Shine and the Snakes!

This story happened during this past Christmas season – the day after to be exact. I sent it to a few people and posted to my yahoo group – and the feedback I received was a big factor in starting Shine’s blog. I had not posted this story on the blog, as I felt a lot of people had seen it already. However, I’ve had a few people ask to read it again and a request to post it to the blog. So, if you’ve already seen this, you can stop reading. If not, I hope you enjoy one of my first “Shine” stories.

The Lowe’s in our area has a rule that allows you to bring a dog into the store – if it is being carried or rides in the shopping cart. Until this point in time, I didn’t have a dog that would be comfortable in that situation. But, then I didn’t have Shine before. I wasn’t sure she would actually stay in the cart – as she can bounce up and down; off and on; through or over just about anything including air. She doesn’t seem to pay a lot of attention to things like gravity. Shine has mastered staying in a chair during agility and K-9 Scentwork classes and actually exhibits a tad of “self control” so I thought it was worth a try. So, I brought a small crate pad for the bottom of the cart – drove to Lowe’s for the “day after Christmas sale,” We pulled a cart from the outside cart rack and I took her for a test drive in the parking lot. She was just fine with being in the cart, and sat right down and got used to the movement. She was curious about her surroundings – but certainly not worried or stressed. So, we were good to go!”

Now, anyone that knows Shine – knows that she is delighted with life – and delighted with anything that adds to her life – no matter how big or small. And, anyone that knows Shine also knows the girl loves squeaky toys – and usually has one in her mouth – working it for maximum noise that if done just right- one toy can make a continuous stream of squeaks with varying pitches that go from highly irritating to downright trauma – for the person listening – as well as the toy. Well, once you know this, you’ll soon see how the trip to Lowe’s after Christmas sale turned out to be a fun adventure for Shine. As we entered the store- she was so delighted at riding in the cart and looking around with wonder at everything! And then if that weren’t enough – things went from great to extremely wonderful in a short time!

Who knew that Lowe’s carried Shine’s favorite squeak toy! The toy is a snake that advertised as “Invincible.” The snake consists of 3 segmented sections -each with a large squeaker. The toy makers promote that even if punctured – the squeaker still works. There is no stuffing in this snake – which is why I think they say it is invincible. It is one of Shine and her Border collie sister’s very favorite toys, and if they each have one –they create quite an orchestra. However, they long ago proved that the toy is not completely indestructible as the name implies – but it is a bit tougher than the average toy and well worth the $12 price tag. I picked up a couple last Spring on a good sale at one of the big chain pet stores, and when I saw what a hit they were, I wished I had bought several more. These particular snakes were ALMOST the same – they were the same brand – but someone decided to sew a little red Santa hat and print a “Christmas” label for them. Now the addition of the Santa hat is moving even further away from” invincible” because that little hat is not attached to that snake’s head with more than a few threads. (Ask me how I know?) Still, under that little hat is the same green or orange snake that we have come to love. Now, what is the big deal about the little Santa hat? Well, it makes it “seasonal” and makes it eligible for the 50% Day After Christmas Sale! The snakes were already marked down 30% and 50% off that made those snakes – if not invincible – then certainly irresistible – so, I did what any good dog mother would do and loaded them all in the cart.

Well, you already know who was in that cart and who was already extremely delighted with themselves- and over the next 20 minutes or so everyone in Lowe’s or in the parking lot – or within a mile radius found out who was in that cart!!!! Shine quickly shuffled those snakes around into a nest of snakes and soon as she grabbed one – she’d notice another and had to have that one. Then she’d see another and grab it. There were 14 snakes in that cart each with 3 segments with a squeaker -and she was playing them one after another testing each squeaker and each snake sometimes two at a time. She reminded me o f a talent show where I watched a contestant play the hand bells to a fast song. It was amazing how quick they picked up, rang, and set down those bells. The difference between the hand bell player and Shine’s technique, however, was that the bells actually made pleasant noises and a real song. Shine is a very artistic as well as enthusiastic creature – but she definitely has her very own interpretation of what does – and doesn’t sound good. And, one thing Shine is consistent in is that if it is loud – it must be good.

