Archive for the ‘COVID-19’ Category


Saturday, August 1st, 2020

Today, at the Olean Kennel Club trial at Countryside Agility in Erie, Nina became Can CH MACH PACH Vastgota Nina Ricci MXG MJC MXP2 MXPB MJP3 MJPB XF T2B3!!!

I have been so very fortunate to have this amazing little dog to play this game with. She brings 110% to the line every time, even when I don’t (and she lets me know if I mess up). Nina was made for agility, it is her very favorite thing, and I am so happy she is still able to run fast and happy and sassy at 13. It is an honor to have her as my best friend and a joy to have her as my teammate and I treasure every run with her, Q or NQ. She is such a special dog in so many ways.

It was so awesome to earn her PACH under our friend and favorite judge Sherry Jefferson! And at a suggestion from Glenn and Rebecca, we did a social distancing PACH picture:

The day I stole her from Ulla was one of the best days of my life. Because of Nina, I know so many people I wouldn’t know otherwise. Because of Nina, I’ve gone places and done things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. She is my Ninabean, and there will never be another Nina. Thank you for the privilege of your efforts my Tiny Bean, I love you. 

Nina Jumpers (part 1 of PACH):

Nina Standard (PACH NINA!):

PACH celebration (the video got stopped and then started again so we didn’t get the celebratory elbow bump with Sherry unfortunately, but we DID get the celebratory hip-bump with Sue!):

Zhora Jumpers (QQ #131, second place, 19 points, 5 YPS):

Zhora Standard (QQ #131, first place, 30 points, 3.89 YPS):

Alice Open Standard (NQ but some really nice bits!):

Alice Open Jumpers (NQ):

Greater Pittsburgh Golden Retriever Club AKC Agility Trial

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

We love Laura Kuterbach. But today Nina didn’t feel like a PACH. Another 19 1/2 day. Zhora won the Standard class but I sent her off course with a mishandle in Jumpers.

ALICE was the star today, NAILING her weaves in Standard and recovering from a slip in the weaves in Jumpers (after a big slip on her first attempt) to earn her second Open Jumpers leg.

Everyone wearing face masks, some with better grace than others.

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (NQ):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 23 points, 4.8 YPS):

Zhora Saturday Standard (Q, first place, 27 points, 3.7 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ):

Alice Saturday Open Standard (NQ, she was chasing her leash dragging on the ground after the leash runner, but NICE WEAVES!):

Alice Saturday Open Jumpers (OAJ leg #2, lovely run, slipped after stepping on the base of the weaves, 4.1 YPS even WITH having to restart the weaves!):

Admiral Perry Obedience Training Club AKC Agility Trial

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

Our first trial back in four months. I decided to dip my toes in and do a few Saturdays to see how it was. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised, everyone wore masks and social distanced and it felt pretty safe.

Nina is just one QQ away from her PACH, and I cost us that QQ with an ill-conceived rear cross that wasn’t really necessary, which put her into berzerker mode.

Zhora QQ’d, she was thrilled to be back.

Alice earned her Open FAST title and had two really nice NQ’s in her other classes. Really nice to see her finding the value in the work, I was really happy with her.

It was so great to see my agility peeps!

Judge Robert Jeffers had some nice if tricky courses, a generous wheel, a generous eye on the contacts, and the fastest table count in the West, which STILL wasn’t fast enough for sassypants Nina!

Zhora Saturday Jumpers (QQ #130, third place, 21 points, 4.9 YPS):

Nina Saturday Jumpers (Q, first place, 26 points, 4.9 YPS and would have been even faster without the near-off course):

Alice Saturday FAST (Q, Open FAST title, LOOK AT THOSE WEAVES!!!):

Zhora Saturday Standard (QQ#130, third place, 31 points, 3.9 YPS):

Nina Saturday Standard (NQ velociraptor mode):

Alice Saturday Open Standard (NQ, really nice run, I showed lateral motion as she took off for the triple and she sliced and knocked the top bar):

Alice Saturday Open JWW (I pulled her out of the weaves, nice run though):

Phase 1

Saturday, May 23rd, 2020

This week we entered Phase 1 of reopening. We returned to regular hours at work on Thursday May 21, but we’re still not allowing owners in the building (which is fine by me, and fine by just about every client).

Yesterday was the first day I wore short sleeves to work under my scrubs, even though it’s been warm enough to for several days.

I entered UKI‘s agility at home trial for this weekend, and of course that meant it rained hard overnight. I built the first course already but it’s too soggy to run just yet, here’s hoping it dries out enough to run this afternoon. It’s great that they’re offering a titling at home trial with small space options! The dogs are super excited to play again, there was shrieking while I was building the course. I’m super excited to do agility too!

