedly completes you. I also read that he got rid of Rose, his herding dog. I don't know if that one's true, but it wouldn't surprise me since he didn't write about her with much affection in the book. Actually, all three of his dogs are written almost as caricatures, rather than read dogs. Rose, in the book, is the herding dog. She cares for nothing but herding. Orson is the dog with problems. He sticks by Katz, and cares for no one but him. Clementine is the new kid on the block and obvious favorite (probably because labs are easier?). She is the playful one that loves chasing squirrels and playing with sticks. Really? That's all there is to your dogs? Probably not, and Katz probably knows this, but for me it lessened his credibility because he made it seem like he didn't understand the depth of his dogs' personalities. He comes off as being rather cold, but that's probably just him trying to come off as objective.

The good points in the book were the beginning. Like all good dog books start, his first chapter is on making sure that getting a dog is right for you. He applies his common sense well here, by pointing out that dogs are a lot of responsibility, and you should realize what you're getting into. There is no perfect dog, it is an ongoing process that never ends. One thing I think he really nailed was the idea of the "quitting point". This is the point that we stop training our dogs, either because we don't realize we've stopped, we think we've trained them enough, or we've just given up. He also talks about the "good enough" dog. This is when we train our dogs to a point (usually the basics), then say that it's good enough, and stop training them. His lesson is that we should never stop training our dogs, or at least observing their environment so we can recognize when it changes. If your quitting point occurs before you've trained your dog enough to live harmoniously with him/her, then you should seek help in getting past it. I think being aware of the quitting point is important, because then you can be conscious of it, and know to watch out for it when you feel your dog is trained "good enough". He also has a lot of insight on multi-dog households, though again, he doesn't offer up very much in the way of specific examples.

Past that point, the book went downhill for me. The case studies were very uneven. Sometimes they were interesting and insightful, other times they were obvious. I think the worst chapter in this book is the one where tries to tackle nutrition. He obviously has no interest in canine nutrition. He feeds his dogs store-bought kibble, and basically refuses to judge people on how they feed their dogs because, obviously, he hasn't taken the time to learn anything about it. He even mentions, but doesn't address people who feed their dogs a vegan diet. How can you not say anything about people who feed carnivores no meat products? I'm not saying he should have torn them a new one, but why mention it if you're not going to address it? On the contrary, he wrote with an air of conceit toward people who take their dog's nutrition into their own hands. He had an air of conceit on a lot of subjects, including holistic medicine as well. He says that he never had a problem with his vet, so why wouldn't he trust what they tell him? Well that makes sense to me, but holistic medicine isn't necessarily about competent vets, though I'm sure incompetent vets often drive dog owners to holistic medicine.

This book was a good read, as long as I used my own common sense to separate out the good information and advice from the bad less good. In the end all Katz is doing is encouraging the reader to observe their dog from an objective perspective and consider what's best for both of you when figuring out how to live together. He heavily promotes training and being mindful of your dog. I definitely agree with him on all those points, and I gained some good perspective after reading this book. Reading this book may give you some good perspective as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what they can do to better live with their dog. This is not a how-to book on training your dog. This book trains you. This book could be helpful to people who have dogs with behavioral problems and want to know how to better approach them, or to people who generally want some good ideas on raising their dog. I don't think this book is a keeper as a reference book. If your local library has it, I would recommend saving your money and getting it there. I may check out his other books another time, but for now I think my reading list is fine without them.

Update: I also want to add that anyone reading this book should not take what Katz says as gospel. If something sounds like an idea you'd like to try, do some research on it first. Some of his suggestions I found conflicted with other, more trustworthy sources, while others matched up with things I had already learned.