Now, we’ve all been in a store or other public place where a bored kid was misbehaving and playing a horn or knocking something around, or making an irritating noise – and you’d like to strangle the little urchin -or perhaps the mother or father who seem immune to the noise and are allowing their child to exhibit that particular “self-expression” in public. As we rolled through the store with the wails of tormented and dying snakes – we got a few really dirty looks our way from people expecting to see some small child in that cart that they’d like to snuff out or at least take the toy away. But, with few exceptions – when they saw what was making the noise – they relaxed and smiled and watched her joy in playing with her snakes. Shine was giving “feel good” moments to all around her. We soon had a couple kid’s tailing us through the store. It was certainly easy to find us! A few people stopped to talk to Shine – not to me – but her. She greeted everyone with a cute impish grin – a quick wag of the tail – and went back to tormenting the snakes.

But, the story isn’t over…. When we got to the checkout, the shopping cart was pushed up against the counter. The clerk had to confirm that the snakes were eligible for the 50% discount on Christmas merchandise as they were not in the discount aisle. I was quick to point out that they were certainly “seasonal” as they had a Christmas label and Santa hats sewn on. Plus I mentioned that they weren’t exactly “invincible” as promised either – and to prove both points, I picked up 3 loose Santa hats from the bottom of the cart. If those snakes thought they would be safe dressed as Santa – they had another thing coming! In addition, I said to mention to the manager that had to be consulted – that I was buying all the snakes they had in stock.

The clerk had to scan a bar code to start the process, and while she needed only one of the fourteen snakes to scan, wouldn’t you know it – the snake she picked out was the exact one Shine wanted. Shine would jump up and snatch it out of her hand and duck back down in the cart with that snake. “No problem,” the clerk said – “They all have the same numbers – I can use any of them.” What the clerk didn’t understand-or maybe she did -and was just having fun – was that any snake that left the cart was the exact one Shine wanted. The clerk would pick up a snake, and as she’d lift it out of the cart – BAM! Shine stuck fast as a snake – at the snake -and had it back in the card and screaming before you could blink. Another helpful clerk came to see Shine -and tried to outsmart her. While clerk one took a snake to scan, clerk two tried to take a “decoy” snake and divert her attention! Well, they must have thought Shine rode into town on a turnip truck – and not realizing she lives in a household that includes 2 extremely greedy shelties and 3 obsessive and compulsive and cunning border collies! – Shine had both the snakes back in the cart before the clerks knew what hit them. After we all had a few minutes of laughing – I finally held her while the clerk removed one snake from the cart. Shine was appalled and glared at the clerk and the snake – and if I had loosened my grip at all, Shine and the snake would once again be back in the shopping cart! When I picked her up – I realized there were several people gathered around watching her. Now, I suspect that the lines had built up as the clerks were moving slow as they were watching Shine keeping her snake nest intact. But, most of them were smiling – so I don’t think they really minded.

I tucked Shine into her crate in the car – surrounded by her 14 snakes and we rode home……to the accompaniment of what I can only describe as tormented souls – the screaming of tortured and dying snakes. Darn – maybe they are invincible – the squeakers at least. Every one of them seems to be working just fine. I was wishing I had gone down one more aisle at Lowe’s and picked up one more thing – ear plugs!

So, Shine thinks Lowe’s is a pretty wonderful place and I don’t know exactly when we’ll go back – but it will be hard to live up to Shine’s first trip…But maybe not. Shine is now biting my toe and pulling off my sock. She seems almost as happy with my sock as with the snakes and other than an occasional wail (from me- as her teeth occasionally go a little too deep into my toe) it is certainly much quieter. In a few minutes she will fall asleep- perhaps with my toe still in her mouth. When you embrace life as hard as Shine does – you sleep well at night. How can you not love something that enjoys every moment of every day.

My New Year’s Resolution is to be more like Shine! No, not by tormenting snakes or people with loud noises – but by enjoying and appreciating more of the little moments – and finding joy in everyday things.