It’s Memorial Day Weekend but not much has changed, masks are being worn by the considerate people, which truly is most people. Social distancing rules are in effect but they are allowing outdoor gatherings of less than 10 people, and beaches are open but limited to 50% capacity.

COVID Walkies

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

It was a lovely weekend. Got the deck set up thanks to Jim and the power washer, just in time for it to be cold again this week. Oh well. Warmer days are coming.

This Too Shall Pass

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

It’s a Groundhog Day existence right now. It’s grinding. Every day is the same more or less. Tempers are fraying. Talk of reopening. Rioting armed maniacs in Michigan. We have to be stable or reducing the number of hospitalizations before we can reopen. I am hopeful they are doing the right thing. You still don’t want to get this if you can avoid it, there are some scary sequelae like sudden deaths from clotting issues in people who were thought to be recovering that we still don’t understand very well. Masks are here to stay I hope.

I love the sidewalk messages and art people are making
Alice found an empty robin’s egg

Testing Testing One Two

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

They’re now offering testing at all the WellNow Urgent Care facilities here (there’s one literally around the corner), as I wrote on Facebook today: the current antibody tests being done are research, not truly diagnostic. There is so much we don’t know about this virus, and there are different kinds of antibodies they are measuring, one type shows exposure, the other type has to do with actual potential immunity, and they still don’t know how much immunity and for how long is actually possible. Baby steps. I’m just glad testing is now more available. We all need to remember though that there will likely be an explosion of positive case numbers now that more people are being tested. We already know that people who are symptomatic, presymptomatic (no symptoms yet), paucisymptomatic (very mild symptoms) and truly asymptomatic all test positive so higher positive test numbers don’t necessarily mean the virus is any more terrible, and in fact higher numbers of people who have the virus and aren’t very sick is good for the fatality rate, but bad for containment efforts.

My car battery was dead on Wednesday so we had to get AAA to come. Jim said the guy was coughing up a storm but said it was cigarettes. Fortunately masks were worn and distance was maintained and wipes were employed.

We were out walking last weekend and a guy power walked past us and coughed a few times and right away we were shrinking away from him (we were already like 15′ away anyway). Covid Bob.

People are being friendly and nice out in the world, waving at each other on walks while crossing the street to avoid each other. Other people are getting short and crabby with each other and tempers are frayed. It’s what we need to be doing right now.

We’re at the end of five weeks since the PAUSE order went into effect. Some people are really suffering from having to stay home. Not only financially, but mentally. My life is more or less the same as it would be anyway, since I’m a hermit. But holy shit do I miss agility. I miss it so much. I miss my peeps.

The PAUSE order is in effect until May 15, dumbfucks have been demonstrating because they want the lockdown ended. I’m terrified of the lockdown ending to be honest. I think masks and social distancing will be in effect for a long time, at least I hope it will. I can’t even imagine going into a crowd of people until there’s a better treatment or a vaccine.


Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Teachers in masks and gloves handing out homework to parents. One brought her dog. One had a sign that said “I miss you all”. That made me cry.

I literally sobbed walking home after seeing the above.

And I had to cancel Nina’s cardiologist appointment for yesterday. On the other hand, the dogs are fit and happy. Here are the older ladies getting their bitey face on:

I miss agility. I miss agility SO MUCH. But even if I could, I don’t think I’d want to be in public yet.

Today Cuomo said we might, just might, be plateauing. But we also had the largest single-day death toll so far. The peak hasn’t hit us here yet according to Mark Poloncarz.

My dentist had it. Hospitalized for 5 days after two weeks of feeling like hell but being told to stay home and take steroids by her MD, the ER doc told her if she’d waited much longer she’d have died. She still doesn’t feel great, but she isn’t dead, and she’s home. Has to stay away from her dog for at least a week she says. She has asthma so she’s very lucky it wasn’t any worse.

A colleague of Jim’s likely has it, but his is at the “bad dose of flu” level.

Iceland says as many as 50% of infected people have no symptoms. That means we will probably find the death rate is actually lower than we think, but it also means that someone can be out there infecting other people without even knowing they have it. That’s one of the many reasons we have to keep up the social distancing. Especially because it seems to be working.

I don’t mind the staying home so much. But I sure mind how traumatic this all is. It’s OK not to be particularly productive. It extra sucks being a woman of a certain age right now, because the hot flashes make me think I’m feverish (even though you feel cold when you have a fever usually). Also I’m so much more emotional than usual. Hence the crying on the walkies.

I’m so conflicted about whether or not to breed a litter this year (talk about first world problems). If I don’t breed Zhora this summer, she’s done, she’ll be 8 in August after all. But scared about repro vet care and socializing. Oh well…

Keep calm and carry on.

The Only Way Out Is Through

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

It’s a bizarre combination of boring and stressful. The CDC said yesterday that we should all be wearing masks in public to prevent asymptomatic infected from spreading the virus. Using terms like “asymptomatic infected” without irony and without writing about a zombie apocalypse seems…so so weird, just like everything else these days.

