Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Christmas 2012

My dogs as presents under the tree

Canon 9803

Canon 9816

Koira opening the box from our gift exchange pals. It was addressed to both Koira and Pallo, but Pallo doesn't understand box opening.
Canon 9750

Canon 9749

Canon 9746

Canon 9751

And a few of our more...special?... ornaments on the tree
Canon 9892

Canon 9893

Canon 9886

Canon 9791

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: New Friends

Koira made a new friend last week. She normally only wants to play with Pallo, and never, even with Pallo, has liked being the dog that gets chased, she always does the chasing. So, this Elkhound must be pretty special in her book! This is the first night they met.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mischief Monday: Custom Wrapped

I think the mischief this week may have been on the part of the human...

Pallo is all wrapped up for Christmas. Who wants a Pallo Present?
Canon 9700

Canon 9695

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Canine First Aid Pack Essentials

As regular readers of the blog know, me and my dogs are not afraid of an adventure. With flyball, dock diving, lure coursing, hiking, skijoring, and just plain going out and having fun, risk of injury runs pretty high. Koira has tender feet and often manages to "burn" the pads on her feet. She has also gotten cut on glass at the river, gotten sores from a backpack on an over night trip, and broken out in hives for no reason I could determine.

Because of all these things, and all the things yet to happen to us, I like to have a fully stocked first aid kit available. Most of the time, the kit stays in the car. At events like lure coursing and dock diving, if I need something out of it, the car is just a short walk away. For hikes, I try to take along at least the basic supplies.

Here is what I carry in my first aid kit. This kit is geared mostly toward dogs, but has essentials for humans as well, and could easily be altered to fit you specific needs.

  • Vet Wrap- for all sorts of things from large wounds to foot pad burns to use as rope
  • Alcohol prep wipes
  • Gauze (either in rolls or packets)
  • Waterproof adhesive tape/ Fabric tape (or both)
  • Cotton balls
  • Thermometer and petroleum jelly (make sure you label the dog thermometer clearly)
  • Antibacterial ointment (mine includes benzocaine for pain relief)
  • Pads (as in feminine hygiene pads)- useful for women needing one in an emergency, but also as large bandages
  • Dog booties- for cuts or burns on the foot to keep them clean, or to protect feet when on sharp snow, ice, or rock, or on hot pavement or rock.
  • Ace bandages- great for both people and dogs
  • Multi-tool- Mine is a basic Leatherman that includes a knife and other basic options like scissors. Great for cutting bandages or digging out splinters.
  • Band-aids- for the people in the group
  • Muzzle- dogs can bite when scared or injured. Also good for if you find a dog running loose 
  • Spare leashes- I have the basic slip kind from vets' offices. They are great as an emergency leash, or as a quick muzzle as well. 
  • Poop bags- because you can never have too many
  • Shampoo- because you never know when your dog will roll in something foul smelling
  • Medications- this will depend on you and your dogs (make sure you include clear instructions on indications and dosing with each medication). A list of what I carry is:
    • Benadryl- for allergic reactions, or to take just in case, such as when stung by a bee.
    • Acepromazine- as an emergency sedative
    • Deramaxx - canine pain killer
    • Ibuprofen- human pain killer
Basically, that is my kit. I do add some things in there for different events (ask me about how make up sponges save a dog's carpal pads in flyball sometime). I would like to find and be able to add single dose saline capsules for flushing eyes, ears, and wounds. I need to restock my vet wrap, which is running low. I would like to add a small manual on emergency first aid for dogs. 

Is anything essential missing from my first aid kit?  (I do have my backcountry emergency kit as well, which is a separate kit included when we go on overnight trips or into the wilderness areas.) Anything you didn't think of but now plan on adding? What do you take along in your first aid kit?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Camera and Lenses

A number of people were asking this week about what lenses and camera I use for shooting pictures. First off, thank you all for the compliments. Secondly, I thought I would share with you what I use to shoot. The pictures in this post are all, with the exception of the last one, taken at the park yesterday when we had about an hour of sunshine peak out suddenly.

Canon 9578

Close to a year ago, I bought myself my first DSLR camera. I didn't have the money to go high tech with it, and didn't want to make a huge investment and then find out I didn't like the size of the camera, the hassle of changing lenses, or any thing else like that. (I'll say now, I needn't have worried!) To save some money, I chose to go through a wonderful local store that sells new and used camera equipment, Focal Point Photography in Dallas, Oregon. I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone in the Willamette Valley area looking for a new camera or equipment.

Canon 9583

The camera I bought was very basic, a Canon EOS Rebel XT. This camera is old enough to still use a CF card instead of SD. It has a very basic 8 megapixels and its maximum ISO is a very grainy 1600, making low light photography a bit difficult. It has been a great camera to learn on though.

Canon 9576

I bought the camera with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens. This fixed was the lens recommended to me after I described what I wanted to use the camera for most. To this day, the 50mm is my favorite lens. I use it way more than any other. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take pictures of pets or of dog sports in low light areas like barns if you can't afford to drop a few thousand dollars on a really nice lens. At a price point between 80 and 150 dollars for this lens, it is one of the cheapest you can buy. Both of these factors make it a must have in my book.

Canon 9582

The other lens I use the most often is my 70-300mm zoom lens. I had an older version of this lens for a long time, but decided to upgrade recently to the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD. The most obvious difference between this lens and my old tamron zoom is that this one has vibration control (also known as image stabilization). It is also a much nicer lens with better glass. I am still getting used to using it, though, and expect that by next summer's dock diving and lure coursing season, I will be ready to grab some amazing pictures with it.

Canon 9527

The 70-300 is a great range for taking pictures at a large park or of outdoor or well lit dog sports like lure coursing or dock diving. Being able to zoom in and out while staying in one place is really helpful in these situations, as with the 50, I have to move myself to zoom in or out. I think a longer range would be useful in lure coursing, but the price starts increasing a lot over 300mm, so it'll be a while before I get a chance to upgrade.

Canon 9496

The one other lens I own is not one I use very much. I decided over the summer that I wanted a wide angle lens for some tight situations where the 50 simply requires me to be too far away from the subject. I ended up going with what would have been the kit lens for the Rebel XT, the Canon 18-55. I don't use it very often, but it is a relatively cheap lens and can certainly be useful to fill those spaces left on the wide angle side of the lens range.

Canon 4111

If you are ever interested in exactly what lenses and settings were used for the pictures I take, you are welcome to click on the picture. It will take you to Flickr, where you will have the option in the "Actions" drop down menu to select "View EXIF info". If you click that, it will take you to a page that gives a lot of information about the photo, such as the camera, lens, focal length, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Collars

Here are the collars that will be available for the Giveaway winner to choose from. They are also available to purchase now if you don't want to take a chance on your favorite being gone by the time the giveaway is over, just email me. For reference, Koira is wearing a two inch wide collar, and Pallo is wearing a one and a half inch wide collar for Koira's birthday. 

(As collars are purchased, I will make a note in the description of the photo on Flickr. Just click on the picture to be taken to Flickr.)

One inch collars
One Inch Collars

One and a half inch collars
One and a half inch collars

Two inch collars
Two Inch Collars

Two inch and one inch collar webbing (for custom sizing/design options)
Two inch and one inch collar webbing

One and a half inch collar webbing (for custom sizing/design options)
1 1/2 inch collar webbing

Monday, December 10, 2012

Koira's Birthday Day (and a Giveaway!)

I think Koira enjoyed her birthday today. For breakfast, she got some greek yogurt, and then a Jack toy filled with crumbled cookies in her crate.

Canon 9318

After I got home from work, the real fun started. Short of going to the beach (and not getting there until an hour before dark), I thought Koira would have the most fun just going to the park. Before leaving, the dogs had a meal of venison, their first venison this year. Then, we headed off to the park to play. First, we set up and did her birthday "pupcake" at one of the picnic tables though.

Canon 9299

I made the pupcakes this weekend. They are a blend of peanut butter, pumpkin, eggs, garabanzo bean flour, and a little cinnamon. Both dogs are crazy about them, and even Martha stole one and ate the entire thing while I had them sitting out to cool. You know something must be good if even the cat likes it!

Canon 9310

Once the pupcakes were gone (don't worry, Pallo got one too), we went on our walk. Koira was all full of jazz and perhaps a little too bonkers. There was one woman who Koira body slammed three times, and I kept trying to say that we would walk faster and go ahead of her, but the woman wouldn't let us go! I did finally manage to get on ahead so that Koira would go play instead of fixating on the person's chuck-it.

Canon 9433

We ended up finding a bunch of other friendly, playful dogs to romp with. Koira also did some serious stick chewing, of course. And Jason did some tug-of-war with her.

Canon 9353

Canon 9421

Koira did get a bit impatient about the stick being thrown a few times. She sure can be demanding sometimes. I'm just glad she is so mellow at home. I don't really care how loud and demanding she is at the park.

Canon 9338

And even Pallo agreed to wear a birthday hat to help celebrate Koira's fifth birthday. I don't normally go all over the top for birthdays, and focus a lot more on Gotcha Days, but for some reason, 5 seems like a landmark of some kind, like she just turned 21 and can have her first drink or something.

Canon 9324

Now for the fun part for all of you! Giveaway time.

Do you see those festive collars Pallo and Koira are wearing in the pictures from today? I don't really call them Christmas collars, because they can pretty much work all winter long. They are more of a holiday/winter collar. And one of you will get to win one! The particular designs worn by my dogs are just the ones I chose for them. I have a small selection of already made collars that the winner can choose from, or else a selection of partly completed collars that can be made to more custom collar lengths.

To enter, just leave a comment on this post and fill out the entries in the Rafflecopter below. (Sorry, only open to US and Canada due to shipping costs.) The winner will be contacted on Saturday the 15th and will have 24 hours to reply. If they do not reply within this time frame, a new winner will be selected. Collars are also available to purchase if you don't want to take your chances on winning one! Just email for more information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Baby Girl!

Koira, my little Martini Girl, is turning five tomorrow. I can't believe it.

Here is the picture of Koira that was posted on Craigslist. I was a college student living in an apartment that didn't allow animals. I already had a cat who wasn't allowed, had ended a bad relationship a couple months earlier, and felt like getting a puppy. I didn't do the research or careful planning that I should have done. But this face was irresistible to me.

This next picture is one of the only two pictures, along with the one above, that I have of Koira before I brought her home. I have no other pictures of her first 8 weeks of life, so these are truly her baby pictures.

Little one and sibling

The day I picked Koira up. This picture has made it onto the blog a number of times. I celebrate Koira's Gotcha Day every year, and this is her Gotcha Day picture. She was a squirming little bundle of high energy puppy, smelling of puppy breath and faintly of pee. I had not planned to get a puppy, and had no idea of the adventures that were to come. Koira was the first of the litter of 6 puppies to go to her new home. I was so torn between them all (especially the other tri color, a male), but in the end, it just had to be her.


And Koira, bundled in her first sweater (which barely fits on a grown human's arm it is so tiny!), sleeping the day away. I believe this is the day she got her first round of puppy shots. She was wiped out for the entire day, poor thing.


Don't you just love the white on her nose? As an adult, the only white left is a few spots inside her nostrils, but as a pup, her nose was all spotty and adorable.


This was Koira's first doggie friend. A friend of mine in college saw my new puppy and just had to have one of her own. She picked this little girl up a couple weeks after I got Koira, and they played together regularly.

Tug of war

Koira used to fit on my shoulder. Who'd have imagined?


Our first trip to the beach. Koira has always loved the beach beyond reason. I love the total joy in her when we get out on the sand, and I can't resist running and playing with her all over again, just like she was still a little puppy.

My darling little girl. I can't believe you are turning five years old. And I can't believe how far we have come together.