Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Snow?

Guess this post will have to wait until this evening. New picture added of Gem.

Finally, a nice night for dog walking! 26 degrees felt positively tropical! We try to get each dog out for an individual walk every day. If it's below zero, they may only get to the corner and back, but it's still something they can count on and a bit of special time. Ron does the older dogs during the day, and I do the others in the evening. My neighborhood is relatively safe and I am comfortable walking after dark, at least with a dog. We try to keep the dogs as fit as possible, but if it continues to be this cold weather it will be tough. They don't need coats, and I do not put boots on them. If it's too cold, it's too cold.

Argus and I went a couple of miles, along our normal route. Wish cars would drive on the main streets instead of the side streets - it would make our walks more enjoyable. Bad Pauli has one good trait, being excellent off leash, so gets gets to run a bit. She loves leaping through snowbanks, but turns on a dime and comes back like a shot when called. I never let Argus off leash if there is traffic - he comes, but not immediately, and if there is a dog around he has to go introduce himself first. Argus gets his off leash exercise at the college campus when there are no other dogs around!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Feeding Raw

It's been almost 8 years since I switched my dogs from dry dog food (referred to as kibble) to a natural raw diet. My only regret is that I did not switch over sooner - I've always thought that my beloved Rob would have lived longer than his twelve years, had I started while he was still with me. It's been an ongoing learning experience, as we've tried different protein sources, additions, and supplements. Because there is no one right way to feed raw, and because different breeds, and even individual dogs seem to have slightly different needs, we continue to study, discuss and try new things. Because many of my Dal owning friends also feed a raw diet, this is a common topic of discussion. Raw feeding is very popular among show people in many breeds, and Dal breeders/owners/exhibitors are no exception.

Raw feeding is not rocket science, and is no more difficult than feeding the family -once you find your sources. That's been an ongoing problem for me, as just when I am pleased with what I've found, the product is either changed, discontinued or out of stock for some long period of time.

We basically feed raw meaty bones (rmbs), ground meat, ground veggies & fruits, eggs and a few supplements. Our rmbs vary in quality and price, with the chicken backs often being extremely fatty (I do some trimming), and messy to deal with, at least in 40# boxes. They are the more affordable protein source though, are readily available, and the dogs do very well on them. Chicken wings are nicer to deal with but significantly more expensive, although the Grade B wings (parts missing) are a pretty good deal and the dogs like them too. Chicken necks are also fine, though have more cartilege than bone so I do not feed them on a regular basis. Some feed leg quarters which can be affordable, but I prefer to use parts with smaller bones, though occasionally use thighs. Turkey necks are good but vary in size from small thin ones to necks that look like they came from ostrichs. The dogs like them well enough, although some of my dogs tend to urp up bits of undigested vertabrae when eating the big ones, something we never have with chicken, and turkey necks tend to be too lean for everyday feeding. I stay away from turkey backs and wings, although some people feed them, especially to larger breeds.

Ground meat is generally more expensive than the rmbs, and I have often had trouble finding an affordable product. We feed one meal a day of rmbs, and a second of ground meat with veggies, eggs and supplements. At one time we could buy a product consisting of ground turkey necks and backs, which was terrific and well received. The same company did ground chicken backs but that was waaaay too fatty. Both products were reasonably priced, but after a time the quality suffered and the ground turkey mix was quite disgusting. Later we found a source of regular ground turkey that was quite affordable, and after feeding that for 8 months it was no longer available.

A constant problem has been finding affordable variety meat. Because two of my dogs are allergic to beef (makes them itch) and several of the dogs get loose stools from pork, and because ground lamb is so very expensive, we feed more poultry than I would prefer. Canned salmon once a week, canned all meat dog foods, and occasional lamb, beef, or pork (for the dogs that can eat them) are the best I can do.

I was delighted to reconnect with Mark & Ann who were promoting a new operation at a recent dog show. One of the local meat distributers now has a large line of raw pet products, which will provide us with more options. Ground lamb with bone, ground goat, and free range chicken (whole or ground) are part of their offering. The ground turkey backs and necks are supposedly back, and of good quality too. Hooray! I've placed my first order and am hoping their products are indeed as advertised.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Puppies Can Drive You Crazy!