This is a typical workday for me just now:

  • wake up and realize that yes, this is really happening
  • get up, do what one usually does when one first gets up in the morning
  • wash hands for the first time that day
  • get dressed, go downstairs, let dogs out
  • wash hands (because I’ve touched the dogs and the doorknob)
  • usual morning ablutions, put makeup on (not sure why I’m still doing this but it makes me feel more “normal”)
  • make dogs’ breakfast, wash dog bowls
  • wash hands
  • make tea to take to work, grab whatever breakfast I will have, spray kitchen surfaces, tap, sink etc. with bleach
  • leave for work
  • arrive at work, put mask on, Lysol wipe anything and everything
  • wash hands
  • do usual but abbreviated workday but with no clients in the building, wearing a mask, staying 6′ apart from co-workers and washing hands every five minutes it seems like
  • I’ve taken a big cut in hours to help us make ends meet
  • come home, take off shoes at the door, go upstairs, take off scrubs and put right into hamper in closet, wash hands, change into “in the house” clothes, wash hands
  • eat lunch
  • go back upstairs, change into “out of the house” clothes, walk dogs
  • come home, shoes off at door, straight upstairs, take off “out of the house” clothes (which are kept in a separate room so I don’t have to wash them every single day), wash hands, change BACK into “in the house” clothes
  • do whatever for the rest of the afternoon (clean, video games, cook, eat dinner, watch “Time Team” or something equally absorbing but comforting)
  • go to bed, try to sleep, lather rinse repeat

I wash my hands somewhere between 15-50 times a day.

One of the Time Team episodes we watched this week was them digging a part of London that had been bombed badly in the Blitz. They were bombed EVERY NIGHT for 57 night. FIFTY SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROW. More civilians died in the Blitz than soldiers died in the war. That put this into perspective a bit. All we have to do is stay home and deal with whatever the fallout of this is. We’re not getting bombed EVERY NIGHT FOR FIFTY SEVEN NIGHTS. Holy shit. Keep calm and carry on indeed.

People are nicer in general, although tempers and nerves are frayed. We wave and say hi out in the world from 6′ away. I had to go to Tops this past week, I wore a mask, and it was still really scary and stressful. Every allergy cough from post nasal drip gives me anxiety. It’s just such a bizarre time. The environment will thank us though.

End of the first PAUSE week

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

So things constantly change and evolve, and I’m reading this and watching that to make sure we’re staying safe at work, since we’re open. No clients in the building, staff staying 6′ apart, if we must be closer than 6′ we wear lab coats, gloves, eye protection and masks (we have reusable cloth masks that mothers made! Mine has poodles on it). People pay over the phone and we leave their purchases in a drop box by the back door or a PPE’d staff member takes them out with their pet. I feel more relaxed at work now, since we’re all taking this seriously. And I NEED to be working. A week or so ago I was scared to leave my house, now I need the normalcy (and the paycheck). I make myself put makeup on and be presentable just like it was a regular day.

This is the the weekend I was supposed to be at the National Agility Championship. has agility on all weekend. I really REALLY REALLY miss agility, I miss my peeps and running my dogs. There’s no way in hell I’d want to be at a trial right now though. Talk about first world problems, but it’s just a symptom of everything that’s going on.

I think I’m coping as well as I can, but fuck it’s hard some days. The worst hasn’t hit us yet here, it could be weeks before the first peak. NYC is very hard-hit. Cuomo is keeping me sane, he follows the same plan in his addresses most days: goes through the numbers, talks about the need for PPE and ventilators etc., reminds us that MOST people don’t get that ill and just recover at home, SOME people go into the hospital for a short time then go home, a SMALL PERCENTAGE need to go on a ventilator, MOST of those are people who are older and with compromised lungs or immune systems, etc.

Social media is a blessing and a curse and I spend very little time on there compared to BC (Before COVID19). I can’t take the doom and gloom and fearmongering, it gives me a panic attack. If it’s not Cuomo, the CDC or Dr Fauci, I don’t want to know. We wipe down our packages and leave shelf stable groceries sitting in the front room for days until it seems safe to unpack them. Some days I wake up and have to remind myself that this is really happening. I hope they don’t try and make things go back to normal too soon. We need to keep this social distancing (physical distancing) up for a while if it’s going to help. I am thankful to live in a state where the folks in charge seem to get it.

The dogs get a good long walk every day pretty much. When we see people out in the world we smile and wave from across the street.

Sometimes it feels like we’re all pulling together, sometimes it feels like the zombie apocalypse. I need Jim to remind me that this isn’t Captain Tripps on the regular.

Mornings are weird. So, so quiet.

3/24/20 the next street over

What last Wednesday morning sounded like:

What last Friday morning sounded like: