Saturday, August 21, 2010

HOT In Colorado!

Sure am glad that a friend suggested we should try the Colorado Specialties and that they were really no further than the Ohio shows. We had a fun trip out, doing some touristy stuff in Nebraska and driving a state highway rather than the Interstate. Arrived in Greeley late afternoon on Thursday and were appalled by the ENORMOUS feedlots adjacent to the road on the way into town. Disgusting & nasty with an incredibly stench. It was almost enough to turn me into a vegetarian. Almost. But I think we will go out for steak tonight to celebrate yesterday.

Two Specialties on Friday, one starting at 9:00 and the other at 1:30, with 40-something Dals entered at each. Good grass, excellent footing, nice shade trees & shade tents, free Pizza lunch, excellent trophies and a delicious show dinner on the grounds catered by Olive Garden. The small Denver Club goes all out in the hospitality department. It was fun to see a number of old friends including Jan who used to live in Minnesota but moved to Colorado quite a few years ago.

There was a Sweepstakes with each show, judged by breeders from Virginia and North Carolina. We were thrilled to have Charlie go Best In Sweeps under BOTH of them.

The first show was judged by a local person we had never shown to and he gave Charlie Reserve in a 5 point entry. Penny one-upped him and went Winners to finish her Championship. Argus showed wonderfully well, but lost to a black-spotted nephew. Would have been extra nice to have all liver winners, but oh well.

The second show was judged by a Dal person we had not shown too, but who we figured would like the dogs. He did. We pulled Penny who was feeling the heat, but Charlie went Best of Winners for 5 points (he now has 11 in only 5 shows) and Argus again showed wonderfully well and went Best Of Breed. Doesn't get much better than that! I am NOT a good hot weather person but I have worked really hard to condition both Argus and me to the heat, and it paid off!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feels Like Fall!

The cool weather is only temporary, but sure feels good! Only 54 degrees this morning and the dogs are full of energy - they've all become puppies again. Ron & I got a lot of yard work done on Sunday too, because of the weather. Not sure how people who live in perpetually warm & humid climates every get anything accomplished.

Things are starting to fall into place for our trip to Colorado. Ginger has a conflict so won't be meeting us there, but Laurie should be arriving about dinnertime tonight. Then we need to get over and pick up the van we are renting. Sure hope they come through with the size we requested as three women, three dogs and all our equipment will NOT fit into my poor little Voyageur. I'll pick up Charlie tomorrow, and after Jess works half a day she and Penny will join us for a planned early afternoon departure. Most of my packing is done, and I am busily checking things off on my To Do List. Entry for the Colorado shows is a good one with nice big majors in both sexes. Hopefully Penny and Charlie each win one or more of them. Argus could really use a Best of Breed or two as the entries are so small at regular shows, and the judging panels for fall look really unappealing.

Entry for the Twin Cities Specialty is very small. Was anticipating that as two of the people who normally support our entry have conflicts this year and there just are not enough Dals in Minnesota and Iowa to make up for it. We need new exhibitors and some new show potential pups in the area. The Midwest used to have lots of show folks, but everyone is aging out or moving away. Showing and raising pups properly are expensive and a lot of work, and we need new young ambitious people in the breed, especially in this area. The Davenport Dal Club died off, and the Chicago and Kansas clubs are way down in active members. We have lots of members - they just don't breed or show anymore! It will be interesting to see if the club survives.

Sometimes I am embarrassed to be a Dal owner, generally when I see spooky or aggressive dogs in the ring. Good Dals have wonderful personalities, but there are a few that don't and they should NEVER be shown. What are people thinking??? This past weekend a Dal girl was disqualified for trying to bite the judge - that means she can never be shown again. The sad thing is that she had just had a couple of nice wins - which amazes me. I have watched her on two different show weekends and heard about her antics on a couple of others, and figured it was only a matter of time. Although she was very well trained, anyone who could read a dog's body language should have been able to tell this one had problems. A dog's eyes, ears, and posture tell you a lot, and this one was easy to read. Why do people show dogs like this? What do they expect to accomplish? Why will handlers SHOW dogs like this? Is the $$$ so important that you will put judges at risk? How embarrassing for all of us.

Monday, August 16, 2010


55 degrees right now. I have the patio door closed and am wearing a sweatshirt. What a change! Saturday was still pretty warm, but the humidity was down, and Sunday was perfect! Sunny, cool & breezy. A perfect day for brushing dogs - no humidity to make the hair stick to me (hate that) and a nice breeze to carry the hair away as I brushed it out of the dogs.

Argus gets brushed regularly, but the retirees had not been brushed in some time. Like most other Dal owners I joke about the shedding, but do little to prevent it. Dals shed even if brushed regularly, but the volume of hair is greatly reduced. Actually brushed everyone TWICE, and got LOTS of hair. Coral was shedding the worst this time, and Josie shed the least as always. Coral, Watson & Argus all have short, thick, very soft coats, while Josie's is longer, harder and not quite as thick. Her great grandma Eloise had that same coat and was never a heavy shedder either. Coats are all in good shape, no allergies bothering anyone.

Grooming time is a great time to check everyone over for any bumps or lumps that need to be checked out, especially on older dogs. In many areas of the country it is also the time to check for signs of fleas - fortunately not a problem here. (Knock on wood!) Argus has a sore on the inside of his left front shoulder that concerns me a bit. Thought it might be a hot spot, but he does not seem to be bothered, and hot spots are very itchy areas of pyoderma that come on suddenly. His is also not quite where a dog would normally scratch himself, and he never scratches, just not an itchy dog. Decided he probably scraped himself when he was over at the college campus and ventured into the edge of the woods. Am keeping an eye on it though.

There's a new Best In Show dog in the breed, a son of Argus's brother Andy. Not a bad dog, and with a particularly nice disposition. He could be a better mover, but has lovely dark eyes, correct tail carriage, and beautiful markings. He's professionally handled so is out every weekend and has more opportunities than dogs like Argus have. It will make the competition stiffer in this area, but works out fine for us as this is Argie's last year of active campaigning. NEXT year he needs to earn a couple of performance titles - IF I get up the ambition. Just as well, as I find myself suffering from Dog Show Fatigue.