Saturday, January 23, 2010

UKC Ultra Dog

I have a post in the writing updating you on all of last weekend, in which Howie earned his UWP! However, I wanted to post this first. I'll finish the weight pull update post later...

My main goal for 2010 is to work toward UKC's Ultra Dog title for Howie. After earning his UWP, we're 1/3 of the way there! The Ultra Dog title goes along with UKC's Total Dog philosophy, but is only available to dogs with a Limited Privilege registration, or Permanently registered altered (fixed) dogs. Three of the top-ten Ultra Dogs are American Pit Bull Terriers, so this gives me great motivation!

To earn the Ultra Dog title, Howie needs to earn his UWP (check!), his UCD (formal obedience), and his AG1 (the first agility title you can earn). Agility is going to be the hardest, but I think that if we start training now, we'll be ready by the end of the year.

For the UCD he needs to know:
  • Honor (long down on leash in opposite corner of the ring while another dog does their test)
  • Heel on leash and off-leash
  • Figure 8
  • Stand for exam
  • Recall over jump, and
  • Long sit
The only new thing he needs to learn is the recall over the jump; everything else we just need to brush up on, and master. But I think we can be ready be summer, if I can get over my ring nerves. There's a show in Ohio in June that we should be able to go to a title out in one weekend.

Agility is going to be a whole different monster to tackle. The closest training club to me is an AKC club, but it should give us the basics until I can travel a little further to work on UKC equipment. But I think it's doable. Once all our snow melts, it'll be a whole lot easier for me to train in the back yard.

It's a goal :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ask the IRS to Audit the HSUS

While I actively support the Michigan Humane Society and all of the active good work they do, I'm very much skeptical of the Humane Society of the United States. I have the same view of churches: if your group is mainly politically affiliated and minded, I often question your true goals. Also, while your state and local Humane Societies are not-for-profit, HSUS very much is.

So...When I got this in my email, you can bet that I sent out a letter!

Please cross post

Message directly from Frank Losey
...a few thousand additional letters.

Monday January 11, 2010


The Tax Fraud Office of the IRS in Fresno, CA has now received over 2,000 individually addressed letters from concerned citizens in at least 48 different states. Each letter asked the IRS to audit and investigate the alleged excessive and under-reported lobbying activities of the HSUS. Significantly, more than 1,100 of these letters were documented - - sent by certified mail. This has created a 2,000 pound GORILLA that cannot be ignored, and this GORILLA is asking the IRS to audit the HSUS!

All letters mailed to date document that an irrefutable “NATIONAL OUTCRY” exists for the IRS to audit the HSUS. That is why I wish to express my profound appreciation for the letter-writing efforts of so many - - with special “THANKS” to those who incurred the extra expense and took the extra time to stand in long lines at the Post Office to send their letters by Certified Mail. “T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U!!!!!”

So, how has the HSUS reacted to the “Letter-Writing Campaign?” Well, Mr. Michael Markarian (HSUS Chief Operating Officer - - second only to CEO Wayne Pacelle) has used the typical “SPIN” of the HSUS for “DAMAGE CONTROL,” and purportedly stated: “We feel this is an anemic campaign, and they’re barking up the wrong tree.”

By trivializing the “Letter-Writing Campaign,” the HSUS just “BLINKED!” They “spoke out” because they could not ignore the “Campaign” with silence, or the spreading “WILDFIRE” of thousands of letters being sent to the IRS. This “WILDFIRE” has already unleashed over 2,000 “barking dogs” who are “barking” up the HSUS Tree. In short, the HSUS “response” is a sign of “concern” rather than “confidence!”

A Second Wave of First Class Letters could further fan the flames of the “WILDFIRE” and increase the pressure on the IRS to expeditiously begin an audit and investigation of the alleged excessive and under-reported “Lobbying Activities” of the HSUS, such as the $450,000 “contribution” by the HSUS for the Ballot Initiative effort in Missouri. This “contribution” was posted on the Missouri Ethics Commission Website on January 6, 2010 - - $450,000 for “Lobbying Activities” rather than direct animal care! . . . . . . . . Yet another 450,000 reasons for the IRS to begin an audit of the HSUS!

To begin the Second Wave of First Class Letters simply:

1. Write or type a note that says: “I respectfully ask the IRS to audit and investigate the alleged excessive and under-reported lobbying activities of the Humane Society of the U.S.”

2. Put that note or letter in an envelope that is addressed to the “INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, FRESNO, CA 93888.” (No street address or your return address is needed.)

3. Put a $.44 stamp on the addressed envelope and drop it in the mail box. That’s it! Nothing more!!!

If 2,000+ letters to the IRS could make the HSUS “BLINK,” . . . . . stop and think how fast the eyes of the HSUS would be “BLINKING” if a few thousand additional letters were sent to the IRS by even more “barking dogs” who wish to show their presence at the base of the HSUS Tree!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Howie's First Snow Pull

Not only was this his first snow pull, but it was his first UKC pull, too. We drove down to a tiny little town near the boarder of Ohio called Luna Pier (exit 6 on I-75) on January 1st. We went with our friends Amanda and Bruce, and their hoard of dogs: Luna, Ryker, Lyric, and Duo. The plan was to get there on Friday, settle into the hotel room, then pull on Saturday & Sunday.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday and headed down to the pull. Luna Pier is right off of Lake Erie, and the high temperature that weekend was expected to be in the low teen's - so, with the wind coming off the lake, it felt more like -50°F.

We were doing everything we could to keep warm. I was in long john's, fleece pajamas, a wool sweater, and a fleece; my coat acted more as a windbreaker than actually keeping me warm. I was wearing the warmest hat I had, which just happened to be bright orange (you'll see it in the video posted below). We were lucky that the judges let us go back to our car to warm up after our pulls if we had time to, normally this doesn't happen; this was also because we were in the parking lot of a tiny strip mall and because we were right off I-75. Still, I tried to do all that I could to keep Howie warm - he is not a cold-weather dog.

Because we were only working for his UWP, we only had to meet minimal requirements for the pull. To earn a qualifying pull, he only had to pull three times his body weight - he weighed in at 61.4 pounds, so he had to pull 184.2 pounds. The empty sled weight 245 pounds, and they added weight in 90 pound increments.

He pulled the empty cart, then pulled 335 pounds. I decided to withdraw him after that. We had earned the 1st (or 3) legs of our title, and he pulled well, I didn't want to push him too far.

We all went back to our hotel room after Amanda had pulled Ryker, and we all spent some time thawing out. Howie and I took a nap, we all ordered pizza, and then met some friends for dinner.

The next day seemed even colder. Due to a sudden change in plans, Howie's weight class went from being the third class to go to the first class to go - I had just settled into my car to take a short nap and wait for our class when someone came knocking on my window telling me to get my dog ready. Because of this, we didn't have time to warm up between our pulls...there were only 3 dogs in our weight class, so we were either "on deck" or "in the hole." Poor Howie was shivering so badly that his teeth were chattering.

Because he pulled 335 pounds on Saturday, that's where I started him on Sunday - I wanted to push him just a tad father, and had made the decision that I would pull him until he told me he was done.

He pulled the 335 pounds easily. He struggled a little with 425 pounds, but he pulled it. Then I tried him at 515 pounds, and he told me he was done. The look on his face was clear: "Mom, it's COLD! I'm FREEZING!" But, he had done what I asked him - he got the 2nd leg of is UWP title, and pulled just a bit more than he did the day before. He did a good job, and I was so proud of my boy.

We're planning to go to our next snow pull on January 15th-16th-17th to earn the 3rd leg of his title and to get some more points. Since he's neutered, we're not in a hurry to get a ton of titles, and we're just out there to have fun.