Sunday, June 30, 2013

We're Hot Dogs!

Take that any way you want.  Hot or hawt...

But it has been unseasonably hot here...

"Hi.  We're 'doodles and we're hot."
Actually, it was super hot on Friday.  After work, Mom and Dad went on a bicycle ride, and when they came home, they were surprised to discover that the garage door opener didn't work.  Upon further inspection, they discovered there was no power.  After determining that we weren't responsible (I swear we didn't overload the outlets trying to crank up the air conditioner!), Mom and Dad went on the power company's website where they helpfully informed Mom and Dad that the power outage was due to "a power interruption."  Uh, no kidding.  Anyway, the power was off for almost 5 hours, and given that it was 97 in Park City (we don't EVER get that hot... well, hardly ever), we were roasting.  No air conditioning, no fans, not even much of a breeze.  Mom spent a lot of time encouraging us to lie down on the tiles to stay cool.  We were quite happy when the power came back on just before 9pm.

It has actually been quite warm all week, but we haven't let that interrupt our biteying and frisbee time.

We're all about Sisterly Love!

Mmmm.  Abby's ears taste like chicken!  Heehee!

Abby, you may outweigh me by 15 lbs, but I've still got the psychological advantage!
Yep.  Mad frisbee skills!  I has 'em!  Heehee!

There are actually fewer bitey-face and frisbee photos than usual because, well, it's been so hot that when we go out with Mom when she comes home from work, we prefer to hide in the shade.

"Move over.  My tail is still in the sun!"
Since Abby isn't super active in the heat, and she's got her therapy dog evaluation coming up in less than 2 weeks, Mom has been taking Abby to Home Depot, so they can work on being less doofus-y in public.  I'm not sure it's working... 

Look!  You can get a mirror with a goofadoodle in it for under $40!

Yuh.  She's so NOT being a doofus here.

Or here.  Especially since Mom was trying to make a statement with the caution tape...

Mom saw this and immediately thought of Granny, who is in a constant battle against her squirrels.  Mom was baffled, so I'm not sure what that means...  Heehee!

Not quite sure what Mom was trying to photograph here.  Like I said, it's a big request to ask both Mom and Abby to not be doofuses at the same time.

"Hey Mom!  I think this super cool washer-dryer set will even fold the clean laundry for you.  You totally need this!"

"And while we're appliance shopping, how about a new range?  I bet these cook doggie birthday cakes in half the time!"

"Yep.  It's still hot out!"

While Mom and Abby are having good times at Home Depot, I get to hang out with Dad.

"Hi Dad!"
Oh, and in one final bit of excitement, when Mom broke out the vacuum cleaner today, Abby and I decided to hop in Air Fiona and get as far away from Vacula as possible - we found ourselves near the Hagerstown (Maryland) airport.  Khyra's Mom was able to get a photo of us!

You might have to biggify that one - we still haven't gotten our Dreamliner yet, so we're still flying an older (and smaller) fleet...  Heehee!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Back to Normal (Well, As Normal As We Get)


Now that Mom is back from living in the Atlanta airport seeing Granny and Grandpa, things are getting back to normal.  Or as normal as we get.

Before Mom left, she decided she would start REALLY working with Abby to prepare for their therapy team evaluation (the Therapy Animals of Utah group doesn't just evaluate a pet - they evaluate the pet/handler team - so it's not all on Abby!).  Now Mom is all "Ohmigawd!  The evaluation is July13th!  How much socialization can we cram into the next few weeks?"

Which means that Abby is getting all the doggie class time, while I get to stay home and hang out with Dad, enjoying some Abby-free time.

Yesterday was Abby's first day of "prepping" and she worked on her 'meet and greet skills'.  Of course, Abby is a natural suck-up, so the focus was to keep Abby from going totally cracker when people came up to tell her how cute she is.  Jessi (the turkey hotdog lady) even made this cool sign so people would stop by and pet Abby.

Doesn't Jessi totally rock?  Abby even has her own time on the class schedule for "Therapy Dog Prep"

Saturday morning at 11am at Petco is actually not as busy as you might think, so Mom and Abby are going to go during the week as well, after Mom comes home from work, so Abby can get used to busy stores with filled with people anxious to buy a few dog treats to placate their doggies who have been home all day while their humans have been working all day (to earn money to buy doggie treats).

However, the sign was still pretty successful, and Abby had to use all of her mentals to stay calm while people petted her (or walked other dogs by her).
Abby dutifully accepting pets from the nice 'Vetco' vet who was there to administer low-cost vaccinations.
There are times I think Mom is almost as much of a hambone as Abby!

I anticipate a few weeks of peace and quiet as Abby is hustled off to Petco, and Home Depot, and other dog friendly places where she can learn to act a bit more like a civilized dog.

Dr. Liz here.  While we are working with the intention of passing our evaluation on the first try, the Pet Partners people have a very rigorous evaluation process (which is a good thing) and I will not be disappointed if we don't pass the first time around.  If we are successful, that would be fantastic, but if not, it will give us both the chance to get a sense of what we really need to work on, so we'll be ready for the next time we get evaluated.  I really like that Pet Partners has such a demanding evaluation process - I'd rather we be super-ready before we are out at a site, than be worried that we're only kinda-sorta ready.   And all of the work with Abby will give Fi a break from her sister - which I think she'll appreciate!

Abby was quite worn out after her session yesterday, so I think this whole Abby-as-therapy-dog thing could be great!  I mean, she might get worn out enough that she doesn't have the energy to be so crackery all the time!  And I really don't see any downside with that.

The evaluation covers EVERYTHING, from her behavioral skills to Abby's hygiene (Mom has started brushing our teeth) and physical fitness (seriously - they won't evaluate over-weight doggies - the thinking being that since the pet is the first priority of the handler, if a pet isn't at a healthy weight, the owner should focus on getting the pet healthy before tackling therapy work - and I like the message that sends, to both owners and the people who meet the certified dogs).

So in addition to Abby's skills, Mom is continuing to ensure both Abby and I are in peak physical condition.

Yep.  Her teeth are looking great!

She looks like she's ready for take-off!

Cracker dog face.  We probably shouldn't show this photo to the evaluators!

She flies!

More physical activity.

And yes, I have my own frisbee time.  I just don't fly through the air like a crazy dog!
I love my sister.  I really do.  But sometimes I have to give her a piece of my mind when she's doing her "I'm-too-cute" routine.

She's such a suck-up!

Which is why I like to give her a big old "pfffth" when she's not looking!

Actually, I really hope Mom and Abby succeed with this whole therapy dog thing.  I think Mom would enjoy it, Abby loves seeing people, and I think little old ladies might actually find Abby's sucking up to be charming!

Hi!  I'm here to be therapeutic!  (Once I've passed my evaluation, that is!)

And while Abby is off sucking up to people, I can amuse myself by making funny faces!

Have a great week!  And be on the lookout for more photos of Abby learning how to behave like a civilized doggie!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We were ABANDONED! (Well, maybe not...)

You may have noticed that we had fallen off the face of the earth haven't been around much the last week or so.  It's because We Were ABANDONED!

Or Mom went to North Carolina to visit our Granny and Grandpa and our aunts and uncles and our cousins while we stayed home with Dad.  But that doesn't sound as good.

Okay, so Mom explained to us that she was going to visit our Granny and Grandpa, and since they send us Drs. Foster and Smith gift certificates for our birthdays, we couldn't really tell Mom she couldn't go.  And apparently this last weekend was also our Granny's birthday AND Father's Day, so Mom was able to be there for multiple holidays in one trip.  So, we gave her our okay.

But... Did Mom fly AirFiona?!?

NO!  In spite of our flexible flying schedule (NetJets has nothing on us!), direct routes, uncrowded flights and all possible amenities (heck, we would have even given Mom priority boarding for free), Mom elected to fly some FAA-approved airline.

And where did that get her?  Delayed leaving Salt Lake City, which resulted in Mom having to elbow herself off the plane in Atlanta so she could make her connection to Raleigh.  And on the return flight, her plane landed in Atlanta in the middle of a thunderstorm so bad they couldn't pull the plane into the gate because the lightning was too bad to risk allowing ground crew onto the tarmac.  The storm was so bad they apparently closed the airport for a bit.  So Mom sat on the tarmac, 20 yards from the gate for 25 minutes.  But that was okay, because her flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake was then delayed because their plane couldn't land while the airport was closed.  So she got to Salt Lake about 30 minutes late, and then because of a car accident at the airport entrance, Mom had to wait while Dad sat in backed up traffic.

None of that would have happened if she had flown AirFiona.  Assuming, of course, that AirFiona wasn't trampled by moose before takeoff.

Anyhoo... Mom made it to Chapel Hill, and we were all set to Skype with her when Chapel Hill and surrounding areas were hit with a huge thunderstorm that produced big winds which knocked down trees.  One of which took out the power line that brought power to our Granny and Grandpa's house.  Luckily, Granny and Grandpa have a generator which kept some of the lights on, provided some air conditioning, kept the fridge running, and allowed them to watch DVDs of 'Allo 'Allo.  Basically, life carried on almost like normal but for the lack of internet, so we couldn't Skype with Mom.

And Grandpa got to spend a lot of time cleaning up downed tree branches.  (Not the greatest picture, as Mom had the wrong setting on her phone camera.)

Grandpa, having fun!

Luckily they got power back about 24 hours later, and Mom could Skype us again.  (Although we were a little miffed at having been abandoned, so we elected not to come to the computer so she could see us.  We sure showed her!)

One of the funballs things Mom was looking forward to in North Carolina was going on a bye-sickle ride with her brothers.  We still aren't quite sure what this bye-sickle thing entails, although this particular ride seemed to involve a lot of pre-trip emails and over-thinking planning.  But, on Saturday morning, Mom, her brothers and various family members went to some place in Research Triangle Park for a ride to raise funds to help fight MS.  While only Mom and her brothers were the only family members riding, there was a lot of family support.

Mom with our Granny (in red), her brother Ralph (the guy with the bike), Ralph's daughter Hannah (and thus our cousin), and Ralph's wife (and our aunt) Carey.

Pre-ride, Mom next to her brother Martin, and everyone else from the above photo.
Mom with her rented bicycle (the source of many emails and planning)

Mom, Martin and Ralph went on a 33 mile ride while the rest of the family went off for breakfast.  Two hours later, Mom and her brothers finished the ride.

Mom and her brothers, 33 miles later.
Apparently a good time was had by all.

If you are really interested in the nerdy stuff that can be collected by bike computers, here is Mom's Garmin data. There are a few glitches, as we don't think Mom really burned that many calories on her ride, but it gives you an idea of their ride. Mom also wants to point out that their average moving speed was 15.1 mph, and her Garmin factored in the time they were stopped at the rest stop. Picky, picky!

Apparently if Mom and her brothers had ridden their bicycles another 300 miles west on 40, they could have gone to visit our friends the Thundering Herd.  We don't know why she didn't take the chance to go visit some bloggie friends.  I mean, it's ONLY 300 miles.  Each way....  Heehee!

After the ride there was ice cream and socializing.

Mom really enjoyed the ride, and kept talking about how much fun it was, and how much she enjoyed being able to do something she really enjoys (bye-sickle-ing) with her brothers.

One of the other highlights of the trip was a brunch on Sunday to celebrate both Father's Day and Granny's birthday.   Mom doesn't have a lot of photos of this, as she took most of the photos using Grandpa's camera, and he hadn't had a chance to get her copies before she left.

But during this grand family get-together, there were two events of particular note.  First was the "Christmas photo."  You might realize that it's not exactly Christmas-time.  But 500 years ago when Mom was a kid, her family would take a family photo every year at Christmas.  Now these photos are taken when they get a chance to get a majority of the family together, and is still called the Christmas photo, no matter what time of year it actually is.

When we saw this family photo, we felt this photo was dramatically incomplete, so we've enhanced it a bit.

Because how could you have a family photo without US in it?!?
That photo is most of Mom's immediate family - obviously Dad isn't there, and Uncle Martin's daughter wasn't there (she's in France), but it was a pretty good showing!

The other element of note was that Mom was seen cavorting With Another Dog.  We are going to give Mom the benefit of the doubt and assume that she was suffering 'doodle withdrawal.  But still...

At least the dog in question is our cousin Galen, a labradoodle.  If Mom needs a 'dog fix' at least she's getting it from another doodle, and one who is family.

Truthfully, we're rather impressed with Galen's tongue.  She's apparently not as big as either of us, but she's got a GINORMOUS tongue.  Seriously.  Look at that thing!

Kinda reminds me a little of Abby!

Anyway, Mom is now home.  We're glad she had a good time with Granny and Grandpa and her brothers and their families.  But we missed her, and we're glad she's home now.  Because while Dad took Very Good care of us while Mom was in North Carolina, we're ready to get back to summer funballs times!

Like this...

 And this...

I'm on Moose Patrol.

Watch and learn, young Hippobottomus!
Welcome home, Mom!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Week Full of Sisterly Love

Before we show you lots of photos of us demonstrating our sisterly love for each other,  I would like to say that we do a lot more than just bitey each other.  We go on lots of walkies.  We play lots of frisbee.  We spend a lot of time keeping Mom and Dad company (and hearing about "personal space" - whatever THAT might be....).  We spend a lot of time snoozling.  And we spend a lot of time barking at the neighbors.  (Or that might just be me.  Apparently Abby has the ability to hang out on the porch without barking at people walking on OUR street, other dogs, flies, and stray air molecules.  I don't understand how it is possible to be out there and NOT make sure Mom and Dad know what's going on.)

But for whatever reason, Mom felt the need to get a lot of bitey-face photos.  In her defense, you really can't go wrong with bitey-face photos.

Body slam!

I don't know where Mom gets this idea that I'm noisy.  Really.  Noisy?  Me?  Naw.

"Mmmm.  Doodle-sister!  Tastes like chicken!"  Heehee.

Why do I look so tiny in comparison to Abby?  I'm normal sized.  She's clearly 'big-boned'!

Oooh.  Bad hair photo for both of us.

Dancing with the Doodles!

Take THAT you big-boned Hippobottomus!
We really DO love each other.  And we have a great time bitey-ing each other.  Sisterly love at its finest!

With the warmer weather, in addition to full-contact bitey-face, Abby has been engaging in some serious roaching.


Yep.  She's in doggie-Nirvana

And a good shake to finish it off.
Silly puppy!


*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus