Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

Oh my goodness, I haven't blogged for 83 days!  Back on October 11th, 2013 Athena confessed about how busy I've been with work and therefore the blog dropped to the bottom of the agenda.  But, I knew that I needed to get back on here (I'm not making any promises that you'll see me anytime soon after this post) to reflect on the year 2013 and set some goals for 2014.

Christmas 2013

Last year around this time B and I set some goals for Athena to accomplish during 2013.  Here's how things went:


  1. Canine Good Citizen- We plan to have Athena CGC tested around her second birthday in July 2013. WOO!  Athena earned her CGC title on August 10th, 2013!  Check it out here.

  1. Obedience- Along with earning her CGC, Athena has some training commands that still need some improvement including drop it, take it, hold, and settle.  Athena is a professional at the "drop it" command now thanks to flyball.  Instead of "take it," Athena learned a solid "tug" and we're still working on "hold" and "settle" =)
  2. Reactivity- Athena has some reactivity issues around strange noises, new people (sometimes), skateboards, people wearing funny hats, etc.  We plan to train Athena to be less sensitive in these situations.  In 2013 Athena definitely improved with some of her reactivity.  She is still nervous around certain new people, but she has overcome her reactivity to skateboards which was quite the feat!
  3. Jogging- It is our goal that Athena will learn to jog/run with us as a way for us to keep with our exercise goals for the year.  Currently Athena thinks that it's time to sprint whenever we attempt to jog...  Athena is now an awesome jogging buddy and has learned how to run at the same pace as her humans.  She even ran with me in two 5K races this year seen here and here.
  1. New Tricks- We would love for Athena to learn some new tricks this year including putting away her toys, roll over, and being a beer maid (B insisted that I include this one because he would like for Athena to deliver him beers...yeeeaaahhhh right).  We attempted to teach Athena how to put away her own toys on multiple occasions, but she just wasn't that into it.  We did however teach her to roll over.  And to B's dismay, Athena did not learn how to deliver him a beer.
Dog Sports:
  1. Intro to Flyball Class- We have decided that we will take a break from obedience classes and jump into the world of dog sports.  Although we don't plan to compete with Athena in flyball, we think that taking a class will be a great confidence builder for her and will help her to practice staying calm in the presence of other dogs.  It's funny to think that one year ago we were just getting ready to take our first flyball class and we didn't think we'd ever compete with Athena in the sport.  Well, here we are now almost a year later and Athena has joined a flyball club and has competed in multiple tournaments this year.  She loves flyball so much and I'm SO glad that we found our team.  It's just what Athena and I both needed.  Check out some of our posts about flyball here, here, and here.
  1. Rally & Agility- I would love for Athena to also give rally and agility a go sometime during 2013!  Although we haven't officially tried rally and agility to its full extent, Athena did try out both of these dog sports as well as weight pull, nosework, freestyle, and lure coursing in 2013.  Read about it here, here, and here.

As we move into 2014 I have only a couple of goals for Athena which include:
  1. Loving- I want Athena to continue doing the things that she absolutely loves which include flyball, trips to the park, long naps in her human's bed, eating, and snuggling.  I'm sure we'll have no problem accomplishing this goal =)
  2. Learning- I don't want to set a number of skills or tricks that I'd like Athena to learn in the coming year, but I do want to make it a goal that she actually continues to learn despite her parent's busy lives.  We recently started working on "paw" which Athena is loving and I have my clicker all ready to begin teaching an actual "hold" command.  I also REALLY want to officially take an intro to agility class this year.
Photo via Bobbie Lyons of Pawsitive Performance
With that we wish you a very happy new year!  What are your goals for 2014?

Friday, October 11, 2013

As Told by Athena: Busy Ladies

Hi Guys!  Athena here.  You're probably wondering where this little brindle butt has been because she has totally been slacking on her blogging duties lately (ok....let's be honest, it's been like a month)!  Well friends, I've been a busy lady and so has my mom.

Mom and I take a second out of our busy schedules to pose for a photo last weekend
Mom comes home every night and says that life is crazy in the garden with her 31 gardeners.  I don't get how gardening could be so difficult, but apparently it's hard when the gardeners are only 5 years old...and when there are 31 of them.  Mom says she's a bad blogger because she promised one blog post a week, but she didn't even succeed at that.  She hopes that you all understand that gardening has taken over her life for the time being.

My mom's busyness means that my social life has soared through the roof!  That's right.  I get to go to my favorite doggie daycare THREE days a week now!  Mom says this makes for one super duper tired Bean every night, but it also makes for lots of cute picture in my mom's inbox.

I'm also still flyballin' regularly at practice and I recently raced in two tournaments.  One of the tournaments was held at a big ole' doggie event where there were agility demos and a lure course set up.  Mom paid $3 for me to give lure coursing a try, but she wasn't sure if I'd be interested in chasing a silly little plastic bag around.  Of course, this Bean thought that lure coursing was the most fun thing in the whole wide world!  After my turn was over I kept trying to pull my mom back to the course for another run, so she gave in and paid another $3 to let me do it again.  Mom says she sees lure coursing in my future.

Flyball is still my most favorite extra curricular activity and I'm getting pretty good at it with all of this practice that I do every week.  I'm even now known as a FDCh-S which stands for "Flyball Dog Champion Silver" because I've won over 1,000 points at tournaments!

So yeah, that's a little update on the life of the Bean.  I really miss all of my doggie friends out there and I'm so sorry that my mom has let gardening take over her life.  As you can see though, I don't mind one bit because it means that I get to play with my doggie friends more often!

What's up with you guys?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One of Athena's Biggest Fans

Over the summer Athena has discovered a new favorite location to frequent that includes a constant game of ChuckIt launching and all of the love and attention she could ever desire.  Really though, Athena is only interested in the ChuckIt, and accepts the love and attention in between games of fetch only because we require her to take breaks.  This new favorite location happens to be my grandma's house and is one of the last places that I ever thought Athena would fall in love with.

You see, even though my grandma and I are extremely close, I'm pretty sure she thought I'd lost my mind a year ago.  I remember telling her over the phone that B and I had gone out and adopted a pit bull.  My grandma couldn't believe what I'd done because, "don't you know that one day she's going to snap?!"  Yes, my grandma used to be someone who gave into the crazy pit bull myths much like most of the population.

It must have been at least a month before my grandma actually met Athena in person.  Athena and I had been on an outing walking around Laurellhurst Park and popping into local pet shops when I all of a sudden had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad.  I didn't want to leave Athena in the car while I ran into a store to use the restroom, so I called my grandma who lived only a few minutes away and asked if she'd keep an eye on Athena in my car while I used her bathroom.

When I arrived at my grandma's house I did the potty dance and explained to my grandma that she wouldn't even have to meet Athena because I knew she was afraid.  My grandma decided that she'd be ok to hold Athena's leash in the house while she waited for me.  When I got out of the bathroom I found my grandma escorting Athena around the house on leash and telling her all about the house.

From then on Athena slowly began to visit my grandma's house with me here and there.  When Christmas came along Athena was even invited to my grandma's house for our Christmas Eve celebration.  My grandma has become one of Athena's biggest fans and dedicated blog followers.  Every conversation with my grandma now includes an update on Athena and a discussion about when she will visit next.

For Labor Day we visited my grandma's house and Athena spent the afternoon lounging in the spacious yard and enjoying LOTS of time with her ball.  I know that Athena is going to be sad when the weather starts to change and she's no longer able to play ball in the yard, but I actually think it's my grandma who will miss Athena's visits the most!

*Thank you to everyone who took last week's poll!  I'm glad that so many of you enjoy reading about Athena's everyday happenings!"

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back-to-School, Blogiversary, and a Poll

I wish that every one of my recent blog posts didn't start with, "sorry I've been blog slackin'," but unfortunately they all do.  The past month I've focused my attention on things other than the blog, but I'm determined not to let my new job completely take over my life.  I love everything that has come from this blog over the past year including all of the friends that I've made and the outlet that it's provided me to write about all of Athena's successes and challenges.

I'm a bit disappointed that I missed the blog's one-year anniversary.  It was on August 13th.  Back when I started the blog I set a goal that I wanted to continue blogging for at least one year.  Well, I've made it to one year and I'm still amazed at what a following the blog has received.  I would hate to stop blogging all together since it does bring me so much joy, but I feel that I need to officially admit that I won't be writing as regularly as I have in the past.

As I prepare for back-to-school, my plan is to blog once a week during the upcoming months.  I know it's not much, but hopefully it will keep me somewhat connected to the blogging community.  Aside from a once-a-week blog post, I will of course post pictures and updates more frequently on our Facebook page.

So, today's post is my one for this week.  It's a mish-mosh of admitting that I don't have as much time for the blog as I did in the past, realizing that I missed our one-year blog anniversary, my new plan for posting once per week, AND some great photos taken last Friday during Athena's "last day of summer vacation" trip to 1000 Acres Dog Park with some of her Flyball buddies.

While the blog may be taking a break from explaining every last detail of Athena's life, I can assure you that Athena's day-to-day will continue to be jam packed with fun and excitement just as it did over the past year.  Just because I'm not writing about it doesn't mean that it's not happening =)  Athena will be as spoiled as ever.

I would really appreciate it if you'd be so kind as to take a quick poll about what you'd most like to read about on the blog in the future:

What kinds of posts would you most like to read on the blog for our new once-per-week posting schedule? free polls 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Who's a Canine Good Citizen?

Athena is!

If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have told you that Athena was far from ever passing the AKC's Canine Good Citizen test.  She was simply naughty with a capital N.  But, within the last year we've trained and trained and trained some more.  Athena's training has included Basic Obedience, Beginning Canine Life and Social Skills, Intro to Flyball I & II, Canine Good Citizen Prep, and she's currently enrolled in a K9 Conditioning class.  Not to mention the countless hours of at-home training, out-and-about training, and additional flyball training that have all helped Athena to gain confidence which is something that she didn't walk out of the shelter with one year ago.