Pauli is at the exasperating age - full of energy, endless enthusiasm, and a desire to be Doing Something. She pesters the adult dogs who are amazingly patient, trips me, shreds any piece of paper that reaches the floor, thinks everything is a toy, and tries to do laps in the family room. She's the kind of dog that would benefit from a large fenced yard rather than my small city lot. She wants to RUN. When she gets too annoying she gets a Time Out in a dog crate until she settles down a bit. Helps a lot! She'll grow up to be a good dog someday, but in the meantime I grit my teeth, admire her good looks and the attitude that will make her an excellent show dog, and wait it out.

One of the problems is that I like the boys. I've always preferred male Dals. The things that were cute when Argus was growing up are annoying in his daughter!

I was concerned when Sid passed that Argus and Watson might have problems trying to decide who was next in line, but things are as peaceful as can be. No two dogs can live as equals, but I haven't a clue yet as to whether Watson or Argus is the dominant one. Had assumed it would be Argus, but the boys give me no indication. They still get along perfectly, with no jostling for rank. It's a rule here that we only keep dogs that can live peacefully in my mini-pack. We don't keep dogs separated, and they all run together except when one of the girls is in season. Even then, the males must live peacefully. That's true for the girls too - no bitchiness. Coral and Josie were perfect about Tess coming to stay, and Pauli loves everyone. Tess fit in well which was good, and will eventually go home to live with several other adult bitches.

It's very important when living with a group of Dals that they understand who is in charge. Dals are pushy as a breed, and if a person is not willing to run the show, one of the Dals will be glad to take over and that is NOT a good situation. Dals thrive on structure. They like routine, knowing who is in charge, what the rules are, and what to expect. It makes them feel comfortable and secure. Any change to the household creates a unsettled situation, so it will be interesting to see how the boys work through this.

Friday, August 1, 2008

And Then We Were Five

Sid took his last trip to the Vets on Wednesday, and the tears are still flowing. We knew it was time, but is it ever time? My daughter Jess met me at the clinic so that she could say good bye to a very special guy. She whelped the litter Sid was from, and has always been one of Sid's favorite people. Sid always loved going to the vet clinic, so he thought this was a special party just for him, and covered us both is kisses. He passed quietly, with my arms around him and my tears flowing. As they are again now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tess Joins The Family

Tess now has full house dog privileges and gets along with the rest of the gang jut fine. When she arrived for breeding she was already in season, so she moved to the basement. Because almost all of my aquariums are in the basement, I spend a good deal of time there, so she was not bored, and quickly developed an interest in Fishkeeping. Argus is my official Fishkeeping Assistant, following me around, watching fish, and "biting" them through the glass - the bottom row of tank all have nose prints and "bite prints". Tess now does that too.

I introduced her to the others slowly, being especially careful with Coral and Josie who normally get along well with other dogs. Because bitches can be, well, bitchy their introductions were closely supervised. Tess did not care for Josie's pushy, play-with-me attitude at first, but it all worked out just fine, and peace reigns. Because Tess will be with us until after her pups are weaned, she needed to join the group.

Too early to tell if Tess is pregnant, so fingers all tightly crossed!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back To Blogging

Wow! It's been over two months since I last posted! So much has happened since then . . .

Ch. "Tess" arrived several weeks ago to be bred to Ch. "Argus", and we are anticipating puppies about September 5th! Tess belongs to Meg Callea (Tramac Dalmatians), and came from Washington State. Jess, Ginger and I are "borrowing" her for a litter of pups, as dog show photographer Meg has such a busy schedule it is hard for her to find the time to raise a litter. Because Tess has finished her championship, has her health clearances, and has a very compatible pedigree, we welcomed the opportunity to do a litter from her and Argus. Tess goes back to my dogs Ch. "Rob" CD and Ch. "Jocko" CDX (as does Argus). This will be a nice linebred pedigree, full of top winners and producers. Tess is sired by Ch. "Trapper" who was a full brother to Meg's Ch. "Mocha" who I awarded Best Of Breed at the National when I judged it in Texas some years back. Tess's dam "Sierra" was also the dam of Ch. "Apple" who was the #1 Dalmatian last year, and Tess's brother Ch. "John John" was Best of Winners at last year's National, when Apple went Best of Breed. This year Argus went Best of Breed there, so it's quite an illustrious lineup.

