Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back in Time: October 2008 post "We got a Pool!!"

We've had a bit of a crazy September by taking a foster dog for a few weeks (handicapped with Spina Bifida 10 month german shorthair pointer puppy) and he was a lot of work but helped me feel more empathy for people who do take care of handicapped dogs. Unfortunately, with Susan's school schedule and me working and his needs, we weren't able to take care of him longer term. Thankfully, he just went to a forever home in Arizona!

On the business front, I bought a pool!! Louisa found this listing on craigslist and I talked to the guy and ended up buying his pool. Its a 2007 model of a 17' Hydropool. (

Now, I just need a place to put the thing! What to do! I was looking around all over - in San Francisco mostly - because Pacifica just wasn't working out. I found lots of interesting places -- an old auto supply store that was 4500 sf, but $11,000/month and buildings over on the other side of town that have a lot of dog daycare/training facilities ... My Sirius dog trainer (where I'm assisting as a dog trainer in classes) said that I could put it at her house and I drove down on Saturday to measure her garage -- but it wouldn't quite fit. :(

Then, on Sunday, I decided to just start driving around! (I was procrastinating from work work on a Sunday. . .) Guess what then? I found a place with a 'for rent' sign in the window. Talk about old school! I called, talked to the wife of the landlord; she agreed to come show me the building later that afternoon. Susan came over from school and we did a walk through.
Its not perfect, but its pretty darn close! About 1100 sf of open space with 9'-10' ceilings and a large 2-car roll up door. There's also a lobby, an office/receptionist area, and large bathroom. Just needs a couple doors, some paint, and a way to drain off water (that could get expensive) and probably either plumbing or electrical work depending on where the pool ends up.

Unfortunately, I think the space is too small to do dog daycare but maybe we'll see after a few months if there's enough interest in it. It is large enough to host dog training classes (of perhaps 6 dogs) if I want to put in the rubber or other dog appropriate flooring.

I talked to the landlord today and he said its mine as soon as I get him a deposit. I'm going down to the city on Thursday morning to apply for the conditional use permit - another long process but hopefully I can get it before 12/1 when I need to pick up the pool!!!

Feels like things are coming together.

One last story and I'll let you go . . . I had my first dog swim client come over to my house yesterday! The aformentioned dog trainer has a Bichon agility dog who's been having sporadic shoulder and back problems over the past year but bad enough in the past month that she's withdrawn him from Nationals and has been trying to figure out what is going on for a bit here. She finally brought him over for a swim on Sunday -- we got in, he wasn't very sure about the water (more like, "um, something's touching me"), and was definitely trying to climb over my shoulder. We just kept trying to relax. I let him swim a couple of times, that looked pretty good, he was fairly even and very strong. She gave him treats and lots of praise for the swimming.

The amazing thing was when we got out, mom took over drying him off and he became a crazy hyper boy! She commented over and over that this is her champion agility dog and this is what he used to be like. He was barking for more treats, jumping, doing tricks, rolling on the carpet (to dry off), etc.

So yipee! I have a new customer and a water convert!!!

Back in Time: June 2008 post "Sumba Swims"

At first I was only swimming my sheltie who had the FHO, but realized I should be working on my pomeranians with arthritis too!
I got in this morning with not only Vaastu but then with Sumba -- my 11 year old Pom with arthritis, a collapsing trachea, and an enlarged heart. He Loved it! At one point, he just chilled out in "hug" mode (he puts his front paws on either shoulder and faces me) with his back legs floating (I was supporting his bottom -- and he gave me lots of kisses. :) No panting, no coughing while in the water. I set him out to swim twice (each for a few seconds) and he did a lot of splashing and his hind end sunk, so I think we'll keep working on it.

When we got out, he did some lovely shakes, ballerina stretches (back legs out one at a time), and then proceed to run around the living room and on all the towels I laid out trying to dry himself off. He felt really good. He's an awesome little dog, hangs out on the back of couches and has always been very trusting and willing to do anything for me. Can't wait to get him in the water again!!

Back in Time: June 2008 post "Pina Colada Spa"

We drained and cleaned the spa because we had some weird chemical leveling problems and then when I threw in a bunch of stuff, produced ugly yellow guck. We were also having a party
so it was a good excuse to have a clean spa for people to use. The morning of the party, the spa was all the way up to 85 degrees and still working, we were working on getting the pH and alkalinity levels correct so had the spa open. (Note, the position of the spa is on the ground floor under a 2nd floor deck . . . Yes, you can hear it coming.)

Susan started mixing drinks (she had rented a frozen drink machine). She started up the machine and zazoom! 4 gallons of pina colada and rum went everywhere and mostly into the spa! :( It smelled fabulous! Susan managed to recover enough bubbles and crud out that we were able to use the spa for the party and that evening; but alas, we drained again today. (more pool maintenance!)

Back in Time: May 2008 post "Stella Swims" (Sixes River)

Stella is our 1 year old Ridgeback who's a riot, clown, and splashed
herself in the water, jumped in once to chase something and then
wouldn't go in again. I got her in the river the good rearend way and
then carried her out a bit. The first time I let go she tried to make
it to the other side of the river!

I'm the first to say that I much prefer 94 degrees to 'cool river water'!!
I swam with Vaastu the sheltie, Stella and my friend's "All-American"
who swims on her own a lot, but liked the massage too. :)

(here's a 10 second video -- as you can see, Stella's fast!)

Despite probably a total of 30 minutes of swimming she was still
running around at my friend's ranch afterwards. Ah, puppies.

Back in Time: September 2008 post "The Swimming Pomeranian"

Last weekend, I finally got the last dog in the water and she took to
it like a little competent bug that she is. She the wiggliest, "don't
tell me what to do", Pomeranian who has major breathing problems. I
always tell people that I named her "Dewi" which means "Goddess" in
Indonesian, so I ended up with a major biatch. As for the pool, I just
hadn't tried it yet, but I was getting her brother in for another try,
and she was just standing there saying, "When is it my turn?"

We got in the water, and despite my holding her wrists on my forearm,
she started paddling ever so slightly! I told her she didn't have to
swim yet, but she didn't really care. We floated for a bit longer and
I tested her out of a few strokes -- she could swim just fine! But she
forgot to breathe. So, I had to keep holding her. She didn't like the
massage much, she just wanted to keep moving! A few more short swim
sessions to see if she could figure out that she could breath and swim
at the same time, not so much... She started blowing bubbles out of
her nose, so I got her out.

(Slight detour in the story about Dewi the Pomeranian) I met someone
who's been swimming dogs in Atlanta (literally swimming, not really
anything else that we do), named Marna Stein ( She
has decided to leave the business and has moved back to California and
is getting into the dog walking business (contracting other dog
walkers). She studied with someone named Kathy Kern in California
who's now retired but Kathy's theory was that swim the dog 3 days in a
row for excellent results. Mixed results the first time, tired on
second day, third day really clicks in and the dog makes some
progress... (end of detour.)

So, I tried it out with Dewi and we swam Sun, Mon, and yesterday.
Monday morning, she still was happy to get in, try swimming, more
tolerant of being held and massaged ... By Tuesday, she could swim for
a good few minutes, was breathing while swimming, only a few bubbles
from the nose and recovered quickly to breathing fairly normally while
floating! And, she even tolerated being floated on her back for a few
seconds, showing off her pillbug tummy. So cute.
(The End)

Did I tell you that I finally have a business name ? The Rex Center,
LLC (Recreation Center, get it?)