Mollie: Loss and Memory

I took a long time to write this post. I couldn’t get the tone right, and I’m still not sure if I have.

The usual expression when we lose a pet is to make some vague allusion to the Rainbow Bridge. This makes me uncomfortable, just as it does when people mention God in relation to death. I’m an athiest and my heart belongs to science. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I appreciate the sentiment, especially from friends, but it doesn’t comfort me, or make the loss any easier to bear.

I marvel instead at the unprompted connections my brain will make; a dog barking, and for a second some unconscious process prompts me to look up, because it’s Mollie. Or we’re coming back from an evening walk in the dark, and at the bottom of the hill where I put the leads on, Mollie is waiting for me. Or I glance over my shoulder and I see her padding down to us. I like that, it makes me happy. I am far more comforted by knowing that my eyes see a shadow and my brain finds something to fill it, and the ‘it’ is Mol. I am pleased that of all the tiny electrical connections my brain has sourced, it’s the connections with Mollie that seems right for that situation and that endure.

Mollie thinks there is nothing better in life than thisI do miss her, a lot. Oddly enough, it’s the feel of her I remember most, especially the way her fur over her shoulder curled softly around your fingers. You could sink your hands right in and scritch her with the fur tickling the back of your hands. I miss the feel of her forehead against mine when she hugged, the heavy solidity of her broad face pressed against skin. Feelings very unique to Mollie. People talk about smell and emotion, but it’s non-specific touch that I recall with clarity, apparently.

2014

queenkim2013 was a year of Change. Some changes were embraced, some changes were not, some changes I still struggle with. Some I love and some I am frustrated with, often within the space of 5mins (I’m talking about you, Daisy Jones).molliedylbestdog2014 already promises lots of change; Dylan retiring from agility, Rio starting to compete in agility, Daisy to start doing … something. I’m ok with that. Small changes, not big changes.

I want the dogs I have right now to play with me and for us all to learn a little more.

I hope we travel safely, wherever we are going.

Rio and I

I hope all my friends have an amazing 2014. :)

Shiny Rio

I don’t post very often about me; my blog is about the dogs, and I try to keep the non-dog stuff away. However, sometimes it falls together. Last week was very tough for me. Lots of things have been piling up for a while, but I ended up in a depression kicked off by Daisy essentially having a massive reactive panic attack. That incident is a blog post of itself, and one I don’t have the motivation to write. I did want to blog in some small way to say I haven’t been anti-social because of anything anyone else has done. I haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter for over a week, and I’ve very briefly spoken to a few friends. Being social is hard right now, not just the big social things like partying or big groups, but small social things like talking to a single close friend or family member for more than 5 minutes about nothing important, or tweeting something nonsensical.

The training sessions I didn’t feel I could miss were exhausting and I actually can’t constructively remember what happened. I wrote my notes about training immediately after arriving home on Tuesday, and that will be my basis for planning December training. If anything asked for something that I didn’t write down, I haven’t got it.

I felt a little better Saturday (thank you, Claire), and a lot better Sunday (thank you, Katie and Matt and Sue and the other Dig It folks). I feel a lot better today, but I’m still maintaining a social media blackout. Anyway, why am I talking about all of this? Because Rio. And because, when I come back and re-read this in a month or a year, I need to know what kind of mental state I was in going to this show.

Rio had a tiny little show at Dig It, to see where she’s at in terms of competitions. I’m very happy to say where she’s at is pretty awesome.

I elected to run her NFC in agility. I had a plan, I stuck to it, Rio was great. We did an Aframe and a long line of jumps to a tunnel, and she nailed it. She stayed 90% calm and focused, and that was the only thing I wanted. In her second run, we did a few more Aframes, and were a little less focused but still working.

Her jumping course was super, really easy. NFC x2 again. First run went to plan; we rolled right round for a “clear”. I intended to stop and train where necessary, but I also didn’t want to stop her if she was going well, as that often just serves as a distraction rather than a reward. Ri likes agility, it’s fun of itself. I was pretty sure she wouldn’t come in for the line at the end, it was a tight turn after a very extended run, and I was right. She skipped two jumps in trying to adjust herself, but it was a super run. Focused and fast all the way around. Second run, we did some proper training. Rewarded her wait, rewarded her drive to the tunnel, and when she didn’t get the turn again, I brought her back. Changed my cue a little, and then rewarded her for getting it right.

Steeplechase was last, and was probably the hardest course as it was Open (still lovely and easy). I didn’t go NFC as I didn’t think there was anything worth training Rio for. I need training in competitive Rio and non-competitive Rio being the same dog, so the last run was for me. We got E’d, but it was a good run, we just missed a few obstacles and then added a few more in. She did the final line really well, fast and drivey but also responsive to the turns and angles.

I am going to skip January’s show and enter February, and see where we’re at then. Maybe some dogwalks too, who knows. I need to get the balance right between food in the queue and toy in the ring, and keeping her engaged but not wild. She also does better with longer breaks between runs to calm down and re-engage, so I’ll probably just enter her for one run at each course next time.

Tagged!

Well, I was tagged by summerick, I’m not sure whether to thank her or not!

The instructions were …
Open a document or file folder
Click on the fifth folder and then the fifth photo
Post the photo and describe it
Then tag 5 other bloggers

Travelling

Dylan and Kim travelling in the car to Hunmanby Gap. I tried to take a photo of them sleeping as they looked so cute, but they both looked up at me when I moved the camera. Oops! They still look pretty cute though, don’t they?

I’m not sure who is left untagged, but here we go:

Katie – http://www.jetpops.co.uk/
Chelsea – http://livedogslove.wordpress.com/
Brenda – http://yettontop.blogspot.com/
Emma – http://bouncingbackbailey.blogspot.com/
Cat – http://themodernblog.wordpress.com/

Camera Woe

I finally got my camera back yesterday. Two weeks after they said I should have got it because apparently they “forgot” to call and tell me it was ready for pick up. Anyway, opened up the bubble wrap and it was a total mess, scratches all over the screen and even on the silver circle bit around the lens at the front. I definitely did not drop it off in that condition! We called and asked them about it and they couldn’t care less, so I’ve sent it back. They probably can’t do anything except replace it, and I sincerely doubt they’ll do that, but at least they can see what a mess it is.

In the meantime, here is an old pic of Kim, circa 4 years ago. Sadly I don’t have the original of this shot anymore, it got lost when we switched computers.

Match It for Pratchett

I’ve had this post on my “things to post about” list for a week or so, but I didn’t want it to get lost amongst all the flyballing excitement. I’m still not really sure how to post about it; it’s not a dog thing, it’s not a dog charity, charity isn’t something I want to really discuss on my blog, but it is something that really made me sad and I wanted to mention it somehow.

Most of you already know I’m a big Terry Pratchett fan, I’ve spent way too much money on the Discworld series over the past couple of years (if you haven’t read them, you should!). To quote from another website and summarise:

Terry Pratchett, author of the bestselling Discworld novels, has been diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s. He has donated half a million pounds (approx $1 million) to Alzheimer’s research and appeared in the media highlighting the low levels of research funding Alzheimer’s receives.

And when they say low levels of funding, they really mean it.

It is a shock to find out that funding for Alzheimer’s research is just 3% of that to find cancer cures.
Mr Pratchett’s donation is in recognition of the urgent need to provide funding for research into the disease, which affects an estimated 700,000 people in the UK. For every person with Alzheimer’s, £11 is spent each year on UK research compared with £289 for each cancer patient, even though similar numbers of people are affected.

You can read the speech that Terry gave to Alzheimer’s Research for a more comprehensive and coherant view of his situation. Since the announcement, fans have decided to try and match the donation given, and have set up http://www.matchitforpratchett.org/ and as of March 18th have raised or helped raise around £34,000. I think the general feeling is that even though there will be no cure for Alzheimer’s in time for this person, if we can help boost the research funding just a smidge there might be a cure for someone (maybe even one of us) in the future. The comparison with Cancer Research is not about undermining what they do or what cancer patients have to go through, but there are (some) cures for (some) cancers, and there is a lot of hope. Alzheimer patients have very little to hope for by way of a cure.

And yes, I’m not just posting and doing nothing. I gave £5 this morning, which means I won’t be going to the cinema this week and I still have £1.40 change to spend tomorrow at Selby.

I will now resume normal broadcasting on undermybed.co.uk — expect some serious flyball reports from this weekend.

Christmas!

Christmas Tree & Dylan The dogs aren’t overly impressed with the whole Christmas thing at the moment, but we’re getting there! Dylan does have a bit of a fetish for oven mitts though, and the new “festive” pair we bought yesterday are already looking a bit worse for wear. All my shopping is done, apart from a few last minute doggy gifts and something for Katie! The present I had planned to get her was tragically missing from Meadowhall yesterday and so I’m going to have to re-organise. Sorry Katie! Don’t worry though, I have a few more plans up my sleeve.

Off to the cinema later (to see the Golden Compass!) so I’ll be missing the Small Agility from Olympia, which is a shame because I wanted to watch those fantastic Obay Shelties run. Good luck to all of them, and to Lucy and Pie who are competing tomorrow in the Novice Stakes.

Agility Eye

agility eye cover

To the readers of the agility magazine “Agility Eye” (http://www.agilityeye.co.uk), you may be interested to note that this month’s issue features a cover designed and made by yours truly. For those of you who don’t subscribe, the original version is there on the left. Sadly it doesn’t feature any of my own dogs because at the time it was made I didn’t have a camera suitable for taking any agility photos, but I am thrilled that Chris and the rest of the staff used my design.

Kim had a fab day yesterday, she met up with one her oldest doggy pals Sam. Kim and Sam have been friends since Kim was a tiny wee pup, but they haven’t seen each other for 3 or 4 years, so it was a real reunion; they had their own little sleepover downstairs! We also took them for a lovely walk around Digley Reservoir. Digley is a really nice spot, I haven’t had the chance to go for ages and it was perfect weather yesterday. Unfortunately it does mean that the collies are feeling a bit neglected so I’ll take them out on our normal walk this afternoon, when it’s a bit cooler. I can’t believe how hot it is today!

Website Changes: Refreshed the qbee page, and the photography pages.