Memory Monday: Agility

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As was the way with most things we did together, Lexi loved training and running Agility courses. No matter where we were, if she saw agility obstacles, she would go and run them. When we were learning the weave poles, the instructor told us to lead our dogs through the first pole, then to let them run straight along the side to get used to the poles. Lexi, being the precocious pup that she was, did a perfect weave first time out (with no previous training).

When we were practicing, she was very patient with me (thank you, Lexi) when I would get confused about which obstacle was next. She would simply go to her favorite – the V ramp – and run it over and over until I got my bearings.

Today, while going through a box of Valentine decorations we will use for our  Dance Class Valentine Party, I came across a forgotten memory. These are our certificates of completion for Agility 1: Foundation; Agility 2: Obstacles; and Agility 3: Sequences.

Toward the end of the Sequences Course, our turn had come at the starting line. The instructor, with timer in hand, asked if we were ready. Looking down, I said, “Are you ready, Lexi?” In answer, Lexi shot toward the first obstacle, with me a split second behind her. I faintly heard the instructor call, “I guess she was ready!” I think, if Lexi hadn’t been totally focused on her task, her reply would have been, “I was born ready.”

 

Memory Monday: Angels on Earth

Lexi was two years old when I snapped this photo in 2005. I didn’t realize until later that she already had her wings! See them? Well, maybe not. But this I know: there were so many things she knew, understood and did that I could never explain. Don't I look like I have wings?
For instance, she would single out a dance student who was practicing the step  incorrectly and draw my attention to it so I could help them. And she was always right about it. How did she know?

Also, when I had her attention and visualized the sun rising and setting, she understood how many days until something was going to happen. On that morning she would get extra-excited. For instance, on Thursday night I might tell her that we were going to the opening of Rocktoberfest on Saturday, then visualize the sun rising, setting, rising. No reaction Thursday night or Friday morning, but Saturday morning she would do the really excited dog thing. How did she know?

What does your dog or cat or pig or bird do that you can’t explain?

Memory Monday – First Boating Blog

from June 30, 2005 originally posted on Dogster when Lexi was 2 years old.

Me on my boat in the horrid yellow vest. Don't I look like a bumblebee?

Me on my boat in the horrid yellow vest. Don’t I look like a bumblebee?

Today I swam eleven laps around my pontoon boat – a personal best – perhaps because no one was watching when I wanted back in after the fourth lap.  When we were done at the lake we went to Dairy Queen, a place that has the most wonderful treats. Brrr!  The ice cream made me very cold and I started to shake uncontrollably. I knew Mom would take my ice cream away if she saw me shivering so I gobbled my pup cup of vanilla ice cream (my favorite flavor).  It was worth it! To warm me up, Mom had to sit in the hot car with me until the shakes went away. I’ll make up for it tonight by puking on Mom’s bed.  Won’t she be surprised?!

Memory Monday – Beginnings

miss-greenI believe that for most of us, our lives are like a novel that can be broken down into chapters. A new love can produce a new chapter: romance, marriage, the birth or adoption of a child or of a pet. I clearly remember the Saturday in June of 2003 when that new chapter began for me – the day I fell in love with Lexi. While her 4 littermates were sleeping, Lexi was trying to bite the cool air coming out of the floor vent in her breeder’s home. Two weeks later, on the Fourth of July, I made the three hour trip back to pick up my spirited, eight-week-old puppy. Thus began a glorious new chapter of love in my life. My Angel Lexi, forever my heart dog.

 

 

Memory Monday: Whose Interview Is This, Anyhow?

I promised to do Memory Mondays after Lexi left for the rainbow bridge. Even though I have been following your blogs and getting smiles from them, it has been too painful to post anything, other than helping Piper from time to time. Every time I think I am beginning to heal, the wound rips wide open again. My precious husband is grieving much more quietly, but still grieving nonetheless. He has lost so much weight that his pants bag and try to slide off, and he is pulling out the clothes that fit him several years ago. We miss our little girl terribly. The house feels so empty with just Jeff and me here. Everyone else has moved on, one way or another.

It helps that it is October, with Jeff working Rocktoberfest every weekend and me accompanying him every Saturday. Even there, though, there are so many memories, as Lexi always went with us.

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Last week our eight year wedding anniversary came and went, with neither of us feeling like celebrating.

So today I am determined to tell a story I promised one of Lexi’s wonderful blogging friends not long ago. It is the story of how Lexi helped me get my job at St. Luke, where she was so loved, even to the point of a memorial service after her passing. So here goes.

In the spring of 2015, the Ochs Center – Lexi and my Tuesday and Thursday job – closed up their offices. Lexi loved going there and it was quite difficult to leave that last day.

