Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Had A Dream Last Night

Had the weirdest dream last night where I was judging the DCA National again, but instead of the lovely venue in Hutto, Texas, I was judging Dals in a lunchroom or cafeteria where we had to keep moving the tables around to make room for the dogs! When they reminded me that I would be judging for two days I panicked, because I had only brought one good outfit for judging, and couldn't possibly wear it two days in a row. I even checked to see if it as reversible (!), then I woke up.

It was a strange dream, but probably brought on by the sad news that Ch. Tramac Mochamotion had passed away yesterday. "Mocha" had been my choice for Best Of Breed the year I judged the National in 2002 I think, and she put on a stellar performance that day. Mocha will always stay in my mind's eye as precisely what a Dalmatian should look like, absolutely lovely breed type. Not a large girl, but perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of bone and muscle for a trotting breed, sound from every angle, lovely liver spotting, beautiful dark eyes, and a stunning outline. Mocha had a wonderful show career handled by her breeder-owner Meg and co-owned by Jim, the beginning of an excellent team. In addition to being a fine showdog, Mocha also produced Bindi & Tanner, top showdogs themselves. Although I have yet to see the perfect Dalmatian, Mocha came as close to it as I ever expect to see. Carrie suggested that Mocha is now at the rainbow bridge, playing with her dad Jack just as she did during her life on earth. I sincerely hope so!

Funny how things happen. When I judged in Hutto, I gave Awards of Merit to two littermates, Rusty and DeSoto from the Jack/Olive litter that produced 9 champions. I had previously given majors to several of their littermates, and particularly admired sister Dixie. I don't recall ever seeing Olivia in the classes, but when she won an Award Of Merit from the Veteran's class at DCA in 2004, I absolutely loved her and inquired as to whether she would be bred again. And that's the litter Argus came from . . .

Friday, March 12, 2010

What? A Weekend At Home?

Here I am, making a fashion statement with my walking cast and new walking stick (that needs to be shortened). I looked at the picture and was amazed that I had suddenly (?) become old. How does this happen? Actually, I looked at the picture and saw my mother. Oh my!

Started doing exercises a couple of nights ago, ones that can be done while laying down or sitting. Am determined not to gain any weight while wearing the cast, and have done fine so far, but would rather not redistribute it either. It's harder to stay fit as you get older, and I sure don't want to spend the summer playing catch up - or perhaps it would be catch down. Have some really nice new suits to wear for dog shows, and they need to fit.

Argus and I went for a walk last night, our first since the accident. Not very far, and certainly not very fast, but he was more interested in sniffing so he didn't mind at all. The air smelled like SPRING! We went to the corner and back, then came home and he ran on the treadmill for a few minutes.

We'll be spending the weekend at home as Jess has family obligations and can't get away. Judges were good, judging times were excellent, but Columbia Missouri is 10 hours away. Ten rainy hours on iffy roads, which would not have been fun. Argus and I been gone 3 of the last 4 weekends (Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Louis) and I never expected that Mother Nature would let us get to all three show weekends. I always enter them all and hope I can get to one or two. Guess I can't complain. We're off for the next three weekends, then leave for the National in Lawrence, Kansas.

It will be a good weekend to do my taxes. Am determined to buy a Droid or Blackberry, so need the money to pay for it and for DCA week. I always get back quite a bit of money which is nice. I could change my withholding, but like many others I prefer to get back a chunk of money in the spring. If I got more on my paycheck I wouldn't have anything left, so this works nicely for those of us who are inept budgeters!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

No Medical Miracles Around Here

Here's Ella at 5 weeks post-breeding, 4 weeks to go. Looks nicely pregnant for this stage. Cheryl does not want 10-12 pups, so we will hope for 6-8 which should give her plenty to pick from without all the hassle of a really big litter. I just referred another potential puppy person to her when I got an email from some an old friend who used to show in breed and obedience years ago and is now ready for a new puppy after being dogless for 5 years. I can't imagine being dogless for 5 years!

Paid a visit to the doctor yesterday for xrays and we did not have a Medical Miracle, as I had hoped. Things are going well and my ankle is mending, but the boot stays on for 3 more weeks. Fooey. That gives me just one week to get my ankle ready for showing at the National, something that I may not be able to accomplish. If I showed something slow, like Pekingese perhaps! We know that Jess will be able to show Argus well, but I really want to be able to show him myself. Oh well, what will be will be.

Dogs are playing with a Santa Claus covered plastic bottle. They all really enjoy those toys and it's easy to replace the bottle when it gets all squashed. Only problem is that so many of the bottles are really thin plastic now.

Things are up in the air about going to Columbia this weekend. Judges I'd really like to show Argus too, but things may not work out for Jess to go. I COULD stay home and clean house, I suppose. Everything is starting to look fuzzy and gray around here.

Started doing water changes on my poor fish last night. Not easy to do when I can't carry the heavy buckets - actually I can, but hate to put the extra weight on the ankle. We did all the tanks when Laurie was here, so they all need to be done this week. Martha Marmorkreb continues to hide out during the day and come out to eat when the lights are off, so I am hoping she is carrying little clones now. Her colors are fabulous, bright red and blue, but she's suddenly very shy and retreats to her cave when she sees me. Odd for a critter who used to stand on her tail to beg for algae wafers, so something is going on. I really need to sell off some of the young HRPs and Firemouths, as they are outgrowing their tanks. The little A. sequoia are growing well and will be ready to BAP whenever I can get to another fish club meeting, probably not until May. Same with the little L. melanogaster. Still waiting for the L. triden pairs to spawn. I'd like to keep more of them and in a larger tank as they are really beautiful small fish. Limias have a lot to offer - small, hardy and very pretty.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This cute guy is Stryker, from Argus & Tess's litter. He's what I call a multi-patch and is really a cutie. He's got a home to go to as soon as he is old enough. Tess's pups all hear and are healthy and confident. Wish I lived close enough to visit them - I need a puppy fix!

Cheryl is quite sure that Ella is pregnant, so at least I will have grand dogs to visit in Iowa. Ella is a grand kid of both Watson & Coral, so is "family". Argus did so well with Coral's daughter Nikon who produced Penny), and we hope he does equally well with Coral's grand daughter.

We also got both chilled semen collections taken care of last week. (It WAS a busy week!) Because the bitch has missed in the past, they did lots of progesterone testing as well as LH testing, and a surgical insemination as well as a trans cervical. Hopefully this time is the charm!

Pauli, Krash, and sister Hottie were two years old yesterday. They are from Argus's second litter. Now we can get their CHIC numbers. Ben & Nati from the first litter both have theirs. Now we need to talk to Tom about getting Sam & Rita done. Sam may never be bred, but Rita certainly will be, and she needs to have her health testing first.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do Dals Get Along?

The answer is YES. Most Dal owners keep multiple dogs who can run together, and many of them keep additional breeds as well. Whippets, Parson Russell Terriers & Cavaliers are among the breeds that commonly live with Dalmatians. For some reason, Whippets are especially popular with Dal owners. In this picture which was borrowed from a friend, are two champion male Dals who live together, a champion female Dal and a female Whippet. I have several good friends who have kept both Dals & Cavaliers for a long time together. Many Dals also live with cats, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small critters.

Being good with other dogs is partially inherited and partially the result of how the dogs are raised. It's a requirement that the dogs here get along - running separate shifts of dogs is way too much work and I do not want to get caught in the middle of an argument. We've brought in new girls on several occasions and they have fit in well as Josie and Coral are very good about "sharing Ron" with others. Although I could bring in a young male, it might would not work to bring in another adult male Dal unless he was pretty mild-mannered, but because Watson & Argus are good with the dogs they meet it might work. A young male who was raised here would fit in fine. I've kept as many as 4 adult males at a time with absolutely no problems.

There are many things that can be selected for when you do a breeding, and this is one of them. Several stud dogs in this breed were known to be dog aggressive, and tended to pass that on to a certain percentage of their sons, no matter how those dogs were raised. I once bred my Eloise (whose sons had previously all been very good with other dogs) to a dog-aggressive dog and several of the dogs in that litter were really bad with other dogs, even though they were properly raised. That was enough to convince me, and one of my goals as a breeder is to produce dogs that can share the house with others!

Dals were originally stable dogs and lived together in the stable with the horses. They were expected to guard the carriage and the horses from stray dogs, but certainly had to get along with their stable mates.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Songs & St. Louis

Argus should be tired (I sure am!) but he's laying on the hassock watching me, wagging like crazy whenever I look his way. He loves dog show weekends, and had a great time on this one. He especially enjoys being admired, sleeping on the bed in the motel room, and celebrating a successful weekend with a cheeseburger (no pickle, thank you). Jess & I had a wonderful time too, and Penny seems to be happy no matter where she is or what she's doing. She's as sociable as her dad and loved meeting everyone - and ate her cheeseburger even faster than Argus ate his.
We thought Penny was "star quality" and this weekend she confirmed that we were not wrong!

Sitting at ringside is impossible for me, as I tend to be a "pacer". I walk when I am nervous or stressed. It's especially hard to watch Argus in the ring with Jess, even though she is an excellent handler and does a great job with him. I put lots of mile on this cast over the weekend!

The weather was so nice this year and it was in the 50s in St. Louis on Saturday, and in the 40s in Milwaukee on Sunday. Sure makes traveling a lot easier than all the years we have come home from St. Louis in a blizzard - one year we came home to 2 feet of new snow and could not even get down the street in front of the house. This year we came home to lots of snow melt and it was 36 degrees when I took the dogs out at 6:00 AM. The birds are positively shouting their spring songs! The St. Louis Specialties and all breed show are one of my favorite dog show weekends, but we do not always get there. I generally enter and then pray that Ma Nature cooperates. She did a great job this year!

Argus won the Award Of Merit at the first show, Penny won a big Puppy Class, and both showed well, but the second show was MUCH better and both dogs were really on. Our judge was a Dal breeder who now shows a smaller breed and we had shown to her only once before and it was NOT a happy experience, when my previous Best In Show liver dog "Morris" did not go Best of Breed as we had "expected" he would. A good reminder not to take anything for granted!

This time was MUCH better. Puppy Penny went Winners Bitch in a lovely big entry for 5 points, just as Pauli had done last year. You always wonder if your class dog winning will cut your Special's chances as some judges like to "pass it around". Penny went back in with Argus's co-owner Mark, who did a great job with her, and Argus showed wonderfully well for Jess. Neither of them made any mistakes and put on a stellar performance. Several of the bitch Specials were group winners, and the overall competition for Best Of Breed was really good. The judge sorted through her Specials, eliminating the ones no longer under consideration and the group in the rings got smaller and smaller. Finally she pulled Argus out front, and pulled Penny in behind (the spot for Best Of Winners). I assumed that she pulled a bitch Special in behind Penny, but was not really paying attention to that. When the dust had settled and the winners were at their markers, we saw that Penny had not only gone BOW, she had also gone Best of Opposite Sex to her dad, beating out some lovely adult champion bitches. How exciting! What a thrill!

Dog shows were originally about evaluating breeding stock, and we are SO pleased that in addition to being a wonderful show dog, Argus is also an excellent sire. Good dog Argus! Good girl Penny! Good job, Jess! And thank you for making this such a wonderful trip. Argus went Best of Breed in a huge entry the following day, and we drove to Milwaukee for the Sunday show where he went Best Of Breed and placed in the Group. A most successful weekend.