Now, to have a strong healthy litter of good-tempered, beautiful pups who live up to their heritage! Of course we are not expecting a whole litter of show dogs. Most good litters have a few exceptional pups that go as show prospects, but some of the pups in the litter will go to performance homes and companion homes. I also enjoy placing show prospects in performance homes, because I really enjoy hearing about my beautiful "granddogs'" exploits in obedience, agility and tracking. Companion pups are often just as beautiful as the show dog litter mates, but may have minor "flaws" according to the show standard for Dalmatians. Things like a few too many spots, too few spots, being larger or smaller, a bit of pink on the nose, or a tail carried too high may make the difference between a pup going to a show home, or going as a gorgeous companion, and that is only an educated guess on the breeder's part. Sometimes one the companion pups actually turns out to be the best looking dog in the litter! Evaluating pups can be tricky! Many new breeders think they have a whole litter of show dogs, but as they gain experience in evaluationg puppies, they find out that many attractive pups will not have what it takes to become stars in the show ring. We've been evaluating pups for over 40 years (heavens, am I that old?) and have learned a lot during that time.

Most of the fish survived my 11 day absence when I went to Australia. Ron did a great job, but some losses are inevitable and I did lose my gorgeous Red-Finned Halfbeaks, which was very sad. They were gorgeous fish, not very common in the hobby, and had produced several spawns. Hopefully I will be able to find some again in the future. I've purchased some really nice Blue-Peppered Lyretail Platies from show breeder Rick Graham (yes, there are show breeders in fish too) and hope to produce some outstanding youngsters. Rick works on a variety of color and fin styles in fancy Platies and Swords, and because he was not currently working with this strain he sent me some extra nice youngsters. Although my real preference is keeping and spawning endangered livebearers (endangered or extinct in the wild because of habitat loss or the introduction of invasive species) I love fancy livebearers too, and Chinese Red Sailfin Swords, and several color varieties of Platies. Actually, I keep some of everything, and especially like my Green-Spotted Puffer, the gorgeous Angelfish (also purchased from a show breeder) and my black-spotted Knight Gobies that I call my Dalmatian Fish. They are Argus's favorites too, when he "helps" me with the fish. Tess really enjoys "helping" too, and her favorites are the Red Blush Incisus Rainbowfish.

We're doing well too! I had a wonderful time in Australia, and Ron and dogs survived my absence. Argus went to stay with my daughter Jess, puppy Pauli went to stay with my friend Vonda, and Ron kept the oldsters at home. Ch. "Sid" will be 13 this fall and is rather feeble, but he did just fine while I was gone, and is still hanging on, running the household. My brother just visited from Costa Rica, and we had a chance to see him. Al has many stories about all the exotic birds and animals he sees on a regular basis. My sister-in-law Alison has set up a series of spay/neuter clinics in Costa Rica because of the enormous over population problem. Many of the people have little knowledge of dog care, have no access to veterinary services, and can not afford the cost of a spay or neuter, so Alison and her friends do what they can to help the situation. And because of all the strays they encounter, a certain number come to stay - at last count Al & Alison had 9 dogs, plus 4 others who were just waiting for good homes. When they moved to Costa Rica they took their Rottweiler, the Coonhound, and an elderly Westie. Only the old Coonhound Buckeroo remains, and the other 8 "residents" are Costa Rican dogs, primarily mixed breeds.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Too Much To Do

News on the car is not good and it may be totaled. Just what I need is a car payment. Don't really even have time for car shopping right now. We'll see what my insurance company has to say today. As the cost of everything goes up, and my salary as a state employee does NOT follow, things will be getting tighter around here.

Trying to get things in order for my trip to Australia in two weeks. I'm going to spend some time in Cairns and visit the Great Barrier Reef before flying back to Brisbane to judge Dalmatians. Australia and New Zealand are the two countries I have always longed to visit, and although I can't really afford the extra days, it would be foolish not to visit the reef. This is probably the only time I will get to that part of the world, and all reefs are gravely endangered by global warming. Just the smallest rise in ocean temperatures has a grave effect on many of its inhabitants.

SO MUCH to get done before I can leave. Ron takes good care of the dogs and fish, but I always worry about all of them - Ron too. As long as I write comprehensive lists, Ron can manage the fish pretty well, but not being very interested in them, he needs thorough instructions. The older dogs he is fine with. Argus will stay with Jess & Don and the Shepherd girls, but Ron says he can manage the pup. I think I will see if the neighbor kids will walk her and play with her in my absence.

The puppy is doing well. She's been so easy to housetrain, and has only had one accident indoors so far. She's great in a crate, and very bold and outgoing when she goes visiting. We've really enjoyed her so far - except for old Sidney who has little time for pups this age. Of course the pups always identify him as the Alpha Wolf and insist on sniveling and groveling for him, which drives him crazy.

Coral is scheduled for a CT scan next week, in hopes of identifying the reason for the continual drainage from her left nostril. Expensive dental surgery to remove a tiny piece of tooth root did not solve the problem. The estimates from the Vet School were impossibly expensive, but my wonderful vet found a private clinic that would do the same work for a much more reasonable price. Ron is inclined to just let this be, but I would feel terrible if something serious was going on, that we could have identified and treated.

Old Sid is hanging in there and doing quite well at 12 1/2+ plus. The warmer weather has really made a difference in him. Today is finally supposed to be warm enough for him to have a bath outdoors. He can't manage my steep basement steps and really needs a bath, so I will run a hose from the laundry tup and bath him outdoors in warm water. He carries tons of coat, and when he sheds it is massive! I should be able to remove a lot of that dead coat when he is being rinsed off, and because he can stand on the concrete he will have good footing. If my back is up to the job, I'll bathe a couple of the others too, probably on my grooming table which is water resistant.

Also need to do 30-40% water changes on 35 aquariums tonite and tommorrow. I normally do each of the tanks every week, but of course I missed a week when I was at DCA, and will miss a couple of weeks when I am in Australia, so I need the tanks and their inhabitants to be in as good a condition as possible before I leave. I've decided that the fish hobby needs to support itself a bit better, so I by-passed a chance to go in on a group order of fish from Mike Hellwig. Really bummed by that as there are several species available that I really want, but this is not a good time to add fish. Rick is keeping several pairs of the blue peppered lyretail platies for me until I get back, as I want to concentrate on them this summer, but that's all the new stuff I plan to add for awhile.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Rest Of The Trip

May 1, 2008

We were mugged at the ring entrance and I've never been hugged by so many people in my whole life - they just kept coming. It was such a thrill, and many of those who took the time to congratulate us have been friends for years. Argus got a little too wired up with all the excitement and was jumping up on people too, as I tried to settle him down. When Jess was through being congratulated for Daisy's Award of Merit, she came and took Argus from me and put him on a down-stay so he could catch his breath and settle a bit before pictures. Several people offered him water, and although he was too excited to drink, sips of water poured in his mouth helped him stop panting.

The photos went well, and although it is certainly not our best picture, it is adequate. I should not have kept Argus standing so still on the platform for as long as I did. It's a rather "static" shot, and to me Argus looks best when he is getting ready to launch after a squeaky toy! That's how I always see him in my mind.
Mr. Bivin was very complimentary, and said that Argus was "everything a Dalmatian should be". He put his face down to Argus, who kissed his cheek.

We stayed for the Awards Dinner of course. I normally head for home right after breed judging at the National, but for some reason I did not check out of my room this year. When Argus won the breed, I was informed that we WERE staying (no arguments from me there) and we had a very nice time at the dinner. We thought about going to the bar afterwards, but instead we stayed in the banquet room and chatted with friends, then walked the dogs and finished up packing so we could leave early the next morning.

The trip home was easy, the weather was good, and we sure had lots to talk about! Both Jess and I went back to work on Friday, to avoid facing a week's worth of work on Monday!

This was truly and thrill, and something that I will relive many times - with a smile, I'm sure.

Such A Good Time We've Had

April 29, 2008

On Tuesday evening Jess and I agreed that it was one of the most fun Nationals we had ever attended. Although we would have appreciated the organized Hospitality Rooms that were a DCA tradition for years, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize with friends. Because judging started early each day, we were generally back in our room by 11:00 PM - most nights!

I've always thought that dinners with friends are one of the highlights of DCA week, and this year was no exception. Because DCA is primarily during the week, it is not hard to get seating for large groups which makes things easier. I enjoyed the traditional trip to Bonefish Grill (I went three times the previous year), a fun Mexican restaurant, and the excellent Chinese restaurant right across the highway from the Drawbridge Inn. Our group Genuine Dalmatians (folks who do not support the backcross at this time) had a really great dinner at the latter.

Many were anticipating fireworks over the backcross issue, but all went well and DCA President Dr. Garvin kept the Annual Meeting running smoothly. The backcross group, who refers to themselves as the LUA group brought along a number of dogs who go back to the Dal/Pointer cross, but unfortunately it appears that the addition of Pointer genes still affects the spotting. I have yet to be convinced that LUA dogs will ever be marked like purebred Dalmatians should be - it is ironic that the genes that affect the metabolism of uric acid in the breed, are apparently tied to the markings that ALSO make our breed unique. Although some of the backcross dogs were less ticked than in the past, they still do not have the clear and distinct markings called for in the standard.

Tuesday evening was the Top Twenty, and we really enjoyed watching it this year. Because Argus should be eligible for that event next year, I may enjoy it less as a participant! Some of the dogs and handlers looked particularly good, and when the winner was announced at the Awards Dinner on Wednesday, I thought the choice was a good one and well deserved.

After the Top Twenty, we joined friends at the bar, and had a wonderful time. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits, and suddenly it was 1:30 AM and we had to get up in just a few hours!

Off To The National - Dalmatian Club Of America

April 26, 2008

Oh, such a long trip and such lousy weather. We left about noon on Friday and encountered rain in Wisconson and drove through torrential downpours near Madison and Janesville. There was so much rain on the freeway that it felt as if I was driving through a river, and I could feel the mini-van wheels spinning beneath me. The rain was so heavy at times that I could not even see the road. Because the storm front extended in a long line from Texas to Michigan, we could not drive out of the rain, and I finally called in quits somewhere in Illinois, about halfway between St. Paul and Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

We found a nice Super 8 across the street from a decent restaurant - awesome home made chicken noodle soup! We unloaded Argus, Violet and Sydney, brought in the two pop up crates, and Argus slept on the bed for the first of six nights. We turned oun The Weather Channel and found out that tornados had gone through Wisconsin right behind us!

The weather was much better on Saturday and our trip was uneventful. We particularly enjoyed the beautiful flowering purple trees in southern Indiana, and arrived at the Drawbridge Inn mid-afternoon, in brilliant sunshine. The first person we ran into was Linda McSherry, Violet's owner, so they were quickly reunited.

Our room was ready and looked good, and the beds were even comfortable. Our room was down a level from parking, which meant schlepping our crates down the stairs, or going the long route so we could use the dolly - we chose the latter!

The Welcome Party was well attended, and we had a great time connecting with old friends, and meeting people that we only knew through ads and the internet.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dalmatian PR

We were invited to take some Dalmatians to the Mall of America for Toddler Tuesday. This is an event that draws 200 - 300 little kids and their caregivers, and this particular Tuesday featured a Dalmatian coloring contest, and a promotion for the Disney Dalmatian movie coming out in DVD. And real live Dalmatians to pet!
For events like this, it is important to select the most unflappable of dogs, as they will be mugged and hugged and poked and prodded, have their feet run over by strollers, and their tails and ears pulled by excited toddlers. We try to do these events whenever possible because we believe very strongly in promoting the image of Dalmatians as good family dogs and companions. Dals recieved a very bad rap following the popularity boom of the late 80s and early 90s. There were indeed lots of "bad" Dalmatians, because there were bad breeders and bad owners. (More on this later.) All the many thousands of good Dalmatians never made the news . . .

We decided to use "Stella" (OTCH Stella By Starlight UDX) bred by us and owned by Colleen Christianson, and my dog "Watson" (Ch. Paisley Pragmatic CGC). Stella is a retired obedience champion and has worked as a therapy dog. Watson is a small, sweet gentle guy with a totally unflappable personality. Both dogs were absolutely awesome, and performed flawlessly. We had a steady line of little ones coming through to pet the dogs for well over two hours, and they never stopped wagging their tails. Both dogs did tricks for the kids, and we answered questions about the breed. Many people commented on what lovely dispositions both dogs had. We got some of the "I thought Dalmatians were bad with kids" comments, while the dogs were doing their best to prove that was not the case. We just explained that there are bad dogs in all breeds, and that dogs must have inherently good dispositions and be properly socialized with children. The average well bred, properly socialized Dalmatian is an EXCELLENT family dog.

On the fishy front, I tried my hand at fish dentistry last night. Among my almost-50tanks of fish, I have two puffer fish. Edd is a green-spotted puffer, and Bucky is a South American puffer. Puffers need to eat hard foods (like snails in the shell) to keep their beaks/teeth from growing too long. When I purchased Bucky he already had the problem, and I was not able to get her to eat snails to wear her beak back. So I had to do surgery! Rather a scary process, but it was that or watch her starve to death. Clove oil is used to anesthetize fish, and beaks can be trimmed with a nail scissors. It only took a few minutes, and Bucky seems to be doing fine. Now I will hang out my shingle - "Fish Dentistry"!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Playing Catch Up Again

So much has happened in the past two weeks, with hardly a spare moment for blogging.

