Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cyclone dogs

This weekend we went to the Cyclone Country Kennel Club's agility trials in Ames. They're held on the campus at Iowa State University, home of the Cyclones. I graduated from there with my journalism degree in . . . well . . . a long time ago. I'd say it was in another century but dang, that just makes me feel old.

After the trial on Saturday, the dogs and I enjoyed a long walk around campus to work off a wonderful meal and ice cream at Hickory Park.

Phoenix made some new friends. These sculptures at the Oak-Elm residence halls were done by Christian Peterson, a Danish-born sculptor who came to America, worked with Grant Wood and got himself appointed sculptor-in-residence at Iowa State University in 1935. (Okay, that's a super-condensed version of his life.) His work is all over campus. He's probably best known for his statue "The Gentle Doctor," which is known (dare I say universally? that might be stretching it) as the symbol for veterinary medicine.

Phoenix thought she might have a cookie in her lap. He was disappointed.

The dogs are posing on a wall outside what used to be Old Botany Hall. It was Old Botany when I was an undergrad. To me, it will always be Old Botany. Back in the day it was kind of a wreck, had virtually been condemned and even had a couple of good ghost stories attached to it. Now it's been restored and is Carrie Chapman-Catt Hall. No word on how the ghosts feel about it.

The dogs in front of Old Botany . . . err . . . Carrie Chapman-Catt Hall.

Phoenix found a kitty! These bronzes are also Christian Petersen's work and have recently been restored and placed on the campus. I wanted to get more pics but you can see Phoenix looking at something out of frame.

That would have been the half-dozen very small children were were running at him. They came complete with totally ineffective adults who apparently got their parenting skills out of a box of Cracker Jacks. Mom and Dad were saying, "Don't climb on the statues! Don't pet the puppies! No, no, we don't do that. Stop. No. You're not listening."

Um. Yeah. You know exactly where this is going. I grabbed the dogs and got the heck out of Dodge. And people wonder why there are so many dog bite incidences every year. Fortunately, both my guys were okay with kids but I wasn't going to stick around and wait for something to happen.

I didn't quite get the photo session I wanted on central campus because, darn it, people thought they had to go and get married on a lovely afternoon in June. They were all set up for a beautiful outdoor ceremony at the campanile.

There were several weddings happening on campus. Here's one wedding party on the steps to Beardshear Hall. I remember Beardshear very well. That's where you went to write the BIG CHECK at the start of every semester. You can probably pay on-line with a MasterCard and PayPal account these days.

My final pic was going to another Christian Petersen work, his Fountain of Four Seasons at the Memorial Union but guess what? Another wedding party beat me to it. Okay, fine. We'll try it again next year.

After taking pics, I drove to the Campus Bookstore, just in case they had another T-shirt with a clever saying like "Friends don't let friends go to Iowa, Partnership For a Hawekeye Free America" (that's the University of Iowa, for you non-Midwesterners, and the Cyclones' in-state arch rival).

The Campus Bookstore was closing! They were having a 50% off everything sale. I had to shop. I had to buy things like sweatshirts and hats and scarves. It was horrible. Just horrible.

Good to get home early, van is cleaned out, dogs are crashed and laundry is going. With a little luck, I can get some stuff organized for our trip next weekend to Denise Fenzi's seminar near Chicago.


  1. Phoenix looks good with his kitty!

  2. OMG, if i had a nickle for every time someone came running up to my dogs... i'm lucky my dogs are people friendly, tho a bit shy. I encourage children who want to pet them, 1 or 2 at a time only. i'll never forget the day a crowd of children tried to pet loki, who got nervous and jumped and barked.... big lesson for me. he LOVES children (especially calm quiet ones) but not that many at once. just thinking about it from my own point of view... having all those hands all over me, ya, i'd freak too... but as Loki's foster once said: children are generaly genuine good souls and really good for a nervous dog like Loki and to this day, if a child wants to pet him, i allow it but controlled of course! not a gaggle of kids, that's for sure. yikes. I'd run too if i heard that kind of group coming toward us!

    on another note i've been meaning to share w/you...totally separate non-sequiteur to this post. I'll never forget the lesson Denise Fenzi taught me about working with dogs with high defense drive. one day when we were out on the training field working him, Loki took off toward the fence and went cujo. he spotted a woman, crouching down watching us behind the fence and partly hidden by bushes. Denise recognized her, asked her to get up and said Loki would be fine/he was friendly and asked me to call loki back to me...i did and he returned. later he met the lady nicely. but i was so confused because my "other" trainer would have had me give him a leash correction. But what I learned from Denise, at least concerning MY dog (i wouldn't generalize it to every dog) was that it was natural for a dog to be suspicious of a crouching person, especially a dog with high defense drive. she chose to ignore his barking alert rather than correct it. I never in all my training really came across that kind of thinking. and that's when I learned to really work WITH his drive rather than against it (correcting every single outburst). he so much more stable now. recently on a walk deep in the woods in a very unfamilar place to loki (read, he's anxious because it's a new place) we came across a man crouching in the stream doing some water testing. Loki's reaction was defensive but so much lower than that day on the field. it was a low growl. nothing but a "it's ok, Loki, that's enough" to get him to relax and accept and ignore the person all together. I remembered how crouching in a weird place DOES look strange to even a human being...

    anyway... it's never a dull moment with crackers like Loki and Phonenix, huh?

    ps. Juno is seriously swooning over that 2nd photo of Jamie. We ran into the senior Terv a week ago on the forest trail... OMG, the walking partner i was with (and her Beagle) notice how badly Juno flirted with the boy Terv... it was SHAMEFUL. she seriously has a thing for Terv's... (and huskies)... can't say i blame her!

  3. Jerry and I met in college, and subsequently got married on campus. But at the superior University of MO ;)