Photo via Personal Beast

On Saturday afternoon, Athena showed off her mad skills to the CGC test evaluator and passed her Canine Good Citizen test!  Almost all parts of the test went off without a hitch (check out the elements of the CGC test here if you're unfamiliar).  The one part that I was most nervous about was the part that we had an initial fumble on.  Athena was a bit too excited during the "reaction to another dog" segment.  She tried to pull towards the dog to get a sniff and struggled to keep her attention on me (really though, I had no treats so I couldn't really compete with the other dog!).  She was able to retest this section of the test at the end and was luckily much more calm and collected.  I couldn't be more proud of my girl for passing her CGC!

Congrats, Bean!  You are my rockstar!  Now we need to think about our next training goals...any suggestions?!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Love It: Custom Pet Shop Portrait of Bean!

A few days ago my mailbox was filled with one of the best packages that I have ever received IN MY WHOLE LIFE!  The package was a small square box with the word 'yay' stamped on the side.  This was enough to get me to jump up in the air and literally shout "YAY!"  From stalking other dog bloggers, I knew exactly what was inside my exciting box as soon as I saw it.

Photo via Yellow Brick Home
Ohhhh, yes!  Inside my itty bitty package was an itty bitty custom portrait of the one and only itty bitty Bean!  I ordered my custom portrait back when Emily at Our Waldo Bungie shared her portraits of Turk and Rufus (and so kindly offered a 10% off discount to The Pet Shop).  At that time I had been majorly lusting over my very own custom portrait of Athena, but I knew that I wanted to order it specifically for a special occasion.  The time was right, and I planned Athena's portrait to arrive around her one-year gotcha day.

If any of you have been on the fence about ordering one of Kim's custom pet portraits from The Pet Shop, I urge you to click this link right here and get your custom order placed!  Seriously, I am ECSTATIC about how perfect Athena's portrait turned out.  Every time I look at it I have to pinch myself because it's just so beautiful.  When I ordered the portrait I knew that Kim would work her magic and produce an amazing product, but I had no idea that it would be SO absolutely perfect.

Not only did Kim capture Athena's personality, but she also showcased her brindle fur and made it look soft enough to touch.  Every time I look at the portrait I am stunned at how well Kim painted Athena's pouty bottom lip, her little white feet, her signature collar and flower, as well as her floppy pittie ears.  The attention to detail is amazing.

An added bonus to our order was that Kim and Scott brought Athena's portrait along with them to an event right before shipping it off to us.  Athena was on display for all to see what amazing work these two do!

Photo via Yellow Brick Home
So if my ranting and raving still hasn't persuaded you to order your very own custom pet portrait, then you might want to check out some other custom portraits that have been commissioned by other bloggers so that you can see more of Kim's amazing work:

Adventures of a Dog Mom: Boomer & Dottie
Our Waldo Bungie: Turk & Rufus
Oh Melvin: Melvin & Jake
And Foster Makes Five: Gaige
Love and a Six-Foot Leash: Chick, Bug, & the Fosters

Is it just me, or is Athena's custom portrait the spitting image of her?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Unexcused Absence

Ok, I'm just going to admit it.  School supplies, picture books, and garage sales have taken over my life and therefore I haven't had time to blog (hence the lack of posts in over a week).  Many of you already know from Facebook, but I am the lucky recipient of a brand new job!  Come September I will be teaching Kindergarten!  This will be a bit of a change from my crazy life as a substitute teacher, but it will be a much welcomed change.  Not only will I be tying lots of shoes and offering tissues by the handful, but I will probably also be fairly sporadic in my blogging.  But don't you worry, Athena will be just as spoiled as ever AND I plan to tell lots of Athena stories to the class.

Over the weekend I took a break from school supply shopping and we attended an especially fun event with our flyball team.  We all dressed up in our best Flying Underdogs attire and marched in the Freemont Street parade with one of our favorite local pet stores, Green Dog Pet Supply.

Athena practiced her manners in front of dogs, kids, horses, and lots, and lots of people.  It was great preparation for her Canine Good Citizen test which has finally been scheduled for this coming Saturday the 10th (fingers crossed that she passes)!

There were so many highlights to our fun outing, one of which was all of the time we got to spend with this totally adorable puppy (she will soon be up for adoption through MCAS):

Puppy Frankie, Athena, and their friends Roo and Henry all had a blast together and even got to share some doggie ice cream treats after the parade.

Henry even won 3rd place in the dog costume contest!

Before we started flyball, Athena's only friends were her daycare buddies.  Now she has lots of flyball friends to hang out with!

Do you live in the Portland area and want to give flyball a try?  We'd LOVE to meet you and your dog and I'm sure Athena would be up for showing you her flyball skills.  Check out our flyball team, the Flying Underdogs, for info on starting a flyball class.