Canine Club Getaway – The Adventure!

Bottom Line: I’ve already booked for next year!
Saturday – Day 1 Canine Club Getaway

Taz woke me at 0630 as though she knew it was an exciting and important day. After giving her some belly rubs I crawled out of bed and headed downstairs. With each step I woke up and WOKE up. Today was the big day! Today was the real start of Canine Club Getaway!

By the time I fed all the farm animals and got the four of us ready it was 0800 when we hit the road. I was anxious as I crossed the border, but the female officer was more interested in Poco’s mohawk and what breed of dogs I carried in my little Smart car.

People pointed and smiled as I roared at seventy miles an hour down the I90 towards Lake George. I made one quick stop for fuel and my wallet didn’t groan as I pulled out the sixteen dollars it took to fill the tank. It was a peaceful ride as I sang with the radio and felt mellow.

I might have become too mellow when I found my self shedding a few tears over a sappy country song. Nearly six hours later I reached my destination before I started having true conversations with myself. We were met in the parking lot by a lady with a big camera who took Poco’s picture before I’d even turned off the engine. Popular.

The four of us walked, well three walked and Gizmo was carried, to the main registration lodge. It was a bit hectic, but it was nice to see all the dogs and their crazy owners. I got my room number and drove my car up to one of the three separate lodges. It’s older, a little rustic, but very spacious. Two double beds and one single. Gizmo has already claimed the single.

Taz sits on the table watching all the arrivals while Poco joins Gizmo to catch up on some naps. It’s almost time for orientation. I better get going! Arf. Here’s to the dogs!

Orientation was late and a little disorganized, but we got through it and celebrated afterwards with grape juice. Yeah. Grape Juice.

We played a few games including the hot dog game which entails you holding your dog at one end of the room and throwing a piece of hot dog to the other end. The dog has to go get it and bring it back without eating it. You’ll never guess who won? Out of sixty dogs Gizmo was the only one to bring back a piece of hot dog untouched. I’ve never been prouder. This was a gold moment!

We played a few other games and then we had an hour break before dinner. Time for a shower and perhaps a beverage to celebrate Gizmo’s first place. Never in a million did I think Gizmo would be the first of my three, yet alone the first of sixty, to win first place.

People are friendly, but everyone seems to go back to their hotel room for a well deserved rest. Gizmo is exhausted after his big win.

I’m meeting some interesting people. Dinner was good and satisfying, but not nearly enough if I was a two hundred pound man. I was full, but could have eaten more. Met some wonderful women from New York. When I say New York I mean Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens. I imagine they’re as different as Niagara Falls and Ottawa, but all the same to me: East Coast. How offensive!

Nice people who love their dogs. I heard a presentation about getting your dog into show business. I decided that I couldn’t put my dogs in the hands of a person who said she’d do what it took to get the dog to work. Get the shot. It sounded crass to a room full of true, hard core animal lovers. Making money off our dogs isn’t why most of us came to this conference. We love our dogs.

I think the staff should be positive and engaging. I think they should light up a room with their presence. I find most dog trainers treat you as though you were slightly stunted mentally until you proved otherwise. I’d like the benefit of the doubt and an open mind to see other possibilities. 

The best part of the evening was talking with the two young vets about Gizmos and Pocos problems. They made some interesting suggestions that Gizmo’s eye issues might be helped by more lubrication because he doesn’t blink all the way and has dry eyes. Poco’s problems are in his hips and not his knees. He swings them out, but seems in little pain. He’s still moving and enjoying life. When Brent and I decided to adopt Poco we said we’d make his life as happy as possible for as long as possible without doing anything extreme. The vet suggested three things: keep his weight down, exercise to keep good muscle mass and glucosomine. This seems like common sense to me, but I will start the supplements.

It’s 11pm and I’m sitting in my hotel room with my three dogs watching TV and having a final glass of wine. I’m feeling a little lonely. I love my dogs and I miss my husband.  

Day 2 – Sunday CCG
Woke up at 0530am ready to party! I’m excited to do some of the courses and play in the pool, but first breakfast. I feel great physically, but might nap by the pool later today. I don’t imagine I’ll make the day without a bit of sleep. Gizmo already on his second morning nap.

Breakfast was bacon and eggs, but there was a choice of pancakes and french toast too. I’m waiting to try the lure course and I plan on taking a video. Off I go!

So, the lure went too fast for my little guys and the woman who ran the talent portion stated that she didn’t have any confidence in dogs under ten pounds as their brains were too small and they were stupid. Not a great morning, but like every vacation there are bound to be ups and downs. Not everyone agrees on training methods, feeding, health, fitness and all the other myriad of dog related issues. There is lots to learn. 

I left Poco napping in the car and took Gizmo and Taz to agility. Taz rocked the course like a pro and Gizmo watched from the wooden deck (often looking in the wrong direction) to cheer his sister on. Taz was excited about doing agility. I didn’t need food or punishment to get her to play, but her ball and having fun was a great motivator.  

We went to an obedience class next and listened to Frank talk about training. The e-collar is the popular choice for training these days. It’s not something I’d get behind, but there’s lots of ideas to be learned. 

We hit the fly ball course next. Taz was a natural and even Gizmo did great. Poco had a hard time with the jumps because of his hips and a hard time with making the turn at the ball box because of his vision. Poco had most of his fun by the pool and in the room playing ball. I guess he’s just a simple guy.

We hung out at the pool after trying to get involved with agility. The staff were focused on a woman with two dogs who already had agility training. I guess that is more fun than working with beginners. The pool was much better.

I ran into a lovely lady from New York City who was a blast. We went to Yappy Hour and had few drinks and told stories. After dinner I took the dogs back to the room for their dinner and a little relax.

I’m keeping an open mind as I head to the seminar tonight regarding what vaccinations are important for your dog. It was an interesting seminar and I look forward to bit of my own research. 

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to start with some gentle stuff. Sleeping in. Relaxing by the pool and maybe some more theory. I don’t agree with some of the training methods, but I’m still learning new things. I’m going to learn all I can to give my dogs the best life possible.

Day 3 – Monday CCG
Slept till 630am. Not sure why I’m waking up so early. Super Taz is sleeping with her nose on my computer. How cute. I love spending time with my dogs and this is a wonderful location to chill with the pups. 

Taz was bumped up to advanced agility after her first class. She’s a natural – fear does not exist for Super Taz. She’s already learned the names of the obstacles and does the course like a pro. I have more trouble than she does while running, directing and then tripping over my own feet. It’s a good experience and I’m planning to see if Gizmo will give it a shot. He likes to jump.

We went to a course called Prep class for Canine Good Citizen & Therapy Dog International Testing to become registered therapy dogs. I’m going to see if Taz and Gizmo can pass the course on Wednesday morning. They did great for the prep. Poco wasn’t really a candidate because he’s not all that fond of being touched by strangers.

For barks and crafts we made a tee shirt with our dog’s paw prints all over the shirt. We dipped their paws in paint and then I let my little guys walk all over it. Turned out dirty cool.

Sat by the pool this afternoon and everyone enjoyed some off leash time. Had a brief photo session with the photographer while the puppies wore their wedding garb. Way too cute in the little red wagon.

Post dinner: costume parade. Poco is going as biker and Taz is going as Carrie from Sex in The City. Gizmo refuses to participate, but I have his tee shirt that spells out “STUD” in red rhinestones at the ready.

We lost to a golden retriever with a hard hat. 

Day 4 – Tuesday CCG
Woke up at 0700 and felt a little tired, until breakfast and then I felt better. I drank a lot of tea. We went for an hour and half hike this morning through the pine trees. I chatted with Tara the crazy lady with the border collie cross who is a sweetie. She’s sarcastic and funny and likes to have a few cocktails. We get along very well.

After the hike I took the pups for another pre class for the Canine Good Citizenship and Therapy Dog Certification. The tester was there and said I could test Taz and Gizmo individually and then together. They could be team therapy dogs. They’re both very good at the testing process. The test is tonight at 6pm. This is exciting.

I looked at some pictures and brought Brent a tee shirt telling everyone he’s the world’s best dad – just ask his dogs. Since I missed the important bath time yesterday I went back to my room for a shower and the dogs are completely passed out.

A lovely lady gave Poco a plush toy that looks like a cheeseburger and he loves it almost as much as he loves his ball.

Taz passed her test! She received the Canine Good Citizenship Award and is a Registered Therapy Dog. She’s did fantastic and looked like she had fun. Gizmo wasn’t tested because we learned that he doesn’t know how to lay down. It wasn’t taught in the prep course and I didn’t think of it until they asked Taz to do a sit and down stay. Oh dear. Gizmo doesn’t know how to lay down. I’ve been trying to teach him for the past few hours with some success, but he’s not reliable.

The tester agreed to test him in the morning. We’ll keep working on it, but I’m not making any promises. They want to test them as a team as well, which won’t work if Gizmo can’t learn the down command by tomorrow.

I spent the afternoon doing barks and crafts, lounging by the pool and dog trivia. We won a new toy and a flashy collar.

Dinner was good and the lecture afterwards was about natural medicine. Interesting perspectives. I’m pretty tired and it’s time to head to bed. We go home tomorrow. 

Day 5 – The Last Day. Wednesday. 
With the help of Frank, one of the trainers we managed to teach Gizmo to lay down long enough to pass the test. The tester then tested Taz and Gizmo together as a team. They passed! It’s an extensive testing process and I’m so proud of how they listened, learned and acted like themselves. Sweethearts. 

A few minutes of agility and then I spent a good hour packing the Smart car to full capacity. By 1230 we’d grabbed our boxed lunch and head home. I look forward to seeing my new friends next year. CCG 2012 here we come. 

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