23 April 2013

Vizsla Fashionistas

It's getting hot in Phoenix! Our temps are reaching the low 90's this week! 

And our patio is a heat trap since it faces West so it can really get hot!! These are the indoor and outdoor temperatures at 6:37 PM on April 21. The outdoor temp is the shade temperature!

So out have come the canine cool coats, the visors and the shades for our walks! The shades are a new acquisition since Tyro's visor isn't long enough to cover his eyes.  The sun is very bright and the UV rays are strong here.  I bought one pair of doggie shades at the Phoenix Pet Expo to see how they would work.  They are supposed to protect against UV rays.  I think Tyro needs a larger pair of shades judging from how they are sitting on his face.  I'm wondering if I can make them up myself now that I have a pair to see how they are constructed.  Good ol' Velcro, of course!

Anyway, our Vizslas are the best outfitted dogs in town!!! And of course, people think I am weird 'dressing' my dogs up in the heat.  No one here seems to know about canine cool coats!  But my dogs are a constant source of comments, smiles and attractions and people stop and ask me, "where are their hats?" if they don't have them on.

L-R: Diva, Tyro, Miska

21 April 2013

Phoenix Pet Expo

Yesterday, Miska was one of several dogs doing demos for our local Jumping Chollas Agility Club at the Phoenix AZ Pet Expo.This was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium (a HUGE facility) where the AZ Cardinals play and where the Super Bowl has been held.

The stadium from a distance (looks like a mushroom)

Inside the stadium

This was our first time attending this fair. I've been to one other pet fair in the Phoenix area & it wasn't very good.  This one was a little better because it had agility and dock diving demos but the vendors leave a LOT to be desired.  And it's only a one-day affair.  The organizers should come to Toronto Canada to Woofstock or the All About Pets Show to see what great shows are like.  These ones in Phoenix would rate a 2 / 10 (IMO) compared to the Toronto Shows which I would rate 8/10.

Setting up our tiny agility field the day before the show
Anyway, Miska and I helped our agility club out by doing demos and I helped members of the public put their dogs through some the agility obstacles. I was planning to bring Diva too but after I saw how huge the facility was and how far I would have to lug a wire crate (since I only have 1 softsided crate and I don't have a dolly here) and how small our agility demo course was (way too small for a big jumping dog like Diva) I decided that Diva should stay at home.  So it was just us ol' girls at the Pet Expo.  The people and other dogs as well as the indoor facility didn't faze Miska at all but it was shocking how many dogs, including very young puppies, were fearful of strangers and other dogs and very stressed by all the new sights, sounds and smells. But people tell me there are very few indoor facilities and events in Phoenix to acclimate their dogs to these circumstances.  Sure makes a difference when one buys a puppy from a reputable breeder who ensures her puppies are exposed to so many different aspects of normal living so that the pups grow up to become confident and well-adjusted adults!!!  (Hint - that breeder is ME!!)

Here are some scenes from the Pet Expo.

Miska waiting at the start line
Here's one of Miska's runs.  She was much better the first time! This time she refused the tunnel and a hoop for some reason.  Hoops are featured in NADAC agility (N. American Dog Agility Council) and my agility club is a NADAC affiliated club.   A few members of the furry public peed on the weaves so some of the demo dogs were a little slow going through them.  I was surprised Miska didn't stop and sniff the weaves but she didn't, TG.  (The bulge in my behind - other than my uh-hum, large backside - is her leash which I stuffed there!)

Miska posing with a baby reticulated python

This baby will grow to about 30 feet as an adult!!

Trying on doggie shades

Fellow club member with his dog on course


19 April 2013

Yogurt faces

Mmmmmm, we LOVE yogurt!

Miska - Mom, I want the container!

Diva's tasty snout

New punk look?

The girls are messy - I'm neat!

8 April 2013

Staying indoors today

Today, much (all?) of Arizona is getting high winds. Back in Canada when this happens we worry about white-outs in winter, downed trees, and blowing debris which of course, can be extremely dangerous causing accidents, downed power lines and creating property damage and occasional deaths. That happens in AZ too but most of the trees in the desert are not nearly as tall and as large as trees in Canada.  Mind you, if a tall Sahuaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) happens to fall on you, it will kill you because of its weight and the sharp thorns. Instead of white outs, we get 'brown outs" which are dust storms and they can be as dangerous as white-outs when you're driving.

High winds in AZ stir up dust - a LOT of dust - because most of the state lies within a desert and where we happen to live is in the middle of a desert area. The largest dust storms, Haboobs, are forces to be reckoned with.(NOTE: we are NOT getting a Haboob today but take a look at the video to see what one is like.)

September 6th, 2012 Phoenix Haboob/Dust Storm from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Today, we (I) decided against going for a walk and remaining indoors instead.  Wimps?  Uh-uh. While the picture below (taken from our backyard) just looks like they are clouds, they're not.  There are clouds high up but all the stuff at the horizon is dust and the dust is completely obliterating our view of the distant mountains on the R side of this picture.

Why avoid a little dust?  Well, here in AZ, wind storms do a lot more than stir up dust.  They do an excellent job of blowing bacteria and contagious fungi around the air.  During and shortly after the storms, people - and dogs and other pets - are likely to breathe in the contaminated air.  What we do NOT want to inhale are the Valley Fever fungi (Coccidioidomycosis) which can cause serious health issues - fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms. And it is very, very expensive to treat.  Dogs comprise the majority of Valley Fever cases in animals. In 2011 there were 16,472 human cases of Valley Fever statewide, out of a population of  6,553,255. Peronslally I have know of a dog in our neighbourhood that contracted Valley Fever as well as two Vizslas owned by one of my clients in California and two people I know who live in or visited AZ have also inhaled the fungi and have the disease. So on this high winds day, we have opted to stay indoors and snooze and play games.  Better safe than sorry.

3 April 2013

Miska's treasures

I suppose the truth really is that Miska is a scavenger although I prefer to refer to her as having a great nose.  She really does have a great nose and is a terrific hunter so I never know what she will find - and bring back to me. On a couple of recent walks in Arizona, she found some bones, 2 femurs and a scapula, which look like they are from wild burros.  We don't have deer in the area - at least I have never spotted any - but we certainly have wild burros and spotted a couple when I was walking the dogs.

Miska with her scapula

Miska guards her treasure from Tyro

Burro femur bone

Wild burros are the descendants of burros released by old time gold and silver prospectors who didn't find these minerals in the area north of Phoenix and so abandoned their animals. These animals surprised everyone by surviving in the desert.  They are now protected on public land and have no natural predators. Sadly, some of them have been deliberately shot and killed by stupid people with guns - a section of society which abounds in Arizona.