the Huber Family creative site

One of Mikaela’s long standing dreams is to be more involved with dogs. Shortly after we moved to Houston, she began researching Houston organizations that allowed 12 year olds to volunteer. The only one that she was able to find was Poodle Rescue of Houston. After we purchased our Houston home, we discovered that Poodle Rescue of Houston was located very nearby, in fact about 100 yards as the crow flies; slightly longer if you aren’t allowed to climb a fence to get into the back end of the property.

Poodle Rescue of Houston currently has over 140 dogs that they are looking after (in a facility geared toward handling 70 dogs). Last year they adopted out over 500 dogs, pretty much all with a reasonable cost to the adopters, so they are not giving the dogs away, but are trying to ensure they are going to good homes.

A couple of Saturdays ago, Daelynn (who apparently also likes dogs), Mikaela and myself (Ben) attended the monthly volunteer orientation session. It turns out that 12 year olds can volunteer, but need a parent with them until they are 14 years of age, which resulted in me filling out the volunteer form as well. We will probably be going a couple of times a week for volunteer work with the dogs. This consists primarily of taking dogs from their cages to a larger area, letting them run, and then petting and cuddling them for a while.

Here are some pictures from our first volunteer and training visit. (Lori had to go too due to the need for adult supervision).
Mikaela with dog
Lori and DDaely
picture of young lady with dog

Pop quiz, what is the plural of “redux”?

An alternate post title that I was considering was “A few of my favorite dogs”, so those of you who are hyper-grammatic can consider that to be the name of this post.

Very last, last, last dog show post I promise. I wanted to post some of the pictures of the dogs that I really liked (and took pictures of). Early at the dog show, before we found out that visitors weren’t allowed to stand in the shade provided for participants, I chatted a bit with a gal who had an Italian Greyhound. It was a very fast, but fragile looking dog. One of the things that she talked about with the breed is that they have to be kept on a leash at all times when being walked. If they see a rabbit or some other distraction, they are gone like a shot – and that the biggest cause of death for the breed was being hit by cars.

picture of English Sheepdog
Can you say “groom-ing”?
picture of terrier
picture of black wooly dog
french name, likely over-heating dog

All right, that’s it – no more dogs, well – until we start posting pictures of Bailey and Oliver, who we’re likely to bump into on our upcoming vacation.

This is the last post in the agility dog series, and I’ve saved the toughest two elements until last.  Those elements, using my un-official but possibly close to reality names, are the sitting platform and the weaving poles.

I don’t have a picture of the sitting platform, but it was a black platform about two feet by two feet that was about four inches off the ground.  It was situated about half-way through the course, and when the dogs got to it, they had to jump up and it and sit down, in a fully down position – stomach on the floor.  Then the course official counted to 5 and when the count was complete it was off to the next obstacle.  It appeared that one of the rules was that the trainer could not touch the dog at all during the whole run, so in this case they sort of had to cajole the dog to lie down for those dogs who didn’t quite get it.  Most of the dogs took a few seconds to sit properly.  Oh, and if they popped up during the count, the count started over once they were back in the proper position.

picture of whippet dog
the weaving whippett

And then it was on to the weaving poles.  I didn’t count, but there was 10 to 12 of them.  The dogs had to start on a particular side (I’m thinking it might have been the right side, because I just flipped a coin to help me remember, and it came up heads) and then weave back and forth between the poles.  Any missed poles resulted in them going back to the start and trying it again.  I’m guessing that this took quite a bit of training – some dogs had it down pat, other ones needing extra cajoling and a couple of restarts.

picture of dog on agility course
a poodle zipping through the bars

And that was it for the obstacle/agility course – unless Mikaela wants to add anything.  On the exercise front, the trainers got way more exercise than the dogs as they had to run the course with the dog and point to the next obstacle, and sometimes say what needed to be done.  Most of the trainers were in need of additional training.

Of our trip to the dog show at Spruce Meadows, Here are some of my favorite photos:

I love this picture because He’s just clearing the smallest setting on the jump.
this one I got a perfect shot of the tire.
And the weave poles were a minor source of problems for big dogs.

I enjoyed our trip to the dog show immensely.

There were two different dog obstacle courses at the dog show, one of which was more basic in nature (having only tunnels, jumps, and the weave poles), the other had quite a variety of equipment.  Two of those equipment pieces are the A-frame and the teeter-totter.

picture of dog on agility course
The A-Frame obstacle

The A-Frame is a tepee shaped walkway – probably 6 feet high (although I didn’t go onto the course to measure it) which the dog must go up one side, possibly halt at the top (not sure if this is necessary but they all seemed to do so) and then walk down the other side.  It’s not quite as steep as this head-on picture shows, but was still pretty steep.

picture of dog on obstacle course
Down goes the teeter-totter

The teeter totter apparatus is similar to that in playgrounds.  The dog needs to walk up it, wait until it teeters downward and touches and then is allowed to proceed.

There was another apparatus, the dog walk, that I didn’t get any pictures of.  It was the dog walk, which was like a balance beam (wide enough for all the dogs to walk on, no matter what size) with a ramp leading up to it and leading down.

The dogs that we watched all went through these apparatus without any trouble (except for a couple who were easily distracted and tried to avoid the teeter-totter).  It was fun watching them do so.

Here are a couple of the pictures that we took at the doggie obstacle course last weekend.

picture of dog jumping through hoop
A terrier of some sort jumping through a ring of some sort

This particular obstacle was a hoop that the dogs had to jump through.  Between each group/size of dogs, there were people who went out and adjusted the heights of the jumping obstacles.

picture of a collie jumping over a fence
A beautiful collie clearing a jump