Lexi leaving ochs

Last time at the Ochs Center: I know this is our last day here. So many good memories. I don’t want to leave…

The board president told me about her church needing a part-time office administrator and said she would recommend me for the position. Happily, I got the call and scheduled an interview. The next Wednesday we celebrated Lexi’s 12th birthday at St. Timothy’s, where I worked the other three days of the week, and where Lexi usually joined me on Wednesdays and Fridays. I brought cookies and people came by my office to wish Lexi a happy birthday and to eat a cookie. That afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that my interview at St. Luke was immediately after work that day. In looking forward to celebrating Lexi’s birthday, I had completely forgotten, and it would take me an extra hour to take her home and drive back into town.  I decided I would call to see if I could bring Lexi with me to the interview. Bold move, but I was desperate. As a contingency plan, I called Jeff, who said he would meet me at the foot of Signal Mountain to take the schnauzer if they said no. I made the call, explained the situation and made my request. Unbeknownst to me, I was speaking with a volunteer. He said, “Well, we don’t usually encourage dogs at the Sunday service, but I reckon it would be ok to bring her with you to your interview.” So I did.

It was certainly providence that the three ladies who interviewed me were – and still are – dog lovers. Lexi was on her best behavior as she sniffed around the room and under the table, then, not finding any food, sat quietly beside me. The interviewers were all impressed with my resume, but I think even more impressed with Lexi. After a rather brief interview, I was offered the position with the caveat that Lexi would also come work with me.  We started work the next week. She always believed she was the reason I got the job, and I won’t be the one to argue with that.

I had been sitting while being trained on phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

I (Lexi) had been sitting while being trained on the new phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

Memory Monday – Two Years Ago Today

Yep, as Lexi would have said, I’m at it again with those time-line thingies.

During September of 2014 Lexi was in rehearsal for her third run as Toto. We (Lexi and I) were working at the “church on the mountain,” as Lexi called it. From there, it was a mad 40 to 60 minute drive down the mountain, through downtown during rush hour traffic, and onto the interstate to get to the theater in North Georgia. Once we got parked, Lexi ran to the grass to relieve herself so that she didn’t have to take a break during rehearsal. Then up the ramp she ran and into the propped door, now focused and all business. This picture is of Lexi Toto hanging out with “The Piano Man” while listening to the director’s instructions to everyone.

Lexi with Piano Man

Memory Monday Walk Down Puppy Lane

I am so glad Mommy has gotten better about taking pictures, because we could only find three pictures of me under one year of age.

Me as Miss Green

Me as Miss Green

My head in Ara's mouth

My head in Ara’s mouth

The picture on the left was taken by the lady named Becky who had my doggie mom and dad. I was about 4 weeks old here. She put different colored collars on us puppies so she could tell us apart easier, and we were all Miss or Mr (plus color). It also helped prospective buyers who got pictures of us on the internet.

The picture with the German Shepherd. Now that’ one for posterity, isn’t it? I had this silly game where I grabbed Mr. Ara’s lip and pulled it out until he screamed. It was great fun. One day I decided to do an alligator roll with his lip between my pin-like puppy teeth. He wanted me to clearly understand what would happen if I did that again. I am a quick learner, and since my head is still attached to my body, you can see I learned that lesson the first time. Mommy took this picture to help me remember.

My first toy in my new home

My first toy in my new home

My peeps brother Andrew came to meet me on my first day in my furever home. He brought me this lion hand puppet. I had great fun with it for years. One of my peeps – usually Mom – would put her hand in it and I would attack it! I was only 8 weeks old in this picture.

Six month old Riley with his new toys

Six month old Riley with his new toys

Bonus picture: Mommy found Riley when he was six months old – or at least that’s how old the vet said he was. She didn’t know his taste in toys, so she bought him a variety. He liked the bone best. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop him from chewing up our bedspreads, dog beds, pillows, and blankets.

Memory Monday – WOZ Crew in Pictures

This month for Memory Monday I thought I would mix it up with a picture collage. Isn’t that why we take pictures, anyhow, to remember? This one contains never before posted pictures of my first time as Toto in 2006. You can click on the collage to make it bigger and easier to see.

The top left picture is, of course, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion. The Tin Man got mad at me once because I got away from Mom during his big scene, his solo performance, and danced back and forth across the stage with him. The audience was laughing when it wasn’t supposed to be funny. He may have forgiven me by now. I never had much interaction with the Scarecrow. A man made out of straw is liable to flop onto you at any time, so it is prudent to stay your distance. The Lion was my buddy. He carried me a lot, especially when things got a bit scary, like in the Wicked Witch’s castle. He didn’t even get mad the time I gently reached over and grabbed his nose between my teeth while I was in his arms on stage. It was just an affectionate nip, which, as a fellow animal, he seemed to understand.

WOX Montage

In the top middle picture, that’s me in Dorothy’s arms, sandwiched between the two witches. I was fascinated by the wicked witch. She was scary mean when we were on stage, but so nice to me at other times. However, I managed to upset her once too. *sigh* She was sneaking across the back of the stage, supposedly unseen by Dorothy and company who were at the front of the stage. I ran off from Dorothy (which Toto was always doing in the movie) and started following and barking at her. She started waving her arm wildly at me to get away, which, again, got the audience laughing. I felt it was such a success that I included that in my performance every night. She never seemed to get used to it. *sigh*

The bottom left picture is of me and the costume person. I liked her because she never tried to put costumes on me. She said I was perfect the way I was. *big smile* Finally, the bottom middle picture is my brother Andrew, so proud of me after one of the performances!

This is Lexi Toto with lots of great memories!