Nancy & Shine

A Day in the Life of Shine

A few people have said they were ready for another Shine post. We have been at a couple more shows since the last post and while we are making some progress, Shine is still more into having fun than working. That is just fine for now. She has finally, on Saturday managed to do the closed chute in a trial, however, she still cannot take the time to think about weaves. Just thinking about them give her the Zoomies! But, to redeem ourselves – for all those who think I am just paying $25 for her to have fun running around the ring and be cute – here is proof that “Stinkerbell” (her pet name) does indeed know how to do both the chute and the weaves! At some point and time it will all come together!

A friend and student of mine, Dede Day, put together this little video of Shine at home working, and playing – and being Shine! It was a little warm that day, but Shine still did a nice job – if not quite as fast.

Oh, and if you like the song, it is one of Dede’s own – and that is her singing it! I think it fits Shine perfect. How lucky are we to have such a talented friend!

Hope you enjoy!

Nancy & Shine

Not Shine’s Finest Hour

In agility, it is always fun and special to go into the agility ring those first few times with your dog – whether it is your first dog and first time around – or several dogs later and first time with this particular dog. Each dog is special and different. You never know – no matter how much you have prepared – how that little critter is going to perform. You may know that they are solid at home, or at least pretty solid – but you don’t know for sure how they are going to react to the environment and excitement of the real show. Sometimes you get an incredible run that will define who they are going to become. You might see greatness in the making. Sometimes…not so much…

Here is one of Shine’s first runs. Shine is still very “green” but she can do pretty well – especially in Jumpers with Weaves (minus the weaves). Notice I said Shine “can” do pretty well, because in this run, Shine decided to play around a bit. Shine, as you may have guessed by now, is a bit of a ham. She has learned to play the crowd. It is very hard to not crack up with laughter – and I did so on several occasions. This run has very little agility happening. Oh, she got a few of the jumps – and even a rear cross – but there were many more jumps that didn’t happen.

This is not a run that will define Shine’s agility career – at least I hope not!!!! But it is a run that shows a little terrier having a good time – and enjoying being out on the course. She was not distracted or sniffing the ground. She was staying right with me – on her own terms. Watching Shine enjoying her time in the limelight reminds me that agiltiy is suppose to be fun. It isn’t all about Qs perfect timing or the latest handling moves. It is about running beside your team mate (or in Shine’s case around her team mate) and enjoying those precious moments together. Shine’s video is one I will treasure much more than if she had a perfect run. It will make a wonderful video to show at her MACH party and make us all laugh once again. I also so enjoyed the comments of friends who were taping and standing close watching. I think there is an “Oh dear!” here and there as well as a few chuckles! All day people were coming up and saying they had seen Shine’s run and she certainly was having fun… Which was a polite way to not point out that as agility runs go – it was kind of a disaster. Also, I’ve been saying that Shine got more value for her entry fee than probably any other dog. While they may have run the course straight through and in the correct order – they may have run only 140 yards. Shine’s run was probably more like 750 yards when you count all the circles. That is pretty good value for my $25.

No, hopefully, this run will not define Shine’s agility career – but it certainly does define Shine as she is: a fun loving, free spirited, spontaneous and joyful little girl. We will have many opportunities for Qs and hopefully many years to run together. I hope I never lose the ability to laugh at her – or myself – and never take this sport too serious. It is way too easy, when you have a little success – to let that take you over. So, I hope you enjoy this calamity of an agility run. When I wrote this – I was thinking this was not Shine’s finest hour – but in thinking about it – and the reasons I enjoy her so much – maybe it is!

A Leap of Faith

It is good to have such passion for something that you are willing to throw caution to the wind – and reach for the stars. We should all have something that makes us feel that way – within reason. Take skydiving – that is something that some folks are quite passionate about – but most would agree that if you are going to go skydiving – before you throw caution (and yourself) to the wind – you should – at the very least – make sure you have a parachute (and, hopefully it is in good working condition!). You would think that would just be common sense – and for most people it would be. But, if you are not most people, and are in fact – a certain Parson’s Russell Terrier named Shine (and I suspect there some others just like her) well, she never lets common sense get in the way of good fun.
Shine has her own passion – toys! Shine has a deep-seated passion for toys. Well, actually, I’m not so sure it is the toy itself – it is possessing the toy. Shine believes in “The grass is always greener…” theory. If there is one thing better than the toy Shine currently has – it would be the toy someone else has – and NOTHING will do until Shine possesses that toy. Then she has to run around flaunting it and showing off how wonderful she is how great that toy is. If it is a squeak toy – all the better! And Shine can work a squeak toy and make it elicit the most pitiful and horrendous noises. She works it like a child’s first flute lesson! Noises that weren’t meant for human ears come forth!

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Back to the “leap of faith” and to the setting up the rest of this story. My house is rather tall. You would never know my house came on a truck (actually 2 trucks) because it is 3 stories tall. But, it did come on a truck (well 2 trucks). My house plans are that of a vacation home design that had a modified A-frame look to it. “What”, those that have seen my house might say – “Your house is NOT anything like an A-Frame!” I have to agree you are correct. But it was “suppose” to look like a modified A-frame vacation home. It was supposed to be set into the hillside just opposite of what it is – so the big picture windows at the end of the house would face and overlook the pasture. There would be a big deck leading out where I envisioned sitting drinking coffee each morning looking out over my domain. Well, the fact that there is a rock quarry across the street should have clued us in to how much and close the limestone bedrock is to the surface. To make a long story short – we hit rock so quickly in laying the basement foundation that it would have been major blasting and expense to dig into the hill that far, so we ended up turning the house around, so the longest side runs parallel to the hillside and required the least amount of excavation and dynamite! Now, the modified A-frame side is facing a way no one ever sees.

Well, that is nice – you think – but why am I telling you this???? Because now the front of the house, including the front door is WAY UP in the air! And the deck turned into a front porch that wraps around 3 sides of the house, and the front is WAY UP in the air! And, there are now 23 STEPS to get to my front door!!!! There were so many steps, we had to add a turn and a landing. With 23 steps, that certainly explains why no one ever goes to the front door? Here is a picture from 10 years ago of the house being finished. See the man on the ground…See how tall the porch is????

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Now, when it was finished, the deck was all nicely fenced with the type of slats that are close enough together to prevent small children and animals from accidentally falling through. (Note I said accidentally.) Now, when my house was new, it was so tall, it stuck out or the hillside like a sore thumb! So, to disguise the height of the house, I had planted multiple bushes which in 10 years time have grown well and are doing the trick. Look for yourself! You may not even realize how tall the house is now – unless you try to go up the 23 steps.

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But I regress….back to the story – again: When Shine came to live with us, our household had to adjust to having a new sibling. As any good parent, I tried to spend some quality “alone” time with each of the others. So, one day, about 2 weeks in, I decided to take my youngest border collie, Allie out to the field to play ball. Just Allie and I, as we had both experienced Shine’s obsession with possessing the toys. Allie needed to have me and the toy to herself for a while. So, Allie and I came out the basement door (actually we snuck out) leaving Shine, 2 other border collies and 2 shelties in the back yard. We snuck out the basement, as we never use the front steps either (Are you crazy – there are 23 steps!) So, Allie and I snuck out of the basement – or so we thought. Now, here comes the place (if you haven’t already guessed) where you’ll realize why I used the skydiving analogy.

You see, I made one BIG mistake. I had a squeaky ball, and as Allie and I came out of the basement, I make the mistake of squeaking the toy. Well, I think I already mentioned the wrap-around porch. I really wasn’t aware of anything, but all of a sudden I heard what I thought was a branch falling to the ground. That would not be that odd around my house. But, I looked up and saw nothing, but then I heard a rustle at my feet, and here came Shine out of the base of the big shrub, and jumping up at the squeaky ball. I had forgotten the fallen limb, and was wondering where she had come from……then I remembered the falling limb – which seems it was actually more like a flying squirrel – or rather a flying Shine – without a parachute. See, no common sense! Well, it shook me up a bit at the time, as there were landscaping rocks all around that she could have landed on and really been hurt. But, she obviously wasn’t hurt. The rails that were to keep small children and pets from “accidently” falling off the deck were not quite close enough to keep a kamikaze flying squirrel from sailing off the deck to get that squeaky ball. I’ll never know what possessed her, or perhaps she just has no depth perception – but thank goodness for that big bush. 10 years and that bush was tall enough with stout enough branches to keep a 14 lb. flying squirrel from hitting the ground too hard. And, I’m just glad she jumped right where she did – and not over a bit!