Violet was bred to Argus on Valentines Day - how appropriate. Babies are due April 17th, which should work out perfectly. The pups should be about 10 days old when I have to leave for DCA (the Dalmatian National). By that age they should all be strong and doing well, and Violet will still be doing all the work other than daily handling. Makes it a lot easier for poor Ron. They will be 6 weeks old when I leave for Australia to judge a Dalmatian show (and do some touristing, of course) and the pups will stay with Jess and Don for that week. Perfect timing for car rides, new surroundings, and lots of new friends. All the extra experiences will help to assure that the pups are particularly confident and well adjusted.

Hard to believe that these will not be the World's Friendliest Puppies! Violet loves everyone, and has just the type of disposition we prefer. Like Argus, and her grandpa Watson, Violet assumes that everyone is her best friend.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tired Of Winter!

Dog Walking
NOT fun when it's -14 degrees for the last walk of the night and the first walk of the morning. Because Violet is in season she is not running with my dogs and is confined to the basement. Not lonely or boring for her there as my fish tanks are in the basement so I spend a good deal of time down there. However, we walk visiting ladies four times a day as it is good for their physical and mental health -but less good for mine! Violet is actually quite sensible about the whole thing and after a couple of blocks she turns around and heads back. Learned the route right away and takes me directly home when she's had enough of the cold. I'm sure when the weather warms up a bit she won't be willing to settle for such short walks.

Not Quite Ready Yet
I've introduced Argus and Violet twice so far, but she is not quite ready to be bred yet. Pretty close tonite, but probably just a day early, so hopefully she will stand tomorrow. That will make for an extra busy day, as I will be having dinner with my mother and watching Westminster dog show on her TV (I don't have cable). It's a "family tradition" for us, and we both enjoy it.

Painful Afternoon
Had hoped to work on my website today, but spend the afternoon moving furniture and laying bedroom carpeting. Hope I am not too stiff tomorrow AM when I have to get up and walk Violet! The poor website always seems to be put off because something else needs to be done.

Time to go feed the fish, walk Violet, and go to bed.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Family Members!

New Arrival
Violet arrived yesterday and will be staying with us for the next four months. Linda McSherry flew in from Maine and brought Violet along with her. Linda came to attend a baby shower for her daughter Christy, and Violet should be ready to breed this weekend - how's that for perfect timing?

Like Argus, Violet has completed her all her health testing and has been assigned her CHIC number. She is BAER bilateral (hearing), CERF normal (eyes), and OFA good (hips). We try to breed from only the healthiest and best tempered Dals. Responsible breeders are "the guardians of the breed" and the decisions we make now can have a major affect on future generations. For that reason, only the healthiest, best tempered dogs should be used for breeding, and the closer they fit the breed standard the greater the chance that they will pass on the desirable characteristics of their breed. Argus and Violet are both American & Canadian Champions as well as having wonderfully outgoing dispositions.

We are so pleased that Linda was willing to let Violet come to Minnesota to have a litter with Argus, Violet is a grand daughter of our beloved Watson, and when I purchased Argus it was with the idea that I wanted to breed him to several Watson daughters and grand daughters, in hopes of combining the best traits of two of my favorite dogs.

Mother Nature 1, Sue 0
I was supposed to be in Indianapolis this weekend, but entered the shows with the idea that I would go only if Mother Nature cooperated with dry roads and reasonable temperatures - she didn't. So instead I got to enjoy a new batch of Angelfish babies.

New Babies
It's pretty cool to watch a cloud of about 50 tiny babies swimming around their parents. Angelfish are cichlids, and like other members of their family, are programmed to raise their youngsters rather than ignore (or eat) them like many other kinds of fish. Because Angelfish have been commercially bred and artificially hatched for so many years, most have lost the instincts to parent. I purchased my fish from a breeder (yep, there are fish breeders too) who specializes in Angelfish, and who breeds fish with natural instincts that can successfully raise their young. He would be the fishie equivalent of a show breeder and responsible hobbyist, and is very involved with breeding quality Angelfish. He's also available to mentor, just as responsible dog breeders are.