Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring hike

Last week on my afternoon off it was a beautiful day; I got my errands run early and decided that Cory and I needed to go find a place to take a walk.

One of my favorite drives is out Middle Creek Road in Boone county. This time of year the wildflowers are beautiful, and it is always a good bet for seeing good birds. At the end of the road is Boone Cliffs, a little used park which is popular with birders but a bit steep for me with my bad knees (I have plans to make it to the top, but it will be on a day with no agility trials right afterwards and I will definitely need my walking stick!). So we started with a drive out Middle Creek.

Of course, I forgot my camera so these pictures were all taken with my Blackberry (whose camera is terrible). The detail is not great, but the drive was beautiful.

The entire ground was carpeted with wildflowers of many types. Wild phlox were prevalent, as were blue-eyed marys. Bluebells, larkspur, and a dozen other varieties I don't know the names of were all visible.
After driving down Middle Creek Road, I decided to head over to Middle Creek park. I had never hiked there, but had checked it out on the internet previously. A group of my dog training friends tries to get together on non-show weekends and find different places to hike with the dogs, and this was one possible site that we hadn't gotten to yet. There are about six miles of trails shared with horseback riders, and the overall traffic in the park seems fairly low.

Here's Cory in the midst of the wildflowers along the trail. The trails are very wooded and follow the creek; it was an absolutely beautiful walk.

Cory HATES being America's next top dog model ;-).

Here's a closeup of the blue-eyed marys. Aren't they pretty?

And here's some wild phlox, one of my favorites.

Here's Cory in the larkspur; can you tell he's had about enough of this posing business?

Here is a picture of the trail we followed; it was so pretty it was like being in a movie set. We had the whole park just about to ourselves that day. Unfortunately, wildflower season is also tick season. Yuck. I had found a tick two days in a row attached to Cory before the hike, but had forgotten to put his Frontline on before we went.

So I tried an experiment when we got home that night; I gave him his Comfortis, which is the once a month flea pill. We just started using it the end of the season last year and so far have had excellent results for fleas. It is not labeled for ticks; however initial reports seem to indicate that it has some effect on ticks but probably doesn't last a whole month. So I figured it would be a good experiment to see if I could observe any effect. (As of this weekend, I found one dead, attached tick on him 10 days post pill; I have found live ticks that he apparently carried in that crawled off of him and onto me or the floor, but no live attached ticks since giving it). Yuck. I hate ticks!

The trail meandered along the creek and eventually I realized that we were walking in the woods I could see from the road when I was driving. I wish I had known long ago there were trails there!

There were ample dead fallen logs to sit on and relax along the way. Cory gets impatient with my rest stops!

Even he was pretty tired though, it was quite warm (above 80) that day and after a long winter we weren't used to it! No gradual warming this year!

If you look closely at the picture below, you can see Cory in the creek. He was very happy when we found a spot where he could get down to it easily and promptly jumped in and laid down. Fabulous. He had just had his bath and groom out for a seminar that weekend...luckily he has a wash and wear coat, a quick rinse of his legs with the hose when we got home and a three minute brushing was all it took to get the creek stink off of him.

Spring is really here! My red headed woodpecker was back on Friday, much earlier than previous years! They didn't show up until May 16 last year, though they came back on May 4 and 5 the two years prior. Unfortunately I have not been home to watch my feeders much lately.
If you haven't started your flea prevention, it is getting to be time and if you have tick exposure you are LATE!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Showin' off at the Pet Expo

Last weekend Cory and I went to the Everything Pets Expo downtown at the convention center. We had never been before. Parking was a bit tight especially as there was a Reds game going on at the same time, but we eventually were able to find a spot, drag all our stuff through the parking garage and down the street, and made it on time. Cory was unfazed by the sights and the sounds of the city- except he thought it would be fun to chase the pigeons.

The Pet Expo goes on for three days and includes agility, flyball and dock dog demos, booths selling every kind of pet product imaginable, and lots of rescues with animals available for adoption. There were auditions to be on David Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks" and America's Top Dog Model. The dog below was one of my favorite sights of the weekend; his owner was participating in one of the "creative grooming" demos. Being a big Bengal fan, this one has to go in my keeper file!

He was not the only dog all dolled up for the event. The general public is not allowed to bring their pets, but between all the demos and the rescue booths there were LOTS of animals there. Between the Bengals dog and the poodle below, Cory was starting to feel underdressed!

One of the booths was manned by the CARE center of Cincinnati, one of the referral centers we use frequently. They offer 24/7 critical care abilities as well as specialists in a multitude of disciplines and we are very lucky to have them so readily available.

For those like Cory who came underdressed, no need to fear. You could fully outfit your dog in one of many appropriate outfits for the day. Cory decided on general principles that he would continue to appear "au natural".

The expo was aimed at ALL types of pets, not just dogs. Some people were a bit startled by the appearance of the critter below right next to them.

Looking at all the displays of cool collars always makes me so jealous of people who can put them on their dogs and actually SEE them. My dogs are so hairy that it's a waste of money. But that doesn't keep me from window shopping....

There were also booths selling all kinds of animal art and neat gifts. A new store called "Indigenous" in O'Bryanville is owned by the people who used to have "A Show of Hands" at Kenwood and is art done by local artists. They brought a terrific selection of their animal related items and I can see I am going to have to make a trip there soon.

One of the big exhibits is the Dock Dogs demo. It is a huge crowd favorite and lots of fun to watch. In addition to the experienced dogs, they allowed some of the other dogs who wanted to to participate. I think Cory might actually like this- he likes the water, unlike my two previous shelties. However, in the interest of keeping him looking good for his own demos we elected to pass this time.

I didn't want to use a flash, so my action shots are not the best, but I thought they were still kind of fun even if blurry.

It reminded me of the dolphin shows in Florida- if you stand too close to the pool you're going to get wet!

If you look closely at the picture below you can see a big open mouth going for the bumper in the middle of the splash!

Hamilton County SPCA had their van there with animals available for adoption.

A horse rescue had three week old foals on display.

The Cincinnati Police brought some of their mounted units in. They were corraled right next to the main demo ring and watched the agility with interest!

There were demos with frisbee dogs as well; my action shots of these were just no good with the slow shutter speed due to the low light.

The purpose of Cory and I attending was to participate in the demos put on by Queen City Dog Training Club. We did mostly agility demos throughout the weekend. It was a great chance for the dogs to get in a little practice with a high level of distraction, but without the pressure of a real trial.
Maryann and Edge below did a great job in the relay races.

Connie and her dobie helped to keep her team in the thick of it.

Mary Jo and Jamie were flying!

Cory and I both really enjoyed the agility relay races. We set up two identical, side by side courses consisting of jump-weave-jump-tunnel and back and had teams of four run each course simultaneously. The dogs had a BLAST- we typically don't run head to head in real trials, the courses were short with all the emphasis on speed, and Cory thought he had died and gone to doggy Disneyland. I was very happy with his weave pole entries which are still a work in progress, but he did fairly well hitting them at speed.

Sharon and Baylin enjoyed themselves as well- they are Cory's favorite tracking buddies.

Linda and Freya were zooming too!

We thoroughly enjoyed our Pet Expo experience. If you have a chance to go next year, come on down- especially if you have any interest in finding some fun activities to do with your own dog. All of the dogs demoing there are primarily pets; those of us who are addicted do pick our next dog with competition in mind, but these dogs are for the most part every day dogs who snooze on the couch all day and get to play at this one or two nights a week and on weekends. There is something fun for everyone, no matter where your interests lie. Your dog will love it!