I will also never know if Shine learned a lesson from that leap or not, as that fence around the deck was quickly covered with smaller wire to keep such a thing from happening again. I’m not sure if Shine, like a cat, has 9 lives or not – and if so, should I count this as #1?

Playing Possum

If you are not from the South, you may know this critter we know as the possum as an “Opossum.” And, if you don’t know much about possums, one of their main defenses when frightened is to play dead – and hope they will be left alone. Sometimes this is a good plan, and other times – say they hear a car coming – it is not such a good plan. Running away would be a better plan. But, at least now they don’t have to ”play” dead! How does this tie into Shine’s blog? Well, apparently “someone” in my household has been watching Animal Planet or National Geographic and has learned a bit about possums too!

Now you’ve also probably heard some of the old adages such as: “Don’t make waves;” “Don’t rattle the cage;” and “Let sleeping dogs lie” (or is it lay?). Oh well, whichever, the dogs in my household expect you (and most importantly me) to take that last one quite literally.

Somewhere along the way an unspoken rule was made and mutually agreed upon (by the dogs) that if you are a “sleeping” dog – you have the right to stay right where you are no matter who is coming and going. Of course it is an unspoken rule. Dog’s don’t talk! But they sure can manipulate without any words can’t they! Anyway, this particular rule seems to be most true on “my” bed. I have to make sure you know it is MY bed, as I’m not sure everyone else in the household understands that! I have “dog” beds all through the house and several in the bedroom. We are currently a 6 dog household: 3 border collies, 2 shelties, and one rather small Parson’s Russell Terrier! Any given night there may be anywhere from 1 to 6 dogs in bed with me in MY bed for all or part of the night. Any given night you will NEVER find me in one of the dog’s beds – however sometimes it would be a lot less crowded!

Typically, there are only 1 to 3 dogs in MY bed (always Shine, frequently a border collie and/or a sheltie…) However, if there is a thunderstorm – it is almost guaranteed to have 6 dogs plus me! There seems to be a direct correlation between thunderstorms and a desire to be on my bed! Anyhow, there is no apparent “pecking order” for any of the bodies on the bed. But if any of them occupy a spot – they expect you to play by the rules. If they choose to move – then their spot is up for grabs to anyone – including me. Oh, also part of that sleeping dog rule is the definition that if your eyes are shut – you are officially “asleep.” So, while I am obviously the human – and lord and master of the household (at least most of the time….okay….some of the time….okay, once I remember I got my way) For the peace of the household, I usually go along with these silly rules. Therefore it is first come – first served, and if I can get a good spot in MY bed early, I may get a decent night’s sleep! If I am a bit slow, however, I am usually left with just enough room for about half of me – or to fit into the space left I would have to lay at a weird and unnatural angle.

Instead of fighting for space – or pulling rank (who am I fooling? – certainly not the dogs…) I have learned to work the system and use my strengths (my brain) against their weakness (love of food – actually that’s my weakness too!) So, I fake them out! Yes, that is fair. They are all so greedy and afraid someone will get something they won’t that I’ve found if I toss a few pieces of kibble in the den (opposite direction of the bedroom) they’ll all scramble – and while they are frantically searching for any pieces that may have rolled under a chair or gotten under the couch, I am able to slip into the bedroom and slide in and even adjust the covers before the troops arrive.

