Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back On Track Pt. 1: The Story of Cas

So apparently "over the next few days" meant "take two months off to think about blogging again before taking any action." Oops.

Anyways, here I am. And this time, I have a plan.  See, I have these four dogs (yes, I said four. wait for it....). And these four dogs all require different things from me. They each have their own purpose in my life, personally, and in some cases, professionally.  Over the next week, each of them will get a blog post explaining what I mean.

First up is the big, fluffy, black and white, testosterone-laden Elephant in the room, Castiel, since he is new to my life since I stopped blogging last year.

His favorite trick that he in no way uses to manipulate people
Cas is one of those amazing dogs that comes into your life when you least expect or want them.  I was not looking for a new dog last fall, let alone a boy, let alone a SHOW DOG, but one of my Facebook friends posted his pictures on her page saying he was available, and I just couldn't stop thinking about him. His beautiful structure and adorable face stole my heart. Cliche, I know. Now, I probably would have been able to resist him if not for a few rather, erm, "pushy" friends of mine who knew, more than I did, just how much I needed this puppy.

First pic I ever saw of him. I wondered why no one had snapped him up yet!
See, I grew up showing dogs primarily in conformation. Although I have since drifted into doing other things with dogs competitively, primarily agility, I've always missed it. Unfortunately, neither of my girls are particularly meant for that purpose ;). Last fall and winter, I was experiencing some pretty terrible depression. I struggled with even getting out of bed to go to work in the morning. I had no motivation. It was hard to look forward and see anything worthwhile. Getting Cas helped me to have the courage to change all that. He gave me something new and exciting, but familiar, to look forward to. He's one of those dogs that really reads human emotions well, and can be what you need them to be in times that you cant tell them. What a good boy he is. The first night I met him, after driving a long ways to meet his breeder in Klamath Falls, I asked him if he was supposed to be my dog. He looked me right in the eye and licked my face before settling down on my lap with a sigh. He has been my buddy ever since... and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together.

Cas, now 11 months old and 40 lbs of flash and fluff, is absolutely full of personality, sass, and joie de vivre. Not only is he absolutely gorgeous, with awesome structure and movement, but he is also wicked smart and athletic, and shows a lot of aptitude for agility. I would love to make him into an obedience and canine freestyle dog, too.  Right now, our focus is on foundation agility skills and relationship-building exercises. But that boy needs to learn how to do a formal heel... so that is coming soon :)

Plans for Cas... because why not be ambitious?: 

  1. Conformation
    1. CH, GCh, ultimate goal of a Group Placement and national ranking. Would like to show him at Westminster. Dream goal of winning a specialty and/or something at the BCSA national specialty (BOB, BOS, Select, AOM) that would qualify us to show at Crufts in England.  
  2. Agility
    1. Excellent/Elite titles in AKC and NADAC. MACH and/or NATCH. Qualify and compete in AKC or NADAC nationals/champs.
  3. Freestyle
    1. Become my main "Freestyle Fridays" dog (more info to come later). Possibly compete, but mostly do it for fun. 
  4. Obedience/Rally
    1. CD/CDX in obedience because I really just want to prove that I can do it and that obedience isn't scary. At least an RA in rally. 
  5. Herding
    1. At least intermediate titles in AKC/ASCA/AHBA. I'd like to see if he can drive and how much natural ability he as, as a show-bred dog. 
  6. Tracking and Nosework
    1. I'd like to earn a TD and a level-one Nosework title. 
  7. Disc Dog
    1. I am just learning about this sport, but my dogs go CRAZY for it and I would love to learn more and maybe compete on a local/regional level. 
...but not necessarily in that order ;). Basically, I just want to play around and enjoy life with him. Experience different sports and find something we both love to do together. I am a big proponent of cross-training with our dogs, even if you have one main sport you focus on. I think it makes them happier, more engaged, and better able to deal with a variety of situations. 

Regardless of how many of these goals we actually achieve, I'm sure we will have a blast trying. I will be using this blog as a training journal part of the time to help document our progress. Of course, lots of videos, pictures, and introspection will be found.  

Next up.... my right hand man, my sun and stars.... Ember. Stay tuned. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Knocking Off the Cobwebs

So, I'm back, I think.

A few weeks ago, I got a notice from Google that my custom domain name was about to expire. The obvious thing would have been to let the domain go, and let Cedes of Change continue its quiet, steady fade into internet irrelevance. But for some reason, I just couldn't let it go.

The truth is, I miss blogging.  I miss having the space to share photos and recipes... to puzzle through issues I'm having in life and in my dogs' have a record of our triumphs and struggles. I miss the community of dog bloggers that are so wonderfully welcoming and helpful and fun.

So yeah, I want to give it another shot.

Over the next few days or so, the blog will get an overhaul, and I will start posting regularly again. I am excited. A lot has happened since the blog gave up the ghost last year.

Like this:

But more on that later.... :D

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Long Time, No Talk

Hi! Just wanted to write you all (well, anyone that is still following this blog, anyways :P) a quick note to let you know that after a long hiatus and some soul searching, I will now be blogging over at The Prairie Wolf Files. Hopefully I will see you there! xoxo

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Product Review AND GIVEAWAY: Printcopia Canvas Prints

Awhile back (okay, an embarrassingly long time ago), the lovely people at Printcopia contacted me asking if I'd be willing to do a review of one of their products: canvas prints made from your own photos! Printcopia is a really cool company that allows customers to create a wide variety of prints (including canvas, acrylic, decals, etc) based on the customer's own photographs and art. Pretty awesome, eh? Never the type to turn down blog swag, of course I agreed to do this review!  I chose one of my favorite photos of Ember:

The online ordering process at Printcopia is SUPER easy and user-friendly. Their step-by-step process allowed me to choose from all sorts of options, from the size, type, and color of the canvas, to how I wanted the photo positioned. My canvas print arrived in just a few days and it is BEAUTIFUL!  Seriously, I love it. It's hanging on my wall.

Ready for her close-up
I definitely would order from Printcopia in the future. I'm thinking a 4' x 6' giant portrait of me and the girls dressed in wild west costumes would look nice on the wall in my living room, wouldn't you agree?

I kid.

Or do I?


In addition to the services Printcopia provides, their sister site, offers a wide variety of custom products including bumper stickers, signs, magnets, banners, etc. If you're in the market for something along those lines, I'd definitely recommend this company. They are great to work with and designing what you want/need is super easy.

And now, what you're all probably really here for! :P

As a part of this review, Printcopia has offered to provide a free 8x10 canvas portrait to one of my readers. Hopefully I haven't bored you all away with my lack of blogging as of late, because this is a great deal! Unfortunately, they only ship within the continental US, so I'm going to have to restrict entries for this contest.

To enter, all you have to do is:

1) If you haven't already, "like" Cedes of Change on Facebook. 
2) Leave a comment on this post.
3)  For an additional entry, tell me the funniest knock knock joke you know.
4) For another chance to stack the odds in your favor, "share" the link to this post on Facebook. Just make sure to let me know you've shared it.

I'll announce the winner two weeks from today, May 15th. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Well, I've done it again it seems. Gone another few months without blogging :P

I promise to start posting more again soon!

I do have a few more reviews to post, and another giveaway to do soon, so stay tuned. It'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming post haste.

Monday, February 25, 2013

GIVEAWAY Winner Announced!

This morning, thanks to a highly complex mathematical equation, I have determined the winner of the Taste of the Wild giveaway!

(Okay, truth is, I had a few friends pick a number between 1-11, and then averaged those numbers to get the winner. That's about the extent of my math skills. And I used a calculator.)

Anyways, the winner is....


Congratulations! Please contact me at ElementBCs (at) within seven days to claim your prize! If the winner does not email me within that time frame, I'll choose a new winner.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I don't know what it is about this winter, but I've really been dragging my feet, at least when it comes to training the Border Collie women to do anything productive.

What we have been doing:

1) A lot of snuggling.

2) Lots of walking, and even a bit of hiking, now that the weather has warmed up a bit. 

3) Disc dog!

4) A little bit of agility.

5. Twitter. Yes, Twitter, as in tweeting, hashtags, and all that shizz. Turns out it's pretty fun! Follow Ember @EmberBCracken here! 

A few "official" things before I bring this rambling to an end:

1) The Taste of the Wild Giveaway ends Saturday. If you haven't entered yet, check out this post for details on how to win some free stuff! Winner will be announced Monday, 2/25.

2) Speaking of free stuff, I have a couple more reviews, and yet another giveaway coming soon, so stay tuned!

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