First to arrive, back to the bedroom is generally Shine, who takes her place on the pillow on the passenger side (the best spot after my pillow) . If Allie (border collie) happens to beat her to it, Shine snuggles between me and Allie – a little below the pillow. Occasionally (but not often) Shine has to take 3rd choice – usually because a piece of kibble did go under the couch – and she is the only one small enough to get it. The others know this and head for the bedroom! Anyway, all is well and we drift into peaceful sleep. This plan has worked for several weeks, but I’m thinking the dogs may be getting wise to me so I’m trying to think up a new trick. Let me know if you have any good ideas!

shine-sleepingOccasionally, after we are settled, a dog may get on or off the bed, for one reason or another, and there may be some switching around among border collies and shelties (and sometimes me!) But, one thing you can count on is that when Shine lays down, she is going to stay – unless she can upgrade. So, if I get off the bed – for one reason or another – upon my return I find a Chinese fire drill has taken place and several bodies are in different places than when I left – and “someone” has upgraded to my pillow – and is sleeping soundly (remember the rules – I can’t move her) Now, I cannot believe that ”someone” can fall asleep that quickly and that soundly, so I know that someone is playing possum – so I have to bend the rules a bit. But, it is hard to prove, since I can say in a rather loud voice: “Okay, you are going to have to move!” with absolutely no response – not even a flutter of an eyelid. Not only that, but no one else on the bed flutters an eyelid – except me – or maybe that is a nervous tic due to stress and lack of sleep! I find it very hard to believe they can’t hear me standing over them talking – when they can hear the slightest rattle of a baggie from the far end of the house… Anyway, this is how “sound” asleep the possum…uh I mean Shine is. You can actually slide your hands under her and pick her up like a sleeping child (or a dead cat) and she is limp and keeps her eyes closed!!!! If there is an empty spot on the bed, you can set her down and she’ll give a little sign and she is out like a light – still without ever opening her eyes. But, according to the rules, if there are no spots left, I am left holding a limp little “sleeping” possum. What to do?

There are 3 choices that have worked somewhat in the past – all of them just fine with Shine – as she considers them all an “upgrade!” 1) Lay on my back and put her on my chest or stomach and she settles right in. But, I’m only good for about 5 minutes as my “self diagnosed” restless legs syndrome kicks in and I have to move around; 2) roll her into the crook of my arm and let her sleep on her back with her head on my shoulder. This way I can move my legs somewhat, but then my back gets sore, so I can only hold that position about 10 minutes before I have to move around; or 3) I can lay her down at the very top of my pillow and slide in before she slips – and stick my head on my pillow – with Shine’s front feet on one side of my head and her back feet on the other, so I am wearing her like a hat. While I’m sure it may look a bit odd, the advantage of this position is that I can move my body as needed – and it keeps my ears warm! Again, a definite upgrade for Shine, as she is still on my pillow – and still asleep so we are all happy and have not broken any rules.

One day I shall have to lay her somewhere crazy like the bath tub or out the back door, and see if she opens her eyes then!

Add on to the Possum Story – Photo proof!

I know a picture worth a thousand words, but since there is only one human in the household, it is kind of hard to take a picture. But, I forget about my cell phone! It is usually by my bed. So, while it doesn’t happen every night- low and behold it happened last night- but it was still dark! So, I had to try to hold out for “dawns early light” (that sounds so pretty they should put that in a song or a poem) and hope the possum would still be there. She was, so I quietly picked up my cell phone and tried not to disturb her so I could get a few photos. Not a problem – she was in full possum mode!

Do you have any idea how dificult it is to shoot laying down, when you can’t see what you are filming???? I took about 200 photos from various spots (until my arm gave out) hoping 3 or 4 would turn out. Well, that is about all that turned out, and I will spare you the ones of the ceiling, and only show you one of the wall to prove my point!

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But after a few adjustments I can offer you proof that while I may occasionally slighty exaggerate a detail or two (I know this might shock you) – this stuff does happen, so not only do I always wake up with “bed hair” as do most people – but I often wake up with bed and “hat” hair. That may also help explain my hairstyle – or perhaps lack of it!

So, forgive the poor photography (you should try from that position yourself before you criticize too strongly). Not only can you not see what you are shooting – but you can’t see the button to press either, so a U Tube video of my efforts this morning would probably go viral! And here are a few results. And do notice that with the click of a couple hundred photos a couple feet from her head – not to mention my contortions in trying to get us both in the shot – and not a long enough arm – that the sweet little things eyes remain shut!!!!! And yes, I did play possum in a couple of them, myself for the “artistic effect”!  Enjoy!

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Through the Eyes of Shine

I have had many wonderful dogs in my lifetime – each worthy of a book – but sometimes it is timing; opportunity; and being pushed by a few people who have read some of my stories. The best way to do this seems to be a blog – of which I have no experience with, so it is truly a learning experience for me – as is every day with Shine!

So, who is this dog? For those that haven’t met her in person, it is Shine, a 1 ½ year old (as of this writing) rough coated Parson’s Russell Terrier. Shine was gotten with agiltiy in mind, but she came with a wonderful quality that you can’t train or buy. It is charisma! Shine draws people to her. For agility training – it will be a long journey and she is doing verywell. However, some days she learns something and other days I am the one who gets the “lesson.” She is not – and does not want to be compared to – or treated like a border collie. She is just as smart – but in a different way. She has, at times all three of my border collies wrapped around her little finger or for her I guess maybe her little paw. Not only is she cute as a button (pardon me if I am biased) but she keeps getting herself in and out of trouble at a rate that keeps me laughing – when I’m not fussing at her! Here is her picture.You’ll notice she has something in her mouth. I am not sure what it is – but Shine almost always has something in her mouth!

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Shine is hardwired with a special appreciation and excitement for life and all the things in life no matter how big or small. Her name is perfect for her as she spreads sunshine by her antics wherever she goes. I doubt it is her intention to spread sunshine and make people smile – in fact she is a dog after all. Shine is a dog who thinks that anything she wants – she should have. If anyone else –human or animal wants it too –well that just makes it all the more desirable – and her antics to get what she wants is often hilarious. Shine would never make it as a poker player. Her feelings are so transparent and that is what makes living with her a fun adventure. But, what she may lack in tact and social graces – is made up in enthusiam and joy of living! I guess that is what I admire about her- and sometimes I like to live through her, and I am going to share some of that with you.

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I am often included in her joy, and she has a way of making me feel special. Whenever she sees me she lights up and she often leaps up almost eye level – trusting that I will catch her in mid-air. Each time we reunite – though it may have only been a 30 second separation – she acts like we are been apart way too long. Once in my arms, her tail whips so fast it creates a breeze on my face, and she climbs higher and higher to give sweet puppy kisses on my cheek and nose. However, she often continues climbing and you have to really hold on to her so she doesn’t wriggle out of my grip or over my head. Anyway, as you read this next bit, remember hat last comment of ”over my head.” You’ll notice I said I have been almost 100% successful in catching Shine.. What ruined our perfect record happened in a rather embarrasing way. Often she choses to leap up when I am in the process of sitting down…on the bed…the couch…the easy chair and ummm…..the porcalin throne (if you catch my drift). One day I was in a bit of a hurry to visit the throne (actually that is putting it a bit mildly ,as I hit the house running after a sprint from outside that might have amazed you how fast I went from point A to point B!) I was scrambling to get into the correct position and my hands were quite busy in preparation. Shine saw me come in and with her usual delight – she leapt into the air with wild abandon. I was still in the process of sitting – and well, she whizzed right over my shoulder and landed on the porcelain tank – knocking off a box of tissue and some assorted soaps. She was fine, and it did not dampen any enthusiasm for leaping. In fact…the next posting will be about one particular high and scary leap that I still can’t believe happened – or that she came through unscathed! Perhaps she is like a cat with nine lives? I have a feeling she is going to need all of them!

Aside from the scary moments, watching Shine live her life is a real treat! Training Shine and helping her develop into a good agility dog has already started having its ups and downs. I hope you’ll join Shine’s blog and enjoy this journey with us! I will try to post once every couple of weeks or so. I will not be a nusiance! Please feel free to comment or share your own stories.